Length: 504 feet 5 inches. Breadth: 72 feet 10 1/2 inches. Mean Draft: 25 feet. Displacement: 14,500 tons normal, 15,981 tons full load. Machinery: 28,600 IHP; Babcock boiliers, 2 sets of 4-cylinder, Triple Expansion Engines, 2 screws, outward turning. Speed: 22.16 knots. Coal Bunker Capacity: 900 tons normal, 1,992 tons maximum. Batteries: Main Battery: four 10-inch, 40 cal. breech-loading rifles, sixteen 6-inch, 50 cal. rapid fire guns. Secondary Battery: twenty-two 3-inch, 50 cal. rapid fire guns, two 3-inch antiaircraft, four 3 pdr. saluting guns, two 3-inch field pieces, six automatic guns, caliber .30, four 21-inch submerged torpedo tubes. Armor: Belt, 3 to 5 inches; turrets, 5-9-inches; barbettes, 5-inches; deck, 3 inches; Conning Tower, 9 inches. Complement: 41 officers, 850 men (921 as flagship). Built by: Cramp Shipbuilding Co., Philadelphia, PA Class: Tennessee
USS Tennessee circa 1907 in her Spar and White colors
The fourth Tennessee (Armored Cruiser No. 10) was laid down by the Cramp Shipbuilding Co., Philadelphia, Pa., on 20 June 1903 and launched on 3 December 1904. Miss Annie K. Frazier, daughter of Governor James B. Frazier of Tennessee was the sponsor of the USS Tennessee. She was the subsequent founder of the Society of Sponsors of the United States Navy. Tennessee was commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 17 July 1906, with Capt. Albert O. Berry in command.
Tennessee departed Hampton Roads, Va., on 8 November 1906 as escort for Louisiana (BB 19) in which President Theodore Roosevelt had embarked for a cruise to Panama to check on the progress of work constructing the Panama Canal. After a brief visit to Puerto Rico on the return voyage, the Tennessee arrived back at Hampton Roads on 26 November. Tennessee was present for the Jamestown Exposition held from 7 to 11 June 1907 to commemorate the tri-centennial of the founding of the first English settlement in America.
On 14 June, Tennessee sailed for Europe and reached Royan, France, on the 23d for duty with the Special Service Squadron. She returned home in August but departed Hampton Roads on 12 October for the Pacific.
Tennessee then patrolled off the California coast until 24 August 1908 when she sailed for Samoa, arriving at Pago Pago on 23 September to resume service with the Pacific Fleet. On 15 May 1910, she arrived at Bahia Blanca to represent the United States at the centenary celebration of the independence of Argentina. On 8 November, Tennessee departed Portsmouth, N.H., and proceeded to Charleston, S.C., to embark President William Howard Taft for a round trip voyage to Panama to inspect progress on the transisthmus canal which was then being constructed. She returned to Hampton Roads on 22 November and then engaged in battle practice off the Virginia coast into February 1911. Following a Mardi Gras visit to New Orleans and a visit to New York early in March, the ship steamed to Cuban waters for two months of operations out of Guantanamo Bay.
Placed in reserve at the Portsmouth (N.H.) Navy Yard on 15 June 1911, she remained on the east coast for a year and one-half before departing Philadelphia on 12 November 1912 for the Mediterranean. Arriving off Smyrna (now Izmir), Turkey, on 1 December, she remained there protecting American citizens and property during the First Balkan War until 3 May 1913 when she headed home. After reaching Hampton Roads on the 23d, Tennessee operated on the east coast until entering the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Philadelphia on 23 October. On 2 May 1914, she became receiving ship at the New York Navy Yard.
USS Tennessee in Alexandria, Egypt 1914
On 6 August, Tennessee sailed from New York for duty in Europe through the first half of 1915 supporting the American Relief Expedition. In August, she transported the 1st Regiment, Marine Expeditionary Force, and the Marine Artillery Battalion to Haiti. From 28 January to 24 February 1916, the cruiser served as flagship of a cruiser squadron off Port-au-Prince, Haiti. In March, she embarked a group of dignitaries at Hampton Roads for a two-month, round trip cruise to Montevideo, Uruguay.
On 25 May 1916, Tennessee was renamed Memphis, honoring a city of Tennessee, so that the name Tennessee could be reassigned to a new warship, Battleship No. 43. In July, Memphis got underway for Central America arriving at San Domingo on 23 July for peace-keeping patrol off the rebellion-torn Dominican Republic.
On the afternoon of 29 August, while at anchor in the harbor of San Domingo, Memphis was driven ashore by an unexpected tidal wave and totally wrecked. The casualties, including a boatload of Memphis sailors returning from shore leave, numbered some 40 men dead or missing and 204 badly injured.
Memphis was struck from the Navy list on 17 December 1917 and sold to A. H. Radetsky Iron and Metal Co., Denver, Colorado, on 17 January 1922 for scrapping.
As I find names of men who sailed this ship I will add them here with what I know of each. If you know additional facts about these men or others who were crew of the USS Tennessee / USS Memphis please e-mail them to: Joe Hartwell
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