From: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Vol. VI, p 310
Gonzalo de Sandoval was a member of Cortez's army during the conquest of Mexico and subsequently led expeditions in Honduras and Guatemala. The first Sandoval was named in his honor by the Spanish Navy and retained the name during service in the United States Navy. The second Sandoval (LPA-194) honors a county in New Mexico.
The first Sandoval, a steel gunboat, was launched on 20 September 1895 at Clydebank Engine and Shipbuilding Co., Clydebank, Scotland, for the Spanish Navy. She was captured on 17 July 1898 upon the surrender of Spanish forces at Santiago de Cuba. Taken in tow by the tug, Potomac, Sandoval was berthed alongside Vulcan. on 2 September 1898 and commissioned the same day, Lt. Edwin C. Anderson in command.
Upon completing preliminary repairs, Sandoval was taken in tow by the tug, Manati, and beached near Fisherman's Point, Cuba. There she was careened and her hull cleaned in preparation for the voyage to the United States. Towed off the beach on 1 October, Sandoval ran steam trials on 27 October and departed Santiago Bay on 3 November 1898. Calling at Key West on 9 November, Sandoval sailed on 13 November in company with her sister gunboat, Alvarado, for Jacksonville, Fla. ; Port Royal and Charleston, S.C. ; Wilmington, N.C. ; Hampton Roads, Va, ; and arrived at Norfolk on 24 December 1898. After calling at Annapolis on 29 December, Sandoval reached the Washington Navy Yard on 3 January 1899 for repairs. Standing down the Potomac on 3 April 1899 after overhaul, Sandoval and Alvarado continued northward to New York ; Providence, R.I. ; Boston and Marblehead, Mass. Then proceeding to the Portsmouth (N.H.) Navy Yard, Sandoval was decommissioned on 10 May 1899 and was placed in reserve.
Recommissioned on 14 October 1900, Sandoval was assigned to the United States Naval Academy as a practice ship. Sandoval and her sister, Alvarado, remained at Annapolis until 1906, returning to the Norfolk Navy Yard to decommission on 22 March 1906. Loaned to the New York Naval Militia on 16 November, she arrived in Lake Ontario in September 1907. Commissioning each summer for training duty on the Great Lakes, she was based at Charlotte Harbor, N.Y., and frequently cruised to Ogdensburg and Sackets Harbor, N.Y. During World War I, Sandoval continued her training duties on the Great Lakes, calling at ports such as Erie, Pa., and Chicago, Ill., into 1918.
Declared surplus to Navy requirements, Sandoval was ordered sold on 10 July 1919 and accordingly struck from the Navy list on 23 July 1919. She was sold on 30 September 1919 to Charles S. Neff of Milwaukee, Wis. She was registered until 1924 as a private yacht.