Today in History:

Camanche (1865-1899)

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USS Camanche, a 1335-ton Passaic class monitor, was prefabricated at Jersey City, New Jersey. Her materials were then sent around Cape Horn in the sailing ship Aquila to San Francisco, California, where Aquila sank in November 1863. The monitor's parts were salvaged and assembled at San Francisco and she went into commission in May 1865, just after the end of the Civil War. For more than a year, until the arrival of the larger twin-turret monitor Monadnock, Camanche was the Navy's only ironclad warship on the Pacific coast, and she was one of but two stationed there for nearly two and a half decades.

Camanche's career was a quiet one, with the ship generally maintained in decommissioned status at the Mare Island Navy Yard, in northern San Francisco Bay. She was the California Naval Militia's training ship in 1896-97 and appears to have been reactivated in 1898, during the Spanish-American War. USS Camanche was sold in 1899, but photographic evidence indicates that she remained in the San Francisco area for a few years after that.

This page features all our views related to USS Camanche.

Photo #: NH 68679

USS Camanche
(1865-1899)

Moored off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, in 1889. The city of Vallejo is in the background.

Photograph from the William H. Topley Collection. Courtesy of Charles M. Loring, 1969.



Photo #: NH 55251

USS Camanche
(1865-1899)

Off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, in 1898.

Copied from the Journal of Naval Cadet Cyrus R. Miller, page 923.



Photo #: NH 68512

USS Camanche
(1865-1899)

In drydock at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, possibly in about 1898.

Courtesy of the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, 1969.



Photo #: NH 44267

Passaic class monitor


Photographed after the Civil War.
This may be USS Camanche, moored off Vallejo, California, circa the 1880s or 1890s.



Photo #: NH 55198

USS Camanche
(1865-1899)

Nearly ready for launching, at San Francisco, California, circa 14 November 1864.



The following photographs show USS Camanche in the background of pictures of other ships:

Photo #: NH 71244

Self-Propelled Derrick Barge


Off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, circa 1890.
The monitor USS Camanche is in the right background.

Photograph from the William H. Topley Collection. Courtesy of Charles M. Loring, 1970.



Photo #: NH 71766

USS Monadnock
(Monitor # 3)

Off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, prior to her June 1898 departure for the Philippines.
The monitor USS Camanche is partially visible in the right background.

Courtesy of the San Francisco Maritime Museum, 1970.



Photo #: NH 70502

USS Monadnock
(Monitor # 3)

Off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, in June 1898, ready for her voyage to the Philippines.
The old monitor USS Camanche is visible beyond Monadnock's after gun turret.

Courtesy of the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, 1970.



Photo #: NH 57139

Albatross
(U.S. Fish Commission Steamer, 1882)

In San Francisco Bay, California, with a steam launch alongside, February 1902.
The old monitor Camanche, which had been sold by the Navy in 1899, is in the right background.



In addition to the images presented above, the Mariners Museum, at Newport News, Virginia, appears to hold other views of USS Camanche, taken during her assembly at San Francisco, California. The following list features these images:

The images listed below are NOT in the Naval Historical Center's collections.
DO NOT try to obtain them using the procedures described in our page "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions".



  • Photo from the Robert L. Hague Collection at the Mariners Museum, Newport News, Virginia:
    Nearly bow-on view of Camanche being prepared for launching, circa 14 November 1864. This photograph is taken from about the same angle as Photo # NH 55198 (seen above), but has fewer people on deck and shows less of the surrounding shipyard.

  • Photo from the Behrman Collection at the Mariners Museum, Newport News, Virginia. Mariners Museum photo # PN-630:
    Port bow view of Camanche alongside a pier, probably at about the time she was commissioned in May 1865. The ship has her boats aboard, but is still painted white or very light grey. The photograph bears the inscription "Assembled in San Francisco. Ready for Action. Monitor Comanche 1865"

    Reproductions of these image should be available from the Mariners Museum. Contact that institution directly concerning details. Their address can be readily found through the use of standard Internet browsers.

    The images listed in this box are NOT in the Naval Historical Center's collections. DO NOT try to obtain them using the procedures described in our page "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions".

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