|Name:||Montgomery-class unprotected cruiser|
|Builders:||Columbian Iron Works and Dry Dock, Baltimore; Harrison Loring, Boston|
|Operators:||United States Navy|
|Succeeded by:||Columbia class|
|Length:||257 ft (78 m)|
|Beam:||37 ft (11 m)|
|Draft:||14 ft 6 in (4.42 m)|
|Speed:||18 knots (33 km/h)|
|Range:||2,900 miles at 10 knots|
|Complement:||20 officers, 228 EM|
2 × 6 in (152 mm) quick-fire BLE, 8 × 4 in (102 mm) quick-fire BLR; (secondary) two 6-pounder, two 3-pounder, two revolving cannons, and one Gatling gun
|Armor:||Protective deck: 5⁄16 in (8 mm) on the flat; 7⁄16 in (11 mm) on the slope; wing turrets and blockhouse: 2.2 in (56 mm); "Woodite" (cellulose) packed cofferdam: 3 ft 11 in (119 cm) height; no inner bottom|
The Montgomery-class cruisers were three unprotected cruisers built for the United States Navy in the early 1890s. They had a thin protective and water-tight deck and relied for protection upon their cellulose packing and coal-bunkers; their numerous compartments provided roomy accommodations for officers and crew, these cruisers being mainly intended for long cruises on distant stations.
As the U.S. Navy began to rebuild its fleet with steel-hulled vessels to keep pace with the advance of naval technology in the 1880s, it explored a wide range of conceptual designs. One of these was the "peace cruiser," a barely-armored vessel that amounted to a large gunboat, and in the 1888 naval appropriations bill, Congress set aside money to build three such vessels.
In May 1889, the Department of the Navy invited proposals for the construction of three cruisers of about 2,000 tons displacement each, at a cost of not more than $700,000 each. When the bids were opened on August 22 of that year, Bath Iron Works and William Cramp & Sons submitted bids that were over the limit fixed by Congress in the act of September 1888, and it was decided to re-advertise for proposals. The revised terms reduced the required speed from 18 knots to 17 knots and set a premium for increased speed at $23,000 lor each quarter-knot in excess of the required speed of 17 knots; a penalty of $25,000 was set for every quarter-knot short of the required speed and in case of failure to develop and maintain a speed of 16 knots for four hours straight, the vessels could be rejected. The time fixed for completion was also extended from two years to two years and six mouths.
Bath resubmitted a bid, Cramp and Sons dropped out and bids were also received from the Union Iron Works of San Francisco, N.F. Palmer jr. & Company of New York, Columbian Iron Works of Baltimore and Harrison Loring of Boston.
On October 28, 1889 the Department awarded contracts to the Columbian Iron Works and Dry Dock Company for the construction of two of these cruisers (Montgomery and Detroit) for the sum of $612,500 each, and on November 1 it awarded to Harrison Loring the contract for the construction of the other cruiser (Marblehead) for the sum of $674,000. The ships built by Columbian were laid down in February 1890 and Marblehead was laid down in October 1890; Detroit was launched first, in October 1891; Montgomery was launched in December of that year and Marblehead the next August.
Detroit was commissioned in July 1893, Marblehead in April 1894 and Montgomery in June 1894. In the years leading up to the Spanish-American War they spent the bulk of their service in Atlantic, Caribbean and European waters; during the Spanish-American War, they were actively employed in the North Atlantic and Caribbean.
Detroit was decommissioned in August 1905 and sold in December 1910, but the other two continued in service through the First World War in patrol and training duty. Montgomery was renamed USS Anniston in March 1918, struck in August 1919 and sold in November of that year; Marblehead was decommissioned in August 1919, reclassified as a gunboat (PG-27) in July 1920 and sold in August 1921.
In active service, the watertight deck of this class was more of a risk than a protection. Their stability was poor and, as remediation, the two 6 inches (150 mm) bow guns that were initially mounted were replaced by a single 4 inches (100 mm) gun and their apron shields removed.
- "C-9 Montgomery". Global Security.org. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ship/c-9.htm. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
- The Statutes at Large of the United States. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office. p. 472. http://books.google.com/books?id=xRU3AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA1181&lpg=PA1181&dq=act+of+congress+%22september+7%22+1888&source=bl&ots=docVLLVmGh&sig=MgeuLPBAXmkQsuwSlZfmV7VWDNg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=S2S3U9GuGc3ZoAS224G4DA&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=cruiser&f=false. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
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