USS Wabash (ID-1824)

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USS Wabash (ID # 1824) shown in 1917 when she was named SS Seneca.
Career (USA) Union Navy Jack 100x35px
Name: USS Wabash
Namesake: A river that rises in Drake County, Ohio, near Fort Recovery.
Owner: Norddeutscher Lloyd Lines
Operator: Deutsche Dampferfahrts Gesellschaft
Port of registry: Germany
Builder: Wigham Richardson and Co., Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Laid down: date unknown
Launched: 1900
Christened: SS Wartburg
Acquired: 9 February 1918, at Hoboken, New Jersey
Commissioned: 9 February 1918
Decommissioned: 21 April 1919 at New York City
Renamed: USS Wabash (ID-1824), 9 February 1918
Struck: 1919 (est.)
Homeport: New York City
Captured: impounded April 1917
Fate: returned to the United States Shipping Board in 1919
General characteristics
Type: steel-hulled freighter
Tonnage: 5,586 gross tons
Displacement: 10,475 tons
Length: 393 ft 0 in (119.79 m)
Beam: 49 ft 11 in (15.21 m)
Draft: 26 ft 0 in (7.92 m) (mean)
Speed: 11.4 knots
Complement: 93 officers and enlisted
Armament: one 5” gun mount, one 3” gun mount

USS Wabash (ID-1824) was originally a German cargo ship, impounded in the neutral United States when World War I commenced. Once the United States entered the war, the ship was confiscated and turned over to the U.S. Navy for wartime use as USS Wabash.

Commercial career and internment

SS Wartburg was a single-screw, steel-hulled freighter completed in 1900 at Newcastle upon Tyne, England, by Wigham Richardson and Co., Ltd., for service with the Deutsche Dampferfahrts Gesellschaft --

Prior to World War I she was operated commercially by the Norddeutscher Lloyd line under the German flag, with her name being changed to Tübingen in 1906-1907. When the outbreak of World War I in August 1914 made the high seas unsafe for German shipping, she took refuge in an American port and was interned, as the United States at that time was still a neutral nation.

Seized in America

When the United States was drawn into the war on the side opposed to Germany, America lost its neutrality and seized the Tübingen. In April 1917, the cargo ship was taken over by the United States Shipping Board (USSB). Renamed Seneca, she was part of the U.S. merchant marine until February 1918, when she was acquired by the Navy and placed in commission as USS Wabash (ID # 1824).

She was acquired by the U.S. Navy on 9 February 1918, at Hoboken, New Jersey, for use with the Naval Overseas Transportation Service. The cargo ship was renamed Wabash, designated Id. No. 1824, and commissioned on the same day with Lt. Comdr. Frank C. Seeley, USNRF, in command.

World War I service

Wabash departed New York City on 28 February, bound for France. After delivering her cargo of construction iron and ammunition at Pauillac, she returned to the United States on 22 April. She made four more voyages to St. Nazaire, France, and returned to New York City from her last run on 6 April 1919.

During her second such trip, while in convoy on the foggy night of 22 May 1918, Wabash collided with the U.S. Navy patrol vessel Wakiva II, sinking her. During the rest of the First World War, and in the months following the 11 November 1918 Armistice, she completed three more round-trip Atlantic Ocean crossings


Decommissioned on 21 April 1919, the freighter was returned to the U.S. Shipping Board. The ship subsequently home-ported at New York City and operated under the flag of the North Atlantic and Western Steamship Company, until some time in 1924 or 1925. She was then transferred to Italian registry.


This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

See also

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