USS Boston (1884)

Boston running her speed trials after completion. Note the full sailing rig. Photo in the collection of the US Library of Congress.

Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down

USS Boston was a protected cruiser, and one of the first warships to be constructed in the US Navy's 1880s modernization program. Commissioned 2 May, 1887, Boston spent several years in the Atlantic with the Squadron of Evolution, a unit that was used to test and prove squadron-scale tactics. Boston headed for the Pacific in 1892, and on 13 January, 1893, landed Marines at Honolulu to help overthrow the Hawaiian monarchy. Boston was put into reserve for two years, and then deployed to Yokohama in February, 1896. She was part of Commodore Dewey's squadron during the Battle of Manila Bay, 1 May, 1898, and is believed to have fired the opening shot. Boston was deployed to China later in the year, to protect American nationals during the coup d'etat of Empress Dowager Cixi, before returning to the Philippines to help suppress the Insurrection. Boston alternated cruising eastern Pacific waters with periods in reserve until 1911, when she was reduced to a training ship. Boston was converted to a freighter in 1917-18, and used as a receiving ship in San Francisco until 1940. The following year Boston was converted to a radio training ship, and renamed USS Despatch (IX-2). She was scuttled at sea on 7 April, 1946.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: Boston was one of two ships to fight in the Battle of Manila Bay, and see service in both World Wars, the other being USS Olympia.