USRC/USCGC McCulloch Wreck located

n 1914, USRC Cutter McCulloch was ordered to Mare Island Navy Shipyard where the cutter’s boilers were replaced, the mainmast was removed and the bowsprit shortened. In 1915, McCulloch became a US Coast Guard Cutter when the US Revenue Cutter Service and US Life-Saving Service were combined to create the United States Coast Guard. (Credit: Gary Fabian Collection)

You may have heard the wreck of the Cutter McCulloch, a participant in the Battle of Manila Bay, has been found of Pt. Conception.

The best coverage I have found is on the NOAA website.

There does seem to be an error in that it refers to the guns on the McCulloch as four 6-pounder, 3-inch rapid firing guns. 6-pounders were 57mm weapons (sound familiar?) while 3-inch guns typically fired a projectile of 13 pounds. Those figures are very close to projectile weights of the modern 76mm Mk75 and 57mm Mk110. The confusion may have originated from the fact that while the McCulloch, as built, was armed with 6-pounders, before the Battle of Manila Bay, she was up-gunned.

There is an interesting footnote on the McCulloch’s Spanish American War service.

Dewey presented USRC McCulloch with four of the six 1-pounder revolving Hotchkiss guns taken from the Spanish flagship, Reina Cristina. Each of these Hotchkiss cannons had five, revolving 37mm barrels. These four guns are displayed in pairs to either side of the front of Hamilton Hall facing the parade ground at the United States Coast Guard Academy.

As an advocate of torpedoes on cutters, I liked seeing the McCulloch had a torpedo tube, see, there is precedence.


4 thoughts on “USRC/USCGC McCulloch Wreck located

  1. Captain C. L. Hooper in his report of September 20, 1898 mentioned he received two 3-inch BLR mounted “on field carriages” to supplement his four Hotchkiss 6-pounders. One each 3″ supplied from USS Baltimore and Raleigh. These were normally used by naval infantry. The 37-mm Hotchkiss were mere war trophies of the Navy.

    The torpedo tube and tube were of White’s design. It was a useless attachment but it was considered necessary because it made the cutters look like naval vessels. Sound familiar?

  2. News Release
    U.S. Coast Guard 11th District Pacific Southwest
    Coast Guard POC: Amy Stork: (510) 772-8217
    NOAA POC: Sarah Marquis: (949) 222-2212
    11th District online newsroom

    Coast Guard continues documentation efforts for historic shipwreck recently added to National Register of Historic Places

    Coast Guard continues documentation efforts for historic shipwreck recently added to National Register of Historic Places Coast Guard continues documentation efforts for historic shipwreck recently added to National Register of Historic Places
    Editor’s Note: Click on images above to download full-resolution version.

    ALAMEDA, Calif. — Coast Guard crews recently continued their efforts to document the historic shipwreck of the Coast Guard Cutter McCulloch June 3, after the service’s partnership with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration personnel recently resulted in the ship being added to the National Register of Historic Places.

    The Coast Guard Cutter Blackfin crew transported members of Regional Dive Locker West and Maritime Safety and Security Team Los Angeles/Long Beach to the wreckage site where remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) were deployed to depths greater than 200 feet.

    Despite the challenging offshore conditions, Coast Guard ROV operators were able to survey the sunken cutter and surrounding area. These dive operations honor the Coast Guard’s heritage and provide valuable training opportunities to enhance mission readiness.

    The Coast Guard Cutter McCulloch, located near Point Conception, was lost in a collision with the passenger steamship SS Governor on June 13, 1917 and remains within waters of the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary.

    Scott Price and Daniel Koski-Karell, Coast Guard historians, and Robert Schwemmer, a NOAA maritime archaeologist and chief scientist for the mission that led to the McCulloch’s discovery, worked together to draft and submit the National Register of Historic Places nomination.

    “McCulloch had a remarkable career as both a U.S. Revenue Cutter Service vessel and U.S. Coast Guard cutter,” said Koski-Karell. “Its participation in the Spanish-American War’s 1898 Battle of Manila Bay victory is memorialized by the trophy cannon the McCulloch brought to the U.S. that stands today in front of the Coast Guard Academy’s Hamilton Hall.”

    The McCulloch shipwreck was officially listed in the federal government’s National Register of Historic Places on April 22, meeting the criteria to be considered a site of “national significance.”

    “The listing to the National Register of Historic Places, as well as California’s Register of Historical Resources, demonstrates the spirit of cooperation between NOAA and the Coast Guard, enhances public awareness of McCulloch’s important role in America’s history, while honoring its crew,” said Schwemmer, the West Coast regional maritime heritage coordinator for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

    In October 2016, a joint NOAA and Coast Guard training mission confirmed the location of the McCulloch’s final resting place. Working off the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary’s research vessel Shearwater, the multi-agency science team from NOAA, National Park Service, and Coast Guard Dive Lockers Alameda and San Diego, deployed a ROV to survey and characterize the shipwreck while Eleventh Coast Guard District cutters Halibut and Blacktip provided vessel support.

    “I’m pleased we are making progress to preserve this piece of U.S. and Coast Guard history, as well as honoring the service member lost because of this tragedy,” said Rear Adm. Brian Penoyer, the Eleventh Coast Guard District commander. “I look forward to our continued partnership with NOAA, because without these relationships and incredible teamwork, discoveries such as these would not be uncovered.”

    Listing the shipwreck site on the National Register of Historic Places provides a wealth of public research information and could unlock incentives to help preserve the shipwreck, including federal tax and grant benefits, and easements.

    Diagnostic Hull Features

    Key artifacts and locations

    Video of ROV ops
    [video src="" /]

    Media Page


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