My original plan was to do the USS Arizona that sunk at Pearl Harbor. When I learned there was two others, I decided do all three. So here are the three USS Arizona’s adventures.
The first USS Arizona was an iron hulled side-wheel steamer in the United States Navy.
On 15 January 1862, Confederate Major Gen. Mansfield Lovell seized USS Arizona at New Orleans. Her U.S. enrollment was surrendered and replaced by a Confederate Register 17 March 1862. Arizona was converted along with several of the faster steamers seized at the same time to run the blockade to Cuba. On her first voyage to Havana, Arizona took a provisional British registry from the British consul and was renamed Caroline. She served as a blockade runner for the Confederate States of America operating from New Orleans and Mobile to Havana.
On the morning of 28 October 1862, the side-wheeler was steamed from Havana to Mobile with a cargo of munitions when she was sighted by USS Montgomery. The Union gunboat immediately set out in pursuit of the stranger, beginning a six-hour chase. When Montgomery pulled within range of Caroline, she opened fire with her 30-pounder Parrott rifle and expended 17 shells before two hits brought the quarry to.
Two boats from the blockader rowed out to Caroline and one returned with her master, a man named Forbes, who claimed to have been bound for the neutral port of Matamoros, Mexico, not Confederate Mobile. "I do not take you for running the blockade," the flag officer, with tongue in cheek, replied, "but for your damned poor navigation. Any man bound for Matamoros from Havana and coming within twelve miles of Mobile light has no business to have a steamer."
Rear Admiral David Farragut sent the prize to Philadelphia where she was condemned by admiralty court. The Federal Government purchased her on 23 January 1863. The Navy restored her original name, Arizona, and placed her in commission on 9 March 1863, Lieutenant Daniel P. Upton in command.
During the month of November, 1863, she had made trips to Calcasieu Pass, Vermilion Bay, and Mermentau Lake on convoy and transport trips. On 10 December she transported Captain John B. Marchand to Forts St. Philip and Jackson to investigate a mutiny. In December 1863, Arizona went to Berwick Bay and, when the rise of water permitted, entered Grand Lake and the Atchafalaya and remained there on constant blockade. In February 1864, she went to New Orleans and, when repaired, returned to Sabine Pass for blockade duty, one of 14 vessels under Captain Marchand in USS Lackawanna. That duty lasted until September 1864 when Arizona proceeded to New Orleans for repairs. There, she was fitted out for service as the flagship of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron. In January 1865, Lieutenant Commander George Brown took command of the ship.
On the evening of 27 February 1865 while underway from South West Pass to New Orleans, 38 miles (61 km) below New Orleans, a fire broke out in the engineer's after storeroom and spread very rapidly. Brown ordered the magazine flooded and, when no possibility of saving the ship remained, ordered the crew to the boats. Some leaped overboard and swam to shore. The vessel drifted to the west bank of the river, grounded, and burned until she exploded 35 minutes past midnight. Out of a crew of 98 on board four were missing.
The second USS Arizona name only lasted three months. This is her story.
From 1866 through 1868 Neshaminy was at the New York Navy Yard for installation of her engines. In 1869 she was laid up in ordinary at that yard. Her name was changed to USS Arizona May 15, 1869, and to USS Nevada August 12, 1869.
In 1869 she was examined by a board which found her hull so twisted and her construction so poor that it was decided not to finish her. She remained in ordinary at New York City in an incomplete state until June 1874. She was sold to John Roach for $25,000, in partial payment for rebuilding monitor USS Puritan (1864).
The third USS Arizona was the one most remembered.
USS Arizona was a Pennsylvania-class battleship built by the United States Navy in the mid-1910s. Named in honor of the 48th state's recent admission into the union, the ship was the second and last of the Pennsylvania class of "super-dreadnought" battleships. Commissioned in 1916, the ship remained stateside during World War I. Shortly after the end of the war, Arizona was one of a number of American ships that briefly escorted President Woodrow Wilson to the Paris Peace Conference. The ship was sent to Turkey in 1919 at the beginning of the Greco-Turkish War to represent American interests for several months. Several years later, she was transferred to the Pacific Fleet and remained there for the rest of her career.
In 1929–1931, Arizona was regularly used for training exercises between the wars, including the annual Fleet Problems (training exercises). When an earthquake struck Long Beach, California in 1933, Arizona's crew provided aid to the survivors. Two years later, the ship was featured in a Jimmy Cagney film, “Here Comes the Navy”, about the romantic troubles of a sailor. In April 1940, she and the rest of the Pacific Fleet were transferred from California to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, as a deterrent to Japanese imperialism.
During the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, Arizona was bombed. She exploded and sank, killing 1,177 officers and crewmen. Unlike many of the other ships sunk or damaged that day, Arizona could not be fully salvaged, though the Navy removed parts of the ship for reuse. The wreck still lies at the bottom of Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial, dedicated on 30 May 1962 to all those who died during the attack, straddles the ship's hull.