Cat. no. 99-15

USS Oregon, May 1898

Date: Apr-99
Item Type: Painting
Support: Honeycomb Fiberglass
Dimensions: 42 X 72
Agent / Institution: Grapevine Gallery OKC

USS Oregon, May 1898. 42 x 72.

On the 16th of February, 1898, the battleship Maine blew up in Havana
Harbor. Because relations between the United States and Spain were
very strained, a board of inquiry sent divers to Havana to determine
if the explosion originated from the interior of the
vessel—especially from her main and two forward auxiliary
magazines—or from outside her hull. On 17 March 1898 the board
concluded that her lower decks were bent upward and that the thrust of
the explosion came from below the port bow of the ship at bulkhead 41.
The telegram reached San Francisco on 19 March 1898 ordering USS
Oregon not to report to the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, where
Admiral Dewey was preparing for war, but to report to the Atlantic
Fleet off Cuba. War was declared with Spain on 24 April 1898. Oregon
made her run full speed from San Francisco arriving on station on 26
May 1898 with her smoke stacks burned off at the top, having refueled
at Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires and Recife. On 3 July 1898 she led
the way in the great victory over Cervera's Spanish Fleet off Santiago
de Cuba. In this painting she is turning north off Cape Horn in the
heavy seas of the Antarctic winter making over fifteen knots, burning
over eighty tons of coal a day, her low main deck awash most of the
time, and straining to make her rendezvous. On a personal note, one
officer on board was a Lieutenant (J.G.) seventeen years in the
service by the name of Henry Braid Wilson. He later commanded the
Atlantic Fleet in World War I, and the U.S. Navy in 1920. He was my

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