Hampshire A Victim Of Three Fires
New Hampshire was probably the last real "ship-of-the-line" operating in the U. S. Navy when it was destroyed by a fire in
was one of three blazes that plagued the vessel and eventually brought it to complete ruin when yet a final blaze broke out
on the old wooden ship while it was in tow in 1922. The first fire swept its decks in 1918.
warship was originally commissioned in 1818, exactly one hundred years earlier, after launched as a 74-gun ship-of-the-line
under an original name, Alabama. President James Monroe was in attendance during the commissioning ceremony.
of all the ceremony, work on the Alabama was not completed. The ship remained on the stocks at the Portsmouth Navy Yard for
29 years, until 1864, when the Civil War broke out. At that time, probably because the State of Alabama was part of the Confederacy,
the ships was launched under a new name, the New Hampshire.
warship, designed for service in an earlier era, was no longer a vital vessel for Naval battles during the Civil War. This
was a time for iron hulled ships powered by steam engines and heavier cannon with exploding shot. Thus the New Hampshire
was put to use as a service vessel. She served during the war as a hospital and supply ship off Port Royal,
South Carolina, then was used as a receiving ship at Norfolk,
Virginia, in 1866.
that, the New Hampshire was at Newport,
Rhode Island, as the flagship for the Apprentice Training Squadron. In 1893 she
was loaned to the New York State Naval Militia as a training ship and armory. Nearly one thousand men trained on her decks
and went on to serve during the Spanish American War.