USS Vermont (BB-20)

The USS Vermont (BB-20) was a Connecticut-Class battleship built by Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts.  The other four ships were Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Louisiana.  The keel was laid down in May 1904, launched in August 1905 and the christening was performed by Jennie Bell, the daughter of Charles J. Bell, Governor of Vermont.  Captain William P. Potter took command and embarked on a shakedown cruise from Boston to Hampton Roads.  The shakedown cruise in the Atlantic Ocean during March was quite challenging as can be see in the photo postcard below.  She then joined First Division of the Atlantic Fleet.  

The postcard above right show the launching of the Vermont with Governor Bell escorting his daughter, Jennie Bell, after the ship slides down the rails into the Fore River.

From Hampton Roads, Vermont left for Provincetown on August 30th for training and returned to Boston Navy Yard for repairs that lasted until November 1907.  On November 30th she left Boston in preparation to join the world cruise, stopping in Bradford RI to take on coal, then to Newport to take on stores.  She then visited Tompkinsville, NY for ammunition and arrived in Hampton Roads, December 8th, 8-days before departure on the trip around the world.  During the cruise, Captain Potter was promoted to rear admiral and made commander of First Division, Captain Frank Friday Fletcher took command of Vermont.

At right is a card given out by the Lincoln Daily Star with a subscription to the paper, showing Captain Potter and the USS Vermont.


After the cruise, Vermont returned to the Boston Navy Yard for repairs and modernization until the end of June.  She then took part in gunnery training off the Virginia Capes and finished the year by participating in the Hudson-Fulton Celebration in New York City. 

The photo postcard at right shows the Vermont in the Hudson River during the Celebration.  The card was photographed and published by Brown & Shaffer, crewmembers of the USS Ohio.  To see more of this collection, follow this link:  Brown & Shaffer

Vermont continued a normal training cycle with maneuvers and gunnery exercises, including trips south to Guantanamo Bay in January 1910.  The following years saw a similar schedule of training and maintenance periods up until the revolution in Mexico.  In 1913 was sent to Veracruz and spent three months there supporting American interests.  She contributed 12-officers and 308 men in a landing force that occupied the city preventing arms shipments.  One man from the Vermont was killed and two earned the Medal of Honor, Lieutenant Townsend the commander, and Surgeon Langhorne.  On May 28, 1918, at Hampton Roads, Vermont was involved with returning the remains of the Chilean Ambassador back to Valparaiso, Chile.  Admiral William B. Caperton and Ambassador Shea escorted the remains ashore.   

Below are a group of 4 postcards, with notation, of the crew of the Vermont transferring the body of the Chilean Ambassador from the ship to a liberty boat to transfer ashore.  In the second photograph, sailors and marines can be seen in formation on deck and the body is hoisted over the side.

During World War I she as assigned as a troop transport at the end of the war making three trips to Brest, France to embarking more than 5,000 returning soldiers.     Her following years were as a training ship and eventually, in 1923, was scrapped to abide by the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty limiting the size of the fleet.


At left is a cabinet card, the image about the size of a postcard, showing the USS Vermont firing one of its 12-inch gun mounts.  The photograph is hand-tinted and is from the period after the cruise as seen by the cage mast in the photograph.  Hand-written on the back, "USS Vermont on round the world trip 1908 John Warren father was on it.

At right is a glitter card for the USS Vermont possibly sold and used when the ship visited the West Coast in 1908.





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