USS Connecticut (BB-18)

USS Connecticut photographed by C. A. Waterman

USS Connecticut photographed by C. A. Waterman

USS Connecticut was built by New York Navy Shipbuilders, laid down March 30, 1903, launched September 29, 1904 and commissioned September 29 1906 with Captain W. Swift in command.  Miss A. Welles, granddaughter of Gideon Welles who was Secretary of the Navy during the Civil War, sponsored her.  Joining the Atlantic Fleet, Connecticut became flagship on April 16, 1907, and later that month joined in the Presidential Fleet Review and ceremonies opening Jamestown.  The photograph above is by C. A. .Waterman of Chicago and is approximately 28" long.  This photograph was taken, I believe, in San Francisco, before the ship rigged the names.  I have a second photograph of the fleet in San Francisco by Waterman that seem to indicate they were both taken at the same time.

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launching of the uss connecticut

A ticket to enter through the Cumberland Street Gate to see the launching and a "Model USS Connecticut Propeller" probably a gift to a senior person at the shipyard or naval officer.  Includes the launch date and "HP. Cyl 32-1/2, IP -53. 2 LP. Each  61. Stroke 48.16.500 HP"  Size is approximately 6" wide and 5" high on swivel base.


 

itinerary plaque

this is an aluminum plaque made showing the USS Connecticut on the front and the Itinerary of  the fleet during the first portion of the cruise.  The plaque is a little bit larger than a postcard with some small board etching on both sides. 


 

flagship connecticut

From the moment she joined the fleet she was a star.  On December 16, 1907, she sailed from Hampton Roads and the Flagship for the largest battlegroup ever assembled for such a voyage.  On May 8th, 1908 she passed through the Golden Gate to a hero's welcome and a review by the Secretary of the Navy.  The salt and pepper shakers at left we a product that would have been available as a souvenir for people who came to see the fleet in San Francisco.


 

sea trials

This iconic photograph by Enrique Muller is by far the most famous photograph of the USS Connecticut.  It was taken while in a small boat while the ship passed dangerously close.  This postcard image was also produced in large format images that were framed and sold for many years.  For more of Enrique Muller's photographs visit photographers on this website.

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Some interesting cards from the many years in the life of the Connecticut.  At left: "our movie picture man" in 1912, center: Chaplin O'Connor services in March of 1919, right: sailor moving a torpedo on deck of the ship.


 

with the battleship fleet from hampton roads to magdalena bay

This is an interesting publication written by Chief Yeoman William Donohue of the USS Connecticut and published by Tucker, Dick & McMullen, the USS Connecticut press.  The publication is 24 pages long and includes information and photographs from each port of the first leg of the cruise.  Unfortunately, from the way it was bound, I am not able to scan each page without causing damage.

"Crossing the Line"

The particular event of our voyage to this port had to do with the advent on board of Neptune and his attendants.  Crossing the line has attached to it certain customs that are always observed by the true sailorman.  Here King Neptune reigns as lord and master, and before permission to pass through his domains can be obtained, certain ceremonies and initiations must be observed."


 

This is the Christmas dinner menu for the Connecticut during the cruise, just after leaving Ceylon.  On the back is the Ship's Itinerary as it was planned at the time.  It would be revised after the Earthquake at Messina.

At sea between Colombo and Suez the crew of the Connecticut celebrated the New Years with entertainment and sports.  This is the program of events including the "shoe race" and the "pie eating contest."  This program also shows the state of race relations in America at the turn of the New Year in 1909.


The below group of cards are from after the cruise around the world showing shipboard life of the Connecticut.


Below is a Thanksgiving Day and Christmas menues from the Connecticut after she returned from the cruise in 1909.  The back photo shows her with the new cage masts.