© 2024
Prairie Public NewsRoom
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

U.S.S. Oregon


James Flater, son of a New Rockford blacksmith, had an excellent record as a gunner aboard the American battleship U.S.S. Oregon - he was able to hit his mark eight out of ten times at a range of four miles.

On March 19, 1898, the Oregon departed San Francisco for Cuba, where war with Spain was brewing. A month later, the fate of the ship became uncertain; it had failed to stop in Chili for more coal, and if it was now in the Straits of Magellan, it was fighting a terrific storm. Another concern was the crew didn't know the war had officially begun. The movements of the battleship had been revealed in newspapers, and it was rumored a Spanish torpedo boat was lying in wait somewhere south of Rio de Janeiro.

On this date, Flater's family reported they'd learned the Oregon had safely reached Cuban waters. The ship's 14,000-mile journey so inspired the nation, it threw its support behind a new project - the construction of the Panama Canal.

Dakota Datebook by Merry Helm

Source: USS Oregon (BB-3). Web. Wikipedia (30 Apr 2009).

The Bismarck Tribune. 9 May 1898.

Haskin, Frederic J. The Panama Canal. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Page & Co, 1913.