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Friday, June 24, 2011

THE 'SECOND' USS ADAMS

A SINGLE SCREW, WOODEN-HULL, BARK-RIGGED STEAMER

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This 2nd Adams was laid down in February 1874 at Boston Mass. by Donald MacKay, and launched on October 24th 1874.  When commissioned on July 21st 1876.  The Adams was crewed by 190 men.

Now I can set here and bang on these ole keys for a long time in telling you what all this ship accomplished in her day...where she went...all the dates and all of that sort of thing..[if anyone so desires to read the entire history...just contact me and I'll be glad to bang it out and send it to you]..but in reading over her history I found what I consider of some interest....among many...but I'll just tell you about one.

On September 12th 1882 the Adams stood out to sea, and headed north to Alaskan waters.  The warship reached Sitka on Oct 1st and began a tour of duty in the northern Pacific of almost 23 months in duration.  Her two main functions in Alaska seem to have been monitoring the seal fur industry and regulating the relations between the native Indian and Eskimo population and the multitude of white traders, trappers prospectors, sealers, and whalers that had established themselves in the area since the United States purchased the territory from Russia in 1867.

Well the Adams had not been on station a month before her commanding officer had to intervene in two incidents involving representatives of the Northwest Trading Company and the native population.  Both cases involved the accidental death of an Indian while performing work for the company.  In the first instance Comdr. Merriman, backed by Adams and her guns, simply informed the Indians that their custom of levying reparations in the event of an accidental death did not apply in relations with white men and warned them that attempts to do so would bring swift reprisal.  That tribe submitted with ill-concealed malevolence.

The second instance, however, required a more emphatic response.  When an Indian shaman died as the result of an accidental explosion during a whaling operation on October 22nd, the natives of the village of Angoon seized two white men and two of the three company vessels involved and demanded a payment of 200 blankets.  The superintendent quickly put to sea in the company's steam tug Favorite and made the voyage to Sitka.  There Comdr. Meriman armed Favorite with a howitzer and Gatling gun and mounted an expedition comprising of Favorite and Adam's launch reinforced with 50 sailors and 20 marines from Adams and soon augmented by the revenue cutter Corwin.
Upon arrival at Angoon, the force collected as many of the Indians' canoes as possible, and Comdr. Merriman held a meeting with some of the Indians during which he made counter demands for the release of the hostages and a levy of 400 blankets in return for which the expedition would spare their canoes and village.  To buy time, the Indians accepted the demands at first and released the hostages; however, after they had an opportunity to hide their canoes and gather their forces, the Indians refused to honor the agreement.  Thereupon, Corwin and Favorite took the village under fire, destroying a number of houses.  When the ships ceased fire, a landing party went ashore and set fire to some of the remaining houses.  At that point the Indians submitted.  Comdr. Merriman left a part of sailors at Angoon to insure continued good faith, and he and the remainder returned to Sitka in Corwin to reembark in Adams.

The Adams patrolled Alaskan waters from her base at Sitka until late in the summer of 1884.  Then on August 19th 1884 the warship departed Sitka and headed south along the coast of North America....she arrived in San Francisco on the 27th and moved to the Mare Island Navy Yard the following day.

The Adams was involved in many events.....put alot of sea miles on that ole wooden hull of hers....but she ended up as a station ship on the Delaware River.  Decommissioned on August 1919....she was sold to Mr. Joseph N. Tobin, 25 Church Street New York, NY in August of 1920.  She did operated very briefly in mercantile service with a Polish company as Stefan Batory, but then was broken up in 1921 or 1922.

Ok....as I said folks this ole girl was all over the southern Pacific....or really the Pacific in general....  Anyway that is a tad of a tid-bit of  U.S. Navy ship history on the warship USS Adams.

Hope you Enjoy!!!