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Itasca, 1907

Ex-USS Bancroft


The cutter Itasca was named for a lake located in central Minnesota.


Builder:  Moore & Sons, Elizabethport, New Jersey

Length:  187' 6"

Beam:  32'

Draft: 11' 6"

Displacement: 839 tons

Cost:  ??

Commissioned:  1893 (USN); 17 July 1907 (USRCS)

Decommissioned: 22 May 1922

Disposition: Sold in Baltimore, Maryland for $8,250.00

Machinery: Triple-expansion steam, twin screw, 1,213 hp

Performance: 14 knots maximum

Complement: 8 officers, 64 enlisted

Armament: 4 x 6-pound rapid-fire guns


Cutter History:
By John Tilley

USS Bancroft was commissioned in 1893 as a training ship for the U.S. Naval Academy.  Similar in shape to a small Navy gunboat, the ship had a steel hull and a relatively heavy armament, ranging from 4-inch rapid-fire guns to a Gatling gun and a torpedo tube, to give midshipmen experience on the Navy's latest weaponry.  Naval expansion brought a corresponding increase on the Naval Academy's enrollment, and the Bancroft quickly proved to be too small.  After the practice cruise of 1896 it was converted to a conventional gunboat with a reduced armament and the original three-masted barkentine rig cut down to the two masts of a brigantine.

By this time the Revenue Cutter Service was converting to steam power, and the School of Instruction, the Revenue Cutter Service's "academy," whose enrollment was now up to fifty cadets, wanted to offer courses in engineering.  In 1906 the Bancroft was transferred to the Revenue Cutter Service, and in the following year, with the new name Itasca, was placed in commission to replace the aging training cutter Chase.

The Itasca's years as a training ship included several major historical developments, including the School of Instruction's move to New London, Connecticut, in 1910 and the creation of the U.S. Coast Guard in 1915.  The ship's cramped quarters continued to be a problem, however, and in 1922 it was decommissioned and scrapped.


USRCS Training Cutter Itasca

No caption/date/photo number; photographer unknown.

 

USRCS Training Cutter Itasca

No caption/date/photo number; photographer unknown.

USRCS Training Cutter Itasca

No caption/date/photo number; photographer unknown.

USRCS Training Cutter Itasca

No caption/date/photo number; photographer unknown.

USRCS Training Cutter Itasca

No caption/date/photo number; photographer unknown.


Last Modified 11/17/2014