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Notes: Authorized under the Act of 30 June 1890, the INDIANA class were the first battleships of the "New" Navy. They were not regarded as very successful ships, due to too much being attempted on too little a displacement. Freeboard was only 11' 4" forward, and that was when only 400 tons of coal was bunkered; when at their usual capacity, they rode much lower in the water. They were regarded as extremely wet ships. They were also regarded as being both cramped and undermanned; only nine "line" officers were aboard, which meant that there were none for the torpedoes, main deck battery and secondary batteries, and no margin for an officer killed or disabled in action. The main battery turrets were unbalanced, with hydraulic training in the OREGON and steam training in the other two. The class made 15.5 knots on trials, and had a tactical radius of 585 yards at 12 knots. Following the world cruise of the "Great White Fleet", some much-needed alterations were made. They were reboilered with eight Babcock and Wilcox boilers. The main battery turrets were at least partially rebalanced. The 6" guns, most of the 6-pdrs., and all of the torpedo tubes were removed and replaced by 12 - 3" "anti-torpedo-boat" guns. MASSACHUSETTS was fitted with a cage mainmast in 1910.
Upon her commissioning, MASSACHUSETTS was stationed on the Atlantic coast, taking part in training exercises. On 27 March 1898, she was ordered to Hampton Roads, Virginia, to join the "Flying Squadron" for the blockade of Cuba. With the "Flying Squadron", MASSACHUSETTS arrived off the coast of Cuba on 22 May 1898. On 31 May 1898, MASSACHUSETTS (in company with the battleship IOWA and the cruiser NEW ORLEANS) bombarded the forts at the entrance to Santiago de Cuba, and exchanged fire with Spanish cruiser CRISTOBAL COLON, forcing the enemy ship to retire into the inner harbor of Santiago. MASSACHUSETTS was refueling on 3 July 1898, and therefore did not take part in the Battle of Santiago. However, MASSACHUSETTS (along with the battleship TEXAS) did catch and force the surrender of the Spanish cruiser REINA MERCEDES on 6 July 1898. Following further duties off Puerto Rico, MASSACHUSETTS returned "home", arriving in New York on 20 August 1898.
MASSACHUSETTS spent the next
seven years as a part of the North Atlantic Squadron, and served to train
midshipmen from the Naval Academy at Annapolis. In November, 1905, MASSACHUSETTS
underwent an inactivation overhaul and was then decommissioned on 8 January 1906.
MASSACHUSETTS was placed in reduced commission on 2 May 1910, serving as a summer practice ship for Naval Academy midshipmen. During the next
four years, she made three midshipman cruises - twice to Western Europe - before entering the Atlantic Reserve Fleet in September, 1912.
Following a brief voyage to New York 5 to 16 October for the Presidential Fleet Review,
MASSACHUSETTS returned to Philadelphia, where she remained until decommissioning 23 May 1914.