From: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships


Birmingham is a city in Alabama.

(CL-2: dp. 3750; l. 423'1"; b. 47'1"; dr. 16'9"; s. 24.5 k.; cpl. 359; a. 2 5", 6 3", 2 21" TT.; cl. Chester)

Birmingham (CL-2) was launched 29 May 1907 by Fore River Shipbuilding Co., Quincy, Mass.; sponsored by Mrs. L. Underwood; and commissioned 11 April 1908 Commander B. T. Wallin in command.

Birmingham served with the Atlantic Fleet until 27 June 1911 and went into reserve at Boston three days later. From her deck, 14 November 1910, Eugene Ely made the first airplane take-off from a warship. Recommissioned 15 December 1911 she made a short cruise to the West Indies and then reverted to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Philadelphia 20 April 1912. During 19 May-11 July 1912 she was in commission for service on the Ice Patrol and then returned to the Philadelphia Reserve Group. Recommissioned 1 October 1913 Birmingham carried the Panama-Pacific Exposition Commissioners on a South American tour (3 October-26 December 1913) and then was outfitted at Philadelphia Navy Yard as a tender to the Torpedo Flotilla.

She left the yard 2 February 1914 and resumed operations with the Atlantic Fleet as flagship of the Torpedo Flotilla. During 22 April-25 May 1914 she operated with the fleet in Mexican waters. In 1916 she became flagship of Destroyer Force Atlantic Fleet, and Torpedo Flotilla 3.

Following American entrance into World War I, Birmingham patrolled along the northeast coast until 14 June 1917 when she sailed from New York as part of the escort for the first American troop convoy to France. After returning to New York she was fitted for service in Europe and in August reported to Gibraltar as flagship for Rear Admiral A. P. Niblack, Commander, U. S. Forces Gibraltar. She escorted convoys between Gibraltar, the British Isles, and France until the Armistice. After a short cruise in the eastern Mediterranean she returned to the United States in January 1919.

From July 1919 until May 1922 she was based at San Diego, Calif., as flagship of Destroyer Squadrons, Pacific Fleet, and then moved to Balboa, C. Z., as flagship of the Special Service Squadron. After cruising along the Central American and northern South American coast she returned to Philadelphia Navy Yard and was decommissioned there 1 December 1923. She was sold for scrapping 13 May 1930.