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The sister ship Maine II in later years as the Virginian (Naval Historical Center) i03284

S.S. Maine (II)

Other Name: Virginian
Sisters: Mississippi (II), Massachusetts (II), Missouri (II)
Builder: Maryland Steel Co., Sparrows Point, Maryland
Delivered June 22, 1903; scrapped 1948
Hull: length 492'; beam 68' 4"; 7,959 tons

 

This was one of four freighters (and two Minne class ships) built in the United States using money loaned by J. P. Morgan & Company early in the chain of events that led to the creation of the International Mercantile Marine Company in 1902. Her sister, the Missouri (II) was built in the same yard. The Maine (II) cost a total of $729,000 (£150,000) and was operated under the American flag. When the expected federal subsidies for ship operation failed to materialize the International Mercantile Marine Company decided to sell the Atlantic Transport Line's remaining American-flagged steamers. International Marine Engineering (Volume 12, 1907, p.342) described this vessel in some detail when noting her sale:

The International Mercantile Marine Company has recently sold the steamers Maine and Missouri, built in 1903 and 1904 by the Maryland Steel company, sparrow's point, MD, for the Atlantic Transport Company. These steamers each have a length of 492 feet 5 inches; a beam of 58 feet 2 inches and a depth of 24 feet 4 inches ; the net and gross tonnages being respectively 5,077 and 7,014. The steamers are of the three-deck and shelter deck type, with nine bulkheads and a double bottom. They are propelled by twin screws actuated by triple expansion engines with cylinders 25, 42 ½ and 72 inches in diameter, with a common stroke of 48 inches. The indicated horse power is 4,800. Steam is supplied by two double-ended and two single ended Scotch boilers, each of a diameter of 14 feet 9 inches, and with lengths respectively 19 feet 3 inches and 10 feet 9 inches. The working pressure is 200 pounds per square inch. The grate area and heating surface are respectively 322 and 12,700, giving a ratio of 395 to 1.

The Maine (II) was purchased by the American Hawaiian Steamship Company, who in 1907, renamed her Virginian. With the ship went her Chief Engineer, Harry J. Hartridge, who was ultimately promoted to Superintending Engineer by his new employers. The ship was later acquired by the Navy (ID# 3920) for service with the Cruiser and Transport Force, United States Atlantic Fleet. She was commissioned at Hoboken, N.J. on February 1, 1919, with Lieutenant Commander John S. Greene in command, and brought U.S. service personnel home from Europe.

The Virginian made her first round-trip trans-Atlantic voyage in March and April 1919, carrying cargo to France and returning with nearly 4,200 Soldiers. She made a second trip in April and May, a third in June and her fourth in July and August. The USS Virginian was decommissioned on August 19, 1919, and subsequently resumed her mercantile service until 1947, when she was turned over to the U.S. Maritime Commission. After a little over a year laid up she was delivered to a scrapping company in April 1948.

Sources: The Atlantic Transport Line, 1881-1931; The Ships List; Passenger Ships of the World Past and Present, Eugene W. Smith, Massachusetts, 1977; www.history.navy.mil; The New York Times, January 12, 1901: June 4, 1907; November 4, 1934

The sister ship Maine II in later years as the Virginian (Naval Historical Center) i03284
The Maine II in later years as the Virginian (Naval Historical Center) Click image for larger view.

The Virginian returning troops home in 1919 (Naval Historical Center)
The Virginian returning troops home in 1919 (Naval Historical Center, Photo #: NH 83953)

The Virginian returning troops home in 1919 (Naval Historical Center)
The Virginian returning troops home in 1919 (Naval Historical Center, Photo #: NH 103925)

The Virginian returning troops home in 1919 (Naval Historical Center)
The Virginian In a European port, 1919 (Naval Historical Center, Photo #: NH 106040)



For more information ...

Kinghorn "The Atlantic Transport Line 1881 - 1931" McFarland, 2011

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