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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.
The accident that happened on April 13, 1904 was not lost on the Navy. Of particular concern was how the Navy honored its heroes. The below cards are part of a series showing the services and treatment of the dead sailors. In the first card the bodies of the sailors are being brought ashore. In card number 2 sailors can be seen lined up to honor there crewmembers as they are brought ashore. In card number 5 the bodies are being taken to the cemetery using wagons. In card number 6, burial services at the cemetery.
farewell ball - crew of missouri
On Wednesday October 13th, 1907, the crew of the USS Missouri gave a ball at the Odd Fellows Hall in Boston, Massachusetts. The ship would be busy preparing for departing on December 17th and would not be back to Boston. Thecard below is from this event, 24 songs played by Condit's Orchestra, and dinner of Roast Turkey and Lobster Salad catered by D. Strachan.
missouri postcards through the years