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THE LIBRARY OF THE 

UNIVERSITY OF 

NORTH CAROLINA 



THE COLLECTION OE 

NORTH CAROLINIANA 

ENDOWED BY 

JOHN SPRUNT HILL 

CLASS OF 1889 



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UNIVERSITY OF N.C. AT CHAPEL HILI 



00032193484 

This book must not 
be taken from the 
Library building. 



OUR NAVY AT WAR 




W^WCi^XfiJl^ 



From painting in Navy Department by B. S. Meryman 




OUR NAVY 
AT WAR 



BY 



JOSEPHUS DANIELS 

SECRETARY OF THE NAVY 
1913 to 1921 




Illustrated with Reproductions of Original 
and Official Photographs 



Pictorial Bureau 

Washington, D. C. 



1922 



COPYRIGHT BY 

Pictorial Bureau 

1922 






To the Six Hundred Thousand Men 

Who Served in the United States Navy 

and Marine Corps in the 

World War 

Manning more than two thousand vessels — 

Operating with Allied Navies from the 

Arctic to the Adriatic — 

Transporting troops and supplies across the Atlantic — 

Protecting ships from attack and destruction — 

Driving off and defeating the murderous submarines, 

You made safe the seas, and 

Kept open the Road to France, so that, 

Of all the vast Army sent overseas, 

Not one soldier on an American troop-ship 

Lost his life on the way to France. 

Fighting with the Army, your comrades, 

The Soldiers of the Sea, won fame in 

Hard-fought battles that saved Paris, 

Drove back the German hordes, and 

Won for Humanity Complete and Glorious Victory. 



In recognition of your splendid service, your dauntless deeds, this 
work is dedicated by one who was sometime your commander and 
always your shipmate. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER PAGE 

I. When the War Call Came 1 

II. "To Be Strong Upon the Seas" 9 

III. The Break with Germany 19 

IV. The Day of Decision 30 

V. Sending Sims to Europe 36 

VI. Naval Allies in Historic Conference 45 

VII. "We Are Ready Now, Sir" 53 

VIII. Race Between Wilson and Hindenburg 70 

IX. The Fleet the Kaiser Built for Us 89 

X. Guarding the Coast of France 99 

XI. Gibraltar and the Convoy 116 

XII. Shutting up the Hornets in Their Nests 125 

XIII. President Wilson as a Strategist 143 

XIV. Comrades of the Mist 151 

XV. Cinderellas of the Fleet 161 

XVI. "Do Not Surrender"— "Never" 173 

XVII. When the U-Boats Came to America 187 

XVIII. Marines Stopped Drive on Paris 206 

XIX. The Answer to the 75-Mile Gun 218 

XX. The Navy That Flies 228 

XXI. The Ferry to France 241 

XXII. Radio Girdled the Globe 250 

XXIII. A Surprise for Count von Luxburg 259 

XXIV. American Admiral Saved Kolchak 268 

XXV. The Half -Way House 275 

XXVI. To Victory on a Sea of Oil 280 

XXVII. Edison— and 100,000 More 285 

XXVIII. Building a Thousand Ships 297 

XXIX. Making Sailors out of Landsmen 309 

XXX. Three Hundred Thousand Strong 318 

XXXI. Women in the Navy 328 

XXXII. Coast Guard Wins Distinction 332 

XXXIII. Winning the First Battle of the War 341 

XXXIV. Fighting the Profiteers 347 

XXXV. "Sirs, All Is Well with the Fleet" 354 

XXXVI, After the Armistice 366 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



Josephus Daniels Frontispiece 

FACING PAGE 

War Chiefs of the Navy, the Secretary and his Advisory Council. . 16 

A Friendly Bout 17 

School Hour Aboard a Battleship 17 

President Wilson and the War Cabinet 32 

American Dreadnoughts, the Embodiment of Sea Power 33 

American Destroyers in Queenstown Harbor 52 

The Return of the Mayflower 53 

The Surrender of the U-58 58 

Crew of the Fanning, which sank the U-58 59 

They, Too, Were Ready 67 

The Seattle and Rear Admiral Albert Cleaves 68 

A Dash through the Danger Zone 68 

The Sinking of the President Lincoln 80 

The Secretary of the Navy with Captain Dismukes and the men who 

saved the Mount Vernon 81 

The Mount Vernon safely in port after being torpedoed 81 

Brest, Center of the Great System of Naval Operations in France. . . 112 

A German "Sub" and Some of its Enemies 113 

At Gibraltar, Key to the Mediterranean 124 

The Great Mine Barrage against the Submarines 125 

Planting Mines in the North Sea 128 

How the Big Mines in the North Sea Barrage Worked 129 

One of the Perils of Mine-Sweeping 136 

The Mine-Sweepers Proved Wonderful Sea Boats 136 

United States Naval Officers in Important Commands 137 

American and British Naval Officials 137 

The Transport which carried President Wilson to the Peace Con- 
ference 144 

Allied Naval Council in Session at Paris 145 

Fifth Battle Squadron Joining the British Grand Fleet 160 

Surrender of the German High Seas Fleet 161 

American Sub-chasers at Corfu, Greece 168 

A Flock of Sub-chasers with their Mother-ship 169 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

FACING PAGE 

Gun-crew of the Luckenbacli has a Four-Hour Fight with a Submarine 192 
Chief Gunner's Mate Delaney, of the Campana, Defying his Captors 192 

The Merchant Submarine Deutschland 193 

Leaders of the Marines 208 

The Marines in Belleau Wood 209 

Naval Railway Battery Firing from Thierville upon Longuyon .... 224 

On the Turret Platform of a Battleship 225 

Assembling Naval Airplanes at Brest 228 

A Navy Blimp Leaving Hangar at Guipavas, Fiance 229 

Naval Aviation Hangars at Guipavas 229 

Pauillac, Naval Aviation Station 240 

Fliers whose Exploits Brought Prestige to Naval Aviation 241 

The Station Whose Messages are Heard around the World 256 

The Tablet on the Main Building of the Lafayette Radio Station . . 257 

Eagle Boats at Anchor in the Ice of the White Sea 274 

The Half -Way House 275 

The Naval Consulting Board and the Navy Department Chiefs 288 

Secretary Daniels and Thomas A. Edison 289 

Fitting Out for Distant Service 304 

Hanging up a Record 305 

The Living Flag 320 

United States Naval Academy at Annapolis 321 

Yeomen (F) in Liberty Loan Parade, New York City 328 

Cyclops, the Collier which Disappeared without Leaving a Trace . . 329 

Lost with Every Man on Board (Coast Guard Cutter Tampa) 336 

They Saved Survivors of Torpedoed Vessels 337 

Gallant Officers of the Coast Guard 337 

A General View of Bantry Bay 352 

A Close-up View of American "Subs" at Berehaven 352 

Rodman and Beatty 353 

From Manila to the Adriatic 368 

Scorpion, only American Naval Vessel Interned during the War. . . 369 



Our Navy at War 

CHAPTER I 
WHEN THE WAR CALL CAME 

NEWS FLASHED TO SHIPS AND STATIONS FIVE MINUTES AFTER PRESI- 
DENT SIGNED DECLARATION ENTIRE NAVY MOBILIZED AT ONCE 

FLEET, ON WAR BASIS SINCE BREAK WITH GERMANY, WAS AT YORK- 



TOWN "IN BEST STATE OF PREPAREDNESS IT HAD EVER BEEN, 

ADMIRAL MAYO SAID OFFICERS AND MEN EAGER FOR ACTION. 



F 



IVE minutes after President Wilson signed the war 
resolution passed by Congress April 6, 1917, the Navy's 
radio operators were flashing this message to every ship 
and station: 



Sixteen Alnav. The President has signed act of Congress which 
declares a state of war exists between the United States and Germany. 
Acknowledge. 131106. Secnav. 

That dispatch had been prepared hours before. Radio and 
telegraph operators were at their keys waiting for the word 
to ' * let it go. ' ' Lieutenant Commander Byron McCandless, my 
naval aide, was waiting in the executive office at the White 
House. Lieutenant Commander Royal Ingersoll was stationed 
at the Navy Department, across the street, watching for the 
signal. The moment the President appended his signature, 
McCandless rushed out and wigwagged that the resolution had 
been signed. Ingersoll dashed down the corridor to the Com- 
munication office, and ordered the operators to start the 
"alnav" (all navy) dispatch. 

Flashed from the towers at Arlington, in a few minutes it 
was received by the Atlantic and Pacific fleets, by vessels and 
stations all along the coast. By radio, telegraph and cable, the 

1 



2 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

message was carried to Panama, across the Pacific to Honolulu, 
the Philippines, to the vessels on the Asiatic station. By the 
time the newspaper " extras" were on the street, the naval 
forces had received notice that we were at war. 

The fleet was mobilized that afternoon by the following tele- 
gram to the five flagships : 

TJ. 8. 8. Pennsylvania 
TJ. 8. S. Minnesota 
V. 8. 8. Seattle 
TJ. 8. 8. Columbia 
TJ. 8. 8. Vestal 

Flag Sigcode. Mobilize for war in accordance Department's con- 
fidential mobilization plan of March 21. Particular attention invited 
paragraphs six and eight. Acknowledge. 

Josephus Daniels. 

[Paragraph 6 assigned the rendezvous of the various forces, and 
paragraph 8 contained instructions with regard to vessels fitting out at 
navy yards.] 

When this message was received by the Atlantic Fleet, at 
1:33 p. m., Admiral Henry T. Mayo, Commander-in-Chief, 
hoisted on his flagship, the Pennsylvania, the signal, "War has 
commenced." At 5:50 o'clock he received the mobilization 
order, for which officers and vessels were so well prepared that 
Admiral Mayo said he did not have to "give a single order of 
any kind or description to pass the Fleet from a peace to a 
war basis." The entire Navy — Department, Fleet, yards and 
stations — was on a war footing within a few hours after war 
was declared. Complete instructions and plans, brought up to 
date, had been issued two weeks previous, and mobilization was 
completed without an hour 's delay. 

The Fleet was at its secret rendezvous "Base 2," to which it 
had sailed from Hampton Roads on April 3, the day after 
President Wilson delivered his war message to Congress. 
"Base 2" was Yorktown, Va., one of the most historic spots in 
America, and our battleships were in sight of the place where 
Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington. They rode at 
anchor in the waters where the timely arrival of De Grasse's 
ships assured the success of the war for American independence. 



WHEN THE WAR CALL CAME 3 

In those waters, first made historic in naval annals by the 
presence of the French ships sent to aid the struggling colonists 
in the crucial days of 1781, the American Navy was making 
ready to repay that invaluable assistance — to send its vessels 
to the beleaguered French coast, both to safeguard the vast 
army America would send to France and to drive back the 
onrushing enemies that threatened its life. In 1917 the York 
and the Chesapeake were again the rendezvous of fighting men 
of the same mettle as those of 1781, who were to strengthen by 
united service and common sacrifice in the World War the bonds 
of friendship between France and America that had been forged 
more than a century before. 

And those who fought each other then were comrades new. 
"Old wars forgot," Great Britain and France for years had 
held the lines, and America was taking its place beside them, 
throwing all its power and strength with them against the 
common foe. From Yorktown went the first United States 
forces, ordered overseas just after war began. Sent to Eng- 
land's aid, to serve with the British forces, their arrival was 
hailed as the beginning of a new era in the relations of the 
nations — the ' ' Return of the Mayflower. ' ' And later went huge 
dreadnaughts to the North Sea, joining the Grand Fleet in the 
mightiest aggregation of naval power the world has ever seen. 

That is a wonderful harbor, there in the York River, with 
water deep enough for the largest battleship, and broad enough 
to accommodate a whole fleet. With defenses at the entrance 
to Chesapeake Bay, and nets, mines and patrol across York 
River, no submarine could ever hope to penetrate to this safe 
haven. 

"When the active fleet arrived in Hampton Roads about the 
1st of April, after its training period in Cuban waters, it was 
in the best state of preparedness that it had ever been," said 
Admiral Mayo, "and there was a feeling of confidence in the 
personnel of being able to cope with any emergency." 

"At the end of March, 1917, when we were on the verge of 
entry into the war," said Rear Admiral Charles P. Plunkett, 
Director of Gunnery Exercises, ' ' the gunnery was in the highest 
state of efficiency that it has been in the history of the American 
Navy." 



4 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

When the break with Germany came the fleet was in Cuban 
waters, engaged in target practice, engineering exercises, and 
battle maneuvers. This intensive training had been going on 
under regular schedule for more than two years. Every man 
in the fleet, from the Commander-in-Chief to the youngest 
recruit, felt in his bones that the maneuvers that spring were 
a real preparation for war. Eager to get a chance at the Ger- 
mans, confident that they could defeat any force of similar 
strength and tonnage afloat; they were just waiting for the 
word ''Go!" 

Is there such a thing as mental telepathy? Would you call 
it that or a mere coincidence, if the same thought at almost the 
same moment came to the Admiral of the Fleet at Guantanamo 
and to the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington? That is 
exactly what occurred on February 4, 1917. And the two dis- 
patches stating the same conclusions in regard to moving the 
fleet were en route at the same time. 

At 3 :59 o 'clock that afternoon Admiral Mayo sent this mes- 
sage from his flagship at Guantanamo: 

Unless instructions are received to the contrary, propose to shift fleet 
base to Gulf of Guacanayabo after spotting practice February 5th ; then 
proceed with schedule of all gunnery exercises. 

Before that message reached Washington, in fact in less 
than ten minutes after it was handed to the operator in Cuba, 
the following to Admiral Mayo from Admiral William S. Ben- 
son, Chief of Operations, was being sent from the Department : 

Position of fleet well known to everybody. If considered advisable 
on account of submarines, shift base to Gulf of Guacanayabo or else- 
where at discretion. Inform Department confidentially. 

The first duty was protection of the Fleet from submarine 
attack. Four months before the U-53 had called at Newport, 
and sallying forth, had sunk British vessels just off our coast. 
On January 16th a Japanese steamer, the Hudson Maru, cap- 
tured by Germans, a prize crew placed on board, had put into 
Pernambuco with 287 survivors from half a dozen vessels 
sunk by a German raider. That raider, as was learned later, 
was the famous Moewe, which captured twenty-six vessels, sink- 



WHEN THE WAR CALL CAME 5 

ing* all except the Hudson Maru and the Yarrowdale, which 
carried several hundred prisoners to Germany, among them 
fifty-nine American sailors. 

The Germans could easily send their U-boats across the 
Atlantic. There was a possibility that they might strike quickly 
without warning. Naval strategists do not yet understand why 
Germany did not make an immediate dash against our coasts 
in the spring of 1917, instead of waiting until 1918. Allied and 
American officers alike expected the submarines to extend their 
operations to this side of the Atlantic when this country entered 
the war. It was necessary to provide for the fleet a rendezvous 
with which the Germans were not familiar, one easily defended, 
where battleships could carry on their work free from attack 
until the time came to bring them into action. But why 
Guacanayabo? 

Though you would hardly notice it on the average map, the 
Gulf of Guacanayabo is a sizeable body of water, extending in 
a sort of semicircle some seventy miles, the broadest part about 
fifteen miles wide. On the southern coast of Cuba, it extends 
from Santa Cruz del Sur to below Manzanillo, nearly to Cape 
Cruz. With plenty of deep water inside, once the main channel 
is closed, only a navigator familiar with the turnings and depths 
can navigate safely through the other channels, for the Gulf 
is surrounded by a chain of islands, with many shoals. Difficult 
for submarines to negotiate submerged, it is easily defended 
against them. 

When Admiral Mayo had placed his ships in this landlocked 
harbor, shut the door and turned the key, they were as safe as 
my lady's jewels in a safety deposit vault. At Guacanayabo 
the fleet continued its work, going out to sea for battle practice 
and long-range gunnery in the daytime, returning at night to 
conduct night firing with the secondary batteries, torpedo at- 
tack, and other exercises. There was even room in the Gulf 
to carry on torpedo firing and defense at 10,000 yards distance. 

There the fleet remained until it was ordered north, on 
March 20th. "I feel sure that if this force had engaged an 
enemy on its cruise north in the spring of 1917, the victory 
would have been ours," said Admiral Henry B. Wilson, com- 
mander of the flagship, and Admiral Joseph Strauss, in com- 



6 OUE NAVY AT WAR 

mand of the Nevada, declared: "In April, 1917, we could have 
gone out in mid-ocean and engaged the German fleet and come 
out successfully. Our ships were superior; our guns were su- 
perior; I believe our morale was superior." 

Upon the arrival of the fleet, Yorktown became the center 
of battle training. During the entire war this base was one of 
the busiest places in America. Every ship was carrying on in- 
tensive training day and night — training gunners, engineers, 
firemen, deck officers and crews, armed guards for merchant 
vessels, men of every rank and rating to man transports, de- 
stroyers, patrol craft, and all the many vessels put into 
European and trans-Atlantic service. In addition to new men 
in their own crews, the special training squadron of older bat- 
tleships trained more than 45,000 officers and men for service 
in other vessels. 

When the bugle sounded, they all wanted to get into action. 
They had looked for the declaration of war as the signal to 
weigh anchor and set sail for Europe. As the destroyers and 
patrol craft went overseas and the cruisers plunged across the 
Atlantic escorting troop-ships and convoys, those who were left 
behind envied those who had received such assignments. But 
teaching recruits, tame and tiresome as it was, was their job, 
most necessary and useful. Until they had their heart 's desire 
and were ordered abroad, they stuck to it with the vim and 
determination with which they afterwards entered upon the 
U-boat chase. That was the spirit that won. 

Three thousand miles across the seas the men on the British 
Grand Fleet were likewise eating their hearts out because the 
enemy dreadnaughts, after the one dash at Jutland, were hug- 
ging the home ports, denying to Allied naval forces the chance 
for which all other days had been but preparation. All naval 
teaching for generations had instilled into American and British 
youth the doctrine that, whereas battles on land might continue 
for months, domination of the sea would be lost or won in a few 
moments when the giant dreadnaughts engaged in a titanic duel. 
German naval strategy, after the drawn battle at Jutland, de- 
feated all naval experience and expectation. Hiding behind 
their strong defenses, never venturing forth in force, they 
imposed the strain and the unexciting watchful waiting which 



WHEN THE WAR CALL CAME 7 

more than anything else irks men who long to put their mettle 
to the test by a decisive encounter. 

The acme of happiness to the fleets at Yorktown and at 
Scapa Flow to which all looked, both before and after the 
American division joined the British Grand Fleet, was a battle 
royal where skill and courage and modern floating forts would 
meet the supreme test. It was not to be. The disappointment 
of both navies was scarcely lessened by the knowledge that they 
had gained a complete victory through successful methods which 
a different character of warfare brought into existence. They 
wished the glorious privilege of sinking the ships in an engage- 
ment rather than permitting the Germans later to scuttle them. 
Admiral Beatty voiced the regret of both navies in his farewell 
address to his American shipmates, when he said: "I know 
quite well that you, as well as all of our British comrades, were 
bitterly disappointed at not being able to give effect to that 
efficiency you have so well maintain ed." 

The sense of disappointment at the drab ending was height- 
ened by the belief entertained that there had been times when 
the bold and daring offensive would have compelled a great naval 
battle. In Germany, fed up for years on the claim of naval 
superiority and stuffed with fake stories of a great German 
victory at Jutland, there had been demand that their navy make 
proof of its worth by giving battle instead of rusting in home 
ports. Men of the navies that had produced Nelsons, and Far- 
raguts and John Paul Joneses and Deweys grow restive under 
inaction. They knew that the existence and readiness of the 
two great fleets and of the French and Italian fleets held the 
German High Seas Fleet in behind shore protection, rendering 
impotent the force Von Tirpitz had assured Germany would sink 
enemy ships. But the dreary program of blockade carried on 
during four long years was not to their liking. It succeeded, but 
it was not the finish for which they had trained. They longed 
to the very end for the real fight, the daring drive, the bringing 
of their big guns into play, the final combat which could end 
only with annihilation of the enemy's fleet. 

Whatever may be said of the wisdom of the ancient prudent 
doctrine of "a fleet in being," I shall always believe that, if, 
at the opportune time, such fighting sailors as Beatty and 



8 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

Carpenter, Mayo and Rodman and Wilson, could have joined in 
a combined assault, they would have found a way or made one, 
to sink the German fleet, in spite of Heligoland and all the 
frowning German guns. 



CHAPTER II 
"TO BE STRONG UPON THE SEAS" 

PRESIDENT IN 1914 LAID DOWN POLICY WHICH GUIDED THE NAVY IN 
YEARS OF PREPARATION ON VERGE OF WAR IN 1916 FLEET PRE- 
PARED TO MOBILIZE "DEUTSCHLAND" AND U- 53 WARNED US TO 

EXPECT SUBMARINES CONGRESS AUTHORIZED BUILDING OF 157 

WARSHIPS MERCHANT SHIPS LISTED, MUNITIONS ACCUMULATED. 

country's INDUSTRIES SURVEYED. 

44 'I II 7"E shall take leave to be strong upon the seas," 

\ / \ / declared President Wilson in his annual message 

V V t° Congress in December, 1914, and this was the 

guiding policy in the years of preparation that 

preceded the war. And the two years that followed were the 

busiest the Navy has ever known in time of peace. 

The United States was on the very verge of war a year be- 
fore it was declared. All preparations were made to mobilize 
the Fleet when President Wilson, after the sinking of the 
Sussex, sent his ultimatum to Germany declaring: 

Unless the Imperial Government should now immediately declare 
and effect an abandonment of its present methods of submarine warfare 
against passenger and freight-carrying vessels, the Government of the 
United States can have no choice but to sever diplomatic relations with 
the German Empire altogether. 

That note was despatched on April 18, 1916. Germany did 
not reply promptly and in a few days the following order was 
issued : 

NAVY DEPARTMENT 

Washington, April 27, 1916. 
Confidential. 

From: Chief of Naval Operations. 
Subject: Mobilization Plan. 

The following order had this day been approved by the Secretary of 
the Navy: 

"1. In case of mobilization for war in the Atlantic the organization 
of the naval forces will be as indicated in the mobilization sheets pub- 
lished from time to time by the Department. 

9 



10 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

"2. Plans will be developed by all officers concerned for execution 
upon the receipt of the order to mobilize. 

"3. The order to mobilize when received will be construed as an 
order to take all necessary action for the rapid assembly of ships at the 
rendezvous in all respects ready for war service. 

"4. The rendezvous is designated as Chesapeake Bay." 

Copies of mobilization sheets are forwarded herewith. 

All our battleships except three, and 40 of our 47 destroyers 
were reported immediately available. Mobilization is the next 
step to actual hostilities and is only justifiable when conditions 
are extremely threatening. That was the case in the spring of 
1916. In fact, what threatened then was what actually occurred 
a year later. 

The German Government in its note of May 4th met all 
Wilson's demands, declaring it would do its utmost to confine 
the operations for the rest of the war to the fighting forces of 
the belligerent. "Guided by this idea," it notified the United 
States Government that the German naval forces had received 
the following orders : 

In accordance with the general principles of visit and search and 
destruction of merchant vessels recognized by international law, such 
vessels, both within and without the area declared as naval war zone, 
shall not be sunk without warning and without saving human lives, 
unless such ships attempt to escape or offer resistance. 

It was not until Feb. 1, 1917, that Germany repudiated this 
pledge and resumed ruthless U-boat warfare. But it did give 
us warning that it could send its undersea craft to American 
waters whenever it chose. 

If there ever had been any fancied security from their sub- 
marines, it was removed that Sunday, July 9, 1916, when the 
Deutschland bobbed up in Chesapeake Bay, and a few hours 
later reached her dock in Baltimore. Coming from Bremen via 
Heligoland, it had made its way through the North Sea and 
around Scotland, crossed the ocean and entered Hampton Roads 
under the very noses of the British cruisers just outside. Two 
hundred and thirteen feet long, with a displacement, submerged, 
of 2,200 tons, it had a surface speed of 12 to 14 knots an hour, 
and could run under water at 7y 2 knots. Though unarmed, and 



1 < TO BE STRONG UPON THE SEAS" 11 

called a " mercantile submarine," by the placing of guns and 
torpedo tubes aboard, she could be quickly converted into a 
man-of-war. The Deutschland came again to America in No- 
vember, going to New London, Conn., reaching Germany, on 
her return, December 10. This was her last trip as a merchant- 
man, for she was soon afterwards converted into a warship, and 
was one of the submarines sent to sink shipping in American 
waters in 1918. 

Even more startling was the visit of the U-53. This German 
submarine, almost as large as the Deutschland, suddenly ap- 
peared off Point Judith and calmly steamed into Newport, R. I., 
the afternoon of October 7th. Flying the German man-of-war 
ensign, she carried two guns conspicuously placed. The cruiser 
Birmingham, Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves commanding, was 
near by, and the U-53 asked to be assigned a berth. Kapitan 
Leutnant Hans Rose, her commander, in full uniform, called 
on the commandant of the Naval Station, stating that his object 
in entering the port was to ''pay his respects," and that he 
intended to sail at 6 o'clock. He invited our officers to visit his 
ship, saying he would be glad to "show them around." The 
crew seemed anxious to impress the Americans with the boat 
and its mechanism. 

While in port, the U-53 was careful not to violate neutrality 
regulations, but the day after leaving Newport she began a 
slaughter of vessels. On October 8th, she sank the British 
steamships Stephano, Strathdine and West Point, the Dutch 
steamer Blommersdijk, and the Norwegian Chr. Knudsen. The 
first two were attacked within sight of Nantucket Lightship, just 
outside the three-mile limit. The others sunk were farther 
away, but all were near our coast. 

The first news we had of this raid was that the American 
steamer Kansan had been stopped early in the morning by a 
German submarine, which, after examining her papers, had 
allowed her to proceed. A short time later a radio message was 
received stating that the British steamer West Point was being 
gunned. After that, distress signals came thick and fast. Rear 
Admiral Gleaves immediately ordered our destroyers to the 
relief of the vessels attacked, and they rescued crews and pas- 
sengers, bringing them safely to port. 



12 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

Within seven or eight months those destroyers were across 
the Atlantic, fighting the undersea raiders in European waters. 
And they had their revenge in September, 1918, when an Ameri- 
can destroyer and subchasers bombed the U-53 with such effect 
that according to reports, she abandoned the fight, glad to be 
able to get to her home base. 

Thus Germany in 1916 gave us a taste of submarine warfare, 
showing what it could do and did do in American waters in 1918, 
and what sound strategy caused naval experts to expect it to 
undertake in the spring of 1917. The U-53 had been careful not 
to attack any American vessels, and had conducted its opera- 
tions outside our territorial waters. But this piece of German 
bravado aroused the indignation of the entire country. It was 
a warning — and probably so intended — that the Germans could 
at any time send their U-boats across the seas to sink our ves- 
sels off our own shores. 

Even then the country at large seemed to regard our entrance 
into war as improbable, and to the average man it did seem only 
a remote possibility; but our attache in Berlin reported that 
Germany was building U-boats by scores, the parts being made 
at plants in various parts of the country, and assembled at coast 
shipyards. The Germans continued to talk peace, but our Navy 
continued to build ships, enlist men, and accumulate reserves 
of guns, ammunition, and war materials. 

Congress on August 29, 1916, authorized the construction of 
157 war vessels — ten battleships of the largest type and six huge 
battle cruisers, larger and swifter than any then in existence; 
ten scout cruisers, fifty destroyers, nine fleet submarines, fifty- 
eight coast submarines and one of the Neff type; three fuel 
ships, two destroyer tenders, two gunboats and two ammunition 
ships, a repair ship, a transport, a hospital ship and a submarine 
tender. Sixty-six vessels were appropriated for, to be begun in 
the current year. That bill carried total appropriations of $312,- 
678,000, the largest amount ever granted for naval purposes in 
time of peace, and larger than previous appropriations when 
this country was actually engaged in war. 

Usually, after vessels are authorized, months are required 
to prepare the plans and specifications. That was not the case 
this time. The Bureau of Construction and Repair, under the 



"TO BE STRONG UPON THE SEAS" 13 

direction of Rear Admiral David W. Taylor, regarded in this 
country and abroad as one of the world's ablest naval con- 
structors, had begun work on the plans long before. They were 
ready when the bill passed Congress. Bids were advertised 
for the next day, and as soon as the law allowed, contracts were 
let. Before the end of 1916, we had entered upon the biggest 
shipbuilding program ever undertaken by any navy at one time. 

Providing for an enlisted strength of 74,700 regulars, Con- 
gress also authorized the President to increase the Navy to 
87,000 in case of emergency. This, with the 6,000 apprentice 
seamen, the Hospital Corps, and allowance for the sick, pris- 
oners and men on probation, would give us an emergency 
strength of some 95,000 — including both officers and men, a 
force of over 100,000. Five thousand additional enlisted men 
and 255 more officers were authorized for the Marine Corps, 
which could be raised in emergency to 17,500. The increases 
alone were larger than the entire number of men employed by 
the Navy in the Spanish War. The Naval Reserve, instituted 
in 1915, was made a Naval Reserve Force unlimited in numbers. 

The Naval Militia had grown to a force of nearly 10,000, and 
interest had been stimulated by a training cruise for civilians 
on eleven war vessels, known as the 1 i Ocean Plattsburg. ' ' The 
Act of 1916 laid the basis for the enormous personnel we secured 
during the war — over half a million men in the Navy, and 75,000 
in the Marine Corps. Immediately after its passage, a vigorous 
recruiting campaign was begun. 

Large reserves of powder and shells had been accumulated, 
but orders were given for much more, and efforts were made 
to speed up projectiles under manufacture. "We had at the 
end of 1916," Admiral Strauss, then Chief of the Bureau of 
Ordnance, stated, "batteries of four guns each for 189 auxiliary 
ships. These batteries were housed at navy yards, and the full 
supply of powder, shell, primers, etc., were all prepared and 
ready for these ships at the nearest ammunition depots, so that 
in the event of war the guns could be secured on the ships and 
the magazines and shell-rooms supplied at once." 

Equipment for ships to be converted, and spare parts of all 
kinds were accumulated and stored at points where they would 
be quickly available. All the bureaus concerned with construe- 



14 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

tion, shipbuilding, conversion, and repair, engines and machi- 
nery, ordnance and supplies were increasing production, report- 
ing, as did our vessels, constant improvement in ' ' readiness for 
war. ' ' 

This was the result of two years' constant work. Special 
duties were imposed from the beginning of the European con- 
flict in 1914. Only a few days after hostilities began, the cruisers 
Tennessee and North Carolina sailed, carrying millions of dol- 
lars in gold to relieve the thousands of Americans stranded in 
Europe, unable to get home. Naval vessels were kept busy along 
our coasts, enforcing neutrality in our territorial waters. Naval 
censors were placed at wireless stations, preventing the sending 
of unneutral messages. Intelligence officers were active in 
thwarting the machinations of German spies and plotters. But 
all this was small in comparison with the efforts we were making 
to increase and improve the Navy in its every branch and pre- 
pare it for any emergency. 

The sinking of the Lusiiania, May 7, 1915, was followed by 
such naval activity as had never been seen before, except in the 
midst of hostilities. 

Congress had created in the current naval bill a Chief of 
Naval Operations, charged with "the operation of the fleet and 
its readiness for war." For this important position, I had, 
after careful consideration, selected Rear Admiral William S. 
Benson, whose ability and experience admirably fitted him for 
this vital task. He assumed office on May 10, three days after the 
Lusitania went down. It was a critical period. The President 
on May 13 addressed to Germany his vigorous note giving notice 
that this Government would omit no word or act to protect its 
citizens against murder on the seas. Many Americans were 
urging that war be declared at once. The crisis lasted for weeks, 
and ended only when the German government gave its promise 
that non-belligerent vessels would not be sunk without warning. 

Admiral Benson, bureau chiefs, commanders, and officials 
devoted every energy to preparing the fleet for war. Abolition 
of the cumbersome system of naval aides brought the bureau 
chiefs in closer touch with the Secretary. There was no longer 
any division of authority and responsibility, and we could get 
direct action. On this basis we built up a departmental organi- 



"TO BE STRONG UPON THE SEAS" 15 

zation so efficient that no change was found necessary during the 
entire war period, the bureaus merely expanding to meet the 
enormously increased demands, each new activity easily fitting 
into some part of the existing organization. 

The General Board of the Navy, of which Admiral Dewey 
was the head until his death Jan. 16, 1917, had developed a com- 
prehensive administrative plan, under which each bureau was 
required to report, periodically, on its readiness for war. This 
enabled us to keep informed of exact conditions and progress 
made. The Board also worked out a scheme for development of 
shore bases and stations. 

Navy yards were expanded not only to repair and convert 
vessels, but to build war-ships of every type. These new ways 
and shops formed a substantial and valuable addition to the 
nation's shipbuilding facilities. 

I created the Secretary's Advisory Council, consisting of the 
Assistant Secretary, the Chief of Naval Operations and the 
chiefs of the various bureaus. Meeting regularly once a week 
and oftener when necessary, this Council brought together the 
chief administrative officers of the Department, and discussed 
all matters of general interest to the service. Thus the heads 
of bureaus kept in close touch with each other ; having the advan- 
tage of a General Staff without its many disadvantages. 

Comprehensive plans for possible war against Germany — we 
then called it "war in the Atlantic" — had been made by the 
General Board, and were constantly corrected and brought up 
to date in accordance with war developments. 

When the fleet was reviewed by President Wilson at New 
York, May 15, 1915, Admiral Dewey wrote : 

The people of New York have just cause for pride in the fleet now 
assembled in their harbor. Not only is it composed of the finest and 
most efficient warships that we have ever had, but it is not excelled, 
except in size, by the fleet of any nation in the world. Our ships and 
guns are as good as any in the world; our officers are as good as any; 
and our enlisted men are superior in training, education, physical 
development and devotion to duty to those of any other navy. As Presi- 
dent of the General Board for the past fifteen years, I can say with 
absolute confidence that the efficiency of the fleet has steadily progressed, 
and has never been so high as it is today. 



16 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

For months we had been at work on a plan for reorganizing 
the fleet. Completed and put into effect in July, 1915, that plan 
proved so efficient that it was continued throughout the war. 
Four battleships, the Pennsylvania, Nevada, Oklahoma and Ari- 
zona, ten destroyers, seven submarines, and two tenders, the 
Melville and the Bushnell, were completed in 1915-16. 

Battle and target practice were conducted with a constant 
improvement in gunnery. In August, 1916, there was held off 
the North Atlantic Coast the largest "war game" in the annals 
of the Navy. Eighty-three vessels, including twenty-eight bat- 
tleships and thirteen submarines, engaged in this strategic ma- 
neuver, which lasted for four days, and simulated the conditions 
of a great naval battle. 

Congress had, in 1913-14, authorized the construction of 
five dreadnaughts as compared with only two granted by the 
previous Congress, and we were building more destroyers and 
submarines than in previous years. Forty-one more ships were 
in commission, and there were 5,000 more men in the service 
than there had been in 1913. The fleet was incomparably 
stronger than it had ever been before, but we were heartily 
tired of the hand-to-mouth policy that had prevailed so long, a 
policy that made it impossible to plan far ahead and develop a 
consistent and well-balanced fleet. In common with its officers, 
I wanted the United States to possess a navy equal to any afloat, 
and to initiate a building program that should be continuous 
and not haphazard. 

Consequently, in July, 1915, I requested Admiral Dewey to 
have the General Board submit its opinion of what should be 
done to give us a navy worthy of this country and able to cope 
with any probable enemy. In response the General Board set 
forth this policy, which has guided us ever since and is now 
nearing a triumphant reality : 

The Navy of the United States should ultimately be equal to the 
most powerful maintained by any other nation of the world. It should 
be gradually increased to this point by such a rate of development, year 
by year, as may be permitted by the facilities of the country, but the 
limit above defined should be attained not later than 1925. 

It was in accordance with this policy, and at my direction, 
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A FRIENDLY BOUT 
Spectators on the U. S. S. Bushnell are having as much fun as the boxers. 




SCHOOL HOUR ABOARD A BATTLESHIP 



1 ' TO BE STRONG UPON THE SEAS" 17 

gram, comprising' 157 war vessels, later known as the " three- 
year program," which was authorized by Congress in the next 
naval appropriation act. Presented in my annual report for 
1915, it was strongly urged by President Wilson in his message 
to Congress, and he sounded the keynote in his speech at St. 
Louis, February 3, 1916, when he declared : ' ' There is no other 
Navy in the world that has to cover so great an area of defense 
as the American Navy, and it ought, in my judgment, to be 
incomparably the most adequate Navy in the world. ' ' 

With all the Navy striving to build up and expand the serv- 
ice, I turned attention to other forces that might be utilized. 
War had become a science; inventions were playing a vastly 
greater part than ever before, and on July 7, 1915, I wrote to 
Mr. Thomas A. Edison, suggesting the formation of a board of 
eminent inventors and scientists, and asking if he would consent 
to become its head. The idea appealed to Mr. Edison, as it did 
to the various scientific and engineering societies, and in a few 
weeks the Naval Consulting Board became a reality. Composed 
of men of eminence and distinction, this was the first of those 
organizations of patriotic civilians which, when war came, ren- 
dered such signal service to the nation. 

This board began in 1915 a survey of all the country's indus- 
tries and resources which might be employed, in case of war, 
for the production of munitions and supplies, and the thousand 
and one things required by armies and navies. 

The Navy made a survey of all merchant ships and privately 
owned craft which might be utilized as auxiliaries. The Board 
of Inspection and Survey was increased, each vessel listed for 
service to which it could be adapted, and plans made for all 
the changes needed to convert it to war purposes. This was 
worked out to the last detail, even to the yards to which the 
vessels would be sent, and the accumulation of machinery and 
materials for their conversion. A standardized schedule was 
developed of all ammunition, materials, equipment and supplies 
needed by vessels in case of war. 

Aviation received earnest attention. Seaplanes and flying 
boats were secured, and a school and station established at Pen- 
sacola, Fla., for the training of aviators. The cruisers North 
Carolina, West Virginia, and Washington were fitted with a 



18 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

launching device, from which aeroplanes could fly from ships. 
Operating with the fleet, our aeroplanes began developing the 
tactics of aircraft at sea. 

During the Sussex crisis, arrangements were made for the 
mobilization of the communications of the entire United States 
radio, telegraph and telephone. This important experiment 
was carried out from May 6 to 8, 1916, and was a complete suc- 
cess, proving that in a day we could link all methods of communi- 
cation and put in touch all our yards and stations and our ships 
at sea. Congress had previously authorized the erection of a 
chain of high power radio stations to span the Pacific — at San 
Diego, California ; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii ; and at Cavite, in the 
Philippines — and these were under construction. 

The Naval Communication Service was created and under 
its direction all our communications, wire and wireless, were pre- 
pared for war. This entire service was mobilized the day the 
United States severed relations with Germany. 

Admiral Dewey said, in the autumn of 1916: "The last 
three years have been wonderful years. I have been in the 
Navy since 1854, and both in material and personnel, we are 
more efficient today than ever before." Admiral Charles J. 
Badger, who, upon the death of Dewey in January, 1917, be- 
came head of the General Board, stated: "I do not mean to 
say that we had attained to perfection in the Navy — we never 
shall ; that no errors of judgment or mistakes were made — they 
will always occur; but I assert that the Navy when it entered 
the war was as a whole, well prepared and administered.' ' 



CHAPTER III 

THE BREAK WITH GERMANY 

suepkise and terror planned in starting u-boat war — bern- 
storff withheld note until just before submarines struck 
— America's entrance could not affect " trend of the war," 

holtzendorff insisted fleet put on war basis plans 

made to cooperate with allies "get and keep the best 

men," president told secretaries of war and navy. 

GERMANY struck practically without warning in inaug- 
urating ruthless U-boat warfare. Surprise of Allies 
and neutrals, giving no time for negotiations, was one 
thing upon which its Admiralty insisted. Terrorizing 
America was a part of the plan, and if the United States entered 
the war, the Teuton naval authorities contended that it would 
exert no marked influence, and could furnish little assistance 
in troops or vessels. 

Admiral von Holtzendorff, head of the German Admiralty, 
set forth all this in his memorandum detailing the arrangements 
for the "U-boat war." That document, one of the German of- 
ficial papers made public after the war, is marked "Strictly 
secret— B-35840-I," and is dated, "Berlin, Dec. 22, 1916." 

"The beginning and the declaration of the unrestricted 
U-boat war," said Holtzendorff, "must follow so quickly one 
upon the other that there is no time for negotiations, especially 
between England and the neutrals. The wholesome terror will 
exercise in this case upon enemy and neutral alike." 

The submarines were to begin the general attack not later 
than February 1, 1917. England was to be starved out in five 
months, and the Allies forced to surrender by August 1st. This 
is all stated in that memorandum, and those exact dates are 
given. 

The probable entrance of the United States as a belligerent 
was discussed, and Holtzendorff took pains to set forth what 

19 



20 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

little influence this country's participation could have upon the 
' ' trend of the war, ' ' saying : 

As regards tonnage this influence would be negligible. It is not to 
be expected that more than a small fraction of the tonnage of the Cen- 
tral Powers lying in America and many other neutral harbors could 
then be enlisted for the traffic to England. For the far greatest part 
of this shipping can be damaged in such a way that it cannot sail in the 
decisive time of the first months. Preparations to this effect have been 
made. There would also be no crews to be found for them. 

Just as little decisive effect can be ascribed to any considerable extent 
to American troops, which, in the first place, cannot be brought over 
through lack of tonnage. 

Bernstorff, the German Ambassador at Washington, carried 
out his part of the plans to the letter. It was not until a few 
hours before the submarines were to strike, late in the afternoon 
of Jan. 31, 1917, that he presented the note of the German Gov- 
ernment to the Secretary of State. He had that note in his pos- 
session twelve days before he presented it. He admits that it 
reached the German Embassy in Washington on January 19, the 
same day that Zimmermann, the German Foreign Minister, sent 
to Mexico his crafty but absurd proposal that Mexico form an 
alliance with Japan, and make war with the United States to 
recover the ''lost territory" of New Mexico, Arizona, and 
Texas. That proposal also passed through the Washington em- 
bassy, in the Berlin diplomatic code, and was read by the Am- 
bassador. 

Before he presented the note declaring submarine warfare, 
Bernstorff had given the order that "the engines of all German 
ships lying in American harbors were to be destroyed." "I had 
already given instructions to this effect at the time of the Sussex 
crisis, and these instructions had now been repeated from Ber- 
lin," he says in his book. "As a matter of fact it was dangerous 
to allow of any delay, for on the evening of January 31, our 
ships were already seized by the American police. As far as I 
know, however, all of them without exception were made unfit 
for use before this occurred." 

The day ruthless U-boat warfare began, new mobilization 
plans were prepared and sent out to the entire Navy. Formal 
action had not then been taken by our Government. Its course 



THE BREAK WITH GERMANY 21 

was still under consideration and the Cabinet was to meet the 
next day. But the moment I read the German note, I regarded 
a break as inevitable, and active hostilities almost certain to 
follow. 

As the Cabinet assembled on Friday, February 2d, all of us 
realized the significance of the occasion. Parley and negotia- 
tion were ended. The time had come for decisive action. That 
was the conviction, I believe, of every man who rose to greet the 
President when he entered the room. Usually genial and smil- 
ing at the gatherings of his official family, he was now grave and 
serious. The destiny of a hundred million people lay in his 
hands, perhaps the destiny of the world. 

The Cabinet members had, of course, read the text of the 
German note, whose meaning was plain enough, camouflaged as 
it was in diplomatic terms and pretended concessions. All had 
studied it, and were familiar with its provisions. But the Presi- 
dent read it to us again. He read it in measured tones, giving 
weight to every significant syllable. 

His mind was already made up, I felt certain. But before 
giving voice to his own decision, he called upon his official ad- 
visers to state their views. They spoke freely and frankly, each 
stating just what he thought the situation demanded. Expres- 
sions varied, of course, and each man approached the problem 
in his own way. There were differences of opinion as to details, 
but none as to the main point. On that, all were agreed. They 
felt that relations with Germany must be severed. 

This was the President's position. He had never wavered 
from the firm stand he had taken a year before that, if unre- 
stricted submarine warfare was continued, or resumed, the 
United States could have no further relations with Germany. 
It was no surprise to him that his colleagues, to a man, shared 
his views that the Cabinet was a unit for the dismissal of 
Bernstorff, and the sharpest possible warning to the German 
Government. 

Although the session lasted several hours, this decision was 
soon reached. It had required no debate. The German note 
itself was a compelling argument. 

Most of the time was devoted to discussing what steps each 
department should take, particularly State, War and Navy. It 



22 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

was recognized thoroughly that the severance of relations 
would create a difficult situation, one likely in a few weeks at 
most to lead to open warfare. It was realized that Germany 
might strike without waiting for formal declaration from the 
United States. The sinking of American vessels without warn- 
ing would be, in itself, an overt act, an act of war. We had to 
prepare for any eventuality, to map out a program for imme- 
diate action. 

The following telegram was sent to the entire Navy that 
night : 

Six Alnav. In view of the present international situation, take 
every precaution to protect Government plants and vessels. 

All who received that message knew what it meant, that they 
were to guard against surprise, and be ready for anything that 
might arise. 

The next afternoon at two o'clock, the President, addressing 
a joint session of the two houses of Congress, pointed out that 
Germany had ''suddenly and without prior intimation of any 
kind," deliberately withdrawn the solemn assurances given in 
its note of May 4, 1916, and announced that all diplomatic rela- 
tions with Germany had been severed. 

At the very hour the President began his address, and Bern- 
storff was handed his passports, Admiral Mayo, in Cuban 
waters, issued the first campaign order, putting into effect the 
plan for the defense of the fleet in Guantanamo Bay. As soon as 
I returned from the Capitol, this order was sent out : 

One Alatl. Radicode. Mobilize Naval Communications. 

Secnav. 

That placed all our communications — radio, telegraphs, tele- 
phones, and signals — on a war basis. This message was just 
going out by wireless, when I was called to the White House, 
where I found the Secretary of War, who had likewise been 
summoned. 

The President was concerned about the safety of Government 
property. There was enough cause for this anxiety, for there 
were thousands of aliens who could not be interned legally unless 
or until war was declared. Among them were hostile Germans 



THE BREAK WITH GERMANY 23 

who would resort to almost any violence to vent their resent- 
ment or to cripple this Government in its manifold preparations 
for war. 

Navy yards and army posts were closed, and orders sent to 
every naval and military plant in the United States, Porto Rico, 
the Virgin Islands, Hawaii, Alaska, Guam and the Philippines, 
to exclude all visitors and strengthen the guards. The guards in 
the Panama Canal Zone were doubled, and special precautions 
were taken to protect the canal. 

To prevent information from reaching Germans, we stopped 
publishing the movements of naval vessels and the daily orders 
to naval officers. Since the outbreak of the war in Europe we 
had maintained along the coast a number of naval vessels to 
enforce neutrality regulations. Now this force was increased, 
and a virtual coast patrol established. 

That night I sent out the order, "Alnav availability," which 
directed all vessels to report their actual readiness for war. 

The President kept in close touch with all our preparations. 
Not satisfied with general reports, he wanted to know just what 
was being done. Monday afternoon, while I was hard at work 
with officers on plans and orders, Mr. Wilson suddenly appeared 
in my office. Glad as I was to see him, his visit was a surprise. 
Documents concerning a number of the matters we were work- 
ing upon were on my desk, and in a few moments I reviewed in 
detail the plans, told him what we had done and were doing, and 
asked his directions as to certain operations. 

Then he suggested that we go to the War Department, to 
talk matters over with the Secretary of War. Mr. Baker was 
in his office and the three of us held a long conference, discussing 
the situation in all its phases. Some things the President said 
to us are indelibly impressed on my memory. 

The breach in diplomatic relations, he pointed out, did not 
necessarily mean war, but it brought us so close to the possi- 
bility that we must put our house in order, and be ready for 
any emergency. 

Men concerned him quite as much as measures, and he in- 
quired particularly about the officers in important positions and 
commands. If there were any who did not seem equal to the 
tremendous tasks they would be called upon to perform, he 



24 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

wanted them replaced. If abler men were available, he wished 
us to secure them. 

4 'Each of you must surround yourself with the ablest men 
you have," he said. Turning to me, he asked whether I felt 
that my immediate advisers, those in the Navy Department and 
in command afloat, were the men to retain in those positions. 

' ' They are the best men in the Navy, ' ' I replied. 

He asked the same question of the Secretary of War. Mr. 
Baker told him that the officers in responsible positions in the 
War Department and the Army knew their jobs and were going 
ahead earnestly with them. Some were necessarily slated for 
early retirement, but to anticipate this, he thought, would be un- 
wise, as it might occasion needless alarm and disturb morale. 

The President listened intently to us. When we finished, he 
again impressed upon us that only the ablest, most alert and 
energetic officers should be put in places of responsibility. 

"Get and keep the best," he said as our conference ended. 

Mr. Wilson had no sympathy with the fear of hurting some 
man's " feelings, " which, he said, is the rock upon which efficient 
public service often goes to pieces. The big job called for the 
big man, and no personal consideration had any weight with him 
in getting the thing done, and done in the best way. ' ' Get and 
keep the best," without regard to friendship, past performance, 
prestige, social or political pull, guided the President in his en- 
tire conduct of the war. It was that policy which enabled Amer- 
ican power to be thrown into the scales so quickly and decisively. 

It is gratifying to recall that under the rigid test of war, 
every responsible officer in the Navy Department measured up 
to his full duty. Not one failed to meet the requirements of his 
position. No change whatever was required. Franklin D. 
Roosevelt was Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Admiral Wil- 
liam S. Benson was Chief of Naval Operations, Rear Admiral 
Charles J. Badger head of the General Board. The bureau 
chiefs were: Rear Admirals Robert S. Griffin, Engineering; 
David W. Taylor, Construction and Repair ; Ralph Earle, Ord- 
nance; Leigh C. Palmer, Navigation; Samuel McGowan, Sup- 
plies and Accounts ; William C. Braisted, Medicine and Surgery ; 
F. R. Harris, Yards and Docks. Captain W. C. Watts was 
Judge Advocate General, and Major General George Barnett, 



THE BREAK WITH GERMANY 25 

Commandant of the Marine Corps. When Admiral Harris re- 
signed in December, 1917, to become head of the U. S. Emer- 
gency Fleet Corporation, he was succeeded as Chief of the 
Bureau of Yards and Docks by Rear Admiral Charles W. 
Parks. Captain Watts, requesting sea duty in March, 1918, was 
succeeded by Rear Admiral George R. Clark as Judge Advocate 
General. Thus, practically all those who were in office when 
war began served to its end. And no men ever did better 
service. Able and energetic, they worked together with a har- 
mony and efficiency never excelled. 

U-boat warfare being aimed directly at shipping, our own 
as well as that of other nations, the protection of American 
merchantmen was of prime importance. As the President was 
announcing the severance of relations with Germany, February 
3d, the steamer Housatonic was sunk in European waters, and 
on February 12th, the schooner Lyman M. Law was sent down 
by the Germans. 

Though he considered that under the general powers of the 
Executive he had the authority to arm merchant vessels for 
protection, the President desired, before taking such an impor- 
tant step, which must almost inevitably result in gunfire engage- 
ments with U-boats, to ask the support of Congress. Before 
that time, at a cabinet meeting at which this matter was dis- 
cussed, the President turned to me and asked: 

"Daniels, has the Navy the guns and gunners for this job?" 

"We can arm them as fast as the ships are ready," I replied. 

On February 26th, in an address to the two houses, Presi- 
dent Wilson requested that Congress authorize him to ' ' supply 
our merchant ships with defensive arms, should that become 
necessary, and with the means of using them, and to employ 
any other instrumentalities or methods that may be necessary 
and adequate to protect our ships and our people in their legiti- 
mate and peaceful pursuits on the seas." A bill to this effect, 
introduced at once, promptly passed the House by a large ma- 
jority, but failed in the Senate by reason of a filibuster con- 
ducted by a handful of Senators who by continual debate pre- 
vented the bill from coming to a vote before the end of that 
Congress on March 4th. 

It was this filibuster that called forth the President's denun- 



26 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

ciation of the ' ' little group of willful men" who had, with reck- 
less disregard of the country's needs, prevented important legis- 
lation, and his suggestion that the rules of the Senate be changed 
so as to make impossible any such occurrence in the future. 
Before adjournment a large majority of the senators signed a 
document stating that they favored the bill to arm American 
merchantmen, and would have voted for it, had they been given 
the opportunity. 

Confident that he had the power under the Constitution, and 
a large majority of Congress having expressed its willingness 
to grant him specific authority, the President on March 12 di- 
rected me to furnish guns and naval gunners to American ships. 
Guns and men were ready, and the work of arming merchant- 
men began immediately. In two days guns were installed on the 
Manchuria, St. Louis and Aztec, and four days later the New 
York and St. Paul were equipped. The Manchuria sailed for 
England March 15, and thereafter a constant succession of mer- 
chant ships carrying armed guards left our ports for Europe. 

The day after Bernstorff was dismissed the General Board 
had submitted the following specific steps to be taken in case of 
conflict with Germany: 

G. B. No. 425. Confidential. Serial No. 666. 

February 4, 1917. 
From : Senior member present. 
To : Secretary of the Navy. 

Subject: Steps to be taken to meet a possible condition of war with 
the Central European Powers. 

On account of existing conditions, the General Board recommends 
that the following steps be taken to meet a possible condition of war 
with the Central European Powers : 

1. Complete complements and allowances of all kinds, first of the 
A and B fleet, then of the C fleet, and naval districts. 

2. Mobilize the A fleet in the Lower Chesapeake, and increase it 
immediately to the B fleet. (See Black Plan.) 

3. Dock and repair all ships in reserve and ordinary that will be 
used. 

4. Arrange for the supply of fuel to the fleet and stock all fuel 
depots to capacity. 

5. Establish additional recruiting stations and increase personnel 
of the Navy and Marine Corps to the total number required to supply 



THE BREAK WITH GERMANY 27 

complements for all the ships built, building, and authorized, and to 
maintain shore establishments and naval defense districts, including 
aviation service, with 10 per cent additional for casualties as follows: 
Enlisted force — Navy, 150,000; Marines, 30,000; officers in the propor- 
tion prescribed by law. 

6. Mobilize the naval districts, including the Coast Guard and 
Lighthouse services, and put patrol vessels, mine sweepers, etc., of the 
Atlantic coast districts, on their stations; no commercial vessels to be 
mobilized in the Pacific coast districts at present. 

7. Prepare to the utmost detail for the employment of mines along 
our coast as may be necessary. 

8. Prepare nets and other obstruction for submarines, ready for 
immediate use, at the Chesapeake Capes, Delaware Capes, entrance to 
New York Bay, eastern entrance to Long Island Sound, Narragansett 
Bay, Panama Canal, and Guantanamo. Other places as their need 
becomes apparent. The General Board considers it of the utmost im- 
portance that net protection shall be immediately provided for the 
fleet during its mobilization in Chesapeake Bay. 

9. Establish immediately the guards at all navy yards, magazines, 
radio stations, powder factories, munition plants, bases, ship-building 
yards, and naval shore utilities in accordance with the mobilization 
plans. 

10. Reduce the force of Marines in Haiti and Santo Domingo to the 
smallest number that can maintain order there, transferring these men 
to the United States to perform necessary guard duty at navy yards, 
magazines, radio stations, ship-building plants, and to form cadres for 
the organization of new regiments as recruits are obtained. Organize 
the advanced base force and complete its equipment. 

11. Leave in the Caribbean a sufficient number of light cruisers to 
keep a lookout for submarines in those waters and for the protection of 
our interests there. Protect the Canal and Guantanamo as far as pos- 
sible, by the use of mines and where possible by monitors, submarines 
and nets. 

12. For the present use the greater part of the destroyer flotillas 
as patrol for submarines in the vicinity of the principal ports or en- 
trances leading to them. 

13. Base the submarines at Canal, Guantanamo, and points along 
the coast in accordance with the Black Plan. 

14. Rush to completion all naval vessels building or authorized; 
also build up the Aviation Service as rapidly as possible. 

15. Guard all bays and harbors on the coast of Maine to prevent 
their use as bases of supply. Patrol waters of Haiti, Santo Domingo, 
Porto Rico, and Danish West Indies, the Cuban Coast Guard Service 
to assist in patrolling all bays and gulfs of the coast of Cuba. 

16. Prepare to close entrances to all ports at night and discontinue 
or change such aids to navigation as may be necessary. 



28 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

17. Organize a comprehensive system of intelligence service cover- 
ing the whole theater of war in accordance with the plans of the Office 
of Naval Intelligence. 

18. Take possession of all interned vessels of war of Central Powers ; 
also take control of all commercial vessels of Central Powers now in 
United States waters. 

19. Place under surveillance all citizens of the Central Powers in 
the Navy or in Government employ in naval establishments, and remove 

\ them from positions in which they may do possible harm. 
! 20. Arm our merchant ships for purposes of defense. 

21. In accordance with Black Plan, carry out the following : 

j (a) Issue proclamation prescribing defensive sea areas and put 

rules in regard to them in force. 

: (b) Issue proclamation prescribing press regulations and estab- 
' lishing censorship of cable and radio, including naval control of all 

commercial and private radio stations. 

(c) Issue President's order in regard to visit and search, capture, 

etc. 

22. And as most important, arrange, as soon as possible, plans of co- 
operation with the naval forces of the Allies for the joint protection of 
trans- Atlantic commerce and for offensive naval operations against the 
common enemy. 

Chas. J. Badger. 

General war plans, as I have stated, had been developed 
years before under the direction of Admiral Dewey. Among 
these was the "Black Plan" designated for "war in the At- 
lantic," really for war with Germany. Revised from time to 
time as the progress of the European conflict suggested changes, 
this was constantly kept up to date, and covered thoroughly 
general policies and operations. The recommendations of Feb- 
ruary 4th and various others submitted later were for specific 
things to be done in consonance with the general scheme. 

A week after the break with Germany, I sent the following 
to the General Board : 

February 10, 1917. 

To: The General Board. 
Subject: Solution of Problem. 

1. The Department desires the General Board to consider the fol- 
lowing problem and submit its solution as soon as practicable : 

Problem 

General situation — Conditions as at present except that war with 
Germany is declared. 



THE BREAK WITH GERMANY 29 

Special situation — The Allies do not desire our battleship force at 
present. 

Kequired — Naval estimate of the situation : first, as to the grand 
strategy demanded by the situation ; second, as to the disposition of the 
battleship force; third, as to the method of assisting in maintaining 
communications with Europe, including scheme for cooperation with 
Allies ; fourth, as to method of driving submarines from the sea. 

Assume — Mobilization of all naval vessels and possibility of mobiliz- 
ing merchant vessels as required. 

Josephus Daniels. 

Anti-submarine warfare, cooperation with the Allies, was 
the keynote of all our plans, as of this "problem," the solution 
of which the General Board submitted on February 17. We 
were then, as always, planning " for the joint protection of trans- 
Atlantic commerce," as the Board expressed it, "and for 
offensive naval operations against the common enemy." 



CHAPTER IV 
THE DAY OF DECISION 

MOST IMPORTANT CABINET MEETING OF WILSON ADMINISTRATION HELD 
MARCH 20, 1917, WHEN IT WAS DECIDED TO CALL CONGRESS IN 

SPECIAL SESSION TO DECLARE WAR "j WANT TO DO RIGHT, 

WHETHER IT IS POPULAR OR NOT," SAID THE PRESIDENT FLEET 

ORDERED NORTH NAVY AND MARINE CORPS INCREASED TO EMER- 
GENCY STRENGTH. 

TUESDAY, March 20, 1917, is not fixed in the war 
chronologies, so far as I can find. But it should be, 
for that was the Day of Decision. That was the occa- 
sion of the most important Cabinet meeting of the 
Wilson administration, in fact without doubt the most important 
of our generation. 

Eleven days earlier the President had called Congress to 
meet in special session April 16th, ' ' to receive such communica- 
tion as may be made by the Executive. ' ' But events were mov- 
ing rapidly. Four American vessels had been sunk without 
warning — the Algonquin, City of Memphis, Illinois, and Vigil- 
ancia — with the loss of American lives. German U-boats were 
destroying shipping by the hundred thousand tons. We had 
been arming merchant vessels, but it was evident that this 
" armed neutrality" in itself was insufficient, valuable as it was. 

The " overt act" had occurred. The Germans were sinking 
our ships, killing our citizens on the high seas. There were 
matters of vital importance to be discussed when the Cabinet 
met. Congress had already been summoned to meet within a 
month. But every day counted. 

Should the special session be called at an earlier date? What 
message should be sent to Congress in view of the situation? 
These were the questions propounded by the President, who 
was grave, feeling the deep sense of responsibility. He wished 

30 



THE DAY OF DECISION 31 

every member of the Cabinet to state bis conviction of the 
national duty, he told us, and each spoke from his standpoint. 

I have often wished that it might have been possible to pre- 
serve a record of Cabinet meetings, particularly in the months 
preceding and during the war. If the American people could 
have seen the President and heard him as he spoke to us on 
(March 20th, they would have felt a confidence and admiration 
which nothing else could have imparted. I do not feel at liberty 
to give from memory what he said, or the statements of the 
ten members of the Cabinet. His severest critics have praised 
President Wilson's power to express national sentiment and set 
forth problems and solutions in living sentences in his public 
addresses. That power was even more markedly displayed in 
the bosom of his official family. 

That day he began by sketching the steps this country had 
taken to protect American lives. He was disinclined to the 
final break. As he so often did in laying weighty matters be- 
fore the cabinet, Mr. Wilson clearly stated the events culminat- 
ing in repeated sinking of American ships by German sub- 
marines, and then, with a sort of seeming detachment, invited 
the views of the Cabinet. 

It was a supreme moment. Some of us, fully in harmony 
with the President's patient and long successful efforts to pro- 
tect American rights by peaceful means, had at last, like him- 
self, lost hope of world and national safety without resort to 
war. Others, approving of steps taken, had earlier wished 
entrance into the struggle. It is interesting, even when the 
matter is not one greater than life and death, as was this de- 
termination, to observe how ten men with the same objective 
will differ in the presentation of their views or the reasons 
which prompt their conclusions. No two of the Cabinet on that 
day gave expression to precisely the same reasons, or rather, 
I should say, aside from the impelling reason, each had been 
influenced by some incident or argument he presented. But all 
were convinced that the character of the warfare being waged 
by the Central Powers could no longer be tolerated and that 
no course was open but for America to throw the weight of 
its great power into the scales against Germany. 

After all had advised that Congress be called in session as 



32 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

early as practicable, one member read a number of telegrams 
conveying the impression that popular opinion was strongly 
in favor of our early entrance into the war. 

"We are not governed by public opinion in our conclusion," 
said the President. "I want to do right whether it is popular 
or not." 

The next morning the proclamation was issued summoning 
Congress to meet April 2, "to receive a communication by the 
Executive on grave questions of national policy which should 
be taken under consideration." 

War was only a matter of days. Under the conditions, the 
place for the fleet was in home waters. When I returned to 
the Department after the Cabinet meeting, orders were sent 
to Admiral Mayo to bring the fleet north at once. Some smaller 
vessels were left in the Caribbean to protect tankers coming 
from Mexico and Texas. Though the day previous I had asked 
the General Board to consider carefully whether everything 
possible was being done for the protection of our ships entering 
the proscribed area, that afternoon, accompanied by Admiral 
Benson, I attended a meeting of the Board, informing its mem- 
bers that the President wished them to outline every measure 
that the Navy could employ for protection of American ship- 
ping entering European ports, beyond the provision of armed 
guards which we had already undertaken. I told the Board 
that we desired the fullest and most ample protection, regard- 
less of effort or expense. 

Replying immediately, the Board recommended: 

Escort vessels to deep water from our ports, and similarly from 
deep water to our ports. 

Arrange with British and French Governments for the convoy of 
our ships through the barred zones. 

Merchant ships to proceed on high seas from points of leaving and 
receiving escorts, depending upon their guns for protection and upon 
changes of course to follow alternate routes. 

Arrange with British and French Governments a code of signals to 
be used in directing merchant ships as to routes to he followed and 
points of meeting escorts. 

Establish a patrol of the Atlantic coast. 

Recruit up to the limit allowed by law for emergencies in order to 
provide crews for patrols and auxiliaries, and fill battleship complements 
which have been depleted to supply gun crews to merchant ships. 



THE DAY OF DECISION 33 

At the next meeting of the Cabinet, on Friday, I presented 
the authority granted by Congress to increase the enlisted 
strength of the Navy to 87,000, and the President directed me 
to fill up the Navy and Marine Corps to the full number author- 
ized in case of national emergency. 

On Saturday afternoon the President called at the Navy 
Department. Mrs. Wilson came with him. The rapid approach 
of war weighed upon him, and he wished to keep in close touch 
with all military preparations. It was then that I brought up 
the matter of sending to London a naval officer of high rank, 
which resulted, a few days later, in the sending of Admiral Sims. 

I also informed him of the result of the important confer- 
ence we had held that morning with shipbuilders to secure 
rapid construction of additional destroyers. Before that time 
we had always insisted upon and been able to secure "fixed 
price" contracts, under which it could be known precisely what 
a vessel would cost, the builders being under bond to deliver 
it to us at the price agreed upon. But this was no longer pos- 
sible. With the rising cost of labor and materials, the builders 
were unwilling to name specific figures. Reluctantly, I agreed 
to a contract based on actual cost of construction with ten per 
cent profit. Destroyers were sorely needed, we wanted all the 
shipyards could build, and expedition was worth all it might 
cost. As a matter of fact, no other construction during the war 
was accomplished with so little increased cost. 

That night the President signed the order directing that the 
authorized enlisted strength of the Navy be increased to 87,000 
men, and the next day I sent a telegram to the newspapers of 
the country, more than a thousand of them, asking them to print 
the order on the first page and also make an editorial appeal 
for recruits, saying: 

New ships and ships in reserve are being fully commissioned as rap- 
idly as possible, and the need is imperative for a larger enlistment to 
man them. There has been a net increase of over 6,500 in enlistment 
since Congress recently authorized an increase, but many more are 
needed and needed now. 

This appeared in nearly every paper in the United States, 
and most of them accompanied it with an editorial. It was an 



34 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

example of the fine spirit of cooperation and patriotism shown 
by the American press during the entire war. Every recruiting 
station was telegraphed to increase the force and to engage 
doctors to examine applicants, so there would be no delay. 
Within a few hours after the President signed the order to in- 
crease the Navy, the recruiting campaign was under way in 
every part of the Union. 

Thursday afternoon at 4:30 o'clock, as I was holding the 
daily interview with the press, President Wilson, unannounced, 
came into the Navy Department. It was several minutes before 
I knew he was there. There had been a rapid fire of interroga- 
tions and answers between the Secretary and the correspondents 
when an officer came to my desk and said, "The President is 
here. ' ' He was sitting quietly at the other end of the big room, 
listening to the cross-examination which a cabinet officer under- 
goes at the hands of press representatives twice every day. 
And they always ask "searching questions." As soon as the 
newspaper men knew the President was in the room, they lost 
all interest in me and I asked to be excused from further 
questioning. 

"Do you have to undergo that ordeal every day?" Mr. 
Wilson asked. 

"Yes, twice every day," was my reply; "but it is not usually 
an ordeal. Being a newspaper man myself, I recall that most 
of my life has been spent in doing to other public officers what 
those reporters are doing to me — and, besides, I rather like it." 

What to do with the interned German ships was still a 
puzzling and undecided question, and that was one of the mat- 
ters that Mr. Wilson had come to discuss. 

"We must keep in close touch," he said, as he opened the 
conversation. He spoke of the submarine situation and the in- 
terned ships, and then showed me a letter from a man of im- 
portance to the effect that an Austrian had arrived in the 
United States on a submarine, had called upon the Austrian 
Consul at New York, and given him important papers which 
had been brought from Europe in the undersea boat. He un- 
derstood that two submarines had come over from Germany, 
the writer said. 

While this seemed improbable, a telegram was sent in code 



THE DAY OF DECISION 35 

to all naval commanders and stations to be on the lookout. That 
night a message was received from the Commandant of the New 
York district that two submarines had been sighted off Montauk 
Point. Destroyers and motor boats were sent there to search 
the vicinity. 

This proved to be a "false alarm," as did so many reports 
which were sent forth with every particularity in that early 
period. But we had to investigate all that seemed possible, 
for we could not afford to take any chances of surprise attacks. 



CHAPTER V 

SENDING SIMS TO EUROPE 

cooperation with allies the keynote of our policy admiral 

"wilson first chosen sims* mission and instructions 

sailed as "s. w. davidson," private citizen british had no 

plans that promised success, lord jellicoe told him — carson 
praised America's "speedy action." 

THE most important thing, perhaps, that I discussed with 
the President when he visited the Navy Department 
March 24th was sending to London an officer of high 
rank who would put us in more intimate touch with the 
British Admiralty. 

The text of that discussion was the following cablegram just 
received from the American Ambassador : 

London, March 23, 1917, 7 p. m. 
Secretary of State, 

"Washington. 

Mr. Balfour has shown me the informal suggestion conveyed by the 
Navy Department through Gaunt [British naval attache on duty in 
Washington] regarding closer relations and his reply. The British 
Government will heartily fall in with any plan we propose as soon as 
cooperation can be formally established. It was intimated to me that 
a submarine base on the coast of Ireland would then be assented to. 

The whole subject of active cooperation and the best methods to 
bring it about have been informally discussed by me with Mr. Balfour, 
Mr. Bonar Law, the Prime Minister, Admiral Jellicoe, and others at 
their invitation, and they will most gladly assent to any proposals that 
we are likely to make. They withhold proposals of their own until the 
way has formally been opened by us lest they should seem to push 
themselves upon us, which they, of course, do not wish to do. 

I know personally and informally that they hope for the establish- 
ment of full and frank naval interchange of information and coopera- 
tion. Knowing their spirit and their methods, I can not too strongly 
recommend that our government send here immediately an admiral of 
our own navy who will bring our navy's plans and inquiries. The 
coming of such an officer of high rank would be regarded as a com- 

36 



SENDING SIMS TO EUROPE 37 

pliment and he would have all doors opened to him and a sort of special 
staff appointed to give him the results and methods of the whole British 
naval work since the war began. Every important ally has an officer 
of such high rank here. In a private conversation with me today at 
luncheon Mr. Balfour expressed his enthusiastic hope that such a plan 
would be immediately carried out. Many things of the greatest value 
would be verbally made known to such an officer which would never be 
given in a routine way nor reduced to writing. 

Admiral Jellicoe has privately expressed the hope to me that our 
navy may see its way to patrol our coast and possibly relieve the British 
cruisers now on our side of the Atlantic. He hopes too that in case 
more German raiders go out we may help capture them in waters where 
they prey on shipping from Mexico or South America. 

If our Navy Department will send an admiral it would be advan- 
tageous for me to be informed as soon as possible. The confidential in- 
formation that he will come by would be of immediate help. Such an 
officer could further definite plans for full cooperation. 

Page. 

We had presented the proposition informally through the 
British naval attache, as the Ambassador pointed out. Captain 
McDougall, our naval attache in London, was given access to 
all records which were not confidential, and his intimate associa- 
tion with the officers of the Admiralty enabled him to keep the 
Navy Department in constant touch with the situation and to 
give us data bearing on many phases of naval effort. But there 
were, of course, many things kept secret, unrevealed to any 
neutral. Our break with Germany brought about new condi- 
tions, and made possible a more intimate exchange of views 
between the American and British navies. Ruthless U-boat war- 
fare begun only a few weeks before, the Germans sinking ship- 
ping by the million tons, and the British naturally concealing 
their losses and their plans, made it important for us to secure 
the fullest information as to the exact situation, and what steps 
were being taken to meet it. And in case war was declared, 
to have in London an admiral to aid the Department in putting 
into immediate effect the cooperation with the Allies which we 
were planning. 

That Saturday afternoon I discussed Ambassador Page's 
cablegram and the whole matter with the President, and he 
approved the plan. Then the question arose as to what officer 
should be selected for this important mission. The choice was 



38 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

Admiral Henry B. Wilson, later commander-in-chief of the At- 
lantic Fleet, then commanding the battleship Pennsylvania. 
But we were creating a strong patrol force and Admiral Wilson 
was regarded as the best man to organize and command it. 

Admiral Jellicoe was, as Ambassador Page said, particularly 
anxious that our Navy might "see its way to patrol our coast 
and possibly relieve the British cruisers now on our side of the 
Atlantic," and also, in case more German raiders got out, as 
was feared, to "help capture them in waters where they prey 
on shipping from Mexico or South America. ' ' This was in line 
with the policy we had already adopted. Formally organized 
on March 28, Admiral Wilson was put in command of this force, 
which accomplished just what Admiral Jellicoe then suggested, 
and what was one of the first requests made, after war was de- 
clared, by Admirals Browning and Grasset. 

The Germans, naval officers pointed out, might well conclude 
as soon as we declared war to send submarines across the At- 
lantic to attack shipping and cut down the flow of munitions 
and supplies to Europe. One or two operating inthe Gulf might 
interrupt the shipment of oil from Mexican fields, the largest 
source of supply for the British Fleet. A strong patrol force 
would not only protect all shipping on this side of the ocean, 
but, well organized and equipped, would be ready when called 
upon, to operate in European waters, as it did later on. So, it 
was determined to assign Wilson to that duty and Admiral 
William S. Sims was then chosen for the London mission. 

On Monday, March 26, I telegraphed him to come to Wash- 
ington. He arrived on the 28th and came to the Navy Depart- 
ment in the afternoon. Referring to Mr. Page's telegram, I 
told him the President had decided to send an admiral to Eng- 
land, and he had been selected. Informing him, in confidence, 
of our belief that the time was near at hand when the United 
States would enter the war, I told him that, in that event, we 
must prepare for the fullest cooperation with the British Navy. 
But his immediate duty, I pointed out, was to secure all pos- 
sible information as to what the British were doing, and what 
plans they had for more effective warfare against the sub- 
marines. 

In the course of the conversation, I said: "You have been 



SENDING SIMS TO EUROPE 39 

selected for this mission not because of your Guildhall speech, 
but in spite of it." In that speech Sims had said, "If the time 
ever comes when the British Empire is seriously menaced by 
an external enemy, it is my opinion that you may count upon 
every man, every dollar, every drop of blood of your kindred 
across the sea." Impressing upon him the fact that the United 
States was still neutral, and that until Congress should declare 
war his mission must be a secret and confidential one, I informed 
him that it had been decided not to issue written orders detach- 
ing him from his duties at Newport, but for him to go quietly 
as a civilian passenger, and report to Ambassador Page person- 
ally before any public announcement was made. 

Among the matters discussed was the extent of the sinkings 
by submarines. Ambassador Page had written me confidentially 
that the situation was more serious than the British admitted. 
I told Admiral Sims that the President believed the British had 
not taken the necessary vigorous offensive to prevent destruc- 
tion of shipping by the U-boats and that he strongly believed 
two things ought to be done : 

First, that every effort should be made to prevent the sub- 
marines getting into the Atlantic — that they ought to be shut 
up in their own coasts, or some method should be found to pre- 
vent their ingress and egress. 

Second, that all ships ought to be convoyed. The President 
had been of this opinion for a long time, and had insisted that 
it was essential to give protection to shipping. The General 
Board had strongly recommended convoy, and I favored it. But, 
as I told Admiral Sims, I had taken this matter up with naval 
officers in the Department, and there was division of opinion, 
most of them seeming to agree with the British Admiralty, which 
apparently opposed the convoy system. It had not been adopted 
abroad. 

Admiral Sims seemed pleased with his mission and instruc- 
tions. And the only official instructions he received were those 
I gave him. But, someone may ask about the sensational state- 
ment in his letter that he was given the explicit admonition, 
"Don't let the British pull the wool over your eyes. It is 
none of our business pulling their chestnuts out of the fire. 
We would as soon fight the British as the Germans." 



40 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

I never heard of that until I read it in Sims' letter of Jan- 
uary 7, 1920. Later, testifying before the Senate investigating 
Committee he stated that the remark was made by Benson, who 
afterwards in Paris made a similar statement. "I will admit 
that I had completely forgotten the incident," said Sims in 
regard tq the latter. "It was recalled to me by a member of 
my staff who was present, and who heard it. I think that the 
reason I did not remember that distinctly was because I re- 
garded it as a personal idiosyncrasy of the Admiral. I had 
known the general opinion that he was intensely anti-British, 
but it did not affect me particularly." 

"I have always had the best possible personal relations with 
Admiral Benson," he continued. "I regard him as an up- 
standing and honest man who has exceedingly strong convic- 
tions and who is very firm in adherence to those convictions. 
I believe everything he has done during the war has been done 
conscientiously, and to get along with the war." 

Benson said he could not recall just what was said ; that he 
strongly approved Sims' selection, but probably used "very 
forcible language" in impressing upon him the seriousness of 
the situation and the importance of being very careful that ' ' his 
feelings toward the British did not lead him into any indis- 
cretion." He denied strongly that his words could be inter- 
preted to mean anything else. 

In view of these statements and the known fact that Admiral 
Benson and everybody else in our navy earnestly cooperated 
with the British, and that Benson had a large part in arranging 
this cooperation before Sims reached London, I think there is 
no occasion for any further allusion to the remark. 

On the last day of March, a week before war was declared, 
Admiral Sims and his aide, Commander J. V. Babcock, boarded 
the steamship New York, entered upon the passenger list as 
"S. W. Davidson" and "V. J. Richardson." Their fellow voy- 
agers had no idea that "Mr. Davidson" was an admiral of the 
United States Navy going abroad on an important mission, and 
"Mr. Richardson" was his aide. 

Reaching Liverpool April 9th, after an uneventful voyage, 
the New York, as it approached the outer harbor, struck a mine. 
Though the ship was not damaged beyond repair, it was crip- 



SENDING SIMS TO EUROPE 41 

pled, and the passengers were transferred to another vessel and 
taken ashore. At the dock the American officers were welcomed 
by Rear Admiral Hope, and they found that a special train, 
provided by the Admiralty, was waiting to take them to London. 
Admiral Sims on arrival there at once conferred with Ambas- 
sador Page and the British naval authorities, and was admitted 
to the confidence of the Admiralty. 

Since his departure from America, there had been a radical 
change in the situation. The United States had declared war 
against Germany, and we were free to deal with the Allies as 
associates in the great conflict. While Sims was having his 
first interview with the authorities in London, we were in con- 
ference at Washington with the ranking British and French 
admirals in the Western Atlantic. In fact a working agreement 
was perfected, and orders had been issued to send destroyers to 
Europe before we received Sims' first dispatch. Thus Sims 
in London and our authorities in Washington carried out with 
the utmost cordiality that splendid cooperation between the 
British and American navies which continued throughout the 
war and which has hardly a parallel in naval history. 

In his first cablegram from London, April 14, 1917, Sims 
reported : 

The submarine issue is very much more serious than the people 
realize in America. The recent success of operations and the rapidity 
of construction constitute the real crisis of the war. The morale of 
the enemy submarines is not broken, only about fifty-four are known 
to have been captured or sunk and no voluntary surrenders have been 
recorded. * * * 

Supplies and communications of forces on all fronts, including the 
Russians, are threatened and control of the sea actually imperilled. 

German submarines are constantly extending their operations into 
the Atlantic, increasing areas and the difficulty of patrolling. Russian 
situation critical. Baltic fleet mutiny, eighty-five admirals, captains, 
and commanders murdered, and in some armies there is insubordination. 

The amount of British, neutral and Allied shipping lost in February 
was 536,000 tons, in March 571,000 tons, and in the first ten days of 
April 205,000 tons. With short nights and better weather these losses 
are increasing. 

The Germans, he said, had seventy mine-laying submarines, 
and were building new ones at a rate approaching three a week. 



42 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

What were the British doing to meet this perilous situation? 
What plans did they have to defeat the U-boats? That was 
what we particularly wanted to know, and were surprised when 
it was not stated in that dispatch. 

Describing his first interview with Lord Jellicoe, Admiral 
Sims says, in his book, published three years later : 

"It looks as though the Germans were whining the war," I 
remarked. 

"They will win, unless we can stop these losses — and stop them 
soon," the Admiral replied. 

' ' Is there no solution for the problem ? " I asked. 

"Absolutely none that we can see now," Jellicoe announced. 

What the British were doing in regard to protecting ships 
was set forth clearly in Sims' letter of April 19, in which he 
said: 

.After trying various methods of controlling shipping, the Admiralty 
now believes the best policy to be one of dispersion. They use about 
six relatively large avenues or arcs of approach to the United Kingdom 
and Channels, changing their limits or area periodically if necessity 
demands. 

There was considerable criticism of the Admiralty, he said, 
"for not taking more effective steps," and one of the principal 
demands was for "convoys of merchant shipping, and more 
definite and real protection within the war zone. ' ' But not only 
officers but ship owners and captains opposed convoy, favoring 
the arming of merchant vessels and independent sailings, he 
informed us, saying : 

The Admiralty has had frequent conferences with merchant masters 
and sought their advice. Their most unanimous demand is: "Give us 
a gun and let us look out for ourselves." They are also insistent that 
it is impracticable for merchant vessels to proceed in formation, at least 
in any considerable numbers, due principally to difficulty in controlling 
their speed and to the inexperience of their subordinate officers. "With 
this view I do not personally agree but believe that with a little ex- 
perience merchant vessels could safely and sufficiently well steam in 
open formations. 

In this Sims was right, as was shown when, later, convoy 
was adopted. The system President Wilson had long advo- 



SENDING SIMS TO EUROPE 43 

cated, which shipping interests and many naval officers had 
opposed, proved not only practicable, but a very effective 
measure. 

Urging that the maximum number of destroyers and anti- 
submarine craft be sent to Europe, Sims in his first cablegram 
informed us : 

It is very likely the enemy will make submarine mine-laying raids 
on our coasts or in the Caribbean to divert attention and to keep our 
forces from the critical areas in the Eastern Atlantic through effect 
upon public opinion. 

We had to expect this and to provide against it; and at the 
same time extend all possible aid to our Allies in Europe. 
Destroyers had already been ordered abroad, the first arriving 
May 4, and others were sent over in rapid succession. 

Was this quick response! The English so considered it. 
Sir Edward Carson, First Civil Lord of the Admiralty, called it 
"speedy action" when he said in his address to the British Navy 
League on May 17 : 

"The toast that I have to propose is that of the American Navy. 
I give it to you from the bottom of my heart. The date of this particular 
function is very opportune. It almost coincides with the arrival in 
our seas of the first installment of the assistance which the American 
Navy is going to give us in the terrible task that is before us. It enables 
us who are members of our Navy League, and it enables me as for the 
moment presiding over the great service of the Admiralty in this 
country, to express and demonstrate our appreciation of the speedy 
action of the American Navy and to offer a hearty welcome to the offi- 
cers and men who have reached our shores. * * * 

"I don't underestimate the submarine menace. It is a great, a novel, 
and a terrible menace. It is a menace that has been unsolved by any 
navy — our own navy, the G.erman navy, the Austrian navy, the Italian 
navy, or the American navy. But don't imagine you will solve it by 
abuse or funk. No, the way to look upon it is that it is a real danger, 
and it is the work of men to face and solve real dangers. ' ' 

The problem being still unsolved, it was up to our Navy to 
devise some plan that might solve it. And we did propose, nine 
days after this country entered the war, the biggest project that 
was put into effect — mine barrages to shut in the U-boats, pre- 
venting their egress into the Atlantic. On April 15 our Bureau 



44 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

of Ordnance presented plans for mine barriers across the North 
Sea and the English Channel. On April 17, I cabled Sims to 
report on the practicability of blocking the German coast, to 
prevent submarines from getting out from their bases. He re- 
plied that this had been tried and found "unfeasible," and said: 

To the best of my knowledge and experience we should adopt pres- 
ent British methods and base further developments only upon actual 
experience in cooperation with them. 

That the barrage was unfeasible was the opinion of the 
Admiralty officers, but it was not the view of the Prime Minister, 
Lloyd George, who like President Wilson and our own ordnance 
officers, did not regard it as impossible, for Sims in his mail 
report to us April 19th said: 

The Prime Minister only two days ago expressed to me the opinion 
that it ought to be possible to find physical means of absolutely sealing 
up all escape for submarines from their own ports. The fact that all 
such methods (nets, mines, obstructions, etc.) inherently involve the 
added necessity of continuous protection and maintenance by our naval 
forces is seldom understood and appreciated. I finally convinced the 
Prime Minister of the fallacy of such propositions by describing the 
situations into which we would be led: namely, that in order to main- 
tain our obstructions we would have to match the forces the enemy 
brought against them until finally the majority if not all of our own 
forces would be forced into dangerous areas where they would be subject 
to continual torpedo and other attack, in fact in a position most favorable 
to the enemy. 

But the naval administration at Washington had faith in that 
idea, and urged it again and again, until it was adopted, and 
the vast barrage was laid across the North Sea. 



CHAPTER VI 
NAVAL ALLIES IN HISTORIC CONFERENCE 

FOUR DAYS AFTER WAR WAS DECLARED, BRITISH, FRENCH AND AMERI- 
CAN ADMIRALS MET AT FORTRESS MONROE TO MAP OUT PLANS FOR 

IMMEDIATE COOPERATION CONFERENCE AT WASHINGTON, APRIL 

11TH, FIXED THE POLICY OF UNITED NAVAL EFFORT FREQUENT 

AND FULL INTERCHANGE OF OPINION WITH ALLIES. 

FOUR days after war was declared, admirals of the United 
States, Great Britain and France were in conference at 
Fortress Monroe. Immediately upon the action of Con- 
gress, without awaiting the arrival of Admiral Sims, 
then on the ocean bound for London, arrangements were made 
to confer with the commanders-in-chief of the British and 
French forces on this side of the Atlantic, who were familiar 
with conditions overseas as well as on this coast. When they 
arrived. Admiral Benson asked: "Where can our Navy render 
the best immediate service?" 

Then these sea fighters sat down to an all-day session to find 
the best answer to Benson's question. The Allied admirals, who 
had been in the war from the beginning, told what had been 
attempted, what achieved, and the ways wherein they hoped 
America could come to the rescue. 

Hampton Roads was the site of a historic conference, be- 
tween Abraham Lincoln and Alexander H. Stephens and others 
in 1865, when there was hope that the War between the States 
might be brought to an end. That conference failed, but this 
of April 10, 1917, was a pronounced success ; for it was followed 
the next day by the conference at the Navy Department in Wash- 
ington, which laid the foundations for the perfect cooperation 
in the war with Allied governments, the first agreement the 
United States Navy ever made with foreign naval officials to 
wage war together. At the time even the fact that it was held 
was secret, and its conclusions were sent abroad only in code. 

45 



46 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

For secrecy was necessary in regard to this as well as other 
plans and operations. 

Since 1914 both the British and French navies had main- 
tained their ships in the Western Atlantic from Halifax to 
Southern waters. Vice Admiral Browning and Rear Admiral 
Grasset, in command of the British and French forces, respec- 
tively, were at Bermuda when war was declared and came at 
once to Hampton Roads. Admiral Benson, Chief of Naval 
Operations, accompanied by Admiral Mayo, Commander-in- 
Chief of the fleet, went from Washington on the President's 
yacht, the Sylph, and were joined by Admiral Wilson, in com- 
mand of the United States Patrol Force. In sight of the spot 
where the Monitor and the Merrimac met in their epoch-making 
fight over half a century before, these admirals exchanged views 
regarding the naval conduct of the war. Admiral Browning had 
been in command of a squadron in the North Sea, and acquainted 
the American officers with conditions abroad, and they in turn 
advised the visiting admirals of conditions here. 

At the conclusion of this meeting, all these admirals came 
to Washington for a conference with the Secretary of the Navy. 
They sailed on the Sylph, and the unprecedented spectacle was 
witnessed of that little ship flying the flags of staff officers of 
three nations. It was symbolic of the unity which marked their 
joint operations during the war. 

Upon their arrival, in addition to the admirals who had met 
them in Hampton Roads, I invited to confer with them the 
Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and the members of the Gen- 
eral Board. ' ' This conference, ' ' I stated when we had assembled 
in the rooms of the General Board, "has been called to consider 
and carry out without delay the best plans for the fullest co- 
operation of the navy of the United States with the allied navies, 
and to place every ounce of our naval strength into the struggle 
in the ways where it will do most to win victory. ' ' 

Turning to the British and French representatives, I said 
that as their nations had been long in the war we desired to 
learn by their successes and be warned by their failures, if they 
had made any. The conference was a protracted one and dis- 
cussed every phase of the naval situation. The British and 
French admirals told of their long and satisfactory talks with 



NAVAL ALLIES IN HISTORIC CONFERENCE 47 

Benson, Mayo and Wilson, and stated that they were practically 
agreed as to the plans which they thought would best aid in the 
object all had in view. They made certain suggestions and the 
following arrangements were made by which, it was agreed, the 
United States could best throw its weight into the struggle : — 

1. The United States Navy to take over the patrol of the 
Atlantic coast from Canada to South American waters. They 
explained the importance of that patrol and why they had felt 
it essential to preserve it since 1914. They gave three reasons 
for its continued maintenance: (a) protection of shipping for 
the Allied armies, including food for their civilian populations, 
and oil from Mexico for their fleets and armies; (b) protection 
against the coming of U-boats, which was deemed not only 
possible but probable; and (c) readiness to destroy German 
raiders. They told us that if we could take over this patrol it 
would serve the double purpose of protecting shipping on this 
coast and releasing their ships, which were needed at home. 

At that time both here and abroad there was a general belief 
that German strategy would dictate the sending of U-boats to 
our coast. There was a fear too (and there were many reports), 
of possible submarine bases at out-of-the-way places on the 
Atlantic and Gulf. Indeed, from the beginning of the war in 
1914 the Navy had been vigilant in sending craft into all places 
on our coast, from Canada to the Panama Canal, which might 
possibly enable U-boats to subsist in our waters. That confer- 
ence agreed that this vigilance should be continued and made 
more effective, because it was thought the incentive to sub- 
marine activity on this side of the Atlantic would be stimulated 
by the desire to sink transports carrying American troops. 

2. The United States to have in readiness squadrons to 
operate against any raider in either the North or South Atlan- 
tic. That was regarded as of great importance by the French 
and British conferees, and it was one of the chief duties of our 
Patrol Squadron. Speaking later of that, Admiral Badger, head 
of the General Board, said: "While a discussion of the general 
subject was had, the British and French admirals were particu- 
larly concerned as to the patrol of the east coast of North and 
South America, for which their forces were considered inade- 
quate." The Chief of Naval Operations was directed, at this 



48 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

meeting, to strengthen the patrol force and to send it wherever 
it would render the quickest and best service against the enemy. 
It was later sent to Gibraltar, to protect the vast volume of ship- 
ping plying between the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. 
The Pacific fleet, under Admiral William B. Caperton, was later 
on duty on the coast of Brazil and other South American coun- 
tries for the protection of Allied shipping in the South Atlantic. 

3. Recognizing the accepted naval doctrine of all countries 
that destroyers should be provided for operation with every 
dreadnaught, the British and French admirals said they hesi- 
tated to request the detachment of any destroyer from the fleet. 
' ' Of course your fleet naturally would not be willing to part with 
or weaken the screen of destroyers," said Admiral Browning, 
but he expressed the hope that we might send at once one or two 
destroyers to Europe for the moral effect this would inspire, as 
well as their aid in combatting submarines. Though the com- 
mander-in-chief felt it would be taking desirable protection from 
his fleet, it was agreed immediately to send six. "We will send 
a division at once, ' ' I informed the British and French admirals, 
"and all other aid in our power." Admirals Benson and Mayo 
were then directed to issue the necessary orders for the 
destroyers to make ready for distant service. Later the number 
was increased, and by the end of May twenty-eight were at or 
on their way to Queenstown. In pursuance of the policy of the 
United States adopted at this conference, the American Navy 
continued to send destroyers, submarine chasers, yachts and 
other craft overseas until the number in Europe reached 373. 

4. Our Navy agreed to look after the west coast of North 
America from Canadian to Colombian boundaries. 

5. It was promised that United States armed government 
vessels would maintain continuous service to Chile, from which 
country America and the Allies obtained nitrates indispensable 
for the manufacture of munitions. All during the war there 
was fear that the steady flow of nitrates might be interrupted, 
and every effort was made to transport large quantities as 
rapidly as possible. It was gratifying when Admiral Browning 
reported that the British relations with Chile were "excellent." 
While our relations with that country were also cordial, scarcity 
of ships and hazards of transportation were such that the United 



NAVAL ALLIES IN HISTORIC CONFERENCE 49 

States spent many millions to establish nitrate plants within its 
own borders. 

6. It was agreed that our Asiatic fleet should be maintained. 
It operated in close cooperation with Allied fleets all during the 
war and they acted together when conditions in Russia became 
acute. 

7. Our Navy undertook to supervise the Gulf of Mexico and 
Central American waters as far south as the Colombian bound- 
ary and as far east as Jamaica and the Virgin Islands. It was 
through this area that Allied navies transported their oil, chiefly 
from Tampico. The protection of tankers was always of prime 
importance and the patrol of those waters, begun before we 
entered the war, was carried on until its close, first under Ad- 
miral Wilson and afterwards by Admiral Anderson. The vig- 
ilance of this patrol was never relaxed. 

8. Our Navy assumed the duty of sending submarines to 
Canadian waters, "if and when enemy submarines appeared 
off that coast. ' ' 

9. The French Admiralty was assured that, as soon as 
possible, we would send patrol vessels to the French coast. This 
was done, our armed yachts sailing early in June for Brest. 

10. We also undertook to send armed naval transports for 
carrying needed railway material to France, one immediately, 
and others as soon as possible. 

After the conference adjourned, I suggested that the Chief 
of Operations and the French and British admirals perfect the 
details of cooperation agreed upon. They did so, and a cable- 
gram was sent by these admirals to their governments setting 
forth the foregoing definite steps agreed upon for active partici- 
pation by the United States with the naval forces of the Allies. 

Many other conferences followed, some of them notable, with 
Allied officers and government officials who came to Washington 
for consultation. All the Allied nations sent naval officers to 
Washington, many of whom remained during the entire war for 
the specific duty of expediting cooperation with our Navy. 
Some of them had authority virtually to conclude arrangements. 
There was always frequent, frank exchange of views, and the 
same spirit of oneness existed on this as on the other side of 
the Atlantic. 



50 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

The French mission, which came in April, 1917, headed by 
Marshal Joffre and Viviani, was a distinguished body, embrac- 
ing soldiers and sailors who had seen hard service. Joffre, the 
beloved "hero of the Marne," was the commanding military 
figure, and Washington, accustomed as it was to celebrities, gave 
him a reception never excelled in its wild enthusiasm. Every- 
body fell in love with him. Unaffected, simple, charming, he was 
the embodiment of French courage and comradeship. Other 
representatives of foreign governments had pressed the need of 
money and ships; but Joffre said, "Send fresh soldiers. We 
can arm them, and they can be trained in France as well as 
here. ,, 

Marshal Joffre expressed more than once his admiration of 
the appearance of the ships and crews on the American warships 
which he visited. "It is evident from their appearance, they are 
ready, enthusiastically ready, and their spic and span appear- 
ance is in marked contrast to the grimness of the French naval 
vessels," he said upon the occasion of his visit to Mt. Vernon, 
where in his tribute to Washington he said the early coming 
of American troops to France "will tighten the links of affec- 
tion and esteem which have ever united France and the United 
States." 

With Joffre came Admiral Chocheprat of the French Navy. 
He was met at Hampton Roads by Assistant Secretary Franklin 
} ). Roosevelt, and came to Washington for conference with naval 
( fficials, who obtained from him valuable information from the 
seat of war. This enabled our Navy to render better assistance 
ia French waters and led to the opening of more French ports 
for the landing of American troops and the quicker turn- 
around of transports. 

The British mission, which was headed by the distinguished 
Mr. Balfour, arrived on April 21st. Its members brought the 
inside story of conditions, particularly in the desperate fight 
against the submarine. They had been met at Halifax and wel- 
comed on behalf of the Navy by Admiral Frank F. Fletcher, 
who accompanied them to Washington. Mr. Balfour had, until a 
short time before, been First Civil Lord of the Admiralty. With 
him as naval representative was Admiral Dudley S. de Chair. 
They emphasized the seriousness of the submarine sinkings, 



NAVAL ALLIES IN HISTORIC CONFERENCE 51 

holding back nothing. American officials discussed the necessity 
of new naval offenses ; attacking the German bases or construct- 
ing mine barrages to prevent egress and ingress of submarines 
and other plans to end the U-boat menace. As representative 
of the foremost sea power, the interchange of views between 
Admiral de Chair and our naval experts was most helpful. The 
Admiral was well pleased with the arrangements completed 
earlier in the month with Admiral Browning and with our broad 
plans and construction program. 

Naval Allied cooperation was strengthened by conferences 
with the Prince of Udine, and the Italian mission ; the Belgian 
mission headed by Baron Ludovic Moncheur ; the Russian mis- 
sion, whose naval representative was the ill-fated Admiral 
Kolchak; the Japanese mission, which included the able Vice 
Admiral Takeshita — all these and other special representatives 
who came from time to time or remained attached to their 
embassies in Washington. Later the British Admiralty sent 
as its representative Admiral Lowther Grant, who was in al- 
most daily touch with officers of the Navy Department until the 
close of the war and won the regard of all. 

Through the United States Naval Representative in London, 
American admirals on duty at Brest and Gibraltar and naval 
attaches abroad, the representatives of the Allied navies in 
Washington, who were kept fully informed by their govern- 
ments, and the diplomatic and naval missions, the Navy De- 
partment was enabled to reach its decisions with all the pos- 
sible lights before it. It never had to depend upon any single 
source of information. 

These conferences at Washington were of the utmost im- 
portance because all large policies had to be settled by the Navy 
Department. Officers abroad were in command of ships as- 
signed to them, and in emergencies upon their own initiative 
employed their forces to the best advantage. The ships over- 
seas never were under independent command, but, as distinctly 
stated in orders, constituted a ' ' task force of the Atlantic Fleet. ' ' 
Their orders stated: "The individuality of the United States 
forces should be such that they may be continuously ready to 
change their areas of operations as may be made necessary or 
by orders of the Navy Department." 



52 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

In the World War it was necessary for the Navy to maintain 
close relationship with the President, the Council of National 
Defense, the State and War Departments, the War Industries 
Board, the War Trade Board, the Shipping Board and other 
war agencies, and the supply system for Army as well as Navy. 
It was essential to be in constant touch with the plans for the 
sending of troops and to have daily interchange of views with 
representatives of Allied navies. Intimate contact made for 
prompt action. The efficiency secured and maintained would 
have been impossible if the naval control had ever passed from 
Washington. 

The decisions to establish bases at Brest, at Gibraltar and 
in the Azores were made by the Navy Department in Wash- 
ington after conference with Allied powers. The result of their 
establishment justified the action taken. Routing of ships called 
for joint action between Allied and American naval agencies 
working together on both sides of the Atlantic. The movement 
of vessels carrying troops and supplies was necessarily de- 
pendent upon daily conference with War Department officials 
in Washington. Admiral William V. Pratt, who was Assistant 
Chief of Operations during the war, thus stated the main naval 
duty: "Our total naval effort in this war consisted less in the 
operation of forces at the front than in a logistic effort in the 
rear, in which the greatest problems we had to contend with 
originated and had to be solved, here at home. It must be 
noted that in this war the main united naval effort was one 
of logistics.' ' 

Building ships by the hundred ; training men by the hundred 
thousand to operate them; producing munitions, materials and 
supplies by millions of tons ; providing vessels to carry troops 
and men-of-war to protect them — all these problems of produc- 
tion and transportation were necessarily settled in Washington. 
It was this vast effort in America, directed from the Navy De- 
partment, which made possible all our activities in Europe, all 
the assistance we were able to render to the Allies and the 
general cause. 



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CHAPTER VII 

' 'WE ARE READY NOW, SIR" 

DESTROYERS, AFTER 3,000-MILE VOYAGE, PREPARED FOR IMMEDIATE 
SERVICE FIRST OF AMERICAN FORCES SENT TO EUROPE DEAD- 
LIEST FOE OF U-BOATS, THEY SAILED VAST AREAS, PROTECTING 

TROOPS AND CARGOES 256 ATTACKS ON SUBMARINES "FANNING" 

SANK U-58 AND CAPTURED CREW NO RANK IN SACRIFICE OR 

HONORS. 



F 



(( 1 lIT out for long and distant service!" was the order 
the Eighth Destroyer Division received from the flag- 
ship of the Atlantic Fleet the night of April 14, 1917. 
It was then 9 :30 p. m., and they were directed to sail 
at daylight. At five o 'clock next morning they started for their 
home navy yards. 

Speeding to New York and Boston, the ships went into dry- 
dock, made repairs, tuned up machinery, and took aboard three 
months' stores and provisions — all in ten days. 

Sailing from Boston April 24th, under sealed orders, it was 
not until midnight, when they were fifty miles at sea, that the 
officers of the flotilla knew its destination. Breaking the seal, 
the commander read the following, the first operating order 
issued to any American force: 

NAVY DEPARTMENT 

Office of Naval Operations 

Washington, D. C, April 14. 
Secret and Confidential. 
To : Commander, Eighth Division, Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet ; 

U. S. S. Wadsworth, flagship. 
Subject: Protection of commerce near the coasts of Great Britain and 

Ireland. 

1. The British Admiralty have requested the cooperation of a 
division of American destroyers in the protection of commerce near the 
coasts of Great Britain and France. 

53 



54 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

2. Your mission is to assist naval operations of Entente Powers in 
every way possible. 

3. Proceed to Queenstown, Ireland. Report to senior British naval 
officer present, and thereafter cooperate fully with the British Navy. 
Should it be decided that your force act in cooperation with French 
naval forces, your mission and method of cooperation under French 
Admiralty authority remain unchanged. 

Route to Queenstown : Boston to latitude 50 N., Long. 20 W., to 
arrive at daybreak, then to latitude 50 N., Long. 12 W., thence to 
Queenstown. 

When within radio communication of the British naval forces off 
Ireland, call GCK and inform the Vice Admiral at Queenstown in 
British general code of your position, course, and speed. You will be 
met outside of Queenstown. 

4. Base facilities will be provided by the British Admiralty. 

5. Communicate your orders and operations to Rear Admiral Sims 
at London and be guided by such instructions as he may give you. 
Make no report of arrival to Navy Department direct. 

Josephus Daniels. 

Signed only three days after the conference with British and 
French admirals in Washington, this put into effect the verbal 
orders given the moment they requested that one or two destroy- 
ers be sent. Six were on the way — the Wadsworth, Conyngham, 
Porter, McDougal, Davis and Wainwright. They were the first 
of the United States forces despatched to Europe, the pioneers 
of the large fleet we sent across the Atlantic. 

It was no smooth voyage they had in that long trip. Caught 
in a southeast gale which lasted for seven days, they were so 
tossed about by the heavy seas that they could not even set the 
mess-tables. "We ate off our laps," one officer remarked. But 
the welcome received when they reached port more than made 
up for these hardships. Nearing the coast, the ninth day out, 
a British destroyer, the Mary Rose, was sighted, flying the in- 
ternational signal, "Welcome to the American colors!" 

1 ' Thank you, we are glad of your company, ' ' the Americans 
replied. 

Next morning, Friday, May 4th, they reached Queenstown. 
Though efforts had been made to keep secret their coming, the 
American flag floated from public buildings, business houses 
and residences, and from vessels in the harbor. Crowds as- 



"WE ARE READY NOW, SIR" 55 

sembled on the hills and along the shore, cheering as the ships 
from over the sea hove in sight. 

It was a brilliant scene, flooded with sunshine — a historic 
day, marking the arrival of the first American forces to take 
part with the Allies in the struggle against the Central Powers. 
Through cheering crowds the Navy boys proceeded to the 
American Consulate, where the lord mayors of Queenstown and 
Cork extended a formal welcome. Sir John Jellicoe, First Sea 
Lord of the British Admiralty, in a letter to Commander J. K. 
Taussig, in command of the flotilla, offered the "warmest wel- 
come possible in the name of the British nation and the British 
Admiralty," concluding: "May every good fortune attend you, 
and speedy victory be with us." 

Vice Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly, Commander-in-Chief of the 
Coasts of Ireland, invited the destroyer commanders to dine 
with him that evening, closing his invitation with the character- 
istic note : ' ' Dine in undress ; no speeches. ' ' Able and energetic, 
he was known as a "hard driver"; a man of few words who 
hated talk and demanded results. 

1 ' When will you be ready to go to sea ? ' ' was about the first 
question he asked. He naturally supposed that, after a long 
and stormy voyage, they would ask some time for rest and 
repairs. 

"We are ready now, sir," Commander Taussig replied; 
"that is, as soon as we finish refueling." 

"I will give you four days from the time of arrival," the 
Admiral said. "Will that be sufficient?" 

"Yes," was the answer, "that will be more than ample 
time." 

Four days later they were all at sea, hunting submarines. 
Before the month was out they were swearing by Admiral Bayly, 
and he was calling them "my boys." 

"Things were looking black," Commander Taussig said. 
"In the three previous weeks the submarines had sunk 152 
British merchant ships- The night before we entered the harbor 
a German submarine had planted twelve mines right in the 
channel. Fortunately for us they were swept up by the ever 
vigilant British mine-sweepers before we arrived. The day fol- 
lowing our arrival, one of the British gunboats from our station 



56 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

was torpedoed and her captain and forty of her crew were lost. 
Patrol vessels were continually bringing in survivors from the 
various ships as they were sunk." 

The convoy system had not then been instituted, the British 
depending on patrol. This was trying duty, searching for the 
U-boat that might be anywhere within four or five hundred 
square miles, for the ocean was strewn with wreckage for three 
hundred miles from shore. 

The Queenstown "area" comprised twenty-five thousand 
square miles, and yet this wide zone of trans-Atlantic shipping, 
west and south of Ireland, had been left almost unprotected. 
"Sometimes only four or five British destroyers were operating 
in this great stretch of waters," said Admiral Sims, "and I do 
not think the number ever exceeded fifteen." 

Soon after the Americans arrived, the few British destroyers 
at Queenstown were withdrawn. Urging the sending of all 
floating craft available, Sims had informed us in his cablegram 
of April 28th: 

Yesterday the War Council and Admiralty decided that cooperation 
of twenty-odd American destroyers with base at Queenstown would no 
doubt put down the present submarine activity which is dangerous and 
keep it down. The crisis will be passed if the enemy can be forced to 
disperse his forces from this critical area. 

Within a month twenty-eight destroyers and two tenders 
were either in Queenstown or on the way there. On May 17th a 
second division arrived, followed by two other divisions, and two 
additional destroyers and the tenders Melville and Dixie. The 
Melville, which arrived May 22nd, was the "mother ship" and 
became the flagship of the United States forces stationed there. 
On June 1st, Sims wrote to the Navy Department: 

It is gratifying to be able to report that the operations of our forces 
in these waters have proved not only very satisfactory, but also of 
marked value to the Allies in overcoming the submarine menace. The 
equipment and construction of our ships have proved adequate and 
sufficient and the personnel has shown an unusually high degree of 
enthusiasm and ability to cope with the situation presented. 

As a special compliment to the American Navy, Admiral 
Sims had been invited, a few days before, to assume command 



"WE ARE READY NOW, SIR" 57 

at Queenstown in the absence of Admiral Bayly on a brief vaca- 
tion, and for several days the American flag floated from Ad- 
miralty House. "So far as exercising any control over sea 
operations was concerned, this invitation was not particularly 
important," said Admiral Sims. "Matters were running 
smoothly at the Queenstown station; Admiral Bayly's second in 
command could have kept the machine in working order ; it was 
hardly likely in the few days that I was to command that any 
changes in policy would be initiated. The British Admiralty 
merely took this way of showing a great courtesy to the Amer- 
ican Navy, and of emphasizing to the world the excellent rela- 
tions that existed between the two services." 

In his book, "The Victory at Sea," Admiral Sims said: 

One day Admiral Bayly, Captain Pringle of the U. S. S. Melville, 
Captain Campbell, the Englishman whose exploits with mystery ships 
had given him world-wide fame, and myself, went out on the Active to 
watch certain experiments with depth-charges. It was a highly im- 
prudent thing to do, but that only added to the zest of the occasion 
from Admiral Bayly's point of view. 

' ' What a bag this would be for the Hun, ' ' he chuckled. ' ' The Ameri- 
can Commander-in-Chief, the British admiral commanding in Irish 
waters, a British and an American captain." 

In our mind's eye we could see our picture in the Berlin papers, four 
distinguished prisoners standing in a row. 

The destroyers which escorted the first troop convoys were, 
after they reached St. Nazaire, sent to the base in Ireland. By 
July 5th we had thirty-four destroyers at Queenstown. Thirty- 
seven vessels of the Force — 35 destroyers and two tenders — had 
been sent to Europe, as follows : 

Destroyers and Date of Sailing Commanding Officer 

Wadsworth — April 24 Lt. Comdr. J. K. Taussig 

ComjngJiam — April 24 Lt. Comdr. A. W. Johnson 

Porter— April 24 Lt. Comdr. W. K. Wortman 

McDougal— April 24 Lt. Comdr. A. P. Fairfield 

Davis — April 24 Lt. Comdr. R. F. Zogbaum 

Wainwright — April 24 Lt. Comdr. F. H. Poteet 

Rowan — May 7 Lt. Comdr. C. E. Courtney 

Tucker— May 7 Lt. Comdr. B. B. Wygant 

Cassin — May 7 Lt. Comdr. W. N. Vernou 

Ericsson — May 7 Lt. Comdr. C. T. Hutchins 

Winslow— May 7 Lt. Comdr. N. E. Nichols 



58 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

Destroyers and Date of Sailing Commanding Officer 

Jacob Jones — May 7 Lit. Comdr. D. W. Bagley 

Melville (tender) — May 11 Commander H. B. Price 

disking — May 15 Lt. Comdr. D. C. Hanrahan 

Nicholson — May 15 Lt. Comdr. B. A. Long 

Sampson — May 15 Lt. Comdr. B. C. Allen 

dimming s — May 15 Lt. Comdr. G. F. Neal 

Benham — May 15 Lt. Comdr. J. B. Gay 

O'Brien— May 15 Lt. Comdr. C. A. Blakely 

Patterson — May 21 Lieut. J. H. Newton 

Warrington — May 21 Lieut. I. F. Dortch 

Drayton — May 21 Lieut. D. L. Howard 

Jenkins — May 21 Lieut. W. H. Lee 

Paulding — May 21 Lieut. J. S. Barleon 

Trippe— May 21 Lieut. R. C. Giffen 

Sterrett — May 23 Lieut. G. \V. Simpson 

Walke— -May 23 Lieut. C. F. Russell 

Jarvis — May 25 Lieut. L. P. Davis 

Perkins — May 25 Lieut. F. M. Knox 

Dixie (tender) — May 31 Commander J. R. P. Pringle 

Burrows — June 14 Lieut. H. V. McKittrick 

Fanning — June 14 Lieut. A. S. Carpender 

Allen — June 14 Commander S. W. Bryant 

Wilkes — June 14 Lt. Comdr. J. C. Fremont 

Ammen — June 17 Lieut. G. C. Logan 

Shaw — June 17 Lt. Comdr. M. S. Davis 

Parker — June 17 Lt. Comdr. H. Powell 

Others were sent as they became available, and new destroy- 
ers, in course of construction when war began, were dispatched 
to Europe upon completion. All but two of the destroyers we 
had in April, 1917, served in foreign waters. We also sent to 
Europe nine of the old type later designated as " coast torpedo 
vessels" — the Bainbridge, Barry, Chauncey, Dale, Decatur, 
McDonough, Stewart, Truxtun and W or den — and, old and 
small as they were, they did excellent service. Eighty-five 
destroyers, in all, saw service in the "war zone." 

Hunting U-boats, going to the relief of vessels attacked, 
rescuing survivors, and later, when the convoy system was put 
into effect, escorting vessels — troop and supply ships, passenger 
steamers and merchantmen — through the danger zones to and 
from port, the destroyers had plenty to do. 

Finding a "sub" was the hardest part of the game, for the 
mere glimpse of a destroyer through a periscope was sufficient 



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O 
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O p cj 



9 B" 

6 ctq 



O r-t- 

i-i CD 





CREW OF THE FANNING, WHICH SANK THE U-58 
The star on the funnel indicates a submarine victim. 



"WE ARE READY NOW, SIR" 59 

for the submarine to submerge and scurry away. Yet our 
vessels in European waters were credited with 256 attacks on 
U-boats, and there were not a few exciting encounters. 

No more striking example of prompt action and quick re- 
sults occurred during the entire war than that of the Fanning 
and the Nicholson when they "got" a German submarine, the 
U-58, on November 17, 1917. Sailing along with a convoy, at 
4 :10 p. m. Coxswain David D. Loomis, lookout on the Fanning, 
caught a glimpse of a periscope. It was a finger periscope, a tiny 
thing an inch and a half in diameter, no larger than a walking 
stick. It was lifted for only a few seconds, but the keen eyes 
of Loomis spied it, and he estimated its distance and location — 
three points on the port bow, 400 yards distant, moving across 
the bow at two knots ' speed. The Fanning headed for the spot, 
full speed, and as it crossed the course dropped a depth-bomb. 
Changing course, the Nicholson was dashing across to drop an- 
other charge when the conning tower appeared. The Nicholson 
headed for the submarine, and the Fanning turned in her wake 
to attack. Dropping a depth-charge alongside the U-boat, the 
Nicholson turned, firing from her stern gun. The sub's bow 
came up rapidly. She seemed to be down by the stern and was 
evidently badly damaged, but tried to right herself and increased 
her speed. As the Nicholson cleared, the Fanning opened fire 
with her bow gun. At the third shot the German crew came on 
deck, and held up their hands shouting, "Kamerad!" At 4:28 
the submarine surrendered. It had been only 18 minutes since 
Loomis had sighted her periscope. 

Getting a line to the crippled craft, the destroyers prepared 
to take it in tow. But two of her crew disappeared for a mo- 
ment. They scuttled the boat. As it sank, the Germans jumped 
into the water and swam for the Fanning. Heaving lines were 
thrown to them, and all but one, Franz Glinder, managed to 
get aboard. When it was seen that he was sinking, two of the 
Fanning 's crew, Chief Pharmacist's Mate Elzer Harwell and 
Coxswain Francis G. Connor, jumped overboard to rescue him. 
They got him aboard the ship, but in spite of all efforts to 
resuscitate him, he died. 

The commander, Kapitan-Leutnant Gustav Amberger, his 
three other officers and thirty-five men were prisoners. They 



60 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

were given hot coffee, sandwiches and cigarettes, and men of the 
Fanning loaned their warm clothing. No prisoners were ever 
better treated. As they entered the boats that were to take 
them ashore, they cheered the Fanning and its crew. 

A larger volume than this would be required to detail all 
the exploits of our destroyers in European waters, or even to 
give the reports of their contacts with submarines. But a few 
examples will give some idea of the work they did. 

Not long after her arrival in Queenstown, the O'Brien 
(Lieutenant Commander C. A. Blakely) defeated a U-boat which 
was trying to attack the British steamer Elysia, twelve miles 
south of Ballycotton Light, off the Irish coast. This encounter 
occurred at 4:21, June 16, 1917, and the London Headquarters' 
report of June 20th, said : 

It is reasonably certain now that the O'Brien destroyed the sub- 
marine mentioned. She was escorting a valuable ship when the two 
periscopes of a submarine were observed about 800 yards on her bow. 
She altered course immediately, headed for it, and increased to full 
speed. The periscopes were again seen about a minute later about 100 
yards dead ahead, the submarine having apparently attempted to avoid 
the O'Brien and torpedo her escort astern of her. From the last position 
sighted, the submarine apparently started to dive, and must have barely 
escaped being rammed. 

The lookout on the top observed her hull distinctly alongside the 
O'Brien and gradually disappearing as she proceeded downward, on 
almost exactly the opposite course to the O'Brien. A depth-charge was 
dropped when the submarine was under the after deck-house, and al- 
though the O'Brien was making 20 knots by this time, less than three 
minutes after the submarine had been sighted, the explosion of the 
depth-charge gave the ship a very severe shaking. The O'Brien circled 
over the spot, but saw no evidence of damage. A British destroyer pass- 
ing over the same spot, nearly three hours later found and reported 
large patches of strong-smelling oil. The Cushing, on the following 
morning, passed the same area and also reported a large amount of oil. 
This incident occurred just off Queenstown entrance and was unfortu- 
nately one of those cases the exact results of which cannot be determined. 

The Trippe, Warrington, Jenkins, Wadsivorth, Cummings, 
Wilkes and Benham all had encounters in July which were not 
only successful but showed evidence that the U-boats were dam- 
aged, if not disabled. The Parker (Lieutenant Commander 
Halsey Powell) on August 3rd had a long U-boat encounter. 



"WE ARE READY NOW, SIR" 61 

With the Fanning and Nicholson, she had been escorting steam- 
ers and had just returned to patrol when a submarine was re- 
ported about 30 miles away. Speeding to the locality, at 2:15 
she found the steamship Newby Hall had been attacked, and was 
told that the U-boat had submerged probably six miles distant. 
Escorting the steamer toward port, the Parker, at 4:10 p. m. 
turned her over to the Burrows, and returned to look for the 
1 ' sub. ' ' The steamship Rio Verde, which was in the vicinity, was 
escorted out of the dangerous locality, and the destroyer re- 
sumed the hunt for the enemy. 

At 6 :50 the Parker sighted the submarine, which submerged 
when the destroyer came within 8,000 yards. But the U-boat 
left a long oil slick which the Parker followed down. "On 
reaching the end of the slick, saw submarine underneath the 
end of the bridge," the commander reported. "Dropped two 
depth-charges on the submarine and from all evidence she was 
very probably sunk. There was practically simultaneous ex- 
plosion of the depth-charges, followed by another explosion. 
There was discovered on the surface of the water air bubbles, 
and a heavy scum of oil, and particles of what appeared to be 
cork." As no wreckage or prisoners were obtained, the Ad- 
miralty gave the credit "probably seriously damaged"; but 
the men aboard the Parker were convinced that the submarine 
had been destroyed. 

The Jacob Jones, Davis and McDougal were credited with 
successful encounters in September, the McDougal being cred- 
ited in Admiral Sims' Headquarters' report of Sept. 15th, with 
"protection of two meeting convoys against enemy submarine," 
and "possible destruction" of the U-boat. 

While escorting a New York convoy the McDougal (Com- 
mander A. P. Fairfield) at 1 :21 a. m. sighted the submarine on 
the surface, and gave chase. The "sub" submerged 500 yards 
ahead. Dropping two depth-charges, the McDougal circled 
around the spot, and soon noticed oil rising, apparently from 
the U-boat. A northbound convoy from France to Wales was 
sighted only a half mile away. "One or more ships of convoy 
were undoubtedly saved by the fact that the submarine was 
forced to submerge hastily," said the Headquarters ' report. 
"Submarine believed to be damaged or sunk." 



62 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

When the large British steamship Orama was torpedoed 
October 19, 1917, the U. S. 8. Conyngham attacked and drove 
off the submarine, saving other ships of the convoy. Her com- 
manding officer, Commander A. W. Johnson, made this report : 

During the afternoon Conyngham hailed H. M. S. Orama and sug- 
gested that, due to submarine reported ahead, convoy change course. 
This was not thought advisable by the commanding officer of H, M. 8. 
Orama and convoy proceeded on original course. 

At 5 :30 p. m. Parker, in position 48 degrees N. 09-20 W., escort 
about two miles ahead of convoy, reported sighting discolored water 
(brownish). 

At 5 :50 p. m., while Conyngham was alongside starboard side of 
Orama passing her recognition signals, a torpedo crossing Clan Lindsay's 
bow struck H. M. 8. Orama in port side, about No. 3 hold. A distinct 
report was heard, followed immediately by cloud of smoke arising from 
Orama forward of her bridge. Orama listed to port and began to sink 
by the bow. Conyngham by radio ordered convoy to disperse. Conyng- 
ham sounded general quarters and went full speed ahead and crossed 
Orama' 's bow by going full left rudder, then proceeded to make circle 
between VA and VR columns. 

When circling, a wake was sighted on starboard quarter. A periscope 
about one foot emerged visible for few seconds only was seen in this 
wake. A short time afterwards a periscope was sighted sharp on our 
starboard bow. This periscope submerged almost immediately, but wake 
was plainly visible. Conyngham, then a few yards from the periscope, 
headed for same and dropped depth-charge over the wake. An ex- 
plosion resulted. Large quantities of discolored water was seen to rise 
in the air and a number of crew and officers distinctly made out a quan- 
tity of wreckage, one piece of which might have been the wireless mast 
of the submarine, when Conyngham circled near the spot of the 
explosion. 

The Jacob Jones and the Conyngham remained by the Orama 
to save life. It was night when the vessel began to settle and 
was abandoned by her crew 7 . But the destroyers rescued all the 
478 persons who were on board the Orama. 

American destroyers had been operating in European waters 
six months with no damage from enemy action, when, on October 
15th, the Cassin (Lieutenant Commander W. N. Vernou) was 
torpedoed. Her rudder was blown off, a gun blown overboard, 
and the after part of the ship wrecked ; yet by expert seaman- 
ship she was kept afloat and taken to port, repaired and put 
back into service. Nine men of the crew were wounded, but only 



' 'WE ARE READY NOW, SIR" 63 

one was killed — Gunner's Mate Osmond K. Ingram, who gave 
his life to save the ship. 

Patrolling off the Irish coast, 20 miles south of Mine Head, 
at 1:30 p. m. the Cassin sighted a submarine, but it vanished 
before the destroyer could get close to it. Half an hour later 
Commander Vernou sighted a torpedo running at high speed 
toward the ship. Double emergency full speed was rung, the 
rudder put hard left, and for a moment it looked as if the tor- 
pedo might pass astern. When only fifteen or twenty feet 
away, it porpoised, leaving the water and sheering to the left ; 
and struck the vessel well aft, on the port side. 

When the torpedo was sighted, Ingram, who was at his gun, 
realized that if it struck among the depth-bombs astern, the 
explosion might sink the ship. Instantly, he ran aft to strip 
these charges and throw them overboard. He was blown to 
pieces when the torpedo struck. The memory of this heroic 
gunner 's mate, who made the supreme sacrifice to save his ship- 
mates, is preserved in the name of one of our new destroyers, 
the Ingram, the first naval vessel ever named for an enlisted 
man. There is no rank in sacrifice or honors. 

The officers and men worked heroically to save the Cassin. 
Her rudder gone, she was moving in circles. Efforts were made 
to steer by use of the engines, but something carried away and 
put the starboard engine out of commission. The ship seemed 
absolutely unmanageable. All was dark below, the electric gen- 
erator having been disabled. Radio apparatus broken, a tem- 
porary auxiliary antenna had to be rigged up before assistance 
could be summoned by wireless. But the crew were undismayed, 
the gunners were at their stations, and when, at 2:30 o'clock, 
a conning tower was sighted, the Cassin opened fire. Two shots 
struck close to the U-boat, which submerged and did not again 
attempt to attack the crippled ship. 

Just before 4 o'clock the U. S. S. Porter arrived. At 9 the 
British ships Jessamine and Tamarisk appeared on the scene. 
But the sea was rough, the wind high, and it was not until 2 :30 
a. m. that a hawser was made fast and the Tamarisk started 
towing the Cassin. An hour later the hawser parted. The 
Tamarisk, two trawlers and a tug worked until morning, at- 
tempting to get the vessel in tow again. But it was not until 



64 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

10 :37 a. m. that a towing line from the Snowdrop was made fast, 
and the Cassin taken to port. 

Thirty-five feet of the stern was blown off. Living compart- 
ments and store-rooms in the after part of the ship were 
wrecked or gone. The equivalent of 850 pounds of TNT, in 
torpedo and depth-charges, had exploded on the Cassin's fan- 
tail. Twenty-odd men were in the w r recked living compartments 
when the torpedo exploded. Their escape was almost miracu- 
lous. Dazed by the shock, they automatically closed water-tight 
doors and performed other emergency duties, but could never 
tell just how they did it or got away. All declared that from 
the instant of the explosion they were absolutely blinded. 
Forty-five members of the crew, including the chief petty offi- 
cers, lost all their belongings except the clothes they had on. 
But that did not bother them. The ship was saved, they were 
still alive, and that was happiness enough. 

The Chauncey, one of our small, old-type destroyers, was 
rammed and sunk by the steamship Rose near Gibraltar at 1 :46 
a. m., November 19th. Three of the officers — Lieutenant 
Commander "Walter E. Reno, commanding, Lieutenant (junior 
grade) C. F. Wedderburn, and Ensign H. G. Skinner — and 18 
men were lost. 

On December 6th, the Jacob Jones was sunk, with the loss 
of two officers — Lieutenant (junior grade) Stanton F. Kalk, of 
"Washington, D. C, and Gunner Harry R. Hood, of Atlanta, Ga. 
— and 62 men of the crew. The Jones was proceeding alone from 
off Brest to Queenstown when, at 4:21 p. m., a torpedo was 
sighted rushing toward the ship. The rudder was put hard left, 
the destroyer put on all its speed, but could not maneuver in 
time to escape. 

Broaching and jumping clear of the water, the torpedo sub- 
merged again 50 or 60 feet from the ship, striking in the fuel- 
oil tank, three feet below the water-line. The deck was blown 
clear for twenty feet, a number of men were killed ; the auxiliary 
room wrecked, a torpedo-tube thrown into the air, the mainmast 
and radio apparatus were carried away. The vessel settled aft 
immediately, and the after deck was awash. The gunnery 
officer, Lieutenant J. K. Richards, ran aft to set the depth- 
charges "safe"; but they were already under water. Rafts and 



"WE AEE READY NOW, SIR" 65 

lifeboats were launched, circular lifebelts and splinter masts 
set adrift to provide floatage for the crew. 

The ship went down in eight minutes. Most of the men 
were on rafts or wreckage, but some were swimming astern of 
the vessel. Lieutenant Commander David W. Bagley and other 
officers jumped overboard as the destroyer began to sink. 
Officers and men bore themselves with great coolness. " Bagley 's 
handling of the situation after his ship was torpedoed," 
Wrote Admiral Sims, "was everything I expected in the way 
of efficiency, good judgment, courage, and chivalrous action." 

Going down stern-first the destroyer twisted through 180 
degrees, as she swung upright. As she turned, her depth- 
charges exploded, killing or stunning the men near by. 

Twenty minutes later the submarine appeared, two or three 
miles distant, then gradually approached and picked up two 
men from the water, Albert De Mello and John F. Murphy, 
whom she carried to Germany as prisoners. All the survivors 
in sight were collected, and rafts and boats gotten together. 
The ship's radio had been wrecked, preventing the sending out 
of distress signals. Two shots had been fired from her guns 
in the hope of attracting some near-by ship, but none was in 
hearing. There seemed no prospect of assistance except from 
shore, and leaving Lieutenant Richards in charge of the rafts, 
Lieutenant Commander Bagley, the ship's commander, and 
Lieutenant Norman Scott, the navigating officer, with four men, 
started to row to the nearest land to secure assistance. 

Night soon came on, and the men on the rafts prepared for 
a long vigil. When help would arrive, none could tell. Shiver- 
ing from cold, shaken by the experience through which they had 
passed, the survivors kept up their courage with the amazing 
cheerfulness of the sailor in stress and disaster. Their very 
lives depending on keeping warm, men who had thick clothing 
divided it with those more thinly clad. Officers and men shared 
their belongings and worked together for the common safety. 

One small raft, which had been separated from the others, 
was picked up at 8 p. m. by the steamship Catalina. The other 
survivors remained in their perilous position all night, and it 
was not until 8:30 o'clock next morning when they were dis- 
covered and rescued by the British steamship Camellia. 



66 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

One brave young officer died before relief arrived. Though 
still suffering from the effects of the explosion, which had 
stunned him, and weakened by his efforts after the ship sank, 
Lieutenant Kalk swam from one raft to another to equalize the 
weight on them. Striving for the safety of his men, he over- 
taxed his own strength, and died of exhaustion and exposure. 
Men who were on the raft with him said, "He was game to the 
last." His courage and self-sacrifice are commemorated in a 
destroyer that bears his name. 

There was no other serious damage to destroyers until 
March 19, 1918, when a British vessel collided with the Manley. 
The collision exploded the depth-charges on her decks, killing 
Lieutenant Commander Richard McC. Elliot, of New York, and 
33 enlisted men, and injuring 22 others. The Manley, though 
badly damaged, was gotten to port and repaired. 

The destroyers never halted in their warfare on the sub- 
marines, and many encounters were reported in the early part 
of 1918, probably the most notable being those of the Allen, 
Feb. 2d; the Reid, March 18th; the Isabel; the Stewart, April 
23 ; the Porter, April 28 ; the joint attack of the Patterson, Beale, 
Burrows and Allen on May 19th, and that of the Sterrett on 
June 1st. All these were given official credits by the British 
Admiralty, which also gave the Tucker (Lieutenant Commander 
W. H. Lassing), which bombed and sent down a U-boat on 
August 8th, the credit "possibly sunk." 

The armed yachts, the subchasers and all the rest played 
well their parts. But after all it was the gallant destroyers 
which did most to combat the submarine menace. At sea two- 
thirds of the time, they escorted thousands of vessels in and 
out of European ports. Some of them made astounding records. 
The first year after we entered the war at least three, the Porter, 
Davis and Conyngham, steamed nearly 65,000 miles each, over 
twice the distance around the globe, while the Caldwell for some 
time averaged 8,500 miles a month, over 280 miles a day. No 
class of ship, big or little, ever excelled these records. 

Commander Byron McCandless, who commanded the Cald- 
well, went to Mare Island Navy Yard not long after her keel 
was laid, and banged away so persistently to get his ship finished 
that the workmen called him "Captain Bing-Bang." It was 



1 'WE ARE READY NOW, SIR" 67 

completed in quick time, and for its trial trip made a record run 
from San Francisco through the Panama Canal to Hampton 
Roads, going thence across the Atlantic and into service in the 
war zone. 

There were many stories of the destroyers' efficiency, and 
one told me by a gentleman on his return from Europe impressed 
me particularly. Making its way across the North Atlantic, a 
convoy of troop-ships was still some three hundred miles from 
land when a voyager, who was making his first trip across, re- 
marked: "All you can hear about nowadays is the Navy. It 
is the Navy this, the Navy that; but as far as I can see, .the 
Navy is not doing much in this war." 

One of the civilians in the party who had a son in the Navy, 
rose to his feet, pulled out his watch and said : "In ten minutes 
six United States destroyers will meet this convoy." 

"What are you talking about?" asked the voyager. "How 
do you know?" 

"Well," was the confident answer, "it is now 4:05 o'clock. 
The destroyers are ordered to meet this convoy at 4:15, and 
they will be on time." 

The party went out on deck to watch, and on the minute, at 
4 :15, destroyers hove in sight. Swinging into line, on each side 
of the convoy, the saucy little vessels, heaving foam and spray 
from bow to stern, spanked along through the heavy seas. 

"Good heavens!" exclaimed the doubting Thomas, "if these 
little destroyers can come three hundred miles to sea in any 
kind of weather, keep their schedule, and locate a convoy on 
the dot, I will believe anything I hear regarding the Navy." 
That's just an example of the way our destroyer boys went at 
the job, and they kept it up until the last horn blew. 

Their skill in navigation, in locating convoys or vessels in 
distress or boats containing survivors was positively uncanny. 
When the President Lincoln was sunk five hundred miles at sea, 
the Smith and the Warrington, two hundred and fifty miles 
away, hurried to the rescue. A wireless message stating the 
locality was all they had to steer by. It was 11 p. m. when they 
arrived. Boats and rafts had drifted fifteen miles. But so 
accurately had the destroyer officers estimated the drift that 
in the darkness they almost ran into the rafts! 



68 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

American destroyers at Brest operated under direct com- 
mand of Admiral Wilson and those at Gibraltar under command 
of Admiral Niblack. Though operating under Admiral Bayly 
and subject to his orders, our Destroyer Force at Queenstown 
had its own organization. The chief-of-staff was Captain J. R. P. 
Pringle, whose ability and untiring energy won the respect and 
regard of British and Americans alike. The senior commander 
was Commander David C. Hanrahan, of the Cushing, whose 
enterprise and energy were a fine example to his juniors. 

The splendid work done by our vessels, the excellent con- 
dition in which they were maintained, the superb morale of the 
entire force, called for the highest praise. A year after the 
arrival of the first group, Admiral Bayly issued the following 
order : 

On the anniversary of the arrival of the first United States men- 
of-war at Queenstown, I wish to express my deep gratitude to the 
United States officers and ratings for the skill, energy and unfailing 
good nature which they have all consistently shown and which qualities 
have so materially assisted in the war by enabling ships of the Allied 
Powers to cross the ocean in comparative freedom. 

To command you is an honor, to work with you is a pleasure, to 
know you is to know the best traits of the Anglo-Saxon race. 

A thrilling example of the courage, quick decision and 
prompt action that characterized the Destroyer Force was that 
of the Shaw October 9, 1918. Escorting the British transport 
Aquitania, the Shaw was just completing the right leg of a zig- 
zag that brought her close to the convoy, when her rudder 
jammed. As the huge transport turned, the destroyer was aimed 
straight toward her side. Commander William Glassford, cap- 
tain of the Shaiv, saw that a collision was inevitable. Either 
destroyer or transport would be sacrificed. If the sharp-prowed 
Shaw struck the Aquitania, the big troop-ship, with eight thou- 
sand men aboard, might be ripped and sunk, with heavy loss 
of life. 

Glassford decided instantly to sacrifice his own ship. Un- 
able to turn it aside, he gave the order, ''Full speed astern!" A 
moment later, the Aquitania struck the destroyer and sliced her 
almost in two, passing through her without even slowing speed. 
Striking just forward of the bridge, the Aquitania cut off ninety 




THEY, TOO, WEEB BEADY 

Above, a view through the stern of the Cassin after she had been hit by a tor- 
pedo; although crippled, she continued the search for the submarine. Inset, Gun- 
ner's Mate Osmond K. Ingram, who gave his life to save the Cassin. Below, the 
U. S. S. Shaw alongside deck after her collision with the Aquitania. 










^^mPMUPPPPi 



THE SEATTLE AND REAR ADMIRAL ALBERT GLEAVES 
The Commander and Flagship of the Cruiser and Transport Force. 




From the pnintinp by Burnett Toole 

A DASH THROUGH THE DANGER ZONE 
The Leviathan, largest of the transports, escorted by the Kiinberly. 



"WE ARE READY NOW, SIR" 69 

feet of the Shaw's bow and raked the whole length of her side, 
stripping open the forward boiler room, and tearing out the 
mainmast, which, in falling, jammed the starboard engine. 
Sparks ignited the oil in the forward tank, setting fire to the 
vessel. The Duncan and the Kimberly went to her assistance, 
the Kimberly rescuing the survivors in the bow, which was float- 
ing two hundred yards from the remainder of the ship. 

That the vessel kept afloat at all seemed remarkable ; to get 
her to port appeared almost impossible. But those brave men 
of the Shaw put out the fire, in the face of bursting ammunition. 
They rigged up her engines and got them working again, and 
repaired the steering gear. And they navigated that remnant 
of a ship to port, reaching Portland at 1:30 in the afternoon. 
Two of her officers and ten men of her crew were dead, killed 
in the collision. Three officers and twelve men were injured. 
Her bow and most of the forward part of the ship was gone. 
But what was left of her was taken to a shipyard, and a new for- 
ward part was built. Some months afterwards, on a visit to 
Portsmouth, England, where she was repaired, I saw her again 
in commission, doing splendid service in the Navy. 

Could there be a better tribute than that to the staunchness 
of our destroyers and the undying spirit and superb efficiency 
of their officers and men? 



CHAPTER VIII 
RACE BETWEEN WILSON AND HINDENBURG 

BIGGEST TRANSPORTATION JOB IN HISTORY TWO MILLION TROOPS 

CARRIED 3,000 MILES OVERSEAS FIRST CONVOYS ATTACKED BY 

U-BOATS NO AMERICAN TROOP-SHIP SUNK, NOT ONE SOLDIER 

ABOARD LOST THROUGH ENEMY ACTION, ON THE WAY TO FRANCE 

NAVAL TRANSPORTS TOOK 911,000 TO EUROPE, BROUGHT HOME 
1,700,000 — U. S. NAVY PROVIDED FOUR-FIFTHS OF ESCORTS. 

i ' T X JTHAT was the greatest thing America did in the 

\ / \ / World War 1 ' ' That is a question I have often 

V V been asked, and it is easily answered. It was the 

raising and training of an army of 4,000,000 men, 

a navy of over 600,000, and the safe transportation of more than 

two million troops to Europe. And all this was accomplished 

in eighteen months. 

When the issue hung in the balance, in the spring of 1918, 
Lloyd George said: "It is a race between Wilson and Hinden- 
burg. ' ' Could America land enough soldiers in France in time 
to check the German offensive I That was the one vital question. 

Carrying the American Expeditionary Force across the 
Atlantic and bringing our troops home has been justly termed 
the "biggest transportation job in history." Sailing through 
submarine-infested seas, they constantly faced the menace of 
attack from an unseen foe, as well as the perils of war-time 
navigation. Yet not one American troop-ship was sunk on the 
way to France, and not one soldier aboard a troop transport 
manned by the United States Navy lost his life through enemy 
action. 

That achievement has never been equalled. It was not only 
the most important but the most successful operation of the 
war. The Germans never believed it could be done. 

70 



RACE BETWEEN WILSON AND HINDENBURG 71 

When Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves, commander of the 
Cruiser and Transport Force, came to Washington for his final 
instructions, just before the first troop convoys sailed for 
Europe, as he was leaving my office, I said to him : 

Admiral, you are going on the most important, the most difficult, 
and the most hazardous duty assigned to the Navy. Good bye. 

That was not overstating it in any particular. No nation in 
history had ever attempted to transport so huge an army over- 
seas. It would have been difficult enough under the most ideal 
conditions, with nothing to hinder or molest. 

The German navy could have no greater object than to pre- 
vent our troops from getting to France. There could have been 
no greater victory for them than to have sunk a transport loaded 
with American soldiers. Words can hardly express the strain 
of those anxious days when our first transports were running 
the gauntlet to France ; or our relief when we received the news 
that they had all arrived safely at St. Nazaire. 

Sailing in a dense fog on June 14, 1917, the first group ar- 
rived on June 26th ; the last, the cargo ships, on July 2nd. The 
first group, Gleaves reported, was attacked by submarines the 
night of June 22nd, at 10 :15 p. m. ; the second group encountered 
two, and a torpedo was fired at the fourth group on June 28th. 
That they had escaped the submarines was an added cause for 
rejoicing. Not a ship was damaged or a man injured, and an 
officer reported: "We didn't lose but one horse, and that was 
a mule.' ' 

' ' The German Admiralty had boasted that not one American 
soldier should set foot in France,'' Gleaves said. "The bluff 
had been called, and it could not have been called at a more 
psychological moment. ' ' 

The question of the hour had been successfully answered; 
France, as well as America, celebrated the event in a very de- 
lirium of rejoicing. This was the beginning of that vast stream 
of troops and supplies that poured across the Atlantic until the 
Germans were overwhelmed. 

Getting that first group of transports together was a job. 
The army had only a few troop-ships, none of them fitted for 
trans-Atlantic service. The Navy had only three — the Render- 



72 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

son, just completed ; the Hancock, and the former German com- 
merce raider, Prince Eitel Friedrich, which we converted into 
an auxiliary cruiser and renamed the DeKalb. The Army se- 
cured fourteen mail and cargo steamships, and hastily converted 
them. It had to be quick work. We had not contemplated send- 
ing troops so soon. From a military standpoint it would have 
been better, many experts in this country and Europe held, to 
have retained the regulars for a while to aid in training the 
new officers and raw recruits, and not to have begun transporta- 
tion until we had a larger army. 

But war-weary France, grimly holding back the Germans, 
and England, beset by submarines, needed cheering up ; needed 
visible evidence that reenforcement was certain, that the Amer- 
icans were coming. Marshal Joffre asked that some troops be 
sent at the earliest possible moment — "a regiment or two, if 
possible a division." He told Secretary Baker that he looked 
forward to the day when the United States should build up its 
" splendid army of 400,000 or 500,000." What must he have 
thought when he saw an American army of 4,000,000 men, with 
two millions of them in France ! He appreciated the necessity, 
he said, of retaining the regulars to train the new army, and 
knew that few could be spared. But the very sight of American 
troops on French soil, of our men marching through the streets 
of Paris, would be a tremendous inspiration to all France. The 
wise old Marshal was right. 

Secretary Baker immediately began his preparations to send 
troops. When he told Congress he would have an army of 
500,000 men in France in the summer of 1918, a leading senator 
declared it was "impossible." It was impossible to those with- 
out vision. But the Secretary of War's figures were increased 
three-fold. 

General Pershing was chosen to command the forces to be 
sent to Europe, and was summoned from the Mexican border. 
He arrived in Washington May 10th. Preparations were al- 
ready under way by both Army and Navy. Officers of both 
services were working out in detail the system by which they 
were to secure ships and cooperate in transportation. 

I selected Gleaves, then in command of our destroyer force, 
to direct the troop transportation, and I never had reason to 



EACE BETWEEN WILSON AND HINDENBURG 73 

regret this choice. No man could have done a big job better; 
no job was ever better done. On May 23, he was summoned to 
Washington and informed that he had been chosen to command 
the first expedition to France-. 

General Pershing and his staff sailed May 28th on the Baltic 
and arrived at Liverpool June 8, reaching France at Boulogne, 
June 13th. The troop convoys sailed from New York the next 
day. Admiral Gleaves, on his flagship, the cruiser Seattle, was 
in command. The vessels were arranged in four groups, which 
sailed six hours apart: 

Group 1 — Transports: Saratoga, Havana, Tenadores, Pastores. 
Escort: Seattle, armored cruiser; DeKalb, auxiliary cruiser; Corsair, 
converted yacht ; Wilkes, Terry, Roe, destroyers. 

Group 2 — Transports : Henderson, Momus, Antilles, Lenape. Escort : 
Birmingham, scout cruiser ; Aphrodite, converted yacht ; Burrows, Fan- 
ning, Lamson, destroyers. 

Group 3 — Transports: Mallory, Finland, San Jacinto. Escort: 
Charleston, cruiser; Cyclops, fuel ship; Allen, McCall, Preston, 
destroyers. 

Group 4 — Transports: Montanan, Dakotan, El Occidente, Edward 
Luckenbach. Escort: St. Louis, cruiser; Hancock, cruiser transport; 
Shaw, Parker, Ammen, Flusser, destroyers. 

No convoy that ever sailed had a stronger escort or was more 
closely guarded. Their protection was our supreme duty. Be- 
fore they left, I cabled Admiral Sims: "I hereby instruct you 
to furnish escorts, to consist of one division of destroyers for 
each convoy group from the point of meeting to the point of 
debarkation." 

Submarines were reported operating in the area that had 
to be crossed. Three of the groups encountered U-boats, Ad- 
miral Gleaves reported, and Admiral Sims cabled on June 30th, 
"First group attacked by submarines, longitude 25 degrees 30, 
before arriving at first rendezvous; second group attacked 
longitude 8"; and the next day he cabled: "It is practically 
certain that enemy knew position of the first rendezvous and 
accordingly sent a submarine to intercept before juncture with 
destroyers." 

About 10 :15 p. m., June 22, the officer of the deck and others 
on the bridge of the Seattle, which was leading the first group, 



74 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

saw a white streak about 50 yards ahead of the ship, crossing 
from starboard to port. The cruiser was immediately run off 
90 degrees to starboard at full speed. The officer of the deck 
said, " Report to the admiral a torpedo has just crossed our 
bow. " General alarm was sounded, torpedo crews being already 
at their guns. When Gleaves reached the bridge, the DeKalb 
and one of the transports astern had opened fire, the former's 
shell fitted with tracers. Other vessels of the convoy turned 
to the right and left. The destroyer Wilkes crossed the Seattle's 
bow at full speed and turned toward the left column in the direc- 
tion of the firing. 

Two torpedoes passed close to the DeKalb from port to star- 
board, one about 30 yards ahead of the ship and the other under 
her stern, as the ship was turning to the northward. Captain 
Gherardi stated that at 10 :25 the wake of a torpedo was sighted 
directly across the DeKalb's bow. A second torpedo wake was 
reported ten minutes later by the after lookouts. 

The torpedoes fired at the Havana passed from starboard to 
port about 40 yards ahead of the ship, leaving a distinct wake 
which was visible for 400 or 500 yards. 

The submarine sighted by the Seattle was seen by the Wilkes 
and passed under that ship, Lieutenant Van Metre reported, 
stating that the oscillator gave unmistakable evidence of the 
presence of a submarine. The radio operator at the receiver re- 
ported, " Submarine very close to us." As the U-boat passed, 
it was followed by the Wilkes, which ran down between the 
columns, chasing the enemy. 

The Birmingham, leading the second group, encountered two 
submarines, the first about 11:50 a. m., June 26, in latitude 
47° 01' N. longitude 06° 28' W., about a hundred miles off the 
coast of France, and the second two hours later. The Wads- 
worth investigated the wake of the first without further dis- 
covery. The Cummings sighted the bow wave of the second at 
a distance of 1,500 yards, and headed for it at a speed of 25 
knots. The gun pointers at the forward gun saw the periscope 
time and again, but as the ship was zigzagging, it disappeared 
each time before they could fire at it. The Cummings passed 
about 25 yards ahead of a mass of bubbles which were coming 
up from the wake and let go a depth-charge just ahead. Several 



RACE BETWEEN WILSON AND HINDENBURG 75 

pieces of timber, quantities of oil, bubbles and debris came to 
the surface. Nothing more was seen of the submarine. The 
attacks on the second group occurred about 800 miles to the 
eastward of where the attacks had been made on the first group. 

The voyage of the third group, Admiral Gleaves reported, 
was uneventful; but the Kanawha, with the fourth group, on 
June 28th, fired on what was believed to be a submarine. The 
Kanawha's commander saw the object; and a minute or two 
later the port after gun's crew reported sighting a sub- 
marine, and opened fire. The lookouts said they saw the U-boat 
under the water's surface, about where the shots were landing. 
Lieutenant (junior grade) Lee C. Carey, in charge of the firing, 
reported that he saw the submarine fire two torpedoes in the 
direction of the convoy, which sheered off when the alarm was 
sounded. ''All the officers and men aft had observed the tor- 
pedoes traveling through the water and cheered loudly when 
they saw a torpedo miss a transport," reported the Kanawha's 
commander. 

When he was in Paris Admiral Gleaves was shown a confi- 
dential bulletin of information issued by the French General 
Staff, dated July 6, which contained the following : 

Ponta Delgada was bombarded at 9 a. m., July 4. This is un- 
doubtedly the submarine which attacked the Fern Leaf on June 25, four 
hundred miles north of the Azores and sank the Benguela and Syria 
on the 29th of June 100 miles from Terceira (Azores). This submarine 
was ordered to watch in the vicinity of the Azores at such a distance 
as it was supposed the enemy American convoy would pass from the 
Azores. 

"It appears from the French report just quoted above and 
from the location of the attack that enemy submarines had been 
notified of our approach and were probably scouting across our 
route," Gleaves said. 

On the evening of July 3rd, I had the pleasure of announcing 
the safe arrival of all our convoys, without the loss of a man. 
This occasioned general rejoicing in France, England and Italy, 
as well as America. For us, the national holiday that followed 
was truly a glorious Fourth. Secretary Baker wrote the thanks 
of the Army, adding: "This splendid achievement is an aus- 
picious beginning, and it has been characterized throughout by 



76 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

the most cordial and effective cooperation between the two mili- 
tary services. ' ' In replying, ' ' in behalf of the men whose cour- 
age gave safe conduct to courage," I said that the Navy waited 
"in full confidence for the day when the valor of your soldiers 
will write new and splendid chapters in the history of our 
liberty-loving land." 

The policy of the Department, with reference to the safety 
of ships carrying troops to France, was laid down in this cable- 
gram which I wrote with my own hand : 

Washington, D. C, July 28, 1917. 
Admiral Sims: 

The paramount duty of the destroyers in European waters is prin- 
cipally the proper protection of transports with American troops. Be 
certain to detail an adequate convoy of destroyers and in making the 
detail bear in mind that everything is secondary to having a sufficient 
number to insure protection to American troops. 

Josephus Daniels. 

From the small beginning was built up the great Cruiser and 
Transport Force which took to France 911,047 American sol- 
diers, and brought home 1,700,000— a total of 2,600,000 carried 
across the Atlantic in naval transports. In less than a year this 
Force grew to a fleet of 83 vessels, and after the armistice com- 
prised 142 vessels carrying troops, with facilities . for 13,914 
officers and 349,770 men. Rear Admiral Gleaves' headquarters 
were at Hoboken, N. J., where most of the transports docked. 
His chief of staff was Captain De W. Blamer. The Newport 
News Division was commanded by Rear Admiral Hilary P. 
Jones, now commander-in-chief of the Atlantic Fleet, with 
Captain J. F. Hines as his chief of staff. 

Of the 194,965 troops which sailed before the end of 1917, 
113,429 were carried in American vessels, all but 8,535 of these 
in our transports; and 75,500 were taken in British ships. In 
January, February and March, 1918, British vessels carried 
57,399; U. S. naval transports, 123,917. Foreign shipping in 
large quantity did not become available until after the famous 
"March drive" made by the Germans in 1918. Then the most 
important thing to all the Allies was getting American soldiers 
to Europe, and British, French and Italian ships in numbers 
were furnished. In April, 1918, 67,553 sailed in U. S. trans- 



RACE BETWEEN WILSON AND HINDENBURG 77 

ports, 47,362 in British ships. In May the British carried more 
than we did, 133,795 to our 99,561, besides 12,127 carried in 
Italian vessels leased by the British. In the next five months 
up to the armistice, 520,410 were carried in U. S. naval trans- 
ports, and 28,973 in other American ships ; British vessels car- 
ried 692,931; British-leased Italian ships 53,493 and French, 
Italian and other foreign ships, 38,218. 

The records of the Cruiser and Transport Force show that, 
in all, 2,079,880 American troops were transported to France 
before the armistice — 952,581 in American vessels, 911,047 of 
these in U. S. naval transports ; 1,006,987 in British ships ; 68,246 
in British-leased Italian vessels; 52,066 in French, Italian and 
other foreign ships. American vessels carried 46.25 per cent, 
43.75 of this in U. S. Naval transports; British vessels 48.25 
per cent ; British-leased Italian ships, 3 per cent ; French, Italian 
and others, 2.5 per cent. 

The purely naval duty was escorting these vessels, guarding 
them against attack by raiders or submarines. Of this the 
British navy performed 14.125 per cent, the French 3.125, and 
the United States Navy 82.75 per cent, over four-fifths. Of the 
total number of troops, 61,617 were under French escort, 297,903 
under British escort, and 1,720,360 sailed under the escort of 
the United States Navy. 

But that is only half the story. When hostilities ended, that 
vast army had to be brought back from Europe. For this, very 
little foreign shipping was available. Of the 1,933,156 Ameri- 
cans returned from November 11, 1918, to the end of September, 
1919, the Navy brought home 1,675,733 ; all other vessels, Ameri- 
can and foreign, 257,423. During hostilities we had returned 
11,211 sick, wounded, casuals, etc.; some were returned after 
September, so that the total number brought by the Navy from 
Europe to America ran well over 1,700,000. 

Of the total troop and official passenger movement incident 
to the war, approximately 4,000,000, the Navy transported more 
than 2,600,000. Not only did the Navy man and operate the 
United States transports, but provided the food for this vast 
army of soldiers en route. And during the entire war period, 
four-fifths of all the American troops who sailed were guarded 
by American cruisers, destroyers and patrol craft. 



78 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

This country could not have sent over nearly so many troops 
as it did, if we had not been aided by the British, French and 
Italian vessels. This was no gift, of course. The United States 
Government paid for every soldier transported on a foreign 
vessel. The aid of our Allies was invaluable, and highly appre- 
ciated. They should be given full credit for all they did; but 
this should not detract one iota from the great task performed 
by our Navy, which was the biggest factor in putting through 
this biggest job of the war. 

Not a single vessel of the Cruiser and Transport Force was 
torpedoed on the way to France. Two, the President Lincoln 
and the Covington, were sunk returning, as was also the An- 
tilles, an Army chartered transport not manned by the Navy. 
Two American transports were torpedoed, the Finland, manned 
by a civilian crew, and the Mount Vernon, manned by the Navy; 
but both were successfully navigated to port and repaired. The 
Tuscania and the Moldavia, sunk while carrying American 
troops to Europe, were British chartered vessels, as was also the 
Dwinsk, which was sunk while returning. 

The first transport lost was the Antilles, October 17, 1917, 
two days out of Brest. Eleven days later the Finland was struck 
by a torpedo. In both cases there was loss of life and confusion 
among the civilian crews. After these experiences, it was de- 
cided to man all American troop-ships entirely by naval per- 
sonnel; and it was not until May 31st that another was lost. 

Returning to America, in company with the Susquehanna, 
Antigone and Rijndam, the President Lincoln (Commander P. 
W. Foote), was steaming along, 500 miles from land. At 9 
o'clock a terrific explosion occurred on the port side of the 
Lincoln, 120 feet from the bow. In an instant there was another 
explosion in the after part of the vessel. The ship had been 
struck by three torpedoes, fired in a salvo from a submarine. 
Two struck together near the bow, the other near the stern. 
Officers and lookouts had sighted the wakes, but the torpedoes 
were so close that it was impossible to avoid them. 

There were 715 persons on board, including 30 officers and 
men of the army, a number of whom were sick, two helpless from 
paralysis. It was realized that the vessel could not long remain 
afloat, but there was no confusion. Crew and passengers coolly 



RACE BETWEEN WILSON AND HINDENBURG 79 

waited for and obeyed orders. Boats were lowered and life- 
rafts placed in the water. Fifteen minutes after the torpedoes 
struck, all hands except the guns '-crews were ordered to aban- 
don the ship. 

Gunners stood at their stations, awaiting any opportunity 
for a shot at the submarine. Commander Foote and several 
other officers remained aboard. All the rest of the ship's com- 
pany were in the boats or on the rafts. When the guns began 
firing, they broke into cheers. The firing was kept up until the 
water covered the main deck, and the gunners did not leave their 
posts until they were ordered off just before the ship sank. 

With her colors flying, twenty-five minutes after the tor- 
pedoes exploded, the Lincoln went down. Three officers and 23 
men were lost. Seven working below decks were either killed 
by the explosion, or drowned by the inrush of water. Sixteen 
men on a raft alongside were caught by the current and carried 
under as the ship went down. The officers lost were Passed 
Assistant Surgeon L. C. Whiteside, the ship's medical officer; 
Paymaster Andrew Mowat, the supply officer, and Assistant 
Paymaster J. D. Johnson. Dr. Whiteside and Paymaster Mowat 
had seen that the men under their charge had gotten away 
safely, the doctor having attended to placing the sick in the 
boat provided for them. Paymaster Johnson was on the raft 
which was pulled down as the ship plunged. 

Admiral Sims cabled that the ''small loss of life is due to 
thorough discipline of ship's company, and excellent seaman- 
ship of Commander Foote.' ' This he said was "evidenced by 
actual results even after the ship had sunk and the personnel 
was adrift in boats and on rafts." Admiral Gleaves wrote to 
Foote: "Your action and judgment under such trying condi- 
tions were in accord with the best traditions of the service." 
Half an hour after the ship went down a large submarine 
emerged, and went among the boats and rafts, seeking the com- 
mander and other senior officers, whom they wished to take pris- 
oners. The Germans could identify only one officer, Lieutenant 
Edouard Victor M. Isaacs, who was taken on board and carried 
away. The submarine — it was the U-90, — remained in the vicin- 
ity for two hours, and returned again in the afternoon, evidently 
seeking to attack other vessels of the convoy. But they were 



80 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

far away, having, in accordance with standard instructions to 
avoid attack, put on all steam and left the scene as Sv,on as the 
Lincoln was hit. 

The U-boat was so menacing that some feared it would fire 
upon the life-craft. When several of the crew went to its gun, 
apparently preparing it for action, a man in one of the boats 
exclaimed : ' ' Good night ! Here come the fireworks ! ' ' 

By dark the boats and rafts had been lashed together. 
Lighted lanterns were hoisted and flares and signal lights 
burned every few minutes. None knew when aid would arrive. 
Distress signals had been sent out, but the nearest destroyers 
were 250 miles away, protecting another convoy. Military 
necessity might prevent their being detached. 

Five hundred miles from land, waiting for aid until far in 
the night, the men cheered and sang such songs as "Over 
There," "Keep the Home Fires Burning," "Hail, Hail, the 
Gang 's All Here, ' ' and ' ' Where do we go from here, boys ? " At 
11 p. m. the destroyers Smith (Lieutenant Commander Kenyon) 
and Warrington (Lieutenant Commander Klein) arrived. With 
only the wireless distress message sent at 9 a. m. to guide them, 
they had located the life-craft in the middle of the night, though 
boats and rafts had drifted 15 miles. The hundreds of survivors 
were taken aboard the destroyers, which remained until daylight 
to search for survivors, departing at 6 a. m. 

Though their decks were crowded with the Lincoln's officers 
and men, the Smith and Warrington made a fast run to Brest, 
arriving there next day. En route they sighted the wake of a 
periscope and rained depth-bombs on the very submarine which 
had sunk the Lincoln, but by descending to a great depth the 
U-90 escaped. 

That it was the same U-boat was learned positively when, 
months afterward, Lieutenant Isaacs escaped from prison. His 
experiences aboard the submarine and in Germany make a thrill- 
ing story. Describing his capture, after the sinking of the 
Lincoln, and his being taken aboard the U-boat, Lieutenant 
Isaacs said: 

We passed north of the Shetlands into the North Sea, the Skagerrak, 
the Cattegat, and the Sound into the Baltic. Proceeding to Kiel, we 
passed down the canal through Heligoland Bight to Wilhelmshaven. 



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THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY WITH CAPTAIN DISMUKES AND 
THE MEN WHO SAVED THE MOUNT VERNON 




THE MOUNT VERNON, FORMERLY THE GERMAN LINER KRONPRTN- 

ZESSIN CECILIE, SAFELY IN PORT AFTER BEING TORPEDOED, 

SEPTEMBER 5, 1918. 



RACE BETWEEN WILSON AND HINDENBURG 81 

On the way to the Shetlands we fell in with two American de- 
stroyers, the Smith and the Warrington, who dropped 22 depth bombs 
on us. We were submerged to a depth of 60 meters and weathered the 
storm, although five bombs were very close and shook us up considerably. 
The information I had been able to collect was, I considered, of enough 
importance to warrant my trying to escape. Accordingly in Danish 
waters I attempted to jump from the deck of the submarine, but was 
caught and ordered below. 

The German Navy authorities took me from Wilhelmshaven to 
Karlsruhe, where I was turned over to the army. Here I met officers 
of all the Allied armies, and with them I attempted several escapes, all 
of which were unsuccessful. After three weeks at Karlsruhe I was sent 
to the American and Russian officers' camp at Villingen. On the way 
I attempted to escape from the train by jumping out of the window. 
With the train making about 40 miles an hour, I landed on the opposite 
railroad track and was so severely wounded by the fall that I could not 
get away from my guard. They followed me, firing continuously. When 
they recaptured me they struck me on the head and body with their 
guns until one broke his rifle. It snapped in two at the small of the 
stock as he struck me with the butt on the back of the head. 

I was given two weeks solitary confinement, for this attempt to 
escape, but continued trying, for I was determined to get my informa- 
tion back to the Navy. Finally, on the night of October 6, assisted by 
several American Army officers, I was able to effect an escape by short- 
circuiting all lighting circuits in the prison camp and cutting through 
barbed-wire fences surrounding the camp. This had to be done in the 
face of a heavy rifle fire from the guards. But it was difficult for them 
to see in the darkness, so I escaped unscathed. 

In company with an American officer in the French Army, I made 
my way for seven days and nights over mountains to the Rhine, which 
to the south of Baden forms the boundary between Germany and 
Switzerland. After a four-hour crawl on hands and knees I was able 
to elude the sentries along the Rhine. Plunging in, I made for the 
Swiss shore. After being carried several miles down the stream, being 
frequently submerged by the rapid current, I finally reached the oppo- 
site shore and gave myself up to the Swiss gendarmes, who turned me 
over to the American legation at Berne. From there I made my way 
to Paris and then London and finally Washington, where I arrived four 
weeks after my escape from Germany. 

It was my pleasure to greet Lieutenant Isaacs on his return, 
congratulate him on his escape, and commend him for the heroic 
courage and enterprise he had displayed under such trying cir- 
cumstances. 

The Covington (Captain R. D. Hasbrouck) was torpedoed 
July 1st at 9 :15 p. m., the torpedo smashing a hole in the vessel's 



82 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

side and throwing into the air a column of water higher than the 
smokestacks. Engine and fire rooms quickly filled, the ship lost 
headway rapidly and in fifteen minutes lay dead in the water. 

Listing heavily to port, it was feared the vessel might take 
a lurch and sink suddenly. Twenty-one boats were lowered, 
three had been smashed by the explosion. ' ' Abandon ship, ' ' was 
ordered. The bugle sounded "Silence," and silently the men 
went down the Jacob 's ladders as if they were at drill. The de- 
stroyer Smith stood close by, taking the men from the boats. 
Thirty officers and men remained aboard with the Captain until 
an hour after the torpedo struck. 

Hoping to save the transport, a salvage party was organized, 
to go on board as soon as the men could be collected from rafts 
and boats. The little Smith, which in addition to its own crew 
of one hundred, had aboard 800 of the Covington's officers and 
men, encircled the transport to keep off the submarine and pre- 
vent it from firing another torpedo. 

Another destroyer, the Reade, came to the rescue; at 4:20 
a. m. the British salvage tugs, Revenger and Woonda arrived, 
and at 5 :30 o'clock the American tug Concord reached the scene. 
The Smith, which was ordered to take to port all the crew not 
needed, at 5 :20 left for Brest. By 6 o 'clock the three tugs had 
the Covington in tow, and were making from five to six knots 
through the water. Two more destroyers joined shortly after 
to guard the crippled ship from attack. She was then listed 
about twenty degrees to port, and about noon took a quick list of 
ten degrees more. 

By 1:30 p. m. she had heeled to an angle of 45 degrees. 
Sensing sinking conditions, the working party was directed to 
leave the ship, the Nicholson taking them off. At 2 :30 the Cov- 
ington began to sink rapidly by the stern and disappeared two 
minutes later. The ship went down with her colors flying. 

The only fighting ship of the Cruiser and Transport Force 
that was sunk — in fact, the only large United States naval vessel 
lost during the war — was the armored cruiser San Diego (Cap- 
tain H. H. Christy) sunk by a mine off Fire Island, N. Y., July 
19, 1918. 

Proceeding from Portsmouth, N. H., to New York, the cruiser 
was steering what wars regarded as a safe course to avoid the 



RACE BETWEEN WILSON AND HINDENBURG 83 

submarines, then operating in Atlantic waters, and the mines 
they had laid. Lookouts, gun-watches, fire control parties were 
at their stations, the whole crew on the alert. There was no sign 
of any U-boat or mine. 

Suddenly, at 11:05 a. m., there was an explosion at frame 
No. 78, on the port side well below the water line. ' ' Full speed 
ahead," was rung by the Captain, who hoped the ship could 
be kept afloat, and the starboard engine operated until it was 
stopped by rising water. 

Machinist 's Mate Hawthorne, who was at the throttle in the 
port engine room, was blown four feet under a desk. He got 
up, closed the throttle on the engine, which had already stopped, 
and then escaped up the ladder. The lieutenant on watch in 
the starboard engine room, closed the water tight doors, and 
gave instructions to the fireroom to protect the boilers. 

The vessel listed to port so heavily that water entered the 
gun ports on the gun deck. Listing 8 degrees quickly, the vessel 
hung for seven minutes ; then gradually turned until 35 degrees 
was reached. At this time the port quarter-deck was three feet 
under water. The cruiser then rapidly turned turtle and sank. 

Captain Christy was last to leave the ship. Going from the 
bridge down two ladders to the boat deck, he slid down a line 
to the armor belt, then dropped four feet to the bilge keel, and 
thence to the docking keel. From there he jumped into the 
water. The men cheered their captain as he left the ship. On 
the rafts they sang "The Star Spangled Banner" and "My 
Country 'Tis of Thee," and more cheers arose when the United 
States ensign was hoisted on the sailboat. 

Two dinghies with six officers and twenty-one men pulled to 
shore, arriving at 1 :20 p. m. The steamer Maiden picked up 370 
officers and men, the Bossom 708 ; the E. P. Jones 78. Six men 
were lost, three of these being killed by the explosion. The court 
of inquiry reported that "the conduct of the Captain, officers 
and crew was in the highest degree commendable," and that "the 
remarkably small loss of life was due to the high state of disci- 
pline maintained on board." 

This was the last loss sustained by the Cruiser and Transport 
Force until September 5th. Then the troopship Mt. Vernon 
(Captain D. E. Dismukes) was torpedoed, but by splendid sea- 



84 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

manship was taken to port under her own steam. The Mi. 
Vernon, homeward bound, was 250 miles from the coast of 
France when she was struck. The explosion was so terrific that 
for an instant it seemed that the ship was lifted clear out of 
the water and torn to pieces. Men at the after guns and depth- 
charge stations were thrown to the deck, and one gun thrown 
partly out of its mount. The torpedo struck fairly amidship, 
destroying four of the eight boiler-rooms and flooding the middle 
portion of the vessel from side to side for a length of 150 feet. 
The vessel instantly settled 10 feet increase in draft, but 
stopped there. This indicated that the water-tight bulkheads 
were holding, and she could still afford to go down two or three 
feet more before she would lose her floating buoyancy. The 
immediate problem was to escape a second torpedo. Depth- 
charge crews jumped to their stations, and started dropping a 
depth-bomb barrage. 

Men in the flrerooms knew that the safety of the ship de- 
pended on them. The shock of the explosion, followed by instant 
darkness, falling soot and particles; the knowledge that they 
were far below the water level inclosed practically in a trap; 
the imminent danger of the ship sinking, the added threat of 
exploding boilers — all these dangers and more must have been 
apparent to every man below, said Captain Dismukes, and yet 
not one man wavered in standing by his post of duty. 

C. L. O'Connor, water tender, was thrown to the floor and 
enveloped in gas flames from the furnaces. Instead of rushing 
to escape, he turned and endeavored to shut a water-tight door 
leading into a large bunker abaft the fireroom, but the hydraulic 
lever that operated the door had been damaged and failed to 
function. Three men at work in this bunker were drowned. If 
O'Connor had succeeded in shutting the door, all would have 
been saved. Caught in the swirl of inrushing water, O'Connor 
was thrust up a ventilator leading to the upper deck. 

The torpedo exploded on a bulkhead separating two fire- 
rooms, the explosive effect being apparently about equal in both 
firerooms, yet in one fireroom not a man was saved, while in the 
other two of the men escaped. The explosion blasted through 
the outer and inner skin of the ship and through an intervening- 
coal bunker and bulkhead, hurling overboard 750 tons of coal. 



RACE BETWEEN WILSON AND HINDENBURG 85 

The two men saved were working the fires within 30 feet of the 
explosion and just below the level where the torpedo struck. 
How they escaped is a miracle. One of the men, P. Fitzgerald, 
landed on the lower grating. Groping his way through the dark- 
ness, trying to find the ladder leading above, he stumbled over 
the body of a man apparently dead. Finding he was only uncon- 
scious, Fitzgerald aroused him and took him to safety. The man 
would have been lost, for the water rose 10 feet above this grat- 
ing as the ship settled. 

Shortly after the Mt. Vernon arrived at Brest, Captain Dis- 
mukes received this letter from Brigadier General George H. 
Harries, U. S. A. : 

Sorrow mingled with pride, for those who died so nobly. Congratu- 
lations on the seamanship, discipline and courage. It was a great feat 
you accomplished. 

Passengers whom I have seen this morning are unable to fully or 
fitly voice their praises of your always worthy self or of your ship's 
company. 

The best traditions of our Navy have been lifted to a higher plane. 
What a fine thing it is to be an American these days ! 

The olive drab salutes the blue. 

Every American vessel available was pressed into service to 
bring the troops home after the war. 

Fifty-six cargo vessels were converted into troop-carriers. 
Nine of the German vessels turned over under the armistice 
were assigned to us — the Imperator, Kaiserin Augusta Vic- 
toria, Prim Friedrich Wilhelm, Zeppelin, Cap Finisterre, Graf 
Waldersee, Patricia, Pretoria, and Mobile. The capacity of all 
our transports was considerably increased. 

But more was needed, and I gave orders to use our old battle- 
ships and cruisers to carry troops. Naval officers objected, say- 
ing these warships were not fitted for such duty. I was told the 
soldiers on board would be uncomfortable, and would return 
home with a grouch against the Government and the Navy. 
What happened? Army officers and men were glad of the 
chance to come home on a warship. It was an experience no 
other soldiers had enjoyed. Once aboard, they fell to and made 
themselves thoroughly at home. Upon the arrival at Hampton 
Roads of the first battleship bringing troops, the Army officers 



86 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

sent me a letter of thanks for the fine voyage and the oppor- 
tunity to return on a naval vessel, and later other officers ex- 
pressed themselves in similar fashion. 

In a few months we had in operation 142 vessels carrying 
troops with facilities for 363,684 officers and men. The maxi- 
mum was reached in June, when 340,946 embarked from France, 
314,167 of them in United States transports. This exceeded the 
largest number carried overseas by all American and Allied 
vessels in any one month during the war. By the end of July, 
1919, 1,770,484 men had been returned to America. The big 
troop movement was virtually over by October 1st, at which 
time nearly two million had been returned, 1,675,733 of them 
in naval transports. Several thousands more came later, and 
11,211 had returned previous to the armistice. 

The record of the ten leading vessels of the Cruiser and 
Transport Force, in troops carried to Europe and passengers 
and sick and wounded returned, was : 

Transported 
to Europe 

Leviathan 96,804 

America 37,768 

George Washington 48,373 

Agamemnon 36,097 

President Grant 39,974 

Mount Vernon 33,692 

Siboney 20,299 

Mongolia 19,013 

Manchuria 14,491 

Great Northern 28,248 



Transported From Europe 
Passengers Sick and Wounded 


Total 
Carried 


93,746 


10,913 


192,753 


46,823 


4,668 


86,801 


34,142 


5,085 


83,350 


41,179 


4,425 


78,249 


37,025 


3,301 


77,129 


12,500 


4,015 


76,402 


34,702 


5,307 


55,169 


34,813 


2,707 


54,337 


39,501 


6,186 


54,230 


22,852 


5,522 


54,085 



374,679 427,283 52,129 812,505 

These ships also brought back 2,366 passengers before the 
armistice, which are included in the total numbers carried. 

The other vessels used in transporting to France, as well as 
returning troops were : 



Aeolus 


Finland 


K. der Nederlanden 


Antigone 


Hancock 


Kroonland 


Calamares 


Harrisburg 


Lenape 


Covington 


Henderson 


Louisville 


DeKalb 


Huron 


Madawaska 



RACE BETWEEN WILSON AND HINDENBURG 87 



H. R. Mallory 

Martha Washington 

Matsonia 

Maui 

Mercury 

Northern Pacific 

Orizaba 



Pastores 

Plattsburg 

Pocahontas 

P>owhatan 

President Lincoln 

Princess Matoika 

Rijndam 



Sierra 

Susquehanna 

Tenadores 

Von Steuben 

Wilhelmina 

Zeelandia 



The battleships and cruisers employed in troop transporta- 
tion brought back more than 145,000 men, as follows : 

Battleships — Connecticut, 4,861; Georgia, 5,869; Kansas, 7,486; 
Louisiana, 4,714; Michigan, 1,052; Minnesota, 3,955; Missouri, 3,278; 
Nebraska, 4,530 ; New Hampshire, 4,900 ; New Jersey, 4,675 ; Ohio, 778 ; 
Rhode Island, 5,303; South Carolina, 4,501; Vermont, 4,795; Virginia, 
5,784; total, 66,481. 

Cruisers — Charleston, 7,704; Frederick, 9,659; Huntington, 11,913; 
Montana, 8,800 ; North Carolina, 8,962 -,-Pueblo, 10,136 ; Rochester, 317 ; 
Seattle, 9,397 ; South Dakota, 3,463 ; St. Louis, 8,437 ; total, 78,788. 

Merchant ships converted into troop-carriers, and used in 
bringing soldiers home were : 



Alaskan 

Amphion 

Ancon 

Arcadia 

Arizonian 

Artemis 

Black Arrow 

Buford 

Callao 

Canandaigua 

Canonicus 

Cape May 

Comfort 

Dakotan 

Eddelyn 

El Sol 

El Oriente 

Etten 

Eurana 

Floridian 

Freedom 

Gen. Goethals 

Gen. Gorgas 

Housatonic 



Iowan 
Kentuckian 
Lancaster 
Liberator 

E. F. Luckenbach 
Edward Luckenbach 

F. J. Luckenbach 
Julia Luckenbach 
Katrina Luckenbach 
K. I. Luckenbach 
W. A. Luckenbach 
Marica 

Mercy 

Mexican 

Minnesotan 

Montpelier 

Nansemond 

Ohioan 

Otsego 

Panaman 

Paysandu 

Peerless 

Philippines 

Radnor 



Roanoke 
Santa Ana 
Santa Barbara 
Santa Cecilia 
Santa Clara 
Santa Elena 
Santa Elisa 
Santa Leonora 
Santa Malta 
Santa Olivia 
Santa Paula 
Santa Rosa 
Santa Teresa 
Scranton 
Shoshone 
Sol Navis 
South Bend 
Suwanee 
Texan 
Tiger 
Troy 

Virginian 
Yale 



88 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

These converted cargo ships brought 441,986 passengers, 
10,452 wounded; total 452,438. The nine German passenger 
ships employed after the armistice brought back 138,928. 

When the troop movement was near its close, in September, 
1918, Admiral Gleaves, who had been in charge from the begin- 
ning, was made commander-in-chief of the Asiatic fleet. He was 
succeeded by Captain C. B. Morgan. The Cruiser and Trans- 
port Force, which at its maximum comprised a fleet of 142 ves- 
sels, of 2,341,038 tons displacement, carried across the Atlantic, 
going to or returning from Europe, approximately 2,600,000 
persons. And this without the loss, through navigation or 
enemy action, of any soldier entrusted to its care. 



CHAPTER IX 
THE FLEET THE KAISER BUILT FOR US 

EX-GERMAN VESSELS CARRIED 557,000 AMERICAN TROOPS TO EUROPE 

ENGINES AND MACHINERY WRECKED BY THEIR CREWS, GERMANS 

BELIEVED THEY COULD NEVER BE USED NAVY REPAIRED LINERS, 

AND HAD ALL RUNNING IN TRANSPORT SERVICE IN A FEW MONTHS 
TRIUMPH OF AMERICAN GENIUS AND ENGINEERING SKILL RE- 
MARKABLE RECORD MADE BY " LEVIATHAN." 

MORE than half a million of the troops that defeated 
the Germans were transported across the Atlantic in 
German vessels. I sometimes wonder if the Kaiser 
ever dreamed, when his liners came scurrying into 
American ports in 1914, that he was presenting us with the one 
thing we needed most, a lot of the finest transports that ever 
sailed the sea. 

That could not happen according to the Teuton mind. They 
had figured it all out. If America kept out of the conflict, their 
ships would be as safe here as in their home ports. If we did 
enter the war, they would be so badly damaged that we could 
not use them. This was all carried out according to schedule. 
Before ruthless U-boat warfare was declared, BernstorfT had 
issued his orders, and all the interned vessels were disabled, 
their engines and machinery smashed. 

' ' Some you may get running in a year ; some you can never 
use," boasted the German crews. 

"If America can repair this ship, I will eat my hat," said 
another. He has not yet tested his digestion by a diet of head- 
gear. 

But they, like the Kaiser and Admiral Von Holtzendorfr*, 
underestimated American ingenuity and enterprise. By using 
new methods, and keeping at the task day and night, in a few 
months all these vessels were repaired and in service, carrying 
troops and supplies. 

89 



90 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

The German Vaterland, re-christened the Leviathan, alone 
carried nearly a hundred thousand troops to Europe. When 
she was performing such prodigies for us it interested me to 
recall an occurrence when this great vessel, the largest afloat, 
reached New York on its first voyage, not long before the war 
began in 1914. Glorying in the attention it evoked, the Vater- 
land' 's officers gave a dinner, inviting leading American ship- 
builders and engineers, as well as prominent citizens, to view 
this latest creation in marine construction. 

1 'It is a veritable floating palace for voyagers to Europe," 
remarked one of its officers, "but that is not the best or most 
important thing about the Vaterland." 

"Well, what is it?" asked the visitors. 

"Come below," said he, "and I will show you." 

Below went the party, and there they were shown how the 
whole vessel had been planned so that it could quickly be con- 
verted into a carrier for 10,000 soldiers. "In a remarkably 
short time, if need arises," the officer remarked, "it can be 
turned into a troop transport." 

He was right. We proved it in 1917, not only in regard to 
the Vaterland, but the other Teuton liners. 

Repaired, renamed, manned and operated by United States 
naval officers and men, those former German vessels carried to 
Europe 557,788 American soldiers. Here is the record in detail : 

German Name American Name U. S. Troops Carried 

Vaterland Leviathan 96,804 

Kaiser Wilhelm II Agamemnon 36,097 

Koenig Wilhelm II Madawaska 17,931 

President Lincoln President Lincoln 20,143 

President Grant President Grant 39,974 

Barbarossa Mercury 18,542 

Grosser Kurfurst Aeolus 24,770 

Hamburg Powhatan 14,613 

FriedWich der Grosse Huron 20,871 

Prinzess Irene Pocahontas 20,503 

George Washington George Washington 48,373 

Martha Washington Martha Washington 22,311 

Prinz Eitel Friedrich DcKalb 11,334 

Amerika America 39,768 

Neckar Antigone 16,526 



THE FLEET THE KAISER BUILT FOR US 91 

German Name American Name U. S. Troops Carried 

Cincinnati Covington 21,628 

Kronprinzessin Cecelie . . .Mount Vernon 33,692 

Prinzess Alice Princess Matoika 21,216 

Rhein Susquehanna 18,345 

Kronprinz Wilhelm Von Steuben 14,347 



Total 557,788 

The repair of those vessels was a triumph of ingenuity and 
engineering skill. But they were not the only interned ships 
the Navy restored. "When war was declared there were seized 
German merchant vessels aggregating 592,195 gross tons, 
Austrian ships, 40,461 tons — a total of 632,656 tons of shipping 
placed under the United States flag from these two sources. 

The machinery was so badly damaged that those in charge 
had practically decided that new cylinders and various other 
parts would have to be manufactured and installed. This would 
have caused many months' delay. Captain E. P. Jessop, en- 
gineering officer of the New York Navy Yard, who had been 
acting as advisory officer in connection with these ships before 
they were turned over to the Navy, was confident that the most 
serious breaks could be repaired by electric welding. Rear Ad- 
miral Burd, industrial manager of the New York Yard, was of 
the same opinion, as were engineering experts in the Navy 
Department. But there was doubt among other engineers, and 
strong opposition to the new method. The vessels were then 
under control of the Shipping Board, but it was expected that 
those to be used as troop-ships would be assigned to the Navy. 
Anticipating such action, Admiral Griffin, Chief of the Bureau 
of Engineering, in June sent his assistant, Captain 0. W. 
Koester, to New York to make a thorough investigation. He 
returned convinced that repairs could be successfully made by 
electric welding, and this process was immediately adopted. 

Sixteen of these vessels were turned over to the Navy on 
July 11, 1917. Work was begun the next morning. Cylinders 
had been broken, throttle and engine valves destroyed, pipes 
cut, fittings smashed. Parts easily removable had been thrown 
away. The German crews had done all they could to put the 
ships out of business. Memorandums found aboard bore the 



92 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

frequent comment, "Cannot be repaired." There were serious 
injuries that had been carefully concealed, evidently with the 
idea of disabling the vessels if they ever got to sea. Important 
parts were cut in half, then replaced so the cut would not be 
discovered. Obstructions were placed in cylinders to wreck the 
engines as soon as steam was turned on. Every inch of the 
machinery had to be examined inside and out. The fact that 
nothing escaped detection is evidence of the thoroughness with 
which the work was done. 

The Barharossa, which we renamed the Mercury, was the 
first ship repaired by the new welding process. Given a sea 
trial of 48 hours, she was put to every imaginable test. The 
results proved satisfactory in every particular. On all the other 
vessels, virtually the same methods were used — electric or oxy- 
acetylene welding, mechanical patching, and at times a combina- 
tion of these. Each ship was, upon completion, tested by long 
runs at sea, so that no doubt might exist as to the safety of the 
troops they were to carry. It is noteworthy that no weakness 
ever developed in the engines so repaired. 

Of the 103 German and Austrian vessels seized, the Navy 
converted 34 into troop and freight transports. Subsequently 
it repaired 20 more for the Shipping Board. 

To build new cylinders, replace burned-out boilers and other 
machinery, would have required at least a year, perhaps more, 
it was estimated. By using new methods, the Navy quickly 
restored the ships assigned to it. In a few months all were in 
service — and some of them were running at higher speed than 
the Germans had ever been able to attain. 

Twelve months in time was saved, during which these ves- 
sels transported hundreds of thousands of troops. The entire 
saving was estimated at more than $20,000,000. 

Until the United States declared war, these vessels were, 
under strict interpretation of international law, not liable to 
seizure. They could not leave our ports, but the crews remained 
aboard and, though under constant surveillance to prevent un- 
neutral acts, they caused the American authorities considerable 
trouble. There were nine German liners at their piers in 
Hoboken when Germany declared war. All had been ordered 
not to sail. Being a part of the German Naval Reserve, they 



THE FLEET THE KAISER BUILT FOR US 93 

were subject to the orders of the German Admiralty. The 
Vaterland was scheduled to sail that day, having booked some 
3,600 passengers. Angry crowds who had purchased tickets 
stormed the piers, and extra guards had to be placed around 
the vessel. German crews held a mass-meeting in Hoboken, dis^ 
cussing mainly how they could get back to Germany. Ten 
thousand reservists on August 6th demanded of the German 
Consul that he send them back on the Vaterland to rejoin their 
regiments. But not one of those vessels ever escaped from 
American ports. 

Their crews, however, were always seeking to help Germany 
and injure the Allies. Most of their plots and plans were foiled, 
though they did succeed, now and then, in "putting something 
over." The Grosser Kurfurst (Aeolus) was, we found later, 
used as a sort of "clearing ship" for German officers in this 
country. They had secret orders to go aboard her and stay 
until arrangements could be made for them to travel aboard 
outbound steamers. Disguised, often carrying forged or ille- 
gally-obtained passports, some of them managed to get to Ger- 
many. The captain of the Aeolus, its chief engineer and purser 
were among those who successfully ran the British blockade. 
Given command of a Zeppelin, the captain took part in several 
airship raids, but was brought down and killed near London. 
When news of his death came, the flags on all the German in- 
terned ships were placed at half-mast. 

When the ship-bomb conspiracy was unearthed — the scheme 
to place explosives in cargoes, timed to go off and sink vessels 
when they were far out at sea — it was found that men on board 
the Friedrich der Grosse (Huron) had been making parts of 
these bombs, which were assembled at a plant in Hoboken. This 
plot, however, was nipped in the bud. The sailors and others 
involved were promptly arrested, tried, convicted, and sent to 
jail. 

When the Lusitania was sunk in 1915 the German sailors 
held a celebration. Thinking war with the United States was 
imminent, they prepared to destroy the ships, only waiting for 
the word to carry out the orders previously given them. This 
was, again, the case in 1916, when we came so near w T ar after 
the sinking of the Sussex. But the orders did not finally come 



94 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

until January 31, 1917, when, obeying Ambassador Bernstorff 's 
instructions, they smashed the machinery of the vessels. 

They regarded it as a huge joke when, on the morning of 
April 1st, a naval vessel anchored off Pier 2, and set watch 
over them. But they laughed on the other side of their mouths 
when, four days later, United States officials rounded up officers 
and men, and sent them to Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., and other 
Federal prisons and internment camps. 

The Vaterland was taken over at 4 a. m., April 5th. On that 
day the United States armed forces seized 91 German ships in 
various ports. The night before, U. S. Government officials held 
a conference on the Vaterland with the German commanders, 
who were warned against any violence. There was no resist- 
ance when the ships were seized. 

The Vaterland, with a displacement of 69,000 tons, was the 
biggest craft afloat. There was no drydock in America large 
enough to hold her. When the engineering officers reported to 
Captain J. W. Oman, her commander, that the former Vaterland 
(she had been renamed the Leviathan) was "in all respects 
ready for sea," it was decided to test her out by a longer run 
than that to which any other vessel had been subjected, making 
a trial trip to Cuba. 

On her return, the ship was carefully gone over again, every 
part put in prime condition, and on December 15, 1917, in a 
snowstorm, she sailed on her first trip across the Atlantic. The 
ship's complement was 68 officers and 2,240 men. She had 
aboard 7,254 troops, including base hospitals 31 and 34, the 
163rd and 164th Infantry, and headquarters of the 82nd Brigade, 
Brigadier General Edward Vellruth commanding. 

Running for the first day or two at 20 knots, the ship then 
speeded up to 2iy 2 knots. The Leviathan had "struck her 
gait." She made the run across in record time. In describing 
this voyage, the "History of the Leviathan" says: 

On the morning of December 23rd, at 4 a. m., out of the black sky, 
just before dawn and in a heavy sea with a strong wind blowing, a 
small white wake was seen by the lookout on the bridge. At first it was 
taken for the wake of a periscope and the gun crews were called to 
quarters, then as the guns were trained on it, a small white flash was 
seen blinking the American recognition signal, and we then knew that 



THE FLEET THE KAISER BUILT FOR US 95 

it was one of our destroyers. We picked them up out of the black sky 
and a heavy sea until there were seven little wasps that spelled danger 
to the Hun submarine. They sped along with us while we zigzagged in 
and out on our course. They crossed our bow and ran in and far out 
on each side of us, always looking for the "sub" that might be lying in 
wait for us. Their motto was, "Go get 'em." They never waited for a 
"sub" to attack first, they always started the fight provided that "Fritz" 
was willing to show himself; and we want to say right here that he 
was very reluctant to do so when an American destroyer showed itself. 

That night the Leviathan dropped anchor outside Liverpool, 
proceeding next morning, Dec. 24th, to the landing-stage, 
where the soldiers disembarked. The ship had to be sent into 
drydock to have her bottom thoroughly scraped and cleaned. 
Three years in disuse, she was covered with barnacles, and 
even oysters were found attached to her keel. The Gladstone 
Dock at Liverpool was the only drydock outside of Germany 
which would accommodate her. Even then, she had to wait more 
than two weeks for a tide high, enough to float her in. Docking 
was completed successfully, but there was considerable delay 
before the big boat could get away, and it was not until Lincoln's 
birthday that she started back for America, reaching New York 
Feb. 19th. On her second trip, sailing March 4, 1918, the 
Leviathan carried 8,242 troops, under command of Major Gen- 
eral J. T. Dickman. Liverpool was again the destination and she 
arrived there March 12th. Going up St. George 's channel, there 
was considerable excitement when the destroyer Manley, head 
of the escort, sighting signs that led her to believe a submarine 
was near, swerved out of position, and began firing. One depth- 
bomb it dropped shook the Leviathan from stern to stern, and 
many persons aboard thought she had struck a mine. But she 
got in safely, and soon landed all her troops. 

Low water again held the Leviathan in port for weeks, and 
it was not until April 10th, that she was able to sail. This was 
the last time she was sent to Liverpool. Thereafter, she went 
direct to Brest, and there were no more delays. In fact, on 
the third trip, when she carried 8,909 soldiers, under command 
of Brigadier General Walter H. Gordon, she disembarked her 
troops, took aboard 4,600 tons of coal, and the third evening after 
her arrival was on the way back to New York. 



96 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

The Leviathan was so big a target and the German eager- 
ness to sink her was so well known that there was at first opposi- 
tion to the use of this big vessel as a troop-ship, and Admiral 
Sims wrote to me on November 2, 1917 : 

I have previously reported against using the Vaterland for the 
present until we have a little more experience in handling the other 
large transports. The Vaterland is, of course, a much larger target, 
and injury to her would be a serious affair. I am assuming too that 
all of the troops that we have to transport for the next few months can 
be accommodated in other transports, assisted by British liners. When- 
ever the situation becomes pressing, I presume we shall have to use the 
Vaterland and take the additional risk. 

We did use the former Vaterland with such success that 
during all the Avar she was never touched by the enemy; but 
the fears entertained of attack on this biggest transport afloat 
were justified. On the fourth voyage, when in sight of the coast, 
May 30, 1918, the Leviathan recorded her first encounter with 
a submarine, following being the entry in the ship 's log : 

12 :29 p. m. — Sighted submarine pursuing us on our port quarter about 
1,500 yards distant. Ordered full speed, 165 revolutions. Opened fire 
with Number Six and Number Eight guns, three shots. Stopped zig- 
zagging. Changed course 12 :40 p. m. 

12 :59 p. m. — Submarine appeared again. Opened fire with Number 
Six and Number Eight guns. Nine shots. 

1 :19 p. m. — Submarine appeared again. Opened fire with Number 
Six and Number Eight guns. Seven shots. 

1 :34 p. m. — Threw in maneuvering combination. Standard speed 
112 revolutions. 

1 :45 p. m. — Entering harbor at various courses and speeds. 

Of this attack, the Leviathan History says : 

The coolness of our commanding officer, Captain H. F. Bryan, and 
the splendid coordination of the entire crew were so perfect, that only 
three distinct orders were issued in this moment of peril as follows: 
1. Hold your course. 2. Open fire on submarine, port quarter. 3. Sound 
General Alarm. 

Every shot fired was greeted by cheers and shouts of encouragement 
from the enthusiastic soldiers on the decks, who crowded to favorable 
positions to witness the accurate firing of our gun-crews. The Army 
nurses left their luncheon to take a peek at the "fun," and their calm- 
ness and enthusiasm in the face of a deadly menace were an inspiration 
to the sailors manning the big guns. 



THE FLEET THE KAISER BUILT FOR US 97 

Sailing the afternoon of June 1st, accompanied by the 
destroyers Nicholson and Wadsworth, at 7 :16 o'clock a periscope 
wake was sighted on the starboard quarter. "Full speed 
ahead!" was rung, and the Leviathan sprang forward, a cloud 
of black smoke pouring from her funnels. Her guns began 
firing, and from the signal bridge floated the green-and-white 
submarine warning flag. The destroyers turned quickly and 
charged down the wake, laying a barrage of depth-bombs which 
shook the Leviathan, by that time nearly two miles away. The 
Nicholson's blinker lights flashed: 

We saw periscope of submarine and laid barrage of depth-charges 
around the spot. Will report to Force Commander. 

The Wadsworth then inspected the locality, but soon sig- 
naled, "We see no submarine now." A few minutes later both 
destroyers steamed up to the big vessel and resumed escort. 

Twilight had come, and it was an impressive scene when the 
chaplain (always called the sky pilot), as was his daily custom, 
went to the navigation bridge and offered the sunset prayer at 
sea — a prayer for the safety of captain, officers and crew; for 
soldiers, passengers and all on board. 

Making the most of her speed, the Leviathan traveled alone, 
except for man-of-war escort, until August. Then she was 
accompanied by the Great Northern and Northern Pacific, and 
these fast ships made several voyages together. After arrival 
from her eighth trip, Sept. 19th, Captain William W. Phelps be- 
came the Leviathan's commanding officer, succeeding Captain 
Bryan. In April, 1919, he was succeeded by Captain E. H. Durell. 

There were rumors of peace when the Leviathan sailed on 
her tenth trip October 27th, and as the destroyers met her they 
signaled that all the German submarines in that area had been 
recalled October 21st. Arriving at Liverpool November 3rd, 
she landed her last load of troops going to the front. A week 
later, when she was in drydock undergoing repairs, the armistice 
was signed; the fighting was over. The Leviathan had trans- 
ported to Europe 96,804 officers and men of the American Army. 
She had carried across 119,215 persons, including her crew and 
naval supernumeraries. She had carried on a single voyage as 
many as 10,860. 



98 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

In returning the troops all war-time records were broken. 
On the sixteenth west-bound trip, there were on board, including 
the naval crew, 14,300 persons. The vessel brought home 93,746 
soldiers. She carried to or from Europe, including naval per- 
sonnel and passengers, over 200,000 persons. 

Completed in 1914, the Leviathan made but one round trip 
under the German flag. She had just arrived in New York on 
her second voyage when war broke out in Europe. That was 
all the use the Germans ever got of this wonder of the seas, 
which cost millions to build and was the pride of Germany. 



CHAPTEE X 
GUARDING THE COAST OF FRANCE 

BKEST THE CENTER OF GREAT SYSTEM UNDER COMMAND OF WILSON — 

PATROL SQUADRON SENT OVER IN JUNE, 1917 ARMED YACHTS 

AND DESTROYERS ENABLED TROOPS TO REACH PORTS SAFELY 

" STEWART" PLOWED THROUGH BLAZING AMMUNITION TO RESCUE 
SURVIVORS OF " FLORENCE H." — WRESTLE WITH DEPTH-BOMB. 

ON the anniversary of the fall of the Bastille, the French 
national holiday, July 14, 1917, our naval forces began 
work with the French, whose vessels under DeGrasse 
had, 136 years before, given such signal aid to America 
in its struggle for liberty. 

France was the center of American activities, military and 
naval, and our most important operations in Europe were in 
French waters. It was the vast system built up by the Navy, 
the splendid work of our armed yachts and destroyers and air- 
craft, which kept the sea lanes clear, protected transports, and 
enabled American troops and supplies to reach French ports 
in safety. 

Sending naval vessels to France, and establishing bases were 
two of the first things considered by the Navy Department. They 
were discussed with the French mission, with Marshal JofTre and 
Admiral Chocheprat, when they reached Washington in April. 
They recommended Brest and Bordeaux as the principal ports 
to be used by the Americans, and we decided to establish bases 
there as well as at St. Nazaire, where our first troops landed. 

Preparations were at once begun to send patrol craft, and 
for this purpose, the largest and best of American yachts, 
stripped of their luxurious fittings, were armed and converted 
into men-of-war. A special force was organized under com- 
mand of Eear Admiral William B. Fletcher, and on June 9, 

99 



100 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

the first of the "U. S. Patrol Squadrons Operating in European 
Waters," sailed from New York for France. In this group 
were the Noma, (Lieutenant Commander L. R. Leahy) ; Vedette, 
(Lieutenant Commander C. L. Hand) ; Christabel, (Lieutenant 
Commander H. B. Riebe) ; Kanawha, (Lieutenant Commander 
H. D. Cooke) ; Harvard, (Lieutenant Commander A. G. Stirling), 
and the Sultana, (Lieutenant Commander E. G. Allen). Pro- 
ceeding by way of the Azores, they reached Brest July 3. Two 
speedier yachts, the Corsair (Lieutenant Commander T. A. 
Kittinger), and the Aphrodite (Lieutenant Commander R. P. 
Craft), sailed from New York with the first troop convoy June 
14, reaching St. Nazaire June 27, and arriving at Brest July 2. 

Protection of vessels carrying troops was the primary mis- 
sion of our forces in France, and after that the storeships loaded 
with munitions, materials and supplies for the Army. But this 
was by no means all their work. They escorted convoys sailing 
from Verdon, vessels coming from Bordeaux, Pauillac and other 
points up the Gironde river; from Brest; from Quiberon Bay 
(St. Nazaire); ships of all kinds sailing along the coast of 
France, for England or southern ports. 

With headquarters at Brest, where the American admiral 
had his offices next to those of the French Chief of the Brittany 
Patrol, Vice Admiral Schwerer, who acted directly under Vice 
Admiral Moreau, senior Allied naval officer, an organization 
was built up extending all along the French coast. Working in 
closest cooperation with the French, our forces were always 
under American command, first under Admiral Fletcher, and 
then under Admiral Henry B. Wilson, who succeeded him on 
Nov. 1, 1917. 

Captain T. P. Magruder was made senior naval officer at 
Lorient, with a division of mine-sweepers to keep clear the ap- 
proaches to St. Nazaire. Captain N. A. McCully commanded 
the Rochefort district, which extended from the Lorient line to 
the Spanish coast. Six yachts were based at Rochefort, to give 
prompt service to convoys entering the Gironde River, for Bor- 
deaux or Pauillac. The Brest district, from Cape Brehat to 
Penmarch Point, was in command of Captain H. H. Hough, and 
the Cherbourg district, north of this, was assigned to Com- 
mander David Boyd. Naval port officers, stationed at Brest, 



GUARDING THE COAST OF FRANCE 101 

Havre, Cherbourg, Rouen, St. Malo, Granville, St. Nazaire, 
Nantes, Quiberon Bay, Sables d' Olonne, Bordeaux, La Pallice, 
Rochefort, Royan, Verdon, Pauillac and St. Jean de Luz, kept 
in touch with Army officials and shipmasters, expediting* dis- 
patch of vessels and the flow of transportation and commerce. 
Military and naval officers pulled together with a will, and the 
saying was: '•There is no Army and Navy at Brest. It's all 
one gang!" 

From Brest radiated lines of command, communication, and 
cooperation — to our own forces, and the French naval com- 
manders on the coast; our naval representatives and naval at- 
tache in Paris, and the French Ministry of Marine ; through the 
superintendent of ports and coding officer to Army officials, 
those in charge of troops and supply transport ; to the Chief of 
Aviation and the American and French air forces ; and to U. S. 
Naval Headquarters in London. 

The development of this organization brought such success 
in anti-submarine operations as the French coast had never 
known, changing the entire situation in these waters, not only 
for our vessels but for all Allied shipping. Here is a chart 
record of vessels sunk by submarines on the west coast of 
France for six months and it tells the story : 

October, 1917 21 

November, 1917 13 

December, 1917 4 

January, 1918 9 

February, 1918 1 

March, 1918 

Describing an evening with Admiral Wilson, Reginald 
Wright Kauffman wrote: 

The Admiral and his staff sleep in rooms just below their office. 
That is, they say they sleep. I asked the Admiral's orderly if he had 
ever seen him in bed, and he said, ''No, sir." 

The Admiral, after a long day's work, spoke of how good it was to 
draw his chair close to the open fire. One of the three guests had to 
leave early, because, although he is our host's nephew, he had volunteered 
as a common seaman and had to be aboard ship betimes. That orderly 
of the commander, a Lehigh graduate with six months ' experience of the 
service, muttered in the hall : 

"This is the most democratic Navy I ever saw; an Admiral helping 
a gob on with his coat ! ' ' 



102 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

That intimate view of Admiral Wilson shows the side of his 
character which makes officers and men love him. Strict in 
discipline, firm in administration, a master of his profession, 
he illustrates the military truth that he is the greatest officer 
who is the best shipmate. It was this combination of qualities 
which enabled him to do the big job in France, where he was 
beloved and honored by the French as well as the Americans. 

What Mr. Kauffman described at Brest was characteristic of 
our Navy in the war, as it was of our crews on the French coast. 
In one gun's crew a young New York millionaire served with 
a former mechanic and an erstwhile clerk from the East 
Side. In the crew of a yacht was a Philadelphia policeman and 
a Texas ranger; the first boatswain's mate had his sheepskin 
from Cornell; there was a Lehigh senior in the forecastle and 
a Harvard post-graduate assisting in the radio room. Several 
young men served as sailors on ships their fathers owned, and 
had turned over to the Government for war use. 

They were nearly all reservists or recent recruits, the crews 
of the armed yachts and sub-chasers. But they put it over like 
veterans, and took things as they came. And they had some 
lively brushes with the "subs." 

The yachts got a taste of U-boat warfare on the way over. 
The Corsair was with the troop-ships when the group she was 
escorting was attacked by submarines. Nearing the French 
coast on July 2, the Noma sighted a periscope, and with the 
Kanawha circled the vicinity for some time, but without result. 
The next evening the Sultana, which was somewhat behind the 
other yachts, arrived at Brest, bringing 37 of the crew and 13 
of the armed guard of the American steamship Orleans, which 
had been sunk, apparently by the same submarine which had 
been sighted by the Noma. 

The day after they began patrol duty, the Harvard brought 
into port 59 survivors picked up from two British ships that 
had been torpedoed. A torpedo was fired at the Noma on 
July 19, and on August 8th she took part in a fight between a 
noted British decoy-ship — "Q-boats," they were called — and a 
submarine in the Bay of Biscay. 

"SOS," came the distress call from the Dunraven, "Shelled 
by submarine." The Noma had just finished repairing one of 



GUARDING THE COAST OF FRANCE 103 

her boilers, but she put on all steam and headed for the scene. 
As she came up, the vessel, torpedoed, seemed to be sinking. 
The submarine, which was close to the steamer, was still shelling 
her. The Noma headed for the U-boat, attempting to ram her, 
but she submerged and the yacht dropped depth-bombs around 
the spot. Then she turned attention to the Dunraven. This 
decoy ship, commanded by Captain Gordon Campbell, most 
noted of "Q-boat" captains, had pursued its usual tactics when 
the "sub" was sighted, part of the crew, disguised as merchant 
sailors, taking to the life-boats, leaving hidden aboard the gun- 
ners ready to fire shells or torpedo when the submarine ven- 
tured nearer. But this time the U-boat got the best of it. One 
of its shells struck the steamer and blew up a depth-bomb. Two 
more shots landed, and set the ship afire. The flames swept 
down to where ammunitiou, shells and torpedoes were piled, 
and they exploded, hurling gun and gun-crew into the air. 

Then came the torpedo, which as it hit the ship caused an- 
other big explosion. But the Dunraven fought on, and it was 
only after she had fired two torpedoes at the "sub," and many 
of her crew were wounded, that she sent out the distress call. 

The "sub" driven off, the Noma circled the vicinity, keeping 
a sharp lookout for the enemy. Two British destroyers arrived 
shortly afterward, and with the Noma rescued the decoy-ship's 
crew. One of them, the Christopher, took the Dunraven in tow, 
the Noma acting as escort until the next day, when she was re- 
lieved by a French destroyer. But the Dunraven was too badly 
damaged to remain afloat, and sank before she reached port. 

Our forces in French waters were reinforced in August and 
September by nineteen more vessels, these being : 

Second Patrol Division, Commander F. N. Freeman — Alcedo, (Lieu- 
tenant Commander W. T. Conn) ; Remlik, (Lieutenant Commander I. C. 
Johnson) ; Wanderer, (Lieutenant Commander P. L. Wilson) ; Guinevere, 
(Lieutenant Commander Guy Davis) ; Corona, (Lieutenant Commander 
L. M. Stevens) ; Carola, (Lieutenant Commander H. R. Keller) ; and the 
Emeline, (Lieutenant Commander R. C. Williams). 

Third Division, Captain T. P. Magruder — Wakiva, (Lieutenant Com- 
mander T. R. Kurtz), armed yacht; Anderton, (Boatswain H. Miller) ; 
Cahill, (Lieutenant A. E. Wills) ; Rehobath and McNeal, (Lieutenant 
C. N. Hinkamp) ; the Lewes, James, Douglas, Bauman, Courtney, and 
Hinton, (Lieutenant A. McGlasson), mine-sweepers ; Bath, supply ship. 



104 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

Sixteen American-built submarine chasers, which we had 
turned over to the French Government, also arrived in Sep- 
tember, and began patrol off the French coast, and soon after- 
ward the yachts Nokomis, (Commander D. Boyd) ; May, (Com- 
mander F. T. Evans), and Rambler, (Lieutenant E. G. Rose) 
and the mine-sweeper Hubbard were added to our force at Brest. 

All along the French coast and in the Bay of Biscay our 
vessels were kept busy, escorting convoys, troop and cargo ships 
and hunting U-boats. This was done so effectively that we had 
no loss until October, when a mine-sweeper, the Rehoboth, 
foundered, the Army transport Antilles and the yacht Alcedo 
were sunk, and the Finland torpedoed. 

Two days out from Quiberon Bay, on October 17th, the 
Antilles, bound for America, was proceeding with the Henderson 
and Willehad, escorted by the Corsair and Alcedo, when she 
was struck by a torpedo. Shivering from stern to stern, she 
listed immediately to port and began to sink. One of the look- 
outs in the main-top was thrown clear over the five-foot canvas 
screen, and killed as he struck a hatch. Everyone in the engine- 
room was killed or disabled except one oiler, who crawled 
through the skylight just as the ship went down. Of the 21 men 
in the engine and fire-rooms, only three survived — the oiler, 
and two firemen who escaped through a ventilator. 

Commander Daniel T. Ghent, senior naval officer on board, 
gave the order to abandon ship. Boats were lowered, distress 
signals sent out. Guns were manned in the hope of getting a 
shot at the submarine. There the gunners remained until or- 
dered to leave, and two of them — John Walter Hunt and J. C. 
McKinney — went down with the ship. 

The vessel sank in four and a half minutes. Commander 
Ghent said: 

The behavior of the naval personnel throughout was equal to the 
best traditions of the service. The two forward guns' crews, in charge 
of Lieutenant Tisdale, remained at their gun stations while the ship went 
down, and made no move to leave until ordered to save themselves. 
Radio Electrician C. L. Ausburne went down with the ship while at 
his station in the radio room. When the ship was struck Ausburne and 
McMahon were asleep in adjacent bunks opposite the radio room. 
Ausburne, realizing the seriousness of the situation, told McMahon to 



GUARDING THE COAST OF FRANCE 105 

get his life preserver on, saying, as he left to take his station at the 
radio key, "Good-bye, Mac." McMahon, later finding the radio room 
locked and seeing the ship was sinking, tried to get Ausburne out, but 
failed. 

Radio Electrician H. F. Watson was also lost. He remained 
with Commander Ghent on the bridge until the guns' crews were 
ordered to leave, and was on his way to a lifeboat when last 
seen. 

The Alcedo rescued 117 and the Corsair 50 of the 234 persons 
who were on the Antilles. Sixty-seven were lost — 4 men of 
the Navy, 16 of the Army; 45 of the ship's merchant crew; a 
civilian ambulance driver who had been serving with the French 
army, and a colored stevedore. 

Rafts, set free by the blast of the explosion, were spread 
broadcast. Men who had been unable to get into the boats 
swam for them, and for boxes, planks or anything floating they 
could reach. As the Corsair was picking up the survivors, a- 
sailor was seen calmly roosting on a box. As the yacht steamed 
for him, he stood up and, waving his arms, wigwagged : 

"Don't come too close, box contains live ammunition!" 

They rescued him with care, and with due respect for the 
explosive as well as for the gunner who considered the ship's 
welfare before he thought of his own safety. 

Eleven days later the Finland was torpedoed, the explosion 
blowing in her side for 35 feet, the V-shaped hole running down 
to the bilge-keel. Three of the naval gun-crew, James W. Henry, 
Newton R. Head and Porter Hilton; two men of the Army, a 
colored transport worker, and six of the ship's merchant crew 
were lost. But the vessel, under the skilful direction of the 
senior naval officer, Captain S. V. Graham, made port under her 
own steam, was repaired and put back into service. 

Repairing this ship was a striking example of the versatility 
of the American Army in France. The repairs were undertaken 
by the French naval arsenal, but man-power was scarce and the 
work was going slowly. A regiment of U. S. Army engineers, 
stationed at a point not far distant, offered assistance. Among 
them were a number of locomotive boiler riveters, and struc- 
tural workers. It was these American "engineers" who came 
to the bat and actually repaired the Finland. 



106 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

Neither the Antilles nor the Finland was a naval transport, 
both being chartered by the Army, and manned by civilian crews, 
the only Navy personnel aboard being the senior naval officer, 
the armed guard and the radio operators. It was the experience 
with these undisciplined crews which hastened the arrangement 
by which the Navy manned and operated, as well as escorted, 
all American troop-ships. 

Only one of our armed yachts in French waters was sunk, 
the Alcedo, torpedoed at 1:45 a. m., November 5, 1917. She 
sank in eight minutes. About 75 miles west of Belle He, she 
was escorting a convoy, when a submarine was sighted, and 
then a torpedo, which struck the ship under the port forward 
chain-plates. Boats were lowered, and as the vessel began go- 
ing down, Commander W. T. Conn, Jr., the commanding officer, 
ordered the men who were still aboard to jump over the side, 
intending to follow them. Before he could jump, however, the 
vessel listed heavily to port, plunging by the head, and sank, 
carrying him down with the suction. Coming to the surface, 
he swam to a raft, and later got to a whaleboat, which, with 
several dories, went among the wreckage, picking up survivors. 

Half an hour after the Alcedo sank, the submarine ap- 
proached, but after remaining twenty or thirty minutes steered 
off and submerged. After searching the vicinity for three hours, 
Commander Conn's boat and the others with him, containing 3 
officers and 40 men, headed for Penmarch Light. They rowed 
until 1 :15 that afternoon, when they were picked up by a French 
torpedo-boat. Reaching Brest at 11 p. m., Commander Conn 
was informed that two other dories, containing 3 officers and 25 
men, had landed at Penmarch Point. One of the Alcedo' s offi- 
cers, Lieutenant (junior grade) John T. Melvin of Selma, Ala., 
and 20 enlisted men were lost. 

This was the last American naval or troop-vessel sunk in 
many months by the submarines, which were kept on the run 
by our forces. The Wakiva, Noma, and Kanawha fought off 
two U-boats and it is believed sank one, which appeared as 
they were escorting the storeships Koln and Medina on Novem- 
ber 28, 1917. At 6:20 p. m., the lookout on the Kanawha re- 
ported a periscope on the port beam, heading towards the 
Medina. It disappeared, but at 6 :50 the Noma saw a periscope 



GUARDING THE COAST OF FRANCE 107 

on her starboard beam. Twelve minutes afterward the Wakiva 
sighted a periscope heading towards the convoy. Swinging into 
position to fire a torpedo at the Wakiva, the submarine crossed 
the yacht's wake. The Wakiva fired three shots, apparently 
striking the periscope, which disappeared. She also let go two 
depth-charges. 

As the Wakiva approached, what appeared to be the conning 
tower of the submarine emerged. The yacht fired at it, and the 
conning tower sank. The Wakiva dropped numerous depth- 
charges and after they exploded her commander saw what 
seemed to be three men clinging to a piece of wreckage. He 
hailed them, but received no response, and when the yacht went 
near the place they had disappeared. In the meantime the 
Noma had continued search, and sighted a periscope on her star- 
board bow, turned toward it, and let go several depth-charges. 
Officers were convinced that there were two submarines, and 
that one of them was sunk by the Wakiva. 

The Christabel, smallest of the converted yachts, surprised 
her big sisters by smashing up a submarine so badly that it was 
just able to reach a Spanish port, where U-boat and crew were 
interned for the remainder of the war. Escorting the Danse, 
a British steamer which had fallen behind its convoy two miles 
from He de Yeu, on May 21, 1918, the Christ ab el at 8 :52 p. m. 
sighted a periscope, and made for it, firing two depth-bombs. 
As the second charge exploded, there followed another violent 
explosion which threw up, between the Christabel and the water 
column raised by the bomb, a large amount of water and debris. 
Heavy black oil and a number of splintered pieces of wood rose 
to the surface. 

That was the last the Christabel saw of the "sub," but three 
days later the report came that the UC-56 had arrived at San- 
tander, Spain, too seriously damaged to attempt to return to 
Germany. Its officers and men were glad enough to escape with 
their lives. 

Fine as was the record of the armed yachts, it was more 
than equaled by the destroyers, which bore the heaviest part 
in escorting the vast number of troop and cargo ships sent to 
France. This duty was performed at first by our force at 
Queenstown, but from October on, when the tender Panther 



108 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

(Commander A. M. Procter) and five destroyers arrived, 
destroyers were sent to Brest as follows : 

Reid, (Commander C. C. Slayton) ; Flusser, (Lieutenant Commander 
R. G. Walling) ; the Preston, (Lieutenant Commander C. W. Magruder) ; 
Lamson, (Lieutenant Commander W. R. Purnell) ; Smith, (Commander 
J. H. Klein) ; Monaghan, (Lieutenant Commander J. F. Cox) ; Roe, 
(Lieutenant Commander G. C. Barnes) ; Warrington, (Lieutenant Com- 
mander G. W. Kenyon) ; Whipple, (Lieutenant Commander H. J. 
Abbett) ; Trmtun, (Lieutenant Commander J. G. Ware) ; Stewart, 
(Lieutenant Commander H. S. Haislip) ; Worden, (Lieutenant Com- 
mander J. M. B. Smith) ; Isabel, (Lieutenant Commander H. E. Shoe- 
maker) ; Nicholson, (Lieutenant Commander J. C. Fremont). 

Recounting what they accomplished, Admiral Wilson said: 

The record of the service of these vessels on the coast of France 
furnishes one of the finest tributes in the history of our Navy to the 
soundness of their construction and to the ability of the personnel under 
trying conditions. 

Until about the first of June, 1918, when the original lot of destroyer 
captains was detached and ordered to the United States to fit out new 
vessels, no American destroyers sent from France had ever missed con- 
tact with a convoy; no destroyer dispatched with a mission had ever 
returned to port before the completion of her duty, and furthermore, 
during this period, after the torpedoing of the Finland, on October 28, 
1917, no vessel en route from America to France or from France to 
America, when escorted by American vessels based on France, had ever 
been torpedoed or successfully attacked on the high seas. 

The Jarvis (Lieutenant Commander R. C. Parker), and the 
Drayton (Lieutenant Commander G. N. Barker), two of the 740- 
ton oil-burning destroyers, joined the force on February 15, 
1918; then on March 4th, the Wadsworth (Lieutenant Com- 
mander C. E. Smith). The following destroyers that had also 
previously operated out of Queenstown were sent to Brest in 
June : 

Sigoumey, (Commander W. N. Vernou) ; Wainwright, (Commander 
R. A. Dawes) ; Farming, (Lieutenant Commander F. Cogswell) ; Tucker, 
(Lieutenant Commander W. H. Lassing) ; Winslow, (Lieutenant Com- 
mander F. W. Rockwell) ; Porter, (Lieutenant Commander A. A. Cor- 
win) ; O'Brien, (Commander M. K. Metcalf) ; Cummings, (Lieutenant 
Commander 0. Bartlett) ; Benham, (Lieutenant Commander F. J. 
Fletcher) ; Cushing, (Commander W. D. Puleston) ; Burrows, (Lieu- 



GUARDING THE COAST OF FRANCE 109 

tenant Commander A. Steckel) ; Ericsson, (Lieutenant Commander R. B ; 
Stewart) ; and on July 23, the McDougal, (Lieutenant Commander 
V. K. Coman). 

The Navy Department had decided that all additional de- 
stroyers built would be sent to Brest and to Gibraltar, and 
Admiral Wilson's forces were augmented from time to time 
by these new destroyers : 

Little, (Captain J. K. Taussig) ; Conner, (Captain A. G. Howe) ; 
Taylor, (Commander C. T. Hutchins) ; Stringham, (Commander N. E. 
Nichols) ; Bell, (Lieutenant Commander D. L. Howard) ; Murray, 
(Lieutenant Commander R. G. Walling) ; Fairfax, (Lieutenant Com- 
mander G. C. Barnes) . 

For more than a year American mine sweepers pursued their 
dangerous but tedious task, sweeping up mines and keeping 
clear the channels leading to ports. Mainly converted fishing 
boats, the constant duty along the coast was not easy for them. 
The Rehoboth foundered off Ushant in a heavy sea October 4, 
1917. Steaming in a fog near Concarneau, January 12, 1918, 
the Bauman struck one of the numerous rocks that make naviga- 
tion in that region so dangerous. Though she was badly dam- 
aged, Ensign P. J. Ford, her executive officer, and several of 
her crew remained aboard, hoping to save her, and theAnderton 
started to tow her to Lorient, but she sank before reaching port. 
Soon afterwards, on January 25, the Guinevere, attempting to 
get to Lorient in a dense fog, ran on the rocks. 

The mine force was not infrequently called upon to reinforce 
coastal convoys or go to the aid of vessels grounded or in dis- 
tress. When the U-boats began attacking coastal convoys near 
Penmarch in January, 1918, the sweepers were sent out to 
patrol those waters at night. Lying in darkness, they spent long 
hours listening through the * ' C ' ' tubes for any sound of a ' * sub. ' ' 
They were often hurried out to sweep mines discovered at va- 
rious points. In a heavy sea, the Hinton, Cahill and James 
swept up a mine field near Belle He in record time, the James 
cutting four mines in fifteen minutes. These are only a few 
instances of the fine work they continually performed. 

Heroes ? There were plenty of them in our forces in France, 
as there were everywhere else in the Navy — men who feared no 



110 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

danger and, when necessity arose, risked their lives without a 
thought of self. Hear the story of the Florence H. The rescue 
of her survivors when that munition ship blew up off Quiberon 
Bay, April 17, 1918, is one of the war's most thrilling events. 

The night was dark and cloudy, the sea smooth. Steaming 
along quietly, the convoy was nearing port. At 10 :45 someone 
was seen signaling with a searchlight from the bridge of the 
Florence H. An instant later the vessel burst into flames, which 
soon enveloped the ship, and rose a hundred feet into the air. In 
ten minutes the vessel split open amidships and five minutes 
later went down, blazing like a torch. Smoke and flames pre- 
vented those on the ships around from seeing what had occurred 
aboard the steamship. Survivors reported later that there was 
a tremendous explosion in No. 2 hatch which lifted the deck and 
blew out the ship 's starboard side. Her chief engineer, John B. 
Watson, said : i ' She just burned up and melted in about twenty 
minutes." 

The whole thing occurred so suddenly that a naval com- 
mander, as he saw the flash, remarked : ' ' Not a living soul will 
get off that ship. ' ' 

Rescue seemed almost hopeless. The waters around were 
covered with flaming powder-cases and wreckage, so thickly 
packed that they spread to leeward like enormous rafts. All 
over the vicinity ammunition was exploding, shooting flame and 
gas ten to twenty feet into the air. 

As soon as the fire broke out, two naval vessels started for 
the stricken ship. As they got near, the ammunition on the 
deck of the Florence H. began to explode, showering up like 
fireworks. Then her guns went off. For the wooden yachts 
to venture into that sea of flame was almost certain destruction. 
The destroyers, their decks laden with depth-charges, were in 
almost equal danger. When the Stewart drew near the ship, 
the senior commander signalled her to be careful. It seemed 
hardly possible that any of the Florence H.'s crew had escaped. 
But Lieutenant Commander H. S. Haislip heard cries in the 
water. That meant that there were men still alive, struggling 
in that horror. 

There was only one way to rescue them. That was to plough 
through the blazing wreckage. Haislip knew what chances he 



GUARDING THE COAST OF FRANCE 111 

was taking, risking his ship and crew. But it was to save human 
lives and he did not hesitate a moment. The Stewart led the 
way, and the other destroyers, the Whipple and the Truxtun, 
followed. Pushing through bursting powder-casks, and burning 
boxes, they made a path for the other ships. 

Lines were thrown out and seamen jumped overboard to 
hold up men who were blinded or drowning. Lifeboats put out 
from half a dozen ships. The flames lit up the whole area so 
that it was almost as bright as day. Men could be seen clinging 
to ammunition boxes, and the rescuers rowed or swam to them. 

Three men were found in a blazing lifeboat hemmed in by 
wreckage. A naval vessel steamed alongside and pulled them 
aboard. F. M. Upton, quartermaster third class, and J. W. 
Covington, ship's cook, plunged overboard to rescue a sailor 
too exhausted to help himself. Chaplain William A. Maguire 
assisted in the rescue, going out in a lifeboat which had to pole 
its way through the smouldering wreckage. Surgeons J. A. 
Flautt and G. E. Cram and Pharmacist's Mate W. Lorber were 
out in small boats, giving aid to the wounded, many of whom 
were burned about the head and arms. 

Lieutenant (junior grade) M. L. Coon, took a boat into the 
wreckage and rescued three men. A motor-boat in charge of 
Lieutenant H. R. Eccleston ploughed its way through to a man 
who could not be reached by the rowers. Other boats were 
assisting in the rescue, directed by Lieutenant (junior grade) 
H. E. Snow, and Ensigns William 0. Harris, Sherburne B. Rock- 
well and R. A. Johnston. 

All the naval vessels did splendid work — the destroyers 
Stewart (Lieutenant Commander Haislip) ; Whipple (Lieuten- 
ant Commander H. J. Abbett), and Truxtun (Lieutenant Com- 
mander J. G. Ware) ; the yachts Wanderer (Lieutenant Com- 
mander P. L. Wilson) ; Sultana (Lieutenant Commander F. A. 
LaRoche) ; Christabel (Lieutenant Commander M. B. McComb), 
and Corona (Lieutenant H. H. J. Benson). More than a dozen 
officers and fifty enlisted men performed deeds for which they 
were officially commended. Upton and Covington were awarded 
the Medal of Honor. But Haislip, born in Virginia, appointed 
to the Naval Academy from Wisconsin, his later home in Cali- 
fornia, won most distinction, the highest honors we could bestow. 



112 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

The French Vice Admiral praised his courage and decision, say- 
ing that he exhibited not only ' ' superb contempt of danger, ' ' but, 
" remarkable qualities of seamanship." 

Thirty-two of the 77 men aboard the Florence H. were res- 
cued. Had it not been for the heroic work of these men of the 
Navy, not one would have escaped alive. 

Thrilling as Victor Hugo's description of the cannon which 
broke loose and threatened the ship, was John Mackenzie's 
wrestle with a depth-bomb on the Remlik. A storm was raging 
in the Bay of Biscay, and the Remlik, patrolling off the French 
coast, was having a hard time weathering the gale. Suddenly 
a periscope was sighted, and there was a cry from the lookout : 
' ' Submarine 400 yards off starboard beam ! ' ' 

"General quarters" alarm was sounded, and stations 
manned. Heavy seas were breaking over the vessel, but the 
after gun's crew stayed at its post, trying to get a shot at the 
U-boat. Before they could fire the submarine submerged. Then 
followed one of the queerest of situations at sea, patrol ship and 
submarine both so tossed by wave and wind that they could not 
use their weapons against each other. 

The U-boat poked up its double periscope three times, each 
time submerging as she saw the patrol ship's guns turned 
toward her. She could not launch a torpedo with any success 
in that raging sea ; neither could the Remlik drop a depth-bomb 
on her, as the Remlik could make only two knots against the gale 
and a bursting depth-charge might damage her as much as it 
would the ' ' sub. ' ' There they maneuvered like two tigers, un- 
able to spring at each other. After a few minutes the sub- 
marine, which had never shown enough of herself for our gun- 
ners to plant a shell in her, finally submerged and stayed under. 
The Americans kept sailing over the locality, hoping she would 
reappear; but, not wanting to risk a gunfire contest, the "sub" 
had given up the fight. 

Tossed about by that stormy sea, a more imminent danger 
threatened the Remlik. The waves breaking over the stern tore 
loose one of the huge depth-bombs. The box that held it fell 
overboard, but the bomb was hurled in the opposite direction. 
There it went, rolling around the deck, while the crew amidships 
watched it with the fascination of danger. 




BEEST, CENTER OF THE GREAT SYSTEM OF NAVAL OPERATIONS 

IN FRANCE 




A GEKMAN "SUB" AND SOME OF ITS ENEMIES 

Above: The German submarine UC-56 in Lnternment al Santander, Spain, where 
it was forced by the Christabel, the smallest of the American armed yachts in Euro- 
pean waters. 

Inset: Hiyii ofliccrs of the French and American Navies. Left to right: Vice 
Admiral Moreau, Assistant Secretary Roosevelt, Vice Admiral Schwerer, Rear Ad- 
miral Benoit, Vice Admiral Wilson. 

Below: Patrol Boats and Sub-Chasers at Finisterre Dock, Brest, Base Section 
Number 5. 



GUARDING THE COAST OF FRANCE 113 

"The safety-pin's come out!" some one shouted. 

They all knew what that meant. If the firing mechanism 
should hit, sending off that bomb; if its 300 pounds of TNT 
should explode, the Remlik would be shattered. 

To catch and hold that heavy bomb, with the vessel rolling 
and pitching as it was, seemed almost impossible. Even to ven- 
ture into that part of the ship was to risk life. The seas were 
breaking over it, threatening to sweep off anyone who went 
down the deck. All knew the ship faced destruction ; that any- 
one who went after that bomb risked being swept overboard or 
blown to pieces. But quickly a voice rang out : 

"Watch me; I'll get it!" 

Mackenzie dashed down the deck and flung himself upon the 
plunging cylinder. He almost had his arms around it, when it 
broke away. He jumped for it again, and again it tore loose 
from him. 

"Hey!" he yelled. "Stand by and lend a hand. It won't 
do for this colt to get away from me. ' ' 

As he grabbed for it the third time, the big charge lurched, 
and falling, came near crushing him. But he caught his footing, 
and on the fourth attempt got a firm grip on it. Exerting all his 
strength, he heaved the "can" up on end, and then sat on it 
and held it down. Holding on firmly, he managed to retain his 
grip until lines could be run to him, and the bomb lashed down. 
Mackenzie had risked his life, but he had saved his ship and 
shipmates. 

Recommending that the Medal of Honor be bestowed on 
Mackenzie, the first reservist to whom it was awarded, the com- 
manding officer of the Remlik said : 

Mackenzie, in acting as he did, exposed his life and prevented serious 
accident to the ship and probably loss of the ship and entire crew. Had 
this depth-charge exploded on the quarterdeck with the sea and wind 
that existed at the time, there is no doubt that the ship would have 
been lost. 

There was no more striking instance of resourcefulness and 
good seamanship than the double service of the Americans in 
rescuing the survivors of the French light cruiser Dupetit 
Thouars, and salvaging and taking 350 miles to port the Ameri- 



114 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

can steamship Westward Ho. The steamer was in a convoy 
from New York to the Bay of Biscay which had been escorted 
across the Atlantic by the French cruiser. At 10 o'clock, the 
night of August 7, 1918, the Dupetit Thouars was torpedoed, and 
soon sank. The destroyers Winsloiv, Porter, Drayton, Tucker, 
Fanning and Warrington went to her aid and rescued the sur- 
vivors. 

The next morning at 6:40 the destroyers caught a distress 
signal, found that the Westivard Ho had been torpedoed, and 
took aboard her crew. The American yachts May and Noma 
and the French sloop Cassiopee soon afterwards arrived and 
found the ship still afloat. But she was apparently in a sinking 
condition, so deep in the water that attempts to tow her failed. A 
volunteer crew from the May headed by Lieutenant T. Blau, went 
aboard and though they had no experience with oil burning or 
turbine machinery, got up steam, started the pumps, and at last 
got the engines going. She was so deep in the water forward 
that they could not make much headway steering the ship bow 
first. So the volunteer crew turned her around, and with the 
two yachts towing and the French sloop looking out for sub- 
marines, ran that big steamship backwards three hundred and 
fifty miles, and got her safely into harbor. 

A week later another surprising feat was accomplished. 
Proceeding in convoy 400 miles from the French coast, the West 
Bridge, on August 15, stripped her main turbine and lay help- 
less. She had hardly sent a radio to Brest, asking assistance, 
when the convoy was attacked by a submarine. The Montanan 
was torpedoed, and after she went down, the U-boat turned its 
attention to the West Bridge. Struck by two torpedoes, she was 
apparently about to founder. But the destroyer Smith went 
to her aid, and a volunteer crew under Lieutenant R. L. Connolly 
went aboard the disabled steamer. There was no possibility 
of raising steam. She had to be steered by hand. Eventually 
four tugs arrived and with the yacht Isabel started to tow. The 
well-deck forward of the ship's bridge was flush with the sea, 
the waves broke over her in a constant roar. Holds, engine and 
fire rooms were flooded. Keeping her afloat and keeping her 
moving was slow and hard work. For five days and nights those 
men struggled to save that ship, and at last they got her to port. 



GUARDING THE COAST OF FRANCE 115 

When she reached Brest they beached her on a flat. The officers 
who examined her for repairs declared she did not have a hun- 
dred tons of positive buoyancy, hardly enough to keep her up 
an hour. Yet those Navy men had kept her afloat for five days 
and pulled her four hundred miles to port ! 

The spirit of America in Europe, its high ideals, the attitude 
of officers and men could not have been better expressed than in 
this open letter of Admiral Wilson to the forces under his com- 
mand in France : 

We are guests in the house of another people. Our home will be 
judged by our conduct in theirs. We still live under the rules, laws, 
and spirit of the place from which we come. 

Every great nation in history has stood for some one definite idea: 
Greece for beauty, Rome for law, Israel for religion. America, in the 
eyes of the world, stands preeminently for freedom and the ideal of 
manhood. We must not shake that opinion but do all that we can to 
strengthen it. 

We have come to this side of the world to record, by the indelible 
imprint of arms, our protest against that which is brutal, wicked, and 
unjust, to give expression to that measure of indignation stirred in the 
hearts of America by the deeds of terror which the enemy has written 
across the face of France. Our Nation stands for everything that is 
contrary to the spirit of arrogant power and tyranny. Let us prove 
that by our lives here. 

The only history of America that many of the people of Europe will 
ever read is that which is recorded by our lives. 

Live here the proud, manly existence that is justly expected. 

Be courteous, temperate and self-controlled. 

We fight against the Hun's ill-treatment of women; let no man be 
tempted to do, by insinuation, what we charge our enemies with doing 
by force. Let the women of France remember the men of America as 
those who would shield them against all harm, even that which might 
spring from their defenders. 

You would fight the man who insulted your uniform ; do not insult 
it yourself. Let it not be carried into places of disrepute or into any 
discrediting act. We are here for a great, high, and solemn purpose. 
Let every personal desire be subordinated to that righteous purpose, 
then we will return to our homes clean and proud and victorious. 



CHAPTER XI 
GIBRALTAR AND THE CONVOY 

AMERICAN VESSELS ESCORTED NINETY PER CENT OF SHIPPING BETWEEN 

ENGLAND AND MEDITERRANEAN GREAT WORK ACCOMPLISHED BY 

SHIPS UNDER COMMAND OF ADMIRAL NIBLACK U. S. NAVAL 

FORCES MADE POSSIBLE OPERATION OF CONVOY SYSTEM. ONE OF THE 
MOST EFFECTIVE MEASURES OF THE WAR. 

GIBRALTAR was the gateway through which passed 
one-fourth of all the shipping of the Allies. When the 
convoy system was applied to the Mediterranean, July, 
1917, it became the principal convoy port of the world. 

United States naval vessels furnished ocean escort both go- 
ing and returning for 90 per cent of all convoys between Gibral- 
tar and Great Britain — 200 of the 225 groups which sailed, 4,269 
ships, representing 12,000,000 gross tons. The Mediterranean 
escort protected 5,120 vessels; our destroyers in that region, 
1004 ; our Marseilles escort 73 ; and our men-of-war accompanied 
12 other special ships, transports, cable layers and submarines. 
Thus the United States vessels of this force escorted a total of 
10,478 ships. 

Realizing the strategic importance of Gibraltar, the Navy 
Department, on July 5, 1917, decided to establish a base there, 
and on July 14th, directed 11 vessels, including gunboats and 
light cruisers, under command of Admiral Wilson, to prepare 
for distant service, and sail for Gibraltar at the earliest possible 
date. This base, one of the most important in Europe, was 
established by the Navy Department on its own initiative, as 
had been the bases at Brest and Bordeaux and the Azores. By 
the time our vessels arrived it became, for protection of Allied 
shipping, a point of prime importance. 

The convoy system was inaugurated in the Mediterranean, 
by British Admiralty order, on July 22, 1917. Five days after- 

116 



GIBRALTAR AND THE CONVOY 117 

wards the first regular convoy of 14 ships sailed for England. 
August 6th the vanguard of the United States naval vessels, the 
cruiser Sacramento (Captain T. T. Craven) reached Gibraltar. 
On the 17th Admiral Wilson arrived in the Birmingham (Cap- 
tain C. L. Hussey), followed next day by the Nashville (Captain 
H. E. Yarnell). Other ships followed— the gunboats Castine 
(Captain W.C. Asser son), Machias (Commander Austin Kautz), 
Wheeling (Commander H .W. Osterhaus), Paducah (Commander 
H. H. Royall), the cruiser Chester (Captain Philip Williams), 
the Coast Guard cutters Seneca (Captain W. J. Wheeler), Man- 
ning (Lieutenant Commander A. J. Henderson), Tampa (Lieu- 
tenant Commander Charles C. Satterlee), Ossipee (Lieutenant 
Commander W. H. Munter), Yamacraw (Lieutenant Commander 
Randolph Ridgely), Algonquin (Lieutenant Commander G. C. 
Carmine), the converted yachts Yankton (Lieutenant G. E. 
Lake), Nahma (Lieutenant Commander E. Ifriedrick), Druid 
(Lieutenant Commander J. F. Connor), Wenonah (Lieutenant 
Commander P. E. Speicher), Arcturus (Lieutenant Commander 
C. F. Howell), Lydonia (Lieutenant Commander R. P. McCul- 
lough), Cythera (Lieutenant Commander W. G. Roper), Wadena 
(Lieutenant Commander W. M. Falconer), and Venetia (Com- 
mander L. B. Porterfield), the Coast and Geodetic Survey vessel 
Surveyor (Commander R. E. Pope), the destroyers Bainbridge 
(Lieutenant T. A. Thomson, Jr.), Barry (Lieutenant H. P. Samp- 
son), Chauncey (Lieutenant Commander W. E. Reno), Dale 
(Lieutenant Roy Pfafr"), Decatur (Lieutenant Ralph R. Stew- 
art), Gregory (Commander A. P. Fairfield), Dyer (Commander 
F. H. Poteet), Stribling (Commander G. C. Logan), Luce (Com- 
mander R. C. Parker), Israel (Lieutenant Commander G. N. 
Barker), Maury (Commander J. H. Newton), Lansdale (Lieu- 
tenant Commander C. W. Magruder), and Schley (Lieutenant 
Commander R. C. Giffen), and the destroyer tender Buffalo 
(Captain C. M. Tozer). 

American vessels took a prominent part in escort duty prac- 
tically from the beginning of convoy in that region, becoming 
in a short time, the largest factor in the system. In the latter 
part of October, Admiral Wilson was ordered to command our 
forces on the French coast, and was succeeded by Admiral A. P. 
Niblack, who directed our forces at Gibraltar to the end of the 



118 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

war, with fine judgment and ability. He and his force became 
a tower of strength in that region, to the Allies as well as our 
own Navy. 

As the American vessels arrived, they were immediately 
placed on duty with convoys and as danger-zone escorts. The 
ships of the Allies were employed almost exclusively in the Medi- 
terranean, with headquarters at Malta, and our naval vessels 
did nearly all the escort duty between Gibraltar and the United 
Kingdom. They also convoyed over 4,000 vessels in local Medi- 
terranean traffic, or bound for Mediterranean and Far Eastern 
ports; ships supplying the American army through Marseilles, 
the French forces in North Africa; the Allied armies at Salo- 
nika; the British in Egypt and Palestine; and the forces of 
Italy. 

Soon after our vessels arrived in August, 1917, Rear Admiral 
H. S. Grant, British Royal Navy, senior naval officer in com- 
mand at Gibraltar, drew up the plans by which the "H. G." 
(Home-Gibraltar) and "G. H." (Gibraltar-Home) convoys were 
organized between the United Kingdom and the Mediterranean. 
These also included ships bound to and from French ports in 
the Bay of Biscay and ships bound to the United States. 
Destroyers, sloops and special service vessels accompanied each 
convoy as a danger-zone escort through the Straits of Gibraltar 
to 10 degrees west longitude and there waited for, or met, an 
incoming convoy from England. Men-of-war acted as ocean 
escort to the convoys from that point to British waters, where 
they were met by a danger-zone escort at the end of the route. 

At the beginning of October, 1917, a system of fast convoys, 
sailing every sixteen days, between the United Kingdom and 
Port Said, and vice versa, was organized. These were met at 
a rendezvous in approximately longitude 10 degrees west by 
naval vessels which escorted them to Gibraltar, where they were 
relieved usually by ships from the Malta command, to take them 
through the Mediterranean. These convoys were joined at Gib- 
raltar by ships of over IOV2 knots speed, which were taken out 
by relief escorts and joined the convoy off Europa Point. The 
first of the through outward-bound convoys, O. E. 1 (outward 
eastward) passed Gibraltar October 11th, and the first through 
homeward bound convoy, //. E. 1, passed on November 26th. 



GIBRALTAR AND THE CONVOY 119 

By December most merchantmen which arrived at Gibraltar 
had been in convoy at one time or another, and it was possible 
to sail ships bound for North and South American ports in 
separate small convoys, with one master and commodore, 
escorted through the danger zone to longitude 10 degrees west. 
Between that time and the middle of February, 1918, 207 ships 
were thus sailed to the Americas. 

More escort ships being available, and enemy submarine 
cruisers becoming active, ships for United States and South 
American ports were, beginning February 27, formed into con- 
voys, two, a fast and a slow one, sailing on the same day, each, 
accompanied by the danger-zone escort to longitude 30 degrees 
west, then proceeding "on their own" to longitude 70 degrees 
west to be dispersed to their proper destinations. Under this 
revised system there were sailed to American ports 1,013 ships, 
totalling 4,371,063 gross tons. These were called W. A. Con- 
voys (Western Atlantic). 

The main artery for supply of the Allied armies operating 
in Egypt, Palestine, Greece, Italy, Northern Africa and South- 
ern France ran through the Gibraltar area, requiring a great 
amount of offensive work against enemy submarines, in addi- 
tion to escorting convoys. Patrol of the Straits was carried on 
by torpedo boats, motor launches, sub-chasers and vessels of 
small displacement, entailing hardships and exposure in every 
kind of weather. 

Numerous attacks on U-boats were reported in this region. 
The British Admiralty credited the TJ. S. S. Lydonia (Lieutenant 
Commander R. P. McCullough) and H. M. S. Basilisk with sink- 
ing a submarine while escorting a Mediterranean convoy, May 
8, 1918. In latitude 38 degrees 06' north, longitude 3 degrees 
3' east, the Lydonia sighted the wake of a torpedo which sank 
the British steamship Ingleside. The British and American 
ships immediately attacked, dropping a barrage of depth- 
charges, which destroyed the enemy. The submarine was the 
German UB-70, and the British Admiralty awarded these ves- 
sels the credit, rarely given, of "known sunk." 

Commander Richard P. McCullough, commanding the Ly- 
donia, was officially commended by the British Admiralty and 
the British senior naval officer at Gibraltar, as well as by our 



120 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

own authorities. Lieutenant Claud F. Reynaud, the executive 
officer, was also given special commendation. Sighting the tor- 
pedo at the instant it was fired, Reynaud started his stop-watch, 
timed the run of the torpedo, made immediate change of course 
to the position of the submarine and noted its bearings. This 
enabled the commanding officer to track the probable movements 
of the submarine, which was destroyed by depth-charges from 
the Lydonia and the Basilisk. 

Credit was also given for the sinking of a submarine by the 
Wheeling, Surveyor and Venetia. While on escort duty, May 15, 
1918, in latitude 36-03 N., longitude 1-47 W., these vessels 
sighted the track of a torpedo which struck a merchant ship of 
the convoy. They dashed down the wake made by the U-boat's 
periscope, dropping depth-charges which soon put the submarine 
out of business. 

The notable record of the Venetia is recited in Admiral Nib- 
lack's recommendation of its commanding officer, Commander 
L. B. Porterfield, for special commendation: 

While escorting Gibraltar-Bizerta convoy, on May 11, 1918, an enemy 
submarine, which was not seen, torpedoed the French steamship Susetie 
Fraisenette at 3 :39 a. m. With excellent judgment he assumed that 
submarine had dived under the convoy, and in following out the theory 
sighted the submarine on the surface at daylight, compelling it to 
submerge. This submarine was subsequently sunk in the Adriatic, and 
the survivors testified that the attack of the Venetia on this occasion 
drove them off, and saved the convoy from further attack. Commended 
in British Senior Naval Officer's letter 78-14 of 24th May, 1918, and 
British Commander-in-Chief's Mediterranean letter No. 2089-93 of 23 
June, 1918. 

While escort to Gibraltar-Bizerta convoy on May 17, 1918, the British 
steamship Sculptor was torpedoed at 6 :48 p. m. Submarine was not seen, 
but the Venetia-, having been previously detailed to attack with depth- 
charges, and remain behind four hours to keep down submarine, did so. 
At 7 :02 p. m. wake of submarine was sighted and depth-charges dropped. 
On May 18th an enemy submarine interned at Cartagena, Spain, and 
was officially assumed to have been damaged by the Venetia: 

While on escort duty, Gibraltar-Genoa, the British steamship Messidor 
was torpedoed at 7 :24 p. m., July 23, 1918, and the Venetia instantly 
made attack, dropping thirteen depth-charges on prearranged plan. 

The cruiser Chester had two encounters with submarines. 
While on convoy duty November 9, 1917, it attacked with gunfire 



GIBRALTAR AND THE CONVOY 121 

a submarine which had sunk one of the vessels of the convoy, 
compelling the U-boat to submerge. On September 5, 1918, at 
1 :04 a. m., the Chester, on ocean escort, sighted a submarine 
close aboard on the starboard bow. First the cruiser attempted 
to ram the enemy, then attacked the undersea craft with depth- 
charges, which apparently damaged the U-boat. 

Four days later a submarine attacked Convoy GGA-54, tor- 
pedoing and sinking the British steamship Arabis. The Paducah 
attacked with depth-bombs and, according to reports, damaged 
the submarine. The Seneca en September 16th drove off a sub- 
marine which attacked Convoy OM-99. The U. S. S. Druid and 
H. M. S. Gilia repulsed an attack on Convoy BG-65, on Sep- 
tember 22nd. Escorting Convoy BG-67, on September 30th, the 
Seneca sighted a periscope and attacked with depth-charges and 
gunfire. 

Convoy BG-68, escorted by the Cythera, was attacked the 
night of October 3rd, and two steamships, the British Ariel and 
the French St. Luc, were torpedoed. The Cythera went for the 
submarine, laying a pattern of depth-charges. While being 
escorted through the Straits of Gibraltar by H. M. S. Defender 
and the U. S. S. Decatur, H. M. S. Britannia was torpedoed and 
sunk at 7 a. m., November 9, 1918. The Decatur attacked with 
depth-charges. The same day a torpedo was fired at the Parker, 
which was on temporary duty on the western barrage line, in 
the Straits. But the torpedo missed, and the Parker went after 
the U-boat, dropping depth-bombs around her. 

German submarine activity around Gibraltar continued up 
to the very end of hostilities. On November 10, 1918, the day 
before the armistice, the Israel, which was operating on the 
barrage line with a sub-chaser, discovered and attacked a U-boat, 
and the same day Sub-chaser Unit C, while patrolling off Point 
Boassa, also made contact with a submarine. 

Two vessels of the Gibraltar force were lost — the destroyer 
Chauncey, sunk in collision with the British steamship Rose, 
November 19, 1917, and the Coast Guard cutter Tampa, sunk in 
British waters September 30, 1918. 

The six little destroyers sent from the Philippines to Gib- 
raltar made the long voyage of 12,000 miles under their own 
steam, arriving in October. The work they did was amazing, 



122 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

when their small size and age are considered. One of them, 
the Decatur, 420 tons displacement, which had been condemned 
as not seaworthy enough to venture out of sight of land, suc- 
cessfully negotiated the long voyage from Manila, and in service 
at Gibraltar steamed over 48,000 miles, making a total of 60,000 
miles steaming before her departure for the United States. 

The Wenonah, an armed yacht of hardly more than 200 tons, 
steamed in escort work 29,979 miles. The U. S. Coast Guard 
cutter Seneca, which arrived at Gibraltar September 4, 1917, 
escorted 600 ships in convoys, carrying total cargoes of 2,100,000 
tons. These are only a few of the phenomenal records made. 

United States naval vessels based on Gibraltar assisted in 
escorting 562 convoys, and 79 single ships, furnishing an aver- 
age of fifty per cent of all escorts. Under way 46 per cent of 
the time and 68 per cent available at all times for operation, 
our vessels were, in addition to the Gibraltar-England service 
and danger zone escort, employed in escorting ships to Bizerta, 
Genoa, Oran and Marseilles. They maintained a monthly service 
to the Azores, escorted cable ships, and also did other odd jobs. 

No vessels performed more convoy duty than these, and 
Admiral Niblack, who commanded them, thus states what was 
expected of the system : 

(a) That a relatively small number of escort vessels could protect 
more ships if they were in convoy than in any other way. 

(b) That ships in convoy could not be visited and sunk by bombs, 
as were single ships. 

(c) That ships in convoy would not be attacked by gunfire by sub- 
marines. 

(d) That convoys, being few in number, would be difficult to find 
and consequently fewer attacks could be made by torpedo. 

(e) That in the danger zones near ports where submarines would 
lay for convoys the escort by antisubmarine craft could be made so 
strong as to make the risk to submarines very hazardous. 

''The great advantage of the convoy, " said he, "was that 
the ships arrived in the danger zone collectively and at a definite 
time, where an adequate danger zone escort could be assembled, 
which was fitted with depth-charges and was in such numbers as 
to make the chances of submarines extremely small if it 
attempted to attack the convoy." 



GIBRALTAB AND THE CONVOY 123 

But, in considering the effect of convoy in lessening sinkings, 
Admiral Niblack said : 

I think we should take into consideration, as Admiral Mayo points 
out, the employment of new and offensive measures through the use 
of the depth-charges, mystery ships, airships, kite balloons, the laying 
of mine barrages, the firing of torpedoes from Allied submarines, com- 
bined with the use of organized patrols fitted with listening devices 
and hunting the submarine systematically. * * * * 

One very important phase of the discussion of the convoy system 
which has been entirely overlooked is that during the entire war only 
one escorted convoy crossed from the United States to Gibraltar. * * * 
All the rest of the million tons of shipping which crossed from the United 
States to Gibraltar went across as single ships, going "on their own," 
as it were. These ships depended on their armed guard gun crews, and 
were independent of the convoy system. They actually encountered 
submarines, but they relied on their guns for protection. 

The convoy system, however, accomplished all that was ex- 
pected of it, and was markedly successful. 

It was our destroyers at Queenstown, our forces on the 
French coast and at Gibraltar, our cruisers escorting convoys 
crossing the Atlantic, that made it the success it was — and it 
was one of the most successful measures of the war. 

President Wilson, as I have said, favored its adoption from 
the beginning ; in fact, wondered why the Allies had not adopted 
it upon the outbreak of war in Europe. It was one of the first 
measures recommended by the General Board. But at the time 
this country entered the war, the Allies were pursuing exactly 
the opposite method ; that is, dispersion of shipping. 

When troop transportation was first determined upon, in 
May, 1917, we adopted the convoy system for troop-ships. It 
was in that month that the British decided to try out the plan 
for merchant ships, to see whether it would work. The first ex- 
perimental convoy arrived in England from Gibraltar, May 20. 
A few convoys were despatched in June, and on June 22 Sims 
cabled me: "The British Admiralty have now adopted the 
convoy system and will put it into effect as fast as ships can 
be obtained for high sea convoy against raiders, and destroyers 
for escort duty in submarine zone." He reported two routes 
in operation, stated that eight convoys a week were planned, and 
recommended that we furnish one cruiser or battleship a week 



124 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

for high sea escort. On June 30, 1 informed him that the Depart- 
ment would assign seven cruisers for this duty. Our destroyers 
were engaged in the danger-zone from the time the first trans- 
Atlantic convoys were started. 

Putting the convoy system into effect was a big job, involv- 
ing the larger part of the world's shipping — a reversal of 
method that necessitated a radical change in the naval scheme. 
Concerning the part the United States Navy played in this great 
task, Admiral Sims wrote in the World's Work: 

I do not wish to say that the convoy would not have been established 
had we not sent the destroyers for that purpose, yet I do not see how 
it could have been established in any complete and systematic way at 
such an early date. And we furnished other ships than destroyers, for, 
besides providing what I have called the modern convoy — protecting 
the compact mass of vessels from submarines — it was necessary also to 
furnish escorts after the old Napoleonic plan. It was the business of 
the destroyers to conduct merchantmen only through the submarine 
zone. They did not take them the whole distance across the ocean, for 
there was little danger of submarine attack until the ships reached the 
infested waters. This would have been impossible in any case with the 
limited number of destroyers. 

But, from the time the convoys left the home port, say New York 
or Hampton Roads, there was the possibility of the same kind of attack 
as that to which convoys were subjected in Nelsonian days — that is, 
from raiders or cruisers. We always feared that German cruisers or 
raiders of the Moewe type might escape into the ocean and attack these 
merchant ships, and we therefore had to escort them across the ocean 
with battleships and cruisers just as they did a century ago. The British 
did not have ships enough available for this purpose, and here again 
the American Navy was able to supply the lack; for we had a number 
of pre-dreadnaughts and cruisers that were ideally adapted to this kind 
of work. 




% ** 





s K.-r * 




AT GIBRALTAE, KEY TO THE MEDITERRANEAN 

Above: U. S. S. Buffalo, Schley and Jupiter. 

Inset: Rear Admiral Albert P. Niblack, commanding American naval forces in 
the Mediterranean. 

Below: The signal tower and American sub-chasers. 




THE GREAT MINE BARRAGE AGAINST THE SUBMARINES 

This map shows the location of the mine barrage across the North Sea as well 
as the smaller one across the English Channel. The dangers of this barrage, more 
than any other single factor, destroyed the morale of the German submarine crews. 



CHAPTER XII 
SHUTTING UP THE HORNETS IN THEIR NESTS 

MINE BAEKAGE ACROSS NORTH SEA A TERROR TO U-BOATS — GERMANS 
PLANNED BIG DRIVE, BUT SUBMARINE CREWS REFUSED TO GO TO 

SEA MORALE SHATTERED, KAISER *S NAVY WAS WRECKED BY 

MUTINY PROPOSED BY U. S. NAVY IN APRIL, 1917, EIGHTY PER 

CENT OF BARRAGE WAS LAID BY AMERICANS. 

GERMANY planned a great naval offensive in the fall of 
1918 — that is, the German authorities did, the High 
Command. Why was it never carried out? Why were 
the U-boats recalled? Why did the Kaiser's High 
Seas Fleet surrender without striking a blow? 

When Sir Eric Geddes, First Lord of the British Admiralty, 
visited Washington in October, 1918, he told me that we might 
expect a decided increase in submarine activity, a German drive 
at sea. In the official conferences we held, Sir Eric and his 
associates predicted that, notwithstanding all the efforts we 
were making, vastly more tonnage might be sunk in the ensuing 
months. The British were striving to increase ship production, 
and put as many war vessels as possible into commission. 

The next day I telegraphed the leading shipbuilders of the 
country, asking them to come to Washington. Over 200 
destroyers were under construction or contracted for, and rapid 
progress was being made on them. But I thought that, by spe- 
cial effort, we might rush a larger number to completion. The 
critical situation outlined by the British authorities was ex- 
plained to the builders, and they were directed to make construc- 
tion continuous — to run three shifts of eight hours each, work- 
ing day, night and Sundays, and to speed up to the utmost on 
destroyers and all anti-submarine craft. They pledged their 
earnest assistance, proposing to increase forces, if labor could 
be secured, and to push the program already undertaken on the 
highest gear. 

125 



126 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

While the visit of the British mission as announced was to 
" discuss certain matters concerning the naval situation," and 
its conferences were confidential, its members in public state- 
ments made clear their belief that easy or early victory was not 
to be expected. 

"I have made it the keynote of all my policy and all my 
advice to others not to be deluded with hopes of an early peace, 
but to prepare for an ever-receding duration of the war," said 
Sir Eric Geddes. "We must always be prepared for two years 
more, and then only shall we have the sure means of victory in 
our hands." 

More significant still, more to the point, was the remark made 
by Sir Eric just before he sailed for Europe : 

"A great renewed effort on Germany's part is impending. 
We know it, and its extent. ' ' 

Before he reached England, U-boat warfare was practically 
ended. Within ten days the submarines were recalled to their 
home bases. As they were returning to Germany they sank a 
few ships. But these were the last few examples of German 
frightfulness on the seas. 

What had brought about that tremendous change ? It was not 
due to any lack of determination on the part of the German 
Admiralty, or the Kaiser. But they found that the big stick 
with which they were to strike was only a broken reed. The 
morale of their navy was shattered. Officers were willing 
enough to obey orders, but their men refused to fight. 

The U-boat crews, for years the pick and pride of the service, 
refused to go to sea. Germany was building hundreds of sub- 
marines, they were being turned out by the score. She might 
soon have sent out a dozen for every one she had when ruthless 
warfare began. But willing crews were lacking to man them. 

This was a complete reversal of previous experience. A year 
before U-boat duty had been the most sought-for branch of the 
service. Essaying long voyages in the Atlantic or the Mediter- 
ranean, cruising for weeks around the waters of England and 
France, their officers and men had braved many dangers, and 
returning were hailed by their countrymen as conquering heroes. 

Sinkings had been made more difficult by the convoy system. 
Listening devices had made it more dangerous for submarines 



SHUTTING UP THE HORNETS IN THEIR NESTS 127 

to remain in the vicinity of naval vessels. Patrol, by surface 
ships and aircraft, had become more efficient. Shipping was 
more difficult to get at and destroy. More submarines were be- 
ing sunk than in the early days. But, with all these operating 
against them, the U-boats, even if they could not make such high 
scores in tonnage, had more than an even chance to reach their 
home bases unscathed. 

Now was another danger to face, however; one that was 
hidden and deadly, and it had to be faced by every boat depart- 
ing or returning. Some U-boats, putting out to sea from their 
nesting places on the German coasts, vanished utterly. No trace 
was left, no record of what fate befell them. 

Others, badly damaged, limped back to port. Survivors told 
of colliding with mines hidden far below the surface, whose pres- 
ence could not be guessed. No vigilance could locate or action 
avoid them. They might run into them anywhere within hun- 
dreds of miles. This was a terror the undersea boatmen were 
unwilling to face. The revolt of the U-boat crews spread to 
other branches of the naval service, and the entire German navy 
began to disintegrate. 

The mutiny in the German sea forces, the demoralization of 
its personnel, has no parallel in naval history. This was un- 
doubtedly due to various causes, but, in my belief, there was no 
one thing that had more influence in breaking the German 
morale, particularly in the U-boat service, than did the Northern 
Mine Barrage. 

Stretching across the North Sea, from Norway almost to 
the Orkneys, this heavy barrier of powerful mines opposed any 
enemy vessels which attempted to make their way around the 
north of Scotland into the Atlantic. The Germans had only two 
exits from the North Sea, the one covered by this mine barrier, 
and, to the south, the narrow Straits of Dover, also partially 
mined and guarded by the famous Dover Patrol. 

It was a new factor in war, this vast barrage, the most suc- 
cessful innovation, the biggest new naval offensive put forth 
after our entrance into the war. American in conception, it 
was also mainly American in construction. A joint British and 
American undertaking, as it was, four-fifths of the mines laid 
were of American design and manufacture, made in this country, 



128 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

taken across the Atlantic in American ships, and laid by Ameri- 
can naval vessels. 

Though not actually laid until the summer of 1918, this was 
the first big project proposed by the United States Navy after 
our entrance into the war. In fact, it was only nine days after 
war was declared that the Bureau of Ordnance presented an 
elaborate memorandum, outlining the proposition. But the 
British Admiralty, without whose consent and cooperation it 
could not be constructed, and Admiral Sims pronounced it ' ' im- 
practical" and " unfeasible." It was not until six months later 
that Ave secured the Admiralty's approval, and the great project 
got under way. 

The first mine was laid on June 8, 1918. "The barrier be- 
gan to take toll of the enemy's submarines as early as July 9, 
when one was disabled on the barrier and compelled to return 
to Germany," reported Admiral Joseph Strauss, commander of 
American mining operations in the North Sea. " It is not known 
how many submarines were sunk or disabled in the mine field. 
It has been placed as high as twenty-three. My own estimate, 
based on known sinkings, is ten, although I am inclined to think 
that is a modest one." 

Captain Reginald R. Belknap, commander of Mine Squad- 
ron 1, says the barrage began to yield results before it was half 
way across. "From the nature of the case it may never be 
known definitely how many actually did come to grief there," 
he said; "but the best information gives a probable ten before 
the middle of October, with a final total of seventeen or more. 
In addition to this toll, the squadron should be given credit for 
two submarines lost in the field of British mines laid by the 
Baltimore off the Irish coast." 

Eight and one-half per cent of the total number of sub- 
marines lost during the war were brought into the list of missing 
by the barrage, was the estimate of Admiral Ralph Earle, Chief 
of the Bureau of Ordnance, under whose administration and 
leadership the mine barrage was conceived, projected and con- 
structed. Admiral Earle reported to me : 

It has been established that six submarines were lost in the barrage 
and three more so badly damaged that they never again put to sea. 
However, from further evidence, the British Admiralty officially credit 



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SHUTTING UP THE HORNETS IN THEIR NESTS 129 

the barrage with fourteen additional, or a total of twenty-three. Two 
hundred German U-boats were destroyed in the war, or fifty more than 
the Allies could account for. To err on the conservative side, we claim 
but eight out of the fourteen credited the barrage by the British Ad- 
miralty, or a total of seventeen. This is also the figure arrived at by 
Captain R. R. Belknap, commander of Mine Squadron 1. What does this 
figure show? Eight and one-half per cent of the total number of sub- 
marines lost during the war were brought into the list of missing by 
the barrage, which existed for only six per cent of the period of the 
war. Such results more than justified the effort and time and funds 
expended. 

The barrage did more than take toll of submarines sent to 
kingdom come by its mines. "There is no doubt," reported 
Sims in the "Summary of Activities of American Forces in 
European Waters," "that the barrage had a considerable moral 
effect on the German naval crews, for it is known that several 
submarines hesitated some time before crossing. Also, reports 
from German sources are that the barrage caused no small 
amount of panic in some of the submarine flotillas. It is also 
probable that the barrage played a part in preventing raids on 
Allied commerce by fast enemy cruisers." 

Admiral Strauss, in his testimony before the Senate Investi- 
gating Committee, declared that if the Northern Barrage and 
that across the Straits of Dover had been fully completed as we 
planned, ' ' it would have ended the submarine menace, so far as 
submarines going from the North Sea into the Atlantic were 
concerned;" and that the building of the mine barriers across 
the Adriatic and Aegean seas, for which we were preparing 
materials, "would have actually ended submarine operations." 

Could it have been built in 1917, a year earlier than it was? 
Strauss said it could, and this was the firm belief of Earle and 
other ordnance experts. True, the antenna mine we developed 
later was a big improvement, superior to any previously de- 
vised. It would have taken two or three times as many mines 
of the type then in use, perhaps 180,000 of them, as was esti- 
mated. We manufactured 100,000 of the antenna type, and could 
have made as many more, if necessary. The British had no 
antenna mines, Admiral Strauss pointed out, and all the mines 
they laid in the barrage were of the older type. After all the 



130 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

objections were presented to him, Admiral Strauss, when asked 
if he still considered it would have been feasible to have gone 
ahead with the barrage in 1917, unhesitatingly answered: 
"Yes." 

Not laying that barrage earlier — in fact, at the earliest pos- 
sible moment — was, in my opinion, the greatest naval error of 
the war. If the British had erected it early in the war, and put 
a similar effective barrier across the Straits of Dover and 
Otranto, the Germans would have been so restricted that wide- 
spread U-boat warfare, with its terrible destruction of life and 
shipping, would have been impossible. 

"Shutting up the hornets in their nests," as President Wil- 
son expressed it, was the first idea that occurred to us when 
we went to war. The Bureau of Ordnance on April 15, 1917, 
submitted a memorandum urging that we ' ' stop the submarines 
at their source" and suggesting that mine barriers be laid 
across the North Sea, the Adriatic and the Dardanelles. "The 
northern barrier," it stated, "would extend from the mid- 
eastern coast of Scotland to the Norwegian coast, a distance of 
about 250 miles," and the southern (that is, to close the Straits 
of Dover) would extend "from the southeast coast of England 
and to a point on the French coast near the Belgian frontier, a 
distance of about forty miles." Next day I cabled Admiral 
Sims, who had just arrived in London : 

Is it not practicable to blockade German coast efficiently and com- 
pletely, thus making practically impossible the egress and ingress of 
submarines? The steps attempted or accomplished in this direction 
are to be reported at once. 

Two days later came the answer: 

To absolutely blockade the German and Belgian coast against the 
entrance and departure of submarines has been found quite unfeasible. 

The next day he wrote a long letter, amplifying the difficul- 
ties and reporting against any such barriers. But our ordnance 
experts were thoroughly convinced the project was feasible. On 
May 9th they outlined their plans in a memorandum to be sub- 
mitted to the British Admiralty, and on May 11th I cabled to 
Admiral Sims: "Much opinion is in favor of concerted efforts 



SHUTTING UP THE HORNETS IN THEIR NESTS 131 

by the Allies to establish a complete barrier across the North 
Sea, Scotland to Norway, either direct or via the Shetlands, 
to prevent the egress of German submarines." I added, "The 
difficulty and size of the problem is recognized, but if it is pos- 
sible of accomplishment the situation would warrant the effort. ' ' 
He was directed to consult with the British Admiralty regarding 
this plan. Two days later came the reply : 

From all experience Admiralty considers project of attempting to 
close exit to North Sea to enemy submarines by the method suggested 
to be quite impracticable. Project has previously been considered and 
abandoned. 

In a dispatch on May 14th Sims said: "The abandonment 
of any serious attempts at blockading such passages as Scot- 
land-Norway, the Skagerrack and Scotland to Shetland has 
been forced by bitter and expensive experience." 

"As may well be imagined," he wrote later, "this whole 
subject has been given the most earnest consideration, as it is, 
of course, realized that if submarines could be kept from coming 
out, the whole problem would at once be solved." But he said, 
"I cannot too strongly emphasize the fact that during nearly 
three years of active warfare this whole question had been the 
most serious subject of consideration by the British Ad- 
miralty," which had concluded that no "barrier can be com- 
pletely effective." 

This, however, did not deter our ordnance experts. The 
more they studied the question, the more were they convinced 
that the barrier could be "put across." Believing in mines, 
preparing for mine operations on a large scale, they were aston- 
ished when, on May 31st, Sims reported that, instead of our 
giving attention to mine production, the British Admiralty 
"consider we can more profitably concentrate on other work." 

Earle and his associates in the Bureau of Ordnance never 
doubted final success. They experimented with mines, firing and 
anchoring devices, and on July 30th announced the development 
of a new type of mine, particularly adapted to deep waters. 
A unique feature of this mine was that it did not have to be 
struck to explode, but would explode if a submarine passed close 
to it. This was due to the firing apparatus, which was evolved 



132 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

from an electrical device submitted by Mr. Ralph C. Browne, 
of Salem, Mass., to be used on a submerged gun. Officers of the 
Bureau concluded this could be adapted to mines, and in May 
began work to that end. Commander S. P. Fullinwider, chief 
of the Mine Section, was aided by Mr. Browne, Lieutenant Com- 
mander T. S. Wilkinson, Jr., and Commodore S. J. Brown in 
producing this firing device, and others who assisted in develop- 
ing the mine were Lieutenant Commanders 0. W. Bagby, J. A. 
Schofield, W. A. Corley, C. H. Wright and H. E. Fischer, Lieu- 
tenant S. W. Cook and Lieutenant (junior grade) B. W. Grimes. 

With this improved mine as an argument, our ordnance 
officers renewed the proposal of a mine offensive in the North 
Sea. The memorandum the Bureau submitted was comprehen- 
sive, and contained all the essential features of the barrage plan 
that was later adopted and carried into effect. 

How could the project be best presented to the British Ad- 
miralty again? Admiral Mayo was preparing to sail within a 
short time for Europe. Just before his departure the entire 
project was discussed and the operation of the improved mines 
explained, as he was to bring the whole matter to the attention 
of the British Admiralty and the Allied Naval Council. To 
prevent loss of time and further insure the Admiralty's consid- 
eration, on August 17th, before Mayo sailed, I cabled Sims : 

Bureau of Ordnance has developed a mine which it hopes may have 
decisive influence upon operations against submarines. Utmost secrecy 
considered necessary. Request that an officer representing the Ad- 
miralty, clothed with power to decide, be sent here to inspect and thor- 
oughly test mine, and, if found satisfactory, arrange for cooperation in 
mining operations. 

The Allied Naval Conference, held in London September 4th 
and 5th, which Mayo attended, took up not only the barrage 
project, but another proposition our Navy Department had sug- 
gested months before, a close offensive in German waters. After 
the meeting Mayo cabled : 

Conference completed after agreement upon the following points: 
1. That close offensive in German waters should be carefully con- 
sidered by Allies, after which they should indicate to British Admiralty 
contribution of old war ships they are prepared to furnish should offen- 
sive prove practicable. 



SHUTTING UP THE HORNETS IN THEIR NESTS 133 

2. That alternative offensive employing effective mine field or mine 
net barrage to completely shut in North Sea not practicable until ade- 
quate supply satisfactory type mines assured, and that pending such 
supply, extension present system mine fields desirable and that mine 
net barrage impracticable. 

This indicated to us that the British still doubted the effec- 
tiveness of a barrage, as well as our ability to furnish an ade- 
quate supply of mines. It was evident that, after five months 
of earnest advocacy, further urging was needed to secure ap- 
proval of the project. Benson, therefore, on September 12th, 
cabled Mayo : 

There are great possibilities in the satisfactory solution of the mine 
and depth-charge question. Officers sent over here most satisfactory 
and remarkably well posted. I think it would help the whole situation 
wonderfully if Commodore Gaunt could visit the Admiralty for a few 
days and have a heart-to-heart talk. No time to be lost. 

What happened next ? The day after Benson 's message was 
received, the British Admiralty made out for Mayo a paper 
entitled, ''General Future Policy, Including Mine Policy," with 
an appendix, "Mine Barrage Across the North Sea." The 
policy outlined by the Admiralty, announced September 14th, 
was the same the Navy Department had suggested nearly five 
months previous. 

Even then there was delay. On October 9th, Sims reported 
that the Admiralty was "thoroughly investigating the question" 
and that ' ' the discussion of this question will probably be post- 
poned by the Admiralty until the return of the commander-in- 
chief. ' ' We were still not certain as to whether the British were 
ready to put it through. But, believing that the plan must 
finally be put into effect, our Bureau of Ordnance went ahead, 
and let the contracts for 100,000 mines. Upon Mayo's return 
October 15th, the amendments suggested by the British were 
approved by the General Board and accepted by the Department. 
Nothing definite, however, had come from London and on 
October 20th Sims was cabled: 

The Department requests to be informed whether the plan for the 
placing of a mine barrier across the North Sea on the Aberdeen- 
Egersund line has the approval of the Admiralty. 



134 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

Finally on October 22nd, an answer direct from the British 
Admiralty said, "Admiralty has approved mine barrier and 
now confirms approval. ' ' 

All the details were then perfected — this required several 
days — and on October 29th I received and approved the com- 
pleted plans. The President, who for months had been im- 
patient of delay, gave his approval as soon as they were laid 
before him. This was at a cabinet meeting on October 30th. 
The same day a cable was sent to the Admiralty that we had 
taken steps to fit out mine-planters; that shipment of mines 
would begin the first of January, and officers would be sent in a 
few days to arrange details. 

So after months of opposition, doubt and indecision, the 
two navies united in the construction of this most stupendous 
job of the kind ever conceived or undertaken. It was well done 
and the result demonstrated its effectiveness. Admiral Sims 
himself, after its completion and success, said that "no such 
project has ever been carried out more successfully" and that 
"as an achievement it stands as one of the wonders of the war." 

I am not giving these details in any spirit of criticism of the 
British Admiralty or our representative in London, but to do 
justice to the vision, initiative and resource of the American 
Navy. It was, indeed, a bold and gigantic experiment, calling 
for many millions of money and the strenuous and dangerous 
work of many men. That it was so successfully done reflects 
credit alike on Britons and Americans, and both share in the 
honor of its accomplishment. 

Manufacturing 100,000 mines was a big order, but that was 
only the beginning. They had to be shipped 3,500 miles over- 
seas, which necessitated a fleet of mine-carriers. Twenty-three 
cargo vessels were converted, and assigned to this duty. To 
fill the mines with explosives a mine-loading plant of 22 build- 
ings was erected at St. Julien's Creek, Va., capable of receiving, 
loading and shipping 1,000 mines a day. Advanced bases, for 
inspection and assembly of the mines, were established in Feb- 
ruary, 1918, on the east coast of Scotland, at Inverness and 
Invergordon, with Captain O. G. Murfin in charge. 

For the work of mine-laying, a Mine Squadron was created, 
under command of Captain Reginald R. Belknap. This con- 



SHUTTING UP THE HORNETS IN THEIR NESTS 135 

sisted of the flagship San Francisco (Captain H. V. Butler), and 
her consort, the Baltimore (Captain A. W. Marshall), " crack 
cruisers of the vintage of 1890," as Captain Belknap called them ; 
and eight former merchant vessels converted into naval mine 
planters. Four of these were Southern Pacific or Morgan liners, 
carrying freight between New York and Galveston, renamed 
the Roanoke (Captain C. D. Stearns), Canonicus (Captain T. L. 
Johnson), Housatonic (Captain J. W. Greenslade), and Canan- 
daigua (Commander W. H. Reynolds). Two were the Old 
Dominion passenger liners Jefferson and Hamilton, running be- 
tween New York and Norfolk, renamed Quinnebaug (Com- 
mander D. Pratt Mannix), and Saranac (Captain Sinclair 
Gannon). The remaining two were the fast Boston and New 
York passenger steamers, Massachusetts and Bunker Hill, of 
the Eastern Steamship Corporation, renamed Shawmut (Cap- 
tain W. T. Cluverius), and Aroostook (Captain J. Harvey 
Tomb). They were accompanied abroad by several seagoing 
tugs, the Sonoma, Ontario, Patapsco and Patuxent. 

Admiral Strauss, who was in general command of mining 
operations, went to England in March, inspected the bases, and 
conferred with the British authorities as to the general ar- 
rangements. His flagship was the Black Hawk (Captain R. C. 
Bulmer), which was also the repair vessel of the mine force. 
The British began mine laying in March, but one of their vessels, 
the Gailardia, was sunk; and operations were suspended for a 
time until the safety of the mines could be assured. 

The Baltimore, the first of our vessels sent over, arrived in 
the Clyde in March. Submarines were very active in Irish 
waters, and the Admiralty decided to lay a deep mine-field off 
the north coast of Ireland, in the North Channel. As all British 
mine-layers were employed elsewhere, the Admiralty requested 
the use of the Baltimore. This was readily granted and the 
Baltimore engaged in this from April 13th until the latter part 
of May, joining our squadron in Scotland June 2nd. The 
Roanoke, sent over to assist her, was instead ordered to £>ur 
base at Invergordon. 

Sailing from Newport, May 12th, the San Francisco and 
other vessels arrived at Inverness, May 26th, all ready to begin 
operations. Twelve days later the squadron started on its first 



136 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

mine-planting ' ' excursion. ' ' On these expeditions, which lasted 
usually from 40 to 80 hours, the squadron was regarded as a 
part of the British Grand Fleet. Screening it against sub- 
marines, and hostile mines casually placed, was an escort of 
eight to twelve British destroyers, which formed around the 
squadron upon its leaving the base and kept with it until its 
return. To guard against attack from enemy cruisers, while 
away from the coast, the squadron was accompanied by a sup- 
porting force, consisting of a battleship or battle-cruiser squad- 
ron and a light-cruiser squadron of the Grand Fleet, sometimes 
by all three, according to the estimated probabilities of attack. 
On the second mining excursion the support was the Sixth Battle 
Squadron, the American battleships, commanded by Admiral 
Rodman. Captain Belknap gave a vivid picture of the danger- 
ous character of mine-laying when he said : 

One may imagine with what feelings we saw our own great ships 
file out of Scapa Flow, form line on our quarter, and slowly disappear 
in the haze, as they swept off to the southeastward. It will be readily 
understood that the way had to be made smooth for the mine planters. 
As long as it was so, all would go well ; but a single well placed torpedo 
or mine, or a few enemy shells, would certainly finish one vessel, and 
probably destroy all ten of them. Each mine planter carried from 24 
to 120 tons of high explosive, a total of nearly 800 tons in the squadron, 
many times more than the amount that devastated Halifax. "With this 
on board, the squadron was hardly a welcome visitor anywhere. 

Operations as a whole were conducted in conjunction with a 
British mine-laying squadron of four vessels, under command 
of Rear Admiral Clinton-Baker. American and British squad- 
rons often went out at the same time, under protection of the 
same heavy vessels, but except on two occasions they worked 
separately, in different parts of the barrage area. Thus there 
were altogether fourteen mine planters at work at the same 
time. 

On the first excursion, June 7th, the American squadron 
planted a mine field 47 miles long, containing 3,400 mines, in 
3 hours and 36 minutes. Everything went without a hitch. One 
ship emptied herself of 675 mines without a single break, one 
mine every 11% seconds through more than two hours, a record 
never before equalled. 





*'"X "*""* 



ONE OF THE PERILS OF MINE-SWEEPING 

An explosion close astern of the Patapseo. The greatest care was exercised 
to avoid accidents of this character, but to eliminate them entirely was impossible. 




THE MINESWEEPERS PROVED WONDERFUL SEA BOATS 
These tiny craft rode many a rough sea which worried larger and more powerful ships. 




UXITED STATES NAVAL OFFICES IN IMPORTANT COMMANDS 

Left to right: Admiral Sims, Admiral Mayo, Captain Nathan C. 
Twining, Captain O. P. Jackson, Admiral Wilson. 




AMERICAN AND BPTTTSn NAVAL OFFICIALS 

Left to right: Admiral Benson, Secretary Daniels, Sir Eric Geddes, 
Admiral Duff. 



SHUTTING UP THE HORNETS IN THEIR NESTS 137 

Dangerous as was the work, there were very few casualties. 
One man fell overboard from the Saranac and was drowned, 
but he was the only man lost at sea, and there were but four 
other deaths in that force of 4,000. Laden with high explosives, 
navigating waters where enemy mines had been laid, operating 
near mine fields, and in danger of premature explosion from 
those they themselves had laid, it is remarkable that not one 
of these ships was lost or seriously damaged. 

The eighth excursion in which British and American squad- 
rons joined, both in command of Admiral Strauss, closed the 
western end of the barrier, off the Orkneys. The next expedi- 
tion was conducted in the same manner, with Rear Admiral 
Clinton-Baker, of the British Navy, in command. The American 
squadron made fifteen excursions, the British eleven, operations 
being completed October 26th. In four hours on one expedition, 
6,820 mines were planted, 5,520 by our vessels, 1,300 by the 
British. Our squadron alone planted a field 73 miles long in 
one day. 

Seventy thousand, two hundred and sixty-three mines were 
laid — 13,652 British, 56,611 American. Numerous lines were 
laid near the surface ; others were placed at from 90 to 160 feet ; 
and the lowest went to depths from 160 to 240 feet. 

Beginning near the northern Orkneys, the barrier ran to 
Udsire Light, near Bergen, on the coast of Norway, 230 miles. 
Its average width was 25 miles, in some places it was 35 miles 
across, and at no point was it less than 15 miles wide. At its 
narrowest, this meant more than an hour's run for a submarine. 
Mines were planted, row after row, at various depths. If a 
U-boat proceeded on or near the surface, it would encounter 
from six to ten lines of mines. If it tried to break through 
by going deeper, there were more of the deadly explosives. 
Submergence was, in fact, as dangerous as running the gauntlet 
on the surface. No matter how far the sub went down there 
were mines to meet it, to the furthest limit of submarine descent. 
One touch — even a slight jar from the vibration of the U-boat — 
was enough to set off one of these mines, and when it exploded 
the U-boat was done for. 

Mine-laying was not the only role played by the American 
force, Captain Belknap wrote: 



138 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

In addition to the value of the barrage itself, in keeping the enemy 
submarines in or from their bases, the mine squadrons were expected 
to serve as bait, to draw out the German fleet; the squadrons' role 
being neatly expressed by one high officer as "an important military 
offensive with a front seat at the Second Battle of Jutland." This 
ever present possibility and the fact that the working ground lay in 
the principal thoroughfare of enemy submarines, with attendant in- 
cidents of periscope sightings, submarine reports, depth charges, smoke 
screens, floating mines, and dead Germans floating by, lent spice to 
the work, which, like the proverbial sporting life, was often hard but 
never dull. * * * 

On every excursion, during the mine laying, one or more of the 
mines would go off fairly close astern — lest we forget ! The mines were 
very sensitive, and no witness of an excursion could retain any doubt 
as to the fate of a submarine that "luckless dares our silent wake." 

The eastern end of the barrage extended to the territorial 
waters of Norway. That country being neutral we could not, 
of course, mine to its shores. With the growth of the barrier, 
U-boats took advantage of this, going within the three-mile limit 
to slip by into the open sea. The Norwegian Government then 
announced its decision to mine its waters, which closed that gap. 

Our original plan w r as to plant mines clear to the Orkneys, 
and this we urged. But Admiral Beatty and others strongly 
objected, fearing that it might hamper the operations of the 
Grand Fleet. So the mine-fields ended ten miles east of the 
islands. But this ten-mile passage was heavily patroled, and 
any "sub" attempting to pass that way must run the risk of 
attack by numerous naval vessels. Thus the U-boats could not 
get through anywhere except at great risk. Months were re- 
quired to lay that barrier, and during that time there were un- 
mined areas through which vessels could pass. 

The barrage was completed October 26th, almost coincident 
with Germany's recall of its U-boats, which practically ended 
submarine warfare. Some of those recalled did not reach these 
waters until the armistice had been signed, hostilities were 
over, and they w r ere immune from attack. Some "ran" the 
barrage, and several met the fate of the U-l 56, one of the under- 
sea cruisers which operated off our own coasts. Attempting to 
get through the barrier, she struck a mine and went down. So 
far as known, only 21 of her crew w r ere saved. 



SHUTTING UP THE HORNETS IN THEIR NESTS 139 

The Northern Barrage cost us approximately $80,000,000. 
Shipping sunk by submarines averaged, for a long period, over 
$70,000,000 a month, at times ran over $80,000,000, in actual 
monetary value, not counting the resultant military effect of its 
loss. Admiral Sims estimates that the war cost the Allies 
$100,000,000 a day. Thus, if the Northern Barrage shortened 
the war one day, it more than repaid its cost. 

Our mining projects were not confined to the North Sea. 
Plans had been accepted and mines were in process of manu- 
facture for a like barrage across the Straits of Otranto, from 
Brindisi, the heel of Italy, to Saseno Island. This would have 
effectually shut up German and Austrian submarines in the 
Adriatic. We had also agreed to undertake to provide and lay 
26,800 mines for a barrage in the Aegean Sea from Euboea 
Island to Cape Kanaptitza, except for the part resting on 
Turkish territorial waters, which was to be established by Great 
Britain, since the United States was not at war with Turkey. 
The armistice made these barrages unnecessary. 

But our mining operations were by no means concluded with 
the cessation of hostilities. Clearing the seas was our next 
duty, for navigation would not be safe until the many thousands 
of mines were removed. This work was divided among the va- 
rious nations. The United States volunteered to remove all the 
mines we had laid. 

Admiral Strauss, in charge of these operations, had his base 
at Kirkwall, and his force comprised 34 mine-sweepers, 24 sub- 
chasers, two tugs, two tenders and 20 British trawlers, which 
were also manned by U. S. naval personnel : 

Repair Ships and Force Auxiliaries — Black Hawk (flagship) ; 
Panther, Seneca, Chesapeake, Aspenleaf, Crenella, and the British ves- 
sels Hickorol, Petronel and Hopkiln. 

Submarine Chasers— Numbers 37, 38, 40, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 95, 110, 
164, 178, 181, 182, 206, 207, 208, 254, 256, 259, 272, 329, 354, and 356. 

Mine-Sweepers — Auk, Avocet, Bobolink, Chewink, Cormorant, Cur- 
lew, Eider, Falcon, Finch, Flamingo, Grebe, Heron, Kingfisher, Lapwing, 
Lark, Mallard, Oriole, Osprey, Pelican, Penguin, Quail, Bail, Robin, 
Sanderling, Seagull, Swallow, Swan, Tanager, Teal, Thrush, Turkey, 
Whippoorwill, Widgeon, Woodcock, Patapsco, Patuxent. 

Trawlers — William Johnson, Richard Bulkeley, Thos. Blackhorne, 
Thomas Buckley, George Cochrane, John Collins, William Caldwell, 



140 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

George Clarke, William Darnold, Siam Duffey, John Graham, Thomas 
Laundry, William Ashton, George Burton, John Dunkin, Thomas Gra- 
ham, Thomas Henrix, John Fitzgerald, John Clay, Pat Caharty. 

I had the pleasure of visiting our mine base in Scotland just 
before the squadron sailed on its first expedition. Everything 
was ready for operations. The spirit of officers and men was 
inspiring. Not minimizing for a moment the difficulties they 
had to face, all were eager to begin the task. 

They were to set forth on April 28th, but the heaviest snow- 
storm of the year was raging, causing 24 hours delay. The next 
morning the sweepers and a division of sub-chasers got under 
way for the barrage, while the Black Hawk and other chasers 
proceeded to the new base at Kirkwall. That excursion, which 
was experimental, was completed May 2nd. 

Mines sometimes fouled in the * 'kites" which picked them 
up, and exploded as the sweep was being hauled in. The 
Patuxent was the victim of an accident of this kind on May 12th. 
Severed by an explosion, its sweep had to be hauled on board 
to be repaired. When the kite came within sight, a mine was 
seen hanging by its towing cable. The commanding officer sent 
all hands forward to a place of safety, going aft himself to 
clear it, with the assistance of his chief boatswain's mate. When 
the mine got within ten feet of the ship, it exploded. Several 
men were blown overboard by the mass of flying water, but all 
were rescued. The commanding officer had a narrow escape. 
Only a few feet from the exploding mine, his thumb was cut 
off by a flying fragment of steel, but luckily he escaped further 
injury. 

Two days later, the same accident befell the Bobolink, killing 
its commanding officer, Lieutenant Frank Bruce, and badly dam- 
aging the ship. Seeking first the safety of his crew, Lieutenant 
Bruce went aft to clear the mine. Before anything could be done, 
it exploded, killing him and blowing the boatswain and three 
other men into the water. All four were rescued, though the 
boatswain was unconscious from the shock. The Teal took her 
in tow and, accompanied by the Sivallow and sub-chaser No. 45, 
towed her to Scapa Flow. 

While clearing the largest mine-group in June the force 
found impressive evidence of the success of the barrage. Cross- 



SHUTTING UP THE HORNETS IN THEIR NESTS 141 

ing the lines of mines, the Heron and the Sanderling were 
brought to a standstill by an obstruction which fouled their 
sweeps. Oil rose to the surface, and spread out astern, giving 
evidence of the wreck of a submarine underneath. This was the 
locality in which the mine-laying squadron had sighted the body 
of a German sailor floating in the water. From the records of 
the Admiralty, it appeared that the obstruction was the wreck 
of the German submarine UB-127. 

Six mines exploded under and around the Pelican one day 
in July. Deluged by the mass of water thrown up by the ex- 
plosion, the forward part of the ship ruptured and flooded, the 
mine-sweeper was rapidly sinking. Captain R. C. Buhner, di- 
recting the operations, went at once to her assistance. Placing 
his flagship, the Auk, alongside the Pelican, he connected his 
wrecking hose with the forward compartments, and set the 
pumps going to keep the damaged ship afloat. The Eider got 
on the other side, and did the same thing. The Teal took the 
three ships in tow, and the four, lashed together, headed slowly 
for port. The bow of the Pelican was hardly above water, but 
for several hours constant pumping held her up. 

Then a heavy head sea arose, and the pump-lines were car- 
ried away. Water rose in the Pelican, buckling the forward 
bulkhead, and the vessel was liable to burst at any moment, 
going down in a flash. Every man on her was in danger, and 
it was decided to leave aboard only a few men to do necessary 
work. Twelve volunteers were called for. Every member of 
her crew stepped forward. The dozen strongest were chosen 
and the others, against their will, were ordered off the ship. 

Fifty miles of open sea were still to be traversed. Darkness 
had fallen. Crews of Auk and Eider struggled desperately to 
get the lines repaired and pumps going. Men stood by with 
axes to cut the mooring lines, in case the Pelican should sink. 
All through the night this struggle continued, and there was a 
sigh of relief when day dawned with the vessel still afloat, and 
the ships reached the shelter of Tresness Bay. 

A curious accident befell the Flamingo. While weighing 
anchor, steel touched copper and exploded a mine which her 
anchor had fouled, damaging her rudder, bending her skeg, 
and dishing in her stern. 



142 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

The most serious disaster encountered in all our mine sweep- 
ing occurred on July 12th, the sinking of the Richard Bulkeley. 
Caught in its kite, a mine was seen close to her stern, near the 
surface. To get it further away the kite wire was being veered 
when the mine exploded. The after part of the ship's hull was 
shattered. She sank in seven minutes. 

Commander Frank R. King, who was in command of the 
division of trawlers as well as the Bulkeley, went down with the 
vessel. When the blast came, his first thought was the safety 
of his crew. Half stunned by the explosion, one man, whose 
life-preserver had been blown off, struggled to the deck. Com- 
mander King took off his own life-belt, buckled it around the 
sailor, and helped him get clear of the ship before she took her 
final plunge. Until the vessel disappeared he was still hunting 
for members of the crew who might be left aboard. When last 
seen, as the Bulkeley went lower into the water, he was on the 
bridge. He went down with his ship, a heroic figure, sacrificing 
his life to save his men. It was a solemn privilege to me, a 
few months later, to pay tribute to the memory of this gallant 
officer by naming one of our new destroyers in his honor. 

Altogether, two officers and nine men were killed during these 
hazardous operations, and 23 ships were damaged. Regrettable 
as was this loss of life, it was small in comparison with that of 
our comrades in the British mine-sweeping service. 

The mine field was removed, consisting of 50,000 mines, 
spread over an area of some 6,000 square miles of the stormy 
North Sea, and the entire barrage swept up by September 30th. 
On that day the hazard to shipping by this vast enterprise in 
the North Sea was removed. 

When the Mine Force returned to the United States, it was 
given a welcome as genuine as that accorded our battleships 
when they returned from service abroad. As the vessels steamed 
up North River, November 24, 1919, they were reviewed by the 
Secretary of the Navy, distinguished officers and citizens on 
Admiral Strauss' flagship, the Black Hawk. 

This marked the end of that enterprise which "shut up the 
hornets in their nests" — that bold adventure which was the 
greatest new naval offensive of the war. 



CHAPTER Xin 

PRESIDENT WILSON AS A STRATEGIST 

SPEAKING TO OFFICERS OF THE FLEET AT YORKTOWN, HE ADVOCATED 

NEW AND BOLD METHODS "WHY NOT SHUT UP THE HORNETS IN 

THEIR NESTS?" — " LEAVE OUT OF YOUR VOCABULARY THE WORD 
' PRUDENT'; DO THE THING THAT IS AUDACIOUS TO THE UTMOST 
POINT OF RISK AND DARING." 

THE world knows President Wilson as a scholar, teacher 
and historian; as executive and statesman. But it does 
not know him, as we did, as a master of military- 
strategy. 

His grasp of the whole situation, his clear conception of 
Army and Navy policies and operations, his rare judgment were 
demonstrated in important decisions, and his personal interest 
and influence had a marked effect on the conduct of the war. 

Always interested in the Navy, he kept up with all that was 
being done and planned, and his suggestions and directions 
proved of the utmost value to officers and officials. 

"We shall take leave to be strong upon the seas," he said 
not long after the beginning of the European war. In his ad- 
dress at St. Louis, early in 1916, he declared that ours should 
be "the most adequate navy in the world." At the next cabinet 
meeting a member expressed surprise at the President's ad- 
vocacy of so vigorous a naval policy, and asked if he had been 
correctly quoted in the newspapers. 

"Yes," replied the President, "and it is one thing I said in 
my swing around the circle that I absolutely believe." 

He strongly urged the big construction program presented 
several months before, and exercised a potent influence in put- 
ting through Congress the "three year program" which 
authorized building 157 naval vessels. 

Long before we entered the war, when the Allied navies 

143 



144 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

seemed impotent before the onslaughts of the submarines, Presi- 
dent Wilson pointed to the vigorous policies which later proved 
so successful. 

''Daniels, why don't the British convoy their merchant ships 
and thus protect them from submarines?" he asked me early 
in the war. As sinkings increased, he pointed out that their 
practice of sailing ships separately had proved a failure, and 
asked, "Why now, with their distressing experiences, do they 
hesitate about adopting the convoy system?" 

He could not comprehend why the British, as soon as Ger- 
many declared war, had not mined the English Channel so that 
no submarine could pass through it. As a matter of fact, strange 
as it seems, the channel from Dover to Calais never was a com- 
plete barrier to submarines, though the Dover Patrol did bril- 
liant service, and the United States Navy insisted that closing 
this channel was one of the first steps toward defeating the 
U-boats. 

"Why don't the British shut up the hornets in their nests?" 
he asked me just before we entered the war, and after we were 
embarked upon it he declared that we must insist upon some 
plan that would prevent the egress of the U-boats from their 
bases. When our Bureau of Ordnance proposed, in April, 1917, 
the construction of a mine barrage across the North Sea, he 
was deeply interested in the plan and heartily approved it. 
That carried out the idea he believed the Allies should have put 
into effect earlier in the war. As that plan was debated and 
delayed, and characterized in London as "impracticable," he 
grew impatient of the long delay in adopting this or some other 
vigorous offensive against the submarines. 

On July 4, 1917, he sent the following cablegram to London : 

"Strictly confidential." From the President for Admiral Sims. 

From the beginning of the war, I have been greatly surprised at the 
failure of the British Admiralty to use Great Britain's great naval 
superiority in an effective way. In the presence of the present sub- 
marine emergency they are helpless to the point of panic. Every plan 
we suggest they reject for some reason of prudence. In my view this 
is not a time for prudence but for boldness, even at the cost of great 
losses. 

In most of your dispatches you have quite properly advised us of 
the sort of aid and cooperation desired from us by the Admiralty. The 



PRESIDENT WILSON AS A STRATEGIST 145 

trouble is that their plans and methods do not seem to us efficacious. I 
would be very much obliged to you if you would report to me, con- 
fidentially, of course, exactly what the Admiralty has been doing, and 
what they have accomplished, and, added to the report, your own com- 
ments and suggestions, based upon independent thought of the whole 
situation, without regard to the judgment of any one on that side of 
the water. 

The Admiralty was very slow to adopt the protection of convoy and 
it is not now, I judge, protecting convoys on adequate scale within the 
danger zone, seeming to keep small craft with the Grand Fleet. The 
absence of craft for convoy is even more apparent on the French coast 
than on the English coast and in the Channel. I do not see how the 
necessary military supplies and supplies of food and fuel oil are to be 
delivered at British ports in any other way within the next few months 
than under adequate convoy. There will presently not be ships or 
tankers enough and our shipbuilding plans may not begin to yield 
important results in less than eighteen months. 

I believe that you will keep these instructions absolutely and en- 
tirely to yourself, and that you will give me such advice as you would 
give if you were handling the situation yourself, and if you were running 
a Navy of your own. 

Woodrow "Wilson. 

Admiral Sims made an extended and detailed reply to this 
cablegram, but it evidently did not satisfy the President, as 
was shown a month later, in his address to the Fleet. 

That visit to the Fleet, August 11, 1917, was a notable occa- 
sion. It was the first time, I believe, that a President has, in 
the midst of war, gone to the chief naval rendezvous and gath- 
ered the officers about him for a heart-to-heart talk. Standing 
on the quarter deck of the Pennsylvania, surrounded by ad- 
mirals, captains, commanders and other ranks, he could see all 
around him the dreadnaughts which are the embodiment of 
national strength and naval power. In the background was 
Yorktown, where CornwalhV surrender marked the culminat- 
ing victory of the Revolution. And in this historic spot Ameri- 
can forces were again making history. 

The President had slipped away so quietly from Washing- 
ton that few knew he was gone. Not only the speech he made, 
but the very fact of his visit was long kept secret. But that 
address, informal and confidential as it was, deserves a place 
in naval history. 



146 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

Disclaiming any idea that he had come "with malice pre- 
pense to make a speech," he told the officers that he had come 
to have a look at them and say some things that might be best 
said intimately and in confidence. "One of the deprivations 
which any man in authority experiences," he exclaimed, "is 
that he cannot come into constant and intimate touch with the 
men with whom he is associated and necessarily associated in 
action." "The whole circumstance of the modern time," is 
extraordinary, calling for extraordinary action, he pointed out 
and said : 

Now, the point that is constantly in my mind, gentlemen, is this: 
This is an unprecedented war and, therefore, it is a war in one sense 
for amateurs. Nobody ever before conducted a war like this and there- 
fore nobody can pretend to be a professional in a war like this. Here 
are two great navies, not to speak of the others associated with us, our 
own and the British, outnumbering by a very great margin the navy 
to which we are opposed and yet casting about for a way in which 
to use our superiority and our strength, because of the novelty of the 
instruments used, because of the unprecedented character of the war; 
because, as I said just now, nobody ever before fought a war like this, 
in the way that this is being fought at sea, or on land either, for that 
matter. The experienced soldier, — experienced in previous wars, — is 
a back number so far as his experience is concerned; not so far as his 
intelligence is concerned. His experience does not count, because he 
never fought a war as this is being fought, and therefore he is an 
amateur along with the rest of us. Now, somebody has got to think 
this war out. Somebody has got to think out the way not only to fight 
the submarine, but to do something different from what we are doing. 

We are hunting hornets all over the farm and letting the nest alone. 
None of us knows how to go to the nest and crush it, and yet I despair 
of hunting for hornets all over the sea when I know where the nest 
is and know that the nest is breeding hornets as fast as I can find 
them. I am willing for my part, and I know you are willing, because 
I know the stuff you are made of — I am willing to sacrifice half the 
navy Great Britain and we together have to crush that nest, because 
if we crush it, the war is won. I have come here to say that I do not 
care where it comes from, I do not care whether it comes from the 
youngest officer or the oldest, but I want the officers of this Navy to 
have the distinction of saying how this war is going to be won. 

The Secretary of the Navy and I have just been talking over plans 
for putting the planning machinery of the Navy at the disposal of the 
brains of the Navy and not stopping to ask what rank that brains has, 
because, as I have said before and want to repeat, so far as experience 
in this kind of war is concerned we are all of the same rank. I am not 



PRESIDENT WILSON AS A STRATEGIST 147 

saying that I do not expect the admirals to tell us what to do, but I 
am saying that I want the youngest and most modest youngster in the 
service to tell us what we ought to do if he knows what it is. Now I am 
willing to make any sacrifice for that. I mean any sacrifice of time 
or anything else. I am ready to put myself at the disposal of any officer 
in the Navy who thinks he knows how to run this war. I will not under- 
take to tell you whether he does or not, because I know I cannot, 
but I will undertake to put him in communication with those who can 
find out whether his idea will work or not. I have the authority to do 
that and I will do it with the greatest pleasure. The idea that is in my 
mind all the time is that we are comrades in this thing." 

"I wish that I could think and had the brains to think in the 
terms of marine warfare," he remarked, "because I would feel 
then that I was figuring out the future history of the political 
freedom of mankind. ' ' 

"We have got to throw tradition to the winds," he ex- 
claimed, and went on to say : 

Now, as I have said, gentlemen, I take it for granted that nothing 
that I say here will be repeated and therefore I am going to say this : 
Every time we have suggested anything to the British Admiralty the 
reply has come back that virtually amounted to this, that it had never 
been done that way, and I felt like saying, "Well, nothing was ever 
done so systematically as nothing is being done now." Therefore, I 
should like to see something unusual happen, something that was never 
done before; and inasmuch as the things that are being done to you 
were never done before, don't you think it is worth while to try some- 
thing that was never done before against those who are doing them to 
you? There is no other way to win, and the whole principle of this 
war is the kind of thing that ought to hearten and stimulate America. 

America has always boasted that she could find men to do anything. 
She is the prize amateur nation of the world. Germany is the prize 
professional nation of the world. Now, when it comes to doing new 
things and doing them well, I will back the amateur against the profes- 
sional every time, because the professional does it out of the book and 
the amateur does it with his eyes open upon a new world and with a 
new set of circumstances. He knows so little about it that he is fool 
enough to try the right thing. The men that do not know the danger 
are the rashest men, and I have several times ventured to make this 
suggestion to the men about me in both arms of the service: Please 
leave out of your vocabulary altogether the word "prudent." Do not 
stop to think about what is prudent for a moment. Do the thing that 
is audacious to the utmost point of risk and daring, because that is 
exactly the thing that the other side does not understand, and you will 



148 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

win by the audacity of method when you cannot win by circumspection 
and prudence. 

I think that there are willing ears to hear this in the American Navy 
and the American Army, because that is the kind of folks we are. We 
get tired of the old ways and covet the new ones. 

So, gentlemen, besides coming down here to give you my personal 
greeting and to say how absolutely I rely on you and believe in you, 
I have come down here to say also that I depend on you, depend on 
you for brains as well as training and courage and discipline. You are 
doing your job admirably, the job that you have been taught to do ; 
now let us do something that we were never taught to do and do it 
just as well as we are doing the older and more habitual things, and 
do not let anybody ever put one thought of discouragement into your 
minds. I do not know what is the matter with the newspapers of the 
United States. I suppose they have to vary the tune from time to time 
just to relieve their minds, but every now and then a wave of the most 
absurd discouragement and pessimism goes through the country and we 
hear nothing except of the unusual advantages and equipment and 
sagacity and preparation and all the other wonderful things of the Ger- 
man Army and Navy. My comment is always the very familiar com- 
ment, "Rats!" They are working under infinite disadvantages. They 
not only have no more brains than we have, but they have a different and 
less serviceable kind of brains than we have, if we will use the brains 
we have got. I am not discouraged for a moment, particularly because 
we have not even begun and, without saying anything in disparagement 
of those with whom we are associated in the war, I do expect things to 
begin when we begin. If they do not, American history will have 
changed its course; the American Army and Navy will have changed 
their character. There will have to come a new tradition into a service 
which does not do new and audacious and successful things. 

A short time after the President made this declaration on his 
flag-ship, Admiral Mayo was dispatched to Europe, where he 
pressed upon the British Admiralty the necessity of construct- 
ing the North Sea barrage. Finally in October, six months after 
the plan had been presented, this great project, in line with 
President Wilson's idea of bold and new things in naval war- 
fare, was undertaken. 

From many quarters tips came to the President of possible 
surprise action and not a few orders to Naval Intelligence to 
send out secret service men to run down a clue were the result 
of suggestions emanating from the President. Sometimes, 
unannounced and unheralded, during the war, he would drop in 
at the Navy Department, and quite as often at the War Depart- 



PRESIDENT WILSON AS A STRATEGIST 149 

ment, and he never came merely to visit, agreeable as social 
intercourse would have been. He had an idea every time, a 
practical suggestion, or a desire to be informed of progress in 
some particular undertaking which he was following with deep 
interest. 

Sometimes when he dropped in unexpectedly to make a sug- 
gestion — (he had a habit of calling directions "suggestions" 
when speaking to a Cabinet member) — I sometimes wondered if 
he was not as much influenced in making his personal calls to 
give encouragement and support, and the helpful personal touch, 
as to discuss strategy or tactics or policy. Certainly these visits 
heartened and strengthened those of us who in trying times were 
charged with heavy responsibility. He knew, too, what was 
going on. He often surprised me by his knowledge of the com- 
parative qualities of men he had never seen — how accurate was 
his appraisement, how his questioning of them showed the mili- 
tary leadership which few people thought the college professor 
possessed. He never left my office, and I never left the White 
House, after a conference during the war, without the reflection 
that the world had lost a great military leader when it gained 
a great educator and executive. 

When we were transporting soldiers through the infested 
zones he was anxious, intensely interested, and read every cable- 
gram concerning the troopships. When he did not come in per- 
son, in crucial days, there would come from the White House 
frequent memoranda written by himself on his little typewriter, 
asking for some information or making an illuminating sugges- 
tion, signed " W. W. ' ' Those " W. W. ' ' notes never had a spare 
word, and they showed the same clearness and vision which 
John Hay tells us Lincoln had when he would go over to see 
Stanton, or Gideon Welles in the dark days of Civil War. 

There is a feeling among many military men that ci\ Hans 
"butt in" when they give their views on strategy. It is 
notorious how some of the generals in the War between the 
States resented the suggestions of Mr. Lincoln, suggestions 
which as a rule displayed sounder judgment of the way to win 
battles than the military experts had shown. 

I recall one admiral during the war, who, upon receiving, 
through the diplomatic representatives of our Government, 



150 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

President Wilson's strong opinion that a certain important 
offensive should be adopted, asked: ''What does the President 
want to butt in for? What does he know about it?" As to that 
particular matter the President, from long study and reflection, 
found that it was necessary to "butt in," because some naval 
leaders of more than one nation lacked the vision to do the bold 
and the new thing to win. 

President Wilson took no perfunctory interest in the Navy. 
In fact, he had the keenest naval instinct. People, you know, 
are born with a passion for some one thing, or in their youth 
it comes to them. When Thomas Woodrow Wilson was a boy — 
(he had not then dropped the Thomas) — he picked out for him- 
self a naval career. What a jolly good captain he would have 
made of the "Virginia" or the "New Jersey!" Living as a boy 
on a river, he loved boating next to books, or even before books. 
He had a penchant for sailing and loved sea stories, and his 
ambition was to follow Jones and Farragut. 

When the opportunity was within reach to go to the Naval 
Academy at Annapolis, his father, a scholarly Presbyterian 
preacher of the old school, who knew his son's real mission in 
life better than Thomas Woodrow, said, in substance, " No ; you 
are not meant for the sea; letters, literature, books, statesman- 
ship for you." I do not know whether the future President 
accepted the parental dictum with the nautically cheerful ' ' Aye, 
aye, sir," but he accepted it, and the Navy lost an officer who 
would probably have destroyed many precedents and won many 
victories, when the father snatched him from the topsail and 
sent him down below to the drudgery of learning languages and 
political economy. 

I do not know a civilian who employs more naval terms. The 
call to the sea is in his blood. His father kept him out of the 
Navy, but he could not keep the Navy out of him, or the Navy 
lore and lingo, any more than you can keep the Quaker out of a 
Quaker by turning him out of meeting. At sea President Wil- 
son loved to wear whites or blues, as near regulation as a 
civilian can, to don a cap, to watch the heaving of the lead and 
the weighing of the anchor, and listen to the ' ' shiver-my-tim- 
bers" talk that one overhears from the older sailors on duty. 



CHAPTER XIV 

COMRADES OF THE MIST 

U. S. BATTLESHIPS WITH BRITISH GBAND FLEET DREADNAUGHTS 

UNDER RODMAN FORMED SIXTH BATTLE SQUADRON ASSIGNED 

POST OF HONOR ATTACKED SIX TIMES BY SUBMARINES U-BOAT 

RAMMED THE "NEW YORK," CAUGHT IN ITS PROPELLER THREE 

BATTLESHIPS, UNDER RODGERS, AT BANTRY BAY — SURRENDER OF 
GERMAN FLEET. 

THERE was a thrill through all the Grand Fleet, a storm 
of cheers sweeping from Admiral Beatty 's flagship down 
to the last destroyer that December morning when the 
United States dreadnaughts, under Admiral Hugh Rod- 
man, steamed around the headlands, up the curved channel, and 
down the long line of British battleships, dropping anchor 
among them. 

Twelve days at sea, weathering a gale that raged for three 
days, they had had a hard voyage. Nearing the coast in the 
pitch-black darkness of a starless night, they had, a few hours 
before, been met by a division of destroyers which escorted them 
to port. The sun, which rises late in that northern clime, broke 
through the mist as they reached the entrance to the harbor. 
Seaplanes circled the vessels, and a kite balloon's heliograph 
flashed its welcome. 

The New York led the way, Admiral Rodman and his staff 
on the bridge, while Admiral Beatty, commander-in-chief, sur- 
rounded by his crew, stood on the deck of the Queen Elizabeth. 
On all the ships the officers and crews, manning the rails, stood 
at attention. 

The "Star Spangled Banner" came rolling from the British 
bands, and the American bands played "God Save the King." 
This was according to custom, but it was a real surprise to our 
sailors when there came from the British vessels an outburst 

151 



152 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

of cheers that ran clear down the line. That seemed like home 
to our boys, and they replied with Yankee yells until Scapa 
i*esounded with such a roar of sound as it never heard before. 

"This is the most enthusiastic welcome an American squad- 
ron ever received anywhere," Admiral Rodman remarked. As 
soon as the ships anchored, Admiral Rodman made his official 
call on Admiral Beatty, on the Queen Elizabeth. As they ex- 
changed greetings, Admiral Rodman said : 

"We are here, and we put ourselves entirely at your com- 
mand. We ask no favors or privileges. We only want to be 
one of you. In a sense we feel that we are no longer merely 
the American Navy. We are now rather an integral part of 
your fleet for the purpose of unified prosecution of our great 
common aim. We have not come merely to take part in the spec- 
tacular side of your work. We want to do our fair share of 
everything, duties pleasant and unpleasant alike. We do not 
come to be your guests but to be co-workers. We do not want 
to be entertained; we want to work." That was characteristic 
of Rodman, who was selected to command our greatest ships 
overseas because of his outstanding ability as a great officer. 

"Today marks an epoch in the history of England and 
America," said Admiral Beatty, expressing the pleasure with 
which he had looked forward to the coming. 

There was sealed the firm friendship of those "Comrades 
of the Mist," the British and American dreadnaughts in that 
Grand Fleet, which formed the greatest aggregation of naval 
power the world ever saw, and whose very existence kept the 
German High Seas Fleet contained in its home ports, never 
again to venture out until it slunk to Scapa Flow in surrender. 

The American dreadnaughts which served with the Grand 
Fleet were the New York (flagship), Captain C. F. Hughes, 
afterwards commanded by Captain E. L. Beach; the Texas, 
Captain Victor Blue ; the Wyoming, Captain H. A. Wiley, after- 
ward Captain H. H. Christy; the Arkansas, Captain W. H. G. 
Bullard, afterward Captain L. R. de Steiguer; the Florida, 
Captain Thomas Washington, afterward Captain M. M. Taylor ; 
and the Delaware, Captain A. H. Scales. 

"It is a matter of pride," said Admiral Rodman, "that we 
were at once able to coordinate and cooperate with the British 



COMRADES OF THE MIST 153 

intelligently, without the slightest hesitancy, friction or mis- 
understanding. We adopted and could use their signals, radio, 
secret codes and other communication — and that is one of the 
hardest problems we have in the Navy — and could efficiently 
execute their tactics and maneuvers and conform to their war 
plans. This was put to the test when within three days after 
our arrival a signal was made for all ships to be ready to pro- 
ceed to sea for active service and we reported ready when the 
time came. 

"From that day to the end of the war we took part in every 
major operation in the North Sea, and some independent 
smaller ones. There was never a time but that we were ready 
when called upon. We could always steam full speed, maintain 
our position, and we received nothing but the highest praise not 
only from the British admirals, officers and men, but from those 
of our own navy who visited us. 

"Let me truthfully add, without taking the slightest credit 
to myself as the commanding officer, but giving it to the officers 
and men, where it belongs, and to the years of preparedness in 
the American Navy, that, put it as modestly as I can, the Ameri- 
can Squadron was fully equal to any of the Grand Fleet." 

Our ships were, in fact, in such a high state of efficiency that 
the British Admiralty made specific inquiries as to our methods 
with a view to adopting them for their own ships. 

Soon after joining the Grand Fleet, the American dread- 
naughts were designated as the Sixth Battle Squadron, and 
assigned to one of the two places of honor and importance in the 
battle line — one of the two "fast wings" which would take sta- 
tion at the head or rear of the battleship force when going into 
action. On one occasion, when the Grand Fleet came within a 
few miles of the German fleet, the American division was in the 
van, and would have led the action, but the Germans, as usual, 
took refuge behind their defenses before the British and Ameri- 
cans could run them down and force an engagement. 

Describing the activities of the Grand Fleet and of our battle- 
ships, Admiral Rodman said : 

It was our policy to go after the enemy every time he showed his 
nose outside of his ports ; no matter when or where, whether in single 
ships, by divisions, or his whole fleet, out we went, day or night, rain 



154 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

or shine (and there was mighty little daylight and much less shine in 
the winter months), blow high, or blow low, and chase him back in his 
hole. So persistent was this performance on our part, so sure were we 
to get after him, that, toward the end he rarely ventured more than 
a few miles from his base ; and immediately we would start after him, 
back he would go in his hole, and haul his hole in after him. 

Every inducement was offered him to come out. Inferior forces were 
sent down into the Heligoland Bight to induce him to attack; valuable 
convoys were dispatched, apparently without protection, and other 
devices to tempt him out ; but he would not come. It is needless to add 
that such expeditions, on every occasion, were well guarded, and* we 
were ready to pounce on him with unseen forces had he attempted to 
take advantage of the seeming small force or unprotected vessels. 

In our operations in the North Sea we were frequently attacked by 
submarines, and our battleships had numerous narrow escapqs, often 
only by prompt and skilful handling. On one occasion a submarine 
rammed the flagship New York, dented the bottom, and demolished the 
starboard propeller. But there is every reason to believe that the blows 
from the propeller sank the submarine. En route to drydock to make 
repairs and install a new propeller, three torpedoes in rapid succession 
were fired at her by hostile submarines. But again she avoided them 
by clever maneuvering and escaped. Once when guarding or supporting 
a convoy of thirty or forty vessels, on the coast of Norway, in mid- 
winter, a bunch of hostile ' ' subs ' ' fired six torpedoes at us. Again only 
our vigilance and instantaneous maneuvering saved us, but by a very 
narrow margin. There were still other attacks by submarines which 
necessitated quick action to avoid them. 

Our dreadnaughts were attacked six times by submarines. 
On February 8, 1918, the Florida and Delaware were off the 
Norwegian coast, waiting for a return convoy, when a submarine 
was sighted. The U-boat promptly attacked, firing a salvo of 
torpedoes. Four were aimed at the Florida, two at the Dela- 
ware. Quick action was required to avoid the deadly cylinders. 
Both vessels turned instantly, swerving so rapidly that the 
torpedoes swept harmlessly past, neither vessel being hit, 
Destroyers dashed at the enemy, dropping numerous depth- 
bombs, but the U-boat, which had submerged instantly, ap- 
parently left the scene undamaged. 

The Texas had an encounter with a submarine on April 27th. 
At 12 :47 p. m. in latitude 56°-56' north, longitude 0°-40' west, a 
periscope was sighted. The Texas at once brought her guns to 
bear, firing at the moving feather. The " sub " submerged, 



COMRADES OF THE MIST 155 

leaving only its tell-tale wake. Two destroyers which were near- 
by went to the scene and dropped depth-bombs in the vicinity 
where the U-boat went down, but it had disappeared. 

The New York, Texas, Delaware, Florida and Wyoming were 
twice attacked on June 30th. The division was steaming in line 
abreast, in open order, when a periscope was reported by the 
Wyoming, and was also seen by the destroyer Parker. The 
Delaware, Florida and Wyoming opened fire, their shells fall- 
ing around the spot where the " scope " was sighted. The 
" sub " had immediately submerged, and the destroyers Salmon, 
Parker, and Radstock dashed down the wake, dropping depth- 
bombs. The battleships moving on, leaving the Radstock to 
search the vicinity. An hour later, in latitude 58° -44' north, 
longitude 2°-34' east, the second attack occurred, the Delaware 
opening fire on a submarine reported astern. The escorting 
destroyers did not see the periscope, but three of them scouted 
down the lines and dropped ten depth-bombs. 

At 9 p. m., on July 28th, while cruising in latitude 57° -55' 
north, longitude 0°-05' east, the Arkansas sighted a periscope. 
Opening fire with her port sky gun, she went to emergency full 
speed using her rudder to bring the object fired at ahead. At 
this moment the wake of a torpedo running toward the ship was 
sighted. Swinging to the left, the torpedo was avoided, and the 
battleship escaped unscathed. 

The occasion to which Admiral Rodman referred, when his 
flagship was rammed by a submarine, occurred when the Neiv 
York was leading the division into Pentland Firth. While turn- 
ing with right rudder, her stern swinging to port, a heavy under- 
water blow was felt on her starboard quarter, followed 
immediately by another, which damaged the ship's starboard 
propeller, breaking off two of its blades. The water was deep, 
the channel clear of obstructions. No ordinary force could have 
delivered a blow powerful enough to smash propeller blades 
and dent the big ship 's bottom. After weighing all the evidence, 
and examining the vessel's hull when she was docked, the court 
of inquiry verified the conclusion of Admiral Rodman, that the 
New York had struck a submarine. While there were various 
theories, the one which seemed most tenable was that, in at- 
tempting to dive under the vessel, to get in position to attack, 



156 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

the U-boat had struck the New York's propellers and been 
smashed as the battleship turned. 

The New York was attacked again on October 16th, at 
Rosyth, while en route from a northern base. At one o'clock 
in the morning, three torpedoes were fired, all passing ahead 
of her. Owing to a damaged propeller, the ship was making 
only twelve knots. Ordinarily, she would have been going at 
the rate of sixteen knots or more. The submarine apparently 
misjudged her speed, aiming its torpedoes too far ahead. A 
submarine was sighted and reported by a patrol in the vicinity, 
and it is believed this was the same one which attacked the 
New York. 

There was joy among the Americans on April 24, 1918, when 
they sailed with the Grand Fleet "for active service against 
the enemy." A large German force was reported operating in 
the North Sea, probably planning to attack the Norwegian con- 
voys. Hoping for action, the British and American vessels 
found the Germans had turned back to their home bases. They 
had missed the enemy by only four hours. A British flagship 
had been attacked by a submarine, two torpedoes being fired at 
her. Destroyers had dropped quantities of depth-charges. 
Some floating mines had been destroyed by gunfire. But they 
had missed the big game they were seeking. 

It was not until the evening of October 12th that any con- 
siderable German force was reported. Three large enemy 
men-of-war were said to have been sighted, steering northwest 
in the direction of a convoy off the Scotch coast. The Ameri- 
can dreadnaughts, a battle-cruiser squadron and light cruisers, 
screened by destroyers, sailed soon after midnight. They were 
directed to take position to the north and west of the Orkneys, 
and to patrol the passage between the Orkney and Shetland 
islands, in the hope of intercepting the Germans. But the Ger- 
man ships must have again turned back, for, though that whole 
region was scouted, there was no sign of an enemy vessel. This 
was only another of the many disappointments in the constant 
effort to engage the German capital ships. 

In that rigorous climate, a latitude as far north as Alaska 
or Petrograd, snow and ice are continuous through most of the 
year. Cold and sleet and heavy seas made navigation arduous 



COMRADES OF THE MIST 157 

and dangerous. There was continuous cruising in close forma- 
tion, without lights, at high speeds, on winter nights when the 
darkness lasted for eighteen hours. The mine-fields, our own 
as well as those of the enemy, were an ever-present danger, and 
battleships had to be always on the alert to repel attacks by 
submarines. 

The whole fleet had to be ready to put to sea on almost in- 
stant notice. Officers and men had hardly any liberty or leave. 
No one was allowed away from the ships after dark, nor for 
a period longer than four hours, and then only in the immediate 
vicinity of the ship, in signal or telephone communication, sub- 
ject to recall. All ships were completely closed and darkened 
from sunset to sunrise, as a precaution against air and other 
attacks. In winter this meant from fifteen to eighteen hours 
per day. 

Some idea of the immense size of the Grand Fleet may be 
gained from the statement that, entering or leaving port, the 
column of ships, excluding destroyers, averaged 65 miles long. 
On one occasion, it was 76 miles. 

Hard duty as it was for the officers in that wintry clime, it 
was even harder for the enlisted men. Yet our boys bore it 
with the cheerfulness that distinguishes the American sailor, 
who, when hardship comes, ''bears it with a grin," — not only 
bears it, but laughs about it. For a year, every officer and man 
in the Grand Fleet had been waiting and hoping for a chance 
to get at the Germans. And, at last, when that fleet surrendered 
without striking a blow, their disappointment was too deep for 
words. 

That scene has been graphically described, the feeling of 
officers and men so well expressed by Admiral Rodman, that I 
give in his own words his account of the German surrender : 

After four years of war for the Grand Fleet, and after we have been 
a part of it for the last year, there came the debacle, the last scene 
of the great drama. Not as we had all expected, as the successful ter- 
mination of a great sea battle, but as an ignominious surrender without 
firing a gun. Surely, no more complete victory was ever won, nor a 
more disgraceful and humiliating end could have come to a powerful 
and much vaunted fleet than that which came to the German High Seas 
Fleet. Let me try to describe it. 

The Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Fleet demanded and received 



158 OUR NAVY AT AVAR 

what actually amounted to an unconditional surrender of the whole Ger- 
man Navy. Under his orders the enemy 's ships were disarmed, ammuni- 
tion landed, torpedo warheads sent ashore, breech-blocks and fire-control 
instruments removed, and every offensive utility rendered innocuous. 
Then, with reduced crews, under the command of a German admiral, 
in one lone column, the heavy battleships leading, the Hun fleet sailed 
for a designated rendezvous, to arrive at a specified time, just outside 
of the Firth of Forth in Scotland, where the Grand Fleet lay at anchor. 

Before daylight the Grand Fleet was under way and proceeded to 
sea, heading east, in two long columns, six miles apart, our American 
battleship force being in the middle of the northern line. A light 
British cruiser was directed to meet the Germans, who were heading 
west, and conduct them in between our two columns. 

Let me diverge for a moment and recall to any one who has been 
in China or the Philippines the viciousness of and antipathy which 
the domesticated carabao has for a white man. How ready they are to 
attack, while any native child can, with perfect safety and impunity, 
go up to the most savage of them, take him by the nose, and lead him 
where he pleases. I was reminded of this when a little British cruiser 
rounded to ahead of the much-vaunted German High Seas Fleet, and 
hoisted the signal, "Follow me," and led them down between our 
columns, where our battle flags were mast-headed, turrets trained 
toward the enemy, crews at battle stations, and all in readiness for any 
act of treachery that might be attempted. 

At a prearranged signal our forces swung symmetrically through 180 
degrees, and, still paralleling the enveloped Germans, conducted them 
into a designated anchorage in the entrance of the Firth of Forth. 
Then came a signal from the Commander-in-Chief to the surrendered 
fleet: "At sundown lower your colors and do not hoist them again 
without permission." Surely no greater humiliation could have be- 
fallen them after their frequent and taunting boasts and threats. 

There is little else to be told. After an inspection by British and 
American officers to gain assurance that the ships were disarmed, they 
were sent in groups, under guard, to Scapa Flow, in the cold, dreary, 
bleak, God-forsaken harbor in the Orkneys where the Grand Fleet had 
spent many a dreary month and year, waiting like ferocious dogs in 
leash, watching and waiting, to pounce on the German Fleet, should 
the opportunity ever occur. Here the Germans lay at anchor in long, 
symmetrical lines, helpless, innocuous, harmless; their sting and bite 
removed, their national colors lowered for good and all as a token of 
submission to the masters. They were corralled like wild and cruel 
beasts that had been hobbled, guarded by a single division of battleships. 

Our mission had been successfully accomplished; the German fleet 
is a thing of the past ; the seas are safe and free to our own and our 
Allies' ships. The value of sea power could have no better demon- 
stration. 



COMRADES OF THE MIST 159 

The British and Americans who served together at Scapa 
Flow and in the North Sea were bound together by the strongest 
ties. Admiral Rodman and all our officers and men felt they 
were serving with brothers, and our British allies felt the same 
way toward our own forces. 

On their departure, Admiral Sir David Beatty, the British 
commander-in-chief, in an address on board the flagship New 
York, paid this high tribute to the officers and men of the Ameri- 
can battleships which served with the Grand Fleet : 

There is not much that I have to say, but what I do say I hope you 
will understand comes from the heart, not only my heart, but the hearts 
of your comrades of the Grand Fleet. 

I want, first of all, to thank you, Admiral Rodman, the captains, 
officers, and the ships' companies of the magnificent squadron, for the 
wonderful cooperation and the loyalty you have given to me and to 
my admirals; and the assistance that you have given us in every duty 
you had to undertake. The support which you have shown is that of 
true comradeship ; and in time of stress, that is worth a very great deal. 
As somebody said the other day, "The fighting is now over, the talking 
is now going to begin ; ' ' therefore, I do not want to keep you here any 
longer, but I want to congratulate you for having been present upon 
a day which is unsurpassed in the naval annals of the world. 

I know quite well that you, as well as all of your British comrades, 
were bitterly disappointed at not being able to give effect to that effi- 
ciency that you have so well maintained. It was a most disappointing 
day. It was a pitiful day to see those great ships coming in like sheep 
being herded by dogs to their fold, without an effort on anybody's part; 
but it was a day that everybody could be proud of. I have received 
messages from several people, offering sympathy to the Grand Fleet, 
and my answer was that we do not want sympathy ; we want recogni- 
tion of the fact that the prestige of the Grand Fleet stood so high it 
was sufficient to cause the enemy to surrender without striking a blow. 

I had always certain misgivings, and when the Sixth Battle Squad- 
ron became a part of the Grand Fleet those misgivings were doubly 
strengthened, and I knew then that they would throw up their hands. 
Apparently the Sixth Battle Squadron was the straw that broke the 
camel's back. However, the disappointment that the Grand Fleet was 
not able to strike their blow for the freedom of the world is counteracted 
by the fact that it was their prestige alone that brought about this 
achievement. 

I thank you again and again, for the great part the Sixth Battle 
Squadron played in bringing about the greatest naval victory in history. 
I hope you will give this message to your comrades: "Come back soon. 
Good-bye and good luck ! ' ' 



160 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

Suppose German battle-cruisers should evade the vigilance 
of Allied capital ships and escape from the North Sea and sud- 
denly attack troop carrying transports! That suggestion 
phrased in some such terms was the thought uppermost in the 
mind of every naval official when troops began to go over in 
1918 by the hundreds of thousands each month. They recalled 
the damage inflicted by German raiders in the early days of the 
war. To be ready for such daring incursion a division of dread- 
naughts was sent over, supplemented by submarines. They were 
kept in readiness to put to sea, and also at times escorted con- 
voys in the Channel when submarines were reported in that 
vicinity. This division was commanded by Admiral Thomas S. 
Rodgers, and was composed of the Utah (Captain F. B. Bas- 
sett) ; the Nevada (Captain W. C. Cole) ; and the Oklahoma 
(Captain C. B. McVay). They had their base on Bantry Bay, 
Ireland, ready to oppose any German cruisers which might 
threaten shipping in the waters to the south of Ireland and 
England or on the routes to the ports of Northern France. 

Though the German press, sorely disappointed at the failure 
of U-boats to sink transports, demanded that raiders dare every 
risk and sink troop-ships, they never ventured away from the 
protection of home ports. But the dreadnaughts of Admiral 
Rodgers kept eyes open and steam up ready, if they should 
make the attempt. Like Rodman's squadron, they did faithful 
work and deserve to share the commendation accorded to Ameri- 
can dreadnaughts engaged overseas. 

Three-fourths of our first line dreadnaughts saw service in 
European waters. All the rest, first and second line, would 
have been taken over by Admiral Mayo if their presence had 
been required. 




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CHAPTER XV 
"CINDERELLAS OF THE FLEET" 

SUBMAKINE CHASERS BOEE BRILLIANT PART IN ATTACK ON DURAZZO — 
SANK ONE SUBMARINE, DAMAGED ANOTHER, AND "THOROUGHLY 

ENJOYED THEMSELVES' ' QUEER CODES FOOLED THE GERMANS 

OVER FOUR HUNDRED " CHASERS " BUILT STAUNCH LITTLE 

WOODEN CRAFT DID WONDERFULLY GOOD WORK IN EUROPE AND 
AMERICA. 

CINDERELLA was not the guest first invited, but when 
she arrived she became the belle of the ball. The little 
submarine chasers, originally designed to protect 
entrance to harbors, to patrol coasts and keep close 
to shore, won fame and admiration by their splendid service in 
Europe and America. These "Cinderellas of the Fleet" be- 
came eyes and ears of the anti-submarine forces, hunters rightly 
feared by the U-boats, whose commanders had at first looked 
upon them with ill-concealed contempt. 

Sub-chasers were particularly valuable as "listeners," the 
submarine detection devices with which they were equipped 
being vastly superior to those previously in use. Organized in 
"hunting units" — three to the unit, the commander in the 
center, with a "wing boat" on either side — they were real 
"chasers" of submarines. 

I am most grateful for the valuable service rendered by twelve sub- 
marine chasers under Captain Nelson, U. S. N., and Lieutenant Com- 
mander Bastedo, U. S. N., which I took the liberty of employing in an 
operation against Durazzo on October 2. They screened heavy ships 
during the bombardment under enemy fire; also apparently destroyed 
definitely one submarine which torpedoed H. M. S. Weymouth, and 
damaged and probably destroyed another submarine. 

During the return voyage they assisted in screening H. M. S. 
Weymouth, and in escorting enemy hospital ship which was being 
brought in for examination. Their conduct throughout was beyond 
praise. They all returned safely without casualties. They thoroughly 
enjoyed themselves. 

161 



162 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

That was the message sent by the British Force Commander 
regarding the attack on the Austrian naval base by British, 
Italian and American vessels October 2, 1918. And the Italians 
expressed their appreciation in this dispatch from Rome : 

Italian Naval General Staff expresses highest appreciation of useful 
and efficient work performed by United States chasers in protecting 
major naval vessels during action against Durazzo ; also vivid admiration 
of their brilliant and clever operations which resulted in sinking two 
enemy submarines. 

The exploits of our submarine chasers formed a notable 
feature of that brilliant and successful attack. When, on Satur- 
day, September 28, the British commodore asked Captain 
Charles P. Nelson, in command at Corfu, if he could have twelve 
chasers, with four days ' supplies, ready to leave in twenty-four 
hours, for "special service," Nelson's reply was one word: 
"Yes." 

Sailing Sunday evening, the next morning they reached Brin- 
disi, where the Allied forces were assembled for the attack, and 
received their instructions. It was 1 :30 a. m., on October 2nd, 
that the four units, under command of Captain Nelson, got under 
way for the expedition. The chasers and their commanders were : 

Unit B — Lieutenant Commander Paul H. Bastedo, commanding on 
S. C. 215, Lieutenant (junior grade) "Wildon A. Ott; S. C. 128, Ensign 
Hilary R. Chambers, Jr. ; S. C. 129, Ensign Maclear Jacoby. 

Unit D — S. C. 225, Lieutenant (junior grade) Elmer J. McCluen; 
S. C. 327, Ensign Walter P. Grossmann. 

Unit G — In command, Captain Nelson, on board S. C. 95; S. C. 95, 
Ensign George J. Leovy ; S. C. 179, Ensign Erskine Hazard ; S. C. 338, 
Ensign John M. Beverly. 

Unit H— S. C. 130, Ensign Henry R. Dann; S. C. 324, Lieutenant 
(junior grade) Clifford W. Eshom; S. C. 337, Ensign Andrew J. Kelley. 

At 8 :40 they arrived off Durazzo, and stood by six miles from 
shore to await the arrival of the bombarding force. Its smoke 
could be seen on the horizon, and as the Italian vessels hove in 
sight, the sub-chasers moved to their stations. 

Moving along on the flanks of the bombing squadrons, the 
chasers acted as a screen for the larger vessels, which poured 
out a rain of shells upon the Austrian defenses. Guarding the 



"CINDERELLAS OF THE FLEET" 163 

British Light-Cruiser Force, the three boats of Unit B had to 
run in close to shore, only 800 yards from the enemy batteries. 
They had a lively experience for fifteen or twenty minutes, shells 
falling around them. But, going at full speed and " zigzagging 
to beat the band," as the sailors say, they managed to escape 
unscathed. 

Suddenly came the cry, "Submarine!" Sub-chaser 129 had 
sighted the moving feather of a. U-boat about 1,600 yards off her 
port quarter. Signaling to S. C. 215, S. C. 129 altered her course 
to the left to deliver an attack at right angles. The U-boat was 
heading south, apparently getting in position to attack the bom- 
barding forces. In a moment a second feather was sighted a 
little farther to westward. As S. C. 129 reached the supposed 
path of the undersea boat, a depth-bomb was dropped. When 
it exploded, the enemy submerged for almost a minute, and then 
reappeared, showing both periscopes. S. C. 129 immediately 
began laying a pattern of depth-charges ahead of the U-boat 
and at right angles to his course. 

When the seventh bomb exploded, in the water thrown up 
objects resembling pieces of metal appeared, and there was 
another explosion, seemingly in the submarine. The chaser 
crew was confident that submarine was destroyed. 

Sub-chaser 215, sighting another periscope 750 yards away, 
opened fire with her three-inch gun and port machine-gun, 
hoisting signal to form for attack. The second three-inch shot 
dropped within two feet of the periscope, the commanding officer 
reported, and shattered it, a column of water six feet high rising 
into the air. The U-boat seemed to be turning sharply to star- 
board in the direction of the British light cruisers, which were 
then entering their bombarding sector. S. C. 215 and S. C. 128 
closed in on the submarine and laid a pattern of depth-charges. 
As the fourth charge exploded, the executive officer of S. C. 215 
sang out, ' ' That got him ! " He had seen what appeared to be 
a ship 's plate and debris rise to the surface and then disappear. 
Heavy oil rose, covering the water in the vicinity, and the chaser 
crews concluded the U-boat had been sunk. 

S. C. 215 and S. C. 128 then turned and headed for S. C. 129, 
which had first reported sighting a ' ' sub, ' ' but which was lying 
to, repairing her engines. The unit stood over to capture the 



164 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

Austrian hospital ship, hoisting the international flag, "Stop 
instantly!" The British cruisers Nereide and Ruby were, at 
the time, astern of the Austrian vessel, and the Nereide sig- 
nalled that she would stop and take off the armed guard crew if 
the chasers wished to take over the hospital ship. The chasers, 
which were north of the Austrian port, replied that they would 
take her over when clear of Durazzo. 

The little American craft took charge of the big Austrian 
vessel, the British cruisers Tribune and Shark signaling, "Go 
to Brindisi." Reaching Brindisi, they released the hospital 
ship, which had been taken to port for investigation. Then, with 
a sense of duty well done, the chasers dropped anchor in the 
harbor, and "called it a day." 

While Unit B enjoyed the most exciting experience, all the 
other units were busy doing their full share of the work, escort- 
ing the bombing vessels and playing their part in the bombard- 
ment. When the British cruiser Weymouth was torpedoed, 
Units D, C, and H went to her assistance, and aided in warding 
off further attack. Though damaged, the cruiser was safely 
navigated to port. The boats of Unit D got close enough to fire 
at the houses on Cape Laghi. 

The attack on Durazzo was a decided success. The city was 
practically put out of business as a naval base, and was of little 
further use to the Austrians who, defeated on land and sea, 
soon sued for peace. 

The United States naval base at Corfu, where thirty-six of 
our sub-chasers were stationed, was established May 24, 1918, 
by Captain R. H. Leigh, Commander of Submarine Chasers for 
Distant Service. The primary duty of our forces there was to 
patrol the Straits of Otranto, the entrance to the Adriatic. That 
narrow stretch of water, forty miles wide, from Corfu to the 
"heel" of Italy, was the only route by which Austrian and 
German vessels from Trieste, Fiume, Pola, and Durazzo could 
make their way into the Mediterranean. 

There was established the Otranto Mobile Barrage, which, 
though comprising mines and nets, depended mainly for its 
effectiveness on patrol vessels. There were three lines of these, 
at some distance apart, two of British vessels, destroyers and 
trawlers, and the third, ten miles below, of our submarine 



"CINDERELLAS OF THE FLEET" 165 

chasers, twelve of which patrolled this line day and night. While 
this barrage was by no means "air-tight," and occasionally 
U-boats slipped through, it proved very useful and after its 
establishment there was a material decrease in submarine ac- 
tivity in that whole region. After the armistice an Austrian 
officer said that six U-boats were lost in that area. 

Four hundred and forty sub-chasers were built, 340 manned 
by the United States Navy, and 100 by the French. They op- 
erated in the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans, in the North 
Sea, in the Adriatic, the Ionian and JEgean Seas, and the Sea of 
Marmora. After the armistice, special duties carried them to 
Russia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, to Austria, Dalmatia, 
Greece, and Turkey, and parts of Asia Minor. 

"How are you going to get them across the Atlantic?" 
foreign naval attaches asked, when we were turning out chasers 
by scores. That was a problem, sending small boats over 3,000 
miles of ocean in wintry weather. Pluck, daring, endurance and 
good navigation were required, but the problem was solved with 
surprising success. 

Crossing the Atlantic and going through the Mediterranean 
to the Adriatic under their own power, they weathered storms 
that distressed many a big steamship. But these little 110- 
f ooters had some thrilling experiences. Disabled in a terrific gale 
Sub-chaser 28, manned by the French, seemed doomed. The 
other chasers pulled through, but this one was missing, and after 
days was given up as lost. A month later we were surprised 
and delighted when the news came that it had reached the 
Azores. How did that little boat, disabled and alone, manage to 
make its way 700 miles to port? 

It was a thrilling story Alexis Puluhen and his men had to 
tell. Storm tossed, their engines broke down and the boat began 
leaking. Salvoes were fired and distress signals hoisted, but 
no relief came. Lubricating oil was exhausted, and all the salad 
oil and butter aboard were used in an effort to start up the 
engines. All motive power gone, table-cloths, sheets, bed- 
spreads and blankets were rigged up as sails. Rationing the 
crew to the smallest amount of food that could sustain them, 
doling out the drinking water, the little boat headed east. With 
a favoring breeze, she could sail about four knots an hour. 



166 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

For a month the sub-chaser kept plodding along, laying its 
course for the Azores. Occasionally a steamer would be sighted 
far away — four in all were seen — but only one came close enough 
to see or hear the S. C. 28, and when seven guns, the distress sig- 
nal, were fired, that vessel ran away. At last, after a struggle of 
thirty-three days, Puluhen sighted land. It was Fayal, one of 
the Azores. He hoisted the signal ' ' YP ' ' — ' ' I need a tug ' ' — and 
not long afterward a tug steamed out, and towed him into Horta. 
The sub-chaser was repaired, continued across the Atlantic, and 
took its place with the other American-built chasers which served 
on the French coast. 

Three days at sea and three days in port, many chasers 
steamed an average of a thousand miles a month. "You people 
on yachts and cruisers don't know what it is to live in a sub- 
chaser," one seaman remarked. "Tossed about on ocean swells, 
swept by seas, with decks leaking and things below wet; gas 
fumes from the engines filling the interior, sometimes half the 
crew were seasick. The destroyers, I know, were no pleasure 
palaces, and they had no easy time, but none of you had a harder 
job than we fellows on the 110-footers." But they took things 
as they came, with unfailing cheerfulness and good humor. 

Some of the sub-chaser squadrons developed codes of their 
own and got a lot of fun out of them. 1 1 Quack ! Quack ! Quack ! ' ' 
was one sub-chaser signal. The first time that queer call was 
heard over the wireless telephone in European waters it mysti- 
fied our English friends quite as much as it did the Germans. 
And when the call was answered by an outbreak of strange words 
and phrases, listeners at the radio phones in all that area were 
plainly puzzled. 

"Quack! Red-white-blue, ' ' they could understand, though 
what it might mean they could not conceive. But when it came 
to "Quack! High-low-jack," the thing was beyond all reason. 

This was something new, probably a German trick. The 
British naval officers were concerned about it, and were de- 
cidedly relieved when they found it was no enemy concoction 
but came from the American sub-chasers which had lately arrived 
from across the Atlantic. They wanted to know what kind of 
a "quack" game the Americans were playing. And they were 
vastly amused when told that it was a new code they had de- 



"CINDERELLAS OF THE FLEET" 167 

vised that could be easily remembered by officers and men, but 
could not be deciphered by the Germans. 

The commander of one group named his boats in jingles or 
phrases. Three boats, as I have stated, constituted a submarine 
hunting unit. One set he designated as " red-white-blue," an- 
other as "corn-meal-mush," and a third as "high-low-jack." 
"Quack! Quack! Quack!" meant "operate at once." 

The men were fond of making parodies on "Mother Goose" 
and other familiar rhymes, applicable to their job of hunting 
the U-boats. One of these, paraphrasing "The Spider and the 
Fly, ' ' went this way : 

"Won't you come into my area?" said the chaser to the "sub"; 
"I'll treat you just as kindly as I would a tiger cub; 
"I will listen to your motors, I will catch you without fail, 
' ' And then I promise I will put some salt upon your tail. ' ' 

What do you suppose the Germans thought of all this queer 
stuff that was coming over the radiophone? I should have liked 
to have seen the U-boat captains under water, and code experts 
in Berlin searching the books and racking their brains to find 
out its meaning, for no boats or calls or orders were ever phrased 
in such language before. 

The sub-chasers put the Navy flag signals into words instead 
of letters. "Able-Boy!" was the code to "Take hunt forma- 
tion; distance 500 yards." They had a word for every letter 
in the alphabet: Able, boy, cast, dog, easy, fox, George, have, 
item, jig, king, love, Mike, Nan, oboe, pup, quack, rot, sail, tare, 
unit, vice, watch, X-ray, yoke, zed. 

Almost any necessary order or information could be trans- 
mitted by radiophone by means of this code. Here is a typical 
instance of how it worked when a submarine was heard : 

Listener of Boat No. 1 reports: "Submarine, 90 degrees." 
Executive officer: "Submarine, 123 degrees." 

Executive reports: "2 (number of wing-boat) turbine 112 degrees." 
Executive reports: "3 (number of other wing-boat) submarine 130 
degrees. ' ' 

Captain orders: "Course 123 degrees." 
Executive to Radio : ' ' Fox-unit ; dog-easy-cast ! ' ' 
Executive to Listener : ' ' Up tube. ' ' 



168 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

At the order ' ' Up tube, ' ' the listening tube was raised from 
its position beneath the vessel; the signal-boy beside the mast 
hoisted the cone, the position of which showed the other boats 
what the engine of this sub-chaser was doing ; the steersman put 
the wheel over, and the vessel headed for the estimated locality 
of the U-boat. All this was done in a moment or two. 

If the submarine was not located, the captain ordered 
1 ' Stop ! ' ' the executive called, ' ' Down tube ! ' ' The tube, which 
extends through the bottom of the chaser, was lowered, and the 
listener strove again to hear any sound of the U-boat. 

When the success of our detection devices had been demon- 
strated, it was decided that sub-chasers were well adapted to 
this duty, and were to be used mainly for this purpose. On 
May 12, 1918, six arrived at Portsmouth, England, and with 
the destroyer Aylwin began training tests with British sub- 
marines, south of the Isle of Wight. Eighteen chasers soon after 
reached Plymouth, and this under command of Captain Lyman 
A. Cotten was made the chief base, having eventually a force of 
66 vessels. On August 20th, 30 of these chasers were or- 
dered to Queenstown, where a base had been established under 
command of Captain A. J. Hepburn. 

The Plymouth sub-chasers were in an area of considerable 
submarine activity, and reported a number of contacts. The 
S. C. 84, 85 and 86, Ensigns E. F. Williams, A. B. Baker and G. 
H. Lane, respectively, were credited with attacking and damag- 
ing a U-boat on July 10th. Nine chasers, Units 6, 2, and 10, were 
on hunt off the English coast on September 6th, when the lis- 
teners heard a submarine. Unit 2 attacked, dropped depth- 
charges, but its flagship was damaged by an explosion, and Unit 
6 took up the pursuit. Located again, the U-boat went down, 
and the chasers bombarded her with depth-charges. Her ma- 
chinery was evidently badly damaged. Listeners could hear the 
crew at work on the motors which would at times turn a few 
revolutions; but at last they stopped dead. The U-boat was 
unable to move. The chasers dropped over the spot all the depth- 
bombs they had, and at 6:15 two boats were sent to Penzance 
to get a fresh supply. 

A water buoy, with 50-fathom wire cable, was dropped near 
the spot, lanterns were hung on it; and the chasers got into 



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"CINDERELLAS OF THE FLEET" 169 

position for the night. At times the listeners reported that the 
U-boat crew made attempts to start their motors. The next 
morning a few faint sounds were heard, and at last there came 
a noise of firing as if from revolvers or rifles, first three, then 
22 shots. After this, nothing was heard, though the chasers 
remained on the scene all afternoon. They had been there thirty 
hours from the time the attack began. The chaser crews firmly 
believed that the U-boat's crew perished in their steel tomb, 
which sank to the bottom, never to rise again. 

The best evidence of the good work done by our vessels at 
Plymouth is the fact, shown by official records, that from June 
30th to the end of August, during which time our sub-chasers 
were covering the area between Start Point and Lizard Head, 
not a single Allied or merchant ship was attacked nor were any 
mines laid by the U-boats. This was in a section where some 
months before sinkings were of almost daily occurrence. After 
August, when many of our boats were withdrawn for duty far- 
ther to the westward, several ships were attacked and sunk, 
and mine-laying, though on a small scale, was resumed. This is 
regarded as conclusive proof that it was our little sub-chasers 
which made that area safe for Allied shipping in that important 
period. 

"While at Gibraltar, on their way to Corfu, the thirty chasers 
under command of Captain Nelson engaged in several hunts, 
on May 17, 1918, locating and chasing a U-boat to a point 
12 miles northeast of Gibraltar. On June 13th, four of them 
formed patrol line to guard the commercial anchorage against 
a submarine which had been sighted. 

Eighteen sub-chasers were sent to the Mediterranean to 
patrol the Gibraltar Barrage, and though they were on that 
duty only from Nov. 6th to 11th, Admiral Niblack reported that 
they made four contacts and three attacks, and that one was 
particularly well conducted and it was " highly probable sub- 
marine was damaged, and possibly destroyed." 

This group closed its war service with two exciting experi- 
ences. On November 10th the S. C. 126, 190 and 353, while on 
patrol, were mistaken for enemy submarines and were fired upon 
by the steamship Bahia. The next day, about the time the 
armistice went into effect, a British vessel, without waiting for 



170 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

recognition signals, fired on the S. C. 214. Luckily the shells 
missed and the sturdy little boats escaped unscathed. 

The organization of our sub-chaser service in European 
waters was: 

At U. S. Naval Headquarters. London — Captain R. H. Leigh, Com- 
mander Sub-chasers, Distant Service; Lieutenant Commander W. R. 
Carter, detection devices; Lieutenant Commander E. C. Raguet, com- 
munication officer; Lieutenant Commander R. M. Griffin, sub-chasers; 
C. F. Scott, technical expert, devices ; E. L. Nelson, technical expert, radio. 

Sub-chaser Detachment 1, Plymouth — Captain L. A. Cotten, com- 
manding; Hannibal, repair ship; Parker, Aylwin, destroyers; 36 to 66 
sub-chasers. 

Submarine Detachment 2, Corfu — Captain C. P. Nelson, command- 
ing; Hannibal, repair ship; 36 sub-chasers. 

Submarine Detachment 3, Queenstown — Captain A. J. Hepburn, com- 
manding; 30 sub-chasers. 

These were the principal bases, though our chasers also did 
valuable work from Brest, Gibraltar and other points and at 
the Azores. 

Twenty-four sub-chasers assisted in sweeping up the mines 
of the North Sea Barrage from April to the end of September, 
1919, and four were damaged by exploding mines. 

The sub-chasers played an important part in operations 
against the German U-boats off the American coast in the sum- 
mer of 1918. Scores of them were on patrol along the Atlantic, 
and speeded to the vicinity whenever a submarine was reported. 
Immediately after the U-151 appeared off the New Jersey Coast, 
June 2, a special hunting group was formed of 33 sub-chasers, 
headed by the destroyers Jouett, Henley and Perkins, and later 
another group, headed by the Patterson, was organized. These 
hunters kept on the move, pursuing the "subs" for months, from 
the Virginia Capes to Nova Scotia. 

Many were kept busy escorting coastwise convoys, and pa- 
trolling the coast. One group is reported to have escorted from 
port, with other naval ships, vessels bearing 400,000 troops. 
Many chasers were almost constantly at sea. The Hampton 
Roads Squadron, in command of Lieutenant Herbert L. Stone, 
averaged 75 per cent of the time on duty. Sub-chasers, under 
Lieutenant Le Sauvage, in the vicinity of Fire Island, when the 
San Diego was lost, were on duty 28 days out of 30. 



"CINDERELLAS OF THE FLEET" 171 

Patrolling and listening was dangerous work, for the little 
boats lying in the shipping lines, with all vessels running with- 
out lights, might be run down or mistaken for enemy craft. This 
was the fate of S. C. 209. Shelled and sunk off Fire Island by 
the steamship Felix Taussig, two of her officers, Lieutenant 
Henry J. Bowes and Ensign E. H. Randolph, and fourteen 
enlisted men lost their lives. 

Keeping open the shipping lines from Mexican and Gulf oil 
fields was an important duty; it was considered probable that 
the U-boats would extend their operations to Mexican waters. 
Consequently we organized a special hunting squadron of 12 
sub-chasers, headed by the U. S. S. Salem (Captain S. V. Gra- 
ham), as a part of the American Patrol Detachment commanded 
by Rear Admiral Anderson, which patrolled the waters of the 
Gulf and Caribbean. 

Twelve sub-chasers served in the Panama Canal Zone, eight 
being stationed at the Atlantic entrance, and four at the Pacific 
entrance to the Canal, which it was their mission to protect. 

Six chasers were assigned to duty in Nova Scotia, three based 
on Halifax, and three on Sydney, Cape Breton. Arriving in 
May, 1918, they were engaged in patrol, convoy and guard duty, 
and conducted a number of submarine hunts when the U-boats 
were active in that region. Two were sent with the Explorer 
to Alaska, for protection against alien enemies and disturbing 
elements which threatened the fish pack and other industries of 
that region. Sub-chaser 310, to which was assigned the section 
between the Canadian boundary and Petersburg, visited 112 
canneries and other points, covering 6,079 miles. The S. C. 
309, which patrolled the remainder of southeast Alaska, visited 
132 points and covered 8,500 miles. 

Perhaps the most remarkable voyage of these small craft 
was made by the group built at Puget Sound Navy Yard, near 
Seattle. These chasers, under command of a reserve officer, 
Lieutenant Roscoe Howard, all manned by reservists, who were 
trained at the station while the boats were building, were 
brought down the Pacific Coast, through the Panama Canal and 
up to New London, and from there several of them sailed for 
Europe, reaching the Azores, arriving just as hostilities ended. 
Sailing from Bremerton May 6, 1918, this group was joined by 



172 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

others at San Diego, Magdalena Bay and Pinchilinque until 
there were fifteen in the party. August 4th, at 8 p. m., they ar- 
rived at New London, where officers and men began their train- 
ing in listening and anti-submarine tactics. They had success- 
fully negotiated a voyage of 7,470 miles ; escorted 2,985 miles, un- 
escorted 4,485. Three of the Pacific coast boats were in the con- 
voy of 10 American and 19 French chasers which left New 
London, October 24th, for Europe, Captain H. G. Sparrow, in 
the cruiser Chicago, commanding the convoy. They proceeded 
via Bermuda, and were only a day off the Azores when the news 
came that the war was over. 

After the armistice, sub-chasers were sent on various mis- 
sions, to Austria, Turkey, Norway, Sweden, Holland and Den- 
mark. They served from Northern Russia to the Black Sea. 

When the work abroad was ended and the homeward bound 
pennant was flying over these glory-bedecked Cinderellas, the 
spirit of contest and mastery of the sea did not permit them to 
be towed back to the United States or to come quietly and de- 
liberately under their own power. Eternal youth and love of 
victory was in their blood, and ships which had won world 
applause at Durazzo decided upon a race from the Bermudas. 

Six which had rendered conspicuous service — the S. C. 90, 
129, 131, 217, 224 and 351— were selected for the contest. Start- 
ing at 4 :21 p. m., August 16th, their progress was followed with 
general interest, being reported by the Ontario, their escort, and 
bulletined all over the country. 

The race was won by S. C. 131 (Lieutenant Joseph L. Day), 
which arrived at Ambrose Channel lightship at 1 :17 a. m., 
August 19, 1919. Her running time was 56 hours, 56 minutes — 
8 hours and 43 minutes less than that made by the Dream, which 
had set the fastest pace in 1914. Four of the others also beat 
the best previous record. 

The sub-chasers, after long and wearing service in the war 
zone, had excelled the speedy light pleasure craft. 

It was a race of thoroughbreds, and when the winner tied up 
at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, there was the same absence of self 
exploitation that had signalled the services of the Cinderellas 
from the first day they began writing glowing pages of new 
achievement against new enemies. 



CHAPTER XVI 
"DO NOT SURRENDER"— "NEVER!" 

SHIP SHELLED, MEN WOUNDED, NAVY GUNNERS ON "j. L. LUCKEN- 

BACH ' ' FOUGHT SUBMARINE FOUR HOURS ARMED GUARDS SAILING 

WAR ZONE BEFORE WAR WAS DECLARED HAD 227 ENCOUNTERS 

WITH SUBMARINES FIRST IN SERVICE, THEY WERE FIRST IN 

SACRIFICE "HAND IT TO 'EM, JOe!" 

NAVY gunners, manning Navy guns on American mer- 
chant ships, were sailing the war zone before the United 
States declared war. First to get into action, these 
armed guards had more than two hundred encounters 
with submarines, many of them long-fought gunfire battles. 
First in service, they were first in sacrifice. 

The night President Wilson delivered his war message to 
Congress, when I returned from the Capitol to my office in the 
Navy Department, I was greeted by this dispatch from the 
American Ambassador to France: 

Secretary of State, Paris, April 2. 

Washington. 

Urgent: Foreign Office has just informed me that the American 
steamer Aztec was torpedoed at nine p. m. last night far out at sea 
off Island of Ushant; that one boat from the steamer has been found 
with nineteen survivors who were landed this afternoon at Brest. 
Twenty-eight persons are still missing and although two patrol vessels 
are searching for them, the stormy condition of sea and weather renders 
their rescue doubtful. Foreign Office not informed of names of sur- 
vivors. Will cable further details as soon as obtainable. 

Sharp. 

A later dispatch stated that only eleven were missing and 
that Lieutenant William F. Gresham and the boys from the 
Dolphin were safe. This possessed a personal interest for me, 
for the Dolphin was the vessel assigned to the Secretary of the 

173 



174 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

Navy, and had furnished this first crew for an armed ship. The 
news that night was reassuring, but we were saddened to learn, 
next day, that one of our seamen had gone down — John I. 
Eopolucci, of Washington, the first man of the American armed 
forces to lose his life in service against Germany. 

The first officer lost was Lieutenant Clarence C. Thomas, of 
Grass Valley, California, commander of the armed guard on the 
Vacuum, who, with four of his men, perished after the sinking 
of that steamer on April 28th. 

The Mongolia was first to report a "hit" against a sub- 
marine, April 19th, Lieutenant Bruce Ware stating that a shell 
from his guns struck the U-boat's conning-tower, knocking off 
part of the shell-plating, a cloud of smoke covering the spot 
where the "sub" disappeared. 

Not long afterward a cablegram was received from Paris 
announcing that an American armed vessel had sunk a sub- 
marine in the Mediterranean. The ship was the Silver Shell, 
and the encounter, which occurred off the Balearic Islands, was 
thus reported by Chief Turret Captain William J. Clark: 

May 30, at 5 :35 p. m., a submarine was sighted off starboard beam, 
flying no flag or marks of identification. Manned and loaded both guns. 
Hoisted colors and waited about 10 minutes. Fired after-gun with 
sights set at 4,000 yards, scale 49, and fired purposely short to see what 
the submarine would do, as she was closing in on the Silver Shell. At 
the same instant of our flash, the submarine fired a shot, the shell drop- 
ping 100 yards short amidships. The ship was swung to port to bring 
the submarine astern. 

Twenty-five rounds were fired at the submarine, the last two of which 
appeared to be hits. As the last shot landed the submarine's bow raised 
up and went down suddenly. The crew of the submarine, who were 
on deck, did not have time to get inside, so it is believed there is not 
much doubt about her being hit. The submarine fired in all 32 rounds, 
the last four of which were shrapnel and exploded overhead. 

The master of the Silver Shell, John Charlton, was con- 
vinced that the submarine was destroyed, and in his report said : 
"One shot struck the submarine flush, hitting the ammunition 
on the deck. There was a flash of flame, and within a minute 
she had disappeared." Captain John R. Edie, U. S. N. (re- 
tired), the naval representative who investigated the matter and 
heard all the evidence, made a report, dated Toulon, June 3, in 



"DO NOT SURRENDER"— "NEVER!" 175 

which he said: "There is no doubt in my mind but that the 
submarine was sunk." 

The combats of the Campana, Luckenbach, Nyanza, Chincha, 
Borinquen, Norlina, Moreni and a score of others are among 
the thrilling incidents of the war. These armed guards of 16 
to 32 men, usually under command of a chief petty officer, served 
on practically every American merchant vessel that plied the 
war zone, and made a record for bravery and efficiency which 
would be difficult to excel. 

One of the longest fights on record was that of the J. L. 
Luckenbach, which began at 7 :30 o'clock, the morning of October 
19, 1917, and continued four hours. The submarine, which was 
disguised as a steamer, opened fire at long range. The Lucken- 
bach instantly replied with both her guns. Closing in to 2,000 
yards, the U-boat, which was of large type, with heavy ordnance, 
began to pour forth a rain of shells. One shot exploded on the 
deck, partially destroying the gun-crew's quarters, bursting the 
fire-main, and setting afire that part of the ship. Another shot 
landed near the stern, putting the after-gun out of commission. 

Pieces of shell were falling all around the deck. Two shots 
landed on the port side forward, striking the oilers' room and 
blowing a large hole in the ship's side. One struck on the port 
side at the water-line, hitting the fresh-water tank, the water 
supply pouring out. Another burst in the petty officers' mess- 
room, wounding two men. One shot passed through the weather 
screen on the bridge, and exploded in the cargo. Pieces of shell 
hit V. Louther, of the armed guard, wounding him in three 
places. While carrying ammunition forward, a sailor was hit 
and severely injured, and a gunner was blinded by fumes. Then 
a shell exploded in the engine-room, wounding the first and third 
engineers, and putting the engine out of business. 

Struck a dozen times, with exploding shells overhead sending 
down a hail of steel, nine men wounded and its engine disabled, 
the Luckenbach fought on. Its armed guard was under com- 
mand of J. B. Trautner, chief master-at-arms. 

Distress signals had been sent out soon after the firing be- 
gan, hours before, and had been answered by the Nicholson, 
82 miles away. The destroyer was hurrying to the steamer's 
assistance at high speed ; but it hardly seemed possible for her 



176 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

to arrive in time. There was a constant exchange of messages 
between steamship and destroyer : 

"S. 0. S. — J. L. Luckenbach being gunned by submarine." 

"We are coming," signalled the Nicholson. 

"Our steam is cut off. How soon can you get here?" 

1 ' Stick to it ; will be with you in three hours. ' ' 

"Shell burst in engine-room. Engineer crippled." 

"Fire in our forehold. They are now shooting at our antennae." 

"How far are you away?" asked the Luckenbach. "Code books 
thrown overboard. How soon will you arrive?" 

"In two hours," answered the Nicholson. 

"Too late," replied the Luckenbach. "Look out for boats. They 
are shelling us. ' ' 

' ' Do not surrender ! ' ' radioed the Nicholson. 

' ' Never ! ' ' answered the Luckenbach. 

It was after eleven o'clock when smoke was seen and the 
ship headed towards the destroyer to lessen the distance. Then 
that shell exploded in the engine-room, and put the engine out 
of business. As the Nicholson approached, her guns were loaded 
and pointed, the torpedo-tubes made ready, and the crew pre- 
pared for action. The watch-officer in the f oretop reported that 
he could see the ship, smoke coming out of her hull and shells 
splashing around her. 

Then he sighted the U-boat far away, but almost dead ahead. 
" Train and fire!" ordered the captain. "Boom!" went the 
gun. The U-boat risked another shell or two at the steamer. 
But when the destroyer's third shot landed close by, the "sub" 
quickly submerged, and hurried away. The U-boat had fired 
225 rounds, the Luckenbach 202. When the destroyer reached 
the scene, the enemy was gone, hidden under water, leaving 
hardly a trace. 

The Nicholson sent her surgeon and senior watch-officer to 
the damaged steamer. They dressed the wounds of the injured 
nine. Two armed guardsmen were found lying under a gun, 
seriously hurt. The third, hit in three places by shell frag- 
ments, was walking around the deck, his cap cocked over his 
ear, proud as a game rooster. Not stopping after he was first 
hit, he was carrying ammunition to the gun when he was struck 
again in the shoulder. As he laid his projectile on the deck, 
another fragment of flying shell hit him. Then he really got 



"DO NOT SURRENDER"— "NEVER!" 177 

mad. Shaking his fist toward the "sub," he shouted, "No 
damned German 's going to hit me three times and get away with 
it." Grabbing his shell off the deck, he slammed it into the 
breech, and yelled to the gun-pointer, ' ' Hand it to 'em, Joe ! ' ' 

The ship 's engineer had two ribs smashed, a piece of shrap- 
nel in his neck, and part of his foot shot away. He was lying 
down, "cussing" the Germans. "Put me on my feet, men," 
he asked, and two oilers set him up. For ten minutes more he 
poured out a steady stream of denunciation of the "blankety- 
blank" U-boats. After he had expressed, in all the languages 
he could command, his full and free opinion of the whole German 
nation, he went to work, repaired the engine, got up steam and 
the Luchenbach began to move. 

Some of the men were so seriously wounded that the Nichol- 
son's doctor was left on the steamer to care for them. Soon 
afterward he found he was the senior naval officer aboard, and 
all looked to him for orders. He was a doctor, not a navigator. 
The ship was bound for Havre, going alone through the sub- 
marine-infested zone. Running without lights in a locality 
where vessels were numerous was a risky business, which in- 
creased in danger as they neared the coast. The skipper was 
not sure of his course. He had never made a port in France 
before, and knew nothing of the tides. The mates were equally 
uncertain. 

The doctor trusted to them until three o 'clock in the morning, 
when he found the ship had run aground. Then he took a hand 
in navigation. The captain and the mate were examining a chart 
on deck and wondering how they had missed the shore light. 
Studying the charts, the doctor told them they should have been 
twenty miles further east, and said, ' ' Now, I '11 take charge. ' ' 

Fortunately, it was low tide when the ship went on the beach, 
and when the flood-tide came at daylight, the vessel, using her 
engines, was backed off. By eleven o'clock they had reached 
the entrance to Havre. 

Seeing her coming, with the marks of battle upon her, the 
people crowded down to the water-front. They cheered the 
Navy gun-crew, the sailors, and there were tears for the wounded 
and cheers for the doctor as he came down the gang-plank with 
them. 



178 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

Attacked by a submarine off the Spanish coast, a shell ex- 
ploded in the gasoline tank of the Moreni and set the ship afire. 
Chief Boatswain's Mate Andrew Copassaki and his gun-crew 
had begun firing as soon as the ''sub" was sighted, but the 
Moreni was slow and the U-boat had a decided advantage. Rain- 
ing shells upon the ship, the enemy shot away her steering gear, 
and the vessel, beyond control, began steaming around in a circle, 
but the naval gunners kept shooting away. 

Two men were wounded ; one life-boat upset as it struck the 
water and two of the merchant crew were drowned. But the 
armed guard kept up the fight until the entire ship was in 
flames. During the contest, which lasted over two hours, the 
Moreni fired 150 shots, the submarine 200. The ship was hit 45 
times. When the Spanish steamship Valbanera came up to res- 
cue the survivors, both the Spaniards and the Germans aboard 
the submarine cheered the Moreni's naval gun-crew for the 
brave fight they had made. 

After his return to this country, I had the pleasure of con- 
gratulating Copassaki, who came to my office. Tall and bronzed, 
with a sweeping black moustache, he was a stalwart figure, 
modest as he was brave. 

"That must have been a thrilling experience you had," I 
remarked as I thanked him. "It must have been terrific for 
those men at the guns, with the flames mounting around them." 
"It was pretty hot," modestly replied Copassaki, who seemed 
to think that about covered the subject. 

The first Americans taken prisoner by the Germans were 
Chief Gunner's Mate James Delaney, four members of the 
armed guard and the master of the Campana, which was sunk 
about 150 miles from the French coast on August 6, 1917. But 
they were captured only after a running fight of more than four 
hours, during which the Campana fired 170 shots and the U-boat 
twice as many. After three hours' firing, the Campana' 's captain 
wanted to stop and abandon ship to avoid casualties, as the 
vessel was clearly outranged by the more powerful guns of the 
submarine, but Delaney protested, and kept up the fight for an 
hour and ten minutes longer, firing until his ammunition was 
exhausted. 

The submarine, the U-61, headed for the life-boats, keeping 



"DO NOT SURRENDER"— "NEVER!" 179 

its 6-inch gun and revolvers pointed at the ^survivors. They 
took aboard Delaney and four of his gunners, and Captain 
Oliver, the ship's master. 

Believing Delaney was a lieutenant, the U-boat officers grilled 
him for hours with questions, but could get nothing out of him. 
The German captain congratulated him, and told him that he 
had put up the longest fight any merchantman had ever made 
against a submarine. The U-boat had not only shot away most 
of its shells, but had fired two torpedoes at the Camp an a, and 
its captain told Delaney he would have to carry him and some 
of his gunners to Germany, as otherwise they could hardly make 
their authorities believe they had had to expend so much am- 
munition to "get" a single ship. 

That evening about six o 'clock, the U-61 encountered a decoy 
ship. Coming up on what appeared to be an unarmed vessel, 
they fired three shots, and one of the Germans sitting near 
Delaney remarked, "One more ship." But she was not the 
easy prey they thought she was, and the U-boat had to make a 
quick dive to escape. "All the sailors rushed down through the 
hatch, the submarine seemed to stand on her bow end, and every- 
thing capsized as she submerged," Delaney said. "We went 
down 62 meters. Everybody was scared, and they said our 
Allies were trying to drown us." 

After seven days ' cruising the U-boat arrived at Heligoland, 
where Delaney and his men were landed, and then sent to 
Wilhelmshaven. After four days in barracks, they were taken 
to the prison camp at Brandenburg, where there were 10,000 
prisoners, British, French and Italian. Conditions in the camp, 
which was built around a small lake which served as a sewage 
dump, were almost intolerable, and many prisoners died. When 
Delaney protested against the guards stealing parcels sent to 
prisoners, he was hauled up and "strafed" by the officers. He 
defied them and a sergeant drew his sword, and threatened to 
run it through the American sailor. But the others held him 
back. The six Americans had many trying experiences, and 
were not released until after the armistice; yet all survived 
and, leaving Germany December 8, 1918, returned safely home. 

Dodging a torpedo, which missed her by only ten feet, facing 
a storm of shells and shrapnel, the Nyanza fought until the 



180 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

U-boat keeled over, and went down. This engagement occurred 
thirty miles west of Penmarch, France, on a Sunday morning, 
January 13, 1918. At 9 :30 a periscope, silver plated, was sighted 
1,000 yards away, and at the same instant a torpedo was seen, 
heading for the vessel. The helm was put hard aport, and the 
ship swung clear in time to avoid the torpedo. 

The naval gunners opened fire. Falling astern, the sub- 
marine came to the surface and gave chase, zigzagging and firing 
both her guns, using shrapnel. Chief Gunner's Mate Benjamin 
H. Groves, in reporting the encounter, said : 

At first her shots fell short, but eventually he got our range and hit 
us five times. One shot passed through the after-gun platform, through 
the wood shelter house, through the iron deck, breaking a deck beam, 
exploding in the hold, and passing out through the side of the ship. 
One shot exploded in the armed guard's mess room, wrecking the place 
completely. Two shots exploded in a steam locomotive on deck, doing 
some damage. One shot hit the stern of the ship, but did not go 
through. 

About 11 :15 the submarine had our range good again. The ship 
zigzagged a little, which caused his shots to fall a little to the right or 
left of our ship. At the same time, I had his range and fired four shells 
quick at 7,800 yards, causing him to come broadside to and keel over, 
then suddenly disappeared just as he had our own range good. This 
leads me to think he did not quit from choice, but from necessity. 

The engagement lasted two hours and 30 minutes. I fired 92 rounds, 
and the submarine fired approximately 200. 

Admiral Wilson highly commended the Nyanza's master, her 
second officer and the armed guard, while Admiral Sims wrote : 
1 ' The Nyanza was undoubtedly saved by the prompt work of the 
ship's personnel and by the efficient work of the guns' crew." 

The Navajo had a lively encounter with a submarine in the 
English Channel July 4, 1917, and the court at Havre, which 
investigated the matter, reported to the French Ministry of 
Marine that "the fight was very well conducted," the men show- 
ing "a very fine spirit, doing honor to the American Navy," 
and "the conclusion may be drawn that the submarine was hit 
and probably sunk." Describing the engagement, Chief Boat- 
swain 's Mate H. L. Ham reported : 

On July 4, at 9 :20 a. m., heavy gunfire was heard to starboard and 
shortly afterward the Navajo ran out of the mist and sighted a sub- 



"DO NOT SURRENDER"— "NEVER!" 181 

marine firing on a British topsail schooner about two miles away. The 
Navajo changed her course, the fog shut down again and the "sub" 
was lost sight of. This was about 55 miles northwest of Cape La Hague, 
France. 

About 2:55 p. m. the same day the fog lifted and two shots were 
heard from a point 1,500 yards distant. Upon observation a submarine 
was seen firing with both guns at the Navajo. The first shot dropped 
50 yards short on the starboard beam ; the second one went over the 
ship. The Navajo was swung, bringing the submarine about three points 
on the starboard quarter, and opened fire with her after-gun. 

The submarine fired about 40 shots during the engagement, which 
lasted 40 minutes, one of which hit the Navajo underneath the port 
counter. This shell exploded before hitting the ship and displaced some 
of the plates, causing the Navajo to leak. 

The Navajo in return fired 27 shots, the last two of which were hits. 
The twenty-seventh shot struck the submarine just forward of the 
conning tower where the ammunition hoist was located, causing an ex- 
plosion on board the submarine which was plainly heard on the Navajo. 
The men who were on deck at the guns and had not jumped overboard 
ran aft. The submarine then carted forward at almost 40 degrees and 
the propeller could be seen lashing the air. Nobody was seen coming 
up through the conning tower and jumping into the sea, nor were any 
survivors seen. 

The armed guard commander concluded: "It is my opinion 
that the submarine was sunk." 

The men of the Borinquen were also convinced that they sank 
a U-boat which they encountered in latitude 56°-32 / north, longi- 
tude 10°-46' west, June 4, 1917. Chief Gunner's Mate T. J. Beer- 
man reported: 

Submarine was laying to when first sighted. We think she was 
receiving news from her headquarters. After-gun could not bear on 
her then and while the trainer was training gun around to bear, loader 
fired pistol to wake up men in the shelter house, at the same time hoisting 
our colors. Pointer turned on lights and dropped sights from 500 yards 
to 100 yards. As soon as after-gun could bear she opened fire. I did 
not see the first shot, but petty officer said it went just over top of 
submarine's conning tower. I saw the second shot hit, exploding and 
carrying away the conning tower. She was about three points abaft 
the port beam. 

The ship putting stern to submarine, the third shot was fired about 
astern. I saw it hit and explode. After second shot the submarine 
seemed to be stopped and lay in trough of sea at the mercy of the gun. 
The last seen of her she was going down on swell, listed to port, with 



182 OUE NAVY AT WAR 

her bow sticking in air and her stern down. She was going down in an 
upright position. 

Struck by a torpedo, the Norlina, after " abandon ship" was 
ordered and its men had taken to the boats, manned its guns 
and when the U-boat reappeared, put the enemy out of business. 
This engagement, which took place June 4, 1917, in latitude 
56°-32' north, longitude 10°-46' west, was one of the queerest 
of war incidents. 

At 6 :30 p. m., a man on the forward gun platform shouted, 
"Torpedo!" As the ship turned the torpedo hit just abaft the 
beam, glanced off aft around the stern, and sank. The first 
mate sounded the "abandon ship," signal and the crew made 
for the lifeboats. Lieutenant Commander J. Foster, captain of 
the vessel, three of his mates and the armed guard commander 
remained aboard. Inspecting the vessel, they found it in no 
danger of sinking, and called all hands to return. Chief Boat- 
swain's Mate 0. J. Gullickson, commanding the armed guard, 
reported : 

As boats came alongside, a periscope was sighted off the starboard 
beam. Guns were manned, commenced firing from forward gun, range 
2,000 yards. In the meantime the captain had gotten the engineers 
below and we got under way, heading toward periscope. Continued 
firing from both guns, all shots coming very close to the periscope, sub- 
marine changing speed. 

Suddenly shot from forward gun hit just in front of periscope, 
making it submerge, and a light blue smoke came up from astern of 
the submarine. Periscope appeared again, range now 600 yards, when 
a shot from the after-gun hit it square on the water line, making small 
bits of steel fly, which may have been bursting of shell, and causing a 
great commotion of bubbles, etc., in the water. 

In the meanwhile the captain, seeing the submarine getting closer 
all the time and expecting another torpedo any second, ordered all 
engineers on deck, causing the ship to be absolutely still in the water 
during most of the firing. Hoisted in all boats, laying to from 6:30 
until 9 :05 p. m., seeing no more of submarine, which was apparently 
either sunk or badly damaged. 

"It seems certain that the submarine was either sunk or dis- 
abled," Lieutenant Commander Foster wrote in the ship's log, 
which gave every detail of the encounter. 

On June 8, 1917, when the steamship W. H. Til ford was off 



"DO NOT SURRENDER"— "NEVER!" 183 

Spezia Bay, Italy, a periscope was sighted, 1,500 yards off the 
starboard beam. Twenty rounds were fired rapidly from the 
ship's gun, the armed guard commander reported; and "the 
submarine came to the surface and made for the beach, ' ' where 
an Italian torpedo boat took charge of her. 

Off the Spanish coast, two or three miles from Sabinal 
Point, the Chincha at 7:25, the morning of January 18, 1918, 
sighted an object like an enormous whale. Chief Gunner's Mate 
E. E. Nordquist, commanding the armed guard, had a good look 
at it and decided it was one of the latest type submarines. In 
his report, he said : 

I commenced firing, range 2,200 yards. After third shot all shots 
fired were good. Fired 10 shots, when submarine disappeared. At 8 :15 
submarine again showed itself about 2,000 yards off our starboard quar- 
ter. Commencing firing fifth shot, which caused an explosion and a 
volume of black smoke was seen. Submarine now turned around and 
headed away from us. As submarine did not dive, I continued the fire. 
Although nearly all shots seemed to hit, but five exploded. The fourth 
explosion caused another volume of black smoke. The submarine did 
not try to dive, but seemed to be trying to come up. As I thought she 
was trying to come up for shell fire at us, I kept on firing. 

The submarine now headed for the beach about iy 2 miles away; 
29 shots had been fired at her the second time. One of the last shots 
had hit and exploded close, or at, where her propellers were churning. 
As she was heading for the beach and quite a ways off, I ceased firing. 
The bow swells of the submarine could still be seen, but the churn of 
the propellers had ceased. Shortly all disappeared, about 4,000 yards 
away. 

On March 21, the Chincha, whose armed guard was then com- 
manded by E. D. Arnold, chief boatswain's mate, encountered 
a large type submarine, which was driven off. But one of its 
shots struck the vessel, killing one member of the armed guard, 
and two of the ship 's crew. 

El Occident e had an exciting fight on February 2, the armed 
guard commander, Chief Boatswain's Mate Dow Ripley, report- 
ing that the ship was apparently attacked by two submarines. 
One discharged a torpedo, then came toward the vessel with a 
rush. The Navy gunners got the range, Ripley reported, and 
"as their shots were hitting on top of her, she suddenly disap- 
peared, acting as if in distress." 



184 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

When the Santa Maria was torpedoed, February 25, Chief 
Boatswain 's Mate John Weber and his armed guardsmen stood 
at the guns until the water swept around them. Chief Gunner's 
Mate Joseph E. Reiter and the gunners on the Paulsboro, when 
that vessel was attacked, held their posts while shells burst 
above and shrapnel fell all around them, drove off the U-boat 
and saved the ship. 

Twenty-four men — eight of the armed guard, and 16 of 
the merchant crew — were lost in the sinking of the Motano, 
which was torpedoed the night of July 31, 1917, in the English 
Channel off Portland. The vessel sank in less than a minute 
after she was struck. There was no time to launch life-boats, 
and the men on deck were washed into the sea. 

Survivors of merchant vessels sunk far from land, left in 
open boats to make their way to shore as best they could, under- 
went terrible hardships. When the Rochester was sunk Novem- 
ber 2, 1917, 300 miles from the Irish coast, the second engineer 
and an oiler were killed by the explosion of the torpedo. One 
of the three life-boats was lost. In another four of the crew 
perished before reaching land, and three died later from expo- 
sure. Five men of the armed guard were lost at sea and one 
died after rescue. 

After the sinking of the Actaeon (the ex-German Adam- 
strum), November 24, 1917, a boat containing 19 of the armed 
guard and 6 of the merchant crew became separated from the 
other boats, lost its course, and rowed, sailed and drifted for 
eleven days before it reached Cape Villano, near Coruna, Spain. 
Four men died before reaching shore, three of the armed guard 
and one of the merchant crew. 

The Armenia seemed to afford a special target for the 
U-boats. She was torpedoed on two occasions, but, though badly 
damaged, was, in each instance, safely taken to port and re- 
paired. The night of December 5, 1917, about 20 miles from 
Dartmouth Light, England, a torpedo tore a hole 31 feet long 
and 15 feet wide in the Armenia's port side. Part of the crew 
took to the boats, thinking the ship would sink almost imme- 
diately; but the ship's captain and the head of the armed guard, 
Stief Homiak, chief boatswain's mate, remained aboard. 
Prompt measures were taken to keep the vessel afloat, the armed 



"DO NOT SURRENDER"— " NEVER!" 185 

guard working with the crew. The hole in the side was covered 
with collision mats and other devices to keep out the water, and 
though the hold was flooded, the vessel was successfully navi- 
gated into Dartmouth. Two months later, after repairs were 
completed, the Armenia left Dartmouth, February 8, 1918, for 
West Hartlepool. Shortly after midnight, when about nine 
miles off St. Catherine's Light, Isle of Wight, she was struck 
by a torpedo which opened up a hole 40 by 30 feet, carried away 
the stern-post and propeller and broke the tail-shaft. Tugs 
came from shore and towed the vessel to Stokes Bay, and she 
was again repaired. 

The submarines, particularly in the early months of the war, 
seemed especially anxious to get one of the American liners, 
St. Louis, St. Paul, New York and Philadelphia. Time and 
again, U-boats were sighted, evidently lying in wait for these 
fast steamers. The Philadelphia, on one occasion, sighted a 
periscope only a few hundred yards distant and saw the tor- 
pedo as it left the tube. By quick maneuvering, the steamship 
turned and escaped the missile. The St. Louis had several ex- 
periences with them. Sighting a periscope on the port beam, 
she opened a rapid fire and drove off the U-boat. Another time 
a torpedo was seen only 200 yards away, and then a periscope 
popped up, but by speed and quick maneuvering the liner 
escaped. Again a submarine was sighted three miles distant. 
The St. Louis opened fire and for nearly half an hour there was 
a running fight between "sub" and liner until at last the St. 
Louis sailed out of range. 

There were many instances in which prompt and effective 
gunfire repulsed submarines, and in most cases where the 
U-boat's guns were not of superior range, the ship escaped. 
Thus on July 10, 1917, the Gold Shell drove off a ' ' sub, ' ' as did the 
Dakotan on Sept. 6, 1917. 

The Albert Watts and Westoil, oil tankers, had a thrilling 
encounter Nov. 28, 1917, with two submarines which, when first 
observed, were within 300 yards. Blazing away with all their 
guns, the ships compelled the enemy to dive to escape shelling. 
Then ensued a running fight that continued for four hours. 
Every now and then a periscope would bob up, in an effort to 
get in position to launch torpedoes. But the ships would fire 



186 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

again, and the periscopes disappear. At 10 :30 the Watts struck 
a mine, and was damaged, but remained afloat. The rest of the 
convoy got to port that afternoon, and a few hours later the 
Watts arrived, crippled but still in the game. 

The Westoil had another brush with the enemy March 12, 
1918, when a "sub" appeared some distance astern. After a run- 
ning fight the submarine gave up the contest, though she was 
of big type, and her guns were apparently heavier than those 
of the Westoil. The vessel's fire was too accurate for her; for 
the armed guard commander was a "sure shot," a gun-pointer 
from one of our dreadnaughts who in five years had never 
missed in short-range battle practice. They were "some gun- 
ners," those men of the armed guards ! 

I could fill a book with the exploits of these guards, for the 
Navy furnished guns and gunners to 384 vessels, and this serv- 
ice at one time or another employed 30,000 men. Begun March 
12, 1917, in accordance with the President's order, the arming 
of merchantmen proceeded until nearly every American ship 
crossing the Atlantic was provided with this protection. The 
Bureau of Ordnance scoured the country for all the guns of 
proper calibers that were available, and some were even taken 
from cruisers and older battleships, to be replaced later when 
more could be manufactured. But crews were always ready and 
the guns were secured and installed in record time. Statistics 
compiled by an officer of the Armed Guard Section show that: 

The 384 merchant ships armed made 1832 trans- Atlantic trips while 
in armed guard status. 

347 sightings of enemy submarines were reported. 

227 attacks by submarines were classified as "actual." 

Only 29 ships carrying armed guards were torpedoed and sunk. 

Two ships were sunk by shell-fire, both after long engagements. 

193 attacks were successfully repulsed. 

34 attacks resulted in probable damage to enemy submarines. 

Of the 2,738,026 tons of American merchant shipping armed, only 
166,428 tons was sunk by submarines. As a result of attacks repulsed, 
1,400,000 tons of American shipping were saved. 

Could there be better evidence of the success of this under- 
taking, or the courage and efficiency of the gunners who pro- 
tected our merchant ships ? 



CHAPTEE XVII 
WHEN THE U-BOATS CAME TO AMERICA 

WAR OFF OUR COASTS FROM MAY TO SEPTEMBER, 1918 GERMANS SENT 

SUBMARINES TO INTERRUPT TROOP AND SUPPLY TRANSPORTATION, 
BUT TRANSPORTS WERE SO WELL GUARDED THAT NOT ONE WAS 

ATTACKED OR EVEN DELAYED MANY SCHOONERS AND SOME 

STEAMERS SUNK, BARGES AND LIGHTSHIP SHELLED, BUT GERMANS 
FAILED IN THEIR MAIN OBJECT. 

EUROPE was not the only "war zone." There was war off 
our own coasts from May to September, 1918, and the 
Navy had to protect transports and shipping, to escort 
convoys and hunt submarines on this side of the Atlantic 
as well as off the coasts of Great Britain and France. 

During that period the Navy was as much in active war 
service in home waters as it was in Europe. And our methods 
were quite as successful here as there, for in the entire four 
months in which German submarines operated off our coasts 
not one convoy was attacked, and not one trar sport was delayed 
in sailing. 

Will you ever forget that Sunday, June 2, 1918, when a Ger- 
man submarine suddenly appeared off the New Jersey coast and 
sank six vessels, ending the day with the destruction of the 
passenger steamer Carolina? 

The first news came at 5:30 p. m., from the Ward Liner 
Mexico, which radioed that she had picked up three life-boats 
containing fifty men of the Isabel B. Wiley and other schooners 
that had been sunk. This message was immediately broadcasted 
with a warning to all ships along the coast. Naval vessels were 
at once ordered to the vicinity and patrol craft in that region 
and all along the coast were notified to keep a sharp lookout for 
the submarine. 

The passenger steamer Carolina, en route to New York from 

187 



188 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

Porto Rico, was 13 miles from where the Wiley was sunk, when 
she received the warning at 5:55 o'clock. Darkening her lights, 
she steered due west, putting on full speed. The captain had 
just got his vessel steadied on the new course, when he sighted 
the submarine two miles away. In a moment or two the U-boat 
fired three shells, which landed near the steamer. At the second 
shot the captain stopped his ship. He had ordered the wireless 
operator to send out an "SOS" signal, stating that the vessel 
was attacked by submarine. But, realizing, he said, the useless- 
ness of trying to escape, and fearing if he sent out radio mes- 
sages the U-boat might shell the ship, endangering the lives of 
those aboard, the captain recalled the order. The radio op- 
erator stated that the submarine had wirelessed to him, under 
low power, ' ' If you don 't use wireless I won 't shoot. ' ' That was 
the reason we were so long in getting news of the sinking of 
the Carolina. She sent out no distress signals. 

At his third shot, the submarine bore down on the vessel, 
which was flying the signal "A.B." — abandon ship — and was 
lowering its lifeboats. "Women and children first," was the 
rule, and after they had been placed safely, the men entered the 
boats. As the captain, the last to leave, cleared the ship's side, 
the submarine commander ordered him to make for shore. The 
U-boat fired several shells into the vessel, and she finally sank 
at 7:55 p. m., with the American ensign and signals flying. 
Clouds of fire and steam arose as she went down. 

The Carolina carried 218 passengers, and a crew of 117. All 
got safely into the lifeboats, which were moored head and stern, 
one to the other, except the motor sailer and boat No. 5, and 
all headed for shore, on a westward course. They had smooth 
seas until midnight, when a squall came on with heavy rain and 
lightning. The boats, which were connected by lines, were 
anchored until the storm passed. At daylight they began to pro- 
ceed singly, to make rowing easier. 

At 11 o'clock the storm-tossed survivors sighted a schooner, 
the Eva B. Douglas, which took aboard all that were in sight, 
160 passengers and 94 of the crew. But about noon one boat, 
in attempting to weather the rough seas, capsized, drowning 
seven passengers and six of the crew. There were still three 
boats to be accounted for. The next day, 19 survivors were 



WHEN THE U-BOATS CAME TO AMERICA 189 

picked up and carried to Vineyard Haven, and 18 were rescued 
by the British steamer Appleby, and taken to Lewes, Delaware. 
Lifeboat No. 5 was rowed to shore, and the thousands along the 
Boardwalk were amazed when it came in sight and was landed 
through the surf at Atlantic City. 

That Monday, June 3rd, was one of the busiest days of the 
war in the Navy Department, as it was at naval bases all along 
the Atlantic. The fact that the Germans were operating off 
our shores stirred up not only Washington but the entire 
country. 

Plans for submarine defense had been made out long before, 
and were put into effect. Our patrol force, all along the line, 
was on the job. But hunting a U-boat and capturing it are 
two very different things. 

News and rumors were pouring in, and when I received the 
newspaper correspondents I faced a fire of questions as rapid 
as that of a machine-gun : 

"What is the Navy doing to protect shipping?" 

"Why did it let the submarine sink those vessels?" 

"Have you sunk the U-boat?" 

"What naval vessels have you sent out? What methods are 
they using to get the 'sub'?" 

"How many boats have the Germans sent over?" 

"Have you got enough vessels to protect our coast and 
commerce ? ' ' 

"Will you recall our destroyers from Europe?" 

As I was doing my best to answer the questions of the gentle- 
men of the press, who had a right to know everything that was 
not of advantage to the enemy, telegrams were pouring into the 
Department by the hundred, and the telephones were ringing 
without cessation. In twenty-four hours, 5,000 telegrams, radio 
messages, 'phone calls and other inquiries were handled by the 
Navy. The halls and offices of the Department were thronged 
with anxious people, shippers and ship-owners, friends and rela- 
tives of captains and crews. And everybody wanted in- 
formation. 

There was alarm along the coast, from Cape Cod to Key 
West. If one U-boat was over here, two might be or three or 
more. That was the general feeling. 



190 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

One of the most persistent questions, which came from the 
country, as well as the press, was whether we were going to 
recall our destroyers from Europe — and in many cases this was 
put not as an inquiry but a demand. 

We could not tell the public what we were doing, what ships 
were being sent out, and where. That was just what the Ger- 
mans wanted to know. Most of our destroyers and the best of 
our patrol craft were in European waters, 3,000 miles away, 
performing vital duty against the enemy in England, Ireland, 
France and Italy. We had no idea of recalling them. 

Thousands of vessels would have been required to patrol 
every mile of our long coast-line, and guard all the boats off our 
shores. Our duty was clear. The Germans had sent their 
U-boats across the sea mainly to interrupt the transportation 
of troops and supplies. If they did not succeed in that, their 
coming would have no real military effect. 

"Our first duty," I said to the newspaper men that morn- 
ing, "is to keep open the road to France, to protect troop-ships 
and Army supply vessels. We are doing all we can to protect 
all shipping and commerce, but the safety of troops must be our 
first thought." 

The policy was so well carried out that not one troop-ship 
or cargo transport was delayed in sailing, and the months in 
which enemy submarines operated almost continuously off our 
coasts were the very months in which we broke all records in 
troop transportation. 

The first submarine that came over in 1918 was the U-151, 
and the first craft she sank were three small schooners, the 
Hattie Dunn, Rauppauge and Edna, all sent down by bombs the 
same day, May 25th. To prevent disclosure of her presence, she 
kept the crews of all three, 23 men, imprisoned aboard her, and 
sailed well out at sea, submerging whenever a large vessel was 
sighted, until June 2nd, when she sank three other schooners, 
the Isabel Wiley, Jacob M. Haskell and Edward H. Cole; a small 
steamer, the Winneconne, and late in the afternoon attacked 
the steamships Texel and Carolina. All the Texel's crew were 
saved, but they rowed to shore and the story of her sinking was 
not told until they reached Atlantic City next morning. En 
route from Porto Rico to New York, with a cargo of sugar, the 



WHEN THE U-BOATS CAME TO AMERICA 191 

Texel was stopped at 4:21 p. m. by the firing of shells, one of 
which struck the vessel, and an hour later was sunk by bombs 
placed aboard. 

By sinking only small boats which had no radio apparatus, 
and holding their crews prisoners, the U-151 had for ten days 
concealed her whereabouts. But the Navy had warned shipping 
to be on the lookout, and on May 16th had sent this message 
to all section bases : 

Most Secret: — From information gained by contact with enemy sub- 
marine, one may be encountered anywhere west of 40 degrees west. 
No lights should be carried, except as may be necessary to avoid col- 
lision, and paravanes should be used when practicable and feasible. 
Acknowledge, Commander-in-Chief Atlantic Fleet ; Commander Cruiser 
Force, Commander Patrol Squadron, Flag San Domingo, Governor Vir- 
gin Islands, Commandants 1st to 8th, inclusive, and 15th Naval Dis- 
tricts. 13016. 

Opnav. 

The Department had been notified from London Headquar- 
ters early in May that a large-type submarine had left Germany 
for American waters, and on May 15th, the British steamer 
Huntress reported that she had escaped a torpedo attack in lati- 
tude 34° -28' north, longitude 56° -09' west, about 1,000 miles east 
of Cape Hatteras. Four days later the Nyanza was attacked 
300 miles from our coast; the Jonancy was gunned about 150 
miles at sea, and on May 21st the British steamer Crenelia re- 
ported sighting a submarine. 

This information was disseminated to all section bases, 
coast defense commanders and forces afloat; and in addition to 
the regular patrols, special sub-chaser detachments were organ- 
ized, and ordered to proceed, upon the receipt of any "SOS" 
or "Alio" message, to the vessel attacked or in distress. 

Comprehensive plans for defense, protection of shipping and 
combating the U-boats had been made long previously. Before we 
entered the war a general scheme had been adopted, a patrol 
force and naval districts organized. From that time on we 
had maintained a vigilant lookout for the German craft. A 
special Planning Board had been created in February, 1918, 
to study the situation afresh and recommend any additional 
measures that might be adopted for coast defense, and protec- 



192 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

tion of shipping. These plans, approved March 6, placed coast- 
wise shipping under the control of district commandants, 
district boundaries being, for this purpose, extended seaward 
and sharply denned. On May 4 a circular letter was sent to all 
ship-owners and masters, detailing the procedure they were to 
follow. Commandants were instructed to see that all routing 
preliminaries and shipping requirements and military and com- 
mercial arrangements on shore were made and thoroughly 
understood by all the interests concerned. 

The morning of June 3rd, the order was issued to com- 
mandants, "Assume control of coastwise shipping and handle 
traffic in accordance therewith;" and the following warning 
was sent out : 

Unmistakable evidence enemy submarine immediately off coast be- 
tween Cape Hatteras and Block Island. Vessels not properly convoyed 
advised to make port until further directed. 

A Coastwise Routing Office was organized in the Navy De- 
partment as a part of Naval Operations. Every naval district 
had its arrangement for routing and convoying traffic in and 
through its areas. The commandant made up the convoy, out- 
lined its route, and provided escort through his territory, each 
district in succession relieving the previous escort. Thus naval 
protection was provided for shipping all along the coast. 

Routing offices were also established at Halifax, Nova 
Scotia ; at Havana, San Juan and all leading West Indian ports ; 
and Tampico, Mexico — in fact, eventually at every Atlantic port 
where coastwise shipping was likely to originate. 

Through the Naval Communication Service full information 
as to convoys, rendezvous and other details were sent in code. 
Each ship's master, before sailing, was required to go to the 
routing office and receive written instructions as to the route 
to be followed and areas to be avoided. He was given all the 
latest submarine information and was told of the signals and 
the location of each "speaking station." 

These speaking stations were established at various points 
along the coast. Manned by navy personnel, using a simple 
code of distance signals, they could communicate with ships ,not 
equipped with radio, call vessels into harbor if necessary, and 




From the painting by Frederick J. Waugh 

THE GUN-CREW OF THE LUCKENBACH HAS A FOUR-HOUR FIGHT 
WITH A SUBMARINE 




CHIEF GUNNER'S MATE DELANEY, OF THE CAMPANA, DEFYING 

HIS CAPTORS 



WHEN THE U-BOATS CAME TO AMERICA 193 

divert them from dangerous localities. They performed a valu- 
able function in expediting the flow of shipping from district 
to district, as well as, by prompt action, warning craft in danger. 
Ships at sea received by radio all war warnings and orders, and 
when it was necessary to divert convoys, orders to change course 
could be sent at a moment's notice. Far south were two " re- 
porting" stations. Vessels passing out of the Gulf of Mexico 
coastwise-bound were required to report at Sand Key, those 
northbound through the Old Bahama passage, to report at 
Jupiter. 

Thus escort was provided for vessels through all the areas 
in which submarines were likely to operate, and a system pro- 
vided by which the Navy could keep track of and in touch with 
them from the time they sailed until they reached port. Though 
this necessitated a large fleet of escorting vessels, of which our 
best were at work in Europe, by utilizing all the patrol craft 
that could be secured and our sturdy little sub-chasers, we man- 
aged to provide sufficient escorts. 

It is a notable fact that, while the submarines sank many 
schooners and fishing craft and some steamers proceeding inde- 
pendently, during the entire four months in which the U-boats 
operated in the Western Atlantic not one convoy, coastwise or 
trans-Atlantic, was attacked off the coast of the United States. 

The alarm which occurred when the U-boats first appeared 
quickly subsided. The details of the comprehensive system the 
Navy had put into effect could not then be published. But the 
naval committees of Congress knew, for we could impart this 
information, in confidence, to them. To find out for themselves 
whether the Navy was doing everything possible to protect ship- 
ping and repel the Germans, Senators and Representatives came 
to the Navy Department, and examined all our plans and 
arrangements. 

Senator Lodge well expressed their convictions in his speech 
in the Senate on June 6th, 1918, when he said : 

The Navy and the Navy Department have taken every precaution 
that human foresight could suggest, so far as I am able to judge, and 
I have examined their preparations with such intelligence and care 
as I could give to the matter. * * * 

Mr. President, the Navy and the Navy Department have necessarily 



194 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

anticipated a submarine attack from the very beginning of the war. 
They have had it constantly on their minds. They have tried to make 
every preparation to meet it. I think they have. It would be most 
injurious for me to stand here and follow down the map of the coast 
and tell the Senate and the public exactly what those preparations are 
— tell them where the submarine chasers are, where the destroyers are, 
where the signal stations are, what arrangements they have made for 
meeting the danger when it came, as they were sure it would come. 
No human mind can possibly tell when out of the great waste of waters 
of the Atlantic Ocean a submarine, which travels by night and sub- 
merges by day, will appear. As soon as the Navy had any authentic 
news to indicate the presence of submarines on this coast they acted. 
They will do everything that can be done. They have the means to 
do it. That is all that I feel at liberty to say in a general way. 

Mr. President, for four years the greatest Navy in the world has 
been devoting its strength to the destruction of German submarines. 
They were operating in what are known as the narrow seas, where the 
commerce of the world, we may say, comes together in a closely restricted 
area ; and even there, with the knowledge for years of the presence of 
the German submarines, it is not going too far to say that many of those 
submarines escaped them. They are diminishing now, with our 
assistance. A larger control is being established over the narrow seas, 
and the work against the submarines at the point of the greatest danger 
— what we may call the naval front of this war — is succeeding more than 
many of us dared to hope. It is done by the multiplication of vessels 
and the multiplication of methods, and there is the great center of the 
fight. 

One or two submarines have appeared suddenly on our coast, as 
was to be anticipated. In my judgment, we are doing all that can be 
done. I have taken the pains to go to the Department, where every- 
thing has been laid before the members of the Naval Affairs Committee 
who cared to investigate the subject, and I am entirely satisfied that 
they are doing everything that is possible. But the chase of the sub- 
marine is something like searching for the needle in the haystack. You 
can not tell in which particular wisp of hay it will come to the surface ; 
but that the defense will be effective I have no sort of question. * * * 

We have a patrol along the coast, which is composed chiefly of what 
is known as the Life-Saving Service, or the Coast Guard, as it is now 
known. "We also have an organized system for procuring information 
from fishermen and others on the coast, extending from Maine to the 
Gulf. Those sources of information were organized and in operation 
through the Navy Department at least two years before we entered the 
war, so I believe that so far as our own coasts are concerned the chances 
of a base there are almost negligible. * * * 

I did not rise to go into the details to describe to you the different 
naval districts of the country and what has been done in each one of 



WHEN THE U-BOATS CAME TO AMERICA 195 

them, but simply to tell you what my own opinion is after having exam- 
ined all the arrangements with the utmost care of which I was capable 
and with the most intense interest, and I give my word for what it is 
worth, that in my judgment the Navy and the Navy Department, the 
Secretary and Assistant Secretary, and all the officers, the Chief of 
Staff, and every head of a bureau has done everything that human fore- 
sight could suggest. * * * 

I want the Senate also to remember that when newspaper editorials 
ask what the Navy is doing I should like to have them consider why 
it is that we have sent all the troops we have sent — and we have sent a 
great many thousands — why it is that they have gone to Europe with- 
out the loss of a transport, thank God, as I do. How is it that that has 
happened? It has happened because of the American Navy, which 
furnished the convoys, and no other cause. 

I wish I could go on and tell you what the American Navy has been 
doing in the narrow seas. I can not. The Navy has remained largely 
silent about its work and its preparation, and it is one of the best things 
about it, but it has been doing the greatest possible work everywhere. 
It has not failed in convoying the troops. It has not failed in its work 
in the Baltic and the Channel and the coast of France and the Medi- 
terranean, and it will not fail here. It will do everything that courage 
and intelligence and bravery can possibly do. 

In addition to the elusive U-boat, mines laid by the "subs" 
also proved a constant danger, quite as much as gunfire, bombs 
and torpedoes. The afternoon of June 3, the tanker Herbert L. 
Pratt struck a mine two and a half miles off Overfalls lightship, 
and sank. But she was not in deep water, and was quickly sal- 
vaged and towed to Philadelphia. Late that evening at 6 
o'clock, the U-151, in another locality, overhauled and sank the 
Sam C. Mengel. The first officer, John W. Wilkins, stated that 
when the crew were leaving the schooner, the German boarding- 
officer shook hands with them, and exclaimed : 

' ' Send Wilson out here and we will finish him in ten minutes. 
Wilson is the only one prolonging the war. ' ' 

Next morning an "SOS" call came from the French tanker 
Radioleine, "attacked by submarine." The coast torpedo-boat 
Hull (Lieutenant R. S. Haggart), rushed to her assistance. Zig- 
zagging and firing her stern-gun, the steamer was putting up 
a good defense, though shells were falling around her. But 
before the Hull could get within firing distance, the U-boat dived 
and scurried off. As the Radioleine, relieved, sailed away, the 
Hull picked up the crew of the schooner Edward R. Baird, Jr., 



196 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

which had been bombed two hours before, but was still afloat, 
though water-logged, with decks awash. 

Moving around from point to point, in the next week the 
U-151 sank six steamships, one an American steamer, the Pinar 
Del Rio, and then headed for Germany. 

Naval vessels were on the lookout all the time. But when 
the submarine did attack any craft which had radio, it prevented 
them, if possible, from sending out signals or messages of dis- 
tress. This was a great handicap to the naval commanders, as 
it prevented them from knowing where the U-boat was operat- 
ing. The moment a periscope was reported, they speeded for 
the scene. 

As it departed for home, the submarine attacked two British 
steamers, the Llanstephan Castle and Keemun, both of which 
escaped, and later sank two Norwegian barks, the Samoa and 
Kringsjaa, 150 miles at sea. Though sighted several times by 
merchantmen, the U-151 made no further attacks until June 
18th, when she torpedoed the British steamship Dwinsk, far out 
in the Atlantic. The vessel remained afloat and two hours later 
was sunk by gunfire. 

Soon afterward the U. S. S. Von Steuben arrived on the 
scene and bore down on the lifeboats. The submarine fired a 
torpedo at her, but the cruiser transport avoided the deadly mis- 
sile, and blazed away at the "sub's" periscope. She fired 19 
shots and dropped numerous depth-charges. But the U-boat 
submerged and got away and three days later, about 200 miles 
further east, sank the Belgian Chiller. The Norwegian steamer 
Augvald was sunk June 23. This was the last vessel sunk, 
though the submarine made several unsuccessful attacks on 
British and American ships. 

The U-151 reached Germany August 1, having left Kiel 
April 14. In a cruise of nearly three months she had sunk 
23 vessels, of 59,000 gross tons. Some submarines in European 
waters had destroyed that much tonnage in a week or two. 

But this was only the beginning of submarine operations. 
The U-156, commanded by Kapitan-Leutnant von Oldenburg, 
left Germany for America June 15, and on July 5 attacked, 
almost in mid-Atlantic, the U. S. S. Lake Bridge, which after a 
running fight outdistanced her. 



WHEN THE U-BOATS CAME TO AMERICA 197 

Her first appearance in our waters was on July 21st, when 
she bobbed up near Cape Cod, Mass., and attacked the tug Perth 
Amboy and four barges in tow. Three torpedoes were fired 
at the tug, it was stated. A shell crashed through the wheel- 
house, and cut off the hand of a sailor as he grasped the spokes 
of the steering wheel. The tug on fire, the German turned his 
attention to the barges, and kept firing away until several men 
were wounded and the helpless craft went down. Three women 
and five children were aboard the barges. They, with the crews, 
were reached by boats from Coast Guard Station No. 40, and 
landed at Nauset Harbor. 

Seaplanes from the Chatham naval air station flew to the 
scene and attacked the submarine, dropping aerial bombs. 
Though the haze obscured the view, bombs fell very near the 
U-boat, and one or two, it was reported, actually struck her but 
failed to explode. Not relishing this attack from the air, the 
German submerged and started for Canadian waters. 

Sinking a fishing schooner 60 miles southeast of Cape Por- 
poise, and burning another near the entrance to the Bay of 
Fundy, the raider turned her attention to the fishing fleet around 
Seal Island, Nova Scotia, sinking four American schooners and 
three Canadians. She also sank the Canadian tanker Luz 
Blanca and the Swedish steamer Sydland. On August 11 the 
British steamship Penistone was torpedoed and sunk, her mas- 
ter, David Evans, taken prisoner, and the Herman Winter, an 
American steamer, was attacked, but escaped uninjured. Sail- 
ing southward the U-boat, a week later, sank the San Jose, and 
Evans was released and allowed to get into a lifeboat with the 
Norwegian crew. 

The U-156 then went northward again, and on August 20 
captured the Canadian steam trawler Triumph, and armed her 
as a raider, placing a German crew aboard. Operating together, 
they sank a dozen schooners in Canadian waters. Sinking the 
Canadian schooner Gloaming, on August 26, the U-156 started 
on her homeward voyage. The only attack she made returning 
was unsuccessful, an encounter on August 31 with the U. S. S. 
West Haven, which drove her off. 

Beginning by attacking barges and tugs, devoting most of 
her time to sinking small fishing craft, the U-156 met an in- 



198 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

glorious end in the Northern Mine Barrage. Attempting to 
"run" the barrage, she struck a mine and sank so quickly that, 
apparently, many of her men did not have time to escape. 
Twenty-one survivors were landed on the Norwegian Coast ; the 
fate of the rest of the crew is unknown. It seems like fate that 
this raider which destroyed so many helpless little American 
vessels should have been sent down by that creation which was 
mainly American, the great barrage which, 3,500 miles from 
this country, stretched across the North Sea. 

At the same time the U-156 was slaying fishing craft in the 
north, another German submarine, commanded by Korvetten- 
Kapitan Kophamel, the U-140, was operating in southern 
waters. Leaving Kiel June 22, only a week after the U-156, this 
big undersea boat began work almost in mid-ocean July 18, gun- 
ning the American tanker Joseph Cudahy. On the 26th she fired 
on two British vessels, and later on the Kermanshah. All these 
attacks were unsuccessful, but she succeeded in sinking the Por- 
tuguese bark Porto, and on August 1 the Japanese steamship 
Tokuyama was torpedoed 200 miles southeast of New York. 

The U-140 had a long and hot fight, before she sank, August 
4th, her first American vessel, the tanker 0. B. Jennings, Cap- 
tain George W. Nordstrom, master; one man being killed and 
several wounded, before the ship was sent down. Then the 
U-140, sinking a schooner on the way, headed for Diamond 
Shoals, on the North Carolina coast, near Cape Hatteras. 

The Merak, a Dutch steamship taken over by the Americans, 
was sailing along at eight knots, when, at 1:40 p. m., a shot 
crossed her bow. Putting about, the Merak made for shore, 
zigzagging, the submarine pursuing, firing a shell a minute. 
After the thirtieth shot, the Merak ran aground and her crew 
took to the boats. The Germans boarded the steamer, bombed 
her, and then turned their attention to other vessels. Three 
were in sight, the steamers Beucleuch and Mariner's Harbor, 
and the Diamond Shoals lightship. 

First they turned their guns on the lightship. Unarmed, with 
no means of defense, this vessel of 590 tons was of the same 
type as the other ships which are stationed at various points 
along the coast to keep their lights burning and warn mariners 
off dangerous points. To destroy one of these coast sentinels is 



WHEN THE U-BOATS CAME TO AMERICA 199 

like shooting down a light-house. But the Germans evidently 
thought its destruction would cause a shock and arouse indigna- 
tion, if nothing else. So they shot down the sentinel of Diamond 
Shoals, while the lightships' crew took to the boats and saved 
their lives by rowing to shore. Then the U-140 attacked the 
Beucleuch, but the British steamer was too fast for her, and in 
the meantime the Mariner's Harbor, too, had escaped. 

No more was heard of the U-140 until August 10, when she 
attacked the Brazilian steamer Uberaba. The destroyer String- 
ham went at once to the steamship's assistance and drove off 
the enemy. The Brazilians later presented the destroyer with 
a silk American flag and a silver loving-cup, to express their 
thanks for the timely aid given by the Stringham in saving the 
Uberaba from destruction. 

After a brush with the U. S. S. Pastores, whose gunfire 
proved too hot to face, the U-140 proceeded several hundred 
miles north, keeping well out at sea, and was not heard from for 
a week. Then on August 21, after a gunfire contest, she sank 
the British steamer Diomed, and the next night attacked the 
Pleiades, an American cargo vessel, whose shots fell so close 
around the submarine that it was glad to get away. 

That was the last experience, near our coast, of the U-140, 
which was already headed for Germany. She had been dam- 
aged, whether by our shells or depth-bombs, or from some other 
cause could not be ascertained. Her passage was slow until she 
was joined by the U-117, September 9. They proceeded in com- 
pany toward Germany, the U-140 reaching Kiel October 25. 

The U-117, a mine-layer of large type, commanded by Kapi- 
tan-Leutnant Droscher, had left Germany early in July, and 
her first exploit on this side of the Atlantic was a raid on the 
fishing fleet, near George's Bank, a hundred miles or more east 
of Cape Cod. In one day, August 10th, she sank nine little 
schooners of 18 to 54 tons. Coming nearer shore, she torpedoed 
and sank the Norwegian steamer Sommerstadt, 25 miles south- 
east of Fire Island. The torpedo made a circle around the ves- 
sel and returning, exploded, her master, Captain George Han- 
sen, declared, saying : 

The torpedo went about 1,300 fathoms on the starboard side; then 
it started to turn to the left. When I saw the torpedo start to swerve 



200 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

around, I gave orders for full speed ahead. After it passed the bow it 
made two turns, making a complete circle, and then struck our vessel aft 
on the port side exactly between the third and fourth holds, right at the 
bulkhead. 

The next afternoon the Frederick R. Kellogg, an American 
tanker, was torpedoed 30 miles south of Ambrose Channel light- 
ship. The torpedo struck in the engine-room, and the ship went 
down in fifteen seconds, her master, Captain C. H. White, stated. 
Two steel decks and a wooden deck were blown up, and a lifeboat 
was blown in the air. The engineer, his third assistant, one fire- 
man and an oiler were killed or drowned. The ship sank in 
shallow water, however, and was later raised, towed to port and 
repaired. 

The submarine sank the schooner Dorothy B. Barrett and the 
motor-ship Madrugada, and on the 17th sent down, 120 miles 
southeast of Cape Henry, the Nordhav, a Norwegian bark, 
whose survivors were rescued by the battleship Kearsarge. 
The U-117 had a long combat on August 20, with the Italian 
steamer Ansaldo III, the steamer escaping after a gun duel that 
lasted nearly three hours, and the next day had another running 
fight with the British Thespis, which was also unsuccessful. 

The final exploit of the U-117 on this side of the ocean was 
the sinking of two Canadian schooners on August 30th. She 
then started across the Atlantic, ten days later joining the 
U-140. 

It was not until early in August that the Deutschland, which 
had made two trips to the United States as a commercial sub- 
marine in 1916, left Germany for American waters. Her opera- 
tions were mainly far out at sea or in Canadian waters, and 
she never came within 200 or 300 miles of the United States 
coast. 

Renamed the U-155, the Deutschland began her activities 
on this expedition on August 27, 1918, when she attacked the 
American steamship Montoso almost in mid-Atlantic. It was 
at night, about 9 o'clock, when the Montoso and the Rondo and 
Ticonderoga, which were with her, opened fire. The submarine 
fired several shots, but the guns of our vessels drove it off. 

Five days later the Deutschland attacked the U. S. S. Frank 
H. Buck, opening fire with two six-inch guns. Firing first with 



WHEN THE U-BOATS CAME TO AMERICA 201 

its 3-inch forward gun, then putting into action its six-incher, 
the Buck made a vigorous reply. Her shots were falling close 
to the "sub," but enemy shrapnel was bursting above the vessel 
and falling on deck. The Buck reported that one of her shots 
apparently hit right at the stern of the U-boat and another for- 
ward of the conning tower, under the water line. The submarine 
then disappeared. She seemed to have been damaged, but not 
enough to put her out of commission, for on September 2nd she 
sank the Norwegian steamer Shortind and on the 7th chased 
and shelled the British steamship Monmouth. Five days later 
she torpedoed the Portuguese steamer Leixoes, three of the crew 
being lost, one going down with the ship and two dying of cold 
and exposure in the lifeboats. 

September 13th was an unlucky day for the Deutschland, for 
in a gunfire contest with the armed British merchantman Newby 
Hall, she was struck by a shell which exploded and temporarily 
put out of action her forward gun. For the next week she seems 
to have devoted her attention to mine-laying, off Halifax and 
the Nova Scotian coast. Then she sank a small steam trawler, 
the Kingfisher, and on Sept. 29th unsuccessfully attacked the 
British steamer Reginolite. On October 3 and 4, she sank the 
Italian steamship Alberto Treves and the British schooner 
Industrial. 

At 10 a. m., Oct. 12th, the Deutschland attacked the Ameri- 
can steamship Amphion, formerly the German Koln. Her 
second shot carried away the steamer's wireless. Then ensued 
a gunfire contest that lasted more than an hour, the submarine 
firing some 200 shots and the Amphion 72. The Amphion was 
hit time and again, her lifeboats were riddled, and her super- 
structure damaged, but she gradually drew off and the U-boat 
abandoned the chase. 

The last American steamer sunk during the war was the 
Lucia, known as the "non-sinkable" ship — and the reports indi- 
cate that it was the Deutschland that sank her. The Lucia, a 
U. S. Shipping Board vessel used as an army cargo transport, 
had been fitted up with buoyancy boxes. There was consider- 
able interest in this experiment, proposed and carried out by 
the Naval Consulting Board, accounts of which had been widely 
published. These boxes did not render the vessel unsinkable, 



202 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

but it is a significant fact that she remained afloat twenty-two 
hours after she was torpedoed. 

It was 5 :30 p. m., October 17, when the torpedo struck in the 
engine-room, killing four men. Though the submarine was not 
seen, the naval armed guard stood at their guns, which were 
trained in the direction from which the torpedo came. The 
civilian crew took to the life-boats as the vessel settled slowly. 
The gunners remained aboard until 1 :30 o 'clock the next after- 
noon, when the seas were breaking over the gun platform. The 
Lucia did not finally disappear beneath the waves until 3:20 
p. m., October 18th. 

After sinking the Lucia, the former Deutschland cruised 
towards the Azores, and did not reach Kiel until November 15, 
four days after the armistice. 

There was one other submarine assigned to operate in 
American waters, and which started out from Kiel, late in 
August, for this purpose. This was the U-152, a large craft of 
the Deutschland type, commanded by Kapitan-Leutnant Franz. 
Though she never got within hundreds of miles of our coast, on 
September 30th she sank the animal transport Ticonderoga, 
and caused the largest loss of life any of our ships sustained in 
action. But this took place in the Eastern Atlantic, latitude 
43°-05' north, longitude 38°-43' west, nearer Europe than Amer- 
ica. It was the U-152 with which the U. S. S. George G. Henry 
had a two-hour running fight on September 29th, in which the 
Henry came off victor. This was not far from the point where 
the Ticonderoga went down. 

The nearest point she came to the United States was on 
October 13th, when she sank the Norwegian bark Stifinder, in 
latitude 37° -22' north, longitude 53° -30' west, 600 miles or more 
from our coast. 

Next to attacking vessels, the most menacing activity of the 
U-boats was mine-laying. They sowed mines at various points 
from Cape Hatteras to Nova Scotia and mine-fields were dis- 
covered off Fire Island, N. Y. ; Barnegat, N. J. ; Five Fathom 
Bank, near the entrance to Delaware River ; Fenwick Island, off 
the Delaware Coast; Winter Quarter Shoal and the Virginia 
Capes, and Wimble Shoals, near the North Carolina coast. 
Single mines were picked up at other points. 



WHEN THE U-BOATS CAME TO AMERICA 203 

Every protective measure possible was employed against 
them. A fleet of mine-sweepers was constantly engaged in 
sweeping channels and entrances to harbors, and every point 
where there was reason to believe mines might be laid. Fifty- 
nine vessels were engaged in this duty, most of them assigned 
to the districts which handled the largest volume of shipping. 

Naval vessels and the larger merchantmen carried paravanes, 
which swept up mines and carried them off from the vessel, 
where they could be destroyed. But even the paravanes were 
not always effective. 

It was one of these floating mines which sank the cruiser 
San Diego July 19, 1918, off Fire Island. The battleship Min- 
nesota struck one of them at night, September 29th, at 3:15 
a. m., twenty miles from Fenwick Island Shoals lightship. 
Though the explosion, under her starboard bow, seriously dam- 
aged the hull and flooded the forward compartments, the Min- 
nesota proceeded to port under her own steam, arriving at 7 :45 
p. m. at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, where she was docked 
and repaired. 

The British steamship Mirlo was blown up off Wimble Shoal 
buoy, near Cape Hatteras, at 3 :30 p. m., August 16th. The ship, 
which was loaded with gasoline, took fire, and one explosion 
after another occurred, breaking the vessel in two. The San 
Saba, formerly the Colorado, was sunk off Barnegat, October 
4th. Struck amidships, the vessel practically broke in two, and 
sank in fire minutes. The Chaparra, a Cuban steamer, was 
blown up ten miles from Barnegat Light, October 27th. 

The U. S. cargo steamer Saetia (Lieutenant Commander W. 
S. Lynch), bound for Philadelphia from France, was sunk by a 
mine on November 9th, two days before the armistice. The ship 
was ten miles southeast of Fenwick Island Shoals when an ex- 
plosion occurred under No. 2 hatch, which shattered the vessel 
and sent it down. Besides the crew there were aboard 11 army 
officers and 74 soldiers. All were rescued. 

Enemy mines, scattered, as they were, over a thousand miles, 
would undoubtedly have taken a much greater toll of shipping 
if the Navy had not been so energetic in sweeping mines and 
destroying them whenever they appeared. 

Summarizing the entire operations of German submarines 



204 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

which were assigned to American waters, 79 vessels were sunk 
by gunfire or bombs. Of these 17 were steamers, the others 
being sailing vessels, most of them small schooners and motor 
boats. Of the 14 steamers torpedoed, but two were American, 
the Ticonderoga and Lucia, both of which were sunk far out in 
the Atlantic, hundreds of miles from our shores. Of the seven 
vessels mined, one, the Minnesota, got to port under her own 
steam, and another, the tanker Herbert L. Pratt, was salvaged, 
both being repaired and put back into service. Several vessels 
sunk or bombed by submarine were later recovered and repaired, 
including the big steamer Frederick R. Kellogg. 

Only nine American steamers were lost by submarine ac- 
tivities in American waters — the Winneconne, 1,869 tons; Texel, 
3,210; Carolina, 5,093; Pinar del Rio, 2,504; 0. B. Jennings, 
10,289; Merak (ex-Dutch), 3,024 tons, all destroyed by direct 
attack; and the San Diego, 13,680 tons displacement; the San 
Saba, 2,458, and the Saetia, 2,873 gross tons, sunk by mines — a 
total tonnage of 45,000. 

In their chief mission of preventing transportation to 
Europe, the U-boats failed utterly. The flow of troops, sup- 
plies and munitions to France and England was not for a 
moment interrupted. In fact, it was precisely this period in 
which it was increased, and we transported to Europe over 
300,000 soldiers per month. 

Not one troop-convoy was even attacked. So well were all 
convoys protected by naval escort that the submarines avoided 
them. Furthermore, they avoided all naval vessels and when 
one was sighted, the ''sub" instantly submerged, usually when 
the man-of-war was miles away. This made it difficult for our 
ships even to get a shot at them. 

They had thousands of miles of water to cruise in, and could 
choose their own field of operations. Driven from one point, 
they shifted to another, often disappearing for days, then 
emerging in some locality hundreds of miles from where they 
were last seen. If the U-boats were generally able to elude for 
months the thousands of British, French and American patrol 
and escort craft in narrow European waters, how much more 
difficult it was to run down the few, on this side of the ocean, 
who could range from Nova Scotia to the Gulf of Mexico. 



WHEN THE U-BOATS CAME TO AMERICA 205 

Though we needed the best and all the patrol craft we could 
get, not one of our destroyers or any other vessel was recalled 
from Europe. In fact, more were sent over to reinforce them. 
Operating for .months with submarines of the largest type, the 
Germans failed to achieve any real military success, and while 
they sank many small craft and a substantial amount of ocean 
shipping, and cut a few cables, their raids on the American 
coast had no effect whatever upon the trend of the war. 



CHAPTER XVIII 
MARINES STOPPED DRIVE ON PARIS 

THROWN INTO THE BREACH WITH OTHER AMERICANS IN CHATEAU- 
THIERRY SECTOR, THEY HALTED GERMANS FIGHTING DESPERATELY 

FOR DAYS, MARINES CLEARED BELLEAU WOOD CAPTURE OF BLANC 

MONT RIDGE, THE KEY TO RHEIMS CROSSED THE MEUSE UNDER 

HEAVY FIRE THE MORNING OF THE ARMISTICE — IN GERMANY IN 
ARMY OF OCCUPATION. 

ENTER the Marines! 
It was the evening of Memorial Day, May 30, 1918, 
that they were ordered to the most critical point in the 
battle lines. Paris was threatened more sorely than it 
had been since the Battle of the Marne. The Germans were 
only forty miles away. Hurdling the Chemin-des-Dames, taking 
Soissons, they had overcome the strongest French defenses, and 
were moving on at the rate of five or six miles a day. Capture 
of the city seemed imminent. Parisians by thousands were 
trekking to safer abodes. Archives were packed ; preparations 
made to move government offices and set up a temporary capital 
in the southwest. 

To the rescue came the Americans — the Second Division, 
which included the Marines; and elements of the Third and 
Twenty-eighth Divisions. "Move at 10 p. m. by bus to new 
area," was the order received by the Fifth and Sixth Marine 
Regiments, and the Sixth Machine-Gun Battalion. Seventy-five 
miles from the field, they had to travel in camions, not even 
the officers knowing their ultimate destination. But all were in 
happy mood, sure they were bound for the front. 

The roads were crowded with French, men, women and 
children hurrying away from the battle lines, seeking safety. 
Only the Americans rode ahead — always forward. They had 

206 



MARINES STOPPED DRIVE ON PARIS 207 

no tanks, gas-shells, or flame projectors. They were untried in 
open warfare and they had to go up against Germany's best 
troops. The French hesitated to risk all to them in the crisis. 

"Let us fight in our own way," said General Harbord, "and 
we will stop them." 

Permission was granted. In their own way they fought and 
won. Colonel (later Brigadier General) A. W. Catlin, who com- 
manded the Sixth Regiment, showed his officers the map, in- 
dicating the points to be held, and the maps were passed around 
to the men so they would have all the information available. 
"I hold," said he, "that men like ours fight none the worse for 
knowing just what they are fighting for. ' ' One secret of Marine 
efficiency in combat is the comradeship between officers and men. 
"Theirs not to reason why" has no place in their vocabulary. 

When they arrived, June 1st, the Marines were told to "dig 
in." As tools they used bayonets and the lids of their mess- 
gear. "Say, you'd be surprised to know just how much digging 
you can do under those circumstances," remarked Private 
Geiger afterwards as he lay wounded in a hospital. "Bullets 
and shrapnel came from everywhere. You'd work until it 
seemed you couldn 't budge another inch, when a shell would hit 
right close and then you'd start digging with as much energy 
as if you had just begun. ' ' 

At ten o'clock, on June 2nd, they were ordered to back up 
the overtaxed French. It was the second battalion of the Fifth 
Marines, and particularly the 55th Company, which bore the 
brunt of the assault at Les Mares Ferme, the point where the 
Germans came nearest Paris. 

The 55th Company had orders to take position one and a 
half kilometers northeast of Marigny. The French, a few kil- 
ometers ahead, were reported falling back, and soon began 
filtering through. The enemy attack was launched at 5 p. m. 
against the French who had remained in front of Wise's bat- 
talion at Hill 165. The Germans swept down the wide wheat 
fields. The French, pressed back, fought as they retreated. 

Neville's Fifth Marines opened up with a slashing barrage, 
mowing down the Germans. Trained marksmen, sharp- 
shooters, they calmly set their sights and aimed with the same 
precision they had shown upon the rifle ranges at Parris Island 



208 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

and Quantico. The French said they had never seen such marks- 
manship in the heat of battle. Incessantly their rifles cracked, 
and with their fire came the support of the artillery. The ma- 
chine-guns, pouring forth a hail of bullets, also began to make 
inroads in the advancing lines. Caught in a seething wave of 
scattering shrapnel, machine-gun and rifle fire, the Germans 
found further advance would be suicide. The lines hesitated, 
then stopped. The enemy broke for cover, while the Marines 
raked the woods and ravines in which they had taken refuge. 

Above, a French airplane was checking up on the artillery 
fire. Surprised at seeing men set their sights, adjust their 
range, and fire deliberately at an advancing foe, each man pick- 
ing his target, not firing merely in the direction of the enemy, 
the aviator signaled "Bravo!" In the rear that word was 
echoed again and again. The German drive on Paris had been 
stopped. 

The next few days were devoted to pushing forth outposts 
and testing the strength of the enemy. The fighting had 
changed. Mystified at running against a stone wall of defense 
just when they believed that their advance would be easiest, the 
Germans had halted, amazed. Put on the defensive, they strove 
desperately to hold their lines. Belleau Wood had been planted 
thickly with nest after nest of machine-guns. In that jungle of 
trees, matted underbrush, of rocks, of vines and heavy foliage, 
the Germans had placed themselves in positions they believed 
impregnable. Unless they could be routed and thrown back 
the breaking of the attack of June 2 would mean nothing. There 
would come another drive and another. The battle of Chateau- 
Thierry was not won and could not be won until Belleau Wood 
had been cleared of the enemy. 

On June 6, the Americans began the assault on that wood 
and the strategic positions adjacent, the towns of Torcy and 
Bouresches being the objectives. At 5 p. m. the Marines at- 
tacked. It was a desperate task. Before they started, their 
officers cheered them. "Give 'em hell!" was the command 
Colonel Catlin is said to have given. They gave it to them, but 
paid a heavy price in blood. As the Marines advanced, the 
German artillery let loose a storm of fire. Men on every hand 
were killed or injured. Brave Berry was struck in the arm, but 



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MARINES STOPPED DRIVE ON PARIS 209 

with the blood streaming from his sleeve, he kept on until ex- 
hausted. Just as daring Sibley's men reached the edge of the 
woods a sniper's bullet hit Colonel Catlin in the chest. Severely 
wounded, he was relieved in command by Lieutenant Colonel 
Harry Lee. 

But the lines never halted or wavered. Fighting strictly 
according to American methods, a rush, a halt, a rush again, 
in four-wave formation, the rear waves taking over the work 
of those who had fallen before them, the Marines moved ever 
forward. Passing over the bodies of their dead comrades, they 
plunged ahead. They might be torn to bits, but behind them 
were more waves, and the attack went on. 

"Men fell like flies," reported an officer writing from the 
field. Companies that had entered the battle 250 strong dwindled 
to fifty and sixty, with a sergeant in command; but the attack 
did not falter. At 9 :45 o 'clock that night Bouresches was taken 
by Lieutenant James F. Robertson and twenty-odd men of his 
platoon. They were soon joined by reinforcements. The enemy 
made counter attacks, but the Marines held the town. Leading 
his men through the machine-gun fire, Captain Donald Duncan, 
of the 96th Company, was killed. 

In Belleau "Wood the fighting had been literally from tree to 
tree, stronghold to stronghold; and it was a fight which must 
last for weeks before victory was complete. Every rocky forma- 
tion was a German machine-gun nest, almost impossible to reach 
by artillery or grenades. There was only one way to wipe out 
these nests — by the bayonet. And by this method were they 
wiped out, for United States Marines, bare-chested, shouting 
their battle cry of "E-e-e-e-e y-a-a-h-h-h yip!" charged straight 
into the murderous fire from those guns and won ! Out of those 
that charged, in more than one instance, only one would reach 
the stronghold. There, with his bayonet as his only weapon, 
he would kill or capture the defenders and then, swinging the 
gun about, turn it against remaining German positions. 

Fighting in that forest of horror for eighteen days, the 
Marines on June 25 began the last, rush for possession of the 
wood. Following a tremendous barrage, the struggle started. 
The barrage literally tore the woods to pieces, but could not 
wipe out all the nests. They had to be taken by the bayonet. 



210 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

But in the day that followed every foot of Belleau Wood was 
cleared of the enemy. On June 26th Major Shearer sent the 
message: "Woods now U. S. Marine Corps entirely." 

In the terrific fighting in that month, the Marine Corps lost 
1,062 men killed, and 3,615 wounded. Hundreds of Germans 
were captured. In the final assault, Major Shearer's command 
alone took 500 prisoners. General Pershing sent a telegram of 
commendation on June 9, and, visiting division headquarters, 
sent his personal greetings to the Marine Brigade, adding that 
Marshal Foch had especially charged him to give the Brigade 
his love and congratulations on its fine work. 

Division General Degoutte, commanding the Sixth French 
Army, on June 30 issued a general order that, henceforth, in 
all official papers, Belleau Wood should be named, "Bois de la 
Brigade de Marine. " It was thereafter known as the "Wood 
of the Marines." 

General Pershing in his final report said: 

The Second Division then in reserve northwest of Paris and pre- 
paring to relieve the First Division, was hastily diverted to the vicinity 
of Meaux on May 31, and, early on the morning of June 1st, was de- 
ployed across the Chateau-Thierry-Paris road near Montreuil-aux-Lions 
in a gap in the French line, where it stopped the German advance. 

Praise and full credit are due the other troops in that sector 
— the Third Division whose machine-gun battalion held the 
bridge-head at the Marne, and whose Seventh Regiment fought 
for several days in Belleau Wood; the artillery and engineers 
who supported every advance ; and all who were engaged in the 
Chateau-Thierry sector. Though the principal honors went to 
the Second Division and the Marines, all the Americans in that 
region fought well and nobly. 

President Wilson said they "closed the gap the enemy had 
succeeded in opening for their advance on Paris," and, driving 
back the Germans, began "the rout that was to save Europe 
and the world." Mayors of the Meaux district, who, as they 
stated, were eye-witnesses of the American Army's deeds in 
stopping the enemy advance, formally expressed their admira- 
tion and gratitude, and Mayor Lugol, in transmitting the resolu- 
tion, June 26th, wrote : 



MARINES STOPPED DRIVE ON PARIS 211 

The civilian population of this part of the country will never forget 
that the beginning of this month of June, when their homes were 
threatened by the invader, the Second American Division victoriously 
stepped forth and succeeded in saving them from impending danger. 

After personal investigation, and study of the area, Melville 
E. Stone, manager of the Associated Press, declared that in 
spite of heavy losses, the Americans engaged in the operations 
at and around Chateau-Thierry did three things: 

1. They saved Paris. 

2. They seriously injured the morale of the best German troops. 

3. They set a standard for American troops that none others dared 
to tarnish. 

General Omar Bundy, commanding the Second Division, in 
General Order No. 41, issued July 10, said : 

You stood like a stone wall against the enemy advance on Paris. 

You have engaged and defeated with great loss three German 

divisions, and have occupied the important strong-points of the Belleau 
Woods, Bouresches, and Vaux. You have taken about 1,400 prisoners, 
many machine guns and much other material. 

General Petain, Commander-in-Chief of the French Armies 
of the North and Northeast, issued a general order citing and 
commending the Marines, mentioning by name Brigadier Gen- 
eral James G. Harbord, commanding the Fourth Brigade ; Colo- 
nel Wendell C. Neville, commanding the Fifth Regiment ; Colonel 
A. W. Catlin, commanding the Sixth Regiment, and Major Ed- 
ward B. Cole, commanding the Sixth Machine Gun Battalion. 
Colonel Neville commanded the Fifth through all these opera- 
tions, fighting with his men in Belleau Wood. When Colonel 
Catlin was wounded, he was, as I have stated, succeeded in com- 
mand of the Sixth by Lieutenant Colonel Harry Lee, who con- 
tinued to command that regiment to the end of the war. When, 
leading his machine-gunners, Major Edward B. Cole fell, mor- 
tally wounded, on June 10th, Captain Harlan E. Major took 
charge. A day or two later he was relieved by Captain George 
H. Osterhout, and on June 21st Major Littleton W. T. Waller, 
Jr., took command of the Sixth Machine-Gun Battalion. 

The real beginning of the great series of offensives which 



212 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

finally routed the German armies and brought complete victory 
to the Allies, was when Marshal Foch, on July 18, with picked 
troops made a vigorous thrust at the Germans near Soissons, 
with overwhelming success. The First and Second U. S. Divi- 
sions and the French Moroccan Division were employed as the 
spearhead of the main attack. 

At a single bound they broke through the enemy's infantry 
defenses, overran his artillery, and cut the German communica- 
tions. The Second Division took Beaurepaire Farm and Vierzy 
in a rapid advance, and at the end of the second day was in 
front of Tigny, having captured 3,000 prisoners and 66 field- 
guns. ' ' The story of your achievements, ' ' said General Harbord, 
"will be told in millions of homes in all Allied lands tonight." 

"Due to the magnificent dash and power displayed by our 
First and Second Divisions, the tide of war was definitely turned 
in favor of the Allies," said General Pershing. Soissons was 
relieved, and the Germans began a general withdrawal from the 
Marne. General Harbord was in command of the Second Divi- 
sion, Colonel Neville of the Marine Brigade; Colonel Logan 
Feland of the Fifth Regiment, Colonel Lee of the Sixth, and 
Major Waller of the Machine-Gun Battalion in this operation, 
known as the "Aisne-Marne offensive." 

General John A. Lejeune, U. S. Marine Corps, on July 29, 
assumed command of the Second Division, which he commanded 
with marked distinction to the end of hostilities, during its serv- 
ice with the Army of Occupation in Germany, and until the 
Division, on its return to America in August, 1919, was 
demobilized. 

Of the six Allied offensives designated as major operations 
on the Western Front in 1918, the Marines, with the other units 
of the Second Division, took part in three. In the battle for 
the St. Mihiel salient, the division on September 11th took up 
a line running from Remenauville to Limey, and on the morning 
of the 12th attacked. Overcoming the enemy resistance, they 
romped through to the Rupt de Mad, a small river, crossed it 
on stone bridges, occupied Thiaucourt, scaled the heights be- 
yond and pushed on to a line running from the Xammes-Jaulny 
ridges to Bonvaux Forest. Then they rested, having occupied 
two days' objectives before 3 p. m. of the first day. The Divi- 



MARINES STOPPED DRIVE ON PARIS 213 

sion's casualties were about 1,000 men, 134 killed. It had cap- 
tured eighty German officers, 3,200 men, 120 cannon and a vast 
amount of stores. 

The taking of Blanc Mont Ridge, the key to Rheims, was 
one of the most effective blows struck by the Allies. Determined 
to break through the powerful German defenses in the Cham- 
pagne, Marshal Foch asked for an American division. The 
Second was selected, and General Lejeune, on September 27th, 
was summoned to French headquarters. 

Pointing to a large relief map of the battlefield, General 
Gouraud, who directed the operations, said to General Lejeune : 
' ' General, this position is the key of all the German defenses of 
this sector including the whole Rheims Massif. If this ridge 
can be taken the Germans will be obliged to retreat along the 
whole front 30 kilometers to the river Aisne. Do you think 
your division could effect its capture?" 

Studying the map closely, General Lejeune said with quiet 
assurance that he was certain the Second Division could take it. 
He was directed to propose a plan for the assault, which would 
be begun in a few days. He did so. The battle of Blanc Mont 
Ridge was fought and won by the Second Division as a part of 
the French Fourth Army, and that signal victory was due largely 
to the military genius of Lejeune. 

Setting forth on October 1st, the Americans that night re- 
lieved French troops in the front line near Somme-Py. Charg- 
ing over desolated white chalky ground, scarred and shell- 
pocked by years of artillery fire — a maze of mine craters, deep 
trenches and concrete fortifications, the Second Division cleaned 
up Essen Hook, and captured Blanc Mont Ridge and St. Etienne 
— all in the days from October 3 to 9. ''This victory," the 
official report stated, "freed Rheims and forced the entire Ger- 
man Army between that city and the Argonne Forest to retreat 
to the Aisne." 

Writing to Marshal Foch, General Gouraud proposed a 
special citation of the Division, stating: 

The Second Infantry Division, United States, brilliantly commanded 
by General Lejeune, played a glorious part in the operations of the 
Fourth Army in the Champaigne in October, 1918. On the 3d of Octo- 



214 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

ber this Division drove forward and seized in a single assault the strongly 
entrenched German positions between Blanc Mont and Medeah Ferme, 
and again pressing forward to the outskirts of St. Etienne-a-Arnes, it 
made in the course of the day, an advance of about six kilometers. 

It captured several thousand prisoners, many cannon and machine- 
guns, and a large quantity of other military material. This attack, 
combined with that of the French divisions on its left and right, resulted 
in the evacuation by the enemy of his positions on both sides of the 
River Suippe and his withdrawal from the Massif de Notre Dames des 
Champs. 

Ordered to participate in the Argonne-Meuse operation, the 
Second Division marched ankle deep in mud more than a hun- 
dred kilometers, four days with but one day of rest. On Novem- 
ber 1st, following a day of terrific barrage, the Division ''jumped 
off" for its final operation of the war, which did not end until 
the morning of the armistice, when it was firmly established on 
the east bank of the Meuse. "It was so placed in the battle 
line," said the General Headquarters orders, "that its known 
ability might be used to overcome the critical part of the enemy 's 
defense." The salient feature of the plan of attack was to drive 
a wedge through Landres-et-St. Georges to the vicinity of Fosse. 
If successful, this would break the backbone of the enemy and 
compel retreat beyond the Meuse. The Second Division accom- 
plished the desired result on the first attack. "This decisive 
blow," said the official report, "broke the enemy's defense and 
opened the way for the rapid advance of the Army. ' ' The com- 
mander of the Fifth Army Corps wrote : 

The Division's brilliant advance of more than nine kilometers, de- 
stroying the last stronghold on the Hindenburg line, capturing the 
Freya Stellung, and going more than nine kilometers against not only 
the permanent but the relieving forces in their front, may justly be 
regarded as one of the most remarkable achievements made by any 
troops in this war. 

During the night of November 3rd, in a heavy rain the divi- 
sion passed forward through the forest eight kilometers in 
advance of adjoining regiments, and within two days again 
advanced and threw the enemy in its front across the Meuse. 
The next morning at 6 o 'clock it attacked and seized the German 
defense position on the ridge southeast of Vaux-en-Dieulet. On 



MARINES STOPPED DRIVE ON PARIS 215 

the night of November 10th heroic deeds were done by heroic 
men. In the face of heavy artillery and withering machine-gnn 
fire, the Second Engineers threw two bridges across the Meuse 
and the first and second battalions of the Fifth Marines crossed 
unflinchingly to the east bank and carried out their mission. 
"In the last battle of the war," said an order of the Second 
Division, "as in all others, in which this division has par- 
ticipated, it enforced its will on the enemy." Of this achieve- 
ment the commanding general of the Fifth Army Corps said: 
"This feat will stand among the most memorable of the 
campaign. ' ' 

"On the eleventh hour, the eleventh day of the eleventh 
month of the year 1918," Brigadier General Neville, command- 
ing the Marine Brigade, in an order reviewing its great record 
closed with these words: "Along the fronts of Verdun, the 
Marne, the Aisne, Lorraine, Champagne, and the Argonne, the 
units of the Fourth Brigade Marines have fought valiantly, 
bravely, decisively. It is a record of which you may all be proud. ' ' 

Shortly after the armistice, General Lejeune was ordered to 
proceed to Germany. Stationed at Coblenz, for months his 
division was a part of the Army of Occupation. I had the honor 
of reviewing the division on the heights of Vallendar, near the 
junction of the Moselle and Rhine rivers, and to note that its 
discharge of duty in Germany was in keeping with the glorious 
record it had made in war. "Your brilliant exploits in battle," 
said General Pershing in a general order to the Second Division, 
"are paralleled by the splendid examples of soldierly bearing 
and discipline set by your officers and men while a part of the 
Army of Occupation." 

The Marines and their comrades of the Second Division were 
received with distinguished honor upon their return to the 
United States, President Wilson reviewing the men as they 
passed the White House to receive the heart-felt applause of a 
grateful people. The Secretary of War in a letter to the Secre- 
tary of the Navy, upon their return, wrote: "The whole history 
of the Brigade in France is one of conspicuous service. Through- 
out the long contest the Marines, both by their valour and their 
tragic losses, heroically sustained, added an imperishable chap- 
ter to the history of America's participation in the World War." 



216 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

This mere outline of the outstanding fighting history of the 
Marines in France, tells only a small portion of what was done 
by the "Devil Dogs," as these Soldiers of the Sea were called 
by the Germans. Overseas the largest army concentration 
camp was Pontanezen at Brest. It was placed under the com- 
mand of Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler, who organized, 
trained and carried over the Thirteenth Regiment of Marines. 
Approximately 1,600,000 men passed through that camp. It 
was one of the biggest jobs in France and General Butler per- 
formed the difficult duty with ability and satisfaction. The 
citation for an Army Distinguished Service Medal said of him : 
' 1 He has commanded with ability and energy Pontanezen Camp 
at Brest during the time in which it has developed into the 
largest embarkation camp in the world. Confronted with prob- 
lems of extraordinary magnitude in supervision, the reception, 
entertainment, and departure of the large numbers of officers 
and soldiers passing through this camp, he has solved all with 
conspicuous success, performing services of the highest char- 
acter for the American Expeditionary Forces." After his re- 
turn to America General Butler was made commandant of the 
chief Marine training camp at Quantico, Va. 

Thirty thousand Marines were sent overseas to join the 
American Expeditionary Forces. When, in May, 1917, I ten- 
dered the Marines for service with the land forces abroad, there 
was objection on the part of some high ranking officers of the 
Army. But Secretary Baker, with the breadth that character- 
ized him in the conduct of the war, accepted the tender, and the 
Fifth Regiment, under command of Colonel (afterwards Briga- 
dier General) Charles A. Doyen, sailed on June 14 with the first 
expedition sent to France. The Sixth Regiment and Sixth 
Machine Gun Battalion followed later, and the Fourth Brigade 
of Marines was organized in October, as a part of the Second 
Division, which General Doyen commanded until relieved by 
Major General Omar Bundy, on November 8. General Doyen 
continued at the head of the brigade until ill health compelled 
him to relinquish his command on May 9, 1918. 

The fighting ability which distinguished the Marines in 
France was the natural result of training and experience, the 
"spirit of the corps" with which they were instilled. When 



MARINES STOPPED DRIVE ON PARIS 217 

war was declared there were only 511 officers, commissioned and 
warrant, and 13,214 enlisted men in the Marine Corps, which 
eventually contained 2,174 commissioned and 288 warrant offi- 
cers, 65,666 enlisted regulars, 6,704 reserves and 269 female 
reservists — a total strength of 75,101. 

Recruiting, training, equipment and supply of this large 
force was a task without parallel in the history of the Corps. 
It was conducted with an energy and ability that reflected the 
utmost credit upon Marine Corps Headquarters — Major Gen- 
eral George Barnett, Commandant; the Assistant Command- 
ants, first General John A. Lejeune, afterwards Brigadier Gen- 
eral Charles G. Long; Brigadier General Charles H. Lauch- 
heimer, Adjutant and Inspector; Brigadier General George 
Richards, Paymaster; Brigadier General Charles L. McCawley, 
Quartermaster ; and others on duty at posts and in the field. 

What they did in France was only one phase of the opera- 
tions of the Marines. They were employed in practically every 
area in which the Navy operated — on battleships in the North 
Sea, on cruisers in the Asiatic; in Haiti, Santo Domingo and 
Cuba, and the isles of the Pacific. In fact, they claim the honor 
of firing the first shot of the war in the far distant island of 
Guam, where a Marine fired on a motor-launch which was trying 
to get to the German ship Cormoran with the news of the 
declaration of war before an American naval officer could reach 
that vessel and demand its surrender. That was the only 
German vessel in our territorial waters which we did not get. 
Her crew blew her up, and a number of her officers and men 
went down with the vessel. 

Wherever they were, these Soldiers of the Sea, upon whom 
Uncle Sam has called so often when he had a duty to perform 
anywhere in the world — these men who, in many conflicts, have 
been the " first to land and first to fight" — served well and added 
fresh laurels to those so often won in the long history of the 
Corps. They may be pardoned for singing with a will their 
marching song: 

If the Army and the Navy ever look on Heaven's scenes, 
They will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines. 



CHAPTER XIX 
THE ANSWER TO THE 75-MILE GUN 

GERMAN LONG-DISTANCE FREAK STOPPED BOMBARDING PARIS WHEN 

NAVAL RAILWAY BATTERIES ARRIVED MANNED BY NAVY CREWS, 

HUGE 14 -INCH GUNS OPERATED WITH FRENCH AND AMERICAN 

ARMIES ADMIRAL PLUNKETT IN COMMAND MOST POWERFUL 

ARTILLERY USED BY ALLIES ON THE WESTERN FRONT. 

4 4 J—N ARIS bombarded ! ' ' was the news that shocked the 

I— -^ world on March 23, 1918. Two days before the Ger- 

JL mans had begun their great drive for the Channel 

ports. Their armies to the north were breaking 

through the Allied defenses, taking one position after another. 

But their nearest lines were nearly seventy miles from Paris. 

No gun known would shoot half that distance. How could they 

be shelling the French capital? 

That was what mystified the Parisians. Falling out of a 
clear sky, the missiles fell, bursting in the streets. Aeroplane 
bombs, was the first thought, for Paris was used to aerial raids. 
But these were undeniably shells, not bombs, and there were no 
aeroplanes in sight. And they continued to fall with painful 
regularity. Arriving at 15-minute intervals, it was found that 
at least 21 shells had fallen that day. They were not huge, 
weighing about 260 pounds, but they were large enough to do 
considerable destruction, and to kill people in streets, squares, 
and markets. 

For a week they kept falling, and then occurred a tragedy 
that shocked not only Paris but the whole Christian world. It 
was Good Friday, and the cathedrals and churches were crowded 
with worshipers. As the congregation — women and children, 
and men too old to fight — prayed in the Church of St. Gervais, 
a shell crashed through the roof of the building, and exploded. 
Seventy -five persons were killed, of whom 54 were women — and 
five of these were Americans. Ninety others were injured. 

218 



THE ANSWER TO THE 75-MILE GUN 219 

In all Christian lands people were aghast at this slaughter of 
the defenseless. Indignation was stirred all the more by the 
knowledge that this bombardment was wholly without military 
value. Its entire object was to terrorize the civilian population. 
It was only another example of German frightfulness. 

After long search by aircraft it was discovered that shells 
were coming from the forest of Gobain, near Laon, nearly 75 
miles from Paris. There, inside the German lines, was located 
this new instrument of warfare, the latest surprise sprung by 
the Germans and one of the most sensational of the whole war. 
Worst of all, the Allies had no effective reply. Aeroplane bomb- 
ing proved ineffective, and the Allies had no guns which could 
reach it. 

For five months Paris endured this menace. No one knew 
where the shells would fall next, or who would be the victim. 
The city, however, went about its business and kept up its cour- 
age. But here in America there was being prepared the 
Nemesis of the Teuton terror. 

The United States Navy was at that very time building long- 
range guns that, while not capable of firing such great distances 
as the German cannon, were far more powerful and effective in 
action. Germany's gun was a freak, merely able to hurl com- 
paratively small shells seventy miles or more. Huge projectiles 
weighing 1,400 pounds were fired by our guns, and wherever 
they hit, everything in the vicinity was smashed. 

Elaborate emplacements were required for the German gun, 
taking considerable time to construct. Their cannon could be 
fired from only one point. The American guns were on railway 
mounts, and could be rapidly moved from place to place, 
wherever they were needed. Only a few hours were required 
to get them into position. In fact, if necessary, they could fire 
from the rails. 

Five of these immense naval railway batteries were built 
and sent to France. When the first battery arrived, on its way 
to the front, the Germans stopped shelling Paris. Their 
long-distance gun was hastily withdrawn, and it never fired 
another shot. 

What these batteries saved us from can be judged from Ad- 
miral Sims ' statement that, encouraged by the shelling of Paris, 



220 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

the Germans were preparing to conduct long-distance bombard- 
ments at various points along the front. They were taking large 
guns from battle cruisers, to be mounted where they could bom- 
bard Dunkirk, Chalons-sur-Marne, Nancy and other cities. 
Sixteen huge rifles, it was reported, had left Kiel for this pur- 
pose. But, so far as known, they never got into action. The 
Germans never carried out their plan to scatter that terror to 
the cities of France. 

These railway batteries, the largest ever placed on mobile 
mounts, proved an effective answer to the Germans. They were 
distinguished not only by what they prevented, but what they 
accomplished in action. Engaged with the French and American 
armies from September 6th until hostilities ceased, this was the 
most powerful artillery used by the Allies on the western front. 

The guns were of the largest type on our dreadnaughts — 
14-inch, 50 caliber, capable of throwing a 1,400-pound projectile 
42,000 yards, nearly 25 miles. In action, the firing was usually 
from 18 to 23 miles. 

Operating at various points along the lines from Laon to 
Longuyon, these batteries tore up enemy railways, cutting im- 
portant lines of communication ; blew up ammunition dumps and 
bases, and scattered destruction far in the rear of the German 
trenches. Manned entirely by Navy personnel, the force was 
under command of Rear Admiral Charles P. Plunkett. 

Each battery comprised an entire train of 15 cars, made up 
as follows : 



1 Locomotive 


1 Battery kitchen car 


1 Gun car 


2 Ammunition cars 


1 Construction car 


3 Berthing cars 


1 Construction car with crane 


1 Battery headquarters car 


1 Sand and log car 


1 Battery headquarters kitchen car 


1 Fuel car 


1 Workshop car 



Thus each battery was self-sustaining, carrying not only its 
own ammunition, fuel and food, but also machinery and 
mechanics for making repairs. The total weight of the gun-car 
was about 535,000 pounds, the gun, breech mechanism, and yoke 
weighing 192,500 pounds. The five batteries, including the staff 
train of eight cars, comprised 6 consolidation locomotives and 



THE ANSWER TO THE 75-MILE GUN 221 

tenders (tractive power 35,600 pounds), 5 gun-cars and 72 auxil- 
iary cars. 

The first mount, complete with its huge gun, rolled out of 
the shops on April 25, 1918, less than a month from the time of 
the Good Friday slaughter in the Paris church. Tested at 
Sandy Hook, N. J., five days later, it proved a complete success, 
hurling its immense projectiles more than twenty-five miles. 

If our guns had been built in Paris we could have had them 
at the front in three days. They were made to move by rail, 
and to be ready for almost immediate action. But they had to 
get to France first, and the difficulties of fighting a war 3,000 
miles away were impressed upon us by this necessity for trans- 
porting them. No ship was big enough to carry one of them 
set up. Each had to be taken to pieces before loading. The 
last of the mounts was completed May 25 — a new record for 
quick construction. But getting a ship to take them over was 
no easy task. 

The first ship assigned was so badly battered up on the in- 
coming voyage that it had to go into dock for repairs. The 
second ship, the Texel, was sunk by a U-boat near our coast. 
It was June 29 before the first of the battery transports, the 
Newport News, heavily laden with material, sailed for France, 
arriving at St. Nazaire July 9th. 

Setting up these immense batteries was a trying job. Facil- 
ities at St. Nazaire were very limited for the work of assembly. 
Lieutenant Commander D. C. Buell, an officer of railroad experi- 
ence, who as inspector had watched the building of the mounts, 
was sent to France. Admiral Plunkett and his force were on 
hand when the major part of the material arrived. All set to 
work, and in a little more than two weeks the first train was 
assembled. 

Then arose another complication. When the French saw 
the size of these mounts, they were afraid their immense weight 
would crush the rails and probably break through or weaken 
bridges. The railroad authorities were unwilling for them to 
move over their lines. For a time it seemed as if they would 
never get to the front. But Admiral Plunkett and his aids had 
more confidence than did the French. The first train, which 
had been completed a week before, left St. Nazaire August 17th. 



222 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

It proceeded slowly and all doubts were removed when it rode 
the rails and passed over bridges without the slightest trouble. 

The news of its coming had somehow spread through France 
and its progress toward Paris was like a triumphal procession. 
All along the route crowds assembled, cheering the American 
naval gunners "going to land," and girls decorated the gun 
with flowers. A second battery was on the way before the first 
arrived. Camouflage was no concealment. Everybody knew 
the big American cannon were on the way. And the Germans 
must have learned it, too. For, when the battery got near the 
front, the German long-distance gun was hurried away. 

These two batteries were to proceed to Helles-Mouchy, and 
from there search out the hidden enemy in Gobain. But when 
the batteries reached this position, it was found that the Ger- 
man terrifier was gone, leaving only its emplacement to mark 
the spot at which it had so long operated. 

Battery No. 1 proceeded to the French proving ground at 
Nuisemont, where firing tests were made with complete success. 
Battery No. 2 proceeded to Rethondes, in the forest of Com- 
piegne, to fire upon an ammunition dump at Tergnier, but after 
one shot, fired September 6, ceased firing, as the French captured 
the village. Battery No. 1 was taken to Soissons where, on 
September 11, position was taken near St. Christopher Cem- 
etery. No. 2 proceeded to Fontenoy-Ambleny. 

While these two batteries were operating, work was con- 
tinuing on the remaining three. Trains No. 3 and 4 left St. 
Nazaire September 13, followed by No. 5 on the 14th. They 
arrived at the railroad artillery base, Haussimont, on September 
23rd, 24th and 26th, respectively. 

Weather conditions preventing observation by aeroplane or 
balloon, it was decided to proceed without observation, so on 
September 14th Battery No. 2 fired ten rounds at an ammunition 
dump in Besny-Loisy, just west of Laon. No. 1 on September 
28th fired into the German lines at Laon, putting over 47 rounds 
between 1 and 5 :30 p. m., at a range of 34,000 yards. The target 
was the railroad yards. One hundred and twelve rounds were 
fired against this objective between September 28th and October 
2nd. Battery No. 2 fired twelve rounds into Besny-Loisy on 
September 15th. 



THE ANSWER TO THE 75-MILE GUN 223 

The Germans began retreating from Laon while this long- 
range bombardment was in progress, leaving these targets in the 
hands of the Allies. It was found that, though the batteries had 
only maps to use in directing the firing and without aeroplane 
observation, the shots in nearly all cases were effective hits. 
One 14-inch shell wrecked a three-track railroad line, making 
a gap of 100 feet, tearing up rails, shattering ties and blowing 
a crater in the road-bed. Another projectile struck a moving 
picture theater during a performance, killing 40 men outright 
and severely wounding sixty. Two other shells struck this 
theatre, completely demolishing it and several other surrounding 
buildings. A freight train on a siding had been struck, and one 
of the cars was lifted from the tracks and thrown a distance of 
thirty feet. 

Time and again enemy aeroplanes bombed the vicinity of 
these batteries. Shells were continually passing overhead. On 
October 5th, at 4:30 p. m., a shell burst directly over Battery 
No. 1, followed by three other high bursts. A succession of 
shells followed. One struck only 16 feet from the gun, fragments 
hitting the sideplates and breaking the casting of the gas engine 
support, but doing no further damage. 

Battery No. 2 was taken to Flavy-le-Martel, arriving October 
8th. No. 1 remained at Soissons until October 24th, firing in 
all 199 rounds from the same pit foundation. After the capture 
of Laon, the target was, on October 2, shifted to a point north- 
east of that town, where 87 rounds were fired at ranges from 
28,000 to 36,660 yards. 

Having performed so satisfactorily in the vicinity of Soissons 
with the Tenth French Army, Batteries No. 1 and No. 2 were 
ordered to join the First American Army. They arrived at 
Nixeville, just south of Verdun, October 28th. Batteries 3, 4 
and 5, already in that region, had fired several rounds at open 
fields in the German lines near the targets selected, in order to 
obtain aviation photographs and correct the range. On the 
30th and 31st six rounds per gun were fired each day, the two 
guns at Thierville firing at an aviation field south of Longuyon 
and the two batteries at Charny firing at points near Montmedy. 
Battery No. 2 bombarded the railroad yards at Montmedy with 
43 rounds on November 1st and 2nd. 



224 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

As General Foch was preparing for a big offensive east of 
Metz, the French requested that two of the naval batteries be 
assigned to take part in this operation. Accordingly Nos. 1 
and 2 were assigned to the French, while the remaining three 
remained at Thierville and Charny to keep up the bombard- 
ment of Montmedy and Longuyon. No. 1 proceeded via Cham- 
pigneulles, arriving at its firing position, in the forest of Velor, 
November 6th, its objective being Sarrebourg. Leaving Charny 
November 3rd, Battery No. 2 reached Moncel-Luneville, in the 
forest of Mondon, November 9th, having orders to fire on Bens- 
dorf. Both targets were important German railroad centers. 
But the signing of the armistice, on the 11th, put an end to the 
French offensive for which huge preparations had been made. 

Battery No. 3, which was shifted from Thierville to No. 2 's 
position at Charny, on November 1, fired at the Longuyon. 
railway yards. No. 4 fired 23 rounds into Montmedy, and No. 
5, 44 rounds at the transportation centres of Longuyon. The 
next day Nos. 3 and 5 each fired 25 rounds at Longuyon and 
No. 4, 20 rounds at the Montmedy railroad. On account of the 
enemy's activities at Louppy and Remoiville, No. 4 November 
3, fired 25 rounds at a large ammunition dump and at the 
lower railroad dump at Montmedy. On November 4, Battery No. 
4 again took up position at Thierville. No. 3 opened fire on 
Louppy and Remoiville on the morning of November 4, firing 
44 rounds at the two targets. Twelve rounds were also fired 
at Montmedy. 

The naval guns were last fired on November 11th, batteries 
4 and 5 sending five shells each into Longuyon. The last shot 
was fired by No. 4, from Charny, at 10 :58 :30 a. m., ninety sec- 
onds before hostilities ceased. 

"While direct observations could not be obtained in the Ver- 
dun sector, there was evidence from the enemy of the effective- 
ness of these guns. On November 5, the southern part of Mont- 
medy, which was under bombardment, was reported on fire. 
Later a German prisoner stated that the firing on Montmedy 
had caused a great deal of damage, one shell which landed in 
the railway yards, killing all the Germans in two coaches. 

The batteries at Charny and Thierville were repeatedly 
shelled and bombed. On October 30th, when the enemy was 



THE ANSWER TO THE 75-MILE GUN 225 

shelling crossroads between No. 2 gun and its berthing cars, 
three American engineers working on the track near by were 
killed, and the headquarters car and one berthing car derailed. 
On the same day five soldiers were killed and others wounded 
by shells which fell around Battery No. 4 at Charny. Three men 
of Battery 4 were wounded by shell fire on October 28th, one 
of these, A. P. Sharpe, seaman first class, dying the next day 
in the hospital at Glorieux. 

One of the most important services rendered by the naval 
batteries was the shelling of the railroad running through Lon- 
guyon and Montmedy, the only line (except one running far to 
the north through Belgium), by which the Germans could bring 
troops to Sedan. Though some shots fell several hundred 
yards beyond the ranges calculated from the range table, the 
railroad line and yards were struck frequently, and traffic 
stopped completely, not only during the actual firing, but from 
six to ten hours each day after the firing ceased. 

General Pershing, in his report of November 20, 1918, said : 

Our large caliber guns were advanced, and were skilfully brought 
into position to fire upon the important lines at Montmedy, Longuyon, 
and Conflans. On the 6th a division of the First Corps reached a point 
on the Meuse opposite Sedan, 25 miles from our lines of departure. 
The strategical goal which was our highest hope was gained. We had 
cut the enemy's main line of communications, and nothing but surren- 
der or an armistice could save his army from complete disaster. 

Though these batteries fired a total of 782 rounds and were 
under enemy shell-fire repeatedly, there was no material dam- 
age to guns, mounts or equipment, which met every condition 
imposed. The total rounds fired per gun were: No. 1, 199; 
No. 2, 113; No. 3, 236; No. 4, 122; No. 5, 112. 

In France the naval railway batteries operated as five sep- 
arate and independent units, all under command of Admiral 
Plunkett. His principal assistants were Lieutenant Com- 
manders G. L. Schuyler and J. W. Bunkley. The commanders 
of the batteries were: No. 1, Lieutenant J. A. Martin; No. 2, 
Lieutenant (junior grade) E. D. Duckett; No. 3, Lieutenant W. 
G. Smith; No. 4, Lieutenant J. R. Hayden; No. 5, Lieutenant 
J. L. Rodgers. 

The use of these guns at the front was first proposed in 



226 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

November, 1917. Impressed by the Allies' lack of long-range 
artillery, the Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance pointed out that 
a number of 14-inch guns at the Washington Navy Yard were 
available and suggested that they might be mounted on the 
Belgian coast to reply to the powerful artillery the Germans 
were using against Dunkirk. Upon consideration, it was de- 
cided that it was practicable to place these naval guns on rail- 
way mounts, though they were heavier than any mobile artil- 
lery that had been built by any country. On November 26, 1917, 
I instructed the Bureau of Ordnance to proceed with the build- 
ing of five of these mounts, with complete train equipment. 
Though many problems had to be solved, the naval gun fac- 
tory completed the designs within two months, and the 136 
standard drawings and 36 sketches required were ready to sub- 
mit to bidders on January 26, 1918. 

With the numerous other war requirements, which taxed 
steel and locomotive plants to their capacity, it seemed, at first, 
almost impossible to secure the building of the mounts, locomo- 
tives and cars required. But bids were secured, accepted on 
February 13, 1918, and the contractors pushed the work so ener- 
getically that the first mount was completed 72 days from the 
award of the contract. Scheduled for delivery on May 15, it was 
completed April 25. The last mount, scheduled for June 15, 
was completed May 25. The first gun and mount complete 
arrived April 27 at Sandy Hook, N. J., where it was subjected 
to severe firing tests. The locomotives and auxiliary cars were 
completed June 1, and shipment overseas was begun. Credit 
for this speedy construction is due contractors as well as naval 
officers, and particularly Mr. Samuel M. Vauclain, president of 
the Baldwin Locomotive Works, who took an intense personal 
interest in the whole undertaking. 

While construction was under way, the Navy had been select- 
ing and training the personnel, 30 officers and 500 men, required 
to man and operate the batteries. Men were carefully chosen — 
some 20,000 volunteered for this detail — and were given an in- 
tensive course of training. 

The approximate cost of the five mounts, locomotives, cars, 
spare parts and ammunition was $3,337,970. 

As other artillery could accomplish with less expenditure of 



THE ANSWER TO THE 75-MILE GUN 227 

ammunition and expense the results desired at the shorter 
ranges the naval guns were used entirely for strategical pur- 
poses and were fired at ranges between 30,000 and 40,000 yards, 
shelling objectives that less powerful guns could not reach. The 
ammunition supply which was gauged by the estimated "life" 
of the gun — that is, the number of times it could fire with accur- 
acy — consisted of 300 rounds for each gun, and this quantity 
proved adequate. Battery No. 3 made a record for guns of this 
size in firing 236 rounds without serious deterioration. 

From beginning to end, this entire enterprise was so well 
planned and carried out, that we may well consider it one of the 
most successful operations in which the Navy ever engaged. 



CHAPTER XX 
THE NAVY THAT FLIES 

NAVAL AVIATION" WATCHED OVER SHIPS AND SEARCHED THE SEAS 

FIRST OF U. S. ARMED FORCES TO LAND IN FRANCE — FOUGHT 

ENEMY AIRCRAFT FROM HELIGOLAND TO POLA — ATTACKED U-BOAT 

BASES IN BELGIUM NAVAL AVIATORS, IN TRAINING AND SERVICE, 

FLEW FIFTEEN MILLION MILES. 

THE first of the armed forces of the United States to land 
in France were naval aviators — seven officers and 123 
men, under command of Lieutenant Kenneth W. Whit- 
ing. One group, sailing on the Neptune, arrived June 5, 
1917, at Pauillac, the port from which Lafayette sailed for Amer- 
ica to join the struggling colonists in their war for independence. 
The other, on the Jupiter, reached St. Nazaire June 9, sailing 
through the very waters in which John Paul Jones operated in 
the Eevolution. Eight miles up the river Loire lies Paimboeuf , 
where Jones in the Ranger arrived November 30, 1777. Fifteen 
miles away is Quiberon Bay, where the French, February 14, 
1778, fired the first foreign salute to the American flag. 

Naval aviation stations were erected at both Pauillac, which 
is on the Gironde river near Bordeaux, and at Paimboeuf, so the 
operations of America's flying navy in the World War were 
over the very waters where the name and fame of the first 
American navy were established 140 years before. 

We had stations all along the coast of France — at Dunkirk, 
St. Ingelvert and Autingues, headquarters of the Northern 
Bombing Group; L'Aber Vrach, Brest, He Tudy, Le Croisic, 
Fromentine, St. Trojan, Treguier, Arcachon, La Trinite, La Pal-, 
lice, Le Fresne, Oye, Guipavas, Paimboeuf, Pauillac, Eochefort, 
St. Ingelvert, and Gujan, with a training school at Moutchic. 

In Ireland we had stations at Queenstown, Berehaven, 
Lough Foyle, Whiddy Island and Wexford ; in England at East- 

228 




NAVAL AVIATION HANGARS AT GUIPAVAS 




P* 




A NAVY "BLIMP" LEAVING HANGAR AT GUIPAVAS, FRANCE 



THE NAVY THAT FLIES 229 

leigh and Killingholme. We aided Italy in fighting the Aus- 
trians, with our training school at Lake Bolsena and an operat- 
ing station at Porto Corsini, on the Adriatic, across from the 
Austrian naval base at Pola. Our aviators flew across the Alps 
and the Adriatic sea ; they patrolled the waters along the French 
coast, protecting the vast Allied shipping going into and out 
of the French ports, and guarding the convoys of American 
troops, munitions and supplies. Our Northern Bombing Group 
bombed the German submarine bases and ammunition and 
supply depots in Belgium. Operating with their British com- 
rades, our aviators flew over the North Sea and battled with 
German aircraft over Heligoland Bight, almost within sight of 
the home bases of the German fleet. They took part in the North 
Sea patrol in connection with the movements of the British 
Grand Fleet, and those assigned to the British stations at Felix- 
stowe and Portsmouth had a part in the famous Dover Patrol 
that kept clear the road from England to France. 

The United States Navy had 44 aviation stations and units 
in Europe, with a record of 5,691 war flights, covering a distance 
of 791,398 miles. This does not include 18,000 flights that were 
made in training. Forty-three submarines were attacked from 
the air, our aircraft being credited, according to the records of 
Naval Aviation, with sinking two U-boats, with probably send- 
ing down two more, and damaging others. An even more strik- 
ing evidence of efficiency was the fact that during the last ten 
months of the war no surface craft convoy protected by Ameri- 
can naval aircraft in the war zone was successfully attacked by 
an enemy submarine. 

Attacking the German U-boat bases, Bruges, Zeebrugge, 
Ostend, and the airdromes and air stations and other enemy 
establishments in Flanders, the Northern Bombing Group, which 
operated in connection with the British Royal Air Force, 
dropped more than 155,000 pounds of bombs, destroying 
hangars and other structures, blowing up ammunition dumps 
and now and then bringing down a kite balloon, spreading such 
havoc that it shook the nerve of the German crews that handled 
the Teuton aircraft in western Belgium. 

Our first naval "ace," Lieutenant David S. Ingalls, was at- 
tached to this Northern Bombing Group, being first assigned to 



230 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

Royal Air Force Squadron No. 213. His spectacular perform- 
ances began on August 11, 1918, when, in company with a British 
officer, he shot down a two-seater machine in a running flight 
over the German lines. The night of the 13th, flying over the Ger- 
man airdrome at Varsenaere, and dropping to a point where his 
plane nearly touched the ground, he sprayed 450 rounds from 
his machine-gun into the wondering Teutons, who were making 
desperate efforts to get him with their anti-aircraft guns. 
Swinging in a wide circle, he again swooped down on the 
hangars and let loose four bombs in the midst of the camp, put- 
ting out searchlights, scattering Germans and mussing up things 
generally. At the Uytkerke airdrome he repeated the stunt he 
worked at Varsenaere, firing 400 rounds into the German 
hangars, and dropping bombs upon the Fokkers grouped on the 
field below. 

On this raid, which occurred September 15, Ingalls led a for- 
mation of five in a wing of twenty biplanes. Returning from 
Uytkerke, he sighted an enemy two-seater Rumpler going west 
from Ostend. With Lieutenant H. C. Smith, of the British Air 
Force, Ingalls turned out of formation, swung in over the shore, 
and attacked. The Rumpler turned and dived toward Ostend, 
the Camels following. Firing 400 rounds from ranges of fifty to 
200 yards, they chased the enemy plane to the Ostend piers, 
when the Rumpler went down out of control, burst into flames 
and crashed just off the beach. 

Three days later Ingalls made one of the most spectacular 
flights on record. In company with two English pilots, he 
sighted a kite balloon at 3,500 feet elevation near La Barriere. 
Crossing the coast line, they attacked. The German kite reeled 
under the rapid fire, and as it fell, its two observers opened up 
their white parachutes and jumped. Ingalls gave the balloon 
another spraying with bullets and it burst into flames. Falling, 
the blazing balloon landed on a hangar. There was an explo- 
sion, followed by a fire that destroyed the entire station. The 
flames were visible as far as Nieuport. 

On September 22, in company with four other machines, 
Ingalls flew all over Flanders, committing depredations on 
German hangars, and ammunition trains. Four bombs were 
dropped on the ammunition dump at Handezeame, blowing up a 



THE NAVY THAT FLIES 231 

string of wagons loaded with shells. Flying over Wercken, 
bombs were landed on a hut filled with explosives, setting it on 
fire. Swinging around over the railway station at Thourout, 
where the Germans had an enormous supply dump, two more 
hits were made. On the way back, his fourth trip for the day, 
he bombed a horse transport, and he and his companions by 
bombs and machine-gun fire killed or wounded some twenty- 
five Germans and thirty-five horses. 

With three other machines, Ingalls was, on September 24, fly- 
ing over the lines at 16,000 feet elevation, when twelve Fokkers 
were seen approaching. Though outnumbered, the speedy 
Allied planes quickly broke up the German formation. The 
famous British Captain Brown, of Squadron No. 213, swung 
into and gunned a Fokker after a thrilling high bank, and the 
German fell to earth three miles below. Another Fokker had 
got on the tail of one of the Allied machines and by a well-aimed 
shot punctured its gasoline tanks. Ingalls came to the rescue, 
fighting off the enemy and in a few minutes shooting him down. 
The fourth plane was hard at it, too, succeeding in shooting 
down another Fokker, after following it down to within a few 
feet of the ground. Thus three Fokkers were accounted for in 
a few minutes. 

On another occasion, Ingalls, single handed, attacked six 
biplanes, driving down one of them and eluding the five pur- 
suers. The first of October he engaged in three successive raids 
in one day. His second point of attack was a large farm build- 
ing at Cortemarck, used as a shelter for troops. More than 200 
Germans were gathered there. Crashing through the roof, a 
bomb dropped by Ingalls exploded in their midst, dealing death 
and destruction. 

I wish it were possible to recount all the daring deeds per- 
formed by our Navy and Marine Corps aviators, who with the 
British and on their own engaged in constant attacks on the 
German bases in Belgium, but Ingalls' exploits are enough to 
give an idea of the work performed by this Northern Bombing 
Group. And all this was "land duty," a task seldom assigned 
to navies. 

The Navy's "regular job," far the greater part of its work, 
was patrolling the long coast lines, watching for submarines, 



232 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

and furnishing aerial escort for the convoys of troop, supply 
and merchant ships that moved in a constant stream to and from 
European ports. Covering vast areas of water, they flew hun- 
dreds of thousands of miles, and they were always on the job. 

Though the U-boats usually " ducked" when a seaplane or 
dirigible balloon was sighted, aircraft often managed to spot 
them, and took part in some exciting encounters. One remark- 
able engagement, a gunfire fight between seaplane and sub- 
marine, took place off Dunkirk on August 13, 1918. 

Four seaplanes left their station for a routine flight in con- 
nection with the Dover Patrol. Eight miles off the coast, be- 
tween Calais and Dunkirk, Ensign J. F. Carson, one of the 
pilots, sighted a large submarine, with no identification marks, 
speeding on the surface in the direction of Holland. Carson 
challenged it by firing a recognition signal. The U-boat opened 
fire on the seaplane with shrapnel from its forward gun, firing- 
five shots. 

Carson nosed his plane down, his machine-gunner firing on 
the submarine. As it came into bombing position, he dropped 
a bomb which hit the vessel, and as it exploded two of the gun 
crew fell, apparently badly wounded. The U-boat cleared its 
decks and dived. Just as it plunged beneath the surface, an- 
other seaplane came into position and dropped two bombs. One 
exploded in the splash where the submarine plunged, and the 
second slightly forward of that point in the curving line of the 
descending boat. Four minutes later the submarine again came 
to the surface. But before Carson could get his plane in posi- 
tion for bombing, it again submerged, sliding beneath the waves 
stern foremost. 

Carson unloaded his bombs on the moving wake, and put 
back to the station for more ammunition. When he returned 
oil covered the water and a lone life preserver floated near the 
spot where the submarine went down. 

The value of cooperation between aircraft and vessels was 
strikingly demonstrated in the sinking of the U-boat called 
"Penmarch Pete," which was, according to reports received, 
destroyed by American seaplanes from the He Tudy Station 
and the U. S. destroyer Steivart, on April 28, 1918. Two planes 
left He Tudy that morning, one piloted by Ensign K. R. Smith, 



THE NAVY THAT FLIES 233 

the other by Ensign R. H. Harrell, on convoy duty. Zigzagging 
along the coast nearly due west, at 11:30 o'clock they picked 
up a convoy of twenty ships heading south, six miles northeast 
of the Pointe de Penmarch. Heavy fog kept the planes at a low 
altitude and in the course of maneuvers about the convoy, a 
stream of air bubbles, denoting the wake of a submarine, was 
sighted by both planes. Smith descended close enough to the 
surface to distinguish a large oil patch. He dropped two bombs, 
the first being apparently a direct hit, and the second within ten 
feet of it. Dropping a phosphorus buoy to mark the location, 
Harrell sent down a correspondence buoy in the vicinity of the 
Steivart, then off the flank of the convoy. The Stewart speeded 
to the spot, sighted a dark object in the water, and dropped a 
succession of depth-bombs. "These bombs were dropped so 
close to the submarine, one on each side and within fifty feet 
of it, and the force of the explosion was so great," reported 
Lieutenant Commander Haislip, her commanding officer, "that it 
seems impossible that the submarine could have survived." 
For days there rose to the surface quantities of oil, which 
spread for miles down the coast. The U-boat was later identi- 
fied as "Penmarch Pete," which had operated off the Pointe for 
months, and had destroyed over 100,000 tons of shipping. 

Working with the British in the early stages of participation, 
our aviators made numerous flights over the North Sea, flying 
as far as the German coast. One of the first lost in action, 
Ensign Albert D. Sturtevant, of Washington, a Yale man, was 
second pilot of a machine that was attacked by ten German 
planes. Fighting against overwhelming odds, he went down in 
flames. 

The first enemy plane destroyed by an American aviator 
was shot down in Heligoland Bight, almost in sight of the great 
German naval base, by Ensign Stephen Potter, of Detroit, 
March 19, 1918. His machine was one of a group sent out on 
long-distance reconnoissance. Nearing the German coast, they 
were attacked by Teuton planes, and a lively combat ensued. 
By dashing fighting, Potter succeeded in bringing down an 
enemy plane, which, set afire, fell to the water and burned up. 
Putting to flight other German machines, the force returned. 
It had travelled so far that six and a half hours steady flying 



234 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

were required to reach the base on the British Coast. Six 
weeks later, April 25, Potter lost his life in a thrilling but un- 
equal encounter over the North Sea. 

While on patrol near Hinder Light, Potter and his compan- 
ion sighted two German planes and, diving, closed in on them, 
firing at close range. Two more hostile planes appeared over- 
head, attacking vigorously. Four more enemy planes now 
appeared in V formation. Of seven Germans in action, four 
were attacking Potter, whose gun had jammed. Handicapped 
as he was, Potter began to zigzag. Again and again he dodged 
them, but at last the enemy machines got him on their broad- 
side, and poured their fire into him. Bursting into flame his 
machine crashed down. Potter was last seen on the surface of 
the water in his burning plane, from which arose a cloud of 
smoke. Two of the enemy circled over, then joined the other 
five. When the smoke cleared away, there was not even a splin- 
ter of wreckage to show where this brave young aviator had 
gone down. 

Lost in the English Channel, given up as drowned, Ensign 
E. A. Stone, of Norfolk, Va., was rescued after such an experi- 
ence as few men survive. With his observer, Sub-Lieutenant 
Eric Moore, of the British Air Force, he clung for eighty hours, 
from Saturday morning to Tuesday night, without food or 
drink, to the underside of a seaplane pontoon. 

Going out on patrol at 9 a. m., at 11:30 the engine "went 
dead," and the plane was forced to descend to the water in a 
heavy sea. At 2:30 the plane turned over, and the two men 
climbed up to the capsized pontoons. With no food or water, 
soaked and lashed by the waves, there they hung for nearly four 
days. They saw convoys in the distance, but none came to their 
assistance. Sunday night a mast-head light was sighted and 
the ship headed straight for the crippled plane. But when it 
got within a hundred yards, she put out her lights and turned 
away. 

"She thinks we are Huns," said Moore. 

"I hope she does," said Stone, "Then they'll send patrol 
boats out to get us. We couldn't be worse off if we were Ger- 
mans. ' ' 

A seaplane flew near them, on Monday afternoon, but, after 



THE NAVY THAT FLIES 235 

circling around, departed. It was not until 6 p. m., Tuesday, 
that they were rescued by a trawler which had been chasing a 
submarine. 

Every machine from their seaplane base and those from a 
station on the French coast had searched continuously for the 
lost aviators as had all the patrols and destroyers in the area. 

Ensigns K. W. Owen and J. Phelan, of our Killingholme 
station, had a somewhat similar experience May 16, near Flam- 
borough Head. Disabled but still afloat, by both getting on one 
wing they swung the tail of the plane into the wind and managed 
to head her northwest, and coast about two knots an hour. Four 
days they kept this up, and then were drenched by a thunder- 
storm which damaged the wings and carried away their rudder. 
It was not until one o'clock that night that they sighted what 
seemed to be a boat in the distance. Using up their last cart- 
ridges, they sent a stream of "fireworks" from a Very pistol, 
but this did the work and in a few minutes a British destroyer 
drew alongside and took them aboard. They had had nothing 
to eat during the entire time, their only "provender" being 
thirty cigarettes. They had drifted 180 miles. 

With an excellent training camp at Lake Bolsena and an 
operating station at Porto Corsini, on the Adriatic Sea, across 
from the Austrian naval base at Pola, our aviators did splendid 
service in Italy. Patrolling the Adriatic and bombing Austrian 
bases was their "regular job." But when, in the later months 
of the war, we began scattering over Austria American and 
Allied propaganda, to convince the Austrians of the hopeless- 
ness of their position, and which had a powerful effect in induc- 
ing Austria to give up the fight, aeroplanes were utilized to drop 
these thousands of leaflets and papers over cities. It was while 
on one of these flights that our aviators had an exciting experi- 
ence and narrow escape. 

On August 24, 1918, at 10:30 a. m. a group of five chasse 
and bombing machines left Porto Corsini for Pola, with a load 
of "literature." Formed in a flying wedge, the American 
machines soon came in sight of the high hills back of the Aus- 
trian coast, and a few moments later swept over Pola. At 
11:20 the planes, at an altitude of 12,000 feet, unloaded their 
propaganda material over the city while the inhabitants, in 



236 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

response to the siren and bell alarms, sought cover from the 
bombs they supposed were about to fall upon their heads. Anti- 
aircraft ordnance filled the air with bursting shrapnel and in- 
cendiary explosives, but the aim of the gunners was poor and 
none of our planes was hit. 

No sooner had the documents been dropped than Ensign G. 
H. Ludlow, the leading pilot, saw five Austrian chasses and two 
seaplanes rise to give battle to the five Americans. Giving the 
signal to attack the Austrian machines, Ludlow dived toward 
them, immediately followed by Ensign Austin Parker and En- 
sign Charles H. Hammann. 

The fight started at an elevation of 7,500 feet while the 
American planes were still in range of the anti-aircraft de- 
fenses. The Austrian planes were much faster than the bomber, 
which was in the direct line of fire. High explosives, shrapnel, 
pom-poms and incendiary shells burst all around it, and as the 
American chasses flew down to give aid, they in turn were sub- 
jected to the heavy rain of projectiles. But the Austrian planes 
were also in the range and the anti-aircraft gunners, fearing 
they would bring down their own machines, ceased fire, allow- 
ing the American bomber to make good its escape. 

In less time than it takes to tell, Ludlow singled out the cen- 
ter machine of the enemy formation, giving it bursts from his 
machine-gun, while handling his controls with his knees. He 
then swung to the left after the second Austrian, Parker con- 
tinuing the fight with the first. Hammann, in the meantime, 
engaged two other Austrians which had swung into action. At 
this juncture Parker's gun jammed, and he was obliged to pull 
out of the melee. 

Ludlow had riddled one of the enemy, which fell to the har- 
bor in a sheet of flame, but his own machine was badly damaged. 
The right magneto was shot away ; the propeller shattered ; the 
engine crank-case punctured, letting out the oil, which was 
ignited by a spark from the exposed magneto, and the plane 
burst into flames. Ludlow immediately slipped into a tail-spin, 
and the rush of air luckily extinguished the fire. One pur- 
suer was thrown off the track, but the other followed him down 
to 1,500 feet above the water, the last burst from the Austrian 
completing the wreck of Ludlow's engine, while two bullets 



THE NAVY THAT FLIES 237 

passed through his leather helmet and grazed his scalp. Lud- 
low then went into another spin and, straightening out, made 
a safe landing Qn the water three miles west of Pola. 

Then occurred a daring exploit. Hammann, by generalship 
and fighting ability, saved the whole squadron from further loss. 
With terrific bursts, he drove at the enemy, firing first on their 
tails and then on their flanks, and finally, with head-on drives, 
forced the remaining Austrian planes to their base. This gave 
the slow-going bomber an opportunity to make its final escape, 
allowed Parker and Voorhees to make good their distance and 
start for Porto Corsini, and relieved Ludlow from further imme- 
diate attack. 

During a lull in the fighting Hammann swooped down on the 
surface alongside of Ludlow and his crippled plane. Austrian 
destroyers were on their way from the harbor to gather in both 
planes, and another squadron of Austrian aircraft was taking 
off for pursuit. Ludlow opened the photographic port of his 
machine, allowing the boat to flood, kicked holes in the wings 
to destroy buoyancy, and slipping overboard, swam to Ham- 
mann 's waiting plane, and climbed up on the fuselage. The 
machine, a single seater, was so small that he had to sit under 
the motor, grasping the struts to keep himself from being swept 
off when it gathered speed. The extra load forced the hull into 
the choppy sea, where the bow, already damaged by gunfire, 
was broken in and one of the wing pontoons smashed. 

The crippled and overloaded little plane at last managed to 
rise from the water. Hammann, by gunfire, sank the wreck of 
Ludlow's machine and, putting on all speed, made for Porto 
Corsini just in time to escape the leading Austrian destroyer 
and a squadron of seaplanes coming around the southern end 
of Brioni Island and making for him. 

The plane made the sixty mile flight without mishap, but 
in landing the smashed-in bow took in enough water to nose 
the plane over, and, catching a wing tip in the heavy chop, the 
machine turned over on its back. The aviators extricated them- 
selves from the wreckage, and were rescued by a motor boat 
from the station. Ludlow had a bad gash in his forehead, in 
addition to the scalp wounds received in the fight, and Hammann 
was badly bruised and strained. But both soon recovered and 



238 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

took part in numerous subsequent actions, including raids over 
the front during the drive just prior to the Austrian collapse. 

Before hostilities ended, U. S. Naval Aviation had 18,736 
officers and men in service in Europe. The long flights along 
the British, French and Italian coasts, the patrols far out to 
sea, the combats with enemy aircraft and submarines form one 
of the most brilliant chapters of the war. 

On this side of the water 24 naval aviation units were in 
operation, patrolling the coast from Nova Scotia to the end of 
Florida, with stations on the Pacific and Gulf, and one unit 
stationed in Panama guarding the canal. The Azores, that half- 
way station between America and Europe, was guarded by a 
detachment of Marine Corps aviators. In America our fliers 
on patrol flew 2,455,920 nautical miles; and advanced training 
flights, many of which were in the nature of patrols, reached the 
grand total of 10,949,340 nautical miles. The total flying by 
our naval aviators in America, the Azores and Europe was more 
than 15,000,000 miles, for a nautical mile is longer than a mile 
as measured on land. 

Naval Aviation grew, during the war, to a force of approxi- 
mately 40,000, as follows : 

Officers — Qualified aviators, 1,656 ; student aviators, 288 ; ground offi- 
cers, 891 ; student officers under training for commission, 3,881. 

Enlisted men — Aviation ratings, 21,951 ; general ratings assigned to 
aviation duty, 8,742. 

Marine Corps — Aviation officers, 282 ; Enlisted men, 2,180. 

This force was equipped with 1,170 flying boats, 695 sea- 
planes, 262 land planes, ten free balloons, 205 kite balloons, and 
15 dirigibles. Of this equipment 570 aircraft had been sent 
abroad, before the armistice. 

Captain N. E. Irwin was Director of Naval Aviation, with 
offices in the Navy Department. Captain H. I. Cone was in 
general charge of our aviation activities in Europe. Construc- 
tion and operation of air stations in France were under his 
supervision until August 1, 1918, when he moved to London, as 
head of the Aviation Section of Admiral Sims' staff. Then all 
our forces in France, except the Northern Bombing Group, 
which was commanded by Captain D. C. Hanrahan, were placed 



THE NAVY THAT FLIES 239 

under command of Admiral Wilson, Captain T. T. Craven, as 
aide for aviation, on his staff, being charged with all aviation 
matters. 

Building more than forty stations in Europe, some of them 
of huge extent, was a big task in construction. Its accomplish- 
ment, under many handicaps and difficulties, reflects the utmost 
credit upon all concerned. Constructors and aviators displayed 
such energy and resource, that it was a current saying that, 
' ' Naval Aviation can do anything that comes to hand. ' ' 

They created in a few months stations that, under ordinary 
circumstances, would have required years to build. Let me give 
one example illustrative of others. At the big air station at 
Killingholme, England, contracts for the buildings had been 
made, but it became evident soon after the arrival of our avia- 
tion personnel that unless we did the work ourselves that station 
would never be built in time to permit active operations or house 
the men in comfort. But Lieutenant M. E. Kelly, with a detail of 
200 American blue- jackets, built in thirty days twenty-eight bar- 
rack buildings of brick and concrete, each twenty feet wide and 
sixty feet long. That is only one instance of hundreds of things 
done by this force in Europe. 

The Navy erected its own aircraft factory at the Philadel- 
phia Navy Yard, which was producing and shipping planes to 
Europe in the spring of 1918. This immense plant was of in- 
estimable value in carrying out the program of aviation con- 
struction, which was pushed all along the line. 

Though there was no specific appropriation for erecting an 
aircraft factory, this was considered so essential that an allot- 
ment of $1,000,000 was made for the purpose. I signed the order 
authorizing the erection of the plant July 27, 1917. Within ten 
days the contract was let. Naval Constructor F. G. Coburn was 
detailed as manager. Under his energetic direction, construc- 
tion was pushed so rapidly that by October 17 the first buildings 
were up, considerable machinery installed and on November 2 
the keel of the first flying boat was laid. The building was pro- 
nounced complete on November 20, only 110 days after the con- 
tract was awarded. That factory was enlarged until it covered 
forty acres, with buildings having 888,935 square feet of floor 
space. At the time of the armistice, there were 3,642 employees 



240 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

engaged in constructing aircraft of the latest type. The value 
of its war-time output was more than $5,000,000. 

Not only did the Navy build and put into operation hundreds 
of seaplanes, flying boats and other aircraft, but it originated 
and built the largest seaplanes in existence, the "NC" type, the 
first of which was completed before the armistice. 

Few people seem to realize that these huge "NC" planes — 
the "Nancys'* they were called — which became famous in the 
first flight across the Atlantic in May, 1919, were built for war 
use, and that the work of developing this new type was begun 
only five months after we entered the war. It takes a long time 
to develop a new type of such magnitude. 

All nations recognized the need of larger seaplanes, able to 
cruise hundreds of miles and return without refueling. Ship- 
ping space was so valuable that taking to Europe the large 
numbers of planes the Army and Navy had contracted for was 
a serious problem. 

The Chief Constructor of the Navy, Admiral Taylor, had 
often discussed these problems with me. One day in Septem- 
ber, he sent for Naval Constructors (x. C. Westervelt and J. C. 
Hunsacker. "I want a plane designed that will fly across the 
Atlantic," was the surprising task he assigned them. Admiral 
Taylor's daring idea aroused my warmest enthusiasm. He and 
his force began work at once. No flying boat of anything like 
that size and power had ever before been produced. There were 
all kinds of problems to be solved; numerous experiments had 
to be made concerning every detail. By the end of 1917 all the 
main elements of the design had been formulated, and early 
in 1918 the work of construction was begun. The NC-1 was com- 
pleted by the first of October, and the first test flight made three 
days later. This was so successful that, on November 7, just 
before the armistice, she flew to Washington, where she was in- 
spected, going thence to Hampton Roads and back to Rockaway. 

Our dream of building a plane that would fly across the 
Atlantic had been translated into reality. Six months later the 
NC-4 made the first flight from America to Europe, from Rocka- 
way, Long Island, to Nova Scotia, the Azores, Portugal and Eng- 
land, landing at Plymouth, the port from which, three centuries 
before, the Pilgrims had set sail for America. 



CHAPTER XXI 
THE FERRY TO FRANCE 

"iST. O. T. S.," THE WORLD'S LARGEST CARGO FLEET — OPERATING 450 
STEAMERS, NAVY HAULED MILLIONS OF TONS OF MUNITIONS, FOOD, 

FUEL AND SUPPLIES TO FORCES ABROAD ONLY EIGHT SUNK BY 

U-BOATS OR MINES "tICONDEROGA" TORPEDOED DISAPPEARANCE 

OF " CYCLOPS" MYSTERY OF THE WAR. 

" ^ T 0. T. S." You may not recognize those initials, but 

\ every sailor on the Atlantic was familiar enough 

4 k 1 , with them in 1918, for they stood for the largest cargo 

fleet on earth, under a single management — the Naval 

Overseas Transportation Service. No one had ever heard of it 

a year before. But before the end of hostilities 490 vessels, 

3,800,000 deadweight tons, had been assigned to this service, 

and 378 were in actual operation, the remainder being under 

construction or preparing to go into commission. 

If the war had continued through 1919 we would have needed, 
according to the estimates, at least 20,000 officers and 200,000 
men for this service alone. The number might have gone well 
over a quarter-million. The Shipping Board and American 
yards were building ships at a rate never before approached. 
The schedule for 1918-19 contemplated the delivery of 1,924 
vessels, the large majority of which were to be put into war 
service and manned by the Navy. Officers and men had to be 
recruited and trained months in advance, and this we were do- 
ing, to have the crews ready to get to sea as vessels were 
completed. They manned, in all, 450 cargo ships. 

"N. O. T. S." was "The Ferry to France," carrying mil- 
lions of tons of munitions, guns, food, fuel, supplies, materials 
to our army and naval forces abroad. Remaining in port only 
long enough to discharge their cargoes, make necessary repairs, 
and fill their bunkers with coal, its vessels plied steadily across 

241 



242 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

the Atlantic, to and from Europe, with the regularity of freight 
trains. Five tons of supplies a year were required for each 
soldier. Vast quantities of munitions, mountains of coal, mil- 
lions of gallons of fuel oil ; enormous quantities of steel, timber, 
concrete and other materials; food for civilian populations; 
locomotives, guns, — all these and a thousand other things were 
required, and it was "up to" the N. 0. T. S. to get them to 
Europe. And that is what it did. 

Sailing from New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, 
Norfolk, Newport News, Charleston and other ports, they took 
their cargoes to Bordeaux, to Pauillac and Bassens, to St. Na- 
zaire and Nantes, to Havre, Cherbourg, Brest, La Pallice, La 
Rochelle and Marseilles. Docking and unloading facilities in 
French ports were very inadequate. Americans had to build 
vast piers and wharves and warehouses. Channels were tor- 
tuous, and nearly every harbor overcrowded. In spite of these 
drawbacks, notable records were made in quick turn-arounds. 

Incomparably greater were the difficulties and dangers faced 
at sea. Suppose some vessel owner had stepped into a group 
of his ship captains and told them that they were expected to 
navigate their vessels 3,000 to 4,000 miles, not singly, where 
they could give other craft a wide berth, but in formation with 
a score of other vessels, hugging them as closely as possible. 
Furthermore, that at night they would have no lights to guide 
them or indicate the position of other ships in the convoy, but 
must sail at full speed, changing course every fifteen minutes. 
And finally, warned the ships ' masters that at any moment they 
might be attacked by submarines, torpedoed and sent to the bot- 
tom. Wouldn't that have been enough to make the most hard- 
ened seadog throw up his hands and resign his job? 

Yet that was what every captain and crew of the N. O. T. S. 
had to face. They did not fear the submarine half as much 
as they did the perils of war navigation, the possibilities of col- 
lision. One was problematical; they were willing to take 
chances and eager to get a shot at a " sub. ' ' The other danger 
was constant and might mean the loss of other vessels as well 
as their own. Under the circumstances, it is remarkable that 
collisions were so infrequent, and so few vessels were lost or 
damaged. 



THE FERRY TO FRANCE 243 

Consider the record of the steamship George G. Henry. That 
will give some idea of the work these ships did, and the perils 
they faced. Having made seven round trips to Europe, aver- 
aging 76 days — a splendid record for a cargo steamer — the 
Henry sailed from France for New York. When she was far 
out at sea, alone, footing her way under full speed, a submarine 
was sighted 5,000 yards away. This was at 6 :50 a. m., Septem- 
ber 29, 1918. "Full left wheel" was ordered, general quarters 
rung in, and the guns went into action. 

The "sub" opened fire, some of his shells falling a little 
short, others going over the vessel. Twenty-one shots from the 
after-gun made the U-boat keep his distance and get out of 
range, but he still kept up the chase. After two hours the 
"sub," which had guns of considerable power, was still pur- 
suing and now and then firing. At last, at nine o'clock, the 
Germans scored a hit. A six-inch shell struck the Henry, pierc- 
ing the after-deck, plunging diagonally downward, breaking the 
exhaust pipe of the steering gear and exploding against a maga- 
zine filled with powder and shells. 

The ammunition exploded, spreading destruction, and start- 
ing such a blaze that the whole after-part of the ship was soon 
in flames. Its powder destroyed, fire raging around it, the after- 
gun, the one bearing on the enemy, was useless. The crew 
turned to fighting the fire. Smoke bombs were exploded, and a 
dense smoke-screen overhung the stern. Thinking he had 
crippled the ship, the U-boat sailed past the weather end of the 
smoke-screen, redoubling his fire, using shrapnel and solid shot. 
Though the vessel was not hit again, the shrapnel exploding 
over it descended in a rain on the decks and fourteen men of 
the crew were struck by flying fragments. 

By steering obliquely, the Henry brought its forward gun 
to bear, but the ' ' sub ' ' ran out of range. At 10 :15 the fire hav- 
ing been got under control, two shells were fired from the after- 
gun, both striking extremely close to, if not hitting the U-boat. 
Clouds of yellowish smoke rose from the submarine, which ten 
minutes later ceased firing and submerged. It had given up the 
fight. 

The enemy disposed of, the N. 0. T. S. ship proceeded on 
its way. Plunging along, with all lights out, five days after its 



244 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

encounter with the submarine, the Henry was nearing the 
American coast. An outbound convoy, shrouded in darkness, 
was proceeding from New York. It was midnight, pitch dark, 
and before either the group going east or the single ship sailing 
west, knew of each other's presence, the Henry ran into the con- 
voy. In a moment, before there was time even to switch on run- 
ning lights to keep clear of the convoy vessels, the Henry crashed 
into the Herman Frasch, cutting into her well below the water 
line. The Frasch had received a mortal wound, and sank in a 
few minutes right under the bow of the Henry. 

Three days afterwards, on the other side of the ocean, the 
steamship American collided with the Westgate, sending the 
Westgate to the bottom. 

Sailors have a superstition that "luck runs in streaks," and 
it does seem so, for, with the hundreds of N. 0. T. S. vessels 
running back and forth, only four were sunk by collision, and 
two of these accidents occurred within three days. Of the 450 
vessels actually sailing for the N. 0. T. S., only 18 were lost — 
eight were victims of torpedoes or German mines, four were 
sunk as the result of collisions, and six were lost from other acci- 
dents, such as fire or stranding. 

One of these cases was the most mysterious thing that hap- 
pened during the war — the disappearance of the Cyclops. 

Sailing from Bahia, Brazil, the Cyclops, carrying a cargo of 
manganese, was bound for Baltimore. She was proceeding 
steadily, with no indication of any doubt as to her seaworthiness. 
Though she reported having some trouble with one of her en- 
gines, her captain felt confident that he could easily reach port, 
even if using only one engine might somewhat reduce his speed. 
On March 4th the collier put into Barbados, British West Indies, 
to take aboard coal for the rest of the voyage. While in that 
port, there was no indication of anything unusual. Among offi- 
cers, crew and passengers there seemed to be no apprehension 
or foreboding of trouble or disaster. After coaling, she sailed 
away. Many persons saw her sail, other vessels hailed her as 
she passed out to sea. 

After that no one ever saw the Cyclops again, or heard one 
word, or ever found any trace of her. Almost invariably, when 
a vessel is sunk, bodies of the drowned are found, and a mass 



THE FERRY TO FRANCE 245 

of floating wreckage. But never a soul of all those on the big 
19,000-ton collier, never a stick of wreckage or one thing from 
the lost ship was ever discovered. 

The whole area was searched for weeks, scores of vessels 
joined in the hunt, rewards were offered for the discovery of 
anything concerning the missing collier. Nothing was ever 
found. She had disappeared completely, leaving not a trace. 

In this connection this last message, the last word received 
from the Cyclops is of melancholy interest : 

From : U. S. S. Cyclops, Barbados. 
To: Opnav. 

Arrived Barbados, West Indies, 17303 for bunker coal. Arrive 

Baltimore, Md., 12013. Notify Office Director Naval Auxiliaries, Comdr. 
Train (Atl), 07004. 

Class 3 U. S. S. CYCLOPS. 

DNAS 1145 AM 3-4-18. 

Three hundred and nine men perished when the Cyclops 
went down. In addition to her officers and crew, she was bring- 
ing north some 72 naval personnel who had been serving on 
United States vessels in South American waters, as well as a 
few civilians returning from Brazil, among them Mr. Maurice 
Gottschalk, United States consul at Rio de Janeiro. 

What happened to her? There were many theories, most of 
them wild and untenable ; none that seemed to fit the case thor- 
oughly. Many people jumped to the conclusion that she was 
sunk by a submarine, but, so far as known, there was no sub- 
marine anywhere near that region. Others, seizing upon the fact 
that her captain, Lieutenant Commander G. W. Worley, was a 
native of Germany, and that a number of the crew had German 
names, thought captain and crew had turned traitors and taken 
the ship to Germany. Her captain had come to America as a 
boy. He had been employed in the Naval Auxiliary Service for 
nearly twenty years with no evidence of disloyalty. But this 
belief among some outside the Navy, that the ship had been 
taken to Germany, persisted until the armistice, when there was 
undeniable proof that no such vessel had been captured, turned 
over or sighted, and the Germans knew no more about her fate 
than we did. 



246 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

The only theory that seems tenable is that the Cyclops was 
caught in a sudden West Indian hurricane; that her cargo 
shifted, listing the vessel, which turned turtle and went down. 
This is the only way in which seamen account for the absence 
of wreckage. Our colliers of that type have high steel beams 
like cranes, with chains of buckets to load and unload coal. If 
she went down bottom-side up, these huge steel fingers may have 
pinned down everything on deck, allowing nothing to float to 
the surface. But, like everything else connected with the case, 
that is all conjecture. 

"Fate unknown," is the inscription beside the name of the 
Cyclops on the Navy list. The waves that sweep over the spot 
where she lies conceal the secret. Her fate will probably remain 
a mystery until that Last Day when the waters are rolled back 
and the sea gives up its dead. 

The most serious loss of life, next to the Cyclops, sustained 
by the N. 0. T. S., was in the sinking of the Ticonderoga. This 
animal transport, manned by Navy personnel but with soldiers 
aboard to care for the cargo, was almost in mid-Atlantic, though 
nearer Europe than America, the night of September 29, when 
her engines broke down and she fell behind her convoy. At 
5 :30 the next morning she was attacked by the U-152. Though 
the steamer was riddled by shells, and most of her men were 
killed or wounded, she fought on for two hours until both her 
guns were disabled. Lifeboats had been smashed by shell-fire, 
and there were not even enough rafts left to accommodate all 
the men. They were hundreds of miles from the nearest land, 
the Azores, with little hope of getting to shore. 

The wounded were given the preference in getting into the 
boats. Of the 237 men aboard only 24 were saved, the majority 
of them wounded. Two of the officers, both junior-grade lieu- 
tenants, F. L. Muller and J. H. Fulcher, were taken prisoners 
and carried to Germany by the submarine. 

One of the few survivors, Ensign Gustav Ringelman, officer 
of the deck, said the submarine was sighted only 200 yards off 
the port bow; the captain put his helm hard to starboard and 
came within 25 feet of ramming the U-boat. The submarine 
fired an incendiary shell which struck the ships' bridge, killing 
the helmsman, crippling the steering gear and setting the amid- 



THE FERRY TO FRANCE 247 

ships section ablaze. Lieutenant Commander J. J. Madison, cap- 
tain of the Ticonderoga, was severely wounded by a piece of this 
shell. But, wounded as he was, he had himself placed in a chair 
on the bridge, and continued to direct the fire and maneuver the 
ship until the vessel had to be abandoned. 

Six shots were fired at the Ticonderoga' s 3-inch forward 
gun, killing the gun crew and putting the gun out of commission. 
Then the U-boat drew away some distance, both ship and sub- 
marine keeping up the firing. " During this time most every- 
body on board our ship was either killed or wounded to such 
an extent that they were practically helpless from shrapnel," 
said Ringelman. ''The lifeboats hanging on the davits were 
shelled and full of holes, others carried away. However, we 
kept the submarine off until our fire was put out and our boats 
swung on the davits, ready to abandon the ship with the few 
men left on board. Possibly fifty were left by that time — the 
rest were dead." 

The submarine still continued to shell the ship and then 
came alongside and fired a torpedo, which struck amidships in 
the engine room. The ship slowly settled. 

There was one life-raft left on top of the deck house. The 
wounded men were gathered together and lashed to the raft, 
which was then shoved off from the ship. Three or four min- 
utes after that the Ticonderoga took the final plunge. The sub- 
marine picked up the executive officer out of the water and took 
the first assistant engineer, Fulcher, off the life raft. As Muller, 
whom Captain Franz, of the submarine, supposed to be the cap- 
tain of the Ticonderoga, was picked up, Franz's first questions 
were: 

"Where's the chief gunner? Where's the chief gunner's 
mate?" 

"Dead," replied Muller. 

Alicke, a machinist 's mate of German descent, already hauled 
aboard the submarine, interpreted for Fulcher. Franz was or- 
dering him to the raft alongside. He pleaded to be kept on 
board. "Speak for me," he begged his officer, but the German 
captain replied: "Get back on the raft. What do you mean by 
fighting against us, against your country? Only God can save 
such as you now!" 



248 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

Wounded men on the raft pleaded: "Won't you please take, 
us? We have no food or water; no chance." But Franz an- 
swered, "We have room for no more," and cast them adrift. 

All on board that raft were lost. The lifeboat, containing 
mainly wounded soldiers, was threatened by the Germans, who 
went aboard it in their search for the ship's commander. They 
failed to discover Captain Madison, who lay, badly wounded, 
almost under their feet. The Captain and 21 men were in that 
boat for four days before they were rescued by the British 
steamer Moorish Prince. 

The two officers made prisoners found that the submarine 
was the U-152, which had left Kiel September 5, ordered to 
operate in American waters. The submarine, Muller and Ful- 
cher said, received on October 11 the order from Berlin, 
"Engage men of war only; merchant war has ended," and on 
October 20 the radio, "All submarines return to Kiel." 

The U-152 arrived at Kiel November 15, four days after 
the armistice. The two Ticonderoga officers stated that the 
executive officer of the Kronprinz Heinrich, the mother ship of 
the submarines, formally released them as prisoners, saying, 
' ' Naval officers have no more power over you. ' ' He blamed the 
collapse of Germany upon the entry of the United States into 
the war. "You have ruined our country," he added. "See 
what you have done I" 

He told them that they were free to go ashore and the next 
day the lieutenants left for Copenhagen, from which they made 
their way to America. 

Only eight N. 0. T. S. vessels were lost by enemy action, and 
six from other causes during the war period. Though the Naval 
Overseas Transportation Service was not formally organized 
under that name until January 9, 1918, naval vessels had been 
performing such service from the beginning of the war. Com- 
mander Charles Belknap was the director of this service from 
its inception until January 17, 1919, when he was succeeded by 
Rear Admiral Hilary P. Jones. Six million tons of cargo were 
carried by Navy vessels from May, 1917, to December, 1918, fol- 
lowing being the principal items : 

For the Army in France 3,102,462 tons 

For the Navy (exclusive of coal) 1,090,724 tons 



THE FERRY TO FRANCE 249 

Coal shipped from Norfolk 1,348,177 tons 

Coal from Cardiff to France for Army 96,000 tons 

Food for the Allies 359,627 tons 

5,996,990 tons 

Five hundred million pounds of meats, butter, etc, were car- 
ried to our forces overseas, only 4,000 pounds being lost on 
voyage. 

In addition to 1,500,000 tons of coal carried overseas or from 
England to France, 700,000 tons of fuel oil and gasoline were 
taken to Brest, Queenstown, the Mediterranean, and the Ad- 
riatic. The N. O. T. S. also operated the mine-transports, which 
carried across the Atlantic 82,000 complete mine-units for the 
North Sea Barrage. 

When rail transportation broke down in the cruel winter of 
1917-18, threatening to close down New England's industries 
and cause widespread suffering, the Navy released large quan- 
tities of coal stored at supply bases, and naval vessels hauled 
to Boston and other ports the fuel which brought relief to that 
section. 

During the war, when there was not enough merchant ship- 
ping for commerce in the western hemisphere, N. O. T. S. ships 
carried American goods, manufactures and other cargoes to and 
from the West Indies, Mexico, and the ports of Central and 
South America. 

The activities of the N. O. T. S. did not end with the armistice. 
For many months the Navy continued to haul supplies and fuel 
to our forces abroad, took commercial cargoes wherever needed, 
and carried food to the distressed regions of Europe. Its ves- 
sels plied to nearly every quarter of the globe — to Russia, Ger- 
many, Holland, England, France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, 
Austria, Greece, Turkey and Arabia; to South America; to 
Hawaii, the Philippines and China, going as far as Burma, Cey- 
lon, and the Dutch East Indies. 



CHAPTEE XXII 
RADIO GIRDLED THE GLOBE 

IF GERMANS HAD CUT EVERY CABLE, WE COULD STILL HAVE TALKED 

TO EUROPE FROM ONE ROOM IN NAVY DEPARTMENT FLASHED 

DESPATCHES TO ENGLAND, FRANCE AND ITALY CAUGHT GERMAN 

AS WELL AS ALLIED WIRELESS QUEER "NEWS" FROM BERLIN 

U. S. NAVY BUILT IN FRANCE RADIO STATION WHOSE MESSAGES ARE 
HEARD AROUND THE WORLD. 

IF the Germans had cut every cable — and their U-boats did 
cut some of them — we would still have been able to keep in 
touch with Pershing and the Army in France, with Sims in 
London, Rodman and Strauss in the North Sea, Wilson at 
Brest, Niblack at Gibraltar, Dunn in the Azores, with all our 
forces and Allies. 

A spark, flashing its wave through the air, would in an 
instant cross the Atlantic. Caught by the Eiffel tower in Paris 
or the Lyons station, by the British at Carnarvon, by the tall 
Italian towers in Rome, it could be quickly transmitted to any 
commander or chancellory in Europe. That was the marvel 
wrought by radio. 

President Wilson and Secretary Baker in Washington were, 
so far as time was concerned, in closer touch with Pershing and 
his forces than President Lincoln and Secretary of War Stanton 
were with the battle-fields a few miles away in Virginia, during 
the Civil War. It was infinitely easier for me to send a message 
or hear from our vessels 3,000 or 4,000 miles distant than it 
was for Gideon Welles, when he was Secretary of the Navy, to 
communicate with the Federal ships at Charleston or with 
Farragut at Mobile. 

Vessels at sea could be reached almost as easily as if they 
had been at their docks. Submarine warnings, routings, all 
kinds of information and orders were sent to them, fifty or sixty 

250 



RADIO GIRDLED THE GLOBE 251 

messages being transmitted simultaneously. At the same time 
radio operators were intercepting every word or signal sent 
out by ships. Sometimes, as the operators remarked, "the air 
was full of them. ' ' 

1 ' ALLO ! ALLO ! SOS ! " When that call came naval vessels 
went hurrying to the scene, for it meant that a ship was attacked 
by submarines. Sometimes in the war zone the air seemed full 
of " Alios," for ships approaching the European coast could 
catch the wireless for hundreds of miles, hearing signals one 
moment from a vessel off Ireland and the next from some craft 
being attacked in the Bay of Biscay. 

From one room of the Navy Department — the ' ' Trans-Ocean 
Room," we called it — we communicated with all western 
Europe. Messages went direct to the high-power sending sta- 
tions at Annapolis, Sayville, Long Island ; New Brunswick and 
Tuckerton, N. J., which flashed them overseas. At the same 
time dispatches were pouring in at receiving stations, coming 
into Washington from abroad without interfering with the 
volume going out. 

Stations at San Francisco, San Diego, Pearl Harbor, and 
Cavite spanned the Pacific, keeping us in touch with the Far 
East, with China, Japan, the Philippines, and Eastern Russia. 
North and south from Panama to Alaska were wireless stations, 
from Darien, on the Isthmus, to far up into the Arctic. These 
were the "high-powers." At various points along the coast 
were shore-to-ship stations that communicated with shipping- 
several hundred miles from shore. And there were radio com- 
pass stations, which could determine a ship's position at sea. 

The United States Navy not only built up this vast system 
in our own territory, but it erected in France the most powerful 
radio station in existence. Located near Bordeaux, at Croix 
d' Hins, it is named the Lafayette, and a tablet on the main 
building bears the inscription : 

Conceived for the purpose of insuring adequate and uninterrupted 
trans-Atlantic communication facilities between the American Expedi- 
tionary Forces engaged in the World War and the Government of the 
United States of America. 

Erected by the United States Navy in conjunction with and for the 
Government of France. 



252 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

Planned in 1917, in response to the earnest desire of our 
military authorities that steps be taken to insure ample wireless 
communication, in case cables should be cut or otherwise inter- 
rupted, and to supplement the inadequate cable service, this 
immense plant was fast approaching completion when the armis- 
tice was signed. Then work was suspended for a time, but on 
agreement with the French government was resumed, and 
pushed to completion. 

"When, after elaborate tests, the plant was put into opera- 
tion, on August 21, 1920, I received this radiogram: 

This is the first wireless message to be heard around the world, and 
marks a milestone on the road of scientific achievement. 

Lafayette Radio Station. 

The Navy takes a just pride in having brought into being 
that great plant with its eight towers, each 832 feet high, nearly 
300 feet higher than the Washington Monument — the first sta- 
tion to girdle the globe by wireless. 

During the war the Navy controlled all radio in the United 
States and its possessions, taking over and operating 59 com- 
mercial stations. These fitted easily into the extensive system 
which the Navy itself had developed, for on January 1, 1917, 
it owned and operated 55 stations at various points from 
Panama to Alaska, and from our Atlantic coast across the con- 
tinent and the Pacific to the Philippines. This had been the 
work of years. 

In August, 1914, immediately after the outbreak of war, 
Commander S. C. Hooper was sent to Europe to study the latest 
developments in radio and war communications, and spent six 
months in England, France, Ireland, Holland and Belgium. His 
report proved of decided value. A special board, headed by 
Captain Bullard, was appointed, and this led to the expansion 
of Navy Radio and the creation, in 1916, of the Naval Communi- 
cation Service. 

Nearly a year before we entered the war, May 6th to 8th, 
1916, naval communications, wire and wireless, of the entire 
country were mobilized, under the supervision of Captain (later 
Rear Admiral) W. H. G. Bullard, Superintendent of Radio Serv- 
ice. All the apparatus necessary for country-wide communica- 



EADIO GIRDLED THE GLOBE 253 

tion by radio or telephone was provided, by the Bureau of Engi- 
neering, specially marked, and placed in readiness for operation 
on twenty-four hours' notice. 

Inaugurating war service was, therefore, comparatively 
simple, and, under the supervision of Captain D. W. Todd, 
Director of Naval Communications, was easily accomplished. 
Trans-ocean service with Europe was improved by increasing 
the power of Tuckerton, N. J., and Sayville, L. I., the German- 
built stations we had taken over, and placing improved ap- 
paratus at New Brunswick, N. J. Work was pushed on the big 
new station at Annapolis, Md. 

At Otter Cliffs, near Bar Harbor, Maine, a receiving station 
was built that more than doubled the capacity of the existing 
ones at Chatham, Mass., and Belmar, N. J. Sending and receiv- 
ing stations were connected by wire with the Navy Department, 
and use of high speed apparatus, automatic senders and re- 
ceivers enabled us to handle an immense amount of traffic. 
Speed in transmission increased from 30 to 100 words a minute 
in actual practice, and 300 words in pre-arranged tests, and 
there was almost as marked progress in receiving. 

In 1916, experts considered it a very creditable record when 
125,000 dispatches were transmitted or received. In the twelve 
months following April 6, 1918, when traffic was at its height, 
a million dispatches, averaging 30 words each, were handled 
from the Navy Department alone. The Naval Communication 
Service in a single year handled, by wire and wireless, 71,347,860 
words. 

American merchant ships, as well as naval vessels, were 
equipped with modern apparatus and furnished competent 
operators. Thousands of radio operators were required, and 
7,000 were enlisted and trained. At Harvard University we 
established the largest radio school that ever existed. Beginning 
with 350 students in 1917, the number grew to 3,400 and op- 
erators were graduated at the rate of 200 a week. 

Air, surface and undersea craft were linked by radio, easily 
communicating with each other at long distances. Battleships 
received four messages and transmitted three simultaneously. 

During the flight of the Navy planes across the Atlantic, in 
May, 1919, a message was sent from the Navy Department to 



254 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

the NC-4 far out at sea. An immediate reply was received from 
the plane, and this was transmitted to London, Paris, San Fran- 
cisco and the Panama Canal Zone, and its receipt acknowledged 
by these stations, thousands of miles apart, all in three minutes 
after the original message left Washington. 

When President Wilson went to France on the George Wash- 
ington to attend the Peace Conference in Paris, we kept in touch 
with the ship by wireless all the way across the Atlantic. On 
the return voyage we made a test with the wireless telephone 
and from an instrument much like the 'phone in your home or 
office, I talked with the President when he was 1,700 miles at sea. 

The radio compass, used first for locating enemy submarines, 
became a most important aid to navigation. Any ship out of 
its course or uncertain of its reckoning has only to transmit the 
signal, "Give me my position." The operator at the radio 
compass station turns the wheel now this way, then that, until 
he finds from what point the wireless comes strongest. At the 
same time other stations along the coast are doing the same 
thing. Triangulating the directions reported, the master out at 
sea is told the position of his vessel, the latitude and longitude 
and, if in danger, is told what course to steer to get out of his 
predicament. 

The saving in life and property has more than compensated 
for the cost of this system. Beginning with a few on the 
Atlantic, there are now some 75 of these compass stations all 
along our coasts. 

The necessity of a single control of wireless was shown by 
an instance that occurred one night in the Navy Department. 
A message was being received from Darien, in the Panama 
Canal Zone, when some one broke in on its wave-length and 
mixed up words and letters in a hopeless jumble. The operator 
had to stop Darien until he could find out where the trouble 
was. At last they found it was a station in Nova Scotia, that 
was testing its apparatus. It had unintentionally "broken" 
into the wave-length our operators were using, and caused inter- 
ference clear to Panama. 

American news was spread throughout the world by Navy 
radio. Every night the "Navy Press" was broadcasted, and 
received by ships far out at sea. Our boys in the army were 



RADIO GIRDLED THE GLOBE 255 

quite as eager to hear the news from home, and a complete 
service, compiled by the Committee on Public Information, was 
sent to Europe each night, and distributed through the Allied 
countries, including Russia. Regular reports were sent to 
South America and the Orient, the latter being distributed 
throughout China, Japan and Siberia. 

Germany had a big Cryptographic Bureau in Berlin, with 
experts in deciphering languages and codes, which often secured 
valuable information from intercepted radio messages. With 
the assistance of able civilians, we built up a corps of code and 
cipher experts who compared well with those of any country. 
Frequent changes in codes kept Germany guessing, and afforded 
a high degree of secrecy to our official communications. 

"Listening in" on Nauen, the largest of German stations, 
Navy operators in America took down nightly the latest news 
from Berlin. And the "news" the Germans sent out for home 
consumption and foreign effect was weird and startling. One 
night in July, 1918, the Germans announced: 

Vaterland sunk ! Largest German vessel used by Americans as troop 
transport, named by them "Leviathan," was torpedoed and sent down 
today by German submarines! 

By wireless, telegraph, bulletins and newspapers, the report 
was spread all over Germany, and there was general rejoicing 
throughout the empire. 

I did not believe the report and felt it could hardly be true, 
but I must confess that the dispatch gave me a start. Our 
latest reports showed that the big transport had sailed from 
Brest three days previous and was nearly half way home. My 
anxiety was not relieved until we got positive assurance of her 
safety. The British radio next day broadcasted the following 
statement : 

The German wireless and German newspapers have asserted that 
the former German liner the Vaterland, now in use as an American 
transport, had been torpedoed and sunk. The statement is false. The 
Vaterland has not been sunk. The Vossische-Zeitung says that the 
Americans had intended to bring over a dozen divisions in the course of 
a year in this ship. If so the intention may be carried out, for the 
Vaterland is afloat and is in the finest possible condition. 



256 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

There was bitter disappointment in the ''Fatherland" when 
the German Government gradually broke the news that it was 
not the Vaterland, but another steamer, "almost as big," which 
had been sunk. It was, in fact, the Justicia, a British vessel 
which had been carrying troops, but was returning empty — and 
she was nothing like so large as the Leviathan, not by 20,000 
tons. 

That report was only one of the thousand queer things we 
heard from Germany. 

There was laid on my desk every morning a daily newspaper 
— I suppose it was the only "secret" daily ever gotten out in 
America — which, compiled and mimeographed by the Naval 
Communication Service and marked ' ' confidential, ' ' was sent in 
sealed envelopes to officers and officials whose duties compelled 
them to keep in touch with all that was going on abroad. This 
contained not only all that Germany was sending out, but a 
digest of all that was sent out by the British, French and 
Italians. 

We certainly heard some strange "news" from Berlin — 
things that were news to us. One report, received July 25, 1918, 
when our troops were proving their valor in Foch 's great drive, 
informed us : 

The American army is lacking in the one essential, the will to fight. 
In any case, it will not be numerous enough to play any important part 
until 1920, and then only provided the transport difficulty is got over 
and the munition industry developed from its present nursery stage. 
Our submarines will see to the transports, and America will find it 
impossible to create a gigantic industry and a gigantic army at the 
same time. Ammunition perhaps, but guns cannot be cast in sewing- 
machine factories. At present the American soldiers are without either 
rifles or artillery. 

At that moment there were a million American soldiers in 
France and we were turning out munitions at a rate the Ger- 
mans could not believe was possible. 

The more evident it was that U-boat warfare had failed, the 
more vehement were the German naval authorities in asserting 
its success. Admiral Holtzendorff, head of the Admiralty, 
announced on July 29, that they were taking into consideration 
the counter measures — (that meant the mine barrage, the 




STATION RADIOTELEGRAPWQLjE 

LA FAYETTE 

EN L HONNEUR DU GENERAL 

LA FAYETTE 

CONCUE DANS LE BUT 

D 'ASSURER A TRAVERS 

L'ATLANTIQUE DES 

COMMUNICATIONS SURES 

ET INflNTERROMPUES 

ENTRE LES FORCES 

EXPED1TIONNAFRES 

AMERICAINES ENGAGEES 

DANS LA GRANDE GUERRE 

ET LE GOtA ERNEMENT 

DES ETATS-UNIS 

D'AMERIQUE 

ER1&EE PAR LA MARINE 

DES ETATS-UNIS AVEC 

LE CONCOURS ET A 

L' INTENTION DU 

GOUVERNEMENT 

1 FRANCOIS 

COMMENCEE, IE 7 MARS 1918 
ACHEVFK, LE SI AOIT 19«0 



LA FAYETTE 

RADIO STATION 

IN HONOR OF GENERAL' 
LA FAYETTE 

CONCEIVED FOR THE 

PURPOSE OF INSURING 

ADEQUATE AND 

UNINTERRUPTED 

TRANSATLANTIC 

COMMUNICATION FACILITIES 

BETWEEN THE AMERICAN 

EXPEDITIONARY FORCES 

ENGAGED IN THE 
WORLD WAR AND THE 
GOVERNMENT OF THE 
UNITE)) STATES OF AMERICA 

ERECTED BY THE 

UNITED STATES NAVY 

IN CONJUNCTION 

WITH AND FOR 

THE GOVERNMENT 

OF FRANCE 

WORK STARTED. 28 MAY 1918 
COMPLETED. 21 AUCIST 1920 



REMISE AU GOUVERNEMENT KRANC AIS. I f 



THE TABLET ON THE MAIN BUILDING OF THE LAFAYETTE 
EADIO STATION 



RADIO GIRDLED THE GLOBE 257 

destroyers, patrol boats and all the things we were using to 
defeat them) ; that the Germans were building many more sub- 
marines, and that "final success is guaranteed." 

After submarine crews had mutinied and U-boat warfare 
had ended with the recall of their submarines in October, the 
German chiefs were still bluffing their own people. As late as 
November 5, less than a week before the armistice, we caught 
this bulletin from Berlin: 

English wireless service reported, and this report was circulated 
also in neutral newspapers, that German submarines had passed Nor- 
wegian coast on their way home with a white flag at the masthead. This 
is a pure invention. English wireless has thus again circulated a lie. 

At that very time the U-boats were all hurrying home, some 
of them passing so close to the Norwegian coast, to avoid mines 
and destroyers, that they could be plainly seen from shore. 

When the French and Americans by terrific attacks drove 
the Germans across the Marne, Berlin announced : 

The excellent execution of the movement for changing to the oppo- 
site bank of the wide River Marne, which took place unnoticed by the 
enemy, demonstrates today the splendid ability of the German command 
and troops. 

When the Americans won their notable victory at St. Mihiel 
we heard from Berlin that the Germans had only "evacuated" 
the "bend" there to improve lines, and that on the whole, the 
French and American attacks had failed. And General Wris- 
berg assured the trusting Teutons back in the fatherland : 

The American army also can not terrify us, as we shall settle accounts 
with them. 

Even in November, with total collapse only a few days away, 
they were still talking of the failure of the Americans and the 
"victorious repulse" of the French. 

After the mutiny at Kiel and other ports, where sailors took 
possession of the ships and started the revolution, they sent out 
this bulletin, on November 7 : 

Concerning situation in Kiel and uprisings in other harbor towns; 
military protection of Baltic has been carried out without a break by 



258 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

navy. All warships leaving harbor fly war flags. Movements among 
sailors and workmen have been brought back to peaceful ways. 

The surrender of the German High Seas Fleet was gently 
termed, the "carrying out of armistice conditions at sea!" 

But through the secret service of the Allies, we were kept 
well informed of all that was going on in the German navy. 

The denials of mutinies and revolts were merely amusing to 
us. We knew the facts. We knew their morale was shattered, 
that the Allies had ' ' got their nerve. ' ' 

I do not know any dispatch that amused me more than the 
one we picked up from Berlin November 16. This showed that 
the U-boat crews had to be reassured that their lives were safe, 
even after the armistice ; that they had to be coaxed and bribed 
before they would venture out to take the submarines to Eng- 
land for surrender. Here it is : 

Pr. 143. W522 — Transocean Press. Berlin, November 16. 

German armistice commission has directed to Chancellor Ebert for 
immediate communication to all submarine crews letter in which it states 
that English Admiral Sir Roslyn Wemyss has given unreserved and 
absolute assurance that all crews of submarines to be handed over will 
be sent back to Germany as soon as possible after their arrival in the 
harbor appointed by England. Commission therefore requests crews 
to hand over in good time the submarines. 

In connection with this, workmen and soldiers' council of Wilh elms- 
haven states that all men of ships which are brought into an enemy port 
are insured for 10,000 marks in case of death. A corresponding special 
pension has been provided for accidents. Besides, the married men who 
are concerned in bringing the submarines receive a premium of 500 
marks, and finally are to be immediately discharged after their return 
home. 



CHAPTER XXni 
A SURPRISE FOR COUNT VON LUXBURG 

"HERR DOCTOR BRECHT," SPEAKER AT HIS BANQUET IN BUENOS AIRES, 

WAS U. S. NAVAL AGENT NAVAL INTELLIGENCE FRUSTRATED PLOTS 

OF GERMANS FRENCH EXECUTED TWO WOMEN SPIES CAUGHT NEAR 

ST. NAZAIRE, GIVING GERMANS INFORMATION REGARDING AMERI- 
CAN TROOPS. 

EVERYONE recalls the Count von Lnxburg, German Min- 
ister to Argentina, and his famous ''spurlos versenkt" 
dispatch advising his Government that Argentine 
steamers, if not spared by the U-boats, be sunk without 
leaving a trace. But there is one incident in connection with 
that worthy which may, even yet, be news to the Teutons. 

One of the speakers at the last big banquet by the Germans 
in Buenos Aires, over which Luxburg presided — one of the ora- 
tors they applauded vociferously and patted on the back as 
the cries of "Hoch der Kaiser!" rang round the festive board, 
was an agent of the United States Government. And thereby 
hangs a tale. 

When this country broke relations with Germany, German 
activities in South America were redoubled. The large German 
population in Brazil not only planned to keep that country from 
joining the Allies, but talked boldly of "uprisings," and join- 
ing in action with the Germans in neighbor countries. We 
needed to find out more about Teuton activities in that region. 
An American of varied accomplishments, who spoke Portuguese 
and Spanish, as well as German, offered his services to the Navy. 
He had spent years in Germany, and though of a Colonial 
American family, was a doctor of philosophy of Leipzig Univer- 
sity, and intimately acquainted with German conditions and 
German character. He had volunteered to act as a secret agent, 
in which capacity he had served the Navy in Spain itself during 
the Spanish War. 

259 



260 OUE NAVY AT WAR 

In February, 1917, he was accepted by Naval Intelligence, 
and on March 3, a month before we declared war, sailed for 
Brazil. He was no amateur in securing information, and he wel- 
comed the chance of going to Brazil and Argentina, the danger 
to him rather adding zest to the task. 

When he reached southern Brazil as a German emissary 
coming from Switzerland, he was taken into their clubs and 
councils, and told what they planned and plotted. He was with 
the optimistic Teuton singers as they roared out "Die Wacht 
am Rhein" and * ' Deutschland iiber Alles," and toasted "Der 
Tag" — the day when Germany would gather in its spoils in 
South America. He attended the secret meetings of German 
intriguers and learned their secrets. But, suspected at last, 
he was attacked by burly Teutons and emerged with a broken 
head and a badly hurt arm. 

Departing for Argentina, he appeared there as "Dr. Ernst 
Brecht, ' ' bearing tidings from the Germans in Brazil, which had 
just declared war. He was taken into their inner circles, their 
plots and purposes were poured into his ears. Not once did 
they have the faintest suspicion that he was an American, much 
less a Government agent. 

Members of the German legation staff conferred with him. 
Plotting and intriguing there, as they did in the United States, 
they were pretending the greatest friendship for Argentina, 
giving officials and people to understand that, while the U-boats 
might be sinking vessels of other nations without warning, Ar- 
gentinian shipping was exempt. If any of its ships were sunk, 
it was only a regrettable mistake. And at the very time Lux- 
burg was talking this dear friendliness, he was sending ' ' spurlos 
versenkt" messages to the German Government. 

"Doctor Brecht" had many adventures, but the most pic- 
turesque was the role he played in Buenos Aires. Joining at 
once the German "Bund," which had branches all over the 
Argentine, the "Doctor" formed one of the group of well-known 
Austrians and Germans which gathered at the famous round- 
table in the Bismarck restaurant. 

At the annual banquet of the Deutscher Bund, the German 
event of the year, Count von Luxburg presided. "Herr Doctor 
Ernst Brecht" was called upon to speak on behalf of the Ger- 



A SURPRISE FOR COUNT VON LUXBURG 261 

mans of Brazil. Giving a touching account of the situation of 
the Brazilian Teutons and their determination and devotion to 
the cause of the "Vaterland," he ended by quoting a bellicose 
poem written by a well-known German poetess who lived at 
Blumenau, the hotbed of Teutonism in Brazil. 

He was cheered and applauded enthusiastically, and Count 
von Luxburg himself unbent far enough to thank the speaker 
for his inspiring words and express the hope that his sojourn 
in the hospitable Argentine would prove pleasant and profitable. 
It certainly did — but in a way that the Count never suspected. 

There was general regret when "Doctor Brecht" announced 
that he felt compelled within a few weeks to return to Europe. 
He had found that the German officials were planning to send 
important dispatches they would not entrust to the mails, and 
they planned at first to make him their messenger. But before 
this was arranged, Luxburg 's code messages regarding the 
U-boat warfare were published by the United States. The Count 
was amazed. 

Sent in a complicated code known only to himself and the 
Berlin Foreign Office, five thousand miles away; cabled by the 
minister of another country among his own private dispatches, 
he could not understand how those messages could be captured 
and deciphered by the Americans. It was evident that they were 
not so stupid as he and Captain von Papen thought they were. 

Luxburg 's dispatches, when made public, led to uprisings 
against the Germans, makiug it impossible for him to remain in 
Argentina. The day the Count got his passports, September 
12, 1917, "Doctor Brecht" had left the Bismarck restaurant 
and was on his way home with a German acquaintance when 
they saw a fire in the distance, and found the German Club was 
burning. It had been mobbed and set on fire by pro-Ally stu- 
dents and others. Seeing the club half destroyed, the Doctor 
and his companion returned to the Bismarck to inform their 
confreres. But they found that the restaurant had been com- 
pletely gutted by a mob, the tables and dishes smashed, and 
every portrait of the Kaiser, Hindenburg, and other "heroes" 
slashed to pieces. 

Germany had been astonished a few months before by the 
publication of Foreign Minister Zimmerman's note to the Ger- 



262 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

man Minister in Mexico, proposing an alliance of Germany and 
Mexico to make war against the United States. There was noth- 
ing the Germans guarded more closely than that. 

Yet before Bernstorff reached Europe, that secret dispatch 
was published, and the first thing the German Ambassador to 
Sweden demanded to know when the Count reached Christiania, 
was how the Americans ever managed to get hold of it. The 
Foreign Office was stunned. Not only had its plot been exposed, 
but the exposure had shown that the Allies could decipher the 
most secret and puzzling code they could devise. 

Captain von Papen, who once called us "those idiotic Yan- 
kees," might have told them that we were more alert than he 
had supposed, for the exposure of his dealings in every detail ; 
of the activities of Wolf von Igel, his aide; of Doctor Albert, 
of Fritz von Rintelen ; of the ship-bomb plots ; the plan to blow 
up the Welland Canal locks, and various other German in- 
trigues, must have by that time convinced him that the Ameri- 
cans had some secret service of their own. When, on December 
4, 1915, our Government demanded the recall of Papen, who 
was military attache of the German embassy, and Captain 
Boy-Ed, the naval attache, it was merely stated that the cause 
was "improper activity in military matters." Both protested, 
declaring that they had done nothing illegal. But later we pub- 
lished a full account of Papen 's activities, with photographs of 
his checks, the exact amounts paid to his tools who did the dirty 
work, to whom they were paid and for what purpose. It was 
shown that Boy-Ed had transactions amounting to millions with 
German steamship lines whose officials were, through false mani- 
fests, sending out ships laden with coal and other supplies for 
German raiders. 

Boy-Ed, at that, did not seem to be so deeply involved as 
Papen was. He protested that he had no part in conspiring with 
Huerta, and had never seen the Mexican "ex-President." But 
it was known that Rintelen had had dealings with Huerta, and 
that Rintelen had received from Boy-Ed at least half a million 
dollars. The dealings of Captain von Papen with Huerta were 
too thoroughly disclosed to admit of denial. 

Germany, beginning years before, had built up in this coun- 
try an extensive spy system, which kept it informed not only of 



A SURPRISE FOR COUNT VON LUXBURG 263 

military developments, but of what was done in every branch 
of industry. When the European war began they used every 
possible means of preventing the manufacture of munitions or 
supplies for the Allies. Nearly every large factory or plant 
had in its employ workmen who were paid agents of the German 
Government. That they could secure information of what was 
going on was not so menacing as what they might do, for one 
or two men could damage machinery so as to retard work for 
months. There were explosions in munition plants, machinery 
was at times mysteriously wrecked, shells were damaged; and 
while the cause seldom could be definitely determined, it was the 
general belief that many of these "accidents" were the work 
of German agents. 

The Office of Naval Intelligence, whose function in peace 
times is to gather naval information from all parts of the world, 
had a more difficult task to perform when war came. An Investi- 
gation Section was formed to seek out and take into custody 
persons who were, by sabotage, explosion, fomenting strikes 
or other means, seeking to prevent or retard the manufacture 
of munitions; to discover and thwart any attempt to damage 
vessels, shipyards, bases or factories; to counteract German 
propaganda and, in general, restrain the activities of Germans 
and German sympathizers. 

In each naval district there was an Aide for Information, 
reporting to Rear Admiral Roger Welles, Director of Naval 
Intelligence, at Washington. Each district was further sub- 
divided into sections with representatives working under the 
district aid. The activity of these aides was tremendous, espe- 
cially in our large ports of entry, New York, Boston, Philadel- 
phia, Baltimore, and Norfolk. Arrests of suspects sent fear 
into the hearts of any who might be plotting sabotage. In one 
day I ordered the arrest of more than a score in one plant. 

Ships from countries near Germany were examined from 
truck to keel for contraband, or papers or literature that might 
convey secret messages. Passengers and crews were carefully 
scrutinized. Close inspection and censorship of mails and 
cables prevented Germany from communicating with its agents 
in this country, and also prevented them from sending out mili- 
tary information. 



264 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

Outgoing ships were carefully inspected to prevent them 
from taking supplies or materials to Germany. Some neutral 
vessels had been carrying from America quantities of spare 
machinery and electrical parts, especially those composed of 
copper, brass and zinc. There was reason to believe much of 
this was smuggled to Germany and used in the manufacture of 
parts for U-boats. Radio apparatus was purchased in quanti- 
ties. Ships leaving for Holland or Sweden sometimes sailed 
with enough lubricating oil to take them around the world. 
Much of it must have ''leaked" into Germany. This traffic was 
greatly reduced, and that in contraband practically ended. 

Military guards were placed around piers, no enemy or sus- 
pected aliens were allowed to work around shipping, and all 
dock workers were required to carry identification cards. Ves- 
sels were under government supervision during their entire stay 
in port. 

Not only navy yards and shipyards were kept under surveil- 
lance, but all plants engaged on naval work were constantly in- 
spected. Thus all sources of production were protected from 
enemy activity. For this purpose a Plant Division was created, 
which also reported any undesirable working conditions or lack 
of fire protection. This led later to the creation of the Fire Pre- 
vention Section of the War Industries Board. 

Admiral Welles kept in close touch with the Director of Mili- 
tary Intelligence, the State and Labor Departments, and the 
Department of Justice. Naval attaches abroad obtained a large 
amount of information regarding "trading with the enemy" as 
well as military activities, and this was transmitted to the War 
Industries Board, the State and War Departments. The Bureau 
of War Trade Intelligence cooperated with the Navy in holding 
up undesirable imports and exports. 

Information regarding foreign navies and ships and war 
developments was compiled and disseminated, in confidential 
publications, to all our forces afloat. Fleet, Force and Division 
commanders were kept informed of the activities of all fleets, 
Allied and enemy, of ships sunk, and tonnage destruction; of 
the number and tracks of submarines in the Atlantic and Medi- 
terranean ; and of all efforts made by the Allied and associated 
powers. 



A SURPRISE FOR COUNT VON LUXBURG 265 

The British had a remarkably complete system which con- 
stantly improved, so that, in the latter part of the war, it was 
said that they were informed of the sailing of every submarine 
sent out from Germany, and its probable destination. We had 
the advantage of this, as well as the information obtained by 
France and Italy. We had our own agents in most foreign coun- 
tries, and maintained quite a force in France. 

The most important of these activities was along the coast 
around Brest and St. Nazaire, the centers of troop and supply 
traffic. German agents, it was reported, were using Belle He 
as a signal station to advise their submarines. 

Convoys reported suspicious lights, and it was believed that 
these were informers on shore signalling to U-boats. The sub- 
marines used various disguises. One, submerged with its peri- 
scope showing, lay hidden for hours in the midst of a fishing 
fleet. Yet the fishermen paid so little attention to it that the 
French semaphore station, only a few kilometers away, was not 
notified. A Greek merchantman hove in sight, the U-boat fired a 
torpedo and the steamship was sunk. 

The French authorities welcomed our intelligence officers, 
and together they set about developing an efficient service all 
along the coast. A U. S. Naval Reserve officer who spoke 
French fluently was attached to the staff of the French com- 
mander-in-chief in Brittany. That coast is rugged and bold, 
with groups of small islands. The most important is Belle-Ile- 
en-Mer, twelve kilometers from shore, the first land sighted by 
convoys going to St. Nazaire, and the last seen on their way 
home. At the northern end is the famous "Passage de la 
Tenouse," leading to the bay of Quiberon. Once through this 
passage and in the bay, ships were considered safe from sub- 
marines. One group of our first troop convoys was attacked 
three miles west of the Point des Poulin, the entrance to this 
passage, and several shells fired by the transports ricocheted 
and exploded on the rocky bluffs of the island. West-bound con- 
voys were assembled in Quiberon Bay. Every effort was made 
to conceal their departure, but the information that enemy sub- 
marines seemed to obtain at times was startling. When the 
merchant convoy system was inaugurated, ships were instructed 
to anchor off Le Palais, in the lee of Belle He. Two days later 



266 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

a submarine laid mines in the roadstead. The next night ships 
were anchored two miles to the north, but within twelve hours 
mines were laid there. 

Lights and signals were not the only means of enemy com- 
munication. Some fisherman, seeing the transports in the bay, 
might go out at night and inform a submarine, which could radio 
the news to all the U-boats in the vicinity. 

These were the conditions that had to be met. Every report 
of suspicious happenings had to be investigated, and the French 
were quite willing that the American Navy assume this task, 
as it was responsible for most of the convoy work through these 
waters. 

With the greatest care and secrecy, forty -five of the most 
intelligent fishermen who had boats of their own were selected, 
and formed into a patrol service. Proceeding with their fishing, 
they were instructed to watch for any sign of submarines or 
mines and report it immediately. Furthermore, they were to 
report any mysterious behavior of fishermen or strangers in 
boats, and any lights or suspicious happenings along the coast. 
Experienced detectives were employed, with headquarters at 
Nantes, to investigate all reports. A flood of them came in 
from the population who, like the French officers, seemed anxious 
to aid the Americans. 

Hundreds of investigations were made, fishermen and resi- 
dents ashore were aroused to the necessity of reporting every- 
thing that seemed likely to aid the enemy, and an intelligence 
system was built up that was no small factor in making safe 
the coast of France. 

Women spies were found, now and then ; quite as dangerous 
as the men in enemy pay. The most remarkable and pathetic 
instance, perhaps, was the "Alvarez Case," handled by the 
French from its beginning to its tragic end. 

In the spring of 1917, French agents in Barcelona, Spain, 
reported that two women known as the Alvarez sisters, were 
associating with a man strongly suspected of being in the Ger- 
man secret service. Soon afterward they disappeared, and for 
two months their whereabouts was unknown. The Paris author- 
ities directed that all regions in France, particularly the Amer- 
ican zone, be searched for them. They were at last discovered 



A SURPRISE FOR COUNT VON LUXBURG 267 

in the seacoast town of Sables d* Olonne, thirty miles south of 
St. Nazaire, where our troop convoys landed. They were closely 
watched and when they boarded a train for Bordeaux, evidently 
attempting to get back to Spain, they were arrested. Upon trial 
it proved that they had come under the influence of German 
agents in Spain and had been induced by an offer of 50,000 
francs to obtain information, among other things, concerning 
the American troops disembarking in Brittany. 

By this trial the mystery of the blowing up of the French 
destroyer Enseigne Roux was cleared up. It turned out that 
the condemned sisters had been closely associated with a French 
sailor named Gaitton, and evidence pointed to him as having 
mixed dynamite with the bunker coal on the destroyer. This 
was not conclusively proved, but Gaitton had enough counts 
against him to be sentenced to twenty years in a naval prison. 

The Alvarez sisters were convicted, and were sentenced to 
be shot. The execution took place at daybreak in the courtyard 
of the ancient Chateau of Anne de Bretagne, at Nantes. In the 
courtyard were assembled the officers in charge of the execution, 
government officials and witnesses. 

The women were led to two posts near the wall of the chateau, 
and the last words were spoken to them by the priest. At their 
trial they had confessed all, so there was little left to say. One 
was in a fainting condition, but the elder of the two proved 
unusually courageous. She refused to be blindfolded, and stood 
her ground. 

An army officer read the sentence. There was a volley of 
musketry, and the blindfolded woman dropped to the ground. 
But the sister who had shown such courage, though mortally 
wounded, remained erect, and had to be despatched by a shot 
from a revolver. 

The Naval Intelligence officer who gave Admiral Welles the 
account of this pathetic case, from which are taken the par- 
ticulars recited above, wrote : 

' ' For years to come, when the American tourists visit the now historic 
ports of the American Expeditionary Forces, they will see, if they look 
carefully, a few scars on the thick wall of the Chateau courtyard at 
Nantes. These are the marks of bullets which ended the careers of two 
poor deluded women who attempted to betray the Allies. * * *" 



CHAPTER XXIV 
AMERICAN ADMIRAL SAVED KOLCHAK 

HEAD OF EUSSIAN FLEET RELEASED FKOM PRISON AFTER GLENNON 's 

ADDRESS TO MUTINOUS SAILORS AFTER MISSION TO WASHINGTON, 

BECAME HEAD OF OMSK GOVERNMENT KILLED BY BOLSHEVIKI 

UNITED STATES VESSELS IN NORTHERN AND WESTERN RUSSIA 

KNIGHT AT VLADIVOSTOK MC CULLY AT MURMANSK AND 

ARCHANGEL. 

WHEN revolution swept Eussia in 1917, the sailors of 
the Baltic Fleet mutinied, assassinated their com- 
mander-in-chief, and murdered a hundred officers. 
The Black Sea Fleet for the time remained loyal, but 
in June revolted and deposed its commander. 

The American mission headed by Elihu Eoot, of which Ad- 
miral James H. Glennon was the naval representative, had just 
arrived in Petrograd. The sailors at Sebastopol on June 20th 
voted to remove Admiral Kolchak, send him to prison and elect 
a commander-in-chief from their own ranks. When the Admiral 
was notified, he appeared on the quarter-deck of his flagship and 
addressed his men. Appealing in the name of Russia and the 
cause for which she was fighting with the Allies, he urged them 
to remain loyal. But the sailors refused. They were bent on 
taking control. There was nothing for the Admiral to do but 
to give up his command, and leave the fleet to be managed by a 
committee. 

They demanded his sword, but he would not give it. Draw- 
ing it from its scabbard, he saluted the Russian flag, and threw 
the shimmering blade into the sea. Turning upon his heel 
sharply, the former commander-in-chief came down from the 
quarter-deck, climbed over the side of the flagship into a waiting 
boat, and was taken to Sebastopol, where he was put in prison 
along with Smirnoff and other officers. Kolchak might have met 
the same fate as the commander-in-chief of the Baltic Fleet. 

268 



AMERICAN ADMIRAL SAVED KOLCHAK 269 

" Execution by order of the Sailors' Soviet" is quite as deadly 
as assassination. 

Unaware of the serious situation that had developed, Ad- 
miral Glennon set out for Sebastopol to visit Kolchak and the 
Black Sea Fleet. With him went Admiral Newton A. McCully, 
naval attache, a master of the Russian tongue and a great ad- 
mirer of the Russian people, whose affection and confidence he 
has held through all events. 

The first intimation the American admirals had that they 
were about to face unusual circumstances was when, on reach- 
ing the station in Sebastopol, they found a reception committee 
awaiting them composed wholly of workmen and sailors. There 
were no officers. Kolchak was not there, nor had he sent any 
members of his staff to greet them. Glennon and McCully were 
quick enough to catch the significance of this unexpected wel- 
come, and to accommodate themselves to its peculiar character. 

"They wore no swords," said Admiral Glennon, "so the 
.American officers left their swords in the train." 

The American officers were taken to the flagship, from which 
Kolchak had been deposed the day before. Standing on the 
quarter-deck, where Kolchak had stood in his final appeal, Ad- 
miral Glennon spoke to the sailors on the meaning of democracy. 
He paid a generous tribute to their ships. He spoke of Russia's 
bravery, and urged the sailors to stand by the cause for which 
the Allies were fighting. Referring feelingly to the cordial re- 
lations which had always existed between Russia and the United 
States, he made much of the argument for the continued friend- 
ship and cooperation of these nations, now the two biggest 
republics in the world. But not a word did he say of the deposed 
officers. 

Admiral Glennon is a big man, of commanding appearance, 
but with a kindly and genial bearing. His speech made a deep 
impression on the sailors. Evidently they talked over the things 
he had said and decided to show their appreciation in some way. 
When the American admirals and other officers were boarding 
their train to return to Petrograd, representatives of the sailors 
came on board and told Admiral Glennon that they had voted 
to restore the arms to all the deposed officers except Kolchak 
and Smirnoff. These two, they said, they would probably keep 



270 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

in prison and bring to trial. Admiral Glennon saw his chance. 
Manifestly these sailors wanted to please the Americans. They 
were a little afraid of Kolchak and Smirnoff, so they felt obliged 
to keep them in prison, but probably, if the Russian admirals 
were to leave Sebastopol and the region of the Black Sea, the 
sailors would be satisfied. So Admiral Glennon, smiling down 
from his towering height upon the shorter Russians, made a 
proposal. In effect he said: " Release Smirnoff and Kolchak, 
and we will take them to Petrograd with us." Petrograd was 
far away. Moreover the authority of Petrograd was still recog- 
nized, so the sailors agreed. Kolchak and Smirnoff were taken 
from prison and put on board the train with the Americans. For 
them it was deliverance from almost certain death. It is little 
wonder that Kolchak regarded Glennon with the greatest affec- 
tion and gratitude. A few weeks later he came to the United 
States at the head of a Russian naval mission, and his renewal 
of acquaintance with Admiral Glennon was like the meeting of 
brothers. 

I had a chance to see a good deal of Kolchak while the mis- 
sion was here. He was said to be of Tartar descent. Of medium 
height and very dark complexion, he had piercing eyes and a 
determined expression. He admired Farragut greatly, and 
made a special trip to his tomb to place a wreath upon it. He 
was also a great admirer of our Arctic explorers, probably be- 
cause of his own Polar service. I remember the dinner Admiral 
Kolchak gave at a Washington hotel to the Secretary of the 
Navy and prominent naval officers just before he took his de- 
parture in 1917. It was about the gloomiest, most funereal 
occasion I experienced in all my eight years in Washington. 
News had just arrived of a German victory over the Russians 
in the Baltic. The Kerensky government was in a perilous 
position. The depressing situation was reflected in the solemn 
faces of the banqueters. I did my best to cheer Kolchak, pre- 
dicting a wonderful future for a democratic Russia when the 
Allies and America had won the war. 

''Do you really believe Russia can again have peace I" he 
asked me, and the tone of his question spoke his own despair. 
The premonition of tragedy must have been in his soul. At the 
end of October he sailed from San Francisco, intending to re- 



AMERICAN ADMIRAL SAVED KOLCHAK 271 

turn to European Russia by Siberia. When be reached Japan 
he found the Bolsheviki had seized power and Kerensky was a 
fugitive. The Bolshevik government offered him and his officers 
safe journey to Petrograd, if they would recognize its authority 
and swear allegiance. Kolchak refused. 

Gathering together the forces opposing Lenine, he became 
leader of the anti-Bolshevik movement in Siberia. In the spring 
of 1919, when the Admiral was head of the Omsk government, 
the world thought he was going to succeed in his great effort 
to overthrow Lenine and Trotzky. Then the tide turned. 
He was driven back. His retreat became a rout. When he 
reached the region of Lake Baikal, his forces disintegrated and 
fled, leaving him alone. One day in January, 1920, a revolu- 
tionary group raided the village of Innokentieskaya, near 
Irkutsk, and found Kolchak. They took him prisoner, and 
turned him over to the Bolshevik commissairs. There was a 
perfunctory court-martial, which passed the predetermined sen- 
tence of death. 

In the early dawn of February 7, he was led from his cell 
to the courtyard of a building in Irkutsk, where he was stood 
with his back to the wall. It was too dark to see his face dis- 
tinctly, the stories that came to us stated; so a soldier held a 
lighted lamp near it to guide the firing squad. When the com- 
mand to fire was given, the squad failed to obey. Angered at 
their soft-hearted reluctance, the Bolshevik commissair who 
was supervising the execution pushed the squad aside, strode 
up to Kolchak, and shot him down. 

Thus the famous Russian admiral met his fate. 

The debacle in Russia profoundly disturbed America. It 
was due primarily to the failure of communication and trans- 
portation. Russia was shut off at the Dardanelles by the Turks 
and at the Danish Sound in the Baltic by the Germans. When 
the Kerensky government was organized there was hope by the 
oldest republic in the New World for the success of the newest 
republic in the Old World. The coup d'etat of the Bolshevists, 
who soon made the treaty of Brest-Litovsk with the Germans, 
gave pause to the Allied forces, who felt it necessary to take 
steps on what had been the ''Eastern front" to prevent the use 
of Russian manpower against them. Fifty million dollars of 



272 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

their supplies were piled up at Archangel, which the Bolshevists 
were undertaking to confiscate and move into the interior. The 
Germans were seeking a submarine base on the Murman coast 
in order to gain access to the sea which they had been so long 
denied. 

These dangers drew Allied forces into Northern Russia. In 
May, 1918, the U. S. S. Olympia, which won fame as Dewey's 
flagship at Manila Bay, arrived at Murmansk with Lieutenant 
General Poole, of the British army, and a small detachment of 
troops. They drove off an attack at Pechenga. A small group of 
Russian naval officers, who could not reconcile themselves to Bol- 
shevik rule, spent the winter on a sealing trip. They believed 
themselves safe when in sight of the Murman coast with their 
cargo of skins worth $35,000. Without warning a German sub- 
marine came up alongside and sank their vessel, few of the 
crew escaping. 

The Murmansk Soviet could not retaliate because, by the 
treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the Russian navy could take no further 
part in the war. So they turned over their navy, consisting of 
three destroyers, one to the British, one to the French, and one 
to the Olympia when she arrived. I dare say few people, even 
in the Navy, knew that we possessed a destroyer named the 
Karitan Yurasovsky. Its crew was half Russian and half Amer- 
ican. It was a queer sort of arrangement, but Admiral Mc- 
Cully, in command of Naval Forces in Northern Russian Waters, 
said "It worked remarkably well, there never being the least 
sign of friction, and the destroyer always ready for duty." 

Not much has been heard of the U. S. flotilla on Lake Onega. 
When the Allied forces, including a small detachment from the 
Yankton, were on the line of march within 300 miles of Petro- 
grad, there was need of water transportation. Our small naval 
contingent was equal to the emergency. Two motor boats, each 
with a short one-pounder in the bow and a machine-gun on the 
beam, were transported by rail down to near Lake Onega, then 
hauled miles through the woods, and launched in the lake on 
May 27, 1919. Three times they were engaged with Bolshevik 
gun-boats at long ranges. 

In June, 1918, the Olympia sent a detachment 150 strong to 
Kandalaska to assist in guarding that point. When the Mur- 



AMERICAN ADMIRAL SAVED KOLCHAK 273 

mansk government broke with the Bolsheviki, Allied troops 
landed in Murmansk. In August a detachment from the Olympia 
under Captain Bierer took part in the successful expedition 
against Archangel. This same detachment under Lieutenant 
Hicks bore their share in the pursuit of the retreating Bolshe- 
vists to the interior, having some hard fighting. Under Colonel 
G. W. Stewart, the 339th Infantry Regiment and 310th En- 
gineers, about 5,600 men, having just completed their training at 
Aldershot, reached Northern Russia September 4th, and they 
remained all winter. They were immediately put in the front 
line, doing practically all the fighting that was done, and during 
this time losing more men in action than all the other Allies 
combined. The small detachment of Navy men privileged to 
fight with their army brethren in Northern Russia, regard them 
as among the noblest of all fighting forces. 

The Asiatic Fleet, under command of Admiral Austin M. 
Knight, cooperated with the Japanese and other Allied forces 
in the Far East, and the flagship Brooklyn or some other ves- 
sels were almost constantly at Vladivostok, where Admiral 
Knight took a prominent part in the conferences and operations 
to check enemy and hostile activities. 

In June, 1918, Vladivostok and nearly all of Siberia fell 
into the hands of the Bolsheviki. Assisted by German and 
Austrian prisoners of war, they were resisting the advance of 
the Czecho-Slovaks who, fighting their way for thousands of 
miles through Russia, were endeavoring to reach the eastern 
coast, where Allied vessels might take them home. Vladivostok 
was their destination, but they had hard fighting before they 
could enter. On June 29 they took the city after a three-hour 
battle with the Bolsheviki. There were 12,000 of the Czecho- 
slovaks, but only 2,500 of them were armed and equipped. The 
city was still in an uproar, with desultory firing at various points. 
In the afternoon Admiral Knight ordered ashore Marines and 
sailors to guard the American consulate, and to act as part of a 
patrol force composed of British, Japanese, Chinese and Czecho- 
slovaks who patrolled the city, preventing destruction and pre- 
serving order. 

Marines from the Brooklyn in July guarded the German and 
Austrian prisoners of war on Russian Island, five miles from 



274 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

Vladivostok. Our Navy had a radio station there. Men from 
our ships formed a part of the force of British marines, Japanese 
land Chinese bluejackets and Czecho-Slovak soldiers organized 
to guard the Russian navy yard at Vladivostok, and prevent 
disorder in the city. 

The United States Asiatic Fleet performed a valuable func- 
tion in the Far East. Guarding American interests and co- 
operating with the Allied forces, its vessels operated from the 
Philippines to the Russian coast. They exerted, as always, de- 
cided influence in China, supporting the Chinese Government 
in its stand with the .Allies. Though the Japanese had long 
before taken Kiao-Chau, the German stronghold, and the Teuton 
strength was broken, constant efforts were required to prevent 
the German propaganda and agitation from causing trouble. A 
sharp lookout was maintained for German raiders. One, the 
famous Seeadler, sank two American vessels in the Pacific. But 
after it was run down and disposed of, no more raiders appeared. 

Our vessels in the Pacific were of material assistance to the 
Army when American troops were sent to Russia to protect the 
Siberian railway, and again when they were being returned from 
Russia. Admiral William L. Rodgers succeeded to the com- 
mand of the Asiatic Fleet in the latter part of 1918 and con- 
tinued until late in 1919, when he was succeeded by Admiral 
Gleaves. Some of our vessels were at Vladivostok practically 
all the time. One of the first suggestions made by the British 
when we entered the war was that we maintain our force in 
Asiatic waters, and while the vessels were few in number, they 
performed excellent and necessary service. 



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CHAPTER XXV 
THE HALF-WAY HOUSE 

AZORES VITAL IN NAVAL OPERATIONS " ORION* ' CELEBRATED FOURTH 

OF JULY BY DRIVING OFF U-BOAT THAT WAS SHELLING PONTA DEL- 

GADA HUNDREDS OF AMERICAN SHIPS STOPPED THERE ON THE 

WAY ACROSS DUNN IN COMMAND OF BASE MARINES MANNED 

GUNS, MAINTAINED AERIAL PATROL SUBMARINES KEPT OFF 

SUBMARINES. 

THE Fourth of July, 1917, was ushered in by the booming 
of American guns, not in the United States, but in the 
far-away Azores. 

Bright and early, at 4:45 a. m. (not long after mid- 
night in this country), a German submarine began bombarding 
Ponta Delgada, the principal city in the islands. The U-boat 
was one of the largest type, with powerful guns, and she poured 
a rain of shells that crashed into stores and residences, and 
exploded in the streets. People were panic stricken. The an- 
tiquated forts were no defense. Their guns were not of suffi- 
cient caliber to cope with the enemy. Knowing this, the Ger- 
mans thought they would have a picnic, without any risk or 
interruption, shelling an undefended city and terrorizing its 
helpless inhabitants. 

But relief came from an unexpected source. The United 
States naval collier Orion was in port, and three minutes after 
the enemy began operations, her guns were in action. This was a 
surprise for the submarine. When the shells began to fall 
around her, the Germans could not imagine where they came 
from. The Orion was at a dock 2,000 yards away on the other 
side of a point of land that juts out into the harbor. She could 
not sail out immediately, as her stern had been hoisted to make 
repairs. But she promptly turned her guns on the intruder, 
and in a few moments the enemy found he was faced by a 
formidable foe. 

275 



276 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

The Orion's fire was too hot for the Germans. Its shells were 
falling uncomfortably close; its gunners rapidly getting the 
range. Not many minutes later the U-boat, baffled and dis- 
appointed, disappeared. The submarine, it was discovered 
later, was the famous Deiitschland, the U-155. 

Proclaiming that the American collier had saved the city, 
the whole town joined in a spontaneous celebration. The cap- 
tain of the Orion, Lieutenant Commander J. H. Boesch, was 
cheered and feted, as was his whole crew. Officials tendered 
him their formal thanks, and he became a hero in the Azores. 
All kinds of honors were paid him, and later he was presented 
with a handsome gift, expressing the gratitude of the Del- 
gadans. They even named brands of cigars for him, with his 
picture on the boxes — and I know no more conclusive evidence 
of popular favor than that. 

These islands — the "half-way point between America and 
Europe" — were vitally important in our naval operations, and 
soon after war was declared, we began negotiations with Por- 
tugal for permission to establish an American naval base at 
that strategic point. U-boats of large type were already operat- 
ing in that region. Had the Germans succeeded in establishing 
a base there or in utilizing the islands for supplying or refueling 
submarines, they could have seriously menaced our troop and 
cargo transportation, and trans-Atlantic lines of communication. 

The necessity of protecting this locality was emphasized in 
a dispatch from our London headquarters on July 13, and let- 
ters of July 30, 1917, in which we were informed that England 
had sent a mystery ship and two submarines to the Azores, and 
the hope was expressed that the United States would do the 
same. "The advisability," said the report, "of the United 
States sending one of the older battleships with perhaps two 
or three auxiliary craft to the Azores to prevent the use of these 
islands as a base during the coming winter should be con- 
sidered." The Germans had, about that time, sent out the former 
Deiitschland to cruise in the vicinity of the Azores. 

Early in August, 1917, the U. S. S. Panther and five coal- 
burning destroyers arrived at Ponta Delgada "to operate 
against enemy vessels, to assist torpedoed vessels and rescue 
survivors, and to deny the island to enemy submarines which 



THE HALF-WAY HOUSE ' 277 

might try to use them as a base" In September the Wheeling, 
with two destroyers, arrived, relieving the Panther and destroy- 
ers, which had been ordered to French waters. The Wheeling's 
captain was acting base commander. 

On October 28, a division of U. S. submarines, the K-l, K-2, 
K-5 and K-6, arrived, and later the E-l. These submarines and 
our destroyers patrolled the waters around the Azores, and from 
the time operations began there was practically no enemy sub- 
marine activity around the islands, although the German Gov- 
ernment had declared this a "barred zone." 

As a result of the Allied Naval Conference at London, in 
September, 1917, it was decided to establish a British naval in- 
telligence center in the Azores and to build a radio station eight 
miles west of Ponta Delgada. Our Navy mounted a seven- 
inch gun on a high bluff for its protection. This radio station 
was of great value, for prior to its construction communication 
from the Azores was by cable to the United States and thence to 
Europe. By arrangement, all British naval units served under 
the general direction of the United States senior naval officer. 

As soon as the diplomatic negotiations with Portugal were 
completed, I directed Admiral H. 0. Dunn to proceed to Ponta 
Delgada and establish a regular naval base. He embarked on 
the Hancock, with a complete advance base outfit, and a detach- 
ment of Marine aviators with aircraft. Guns were mounted at 
Ponta Delgada to defend the harbor, and nets and other torpedo 
defenses were stretched across the entrance. 

The First Marine Aeronautic Company, 12 officers and 133 
men, operated an anti-submarine patrol of ten R-6 and two N-9 
seaplanes, and six HS-2-L flying boats. Major Francis T. 
Evans was in command to July 18, 1918, when he was suc- 
ceeded by Major David L. S. Brewster, who was in command 
of these Marines until they were ordered home January 20, 
1919. Submarines and destroyers as well as aircraft, operated 
from Ponta Delgada. The establishment of a hospital afforded 
treatment and comfort not only to the personnel on duty there, 
but alike to men and officers passing through, and to the people 
on the islands, who suffered greatly during the influenza 
epidemic. Large warehouses, filled with stores, furnished sup- 
plies to ships stopping at Ponta Delgada. 



2?8 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

In addition to the value of this base to our own operations, 
its potential value is seen from the fact that never after its 
establishment did German submarines appear off the island. 
Several operated in that region but were careful not to approach 
within reach of our guns. 

"The occupation of the Azores," said Admiral Dunn, "was 
of great strategic value from the mere fact that had it been in 
possession of the enemy, it would have formed an ideal base for 
submarines, and as our convoy routes passed north and south 
of the islands an enemy base would have been a very serious 
obstacle for the successful transport across the ocean of troops 
and supplies." 

All our submarine chasers, tugs and small craft sent to 
Europe stopped at the Azores for fuel, provisions and repairs. 
Our repair ship and station were found invaluable, particularly 
during the stormy winter when many merchant vessels broke 
down in the vicinity. Tugs were sent out to tow them in, repairs 
were promptly made, and they were sent on their way. In sev- 
eral instances, merchant vessels were rescued at distances of 
400 to 500 miles from the islands. The relations between the 
American naval officers and Portuguese authorities in the Azores 
were most cordial, and this cooperation strengthened the ties 
between the United States and Portugal. 

If Portugal had not been in the war as an ally, it would have 
been a tremendously difficult problem to have gotten across any 
of the yachts and sub-chasers, and a large portion of our de- 
stroyers, because they did not have the steaming radius to cover 
the more than 3,000 miles of ocean between us and the coast of 
Europe. But for the base in the Azores and Portugal's co- 
operation, we would have lacked a place to re-fuel in mid-ocean. 
Before the Azores was open to us we were forced to establish 
a mobile oil base at sea, moving the oilers secretly to fuel our 
destroyers as they went across. Discovery of such an oil base 
by the Germans would have been fatal to us, as sinking tankers 
and oilers was a task at which their U-boats were most proficient. 

On May 20, 1919, the people of Ponta Delgada again did 
honor to men of the American Navy. On that day ships in the 
harbor were dressed, the town decked in flags, and there was 
general rejoicing at the arrival of the aviators on the first trans- 



THE HALF-WAY HOUSE 279 

Atlantic flight. A salute of twenty-one guns was fired by the 
Portuguese battery, and the Governor of the Azores and the 
Mayor of Ponta Delgada gave official welcome to Commander 
J. H. Towers and the officers and crews of the "Nancys," as 
those famous planes were called. 

The Azores formed the central point in the flight from the 
United States to Europe. It was the evening of May 16, 1919, 
when the three giant planes swung out from Trepassy, New- 
foundland, on the long "jump" to the Azores, a distance of 
1,380 miles. When the goal appeared to be near, the worst foe 
of navigation appeared. A dense fog all but blinded the pilots t 
endangering the success of the flight and putting the lives of 
the flyers in peril. The NC-4 managed to ascend above the fog, 
and 15 hours and 13 minutes after leaving Newfoundland ar- 
rived at Horta, the emergency stop in the Azores, and after a 
delay of three days, due to bad weather, flew to Ponta Delgada. 
The NC-1 was forced to descend to the water 45 miles from the 
island of Flores, and half an hour later the NC-3 also descended 
not far from Fayal. Disabled by heavy seas, the NC-1 sank. 
Nothing was heard from the NC-3 for more than two days. Many 
people feared that she was lost, and there was general rejoicing 
when, after fifty-three hours on the water, drifting and taxiing 
209 miles, she reached Ponta Delgada. 

Early in the morning of May 26th, Commander Albert C. 
Read and his crew departed on the NC-4 for the 891-miles flight 
for Lisbon, carrying the good wishes of the people of the islands. 
Lisbon did honor to the fliers, who had made a new world record. 
Bells rang, whistles blew, and the guns of the shore batteries 
boomed as the thousands lined the water front to welcome the 
aerial voyagers. Portuguese in Lisbon as well as in the Azores 
took the deepest pride in the achievement of the great adventure. 



CHAPTER XXVI 
TO VICTORY ON A SEA OF OIL 

ABILITY TO SECUEE OIL AND TRANSPORT IT TO EUROPE WAS ESSENTIAL 

TO SUCCESS OUR NAVY PATROLLED CARIBBEAN AND GULP COASTS 

TRANSPORTED MATERIAL AND FURNISHED PERSONNEL TO LAY PIPE 

LINE ACROSS SCOTLAND AMERICA FURNISHED EIGHTY PER CENT 

OF OIL FOR ALLIED FORCES. 

^r | a HE Allies floated to victory on a sea of oil," was the 

epigrammatic way in which Lord Curzon expressed 

X the truth that oil was essential for success in the 

World War. This was true particularly of the Navy's 

part in the war, for most of the naval force and the Shipping 

Board's ships were oil burners. That oil was necessary also 

for the army was emphasized when General Foch warned that 

"interruption of the petroleum supply would necessitate an 

entire change of campaign and if long continued might result 

in the loss of the war." 

Long before 1914, Great Britain had felt dependence upon 
Mexican oil for its increasing oil-burning navy, and had made 
provision for securing it through acquisition of Mexican oil 
fields. American captains of industry had likewise large oil 
fields in Mexico. From the minute war was declared in 1914, 
Allied dependence was upon Mexican and American oil. Tam- 
pico and Port Arthur were strategic points in all Allied plans 
of campaign on sea or land. If this supply of oil had been in- 
terrupted, the war might have gone on much longer. 

From the day the first German raider sank a British ship 
or a submarine fired at an Allied vessel, the British and French 
were zealous to protect the oil supplies in Mexico. They main- 
tained patrol vessels in that region and kept ceaseless vigil of 
sea routes to protect this priceless agency of war. However 
great their need of ships on their own coast, they knew that if 
the oil supply failed at Tampico they would lose the only ade- 
quate available source of oil for all their operations. 

280 



TO VICTORY ON A SEA OF OIL 281 

The question has sometimes been raised why the Navy De- 
partment did not immediately upon the declaration of war send 
every patrol ship into European waters. One answer is Oil. 

Before the United States entered the war, sensing, as the 
authorities did then, that oil might determine the outcome, a 
naval squadron, first under Admiral Wilson and afterwards 
under Admiral Edwin A. Anderson, was organized for patrol 
service in the Gulf and Caribbean as well as in the North At- 
lantic. Why? Again the answer was Oil, with a big O. The 
United States was importing millions of barrels of oil from 
Mexico for its own ships and industries. It could not permit 
any danger of cessation of this supply. Our dependence would 
be heightened when we entered the war. Gasless Sundays and 
other methods of conservation were practiced later in order that 
the Army and Navy in Europe might be well supplied. 

At one time the sinking of the tankers was serious enough to 
alarm the Allied navies. The maintenance of fleets of Great 
Britain and America in the North Sea was dependent upon oil 
supplies, and always the U-boats were on the watch to torpedo 
oilers. They were so successful and the number of tankers was 
so small, compared to the need, that the American and British 
naval administrations decided to construct a pipe line across 
Scotland as the best new way to lessen the danger of losing 
tankers and to hasten the delivery of oil to the Allied fleet in 
the North Sea. 

The Bureau of Navigation will enroll a force to lay the pipe line 
(Glasgow, Scotland) to consist of seven officers and one hundred men 
experienced in pipe line work. All material expense to be borne by 
British Government and personnel expense by United States Govern- 
ment. 

That was the order I signed, April 5, 1918, in pursuance of 
which the Navy undertook to furnish the personnel, and, coop- 
erating with the British, lay a pipe line across Scotland, thirty- 
six miles in length, following the course of the Clyde and Forth 
Canal, extending from Old Kilpatrick (St. Patrick's birth- 
place), to Grangemouth, Firth of Forth. Directions were also 
given that pipe and other material should be transported in 
American naval vessels. Priority orders were given by me for 



282 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

the material in order to expedite shipment and construction, and 
as soon as the necessary material was ready the naval force 
embarked and carried out the work under Commander W. A. 
Barstow. The pipe line was laid out by Mr. Forrest Towl, presi- 
dent of the Eureka Pipe Line Company, New York, and the 
naval personnel was able to complete the work in four months. 

There were two intermediate pumping stations, and fuel oil 
could be pumped in a cold state at the rate of 100 tons per hour. 
At the Old Kilpatrick terminal sixteen large tanks were con- 
structed, each with a holding capacity of 8,000 tons. At the 
opposite end the oil was pumped into large reservoirs, easily 
accessible to oil-burning ships at Grangemouth and Forth ports. 

The U-boats seemed, as I have stated, to have some uncanny 
way of finding and sinking tankers carrying oil to Europe. 
When unable to hit transports and cargo ships, their aim at 
tankers seemed unerring, particularly when the ships were go- 
ing around the north of Scotland to carry oil to the fleet in the 
North Sea. And oil was more valuable to the fleet than radium. 
In fact it was the prime essential. The construction of the pipe 
line became a pressing war need for three reasons : 

1. To reduce the sinkings of tankers proceeding around the 
north of Scotland or up the English channel. 

2. To secure quicker trans- Atlantic voyages by eliminating 
the necessity of the tankers going into the North Sea. 

3. To increase the flexibility in the distribution of reserve 
stocks between the west and east coasts, and vice versa. 

Its completion secured a continuous and adequate supply of 
fuel oil for the naval vessels operating in the area it served. 
The building of this pipe line appealed to the Navy Department. 
As soon as the plans were ready, the order, "Push it!", was 
sent to every bureau which could assist in hastening construc- 
tion and furnishing the officers and men. The order was obeyed. 

When the formal opening of the line was celebrated a tele- 
gram of thanks was sent to American Naval Headquarters at 
London. Admiral Tothill, the British Fourth Sea Lord, who 
turned on the steam that started the pumps going, in his speech 
stated that this line, the longest in Great Britain, had 
been completed in about six months time from placing of order 
in the States, and that the U. S. Navy had in that time enrolled 



TO VICTORY ON A SEA OF OIL 283 

a special unit to lay the pipe, and completed the work in a much 
shorter time than had been expected. 

In his report Commander Barstow said that "during the 
past year the Allied governments' requirements amounted to 
2,900,000,000 gallons, of which large total the United States has 
furnished 80 per cent, or about 2,320,000,000 gallons. " The fact 
that eighty per cent, of the oil required had to be transported 
across the Atlantic shows the importance of the pipe line across 
Scotland which our Navy had a large part in constructing, and 
equally proves the value of the patrol of the Caribbean and Gulf 
Coast by our squadron in those waters. 

In March, 1913, in answer to a letter from the Navy Depart- 
ment as to whether the Navy would be justified in constructing 
all its ships as oil burners, the Secretary of the Interior advised 
that the Geological Survey's estimates of the available source 
of oil showed that it was ample. The policy of "all oil-burners" 
was adopted by the Navy in 1913 and, when it was organized, 
the Shipping Board adopted the same policy. It was found that 
four ships burning oil will do the work of five ships burning 
coal. From the coal mine to the fire-room the use of oil saves 
fifty men per ship. Oil is the super-fuel. It does effectively and 
economically all that coal can do, and more. Its use makes pos- 
sible the highest service of the two hundred and seventy-five 
destroyers built or contracted for during the war. 

Foreseeing the larger use of oil for naval purposes, in the 
latter part of 1912, President Taft withdrew certain lands in 
California from public exploitation and set this land aside as 
Naval Reserves, No. 1 and No. 2. On April 30, 1915, President 
Wilson issued an order setting aside Naval Petroleum Reserve 
No. 3, in Wyoming. The preservation of these reserves intact 
for naval use is of such importance that the Government has 
fought the many adverse claims and refused the persistent ap- 
plications of claimants and others to open wells on these 
reserves. It will soon be recognized that the nation which con- 
trols the oil supply of the world has an advantage in naval 
operations and in the carrying of water-borne commerce which 
will give it supremacy. The Navy Department appreciated this 
fact in 1913. After the war it recommended that this Govern- 
ment take steps not only to keep a large reserve of American 



284 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

oil stored in the ground but also to acquire wells in every part 
of the world where oil is produced. 

The contest for oil is a contest for supremacy of the sea traffic 
and naval superiority. Naval need of oil and the need for a 
large merchant marine, demand that the United States Govern- 
ment shall adopt a new policy touching oil and other national 
resources. We have been so wasteful of resources as to endan- 
ger national strength. It required the World War to teach us 
the importance of large production of oil, and of tankers and 
storage in all parts of the world. 



CHAPTER XXVII 
EDISON— AND 100,000 MORE 

FLOOD OF SUGGESTIONS AND INVENTIONS OFFERED, MOST OF THEM TO 

DOWN THE U-BOATS "FIND THE SUBMARINE' ' WAS THE PROBLEM 

BEST DETECTION DEVICES DEVELOPED IN AMERICA NEW WEAP- 
ONS OF WAR THE NAVAL CONSULTING BOARD AND ITS GREAT 

WORK SOME AMUSING SUGGESTIONS. 

ONE hundred thousand suggestions and inventions were 
offered the Navy for winning the war. Four-fifths of 
them were designed to down the submarine. They 
poured in upon the Department in floods, evidence that 
American genius was mobilized along with man-power. Letters 
came in by the thousand, plans and models by the hundred. All 
were examined, and those that gave promise were tested. 

The creation of the Naval Consulting Board, headed by 
Thomas A. Edison, in 1915, made the Navy the natural center 
for war inventions. While many did not prove practical and 
others were in process, a considerable number of important in- 
ventions were completed and proved of the highest value. A 
notable instance was the development of means for detecting 
submarines. In this America led the world. 

"When these devices had been perfected and thoroughly tested 
out on this side of the water, Captain R. H. Leigh was sent to 
England with a staff of naval officers and civilian experts ; and 
ten tons of apparatus, to be tried out in British waters. Three 
trawlers, the Andrew King, Kunishi, and James Bentole, were 
equipped at the Portsmouth dock yard, and on December 30, 
1917, accompanied by a speedy "P" boat, they steamed out for 
" listening patrol" in the English channel. Mr. C. F. Scott, one 
of the civilian engineers who accompanied Captain Leigh, said : 

The day after New Year's we received a wireless from an airship 
that a submarine had been sighted. We steamed over, got our devices 
out, but'couldn't hear a thing. Another message from the airship 

285 



286 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

changed the "sub's" position, so we altered our course and obtained a 
clear indication from the listening devices. The Hun was moving slowly 
up the Channel, submerged. 

We gave the "P" boat a "fix" (cross bearing) on the spot where 
our indication showed the submarine to be. She ran over the place, 
dropping a "pattern" of depth charges, and soon we began to see tre- 
mendous amounts of oil rising to the surface. Evidently our first 
experience was to be successful. How successful we did not learn until 
afterward. 

A trawling device had been developed which indicated whether con- 
tact with a submarine had been made. After the oil came up, we got 
out our trawling device and ran over the area for about an hour and 
finally got an indication. 

"We threw over a buoy to indicate the spot and anchored for the 
night, as it was getting dark. Next morning we trawled again and got 
another contact within a hundred yards of the buoy. We had destroyed 
a submarine in our first test, and the "sub" was given out by the 
Admiralty as a "probable." [That is, probably sunk.] 

Many detection devices had been tried out and proved fail- 
ures, but the American apparatus was so successful that the 
British ordered them for their own vessels. Thousands were 
manufactured, and our sub-chasers sent abroad were equipped 
with them. In December, 1917, it was estimated that at times 
two to five U-boats had passed through the English Channel in 
a day. After July 1, 1918, when patrol ships were equipped 
with the improved listening devices, only one enemy submarine 
is known to have passed through the Channel. Blocking the 
entrances to Zeebrugge and Ostend, the Dover patrol and the 
better mine defenses are to be credited with the larger part 
of this. But considerable credit is due to these " listeners,' ' 
whose ability to locate under-water craft greatly increased the 
hazards of U-boats, especially in narrow waters. 

The listeners also proved decidedly effective in high waters, 
off the French coast, in the Adriatic, the Mediterranean, and 
wherever they were used. They compelled the U-boats to 
change their tactics, and remain motionless for hours, fearing 
that the slightest movement of their propellers would disclose 
their presence. 

Our submarine force began listening tests off Pensacola, 
Fla., in January, 1917, using privately-invented apparatus 
which gave such promise that an experimental station was estab- 



EDISON— AND 100,000 MORE 287 

lished at Nahant, Mass., the General Electric, Submarine Signal, 
and Western Electric companies cooperating with the Navy 
Department and Naval Consulting Board. 

The Consulting Board had created a special Experimental 
Committee headed by Mr. Lawrence Addicks, and on March 3 
held a "Submarine Defense Conference" at New York, which 
was addressed by Admiral Sims, then president of the Naval 
War College ; Captain J. K. Robison, of the Newport Torpedo 
Station, and Commander Yates Stirling, Jr., in charge of our 
submarine base at New London, Conn. 

Scientists and naval officers engaged in this work held a con- 
ference in my office in the Navy Department on May 9, and two 
days later I created a Special Board on Anti-submarine Devices, 
with Rear Admiral A. W. Grant as chairman, and representa- 
tives of the electrical and signal companies, and the National 
Research Council as advisory members. Extensive experiments 
were carried on at our submarine station at New London, as 
well as at Nahant. 

Magnetic, electrical and other apparatus having proved im- 
practicable, attention was concentrated on listening devices. 
The British had been experimenting with various inventions of 
this nature, but none had proved very effective. The first suc- 
cessful listening device produced in America was the " C " tube, 
an application of the binaural principle — that is, hearing 
through both ears — which was developed by Dr. William D. 
Coolidge. Next was the "K" tube, developed at Nahant, an 
adaptation of the rotary compensator devised by Prof. Max 
Mason at New London, with microphones, enabling the device 
to be towed several hundred feet astern of the listening vessel. 
Subsequently the combined work at Nahant and New London re- 
sulted in production of the "Y" tube, "Delta," "O S," and 
"OK" tubes, all modified forms of the "K" tube, for installa- 
tion on vessels of different types. 

Submarine chasers were equipped with these tubes, the first 
of which was developed by August, 1917, and a thorough test 
was made with American submarines, which were easily located. 
But much depended on the acuteness of the operator, and a 
school to train "listeners" was established at New London. 
Phonograph records of the sound made by various craft were 



288 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

prepared, and used in the school for listeners, who soon became 
experts in determining direction, distance, type of vessel and 
speed at which it was moving. 

"Find the submarine," was the problem when we entered 
the war, and this was the purpose of the listening devices. Once 
located, the ' ' sub ' ' could be destroyed or damaged by the depth- 
bomb. Before its advent there was no way of reaching the 
U-boat, once it submerged. The story is told that a British 
vessel chased down a "sub," which dived and remained station- 
ary right under its pursuer. Down below them in the clear 
water, the Britishers could see the enemy plainly. "If we only 
had some sort of bomb that we could shoot down into the water, 
we could blow that Fritzie to Kingdom-come," an officer re- 
marked. The general idea of the depth-bomb had long been 
known, and was then given its practical application. 

The first ones, designed by an officer in the Admiralty, were 
crude affairs, metal cylinders like ash-cans. They were, at first, 
not very reliable, but by development they became the most 
effective weapons used against under-water craft. 

The United States Navy developed depth-bomb tactics vastly 
superior to any before in use. Instead of half a dozen bombs, 
our destroyers carried fifty. The old method of releasing from 
the stern was superseded by the "Y" gun, which hurled the huge 
charges with greater accuracy and less risk to the vessel firing. 
Instead of dropping one or two, the depth-charge barrage was 
devised, bombs being fired in "patterns" all around the vicinity 
of the submerged boat, as well as over the spot where it was 
believed to be. That was one reason the destroyers proved such 
a terror to the ' ' subs, ' ' which, as a rule, on sighting one of these 
swift warships ducked or ran away. 

Gunfire, tellingly effective against submarines as long as 
they were on the surface, was ineffective the moment they sub- 
merged, as the ordinary sharp-nose shells were deflected and 
ricocheted as they struck the water. Our ordnance experts 
had already devised a non-ricochet shell, a "flat nose" pro- 
jectile which could be fired with considerable accuracy at a tar- 
get under water. The first contract for this type of projectile 
was placed June 19, 1917, and deliveries began the next month. 
Rapidity in firing was increased by a twin-gun produced for 




SECRETARY DANIELS AND THOMAS A. EDISON 

Inset, Secretary Daniels and Mr. Edison with Mr. William L. Saunders and 
Professor Max Mason, inventor of a submarine detection device, at a test experi- 
ment at New London. 



EDISON— AND 100,000 MORE 289 

destroyers, two barrels on a single mount, both aimed at one time 
and firing alternately. 

Thus we had bombs and projectiles and quick-firing guns 
which would "get" the under-sea enemy, once it was located. 

The paravane, an English invention, proved of great value 
in protecting ships from mines. Its ' ' wings, ' ' spread out in the 
water, picked up mines ; and its wires bore them away from the 
ships, where they could be exploded without danger to the vessel. 

Mines played a big part in naval warfare. The Germans 
sowed the seas with them, and if the Allied mine-sweepers had 
not been so energetic and skillful, they might have been as 
destructive to shipping as the U-boats were. Our Bureau of 
Ordnance led in mine development, and the new mine, called 
"Mark VI," which it produced in 1917, was decidedly superior 
to any of its predecessors, and was the type used by us in the 
North Sea Barrage. 

Better guns for aeroplanes was a vital need. Machine-guns 
were made more effective ; but for anti-submarine warfare there 
was needed something of larger caliber, with sufficient power to 
penetrate the hull plating of the U-boat. An aeroplane "can- 
non," the Davis non-recoil gun, was produced. 

A 37-millimeter automatic cannon was being developed, as 
well as a three-inch gun for the larger type of dirigibles. Aerial 
bombs were improved and enlarged until they reached a weight 
of 550 pounds, with 190 pounds of explosive, the largest type 
being 15 inches in diameter and over 62 inches in height. Vari- 
ous experiments were made in launching torpedoes from planes, 
and torpedo planes were designed to accompany the fleet. 

Night firing, naval experts realized, could be made much 
more effective by some method of illuminating the area around 
enemy ships without disclosing the position of our own. This 
was solved by "star" shells. Fired at long distances and ex- 
ploding high in the air, these shells light up a considerable area, 
bringing out in bold relief the vessels beneath. 

Range-finding and fire-control devices were improved, in- 
creasing the efficiency of large and medium caliber guns. 
"Smoke boxes" were manufactured by the thousand and placed 
aboard merchant as well as naval vessels, so that in case of 
attack they could make smoke screens. 



290 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

So many new devices were developed that it would take vol- 
umes to tell of them all. Though thousands of the suggestions 
made were impracticable, not a few were of decided value, and 
the result as a whole was fresh proof of the never-failing inven- 
tiveness and genius of Americans. 

When the Navy Department, in 1915, was planning its large 
program of construction, and seeking for new weapons and new 
strategy to combat the submarine, I was convinced that it would 
be of great assistance if civilian scientists and inventors could 
be induced to give the Navy the benefit of their experience and 
ability. This resulted in the creation of the Naval Consulting 
Board. On July 7, I wrote Mr. Edison inviting him to become 
the head of the Board, saying: 

One of the imperative needs of the Navy, in my judgment, is machin- 
ery and facilities for utilizing the natural inventive genius of Americans 
to meet the new conditions of warfare as shown abroad, and it is my 
intention, if a practical way can be worked out, as I think it can be, 
to establish, at the earliest moment, a department of invention and devel- 
opment to which all ideas and suggestions, either from the service or 
from civilian inventors, can be referred for determination as to whether 
they contain practical suggestions for us to take up and perfect. 

We are confronted with a new and terrible engine of warfare in the 
submarine, to consider only one of the big things which I have in mind ; 
and I feel sure that with the practical knowledge of the officers of the 
Navy, with a department composed of the keenest and most inventive 
minds that we can gather together, and with your own wonderful brain 
to aid us, the United States will be able, as in the past, to meet this new 
danger with new devices that will assure peace to our country by their 
effectiveness. 

Upon Mr. Edison's acceptance — he was the first American 
chosen by selective draft — each of twelve leading scientific 
societies was asked to name two representatives to compose the 
membership of the Board. Most of them were eminent in scien- 
tific research or the development of useful apparatus. This was 
the first civilian organization of a war character which was 
created. Because of the personnel of its members, it aroused 
wide interest. 

The Board was composed of Thomas A. Edison, president ; 
William L. Saunders, chairman; Benjamin B. Thayer, vice- 
chairman; Thomas Robins, secretary; Lawrence Addicks, Bion 



EDISON— AND 100,000 MORE 291 

J. Arnold, Dr. L. H. Baekeland, D. W. Brunton, Howard E. 
Coffin, Alfred Craven, W. L. R. Emmett, Peter Cooper Hewitt, 
A. M. Hunt, M. R. Hutchison, B. G. Lamme, Hudson Maxim, 
Spencer Miller, J. W. Richards, A. L. Riker, M. B. Sellers, 
Elmer A. Sperry, Frank J. Sprague, A. G. Webster, W. R. 
Whitney, and R. S. Woodward. Admiral William Strother 
Smith was named as special representative of the Navy De- 
partment. All bureau chiefs and other naval experts worked in 
cooperation with the Board. 

With its technical talent, the Board began at once a survey 
of the industries of the country, having effected an organization 
in every state, with five technical men in each as advisory mem- 
bers. These field aids, giving their services free, went into 
industrial plants throughout the country, listing all machin- 
ery and machine tools suitable for war service, and the men 
competent to serve in shops. That gridiron organization 
functioned perfectly. This information of the manufacturing 
resources of the country for public service in case of emergency 
was the first that had been collected. The Navy had taken a 
census of the ships and the Army knew of munition plants, but 
it was this survey of industrial material and services which later 
formed the basis for the big production work of the two military 
departments and the War Industries Board. This was real pre- 
paredness — and it was begun in 1915. Before England went 
into the war, it had prepared no record of skilled labor suitable 
for war work. The result was that many men hastened to the 
front whose services were far more valuable in munition plants. 
The inventory taken by the Naval Consulting Board, completed 
in five months, enabled our country to avoid that mistake. It 
made it comparatively easy, when war came, to retain skilled 
men where they counted most, and enabled factories to swing 
from their regular line of production to Army and Navy work. 

The card indexes, prepared with thoroughness, showed the 
concerns that were working on military orders for foreign gov- 
ernments. It was ascertained that 35,000 concerns in the United 
States could manufacture war material, and the names, location 
and facilities of these plants were docketed. The Board pointed 
out, what afterwards became generally recognized, that the 
manufacture of munitions was a parts-making business. Parts 



292 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

made in Toledo, Ohio, must fit those made in Portland, Oregon, 
or Augusta, Georgia, and all these parts must fit each other to 
the hundredth part of an inch. Over 500 concerns manufactured 
parts of the Mark VI mine. When the Council of National 
Defense was established, it took over the data and organization, 
and requested the Naval Consulting Board to act as the official 
Board of Inventions for the country. 

After the experiments at Nahant, which followed the March 
meeting, in 1917, in company with Mr. Edison, Mr. William L. 
Saunders and others of the Consulting Board, I visited New 
London. We took a sea trip on a submarine-chaser equipped 
with listening devices. It was a matter of gratification to both 
civilians and naval men to witness personally the success of 
submarine detection, and to feel that their faith and experiments 
had been rewarded. 

Ship protection was the subject of constant study, and 
various methods — camouflage, armament, smoke-boxes, sub- 
marine and torpedo detection, plans to prevent and withstand 
attack and increase buoyancy — were studied by the Consulting 
Board. It was through that board that the naval research and 
experimental laboratory, now under way on the Potomac, below 
Washington, was established and the money provided through 
Congressional appropriation. 

Mr. Edison spent most of his time during the war — prac- 
tically all of it — either on board the Sachem, which had been 
fitted up for his special use, or in his office in the Navy Depart- 
ment at Washington. I was in intimate touch with him. It 
was a revelation to go into his chart-room and talk to him about 
his study of the lanes of the sea ; to see his maps studded with 
pins pointing out where sinkings were most frequent, and to 
obtain his advice as to the routing of ships to lessen the proba- 
bility of attack. An authority on many other subjects, he 
learned much about troop transportation, the routing of mer- 
chant ships and their quick turn-around, and avoiding U-boats 
by changing routes. 

One of his most successful and yet least known of his experi- 
ments was in the detection of torpedoes. The Wizard of Menlo 
Park was most modest in his claims. To a lady, enthusiastic 
over what she called his inspiration, Mr. Edison is reported to 



EDISON— AND 100,000 MORE 293 

have said, "Madam, it is not inspiration, but perspiration." In 
a letter to a sub-committee of the Senate, when some one had 
attributed the success in detecting submarines to Mr. Edison, 
he wrote : 

I never worked or pretended to work on the detection of submarines. 
All of my work in this general direction was confined to the detection 
of torpedoes and to the quick turning of cargo boats ninety degrees in 
order to save the boat from being torpedoed. 

I was successful in both. With my listening apparatus, and while 
my boat was in full speed, I could hear a torpedo the instant it was 
fired nearly two miles away, and with my turning device, a 5,000-ton 
cargo boat, fully loaded going at full speed, was turned at right angles 
to her original course in an advance of 200 feet. 

Along with the hundred thousand suggestions of how to win 
the war, there were not wanting incidents out of the ordinary. 
One day as I was discussing department business with a bureau 
chief the telephone rang, and a clerk said "long distance" was 
calling. He did not catch the name clearly, but thought it was 
Mr. Ford. I found in a moment that it was not the famous 
Detroit automobile maker, for the man at the other end of the 
line began talking a blue streak, starting out with the declara- 
tion: "I've invented a thing that will wipe out the submarines; 
I Ve got something that positively will end the war. ' ' He seemed 
quite excited about it. I asked him what it was. He said he 
could not tell me over the phone, or entrust the secret to mails 
or telegraph. 

"Send it to our Inventions Board," I suggested. 

"Not on your life," he replied. "They might steal it, and 
I'd never get the credit for it. It's worth millions, millions !" 

He would never show it to but three people, he said, the 
President, Mr. Edison and myself, and all three must give the 
pledge of secrecy. 

"There's not a moment to be lost, and I want to bring it to 
Washington myself, ' ' he exclaimed. ' ' But I must be careful. If 
the Germans knew I had this, their spies would murder me." 

"All right, bring it on," I remarked, hoping to end the con- 
versation before he had bankrupted himself with telephone 
charges. 

' ' Send me $5,000 by telegraph this afternoon, and I '11 start 



294 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

tomorrow," he demanded. Used as I was to queer propositions, 
this did rather startle me. "No, no," I replied emphatically; 
"I cannot do that." 

1 'Do you mean to say," — he seemed to be surprised — "that 
you won't send me a measly little $5,000 when the thing I have 
is worth millions, and will end the war f ' ' 

"That's correct," I said, rather sharply, I fear. "We will 
not send anybody a dollar of Government money until we know 
what it is for." 

"Well, that's the smallest piece of business I ever heard of," 
he snapped. "I thought you were some Secretary, and now I 
believe all the mean things some newspapers have said about 
you. ' ' 

One of my office aids figured out that this irate citizen had 
spent about $20 in telephone tolls. We never heard from him 
again, and the invention that would end the war was lost to the 
world. 

The sturdy police that guarded the portals of the State, War 
and Navy building stopped at the entrance a tall, lean man who 
was lugging a box about as big as two suitcases. They ordered 
him to open it, and found inside a concern that looked as if it 
•might go off at any moment. He wanted to see somebody in the 
Navy Department, and one of my aids went down to investigate. 
The fellow did not look like a spy or plotter, and the Navy man 
asked him what his contraption was. 

"It's a porcupine boat," he said, "a boat that'll keep off 
them torpedoes that the submarines are firin '. ' ' 

It was a model of a boat, its wooden sides thickly studded 
with long spikes. 

"What's the idea?" he was asked. 

"Well, you see, the torpedoes can't sink a ship unless they 
hit her," he explained; "and if you put these long spikes all 
along the side, they can't get to her. The spikes will stop 'em; 
the torpedoes are stuck before they hit the boat — there you are." 

It was a great idea ; certainly no one else had thought of it. 
But as the spikes would have to be about forty or fifty feet long 
to hold off the torpedoes, and each ship would have to have a 
thousand or two of them, we could not very well adopt the 
invention. 



EDISON— AND 100,000 MORE 295 

A Southern inventor brought forth a plan that would have 
brought joy to the Sunny South, if it could have been adopted. 
This was to sheathe all ships with an armor of thick cotton bat- 
ting. He evidently got his inspiration from the battle of New 
Orleans, where doughty old Andrew Jackson erected a barricade 
of cotton bales which the British shells could not penetrate. So 
a century later this Jacksonian figured that a ship swathed in 
cotton would be immune from shell or torpedoes. The Germans 
could fire away, and do no more harm than if they were throw- 
ing rocks at a mattress. But unfortunately the naval experts 
seemed to have their doubts about the efficacy of cotton-batting 
armor, preferring to stick to steel. 

"Lick the enemy before he lands!" was the slogan of an 
earnest soul who was designing a submarine that would carry 
from 200 to 400 torpedoes. If necessary, in the midst of a for- 
eign fleet, he told us, they could "unload the whole 400 in from 
four to eight minutes, according to the number of men on duty 
to let them loose." 

He also had "some very good ideas for warships," one of 
which was to turn our old battleships into floating forts with 
16-inch disappearing guns. Attached to each vessel would be 
a sloping steel shelving running into the water, a great plough 
that would turn the other fellow's shells and scoop up torpedoes 
as if they were watermelons. "You could just sit up on deck," 
he said, ' ' and laugh at a hundred of them sending torpedoes. ' ' 

An airship that would sail from here to Germany, blow up 
Berlin, and keep right on around the world, manufacturing its 
own fuel as it went along, was another suggestion. 

One citizen had a remarkable mine-catcher which, he said, 
"misses none; it sees and feels for you and catches all, if the 
sea is strewed with mines." He offered to sell his model for 
only $250,000. 

We were offered an automatic field-gun that, placed in Wash- 
ington, could be operated by electricity from Texas. One man 
could operate a thousand of them, the inventor claimed. Placing 
these guns all along the German lines in France, the operator, 
seated at his switch-board in Paris, could play on the keys like 
a typewriter, spraying the Teuton lines with deadly missiles 
from Ypres to Verdun. 



296 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

Another scheme was to put guns on top of all the skyscrapers 
in New York to ward off aerial attack; and to build a machine 
that would gather all the electricity in the metropolis, and pro- 
ject it by wireless far to sea, sinking hostile vessels as if they 
had been struck by lightning. 

Mobilizing the dogs of America, sending them to France and 
"sicking" them on the Germans was a proposition that might 
not have appealed to dog-lovers so much as to the ferocious 
fighting men who wanted to bite the Germans and ' ' eat 'em up. ' ' 

Mechanical soldiers capable of marching, fighting and cap- 
turing man soldiers were proposed. You would only have to fill 
them with ammunition, wind them up and let them go. 

The German fleet at Kiel could have been easily destroyed, 
if the floating torpedo suggested had been a success. Its origina- 
tor proposed to launch them in channels when the tide was going 
in, let them float into the German harbors and blow up every- 
thing afloat. 

These absurdities gave a touch of humor to the arduous task 
of developing new methods and inventions — a task well per- 
formed by the naval experts, civilian scientists and inventors 
who so patriotically devoted their time and talents to the win- 
ning of the war. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 
BUILDING A THOUSAND SHIPS 

SIX HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS FOR DESTROYERS — " WARD*' LAUNCHED 

173^ DAYS AFTER KEEL WAS LAID "REID" COMPLETED IN 45 DAYS 

GREAT DESTROYER PLANT BUILT AT SQUANTUM — PATRIOTS IN 

OVERALLS WHY WERE NOT MORE DESTROYERS BUILT BEFORE THE 

WAR? NEW NAVY WILL SURPASS ALL OTHERS REDUCTION OF 

ARMAMENT. 

/ / | — v ESTROYER Ward launched seventeen and a half 
| days after laying of keel," was the message from 

I J Mare Island Navy Yard that announced a new 
world's record in ship construction. 

In pre-war days from twenty months to two years had been 
required to build a destroyer. Now they were being completed 
in a fraction of that time. All the yards were working at top 
speed, far excelling any previous accomplishments, but Mare 
Island had set a new pace hard to equal. 

''Liberty Destroyer," the Ward was designated, and the way 
in which she was put through was like a continuous Liberty Loan 
rally. "This destroyer is needed to sink Hun submarines; let 
all hands help sink them," was one of the numerous placards 
posted around her. Each day's progress was marked on the 
big canvas banner stretched above the bow. In twenty-four 
hours she began to assume shape. In two weeks they were put- 
ting the finishing touches to the hull, and the banner read : 



LIBERTY DESTROYER No. 139 

Keel Laid May 15th j A DAYS 

Will be Launched ZL 0LD „ 

June 1st 11 TODAY 

SHE'S SOME BABY 



Three and a half days later, she was sent down the ways. As 
she slid into the water, officers and workmen cheered as they 
had never cheered before. 

297 



298 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

This was the quickest time in which a vessel had ever been 
launched. But the record for completion — the Ward was com- 
missioned in 70 days — was later bettered at the great Victory- 
Plant at Squantum, Mass., where the Reid was finished and made 
ready for her trials in 4by 2 working days. 

Before war began we ordered scores of destroyers, and soon 
afterwards contracted for all that American yards could build. 
But we wanted more. The question was how to get them. The 
Navy Department, after conferring with one of the leading ship- 
builders, determined on a bold stroke. All the contractors, those 
building engines and machinery as well as hulls, were summoned 
to Washington, and met with the Chief Constructor and Engi- 
neer-in-Chief of the Navy in my office. ' ' One hundred and fifty 
more destroyers must be built,' ' they were told. That proposi- 
tion was a "stunner." They had already contracted to build 
every one for which they had facilities. And here was a demand 
that more than as many again be constructed. Some shipyards 
would have to be enlarged, some new ones built. The same was 
the case with engine manufacturers, and producers of f orgings ; 
for producing enough engines was quite as difficult as building 
hulls. Where companies could not finance additions, we agreed 
that the Government would build them, as well as the new fac- 
tories or yards. Even at that, it was a staggering proposition. 
But the contractors were game and patriotic. They promised 
every cooperation and with the Navy experts began working out 
the thousand details involved. 

Congress was asked to appropriate $350,000,000 more for 
destroyers, to build new plants required, as well as for ship con- 
struction. When the bill was passed, October 6, 1917, the plans 
were ready, contracts were signed, and the enlarged program 
was under way. Ground was broken at Squantum the next day, 
October 7. Thousands of laborers were at work, dredging, 
draining, making roads, driving piles, erecting buildings, trans- 
forming that marsh into a fit habitation and working-place for 
10,000 men. Buildings sprang up like magic. One concrete, steel 
and glass structure three stories high and 200 feet long was 
finished in two weeks. When winter came on, the laborers had 
to use picks and shovels to dig through the frozen clay to lay 
foundations, and all the workmen were handicapped by the 



BUILDING A THOUSAND SHIPS 299 

bitter cold. Concrete poured hot — and thousands of tons were 
used — had to be protected by masses of hay and sheets of can- 
vas, with heated air circulating inside to keep it from freezing. 
But the work never halted, and in spite of all handicaps, was 
completed in record time. 

There were eighteen acres of shipyards covered by one con- 
tinuous roof; the arrangements being so complete that raw 
material went in at one end and destroyers slid out at the other. 
There were hundreds of buildings, not a few of them covering 
one to three acres. There were enough ways for ten destroyers, 
and a score could have been under construction at the same time. 

Six months after ground was broken I had the privilege of 
witnessing there the laying of the keels of five destroyers in 
one day. 

The building of Squantum was rivaled by the erection of the 
big plants at Erie, Pa., to make forgings for destroyer shafts 
and turbines; the plant at Buffalo and by other feats of con- 
struction that would be difficult to excel. All were erected and 
in operation in half the time they could have been completed 
under ordinary conditions. 

Our construction program embraced practically a thousand 
vessels — 275 destroyers, 447 submarine-chasers, 99 submarines, 
100 eagle boats, 54 mine-sweepers, and a number of gunboats 
and ships of other types. All these in addition to the capital 
ships and scout cruisers authorized in the three-year program. 
Though some contracts were cancelled after the armistice, all 
but 100 or so of these vessels were built, nearly 500 completed 
before the end of hostilities. In addition 1,597 privately-owned 
vessels, ranging from small patrol craft to huge transports, were 
converted by the Navy for war purposes. 

Over 2,000 vessels were in naval service before hostilities 
ended — six times as many as were on the Navy list when war 
was declared. How was it possible, in a country where ship- 
building had declined until it was "a craft and not a trade," 
to build and alter and repair all these ships, and also to provide 
munitions and build great establishments ashore on both sides 
of the sea? 

It was made possible by the foresight of Admirals Griffin 
and Taylor and their associates, who before the war had made 



300 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

designs for building various types of ships and for converting 
the ex-German vessels and privately-owned craft suitable for 
war service. I wish the whole country could know the true value 
of the work of these able officers and their naval and civilian 
assistants. But for their forehandedness and ability, our Navy 
would not have been able to have rendered such prompt and 
valuable service. Great credit is due, alike, to the shipbuilders 
who carried their plans into effect, devoting their talents and 
untiring efforts to further warship construction. 

It was also because the 100,000 mechanics and workers in 
navy yards and naval plants, and the many more in private 
plants, who, with patriotic naval and civilian experts, worked 
as never before. Many of these "patriots in overalls" sacrificed 
their desire to enlist when told that they could do more to win 
the war by driving rivets, fashioning guns or making munitions. 
Labor was whole-heartedly in the war, and would not tolerate 
slackers in production or in service. In the heat of summer 
and the cold of winter, they rushed construction and astonished 
the world by the celerity with which American skill and industry 
turned out ships, weapons and supplies. On every war board 
labor had its representative — in the Cabinet as well — and its 
patriotism and unity made for a united and efficient America. 
The Navy and other war agencies found the militant spirit and 
wise counsel of Samuel Gompers worth a regiment of fighting 
men. 

The Navy did not wait for war to begin building ships. 
When the program for 156 vessels was proposed in 1915, with- 
out awaiting congressional action, work was begun on plans so 
that on the very day that the bill became a law the plans and 
specifications were issued for 20 destroyers, 27 submarines, 4 
dreadnaughts and 4 scout-cruisers. Contracts were placed 
for their construction as soon as the bids were received. "Such 
speed," said Admiral Taylor, "was without precedent in the 
history of the Navy Department. It was the result of the per- 
sistent insistence by the Secretary of the Navy that work should 
be pushed and his loyal support in this respect by bureaus con- 
cerned. There was no procrastination or dilatoriness in the 
largest undertaking ever entered into by the United States 
Navy, and the most important from the point of view of prepara- 



BUILDING A THOUSAND SHIPS 301 

tion for any eventuality. While the large vessels of the program 
had to be suspended during the war, the destroyers were 
pressed." 

Completion of the destroyer program gives the United States 
Navy 267 destroyers of the latest pattern, in addition to those 
of older type, which, in the emergency of war, rendered such 
good service. These destroyers have an aggregate of 7,400,000 
horse-power, and they cost approximately $600,000,000, counting 
$40,000,000 spent for new plants and building ways. This sum is 
greater than the cost of all the ships of the Navy available for 
service when we entered the war. The record of our destroyers 
overseas won the admiration of Allied navies, and reflected 
credit upon Congress, the naval administration and the country. 

But, in view of the need of thousands to patrol the seas in 
1917-18, where we only had scores, it has been asked, "Why did 
not the Navy Department build hundreds of destroyers in 1915 
and 1916 and have them ready in 1917?" Looking backward, 
all of us admit that was the thing that should have been done. 
No naval experts, however, either in Europe or America, recom- 
mended in pre-war days such a building program. 

All European admiralties, as well as our own, regretted that 
they had not built more destroyers against the day when they 
were so much needed. In reply to an inquiry made by a United 
States senator, Admiral Sims said: 

If we could have imagined that the Germans would do what they 
did do we could have prepared for it and built destroyers galore, if 
we could have persuaded Congress to give us the money. Nobody had 
any experience with this kind of war at all, and nobody could be savage 
enough in his disposition to know what the Germans would do, and there- 
fore to prepare for it; so that I would advise you to be a little gentle 
in criticisms of naval officers in general, because they were not prepared 
for this war, because we are a more or less civilized people. 

After ruthless submarine warfare began, we contracted, as 
we have shown, for 275 destroyers, many more than any nation 
had ever attempted to build in anything like so short a time. 

But destroyers were by no means the only anti-submarine 
craft we built. Realizing the usefulness of small craft, the Navy 
Department, in 1916, turned its attention to the utilization of 
motor yachts and other small power-driven vessels. Assistant 



302 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

Secretary Roosevelt conferred with owners and builders, and 
an inventory of such craft was taken. He started a campaign 
to interest owners of yachts and motor boats and induce them 
to design their boats so that they could readily be converted to 
war uses. Naval architects and their clients were encouraged 
to submit their designs to the Navy Department. To give fur- 
ther impetus to the movement, two small boats were constructed 
as models. 

Early in 1917, before war was declared, the Department's 
construction experts, under the leadership of Captain J. A. 
Furer, naval constructor, in cooperation with Mr. A. Loring 
Swazey, who later enrolled as lieutenant commander in the 
Naval Reserve, submitted to the General Board, in February, a 
design for those wonderful boats which became known as sub- 
marine-chasers. They were to be 110 feet long, with a speed of 
14 knots and a cruising radius of 800 miles, armed with 3-inch 
guns, Y-guns for firing depth-charges, machine-guns and depth- 
bombs. The shortage of structural steel and of labor required 
for steel construction, necessitated building them of wood. 

On March 19, 1917, orders were issued for building sixty 
chasers at the New York navy yard and four at the New Or- 
leans yard. On March 21st orders were placed with private 
firms for 41 boats. Ten days later contracts were placed with 
private builders for 179 additional boats, and orders given for 
71 more to be constructed at the navy yards at Norfolk, Charles- 
ton, Mare Island and Puget Sound, a total of 355, all ordered 
before war was declared. Fifty of these were, after completion, 
turned over to the French government. The French were so 
pleased with them that they ordered fifty more. A total of 447 
chasers were ordered, and 441 were completed. Their serv- 
ice far surpassed expectations of designers and builders. 
Originally constructed for use in rivers and harbors and near 
home coasts, they crossed the ocean and became a reliance not 
only for patrol work but for offensive against the U-boats — 
chasing submarines. 

In the three-year program, there was provision for 58 coast 
submarines, of which appropriations were made for thirty. On 
March 4, 1917, 20 additional submarines were provided for, 
and their construction was begun. The Portsmouth (N. H.) 



BUILDING A THOUSAND SHIPS 303 

navy yard had been made a submarine construction yard and 
the orders were divided between that yard and private contrac- 
tors. Forty were completed before the armistice. We sent sev- 
eral submarines to the Azores and a number to British waters, 
where they operated from Bantry Bay. They gave an excellent 
account of themselves, one, the AL-2 being credited with caus- 
ing the destruction of the German UB-65. 

Having ordered all the destroyers and sub-chasers that could 
be built, other sources were sought to produce more anti-sub- 
marine craft. On December 24, 1917, I received a letter from 
Mr. Henry Ford proposing quantity production of fabricated 
boats, suggesting that at least 500 could be built, and saying: 
"We will undertake the construction of these boats with all 
possible speed, and deliver them to the United States Govern- 
ment without profit to us. ' ' I telegraphed him, suggesting that 
he send his engineers and construction men to confer with our 
designers. Captain Robert Stocker and his associates in the 
Design Division completed the plans and specifications in a few 
days, and they were submitted to Mr. Ford. On January 15 
he made a definite proposal to build 100 to 500 of these vessels. 
I consulted with the General Board, and two days later tele- 
graphed him to proceed with construction of 100. Later twelve 
additional were ordered for the Italian Government. They were 
to be of 500 tons displacement, 200 feet long, speed 18 knots, 
with a cruising radius of 3,500 miles. They were to be armed 
with two 4-inch 50 caliber guns, discharge projectors, anti-air- 
craft and machine guns. 

These "eagle boats," as they were named, were built speci- 
fically to hunt submarines. For their construction Mr. Ford 
erected a special plant on the River Rouge near Detroit. Though 
only a few were in service before the armistice, sixty in all were 
built. The completion of 23 in one month in 1919 indicated that 
Mr. Ford was not far wrong in his original estimate that it 
was possible, when his plant got into quantity production, to 
turn out 25 per month. 

"Eagles" went from New York to Inverness, Scotland, over 
a 4,500-mile course, and after they had steamed 11,500 miles 
officers confirmed their seaworthiness and their fitness for the 
task for which they were built. Several sailed to Arctic waters, 



304 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

through fields of ice. They were used to maintain dispatch 
service between ports in Northern Russia, in which duty Ad- 
miral McCully reported they were very successful. 

Orders for many mine-sweepers were placed early in 1917, 
their design permitting their construction by certain companies 
without interfering with the building of naval or merchant craft. 
Some were built at the Puget Sound and Philadelphia navy 
yards. The new mine-sweepers proved exceptionally seaworthy. 
Thirty-six were employed in sweeping the mines in the North 
Sea. In addition to the vessels designed and built for this pur- 
pose, we employed a fleet of privately-owned ships of all sorts 
and sizes, which were fitted out and used first as patrol and 
then as mine-sweepers. 

While war was on, construction had to concentrate on de- 
stroyers and other anti-submarine craft. However, we com- 
pleted two battleships, the Mississippi and New Mexico, and 
practically finished the Idaho; but work was suspended on 
capital ships that were not already far advanced. 

Hostilities ended, attention was turned to the completion of 
the program authorized in 1916. Should we proceed with the 
dreadnaughts and battle-cruisers on the pre-war plans; or 
modify the plans, but still build two distinct types ; or abandon 
the plans altogether and build a single type to do the work of 
both battleship and battle-cruiser! These were questions that 
addressed themselves to naval administration. Officers were 
debating them. From London came the information that the 
British Admiralty had built a capital ship, the Hood, a com- 
posite of the dreadnaught and the cruiser, which was said to 
combine the advantages of both. 

After consultation with leading members of the Naval Affairs 
Committee, and upon their advice, accompanied by Admirals 
Griffin, Taylor and Earle, heads of the Bureaus of Engineering, 
Construction and Ordnance, I went to Europe to learn, at first 
hand, what changes, if any, war experience taught should be 
incorporated into the new ships to be constructed. An ex- 
amination of the Hood by our expert officers disclosed that this 
new ship had more speed than earlier battle-cruisers, though 
less than that of our design ; a heavier battery, though of only 
about half the power of that of our projected battleships; 




% 




HANGING UP A RECOED 

The launching of the destroyer Ward at the Mare Island Navy Yard 17% days 
after her keel was laid established a new record. 



BUILDING A THOUSAND SHIPS 305 

and had protection much greater than that of earlier battle- 
cruisers. 

Upon our return from Europe all the information gathered 
was laid before the General Board. Admirals Mayo and Rod- 
man, who had recently returned from Europe, where they had 
been interested in the question, were invited to act with them. 
The General Board made a unanimous recommendation that the 
twelve battleships should be "completed as expeditiously as 
possible on present lines of development in battleship construc- 
tion." In view of the importance of protection as indicated by 
experience at the Battle of Jutland, where thinly protected 
battle-cruisers were unable to stand up under heavy fire, the 
Board recommended that "the six battle-cruisers now author- 
ized be completed as expeditiously as possible, but with addi- 
tional protection, particularly to turrets, conning towers, 
magazines and communications, at the expense of a small re- 
duction in speed." The recommendations were approved, and 
directions given to press their construction. 

The new battleships under construction will be 660 feet long, 
with displacement of 43,200 tons, with an extreme breadth of 
105 feet and a mean draft of 33 feet. Engines developing 60,000 
horse-power will drive them at a speed of 23 knots. Their 
twelve 16-inch guns will be mounted in four turrets, which re- 
volve so that all can be fired simultaneously to either side of the 
vessel. In a single salvo these guns will throw 25,000 pounds 
of projectiles. In every way they outclass any ships of the 
line ever built. 

The six battle-cruisers will be larger than any war-ships 
heretofore constructed. Each will have 43,500 tons displace- 
ment, practically the same as the battleships, but will be longer 
by over 200 feet, their length being 874 feet, and they will be ten 
knots faster, making 3314 knots, 38' miles an hour. No less 
than 180,000 horse-power is required to drive these immense 
vessels through the water. Their engines will develop as much 
electric power as is required to supply a good-sized city. The 
six battle-cruisers will have a total of 1,080,000 horse-power. 
Each will be armed with eight 16-inch guns, firing 16,800 pounds 
of projectiles. The weight of metal is not, however, nearly 
as important in gunfire as is the range. The guns of our battle- 



306 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

cruisers will easily outrange those of any ships now afloat. 
Both battleships and battle-cruisers will be propelled by electric 
drive, the new method which, first installed on the New Mexico, 
proved its superiority, and was adopted for all our later major 
vessels. 

With the completion of these eighteen capital ships, together 
with the scout cruisers and other types under construction, the 
Navy of the United States will be at least " equal to the most 
powerful maintained by any other nation of the world. ' ' That 
was the goal in view when the big three-year program proposed 
in 1915 was adopted by Congress in the act of August 29, 1916, 
to which, when this program is completed, the Navy will owe 
its supremacy. 

It is a matter of gratification that the United States, which 
brought forth the steamship, the ironclad monitor, the torpedo 
boat, the aeroplane, the flying boat, has again taken the lead in 
naval construction and will soon have the most powerful of all 
armadas. 

This country should keep that position for all time until — 
and unless — with a powerful navy and great national wealth, 
the United States succeeds in securing an international agree- 
ment to reduce armament. The very act making possible our 
supremacy on the seas, declared it to be the "policy of the 
United States to adjust and settle its international disputes 
through mediation and arbitration"; authorized the President 
to invite a conference of all the great governments to formulate 
a plan of arbitration and "consider the question of disarma- 
ment"; and declared that the ships authorized but not already 
under contract were not to be built if international reduction 
of armament could be secured. 

That statement of policy in the naval appropriation act of 
1916 — "a most unusual place," said the President in an address 
at Seattle — was in line with the policy of the Government from 
the day of Wilson's inauguration. It was the authorization for 
the international agreement looking to a reduction of armament 
contained in the Treaty of Versailles. The Bryan treaties, rati- 
fied by every European country except Germany, which insured 
cooling time and opportunity for discussion in a world forum, 
were a long step toward settling international differences by 



BUILDING A THOUSAND SHIPS 307 

reason rather than by resort to war. It was about the time 
those treaties were proposed that Winston Churchill, First Lord 
of the British Admiralty, suggested a "naval holiday." In my 
first report in 1913, reiterated in every subsequent report, I 
declared : "It is not a vacation we need, but a permanent policy 
to guard against extravagant and needless expansion." I 
recommended then that "the war and navy officials, and other 
representatives of all nations, be invited to hold a conference 
to discuss whether they cannot agree upon a plan for lessening 
the cost of preparation for war" and added this observation: 

It is recognized that the desired end of competitive building, carried 
on under whip and spur, could not be effective without agreement be- 
tween great nations. It ought not to be difficult to secure an agreement 
by which navies will be adequate without being overgrown and without 
imposing over-heavy taxes upon the industries of a nation. 

Long before the match was struck by the assassination of 
the Archduke Ferdinand, President Wilson, Ambassador Page 
and Colonel House were taking steps which, if Germany had 
been willing and Great Britain and France had sensed the 
coming conflict, might have averted the World War. To that 
end in the early part of 1914, President Wilson sent Colonel 
House abroad with letters to the Kaiser and the heads of the 
British and French governments, with whom earnest confer- 
ences were held. President Wilson and his associates in 1913- 
14, as this shows, had the vision of world agreement for peace 
to secure which he and the representatives of other free nations 
signed the treaty in Paris in 1919. 

"The last thing Germany wants is war," said the Kaiser to 
Colonel House, just three months before he precipitated the con- 
flict. The Kaiser was obsessed at that time, so Colonel House 
reported, with the thought of what he called "the Yellow Peril." 
The Kaiser said: "The white nations should join hands to op- 
pose Japan and the other yellow nations, or some day they will 
destroy us." That fear, or simulated fear, and his statement 
that Germany could not hastily join a peace pact so long as 
175,000,000 Slavs threatened his empire, furnished the excuse 
for brushing aside the suggested agreement to prevent war. 



308 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

Did he fear that President Wilson's tentative move early in 
1914 toward a League of Nations for world peace would be 
successful? Was the Kaiser convinced that he must strike in 
that year, or surrender his mad ambition for world domination 1 

As these lines are written a conference of five nations, called 
by President Harding, is in session at Washington, where the 
discussion of reduction of naval armament was given first place 
in a proposal to scrap all pre-dreadnaughts and also the incom- 
pleted great dreadnaughts, and not to build or complete the 
battle-cruisers under construction. The plan presented by the 
American representatives is to adopt the ratio of capital ships 
for the United States, Great Britain, and Japan at five for the 
United States, five for Great Britain, and three for Japan. 
Such a program, if followed by scrapping all submarines and 
placing them in the category of outlaws, would, with reduction of 
land armament and regulation of aircraft, carry out the hopes 
of those responsible for the naval program authorized in 1916. 



CHAPTER XXIX 
MAKING SAILORS OUT OF LANDSMEN 

HALF A MILLION RECRUITED AND TRAINED IN EIGHTEEN MONTHS — 
"ONE OP THE MOST STRIKING ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE WAR," 

SIR ERIC GEDDES DECLARED NAVY'S EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM PAVED 

THE WAY EVERY OFFICER A TEACHER — NAVAL ACADEMY GREATLY 

ENLARGED NO SHIP KEPT WAITING FOR OFFICERS OR MEN. 

HALF a million men and thirty thousand officers were 
enlisted and trained by the United States Navy in 
eighteen months. No navy in the world ever had as 
large a personnel, or ever attempted to raise and train 
as large a sea-force in so brief a time. Sir Eric Geddes, First 
Lord of the British Admiralty, said: 

The dauntless determination which the United States lias displayed 
in creating a large, trained body of seamen out of landsmen is one of 
the most striking accomplishments of the war. Had it not been so 
effectively done, one would have thought it impossible. 

When the Archbishop of York, Honorary Chaplain-in-Chief 
of the British Navy, visited Great Lakes, 111., he was amazed 
quite as much by the spirit of the personnel as he was by the 
vast extent of the establishment, the largest naval training sta- 
tion in the world. The Archbishop reviewed the cadets in the 
administration drill hall, a structure large enough for three 
entire regiments to maneuver. Thirty thousand blue-jackets 
were assembled in the hall, with three full regiments, nine thou- 
sand men, and a band of three hundred pieces in light marching 
order. After the preliminary ceremony "to the colors," they 
passed in review before the Archbishop, playing and singing 
"Over There." The thousands massed in the center of the hall, 
sang "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean." Profoundly moved, 
the Archbishop turned and said to Captain W. A. Moffett, the 
commandant, "Captain, now I know that we are going to win 
the war." 

309 



310 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

When, a few days later, he visited Washington, the Arch- 
bishop told me that the outstanding thing he had seen in America 
was the Great Lakes Training Station. "If I had not seen it," 
he said, ' ' I could not have believed it possible that such a train- 
ing camp for seamen could be conducted a thousand miles from 
the ocean." 

Like expressions came from members of the various mis- 
sions and naval officers who came to the United States. That 
station, situated in the heart of the country, far from the 
ocean, trained and sent into the navy during the war over 
one hundred thousand men. It was the vitalizing spirit of the 
Navy in the Middle West; a center of the patriotic inspiration 
which swept like a prairie fire and brought young men into the 
Navy more rapidly than we could house them. Two thousand 
five hundred enlisted men were under training there when war 
was declared and in that month 9,027 recruits were received. 
But Great Lakes never was swamped. No matter what strain 
was put upon it, the authorities were equal to any emergency. 

Between April 6, 1917, and March 11, 1919, 125,000 men were 
received ; 96,779 trained and sent to sea duty, and 17,356 gradu- 
ated at its special schools. The camp grew to 1,200 acres, with 
775 buildings. Nine great drill halls were built in which thou- 
sands could maneuver in regimental formation. But bigger than 
the number of men enrolled or the buildings erected or the great 
schools conducted was the spirit of the place. From the in- 
spiring leadership of Captain Moffett, who was a genius at 
organization, to the youngest boy fitted out in naval uniform, 
pride in the station and the naval service was so contagious that 
it reached back into the homes from which the youths had come 
and stirred the whole Middle West with enthusiasm for the 
Navy. 

In the early days of the war, Captain Moffett, who had come 
to Washington to discuss plans for enlarging the station, said 
to me: "Mr. Secretary, I have here a requisition for $40,000 
for instruments for the Great Lakes band." 

It had not been very long since $40,000 was the entire ap- 
propriation for the station. The captain's request seemed to 
me like extravagance. 

"Do you expect to win the war, as the Israelites did?" I 



MAKING SAILORS OUT OF LANDSMEN 311 

asked, "by surrounding Berlin and expecting the walls to fall 
as every man in your band blows his trumpet?" 

I demurred at first, but he pleaded for it with such eloquence 
that I signed the requisition. This enabled John Philip Sousa, 
enrolled as a lieutenant in the Reserve Force, to train fifteen 
hundred musicians, the largest band in the world. Bands were 
not only sent to ships and stations overseas, but toured the 
■ country, giving the greatest impetus to the Liberty Loan cam- 
paigns. These bands were an inspiration to the entire service. 
I found later that a British commission had reported that only 
three things were more important than music. These were food, 
clothing and shelter. 

The three other great permanent training stations, Hampton 
Roads, Va., Newport, R. I., and San Francisco, were animated 
by the same spirit as Great Lakes. Their officers and men vied 
with each other in efficient training of recruits. The same was 
true of the temporary stations along the coast which came into 
being to give quarters and instruction to youths who enlisted 
so rapidly that provision had to be made for them at every 
available point. 

Approximately 500,000 men and 33,000 officers were in the 
Navy when hostilities ended, and nearly nine-tenths of them had 
been trained after war was declared. Naval administration did 
not wait until hostilities began to increase its force. Recruiting 
was pressed in the closing months of 1916, immediately after 
Congress authorized a substantial increase, and 8,000 men were 
enlisted. In January 1917, enlistments went up to 3,512, and 
there was a larger increase the next month. In March, when 
the President signed the order raising the Navy to emergency 
strength — 87,000 regulars, plus 10,000 apprentice seamen, and 
hospital attendants and others, a total of 97,000 — we began a 
vigorous campaign that covered the entire country. When war 
was declared there were in the Navy 64,680 enlisted men and 
4,376 officers, commissioned and warrant. Some 12,000 reserves 
had been enrolled, the 10,000 Naval Militia were mustered into 
service and 590 officers and 3,478 men of the Coast Guard were 
placed under the Navy. This gave us a total force of approxi- 
mately 95,000. 

Within little more than a month after war was declared 



312 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

there were 100,000 regulars, and by June 1st the total force had 
grown to 170,000. By January 1, 1918, there were 300,000 officers 
and men on the rolls, including reserves and the Coast Guard. 
By August we had passed the half -million mark, and when the 
armistice was signed there was a naval personnel of approxi- 
mately 533,000. The actual figures of the Bureau of Navigation 
for November 11, 1918, were 531,198, and for December 1, 
532,931. But practically all those shown in the latter report 
had been enlisted before hostilities had ended. Figures of va- 
rious branches varied slightly before and after the armistice, 
but there were in the naval service at its maximum : 

Officers Men 

Regulars 10,590 218,251 

Reserves 21,618 278,659 

Coast Guard 688 6,101 

Total 32,896 503,011 

It is interesting to compare the above enlistment for the 
World War with those who served in the Navy in previous wars : 

War of 1812 20,000 

Mexican War 7,500 

Civil War 121,000 

Spanish- American 23,000 

The Navy was called upon to perform many new tasks — to 
man troopships and cargo transports, to furnish guards for mer- 
chant ships, to maintain forces ashore, in Europe as well as 
this country, and to render other services that no navy had 
previously contemplated. All this required personnel in large 
numbers. But no matter what the service or requirement, when 
the call came the Navy was ready with officers and men, regu- 
lars or reserves. 

During the entire war "we never had a delay of a vessel on 
account of not having the officers and men," said the Chief of 
the Bureau of Navigation. ' ' The personnel were actually ready 
at seaports to put on vessels before the vessels were ready." 

Few of the recruits had any previous sea experience. Most 
of them were from the interior, many had never seen the ocean. 



MAKING SAILOES OUT OF LANDSMEN 313 

But the enthusiasm and energy of teachers and pupils would 
have surprised Dana, who in his "Two Years Before the Mast," 
said: " There is not so helpless and pitiable an object in the 
world as a landsman beginning a sailor 's life. ' ' They knew they 
were woefully ignorant of the sea, but they had a stimulus 
Dana's landsmen lacked — the eager desire to fit themselves to 
fight. That sharpened their capacity so that in a few weeks 
they learned more than, without such incentive, they could have 
mastered in a twelve-month. 

At training stations naval terms were used for everything. 
The barracks building was the "ship"; the floor was the 
"deck"; offenders were tried at the "mast"; requests for leave 
were to " go ashore, ' ' and returning the men ' ' reported aboard. ' ' 
Meals were "chow" and there was slang for every article of 
food — stews being known as " slumgullion, " salt as "sand," 
coffee as "Java," and bread was called "punk." Recruits soon 
picked up the lingo of the sea, and found their "sea legs." 

Every feature of life at sea was simulated as closely as pos- 
sible in the stations, and when sent into service, the men felt at 
home aboard ships. It was no new experience for them to sleep 
in hammocks. They had slept in them while under training. 
"Hit the deck, boys," was always the morning order in station 
as it is on shipboard. Before they had so much as seen a man- 
of-war or transport, their motto was, "for the good of the ship." 

"Do your bit," never found favor in the Navy; we had a 
better term. As the commanding officer of one station passed a 
squad at drill, he heard ringing out the words: "Don't just 
do your bit. The men on this station do their best." 

Serious as was the work, recruits, with the spirit of eternal 
youth, enlivened it by fun, humor and pranks. This was always 
in evidence. No hardship could dispel it. A story is told of 
a young Texan, just enlisted and being inspected at Great Lakes. 
All the recruits were ordered to fall in line and strip for in- 
spection. Sans shoes, sans shirts, sans pants, in fact sans every- 
thing in the way of clothing, the boy marched past the doctor. 
The Texan, with utter lack of the awe which a gold-striped 
surgeon is supposed to inspire, had secured a paper stencil, 
used to mark clothing, and using black paint had lettered his 
bare stomach with the words, ' ' Good morning, doctor. ' ' 



314 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

The grave surgeon saw the joke was on him, and led the 
hearty laughter at this original greeting. Another recruit from 
a "Western state, hearing of the various detentions and occa- 
sional surgical operations supposed to precede acceptance, hung 
over the place where he supposed his appendix was located this 
placard: "I have had my appendix removed." He probably 
thinks to this day that this saved him from an operation. 

"I never knew what patriotism meant before I learned it by 
service in the Navy." 

That remark was addressed to me by an upstanding, clear- 
headed youth in naval uniform as the mine-sweepers were wel- 
comed back to New York after they had finished the worst job 
assigned to the navy, that of sweeping up the mines in the drab 
days after the armistice. 

He was bronzed by the wind and the sun of the North Sea. 
His muscles seemed made of steel. Exposure had given a vigor 
of body that made you feel that he could do anything. 

"Tomorrow," he went on, "I am going back to my job in 
civil life, but I am a different man. Before the war I think I 
loved my country and I suppose the flag meant something to 
me. But I felt no passion of patriotism. It was a matter of 
course. But the Navy has taught me such reverence for the 
flag that I have a thrill every time it is raised, and somehow 
my country became something more than land and water and 
houses. It seems something holy to me. And that's what my 
naval service did for me," he added as he passed to his place 
at the banquet table. 

Such inculcation of love of country was the best by-product 
of the war. 

How was it that the regulars in the Navy were able to train 
so rapidly the recruits that poured in after war was declared? 
How did they attain the efficiency which led to the promotion 
of ten thousand of them to warrant or commissioned officers? 

The answer is that the Navy had been organized as an educa- 
tional and industrial, as well as a fighting, institution. Officers 
and men had gone to school, they were subjected to frequent 
examinations, and promotions were given from ascertained 
fitness rather than from the outgrown policy of seniority. Post- 
graduate schools enabled officers to qualify as experts. Voca- 



MAKING SAILORS OUT OF LANDSMEN 315 

tional and grammar schools for enlisted men had kindled 
ambition and given mental as well as physical and naval train- 
ing. The war, therefore, found the Navy not only fit to fight, 
but its officers and men equipped to train quickly the half-mil- 
lion young men who enlisted in 1917-18. The Navy had years 
before instituted educational preparedness — professional, voca- 
tional, elementary — as a part of its policy. And the test of war 
proved that no other form of preparedness produced better 
results. 

In 1913 I issued orders which established a school on every 
ship in the Navy, the officers instructing the men in reading, 
spelling, writing and arithmetic, geography, grammar and his- 
tory, as well as in naval and technical subjects. Nearly every 
enlisted man who availed himself fully of this instruction afloat 
received promotion, and all of them became more proficient. 

The war proved that vessels manned by seamen having 
trained minds as well as trained hands are superior to ships 
with uneducated crews. Neither speed nor armor wins battles. 
It is intellect, education, training, discipline, team-work, courage. 

As a logical result of the schools afloat, Congress later 
authorized the appointment of one hundred enlisted men annu- 
ally as midshipmen at the Naval Academy. In the first class 
after this law made it possible, the honor graduate at Annapolis 
came from the enlisted personnel. Others have since attained 
high standing in their class and in the service. The day will 
come when all appointments to the Naval Academy will be made 
from the ranks. 

The educational system, adopted in the Navy in 1913, became 
part of the army system of training before the American Ex- 
peditionary Force returned from France, and Secretary Baker 
made such instruction an integral part of the training for men 
enlisting in the Army. 

With the advent of war the educational work of the Navy 
was greatly enlarged and changed to meet war conditions. In 
addition to many technical schools the fleet at Yorktown was 
utilized for intensive training, and prepared over 45,000 officers 
and men for important and varied duties afloat. The older type 
of battleships became virtual training schools, devoting par- 
ticular attention to gunnery, navigation and engineering, quali- 



316 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

fying men for various duties requiring experience. When or- 
dered to sea the men who had enjoyed this special training gave 
full proof of the practical schooling through which they had 
passed. 

It required war to bring appreciation of the school as a neces- 
sary part of military instruction. The Navy had started schools 
for sailors in 1914, but it was not until 1919 that the Army and 
Marine Corps felt the necessity of such schools, which they then 
established, though in 1913 General Butler, in command of the 
Marines at Panama, was teaching them Spanish. "It opened 
my eyes to what might be done," said Judge Garrison, then 
Secretary of War, upon his return from an inspection trip, "and 
I am going to advise Army officers to go down to Panama and 
learn from General Butler how to teach men in the Army. ,, 
Upon their return from France General Lejeune and General 
Butler established schools for the teaching of Marines at Quan- 
tico, a plan which is being extended to all Marine bases and 
attracting a superior type of recruits. 

In 1866 General Lew Wallace outlined a plan of education 
for soldiers, approved by Charles Sumner, declaring that the 
"military system as respects the rank and file is founded on 
egregious errors." The chief error was that no system of 
giving the rank and file the same character of instruction as 
imparted at West Point was at that time offered in order that 
they might win commissions. He urged that the hours of serv- 
ice of a private soldier be "so divided as to give him time for 
study and meditation without interference with his routine of 
duty." The "proverbial idleness of military life" which then 
prevailed was due to lack of schools and proper instruction. By 
the addition of the education and promotion policy suggested, 
General Wallace said, we would "not only get better military 
service, but as an act of wisest statesmanship you offer in a 
constitutional way the coveted opportunity for education to 
every youth in the land." 

The Navy, having given trial to the policy, found that all 
that General Wallace claimed for it was true, and now that the 
Army and Marine Corps have established like schools, educa- 
tional advantages as a part of military duty have become the 
accepted American policy. 



MAKING SAILORS OUT OF LANDSMEN 317 

The war emphasized the worth of education for military 
efficiency. While excellent officers were obtained from every 
source possible, the main dependence for all-around naval offi- 
cers was upon the Naval Academy graduates. In the test of 
war they more than justified what was expected of them. In 
order to secure more officers with Annapolis training, the course 
for midshipmen was reduced, during the war, to three years 
and made more intensive, upon the recommendation of Rear 
Admiral Edward W. Eberle, the able and resourceful super- 
intendent of the Naval Academy. He and his associates, anxious 
to get into the active fighting, were doing more by the instruc- 
tion of the increasing number of midshipmen and the zeal with 
which they inspired all who came under their influence. 

Before the war, plans had been adopted and appropriations 
made for greatly increasing the Naval Academy. A new Sea- 
manship and Navigation Building that cost $1,000,000 was con- 
structed. Four million dollars was expended in enlarging 
Bancroft Hall, which was more than doubled to accommodate 
the increased number of midshipmen. In 1912 there were 768 
midshipmen at Annapolis. Legislation adopted before the war 
increased the number to 2,120 in 1917. The enlarged facilities 
will accommodate 2,400. 

Two special courses were established at the Naval Academy 
in the spring of 1917, one for line officers and the other for 
men of the supply corps. A total of 1,622 were graduated as 
ensigns for line duty and 400 as supply officers. They went 
right into the fleet, and though they had received only a few 
months' drill, they carried the Annapolis spirit into the service 
— a spirit of valor and invincibility. The institution at An- 
napolis, the pride of America and the admiration of all visitors 
to our country, is easily the greatest naval school in the world. 



CHAPTER XXX 
THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND STRONG 

VAST OPERATIONS COULD HARDLY HAVE BEEN CARRIED ON WITHOUT 

NAVAL RESERVES AND NATIONAL NAVAL VOLUNTEERS MANNED 

HUNDREDS OF VESSELS PLYING TO FRANCE — SERVED ON TRANS- 
PORTS, DESTROYERS, SUB-CHASERS AND EVERY KIND OF CRAFT — 
NAVAL AVIATION COMPOSED MAINLY OF RESERVISTS — THIRTY THOU- 
SAND MADE OFFICERS. 



W 



i6 \ J| T^E ARE coining, Uncle Samuel, three hundred 
thousand strong!" That was the spirit if not 
the song of the reservists who besieged the 
recruiting stations and flocked into the Navy 
at the call of war. 

They came from every walk of life — mechanics and million- 
aires, farm boys and college students, clerks and merchants, 
yacht owners and boatmen, fishermen and firemen. There was 
hardly a trade, profession or calling that was not represented. 
Ninety-nine out of every hundred were landsmen, knowing noth- 
ing of the sea. But they took to the naval service like ducks to 
water, and the rapidity with which they learned, and the effi- 
ciency with which they served, amazed the old sea-dogs. 

Never again will men dare to ridicule the volunteer, the re- 
servist, the man who in a national crisis lays aside civilian duty 
to become a soldier or sailor, to shoulder a gun or take his place 
in the turret. The splendid body of young men from civil life 
who quickly adapted themselves to military service astonished 
the old timers, who believed that long service was absolutely 
necessary to make one efficient. 

On every ship in the Navy were found young men who, with- 
out previous training, had enrolled for the war, and in a short 
time were performing well the duties of naval service. Moved 
by a zeal and patriotism which quickened their ability to learn, 
the ambitious young men who responded to the call in 1917-18 

318 



THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND STRONG 319 

mastered military knowledge so rapidly as to astonish naval 
officers, as well as the country. The most capable were placed 
in command of small naval craft, and the commendation of 
older officers was hearty and enthusiastic. 

Before 1917, responsible naval officials knew that the chief 
need when war came would be trained leaders. There was never 
any doubt that patriotic young men would enroll by the thou- 
sands and tens of thousands. But you cannot make a naval offi- 
cer in a day. It is easier to secure good officers on land than 
on sea. It was leadership, a quality indefinable, that the Navy 
needed. 

There was need for many more officers. After promoting 
many capable regulars, we turned for officer material to the apt 
and alert young men in colleges and schools, in shops, in profes- 
sions and on the farms. Most of them were given their inten- 
sive training on board ship, but the Navy was able to give 1,700 
a special course at the Naval Academy. Securing that assign- 
ment by competition with all other reservists, they came with 
the imprimatur of approval from ships or shore stations. After 
the thorough course at Annapolis they went immediately to 
service afloat, and from admirals and captains I received re- 
ports that gave proof of their efficiency. Some did so well that 
they were keen competitors, in the special duties they per- 
formed, with those who had enjoyed a full four-year course at 
the Naval Academy. 

Over 30,000 reservists were made commissioned or warrant 
officers, nearly three times as many as the total, 10,590, in the 
regular Navy. They served on vessels of every type, from sub- 
marine chasers to battleships. On the transports the larger per- 
centage of the officers were reservists. The usual plan was to 
have the duties of the captain, executive officer, chief engineer, 
gunnery officers, senior supply and medical officers performed by 
regulars, the others being of the reserve force. Out of a total 
of, say, thirty officers on board a transport, twenty-four of them 
would be reservists. They were on duty on deck, in the engine 
room, in the sick quarters, in the supply office, and in practically 
every part of the ship. 

The idea of some who thought in the early days of 1917 
that family or political influence would get them a commission 



320 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

was the subject of not a little good natured ridicule in the serv- 
ice, which found expression in verses like these : 

I never thought I'd be a gob — 

You see, dad owns a bank — 
I thought at least I'd get a job 

Above a captain's rank. 

But woe to me, alack, alas! 

They 've put me in white duds ; 
They don't quite comprehend my class — 

They've got me peeling spuds. 

It was not easy work, this learning to be a seaman and study- 
ing to be an officer. But it made men of those youngsters. The 
fact that promotion depended on their own efforts, that there 
was a fair field and no favor, inspired them to effort as noth- 
ing else could have done. 

Men of all trades and professions were in the reserve. Mil- 
lionaires from New York and graduates of Princeton served 
alongside young fellows who a year before had been plowing 
behind Missouri mules. An heir of one of the country's largest 
fortunes was a seaman gunner, and his mate in the same crew 
was a strapping youngster who had been working in a factory. 

An officer who went out for a run on a sub-chaser from Brest 
thought there was something familiar about the grimy seaman 
who was testing the forward gun. As the man turned the officer 
recognized him. 

1 'Well, of all things!" exclaimed the officer. "You're the 
last man in the world I'd ever expect to find here. The last time 
I saw you, you were the ladies ' favorite, engaged in photograph- 
ing every debutante and stage celebrity in New York. How did 
you get into the Navy?" 

"Well, it is funny, even to myself," he laughed, and told his 
story. 

He had made a picture of a well-known actress and her baby, 
and was on his way back to the studio when he struck a recruit- 
ing party holding a meeting in the street. Aroused by the 
enthusiasm, he felt he ought to do his part. He enlisted on the 
spot, turned over his studio to others, and in a month was shoot- 
ing a gun on a sub-chaser instead of a camera. He stayed on 




THE LIVING FLAG 






Ten thousand blue-jackets, at Great Lakes, the largest naval training station 
the world. Inset: Captain William A. Moffett, Commandant. 



THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND STRONG 321 

that boat until the last horn blew, and the boys were ordered 
home. One of his mates at the gun was a former actor, another 
a clerk in a store. 

One day in New York four young fellows suddenly walked 
out of a motion-picture studio and enlisted. Two of them were 
high salaried photographers, but they said nothing about that 
and went in as seamen. Several months afterwards a call was 
sent out for a few men experienced in photo work. One of these 
four was found shoveling coal at Pemam. He had been for three 
years the photographer for Sidney Drew, but he was plugging 
along at coal passing, and doing a good job until found fitted 
for other work. 

4 'Captain, I'd like to get a transfer," was the request a young 
reservist made of his commanding officer in 1918. The captain 
was surprised. The youngster had rendered service in the 
armed guards and was doing well on a cargo transport. 

"What is the trouble with your present duty?" the Captain 
asked. 

"Well, sir," he answered, "I've been going across on mer- 
chantmen. I have been torpedoed three times, but I'd like to 
get on a destroyer or a submarine-chaser, where I can see a little 
real action." 

That was the spirit of the reservists. Willing to perform 
any duty, they wanted to get into action, to be sent where the 
fighting was. 

Naval aviation was made up largely of reservists, and the 
Naval Reserve Flying Corps grew during the war into a force 
of more than 26,000, with 1,500 qualified pilots and 4,000 student 
officers in training. Not only were hundreds of bright young 
men enrolled as prospective aviators, but thousands of skilled 
mechanics were enlisted in the ground personnel. 

Looking over the list of officers of the Cruiser and Transport 
Force, I find that eight reservists were on Admiral Gleaves' 
staff, eighteen on that of Admiral Jones. Of the 166 officers who 
served on the Leviathan, the largest of all transports, 93 were 
reservists. On the George Washington there were 63 out of the 
total of one hundred. Thirty-five served on the President Lin- 
coln, 46 on the President Grant, 69 on the Mount Vernon, 51 on 
the Great Northern, 43 on the Orizaba, 28 on the Pastores, 33 on 



322 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

the Pocahontas, 24 on the Powhatan, 30 on the Princess Matoika. 
Of this large force, there was not a transport or cruiser which 
did not have a large proportion of reservists in its officers and 
crew. In carrying the American Army to France and bringing it 
home, the reservists did their full share of the work. 

They played an even larger part in the Naval Overseas 
Transportation Service. Five thousand officers and thirty 
thousand men were required to man this vast fleet of cargo ships 
carrying munitions and supplies to France. Of the officers all 
but twelve were reservists, as were a large majority of the 
enlisted men. Thousands more were in training to furnish crews 
for the hundreds of vessels being built by the Shipping Board 
which the Navy was preparing to man. 

Of our 350 submarine chasers, which were on patrol duty in 
French and English waters, in the Adriatic and all along the 
American coast, the large majority were manned by reservists, 
who performed this hard and often monotonous duty with a 
cheerfulness that was unfailing. These sturdy little 110-foot 
boats stayed at sea in all kinds of weather, and braved storms 
that even the largest vessels did not relish. 

The record shows that the reservists could have done any- 
thing required at any time anywhere. At the aviation assembly 
and repair base at Pauillac, France, during an inspection by 
members of the Naval Affairs Committee, one of the party, Con- 
gressman Peters, of Maine, remarked : 

"My watch is broken and I have tried both in Paris and at 
Bordeaux to get it repaired, but was told that it would take two 
weeks to do so." 

Lieutenant Commander Briscoe, in command of the repair 
base, told the Congressman that it could be fixed right there at 
the station. 

"But," said Mr. Peters, "I have only an hour to spend 
here." 

"All right," said Briscoe, "we can do it." 

An instrument repair man was sent for. He took the watch, 
and fifteen minutes later handed it back to the astonished Con- 
gressman, who found it running and set at the correct hour. 

"Well, well, I didn't think that you had such skilled me- 
chanics in the service." 



THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND STRONG 323 

"That's nothing," said Briscoe. "We can build a locomo- 
tive here — and run it, too." 

It was a fact. The mechanical personnel of the Flying Corps 
was competent to manufacture, overhaul, repair and operate 
almost any mechanical device made in America. 

The United States had no naval-reserve legislation until Con- 
gress authorized the creation of a reserve in 1915. It did have 
the nucleus of a naval militia prior to the act of February 16, 
1914, when Congress coordinated these distinct and scattered 
branches into a cohesive real naval militia organization, subject 
in time of war to the call of the President. In pursuance of that 
act a division of Naval Militia was organized in the department, 
and a board named by the Secretary of the Navy to formulate 
standards of professional examinations for officers and enlisted 
men, and also to strengthen the militia as an effective arm of 
naval power. That board, which pioneered the organization so 
well that it met the test of war with credit, was composed of 
Captains W. A. Gill, Edward Capehart, and Harold Norton, and 
Commanders J. J. Poyer and F. B. Bassett, of the Navy, and 
Commodore R. P. Forshew, Captain C. D. Bradham, Captain 
E. A. Evers, Commander J. M. Mitcheson, and Lieutenant J. 
T. McMillan, of the Naval Militia. 

Cruises covering several weeks in the summer were organ- 
ized for training and were continued until 1917, when these short 
cruises merged into war service. In encouraging and training 
these reserves \c a . were carrying out the wise counsel of Jeffer- 
son given in 1807: "I think it will be necessary to erect our 
seafaring men into a naval militia and subject them to tours of 
duty in whatever port they may be." The act of August 29, 
1916, provided that the militia in Federal service be designated 
as "National Naval Volunteers." The force grew to twelve 
thousand by 1917, and when war was declared this body of men, 
who had enjoyed practical training, were at once available for 
duty. They were given important assignments, ashore and afloat, 
in the fighting zone on ships of all types, in administrative posi- 
tions ; and, as leaders and instructors of newly enlisted reserves 
they rendered timely and useful service. During the war the 
National Naval Volunteers and Reserves were amalgamated 
along lines largely worked out by naval militia officers. 



324 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

But for the naval reserve legislation of 1916, I do not see 
how we could have promptly provided naval personnel for the 
war. It will always be a monument to the wisdom of the then 
Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, Admiral Victor Blue, who 
was again called to that post after serving as captain of the 
Texas under Rodman in the North Sea Fleet, that the legisla- 
tion was made ready and prepared against the day which we 
hoped would never come, but which did come, with all sudden- 
ness, upon us. 

It was the act of August 29, 1916, that created a Naval Re- 
serve Force of six classes — the Fleet Naval Reserve, of former 
officers, and enlisted men who had completed as much as sixteen 
years' service in the Navy; the Naval Reserve of men of sea- 
going experience; the Naval Auxiliary Reserve, men employed 
on merchant vessels suitable for naval auxiliaries; the Naval 
Coast Defense Reserve, in which civilians without previous sea 
experience could be enrolled; the Volunteer Naval Reserve, 
whose members obligated themselves to serve in the Navy in 
any of the various classes without retainer pay or uniform 
gratuity in time of peace ; and the Naval Reserve Flying Corps, 
composed of officers and student flyers and enlisted men quali- 
fied for aviation duties. At the same time a Marine Corps 
Reserve of five classes was authorized, corresponding to the 
Naval Reserve Force. 

This was the basis upon which was built up the vast reserve 
force of more than 300,000 which was enrolled, trained and put 
into service during the war. Beginning with a few hundred the 
force grew rapidly after the break with Germany. Upon the 
declaration of war the Naval Militia were mustered in, and from 
977 officers and 12,407 enlisted militiamen and reserves in serv- 
ice April 6, 1917, the reserves grew in six months to 77,000, in 
a year to 123,000, and eventually reached a total of 355,447 — 
30,358 officers and 305,089 men. 

Except for a few thousand ex-service men and merchant sea- 
men, this immense force was made up of men who had had no 
seagoing experience, men who had to learn the game from the 
beginning. And the rapidity with which they were turned from 
landsmen into sailors reflected great credit on instructors and 
apprentices. 



THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND STRONG 325 

There is no page of the war more illustrative of what the 
colleges did, in addition to the college spirit of lofty patriotism 
which sent educated youths into the service by the thousands, 

"Who took the khaki and the gun 
Instead of cap and gown," 

than preparing students for all branches of the service. The 
college campus became a national training ground. Institutions 
of learning were converted into naval schools where young men 
were given instruction in branches fitting for service in the 
Navy. Harvard became a radio school; Massachusetts "Tech" 
taught aviators, Princeton specialized in cost accounting, Yale 's 
units were commanded by a retired admiral, Stevens Institute 
had its engineering school. Scores of other colleges and univer- 
sities in all parts of the country extended their facilities in what- 
ever way was most needed. There was not a rating in the Navy, 
from the new duty in connection with listening devices to the 
oldest calling of cook, without special schools. Intensive courses 
sent men afloat with the best instruction possible in the brief 
period allotted. 

College men did everything from peeling spuds to command- 
ing ships. Trained minds, plus work and courage in the test of 
war, forever answered in the affirmative the question whether 
college education is worth what it costs. The college man mas- 
tered navigation more rapidly because he had mastered mathe- 
matics. His ability to learn readily paid his country a large 
dividend upon its investment in educational institutions. 

Though colleges and universities were giving instruction and 
nearly all our ships and stations engaged in training reserves 
as well as regulars, the typical reserve camp was at Pelham Bay. 
We needed a training station near New York. We had to have 
a good waterside location with plenty of space, well drained and 
wholesome, and we found it in the park at Pelham, which the 
municipal authorities generously tendered for temporary use. 
Ten miles from the heart of the city, with water on two sides, 
Pelham Bay was an ideal location, and there we built a station 
capable of providing for 25,000 men. It was efficiently com- 
manded by Captain W. B. Franklin, a former officer in the 
regular Navy, and a fine type of the reservist of mature years. 



326 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

I made it a habit during the war, whenever my duties called 
me to New York, to run over to Pelham. Being myself in the 
reserve class, called from civilian life to service with the naval 
forces for a period, the chance to touch elbow to elbow with these 
men was always embraced, and after every visit I returned to 
Washington with new inspiration and new zeal. Many young 
reservists trained there won promotion — I say won, because 
commissions were not handed out. They were awarded by 
demonstration of fitness. The course was so thorough that the 
reserves called Pelham the "Reserve Naval Academy." 

Eighteen reservists were commended for acts of personal 
bravery, 110 for courageous and heroic action. Four Medals of 
Honor were awarded reservists; eleven received Distinguished 
Service Medals ; the Navy Cross was awarded to 265 officers and 
50 enlisted men, and special letters of commendation for ex- 
ceptional performance of duty were sent to 171 officers and 
20 men of the Naval Reserve Force. 

This is the record that glorified all the reservists, not alone 
those marked for special distinction but the thousands who 
were of the same stuff and spirit. They fought well. They died 
well. They have left in deeds and words a record that will be 
an inspiration to unborn generations. As illustrating their 
spirit I recall a legacy left by a valorous young aviator for whom 
I named a destroyer. 

Kenneth MacLeish, of Glencoe, 111., was enrolled in the Re- 
serve Flying Corps in March, 1917. In October he went to 
France and became a member of the bombing group, taking part 
in many air raids over the enemy's lines. While on a raid his 
squadron was attacked by a dozen enemy airplanes. Fighting 
desperately, to enable his fellows to escape, MacLeish 's plane 
was shot down and he was killed. His daring, his fortitude, his 
Christian spirit were a trinity which make him immortal. Writ- 
ing to his parents, just before he was killed, MacLeish penned 
this classic that will live in the annals of the Naval Reserves : 

In the first place, if I find it necessary to make the supreme sacri- 
fice, always remember this ; I am firmly convinced that the ideals which 
I am going to fight for are right, and splendid ideals, that I am happy 
to be able to give so much for them. I could not have any self-respect, 
I could not consider myself a man, if I saw these ideals defeated when 



THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND STRONG 327 

it lies in my power to defend them. * * * So you see, I have no 
fears, I have no regrets. I have only to thank God for such a wonder- 
ful opportunity to serve Him and the world. * * * And the life 
that I lay down will be my preparation for the grander, finer life that 
I take up. 

I shall live! * * * you must not grieve; I shall be supremely 
happy * * * so must you — not that I have "gone west," but that 
I have bought such a wonderful life at such a small price, and paid for 
it so gladly, 



CHAPTER XXXI 
WOMEN IN THE NAVY 

MORE THAN ELEVEN THOUSAND REGULARLY ENLISTED — THEY CONSTI- 
TUTE THE ONLY WOMEN ENTITLED TO MEMBERSHIP IN THE AMERI- 
CAN LEGION — NO LACK OF WOMAN 's NURSING GIRLS WORKED IN 

TORPEDO FACTORY AND MUNITION PLANTS — THE INSPIRING LEADER- 
SHIP OF MRS. ANNA HOWARD SHAW, HEAD OF WOMAN 's COUNCIL OF 
NATIONAL DEFENSE. 

THE Navy was long regarded as an institution for men 
only. It was the only place where there was no opening 
for women. To be sure no sailor would have felt com- 
fortable going to sea in a ship which had not been spon- 
sored by a woman's breaking the bottle as it slid into the waters 
at the launching. A ship, feminine in all our language, de- 
manded a woman's benediction as the assurance of favoring 
winds and prosperous voyages. But men alone wore the naval 
uniform prior to 1917. 

It is true that before that time it had been found that the 
naval establishment could not get along without women, and 
they had been admitted to hospitals and dispensaries ashore, 
where they were found indispensable. 

In March, 1917, after the break with Germany, the Navy 
stood in great need of clerical assistants in Washington and at 
all the shore stations. There was no appropriation to pay 
civilians for the work that was immediately necessary. Every 
bureau and naval establishment appealed for clerks and stenog- 
raphers. How could they be secured at once? The Civil Service 
Commission could not furnish a tithe of the number required, 
even if there had been the money to pay them. 

"Is there any law that says a yeoman must be a man?" I 
asked my legal advisers. The answer was that there was not, 
but that only men had heretofore been enlisted. The law did not 
say "male." 

328 



WOMEN IN THE NAVY 329 

"Then enroll women in the Naval Reserve as yeomen," I 
said, "and we will have the best clerical assistance the country 
can provide." 

It was done, and they were given the designation Yeomen 
(F) — not "Yeomanettes," but regular yeomen, the F indicating 
female. They were truly yeomen and did yeoman service. In 
the Marine Corps they were equally efficient, and were known as 
"Marinettes" or Lady Marines. 

"I do not wish to enroll as a Naval Reservist," said an 
independent young woman to the enrolling officer at the Wash- 
ington Navy Yard, ' ' until I know what ship I am to serve on. ' ' 

It was explained to her that women yeomen were not to go 
to sea. 

"But I want to go on the Nevada," she said, in tones of dis- 
appointment. 

These women yeomen, enlisting as reservists, served as 
translators, stenographers, clerks, typists, on recruiting duty, 
and with hospital units in France. Too much could not be said 
of their efficiency, loyalty and patriotism. 

Eleven thousand Yeomen (F), 1,713 nurses, and 269 Marin- 
ettes were enrolled. They were, I am informed, the only women 
serving during the war who were on the same footing as men 
with all allowances and pay and clothing outfits, and the only 
women eligible to membership in the American Legion. Those 
who made up the four companies in Washington became profi- 
cient in military drill. They made a handsome appearance 
when, upon the return of the Rainbow Division, they were the 
guard of honor to the President, having previously taken part, 
with other military units, in the welcome to President Wilson 
when he returned from Paris. They made a notable showing as 
they formed in double lines of spotless white uniforms as the 
presidential party passed through the Union Station at Wash- 
ington to receive the enthusiastic welcome given by the 
multitudes. 

The uniforms of the Yeomen (F) and the Marines (F) were 
natty and beautiful, were worn with pride, and are preserved by 
them as the honorable token of service during the great war. 
They were both becoming and suited to the duty assigned. As 
a designer of woman's uniforms the Navy Department scored 



330 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

a distinct success, for these uniforms were copied by women all 
over the country. 

The last drill of these Yeomen (F) was held on July 31, 1919, 
upon their demobilization. They had saved the day in war, and 
the Navy regretted the legislation which compelled the disband- 
ing. I do not know how the great increase of work could have 
been carried on without them. I voiced the thanks of the Navy 
in expressing ''gratitude and appreciation of their splendid 
service and patriotic cooperation," as they were mustered out. 
They are organized in posts in the American Legion, and have 
carried into civil life the spirit of devotion to country which they 
displayed in the days of the war. 

I issued an order early in the war that women be given pref- 
erence in appointments to clerical positions in the Navy. This 
released men for military duty. The war taught that the Navy 
was dependent upon woman's deftness not only to prevent "lack 
of woman's nursing," but also in multifarious duties, including 
assembling parts for torpedoes and other war munitions. Upon 
a visit to the Newport Torpedo Station, I found women in over- 
alls at work, putting together parts of torpedoes made there. 
They were so capable and showed such skill that scores were 
enabled to do, and to do excellently, a character of work for- 
merly done exclusively by men. Not a few of them were school 
teachers, who, feeling the compulsion for war-work, shared the 
feeling of the wealthy woman in Washington, who, applying for 
a position in the gun factory at Washington, said : 

"I can knit at night. If I cannot fight, I wish something to 
do where I can feel I am really in the war, helping to make guns 
or torpedoes or other real instruments of war — a job that is 
hard, and where labor in the heat and burden of the day taxes 
all my strength. ' ' 

She was a sister in spirit of the many women who worked in 
munition plants, fashioning rifles, dressed in overalls, faces be- 
grimed, proud that they were thus helping on with the war. If 
there had been need, many more would have gone into the shops, 
glad to tax their strength for the cause in which their very souls 
were enlisted. 

Not only does the world owe a lasting debt of gratitude to 
women who served, in shops, in the Navy Department, in fac- 



WOMEN IN THE NAVY 331 

tories making naval aircraft, at navy bases, in work for the 
Army, but likewise the larger number, who in their homes and 
communities and in welfare work at home and abroad, dedicated 
their hands and spirit to the varied war activities. Their most 
notable organized duties were in the Red Cross and the Young 
Women's Christian Association. A story of the benefactions of 
the Red Cross is chiefly the story of woman 's work and woman 's 
ministrations. With the mothers of our fighting forces, they 
constituted in truth the irresistible first line of defense and 
offense which would have held to the last against all odds. They 
furnished the basis of what, for lack of a better name, we called 
morale — the will to win — without which ships and guns and 
fighting machinery never yet won a battle. A Woman's Ad- 
visory Committee on Naval Auxiliaries to the Red Cross War 
Council rendered patriotic and useful service. 

The Government early found the necessity for the organiza- 
tion and direction of women in war work, and the Council of 
National Defense set up a Woman's Council, headed by that 
great woman of statesmanship and vision, the late Dr. Anna 
Howard Shaw. The women who composed this Council, in 
addition to Dr. Shaw, were Mrs. Philip N. Moore, Mrs. Josiah 
E. Cowles, Miss Maude Wetmore, Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, 
Mrs. Antoinette Funk, Mrs. Stanley McCormick, Mrs. Joseph 
R. Lamar, Miss Ida M. Tarbell, Miss Agnes Nestor, Mrs. Ira 
Couch Wood, secretary. Under the direction of this Woman's 
Council the women of America were mobilized for war work 
in all parts of America. Women were found, wholly enlisted, 
with their counsel and labors and sacrifice, wherever men 
planned or fought or died. Some gave their lives, many gave 
their health, all gave complete consecration. 



CHAPTER XXXII 
COAST GUARD WON DISTINCTION 

ESCORTING CONVOYS BETWEEN GIBRALTAR AND ENGLAND, CUTTERS 

MADE NOTABLE RECORD " TAMPA " SUNK, WITH ALL HER GALLANT 

OFFICERS AND MEN — " SENECA " SAVED SURVIVORS OF " COWSLIP* ' 

AND " QUEEN" COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY AND LIGHTHOUSE 

SERVICE DID FINE WORK. 

THE Coast Guard automatically came under control of the 
Navy when war was declared. Its vessels, its trained 
officers and men proved a valuable addition to our forces, 
and rendered notable service in various areas and in 
many lines of activity, at home and abroad. 

They formed a very important part of our forces at Gibral- 
tar, which included six Coast Guard cutters, the Seneca, Yama- 
craw, Algonquin, Ossipee, Manning and Tampa, constantly en- 
gaged in escorting convoys. 

The splendid service they performed was commended in Ad- 
miral Niblack's letter of September 5, 1918, to Captain Charles 
Satterlee, commanding officer of the Tampa, in which, after 
detailing her record, under way more than 3,500 miles each 
month since October 1, 1917, " never disabled, ready whenever 
called on," he said: 

This excellent record is an evidence of a high state of efficiency, an 
excellent ship spirit, and organization capable of keeping the vessel 
in service with the minimum of shore assistance. The squadron com- 
mander takes great pleasure in congratulating the commanding officer, 
officers and crew on the record which they have made. 

Three weeks after notable service had evoked this commen- 
dation, every officer and man of the Tampa met sudden and 
mysterious death. The night of September 26, 1918, the Tampa, 
having escorted a convoy from Gibraltar, was proceeding 
toward Milford Haven, Wales. At 8 :45 p. m., a loud explosion 

332 



COAST GUARD WON DISTINCTION 333 

was heard by vessels of the convoy, but the night was so dark 
that the Tampa disappeared before her companions could see 
what had happened. American destroyers and British patrol 
craft searched the vicinity. 

Nothing was found except a small amount of wreckage and 
the bodies of two men in naval uniforms. It is believed that 
the Tampa was torpedoed by a submarine. The German U-53 
claimed to have sunk a United States vessel of her description. 
"Listening-in" stations on shore reported that they detected 
the presence of a submarine near the spot where the Tampa 
was destroyed. But no one knows how she met her fate. Every 
soul on board the vessel perished, 115 in all, of whom 111 were 
Coast Guard personnel. The officers lost were Captain Satter- 
lee, First Lieutenants Archibald H. Scally and John T. Carr, 
Second Lieutenants Roy A. Bothwell, James M. Earp and John 
F. McGourty, and Third Lieutenant James A. Frost, Jr. 

It must, indeed, be a matter of solemn pride to the Coast 
Guard to know that the Tampa, lost with all her gallant officers 
and men, was distinguished by such service and sacrifice that 
it will always be remembered in the naval annals of our country. 
It was my pleasure to name one of the modern destroyers of 
the Navy for Captain Satterlee, and on April 16, 1921, a new 
cruising vessel of the Coast Guard was launched at Oakland, 
California, named the Tampa. 

Few instances that occurred during the war are more in- 
dicative of devotion to duty than the gallant attempt of the 
Seneca to salvage the steamer Wellington, torpedoed September 
16, 1918. Though damaged, its officers thought that the vessel 
would probably float, but the crew refused to remain on board. 

Lieutenant F. W. Brown (U. S. Coast Guard), the Seneca's 
navigating officer, asked permission to take a volunteer crew 
and endeavor to work the Wellington into port. Nearly all the 
Seneca's complement volunteered for this duty. Lieutenant 
Brown made a hasty selection from the many volunteers, taking 
Acting Machinist William L. Boyce and eighteen men. En route 
to the torpedoed vessel, lookouts and gun's crew were detailed. 
Upon boarding the ship, ammunition was broken out, the gun 's 
crew was assigned, and lookouts posted. It was highly prob- 
able that the submarine would make another attack. Soon a 



334 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

second boat, containing the master, first and second officers and 
eleven of the Wellington's crew came on board. The Seneca had 
to leave at once to protect the remainder of the convoy, and 
could only send out radio calls for assistance. There followed 
an heroic and all but successful effort on the part of Lieutenant 
Brown and his men to save the steamship. 

Within half an hour, the Wellington was started at slow 
speed, heading for Brest. Men took turns in passing coal and 
firing, coming out on deck when relieved and taking a gun- 
watch. One of the men from the Seneca was a cook, Russell 
Elam, who disappeared into the galley, and in a short time 
announced that dinner was served for all hands. When he ap- 
peared on the bridge with Lieutenant Brown's dinner, he was 
clad in an immaculate white serving jacket and had omitted no 
detail of service. And this on a torpedoed steamer in imminent 
danger of sinking! Cook Elam met a heroic death with others 
of this gallant party. 

During the afternoon all went well, but at sundown the wind 
increased, seas crashed over the bow, and all on board were in 
danger. The ship listed sharply, rolling so that the davit heads 
threatened to force the lifeboat under. Those aboard were or- 
dered to get into the boat, and hold on to the Wellington by 
use of a long rope, a sea painter. Seven of the Wellington's 
crew got into the boat with one Seneca man detailed to unhook 
it, the other Coast Guardsmen standing by to lower it. The 
radio operator, M. S. Mason, remained at his instruments to 
keep in touch with the destroyer Warrington, which was pro- 
ceeding to their assistance, and three men kept the pumps going. 
Just after the boat was lowered, someone cut the painter, and 
the boat drifted away. The Seneca's party and some of the 
collier's men were left on board with nothing to rely upon ex- 
cept a small raft which they had constructed. 

At 11:35 p. m., the Wellington's position was sent to the 
Warrington (Lieutenant Commander Van der Veer). To aid 
the destroyer in her search, rockets were sent up at fifteen- 
minute intervals, and at 2:30 a. m., answering rockets were 
seen. The men in the lifeboat were gotten aboard the Warring- 
ton, but the boat was crushed. Lieutenant Brown found some 
long, heavy planks; from these three rafts were improvised, 



COAST GUARD WON DISTINCTION 335 

which were lowered and lines let down so the men could reach 
them in the darkness. The lights of the destroyer were now in 
sight. The Wellington listed rapidly. With a hand flashlight, 
Lieutenant Brown signaled that he had to abandon ship imme- 
diately, and asked the destroyer to work in close and pick up 
his men. As the collier settled by the head, at the same time 
turning over, Brown crawled out over the railing and flashed 
his last appeal, "My men are in the water." 

At that moment the boilers exploded, the vessel seemed to 
rise up, and as she lurched into her final plunge, Brown sprang 
into the water. This was at 4 a. m., in pitch darkness, a raging 
gale and tempestuous seas. 

After swimming awhile, casting about for something to cling 
to, and finding nothing, Brown heard a cry for help. Swimming 
towards the man, he saw that he was clinging to a plank, and told 
him to hold on and keep his mouth closed, so as not to take in 
water. Finding two calcium lights burning, he extinguished 
them so no one should be misled into thinking they marked a 
raft. As he approached the destroyer, Brown called out re- 
peatedly: "I had eighteen men." His sole thought was that 
the men committed to his charge should be saved. 

Running close to the Wellington, the Warrington floated 
down three life-rafts and all available buoys, well lighted. It 
was still very dark, but from a few hundred yards to leeward 
the men on the Warrington watched the black hull turn turtle, 
slowly settle in the water, and then disappear. When dawn 
broke, they began to see men in the water, some on rafts and 
buoys, some on floating wreckage. Eight men were finally picked 
up, one of whom died on board. One of the first rescued proved 
to be Lieutenant Brown. A heaving line was flung to him and he 
grabbed it, but said he did not remember having been hauled 
on board. Apparently he lost consciousness, and his identity 
was not discovered until he awoke. 

Three of the Warrington's crew had jumped into the 
heavy sea, with lines made fast to their waists, in attempting 
to save life. Seaman James C. Osborne, of the Coast Guard, 
supporting a shipmate, Coxswain Peterson, swam through the 
heavy seas and placed Peterson, who was only half conscious, 
on a raft. Several times both were washed off, but each time 



336 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

Osborne went to his shipmate's assistance and replaced him on 
the raft. Finally Osborne semaphored, "I am all right, but he 
is gone unless you come right away." The Warrington rescued 
them both. 

Lieutenant Brown and eight men of the Seneca were saved, 
Machinist Boyce and ten Coast Guardsmen were lost, besides 
five belonging to the Wellington's crew. But for the heavy gale 
and rough sea that developed, Brown and his volunteers would 
probably have won out and saved ship and cargo. They upheld 
to the fullest the high traditions of the Navy and Coast Guard. 

Another example of readiness to assume responsibility and 
act as the necessities of the occasion require, is that of Captain 
William J. Wheeler (U. S. Coast Guard), commanding the 
Seneca, which rescued the survivors from the British patrol 
sloop, Cowslip. After dark on April 2, 1918, the danger zone 
escort from Gibraltar, including the Cowslip, joined the con- 
voy which the Seneca had escorted from England. A loud 
explosion was heard and the Cowslip displayed distress signals. 
The Seneca immediately headed for her, although the sloop 
flashed the signal, ' ' Stay away ! Submarine in sight, port quar- 
ter." Circling the Cowslip in search of the submarine, the 
Seneca and the destroyer Dale, which had also come up, began 
to search for the enemy. The established doctrine then was 
that, when a vessel was torpedoed, other vessels in the vicinity 
should not risk their own destruction by endeavoring to go to 
her relief and that rescue of survivors should be considered as 
a secondary duty. But American officers could not witness a 
disabled and sinking ship without making every effort to save 
her people. 

Three times the Seneca approached, stopping to lower her 
own boats and take off survivors from the British sloop. One 
enlisted man and all the wardroom officers of the Coivslip, ex- 
cept the officer-of-the-deck, had been killed by the explosion. 
The Seneca rescued all the survivors, including the commanding 
officer, another commissioned officer, and 79 enlisted men. For 
this courageous and meritorious act, Captain Wheeler was com- 
mended by Admiral Niblack, Admiral Sims, and the British 
admiral commanding at Gibraltar. 

On June 29, 1918, the Seneca was acting as ocean escort to a 




THEY SAVED SURVIVORS OF TORPEDOED VESSELS 

At the risk of their own destruction, the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Seneca 
repeatedly rescued survivors of torpedoed vessels, although it was an established rule 
that when a vessel was torpedoed other vessels in the vicinity should not go to her 
aid because of the almost certain destruction which would await the rescuers. Inset: 
Captain William J. Wheeler, commanding the Seneca. 




GALLANT OFFICERS OF THE COAST GUARD 
Left to right: Commodore E. P. Bertholf, commandant of the Coast Guard 
from 1911 to July, 1919; Lieutenant F. W. Brown, navigating officer of the Seneca, 
who volunteered to work the torpedoed Wellington to port; Boatswain John A. 
Midgett, of Coast Guard Station No. 179, who led the rescue of survivors of the 
torpedoed Mirlo under extraordinary danger from fire. 



COAST GUARD WON DISTINCTION 337 

convoy, when at 6:45 a. m., the British steamer Queen was tor- 
pedoed and sank in five minutes. As in the case of the Cowslip, 
Captain Wheeler boldly approached the Queen. Dropping 
depth charges and firing his guns to keep the submarine down, 
he picked up the survivors. 

It was work like this, calling for daring and quick decision, 
that distinguished the vessels of the Coast Guard, which, opera I 
ing in the Navy, performed such signal sendee for the Allies 
and the commerce of the world. 

On this side of the Atlantic, the main contribution by the 
Coast Guard was as part of the patrol service under Admiral 
Anderson in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, protecting 
the oil supply that went in large volume from Texas and Mexico 
to British and other Allied naval ships and for the necessary 
uses by the Allied armies in France. 

In the great disaster that followed the blowing up of a 
munition ship at Halifax, the U. S. Coast Guard cutter Morrill, 
in command of Lieutenant H. G. Hemniingway, and its crew 
gave first aid to the injured in that stricken city. Coast Guard 
men supervised, without accident or loss of life, the landing of 
345,602 tons of high explosives in New York and the loading 
on 1,698 vessels. The total value of the explosives on these ships 
was more than five hundred million dollars. 

When the tug Perth Amboy and four barges were shelled by 
a German submarine on July 21, 1918, within sight of Coast 
Guard station No. 40, at East Orleans, Mass., Keeper Robert 
F. Pierce, with his crew, launched their surfboat, and while the 
shelling was continuing, proceeded out to assist the tug and her 
tow and aided in safely landing the crew and treating the 
wounded. 

A very gallant action was that of the keeper and crew of 
Coast Guard Station No. 179 at Chicamacomico, North Carolina, 
in rescuing life under extraordinary circumstances following the 
destruction of the steamship Mirlo, on August 16, 1918. At 
4:30 p. m. the lookout reported seeing a great mass of water 
shoot into the air. It seemed to cover the after portion of a 
steamer that was about seven miles away. At the same time a 
quantity of smoke rose from the steamer. Fire was seen, and 
heavy explosions were heard. The Coast Guard boat went to 



338 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

the rescue. Five miles off shore they met one of the ship's 
boats with the captain and six men in it, who informed them 
that the ship was a British tank steamer and that she had been 
torpedoed. Keeper John A. Midgett directed the captain where 
to go. The Coast Guard boat was headed for the burning mass 
of wreckage and oil. On arrival the sea was found to be covered 
with burning oil and blazing gas for a hundred yards, with two 
masses of flames about a hundred yards apart. In between 
these, when the smoke would clear away a little, a life-boat could 
be seen, bottom up, with six men clinging to it. Heavy seas 
washed over the boat. 

The Coast Guardsmen made their way through that inferno 
of smoke, thrashing wreckage and blazing oil. They evaded the 
perils of floating debris, fire, and wave. Lifting the six men 
on board, all that survived of the sixteen who had been in that 
lifeboat, the Coast Guard rescuers sought the safety of clear 
water. Thirty-six men of the Mirlo were rescued. 

The first United States vessel to pass the German fortifica- 
tions at Heligoland and through the Kiel Canal after the sign- 
ing of the armistice was the Aphrodite, commanded by a Coast 
Guard officer, Captain F. C. Billard. While passing through the 
North Sea, the Aphrodite struck a German mine, but escaped 
destruction and was able to proceed to Germany. 

The danger to American shipping by a submarine base on 
our coast, not to speak of the violation of neutrality which such 
action would involve, necessitated a patrol of the coast to make 
sure that there was no such base and to prevent U-boat opera- 
tions. These requirements were admirably met by the co- 
operation of the Coast Guard. There were on the Atlantic and 
Gulf coasts 199 stations. 

On April 6, 1917, one message, "Plan One. Acknowledge," 
incorporated the Coast Guard as an integral part of the Navy 
during the war. That service had 138 line officers, 70 engineer 
officers, 13 district superintendents, and 2 constructors, a total 
of 233 commissioned and 257 warrant officers, and 3,478 men 
— a valuable addition to the naval forces. The professional 
ability of the Coast Guard officers is evidenced by the fact 
that twenty-four commanded combatant ships operating in 
European waters, five vessels of the patrol force in the Carib- 



COAST GUARD WON DISTINCTION 339 

bean Sea, and twenty-three combatant craft attached to naval 
districts. Five Coast Guard officers commanded training camps, 
six performed aviation duty, two being in command of air sta- 
tions, one of these in France. The Navy Department, naturally 
enough, assigned to the command of combatant ships only offi- 
cers whose experience and ability warranted such detail and 
only those officers in whom the Department had implicit 
confidence. 

Commodore E. P. Bertholf, then commandant, and Com- 
modore W. E. Reynolds, later commandant of the Coast Guard, 
and other officers were assigned important administrative duties. 
Ashore and afloat, officers and men discharged their duties with 
such efficiency that at the close of the war I strongly recom- 
mended to the President and Congress that the Coast Guard be 
continued permanently as a part of the Navy. 

Not only was the Coast Guard an integral part of the Navy 
during the war, but the Lighthouse Service added 1,284 men to 
the naval personnel and fifty vessels to the naval force. These 
vessels did a large part of the work on the defensive entrance 
areas, laid mines, and were employed as patrols. The light ves- 
sels and lighthouses served as lookouts and reporting stations. 
The Diamond Shoal Light vessel, off Cape Hatteras, was sunk 
by a German submarine, but not until after it had given warning 
and saved a number of vessels. The larger lighthouse tenders 
were almost continuously in the danger-zone and were employed 
to buoy the wrecks of torpedoed vessels. 

The transfer of forty-one commissioned officers of the Coast 
and Geodetic Survey gave the Navy additional officers who, from 
their previous training and experience, immediately assumed 
important duties. In addition to commanding patrol boats and 
auxiliaries and other service afloat, their scientific attainments 
made them particularly useful. For example, one officer, by 
his experience in developing the wire-drag method of search- 
ing for hidden rocks and dangers, was well fitted for research 
work on the anti-submarine problem. His services were so valu- 
able that he was ordered to London to cooperate with the British 
Admiralty in further study of anti-submarine devices. Officers 
of this service at the Naval Observatory, among other contribu- 
tions, designed a new type of submarine compass binnacle and 



340 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

new type of aircraft compass. One of the ships of the Coast and 
Geodetic Survey, the Surveyor, did excellent service at Gibraltar 
and shared with the Wheeling and the Venita the credit for a 
successful attack on a submarine. 



CHAPTER XXXIII 
WINNING THE FIRST BATTLE OF THE WAR 

THE WAR AGAINST DISEASE FOUGHT AND WON BY MEDICAL DEPART- 
MENT GENERAL ORDER NO. 99 — SAFETY ZONES ESTABLISHED 

HOSPITALS OVERSEAS — SKY PILOT LEADERSHIP COOPERATION OF 

VOLUNTEER WELFARE ORGANIZATIONS NAVAL OFFENDERS HELPED 

TO FIND THEMSELVES. 

THE death rate in the Navy by disease in 1917-18 was the 
lowest in the history of wars. Sickness, until the in- 
fluenza epidemic, was less than in peace time. The loss 
of days by immoral disease decreased below the rate 
prevailing before the war. Preventive medicine, and war 
against disease and vice gave a record to the Navy Medical 
Corps which is a tribute alike to them and to the profession to 
which they belong. 

No branch of the military service was more forehanded and 
no officer saw more clearly the possible needs that war would 
entail or made ampler provision for them than the Surgeon Gen- 
eral of the Navy, Admiral William C. Braisted, who in recogni- 
tion of his distinguished service was given the privilege of re- 
tirement by a special act of Congress. He was later elected 
president of the American Medical Association. 

"The first battle of the war, that against disease, was won 
by the Medical Department of the Navy," reported the House 
Naval Affairs Committee. 

WTien I was pressing for large appropriations for the Med- 
ical Department of the Navy, the Chairman of the House Ap- 
propriations Committee asked me: 

"Mr. Secretary, do you really think there is proof of the 
absolute need for the whole of the large amount asked for by 
the Surgeon General?" 

"I do not," was my reply. 

341 



342 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

1 ' Then why are you here urging the appropriation of so large 
a sum?" he asked. 

"For the same reason," I replied, "that will cause you to 
appropriate it." 

He looked at me with some astonishment and I added : 

I have not the information that justifies so large an expenditure; 
nobody has. The Surgeon General, who is a wise and economical ad- 
ministrator, has estimated that under certain contingencies this money 
will be required. I cannot see into the future. If there are no unfore- 
seen casualties and no epidemics, we will neither need nor spend the 
money. But if the possible in war happens, and some great disaster 
or far-reaching epidemic befalls us, what could I say to the fathers and 
mothers of the Republic if I had disapproved the recommendation of the 
Surgeon General, and what would they say of you and the Congress if 
you refused to vote the appropriation? The sum may seem too large 
to you or to me. It is, if past experience can be depended upon. But 
in war, in matters of battles and wounds and death and possible epi- 
demics, our duty is to make large provision in the hope that it may not) 
all be needed. 

The Chairman, zealous to win the war and to give every aid, 
led the fight for the large appropriation. 

The administration at Washington, charged with the conduct 
of the war, early realized that health was the foundation of 
military efficiency, that health was dependent upon clean living, 
and that protection of men in uniform from drink and disease 
was the prime duty owed to them, to their parents, and to the 
world dependent, in the last analysis, upon their fitness to fight. 
Ignorance, intemperance and indifference were the first foes 
to be faced in 1917. 

The war broke precedents. The first broken was to override 
the ancient theory that Government has nothing to do with the 
private life of a fighter and no duty to protect him from immoral 
surroundings. Our Government recognized that "the single 
man in khaki ain't no plaster saint." As the youths poured into 
the training camps, harpies set up their joints hard by. For 
the first time in history the Government said to them: "Thou 
shalt not." It drove them and their establishments from the 
vicinity of stations and camps. 

Authority was given by Congress for the Chief Executive to 
establish zone systems for protection of camps. President 



WINNING THE FIRST BATTLE OF THE WAR 343 

Wilson established zones wherever sailors, soldiers, or marines 
were undergoing training. Appeals were made to state and 
local authorities for assistance. Writing early in 1917 to 
the Governor of Rhode Island, where military efficiency was 
jeopardized by failure to enforce laws, I said : 

There lies upon us morally, to a degree far outreaching any technical 
responsibility, the duty of leaving nothing undone to protect these young 
men from that contamination of their bodies which will not only impair 
their military efficiency but * * * return them to their homes a 
source of danger to their families and the community at large. 

Seeking his hearty cooperation, I reminded this executive 
that these dangers were bad enough in ordinary times, but were 
multiplied manifold in times of war when great bodies of men 
are necessarily gathered together away from the restraints of 
home and under the stress of emotions and reaction which tend 
to dislodge the standards of normal life. 

A Commission on Training Camp Activities, headed by Mr. 
Raymond Fosdick, led in the welfare work, extending from the 
home to the trenches and turrets. The other members were : 

John J. Eagan, Vice Chairman, Clifford W. Barnes, Lieutenant 
Richard E. Byrd, U. S. N., Walter Camp, Selah Chamberlain, Lee F. 
Hanmer, Joseph Lee, Lieutenant Commander Claude B. Mayo, U. S. N., 
E. T. Meredith, Barton Myers, Charles P. Neill, Mrs. Helen Ring Robin- 
son, Mrs. Finley J. Shepard, Mrs. Daisy McLaurin Stevens, Mrs. Edward 
T. Stotesbury, John S. Tichenor, Dean C. Mathews, Secretary, Marion 
M. Jackson, Field Secretary. 

The multitude of religious and social agencies, anxious to 
serve, made it necessary for the Government to give its im- 
primatur to certain organized forces whose benefactions justi- 
fied such recognition. I refer to the Red Cross, Young Men's 
Christian Association, Young Women's Christian Association, 
Knights of Columbus, Young Hebrew Association, Salvation 
Army and American Library Association. They cooperated 
cordially with Army and Navy authorities. 

The inspiration and leadership of the religious and welfare 
work of the Navy came from its corps of chaplains. There had 
been no addition to the number of the corps for forty years be- 
fore 1914. The increase gave a "sky pilot" for every great ship 
and every important station. Additions in the regular and re- 
serve corps when war came enabled the Navy to supply 



344 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

religious direction by consecrated men of every creed. They 
went with the Marines into Belleau Wood, with Rodman's fleet 
in the North Sea, guided the new recruits on sea and shore — 
faithful, devoted spiritual leaders in days when men unafraid 
looked death in the face. These soldiers of the cross were com- 
rades in battle, shipmates in storm, and comforters in death. 

In 1914 an order was issued known as "General Order 99" 
prohibiting the introduction of intoxicants as a beverage on any 
ship or station in the Navy. That temperance order was in these 
words : 

General Order No. 99 

Navy Department 
Washington, D. C, June 1, 1914. 

On July 1, 1914, article 827, Naval Instructions, will be annulled, 
and in its stead the following will be substituted : 

"The use or introduction for drinking purposes of alcoholic liquors 
on board any naval vessel, or within any navy yard or station, is strictly 
prohibited, and commanding officers will be held responsible for the 
enforcement of this order. ' ' 

Josephus Daniels, 
Secretary of the Navy. 

This was recommended by the Surgeon General of the Navy. 
If not universally popular when it was promulgated, when war 
came it was recognized that it had contributed to the fitness of 
the naval personnel. The zone system of excluding drink and 
houses of ill fame from training places, laws prohibiting the 
sale of liquor to any man in uniform, war-time prohibition, and 
finally the ratifying of the national prohibition amendment to 
the Constitution evidenced the progressive steps taken for pro- 
tection of men in uniform. 

With the coming of war, plans made long before were put 
into effect. Permanent hospitals were enlarged and temporary 
hospitals built to make ready for the large expansion in per- 
sonnel. The bed capacity within eight months was increased 
from 3,850 to 15,689, and before the end of the war to over 
19,000. Four hospitals were established in Great Britain. One 
was at Strathpeffer, Scotland, in easy communication with the 
Grand Fleet and the bases established by the North Sea mining 
groups. It was magnificently located and splendidly equipped, 



WINNING THE FIRST BATTLE OF THE WAR 345 

and proved of great service to the British Navy as well as our 
own. Another at Leith was near one of the North Sea bases, 
and a third was established at Queenstown, the chief base of 
our destroyers operating with the British. Early in the war 
two base hospital units were sent to Brest. Dispensaries and 
hospitals were established in the Mediterranean at Corfu, in 
Italy, France, Gibraltar and the Azores. Three hospital ships 
were in service commanded by medical officers, who, as Presi- 
dent Roosevelt wisely said, should always be in command of 
hospital ships. 

When the armistice was signed the Navy was ready to bring 
back from France 30,000 sick and wounded men per month. 
Wherever men of the Navy and Marine Corps were on duty in 
Europe, naval medical officers were with them with all equip- 
ment needed. The personnel of the Medical Corps increased 
from 353 doctors to 3,093; from 34 to 485 dentists; woman 
nurses from 160 to 1,713; members of the Hospital Corps 
from 1,585 to 16,564. Into the Medical Reserve came many of 
the ablest men in the profession. To the regulars and the re- 
serves, the woman nurses and the hospital corps, went out the 
gratitude of the men wounded and ill to whom they administered 
unselfishly. Private John C. Geiger, a Marine, who lost his right 
foot as a result of a wound in Belleau Wood, voiced the feeling 
of all fighting men when he said : 

But I want to give credit to those hospital corps men of the Navy, 
who worked with the Marines. Those fellows deserve a gold medal or 
the highest award they can receive. Why, before we could reach our 
objective, they were right out on the field picking up and tagging the 
wounded. They didn't mind the danger and did their duty without 
protection of any kind. They were unarmed and could not shoot a 
German if they did run across one. 

With the arrangements by which the Navy was to man the 
transports, a new and unexpected duty, it became necessary for 
the Medical Corps to expand its personnel and undertake a serv- 
ice that called for discretion and judgment as well as medical 
skill. Never in the history of troop movements have troops been 
so well taken care of, their health protected in every possible 
manner, the sanitary precautions provided, and such attention 
and elaborate provision made for the care of the sick and 



346 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

wounded. The larger transports were indeed combined trans- 
ports and hospital ships. 

This transport work was taken over and performed entirely 
by the Medical Department of the Navy without extra appro- 
priation and without expense to the Army. Every contingency 
was met. The provisions were ample for the care of sick troops 
in transit, and there were returned on naval transports, 151,649 
Army sick, wounded and insane ; 4,385 Navy ; and 3,625 Marines 
from the expeditionary forces in France. 

The Navy always put the man before the gun. If a member 
of the Navy did wrong, we sought to save him. Two thousand 
men, punished for offenses committed, were restored during the 
war, and most of them made good. This was possible by the 
restoration of morale through the Mutual Welfare League or- 
ganized in naval prisons. It was an experiment that contra- 
vened all former military methods, and was inaugurated by 
Thomas Mott Osborne. Desiring to substitute modern penology 
for the methods in vogue, I requested Mr. Osborne to become 
head of the naval prison, and he was commissioned as lieutenant 
commander in the Reserves. In the League he gave a large 
measure of self government to prisoners. He used discipline as 
a means of helping young men to find themselves, and its success 
was most encouraging. Too much honor cannot be given him. 

" Treat men as pawns and nine-pins," said Emerson, "and 
you shall suffer as well as they. If you leave out their heart 
you shall lose your own." It was that spirit, as well as the 
disuse of bread and water and solitary confinement and other 
ancient punishments, which made naval discipline the pattern 
for dealing with military offenders. 

There was no "hard boiled" discipline tolerated in the Navy. 
Courts-martial were reviewed in a spirit of meting out justice, 
with consideration and discrimination, as well as mercy. Ad- 
miral George R. Clark, Judge Advocate General during most 
of the war, set new standards of military court procedure and 
lessened the rigors of punishment. 



CHAPTER XXXIV 
FIGHTING THE PROFITEERS 

MANY MILLIONS SAVED BY REFUSING TO PAY EXORBITANT PRICES 

i ' NAVY ORDER" PREVENTED EXTORTION OVER THREE BILLION 

DOLLARS EXPENDED WITH NEVER A HINT OF GRAFT OR EXTRAVA- 
GANCE COMPETITION ADHERED TO IN WAR — FEEDING AND CLOTH- 
ING 500,000 MEN A BIG TASK, ACCOMPLISHED WITH SIGNAL SUC- 
CESS — SAVING IN HUGE SHORE CONSTRUCTION. 

THE Navy spent over three billion dollars for war pur- 
pose without a suggestion of extravagance or graft. To 
be exact, Congress appropriated $3,692,354,324.71. Of 
the amount $334,360,000 were returned to the Treasury, 
in February, 1919, and additional sums later by the sale of 
excess supplies and vessels that were no longer needed. 

The rule of the Department, "A dollar's worth of Navy for 
every dollar spent," was adhered to in war as well as in peace. 
Early in 1917 steel was contracted for at 2.90 for Navy ships 
when the price was soaring in the market. Coal and oil and 
copper were purchased at reasonable prices or commandeered. 
Manufacturers of torpedoes and smokeless powder and other 
makers of munitions were held to reasonable profits. Where 
munition or supply dealers wished more than a fair profit, a 
"Navy Order" was placed. 

The history of the "Navy Order" should be told, for it was 
the weapon that saved the Navy from profiteering. Competition 
prevailed through the war in all purchases except where the 
supply was inadequate for war necessities. In some cases the 
exigency of war demanded commandeering orders. Such orders 
were sometimes required because excessive prices were quoted, 
but often because the only private concerns which could manu- 
facture the article needed were under contract for all their out- 
put. If they furnished the government of their own will, they 
were liable to the parties who had contracted for their product. 

347 



348 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

In such instances, a commandeering order was necessary both 
to obtain a war necessity and to protect the manufacturers. 

In the naval appropriation act a provision was early in- 
serted, drawn by Chairman Padgett, giving the power, when 
agreement could not be reached as to the price for something 
essential, to commandeer it — whether ships or land or munitions 
or supplies — and pay 75 per cent of the appraisement, leaving 
to the owner the right to contest in the courts the reasonableness 
of the compensation so fixed. That provision later became ap- 
plicable to all war agencies of Government. It was not often 
invoked. The knowledge that the power was there and the 
declaration by the Secretary of the Navy that he would invoke 
it when any excessive price was demanded, and its use in some 
notable instances, made profiteering on the Navy not easy, and 
it was seldom undertaken. 

" Certain coal operators are demanding excessive prices for 
coal," said an officer of the Supply Department when coal was 
necessary to bring back soldiers and munitions from Europe 
and carry on naval operations. 

" Place a Navy Order" was the direction, and the Navy 
secured its coal from mines that produced Navy coal at prices 
that were not excessive. 

At another time some oil operators, while selling oil to 
foreign ships, were refusing to deliver any oil to our ships on 
a naval order. 

''What shall we do?" asked the officer in charge. 

''Order the Marines to seize the oil," was the direction. 

The Marines had the reputation for carrying out orders. It 
was not necessary for them to take the oil by force, but they 
were ready to do it if the oil had not been furnished otherwise. 

These two cases were exceptional and they occurred after 
the armistice. As a rule, manufacturers and business men and 
bankers, as well as farmers and mechanics, showed from the 
moment war began that they, like our soldiers and sailors, had 
forgotten all selfish interests, all class interests of every kind. 
While the fighting men in the field gave the world a new con- 
ception of democracy, men of affairs were given the opportunity 
which, with few exceptions, they embraced, of showing to the 
world that the American's idea of his money, like his idea of 



FIGHTING THE PROFITEERS 349 

his life, was something which was to be freely and ungrudgingly 
given for his ideals and his country whenever his country called. 

One of the early supplies that had to be husbanded was coal. 
At a conference of coal operators held in Washington in the 
spring of 1917, an agreement was made for Navy coal at reason- 
able prices, all operators to furnish their fair proportion to 
meet the needs. 

In 1916 a board of officers in the Navy Department was 
named which was an important step in preparedness. Its duties 
were to get together at frequent intervals, to compare notes, to 
place on record probable needs and then to find out definitely 
where the necessary supplies could be obtained, in what quan- 
tities and how soon. Its work was most helpful in securing 
active cooperation all along the line and also in pointing the 
path — in a very modest way — toward the successful accomplish- 
ment of the task which was soon to be faced by the War In- 
dustries Board. This commodity-section plan, according to 
which the War Industries Board effected its own first success- 
ful internal organization, originated for naval uses in the Bureau 
of Supplies and Accounts, and, while the War Industries Board 
rendered most useful and invaluable service to the Navy, such 
help as was received related solely to priorities and to items of 
supplies and services of which there was a shortage. So long 
as supply exceeded or equalled demand and the usual orderly 
processes of business could consequently function, the Navy's 
long-established methods of procedure stood the test of war 
unchanged and unscathed. 

The Navy, as did all other war agencies, leaned upon the 
War Industries Board which, by priority orders, saw that war 
material was furnished where most needed. Admiral Frank 
F. Fletcher was the Navy's representative on the Board. He 
showed the same ability in that important position which he had 
demonstrated when commander-in-chief of the Atlantic Fleet. 

The War Industries Board, which rendered invaluable serv- 
ice, was made up of men who won national approval by their 
masterful handling of the big tasks committed to them. Its 
membership was: Bernard M. Baruch, chairman; Andrew 
Legge, vice-chairman ; Robert S. Brookings, Hugh Prayne, Roar 
Admiral F. F. Fletcher, Brigadier General Hugh S. Johnson, 



350 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

Judge Edwin B. Parker, George N. Peek, J. L. Replogle, L. L. 
Summers; H. P. Ingels, secretary; Albert C. Ritchie, general 
counsel ; Herbert Bayard Swope, associate member of the board, 
assistant to chairman. Admiral C. J. Peoples was the Navy 
representative on priorities. 

All supplies for the Navy, except such as were regulated by 
priority orders, were obtained throughout the war by formal 
contracts entered into after the widest possible public com- 
petition in the open market, the only restriction being that — as 
required by Section 3722 of the Revised Statutes of the United 
States — no person was allowed to bid unless he was a manufac- 
turer or regular dealer. 

Throughout the war, all formalities attendant upon the open- 
ing of bids were strictly adhered to. The proposals were opened 
every day — sometimes far into the night — and read out publicly, 
each bidder having ample opportunity to know his competitors ' 
offers and also to be sure that his own were not overlooked. Even 
in the few cases where military secrecy was obligatory, there was 
still genuine competition. The eight bidders, for instance, on 
the mines for the North Sea Barrage were invited to meet each 
other and the purchasing officials in a locked and guarded room, 
even these confidential bids being strictly competitive. 

The idea in all business dealings by the Navy was that every 
single transaction — indeed every part of every transaction — 
must not only be right but look right. 

It is scarcely to be wondered at that by following this rule 
and also by giving prompt inspections and making immediate 
payments, the Navy throughout the war maintained most cordial 
relations with a business public which well knew that every 
contract was awarded to the lowest responsible bidder whose 
goods were up to the standard required by specifications and 
fit for the use for which they were intended. It was largely for 
this reason that the purchasing machinery was able to expand so 
enormously without confusion or delay. In one day during the 
war the purchases amounted to over $30,000,000, as compared 
with $19,000,000 during the heaviest pre-war year. 

Looking back at it now, the mere suggestion of waiving com- 
petition — and thereby striking at the very foundation of the 
system — brings a smile of incredulity. But it was no joke at 



FIGHTING THE PROFITEERS 351 

the time. Scarcely had war been declared when requests came 
from a number of quarters for authority ' ' to cut red tape ' ' by 
doing away with competition, the argument being advanced that 
deliveries could thereby be expedited and important work ac- 
celerated. The idea was not easy to suppress, because its many 
advocates really believed they were right and insisted upon con- 
vincing superior authority. The answer was that competition 
was bound to speed things up rather than retard them and that, 
in any event, the responsible officials in Washington had given 
the matter due consideration and decided definitely and finally 
that competition must continue uninterruptedly, as to every- 
thing except where the demand so largely exceeded the supply 
as to compel priority orders. 

The record of the commissary branch — and this applies to 
the hundreds of thousands of soldiers transported overseas and 
back as well as the half-million men within the Navy itself — was 
one of unqualified success from first to last and one of which 
the service has good reason to be proud. Never were men in 
uniform so well fed or was so much attention paid to a balanced 
and abundant ration. "Only the best (with no substitute said 
to be 'equally as good'), is good enough for our fighting men," 
was the motto of Rear Admiral Samuel McGowan, Chief of the 
Bureau of Supplies and Accounts, and his capable assistants, 
who took the greatest pride in seeing that men in the service 
never even knew, except by reading in the papers, that Govern- 
ment restriction was put upon the quantity and kind of food for 
civilians. 

With respect to the forwarding of supplies of every descrip- 
tion to the forces abroad, an intra-bureau order issued by 
Admiral McGowan in July, 1917, directed that every wish of 
the senior naval officer in European waters should be complied 
with on the same day that it became known — indeed that the 
discretion vested in the Chief of the Bureau of Supplies was 
already exercised when the needs of European forces were made 
known. 

WTien the armistice was signed and demobilization followed, 
there was on hand a quantity of supplies in excess of prospective 
needs. The same supply officers, who had so capably provided 
for the Navy's wants during hostilities, promptly inaugurated 



352 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

a selling campaign; and, on the first $70,000,000 worth of sur- 
plus thus disposed of, the Government realized a net profit of 
more than three millions. 

Throughout the entire ordeal — preparation, operation, de- 
mobilization — the Navy's business organization functioned in 
all its various branches with full one hundred per cent effective- 
ness. So much so, in fact, that an investigating sub-committee 
from the House Committee on Naval Affairs officially reported 
to Congress that the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts ''has won 
and well deserves a nation-wide reputation for business 
efficiency. ' ' 

In appreciation of the service rendered by Admiral Mc- 
Gowan, Congress passed an act authorizing his retirement 
earlier than the usual time prescribed. This recognition was 
limited in its terms, applicable only to the Paymaster General, 
the Surgeon General and the Chief Naval Constructor. And no 
special distinction was ever more deserved. 

Sound business principles were adhered to when it became 
necessary to give navy orders and provide funds for enlarge- 
ment or construction of plants. Reference has been made to 
the methods of securing munitions of all characters. When it 
was necessary to take over an optical plant, for example, expert 
ordnance officers carried on its operation without injury to the 
rights of its owners, and expert accountants kept all trans- 
actions in accordance with the most approved business practice. 

Most of the great construction was done under contract, as 
for example the giant armor plate and projectile plant at 
Charleston, W. Va., and the big dry-docks at Philadelphia and 
at Norfolk. 

When the demand for new and larger training stations and 
other shore establishments, which ran into hundreds of millions 
of dollars, made it impossible to secure fixed price contracts, 
the supervision of the work was so efficient in the few cost-plus 
contracts that the cost was less than if undertaken under con- 
tract at a fixed price. This was notably true of the two mam- 
moth office buildings occupied by the Navy Department and cer- 
tain divisions of the War Department. The story of these two 
buildings — the largest office structures in the world — is interest- 
ing. The need for more space by the two war departments of 




A GENERAL VIEW OF BANTRY BAY 
At Berehaven, in Bantry Bay, the Americans maintained a large Bubmarine base. 



t& 




A CLOSE-UP VIEW OF AMERICAN "SUBS" AT BEREHAVEN 




EODMAN AND BEATTY 

Rear Admiral Hugh Eodman, who commanded the American battle squadron in 
the North Sea, and Admiral, the Earl Beatty, commander-in-chief of the British Grand 
Fleet. 



FIGHTING THE PROFITEERS 353 

the Government was recognized, even after temporary modern 
structures had been completed. Congress was asked for relief, 
and plans were presented. The Navy urged upon the ( Ihairman 
of the House Appropriations Committee the construction of fire- 
proof concrete buildings instead of the flimsy wooden fire-traps 
built in the hurry of the outbreak of the war. The suggestion 
met with favor, and the Navy was authorized to proceed with 
the construction of both buildings, the one for the Army as well 
as the one for the Navy. Under the direction of Captain A. L. 
Parsons, U. S. N., these structures were completed within five 
months at a price lower than the sums estimated by most con- 
tractors. They stand today as the best arranged office buildings 
in Washington, a monument to naval business methods and con- 
struction efficiency and to the wisdom of Congress. 

The vast shore construction program, involving more than 
$300,000,000, was carried out with the greatest energy and effi- 
ciency by the Bureau of Yards and Docks, under the direction, 
first, of Admiral F. R. Harris and, later, of Admiral Charles W. 
Parks. The civil engineers, permanent and reserve, who di- 
rected shore construction in this country and in Europe, more 
than measured up to war demands. 

The Board of Compensation, of which Admiral Washington 
Capps was made chairman, rendered service beyond computa- 
tion in protecting the government in all ''Navy order" contracts. 
Millions of dollars were saved by the thoroughness and effi- 
ciency with which this important board performed its manifold 
and difficult duties. 

The only criticism of the Navy voiced during the war was 
that it was too insistent upon holding on to peace-time com- 
petition and economies. One officer complained that I "held up 
an order for torpedoes." He was correct. It was held up long 
enough to secure a conference with the makers. By a few days' 
delay on one order, $5,000,000 was saved, and we always had 
an abundant supply. In one order for shells $200,000 was saved. 
Such instances could be multiplied many times. Insistence 
upon competition, where possible, and strict inspection in other 
cases, enabled the Navy to close the war with the assurance that 
naval expenditures were as free from extravagance as they were 
untainted by graft or favoritism. 



CHAPTER XXXV 
"SIRS, ALL IS WELL WITH THE FLEET" 

TWO THOUSAND VESSELS IN SERVICE 200,000 MEN OVERSEAS OR 

TRANSPORTING TROOPS AND SUPPLIES ACROSS ATLANTIC 373 SHIPS, 

81,000 OFFICERS AND MEN IN EUROPEAN FORCES — VISITS OF ROOSE- 
VELT, BENSON, MAYO AND CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE PER- 
SHING 's TRIBUTE. 

WITH more than two thousand vessels in service and 
533,000 officers and men, the largest personnel ever 
possessed by any Navy, our naval operations in 
the World War literally belted the globe. Operating 
with the Allies from the Arctic to the Adriatic, from Corfu to 
the Azores, we manned and operated the vast fleet of American 
transports carrying troops, munitions and supplies across the 
Atlantic, and furnished man-of-war escort to protect them. 

Patrolling our own coasts and the Western Atlantic, the 
Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, our vessels also kept 
watch in South American waters and guarded the approaches 
to the Panama Canal. Our ships in South American waters, 
commanded by Admiral W. B. Caperton, cooperated with the 
naval forces of our sister republics and gave insurance against 
possible raiders and submarines. Ships under Caperton, the 
squadron under Anderson in the Caribbean and the Gulf of 
Mexico, and Mayo's ships further north maintained the patrol 
throughout the war on this side of the Atlantic. 

Guarding against raiders and German activities in the 
Pacific, our operations extended from our west coast to Hawaii, 
Guam and the Philippines, and our vessels in the Orient co- 
operated with the Japanese and other Allied naval forces from 
Manila to Vladivostok. The destroyers sent from Cavite, which 
voyaged twelve thousand miles through the Straits, the Indian 
Ocean, the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, met at Gibraltar the 
forces from the other side of the world. 

Eight hundred and thirty-four vessels and two hundred 

354 



"SIRS, ALL IS WELL WITH THE FLEET" 355 

thousand men of the United States Navy were either serving in 
European waters or engaged in transporting troops and sup- 
plies to Europe, before hostilities ended. This was more than 
twice as many ships and nearly three times as many officers and 
men as were in naval service before the war. 

Four hundred vessels were assigned to the Naval Forces 
Operating in European W T aters, 373 being present at the time 
of the armistice— 70 destroyers, 5 gunboats, 5 Coast Guard cut- 
ters, 120 submarine chasers, 27 yachts, 12 submarines, 13 
mine sweepers, 10 mine planters, 8 battleships, 3 cruisers, 16 
tugs, 4 cross-channel transports, 55 vessels carrying coal for 
the army, 18 tenders and repair ships, and 7 vessels of miscel- 
laneous types. In addition three Russian destroyers were 
manned by United States naval personnel. Eighty-one thousand 
officers and men of the Navy were in service in Europe. Thirty 
thousand Marines were sent overseas for service with the Army 
and 1,600 for naval duty ashore. 

But that by no means covers all the service performed for 
the Allies and our own forces in Europe. The entire Cruiser 
and Transport Force, with its 83 vessels, 3,000 officers and 
41,000 men; and the Naval Overseas Transportation Service, 
with 378 vessels in operation, manned by 4,692 officers and 
29,175 men, were in trans- Atlantic service, carrying troops and 
supplies. Practically all the 384 merchant ships which had 
naval armed guards and navy guns were carrying food, ma- 
terials and other articles to allied armies and peoples. Thirty 
thousand of the naval personnel were, at one time or another, 
engaged in this service. Thus, a total of 834 vessels and more 
than 200,000 officers and men of the Navy and Marine Corps 
were engaged either in European service or in trans-Atlantic 
service to and from Europe. 

Our forces in Europe operated in forty-seven different 
localities, extending from the Arctic Ocean all the way around 
to the Adriatic Sea. The extent of our operations is seen from 
this list of the principal naval bases, and the United States naval 
vessels on duty at each of them on November 11, 1918: 

Queenstown (2 tenders, 24 destroyers, 30 chasers, 3 tugs) 59 

Berehaven (3 battleships, 1 tender, 7 submarines, 1 tug, 1 oiler) 13 



356 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

Brest (1 gunboat, 16 yachts, 3 tenders, 38 destroyers, 9 tugs, 1 station 

ship, 4 steam barges, 4 barges, 9 mine sweepers) 85 

Cardiff (1 tender, 1 refrigerator hulk, 55 colliers) 57 

Gibraltar (2 cruisers, 4 gunboats, 5 Coast Guard cutters, 9 yachts, 

1 tender, 6 destroyers, 18 chasers) 45 

Genoa (2 tugs) 2 

Azores (2 yachts, 1 tender, 1 oiler, 2 mine sweepers, 5 submarines, 

1 tug) 12 

Grand Fleet (5 battleships) 5 

Murmansk (1 cruiser, also 3 Russian destroyers) 1 

Mine Force (1 tender, 10 mine layers, 2 mine sweepers) 13 

Southampton (4 transports) 4 

Plymouth (1 tender, 2 destroyers, 36 chasers) 39 

Corfu (1 tender, 36 chasers) 37 

Liverpool (1 oiler) 1 

Naval aviation activities were almost as extensive as those 
of our ships, extending from England, Ireland and Northern 
France to eastern Italy. There were thirty aviation bases, the 
Northern Bombing Group considered as one base: 
Ireland — Queenstown (2 stations, seaplane, and assembly and repair) ; 

Whiddy Island, "Wexford, Lough Foyle, Berehaven. 
England — Killingholme, Eastleigh. 
France — Dunkirk, Northern Bombing Group ; Treguier, L ' Aber Vrach, 

Fromentine, St. Trojan, Arcachon, Pauillac, La Trinite, La Pallice, 

Moutchic, Paimboeuf, Rochefort, Gujan, Brest, Guipivas, Le Croisic, 

and He Tudy. 
Italy — Lake Bolseno, Pofto Corsini, Pescara. 
Azores — Marine Corps aviators. 

Two divisions of our submarines operated in European 
waters — seven at Berehaven, Ireland, with the Bushnell as ten- 
der, and five at the Azores. Twenty-one sightings of enemy 
submarines and four torpedo attacks were reported by the Bere- 
haven division. The AL-2 (Lieutenant P. F. Foster, command- 
ing) had a remarkable encounter on July 10, 1918. Shaken by a 
terrific explosion, evidently that of a torpedo, the AL-2 discov- 
ered the periscope of a submarine apparently injured and at- 
tempting to get to the surface. The only chance to get the 
U-boat was to ram it submerged, and the AL-2 executed a crash 
dive, which carried it down a hundred feet. It barely missed the 
German, who was trying to slip under the American submarine. 
Swinging around, the AL-2 started again after the enemy, which 
was trying to rise. But it never came to the surface. Radio calls 
from another U-boat were unanswered. The lost submarine was 



"SIRS, ALL IS WELL WITH THE FLEET" 357 

the German U-B-65, known to be operating in that vicinity. 
"Known sunk," was the verdict of the British Admiralty, and 
for this the AL-2 was given the major part of the credit. Our 
submarines did excellent and faithful service, and proved their 
usefulness in that new and strange phase of undersea warfare 
where ' ' sub hunts sub. ' ' 

Our vessels in European waters were employed in so many 
regions that they did not operate together as one fleet, but oon 
stituted a "task force" of the Atlantic Fleet. In British waters 
our ships usually operated with British forces under the direc- 
tion of British officers. Elsewhere they remained under the 
direction of American officers, always cooperating freely with 
Allied naval forces. At the United States Naval Headquarters 
at London there was a force of 1,200. The 200 commission* •<! 
personnel included a number of the ablest officers in the Navy, 
with Captain (later Rear Admiral) N. C. Twining as chief of 
staff, and Captain W. R. Sexton as assistant chief of staff. It 
embraced experts whose daily association with officers in the 
Admiralty, under the leadership of Admiral Sims, brought 
about complete understanding and perfect team-work. Those 
at the head of important divisions were : 

Intelligence Department, Commander J. V. Babcock, who also acted 
as aid; Convoy Operations, Captain Byron A. Long; Anti-Submarine 
Section, Captain R. H. Leigh; Aviation, Captain II. I. Cone, and after- 
ward, Lieutenant Commander W. A. Edwards; Personnel, Commander 
H. R. Stark; Communications, Lieutenant Commander E. G. Blakeslee; 
Material, Captain E. C. Tobey; Repairs, Captain S. F. Smith, and 
afterward, Naval Constructor L. B. McBride; Ordnance, Commander 
G. L. Schuyler, and afterward Commander T. A. Thomson; Medical 
Section, Captain F. L. Pleadwell, and afterward, Commander Edgar 
Thompson; Legal Section, Commander "W. H. McGrann; Scientific 
Section, Professor H. A. Bumstead, Ph. D. 

This large establishment in Grosvenor Gardens had been 
built up from the small beginning in 1917 when Admiral Sims, 
accompanied by his aid, arrived just after war was declare* 1. 
Entrusted first with the duty of conferring with the British 
Admiralty and reporting the naval situation with his recommen- 
dations, Admiral Sims was soon designated as commander of 
our forces in European waters with the rank of vice admiral, 



358 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

and before the armistice was promoted to admiral. Keeping in 
constant touch with the British and other Admiralties, repre- 
senting our Navy upon the Allied Naval Council, the information 
he secured, with that furnished us by Allied naval officers 
stationed in Washington, enabled the Navy Department to keep 
pace with all naval activities, and his recommendations were 
taken into consideration in important decisions that were made. 
Serving with zeal and ability, he won the regard and confidence 
of his associates of the allied navies, and received high honors 
from European governments. 

In addition to the daily exchange of messages between Lon- 
don headquarters and Washington, information from special 
Government missions, and the intimate intercourse of officers 
of all the Allied navies, high ranking officials of our Navy from 
time to time went to Europe for conferences and inspection of 
our forces and activities, among them Assistant Secretary 
Roosevelt and Admirals Benson, Mayo and Gleaves. The 
Assistant Secretary, going over in the destroyer Dyer, spent six 
weeks abroad in the summer of 1918. He had conferences with 
the Allied naval authorities in London, Paris and Rome, and 
inspected our bases and mine depots, and witnessed the work of 
laying the North Sea barrage. Reporting that our personnel 
there had done well under hazardous and difficult circumstances, 
he advised a like mine barrage across the strait of Otranto. 

Admiral Benson, going abroad in 1917, took part in the or- 
ganization of the Allied Naval Council, and urged a more vigor- 
ous offensive, which we had favored from our entrance into the 
war. Months before, Admiral Benson had prepared, and I had 
approved and sent to the British Admiralty, "proposed meas- 
ures to prevent German submarines from operating against 
Allied commerce in the Atlantic," which pointed out the follow- 
ing courses which were open to us : 

We may attempt to — 

(a) Reduce the Heligoland region and close exits for submarines. 

(b) Reduce the Zeebrugge region and close exits for submarines. 

(c) Enter the Baltic and close exits for submarines from the Bal- 
tic bases. 

(d) Prevent Danish and Dutch territory being used for sub- 
marine bases. 



' 'SIRS, ALL IS WELL WITH THE FLEET" 359 

(e) Construct and maintain mine barriers about the Heligo. 
land area. 

(f) Construct and maintain a mine barrier in the Skagerrack or 
Kattegat. 

(g) Construct and maintain mine barriers in the Zeebrugge region, 
(h) Construct and maintain a mine barrier across the North Sea. 
(i) Close Dover straits to submarines by a mine barrier and sur- 
face patrol. 

These matters were discussed by Benson with officers of the 
British Admiralty, and the methods and the difficulties of carry- 
ing them out were considered. Speaking, sometime after the 
war, of the offensive plans he advocated, Benson said : 

I think that the bases of the German submarines should have been 
attacked, and I so urged when the war was in progress ; and one of my 
conferences with the British Admiralty in London in 1917 was to urge 
more active operations against the bases of the submarines. But it was 
an operation that had to be not only a concerted action, but the prin- 
cipal part of it would have been necessary to be taken by the Allies, 
we simply to add our part to it; and all during the summer of 1917, 
I urged active operations of that kind and could never understand why 
we did not get definite plans from the other side as to how such opera- 
tion should be carried out. 

While in London I agreed with Admiral Jellicoe on a plan, a very 
confidential plan, that was to be carried out later on, in which I not only 
volunteered to place our ships but insisted that our ships should be 
placed there. 

During Benson's absence from Washington, Captain (later 
Admiral) W. V. Pratt in both 1917 and 1918 acted as Chief of 
Operations. In the discharge of that duty, as well as Assistant 
Chief of Operations, succeeding Captain Volney Chase, who 
died in the summer of 1917, Admiral Pratt demonstrated ability 
unsurpassed by any officer serving in any important position 
during the World war. When Captain Pratt later was ordered 
to sea, Admiral Josiah S. McKean, who had served with marked 
ability as Chief of Material during the war, became Acting Chief 
of Operations and added to his well-earned reputation. 

Admiral Mayo, in his capacity of commander-in-chief of 
our ships in European as well as home waters, made an official 
visit to Europe in September, 1917, inspecting bases and fore-, 
and conferring with naval leaders of Great Britain, France and 
Italy. He was on duty again in Europe in 1918. Attending the 



360 OUR NAVY AT AVAR 

Allied Naval Conference in London, he urged the construction 
of the North Sea Barrage, which was shortly afterwards 
approved. 

Visiting the famous Dover Patrol, he witnessed a bombard- 
ment of Ostend by British monitors, and had the experience of 
being under enemy fire. The flotilla leader Broke, in which he 
embarked with Sir John Jellicoe, First Sea Lord of the Ad- 
miralty, and other British officers of high rank, flew the flags 
of both Mayo and Jellicoe. 

The monitors, armed with 15-inch naval guns, were accom- 
panied on these expeditions by spotting aircraft and destroyers. 
The party accompanied the Terror. Soon after she began to 
fire, the German shore batteries got the range. Firing with 
precision and accuracy, some of the German shells fell within 
a short distance of the Broke. Admiral Reginald Bacon gives 
this interesting account of the incident : 

On Tuesday, September 25th [1917], Sir John Jellicoe, Admiral 
Sir Henry Oliver, and Admiral Philpotts arrived at Dover and came 
with Admiral Mayo and his staff up the patrol line. It was a quaint 
experience for them. Half an hour after leaving Dunkirk in the Broke 
we lost sight of the shore. After an hour's steaming we sighted the 
Terror and destroyers in the open sea, and the motor-launches just 
starting their smoke-screen. Nothing else was in sight except a small 
monitor five miles away right out at sea, burning her searchlight for 
an aiming mark. Really our visitors must have thought we were hum- 
bugging when the Terror opened fire and fired single rounds at fixed 
intervals. 

A few seconds afterwards while steaming about in the Broke — we 
had altered course three points — a splash came from a Tirpitz shell 
about 300 yards off. It fell very near the spot where we would have 
been if we had kept on our original course. I apologized to the Ameri- 
can Chief of the Staff for not having kept on and brought the shell 
nearer. His reply was quaintly American in humor : 

"Don't mention it, Admiral; by the time we get to New York that 
shell will have been close alongside right enough !" 

The result of the Terror's shooting was most successful, as all the 
rebuilding in the dockyard done by the Germans was again demolished. 
On October 19th, the Terror was torpedoed, and had to be docked. On 
the following day the Soult fired at Ostend and destroyed a high explo- 
sive magazine. One German craft was sunk, and two more damaged. 

Upon his return, Admiral Mayo made detailed reports cover- 
ing the entire naval situation, with important recommendations 



"SIRS, ALL IS WELL WITH THE FLEET" 361 

as to plans and measures. When war began it was expected thai 
the time would come when the entire Atlantic Fleet would be 
sent abroad, and Admiral Mayo would command all our forces 
in the looked-for great naval battle with the German fleet. ( >ur 
vessels in Europe were, therefore, considered our advance 
forces, a "task force" assigned to special duties until the whole 
fleet should be united for action. But the character of the war 
called for wide dispersion of its units, and it was not until after 
hostilities ended that they were reunited under the commander 
in-chief, who was in command when the dreadnaughls sailed 
from Brest in December, 1918. 

No navies in all history ever worked together in such close 
cooperation as did ours with the British, French and Italians. 
The cordial relations between the civilian populations, as well as 
the naval personnel, will be a lasting tie. I wish it were possible 
to put on record the sentiments expressed, the appreciation felt 
by all Americans in the Navy for the gracious courtesies and 
friendly offices shown to our men serving a common cause far 
from their homes. The one regrettable incident at Cork, where 
an unruly element attacked some of our sailors, was recognized 
as an exception. It was confined to the few engaged in the 
trouble, the people of that city and country having no relation 
to it and not affected by it in their feeling of friendship for our 
sailors and our country. It left no resentment towards the great 
Irish people, who received us with open arms and showed hos- 
pitality and cordiality towards our forces domiciled in that 
country. 

One of the services which the people of Lille, France, will 
long remember is the voluntary act of men of the Navy in turn- 
ing carpenters for the time, and building with their own hands 
scores of houses for the homeless people. That act, together 
with the generous gift by American sailors of their own rations 
to needy peoples, illustrates the spirit that actuated our men. 
At one place, so moved were they by the lack of food for women 
and children, the sailors denied themselves to such an extent that 
the captain was forced to issue an order limiting their generosity 
to prevent a shortage of food for the sustenance of the crew. 

Cardiff does not bulk large on the war maps. Mention of 
it recalls no such adventure as at Zeebrugge, no such achieve 



362 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

ment as laying the mine-barrage in the North Sea, or sinking 
of submarines at Durazzo or on the high seas. But it spelled 
coal for our forces, and meant hard work and called for efficient 
management. The limited number of colliers, the time for mak- 
ing voyages to American coal fields, and the hazard from 
U-boats suggested obtaining coal from Wales for the needs of 
the army in France. The Army requested the Navy to release 
colliers for that service, and at first to operate twenty "lake" 
and other chartered boats and undertake the carrying of coal 
from Great Britain to supplement the steady flow from America. 
Admiral Philip Andrews, with headquarters at Cardiff, directed 
this work, which required a naval personnel of 4,101, operated 
65 ships, and delivered 30,000 to 45,000 tons of coal each month. 

There is no glamour about the work of repairing ships. Even 
in peace times it is a hard overalls job, but our nine European 
bases with eleven repair ships and tenders, kept our ships in 
condition. If I were a poet I would immortalize the skilled men, 
working in the dark, often flat on their backs, to keep our ships 
fit and to repair the ravages of U-boat attacks. Not counting 
the 500 ships going and coming from the United States to 
Europe, often calling for first aid, we had nearly 400 ships on 
duty in European waters. Though taxed by their own needs, 
the facilities of our Allies were freely at our disposal, but the 
fact that it was possible to make our forces so nearly self-sus- 
taining is a high tribute to the officers and men charged with 
that duty. Allied navies expressed admiration for the ability 
of a ship's force to do much of their own repairing, and mar- 
velled at the efficiency of the repair ships — the Melville, Dixie, 
Panther, Prometheus, Bridgeport, Black Hawk. 

Our own Shipping Board voiced its thanks for naval 
assistance abroad as well as at home. In fact, in all ship con- 
struction and repair work as well as plans for operation and 
navigation undertaken by that organization the Navy furnished 
constructors and other experts, and was ready upon call with 
its entire facilities. 

Little has been heard of the Scorpion, which was interned in 
Turkish waters during the war. The crew of that ship, whose 
base had long been at Constantinople, protected the American 
and British embassies, one regular duty of the vessel being to act 



"SIRS, ALL IS WELL WITH THE FLEET" 363 

as despatch boat to our Ambassador to Turkey. After America 
entered the war, some of them, eager to get into the fray, made 
their escape over land and joined the American forces in France. 

From the outbreak of the European conflict the Scorpion's 
men had a "front seat at the show," and witnessed many inter- 
esting sights. From the deck of their ship they saw the thrilling 
finish of the race of the German cruisers Goeben and Breslau, 
which made their sensational escape from British pursuers and 
then interned in the harbor of Constantinople. They saw the 
Teutonic crews of the erstwhile ships of the Germany Navy, 
hastily doffing their German caps and donning Moslem fezzes 
to camouflage their nationality, as the Turkish flag was hoisted 
to the mastheads. They observed, from their point of vantage, 
the gallant sweep of the harbor by a British submarine which 
bobbed up in the Bosporus as the Turks were preparing to send 
reinforcements to Gallipoli, torpedoed a Turkish vessel at its 
dock, and caused such consternation that the Turks, at the quays 
ready to sail with 40,000 troops, did not dare venture out with 
their transports. One single daring British submarine caused 
all the troops to be disembarked, and the sea expedition to the 
Dardanelles was abandoned. 

The "Scorpions," as they called themselves, brought one 
story home with them which, if verified, is worthy of the best 
French epic. The Turks, as the story was told in Constanti- 
nople, captured a French submarine, the Turquoise. Not one of 
the captors who boarded the ship understood how to operate its 
delicate mechanism. Therefore, the French engineers were 
ordered to start the engines. Nothing loath, the orders were 
obeyed. The sub dived, carrying with it Turkish captors and 
French engineers, never to return. Whether or not that par- 
ticular act can be confirmed, the war produced many men of the 
navies with the spirit which the incident illustrates. 

The Scorpion was truly a ship of mercy. First, under the 
direction of Ambassador Morgenthau and afterwards of Ambas- 
sador Elkus, it carried hundreds of refugees to places of safety, 
was the almoner of many in distress and gave asylum to Ameri- 
cans, who were heartened in that harbor, crowded with ships 
carrying the flags of many nations, to see the glorious Stars and 
Stripes floating from the mainmast. 



364 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

No story of the Navy's preparedness and efficiency would be 
complete without recognition of the wisdom of the Council of 
National Defense, authorized by Congress and appointed by the 
President in 1916. That Council had large responsibility, and 
measured up to its great duties before and during the war. The 
Council was thus constituted: Secretary of War Newton D. 
Baker, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, Secretary of 
the Interior Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of Agriculture David 
F. Houston, Secretary of Commerce William C. Redfield, Secre- 
tary of Labor William B. Wilson. 

The Advisory Commission of the Council was composed of 
these men: Daniel Willard, Howard E. Coffin, Julius Rosen- 
wald, Bernard M. Baruch, Dr. Hollis Godfrey, Samuel Gompers, 
Dr. Franklin Martin, Walter S. Gilford, director, Grosvenor 

B. Clarkson, secretary. 

Eight months before the Armistice, March 11, 1918, the 
House Sub-Committee, composed of men of both parties — W. B. 
Oliver, chairman, W. W. Venable, Adam B. Littlepage, James 

C. Wilson, Fred A. Britten, John A. Peters and Frederick C. 
Hicks — which had made a thorough investigation of the Navy 
and naval administration, unanimously reported : 

First. All appropriations have been expended or obligated with 
judgment, caution and economy, when you consider that haste was 
necessary to bring results and abnormal conditions obtained in reference 
to all problems of production or operations. 

Second. The Navy, with limited personnel and material, was sud- 
denly called to face many difficult and untried problems in sea war- 
fare, and has met the situation with rare skill, ingenuity, and dispatch 
and a high degree of success. 

Third. The efficiency of the Navy's prewar organization, the readi- 
ness and fitness of its men and ships for the difficult and arduous tasks 
imposed by war were early put to the acid test and thus far in no way 
have they been found wanting, and we feel that the past twelve months 
presents for the Navy a remarkable record of achievement, of steadily 
increasing power in both personnel and material, of rapidly expanding 
resources, and of well-matured plans for the future, whether the war 
be of long or short duration. 

They could say at the close of hostilities, as they said then : 
"Sirs, all is well with the fleet." 

The immense scope and signal success of our operations in 
Europe surprised even those familiar with the Navy, and the 



"SIRS, ALL IS WELL WITH THE FLEET" 365 

great work of the war. Leading members of the House Com 
mittee on Naval Affairs — Chairman Lemuel P. Padgett, Repre- 
sentative Thomas S. Butler, the present Chairman, and Rep- 
resentatives Daniel J. Riordan, Walter L. Hensley, John R. 
Connelly, William B. Oliver, William W. Venable, James C. 
Wilson, William J. Browning, John R. Farr, John A. Peters, 
Frederick C. Hicks and Sydney A. Mudd— in July and August, 
1918, made an inspection of our naval activities in Europe. 
Chairman Padgett, for the committee, on his return, said : 

The magnitude of our naval operations overseas, on the water and 
in the air, reflects credit upon the American people, and commands the 
respect and admiration of our Allies. When the war is over and the 
full history of our naval operations abroad may be given in detail, it 
will be a source of pride and honor to the American people, and the 
fidelity, patriotism and devotion of our naval officers and enlisted men, 
embracing as a part of the Navy the Marine Corps officers and men, 
will form a bright part in the world 's history. * * * 

The record speaks for itself. "Hindsight is better than fore- 
sight," and if it was to be done over again, the Navy, with its 
war experience, might do it better. But when all is said as to 
errors and achievements, this is the imperishable record : 

The Navy performed successfully every task with which it 
was entrusted. In not one did it fail. 

If it made mistakes — (and some ivere made) — not one of 
them had any serious or disastrous result. 

If there were delays — (and there were some unavoidable 
ones) — not one of them had any material effect upon the trend 
or duration of the war. 

If all the criticisms, of whatever kind or character, that have 
been made be lumped together, they ivoidd not tilt the scales 1 
one degree, if balanced against the Navy's achievements. 

After the war was all over and the men were returning home, 
with time and opportunity to assess the value of the servi ce 
rendered, General John J. Pershing, in command of the Ameri- 
can Expeditionary Forces, wrote on April 21, 1919 : 

We fully realize that had it not been for the Navy, who kept watch 
and guard night and day over our transport fleet, the American effort 
in France would never have been successful. The Navy's assistance was 
whole-hearted and arduous, and was always given in a most generous 
spirit of cooperation. 



CHAPTER XXXVI 
AFTER THE ARMISTICE 

NAVAL DIPLOMACY PREVENTED CLASH IN FORMER AUSTRIAN TER- 
RITORY AND STABILIZED CONDITIONS IN DISTURBED AREAS — AN- 
DREWS IN THE ADRIATIC — BRISTOL AT CONSTANTINOPLE — MC CUL- 
LY *S CONFIDENTIAL MISSION TO RUSSIA — MISSIONS OF ROOSEVELT 
AND BENSON — SHIPS AND MEN SERVED AS ALMONERS TO THE 
STARVING. 

MEN in the fighting line were full of solemn thanksgiv- 
ing the day the armistice was signed. At home we 
built bonfires and rejoiced. In Paris the celebration 
was a jubilee. It meant home to the Americans, with 
eyes turned toward our shores, coming back to firesides with the 
sense of a hard duty finished with honor. 

Much has been heard since November 11, 1918, of regret that 
war was not continued until Berlin was captured. There was no 
such feeling on the front line on that glad day in November. 
The Allies could have gone on to Berlin, but the victory would 
have been no greater, only costlier in lives. Those who think 
that the troops should have been ordered "On to Berlin," in- 
stead of accepting the victory through the terms of the armistice, 
ought to recall the statement by Marshal Foch. When the terms 
had been drawn up, one of the American Peace Commissioners 
asked General Foch whether he would rather the Germans would 
reject or accept the armistice that had been drawn up. The 
commander of the Allied armies answered: 

The only aim of war is to obtain results. If the Germans sign an 
armistice on the general lines we have just determined we shall have 
obtained the result we seek. Our aims being accomplished, no one has 
the right to shed another drop of blood. 

But the armistice did not end naval operations in Europe. 
It changed them and lessened the number of ships and men 

366 



AFTER THE ARMISTICE 367 

required. The terms of the armistice were to be carried out. 
The Second Division of the American Expeditionary Forces, 
commanded by General Lejeune, now head of the Marine Corp, 
composed of men of the Army and the Marine Corps, was 
sent to Germany as part of the Army of Occupation. 

The starving had to be fed, and the Americans alone had 
the food and the organization. Everywhere in Europe there 
was the reaction from long strain. Having put our hands to 
the plow, we could not turn back until stable conditions were 
restored. And there were problems more difficult than those 
confronted in war. 

When I reached Paris in March, 1919, the conditions in the 
Adriatic had reached an acute state. Vice-Admiral Niblack, the 
senior Allied officer charged with carrying out the armistice 
agreements on the Adriatic, came to Paris, and outlined to me 
the imminence of such clashes as later occurred at Trau, and 
such coups as that of D'Annunzio at Fiume, unless the authority 
of the Allied Council was promptly invoked. He had recently 
succeeded Rear Admiral W. H. G. Bullard on the Adriatic Mis- 
sion. Before leaving Spalato, where he maintained headquar- 
ters, Admiral Niblack, in concert with other Allied commanders, 
had established a shore patrol, because of the fear of an out- 
break. By the terms of the armistice, an Allied Naval Mission 
was created, and the Americans were given oversight over a 
stretch of ex-Austrian territory about three hundred miles long 
on the Dalmatian coast, embracing the ancient towns of Trau 
and Spalato. Admiral Niblack urged that the duties and rights 
of the Italians and Jugo-Slavs be set forth and their observance 
enforced. 

It was a tense time. I had just returned from Rome as the 
guest of the Italian Navy, where American and Italian admirals 
exchanged views upon future naval problems and the future 
type of naval craft. In both nations there was the earnest desire 
to strengthen and cement the American and Italian friendship, 
jeopardized by the situation on the Dalmatian coast. I had 
scarcely finished my interview with Admiral Niblack, who felt 
the need of prompt action to prevent trouble in the Adriatic, 
when I received a visit from Count V. Macchi Cellere, the Italian 
Ambassador to the United States. He had felt the approaching 



368 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

disagreement between Wilson and Orlando and had hurried to 
Paris to make an earnest effort to avert it. A charming gentle- 
man, who loved his country passionately, he had a sincere attach- 
ment for the United States, where he was highly esteemed. He 
sensed that, if President Wilson did not approve Italy's claims 
on the Adriatic, the people of his country would feel deep dis- 
appointment. He foresaw that the sincere admiration of the 
Italians for President Wilson, as shown on his visit to Rome, 
would be turned into resentment. He was deeply moved in his 
appeal in advocacy of the position of his country, which he 
pressed with great earnestness. He believed in his soul that if 
the aspirations of the Jugo-Slavs were approved and they 
obtained important bases on the Adriatic, such settlement would 
prove disastrous to his country. Knowing my regard for Italy 
and his countrymen, and assured of my personal friendship, he 
felt free to speak without reserve. I never saw him after the 
break at Paris, but I knew his disappointment was poignant. 
When he died, not long afterwards, at Washington, I had the 
honor to send his body home on an American dreadnaught with 
distinguished escort, a token of American regard for Italy and 
its diplomatic representative. 

When, during the command of Rear Admiral Philip An- 
drews, who served two years in charge of our naval forces in 
the Adriatic, as well as the American member of the Allied 
Armistice Commission, the shore patrol was removed, the duty 
of preserving order fell on the Serbs. Their central authority 
was light and order was not always preserved. Though there 
was no real authority for it, the American naval force was the 
real factor in maintaining order. Admiral Andrews came to be 
recognized by common consent as the controlling influence in 
that zone in the early days when authority was feeble. That 
country being ex-Austrian territory, some one did at times 
have to exercise authority. Our naval representative was 
looked upon to do this, and exercised it principally by moral 
force and fair dealing. His leadership was recognized, even 
demanded, by the Allies and by the Jugo-Slav government at 
Belgrade. 

He promoted trade between the Italians and Jugo-Slavs, the 
first transaction being made on his flagship, the historic Olym- 



AFTER THE AEMISTICE 

pia. That opened the door to better understanding. Be wa- 
in direct touch with the governments a1 Rome and Belgrade and 
was in a very real sense the friendly mediator. His duties v. 
mainly diplomatic, and he exercised the good offices of hie conn 
try so impartially and fairly as to secure and maintain peace and 
business dealings. This was made possible, of coins.', through 
earnest friendly intervention, whose disinterested uature 
soon recognized, and the judgment, ability, poise and courtesy 
of Admiral Andrews. In proof of his impartiality and the 
appreciation of both nations, he was decorated both at Belgrade 
and Rome. 

It was only the wise and prompt action of Captain l >a\ id F. 
Boyd, of our Navy, that saved the situation when Trau was 
captured by soldiers from the Italian Zone, September 23, 1920. 
They crossed the armistice line without Italian authority and 
surprised and captured the small Serbian guard. This imitation 
of D'Annunzio's coup was short-lived. Captain Boyd, after 
agreement with the Italian admiral, put the offending Italian 
army captain and soldiers in an Italian motor boat, and turned 
them over to an Italian naval officer. The situation was so acute 
that Captain Boyd's service called for this high commendation 
from Vice Admiral Knapp: "The whole affair was most credit- 
ably handled and the very prompt action of Captain Boyd, in 
my opinion, undoubtedly prevented a very serious incident 
which might have resulted in open warfare between Italians and 
Serbians." Admiral Andrews thought that, but for the action 
in securing the withdrawal of the Italians so promptly, " tin- 
Serbs would have killed them all, and a small war would have 
been started." 

War between the other Allies and Italians was narrowly 
averted at Fiume at the time of the D'Annunzio coup. The 
French and British had troops ashore, and there were Allied 
ships in the harbor, Admiral Andrews having with him on his 
flagship Major General C. P. Summerall, U. S. A. The question 
was whether the Allied troops would drive oul the D'Annunzio 
forces or withdraw. They were disinclined to withdraw. Ad 
miral Andrews urged withdrawal on the ground that, as it was 
the Italian regulars who had let D'Annunzio's troops into the 
city, it was the duty of Italy to get them out and not the duty 



370 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

of the Allies to make war in order to expel them. This course 
opened the way for continued Allied friendship after the pass- 
ing of the storm. 

Though he had no control on land, the American Admiral 
was looked to by the people for guidance. They not only re- 
spected him but he won their regard as he won the approval of 
the Allies and the plaudits of his countrymen. The children 
flocked about him. They had not seen sugar or sweets for four 
or five years. As he traveled about the country from Spalato, 
Admiral Andrews always took with him plenty of cakes of choco- 
late for the children. They welcomed the chocolate and as his 
car would go from place to place, the happy children would call 
out: "Here comes the Chocolate Admiral," in terms of grati- 
tude and affection. 

"At that time," wrote a navy officer, "President Wilson was 
venerated by the Jugo-Slavs. They were always appealing to 
him through Admiral Andrews. He was to them an idol, able 
and willing to redress all wrongs, and all powerful. The only 
way President Wilson was known to the children was as the 
owner of a chocolate factory, whose chocolate was dispensed by 
the Admiral as his agent." 

The duties assigned the Navy in the Near East were largely 
diplomatic, though naval vessels carried on, and still carry on, 
the work of mercy begun by the Navy in 1914 when the Ten- 
nessee carried persecuted Jews and others from Turkey to 
places of safety. Our ships were employed in these waters, 
whenever occasion made it possible, in carrying food and cloth- 
ing to suffering peoples. Rear Admiral Mark L. Bristol, in 
command of the naval forces in Turkish waters during the 
early days of transition, was appointed by the President of the 
United States, in August, 1919, as High Commissioner at Con- 
stantinople. The unsettled conditions and the fact that our 
country had recognized no government in Turkey made the 
selection of a naval officer the best agency for the protection 
of Americans and American interests, the hastening of stabil- 
ity, and helpfulness to those in dire need. 

As naval commander in these important waters, Admiral 
Bristol maintained a system of communications, sometimes sta- 
tioning vessels at various points as radio traific ships, and 



AFTER THE ARMISTICE 371 

operated vessels on regular schedules for relief work, for trans- 
porting army officers and members of recognized philanthropic 
societies to ports where their duties demanded their presence, 
or where stores were needed for the immediate sustenance of 
the impoverished inhabitants. During the severe fighting in 
southern Russia, he aided in evacuating Americans, non-com- 
batants and sick and wounded. 

As High Commissioner, he performed the varied duties of 
an ambassador, commercial representative and shipping expert 
at Constantinople, where all roads meet and all nationalities 
struggle for trade and power. Like other American naval offi- 
cers on duty in Europe since the armistice, he illustrated the 
best traditions of naval capacity by the wise performance of 
the varied diplomatic duties entrusted to them. They did this 
so well that Lord Palmerston's estimate of a British naval officer 
was proved to be true of American officers. "When I have a 
hard job to be done anywhere in the world, calling for a clear 
head and a steady hand," said Palmerston. "I send a captain 
of the Navy. ' ' 

Conditions in Russia were chaotic and deplorable. Rear 
Admiral Newton A. McCully, who had first been naval attache 
at Petrograd and afterwards in command of Naval Forces 
in Northern Russian Waters, was ordered to Southern Russia 
upon a confidential mission after the armistice. This was done 
at the request of the State Department. Admiral McCully 
speaks the Russian language like a native. He is trusted and 
esteemed by Russians and he reciprocates their regard. He 
was not accredited to any Russian government. His reports 
were invaluable in keeping the American authorities and the 
Allies acquainted with the rapidly changing conditions in that 
disturbed region in a period when practically no other accurate 
information could be obtained. In addition to that diplomatic 
duty, Admiral McCully was instrumental in safeguarding the 
lives of Americans, and in ameliorating the conditions of Rus- 
sians and aiding in their evacuation. Upon his return to 
America, he brought with him half a dozen Russian children 
to whom he is giving a home and training — a beautiful evidence 
of his friendship to the country and his distress at the plight 
of its children. 



372 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

The story of naval aid in north Russia, while not conspicu- 
ous, was a blessing in chaotic days and afforded protection and 
assistance in varied ways. The Galveston and Chester arrived 
in Archangel in April, 1919, with Brigadier General W. P. 
Richardson and a detachment of the 167th Railway Transporta- 
tion troops to assist in the withdrawal of American forces. The 
Des Moines, the Yankton, the Sacramento and a number of 
eagle boats and sub-chasers came later, and in May the Des 
Moines managed to get through the ice at the cost of a few hun- 
dred feet of copper sheathing. They did excellent service as 
despatch boats, and brought provisions and comforts and 
doctors. 

All American troops had been withdrawn from advanced 
positions, and all the troops, except a very small detachment, 
were withdrawn from Northern Russia in June. Then the with- 
drawal of naval ships began, the last one, the Des Moines, leav- 
ing in August, taking out the last of the Americans. Prior 
thereto, after our Ambassador, Hon. David R. Francis, had, 
even in illness, exhausted every effort to serve Russia and the 
world's peace, the Olympia gave him passage to England on his 
way home. This was only one of the many services of Dewey's 
flagship in the war. Dewey and the Olympia were the link be- 
tween the Spanish-American and the World War. Under 
Dewey 's leadership the plans for war with Germany were made 
before we entered the war. His old flagship was the ship of 
service during the war, of diplomacy in Europe after the war, 
particularly in the Adriatic, and was often the bearer of food to 
starving peoples. 

The duty of almoner by America after the armistice endeared 
our country to all Europeans, particularly those in distress. 
The Navy not only transported and distributed supplies but 
also took over the repair and operation of the telegraph and 
telephone, the operation of wireless, and made possible com- 
munication by trained radio men and other naval personnel. 
"I do not see how we could have carried on the work without 
the wonderful help of the Navy," said Mr. Herbert Hoover, who 
was telling me in Paris in March, 1919, of the splendid service 
of navy men in the countries devastated by war. 

In December, 1920, Russian refugees began arriving at Cat- 



AFTER THE ARMISTICE 373 

taro in the lower Adriatic. There was no one to give them imme 
diate help but the Americans. Admiral Andrews sent the 
Olympic/, and wired to Paris for doctors, money and nurses, and 
hurried them to the place by fast destroyers. They fed and 
organized the first 8,000. There was no food but ours. There 
were some soldiers, but most of the refugees were old men and 
women and children. Many died coming from Constantinople 
Fortunately the American Red Cross was near, and it is Bafe 
to say that but for the American Navy and the American Red 
Cross, there would have been thousands of deaths from typhus 
alone and that disease would have spread all over the Balkans 
and Central Europe. 

In November, 1918, Assistant Secretary Franklin I). Ra 
velt went to Europe to expedite settlements with Allied govern- 
ments and speed up the return of American ships and men. 
During the war we had agreements with them not reduced to 
writing, and these called for adjustment. Mr. Roosevelt was 
accompanied by Assistant Attorney General Thomas J. Spellacy 
and Commander J. M. Hancock, of the Supply Corps. All nego- 
tiations were satisfactorily completed, demobilization hastened, 
and excess material sold or salvaged. The most important of 
these transactions was perfecting the sale to the French Govern- 
ment of the high power radio station built in France by our 
Navy and named for Lafayette. 

In October, 1918, Admiral Benson, making his second official 
visit to Europe during the war, sailed for France to attend 
sessions of the Allied Naval Conference and to take part in the 
arrangements leading up to the armistice and the fixing of naval 
terms in that instrument. He remained until the following sum 
mer as the naval adviser to the American Peace Mission. With 
a competent staff, he was enabled to give information and ad- 
vice to the President and the Peace Mission. Upon his arrival, 
Benson took his place as the American naval representative on 
the Allied Naval Council. Admiral Sims, who had served on 
the Council in the absence of Benson, having completed his 
duties at London, returned to the United States in the spring of 
1919. He was succeeded by Rear Admiral Harry S. Knapp, who 
was later promoted to Vice Admiral. Upon his retirement, Ad 
miral H. McL. P. Huse succeeded to the assignment, and in 1920 



374 OUR NAVY AT WAR 

Vice Admiral Niblack became the commander of American 
forces in European waters. 

In Paris in 1919 I held informal conferences with Admirals 
Benson, Knapp, Niblack, Griffin, Taylor, Earle and Long, and 
with representatives of Allied nations touching problems affect- 
ing the future naval programs of the nations. At that time the 
world believed that with the adoption of the peace treaty, naval 
and military policies would be radically changed. It was con- 
fidently expected that the countries would unite to reduce the 
burdens of armament which the war had shown menaced world 
peace. 

Admiral A. S. Halstead, who had succeeded Admiral Wilson 
at Brest, supervised the naval duty of returning the soldiers, 
continuing on duty until embarkation had been completed. Other 
officers in all parts of Europe remained in connection with the 
shipping and the other tasks which the Navy was called upon 
to perform. 

The last gigantic task had to do with the greatest American 
contribution to the war — the sweeping up of the mines planted 
in the North Sea as the effective barrier against the egress of 
submarines. This was a hazardous undertaking, involving the 
loss of men and ships, but fewer lives were lost than any had 
dared to hope. By November, 1919, the 89 ships assigned to 
that drab and dangerous duty, with their officers and men, were 
in home waters. 

Thus the task of the Navy in the World War came to an end. 
The officers and men serving overseas had forged friendships 
with their comrades of the mist which will always gladden their 
lives. As they raised the ' ' homeward bound ' ' pennant, they were 
cheered by the consciousness of a great task well ended and by 
the thanks of grateful peoples for all they had done. 

Coming in sight of the Statue of Liberty, its steady rays 
lighting their course, they found awaiting them the welcome 
reserved only for those who love liberty more than life.