Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The United States Tug Pawtucket -- February 24, 2015

The drawing is from the 18-November-1898 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. Click on the image for a larger view.

The USS Pawtucket served the Navy until 1946, mostly in Puget Sound. 

Brilliant Event at Mare Island.
Little Heather Baxter Does the Christening — Gunboat Yorktown Is Placed in Commission.

Special Dispatch to The Call.
VALLEJO, Nov. 17.— The tug Pawtucket, intended for use at Port Orchard naval station, was launched at Mare Island this afternoon in the presence of many people, including all the workmen of the yard and hundreds of visitors from Vallejo. A military air was lent to the proceedings by the presence of a battalion of marines and sailors from the barracks and war yesterday under the command of Lieutenant Commander C. A. Adams.

The hour set for the launching was 8 o'clock, and at that time Commodore J. C. Watson, commandant of the yard; Commodore Albert Kautz, commanding the Pacific squadron, and a number of other naval officers and the ladies of their families stood on a platform surrounding little Heather Baxter, the 5-year-old daughter of Naval Constructor Baxter, who had been selected to christen the tug.

The tug had been wedged up early in the afternoon and was only held by a few shores on the sides and the dog shores on the cradle supporting the vessel. Everything except the latter was cleared away and at 3 o'clock Constructor Baxter cut a wire supporting a heavy weight which knocked the dog shores away and the tug began to glide toward the water. At that moment the dainty sponsor cried in a clear voice, "I name thee Pawtucket," and swung the bottle of wine against the steel prow with a crash that shattered it.

The tug gathered momentum as she sped down the ways and dipping easily as she entered the water floated gracefully into the stream. She was greeted with a deafening salute of steam whistles and cheers which drowned the sound of the two naval bands playing "The Star-Spangled Banner," which met the raising of the tug's flags as she struck the water. The launch was a complete success in every way and Constructor Baxter, who superintended it, was the recipient of warm congratulations.

The gunboat Yorktown was afterward placed in commission under command of Lieutenant Chauncey Thomas, in the absence of Commander C. S. Sperry. The ceremony was quite elaborate. The following officers reported for duty on the vessel: Lieutenants Thomas. Minnett and Clarke, Ensigns
Standley. Knox and Wurtzbaugh, Assistant Paymaster Perkins, Chief Engineer Cleaver and Assistant Engineer Snow. The other officers will report for duty in a day or two.

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