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(Second Class Battleship)
Displacement: 6,315 tons
Speed: 17 knots
Armament: two 12"; six 6"; 12 six-pounders; six one-pounders; four 37mm.; and four 14" torpedo tubes
Text from The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships published by the Naval Historical Center
The first Texas was laid down on 1 June 1889 at Portsmouth, Va., by the Norfolk Navy Yard; launched on 28 June 1892; sponsored by Miss Madge Houston Williams;
and commissioned on 15 August 1895, Capt. Henry Glass in command.
Assigned to the North Atlantic Squadron, the warship cruised the eastern seaboard of the United States. In February 1897, she left the Atlantic for a brief cruise to the Gulf coast ports of Galveston and New Orleans. She resumed Atlantic coast duty in March of 1897 and
remained so employed until the beginning of 1898. At that time, she visited Key West and the Dry
Tortugas en route to Galveston for a return visit which she made in mid-February. Returning to the Atlantic via the Dry Tortugas in March, the warship arrived in Hampton Roads on the 24th and resumed normal duty with the North Atlantic Squadron.
Early in the spring, war between the United States and
Spain erupted over conditions in Cuba and the supposed
Spanish destruction of the battleship Maine in Havana
harbor in February 1898. By 18 May, Texas was at Key
West, Fla., readying to prosecute that war.
On the 21st, she arrived off Cienfuegos, Cuba, with the
Flying Squadron to blockade the Cuban coast. After a
return to Key West for coal, Texas arrived off Santiago
de Cuba on the 27th. She patrolled off that port until
11 June 1898 on which day she made a reconnaissance
mission to Guantanamo Bay. For the next five weeks, she
patrolled between Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo Bay.
On 16 June, the warship joined the cruiser USS Marblehead for a
bombardment of the fort on Cayo del Tore in Guantanamo
Bay. The two ships opened fire just after 1400 and
ceased fire about an hour and 15 minutes later, having
reduced the fort to impotency.
On 3 July 1898, she was steaming off Santiago de Cuba
when the Spanish Fleet under Admiral Cervera made a
desperation attempt to escape past the American Fleet.
Texas immediately took four of the enemy ships under
fire. While the battleship's main battery pounded
Vizcaya and Colon, her secondary battery joined USS Iowa and
the gunboat USS Gloucester in battering two torpedo-boat destroyers. The
two Spanish destroyers fell out of the action quickly
and beached themselves, heavily damaged. One by one, the
larger enemy warships also succumbed to the combined
fire of the American Fleet. Each, in turn, sheered off
toward shore and beached herself. Thus, Texas and the
other ships of the Flying Squadron annihilated the
The defeat of Cervera's Fleet helped to seal the doom of
Santiago de Cuba. The city fell to the besieging
American forces on the 17th, just two weeks after the
great American naval victory. The day after the
surrender at Santiago, Spain sought peace through the
good offices of the French government. Even before the
peace protocol was signed in Washington, D.C., on 12
August, American ships began returning home. Texas
arrived in New York on 31 July and remained in nearby
waters until late November.
At that time, she moved south to Hampton Roads where she
arrived on 2 December. The warship resumed her peacetime
routine patrolling the Atlantic coast of the United
States. Though her primary field of operations once
again centered on the northeastern coast, she also made
periodic visits to such places as San Juan, P.R., and
Havana, Cuba, where her crew could view some of the
results of their own ship's efforts in the recent war.
Texas went out of commission briefly in 1901 for repairs
at the Norfolk Navy Yard but was commissioned again on 3
November 1902. She served as flagship for the Coast
Squadron until 1905 and remained in that organization
after its commander shifted his flag. By 1908, she had
become station ship at Charleston, S.C.
On 15 February 1911, her name was changed to San Marcos
to allow the name Texas to be assigned to Battleship No.
35. On 10 October 1911, her name was struck from the
Navy list. She was subsequently sunk as a target in
Tangier Sound in Chesapeake Bay.
See also USS Texas (BB 35)
Updated: 28 July 2009