Ballaseyus was drafted for the Spanish-American War & commissioned a Lt. j.g., USN, per his widow’s pension request, in which it was claimed that he commanded the U.S.S. Piscataqua, a tugboat, for four months. [Source: Dale E. Hall, "Early Symphonic Music Organizations in Honolulu and Their Conductors," in The Hawaiian J. of Hist., Vol. 20 (1986), pgs. 185ff.] Be this as it may, it is more likely that he was, at least originally, the ship’s junior officer. [In 1900, when based at the Navy’s Asiatic Station at Cavite Naval Yard (Manila Bay), the Philippines, the ship was under a Lt.-Cmdr. but had a Lt., j.g. serving under him.] The U.S.S. Piscataqua was no small vessel. Displacing 631 tons, it was fourth in size of the 39 commissioned tugs of 1900. [Largest was the U.S.S. Iroquois, at 702 tons.] At 1600 horsepower, it was second only to the 677-ton U.S.S. Potomac, at 2000 IHP, and with over twice the power of the #4 tug, at 750 IHP. The U.S.S. Piscataqua, like other such tugs of the day, was a single-screw, steel-hulled ship, and it carried four deck guns (rated as “secondary” guns). It was 149 feet long with a 12 foot draft and a crew of about 58 men.
In WWII, ocean-going tugs such as the U.S.S. Kiowa took railroad floats (used to carry freight rail cars between NJ & NYC) to the Normandy beaches after D-Day. The Kiowa was 204 feet long with a 14-foot draft and a crew of about 85 men. By comparison with the U.S.S. Piscataqua of a half-century earlier, it had a displacement of 1,164 tons (lt) and 3,600 SHP provided by 4 General Motors diesel main engines. Modern freight locomotives are frequently in the 4,000 HP catagory.
Where stats on the U.S.S. Piscataqua differ, I have chosen the older record -- surmising that the tug had been refitted for WWI.