USS Hannibal (AG-1)

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Brest, France, circa. 1918-1919
Career (USA) 100x35px
Name: USS Hannibal
Namesake: Hannibal
Builder: J. Blumer & Company
Launched: 1898
Acquired: 16 April 1898
Commissioned: 7 June 1898
Decommissioned: 20 August 1944
Reclassified: "AG-1" (July 1920)
Honors and
Spanish Campaign badge
Fate: Sunk as target 01 March 1945
General characteristics
Type: Collier
Displacement: 4,000 long tons (4,100 t)
Length: 274 ft 1 in (83.54 m)
Beam: 39 ft 2 in (11.94 m)
Draft: 17 ft 7 in (5.36 m)
Speed: 9 kn (10 mph; 17 km/h)
Complement: 244
Armament: 1 × 4 in (100 mm) gun, 2 × 3 in (76 mm) guns, 8 × .50 in (13 mm) machine guns

USS Hannibal (AG-1), a converted steamer, was built as Joseph Holland by J. Blumer & Company at Sunderland, England, in 1898. She was purchased by the United States Navy on 16 April 1898 and renamed Hannibal. She was commissioned on 7 June with Commander Harrison Gray Otis Colby (USNA 1867) in command.

During the Spanish-American War, Hannibal participated in the Puerto Rico Campaign. On one occasion she and three other US ships bombarded the Spanish positions at the Battle of Fajardo. The ship was awarded the The Spanish Campaign Medal and her officers and men were issued the Spanish Campaign badge for 1898 service[1].

From June 1898-May 1908, Hannibal served in the Collier Service along the Atlantic coast. After an overhaul in 1908, she continued in the Collier Service with her base in New England for nearly three years. Hannibal was decommissioned on 15 August 1911.

She was recommissioned on 16 October 1911 and was assigned to the U.S. Survey Squadron to make depth soundings and surveys in preparation for the opening of the Panama Canal. Hydrographic surveys continued in the Caribbean until 1917, including operations in Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Cuba.

With the advent of World War I, Hannibal operated with the Patrol Force of the Atlantic Fleet. After an overhaul in early 1918, she became a tender to submarine chasers at Plymouth, England. Hannibal served in English waters until December, when she sailed for the Azores via Gibraltar as a sub-chaser escort. In early 1919, she resumed sub-tender duties, and visited England, France, and Portugal returning to the United States in August.

Hannibal remained in reserve during which she was classified as a "miscellaneous auxiliary" in July 1920 with the hull number "AG-1"[2] at Philadelphia until 9 February 1921, when she sailed for Cuba to resume survey operations which lasted until 1930. During the next decade Hannibal surveyed waters near Trinidad, Venezuela, Costa Rica, and the Panama Canal Zone.

In 1933, Hannibal and Gannet were the first U.S. Navy vessels to collect dynamic sounding data in which depth and oceanographic data were collected in one sounding and analyzed aboard. Hannibal was replaced in its work for the U. S. Navy Hydrographic Office by Bowditch.[3]

During World War II, she operated out of Norfolk, Virginia in the Chesapeake Bay degaussing range. Hannibal was decommissioned on 20 August 1944 and was sunk as a bombing target on 01 March 1945, in Chesapeake Bay.


  1. | NHHC: The Spanish Campaign Medal
  2. | NHHC: Online Library of Selected Images; USS Hannibal (1898-1945, later AG-1)
  3. Pinsel, Mark I. (1982). 150 Years Of Service On The Seas - A Pictorial History of the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office from 1830 to 1980. Washington, D.C.: U. S. Government Printing Office. pp. 233.  p. 54 & p. 59

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