USS Columbia (C-12)

For other ships with the same name, see USS Columbia.
Colorized picture of USS Columbia (C-12), circa 1890s
United States
Name: Columbia
Namesake: City of Columbia, South Carolina
Ordered: 30 June 1890
Awarded: 19 November 1890
Builder: William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Cost: $2,725,000 (contract price of hull and machinery)
Laid down: 30 December 1890
Launched: 26 July 1892
Sponsored by: Miss H. Morton
Completed: 19 May 1893
Acquired: 22 December 1893
Commissioned: 23 April 1894
Decommissioned: 21 August 1919
Renamed: Old Columbia, 17 November 1921
Reclassified: CA-16, 17 July 1920
Struck: 26 January 1922
Fate: sold, 21 June 1922
General characteristics (as built)[1][2]
Class and type: Columbia-class protected cruiser
  • 7,350 long tons (7,468 t) (standard)
  • 8,270 long tons (8,403 t) (full load)
  • 413 ft 1 in (125.91 m) oa
  • 411 ft 7 in (125.45 m)pp
Beam: 58 ft 2 in (17.73 m)
Draft: 22 ft 7 in (6.88 m)
Installed power:
Sail plan: Schooner
  • 23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph)
  • 22.80 knots (42.23 km/h; 26.24 mph) (Speed on Trial)
Complement: 45 officers 338 enlisted men
General characteristics (1914)[1]
  • 3 × 6 in (150 mm)/45 caliber Mark 10 gun
  • 8 × 4 in (102 mm)/40 guns
  • 2 × 6-pounder (57 mm (2.2 in)) saluting guns
General characteristics (1920)[2][3]

The fourth USS Columbia (C-12/CA-16) was a protected cruiser in the United States Navy during the Spanish–American War and World War I. She was the lead ship of her class of two cruisers; her sister ship was Minneapolis (C-13). The class was originally designed with three funnels; variations at the yard resulted in Columbia being built with four and Minneapolis with two.

Columbia was launched 26 July 1892 by William Cramp & Sons Ship & Engine Building Company, Philadelphia; sponsored by Miss H. Morton; and commissioned 23 April 1894, Captain George Watson Sumner in command.[4]

Service history

USS Columbia at night, 1898
USS Columbia in Guantanamo Bay.
Image of the USS Columbia published in THE BLISS MAGAZINE

Columbia joined the North Atlantic Squadron, and from 30 July 1894 to 5 January 1895 cruised to protect American interests in the Caribbean. She participated in the intervention in Nicaragua from July to August 1894. She visited Europe in the summer of 1895 and represented the United States at the ceremonial opening of the Kiel Canal in June. Returning to the east coast in August, she operated in the western Atlantic until going in ordinary, in reserve at Philadelphia Navy Yard 13 May 1897.[4]

Recommissioned 15 March 1898 for service in the Spanish–American War, Columbia patrolled along the Atlantic coast and in the West Indies until 26 August. She convoyed troops to Puerto Rico and aided in its occupation between July and 14 August. Columbia was decommissioned and placed in reserve at Philadelphia Navy Yard 31 March 1899.[4]

Following recommissioning on 31 August 1902, Columbia served as receiving ship at New York and from 9 November 1903 as a part of the Atlantic Training Squadron. Once more out of commission at Philadelphia between 3 May 1907 and 22 June 1915, the cruiser then joined the Submarine Flotilla as flagship. After cruising between the various Atlantic submarine bases on inspection tours, she was detached 19 April 1917.[4]

Columbia patrolled off the Delaware Breakwater from 21 April 1917 as flagship of Squadron 5, Patrol Force until July when she joined the Cruiser Force as a convoy escort. Between 1 January and 13 November 1918 she made five Atlantic escort voyages, protecting the passage of men and supplies for the American Expeditionary Force in France. On her detachment 7 January 1919, she became flagship of Squadron 2, Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet, operating along the East Coast and in the Caribbean. She was relieved as flagship on 29 May but continued cruising until decommissioned at Philadelphia Navy Yard 29 June 1921.[4]

Reclassified CA-16, 17 July 1920, she was renamed Old Columbia 17 November 1921, struck 21 June 1922 and sold 26 January 1922.[4]



  1. 1 2 "Ships' Data, U. S. Naval Vessels, 1911-". US Naval Department. 1 January 1914. pp. 36–39. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  2. 1 2 Toppan, Andrew (8 September 1996). "US Cruisers List: Protected Cruisers and Peace Cruisers". Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  3. "Ships' Data, U. S. Naval Vessels". US Naval Department. 1 July 1920. p. 58. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Columbia IV (Cruiser No. 12)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 30 June 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2015.

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

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