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"Other nations may do what you have done, but they'll have to follow you."
Teddy Roosevelt
February 22, 1909



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USS Nebraska (BB-14), Second Division


Pride of Seattle

Nebraska (BB-14) was laid down by Moran Brothers, Seattle, Washington, 4 July 1902; launched 7 October 1904; sponsored by Miss Mary N. Mickey, daughter of Governor John H. Mickey of Nebraska; and commissioned 1 July 1907, Captain Reginald F. Nicholson in command.


Only Launched a few days ago!
The ship was commissioned July 1st, 1907, and after shakedown, jointed the fleet in San Francisco to depart on the fleet's trip around the world in July 1908.  USS Nebraska shown in Moran Bothers Shipyard during construction.  The citizens of Seattle raised over $100,000.00 towards the contract to build the Nebraska.  Elements from the ship's construction and commissioning are preserved at the Rosario Resort Museum on Orcas Island, Washington where Robert Moran retired.  Today a historic marker on Alaskan Way in downtown Seattle marks the old location where Nebraska was constructed.



Invitation to the commissioning of the USS Nebraska


Captain Nicholson

A naval career that spanned three wars and seven decades opened in 1864 when Reginald Nicholson was then 11, came under Confederate fire while serving as captain's clerk on the USS State of Georgia.  Admiral Nicholson was one of two men in the American sea service who wore four stars after duty in the ranks.  A native of Washington State, he came back to live there in retirement in 1920.  Appointed to the Naval Academy he graduated in 1873.  He was a Lieutenant Commander at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, he served as chief navigation officer of the Oregon when the warship raced around Cape Horn to join the Atlantic Fleet in Crushing Admiral Cervera's squadron at Santiago.  In 1907 he took command of the Battleship Nebraska, and two years later became chief of the Bureau of Navigation, with the rank of rear admiral.  His last sea command took him to the Orient, where he served from 1912 to 1914, on reaching 62, he was transferred to the retired list after six months' duty in Washington on the General board.  Admiral Nicholson was recalled to active duty when the United States entered the World War.  He headed the American naval missions in Chile, Peru and Ecuador.  He died at age 87 from illness.


The Governor and His Officers
After shakedown and alterations, the new battleship joined the "Great White Fleet" at San Francisco on May 6th 1908, replacing the USS Alabama (BB-8).  The ship was greeted by a special guest during it's stay in San Francisco, the Governor of Nebraska and more than 20 of his guests that made the trip on a private train to see the ship and present the ship's silver.  There trip included a tour of the City and the ruins from the earthquake, as well as, visiting the Nebraska at anchor in the harbor.



Nebraska Crew Crossing the Line

 

Davy Jones and King Neptune
Departing San Francisco 7 July 1908, the Fleet visited Honolulu, Hawaii and then on to  Auckland, New Zealand.  On the way the Ship celebrated crossing the equator with the induction of it's crewmembers into the Domain of Neptunus Rex.  Other ships of the fleet had competed this right of passage during there transit from Hampton Roads.  The picture at left provide a link to the events of that day.




USS Nebraska during sea trials on Puget Sound.  This cabinet card photograph issued by Moran Brothers Shipyard

She proceeded on to Sydney and Melbourne, Australia; Manila, Philippine Islands; Yokohama, Japan; and Colombo, Ceylon, arriving Suez, Egypt, 3 January 1909. Departing Messina, Italy, on the 9th, the Fleet visited Naples, Italy, then Gibraltar, arriving Hampton Roads 22 February where President Theodore Roosevelt reviewed the fleet as it passed into the roadstead.



USS Nebraska as she was configured with a "bird cage" mast after returning from the cruise.  This is a hand-tinted photograph.


BATTLESHIP NEBRASKA
FIRST IN SEATTLE

This silver-plated tray shows the USS Nebraska pre-1910 in relieve with the title "Battleship Nebraska First in Seattle." It measures approximately 4-1/2" x 3" and is bordered by wild flowers.  This tray was probably produced at a time just after her launch and was sold for many years in the souvenir shops of Seattle.  This one in almost "new" condition.


Nebraska continued duty with the Atlantic Fleet. She attended the Hudson-Fulton Celebration in 1910 and the Louisiana Centennial during 1912. She earned the Mexican Service Medal for operations at Vera Cruz, Mexico, from 1 May to 21 June 1914 and 1 June to 13 October 1916. After a period of reduced commissioned service, she was again placed in full commission 3 April 1917.




THE BATTLESHIP "NEBRASKA" ONE OF THE LARGEST AND BEST EQUIPPED FIGHTERS IN THE WORLD!

THE POSTCARDS OF THE
USS NEBRASKA

Nebraska was in service during a period that postcards were popular.  As a battleship she was included in many of the series of postcards, as well as, many individual postcards during her service.  I have developed a collection of more than 40 and continue to look for more.


When war was declared 6 April 1917, Nebraska was undergoing repairs at the Boston Navy Yard, attached to the 3rd Division, Battleship Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. On 13 April 1917, she departed Boston to engage in maneuvers and battle practice with the fleet in the Chesapeake Bay area. She operated along the east coast; primarily training armed guard crews for American merchantmen, until entering the Norfolk Navy Yard 15 April 1918 for repairs.


At Hampton Roads 16 May, she received on board the body of the late Carlos M. DePena, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary from Uruguay, with full honors, departing Hampton Roads the same day and arriving Montevideo 10 June in company with Pittsburgh (ACR-4), flagship of the Pacific Fleet. The Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet, came on board for the ceremonies and the body of the late Uruguayan Minister to the United States was transferred with full honors. Nebraska departed Montevideo 15 June for home, arriving Hampton Roads 26 July.

The battleship departed New York 17 September as principal escort for a fast merchant convoy of 18 ships to an eastern Atlantic rendezvous, returning to Hampton Roads 3 October. Nebraska made two more convoy voyages in the Atlantic, returning from the latter 2 December to prepare for service in returning American troops from France.

Nebraska made for voyages from the United States to Brest, France, transporting 4,540 troops to and from the United States. On the first trip, she departed Hampton Roads 30 December 1918, arrived Brest 11 January 1919, and returned Newport News 28 January. The final voyage to return veterans from France ended when she arrived Newport News, Virginia, 21 June 1918 with 1,279 troops.



This is the Ship that Brought us Home!
This undated photograph taken by White Studio of New York shows Nebraska loaded with troupes as she returns home.  Based on the ship's configuration this is most likely from 1918 returning troops from Brest, France.

On 22 June 1919 Nebraska was detached from the transport service and shortly thereafter sailed to join Division 2, Squadron 1, U.S. Pacific Fleet, for operations along the west coast under command of Captain P. N. Olmstead until she decommissioned 2 July 1920.  In accordance with the Washington Treaty limiting naval armament, Nebraska was rendered incapable of further warlike service 9 November 1923 and sold for scrap a few weeks later.

 

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