This Saturday (19 March) marks the 113th anniversary of the beginning of what would become one of the most historic and epic voyages ever to be undertaken by a U.S. Navy warship. It was a journey that would test the resolve and determination of every Sailor on board and mark the time when our “New Navy” would begin its legitimate rise as a global naval power.
OREGON made it to Callao, Peru on 4 April, to replenish coal and supplies. While in Peru she learned that the TEMERARIO, a Spanish torpedo boat, was in the general vicinity but her precise whereabouts and intentions were unknown. At this point, the United States and Spain were on the verge of war and CAPT Clark instructed his crew to be extra vigilant during their watches as they set out from Callao. While at sea, there was no way of knowing if war had indeed broken out, so every encounter with a foreign vessel – especially Spanish ships – needed to be treated with the utmost caution.
OREGON proceeded to her next destination of Rio de Janeiro which took her through the treacherous Straits of Magellan where, with Murphy’s Law in full effect, she encountered an incredible gale that threatened to run her aground. CAPT Clark dropped anchors until the gale passed and on 16 April began navigating the Straits. After a few days that included a brief stop in Punta Arenas, she had cleared the Straits, made it to the Atlantic, and was making best speed to her destination in Florida.