The Emblem of the Louisiana State Militia

Louisiana's Military Heritage:

     Vessels named USS ALEXANDRIA

Seal of the U.S. Navy


 

USS ALEXANDRIA

 

 

Three ships have had the honor to bear the name of ALEXANDRIA. The first was a small cotton-clad river steamer which sailed under the Confederate flag but was captured by Union forces.  The second was a Tacoma-class patrol frigate (PF-18) which sailed during World War II. The third is a Los Angeles-class nuclear submarine (SSN-757) currently serving with the fleet.  The second ALEXANDRIA was named for Alexandria, Virginia.  The first ALEXANDRIA was named for the 10th largest city of Louisiana, located in the central portion of the state on the Red River.  The third ALEXANDRIA has the honor of representing both cities.


 

The First ALEXANDRIA (December 12, 1863 ~ August 07, 1865):

 

The first ALEXANDRIA began life as a small side-wheel, wooden-hulled river steamer.  Built in Plaquemine, Louisiana, in 1862, she was presented to the Confederate government upon completion early in 1862 and renamed CSS ST. MARY.  Protected by bales of cotton, she operated on the Yazoo and Tallahatchie Rivers for the remainder of that year and into the summer of 1863.

 

On July 13, 1863, ST. MARY was captured by a joint Army-Navy expedition of four Union warships and 5,000 troops at Yazoo City, Mississippi and the same time that the steamers MAGENTA, MAGNOLIA, J.F. PARGOUD, PEYTONA, and PRINCE OF WALES were burned.  She was towed up the river by the NEW NATIONAL.  Although apparently never condemned by a prize court because she was appraised at less than $8,000.  On September 18, 1863, Read Admiral David Porter wrote to the Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles, requesting permission to retain the prize for naval service and asking that the ship be renamed YAZOO.  However, this suggestion was never approved.

 

Although surviving records are not conclusive, it seems that after she had been repaired, Admiral Porter may have used the ST. MARY in the autumn as a non-commissioned dispatch boat, perhaps around September 21, 1863, in the vicinity of Donaldsonville, Louisiana, under the name YAZOO.  Records show that in September of 1863, a recommendation was made to the Secretary of the Navy that her name be changed to ALEXANDRIA inasmuch as there was a steamer named YAZOO on the river and confusion was resulting.

 

Whatever the case, the ST. MARY was placed in commission at Cairo, Illinois, on December 12, 1863, as USS ALEXANDRIA, once again sailing under her original name.  Acting Master D.P. Rosenmiller, Jr. was in command.  She served in the 1st District of the Mississippi Squadron and operated between Donaldsonville, Louisiana, and Cairo, Illinois.  After the collapse of the Confederacy, she was decommissioned at Cairo on August 07, 1865, and sold at auction at Mound City, Illinois, on August 17, 1865, to W. Markham of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

 

Documented as ALEXANDRIA on October 04, 1865, she operated on the Mississippi River and its tributaries.  ALEXANDRIA sank and was lost on the Amite River in Louisiana on October 05, 1867.

 

 

Ship's Statistics

 

Class

Gunboat

Built

1862

Commissioned (CSN)

September, 1862

Commissioned (USN) December 12, 1863

Final Decommissioning

August 07, 1865

Displacement

60 tons

Length

89 ft., 9 in.

Beam (width)

15 ft.

Draft (depth) 4 ft. / 5 ft.  (sources vary)
Speed 3-4 knots
Propulsion

Side-wheel steamer—two independent engines

     10 in. cylinders w. 3 ft. piston stroke

Crew  
Armament One 24-pounder smooth-bore
One 12-pounder field carriage

 

 

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The Third ALEXANDRIA (June 29, 1991 ~ Present ):

 

The third ALEXANDRIA (SSN-757), a Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine, was laid down by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamic Corporation on June 19, 1987 in Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on June 23, 1990, sponsored by Mrs. Glenwood Clark, Jr., and commissioned on June 29, 1991 with Commander Paul Normand in command.

USS ALEXANDRIA (SSN-757) Ship's Seal

 

 

USS ALEXANDRIA (SSN-757) is launched at General Dynamics shipyards in Groton, CT, on June 23, 1990.

USS ALEXANDRIA (SSN-757) is launched at General Dynamics shipyards in Groton, CT, on June 23, 1990.

Photo courtesy of NavSource.

 

 

USS ALEXANDRIA (SSN-757) prowls the sea.

USS ALEXANDRIA (SSN-757) conducting patrols.

She is the third U.S. Navy vessel to bear the name.

 

From October 03-11, 2004, ALEXANDRIA participated in Exercise Malabar '04, a joint training exercise with the Indian Navy that also included USS COWPENS (CG-63), USS GARY (FFG-51), and P-3C Orion maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.  ALEXANDRIA was also a participant in Ice Exercise 2007 (ICEX-'07), a joint exercise with the British Royal Navy that was conducted in the Arctic Ocean in March of that year on and beneath a drifting ice floe approximately 180 nautical miles off the northern coast of Alaska.

 

The ALEXANDRIA has been made available for use in the filming of several television series and movies.  She appeared in a few scenes of the movie Stargate: Continuum.  She also appeared in episodes of the CBS television series JAG: Judge Advocate General and NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service as the fictional submarine USS CATHEDRAL CITY.


As of this time, ALEXANDRIA remains on active duty with the fleet.

 

An Indian tug approaches USS ALEXANDRIA (SSN-757) as the submarine pulls into Goa, India, in 2004.

USS ALEXANDRIA (SSN-757) pulls into Goa, India,

for Exercise Malabar '04 on October 03, 2004.

U.S. Navy photo by PH1/c Alan D. Monyelle.

 

 

USS ALEXANDRIA lies at rest with her sail emerging from an ice floe in the Artic during ICEX-07 in March of 2007.

USS ALEXANDRIA lies at rest with her sail emerging

from an ice floe in the Arctic during ICEX-07.

U.S. Navy photo by MCC Shawn P. Eklund.

 

 

 

Ship's Statistics

 

Class

Los Angeles

Keel Laid

June 19, 1987

Launched

June 23, 1990

Commissioned

June 29, 1991

Final Decommissioning

 

Displacement

6,000 tons  (surfaced)

6,900 tons  (submerged)

Length

360 ft.

Beam (width)

33 ft.

Speed 25 knots  (surfaced)
In excess of 30 knots  (submerged)
Propulsion

Nuclear

Crew 12 officers, 115 enlisted
Armament Four 21-inch torpedo tubes (Mk-48 torpedoes)
UGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles
Tomahawk cruise missiles

 

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All information on USS ALEXANDRIA (CSS ST. MARY) courtesy of the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships and Way's Packet Directory (1848-1994).  All information on USS ALEXANDRIA (SSN-757) courtesy of the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships and Sea Power by the United States Navy League (1998).
Photos courtesy of U.S. Navy unless otherwise noted.

 

**Copyright 1997-2010 by Louisiana Naval War Memorial Commission**