Daily Event for February 28

February 28, 1893 The USS Indiana was launched at the William Cramp ship yard in Philadelphia. The first United States battleship (ignoring the second class battleships Maine and Texas since they were large cruisers) was 350' long and displaced 10,288 tons. She mounted 4 x 13"/35 as her main battery along with an array of smaller guns. (8 x 8", 4 x 6", 20 x 6 pounders, 6 x 1 pounders and 4 x 18" torpedo tubes.) Indiana was protected by an 18" armor belt with 15 inches of armor around the turrets.

Indiana and her crews trained for the first several years of her life and then in 1898 she went to war. The sinking of the Maine in Havana Harbor US  warships under the command of Admiral Sampson, were dispatched to find the Spanish fleet. On July 3, 1898 they found them. The battle of Santiago de Cuba was the end of Admiral Cevers's fleet but the Indiana was too far east to join in the battle. However she was at the entrance of Santiago Harbor when the torpedo destroyers Furor and Pulton attempted an escape.

Along with the Iowa, the cruiser New York and a converted yacht, Gloucester, the ships slugged it out. Furor was sunk outright while Pulton was grounded to avoid sinking. She later exploded. This was Indiana's only taste of battle.

After the war the Indiana returned to training duty. In 1911 she made a midshipman cruise to northern Europe. On June 22, 1911 she was at Queenstown and fired a 21 gun salute in honor of King George V's  coronation. Following the entry of the USA in World War 1 the Indiana stayed stateside providing gun training for crews bound for Europe.

On November 1, 1920 the Indiana, now past her useful life, was used as a target in aerial bombing tests and sunk off Tangier Island, Maryland. Her remains were sold to the Scrap Steel Co. of Philadelphia and she was broken up.

© 2006 Michael W. Pocock

USS Indiana Battleship #1