Thursday, February 25, 2010

USS Dynamite Gunboat Vesuvius

The USS dynamite gunboat Vesuvius was used during the Spanish-American War in 1898 off Santiago de Cuba. It was the only time a dynamite gun was used on a boat (probably because they weren't very accurate.) On June 28, 1898, the Deseret News of Salt Lake City, Utah reported that, "The dynamite gunboat Vesuvius fired three shells last night. They fell in the vicinity of Morro castle and the eastern batteries."

The Spanish-American War was fought between the U.S. and Spain over issues of the liberation of Cuba. Several events led up to to the declaration of war:
  1. A riot by Spanish loyalists in Cuba in January, 1898, which led to the presence of American Marine Forces in Havana.
  2. The sinking of the USS Maine, which may have been caused by an internal coal combustion, but was suspected of being an explosion from a mine.
  3. American anger fueled by news stories (particularly in Hearst newspapers) about the events surrounding the USS Maine.

President Grover Cleveland referred to the USS Vesuvius and other ships in his fifth State of the Union address in 1893 (from Wikisource):

Progress in the construction of new vessels has not been as rapid as was anticipated. There have been delays in the completion of unarmored vessels, but for the most part they have been such as are constantly occurring even in countries having the largest experience in naval shipbuilding. The most serious delays, however, have been in the work upon armored ships. The trouble has been the failure of contractors to deliver armor as agreed. The difficulties seem now, however, to have been all overcome, and armor is being delivered with satisfactory promptness. As a result of the experience acquired by shipbuilders and designers and material men, it is believed that the dates when vessels will be completed can now be estimated with reasonable accuracy. Great guns, rapid-fire guns, torpedoes, and powder are being promptly supplied.

The following vessels of the new Navy have been completed and are now ready for service: The double-turreted coast-defense monitor Miantonomoh, the double-turreted coast-defense monitor Monterey, the armored cruiser New York, the protected cruisers Baltimore, Chicago, Philadelphia, Newark, San Francisco, Charleston, Atlanta, and Boston, the cruiser Detroit, the gunboats Yorktown, Concord, Bennington, Machias, Castine, and Petrel, the dispatch vessel Dolphin, the practice vessel Bancroft, and the dynamite gunboat Vesuvius. Of these the Bancroft, Machias, Detroit, and Castine have been placed in commission during the current calendar year.


  1. Christine, Just finished reading "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" - to me the most interesting section was on the Spanish American War, as I vaguely remember it from history class. Teddy secured his popularity with his brash leadership and his Rough Riders' decisive role in "winning" the war.

    It's hard to imagine a dynamite bomb these days. Somehow it seems quite benign.

  2. very interesting postcard. As to the golden raisins on my blog, Sun-Maid dries them naturally and they get the golden amber color. They do add sulphur as a preservative but not bleached. I have seen the grapes drying on racks turning an amber color. I added this to my blog.

  3. Ich habe über diesen spanischen Aufstand gehört, als ich letztes Jahr in Cuba Urlaub gemacht habe.
    Das ist also das Boot dazu.
    Schau mal rein, wenn du Zeit hast, Ich feiere meinen ersten Blog-Geburtstag und hab ein kleines Giveaway.
    Es würde mich freuen, wenn du teilnimmst.
    Viel Glück und ein schönes Wochenedne

  4. I agree with Amy; as a weapon, this ship seems almost quaint. But as a name, Dynamite Gunboat Vesuvius is unrivaled.

  5. It's the name I used to describe my latest attempt to make homemade pizza.



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