|Laid down:||June 1888|
|Launched:||3 June 1890|
|Commissioned:||20 June 1891|
|Decommissioned:||31 October 1905|
|Fate:||Sold for scrapping|
|Struck:||10 September 1910|
|Length:||244 ft 5 in (74 m)|
|Beam:||36 ft (11.0 m)|
|Draft:||14 ft (4.3 m)|
|Speed:||17.5 knots (32.41 km/h)|
|Complement:||197 officers and enlisted|
|Armament:||6 x 6-inch guns (6x1)|
The first USS Bennington (PG-4), also known as "Gunboat No. 4," was a gunboat of the United States Navy. Named for the town of Bennington, Vermont, she was laid down in June, 1888 at the Delaware River Iron Works in Chester, Pennsylvania; launched on 3 June 1890; sponsored by Miss Anne Aston; and commissioned at the New York Navy Yard on 20 June 1891, with Commander Royal B. Bradford in command.
Bennington joined the Squadron of Evolution and left New York on 19 November 1891 on the Squadron's cruise to Brazil. Transferred to the South Atlantic Squadron on 5 May 1892, she cruised in South American waters until 19 July. She then visited Spain and Italy to participate in the celebrations marking the quadricentennial of the discovery of America. Bennington returned to Hampton Roads on 26 March 1893 with the replicas of Columbus' vessels in tow. Departing New York City on 6 August 1893, the gunboat cruised in the Mediterranean until leaving Gibraltar on 18 July 1894 for the Pacific Squadron. She arrived at Valparaíso, Chile, 3 April and Mare Island Navy Yard on 30 April.
She cruised along the Pacific coasts of North and Central America and in Hawaii until leaving Mare Island on 15 September 1898. She steamed, via Honolulu and Guam, to Manila, arriving there on 22 February 1899, and en route took possession of Wake Island on 17 January. Bennington cruised in the Philippines assisting the Army in putting down the insurgents in the Philippine-American War until 3 January 1901. She returned to Mare Island on 19 August and went out of commission on 5 September 1901.
Recommissioned on 2 March 1903, she cruised along the Pacific coasts of North and South America for the next two years. On the morning of 21 July 1905, while preparing to get underway in San Diego Bay, two boilers burst showering the vessel with live steam and scalding water. The ship sank but was subsequently refloated. 1 officer (Ensign Newman K. Perry) and 65 men were killed, while the rest on board (46 total) were burned; they are remembered by the USS Bennington Monument in the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, Point Loma, San Diego. On 17 August, Bennington arrived at Mare Island and was decommissioned on 31 October.