battle of santiago de cuba

Sculpture “Victory,” Forward Gun Turret of the USS Massachusetts (BB-2)

This sculpture entitled “Victory” once adorned the main forward gun turret of the USS Massachusetts (BB-2) that was commissioned in 1896 and served in the North Atlantic Squadron. The Massachusetts fought in the Caribbean during the Spanish-American War but did not participate in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba on July 3rd,1898 having left the night before to load coal at Guantanamo. She remained on station supporting the blockade of Cuba until the end of the war.

After the war, the Massachusetts went through a series of repairs and upgrades. However, despite these modernizations she was considered obsolete by 1910 and served only as a heavy gun target practice ship during the First World War. In 1920 the ship was struck from the Naval Vessel Register and was scuttled off of Pensacola, FL in January 1921 to be used as target practice for coastal artillery and railway guns.

The sculpture itself was donated by the Commonwealth on Massachusetts in 1896 for the purpose of decorating the forward-most turret of the ship and depicts a figure of Winged Victory in armor, helm, and cape and wielding a sword with an eagle-head pommel with the word “VICTORY” etched on the blade. The inscription beneath reads;

“GIFT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS — BY DUTY DONE IS HONOR WON —”