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USS Pennsylvania (ACR-4)

USS Pennsylvania (ACR-4)
USS Pennsylvania (ACR-4)
Tinted postcard of USS Pennsylvania, from around 1905–1908.
United States
  • Pennsylvania (1901-1912)
  • Pittsburgh (1912-1931)
Ordered: 3 March 1899[1]
Awarded: 10 January 1901[1]
Builder: William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Cost: $3,890,000 (contract price of hull and machinery)[1]
Laid down: 7 August 1901[2]
Launched: 22 August 1903[2]
Sponsored by: Miss Coral Quay, daughter of Senator Matthew S. Quay
Completed: 10 January 1904[2]
Acquired: 9 March 1905[2]
Commissioned: 9 March 1905[2]
Decommissioned: 10 July 1931
Renamed: Pittsburgh, 27 August 1912
Reclassified: CA-4, 17 July 1920
Struck: 26 October 1931
Fate: sold for scrap, 21 December 1931
General characteristics [3]
Class & type: Pennsylvania-class armored cruiser
  • 13,680 long tons (13,900 t) (standard)[4]
  • 15,138 long tons (15,381 t) (full load)[4]
  • 504 ft (154 m) oa[4]
  • 502 ft (153 m) pp[5]
Beam: 69 ft 6 12 in (21.196 m)[5]
Draft: 24 ft 1 in (7.34 m) (mean)[5]
Installed power:
  • 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph)
  • 22.44 knots (41.56 km/h; 25.82 mph) (Speed on Trial)[4]
Complement: 80 officers 745 enlisted 64 Marines[6]
  • As Built:
  • 4 × 8 in (200 mm)/40 caliber breech-loading rifles(2×2)
  • 14 × 6 in (150 mm)/50 caliber breech-loading rifles
  • 18 × 3 in (76 mm)/50 caliber rapid-fire guns
  • 12 × 3-pounder (47 mm (1.9 in)) Driggs-Schroeder guns
  • 2 × 1-pounder (37 mm (1.5 in)) Driggs-Schroeder saluting guns
  • 2 × 18 in (460 mm) torpedo tubes
  • Pre-1911 Refit:[7]
  • 4 × 8 in (200 mm)/45 caliber breech-loading rifles (2×2)
  • 14 × 6 in (150 mm)/50 caliber breech-loading rifles
  • 18 × 3 in (76 mm)/50 caliber rapid-fire guns
  • 4 × 3-pounder (47 mm (1.9 in)) Driggs-Schroeder saluting guns
  • 2 × 18 in (460 mm) submerged torpedo tubes
  • Pre-1921 Refit:[8]
  • 4 × 8 in (200 mm)/45 caliber breech-loading rifles (2×2)
  • 14 × 6 in (150 mm)/50 caliber breech-loading rifles
  • 10 × 3 in (76 mm)/50 caliber rapid-fire guns
  • 2 × 3 in (76 mm)/50 caliber anti-aircraft guns
  • 4 × 3-pounder (47 mm (1.9 in)) Driggs-Schroeder saluting guns
  • 2 × 18 in (460 mm) submerged torpedo tubes
  • Belt: 6 in (15 cm) (top & waterline)
  • 5 in (13 cm) (bottom)
  • Deck: 1 12–6 in (38–152 mm) (amidships)
  • 4 in (100 mm) (forward & aft)
  • Barbettes: 6 in (150 mm)
  • Turrets: 6–6 12 in (150–170 mm)
  • Conning Tower: 9 in (230 mm)

The second USS Pennsylvania (ACR-4/CA-4), also referred to as Armored Cruiser No. 4, and later renamed Pittsburgh, was a United States Navy armored cruiser, the lead ship of her class.

She was laid down on 7 August 1901 by William Cramp and Sons of Philadelphia, launched on 22 August 1903, sponsored by Miss Coral Quay (daughter of Senator Matthew S. Quay of Pennsylvania), and commissioned on 9 March 1905, Captain Thomas C. McLean in command.


  • Service history 1
    • Pre-World War I 1.1
    • World War I 1.2
    • Inter-war period 1.3
  • Memorial bell 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Service history

Pre-World War I

First fixed-wing aircraft landing on a warship: Ely landing his plane onboard Pennsylvania in San Francisco Bay on 18 January 1911

Pennsylvania operated on the East Coast of the United States and in the Caribbean until 8 September 1906, when she cleared Newport for the Asiatic Station, returning to San Francisco on 27 September 1907 for west coast duty. She visited Chile and Peru in 1910.

On 18 January 1911, a plane flown by Eugene Ely from the Tanforan airfield in San Bruno, California landed on a platform constructed on her afterdeck. This was the first successful aircraft landing on a ship, and the first using a tailhook apparatus, thus opening the era of naval aviation and aircraft carriers.

While in reserve at Puget Sound from 1 July 1911 – 30 May 1913, the cruiser trained naval militia. She was renamed Pittsburgh on 27 August 1912 to free the Pennsylvania name for a new battleship.

World War I

Recommissioning, Pittsburgh patrolled the west coast of Mexico during the troubled times of insurrection that led to American involvement with the Veracruz landing in April 1914. Later she served as flagship for Admiral William B. Caperton—Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet—during South American patrols and visits during World War I. Cooperating with the British, she scouted German raiders and acted as a powerful deterrent against their penetration of the eastern Pacific.

Future Rear Admiral

  • Photo gallery of USS Pennsylvania at NavSource Naval History
  • USS
  • The short film The Pittsburgh is available for free download at the Internet Archive

External links

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register, which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain.

  • Alden, John D. American Steel Navy: A Photographic History of the U.S. Navy from the Introduction of the Steel Hull in 1883 to the Cruise of the Great White Fleet. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1989. ISBN 0-87021-248-6
  •   Microfilmed copy available for consultation at Medway Archives
  • Friedman, Norman. U.S. Cruisers: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1984. ISBN 0-87021-718-6
  • Musicant, Ivan. U.S. Armored Cruisers: A Design and Operational History. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1985. ISBN 0-87021-714-3
  • Taylor, Michael J.H. (1990). Jane's Fighting Ships of World War I. Studio.  


  1. ^ a b c "Ships' Data, U. S. Naval Vessels, 1911-". US Naval Department. 1 January 1914. p. 30. Retrieved 17 September 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Ships' Data, U. S. Naval Vessels, 1911-". US Naval Department. 1 January 1914. p. 31. Retrieved 17 September 2015. 
  3. ^ "USS PENNSYLVANIA/PITTSBURGH (Armored Cruiser No. 4/CA 4)". NavSource Online: Cruiser Photo Archive. NavSource. Retrieved 17 September 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Ships' Data, U. S. Naval Vessels, 1911-". US Naval Department. 1 January 1914. p. 25. Retrieved 17 September 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Ships' Data, U. S. Naval Vessels, 1911-". US Naval Department. 1 January 1914. p. 26. Retrieved 17 September 2015. 
  6. ^ "Ships' Data, U. S. Naval Vessels, 1911-". US Naval Department. 1 January 1914. p. 29. Retrieved 17 September 2015. 
  7. ^ "Ships' Data, U. S. Naval Vessels, 1911-". US Naval Department. 1 January 1914. p. 28. Retrieved 18 September 2015. 
  8. ^ "Ships' Data, U. S. Naval Vessels, 1921-". US Naval Department. 1 July 1921. p. 50. Retrieved 18 September 2015. 
  9. ^ "G. B. Landenberger, Navy Captain, Dies: Retired Officer Served for 35—Held Many Important Posts During Career".  
  10. ^ a b "ACR-4 USS Pennsylvania / USS Pittsburgh". Retrieved August 2012. 
  11. ^ Smith, Craig (13 February 2008). "USS Pittsburgh treasure headed for Soldiers & Sailors museum".  
  12. ^ Love, Dickon. "Rochester, Cathedral Church of Christ and The Blessed Virgin Mary". Love's Guide to the Church Bells of Kent. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  13. ^ Chatham News, 17 Dec 1920 p.7


  1. ^ Love's Guide to the Church Bells of Kent states "Note that there is a mystery regarding the inscription on the rear of the 3rd. The USS Pittsburgh had nothing to do with Rochester Cathedral, and perhaps the inscription appears by mistake."[12]



For many years the reason why the bell bore the inscription was a mystery.[1] However a letter from Captain J W Todd USN commanding USS Pittsburgh was published in the Chatham News on 17 December 1920. In it he thanks the Dean for various events during the two and a half months that the Pittsburgh was in dry dock at Chatham. He encloses a cheque for £52 10s to pay for the recasting of the bell and discusses the inscription.[13]

The number 3 bell at Rochester Cathedral, England, bears the inscription "U.S.S. PITTSBURGH IN MEMORY OF 1920".

The number 3 bell showing the dedication to the USS Pittsburgh. The bell diameter is 30".

Memorial bell

Pittsburgh‍ '​s bow ornament was presented to the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where it was installed overlooking Junction Hollow at the western edge of the school's campus. Today, the ornament is on display at Soldiers and Sailors National Military Museum and Memorial; a replica of it is still in place at the modern Carnegie Mellon University.[11]

The ship arrived at New York on 17 July 1926 to prepare for flagship duty with the Asiatic Fleet, during which time she was partially refitted, including the removal of her forward stack (making her unique to her class) and removal and plating over several 3 in (76 mm) guns. She sailed on 16 October for Chefoo, arriving on 23 December. Early in January 1927, she landed sailors and Marines to protect Americans and other foreigners in Shanghai from the turmoil and fighting of the Chinese power struggle. When Chiang Kai-shek's Cantonese Army won control of Shanghai in March, Pittsburgh resumed operations on patrol and exercises with the Asiatic Fleet. Closing her long career of service, she carried the Governor General of the Philippines, Dwight F. Davis on a courtesy cruise to such ports as Saigon, Bangkok, Singapore, Belawan, Batavia (Jakarta), Surabaya, Bali, Makassar, and Sandakan, returning to Manila on 15 April 1931. Six days later, she steamed for Suez en route to Hampton Roads, arriving on 26 June. Decommissioning on 10 July, she was sold for scrapping under the terms of the London Naval Treaty to Union Shipbuilding, Baltimore, Maryland on 21 December.

Recommissioned on 2 October 1922, Pittsburgh returned to European and Mediterranean waters as flagship of Naval Forces Europe, arriving in Gibraltar on the 19th of October. On the 23rd, she hoisted the flag of VA Long when the USS Utah returned to the USA. By 10 July 1923 Pittsburgh was in the harbor at Cherbourg, France to disembark 3 officers and 60 enlisted men of her Marine Detachment.[10] They were detailed to travel to the dedication of the Belleau Woods National Monument to the American Expeditionary Force. Belleau Woods was where the US Marine Corps made a famous stand during the Allied Campaign of 1918. Pittsburgh became flagship for two of the Commander-in-Chiefs, US Naval Forces European Waters, Admiral Philip Andrews in 1924–1925 and Vice-Admiral Roger Welles in 1925–1926.

On 9 September 1920, she ran aground on rocks off the coast of Libau. She was assisted by HMS Dauntless and USS Frederick; Frederick escorted her to Sheerness Royal Dockyard, Kent, England which she reached at 10:00 o'clock in the morning of 23 September. Before 12 October she had moved up river to Chatham Dockyard where she went into dry dock. On that date a team from the Pittsburgh routed a team of British officers 21-8 at baseball. The following month, with the Pittsburgh still in dry dock a court martial absolved Captain Todd of blame for the grounding but the navigator and watch officer were held accountable.[10]

Returning to the east coast, Pittsburgh prepared for duty as flagship for Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in the eastern Mediterranean, for which she sailed from Portsmouth, New Hampshire on 19 June 1919. Cruising the Adriatic, Aegean, and Black Seas, she joined in the massive relief operations and other humanitarian concerns with which the Navy carried out its quasi-diplomatic functions in this troubled area. In June 1920, she sailed north to visit French and British ports and cruise the Baltic Sea on further relief assignments before returning to decommission at Philadelphia on 15 October 1921.

Inter-war period


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