. . . is reconstructed from eyewitness reports, numerous documents and court inquiry records. The Maine was the first U.S. warship designed by naval architects and built in a government shipyard. Less than two hours after the ship went out on her own in 1895 she was disabled. Summoned to protect American citizens in Havana, she went down after an explosion in the harbor in 1898. Investigating the sinking, the U.S. court of inquiry supported the popular view that the explosion was caused externally. But logic and the temperance of hindsight made this extremely unlikely.