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Salvaged Relic USS MAINE Presented by USS BROOKLYN Dated 1898

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This Important Relic Has Been Sold. Thank you!

AUTHENTIC RELIC FROM USS MAINE





 From the War Trophies of USS Brooklyn, Flagship  

Presented is the main boiler bronze control valve from the U.S.S. Maine whose sinking on February 8, 1898 in Havana Harbor was pivotal in starting the Spanish American War. The resulting explosion in the forward ammunition locker destroyed a portion of the hand grip of the main steam boiler “A” valve. After hostilities ended, the Fleet Flagship, USS BROOKLYN, as the flagship in the later Battle of Santiago, Cuba, likely received this relic as a remembrance of what started the Spanish American War. The date on the plaque is that of July 3, 1898 which is the date the entire Spanish Squadron was sunk or surrendered in the ensuing sea Battle.

The brass plate, engraved on six lines in copper plate reads:

Presented by Officers of
U.S. Flagship
BROOKLYN
Santiago De Cuba
July 3, 1898
to Engineers Club 

The valve is prominently pictured in the photograph below which was taken on board the USS Brooklyn, supposedly at  the shipyard in Tomkinsville, New York where she went for repairs after the Victory Parade in 1898. The original of this photo is on in display at the Naval Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

                On far left is the valve wheel displayed along with other relics on  USS Brooklyn



Also included is a copy of the book "The Maine Personal Narrative of Capt. Sigsbee". Sigsbee was the Maine's captain at the time of the explosion. The book is stamped with the name E. H. Pierce who was the father of the person who sold this relic in 2010 after it had been handed down in his family.

THE NEW YORK ENGINEERS CLUB: There is an interesting article in the New York Times dated 2 Sept 1898 covering a Navy fleet engineers dinner at the New York Engineers Club. Present were the chief engineer of USS Oregon who gave a speech, and the chief engineers of the ships that participated in the Battle of Santiago. The chief engineer of the USS Brooklyn was present as well.   Although no mention is given of a valve being given by the officers of the Brooklyn to the Club, this would have been an appropriate time to make the presentation.

 In 1903, Andrew Carnegie presented the professional associations of Engineers with a donation to fund the establishment of a professional club designed by the architects Whitfield & King and completed in 1907.  The Engineers Club was one of the first "Skyscrapers" in midtown.  The adjoining brownstones to the East and West were purchased by the Club in 1923 and 1920 respectively. The Club's renowned membership included Andrew Carnegie, President Herbert C. Hoover, Thomas Edison, Brig Gen. Charles Lindbergh, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Henry Clay Frick, H. H. Westinghouse, and Nikola Tesla. During the 19th Century, American engineers helped transform America from a largely agricultural nation to an architectural and industrial empire, and a world power.  The club was Carnegie's tribute to ordinary men doing extraordinary things.Bryant Park Place stands today as an architectural link to the rich heritage and proud traditions of the nation as it came of age in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

DIMENSIONS: The damaged valve measures 16" in diameter and weighs 31 1/2 lbs mounted.

Overall: 23” L x 5” height.      Presentation plate 6 1/4“ x 4“ x 1/4“
The mounting board is a recent addition. 

Career (US)

Ordered: August 3, 1886
Laid down: October 17, 1888
Launched: November 18, 1889
Commissioned: September 17, 1895
Fate: Sunk by explosion February 15, 1898
General characteristics
Displacement: 6,682 tons
Length: 319 ft 
Beam: 57 ft 
Draft: 22 ft 
Installed power: 9000 shp
Propulsion: Vertical inverted triple expansion engines, two screws
Speed: 17 knots 
Complement 374 officers and men
Armament: 4 × 10 in guns
6 × 6 in guns
7 × 6 pounders 
8× 1 pounders
4 × 14 in surface torpedo tubes
THE USS MAINE was the first Navy ship named for the state of Maine. She was a 6,682-ton second-class pre-dreadnought battleship originally designated as Armored Cruiser #1. USS Maine and Texas (built at the same time) were unusual in that their armament was mounted en échelon, projected off to either side (Maine's forward turret was off to starboard and her aft turret to port; the arrangement was reversed on Texas), following a similar design of the Brazilian battleships Riachuelo and Aquidabã. This severely limited their ability to fire on a broadside. Maine was inferior in every way to the later Indiana-class coastal battleships and subsequent ships.

Congress authorized her construction on August 3, 1886, and her keel was laid down on October 17, 1888, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. She was launched on November 18, 1889, sponsored by Miss Alice Tracey Wilmerding (granddaughter of Navy Secretary Benjamin F. Tracy), and commissioned on September 17, 1895, under the command of Captain Arent S. Crowninshield.

THE SINKING: The Maine spent her active career operating along the East Coast of the United States and the Caribbean. In January 1898, the Maine was sent from Key West, Florida, to Havana, Cuba, to protect U.S. interests during a time of local insurrection and civil disturbances. Three weeks later, on February 15 at 9:40 p.m., an explosion on board the Maine occurred in the Havana Harbor. Later investigations revealed that more than 5 long tons (5.1 t) of powder charges for the vessel's 6 and 10 in (150 and 250 mm) guns had detonated, obliterating the forward third of the ship.[8] The remaining wreckage rapidly settled to the bottom of the harbor. Most of the Maine's crew were sleeping or resting in the enlisted quarters in the forward part of the ship when the explosion occurred. Two hundred and sixty-six men lost their lives as a result of the explosion or shortly thereafter, and eight more died later from injuries. Captain Charles Sigsbee and most of the officers survived because their quarters were in the aft portion of the ship. Altogether, there were only 89 survivors, 18 of whom were officers. On March 28, the US Naval Court of Inquiry in Key West declared that a naval mine caused the explosion.
 

                  The USS MAINE in Peace Time colors

The explosion was a precipitating cause of the Spanish-American War that began in April 1898. Advocates of the war used the rallying cry, "Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain!" The episode focused national attention on the crisis in Cuba but was not cited by the William McKinley administration as a casus belli, though it was cited by some who were already inclined to go to war with Spain over their perceived atrocities and loss of control in Cuba. 

                        The imprints on the Boiler “A“ control wheel


CAUSES OF SINKING: Because of the uproar the sinking of the Maine caused in the United States, President McKinley demanded an immediate investigation into the cause of the explosions. A U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry arrived in Havana and began its investigation. Survivors and eyewitnesses testified for the court, and several navy divers explored the sunken ship, hoping to find clues as to what may have caused the disaster. All parties involved concluded without a doubt that the explosion of the forward six-inch (152 mm) ammunition magazines had caused the sinking. Why those magazines had exploded, no one could determine conclusively, and doubt remains as to the exact cause to this day. There have been four major investigations into the sinking since 1898. From the four inquiries, two hypotheses have emerged: one, that a naval mine in Havana Harbor had exploded underneath the battleship, causing the explosion of the magazines; and two, that spontaneous combustion of the coal in bunker A16 created a fire that detonated the nearby magazines.

The U.S.S. BROOKLYN was the flagship of "Flying Squadron" under the command of Commodore Winfield Scott Schley. The USS BROOKLYN took a very active role in the Battle of Santiago, being struck twenty times by enemy shells. Amazingly, she only suffered one man killed in the engagement. She is credited with actions against ALMIRANTE OQUENDO, INFANTA MARIA TERESA, VISCAYA, CRISTOBAL COLON, PLUTON, FUROR at the Battle of Santiago and ALVARADO, REINA DE LOS ANGELES, TOMAS BROOKS, MEXICO, SAN JUAN, AND MORTERO on July 17, 1898.

Background: The USS BROOKLYN was authorized by Congress on July 19, 1892. After commissioning, BROOKLYN's first duty was to transport the United States' Representatives to the Diamond Jubilee celebrations for Great Britain's Queen Victoria. Upon BROOKLYN's return, she served in various locations on the East Coast and in the West Indies until being assigned as the flagship of the "Flying Squadron" on March 28, 1898. Two months later, the squadron took up its position blockading Cuba.

On July 3, 1898, USS BROOKLYN was a key vessel in the Battle of Santiago, which resulted in the loss of the Spanish fleet in the Caribbean. The ship's movements at the opening of the battle, directed by Commodore Schley, created controversy. In an effort to bring itself into position, BROOKLYN made a wide turn to starboard, away from the enemy and directly into a collision course with the USS TEXAS. A collision was narrowly avoided, and TEXAS was forced to cut speed at a critical moment. In spite of the unqualified success of the Flying Squadron that day, this maneuver would be discussed for years and used as evidence of Commodore Schley's incompetence.

After the war, USS BROOKLYN was present for the Spanish-American War Victory Celebration at New York on October 5, 1898, and the Dewey Celebration in September 1899. On October 16, 1899, BROOKLYN sailed for the Philippines, where she became the flagship of the Asiatic Squadron. She took part in the North China Relief Expedition ("Boxer Rebellion") in 1900.

                           The USS BROOKLYN, Flagship


In 1902, USS BROOKLYN returned to Cuba for the ceremony of the transfer of authority from the United States to a new Cuban government. She cruised with the North Atlantic Fleet and the European Squadron, becoming the flagship of Rear Admiral C. D. Sigsbee, the last commander of the ill-fated USS MAINE, on June 7, 1905. Under Sigsbee, she had the honor to sail to Cherbourg, France to return the remains of American Revolutionary War naval hero John Paul Jones to the United States.

In 1906, USS BROOKLYN was placed in reserve. She served as a permanent display at the famous 1907 Jamestown Exposition, from where the Great White Fleet left for its world cruise. USS BROOKLYN was decommissioned on June 23, 1908, but commissioned "in ordinary" in 1914 to serve as a receiving ship at the Boston Naval Yard. Fully recommissioned in 1915, she served as part of the Neutrality Patrol. Late that same year she was transferred to the Asiatic Station, where she served as flagship for the commander-in-Chief. Later she served various diplomatic functions, as well as the flagship for the Commander of Division 1, Asian Fleet, and later of the Commander of the Destroyer Squadron.

USS BROOKLYN was placed out of commission for the final time on March 9, 1921, and was sold on December 20, 1921. 


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