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USS Porter (TB-6)

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USS Porter (TB-6)

For other ships of the same name, see USS Porter.

Torpedo boat USS "Porter" chasing a suspicious sail
Name: USS Porter (TB-6)
Namesake: David and David Dixon Porter
Ordered: 2 March 1895
Builder: Herreshoff Manufacturing Co., Bristol, Rhode Island
Laid down: February 1896
Launched: 9 September 1896
Commissioned: 20 February 1897
Decommissioned: 1912
Struck: 6 November 1912
Fate: Sold, 30 December 1912
General characteristics
Class & type: Template:Sclass/core
Displacement: 165 long tons (168 t)
Length: 175 ft 6 in (53.49 m)
Beam: 17 ft 9 in (5.41 m)
Draft: 4 ft 8 in (1.42 m)
Propulsion: 3 Normand boilers
2-shaft vertical quadruple expansion engines
3,200 ihp (2,386 kW)
Speed: 29 knots (54 km/h; 33 mph)
Complement: 32 officers and enlisted
Armament: • 4 × 1-pounder guns
• 3 × 18 in (457 mm) torpedo tubes

USS Porter (Torpedo Boat No. 6/TB-6) was a torpedo boat, the first of its class, launched in 1896, served during the Spanish-American War, and struck in 1912. She was the first Navy ship named for Commodore David Porter, and his son, Admiral David Dixon Porter.

Porter was laid down in February 1896 by Herreshoff Manufacturing Co., Bristol, Rhode Island: launched on 9 September 1896, sponsored by Miss Agnes M. Herreshoff; and commissioned on 20 February 1897 at Newport, R.I., Lieutenant John Charles Fremont in command.

Service history

On patrol, 1897

Porter sailed to Washington, D.C. on 27 February 1897 for inspection and was further examined on 16–20 March at New York by the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation. She operated between New London and Newport; then visited New York from 15 July to 3 October before getting underway for her winter port, Charleston, South Carolina. Porter cruised in southern waters until 8 December and then proceeded to Key West where she was stationed on 1–22 January 1898.

Spanish–American War, 1898

Porter arrived on 26 January at Mobile for a visit but was ordered to return to Key West on 6 March because of the tense situation in Cuba. When the United States declared war upon Spain, she was already patrolling the waters off Key West and the Dry Tortugas. Porter returned to Key West on 22 March for replenishment.

Porter departed Key West on 22 April with the North Atlantic Fleet for the blockade of the north coast of Cuba. She soon made contact with the enemy, capturing two Spanish schooners, Sofia and Matilda, on 23 and 24 April. After refueling at Key West 2–7 May, Porter resumed blockade duty off Cap-Haïtien, Haiti keeping a watchful eye out for Cervera's squadron. She participated in the three-hour bombardment of San Juan on 12–13 May with the nine ships of Rear Admiral W. T. Sampson's fleet. During the attack Porter maintained a close position under the batteries with Detroit (C-10) but was not hit.

Porter returned on 13–14 May to the blockade of the north coast of Hispaniola, cruising off Samana Bay, Santo Domingo and off Porto Plata, Haiti. After a brief interval at Key West and Mobile (18–25 May), she joined Commodore Schley's squadron (1–11 June) off Santiago de Cuba where it had bottled up the elusive Spanish warships. Porter came under heavy fire on 7 June while silencing the shore batteries, but was undamaged. Later she supported (11–17 June) the Marine beachhead at Guantanamo Bay. Porter took up her station off Santiago on 17 June and again 21–22 June when she bombarded the Socapa battery during the landings at Daiquirí. She continued patrolling off Guantanamo until 9 July when she left for New York via Key West. Upon her arrival at the New York Navy Yard on 19 July, Porter was placed in reduced commission and decommissioned 5 November 1898.

In reserve, 1899–1907

She recommissioned on 10 October 1899 at New York and served as a training ship for firemen at Newport, Norfolk and Annapolis. Porter decommissioned 21 December 1900 at New York. She was put in reserve commission in late 1901 at Norfolk with the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla and continued this duty through 1907.

Torpedo Flotilla, 1908–1912

Porter recommissioned on 31 January 1908 at Norfolk, and was ordered to Pensacola on 21 February. As flagship of the 3rd Torpedo Flotilla, she engaged in torpedo runs in St. Joseph Bay, Florida (4 March–22 April). Porter acted as naval escort to the remains of Governor De Witt Clinton in New York harbor on 29 May 1908 before returning on 1 July to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Norfolk.

Porter recommissioned on 14 May 1909 at Charleston, South Carolina, Lt. Harold R. Stark in command, and was assigned to the 3rd Division, Atlantic Torpedo Flotilla. She proceeded to Provincetown, Massachusetts, on 10 June for fleet exercises that lasted until 5 August. Porter departed on 28 August for Hampton Roads and the Southern Drill Grounds, later joining the fleet at New York for the Hudson-Fulton Celebration on 1–10 October. She was reassigned on 14 November to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Charleston where she remained until October 1911.

Porter sailed on 30 October 1911 for New York where she took part in the fleet naval review on 2 November for President Theodore Roosevelt. The President had ordered the mobilization "to test the preparedness of the fleet and the efficiency of our organization on the ships in the yards." Afterwards Porter returned to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Philadelphia. She was mobilized in October 1912 for another review at New York which was inspected by the President on 15 October.

Decommissioning and sale, 1912

Porter was struck from the Navy List on 6 November 1912 and was sold to Andrew Olsen on 30 December 1912 at New York.


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