DescriptionLarge Chalice From Brass Salvaged From USS Maine, 7", nicely engraved "Feb. 15. 1898. U.S.N. Maine Mar. 16. 1912.", included is a letter describing how the chalice came to be made and how the materials were obtained. Very fine.
The USS Maine, authorized for construction in 1886, had her keel laid down on October 17, 1888, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. She was launched on November 18, 1889. The Maine spent her active career operating along the East Coast of the United States and the Caribbean. In January 1898, the Maine was sent to Havana, Cuba, to protect U.S. interests during a time of local insurrection and civil disturbances. Three weeks later, at 9:40 on the evening of February 15, a terrible explosion on board the Maine shattered the stillness in Havana Harbor. Later investigations revealed that more than five tons of powder charges for the vessel's six and ten-inch guns ignited, virtually obliterating the forward third of the ship. The remaining wreckage rapidly settled to the bottom of the harbor. Most of the Maine's crew were sleeping or resting in the enlisted quarters in the forward part of the ship when the explosion occurred. Two hundred and sixty-six men lost their lives as a result of the explosion or shortly thereafter, and eight more died later from injuries.
The explosion was a precipitating cause of the Spanish-American War that began in April 1898 and which used the rallying cry, "Remember the Maine!, To hell with Spain!"
After the war many parties demanded that the Maine be raised from Havana harbor. Cuban officials became worried about the safety of having a sunken ship in their harbor, U.S. officials wanted the remains of the sailors trapped in the wreck recovered and buried, and a few people wanted to confirm the cause of the sinking. Begun in December 1910, a huge waterproof cofferdam was built around the wreck and water was pumped out, finally exposing the wreck by late summer 1911. Except for many souvenir items retained by the Navy and distributed to the public, most of the tangled wreckage was dumped into the sea off the coast of Cuba. The hollow, intact portion of the hull of the Maine was refloated and ceremoniously scuttled at sea on March 16, 1912.
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