USS Somers III

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Somers III

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Somers III

(Torpedo Boat No. 22: dp. 143; l. 156'; b. 17'6~; dr.
5'10~ (mean); s. 23 k.; cpl. 21; a. 4 1-pdrs., 2 18" tt.;
cl. Somers)

The third Somers, a steel torpedo boat built as a private speculation by Friedrich Sehiehau, Elbing, Germany, was launched in 1897 as yard No. 450, purehased for the United States Navy on 25 March 1898; commissioned on 28 March 1898, Lt. John J. Knapp in command; and named Somers the next day.

Purehased through Sehichau's London representative as the United States prepared for a possible war against Spain, Somers sailed for England on 30 March, manned by a German eontraet crew. On 5 April, she arrived at Weymouth, whence she was to be escorted across the Atlantic by the gunboat, Topeka. However, the British crew contracted for the voyage thought Somers unsafe and refused to put to sea. A second attempt to sail also failed, and the torpedo boat was ordered laid up at Falmouth until the conclusion of the Spanish-American War.

Somers arrived at New York, on board SS Manhattan, on 2 May 1899 and remained at the New York Navy Yard until 8 October 1900, when she got underway for League Island, Pa. Subsequently decommissioned there, she was reassigned to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at the Norfolk Navy Yard, where she was based from 1901 to 1909. On 26 June 1909, she was loaned to the Maryland Naval Militia and made periodic training cruises from Baltimore until returned to the Navy in 1914.

Scheduled for transfer to the Illinois Naval Militia, Somers was recommissioned on 17 August 1914 for the passage to Cairo, III., where she was decommissioned and transferred to the state of Illinois on 13 October. Later renamed and redesignated Coast Torpedo Boat No. 9 to allow the name Somers to be given to destroyer number 301, she served as a training ship until returned to Navy custody after the end of World War I. She was commissioned for the ~assage back to the east coast and returned to Philadelphia where she was decommissioned on 22 March 1919. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 7 October 1919, and her hulk was sold for scrapping on 19 July 1920 to the U.S. Rail and Salvage Corp., Newburgh, N.Y.