Massachusetts BB-2 was launched in June 1893 in
Philadelphia, Pa. On March 27th 1898 she was
ordered to Hampton Roads, Va., to join the "Flying
Squadron" for the blockade of Cuba.
On May 31th, in company with battleship Iowa (BB-4)
and cruiser New Orleans, Massachusetts bombarded the
forts at the entrance to Santiago de Cuba. She
exchanged fire with Spanish cruiser Cristobal Colon,
forcing the enemy ship to retire into the inner
harbor of Santiago.
BB-2 remained on patrol off Santiago, intermittently
bombarding Spanish fortifications, until July 3rd,
when she stood out to coal at Guantanamo Bay.
Missing the Battle of
Santiago, the Massachusetts steamed back to her
station on the 4th, arriving in time to help
battleship Texas force cruiser Reina Mercedes to
beach and surrender at midnight July 6th. Following
duty in support of the American occupation of Puerto
Rico, July to August, Massachusetts steamed for
During the next 7 years, Massachusetts BB-2 cruised
the Atlantic coast and eastern Caribbean as a member
of the North Atlantic Squadron. Departing New
York in January 1905, the battlewagon then steamed
for the Caribbean on training maneuvers, operating
there until she returned north to cruise off New
England in May. Putting into New York November
1905, she underwent inactivation overhaul and then
decommissioned January 8th 1906.
Massachusetts was placed in reduced commission in May
1910 to serve as a summer practice ship for Naval
Academy midshipmen. During the next 4 years she made
three midshipman cruises—twice to Western Europe—
before entering the Atlantic Reserve Fleet in
September 1912. In October, the warship returned
to Philadelphia where she remained until
decommissioning 23 May 1914.
Massachusetts BB-2 was recommissioned in June 1917 at
Philadelphia. Sailing in October, she arrived at
the Naval Training Station, Newport, R.I., to embark
Naval Reserve guncrews for gunnery training in Block
Island Sound. Continuing on this duty until May
1918, the old battleship then underwent repairs at
Philadelphia Navy Yard. Assigned to battle
practice, "A" Division, Battleship force 1, Atlantic
Fleet, June 1918 the veteran battlewagon steamed to
Yorktown, Va., the same day, and for the remainder of
World War I served as a heavy gun target practice ship
in Chesapeake Bay and local Atlantic waters.
decommissioned for the final time on the May 31st,
1919. She was loaned to the War Department as a
target ship. Scuttled off Pensacola Bar, Fla., 6
January 1921, the hulk was bombarded by batteries from
Fort Pickens for 4 years and then returned to the Navy
20 February 1925. In November 1956, the ship was
declared the property of the state of Florida.
With her main turrets
awash, the Massachusetts is now an underwater