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History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications
from the first submarine cable of 1850 to the worldwide fiber optic network

CS Burnside
by Bill Glover


Built in 1882 by Campbell, Mackintosh & Bowstead, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Length 285.2 ft. Breadth 36.7 ft. Depth 26.0 ft. Gross tonnage 2226

Built for W. Lund of London for use on the Australia run and named Yeoman. In 1887 Swan, Hunter of Wallsend on Tyne fitted new boilers and engines. Sold to a Spanish company in 1891 and renamed Rita. Captured by the US Cruiser Yale during the Spanish-American war and renamed Burnside. Used initially as a cargo vessel but converted into a cable ship after the loss of CS Hooker whilst laying cable in the Philippines, CS Burnside completed the work.

In 1903 CS Burnside began work on the US-Alaska cable, laying the 291 nm section from Sitka to Juneau, and in the following year laid 1070 nm of cable from Sitka to Seattle, and a further 640 nm from Sitka to Valdez. These cables were operated by the US Army Signals Corps for the Washington-Alaska Military Cable and Telegraph System (WAMCATS). The vessel remained in service until scrapped in 1924 and replaced by CS Dellwood.

Cable machinery for the ship was made by Johnson and Phillips and was identical to that supplied to CS Ogasawara Maru. The cable machines were mounted on the forward well deck so a flying bridge was provided aft.

More information on U.S. Armed Forces cables and cableships


1903 Sitka - Juneau, Alaska
1904 Sitka, Alaska - Seattle

Sitka - Valdez, Alaska

Painting of CS Burnside courtesy of David Stoff.
The painting was commissioned by his great-grandfather,
who served on the Burnside laying cable in the Philippines

Last revised: 9 June, 2015

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You can help - if you have cable material, old or new, please contact me. Cable samples, instruments, documents, brochures, souvenir books, photographs, family stories, all are valuable to researchers and historians.

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