S.S. Manchuria (Pacific Mail Steamship Co.), c. 1910
“The S.S. Mongolia, recently completed by the New York Shipbuilding Co., of Camden, N.J., for the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, made her trial trip successfully January 27, 1904. The ship is the largest yet completed in America.
“The Mongolia, and her sister ship, the Manchuria, were originally contracted for by the Atlantic Transport Line, but were subsequently taken over by the Pacific Mail Company and modified slightly for their trade on the Pacific, between San Francisco and the ports in Japan and China … The speed attained at trial was 16 knots. Provision is made for 350 first-class passengers. The crew will consist of 200 people. Chinese steerage accommodations on the upper deck provide for 1,300; this space is available for cargo when not so occupied.”
– Journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers, Volume 16, by L.D. Lovekin, Esq., February 1904
“S.S. Mongolia was a 13,369-ton passenger-and-cargo liner originally built for Pacific Mail Steamship Company in 1904. She later sailed as USS Mongolia (ID-1615) for the U.S. Navy during World War I, as S.S. President Fillmore for the Dollar Line (1921-1938), and as S.S. Panamanian for Cia Transatlantica Centroamericano (1940-1946).
“Ordered by E. H. Harriman’s Pacific Mail Steamship Co. for its San Francisco-Far East service, Mongolia was laid down as Minnelora on 7 June 1902 in Shipway J at New York Shipbuilding in Camden, New Jersey. A sister ship, S.S. Manchuria, was ordered at the same time and delivered three months after Mongolia in 1904. The accommodations of both ships reflected the importance of emigration to shipping lines of the era: 350 first-class, 68 second-class, and 1,300 steerage.
“In August 1915 Pacific Mail sold Mongolia to Atlantic Transport Line, for whom she plied the New York-London route until pressed into service as a troop carrier in 1917. Following the German declaration of a submarine blockade around Britain, Mongolia received a self-defense armament of three 6-inch (150 mm) deck guns manned by U.S. Navy gun crews. According to some accounts, it was the Mongolia that fired the first American shot when the US entered World War I, taking aim at a German U-boat off the English Channel and possibly sinking it.”
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