USS Talbot (TB-15)

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USS Talbot (TB-15)
Career (U.S.) 100x35px
Ordered: 10 June 1896 (authorised)
Builder: Herreshoff Manufacturing Co., Bristol, RI
Laid down: 8 April 1897
Launched: 14 November 1897
Commissioned: 4 April 1898
Decommissioned: 18 June 1940
Renamed: USS Berceau, 11 April 1918
Reclassified: YFB-3, 17 July 1920
Struck: 18 July 1944
Fate: sold for scrap, 18 July 1944
General characteristics
Class and type: Talbot (TB-15)
Displacement: 46.5 tons
Length: 99 ft 6 in (30.33 m)
Beam: 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m)
Draft: 3 ft 3 in (0.99 m)
Propulsion: 1 Normand boiler, 1-shaft vertical triple expansion engines, 850 ihp (626 kW)
Speed: 21.5 kn
Complement: 16 officers and enlisted
Armament: 1 × 1-pounder gun
2 × 18 in (457 mm) torpedo tubes

The first USS Talbot (Torpedo Boat No. 15/TB-15/YFB-3) was a torpedo boat in the United States Navy. The ship was named in honor of US Navy lieutenant John Gunnell Talbot.

Talbot was laid down on 8 April 1897 at Bristol, Rhode Island, by the Herreshoff Manufacturing Co.; launched on 14 November 1897; and commissioned on 4 April 1898, Lt. (jg.) William R. Shoemaker in command.

Talbot cruised down the coast, making calls in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina before arriving at Havana, Cuba, on 2 August. She reported to the flagship and received mail for the blockading squadron. At 2100 hours that evening, while en route to Key West for coal, she sighted the dark hull of a ship off the port bow. Talbot signalled and stopped her engines, but was still rammed by the tug Uncas. The bow of the tug penetrated one foot into the torpedo boat's coal bunker, bending in two frames and crushing the side plating to below the water line. The tug towed Talbot to Piedras Cay where temporary repairs were made the next day to enable the damaged ship to proceed to Key West.

Talbot reached Key West on the 5th and got underway 10 days later for New York. She arrived at the New York Navy Yard on 6 September and was ready for sea again in early October. The torpedo boat was then assigned to the US Naval Academy for duty supporting midshipmen training, mooring at Annapolis on 10 October. On 11 June 1899, Talbot moved to Norfolk to participate in a one-year evaluation of experimental fuel oils. At the completion of this test program, she resumed her duties at the Naval Academy.

Talbot was decommissioned on 20 February 1904 and attached to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Norfolk. She was recommissioned on 31 August 1906 and assigned to special duty between Norfolk and Annapolis. From early 1908 to September 1911, she served at the Torpedo Station, Newport, R.I.. On 22 September 1911, Talbot was reassigned to Indian Head, Maryland, for service as a tender. Before assuming the new duty, she proceeded to Norfolk for her annual inspection and was found to be unfit for further naval use.

Talbot was inactivated on 1 May 1912 but retained, "in service," as a ferryboat to be operated between the Washington Navy Yard and the naval facilities at Indian Head. When she arrived at Washington, she was manned by a civilian crew and made an average of three trips a week between the two points. Talbot was renamed Berceau on 11 April 1918 and reclassified a ferry boat. On 17 July 1920, she was designated YFB-3. She remained on ferry duty until 18 June 1940 when she was placed out of service and towed to Philadelphia.

Berceau was struck from the Navy list on 18 July 1944 and sold for scrap.