Last Look

When the Yale set sail

125 years ago, a ship bearing the university's name went to war.

Chartered by the US government in April of 1898, the USS Yale set sail from New York Harbor to points south just as the Spanish-American War got underway. Until then known as the American Line’s steamship Paris (as it would be again when decommissioned a few months later), the Yale’s first destination was to the coast of Puerto Rico, where its crew would help to locate the Spanish fleet. According to the Yale Alumni Weekly—this magazine’s predecessor—a “subscription” raised by the university funded two of the guns: Eli and Handsome Dan. They were “rapid fire six-pounders,” placed on board the Yale while it was outfitted for war.

The Yale would be in good company. According to the Alumni Weekly, when the Paris reached New York Harbor to take on its new identity as the Yale, “the St. Paul, the St. Louis, and the Harvard (formerly the New York) were already off to the South.”


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