U.S. Navy Battleships - USS Mississippi (BB 23)
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Displacement: 13,000 tons
Speed: 17 knots
Armament: Four 12" guns; eight 8" guns; eight 7" guns; twelve 3" guns; six 3-pounders; two 1-pounders; six .30 cal. machine guns; two 21" torpedo tubes
Text from The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships published by the Naval Historical Center
The second Mississippi (BB 23) was laid down 12 May 1904 by
William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia, Pa.; launched 30 September
1905; sponsored by Miss M. C. Money, daughter of Senator H. P.
Money of Mississippi; and commissioned at Philadelphia Navy Yard
1 February 1908, Capt. J. C. Fremont in command.
Following shakedown off the coast of Cuba, 15 February to 15
March 1908, the new battleship returned to Philadelphia for
final fitting out. Standing out 1 July, she operated along the
New England coast, until returning to Philadelphia 10 September.
The warship next put to sea 16 January 1909 to represent the
United States at the inauguration of the President of Cuba at
Havana, 25 to 28 January. Mississippi remained in the Caribbean
until 10 February, sailing that day to join the "Great White
Fleet" as it returned from its famous world cruise. With the
fleet on Washington's Birthday, the battlewagon was reviewed by
President Theodore Roosevelt. On 1 March she returned to the
The ship departed Cuban waters 1 May for a cruise up the river
which shared her name, the mighty Mississippi. Calling at the
major ports of this great inland waterway, she arrived at
Natchez 20 May 1909, and then proceeded 5 days later to Horn
Island where she received a silver service from the State of
Mississippi. Returning to Philadelphia 7 June, the battleship
operated off the New England coast until sailing 5 January 1910
for winter exercises and war games out of Guantanamo Bay. The
battleship departed 24 March for Norfolk and operated off the
east coast until fall, calling at a number of large ports,
serving as a training ship for Naval Militia, and engaging in
maneuvers and exercises designed to keep the ship and crew in
the finest possible fighting turn.
She departed Philadelphia 1 November for a fleet rendezvous at
Gravesend Bay, England, 16 November, and then sailed 7 December
for Brest, France, arriving on the 9th. On 30 December,
Mississippi set course for Guantanamo Bay for winter maneuvers
until 13 March 1911.
Returning to the United States, the battleship operated off the
Atlantic coast, basing alternately out of Philadelphia and
Norfolk for the next year and 2 months, serving as a training
ship and conducting operational exercises. She cleared
Tompkinsville, N.Y., 26 May 1912 with a detachment from the 2d
Marine Regiment on board to protect American interests in Cuba.
Landing her Marine detachment at El Cuero 19 June, she remained
on station in Guantanamo Bay until 5 July, when she sailed for
Following exercises with the 4th Battleship Division off New
England, she returned to Philadelphia Navy Yard where she was
put in the 1st Reserve 1 August 1912.
Mississippi remained in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at
Philadelphia until detached 30 December 1913 for duty as
aeronautic station ship at Pensacola, Fla. Departing 6 January
1914, the battleship arrived 21 January, transporting equipment
for the establishment of a naval air station. At Pensacola, she
stood by while her crew, along with the early naval aviators,
rebuilt the old naval base, laying the foundation for the
largest and most famous American naval air station.
With the outbreak of fighting in Mexico, Mississippi sailed 21
April to Vera Cruz, arriving on the 24th with the first
detachment of naval aviators to go into combat. Serving as a
floating base for the fledgling seaplanes and their pilots, the
warship launched nine reconnaissance flights over the area
during a period of 18 days, making the last flight 12 May. One
month later, the battleship departed Vera Cruz for Pensacola.
Serving as station ship there from 15 to 28 June, she then
sailed north to Hampton Roads where she transferred her aviation
gear to armored cruiser USS North Carolina (CA-12), 3 July 1914.
On the 10th, Mississippi shifted to Newport News to prepare for
transfer to the Greek Government. Mississippi decommissioned at
Newport News 21 July 1914, and was turned over to the Royal
Hellenic Navy the same day. Renamed Lemnos, the battleship
served for the next 17 years as a coast defense vessel. She was
sunk in an air attack by German bombers on Salamis harbor in
April 1941; and, after World War II, her hull was later salvaged
See also USS Mississippi (BB 41)
Updated: 30 July 2009