Cruiser NEW YORK

By Patrick McSherry 
Additional views of NEW YORK:
At naval Battle of Santiago ||| In 1907 
Click here for Capt. F. E. Chadwick's account of the Battle of Santiago
Click here for the NEW YORK's Squadron Bulletins from July 1 to July 5, 1898 (including the Battle of Santiago)
Click here for information on the NEW YORK's bombardment of San Juan, Puerto Rico
Click here for a visit to the wreck site of the USS NEW YORK - her final resting place
Click here a roster of the NEW YORK's Marine Guard


The NEW YORK served as the flagship of Admiral Sampson of the combined "North Atlantic Squadron" and "Flying Squadron", which joined to locate and destroy the Spanish naval force in the Caribbean. NEW YORK took part in the bombardment of San Juan, Puerto Rico on May 12, 1898. On the morning of July 3, 1898, the NEW YORK was taking Admiral Sampson to meet with Major General Rufus Shafter when Admiral Cervera's Spanish fleet attempted break out of Santiago harbor. When the action was spotted, the USS NEW YORK turned and steamed at full speed back toward the site of the battle. She arrived too take play a major part in the Battle of Santiago.

Admiral Sampson's temporary absence forever created a public dispute over which officer could claim credit for the complete destruction of the Spanish force - Sampson or Commodore Schley of the USS BROOKLYN.


The Armored Cruiser NEW YORK was authorized by Congress in 1888, was laid down on September. 19, 1890, launched on December 2, 1891, and finally commissioned on August 1, 1893. She was placed under the command of Capt. John Philip.

The Armored Cruiser NEW YORK's first assignment was with the South Atlantic Squadron, where she stayed from January to March of 1894. In August, she was transferred to the North Atlantic Squadron. The vessel was in the West Indies for winter exercises, and was commended for aiding in the extinguishing of a fire that threatened Port of Spain, Trinidad.

In 1895, the Armored Cruiser NEW YORK was transferred to the European Squadron. She represented the United States at the opening of the Kiel Canal. In 1897, she was back with the North Atlantic Squadron, operating off of the east coast of United States.

As tensions with Spain rose over Cuba, the Armored Cruiser NEW YORK sailed to Key West. When war was declared, the vessel steamed to Cuba, and bombarded Matanzas, and then joined the ill-fated search for the Spanish fleet at San Juan, Puerto Rico. With the discovery of the Spanish fleet and the concentrating of naval forces off of Santiago, the Armored Cruiser NEW YORK became the overall flagship. On July, 1898, the Spanish fleet attempted to break out of the blockade at Santiago, and was destroyed by the assembled American fleet. The Armored Cruiser NEW YORK, temporarily off station to take Admiral Sampson to a meeting with Major General Rufus Shafter, returned only in time to participate in the closing actions of the battle, taking a few passing shots at the Spanish Torpedo Boat Destroyer FUROR.

During the War, the NEW YORK is credited with actions against eleven Spanish vessels - BUENA VENTURA, PEDRO, PANAMA, LORENZO, CARLOS F. ROZES, ALMIRANTE OQUENTO, INFANTA MARIA TERESA, VIZCAYA, CRISTOBAL COLON, PLUTON AND FUROR. The last six were at the Battle of Santiago.

On August 14, 1898 she sailed to New York, and was received with great celebrations. After the war, NEW YORK found herself shuttled around the world. In 1899, she took naval militia on training cruises to Latin America. Later she served at various trouble spots around South America. During this year, the vessel also became one of the first three U.S. naval units to have a wireless installed. In 1901, the NEW YORK sailed to Cavite, Philippines via Gibraltar to become the flagship of the Asiatic Fleet. She was in Yokohama, Japan for the unveiling of the Perry Expedition Monument in July, 1901, and took part in the actions against the Filipino Insurgents. She also visited Hong Kong, Vladivostok, Russia and Korea, before returning to the United States in 1902.

By 1903, the vessel was part of the Pacific Squadron, patrolling off the coast of Honduras. Later, she was present for a reception with President Theodore Roosevelt in San Francisco. In 1904, the NEW YORK became the flagship of Pacific Squadron, which took her all along the coast of the North, Central and South America from Puget Sound to Chile. She served to enforce Roosevelt's neutrality order during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904.

In January of 1905, the NEW YORK was decommissioned for overhaul. In 1909, she was recommissioned and served briefly with the Armored Cruiser Squadron in the Mediterranean, and then operated out of various southern ports until being put into reserve at the end of the year.

Fully recommissioned in 1910, the USS NEW YORK steamed for Manila to rejoin the Asiatic Fleet. In February, 1911, she was renamed the USS SARATOGA, to free up her former name for a new battleship. She returned to the United States in 1916, and was temporarily placed in reserve at Bremerton, Washington.

The USS SARATOGA was recommissioned for World War I as part of Pacific Patrol Force 7. While on this duty, she captured a merchantman carrying thirty-two German agents and several Americans trying to avoid the draft.

In November,1917 she transitted the Panama Canal and joined the Cruiser Force in Hampton Roads. Here she was again renamed to allow her name to go to a new vessel, this time she was dubbed USS ROCHESTER. As part of this force, she escorted a convoy to Europe, and then began training cruises in the Chesapeake Bay. In March, 1918 she resumed convoy duty. After the war, she helped to transport troops home from Europe, and then became the flagship of the vessels sent to guard the navy's seaplanes on their transatlantic flight.

In the 1920's the USS ROCHESTER served off of the east coast of the United States and Central and South America. In 1925, she transported General John J. Pershing to Chile to arbitrate the Tacna-Arica dispute, and later served with expeditionary forces sent against bandits in Nicaragua in 1928 and Haiti in 1929. She aided Nicaraguan refugees from an earthquake in 1931.

In 1932 she rejoined the Pacific Fleet. She was decommissioned at Cavite in 1933, and struck from the Navy rolls in 1938. In December, 1941, still in the Philippines, she was scuttled to prevent her capture by the Japanese.


When the USS NEW YORK was launched, only a few years after the Battleship MAINE, the vessel represented a major step forward in American naval ship design. She was larger and swifter than the MAINE. The design of  NEW YORK won the admiration of the Europeans, an unusual event for U.S. naval vessels. In fact, the ship was based on modern European warships. By the time of the Spanish American War her armament was considered to be outdated, but her long life in the Navy attests to her ruggedness and fine construction.


Thanks to Jose Poncet for this image!

Classification: Armored Cruiser, First-rate, ACR-2
Keel Laid: September 30, 1890
Completed: January 1, 1893
Comissioned: August 1, 1893
Rig: Two military masts.
Armament: Six 8-inch guns
Twelve 4-inch guns
Eight 6-pounders
Two 1-pounders
Two Colt Gatling Guns
Two 3" field piece
Two Whitehead torpedos
Contractor: William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia, PA.
Length: 380 feet, 6-1/2 inches
Beam: 64 feet, 10 inches
Mean draft: 23 feet, 3-1/2 inches
Max. draft fully loaded: 26 feet, 8 inches
Displacement: 8,200 tons
Complement: 40 officers and 516 enlisted men commanded by Capt. French E.Chadwick
Engine type: Four horizontal triple expansion engines with a 42 inch stroke generating 17,401 hp. Twin screw
Boiler type: Six double-ended and two single-ended cylindrical boilers.
Speed: 21 knots
Coal bunker capacity: 1,290 tons
Normal coal supply: 750 tons
Endurance @ 10 knots:  5,000 nautical miles
Armor: Sides - 4 inches, Turrets - 5-1/2 inches, 
Barbettes - 10 inches,
Protective deck slopes - 6 inches, 
Protective deck flat - 3 inches.
Cofferdams with 25,387 cubic feet of cocoa. 
Cost: $2,985,000


(As a service to our readers, clicking on title in red will take you to that book on

Alden, Cmdr. John D., USN (Ret.), American Steel Navy , (Annapolis: United States Naval Institute Press, 1972)

Clerk of Joint Comittee on Printing, The Abridgement of Message from the President of the United States to the Two Houses of Congress, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1899). Vols. 2,4.

Harris, Lt. Cmdr. Brayton, The Age of the Battleship, (New York: Franklin Watts, Inc., 1965).

Naval History Department, Navy Department, Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, (Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1959).

West, Richard S, Jr., Admirals of American empire.., New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1948.

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