U.S. Navy Battleships - USS South Carolina (BB 26)
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Displacement: 16,000 tons
Speed: 18.8 knots
Armament: Eight 12" guns; twenty-two 3" guns; two 3-pounders; two 21" torpedo tubes
Class: South Carolina
Text from The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships published by the Naval Historical Center
The fourth South Carolina (Battleship No. 26) was laid down on
18 December 1906 at Philadelphia by William Cramp & Sons;
launched on 1 July 1908; sponsored by Miss Frederica Ansel; and
commissioned on 1 March 1910, Capt. Augustus F. Fechteler, in
South Carolina departed Philadelphia on 6 March 1910 for shakedown,
cruised to the Danish West Indies and Cuba, and then visited
Charleston, S.C., from 10 to 15 April. After conducting trials
off the Virginia Capes and off Provincetown, Mass., the
battleship visited New York City on 17 and 18 Jane on the
occasion of a reception for former President Theodore Roosevelt.
Voyage repairs at Norfolk, naval militia training duty, and
Atlantic Fleet maneuvers off Provincetown and the Virginia Capes
occupied her time from the end of June until the beginning of
November. Between 1 November 1910 and 12 January 1911, she
voyaged to Europe and back with the 2d Battleship Division. This
visit took her to Cherbourg, France, and Portland, England. Upon
her return to Norfolk, she entered the Navy Yard for repairs,
and then conducted tactics training and maneuvers off the New
Following a short visit to New York, she steamed east with the
2d Battleship Division for a visit to Copenhagen, Denmark;
Stockholm, Sweden; and Kronstadt, Russia. During the return from
Kronstadt, she reached Kiel, Germany, on 21 June in time to join
in the Kiel Yachting Week, hosted by Kaiser Wilhelm II. On 13
July 1911, she arrived off Provincetown, Mass., and engaged in
battle practice along the coast to the Chesapeake Bay.
Late in 1911, she took part in the Naval Review at New York and
maneuvers with the 1st Squadron out of Newport, R.I. On 3
January 1912, she departed New York for winter operations in the
vicinity of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. South Carolina returned to
Norfolk on 13 March and, until late June, cruised the east coast
as far north as Newport. In June, she joined in the welcome
receptions at Hampton Roads and New York given in honor of the
visiting German Squadron, comprised of battle cruiser Moltke and
two small cruisers, Bremen and Stettin. On 30 June, she entered
the yard at Norfolk for overhaul.
Just over three months later, she sailed to New York for a four-
day visit, from 11 to 15 October. Next came a month of exercises
off the coast of New England and the Virginia Capes. From mid-
November until mid-December, South Carolina steamed with the
Special Service Division on visits to Pensacola, New Orleans,
Galveston, and the Mexican port, Vera Cruz. She returned to
Norfolk on 20 December and remained there until 6 January 1913,
when she sailed to Colon, Panama, where her crew saw the newly-
completed canal. After maneuvers in the area of Guantanamo Bay,
she reentered Norfolk on 22 March; then cruised north as far as
Newport, stopping at New York from 28 to 31 May for the
dedication of a memorial to the battleship Maine.
After a brief period training midshipmen in the Virginia Capes
area, South Carolina embarked upon a 16-month period during
which she carried the "Big Stick" to the Gulf of Mexico and the
Caribbean Sea. From late June until mid-September 1913, she
cruised the eastern coast of Mexico protecting American
interests at Tampico and Vera Cruz. She was overhauled at
Norfolk from late September 1913 until early January 1914, and
then headed for maneuvers off Culebra Island.
On the 28th, the battleship landed Marines at Port-au-Prince,
Haiti, to guard the United States legation and to establish a
field radio station during that period of political convulsions.
She departed Port-au-Prince on 14 April after the restoration of
some order under General Orestes Zamar, the new Haitian
President. She coaled at Key West, then steamed to Vera Cruz
where she sent a landing force ashore to join in the occupation
of that city until her departure a month later. South Carolina
spent the troubled summer of 1914 investigating conditions in
Santo Domingo and Haiti.
By the time she returned to Norfolk on 24 September, World War I
had already been raging for almost two months. A little less
than a month later, on 14 October, the battleship entered the
yard at Philadelphia. She emerged revitalized on 20 February
1915 and headed south for the usual battle practice in the
vicinity of Cuba. The exercises took on new meaning since they
were held on the heels of the diplomatic crisis triggered by
Germany's declaring the waters around England to be a war zone.
However, cooler heads prevailed and not even the sinking of
Lusitania could provoke the United States to belligerency.
Accordingly, for almost two years, South Carolina continued her
routine of winter and spring exercises out of Guantanamo Bay,
summer operations off Newport, and periodic repairs at
The entry of the United States into the war on the side of the
Allies in April 1917 did not presage dramatic events for the
Navy. Except for U-boats and an occasional disguised commerce
raider, the Royal Navy had already cleared the seas of German
naval might at such battles as Jutland and the Falkland Islands.
Therefore, South Carolina continued to operate along the east
coast through 1917 and for the first eight months of 1918.
On 9 September 1918, she joined the escort of a convoy bound for
France. A week later, she turned the convoy over to other
escorts in mid-ocean and steamed back to the United States.
After a brief repair period at Philadelphia, she returned to
gunnery training service and was so employed at the time of the
Armistice, 11 November 1918.
From mid-February until late July 1919, South Carolina made four
round-trip voyages between the United States and Brest, France.
By 26 July, when she entered Hampton Roads at the end of the
last of these voyages, she had returned over 4,000 World War I
veterans to the United States.
Following an overhaul at the
Norfolk Navy Yard, she embarked midshipmen at Annapolis for a
cruise to the Pacific. She departed Annapolis on 5 June 1920,
transited the Panama Canal, sailed to Hawaii, and then to the
west coast. She visited Seattle, San Francisco, and San Diego as
she sailed down the western seaboard. South Carolina cleared San
Diego on 11 August, retransited the canal, and sailed for
Annapolis on 2 September; then she headed on to Philadelphia,
where she remained for seven months.
In early April of 1921, she cruised to Culebra Island in the
West Indies for training, and then operated in the Chesapeake
Bay. On 29 May, the battleship embarked another complement of
midshipmen at Annapolis. She called at Christiana, Norway, and
Lisbon, Portugal, before heading to the Guantanamo Bay area to
round out the midshipmen's summer training cruise. She debarked
the midshipmen at Annapolis on 30 August 1921 and steamed to
Philadelphia where she arrived the following day.
South Carolina was decommissioned at Philadelphia on 15 December
1921 and remained there until her name was struck from the Navy
list on 10 November 1923. Her hulk was sold for scrap on 24
April 1924 in accordance with the terms of the Five-Power Naval
Treaty of Washington.
Updated: 30 July 2009