(PG: dp. 839; 1. 189'; b. 32'; dr. 12'2"; s. 14.5 k., cpl.
123; a. 4 4", 2 18" TT. )
The first Bancroft, a steel gunboat, was launched 30 April 1892 by Samuel L. Moore and Sons, Elizabethport, N. J.; sponsored by Mrs Mary Frances Moore; and commissioned 3 March 1893, Lieutenant Commander A. Walker in command.
Bancroft was designated as a practice ship for the Naval Academy midshipmen and stationed at Annapolis. During 1893 96 she cruised along the east coast visiting various shipyards with groups of midshipmen embarked. In September 1896 she sailed to Join the European Squadron and tor the next year and a half protected American interests in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Called home when Congress declared war upon Spain, Bancroft reached Boston, Mass., 4 April 1898 and served with the North Atlantic Squadron between 5 May and 9 August. She convoyed troop transports to Cuba and was on blockade duty at Havana and the Isle of Pines. On 26 July BancroJt seized a small schooner.
Bancroft returned to Boston 2 September and was. placed out of commission 30 September 1898. Atter being recommissioned 14 August 1900, she cruised In Colomblan waters (26 November 1900 12 February 1901) making surveys. Returning to Boston 29 April 1901, she went out of commission 25 May. Recomrnlssioned 6 October 1902 she served until 1905 as a station ship at San Juan, P. R., cruising in the West Indies and patrolling the area. Bancroft was transferred to the Revenue Cutter Service 30 June 1906.