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USS Madawaska Bronze Plate - Where Would It Have Been Used? (Screw Frigate USS TENNESSEE)


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Hello everyone.  I picked up this metal plate at a recent estate sale that had many fine military items.  It appears to have come from the USS Madawaska (later to be renamed the USS Tennessee), a screw frigate built at the New York Navy Yard and launched on 8 July 1865.  The plate is round and appears to be made of bronze.  It measures about 3" in diameter.  The center is dated "1866" and marked "40 GAL".  I presume it was attached to some sort of tank to designate maximum capacity?  Anybody have any ideas?  Thanks in advance! 

madawaska front.jpg

madawaska rear.jpg

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Salvage Sailor

Correct, she was a Screw (Steam) Frigate and this was probably attached to a holding tank.


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Thanks for the reply.  I presume 40 gallons would be too small for a water, oil, or fuel tank?  Maybe a holding tank for waste?  Seems weird that they would mark every waste tank though.  A cool relic, regardless.

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Could be 40 gallon tanks that were used in the galley and held kitchen type liquids

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Salvage Sailor

Information from navsource.com


Screw Frigate:
Laid down, date unknown, as a wood-hulled screw frigate at Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Launched, 8 July 1865
Commissioned USS Madawaska, circa January 1867, CDR. Francis A. Roe in command
Renamed USS Tennessee 15 May 1869, timbered up to the necessary height to allow a spar deck to be installed
Tennessee served as flagship for the Asiatic Squadron from 1869 to 1879
Reassigned as flagship for the North Atlantic Squadron in 1879
Decommissioned, date unknown
Struck from the Naval Register, date unknown
Sold, 15 September 1886 to Burdett Pond, Meriden, CT.
Final Disposition, fate unknown
Displacement 3,281 t.
Length 355'
Beam 45' 2"
Draft 21' 8"
Speed 13.9 Kts
Complement 480
two 8" rifles
two 100-pdrs
one 60-pdr
eighteen 9" smooth bore guns
Propulsion Steam and Sail
As Built - two Ericsson vibrating lever engines
1869 - two compound back-acting engines, 3,200hp
Bunker - 380 t. coal
ten principal sails, 22,500 square feet


The wooden-hulled steam screw frigate USS Tennessee (III) at Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1875, after her conversion to a gun-deck frigate.
US Navy photo from Warships of the Civil War Navies, p. 33, by Paul H. Silverstone, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD.



USS Tennessee (III) in the early 1880s, location unknown.
A U.S. Naval Institute photo from the Florida Keys Public Libraries photo # MM00014609.



Drawing comparing the machinery installation of USS Wampanoag, USS Tennessee (Center noting boiler locations) and USS Trenton. It is marked: "Copy from Roach's April 16th (18)77". The plan emphasizes the savings in weight, space and personnel represented in the machinery and boilers of Tennessee and Trenton as compared with Wampanoag. The original drawing is # 107-10-5A in Record Group 19, National Archives.
US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 76383

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FWIW, there was a USS Madawaska used as a troop ship in WW1…..not the same ship though.

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Thanks everyone for your responses!

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