USS Antigone (ID-3007) was underway with troops on board
|Builder:||Joh. C. Tecklenborg, Geestemünde, Germany|
|Launched:||8 December 1900|
|Acquired:||12 July 1917|
|Commissioned:||5 September 1917|
|Decommissioned:||24 September 1919|
|Struck:||24 September 1919|
|Length:||518 ft 1 in (157.91 m)|
|Draft:||27 ft (8.2 m)|
|Speed:||14 knots (26 km/h)|
USS Antigone (ID-3007) was a transport for the United States Navy during World War I, and the first ship of that name for the U.S. Navy. She was originally SS Neckar for North German Lloyd from her 1900 launch until seized by the U.S. in 1917. After her war service she was SS Potomac for United States Lines.
Neckar was launched on 8 December 1900 at Geestemünde, Germany, by Joh. C. Tecklenborg and was owned and operated by North German Lloyd. Neckar was 500 feet long, had twin screw propulsion and quadruple expansion engines. During 1900-1914, she was the third largest transporter of steerage passengers (nearly all immigrants) to the United States, most of whom disembarked in New York and Baltimore. In the North Atlantic at the outbreak of World War I in the summer of 1914, the passenger and freight liner sought sanctuary at the neutral port, Baltimore, Maryland—lest she fall prey to the warships of the Royal Navy—and was interned, ostensibly for the duration of the conflict.
World War I
When the United States declared war on Germany in April 1917, American customs agents seized the ship. She was transferred to the Navy by the United States Shipping Board on 12 July 1917; converted for naval service as a troop transport at the Norfolk Navy Yard in Portsmouth, Virginia; renamed Antigone on 1 September 1917; and placed in commission on 5 September 1917, Comdr. Joseph R. Defrees in command.
Antigone was assigned to the Cruiser and Transport Force, Atlantic Fleet, on 14 September, and she departed Norfolk on 29 November. After coaling and completing sea trials, she proceeded to Hoboken, New Jersey, and embarked approximately 2,000 American troops. The transport sailed from New York City en route to France on 14 December and, during the next 11 months, made eight round-trip voyages to France, each of which terminated in either Brest or Saint-Nazaire. The ship also carried medical supplies and general cargo—as well as 16,526 troops—to Europe before hostilities ended.
After the armistice was signed on 11 November 1918, the transport continued her transatlantic voyages and returned more than 22,000 veterans to the United States. She completed her last trip from France upon her arrival at New York City on 15 September 1919. She was decommissioned there on 24 September 1919, and her name was simultaneously struck from the Navy list. The ship was then transferred to the War Department for service in the Army Transport Service.
- Arnold Kludas, Die Geschichte der deutschen Passagierfahrt (vol. 2, 1986)
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- Photo gallery of Antigone at NavSource Naval History