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USS Wissahickon (SP-852)
Career (United States) US flag 48 stars.svg
Name: USS Wissahickon and USS SP-852
Namesake: Wissahickon was her previous name retained
SP-852 was her section patrol number
Builder: George Lawley & Son, Neponset, Massachusetts
Laid down: 1899
Completed: 1900
Acquired: Possibly April 1917 or 13 July 1917[citation needed]
Commissioned: Possibly 20 August or 3 October 1917[citation needed]
Decommissioned: 12 February 1919
Renamed: USS SP-852 either upon commissioning[1] or in 1918;[2]
Wissahickon ca. September–November 1918
Struck: 10 February 1919
Fate: Ordered returned to owner 15 February 1919
Notes: Operated as private yacht Valda 1900-1901/1902 and Wissahickon 1901/1902-1917 and from 1919
General characteristics
Type: Patrol vessel
Tonnage: 74 gross tons
Displacement: 194 tons
Length: 120 ft (37 m)
Beam: 14 ft 2 in (4.32 m)
Draft: 6 ft (1.8 m)
Depth: 8 ft 9 in (2.67 m)
Propulsion: Steam engine, one shaft
Speed: 12 knots
Complement: 19
Armament: 1 x 3-pounder gun
2 x machine guns

The second USS Wissahickon (SP-852), which also served as USS SP-852, was a United States Navy patrol vessel in commission from 1917 to 1918.

Construction and early civilian careerEdit

Wissahickon was laid down in 1899 by George Lawley & Son at Neponset, Massachusetts, as the private single-screw steam yacht Valda, with a composite hull made of an iron frame with wood planking. Valda was completed in 1900 and renamed Wissahickon in late 1901 or early 1902. She was the property of Mrs. Charles W. Henry of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, when the United States entered World War I on 6 April 1917 and may have served in the Maine Naval Militia prior to her acquisition by the U.S. Navy.

Acquisition and commissioningEdit

In 1917, the U.S. Navy acquired Wissahickon from Mrs. Henry for use as a section patrol vessel during World War I. Records concerning Wissahickon's acquisition and commissioning are vague, somewhat contradictory, and incomplete. It appears that U.S. Navy personnel reported aboard Wissahickon as early as April 1917, although one record source states that the Navy did not acquire her from Mrs. Henry until 13 July 1917. No primary source states her commissioning date; her ship's log starts on 20 August 1917 - stating that she was under the command of Lieutenant, junior grade, E. W. Haskell, USNRF on that date - but one secondary source[3] states that she was not commissioned until 3 October 1917.[4]

At any rate, Wissahickon was commissioned sometime between April and early October 1917. Sources differ as to whether she was commissioned without her name as USS SP-852[5] or as USS Wissahickon (SP-852), with her name being changed in 1918 to USS SP-852.[6]

U.S. Navy serviceEdit

The Navy considered Wissahickon/SP-852 too light for "distant service"[7] in European waters, so she was placed in the Naval Coast Defense Reserve and assigned to the 1st Naval District in northern New England.[8] Initially based at Rockland, Maine, she began patrols in the vicinity of that port. She spent most of the winter of 1917-1918 moored to a pier there; in January 1918, all of her officers and enlisted men became ill with common colds and sore throats, and the ship was quarantined until the diseases ran their course. When her crew had returned to good health, she returned to patrol duty off Rockland.

In mid-summer 1918, she was reassigned to duty at Boston, Massachusetts, where she arrived on 20 August 1918. She operated from the section base at East Boston, Massachusetts, for the rest of World War I and into January 1919. Apparently sometime between September and November 1918, and definitely by 1 January 1919,[9] her name was changed from USS SP-852 to USS Wissahickon (SP-852).

DisposalEdit

Late in January 1919, Wissahickon moved to Camden, Maine. She was stricken from the Navy List on 10 February 1919 and was decommissioned at Camden on 12 February 1919. On 15 February 1919, she was ordered returned to Mrs. Henry.

NotesEdit

  1. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships at http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/w10/wissahickon-ii.htm.
  2. SP-852 Wissahickon at Department of the Navy Naval History and Heritage Command Online Library of Selected Images: U.S. Navy Ships -- Listed by Hull Number: "SP" #s and "ID" #s -- World War I Era Patrol Vessels and other Acquired Ships and Craft numbered from SP-800 through SP-899
  3. The 1918 edition of Ship's Data, cited in the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships at http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/w10/wissahickon-ii.htm.
  4. See the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships at http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/w10/wissahickon-ii.htm for a discussion of these dates and sources for Wissahickon's acquisition and commissioning.
  5. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships at http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/w10/wissahickon-ii.htm.
  6. SP-852 Wissahickon at Department of the Navy Naval History and Heritage Command Online Library of Selected Images: U.S. Navy Ships -- Listed by Hull Number: "SP" #s and "ID" #s -- World War I Era Patrol Vessels and other Acquired Ships and Craft numbered from SP-800 through SP-899.
  7. This term, quoted in the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships at http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/w10/wissahickon-ii.htm, appears to have been the started U.S. Navy term for European service in the 1917-1919 period.
  8. The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships at http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/w10/wissahickon-ii.htm states that Wissahickon also patrolled in the 3rd Naval District headquartered in the New York City area, but in its discussion of her career provides no information suggesting that she ever operated in or was based in any part of the 3rd Naval District.
  9. See the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships at http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/w10/wissahickon-ii.htm for a discussion of the vagueness of sources on the exact date of the name change.

ReferencesEdit

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