USS Maine (ACR-1): Wikis


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USS "Maine" entering Havana Harbor on January 25, 1898, where the ship would explode three weeks later
USS Maine entering Havana Harbor on January 25, 1898, where the ship would explode three weeks later
Career (US)
Name: USS Maine
Namesake: Maine
Ordered: 3 August 1886
Builder: New York Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn, New York
Cost: $4,677,788.75
Laid down: 17 October 1888
Launched: 18 November 1890
Sponsored by: Alice Tracy Wilmerding
Commissioned: 17 September 1895
Fate: Sunk by mysterious explosion in Havana Harbor, Havana, Cuba, 15 February 1898
Status: Remains scuttled in the Strait of Florida, 16 March 1912
General characteristics
Type: Pre-dreadnought battleship
Displacement: 6,682 long tons (6,789 t)
Length: 324 ft 4 in (98.86 m)
Beam: 57 ft (17 m)
Draft: 22 ft 6 in (6.86 m)
Installed power: 9,293 ihp (6,930 kW)
Propulsion: 2 × vertical triple expansion steam engines
8 × boilers
2 × screws
Speed: 16.45 kn (18.93 mph; 30.47 km/h)
Capacity: 896 short tons (813 t) of coal
Complement: 374 officers and men
Armament: 4 × 10 in (250 mm) guns (2x2)
6 × 6 in (150 mm) guns
7 × Driggs-Schroeder 6-pounder (57 mm (2.2 in)) guns
4 × 1-pounder (37 mm (1.5 in)) Hotchkiss guns
4 × Driggs-Schroeder 1-pounder (37 mm (1.5 in)) guns
4 × 14 in (360 mm) torpedo tubes

USS Maine (ACR-1), was the United States Navy's second "modern" battleship.[1] She is best known for her catastrophic loss in Havana harbor. Maine had been sent to Havana, Cuba to protect U.S. interests during the Cuban revolt against Spain.[2] On the evening of 15 February 1898, she suddenly exploded, and swiftly sank, killing nearly three quarters of her crew.[3] Though then, as now, the etiology and responsibility for her sinking were unclear, popular opinion in the U.S. blamed Spain, and the sinking (popularized in the phrase Remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain!) was one of the precipitating events of the Spanish–American War[3][4]. Her sinking remains the subject of speculation, with various authors proposing that she sank due to the results of an undetected fire in one of her coal bunkers[3], that she was the victim of a naval mine[3], and that she was deliberately sunk for the purposes of driving the U.S. into a war with Spain. The cause of the explosion that sank the ship remains a mystery[3].





The delivery of the Brazilian battleship Riachuelo in 1883 and the acquisition of other armored warships by Brazil, Argentina and Chile shortly afterwards alarmed the United States government as the Brazilian Navy was now the most powerful in the Western Hemisphere. The U.S. Navy was now felt only capable of defending its own ports. The Chairman of the House Naval Affairs Committee, Congressman Hilary A. Herbert characterized the situation thusly: "if all this old navy of ours were drawn up in battle array in mid-ocean and confronted by the Riachuelo it is doubtful whether a single vessel bearing the American flag would get into port."[5]

The Navy Advisory Board, confronted with the possibility of hostile ironclads operating off the American coast, began planning for a pair of ships to protect that coast in 1884. The ships would have to fit within existing docks and had to have a shallow draft to enable them to use all the major American ports and bases. They had to have a minimum speed of 17 kn (20 mph; 31 km/h) and were to displace about 6,000 long tons (6,100 t). Both ships were optimized for end-on fire and had their gun turrets sponsoned out over the sides of the ship and echeloned to allow them to fire across the deck, much like the Brazilian battleships Riachuelo and Aquidabã. The first ship laid down was intended for the traditional cruiser missions of commerce raiding and scouting for the battlefleet; she became Maine. The other — armed with heavy 12 in (300 mm) guns — became Texas[6].

The Navy Department conducted an international design competition for Maine's design, and the Navy's Bureau of Construction and Repair was the winner. They designed Maine with her forward turret on the starboard side and her aft turret to port. The need for cross-deck fire caused the superstructure to be separated into three structures to allow for each gun to fire between the sections of the superstructure. This significantly limited the gun's ability to fire to the opposite beam as the superstructure still restricted each gun's arc of fire[7].

General characteristics

Maine was 324 ft 4 in (98.86 m) long overall. She had a beam of 57 ft (17 m) and a maximum draft of 22 ft 6 in (6.86 m). She displaced 6,682 long tons (6,789 t)[8]. A centerline longitudinal watertight bulkhead separated the engines. Her double bottom only covered the hull from the foremast to the aft end of the armored citadel[9]. She had a metacentric height of 3.45 ft (1.05 m) as designed and was fitted with a ram bow[10].


Maine's machinery was built by the N.F. Palmer Jr. & Company's Quintard Iron Works, of New York[11]. She had two inverted vertical triple expansion steam engines with a total designed output of 9,293 ihp (6,930 kW). Eight single-ended Scotch marine boilers provided steam to the engines at a working pressure of 135 psi (930 kPa; 9.5 kgf/cm2). On trials, she reached a speed of 16.45 kn (18.93 mph; 30.47 km/h), failing to meet her contract speed of 17 kn (20 mph; 31 km/h).[8] She carried a maximum load of 896 short tons (813 t) of coal.[10] She carried two small dynamos to power her searchlights and provide interior lighting[9].


Maine's main armament consisted of four 10 in (250 mm)/35 cal Mark II guns mounted in twin hydraulically-powered turrets. These guns had a maximum elevation of 15° and could depress to -3°. 90 rounds per gun were carried. They fired a 520 lb (240 kg) shell at a muzzle velocity of 2,000 ft/s (610 m/s) to a range of 20,000 yd (18,000 m) at maximum elevation[12].

The six 6 in (150 mm) guns were mounted in casemates in the hull, two each at the bow and stern respectively and the last two amidships.[11] Data is lacking, but they could probably depress to -7° and elevate to +12°. They fired shells that weighed 105 lb (48 kg) with a muzzle velocity of about 1,950 ft/s (590 m/s). They had a maximum range less than 9,000 yd (8,200 m) at maximum elevation[13].

The anti-torpedo boat armament consisted of seven 57 mm (2.2 in) Driggs-Schroeder six-pounder guns mounted on the superstructure deck[11]. They fired a shell weighing about 6 lb (2.7 kg) at a muzzle velocity of about 1,765 ft/s (538 m/s) at a rate of 20 rounds per minute to a range of less than 8,700 yd (8,000 m)[14]. The lighter armament comprised four each 37 mm (1.5 in) Hotchkiss and Driggs-Schroeder one-pounder guns. Four of these were mounted on the superstructure deck, two were mounted in small casemates at the extreme stern and one was mounted in each fighting top[11]. They fired a shell weighing about 1.1 lb (0.50 kg) at a muzzle velocity of about 2,000 ft/s (610 m/s) at a rate of 30 rounds per minute to a range about 3,500 yd (3,200 m)[15].

Maine had four 14 in (360 mm) above-water torpedo tubes, two on each broadside. In addition, she was designed to carry two 14.8 long tons (15.0 t) steam-powered torpedo boats, each with a single 14 in (360 mm) torpedo tube and a one-pounder gun. Only one was built, but it had a top speed of only a little over 12 kn (14 mph; 22 km/h) so it was transferred to the Naval Torpedo Station at Newport, Rhode Island as a training craft[16][Note 1].


The main waterline belt, made of nickel-steel, had a maximum thickness of 12 in (30 cm) and tapered to 7 in (18 cm) at its lower edge. It was 180 ft (55 m) long and covered the machinery spaces and the 10 in (25 cm) magazines. It was 7 ft (2.1 m) high, of which 3 ft (0.91 m) was above the design waterline. It angled inwards for 17 ft (5.2 m) at each end, thinning to 8 in (20 cm), to provide protection against raking fire. A 6 in (15 cm) transverse bulkhead closed off the forward end of the armored citadel. The forward portion of the 2 in (5.1 cm) thick protective deck ran from the bulkhead all the way to the bow and served to stiffen the ram. The deck sloped downwards to the sides, but its thickness increased to 3 in (7.6 cm). The rear portion of the protective deck sloped downwards towards the stern, below the waterline to protect the propeller shafts and steering gear. The sides of the circular turrets were 8 in (20 cm) thick. The barbettes were 12 in (30 cm) thick with their lower portions reduced to 10 in (25 cm). The conning tower had 10 in (25 cm) walls. Its voicepipes and electrical leads were protected by an armored tube 4.5 in (11 cm) thick[17].


"The Last Sunset of the Maine". Illustration from Our Country in War by Murat Halstead

Maine, the first US Navy ship to be named for the state of Maine, was a 6,682 long tons (6,789 t) second-class pre-dreadnought battleship originally designated as Armored Cruiser #1[18]. Maine and Texas (built at the same time) were unusual in that their armament was mounted en échelon, projected off to either side (Maine's forward turret was off to starboard and her aft turret to port; the arrangement was reversed on Texas), following a similar design of the Brazilian battleships Riachuelo and Aquidabã. This severely limited their ability to fire on a broadside. Maine was inferior in every way to the later Indiana-class coastal battleships and subsequent ships[19].

Congress authorized her construction on 3 August 1886, and her keel was laid down on 17 October 1888, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. She was launched on 18 November 1889, sponsored by Ms. Alice Tracey Wilmerding (granddaughter of Navy Secretary Benjamin F. Tracy), and commissioned on 17 September 1895, under the command of Captain Arent S. Crowninshield.


Wreckage of Maine, 1898

Maine spent her active career operating along the East Coast of the United States and the Caribbean. In January 1898, Maine was sent from Key West, Florida, to Havana, Cuba, to protect U.S. interests during a time of local insurrection and civil disturbances. Three weeks later, at 21:40 on 15 February, an explosion on board Maine occurred in the Havana Harbor. Later investigations revealed that more than 5 long tons (5.1 t) of powder charges for the vessel's 6 and 10 in (150 and 250 mm) guns had detonated, obliterating the forward third of the ship[20]. The remaining wreckage rapidly settled to the bottom of the harbor. Most of Maine's crew were sleeping or resting in the enlisted quarters in the forward part of the ship when the explosion occurred. 266 men lost their lives as a result of the explosion or shortly thereafter, and eight more died later from injuries. Captain Charles Sigsbee and most of the officers survived because their quarters were in the aft portion of the ship. Altogether, there were only 89 survivors, 18 of whom were officers[21]. On 28 March, the US Naval Court of Inquiry in Key West declared that a naval mine caused the explosion.

The explosion was a precipitating cause of the Spanish-American War that began in April 1898. Advocates of the war used the rallying cry, "Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain!"[4][22][23][24][25] The episode focused national attention on the crisis in Cuba but was not cited by the William McKinley administration as a casus belli, though it was cited by some who were already inclined to go to war with Spain over their perceived atrocities and loss of control in Cuba.

Causes of the sinking

Because of the uproar the sinking of Maine caused in the U.S., President William McKinley demanded an immediate investigation into the cause of the explosions. A U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry arrived in Havana and began its investigation. Survivors and eyewitnesses testified for the court, and several navy divers explored the sunken ship, hoping to find clues as to what may have caused the disaster. All parties involved concluded without a doubt that the explosion of the forward 6 in (150 mm) ammunition magazines had caused the sinking. Why those magazines had exploded, no one could determine conclusively, and doubt remains as to the exact cause to this day. There have been four major investigations into the sinking since 1898. From the four inquiries, two hypotheses have emerged: one, that a naval mine in Havana Harbor had exploded underneath the battleship, causing the explosion of the magazines; and two, that spontaneous combustion of the coal in bunker A16 created a fire that detonated the nearby magazines[26].

External mine hypothesis

Wreck of the U.S.S. Maine, June 1911

No one then, or today, disputes the fact that the overall destruction of the ship was due to the explosion of some of her magazines. What caused the magazines to explode, however, has been debated since the day the ship sank. Some evidence suggests that the initiating cause of the magazine explosion was an external explosion. The hypothesis that a mine, allegedly planted by the Spanish as a way to deter the efforts of the U.S. to take Cuba, is the assumption that some Americans came to immediately after the sinking. This also provided the stimulus for war that many Americans had been seeking[26].

If there was a mine, was it detonated accidentally, by insurgents, by an insubordinate Spaniard, or by Spanish authorities acting under orders? The last possibility is least likely because no testimony or documentation or specific accusation has ever been found. The mine could have been placed to defend the harbor and unintentionally drifted to where Maine was moored. Alternatively, the mine could have been used by Cuban rebels in the hopes that the attack on Maine would be blamed on the Spanish and so trigger a war between the U.S. and Spain[citation needed].

Some, but not all, of the witnesses stated that they heard two distinct explosions several seconds apart[26]. They believed if anything else besides a mine had triggered the magazine explosion, then witnesses would have only heard one blast, because the only explosion would have been of the magazines, unless all of the munitions contained in the magazine did not explode in the primary explosion and instead exploded sequentially in the resulting fire (which did occur)[citation needed]. They thought the only reason that two explosions would have been heard was if something besides the magazine had exploded, such as a mine. However, due to the difference in the speed of sound through water and through air, some witnesses may have sensed a single explosion twice — first shock through the water, followed by the airborne sound of the blast.

Another piece of evidence of an external mine were the observations of divers who examined the bottom plates of Maine. Three bottom plates were bent inward. If an internal explosion had occurred, the bottom plates, they thought, would have been bent outward, away from the explosion, and an external blast would have blown the plates inward, consistent with the evidence. Also, a large hole was noticed on the floor of Havana harbor, and was presumed from the theorized external explosion. Although, it could be argued that an explosion of the magnitude caused by Maine's magazines could also have put a hole in the harbor floor[26].

Nevertheless, problems with the external mine theory remained. One was the absence of dead fish in Havana harbor the next day. Assuming that fish lived in the polluted waters of the harbor, many of them should have been killed if a mine exploded in their habitat, but no one reported seeing any floating in the harbor. Second, no one reported seeing a jet of water thrown up during the event[26]. A common sight during the underwater explosion of a mine is a column of water emerging on the surface above them. Third, some contemporaneous experts believed that the few bottom plates found to be bent inward could be just as plausibly explained by the physical forces acting on the sinking ship, and thus did not necessarily indicate an explosion external to the ship[citation needed].

Coal bunker fire hypothesis

Since the time of the explosion in 1898, many have advocated the theory that an internal explosion had sunk Maine, basing their conclusion on the coal bunker fire theory. Supporters of this theory believe that spontaneous combustion of the coal in bunker A16 created a fire that detonated the nearby magazines, which shared a common uninsulated steel wall with bunker A16.

Spontaneous combustion of coal was a fairly frequent problem on ships built after the American Civil War. This type of fire occurs when the surface of freshly broken coal is exposed to air. The coal surface oxidizes, producing heat. When the coal reaches a temperature of about 700–800 °F (371–427 °C), the coal will begin to burn[27]. The heat from the fire could have transferred to the magazines, which would have triggered the explosion. And in fact, during the Spanish-American War several ships sustained damage when the bituminous coal in their bunkers ignited. These fires were difficult to detect because they could smolder for hours at low heat, giving off no smoke or flame and without raising the temperature high enough to trigger the alarm systems on board.

Reports indicate that bunker A16 on Maine had been inspected for the final time on February 15 at 08:00. This would have allowed ample time for a coal bunker fire to smolder and cause the type of disaster that befell the ship later. Still, when bunker A16 was inspected that morning, the reported temperature was only 59 °F (15 °C), and Maine's temperature sensor system did not indicate any dangerous rise in temperature later. Furthermore, the discipline on Maine was reported to be excellent, and regular inspections of coal bunkers for hazards, as well as the implementation of precautions for preventing bunker fires, were diligently carried out under the supervision of the ship's cautious executive officer Richard Wainwright. In addition, the likeliness of a spontaneous ignition of coal decreases over time, as the older the coal is the less likely it is to self-ignite. On Maine, the coal had been exposed to the air for a period of two months, which is more than double the amount of time recommended by the U.S. Navy. Finally, the type of coal used onboard Maine was low-volatile bituminous coal which was not known to self-ignite. These idiosyncrasies have given rise — then and now — to debate over the coal bunker fire argument’s legitimacy[26].

False flag conspiracy hypothesis

It has been suggested by some that the sinking was a false flag operation conducted by the U.S.

  • Mikhail Khazin, a Russian economist who once ran the cultural section at Komsomolskaya Pravda, speaking in a 2008 Pravda interview of the need in troubled times to change the psychology of society, to unite it, said that "the Americans blew up their own battleship Maine."[28]
  • Richard Williamson, bishop of the Society of St. Pius X, thinks that "There is serious reason to believe – that in 1898, it was not the Spaniards who sank the 'USS Maine'; that in 1917, it was not the Germans who set up the 'Lusitania' as a target; that in 1941 it was not the Japanese who set up Pearl Harbor for attack; that in 1963 it was not Lee Harvey Oswald who killed President Kennedy".[29]
  • Eliades Acosta, a prominent Cuban historian, head of the Cuban Communist Party's Committee on Culture and former director of the Jose Marti National Library in Habana, offered the standard Cuban interpretation of the sinking of the Maine: that the United States itself probably did it, in an interview to The New York Times. But Dr. Acosta adds that "Americans died for the freedom of Cuba, and that should be recognized".[30]
  • Cuban officials argue that the U.S. may have deliberately sunk the ship to create a pretext for military action against Spain. The wording on the monument describes Maine's sailors as "victims sacrificed to the imperialist greed in its fervour to seize control of Cuba",[31] which "alludes to the theory that U.S. agents deliberately blew up their own ship to create a pretext for declaring war on Spain".[32] (The United States occupied Cuba between 1898 and 1902 and, as promised in the Teller Amendment, did not attempt to annex the island.)

The investigations

In addition to the inquiry commissioned by the Spanish Government to naval officers Del Peral and De Salas, four major investigations have been conducted to find the actual cause of the sinking of Maine. Two Naval Courts of Inquiry were held in 1898 and 1911, and two major private investigations commissioned by Admiral Hyman G. Rickover in 1976 and the National Geographic Society in 1999, all revealed different conclusions. The debates on the sinking of Maine rest on evidence uncovered through these four investigations[26].

Del Peral and De Salas Inquiry

The Spanish inquiry, conducted by Del Peral and De Salas, collected evidence from officers of naval artillery who had examined the remains of Maine. Additional observations included that 1) had a mine been the cause of the explosion a column of water would have been observed; 2) the wind and the waters were calm on that date and hence a mine could not have been detonated by contact but using electricity, but no cables had been found; 3) no dead fish were found in the harbour as would be expected following an explosion in the water; and, 4) the munition stores usually do not explode when mines sink ships. Del Peral and De Salas identified the spontaneous combustion of the coal bunker that was located adjacent to the munition stores in the Maine as the likely cause of the explosion. The conclusions of the report were not reported at that time by the American press[33].

1898 Court of Inquiry

1898 Sampson Board

The day after Maine was sunk in Havana Harbor, Assistant Secretary to the Navy Theodore Roosevelt stated that "we shall never find out definitely" the cause of the disaster[26]. Immediately after the sinking in 1898, President William McKinley ordered a naval inquiry into what caused Maine to explode. This 1898 Court of Inquiry headed by Captain William T. Sampson began its work on 21 February. Ramón Blanco y Erenas, Spanish governor of Cuba, had proposed instead a joint Spanish-American investigation of the sinking.[34] Captain Sigsbee had written that "many Spanish officers, including representatives of General Blanco, now with us to express sympathy."[35] In a cable, the Spanish Minister of Colonies, Segismundo Moret, had advised Blanco “to gather every fact you can to prove the Maine catastrophe cannot be attributed to us.”[36]

Survivors and eyewitnesses testified for the court, and several navy divers explored the sunken ship, hoping to find clues as to what may have caused the disaster. Though several volunteered, no experts outside the Navy were called upon for advice. The Sampson Board concluded that Maine had been blown up by a mine, which in turn caused the explosion of her forward magazines. The official report from the board, which was presented to the Navy Department in Washington on 25 March, specifically stated the following:

"At frame 18 the vertical keel is broken in two and the flat keel is bent at an angle similar to the angle formed by the outside bottom plating. [...] In the opinion of the court, this effect could have been produced only by the explosion of a mine situated under the bottom of the ship at about frame 18, and somewhat on the port side of the ship." (part of the court's 5th finding)

"In the opinion of the court, the MAINE was destroyed by the explosion of a submarine mine, which caused the partial explosion of two or more of her forward magazines." (the court's 7th finding) and

"The court has been unable to obtain evidence fixing the responsibility for the destruction of the Maine upon any person or persons." (the court's 8th finding).[37]

1911 Court of Inquiry

By 1908, the war drums had long stopped beating, and many parties demanded that Maine be raised from Havana harbor. Cuban officials became worried about the safety of having a sunken ship in their harbor, U.S. officials wanted the remains of the sailors trapped in the wreck recovered and buried, and a few people wanted to confirm the cause of the sinking. Begun in December 1910, a huge waterproof cofferdam was built around the wreck and water was pumped out, finally exposing the wreck by late summer 1911. Sections of the hull of Maine were numbered, many photographs were taken, and models of Maine and her wreckage were built by the single Navy employee assigned to the job in Havana. Except for many souvenir items retained by the Navy and frequently distributed to the public, most of the tangled wreckage was dumped into the sea off the coast of Cuba. From 20 November-2 December 1911, a court of inquiry headed by Rear Admiral Charles E. Vreeland visited the wreck. The conclusions of the Vreeland Board differed with the Sampson Board only in detail. The Vreeland Board agreed that the explosion of the magazines was triggered by an external blast, but the damage to Maine was much more extensive than the Sampson Board had thought. It was also concluded that the initiating blast occurred further aft on the ship, and a lower powered explosive breached the hull than was originally thought[26]. After the investigation, the newly-located dead were buried in Arlington National Cemetery and the hollow, intact portion of the hull of Maine was refloated and ceremoniously scuttled at sea on 16 March 1912[38].

Ever since they were published, doubts about the validity of the Navy's 1898 and 1911 findings have been expressed by historians and scientists.

1976 Rickover investigation

The argument was not touched for another half a century, until a private investigation in 1976 was triggered by Admiral Hyman G. Rickover after he read a newspaper article on the sinking. He and several scientists from the U.S. Navy launched an investigation based on the evidence collected during the two Courts of Inquiry. Rickover believed that the new knowledge collected since World War II on analyzing ships damaged by internal and external explosions would shed new light on the sinking of Maine.

The Rickover analysis came to a completely different conclusion than the Courts of Inquiry. Rickover found that the cause of the explosion did not originate outside the ship. The cause of the explosion originated within the ship, but what actually happened could not be precisely determined. Rickover believed that the most likely cause was a fire within a coal bunker, which had heated the magazines to the point of explosion[26][3]. His 170-page book, How the Battleship Maine Was Destroyed, was first published in 1976.

1999 National Geographic investigation

In 1999, to commemorate the centennial of the sinking of Maine, National Geographic Magazine commissioned an analysis by Advanced Marine Enterprises (AME), using computer modeling that was not available for previous investigations. They concluded that an "undetected smoldering coal fire" had ignited volatile coal dust, and that the subsequent small explosion triggered the blast of the powder magazine. The AME, however, states that regarding the analysis of Maine's hull "it appears more probable than was previously concluded that a mine caused the inward bent bottom structure and the detonation of the magazines."[26] Some experts, including Admiral Rickover’s team and several analysts at AME, do not agree with the conclusion, and the furor over new findings even spurred a heated 90-minute debate at the 124th annual meeting of the U.S. Naval Institute[26].


Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery centered on the ship's main mast

In February 1898, the recovered bodies of sailors who died on Maine were interred in the Colon Cemetery, Havana. Some injured sailors were sent to hospitals in Havana and Key West, Florida. Those who died in hospitals were buried in Key West. In December 1899, the bodies in Havana were disinterred and brought back to the United States for burial at Arlington National Cemetery[39] where there is a memorial to those who died and which includes the ship's main mast. 165 were buried at Arlington—although remains of one sailor were exhumed for his home town; of the rest only 62 were known[40]. Some bodies were never recovered and the crewmen buried in Key West Cemetery remain there under a statue of a U.S. sailor holding an oar — 27 are buried in the US Navy Plot[41].

Replica of the anchor once used by the USS Maine

There is also a memorial, consisting of the shield and scrollwork from the bow of the ship, in Bangor, Maine. The base of Maine's conning tower is currently on display at Westbrook Veterans' Memorial Park in Canton, Ohio, hometown of President McKinley. Shells from the main battery were placed along with small plaques as memorials at the Soldier's Home in Marion, Indiana (now a VA Hospital and national cemetery), at the St. Joseph County Courthouse lawn in South Bend, Indiana, and at the Old Soldiers' Home in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A shell from the main battery is located just inside of the Pine St. entrance of city hall in Lewiston, Maine. There is a monument for Maine with a portion of a bronze engine room ventilator shaft in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey[42]. The capstan of the ship was secured for Charleston, South Carolina where it was displayed on the Battery until 2006; it is currently awaiting reinstallation[43].

Monument to victims of Maine in Havana, Cuba, c. 1930

The explosion-bent fore mast of Maine is located at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, causing a traditional in-joke among midshipmen that Maine, with its main mast in Arlington National Cemetery (Northern Virginia) and its fore mast in Annapolis, is the longest ship in the Navy.

USS Maine Monument in New York City

On 9 May 1910, Congress authorized the raising of Maine to remove it as a navigation hazard in Havana Harbor and for the proper interment of the bodies of the crew in Arlington National Cemetery. The Army Corps of Engineers built a cofferdam around her wreck and the water was pumped out from inside the cofferdam. By 30 June 1911, her main deck was exposed and it was revealed that the ship forward of Frame 41 was entirely destroyed. At the very bow all that was left was a twisted mass of steel that was out line with the rest of the hull and retained no resemblance to a ship. A watertight bulkhead was built across the front of the after section of the ship, which was in surprisingly good shape, to allow the ship to be refloated. On 10 February 1912, water was let back into the interior of the cofferdam and she broke free from the mud. The cofferdam was full by 13 February and she was towed out of the cofferdam on 15 March by the tug Osceola. The bodies of her crew were then removed to the armored cruiser North Carolina for repatriation. The following morning she was towed out past the three mile limit by Osceola, escorted by North Carolina and the light cruiser Birmingham. Her sea cocks were opened and she sank in 600 fathoms (3,600 ft; 1,100 m) of water to the salutes of Birmingham and North Carolina[44]. During the salvage remains of 66 more were found of whom only one (an engineering officer) was identified and returned to his home town; the rest were reburied at Arlington Cemetery making a total of 229 buried there[40].

In 1913, a USS Maine Monument was completed and dedicated in New York City. Located at the SW corner of Central Park at the Merchant's Gate entrance to the park[45]. On the park side of the monument is fixed a memorial plaque that was cast in metal salvaged from the ship.

In 1914, one of Maine's six anchors was taken from the Washington Navy Yard to City Park in Reading, Pennsylvania, and dedicated during a ceremony presided over by Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was then assistant secretary of the navy. The ceremony commemorated those who died in the explosion.

In 1926, the Cuban government also erected a memorial to the victims of Maine on the Malecon in Havana, near the Hotel Nacional in commemoration of the assistance of the United States in acquiring Cuba's independence from Spain. The memorial was damaged by crowds following the Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961 and the eagle on top was broken and removed[46]. The Communist government then added its own inscription blaming "imperialist voracity in its eagerness to seize the island of Cuba" for the Maine disaster[46][47].


  1. ^ Sources are contradictory about the size of the torpedoes carried by Maine. Reilly & Scheina specify 18 in (460 mm) Whitehead torpedoes, but Gardiner, p. 139, and "Maine". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. Retrieved 12 March 2010.  say 14-inch.


  1. ^ "U.S. NAVY SHIPS -- Listed by Hull Number: BB - Battleships" Naval History & Heritage Command. retrieved Feb 15, 2010
  2. ^ "Sinking of USS Maine, 15 February 1898" Naval History & Heritage Command. retrieved Feb 15, 2010
  3. ^ a b c d e f "The Destruction of USS Maine" Naval History & Heritage Command. retrieved Feb 15, 2010
  4. ^ a b The Spanish-American War (1898), State of Maine: Secretary of State: Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions,, retrieved February 11, 2008 
  5. ^ Reilly & Scheina, p. 21
  6. ^ Reilly & Scheina, pp. 21, 33, 35
  7. ^ Reilly & Scheina, p. 22, 24
  8. ^ a b Reilly & Scheina, p. 32
  9. ^ a b Reilly & Scheina, p. 28
  10. ^ a b Reilly & Scheina, p. 33
  11. ^ a b c d Reilly & Scheina, p. 26
  12. ^ "United States of America 10"/31 (25.4 cm) Mark 1 Mod 0 and Mod 1 10"/35 (25.4 cm) Mark 1 Mod 2 10"/30 (25.4 cm) Mark 2". 19 September 2008. Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  13. ^ "United States of America 6"/30, 6"/35 and 6"/40 (15.2 cm) Marks 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7". 25 December 2008. Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  14. ^ "United States of America 6-pdr (2.72 kg) [2.244" (57 mm) Marks 1 through 13"]. 6 April 2008. Retrieved 22 December 2009. 
  15. ^ "United States of America 1-pdr (0.45 kg) [1.46" (37 mm) Marks 1 through 15"]. 15 August 2008. Retrieved 22 December 2009. 
  16. ^ Reilly & Scheina, pp. 28, 30
  17. ^ Reilly & Scheina, pp. 26–28
  18. ^ USS Maine (Navy Historical Center)
  19. ^ Friedman, 21.
  20. ^ Michael J. Crawford; Mark L. Hayes; Michael D. Sessions, The Spanish-American War : Historical Overview and Select Bibliography, Naval historical center, U.S. Department of the Navy,, retrieved 2010-02-15 
  21. ^ Naval Historical Center
  22. ^ A FEW SPANIARDS FLEE; Not Many Accept Free Transportation from Here to Havana on the Panama. CROWDS SEE THEM DEPART Shouts of Derision Follow the Vessel, Which Is Rumored to Have Munitions of War Aboard – The Seneca Also Sails, The New York Times, April 21, 1898,, retrieved April 5, 2008 
  23. ^ Robert B. Edgerton (2005), Remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain, Edwin Mellen Press, ISBN 077346266X,, retrieved 2010-02-15 
  24. ^ O. P. Jons, Remember the MAINE, Transactions of the Wessex Institute, doi:10.2495/MH050131,, retrieved February 11, 2008 
  25. ^ Remember the "MAINE", U.S. Department of Transportation: National Transportation Library,, retrieved February 11, 2008 
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l USS Maine (ACR-1)
  27. ^ "The Fire Below Spontaneous Combustion in Coal," Environment Safety & Health Bulletin (DOE/EH-0320), 93–4 (May 1993), U. S. Department of Energy, Washington, D.C. 20585
  28. ^ Mikhail Khazin, "In 3 years, most of our oligarchs will go bankrupt", an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda, October 29, 2008 (Russian)
  29. ^ Bishop Richard Williamson, "The Society of St. Pius X: mired in anti-Semitism", Anti-Defamation League, January 26, 2009
  30. ^ Remember the Maine? Cubans See an American Plot Continuing to This Day, The New York Times, February 14, 1998
  31. ^ Remembering the Maine, CNN, February 15, 1998
  32. ^ Conner Gorry and David Stanley, "Cuba travel guide", ISBN 1740591208, 3rd edition, 2004, p. 82
  33. ^ Hugh Thomas, Memoria del 98 (1997 edition), chapter 7 ("La explosión del Maine"), page 104 (Spanish)
  34. ^ "G.J.A. O’Toole, The Spanish War: An American Epic 1898 (New York: W.W. Norton, 1984), 128.
  35. ^ O’Toole, The Spanish War, 11.
  36. ^ O’Toole, The Spanish War, 125.
  37. ^ Official Report of the Naval Court of Inquiry into the loss of the Battleship MAINE (Sampson Board),, March 22, 1898,, retrieved January 22, 2008 
  38. ^ Maine (2nd Class Battleship), NavSource Online: Battleship Photo Archive
  39. ^ The First Funeral of the Crew of the Battleship MAINE
  40. ^ a b { The USS Maine Mast Memorial], Arlington Cemetery website
  41. ^ U.S. Navy Plot, Key West Cemetery website
  42. ^ "USS Battleship Maine". Borough of Pompton Lakes, N.J.. Retrieved February 15, 2008. 
  43. ^ "Maine Relics Are Here", The Evening Post (Charleston, SC), September 11, 1913 
  44. ^ Allen, Francis J. (1998). "Honoring the Heroes: The Raising of the Wreck of the U.S. Battleship Maine". Warship International (Toldeo, OH: International Naval Record Organization) XXXV (4): 386–405. ISSN 0043-0374. 
  45. ^ "MONUMENT TO MAINE HEROES READY FOR UNVEILING". The New York Times. 1913. "Distinguished Guests and Imposing Ceremonies at the Dedication on Memorial Day—Fleet of Seventeen Ships and 5,000 Bluejackets Will Participate."  Published: May 25, 1913
  46. ^ a b Baker, Christopher P., "Moon Cuba", Avalon Travel Publishing; 4th edition (October 9, 2006),ISBN 1566918022
  47. ^ The Rough Guide to Cuba ISBN 978 1 84353 811 0 p.159


  • Alden, John D. (1989). American Steel Navy: A Photographic History of the U.S. Navy from the Introduction of the Steel Hull in 1883 to the Cruise of the Great White Fleet.. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0870212486. 
  • Allen, Francis J. (1993). ""Old Hoodoo": The Story of the U.S.S. Texas". Warship International (Toledo, OH: International Naval Research Organization) XXX (3): 226–256. ISSN 0043-0374. 
  • Friedman, Norman (1985). U.S. Battleships: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0870217151. 
  • Gardiner, Robert, ed (1979). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. New York: Mayflower Books. ISBN 0-8317-0302-4. 
  • Reilly, John C.; Scheina, Robert L. (1980). American Battleships 1896-1923: Predreadnought Design and Construction. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0870215248. 

Further reading

  • Chapter 3, "U.S.S. Maine", pages 80–114, John Harris, Without a Trace: A Fresh Investigation of Eight Lost Ships and Their Fates, Atheneum, 1981, hardcover, 244 pages, ISBN 0-689-11120-7
  • Samuels, Peggy and Harold Samuels 1995 Remembering the Maine. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington DC and London ISBN 1-56098-4743-0
  • Phiip S. Foner. The Spanish-Cuban-American War and the Birth of American Imperialism 1895–1902. 2 Volumes, New York/London 1972 (very detailed with plenty of sources from US archives)
  • Rickover, Hyman George. How the Battleship Maine was Destroyed. 2nd revised edition. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1995.ISBN 1557507171
  • Weems, John Edward. The Fate of the Maine. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press, 1992. ISBN 0890965013
  • Blow, Michael. A Ship to Remember: The Maine and the Spanish-American War. New York: William Morrow & Co., 1992. ISBN 0688097146
  • Allen, Thomas B. "Remember the Maine?" National Geographic, Vol. 193, No 2 (February 1998):92–111.
  • Allen, Thomas B. ed. "What Really Sank the Maine?" Naval History 11 (March/April 1998): 30–39.

External links


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