History of USS Delaware

Frigate: Displacement 563; Length 119'; Beam 32'11"; Depth of hold 9'9"; Armament 22 12-pounder, 6 6-

The first
Delaware, a frigate, was built under the 13 December 1775 order of the Continental Congress in
the yard of Warwick Coates of Philadelphia, Pa., under the direction of the Marine Committee. Upon
her launching in July 1776, Captain C. Alexander took command.
Delaware served in the Delaware
River, joining with Commodore J. Hazelwood's Pennsylvania state ships in operations which delayed
the British Fleet in approaching Philadelphia and supplying the British Army. When the British took
possession of Philadelphia 26 September 1777, Delaware in company with several smaller ships
advanced upon the enemy fortifications which were being erected, and opened a destructive fire while
anchored some 500 yards from shore. On 27 September she went aground on the ebb tide and came
under the concentrated fire of the British artillery. After a brave defense against overwhelming odds,
Captain Alexander was compelled to strike his colors.
Delaware was taken into the Royal Navy until
sold in March 1783.

Armed Merchant Ship: tonnage 321; length 94'9"; beam 28': dph. 14'; complement 180; armament 16 9-
pounder, 4 6-pounder)

The second
Delaware was built in 1794 as the merchant ship Hamburgh Packet in Philadelphia, Pa., and
purchased by the Navy 5 May 1798. Captain S. Decatur, Sr., was appointed to command and outfit her
for sea. 1798    The second ship named Delaware boasting 20 guns sailed from Philadelphia July 6, 1798
with the USS Constellation. Costing $60,000, it weighed 180 tons, was manned by a crew of 180 men
and was led by Capt. Stephen Decatur, Sr.

During the Quasi-War with France,
Delaware cruised to protect American merchant shipping from
French privateers. She guarded convoys during their approach to Philadelphia and New York,
patrolled the West Indies, and escorted convoys into Havana. Her first prize, the privateer
La Croyable,
was taken off Great Egg Harbor 7 July 1798. From 14 July to 23 September, she cruised in the West
Indies, often in company with the frigate United States, and together the ships took two privateers
prize. During her second cruise in the West Indies, between 15 December 1798 and 20 May 1799, she
took another prize, and won the thanks of the merchants of Havana for the protection she had given
merchantmen sailing to that port.

Delaware's return to the West Indies from July 1799 to July 1800 found her joining the Revenue Cutter
Eagle in taking a privateer sloop. She took a brig on 29 October, after a 7-hour chase, rescuing 30
Americans held prisoner in the privateer. She made a final cruise off Cuba in the late fall and winter of
1800-1801, then returned to Baltimore, where she was sold early in June 1801.

Ship-of-the-Line: tonnage 2,633; length 196'3"; beam 54'4"; draft 26'2"; complement 820; armament 74 32-
pounder carronade)

The third
Delaware, a ship-of-the-line, was laid down at Norfolk Navy Yard in August 1817 and
launched 21 October 1820. She was roofed over and kept at the yard in ordinary until on 27 March
1827 she was ordered repaired and fitted for sea.
Delaware put to sea 10 February 1828 under the
command of Captain J. Downs to become the flagship of Commodore W. I. M. Crane in the
Mediterranean. Arriving at Algeciras Bay, Spain, 23 March, she served in the interests of American
commerce and diplomacy in that area until returning to Norfolk 2 January 1830.

Delaware was decommissioned 10 February 1830, and lay in ordinary at Norfolk until 1833.
Recommissioned 15 July 1833, she received President Jackson on board 29 July, firing a 24-gun salute at
both his arrival and departure. The following day she set sail for the Mediterranean where she served
as flagship for Commodore D. T. Patterson and cruised on goodwill visits and for the protection of the
rights and property of American citizens until her return to Hampton Roads, 16 February 1836. She
was placed in ordinary from 10 March 1836 until recommissioned 7 May 1841 for local operations from

Delaware sailed 1 November 1841 for a tour of duty on the Brazil Station as flagship for Commodore C.
Morris. She patrolled the coasts of Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina to represent American interests
during political unrest in those countries. On 19 February 1843 she sailed from Rio de Janeiro for
another cruise in the Mediterranean. Delaware returned to Hampton Roads 4 March 1844 and was
decommissioned at Norfolk Navy Yard on the 22d. Still in ordinary there in 1861, she was burned 20
April along with other ships and the yard facilities to prevent their falling into Confederate hands.

Side Wheel Steamer: tonnage 357; length 161'; beam 27'; dph. 8'3"; draft 6'; speed 13 knots;
complement 65; armament 4 32-pounder, 1 12-pounder muzzle loadin rifle)

The fourth
Delaware, a side wheel steamer, was built in 1861 at Wilmington, Del.; purchased by the
Navy 14 October 1861, Lieutenant S. P. Quackenbush in command.

Assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron,
Delaware sailed from Philadelphia 12 December
1861 and stood up the James River 26 December on patrol. On 12 January 1862 she sailed for Hatteras
Inlet, N.C. Remaining on the North Carolina coast until 2 June, she took part in the capture of
Roanoke Island on 7 and 8 February and Elizabeth City on 10 February, where she shared in the
capture of five Confederate steamers and two schooners. She made a reconnaissance up Chowan River
from 19 to 21 February, and on 13 and 14 March bombarded New Bern and captured four vessels.

Delaware arrived in Hampton Roads 2 June 1862 for service in Virginia waters until 30 October. She had
several encounters with enemy batteries and captured a number of small craft which she sent in as
prizes. She returned to operations in the rivers and sounds of North Carolina from October 1862 to
February 1863 when she sailed with Valley City in tow, arriving at Hampton Roads on the 11th.

Until 5 April 1863
Delaware cruised in the James and York Rivers and Chesapeake Bay, then on the
North Carolina coast until 27 November when she sailed to Baltimore for repairs. On 27 March 1864
she returned to the waters of Virginia, to patrol and perform picket duty, transport men and ordnance
stores, and clear the rivers of torpedoes until the end of the war. Arriving at Washington Navy Yard 27
July 1865,
Delaware was decommissioned there 5 August 1865 and sold on 12 September to the Treasury

The fifth Delaware was originally named Piscataqua (q.v.), a screw-steamer frigate of the first rate, Java
class. She was renamed Delaware 15 May 1869.  She was built in the Portsmouth Naval Yard in 1864,
at a cost of $1,177,895.04 .  She was launched 11 June, 1866 and commissioned 21 October 1867.
Delaware was 3954 tons displacement, 3177 tons burden, 336’6”length overall 312’6” between
perpendiculars x 46’ x 21’5’. Delaware was powered by a single screw, two cylinder horizontal back-
acting engine (60” x 3’), four main boilers (Ontario 6) and two superheating inclined boilers. Indicated
horsepower was 1780, at a maximum speed of 12 knots.  Delaware had a ships rig and two funnels.

In November 1867 Delaware was armed with one 60-pounder Parrott rifle, four two bronze 20–
pounders, two 6.4 inch100-pound Parrott’s, sixteen nine-inch smooth-bore Dahlgreen guns, and two
twelve-pound howitzers. She had a crew complement of some 400 men including 59 Marines.

Delaware departed Portsmouth on 7 November bound for the New York Naval Yard for fitting out.
She then sailed on 16 December for her assignment in the Asiatic Squadron.  She left New York, then
touched at Rio de Janeiro (January 16-19). Delaware continued via the Cape of Good Hope as
Piscataqua under Captain Daniel Ammen, with port calls at Java, Singapore and Manila.  She arrived
in Singapore on April 18, 1868, and the Philippines on May 9. 1868.  She sailed once again on May 13
for a brief stay in Hong Kong then arrived at Nagasaki Japan on 15 June 1868.

She was at Shanghai on 15 May 1869 the date she was renamed Delaware, under the command of
Captain Earl. English who had relieved Captain Ammen on 19 February 1869.  Delaware was the
flagship of Rear Admiral Stephen C. Rowan, the commander in chief of the Asiatic fleet. Rowan had
coincidentally served on the namesake sidewheel steamer USS Delaware during the Civil War

Delaware visited ports in China, Japan, and the Philippines. From 1868 to 1869, a civil war raged in
Japan; during the course of this war, Delaware protected the lives of United States citizens and
American interests. She paid frequent calls at Kobe, Nagasaki and Yokohama.

The hull was designed by Delano and engines by Isherwood.  In the haste of war she was built of
unseasoned wood with diagonal iron bracing. This design decayed quickly shortening her life.
Hoisting her homeward bound pennant on 18 June 1870, she returned to the New York Naval Yard by
way of Singapore, Capetown and the Cape of Good Hope.  She reached quarantine station off Sandy
Hook on 18 November 1870 and entered the Navy Yard the next day. Repairs were deemed more costly
than constructing a new ship. On November 20 she hauled down the flag of Admiral Rowen.

Delaware was decommissioned at sundown on 5 December 1870. She was offered for sale at auction.
The sum offered by the highest bidder was deemed inadequate, so she was maintained on the naval
Register “in ordinary” at the naval yard until 1877.  She had brief service as a quarantine ship during
this time. She foundered at wharf in New York February 1877. She was sold in 1877 for $5175 to N.
McKay and broken up.

Battleship BB-28: displacement 20,380; length 518'9"; beam 85'3"; draft 27'4"; speed 21 knots;
complement 933; armament 10 12', 14 5', 2 21" torpedo tubes; class Delaware)

The sixth
Delaware (BB-28) was launched 6 February 1909 by Newport News Shipbuilding Co.,
Newport News, Va.; sponsored by Mrs. A. P. Cahall, niece of the Governor of Delaware; and
commissioned 4 April 1910, Captain C. A. Gove in command.

After visiting Wilmington, Del., from 3 to 9 October 1910, to receive a gift of a silver service from the
state, Delaware sailed from Hampton Roads 1 November with the First Division, Atlantic Fleet, to visit
Weymouth, England, and Cherbourg, France, and after battle practice at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,
returned to Norfolk 18 January 1911. She departed 31 January to carry the remains of Chilean Minister
Cruz to Valparaiso, sailing by way of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Punta Arenas, Chile. Returning to
New York 5 May, she sailed 4 June for Portsmouth, England, where from 19 to 28 June she took part
in the fleet review accompanying the coronation of King George V.

In her operations with the Fleet from 1912 to 1917,
Delaware joined in exercises, drills, and torpedo
practice at Rockport and Provincetown, Mass.; engaged in special experimental firing and target
practice at Lynnhaven Roads; trained in Cuban waters participating in fleet exercises; and provided
summer training for midshipmen. She passed before President Taft and the Secretary of the Navy in the
Naval Review of 14 October 1912 and the next year visited Villefranche, France, while on a cruise with
Wyoming (BB-32) and Utah (BB-31). In 1914 and again in 1916 she cruised off Vera Cruz to
protect American lives and property during the political disturbances in Mexico.

With the outbreak of World War I in Europe,
Delaware returned to Hampton Roads from winter
maneuvers in the Caribbean to train armed guard crews and engineers, as well as join in exercises to
ready the Fleet for war. On 25 November 1917 she sailed from Lynnhaven Roads with Division 9,
bound for Scapa Flow, Scotland. After battling bad weather in the North Atlantic, she joined the 6th
Battle Squadron, British Grand Fleet 14 December for exercises to coordinate the operations of the
Allied force.

The 6th Battle Squadron got underway 6 February 1918 with an escort of eight British destroyers to
convoy a large group of merchant ships to Norway. Cruising off Stavanger 2 days later, Delaware was
attacked twice by a submarine, but each time skillful handling enabled the battleship to evade the
torpedoes. The squadron returned to its home base at Scapa Flow, 10 February. Delaware participated
in two more convoy voyages in March and April, then sailed with the Grand Fleet on 24 April to
reinforce the 2d Battle Cruiser Squadron which was on convoy duty and expected contact with the
enemy. Only the vessels of the advance screen made any contact, and the chance for action faded.

From 30 June to 2 July 1918 the 6th Battle Squadron, with a division of British destroyers as escort,
went to sea to screen American ships laying the North Sea mine barrage. On 22 July George V
inspected the ships of the Grand Fleet at Rosyth, Scotland, and 8 days later, after being relieved by
Arkansas (BB-33), Delaware sailed for Hampton Roads, arriving 12 August.

Delaware remained at York River until 12 November 1918, then sailed to Boston Navy Yard for an
overhaul. On 11 March 1919 she joined the Fleet in Cuban waters for exercises. Returning to New York
14 April she continued to operate in division, squadron and fleet maneuvers, and participated in the
Presidential Fleet Review at Hampton Roads 28 April 1921. She made two midshipmen practice cruises,
one to Colon, Martinique, and other ports in the Caribbean, and to Halifax, Nova Scotia between 5
June and 31 August 1922; and a second to Europe, visiting Copenhagen, Greenock, Cadix, and
Gibraltar between 9 July and 29 August 1928.

Delaware entered Norfolk Navy Yard 30 August 1923, and her crew was transferred to Colorado (BB-45),
a newly commissioned battleship assigned to replace Delaware in the Fleet. Moving to Boston Navy
Yard in September, she was stripped of warlike equipment and decommissioned 10 November 1928.
Delaware was sold 5 February 1924 and scrapped in accordance with the Washington Treaty on the
limitation of armaments.

VII. USS Delaware (SP-467, later AT-53 and YT-111), 1917-1935. Renamed SP-467 in 1918
USS Delaware, a 242 gross ton minesweeper, was built in 1913 at Pocomoke City, Maryland, by E.
James Tull as the commercial fishing vessel of the same name. She was acquired by the Navy in May
1917, placed in commission later in that month, and formally purchased in August 1917 from the
Delaware Fish Oil Company of Lewes, Delaware. Renamed SP-467 in 1918, presumably to avoid
confusion with the battleship Delaware, she spent the World War I era operating in the vicinity of
Delaware Bay. Redesignated AT-53 in July 1920, and YT-111 a year later, the ship went to Pearl Harbor,
Hawaii, at about that time and was stationed there well into the 1930s. During those years she was
listed in contemporary Navy publications as Delaware, though this may not have represented an
official name change. She was sold in April 1935.

VIII. The NOAA Ship Delaware II conducts fishery and living marine resource research in support of
NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Northeast Fisheries Science Center's (NEFSC)
Woods Hole Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. The ship's normal operating area is the Gulf of Maine,
Georges Bank, and the continental shelf and slope from Southern New England to Cape Hatteras, NC.
Typical assessment work includes groundfish assessment surveys and Marine Resources Monitoring,
Assessment and Prediction (MARMAP) surveys. Research conducted from the Delaware II provides an
understanding of the physical and biological processes that control year-class strength of key
economical fish species. The vessel is operated by NOAA's Office of Marine and Aviation Operations.


Designer: George C. Sharp, Inc.
Builder: South Portland Engineering, S. Portland, ME
Launched: December 1967
Delivered: October 1968
Commissioned: March 12, 1975
Repairs To Extend: 1996
Hull Number: R 445
Call Letters: KNBD
Home Port: Woods Hole, MA
Length (LOA): 155 ft. (47.2 m)
Breadth (moulded): 30 ft. (9.1 m)
Draft, Maximum: 16.6 ft (5.1 m)
Hull: Welded steel
Displacement: 897 tons
Gross Tonnage: 610 tons
Net Tonnage: 183 tons
Speed & Endurance

Cruising Speed: 10 knots
Range: 5,318 nmi
Endurance: 24 days
Endurance Constraint: Food
Scientific Laboratory Facilities

Wet lab: 264 sq. ft.
Dry/Chemistry lab: 230 sq. ft.
Protected work area: 172 sq. ft.
Scientific Freezer: Forward Main Deck, Walk-in, 201 cu. ft.
Food Service Seating

General mess: 16

Single staterooms: 2
Double staterooms: 11
Four bunk rooms: 2
Total bunks: 32
Medical Facilities

Emergency and first-aid equipment aboard, administered by an EMT.

Delaware for Divers
The Delaware was a coastal steamship. Her route was New York to Havana. She carried general cargo
and passengers, and was appoximately 1,600 tons and 250 feet long. On a trip out of New York she
caught fire and burned to the waterline, and later sank while being towed by salvagers. The wooden
remains of her hull are good for lobster hunting and looking for artifacts. The wreck lies one and half
miles off Bayhead, New Jersey about 3 miles from Manasquan Inlet. Some say she carried large payroll,
which never been recovered, and therefore she is therefore listed as being a treasure ship. Depth: 75 feet.
Beginner to intermediate dive. Average visibility: 10 to 20 feet.

Navy submarine to bear Delaware's name
Nov 19, 2012   William H. McMichael/The News Journal

WASHINGTON. -- It’s been 89 years since a Navy ship bearing the name Delaware sailed the world’s

The drought is now ended. The Navy announced at the Pentagon this afternoon that its newest attack
submarine will be named Delaware.

And get this: It was a short, simple and slyly tongue-in-cheek letter to the editor of the News Journal
last spring that spurred the state’s three-member congressional delegation to launch an inside-the-
Beltway campaign to get the state a namesake ship, according to Katie Wilson, press secretary to Sen.
Tom Carper, D-Del.

“The Navy announced on Monday that each of five new submarines (which currently are named for
states) would be named after a state that hasn't been represented in the Navy in more than 60 years,”
Newark’s Steven Llanso wrote in a letter published April 18. “They missed an obvious candidate and
should rectify that oversight by naming the SSN 791 after Delaware. The last
USS Delaware (a
battleship) had her name stricken in 1923, so the First State certainly qualifies.

“I know our Vice President [Joe] Biden is too bashful to weigh in on this question, so I leave it to the
News Journal to take up the cry.”

The “bashful” Biden, in fact, showed up at the Pentagon ceremony today – as the “special guest” of his
wife, Jill Biden, who Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said will serve as ship’s sponsor. As such, she’ll have
the honor of breaking a bottle of champagne across the bow when the submarine is ceremonially
christened. The vice president remained on the sidelines during the ceremony, ceding the spotlight to
his wife. Also on hand were Carper and Lt. Gov. Matt Denn.

So Delaware, which does not build or host Navy ships or aircraft and ranks near the bottom of the list
of states for federal defense dollars received, now will be represented on the high seas – more precisely,
under the waves – with its first namesake warship since the battleship referenced by Llanso, which was
decommissioned in 1923.

"This is an important day for Delaware as we welcome the
USS Delaware to our proud family," said
Carper. "It is a great source of joy to me that the vessel that will bear the name of Delaware will be one
of the most state-of-the-art submarines in the world. If we want to continue to protect our military
might and protect our shipping lanes so that we can conduct commerce around the world, we are
going to need fast attack submarines like the
USS Delaware. "

The ship will be something to crow about: The Virginia class of submarines is the Navy’s latest and
greatest. Nuclear-powered and stealthy, the 377-foot subs bristle with torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise
missiles, and are equipped with special warfare enhancements such as a large lock-in/lock-out chamber
for divers.

The Delaware, to be known in official parlance as SSN 791, will be assembled in Newport News, Va., by
builder Huntington Ingalls Industries, in partnership with the Electric Boat division of General
Dynamics. The Navy earlier said, in error, that the submarine was already under construction.

The ship which won’t officially gain the “USS” – for United States Ship – before its name until it is
commissioned and accepted into the Navy fleet, fully manned, operable and ready to sail.

Carper, Coons, Carney Welcome The Announcement Of USS Delaware

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Tom Carper, Chris Coons and Congressman John Carney (all D-
Del.) welcomed the announcement of the naming of the Naval submarine, the USS Delaware.

In May, Delaware's Congressional Delegation sent a letter to Naval Secretary Ray Mabus to encourage
him to name a submarine after the state of Delaware following a letter to the editor that appeared in the
News Journal encouraging the delegation to take up the cause of getting this vessel named after the
State of Delaware.

"This is an important day for Delaware as we welcome the USS Delaware to our proud family," said
Sen. Carper, a 23-year veteran of the Navy. "It is a great source of joy to me that the vessel that will
bear the name of Delaware will be one of the most state-of-the-art submarines in the world. If we want
to continue to protect our military might and protect our shipping lanes so that we can conduct
commerce around the world, we are going to need fast attack submarines like the USS Delaware. "

"Delaware's rich naval tradition has played a significant role in our nation's history and it is an honor
to see it recognized with the naming of the USS Delaware," Senator Coons said. "This submarine will
not only serve as a state-of-the-art component of our national security, but as a symbol honoring all
Delawareans who have served our country. Secretary Mabus has my thanks and the brave men who
will one day serve on the Delaware have my deepest respect and gratitude."

"Today is a great day for Delaware, particularly for our veterans and those currently serving in the
armed forces," said Congressman Carney.  "Many Delawareans have proudly served in the United
States Navy, and naming this state-of-the-art submarine the USS Delaware is a tribute to their
dedication and sacrifice.  I'm very proud that this vessel, which will play an important role in
maintaining the nation's defense and strengthening the economy, will bear the name of our state."

A copy of the letter follows:
May 22, 2012

The Honorable Ray Mabus
Secretary of the Navy  
2000 Navy Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20250-2000

Dear Secretary Mabus,

We write today to encourage you to consider naming a submarine after the state of Delaware.

Long before 10,000 Delawareans built hundreds of ships along the bank of the Christiana River during
WWII to help win that war, Delaware played an important role in maritime history, a role that the
Navy would enrich today by naming a newly constructed submarine the
USS Delaware. Before we
became the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, Delaware served as the staging ground for the
Continental Navy's first maritime mission. In January of 1776, Esek Hopkins, the Continental Navy's
first and only Commander-in-Chief, ordered a convoy assembled in the Delaware Bay off of Lewes,
Delaware. This flotilla sailed out of the Delaware Capes bound for Nassau, Bahamas, marking the first
development of U.S. Navy forces in our country's history. Similarly, one of the earliest naval
encounters, if not the earliest, of the Revolutionary War took place off Lewes, Delaware, when the
British warship
HMS Roebuck was repelled by local pilots who kept the ship from advancing up the
Delaware Bay.

During the War of 1812, Delaware and its citizens played key roles in our country's naval battles, as
well. Naval forces stationed at Lewes, Delaware protected critically important powder works on the
Brandywine River near Wilmington, Delaware. In a famous naval encounter, Delaware-born
Commodore Jacob Jones commanded the USS Wasp as it survived an ambush by the British ship HMS
Frolic and responded by capturing the British warship. Commodore Jones received a Congressional
Gold Medal for his leadership in this battle. Additionally, in 1814 Delaware-native
Commodore Thomas
McDonough earned this distinction as the "Hero of the Lake Champlain" for the successful defense of
the strategically important Otter Creek shipyard from advancing British ships.

At the onset of World War I, the U.S. Navy established a presence at Cape Henlopen on the Delaware
coast. This Naval Section Base and its forces were in charge of defending our coast lines from enemy
ships conducting mine sweeping operations. After World War II, Cape Henlopen evolved its defensive
operations to become the site of the U.S. Navy Sound Surveillance System Station, which was
responsible for monitoring coastal naval threats, especially Soviet submarines during the Cold War.
Among its commanders was Lieutenant Commander Margaret Fredrick, who was one of the first
female commanding officers in the U.S. Navy.

Despite this history, Delaware has gone too long without a naval vessel bearing its name. The last
ship, the
USS Delaware (BB-28), was decommissioned nearly 90 years ago on November 10, 1923, after
thirteen years of service. Since that time, 42 other states have had U.S. naval vessels named after them,
according to the records in the Naval Vessel Registry. Fifteen of those states have had two of more
vessels carry their state's name since the
USS Delaware's decommissioning. Of the eight states without
ships named for them during this time, Delaware is one of only three states that do not currently have
a ship named after them until very recently, the
USS Portland and USS Salt Lake City; however, the last
ship named for a Delaware city-the
USS Wilmington-was decommissioned in 1945.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Delaware is currently home to 73,000 veterans, many of whom
have served their country in the U.S. Navy. These veterans, as well as the thousands of Delawareans
currently serving on active duty as members of the U.S. Armed Forces in Delaware, deserves to be
honored for their service and sacrifice. One small thing we can do to pay tribute to the service of each
of them is to name a future submarine after their home state.

We thank you in advance for your consideration of this request, and we look forward to working with
you to achieve this most worthwhile goal.


Thomas R. Carper
United States Senator

Christopher A. Coons
United States Senator

John Carney
Member of Congress
Delaware Military History