Virginia Class Battleship: Displacement 14,948 Tons, Dimensions, 441' 3" (oa) x 76' 3" x 26' (Max), Armament 4 x 12"/40 8 x 8"/40, 12 x 6"/50 12 x 3"/50, 4 21" tt. Armor, 11" Belt, 12" Turrets, 3" Decks, 9" Conning Tower. Machinery, 19,000 IHP; 2 vertical, inverted, triple expansion engines, 2 screws. Speed, 19 Knots, Crew 812.
The following analysis is by historian Chuck Haberlein, formerly of the Naval Historical Center:
According to "Register of Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1775-1990" (by Stephen S. Roberts & K. Jack Bauer), three of the BB-13 class had their names changed on 7 March 1901 (before any of them were laid down). Battleship # 13 was originally named New Jersey. Battleship # 14 was originally to be Pennsylvania, and Battleship # 16 was to be Virginia. After the renamings, Virginia and New Jersey had swapped places, Nebraska (originally intended for Armored Cruiser # 4) swapped ships with Pennsylvania. Again, according to that book: "The construction of the first two ships (ie BBs 13 & 14) was delayed because of Congressional limitations on the price that could be paid for armor plate and because of lengthy debates within the navy on the arrangement of the guns" (presumably the superposed 8"/12" turrets). (my comments are in parentheses). Same book's Armored Cruiser # 4 class entry states: "The refusal of manufacturers to sell armor within the price limits set by Congress delayed the ships' construction." Both classes (BB-13 & ACR-4) were originally authorized in Fiscal Year 1900, but the first of them were not laid down until 7 August 1901 (Pennsylvania, as Armored Cruiser # 4) and 31 August 1901 (Georgia, as Battleship # 15). It looks to me like there may have been some political log rolling involved in the renamings. PERHAPS (this is purely a guess) some Pennsylvania politicos wanted "their" name on a ship ASAP, so it was given to the first available keel. Then again, maybe builder location had something to do with it. Cramp built Armored Cruiser # 4, while none of the Virginia class battleships were built in Pennsylvania.
Operational and Building Data: Laid down by Newport News, Shipbuilding, Newport News VA., May 21 1902. Launched April 5 1904. Commissioned May 7 1906. Decommissioned August 13 1920. Stricken July 12 1922. Transferred to War Department, August 6 1923.
Fate: Sunk as target by Army Air Corps off Diamond Shoals, North Carolina, September 5 1923.