U.S. Navy Battleships - USS Indiana (BB 1)

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Displacement: 10,288 tons
Length: 350'11"
Beam: 69'3"
Draft: 24'
Speed: 15 knots
Complement: 473
Armament: Four 13" guns; eight 8" guns; four 6" guns; twenty 6-pounders; six 1-pounders

Text from The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships published by the Naval Historical Center

The first Indiana (BB-1) was laid down 7 May 1891 by William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia; launched 28 February 1893; sponsored by Miss Jessie Miller, daughter of the Attorney General of the United States; and commissioned 20 November 1895, Captain Robley D. Evans in command.

Following fitting out at Philadelphia Navy Yard, Indiana trained off the coast of New England. This duty continued until the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in 1898, when Indiana formed part of Admiral Sampson's squadron. The 10 ships sailed south to intercept Cervera's Spanish squadron, known to be en route to the Caribbean. Indiana took part in bombardment of San Juan 12 May 1898, and returned to Key West with the squadron to guard Havana 15 May. After it was discovered that Cervera was at Santiago, Sampson joined Schley there 1 June and took up the blockade.

In late June, Army units arrived and were landed for an assault on Santiago. Cervera saw that his situation was desperate and began his gallant dash out of Santiago 3 July 1898, hoping to outrun the American blockaders. Indiana did not join in the initial chase because of her extreme eastern position on the blockade, but was near the harbor entrance when the Spanish destroyers Pluton and Furor emerged. In a short time both ships were destroyed by Indiana's guns and those of the other ships. Meanwhile the remaining Spanish vessels were sunk or run ashore, in one of the two major naval engagements of the war.

Indiana returned to her previous pattern of training exercises and fleet maneuvers after the war, and made practice cruises for midshipmen of the Naval Academy before decommissioning 29 December 1903.

The battleship recommissioned at New York Navy Yard 9 January 1906. During this phase of her career, Indiana served with the Naval Academy Practice Squadron, sailing to Northern Europe and the Mediterranean. At Queenstown, Ireland, she fired a 21-gun salute 22 June 1911 in honor of the coronation of King George V. This important work in training the Navy's future leaders ended in 1914 and she decommissioned at Philadelphia 23 May 1914.

Indiana recommissioned a second time 24 May 1917, and served through World I as a training ship for gun crews off Tomkinsville, N.Y., and in the York River, Va. She decommissioned at Philadelphia 31 January 1919.

The name Indiana was canceled 29 March 1919 and she was reclassified Coast Battleship Number 1 so that the name could be assigned to a newly authorized battleship. She was used as a target in an important series of tests designed to determine the effectiveness of aerial bombs and was sunk in November 1920. Her hulk was sold for scrap 19 March 1924.

Also see USS Indiana (BB 58)

Updated: 29 July 2009