There have been three warships named the USS Sacramento. The second one (PG-19) was a WWI-era gunboat that served mostly in Japan and China between the wars. In August 1941 the ship was assigned to the 14th Naval District stationed at Pearl Harbor.
When the Japanese attacked on Dec. 7, the Sacramento was berthed next to a couple destroyers across from Battleship Row. The gunship's crew scrambled shortly after 8 a.m and helped shoot down two enemy planes targeting the larger vessels. Later they helped rescue a couple dozen sailors from the battleship Oklahoma. For its distinguished service during the attack, the Sacramento was awarded a battle star.
The Sacramento served in various capacities during World War II and was decommissioned in 1946. The following year it was sold as a merchant ship, initially under Italian registry. We don't know her ultimate fate, but fortunately her bell, signal flags, radio messages and other artifacts were preserved by sailors and donated to the City. On Oct. 16,1984, the bell was formally dedicated in a ceremony at the Old Sacramento Docking Barge at L Street and the river.
For this 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, The Bee has published articles on aging WWII vets and an El Dorado County woman who witnessed the battle as a child. Accompanying the stories is a photo gallery and list of informative online resources.
USS Sacramento (PG-19) resources:
NavSource Gunboat Photo Archive
USS Sacramento history, 1914-1947
Naval Warfare: USS Sacramento
Center for Sacramento History photos and artifacts
Sacramento Bee articles about the USS Sacramento
PHOTO CREDITS: (Top) the USS Sacramento, circa 1940. (Left) the bell from the USS Sacramento hangs near the Tower Bridge. 2009 Sacramento Bee photograph by Randy Pench