Hey Rob - Well, "action" is a relative term....What's most important/interesting about this Essex is that she was designed and built by the famed clipper ship designer and builder Donald McKay. She was the last ship he built, she was a member of the last class of wooden-hulled warships built for the Navy (all-steel after her, except for one wooden-hulled purpose-built training ship called the Chesapeake that was never active duty), shes was the last of her class to be de-commissioned, and she's the only known example of McKay's work to survive anywhere in the world - and we have her here in Minnesota. During her time as an active Naval warship (1876-1893), she went around the world 3 times, acting as "America's power" in the Asiatic Station for quite a bit of time. She "came to the rescue" of American citizens when needed - but to my knowledge, she never fired her guns at an "enemy." One of the reasons is that really, she was almost obsolete a decade after her launching because of her wooden hull. She was on stand-by during the Spanish-American War, but didn't see service (interestingly, her first commander was Winfield Scott Schley, the hero of the Battle of Santiago). She had advantages because of her dual steam and sail configuration for propulsion (economical), but nearly all Naval vessels by 1900 were strictly steam. In 1893 she became a training vessel and here is where she made her mark, training Annapolis Naval Cadets to be not only fighters, but true sailors. Ironically, even though her wooden hull wasn't coveted by commanders, she was upgraded to advanced guns when she became a training ship in order to train her cadets properly, so that they would be ready to serve on the pre-Dreadnaught active duty fleet and not be confused by the armaments. She moved to the Great Lakes Naval Militia in 1904 and was stationed in Toledo, then Chicago, and finally Duluth. She trained thousands of sailors for WWI service and did fleet maneuvers with many well-known vessels such as the USS Constellation, USS Constitution, and USS Michigan, and with Michigan in 1913- now called Wolverine so that her name could be used for the new Battleship Michigan - she escorted the newly-raised and restored USS Niagara around the Great Lakes during the Perry Victory on Lake Erie Centennial celebrations. So, the log books cover all of this - except that I'm missing a chunk from when she was in Toledo 1904-1909 and in Duluth 1920-1921. She was not used as a Naval Militia or Naval Reserve vessel past 1922 and she was housed-over to become a Receiving Ship (many ships suffered this fate, basically becoming a house/barracks/storerooms - even the Constellation and Constitution had this happen to them at one point before they were restored to their current configurations) until 1930. She was sold as scrap to the Klatzky Co. in 1931, stripped of her accessible valuable copper fastenings, and burned on Minnesota Point in Duluth on October 14, 1931. I have photos from a newspaper of her burning, and it kills me. Some local Duluth folks have some photos of them climbing around the wreck in the 1950s when the turn of the bilge was still there (the wreck, in normal water, is in the surf zone and is only 2-4 feet under water; right now she's covered in 3 feet of sand since the Corps of Engineers often dumps dredge spoil from the inner harbors to the north of her and the sand migrates; she's safe, though, and we know where she is), and we're going to scan those soon, I hope. Our plan to preserve the Essex is also on the Internet Archive if you're interested, written by my husband on another grant - lots of great historical and archaeological photos in that one. Any other questions? Just ask!