|Originally the three ships of the fiscal 1900 were to be New Jersey (BB-13) to be built by Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, VA, Nebraska (BB-14) to be built by Moran Brothers, Seattle, WA and Georgia (BB-15) to be built by Bath Iron
Works, Bath, ME, while the two ships of the fiscal 1901 plan were to be Virginia (BB-16) to be built by Fore River Ship and Engine, Quincy, MA and Rhode Island (BB-17) to be built by Fore River Ship and Engine, Quincy, MA. Instead, Virginia and
New Jersey swapped names on March 7, 1901 so that USS Virginia would be built in the State of Virginia. All dimensions and displacement leaped above those of the Maine Class. Waterline length was 441-feet 3-inches overall compared to 388-feet
in Maine, beam 76-feet 2.5-inches compared to 72-feet 2.5-inches and draught of 23-feet 9-inches. Normal displacement of 14,948-tons compared to 12,508-tons. Designed displacement at full load was 16,094-tons but New Jersey came in heavy at
16,697-tons. Her power plant was 12 Babcock & Wilcox boilers supplying steam to two 4 cylinder vertical triple expansion VTE engines. On Trials New Jersey achieved 19.18-knots. Indicated Horsepower (IHP) of the Virginias was 22,841ihp vs
15,841ihp in the Maines with a maximum speed of 17-knots for 12 to 24 hours vs the 16-knots of the Maine Class. The Virginia Class had an armament fit of four 12-inch/40 Mk III (2x2), eight 4x2 eight-inch/45 Mk VI, twelve 6-inch/50 12x1 Mk
VII guns and four 21-inch submerged torpedo tubes (added as an initial alteration). The armor arrangement was turret face 12-inches for main guns and superimposed turrets and 6.5-inches for waist secondary turrets. Barbette armor was 10 to 7.5
inches for main gun turrets and 6-inches for the waist turrets. Belt armor was 11 to 8-inches and casemate armor 6-inches. The armor design of belt and casemate armor caused a problem with replenishing coal. There were no openings in the
casemate armor allowing coal replenishment on the main deck. Instead coal sacks had to be raised to the 01 deck and poured through scuttles at that higher level, through temporary canvas chutes to the bunkers. Accordingly coal replenishment was
more arduous and time consuming than in previous designs. The conning tower had 9-inch armor and the armor deck was 3 to 1.5-inches with 3-inches on the slope to the hull sides. Another war lesson incorporated into the design was the reduction
of combustible wood to the highest degree possible. Complement was 40 officers and 772 crewmen.
USS New Jersey BB-16 was authorized on June 7, 1900 and contracted on February 15, 1901 with the Fall River Ship and Engine Building Co., in Quincey, Massachusetts. On April 2, 1902 she was laid down and launched on November 10, 1904. She
was commissioned on May 12, 1906. One of her first missions was to be reviewed by President Theodore Roosevelt in Oyster Bay in September 1906. Teddy always loved looking at USN battleships. New Jersey had a brief training period along the
New England coast before setting off for Havana, Cuba, where she arrived on September 21, 1906. She was there until October 13 to safeguard American interests during an Cuban Insurrection. She returned to the east coast and for the next year
trained out of Norfolk, Newport and Boston. On December 16, 1907 USS New Jersey was at Hampton Roads, Virginia and passed in review by President Roosevelt. She was one of the sixteen battleships selected for Teddy’s round the world cruise,
as the Great White Fleet. The Great White Fleet returned to the US in February 1909 and New Jersey again passed in review for Teddy at Hampton Roads on February 22, 1909. In 1909 New Jersey had both of her military masts replaced by cage
masts, the 3-inch guns were removed, and stockless anchors replaced the older type. Later the 12-inch guns were removed and replaced with a newer model Mark 3 Mod 3 12-inch/40 gun. By 1914 the displacement of New Jersey had risen to 17,063-
tons full load. On May 2, 1910 New Jersey was placed in reserve at Boston. She spent a year there before she was recommissioned on July 15, 1911. In the fall of 1913 she was sent to Mexican waters because of the unrest there. A landing force from
New Jersey went ashore at Vera Cruz on April 21, 1914. She remained there until August 13, 1914 when she sailed to Santo Domingo and the northern coast of Haiti because of unrest in Hispaniola. On October 9 New Jersey reached Hampton Roads.
Training on the east coast occupied her time until the US entered World War One. When the US entered World War One the New Jersey was assigned to train seamen recruits and train in gunnery in Chesapeake Bay. During this service she was
painted in two different camouflage schemes. One was the very colorful Mackay camouflage using red, green, blue and mauve. Later she received pattern N5A using black, white, blue and blue-gray. The book The Easter Egg Fleet by Aryeh
Wetherhorn, 2020 has a photograph of the starboard bow quarter of New Jersey in the Mackay Camouflage and a plate of the port side pattern for New Jersey in the N5A pattern. The author notes that there are no photographs or patterns found for the
starboard side. This is unfortunate because the patterns normally were different on each side. However, on the good side, if you paint the New Jersey on both sides with the N5A pattern, no one can say you are wrong.