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USS Texas (1892)

Second-class battleship of the United States Navy / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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USS Texas was a pre-dreadnought battleship built by the United States in the early 1890s. The first American battleship commissioned,[1] she was built in reaction to the acquisition of modern armored warships by several South American countries, and meant to incorporate the latest developments in naval tactics and design. This includes the mounting of her main armament en echelon to allow maximum end-on fire and a heavily-armored citadel amidships to ensure defensive strength. However, due to the state of U.S. industry at the time, Texas's building time was lengthy, and by the time she was commissioned, she was already out of date. Nevertheless, she and the armored cruiser USS Maine were considered advancements in American naval design.

Quick facts: History, United States, Class overview, Gener...
USS Texas, photochrom print c. 1898
Flag_of_the_United_States_%281908%E2%80%931912%29.svgUnited States
NamesakeState of Texas
Ordered3 August 1886
BuilderNorfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Virginia
Laid down1 June 1889
Launched28 June 1892
Commissioned15 August 1895
Decommissioned11 February 1911
RenamedSan Marcos, 15 February 1911
Stricken10 October 1911
Nickname(s)Old Hoodoo
FateSunk as gunnery target, 21–22 March 1911
Class overview
Succeeded byIndiana class
General characteristics
TypePre-dreadnought battleship
Displacement6,316 long tons (6,417 t) (full load) (1896)
Length308 ft 10 in (94.1 m)
Beam64 ft 1 in (19.5 m)
Draft24 ft 6 in (7.5 m)
Installed power
Speed17.8 knots (33.0 km/h; 20.5 mph)
Complement392 officers and men (1896)

Texas developed a reputation as a jinxed or unlucky ship after several accidents early in her career; she consequently earned the nickname "Old Hoodoo".[1] These mishaps included problems during construction, a grounding off Newport, Rhode Island, and flooding shortly afterwards while at dock in New York City. In the last, she settled to the bottom with her gun deck awash and several crew members drowned. She also received significant damage to her hull in drydock after being raised. Her reputation improved with her service in the Spanish–American War,[2] when she blockaded the coast of Cuba and fought in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba.

After the war, Texas returned to peacetime duty, interrupted by several refits. She became the station ship in Charleston, South Carolina, by 1908 and was renamed San Marcos in 1911 to allow her name to be used by USS Texas, a new battleship. She became a target ship that same year and was sunk in shallow water in Chesapeake Bay. She was used as a gunnery target throughout World War II and was partially demolished in 1959 because her remains were considered a navigational hazard.