USS Ajax (1869)
The USS Ajax during the Spanish-American War.
|Ordered:||15 September 1862|
|Builder:||Snowden & Mason|
|Laid down:||as USS Manayunk, 28 September 1862|
|Launched:||18 December 1864|
|Commissioned:||1 January 1871|
|Decommissioned:||1 September 1898|
|Renamed:||USS Ajax, 15 June 1869|
|Fate:||Sold, 10 October 1899|
|Displacement:||2,100 long tons (2,100 t)|
|Length:||223 ft (68 m)|
|Beam:||43 ft 4 in (13.21 m)|
|Draft:||13 ft 6 in (4.11 m)|
|Installed power:||320 ihp (240 kW)|
1 × Ericsson vibrating lever engine |
2 × boilers
1 × shaft
|Speed:||8 kn (9.2 mph; 15 km/h)|
|Complement:||85 officers and enlisted|
|Armament:||2 × 15 in (380 mm) Dahlgren smoothbore guns|
|Notes:||Armor is of iron.|
Construction and Commissioning
The contract for construction of USS Manayunk was signed by agents of the United States Navy and the shipbuilding firm of Snowden and Mason on 15 September 1862, and the keel of the Canonicus-class monitor was laid down shortly thereafter at Pittsburgh, PA The ship was ready to be launched in April 1864, but her entry into water was delayed by the very low level of the Ohio River. She finally slid down the ways on 18 December; but, by that time, most of the naval phase of the American Civil War had ended. Therefore, the ship's fitting out was halted before she received her two 15 in (380 mm) Dahlgren smoothbore guns. She was towed to the naval station at Mound City, IL, and laid up until 1867, when she was towed down the Mississippi River and again laid up, this time at New Orleans, LA. While there, Manayunk was renamed Ajax on 15 June 1869.
Commissioned on 1 January 1871, Lieutenant Commander Charles Love Franklin in command, the monitor was made seaworthy and moved to Key West, FL. She operated out of that base on coast defense maneuvers with the North Atlantic Squadron until decommissioned on 1 July 1871 and laid up at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
1870's to 1890's
Following extensive repairs there, Ajax was recommissioned on 13 January 1874, Commander Joseph N. Miller in command, and returned to Key West, her base for further operations with the North Atlantic Squadron until again inactivated on 27 July 1875 and laid up at Port Royal, SC. Recommissioned on 5 November 1875, the ship remained at Port Royal until moved to the James River. In ensuing years, she was moored at Brandon, VA and at City Point, VA, before being placed in ordinary at Richmond, VA on 30 June 1891.
Spanish-American War and fate
On 26 September 1895, Ajax was transferred on loan to the New Jersey Naval Militia and moored at Camden, NJ. During the Spanish-American War, the monitor was returned to the Navy and recommissioned on 9 July 1898 for service at Baltimore, MD as a guard ship under the auspices of the Auxiliary Naval Force. However, the rapid American success in that conflict obviated such defensive measures; and the ship was decommissioned on 1 September 1898 before work to make her battle worthy had been completed.
Ajax was sold at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 10 October 1899.
- This article contains text from the US Naval Historical Center.
- This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
- Additional technical data from Gardiner, Robert (1979). Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905. Conway Maritime Press. p. 122. ISBN 0 85177 133 5.