United States Navy

Submarine Tenders

USS Niña

USS Niña (left)
420 Built / Launched 1864 / 5/27/1865
Length 137 Built By Reaney, Son, and Archbold, Chester, Pa.
Beam 26 Class Palos
Draft 9' 10" Commisioned 1905
Speed (rated) 10.35K Struck 1910
Compliment n/aDisposition Lost at Sea

Niña, a 4th rate iron screw steamer, was laid down by Reaney, Son, andArchbold, Chester, Pa., in 1864; launched 27 May 1865; delivered at New YorkNavy Yard 26 September 1865; and placed in service as a yard tug at theWashington Navy Yard 6 January 1866, Ensign F. C., Hall commanding that shipand sister tugs Primrose and Rescue.

Niña operated as a yard tug for the Washington Naval Gun Factorythrough May 1869 and was then converted to a torpedo boat. She commissioned31 March 1870, LT. Godfrey Hunter in command, and then sailed for NewportR.I., arriving at the Naval Station 14 April. The ship served as a torpedoboat at Newport through 1883, refitting in May 1884 for special service, andnext operated from August to October salvaging the wreck of sidewheelgunboat Tallapoosa sunk in Martha's Vineyard Sound. From 1885 to 1889 Niñaserved in various capacities at New York navy Yard, and then returned toNewport from 1890 to 1891.

The converted tugboat returned to New York Navy Yard in 1892 to resumeher original duties, continuing her yard work and towing services there fora decade. On 8 October 1902, she commissioned as tender and supply vesselto the Torpedo Boat Flotilla during winter maneuvers in the Caribbean. Theship returned to New York 15 March 1903 and decommissioned 6 days later,once again taking up her yard towing chores. Niña was next loaned to theLighthouse Department to verify aids to navigation near Puerto Rican watersto protect the Fleet conducting Winter maneuvers from October 1903 to April1904. She recommissioned 9 September 1905 for special service with theBoard of Inspection and Survey, Rockland, Me.

Niña was ordered converted into a submarine tender on 28 December 1905.On 25 May 1906, she arrived at the Newport Naval Torpedo Station, andfollowing a year's service, was assigned as tender for the 1st TorpedoFlotilla. For the next four years, she served with the Atlantic Fleet'sinfant submarine force in its pioneer coastal operations form Newport toAnnapolis and Norfolk. From 1 December 1908 to 22 February 1909, sheparticipated in the great Review in Hampton Roads following the return ofthe Great White Fleet from its globe girdling cruise and joined submarinesin exercises off the Virginia coast.

At 0630, 6 February 1910 Niña departed Norfolk for Boston and was lastsighted off the Capes of the Chesapeake in the midst of a gale. She wasnever heard from again. The warship was declared lost and struck from theNavy List 15 March 1910, the 30 crewmen and one officer on board beinglisted as having died on that day. Her loss is one of the continuingmysteries of the sea.

History from the Dictionary of American Fighting Ships.

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