Concept/Program: The only 'modern' ram constructed by the US Navy. Was intended as the part of a large harbor/coast defense program, which was to include heavy coastal fortifications and numerous rams. The rams were intended to finish off enemy vessels that had been disabled by gunfire from the forts. In the event only one ram was built, and the entire program was badly outdated. Katahdin saw no significant service, except as a target ship.
Design: A low, turtle-backed design with minimal superstructure. Nominal freeboard was 5-6 feet, but when underway, even in moderate seas, the deck was nearly awash. The design speed of 18 knots was not reached.
Remained inactive but in commission at New York until moved to Philadelphia March 1897, then decommissioned to reserve 17 April 1897. Recommissioned for Spanish American War service 10 March 1898; operated along the northeast US coast. Decommissioned to reserve 8 October 1898.
Stricken for use as a target 9 July 1909 and designated Ballistic Experimental Target A. Sunk as a target September 1909.
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