May 24, 2017

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The Daily Maine Fact

USS Katahdin

One of the stranger vessels to slide down the ways at Bath Iron Works was the USS Katahdin. Launched in 1893 and commissioned in 1896, this experimental steamship was a harbor defense ram, built to impale invaders on its projecting steel bow. Its low freeboard meant that the ship's hatches had to be kept closed, raising the interior temperature to dangerous levels, although elements of her design were later used in early submarines. Decommissioned in 1897, the Katahdin was recommissioned in 1898 to protect the Atlantic Coast from attack during the Spanish-American War. It was sunk as a gunnery target in 1909. (Sources: Down East: A Maritime History of Maine, by Lincoln P. Paine. Gardiner: Tilbury House, 2000; Wikipedia, USS Katahdin)

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