USS Petrel (PG-2)

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USS Petrel
Career (United States) 100x35px
Laid down: 27 August 1887
Launched: 13 October 1888
Commissioned: 10 December 1889
Decommissioned: 15 July 1919
Struck: 16 April 1920
Homeport: various
Fate: sold 1 November 1920
General characteristics
Displacement: 867 tons
Length: 188 ft (57 m)
Beam: 31 ft (9.4 m)
Draft: 11 ft 6 in (3.51 m)
Speed: 11.4 kts
Complement: 138
Armament: 4 x 4" (4x1)
2 x 3-pdrs (2x1)

The third USS Petrel (PG-2) was a 4th rate gunboat in the United States Navy during the Spanish-American War. She was named for a sea bird.

Petrel was laid down on 27 August 1887, built by the Columbia Iron Works and Dry Dock Company in Baltimore, Maryland; launched on 13 October 1888; and commissioned 10 December 1889, with Lieutenant Commander W. H. Bronson in command.

Assigned to the North Atlantic Station, Petrel continued with it until September 1891, when ordered to the Asiatic Squadron where she was to serve until 1911. Steaming north in May 1894, she reported at Unalaska, in July to operate with the Bering Sea patrol to discourage seal poaching. In July, she operated off the Pribilof Islands; and in August she returned to the Asiatic station.

Withdrawing from Hong Kong in April 1898, Petrel became part of George Dewey's fleet in the campaign against Manila. On 1 May, after Dewey’s squadron had defeated the heavy Spanish ships in the first engagement of the Spanish-American War, Petrel entered the inner harbor and lowered a boat to destroy six Spanish ships there. (For more detailed information, see Battle of Manila Bay.) Petrel then steamed to the navy yard at Cavite and forced its surrender. Sent into Cavite to destroy any Spanish ships seeking refuge there on 2 May, Petrel sent a party ashore which seized the arsenal at Cavite and returned with 2 tugs, Rapido and Hercules, plus 3 additional launches.

Petrel continued operations in the Philippines throughout 1898 and 1899. She joined USS Boston in shelling Panay Island on 11 February 1899; on the 22nd, a force of 48 men from Petrel occupied Cebu. In October, Petrel joined USS Callao in supporting the Marine Corps assault on Neveleta by bombarding ahead of the advancing Marine column.

Decommissioned at Cavite after the war, Petrel was re-commissioned on 9 May 1910. After visiting European waters in 1911, she returned to the Atlantic coast. Disturbances in the Caribbean sent her to Mexican and West Indian waters from 1912 to 1915 to protect American interests, and in 1916 she became station ship at Guantanamo. With the World War I declaration of war in April, Petrel returned to the United States to serve with the American Patrol Detachment at Boston, Massachusetts, throughout the war.

After 30 years of service, Petrel was decommissioned at New Orleans, Louisiana, on 15 July 1919 and was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 16 April 1920. She was subsequently sold to Snare and Treest, New York, on 1 November 1920.


This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

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