U.S.S. Ericsson (1894)

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U.S.S. Ericsson (1894)
Hull Number: TB-2
Builder: Iowa Iron Works[1]
Ordered: Act of 30 June, 1890[2]
Laid down: 21 July, 1892[3]
Launched: 12 May, 1894[4]
Commissioned: 18 February, 1897[5]
Decommissioned: 5 April, 1912[6]
Sunk: 1912[7]
Fate: Target ship
U.S.S. Ericsson was a torpedo boat completed for the U.S. Navy in 1897.


Ericsson was launched 12 May, 1894 by the Iowa Iron Works at Dubuque, Iowa, sponsored by Miss Carrie Kiene. Her completion was delayed when she was damaged during fitting out at New York on 8 August, 1896.[8]


Ericsson was commissioned 18 February, 1897, Lieutenant Nathaniel R. Usher in command.

On 18 May, 1897, Ericsson arrived at Newport, Rhode Island, which became her home port. Through the summer months, she cruised New England waters for trials and training, instructing regular and reserve officers in torpedo tactics. She left Newport on 18 September, 1897 for a cruise to Annapolis, Norfolk, Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah, and several ports in Florida, arriving at Key West on the last day of the year. This was to be her base for operations in the Caribbean during the next seven months.

As war with Spain approached, Ericsson patrolled the Florida Keys, intensified her training operations, and carried messages for the increasing number of the fleet present in the area. She continued this duty after the opening of the war. Upon the outbreak of hostilities on 22 April, 1898, Ericsson began a blockade patrol between Havana and Key West. During her blockade duties she captured the schooner Perdita on 23 April and the Adula on 30 June.[9]

Ericsson joined the fleet at Santiago on 20 June, just in time for the Spanish squadron's desperate attempt to escape the American blockade. During the resulting Battle of Santiago on 3 July, 1898, Ericsson was in the thick of the fight, firing on the Spanish fleet. As the defeated Spanish ships blazed and threatened to explode, Ericsson played a leading part in the rescue efforts through which men of the U.S. Navy that day showed their courage, skill, and determination as clearly as they had in the fighting. She laid herself alongside the armored cruiser Vizcaya, ignoring the fact that the Spanish ship's ammunition was already exploding, and that flames were firing; the loaded guns. Over one hundred Spanish officers and men were thus saved, and more were taken off the flagship Maria Teresa and Oquendo, as Ericsson towed small craft from her squadron's larger ships to the burning hulks.

Ericsson patrolled off Cuba through mid-August 1898, and on 23 August arrived at New York, where she was decommissioned 21 September, 1898 and laid up. In December 1900, she was returned to commission, still in reserve, then sailed for Norfolk, where on 6 March, 1901 she was assigned to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla. In October 1908, she moved to Charleston Navy Yard, where she was decommissioned 5 April, 1912. Converted to a target ship, she was sunk in ordnance tests during 1912.


Dates of appointment are provided when known.


  • four 1-pdr quick-firing guns
  • three 18-in torpedo tubes: one fixed forward, two trainable aft, with three torpedoes

See Also


  1. Silverstone. The New Navy. p. 36.
  2. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. p. 160.
  3. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. p. 160.
  4. Silverstone. The New Navy. p. 36.
  5. Silverstone. The New Navy. p. 36.
  6. Silverstone. The New Navy. p. 36.
  7. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. p. 160.
  8. Silverstone. The New Navy. p. 36.
  9. Silverstone. The New Navy. p. 36.
  10. Register of Officers, 1898. p. 18.


  • Chesneau, Robert; Kolesnik, Eugene (editors) (1979). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. London: Conway Maritime Press. (on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk).
  • Friedman, Norman (1985). U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. (on Amazon.com).
  • Silverstone, Paul H. (2006). The U.S. Navy Warship Series: The New Navy 1883-1922. New York: Routledge.

Torpedo Boat U.S.S. Ericsson
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