USS Galena (1880)

USS Galena (1880)

USS Galena, was a wooden steamer built at the Norfolk Navy Yard in 1879 and commissioned there 26 August 1880, with Commander James O'Kane in command. "Galena" was the second ship of the United States Navy to bear that name.

"Galena" departed Hampton Roads 19 December 1880 and reached Gibraltar 12 January 1881. She cruised between the ports of France, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Greece, along the coast of Africa and to the Canary, Cape Verde and Madeira Islands. On 7 April 1881 she arrived at Chios, in the Aegean Sea and remained until 15 April helping to relieve the distress caused by a severe earthquake. Her surgeon went ashore to treat the injured; her crew furnished work parties to help clear the rubble; and her steam launch moved relief supplies. Another mission began 10 June 1882 when she reached Alexandria, Egypt, to embark American citizens and personnel of the American Consulate for protection aboard during a rebellion. An Italian ship was chartered as a haven for about 135 refugees until 27 June when Admiral James W. Nicholson arrived in USS "Lancaster" to relieve "Galena".

"Galena" departed Alexandria 11 July 1882 for operations along the eastern seaboard of South America out of Rio de Janeiro. From 19 October 1882 to 31 January 1883 she was the flagship of Rear Admiral Peirce Crosby, commanding American Naval Forces in the South Atlantic. She arrived at New York City 10 September 1883 to serve in the North Atlantic along the eastern seaboard and throughout the Caribbean Sea to the shores of Aspinwall, Colombia (now Colon, Panama). This included station duty at Key West (1 May-16 August 1884) to prevent illegal filibustering expeditions from the United States to Cuba.

1885 - 1889

Another special service began 11 March 1885 when she arrived at Aspinwall from New Orleans during a serious revolution that threatened to interrupt traffic over the Isthmus of Panama. On 30 March 1885 after a party of revolutionists had seized the Pacific Mail Line steamer "Colon", "Galena" regained the steamer and returned her the same day. The next day "Galena"'s landing force went ashore to save a part of the town of Colon which had been set afire by the revolutionists. The landing force saved a part of the town and all the property of the Pacific Mail Company. On 10 April Admiral Jouett arrived in USS "Tennessee" and with a force of 600 sailors and marines, assisted by "Galena", kept the Isthmus open to crossing travelers and enforced treaty obligations until order was restored in May.

"Galena" departed Colon 9 June and reached Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 26 June 1885 to begin several months cruising along the eastern seaboard. "Galena" returned to Columbian waters 27 November 1885 for service in the Caribbean. She visited St. Andrew Island 114 miles east of the Nicaraguan coast 14 February 1886 to investigate the detention of American steamer "City of Mexico". Finding that United States neutrality laws had been violated by the steamer, "Galena" seized "City of Mexico" and sailed her under a prize crew to Key West where the steamer was turned over to the United States Marshals Service.

"Galena" returned to New York 23 May 1886 to join the squadron in battle practice along the New England coast. She then sailed to the Newfoundland fishing banks and back. She departed Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 15 December 1886 to cruise among ports of the West Indies and off Colombia until 18 April 1887.

"Galena" returned north in time to participate in ceremonies for the unveiling of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument at New Haven, Connecticut, 14 June. After a cruise that took her to Halifax, Quebec, Montreal, and Habitants Bay, "Galena" arrived at the Philadelphia Navy Yard 12 September 1887 to join other ships of the US Navy in celebrating the centennial of the adoption of the Constitution of the United States. Target practice in Gardner's Bay, New York, was followed by repairs in the Norfolk Navy Yard until 9 April 1888. "Galena" then cruised with her squadron along the eastern seaboard and the Gulf Coast visiting New Orleans, Louisiana; Mobile, Alabama; and Port Royal, South Carolina. From 18 August to 15 September 1888 she watched over political disturbances at Port-au-Prince, Haiti, then proceeded back to New York.

"Galena" departed New York 12 December 1888 as flagship of Rear Admiral Stephen B. Luce, Commander in Chief, North Atlantic Station, and reached Port-au-Prince 20 December. Here, the American steamer "Haytien Republic", seized by Haitian authorities for alleged violation of the blockade, was surrendered to the force under Admiral Luce.

1889 - 1892

"Galena" arrived in Key West, 19 January 1889. Here, on 16 February Rear Admiral Bancroft Gherardi relieved Admiral Luce as Commander in Chief, North Atlantic Station, and broke his flag in "Galena". She sailed the following day for Haitian waters and then returned to New York 29 May. Admiral Gherardi transferred his flag to USS "Kearsarge" on 15 June.

After repairs at New York, "Galena" arrived at Cap Haitien 6 September 1889 and relieved "Kearsarge" as flagship. At the island of Navassa 6 October, she took on board nine ring-leaders of a riot, then proceeded to Baltimore, Maryland, where they were turned over to the custody of the United States Marshal 25 October. She repaired at the New York Navy Yard, then sailed 3 December to serve once more as Admiral Gherardi's flagship out of Key West in a series of cruises to waters of Haiti; She was relieved as flagship by USS "Dolphin" while at St. Nicholas Mole 14 February 1890 and departed Key West 25 May for calls at Port Royal and Charleston, South Carolina before arriving New York Navy Yard 1 July. She decommissioned 23 July 1890 and remained there until 12 March 1891 when she was towed by tug USS "Nina" toward the Portsmouth Navy Yard, to be fitted with new boilers. The following day, both ships ran aground on a beach about a mile south of Gay Head, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

Salvaged under a contract to the Boston Tow Boat Company, "Galena" arrived at the Portsmouth Navy Yard 6 April 1891. However, it was decided that repairs would be too costly. "Galena" was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 29 February 1892 and was sold to E. J. Butler of Arlington, Massachusetts on 9 May.



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