USS Missouri (BB-11)

The USS Missouri (BB-11) was a Maine Class battleship built by Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock.  The keel was laid down in 1900, launched in December 1901, and commissioned in December 1903.  After commissioning she completed sea trials off the Virginia Capes in early 1904 and then training in the Caribbean.   On April 13, 1904, while in Pensacola, Florida there was a disaster on board when 29-men were killed and 5-others injured.   Captain Cowles was in command, brother-in-law to President Roosevelt.  His actions to immediately flood the magazines potentially prevented a much larger disaster.  The disaster was caused by 2,000 pounds of powder in the after twelve-inch turret.  The Missouri was on the target range with the USS Texas and USS Brooklyn  when the incident occurred.  Leading the rescue party was Captain Cowles who rushed below to enter with the Ordnance Officer, Lieutenant Davis to assist sailor from impacted spaces.  Five of the men killed were officers directly associated with the operation of the turret.

The photo postcard at right was taken by Enrique Muller.  To see more of this collection follow this link:  Enrique Muller Photographers

In June of 1904 she left Newport News for a tour in the Mediterranean arriving back in the States in December.  For the next three years she conducted training exercises, including relief work in Jamaica fromm 17-19 January of 1907 after an earthquake.  In April of 1907 she participated in the Jamestown Exposition.

 In June of 1907, Greenleaf Merriam was given command of the USS Missouri and remained in command for the first part of the voyage until San Francisco. 

This card is from a series that was made to give out for free with delivery of the newspaper.  Most of the cards I have collected were from the Lincoln Daily Star, this one showing Captain Augustus Merriam with the USS Missouri.  The photograph is copyrighted by Enrique Muller.




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