Pioneer of the New Navy
She was a subject of bitter controversy that probably hastened the death of her builder. The Secretary of the Navy who inherited her from the previous administration maligned her, and her first commanding officer deemed her a "crazy quilt" design. Nevertheless, the dispatch boat Dolphin was the first ship in the truly modern American Navy and the service's first steel warship to circumnavigate the globe. She went on to take part in the war with Spain, figure in a diplomatic crisis that nearly precipitated a war with Mexico, and later transported Japanese diplomats on their way to negotiate the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese War. The little dispatch boat would play host to diplomats and dignitaries, and two future Presidents—assistant secretaries of the Navy at the time, named Roosevelt—trod her decks. She also numbered a future Chief of Naval Operations, ambassador, and confidant of Presidents—then-Lieutenant Commander William D. Leahy—among her commanding officers.