United States Navy

Submarine Tenders

USS Chesapeake / Severn

Midshipman furling sails on board the Naval Academy training ship Chesapeake
during the early 1900's.

1,175 Built / Launched 8/2/1898 / 6/30/1899
Length 224' 3" Built By Bath Iron Works
Beam 37' Class Chesapeake
Draft 16' Commisioned 4/12/1900
Speed (rated) n/a Decommissioned 8/1/1916
Compliment 113 + 122 training Disposition Sold

It's hard to believe that a ship that looked like this underway - was a submarine tender- but it's true.
The second Severn, a three-masted, sheathed, wooden Bark with auxiliarysteam power, was laid down as Chesapeake on 2 August 1898 by the Bath IronWorks, Bath, Maine; launched on 30 June 1899; sponsored by Miss EliseBradford; and commissioned on 12 April 1900, Lt. Comdr C. E. Colahan incommand.

Following commissioning Chesapeake was towed to Annapolis, Md., whereshe assumed duties as station ship and practice ship for midshipmen at theNaval Academy. Renamed Severn on 15 June 1905, the Bark decommissionedtwice for repair and overhaul, provided facilities for seamanship drills atthe Academy and conducted summer cruises off southern New England through1909.

On 15 February 1910, however, she was ordered refitted as a submarinetender; and, on completion of that work in mid-May, she reported for dutywith the 3d Submarine Division. For the next three years, she performedtender duties off New England during the summer and in Chesapeake Bay duringthe winter, her movements being accomplished under tow.

Decommissioned a third time for overhaul after summer maneuvers in1913, Severn was recommissioned on 15 November and transferred to the PanamaCanal Zone. She arrived at Coco Solo on 12 December 1913 and served astender to the 1st Submarine Division into July 1916.

Not documented in DANFS:

During the latter part of 1913, the five C class submarines...USS C-1 (SS-9), USS C-2 (SS-13), USS C-3 (SS-14), USS C-4 (SS-15), and USS C-5 (SS-16) ... under the overall command of a Lieutenant Junior Grade officer, successfully completed the longest cruise made up to that time by United States submarines operating under their own power. Accompanied by several surface ships, including submarine tenders USS Tallahassee and Severn, fleet tug USS Potomac and a (to date - unidentified) fourth surface ship -- the submarines completed a 700-mile passage between Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Cristobal, Panama Canal Zone, Panama...without serious engineering mishap.[See the section: Deployments: Early Panama Canal for more on this - ED]

Back to DANFS:Then ordered back tothe United States, she arrived at Norfolk, under tow by Nereus, on 1 Augustand was decommissioned on 3 October, and she was sold to F. G. McDonald ofArdmore, Pa., on 7 December.
{History from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships}

USS Severn serving as a "crane" while working on a submarine.

USS Salmon (shown as Salem in error) / D3, USS Grayling / D2, USS Tarpon / C3, USS Octopus / C1, and USS Bonita / C4 tied to USS Severn in New York Harbor. (Boat next to Severn is not identified)

USS Tallahassee
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