USS Mississippi (BB-23)

USS Mississippi (Battleship No. 23), the lead ship of her class of battleships, was the second ship of the United States Navy named in honor of the U.S. state of Mississippi. After her career in the USN, she was sold to Greece and renamed Kilkis in 1914. Kilkis was sunk by German bombers in April, 1941.


As the Mississippi

Her keel was laid down on May 12 1904 by William Cramp & Sons of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was launched September 30 1905 sponsored by Miss M.C. Money, daughter of Senator Hernando D. Money of Mississippi, and commissioned at Philadelphia Navy Yard on February 1 1908, Captain J.C. Fremont in command.

Designed as cheaper, "second-class" battleships the Mississippi's rolled badly and exhibited poor sea-keeping.

Following shakedown off the coast of Cuba, February 15 to March 15 1908, the new battleship returned to Philadelphia for final fitting out. Standing out July 1, she operated along the New England coast, until returning to Philadelphia September 10. The warship next put to sea January 16 1909 to represent the United States at the inauguration of the President of Cuba at Havana, January 25 to January 28. Mississippi remained in the Caribbean Sea until February 10, sailing that day to join the "Great White Fleet" as it returned from its famous world cruise. With the fleet on Washington's Birthday, the battlewagon was reviewed by President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt. On March 1 she returned to the Caribbean.

The ship departed Cuban waters on May 1 for a cruise up the river with which she shared her name, the mighty Mississippi River. Calling at the major ports of this great inland waterway, she arrived at Natchez, Mississippi on May 20, and then proceeded five days later to Horn Island where she received a silver service from the state of Mississippi. Returning to Philadelphia June 7, the battleship operated off the New England coast until sailing January 6 1910 for winter exercises and war games out of Guantanamo Bay. Her figurehead was presented to the state of Mississippi by the United States Navy in December 1909. She departed March 24, 1910 for Norfolk, Virginia, and operated off the east coast until fall, calling at a number of large ports, serving as a training ship for Naval Militia, and engaging in maneuvers and exercises designed to keep the ship and crew in the best possible fighting trim.

Returning to the United States, the battleship operated off the Atlantic coast, basing alternately out of Philadelphia and Norfolk for the next year and two months, serving as a training ship and conducting operational exercises. She cleared Tompkinsville, New York, on May 26 1912 with a detachment from the Second Marine Regiment on board to protect American interests in Cuba. Landing her Marine detachment at El Cuero on June 19, she remained on station in Guantanamo Bay until July 5, when she sailed for home.

Following exercises with the Fourth Battleship Division off New England, she returned to Philadelphia Navy Yard where she was put in the First Reserve on August 1 1912.

Mississippi remained in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Philadelphia until detached December 30 1913 for duty as aeronautic station ship at Pensacola, Florida. Departing January 6 1914, the battleship arrived January 21, transporting equipment for the establishment of a naval air station. At Pensacola, she stood by while her crew, along with the early naval aviators, rebuilt the old naval base, laying the foundation for the largest and most famous American naval air station.

With the outbreak of fighting in Mexico, Mississippi sailed on April 21 to Vera Cruz, arriving on April 24 with the first detachment of naval aviators to go into combat. Serving as a floating base for the fledgling seaplanes and their pilots, the warship launched nine reconnaissance flights over the area during a period of 18 days, making the last flight on May 12. One month later, the battleship departed Vera Cruz for Pensacola. Serving as station ship there from June 15 to June 28, she then sailed north to Hampton Roads where she transferred her aviation gear to armored cruiser USS North Carolina (ACR-12) on July 3.

Transfer to Greece

// For more details see Greek battleship Kilkis//

Mississippi decommissioned at Newport News on July 21 1914, and was turned over to the Royal Hellenic Navy the same day.

Fleet designation

Although the Mississippi-class ships were decommissioned before the fleet designation reworkings in 1920, and thus never carried the "BB" hull classification symbol in service, many lists of American battleships (including the one on this site) list them as "BB-23" and "BB-24" for completeness.

See also


  • Alden, John D. 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, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1989. ISBN 0870212486
  • Friedman, Norman. U.S. Battleships: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1985. ISBN 0870217151
  • Reilly, John C. and Robert L. Scheina. American Battleships 1996-1923: Predreadnought Design and Construction. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1980. ISBN 0870215248

External links

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