UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA.
WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
THE BATTLE FLEET
CRUISE OF THE SIXTEEN BATTLESHIPS OF THE
UNITED STATES ATLANTIC FLEET FROM HAMP-
TON ROADS TO THE GOLDEN GATE
DECEMBER, 190? MAY, 1908
(Courtesy of Collier's Weekly)
B. W. HUEBSCH
by B. W. HUEBSCH
1st Printing, October, 1908
2d Printing, December, 1908
3d Printing, February, 1909
REAR ADMIRAL RICHARD WAINWRIGHT, U. S. N.,
(Captain of the U. S. S. Louisiana on the Atlantic Fleet's Cruise to the Pacific)
AN ABLE OFFICER AND
I. FROM HAMPTON ROADS TO TRINIDAD 1
II. CHRISTMAS WITH THE FLEET 25
III. TRINIDAD TO Rio DE JANEIRO ,47
IV. NEPTUNE AHOY! 64
V. BRAZIL'S ENTHUSIASTIC WELCOME 86
VI. NATIONAL SALUTES AT SEA 114
VII. PUNTA ARENAS, THE WORLD'S JUMPING-OFF PLACE . . 135
VIII. THROUGH MAGELLAN STRAIT 164
IX. IN AND OUT or VALPARAISO HARBOR 182
X. PERU'S WARM-HEARTED GREETING 198
XI. TARGET SHOOTING AT MAGDALENA BAY 228
XII. ROUTINE OF A BATTLESHIP 254
XIII. SOCIAL LIFE ON AN AMERICAN MAN-O'-WAR 282
XIV. END AND LESSONS OF THE CRUISE TO THE PACIFIC . . . 309
On December 16, 1907, there sailed from Hampton
Roads, bound for San Francisco, a fleet of sixteen Ameri-
can battleships, the most powerful collection of warships
ever assembled under the American flag and about to un-
dertake the longest cruise that any fleet of any nation had
ever made. It was ordered to make this journey of about
14,000 miles by President Roosevelt, Commander-in-Chief
of the Navy by virtue of his office, for reasons which he
did not deem wise to make public fully and which up to this
writing have not been revealed. In his annual message
submitted to Congress a few days before the fleet sailed
the President designated the fleet, still known officially as
the U. S. Atlantic Fleet, as the Battle Fleet.
Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans was in command of the
fleet, of the first squadron and of the first division of the
first squadron. The ships of his division were the Connec-
ticut, (Captain H. Osterhaus), Kansas (Captain C. E.
Vreeland), Vermont (Captain W. P. Potter) and Louis-
iana (Captain Richard Wainwright). The ships of the
second division of the first squadron were commanded by
Rear Admiral William H. Emory and were the Georgia
(Captain H. McCrea), New Jersey (Captain W. H. H.
Southerland), Rhode Island (Captain J. B. Murdock)
and Virginia (Captain S. Schroeder). The second squad-
ron of the fleet and its third division were commanded by
Rear Admiral Charles M. Thomas, and the ships of his di-
vision were the Minnesota (Captain J. Hubbard), Ohio
(Captain C. W. Bartlett), Missouri (Captain G. A.
Merriam) and the Maine (Captain G. B. Harber).
The ships of the fourth division were commanded by
Rear Admiral Charles S. Sperry and his ships were
the Alabama (Captain T. E. DeW. Veeder), Illinois
(Captain J. M. Bowyer), Kearsarge (Captain H. Hutch-
ins) and Kentucky (Captain W. C. Cowles). There were
about 14,000 men on the ships and the value of the ves-
sels and stores was about $100,000,000.
The following compilation shows where the fleet
stopped, how long each stay was and the distance travelled.
Sailed from Hampton Roads, Va., December 16, 1907.
Arrived Port of Spain, December 23, 1907; sailed December 29,
1907; 1,594.7 knots; time 7 days 9 hours.
Arrived Rio de Janeiro, January 12, 1908; sailed January 22, 1908;
3,225 knots; time, 13 days 20 hours.
Arrived Possession Bar, Chile, January 31, 1908; sailed February
1, 1908; 2,076 knots; time, 9 days.
Arrived Punta Arenas, Chile, February 1, 1908; sailed February
7, 1908; 75 knots; time, 9 hours.
Arrived Callao, Peru, February 20, 1908; sailed February 29, 1908;
2,693 knots; time, 12 days 10 hours.
Arrived Magdalena Bay, Mexico, March 12, 1908; sailed April 11,
1908; 3,025 knots; time, 12 days 23 hours.
Arrived San Diego, Cal., April 14, 1908; sailed April 18, 1908;
590 knots; time, 2 days 21 hours.
Arrived San Pedro, Cal., April 18, 1908; sailed April 25, 1908; 75
knots; time, 9 hours.
Arrived Santa Barbara, Cal., April 25, 1908; sailed April 30, 1908;
85 knots; time, 10 hours.
Arrived Monterey, Cal., May 1, 1908; sailed May 2, 1908; 210
knots; time, 25 hours.
Arrived Santa Cruz, Cal., May 2, 1908; sailed May 5, 1908; 15
knots; time, 2 hours.
Arrived San Francisco Lightship, May 5, 1908; sailed May 6, 1908;
60 knots; time, 6 hours.
Arrived San Francisco, Cal., May 6, 1908; 15 knots; time, 2 hours.
Total knots, 13,738.
Actual time of cruising, 61 days 19 hours.
The departure of the fleet excited intense interest
throughout the civilized world. Its progress was watched
with eagerness at home and abroad. The letters printed
herewith record what took place on this momentous jour-
ney, and they constitute practically a chronological story
of the cruise. Every word of them was passed upon by
duly appointed naval officers with the fleet. Their ac-
curacy therefore must be unquestioned. They were writ-
ten for The Sun of New York and they were printed
originally by that newspaper and its clients simultaneously
throughout the country. They are reproduced by the
special permission of the Sun Printing and Publishing
Association and in response to a large number of written
and oral requests that a permanent record be made of the
cruise and its incidents.
The author takes pleasure in making acknowledgment
of the kindly co-operation of Lieut. F. Taylor Evans of
the Louisiana in the preparation of the letters and in the
elimination of technical naval errors through his watchful
supervision. The author is also under obligations to very
many officers of the fleet, especially to Lieutenant Com-
mander C. T. Jewell, navigator of the Louisiana, for sug-
gestions and for assistance in gathering information, as
well as for the cordiality with which he and the other cor-
respondents, all of whom were sent with the fleet by special
direction of the President, were received on the ships.
New York, July 1, 1908.
WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
FROM HAMPTON ROADS TO TRINIDAD
Run of the Battleships Down to the West Indies The " Sweet Six-
teen " Quick to Get Down to Business After the Sentiment of the
Good-by Formation of the Fleet Difficulties of Maintaining
the Proper Distances Naval Routine Gospel of Neatness
Neptune's Preparations for Celebrating the Crossing of the Line
Arrival at Trinidad.
Vn Board U. S. S. 'Louisiana, U. S. Battle Fleet,
TRINIDAD, Dec. 24*.
TT CALL 'em ' Sweet Sixteen', sir," said the bos'n's
mate to the Sun correspondent as Admiral Evans
in the flagship Connecticut led the battle fleet past
the capes of the Chesapeake out to sea just before noon on
December 16 and the gentle swells lifted and lowered the
bows of one ship after another to nod their own farewells
to the Mayflower at anchor near the Tail of the Horseshoe.
The officers and men had stood at attention to receive
the good-by and godspeed of the President, and they had
thundered their farewells to him from the throats of the
3-pounder barkers that spat fire and snorted out great puffs
of smoke, but when each ship began to find herself she too
made her good-by as only a dignified ship could make it,
taking no orders from Admiral or Captain as to when and
2/.\ ; ! ' i ; iwzilri . Tite .BATTLE FLEET
how often she should bow to the ship that carried the
A stiff northwest wind seized hold of the great streamers
of smoke that poured over the tops of smoke-pipes, and as
these streamers frayed themselves out against the blue sky
and the bright sun the breeze seemed to lift them toward
the southeastern heavens, where some power wove them
together to pull the ships along and give them a fine send-
off. All of Monday and Tuesday whoever it was in the
kingdom of Old Boreas that was doing the tugging on
the ships made a good job of it, for practically every
vessel in the fleet had to check speed constantly.
Admiral Evans had his own notions as to the way a
great fleet should set sail on a prolonged voyage, and his
commanding officers got down to business in a jiffy. All
acted as if sending a fleet of sixteen battleships on a
14,000 mile cruise were a mere matter of ordinary routine.
The officers of the deck on all the ships were concerned
chiefly about keeping their proper distances, the naviga-
tors were taking bearings and already getting ready for
figuring out latitudes and longitudes, the executive officers
were going about to see that everything was in proper
order for routine at sea and the captains were mostly on
the bridges casting their eyes about and keeping their
ears open, alert to correct any move that might mar the
performance of their ships in the fleet formation.
Below decks in engine and fire rooms, and in all the other
of the scores of places where men watch and work in a
warship, routine was established quickly.
It was all very businesslike. Every ship was doing the
same thing at the same time. True, the fleet had started
HAMPTON ROADS TO TRINIDAD 3
tor San Francisco, but that was a mere detail, so little has
the matter of destination to do with perfecting drill on a
Getting away from Hampton Roads may have sent a
lump into many a man's throat, but not one showed it. On
every ship the band was playing the usual good-by medley
composed of "Home, Sweet Home," "The Girl I Left
Behind Me " and " Auld Lang Syne." The middle part
of the medley brought thumping of many feet on the
deck, but there was silence and stern looks ahead when the
beginning and end were reached, over and over again.
A staff officer on the Louisiana showed the attitude of
the naval man. He had told his wife and family exactly
where to go in a remote but conspicuous place on the ram-
parts of old Fort Monroe so that he could distinguish
them easily with his glass. He had told them he would
be on the after bridge. When the ship came near the
station of his family he stole far out on the bridge, fixed
his glass on the family group and waved and waved his
handkerchief. The answer came quickly and the flashes
seemed to be wigwags, such as a naval officer's wife might
be expected to know.
The officer stood it for about two minutes. Then he
pulled himself together sharply, turned and walked away.
He walked over to a group of his mates.
" Did you make out your people, Jones ?" asked one of
them who had noted what was going on.
" I believe they were over there somewhere in the crowd,"
was the reply with an apparently unconcerned smile.
He had finished with that side of his existence. From
now on he knew no family ; his duty was to his flag and
4 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
ship. What was that signal at the forward truck? E
anybody made it out? His heartstrings were out of sij
and he was thankful they were.
The business side of the start was another story. Ord
had been issued to steam in exact column, that is, one s"
directly behind its leader at a distance of 400 yards f r
masthead to masthead. Steam was up; engines, steer:
gear, annunciators, and all the rest of the modern c
trivances had been tested; boats hoisted in and gangw;
unrigged, and then came the flagship signal to get un
How the men did step around and the anchor engi
tug! The division officer watched until the anchor )
clear of the mud, when he reported it to the executive
ficer, who takes a ship in and out of port. Finally
anchor was sighted, the " All ready " signal made,
engines began to throb and the ships turned on their h(
and got under way.
It was a pretty manoeuvre in the crowded Roads w
the swift tide sweeping the ships seaward. In the cha
the leadsman was swinging his plummet and calling <
such things as " By the mark seven," " By the deep si:
" By the quarter less six," while the ships slowly parat
down the bay. The channel was so shallow that the sh
stirred up the mud and some of it got into the machine
and there were hot bearings that were cooled down w
the hose. It would not do to falter or make a blunder
any kind, for the President was looking on and no excu
would be tolerated.
It was a far different story from the old days. 1
HAMPTON ROADS TO TRINIDAD 5
old sloop of war Jamestown lay in the Roads, and if the
fleet could have stopped to listen she would have spun a
yarn on how they used to leave port. She would have re-
marked upon the change. When she set sail capstan bars
would be shipped and all that part of the ship's company
manning the bars would bring the anchor chain " up and
down, sir," as the officer in charge of the fo'c's'le would
report. The captain and First Luff (the executive officer
who " had to have the ship working like a chronometer, no
thanks if he did and his hide scorched by his superiors if
he didn't " ) would stand on the quarter block on the
weather side and the navigator and officer of the deck on
the lee side.
Then would come the sharp commands, " Aloft light
yardmen ! " " Aloft topmen ! " " Aloft lower yardmen ! "
" Lay out ! " " Let fall ! " and a cloud of snowy canvas
would drop loose and limp. Then would come the com-
mands, " Topsail sheets and halyards ! " " To'gallant
sheets and halyards!" "Set taut!" "Haul away!" with
the shrill sound of the bos'n's whistle to the tramp of
hundreds of feet.
When a band was on board there would be a martial air.
If not the officer would shout " Stamp and go ! " and this
noise with the feet meant so much extra pulling, and the
good ship was soon on her course. Sometimes a chanty
would be sung instead of the " Stamp and go," and when
the ship was bound for Rio, just as this fleet is, one could
hear the light hearted, and the heavy hearted ones too,
singing a refrain that the men of this fleet might well have
sung if the days of the chanty had not gone to limbo :
6 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
Heave away for Rio!
Heave away for Rio !
My bonny young girl,
My head's in a whirl,
For I'm bound for the Rio Grande.
The old days have gone, but many a bluejacket's head
(bluejacket, mind you; not Jackie, for many of Uncle
Sam's tars and sea dogs don't like that term) was in a
whirl over some bonny young girl, as witness the hun-
dreds of letters that were sent ashore on the mail orderly's
And so the ships passed out to sea. The matter of fact
officers occasionally cast their eyes about and when they
had time to give expression to their feelings about all
that one would hear from them would be:
" Mighty, fine, sight, this. Wonder what they're doing
back there? Distance seems wrong. Better get up his
position pennant or the Admiral may get after him.
What's that? We're fifty yards too close? Give her three
revolutions slower. Only twenty-five now? Give her only
one slower. Get her distance now? Standard speed."
And the signals to the engine room would quit jangling
for a time while the Captain or officer of the deck looked
around again and repeated:
" Mighty fine sight, this ! "
It all depends on the way you look at it. You couldn't
see much going down the Chesapeake Bay channel. There
was a turn or two, but the smoke of the saluting obscured
things and it was not until the ships headed out to sea and
the Connecticut was past the whistling buoy, which also
seemed to want to have a share in the sendoff, that it was
HAMPTON ROADS TO TRINIDAD 7
possible to get a satisfactory look at the entire fleet that
stretched away, for more than three miles.
Then came a signal for open order. The Admiral's
ship went right on. The next following bore out to port
and the next to starboard. Then the ships paired off to
port and starboard, making two lines, each a quarter
of a point off the flagship, which had a lane to itself
in the centre, giving the Admiral and his staff on the
after bridge a view of all. Perhaps the formation may
be understood better by the average reader by saying that
it was a wing and wing formation.
Signals were passing along the line constantly and
semaphores were throwing their arms about as if they were
manikins performing for the amusement of the 14,000 men
afloat. It was pretty to see a mass of flags fall to the deck
simultaneously from time to time. It was impressive to
see the flag of the country fluttering from the gaffs of
mainmasts. It was fine to see the ships keeping in line.
The commanding officers might refer to the spectacle as
a mighty fine sight, but the few civilians with the fleet
shared the sentiment of a tar who sidled up to the Sun
man and said:
" This makes you proud of your country. You know
already that the country is big and great and all that, but
when you see it reduced to this kind of business on the
ocean you are sure your country is great. None but a
great country could produce such a sight as this. I'm
glad I've had the chance to see it."
In single file for two hours the ships kept on their course.
They were like so many Indians on a jaunt. Each ship
stood for sovereignty. Each stood for brute strength.
8 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
Each stood for the development of science and skill. Eacli
stood for an impressive expression of patriotism. In that
fleet of sixteen ships there seemed to be concentrated, ac*
cording to some of those who looked at them, the entire
power of the United States for good or evil.
When it came to estimating the brute strength of the
fleet it grew bewildering. The mathematicians got busy.
They figured out that there were nearly 1,000 guns of
various kinds on the entire fleet and they talked about the
weight of projectiles and charges and then got down to
muzzle velocity in foot seconds and muzzle energy in foot
tons and a lot of other terms that would make a land-
lubber's head dizzy. They told how the average muzzle
velocity of those guns was 2,700 feet a second and that a
13-inch gun's energy was equal to raising 31,372 tons a
foot, while that of a 12-inch gun, with which these ships
are all armed, could lift, by the power of one discharge,
44,025 tons a foot. Then they got to figuring out how
much all the guns could lift and how swift the things they
shoot could go. This ran the figures up into the millions
of foot tons just for one discharge.
When some one tried to figure out how many millions
upon millions of foot tons could be raised if all the projec-
tiles in the fleet were fired the exact number of the
thousands upon thousands of these projectiles it would not
be prudent even to indicate why, an amateur at figures,
the simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and di-
vision man, got a headache.
Then the figure sharps got after the engine power, and
they tried to show if one ship had something like 15,000
horse-power, more or less, what the combined ships
HAMPTON ROADS TO TRINIDAD 9
must have and what could be done with it on land
that is, how many railroad trains, each a mile long,
could be pulled so many thousands of miles; how many
bridges like those across the East River they could pull
down with just one tug at them; how many cities such
power could light; how many great factories and mills
could be run with that power, and even how much goods
could be made out of it well, after that the amateur be-
gan to wonder if he could add up two and two.
After that it was figured out that the displacement in
tons for the entire fleet was more than a quarter of a mil-
lion, and the weight of a lot of other heavy things in the
world was estimated. By this time the amateur was clear
flabbergasted, and all he could say, landlubber that he is
and will be until Neptune has him ducked, was that if the
fleet did displace 250,000 tons of water the ocean didn't
show any signs of it and Uncle Sam would have to try
many, many thousands of times if he expected to get the
better of old Neptune by displacing water.
After the mathematical sharps had finished, what are
known as the word painters and grainers became busy.
Some of the word painters compared the long file of ships
to a line of gray geese in a long follow-your-leader flight
to the south for a warmer clime. The ships did look gray
at times, according to the atmospheric conditions, but the
gray geese analogy was voted not a success because geese
haven't things sticking up in the middle of their backs
resembling the smoke-pipes of battleships. Besides, geese
do not give out black or any other kind of smoke.
The painters got out their vocabulary of magnificent,
awe inspiring, formidable demons of war, bulldogs of the
10 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
sea, peace compellers and all that string and began to
weave them all together, and it was voted all right and
probably appropriate, but it was said that these did not
hit quite the right note.
That was that this fleet was going out for business of a
different kind from that which any other American fleet
had undertaken. The business in hand was the moulding
of sixteen battleship units into one battle fleet unit, not
sixteen times stronger than one unit, but with the strength
increased in something like geometrical ratio. The prob-
lem, therefore, was to make this fleet a unit, not like a
chain, strong only as its weakest link, but like a rope, far
stronger than the multiplied strength of its various
Charles H. Cramp, the veteran shipbuilder, nearly ten
years ago pointed out in a paper read at the annual meet-
ing of naval men and marine engineers in New York City
that the greatest training need of the United States navy
was what he called battleship seamanship. That meant not
navigation merely, but the synchronizing of one battle-
ship to others, the tuning up, so to speak, the team work,
to use a football analogy, in sailing, manoeuvring, shooting
all pulling together.
Two hours after clearing the Capes Admiral Evans
gave the signal for one of his favorite cruising formations,
that is, in columns of fours. The four divisions of the
fleet drew up in parallel lines with an Admiral at the head
of each line.
The five starred white flag, called the five of clubs, was
run up at the fore truck of the Connecticut to indicate
that that ship was the guard ship. The lines were run
HAMPTON ROADS TO TRINIDAD It
at intervals of 1,600 yards, and the ships of each division,
still in wing and wing fashion, were at distances of 400
yards. To be strictly naval you must call the space be-
tween two lines of ships interval and the space between two
individual ships in line distance.
Well, after the ships were spread out they covered an
area of more than two square miles, and then one began to
realize what all these ships meant. The circle of twelve or
fourteen miles that hemmed them in and that expanded
in front and contracted in the rear seemed practically filled
with them. Distances were kept fairly well and the ships
plodded along in the smooth sea nodding their approval of
what was going on.
It was this problem of distance that kept the officers of
the decks busy. When you think that each of these ships
represented a weight of from 15,000 to 18,000 tons more
or less, and that you had to move that ship at the rate of
10 knots an hour and keep it within 400 yards of a ship
in front of you; when you consider how some ships move
a trifle of an inch faster than another ship at the same
number of propeller revolutions; when you think that one
of the propellers of your own ship will do more work than
the other at the same number of revolutions, and that this
will throw you out of your course and make you steer badly
if you don't correct it; when you think that your leader
may vary in his speed ; when you think of ah 1 this, you can
begin to understand the problem of those officers on the
bridge to keep the ships in line and at proper distances.
It took some time for each ship to determine how many
revolutions were necessary to produce ten knots speed, ac-
cording to the standard of the flagship. For example,
13 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
the Louisiana's experts figured on sixty-seven revolutions.
It was too much, for after an hour or two it was found that
sixty-five would do the work. Some of the ships were be-
tween two numbers. All the time each ship was gaining
or losing a trifle and this had to be corrected every minute
or two. On each ship a young midshipman stood on the
bridge beside the officer on watch looking through a little
instrument of bars and glasses and wheels graduated to a
scale of figures and called a stadimeter. He reduced the
truckline and the waterline of the flagship to some mathe-
matical basis involving triangulation what's the use of
trying to explain it? No one but a mathematician could
understand it and then he would say, " 370 yards, sir,"
or perhaps the figures would be 35 or 460, or what not,
and the officer of the deck would have to signal to the
engine room to slow down or go faster.
It was to be watchful every minute of the hour. The
midshipman often had to report distances every fifteen or
twenty seconds and the corrections of speed were going on
every two or three minutes.
When you got more than forty yards out of the way you
had to fly a triangular pennant of white with red border
and this was set down against your ship on the flagship,
and that you didn't like, if you were the responsible officer.
And so the first day at sea wore on and the sun went
down with a glow of gold in the west that seemed like a
benediction. Just as it sank below the horizon the pink
rays that were gathering reflected themselves on the star-
board sides of the white ships and gave them a touch of
color. Lights on the main truck on the foremast and at
HAMPTON ROADS TO TRINIDAD 13
the stern and at the sides appeared instantly, and it was
night-time on the fleet.
The black smoke rose straight in the air, other lights
began to twinkle and soon, in the glow of the twilight and
the gleam of the lights on the vessels themselves and the
illumination of the moon close to the full, the ships took
on an aspect such as lower New York assumes early in the
evening of mid-winter days when office buildings are
lighted. When the smoke smudged the sky or clouded the
moon, however, it was like a city of factories and it was
decided that there was just one expression that would give
some idea of its beauty. It was this :
" Spotless town afloat."
Zest was added to the day's sendoff and work when the
officers were gathered in the wardroom at dinner and a
wireless telegram of good wishes from the Mayflower, re-
ceived a short time before, was read. There were cheers
for the President, especially on the Louisiana, which is
called the President's ship because he sailed on her to
Panama, and hundreds of the officers and crew feel that
they know him personally.
" Good for the President ! " shouted one of the officers
in the waist of the table.
" So say we all," responded a man on the other side,
" but I wish he had told us where we are going."
That man didn't have to wait long, for soon there was
sent into the wardroom of every ship a message signalled
from the flagship which said that after a brief stay on the
Pacific Coast the fleet would come home by way of Suez.
This is what Admiral Evans signalled:
14 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
U. S. S. CONNECTICUT,
December 16th, 1907.
The President authorizes the Commander-in-Chief to inform the
officers and men that after a short stay on the Pacific Coast it is the
President's intention to have the fleet return to the Atlantic Coast
by way of the Mediterranean.
Every man jumped at that news; every one wished his
wife or sweetheart could know it at once. One of the
puzzles about the fleet was settled.
There is no room in this first letter of the long cruise
to go into detail about the thousand and one things in-
cidents, ceremonies and drills that make up the routine
and life on the warship. These will come afterward in
other forms. One might tell how the men on guard at
the side lights at night sing out after a bell is tapped:
" Port light burning bright," " Starboard light burning
bright," how " the 9 o'clock light is out, sir " report is
made and received ; how they " put the shirts on " the gun
muzzles and mainmast ; how the call to dinner to the officers
is done on the Louisiana with a fife and drum, " rolling
roast beef," they used to call it, and probably do yet in the
British navy, only the tune is different in ours, for it is
" Yankee Doodle " ; how " sweethearts and wives " are
toasted once a week ; how " make it eight bells " is said ;
how scores of these things, many of them well known, are
done and why. Let it go for the present.
If there is one thing that impresses the civilian even
more than the ceremonies or the peculiar routine of a war-
ship it is the cleanliness of things. This applies as much
to the men as it does to the remotest nook and cranny in
the darkest and deepest part of the ship.
HAMPTON ROADS TO TRINIDAD 15
The officer would take you into some corner where you
had to bend your back and almost go on your hands and
knees and show you that it was as clean as the most ex-
posed parts of his bailiwick. The fleet had not been out
two days before the executive officer issued an order about
The men were cautioned to keep themselves and their
clothes clean on penalty, of going on the scrubbing list.
It did not mean that there were men on board who were
slack in this respect, but there were a lot of youngsters who
had never been to sea before and they needed to be broken
in. What the scrubbing list is was well explained by an
old time sailor on board. He said:
" Man-o'-war cleanliness is different from any other that
I know. I distinguish it from all other kinds because it is
the most searching and far reaching thing of the kind in
" It really begins on the inside of a man, at his soul,
although I am sorry to say you can't always see the effect
of it there, and it works its way out to his skin, clothing
and surroundings. All must be immaculately clean, and
this habit is so thoroughly ingrained in the men that to
maintain it they will even commit crime.
" I mean just what I say. Let me give you an instance:
" In one of the old ships in which I sailed fresh water
it was the case of all of 'em, sir fresh water was a scarce
article even to drink. No fresh water could be had to
wash our clothes. Salt water does not clean clothing
properly, no matter how you work over your duds.
" So our men in the old days actually used to steal the
water out of the breakers, the small casks kept in the boats
16 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
at all times in case of emergency, such as shipwreck.
That is what I mean by committing crime. We actually
used to steal from the most important supply on the ship
just for the sake of keeping ourselves clean.
"For uncleanliness a man would be stripped naked and
his skin scrubbed with sand and canvas no man ever for-
got it who experienced that and sometimes with ki-yar
brushes, by two husky bos'n's mates. All hands soon got
the habit of being clean."
There was much interest on the ships as to how the wire-
less telephone would work out. The system has been in
operation only a few months and is largely in the experi-
mental and almost the infantile stage.
All of the battleships are equipped with the apparatus
and there was no doubt about it, you could talk to any
ship in the fleet from any other and at times the sounds
of the voice were as clear as through an ordinary telephone.
At times they weren't, and there was a division of opinion
among the officers as to the real value of the invention.
As is the case with the wireless telegraph only one ship
of a fleet can use the telephone at one time. While one
ship is talking to another all the other ships must keep out
of it and even the ship to which the message is being sent
must keep still and not break in. The receiver must wait
until the sender has got all through with what he has to
say and then he can talk back.
The sending and receiving machines use part of the
apparatus of the wireless telegraph outfit. If an attempt
is made to use the telegraph while the telephone is in use the
telephone goes out of commission at once because it is ab-
solutely^ drowned out. The telegraph apparatus uses so
HAMPTON ROADS TO TRINIDAD 17
much greater power that it is like a loud voice overwhelm-
ing a soft one.
The operator at the telephone would sound a signal with
some sort of a buzzer that had the wail of a lost cat in its
voice and then he would put a little megaphone into the
mouthpiece of the telephone and would say, sharp and
"Minnesota ! Minnesota ! Minnesota ! This is the Louis-
iana ! This is the Louisiana ! This is the Louisiana !
We have a press message for you to send to the beach.
We have a press message for you to send to the beach.
Do you hear us? Do you hear us? Minnesota! Min-
nesota ! This is the Louisiana ! Go ahead ! Go ahead ! "
Sometimes the message would fail. Sometimes the wire-
less, one kind or the other, would be working on other ships.
Sometimes the answer would come at once and the operator
would write down the reply and hand it over to you.
When connection would be established fully the operator
instead of reading off your press message would click it
off by a telegraph key to the Minnesota's operator. That
was to make sure that he would get it correctly. Peculi-
arly spelled words employed in cabling could not be made
out by the ordinary operator and it was taking chances
to spell them out with the voice, and hence they were sent
with the key, the operation really being a combination of
the wireless telephone and telegraph, yet not at all compli-
cated in practical operation.
Everyone of the electrical experts with the fleet is con-
vinced that the wireless telephone is going to be of value.
Most of them have talked with it clearly for distances of
at least twenty miles. One difficulty is in keeping it tuned
18 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
up because the wireless telegraph apparatus is also on
Some of the experts seemed to think that one service
dropped in efficiency if the other was kept keyed up to its
best. All were confident that as soon as certain difficulties
were overcome, difficulties no more serious, they said, than
the ordinary telephone encountered in the beginning, the
apparatus would be workable as readily as a telephone on
land. Give it time, was the way the situation was summed
Speaking about wireless telegraph, have you heard the
latest wrinkle in it, the most up to date use of it? Of
course you haven't. It remained for the voyage of this
fleet to disclose it.
Three days out, every ship got wireless messages from
Father Neptune warning it to be ready to receive him on
crossing the line. The message was genuine because it
was posted up and a copy sent to the executive officer as
soon as it was received. An orderly brought it to him with
an unusually stiff salute while the wardroom was at mess.
It served notice on all " landlubbers, pollywogs and sea
lawyers " that they must be initiated and it appointed one
Fore Topmast as " official representative of his Most Gra-
cious Majesty Neptune Rex, Ruler of the Royal Do-
main." It called for a meeting of the "faithful subjects "
to arrange for the ceremonies of his visit.
The meeting on the Louisiana was held in No. 18 case-
mate, on the port side of the gun deck aft. The pro-
ceedings were secret, but it was soon known that royal
policemen, royal barbers, royal judges, royal counsel and a
lot of other royal functionaries were appointed. The
HAMPTON ROADS TO TRINIDAD 19
word went through the ship that the ceremonies were to be
pretty strenuous ; that no one who had not crossed the
Equator would escape.
To show how serious this was here is a copy of one of
Neptune's messages and the order that followed its re-
The following wireless was received at 11 p.m., December 19, 1907:
Fore Topmast, Official Representative on Board the Good Ship Louis-
iana of His Majesty Neptune Rex, Ruler of the Royal Domain.
At the time the Thomas W. Lawson turned turtle many of my
trusted police were on board, and as a result they were more or less
injured and all of the regulation uniforms carried by them were
lost. Therefore it will be necessary for me to designate many of
my royal subjects on board the good ship represented by you to act
in their stead, and you are authorized to make the selection from
among the niost faithful of those who belong to the royal realm.
In making the appointments you will consider their qualifications
as to severity, alertness, seadogness, their knowledge as to the in-
terior plans of the ship and their ability to follow the trail of any
landlubber, pollywog or sea lawyer who endeavors to escape the
initiation as prescribed by me.
You will report to me by wireless the names of the subjects se-
lected, the position assigned and the proficiency of each in order that
I may forward their commission at once.
You will have the regulation uniforms made up at once and will
carry out all orders in this connection. Your Majesty,
Ruler of the Royal Domain.
GENERAL ORDER NO. 3.
In view of the above I have this day, the 20th of December, 1907,
selected from among the royal subjects on board the good ship
Louisiana the trusted police as directed by his Majesty, and those
selected have been notified of their appointment, all of whom have
accepted. The attention of all the royal subjects is invited to
paragraph X, article VIIX, regulations of the royal realm, relative
to police duty and to the punishments prescribed for those who fail
20 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
to perform their duty properly and to the landlubber, pollywog or
sea lawyer who tries to avoid the initiation as prescribed by his
As noted in the wireless message from his Majesty many of the
uniforms were lost, the trusted police selected will at once visit his
Majesty's tailor, the sailmaker's mate, and be measured for the uni-
form to protect him from the crabs, eels and sharks.
FORE TOP, O. R. H. M. N. R.
Two days later this wireless was received and an order
issued complying with directions:
- - T-r
The following wireless was received at 1 a. m., December 21 :
Fore Topmast, Official Representative of His Majesty Neptune Rex,
Ruler of the Royal Domain, on Board the Good Ship Louisiana.
It has been reported to me by a member of my secret police on
board of the good ship on which you are my representative that
there are several landlubbers, pollywogs and sea lawyers who intend
to escape the initiation as prescribed by me by stowing themselves
away; of course this is folly on their part, as there is not a hole or
corner on board the good ship Louisiana that my faithful police and
subjects are not familiar with, and it is therefore impossible for
any one to avoid escaping the royal initiation. Those who do try to
escape the initiation in this manner will of course be apprehended,
and when brought before me on the day of the ceremonies they will
not soon forget the trick they endeavored to play on the royal realm,
and the dose they get will be more severe than any I have as yet
prescribed. Referring to the secret code of the royal realm, the
following landlubbers, pollywogs and sea lawyers have been reported
to me as mentioned above: Gabnokto, Thnruowk, Mawjtrqmorptzs,
Wqquopbchr and Ybxquotrdhgle. You will therefore at once issue
orders to the chief of police to attend to these crabs and to put
his best men on their trail, and if the above is true they will so re-
port to me upon my arrival on board.
Ruler of the Royal Domain.
HAMPTON ROADS TO TRINIDAD 21
GENERAL ORDER NO. 4.
This is to inform the members of the royal realm on board the
good ship Louisiana that I have this day issued orders to the chief
of police to place five of his best men on the trail of the men as
mentioned in his Majesty's wireless and whom you will all know by
referring to the royal secret code which you have in your possession.
You will also keep track of these animals and report to me any
out of the way move which they should make. You will also be on
the lookout for any other of these who happen to be on board, and
should they make a false move I will make a special report to his
Majesty with recommendations which will cover all defects.
Official Representative of His Majesty.
After one day's steaming in four columns the fleet was
deployed into two columns. For one day the speed was
increased to 11 knots. The little tender Yankton, which
is to be used as the Admiral's yacht in port and for short
journeys and which has been running with the fleet off the
starboard side of the flagship, was sent on ahead to get a
good start. One day's steaming at 11 knots brought her
back to us and then the fleet resumed the slower speed.
The weather was fine throughout. When the trade
wind belt was encountered about 300 miles north of St.
Thomas the ships pitched a good deal, but there was little
rolling. Sea legs had been acquired by that time and few
on board were incapacitated. There was a squall now and
then in the Caribbean with a dash of rain for five or ten
minutes, but that was nothing.
On Friday, December 20, the Missouri was detached
from the fleet to take a sailor sick with peritonitis to San
Juan, and later that night the Illinois was sent to Culebra
with a sailor who had pneumonia. Of course both could
have been treated on board ship, but Admiral Evans
22 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
thought that it would be more humane to give these men the
best treatment that could be had on shore and so did not
hesitate. Two great warships were sent away from the
fleet formation, all for the comfort of two men. The ships
joined the fleet again late on Saturday.
There were only one or two slight mishaps to ship ma-
chinery reported on the journey down, really nothing
worthy of note, a pump or something of that kind being
out of order. The fleet went along in splendid style.
Three days out the intervals and distances were almost per-
fect at all hours of the day and night. The voyage soon
became a double procession of warships, with just the
ordinary routine going on.
On Sunday, December 22, the first death on the fleet was
reported. It was that of Robert E. Pipes, an ojfdinary sea-
man on the Alabama, enlisted at Dallas, Tex., in August
last. He died of spinal meningitis. Nothing was known
of the death on the fleet until eight bells were sounded at
4 P. M. Admiral Evans had gone ahead of the fleet at
noon to make a four or six hour test of the new fuel called
briquettes, and his ship was out of sight. Admiral
Thomas on the Minnesota was in command. His ship was
leading the second squadron, 1,600 yards to port.
The men on watch saw the national colors being raised
on the mainmast. There was a scurry on every ship to get
up the colors. Every one wondered whether land or a ship
had been sighted. Slowly the colors went up and then
down to half mast. All colors on the other ships went to
half mast. The order for half speed was given and then
came a signal to stop. The rails of the ships were crowded
at once. Up and down the columns the men looked and
HAMPTON ROADS TO TRINIDAD 23
then it was seen that the quarterdeck of the Alabama was
crowded. The order had been given there : " All hands
aft to bury the dead ! "
The captain read the burial service. An opening in the
lines of the men on the lee side was made and Pipes's body,
sewed in a hammock and weighted with shot, was slipped
gently over the side. It made very little splash. Three vol-
leys were fired by the marines, taps were sounded, the colors
were run up to the gaff on the mainmast on all the ships
and standard speed was ordered again as the flags came
down. The ceremony occupied exactly nine minutes and
Admiral Thomas sent a wireless telegram to Admiral Evans
notifying him of what had been done. The burial cast a
gloom for a few minutes on all the ships.
Much to the regret of many officers and men, Admiral
Evans took the Virgin instead of the Anegada passage
into the Caribbean and then headed straight for Trinidad.
Many had hoped that he would sail along the chain of
islands and that they might catch a glimpse at least of
Martinique and some of the other historic places. But
business is business on a fleet as well as on shore. Coal
must be saved, and the way to go to a place is to go on the
shortest possible line consistent with safety.
So it was that on Monday, December 23, Trinidad, just
off the Venezuelan coast, came in sight, the ships entered
the Dragon's mouth into the Gulf of Paria and swung
around the point and anchored in the roadstead off Port of
Spain just before sunset.
The first leg of the journey was over. It was merely
the warming up stage. To-morrow will be Christmas.
A bunch of mistletoe is already hanging in the Louisiana's
24 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
wardroom. Some of the ships brought their Christmas
trees and greens along. There'll be sports of all kinds
boxing, rowing by officers and men, athletic contests on
ship good cheer generally.
Just fancy a Christmas with the thermometer at 90
CHRISTMAS WITH THE FLEET
Gay Day on the Battleships off Port of Spain " Peace on Earth "
the Motto on the Big Guns Officers* Reception on the Minne-
sota Boat Races and Athletic Sports for the Crew How the
Fleet Charged Into Port Men on Their Good Behavior
Official Visits Coaling Day.
On Board U. S. S. Louisiana, U. S. Battle Fleet,
PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD, Dec. 28.
THE officers of the battleship Minnesota gave a recep-
tion Christmas Day on board their ship to all the offi-
cers of the other ships. The visitors were received
at the gangway by the officer of the deck, who had the
usual side boys stationed there for the guests to pass by.
The visitors were first presented to Capt. Hubbard, after
which they paid their respects to Admiral Thomas. Then,
turning around on the beautifully decorated deck, they
saw depending from the great 12-inch guns of the after
turret a board festooned with greens, and on it painted in
" Peace on earth ; good will to men ! "
The first effect on the visitor was to startle him. What
place was there on a warship, whose primary purpose is
destruction, for such a motto and in such a place? Some
of the more thoughtless visitors thought it was satire, or
perhaps a naval man's idea of a grim joke.
26 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
Those who thought it a mockery, a satire or a joke
were never more mistaken. The sentiment was made the
most prominent decoration on the ship in all sincerity.
Scores of naval officers pointed to it with pride and said
it exemplified truly the spirit of the American Navy. All
declared that if there was one thing more than any other
which American naval officers and all true Americans wished
for it was world-wide peace and brotherly love. It was
declared that no better place outside a Christian church
could be found for its display than on an American war-
ship. Many an officer said he hoped it would always be
prominent on our warships at the Christmas season.
Certainly good will to man was exemplified at the Christ-
mas celebration on this fleet. It was the most impressive
Christmas festival that the nine civilians with the fleet ever
saw. Here was a city of 14,000, exclusively of men, some
rough, some refined, some educated, some illiterate, some
Christian, some with no religion, celebrating the season of
good cheer on sixteen battleships in a foreign port five
miles from shore. Port of Spain might as well have been
5,000 miles away, so far as its influence was concerned.
More than one-half of the American Navy was holding its
Christmas festival in its own way, with none else to look on.
From first to last its spirit was kindly ; from colors in the
morning until the last serenading party, gliding over the
smooth water in a floating city that had a Venetian aspect,
singing songs to the accompaniment of guitars and mando-
lins, disappeared at midnight, the celebration was in abso-
lute keeping with the sentiment of the day. All was
merry and all were merry.
Perhaps a song sung by the Vermont's officers who were
CHRISTMAS WITH THE FLEET 2T
towed about the fleet at night in a sailing launch as they;
called on every warship best reveals the tone of the occa-
sion. They came to the Louisiana on their last call just
before midnight. They allowed none of the Louisiana's
officers who had gone to bed to dress, and pajamas were
almost as common as dress clothes in the company that
assembled in the wardroom. When the visitors were going
away the last song which came across the water, a song
which they sang as they came up the gangway strumming
their instruments and lifting up their voices, was this :
Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!
We're happy and well;
Here comes the Vermont,
Say, don't we look swell?
We're a highrolling,
A lob-e-dob crew,
Merry Christmas ! Merry Christmas !
Merry Christmas to you!
Probably that lob-e-dob crew sang that song two hundred'
times that night. It was adapted from a new Naval
Academy song. It has a merry tune and the jingle and
the swing of it was infectious. The crew was highrolling
only in a naval sense, the rolling wave sense, and in five
minutes after they first sang the song to their hosts the
hosts were joining in with them. It meant merry Christ-
mas to everybody. Certainly this fleet had one.
For two days boating parties had gone to the heavily
wooded shores of this beautiful island and had brought in
greens for Christmas. They were mostly palms and bam-
boo, with trailing vines in profusion. When darkness
came on Christmas eve the work of decoration began.
Late into the night some of the men toiled. When day-
28 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
light came every ship was dressed in greens. From truck
to water line, on signal yards, rigging, turrets, gangways,
there were branches of trees and festoons of vines. Inside
the ships the wardrooms and cabins were elaborately dec-
orated. Every wardroom had its Christmas tree and
around it were grouped gifts for all. No one was over-
looked. Christmas boxes, brought from home with orders
not to be unsealed until Christmas Day, were broken open
in every part of the ship.
Then came a day of visiting, of sports rowing in the
morning, athletics aboard ship in the afternoon and boxing
in the evening of the big reception on the Minnesota
and of the merriest kind of dinner parties with the distri-
bution of Santa Claus gifts in the evening. The gifts
were mostly trinkets, but they had hits and grinds in them,
and the presentation elicited shouts of laughter. Although
the matter of rank was not ignored, apparently the high
and low officers, from Admiral and Captain down to mid-
shipman, were seated on the good fellowship basis and as
equals. The Fourth Ward at the foot of the table went
out of business for one night. The middies and ensigns
could burst into song when they chose, and if any one
forgot to say sir no one thought it strange. Here on the
Louisiana ten minutes after we sat down to dinner came
an instance of the feeling that makes the whole world kin
on Christmas. The youngsters had been singing the
Louisiana song, the chorus of which runs thus:
Lou, Lou, I love you;
I love you, that's true;
Don't sigh, don't cry,
I'll see you in the morning;
CHRISTMAS WITH THE FLEET 29
Dream, dream, dream of me
And I'll dream of you,
My Louisiana, Louisiana Lou.
Capt. Wainwright had been toying with a tin whistle
which he had pulled from a bonbon. Stealthily he put it
to his lips and blew it loud, and then that eye of his,
which has the piercing power of a 12-inch shell, grew
bright with the light of geniality and kindness that lie
deep set and yet overflowing behind it, and he was a young-
ster, too. The Fourth Ward men might sing " Louisiana
Lou," but he was willing to show that he could blow a tin
whistle when the occasion demanded it.
One might fill columns with the songs that were sung.
There is room for the chorus of just one more. The game
is for about one-half of the company to sing the chorus
and just before the finish the others shout an interrogatory
of astonishment at the top of their voices. The chorus
Dreamin', dreamin', dreamin' of dat happy Ian,'
Where rivers ob beer aboun',
Where big gin rickeys fill de air
And highballs roll on de groun'.
What! Highballs roll on de groun'.
Yas, highballs roll on de groun'.
The merriment on the Louisiana was not exceptional.
It was a mere copy of what was going on in sixteen ward-
rooms. Every ship was sure it had the merriest dinner
and the merriest time all around in the fleet, and that was
The bluejackets had their own fun, and they yielded to
30 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
none in their belief that they had the best time of all. Of
course they were right. Look at this menu that Uncle
Sam provided for their dinner :
Cream of Celery Soup
Sage Dressing Giblet Gravy
Mashed Potatoes Lima Beans
Mixed Nuts Raisins
And here is the music that Bandmaster Cariana pro-
1 March " The Man Behind the Gun " Sousa
2 Overture. . ." The Bridal Rose " Lavaller
3 Waltz "I See Thee Again " Estrada
4 Selection. . ." Woodland " Luders
5 Habanera. ." Escamilla " Redla
Star Spangled Banner.
And didn't the first class men have liberty to go ashore?
Didn't they come back loaded down with souvenir postal
cards, baskets of fruit, parrots and monkeys? And wasn't
every man of them able to toe a seam as he answered to his
name on the liberty list? If there was a suspicion of a
rolling gait in two or three couldn't they lay it to the heat ?
Certain it was that not one of them had drunk any of that
stuff down here that they call biograph whiskey, the kind
that makes you see moving pictures, for the only moving
pictures that any of them saw that night were the dozen
sparring matches and two wrestling contests on the quarter
deck, where the bluejackets were piled high on high under
CHRISTMAS WITH THE FLEET 31
the awning clear up over the turret to the after bridge
as packed a house for the space as Caruso ever sang to.
And didn't John Eglit, the Louisiana's American champ-
ion naval boxer, who knocked out the English champion,
Leans of the Good Hope, last May, take on a man from
another ship and promise only to tap him and not knock
him out, so that the boys could admire him and cheer him?
Eglit is a master at arms, a ship policeman at other times,
and it isn't safe to say things to him, even flattering things,
but here the boys could cheer him and he couldn't answer
back. And didn't the officers sit close to the ropes just
where President Roosevelt sat on his trip to Panama? And
didn't Midshipman McKittrick, the recent champion boxer
of the Naval Academy, referee the bouts ? And didn't Mid-
shipman Brainerd, the well known oarsman of the Naval
Academy not long ago, act as time keeper? And it made
no sort of difference to him that he sat next to a negro coal
And then didn't the men who didn't have liberty have
comic athletic sports in the afternoon ? You bet they did !
" Spud " races, obstacle races, sack races, three-legged and
wheelbarrow races ; lemon races, where the contestants held
a lemon in a spoon between their teeth and the first man
that crossed the line in the running won ; shoe races, where
a man's shoes were tied in a bag and shaken up and he had
to open the bag after a run and then put them on and lace
them up, the winner to be the first man reporting to the
referee. It was all fun and the bullies shouted themselves
hoarse over it. What matter if a dozen men reported at
the sick call the next morning with feet so sore that they
could hardly walk from the running in bare feet on the
32 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET;
hard decks? Oh, yes, the bluejackets had the best time
And then there was rowing in the morning. You who
have seen the Poughkeepsie and New London contests may
think you have seen great rowing spectacles, and so you
have, but you want to see rowing contests in a fleet of
14,000 Jack Tars to know what enthusiasm is. The men
lined the rails, turrets, bridges, masts and tops and danced
and yelled like Comanches as the crews passed down the line
of ships. They yelled just as loud when fourteen officers'
crews contested. A pretty incident occurred after this
race. There had been great rivalry between the officers of
the Vermont and the Louisiana. Each thought it would
win. Neither did, the Louisiana coming in fourth and the
Vermont fifth. The Vermont crew immediately rowed to
the Louisiana and the two crews in their rowing clothes sat
in the wardroom and passed the bowl around. When the
Vermont's men went home the entire crew of the Louisiana
gathered at the rail and cheered. The Vermont men tossed
their oars and then the crew sang their Merry Christmas
song, the first of the 200 or more times that it was heard
by the fleet.
The reception on the Minnesota was also memorable.
Henry Reuterdahl, the artist, who was with the fleet to
make pictures of it, had carte blanche in the matter of
decorations. The " Peace on Earth " emblem was his idea.
He canopied the wardroom with flags. He put up shells
and revolvers and cutlasses and other implements of war in
effective places and he mingled the bunting in color and
arrangement so deftly that the naval men were astonished
over it. Old friends in the fleet gave greetings. It was
CHRISTMAS WITH THE FLEET 33
brought out in one of the conversations that Rear Admiral
Evans, the Commander-in-Chief of the fleet, was the only
man in the fleet who fought in the civil war. And it was also
revealed that he was in the greatest pageant of warships
that ever left Hampton Roads before this one. That was
in December, 1864, almost forty-two years to the day that
the present fleet left. That fleet went out to capture Fort
Fisher, where Admiral Evans was wounded and where, with
a revolver, he prevented a surgeon from cutting off his right
leg. There were 14,000 men in that fleet, about the same
number as in this. There were sixty naval vessels and the
rest were ninety transports under command of Gen. B. F.
Butler. Admiral Porter was the naval officer in charge.
It took the fleet from 10 o'clock in the morning until after
4 in the afternoon to pass Cape Henry. This fleet did it
in two hours. When Admiral Evans was asked about it
he said that the little tender Yankton, which goes with this
fleet for use on ceremonious or other useful occasions, could
have whipped that entire fleet of itself. Its modern small
guns 3-inch ones could shoot so far that it could lie
completely out of the range of any of the guns on that
fleet and simply bombard the vessels to pieces.
But to return to Trinidad. The Venezuelan coast had
been in sight for an hour on Monday ,December 23, before
Trinidad was made out a little after noon. A haze ob-
scured things on shore. Gradually a dark lump on the
horizon took shape, then it assumed color, a deep green,
and then on the highest point, something like 400 feet
above the sea, a white needle pierced the haze in the sky. It
was the lighthouse that points the way to the four en-
trances into the Gulf of Paria from the Caribbean, called
34 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
the Dragon's Mouths. The lighthouse was a visible sign
of the care of British for shipping. It is said to be one
of the best in any of England's colonial possessions.
Admiral Evans headed his ships toward the narrow en-
trance to the east of the main one. It is called Boca de
Navios, one of the many, reminders of the old Spanish days
before England swept down through these waters. The
Admiral had ordered his ships in single file of the open order
or wing and wing formation. Approaching more closely
he ordered exact column, one directly behind another, at a
distance of 400 yards. When within three miles of the en-
trance he veered off to take the large passage to the west,
Boca Grande. Then he made a sharp turn after he had
cleared the entrance to the gulf. For some time he stood
in toward the shore.
Then came another turn to the south, and then followed
what Admiral Evans said afterward was one of the finest
naval sights he had ever witnessed. Orders had been sig-
nalled for the four ships of the first division of the fleet
to turn to the east and come up the bay of Port of Spain
in parallel formation. The other divisions were ordered
to follow the same plan when they arrived in position.
Here was a long line of warships that had been turning
and twisting around headlands and in muddy waters, going
in single file, as if headed for the Serpent's Mouth, the
other entrance to the Gulf of Paria. A flag fluttered from
the Connecticut's signal yards. At once the first four
ships turned at right angles. You could have run a tape
line across the bows of the Connecticut to the Louisiana
and found the Kansas and Vermont exactly on the mark.
The change in the course came so suddenly that it made
CHRISTMAS WITH THE FLEET 35
even naval men jump. Like four chariot horses the ships
stood in as if on a battle charge.
Port of Spain could just be made out on the beach eight
miles away. The ships were pointed directly for it, and
if they had intended to bombard it they could scarcely have
been more aggressive looking in the way they swung into
that bay. The second division kept on in the lead of the
single file of ships until they reached places directly behind
the ships of the first division. Then they made a dramatic
swing also. The third and fourth division in turn did the
The fleet was then in four columns headed directly for
the beautiful little port with its shallow harbor. As long
as standard speed of 11 knots was maintained the four
leading vessels kept on a line that was as well dressed as
a squad of fours in a military company. For two miles
this formation kept up. Then half speed was signalled.
The Vermont and Kansas being new in fleet evolutions and
not yet being standardized completely as to speed revolu-
tions, did not keep the line so well, but Admiral Evans was
not displeased and said they did very well. The Vermont
fell back nearly half a length by the time slow speed was
ordered and the engines were stopped finally. The signal
to come to anchor was hoisted and when it went up sixteen
mud hooks splashed into the bay simultaneously. Before
it had been slowed down the Louisiana had received its
second special commendation for smart manoeuvring from
" Well done, Louisiana,'* the flags on the Admiral's
bridge said for all the rest of the fleet to see, and Capt.
Wainwright and his officers took it modestly. The Louis-
36 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
iana had been the only ship in the fleet to receive this signal
and this was the second time it had come.
Long before the fleet had come to anchor it was noticed
that the torpedo flotilla, which had started from Hampton
Roads about two weeks before the fleet, was in the harbor.
Mishaps to the Lawrence had brought the flotilla back that ?
morning after it had gone eighty miles on the leg to Parja.
The mishaps were not very serious, but it was better to
make repairs in a port than at sea and so Lieut. Cone,
in charge, had come back. The supply ships and colliers
were also in port.
In a few minutes the full significance of all these ships
became known. Here was a sight that no other foreign
port in the world had ever seen. Twenty-nine ships were fly-
ing the American flag at once. There were really thirty-
one connected with the navy, directly and indirectly, in
port, but two of the colliers flew foreign flags. Far in
toward the city, however, were three more vessels flying our
flag, one a brigantine, another a small steamship, and
another a little vessel that plies up the Orinoco. So thirty-
two specimens of Old Glory fluttered in the breeze just be-
fore the sun went down.
The anchorage Admiral Evans selected was fully five
miles from " the beach," as the naval man puts it. No
ships can go directly to the landing places in Port of Spain
and only small ones can approach within half a mile. As
soon as the anchors were down the Admiral signalled that
no one was to go ashore until he had gone the next morning
to pay his official respects to Sir Henry M. Jackson, K. C.
M. G., the Governor-General. It was nearly 8 o'clock
that night when the health officer gave pratique, much to
CHRISTMAS WITH THE FLEET 37
the relief of some ships, because there had been a few
cases of measles and some other diseases that are classed
as contagious, but great care had been taken in the matters
of isolation and disinfecting. Indeed, every patient in the
fleet was convalescent. It was a relief to Admiral Evans
also to learn that there had not been a case of yellow fever
in Trinidad for six weeks. Accordingly he gave orders to
allow liberty to all the first class men in the fleet.
The next morning Admirals Evans, Thomas, Sperry and
Emory went ashore to pay their respects to the Governor-
General. He had sent carriages with a guard of honor to
escort them to the Government House. Port of Spain is
not a saluting port, because no English garrison is kept
here, and therefore no guns boomed on arrival.
Admiral Evans exhibited great tact and showed the nicest
regard for the situation when he asked Governor-General
Jackson to return his call that afternoon at the Queen's
Park Hotel. The Governor and the Admiral are old
friends. The Governor is not strong, having returned re-
cently from London, where he underwent a surgical opera-
tion. A journey of five miles out to the ships in the blaz-
ing sun, Admiral Evans thought, would be too much for
him and the Governor appreciated thoroughly the Ad-
miral's solicitude for his health.
Soon the officers and liberty men began to come ashore.
Trinidad is no new place to many officers. It lies at the
foot of a splendid range of the St. Anne Mountains and
it is heavy with the odors of tropical verdure. It has been
called the most attractive of all British West Indian
colonies. Its streets are kept beautifully, its negro con-
stabulary are efficient and polite. Its schools are fine.
38 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
Those who had never visited the place were delighted with
its appearance, its balconied houses, its abundance of
flowers and vines creeping over walls and up the sides of
houses, its great department stores, which send the heads
of departments to Paris and London every year to get
the latest in fashions; its motley population of English,
Spanish, French and the thousands of Hindu coolies that
are brought over here under contract to work on the plan-
tations. Hindu beggars were on the streets and Hindu
women, well gowned and clean as an American warship,
were in evidence. Some wore rings in their noses and the
more prosperous had their arms bejewelled up to the el-
bows with silver bracelets and other trinkets.
But let the truth be known! Trinidad didn't warm
up to the fleet at all,. It regarded it with apparent in-
difference. Officially nothing could have been more cordial
than its reception. Popularly Port of Spain didn't seem
to give a hang, except the fruit vendors, especially the
alligator pear men, and the merchants who had things to
sell. About three American flags flew over shops. Ameri-
can fleets have been welcomed here before with lawn parties
and dances and great receptions. There was one recep-
tion at the Constabulary Barracks, and very cordial it was
too, but the town didn't even take the trouble to come down
to the waterfront to gaze over the water and see what six-
teen battleships looked like in the distance. The ships
may have been too far out. Or perhaps it was because
the races were to come on during the last three days stay
of the fleet. It was hardly the climate, because that never
interfered with enthusiasm over an American fleet before,
notably when Admiral Sampson dropped in here in 1899.
CHRISTMAS WITH THE FLEET 39
Let it all go with the statement that on shore every one
seemed glad to greet the Americans, even if the town
seemed cold. Some of the officers renewed old acquaint-
ances socially and several parties of friends visited the
ships. One young officer came back with a story that
pleased the fleet. He met a charming young English
woman who said that she had travelled a good deal and
had been in New York only three months ago. The young
officer perked up at once.
" I suppose you saw the Great White Way in New
York? " he asked.
" Oh, yes, indeed," was the innocent reply. " Mother
and I went to see it one Sunday morning."
" It is beautiful," said the officer.
" Very," was the response.
Some of the visitors historically inclined recalled that
Columbus visited this place and named it in honor of the
Trinity ; others that Sir Walter Raleigh had made this his
headquarters for a long time; still others that Cortez took
leave of Velasquez here when he started out on his conquest
of Mexico. The commercially inclined went to visit the
famous and malodorous Pitch Lake, from which Raleigh
smeared his ships and which supplies a large part of the
asphalt for American use. Others were glad to learn that
they have struck oil here and that it is expected that this
island will soon become the chief centre for a great British
But there were those in the fleet who didn't care for
Columbus or Raleigh or Cortez or asphalt or oil. One
was an old bos'n's mate. He was down here in the late
'80s on the old sloop Saratoga. He had a yarn to spin
40 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
and it was brought out by the fact that on the day of the
fleet's arrival two men from one of the torpedo flotilla had
drifted away from their vessel without oars and had been
carried out of sight before their absence was noticed. It
was feared that they had been lost in the Gulf, but the
rough water calmed at night and they drifted ashore and
came back at daylight the next morning.
The bos'n's mate told how a party of apprentices and
three marines started out from the Saratoga in a sailing
cutter one fine morning to go to Pitch Lake. They had
not gone more than four miles before a heavy sea came up
and a great gust capsized the cutter.
There were many sharks in the water and three of the
party were either drowned or eaten by sharks. The others
clambered on the overturned boat and were helpless, as the
craft was drifting out to sea. Then it was that one of
those men in the navy who can no more help showing
bravery when it is demanded than they can help breathing,
arose to the situation. He was Shorty Allen, an apprentice,
and he declared that he would try to swim ashore to get
help. The others told him he must not do it, but Shorty
just laughed at them. They said the sharks would get
him and that it was madness to try it. Again Shorty said
he would go. They would all be lost, he said, if they got
no help and it was better that one man should lose his life
than a dozen.
Nothing could change Shorty's determination. He
threw off his clothes and leaped into the sea. His com-
panions watched him buffeting the waves for an hour or
so and then he was lost to view. The sharks hung about
the overturned boat and probably that fact saved Shorty.
CHRISTMAS WITH THE FLEET 41
He reached land in four or five hours thoroughly ex-
hausted. After a rest on the beach he hunted up some
fishermen, whom he induced to go after his shipmates.
They were all rescued and regained the Saratoga the next
" I tell ye, boys," said the bos'n's mate, " I have a likin*
for this place. I was one of that party and Shorty, saved
my life here. I don't know where Shorty is now. He was
commended for his bravery. He said it didn't amount to
nothing, modest like. I don't know whether he's alive. If
he's dead, God rest his soul ! "
The chief incident of the stay of the fleet in this port,
aside from the exchange of official courtesies, was the coal-
ing of the ships. That is the dirtiest work that can be
done about any ship, and to an American warship in its
white dress it seems almost like profanation. It's a task
that the navy has learned how to do with despatch and
one might almost say with neatness. At daybreak the next
morning after the arrival of the fleet the colliers steamed
up slowly to the sides of the ships of the first division. All
had been made ready for them. Tackle and coal bags and
shovels and running trucks had been prepared while the
ships were making port. All hands turned to. One sec-
tion from each division of each ship was sent into the hold
of the collier. Four such sections were employed in the
collier at once. The coaling bags, each capable of holding
800 pounds, were thrown over and then the dust began to
fly. All the ventilating machinery of the ship had been
stopped and canvas had covered all the openings so that as
little of the dust as possible could find its way into any
other place than the bunkers. The chutes to the bunkers
49 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
were all open. The marines and the men of the powder
division were on the turrets and other places to expedite
things. Down in the coal bunkers the engineer division
were put at stowing the coal away smoothly and evenly.
The bunkers on such occasions in the tropics are veritable
black holes and the men have to be relieved frequently.
Jack makes the best of a bad job, and coaling ship il-
lustrates this. The men got out their old coal stowing
clothes that once were white and theoretically still are white.
Some of them got old discarded marine helmets for head-
gear. Some tied handkerchiefs around their heads, the
brighter the color the better. Some had no head covering.
Some rolled up the leg of one trouser just for the fun of
the thing. Some wore socks over their shoes anything
to make things lively and get that coal in at the rate of
100 tons an hour.
The bags were filled, attached to the whip as the der-
rick hoist is called and swung up to the deck. There
the bags were seized and those intended for stowage on the
side next to the collier were dumped quickly. Those in-
tended for the other side of the ship were placed on little
trucks and pulled across the deck and then dumped. It
was lively work, step and go, and laughter and good cheer
enlivened the task. The ship's band was placed on the
after bridge, where it played quicksteps and jigs and made
the men run and heave and shovel and toss as if coaling
ship was the greatest fun in the world.
The decks were sanded so that the dust would mingle
with the sand and not grime the woodwork. After the
coaling was over the gear was stowed away first. Then
the men washed away the dirt from their hands and around
CHRISTMAS WITH THE FLEET 43
their mouths, noses and eyes and all turned to, baboonlike
in appearance, to clean ship. Sides were washed down and
decks scrubbed. In two or three hours no one would have
known that the ship had been in a black dirt storm. Then
the men scrubbed their clothes and finally they scrubbed
themselves, got into clean clothes and the task was over.
Four days were occupied with this work for the fleet.
The last ship to be coaled was the Maine, for that ship is
the greatest coal eater in the fleet. She was reserved to
the last, so that she would have the largest supply possible
on board for the 3,000 mile run to Rio. The Maine was
coaled on Saturday and it depended upon the alertness
with which it was done whether the fleet was to sail for Rio
at sunset on Saturday or Sunday.
The supply ships had little to do in this port because
the ships were not in need of much provisioning. Most of
the ships took meat from the " beef ships," as the sailors
call the supply vessels, but it was only in limited quanti-
The torpedo flotilla got under way on Christmas morn-
ing. The bluejackets were sorry to see it go on that day,
for they knew they were going to have fun and wished their
mates on the flotilla could also join in the merriment. The
Yankton and Panther, the latter a repair ship, sailed two
days later. The supply ships Culgoa and Glacier were
kept to go along with the fleet because they can steam
easily at the rate of 11 knots.
Up to the last day of the stay in port liberty parties
were going ashore from the ships every day. To the
credit of Jack let it be said that he conducted himself with
the dignity that becomes the true American man-o'-war's
44 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
man. Of course he patronized the saloons. Now and then
one would stagger a little on coming to his ship. There
were no rows, and the authorities had no complaints to
make of unruly behavior. Before each party went ashore
the executive officer on each ship read to them the order of
Admiral Evans allowing them liberty to the fullest extent
in keeping with discipline and warning them to be on their
good behavior. The Admiral said that if any unhappy
incident occurred ashore he would be obliged to stop all lib-
erty. The men heeded the warning. They visited the
shops, bought postal cards by the thousands, patronized
jewelry stores, got all the pets they wanted, swaggered
through the middle of the streets and gave Port of Spain
such a coloring in local aspect as it had never seen before.
Three or four baseball games were played on the great
park's green. The one great stunt the bluejackets enjoyed
most was to hire a hack by the hour and ride around the
streets. They wrangled with the cabbies about fares, paid
out their good money it was payday on the ships the
day before they arrived and growled as true sailormen
should growl when they got English money in change for
their own gold and American notes. Trinidad is a place
where prices are quoted mostly in dollars and cents, and yet
the medium of exchange is pounds, shillings and pence.
Most of the shops take American money at its face value.
The shopkeepers were alive to the situation and they
made money from the call at their port. They were ac-
commodating and profited by it. Hundreds of Panama
hats were purchased. They were bought by men who
would not think of purchasing such hats at home because
of the high prices. The American hatters, therefore, have
CHRISTMAS WITH THE FLEET 45
lost little by the transactions except the sale of ordinary
straw hats in the summer time for two or three years.
The races in the great oval in front of the Queen's Park
Hotel were the chief social event of the stay. Thousands
attended them and the Yankee propensity to bet made its
effect felt. Some of the boys were a little slow in grasp-
ing the details of the mutual pool system. A few of them
won money, but most of them didn't. There were all sorts
of gambling devices, wheels and cards and the like, in oper-
ation near the betting ring, and it was like throwing your
money away to go against them. But Jack didn't mind
that. One of the bluejackets from the Ohio said he was
going to bet all he had in the hope of beating the " bloom-
ing British," because some of the English bluejackets once
had difficulty in pronouncing the word Ohio. They said
the name of the Ohio was " Ho and a Haich and a bloom-
ing 10," and they didn't know what to call a ship named
O H and 10. The American bluejacket will not try to get
revenge again, for he lost.
After the races the Queen's Park Hotel was jammed for
the rest of the day and evening. Patrons of the bar were
lined up six deep. It was as difficult to get a table on the
veranda, or even inside, as it is to get one on New Year's
eve in New York. All the rest of Trinidad goes to sleep
with the chickens except the Queen's Park Hotel, and that
also has an early bedtime on ordinary occasions, but the
presence of American officers and the races combined made
it break the Ben Franklin rule of early to bed.
And so the visit to Trinidad wore away. The fleet was
really glad to leave. Most of the visitors growled and
said they'd be glad never to return, but all the same every
46 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
one who has once been here in the winter and experienced
the delightful climate and picturesque surroundings will
be glad to see it once again. The motto of the fleet now is :
" Heave away for Rio."
Neptune will board us on the way.
TRINIDAD TO RIO JANEIRO
How the Battleship Fleet Greeted the New Year at Sea Good Will
Fore and Aft Beautiful Spectacle of a Searchlight Drill With
Ninety-six Lights Crews on the Whole Glad to Get Away from
Port of Spain Despite Official Cordiality The Culgoa and the
Catamaran Missouri's Man Overboard The Sleepy Brigantine.
On Board U. S. S. Louisiana, U. S. Battle Fleet,
Rio JANEIRO, January, 14.
IT is not exceeding the limits of strict accuracy to assert
that there was not a man on Admiral Evans's fleet who
was not glad to leave Trinidad. The statement must
not be taken as reflecting in the least upon the officials of
the place. No greetings to a fleet of foreign warships could
have been more cordial and sincere than those given by
Governor-General Jackson and his assistants. There was
no reserve about it. It was genuine and from the heart.
But the Trinidad people did not wake up. Half a
dozen merchants flew American flags above their shops,
perhaps fifty persons all told came out to visit the ships,
the clubs were thrown open to officers and now and then
some of the residents might drive or stroll down to the
waterfront to take a look at the fleet.
There were two reasons for this apparent indifference.
One was that the ships were anchored fully five miles from
town. It was like anchoring a fleet of vessels at Tomp-
48 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
kinsville and expecting the citizens of Manhattan to flock
to the Battery to gaze at them or hire small boats to go
down to see them. A more powerful reason was that the
Christmas horse races were on. That meant three days of
closing the shops at noon, three days of betting, three days
of sharpening wits to contest with three card monte men,
roulette men, wheel of fortune men; three days when the
most prosperous of the large Hindu population, in all
their picturesque garb, women with rings in noses, brace-
lets on arms and legs, brilliant hued gowns, and men in
their turbans and one garment of a sheet made into coat
and trousers came into town ; three days when the so-
ciety of the place imitated the Epsom and Derby customs
and drove into the inner enclosure with their drags and
other turnouts, and had luncheons and visits ; three even-
ings of promenading and dining at the Queen's Park Hotel.
How could any one expect the people to get enthusiastic
over an American fleet under such conditions? The peo-
ple had talked for weeks, they said, over the arrival of the
fleet, but straightway when it was announced that the
races would be held at the same time .well, how can any
person attend to two important things at one and the same
time? Didn't one of the daily morning newspapers give
a quarter of a column of space to the fleet on the second
day after its arrival? Talk about enterprise in journal-
ism ! Trinidad is the place to go to see a specimen of it.
Admiral Evans expected to sail at 8 o'clock on Sunday
morning, December 29, but there was some delay in coal-
ing and he did not get away until 4 P. M. The night
before sailing the flagship signalled this message to the
entire fleet, to be published on each ship the next day :
TRINIDAD TO RIO JANEIRO 49
The Commander-in-Chief takes pleasure in communicating to the
officers and men of the fleet the following extract from a letter just
received from the Governor of Trinidad:
*' I would ask to be allowed to offer my congratulations on the
good behavior of your men on leave. A residence of seven years in
Gibraltar, which is a rendezvous of the fleets of the world, has given
me some experience of Jack ashore, and I can assert that your men
have established a reputation which would be hard to equal and im-
possible to beat."
The Commander-in-Chief wishes to express his gratification that
the conduct of the men has been such as to merit the words quoted
That farewell banquet was fine. Every officer and man
on the fleet appreciated its kindly and sincere tone and
every man was ready to vote Gov. Jackson a brick. There
was just one comment made throughout the fleet, and it
might as well be set out here, with no intention of raking
over the ashes of the past offensively. That comment was :
" There is nothing of Swettenham about Jackson. He's
The letter from Gov. Jackson sustains what has been
said at the beginning of this letter ; the official welcome was
cordial, sincere and without reserve.
The trip to Rio was marked by two celebrations, New
Year's Day and the visit of Neptune on crossing the line.
One should not think, because these letters record consid-
erable hilarity on three occasions Christmas and the
other two all within two weeks, that such is the normal
condition on an American warship. These celebrations
happened all about the same time that is all. The pre-
vailing condition on a warship is anything but hilarity, as
will be revealed later in these letters.
New Year's, like Christmas, was a general holiday for
50 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
the fleet. There were quarters in the morning as usual,
but after that there was no work and the smoking lamp
was lighted all day. Extra things at dinners were pro-
vided. As was general on shore, the new year was wel-
comed with due ceremony and celebrations on the ships.
As soon as it was night on December 31 it was evident
that something would be doing by midnight
There was no concerted programme. About 10 P. M.
the officers began to drift one by one, into the ward-
room. It was a very decorous assemblage. Its members
began to tell stories. Now and then a song would
start up, and all would join in. A fruit cake made
by a fond mother at home was brought out. In some way
the eggnog cups seemed to steal out on a side table. Then
came a mixture that touched the spot and unloosened the
It wasn't long before the " Coast of the High Bar-
baree," "Avast! Belay! We're Off for Baffin's Bay,"
and other songs were being rolled out to the swaying,
dipping of the ship in the swells that the strong eastern
trades were booming up against the port side. Naval
Academy songs were shouted. One officer thoughtlessly
sat in the barber's chair in the rear of the wardroom. A
great rush was made for him and he was tousled and rum-
pled and pulled and hauled. He squirmed out of the
grasp of his tormentors and then the " Coast of the High
Barbaree," with " Blow High, Blow Low," was rolled out
Soon it became evident that a New Year's song must be
sung. The Christmas song of the Vermont, with the high-
rolling, lob-e-dob swing in it, was taken as a model and
TRINIDAD TO RIO JANEIRO 51
there were a few minutes for adaptation to the Louisiana.
When it had been rehearsed properly, it was decided to
send a special New Year's greeting to the Vermont's ward-
room, because the officers of that ship had made a Christ-
mas serenading cah 1 on all the ships on Christmas night in
Trinidad. One of the Vermont's officers is Dr. F. M. Fur-
long. His mates on Christmas Day had nominated him
for president and so informed the Louisiana's wardroom
when they reached this ship. He was made to make a
speech of acceptance and in apparent seriousness he grew
eloquent over his chances and his platform. The New
Years greeting from the Louisiana to the Vermont was
something like this:
" The Louisiana's wardroom sends happy New Year
greetings to the Vermont's wardroom and pledges the solid
W. C. T. U. vote to Dr. Furlong. Back districts, from
the grassy slopes of the Green Mountains to the saccharine
depths of the Pelican canebrakes, all heard from. We're
happy and well. Happy New Year ! Happy New Year t
Happy New Year to you ! "
The greeting was sent to the bridge to be flung into the
air on the illuminated semaphore signals at five minutes to
midnight. Then came the final rehearsals of the New Year
song, and just as the signals were sending the greeting to
the Vermont a dozen lusty officers stole up to the quarter-
deck and sang their song softly to see if it was all right.
Then they climbed on the upper deck, stepped quietly along
the gangway to the forward bridge. They were as silent
as Indians. One of them had a great Christmas palm
branch fully twelve feet long. One by one they sneaked
up the port ladders and stowed themselves far out on the
52 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
port side of the bridge. All was quiet until eight bells
was struck and then eight bells more for the New Year.
A great burst of song startled the officer of the deck just
as the last letter of the message to the Vermont had been
flashed. The song was:
Happy New Year! Happy New Year!
We're happy and well.
Here's to the Lo'siana
And don't she look swell!
We're a highrolling,
Happy New Year! Happy New Year!
Happy New Year to you!
The great palm branch was swung around to the danger
of utter disarrangement of engine room signals, and the
officer of the deck growled out something about a lot of
wild Indians. A high flinging dance followed on the
bridge, with the Happy New Year song shouted twenty
times or more.
" Get out of here ! " ordered the bridge officer.
" All right ; we'll serenade the Captain ! " shouted the
merry crew. Down to the lower bridge, where the Captain
has his emergency quarters while at sea, they went. The
Captain got a good dose of noise, but being a discreet
man he said never a word. There was a rumor that he
wasn't inside at all and that, knowing what to do on certain
occasions, he had decided to remain in his private rooms
below, where not even unofficial knowledge of any high
jinks could reach his ears.
Then the procession started for the quarterdeck, and
leaning far over the rails on the starboard side with the
stiff trade wind blowing the sound from the megaphoned
TRINIDAD TO RIO JANEIRO 53
throats of the singers, happy New Year's greetings were
sung to the Georgia, 400 yards back and to starboard.
That ship heard it easily.
Then came a procession through the Louisiana. The
members of the crew were slung in their hammocks, but nu-
merous noises of catcalls and horns and shouts told that no
one was asleep. At every section of every division on
every deck the sailors were greeted with song. They sat
up and cheered. It was fine to have a party of officers
come around and wish you a happy New Year. Every
mess of the ship received a call. When the warrant of-
ficers' mess was reached there was a brilliant display of
pajamas and well, in print one musn't go into particu-
lars too fully. Regulations must be obeyed strictly even
when you're having a good time. All the regulations
were obeyed several times, and then some in that big
Didn't the bos'n sing :
Bad luck to the day
I wandered away.
and then go into the forty-seven verses about life on the
ci Old Colorado " ? Didn't the electrical gunner join with
the chief engineer in giving down the twenty-seven bells
song? Didn't the carpenter dance a highland fling?
Didn't the scholarly warrant machinist from the Boston
Tech. twang a banjo and set the pace for the " Old New
York " and the " Dear Old Broadway " songs ? And then
didn't someone remark that " dear old Kim " hadn't been
seen in all the parading that night? A rush was made
for Kim's room but it was barricaded.
54 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
" Come out, Kim ! " was the order.
" Not on your life," was the response.
And then, for revenge, didn't the crowd sing a song
about Kim? Every man who knows anything about the
United States Navy knows Kim, the genial paymaster's
clerk, who sits in the junior officer's mess to keep the
youngsters in proper submission, and who has trained a
generation of officers in things naval; Kim, who has sailed
the high seas in the United States Navy for a quarter of
a century and knows so much about the ships and officers
that he wouldn't dare to tell it all and ought to be made
an Admiral for his knowledge and his discretion ; Kim,
who has to salute many a man with a star on his sleeve and
some of them with two stars, the minute he sees them, and
then can call them Bill and Jim and Tom in private ; Kim,
the best beloved, all around good fellow on the ship ; yes,
everybody knows Kim. It isn't necessary to print the full
name of this obliging, hard working autocrat of the pay-
master's office. This is the song that greeted him:
Everybody works but dear old Kim,
He sits 'round all day,
Feet upon the table,
Smoking his Henry Clay;
Young Pay pays out money,
Old Pay takes it in;
Everybody works on this ship
But dear old Kim.
Howls of glee from warrant officers, from petty officers,
from hundreds of hammocks greeted the song. Kim
chuckled but wouldn't come out. Finally the siege could
be resisted no longer and out came Kim in full regulation
pajamas and the din was terrific. It was a dance all
TRINIDAD TO RIO JANEIRO 55
around and some more strictly regulation things to drink.
Happy New Year was sung for the 273d time and then
came a further inspection of the ship. Wasn't it time for
the dinner for New Year's Day to be tested in the cook's
galley? Wasn't there as fine a specimen of the genus
turkey as graced any board in the United States all ready
to be tested? And wasn't it tested until nothing but the
rack was left?
The fire rooms had to be visited and down slippery lad-
ders with the machinery chugging and rolling and plung-
ing the piratical crew stole. Where men were sweating
in front of furnace doors in watertight compartments the
greeting was sung and the words " Happy New Year "
were chalked on furnace doors. Perhaps the engines lost
a revolution or two, or the steam slowed off just a bit and
the officer of the deck wondered why he was unable to
keep his position of 1,200 yards from the flagship exactly,
but what did it matter?
And when the rounds were all completed and the pirates
assembled in the wardroom for their final song and final
well, never mind that didn't a messenger from the bridge
come down with a signalled message from the Vermont with
a toast that was being offered in the Vermont's wardroom:
Here's to you, Louisiana,
Here's to you, our jovial friends?
Every ship was having a celebration something like that.
It's impossible to give the details because when a big fleet
is going along at the rate of ten knots an hour and fight-
ing a mean Amazon current as well, and the semaphores
and other signals are being kept busy with official mes-
56 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
sages it isn't exactly good form for newspaper landlub-
bers to ask to be allowed to inquire what was done on the
other ships, matters which, even if told unofficially, would
not look exactly attractive all written out in a signal book,
because you can't put much fun in a signal book entry.
There must have been a good deal of the happy-go-lucky
spirit on some of the ships, for on two or three of them the
rollickers got at the siren whistles and blew them. That is
something that might prove serious to a fleet sailing as
this is, because the blowing of siren whistles, except at a
certain hour of the day, when all the whistles are tested
they call the noise the loosening of the dogs of war
means grave danger and it is time to act at once. But
New Year's came in happily all around and when the fun
was over the one thought of the rollickers was that within
a week Neptune would come aboard and after that there
would be a long dry spell.
When quarters were sounded a little after 9 o'clock on
New Year's morning all hands appeared. The usual for-
mality marked the occasion. The Captain came up and
looked precisely as if his ship had been as quiet as a grave
all night ; the executive officer answered salutes with an in-
cisive manner, as each officer approached and reported his
division " all present or accounted for " ; the members
of the crew gave no hint that they had seen any officer
roaming about the ship only a few hours before in a free
and easy manner violating all ordinary traditions of a
naval officer's dignity. And as for the warrant officers,
when they saluted and gave you an icy stare, as if they
might have met you somewhere once upon a time but really
had quite forgotten your name, you felt relieved and glad
TRINIDAD TO RIO JANEIRO 57
that those two or three red streaks on your left eye ball had
escaped general notice, and then it was that you felt like
writing an apostrophe to discipline in the American Navy.
Of the trip itself to Rio the mere sailing of it
there is not much to record. It was done in squadron for-
mation two lines of warships, with the supply ships
Glacier and Culgoa bringing up the rear midway between
the lines. For six days off the upper part of South
America there was quite a heavy swell and a strong Amazon
current that retarded the progress of the ships to gome
One day the swells were so heavy as to make the sea
moderately rough. Every ship in the fleet buried its nose
under the water constantly and sometimes the seas would
slip up the sloping fronts of the turrets and splash their
spray against the bridges. The sun was bright, and as
these seas would come over the bow and spread their aprons
of water over the forward parts of the ships the colors
would change from blue to green, with white fringes, and
then the sun would arch rainbows over the boiling torrents
that would run from the sides as the ships rose to the tops
of the waves. The sea was tossing and tumbling far out
to the horizon circle, and as the ships dipped and rose
they seemed like veritable warhorses of the sea rearing and
plunging in royal sport. It was a beautiful spectacle,
and it lasted all of one day.
Soon after rounding the far eastern corner of South
America there came a little comedy. The Illinois had
dropped out of column formation to adjust some trifling
disarrangement of machinery and some one on her thought
he saw a raft to the eastward with two men clinging to
58 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
it. Those in charge were evidently new to this coast and
did not recall that fishermen of the Amazon region often
sail 150 to 200 miles out to sea in the small catamarans
that look more like logs or rafts than fishing vessels. A
signal was sent to the Culgoa.
The fleet had no information at this time as to why
the Culgoa suddenly dropped out of column and headed
to the east and then to the north until she was nearly hull-
down. Soon it became known that she was bent on a
rescue and the correspondents got out their note books
and began to prepare to make much of the incident.
After two hours the Culgoa was back in her place with
what seemed to be a sheepish look to those familiar with
the situation. She had found two men on a raft that
is to say, on a catamaran and they were fishing and
seemed content with their station in life and especially
honored because a naval vessel of the United States had
gone out of her way to greet them. The intention was
all right and good form did not permit the bantering of
any humorous personalities on the situation.
Three nights out from Rio Admiral Evans ordered the
first searchlight practice for the fleet. Let it be under-
stood that there are certain things which a correspondent
may not send from this fleet or even reveal afterward.
They relate especially to tactical things, the things that
may give information or some hint of information of im-
portance to other nations. All navies have searchlights,
however, and what will be said here of the drill will be of
that nature familiar to every naval man and no more. It
was merely a warming up, so to speak, of searchlight work,
just a test to see if all the apparatus was in good condition.
TRINIDAD TO RIO JANEIRO 59
The drill was to begin at exactly 8 o'clock. Long be-
fore that time every searchlight had been uncovered and
connected up and all eyes were waiting for the Connecticut
to begin the flashing. Just as eight bells were struck,
when not more than half a dozen lights were visible on each
ship of the fleet, a great beam of white shot out across the
starboard of the Connecticut. Instantly ninety-six beams
like it darted into the air and the ocean for something like
a square mile became illuminated as though the full glory
of the heavens had descended upon it.
You who have seen Coney Island lighted up on a sum-
mer's night may form some idea of the scene if you can
concentrate in your imagination the lights down there
turned into a hundred great shafts, sweeping, dancing,
swinging, soaring into space, each light with the sheen of
a full moon brought right down within the grasp of a man
who turned a cylinder about as he pleased and said to the
rays go here and go there. It was like a new world sprung
into existence before your very eyes. Something of the
meaning of the power of a fleet of warships was revealed
to you. It was merely a small part of this power, just
a trifle of the strength of warships put on display be-
cause it could be tested in no other way.
Each ship had six of these lights. The rules do not
permit the rays of one ship to be displayed upon another
because it imperils navigation for one thing, and there
are also other naval reasons. It required some skill to
avoid lighting up your neighbor ship. As soon as the
lights were turned on the men managing them began to
swing and twist them, now fast, now slowly, about each
ship. When the rays struck the water, say, about 300
60 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
yards away from a ship and each light was turned slowly
around the vessel, it was as if so many sprites of the sea
were dancing about like children around a May pole.
Then a beam would go scampering away as if it had the
concentrated velocity of a hundred 12-inch shots. Then
there would come a period of helterskelter playing of the
lights until a slow movement of searching on the waters
was in progress. Each ship looked as if it were a thous-
and legged spider, each leg made up of a ray of light.
Sometimes the lights of a ship would be interlaced; again
they would be centered on some spot far out in the water.
The rolling crests of the swells would be whitened with
the gleam of thousands of diamonds. The reflection of
the light beams made bands of purple and deep green upon
the water. The stars lost their brightness. It was as
if the Yankee ships had reached out and stolen a good
share of the strength of the sun which actually was the
case from the standpoint of science had stored it in
their holds and then had sprung it at night, just to show
what could be done in the way of robbing the powers of
darkness of their evil aspect. For half an hour the thril-
ling exhibition continued and just as you were preparing
to throw up your hat and give three cheers for Uncle Sam
and his navy an officer brought you back to you feet with
the quiet remark:
" Why, that isn't a patch compared with the real thing !
This was just a sort of tuning up process, no more to be
compared with the real thing than the tuning of a piano
is to be compared with a Paderewski performance."
You thought him a little strong in his analogy until
of a sudden all the lights went out and there were sixteen
TRINIDAD TO RIO JANEIRO 61
battleships quietly sailing along a sea as smooth as Long
Island Sound in the summer time, with only regulation
lights showing, distances kept perfectly and nothing to
indicate that there had been anything out of the ordinary
in a sedate and peaceful passage from one port to an-
An unexpected use of the searchlights followed about
thirty hours after this first display. It was 2:30 o'clock
of the second morning after when the unforeseen hap-
pened. A gun on the Missouri boomed out. It was the
signal for a man overboard. At once the life buoys were
cast off from the ship, their lights burning brightly, and
the Missouri and the entire eight ships of the second squad-
ron, running parallel with the squadron that Admiral
Evans was leading, burst into a blaze of light. In two
minutes the entire fleet was stopped. Bbats were lowered
from the Missouri, the Illinois and Kearsarge following.
The searchlights were thrown upon the water and upon
the boats, showing the men at work rowing about and
searching for the lost man. It made a brilliant scene in
the dead of night. Carefully and systematically the boats
were rowed about for half an hour. Then, when it was
evident that if a man had fallen overboard he had been
lost, perhaps by striking a propeller or being hit by some
other part of the ship, recalls were given and the boats
returned to the ships and the squadron proceeded. At
that time the Missouri signalled that she was not sure she
had lost a man, but a sentry had thought he had seen one
Later the facts came out. The alarm was given by a
man who had a sailor's nightmare. No one was found
62 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
missing at roll call the next morning and every one felt so
sheepish that no formal report was made.
A few hours previous, at 10:35 in the evening, one of
the perils of navigation especially for the other fellow
was brought home vividly to the fleet. A barkentine with
a dim light was sighted about 800 yards to the west of
Admiral Evans's squadron. The vessel was going north.
Probably the man on watch had gone to sleep. He sud-
denly awoke and before the officer of the deck on the Lou-
isiana could recover from his amazement he headed straight
for that vessel, the fourth ship in the squadron. It was
soon plain that the barkentine would clear the stern of the
Louisiana and would become a menace to the Georgia, the
following ship. The officer of the deck of the Georgia
had to sheer off and this made the officer of the deck of
the Rhode Island sheer also. The barkentine went right
between the Louisiana and the Georgia.
By that time the officer of the sailing vessel had got a
lot of lights out and apparently was in a state of com-
plete obfustication. He had never seen so many lights at
sea in such a limited space in his life. Clearing the first
squadron he came into full view of another over to the
east. There he was, all mixed up in a fleet of warships
going at the rate of ten knots an hour. He became rat-
tled again and turned to go outside the line of the first
squadron, which he had just pierced. He came near
hitting the Virginia, but finally got away safely. It was
a hair raising episode.
" That's what I call dancing a Virginia reel at sea by
boats," said one officer after the incident was closed.
" It seems to me," said another, " to show that not only
TRINIDAD TO RIO JANEIRO 63
does a kind Providence usually watch over a drunken man
on shore, but seems to guard men at sea who go to sleep
It was a miraculous escape for the barkentine, thread-
ing her way in and out of a fleet of warships proceeding
at fair speed and only 400 yards apart. No skipper
would have dared take such chances in the daytime and in
full control of his craft. The officers of the fleet breathed
a sigh of relief to think that they didn't have to record
against this cruise the running down of a vessel at sea
with the consequent probable loss of life.
And so the voyage went on placidly with the usual drills
and daily ceremonies until Cape Frio, some sixty miles
east of Rio, was sighted and then there came the journey
along the coast, the entrance into the magnificent harbor,
the splash of the mud hooks and the feeling that one-
third of the voyage to San Francisco was over, and the
fleet was shaking itself down into a smooth working condi-
tion better and better with every day at sea.
Weird Nautical Doings on Crossing the Line Officers, Sailors and
Newspaper Man Pass Traditional Initiation Ocean Monarch and
His Gay Spouse Amphitrite Pick the Ship President Roosevelt
Once Sailed on for Their Visit Rest of the Fleet Only Thought
He Was on Board Court Physicians and Ducking Bears Pa-
ternal Messages From the Flagship Sons of Admiral Evans and
Capt. Osterhaus Made Real Sailormen A Great Sight.
On Board U. S. S. Louisiana, U. S. Battle Fleet,
Rio JANEIRO, Jan. 14.
NEPTUNUS Rex ! Long live the King !
Neptune, the only king who never dies, had the big-
gest j ob of his career on Monday, January 6, in the
year of our Lord 1908 and the year of 4,000 or 5,000 and
something since Noah set up a sea calendar and headed
for Mount Ararat. More than 14,000 officers and men
of the United States Navy, practically one-half of its
membership, crossed the equator at longitude 37 11' W.,
and of those fully 12,500 had to be initiated into the
" solemn mysteries of the Ancient Order of the Deep."
Like the man who tried the rheumatism cures, every one
of the landlubbers, pollywogs and sea lawyers was " done
It was the proudest day that Neptunus Rex ever ex-
perienced. He said so himself, and he put on great airs
NEPTUNE AHOY! 65
and strutted about with the dignity and pomp that befit
his majestic rule as he declared that he was the only king,
by all the mermaids, sea serpents, whales, sharks, dolphins,
skates, eels, suckers, lobsters, crabs, pollywogs and jelly-
fish, who could ever take possession of the United States
Navy. And by the selfsame creatures of the deep he
swore solemnly that none but he and Uncle Sam should
ever have the right to boss that navy. Whereat the duly
initiated members of his royal domain cheered him lustily
and declared everlasting allegiance.
To get right down to business, let it be said at once that it
was a spectacle worth travelling tens of thousands of miles
to see. It was the most elaborate, painstaking, well
planned, rip snorting initiation of the kind ever produced.
For be it known that Neptune does not recognize as a
thirty-third degree member of his domain any one who has
not crossed the line on a warship.
Neptune, not having the attribute of omnipresence, was
able to visit only one of the ships of this fleet. That
ship was the Louisiana. Of course, every other ship will
make the claim that he visited that vessel, but the fact is
that he honored the Louisiana alone with his personal
presence and had to send representatives to the other ships.
He said he came to the Louisiana because he had heard
she was the most famous ship of the fleet, President Roose-
velt having made a trip close to his royal domain in her.
He therefore selected her for his visit and he ordered that
a special honorary certificate of membership in his realm
be sent to the President and Mrs. Roosevelt.
The preparations for Neptune's visit began formally on
December 19, three days out from Hampton Roads, when
66 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
" Fore Top, the Official Representative of his Majesty
Neptunus Rex," received a wireless message to organize
the members of the royal domain on the ship and prepare
for the initiation ceremonies. Thereafter every day while
the ship was at sea mysterious proclamations were posted
at the scuttlebutt (the drinking tank) telling the land-
lubbers, pollywogs and sea lawyers of the terrible things
that would happen to them when they crossed the line.
Dire penalties were provided for any who might try to
hide, and long extracts from the Revised Statutes were
posted prescribing the punishments to be inflicted upon
the willing and the unwilling. There was decided uneasi-
ness among the youngsters on board and it should be
remembered that most of the crew of the ship are just
above or below 1, having come almost green to the vessel
from the training station at Newport when a procla-
mation was posted containing this notification to Fore
" There has been ordered supplied to you upon arrival
at Port of Spain, Trinidad, 750 gallons of coal tar, 90
gallons of varnish, 400 pounds of sulphur, 4 sets of razors
complete, 18 brushes, 4 sets of fine rib saws, 4 surgical
knives, 2 large meat axes and 15 pairs of handcuffs."
Orders were also given for sharpening the claws and
appetites of the royal bears and warnings issued lest any
one of the uninitiated should speak disrespectfully of Nep-
tune's subjects. A day or so later came orders prescrib-
ing the height of the ducking chairs. These chairs were
to be so high that four flipflaps would be turned by the
victims before hitting the water in the royal tanks. Six
powerful electrical batteries were also ordered for use,,
NEPTUNE AHOY! 67
The bears were not to have any food for fifty-seven hours
preceding the crossing of the line.
Other proclamations provided for towing recalcitrants
in the sea from the hawse pipes for from five minutes to
four hours, according to the degree of the offence of the
Marvellous yarns were spun at all mess tables of the
severity of the initiation, all of which got on the nerves of
the youngsters, and the crew was in a state of semi-trepida-
tion as the day of the crossing approached. Then came
a glimmer of fun, for one day there came a " scuttlebuttic,
telephonic, atmospheric " communication in which after
more warnings that there would be no escape this was
" I understand that there is a newspaper man on board,
and if such is the case you will report to me at once, as
there is a special provision in the Regulations of the Cere-
monies of Initiation of the Royal Realm for such animals."
Many were the grins among the crew that greeted the
Sun man that day, and some of them ventured respect-
fully to salute him and ask him if he had seen the message
and had noticed that orders were also issued " to the royal
doctors to have their pills and goggle water mixed in ac-
cordance with the regulations and the barbers to use the
proper per cent, of coal tar, oil, molasses and india ink for
their lather." The next day Neptune ordered his sub-
jects to " do stunts " with the newspaper man. Printers'
ink was to be used in his lather so as " to give him a dose
of his own medicine." A special oven was to be con-
structed to roast him, and then he would know how it felt
68 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
General Order No. 7 of Fore Top told the barbers to
mix mucilage with the printer's ink and to prepare the
oven, and the officers and crew were now in broad grins
as they greeted the Sun man and informed him that ho
was going to get his all right. Then came " brainstorms "
from his Majesty telling how the policemen were to act,
ordering that their " clubs be stuffed with grate bars "
and such, and providing how the hair should be clipped.
Forthwith it was remarkable how dozens of men rushed to
to the ship's real barbers and had their hair clipped close.
" I ain't goin' to have none of that coal tar and grease
in mine," said a frightened signal boy. A windsail was
made to supply air to the officers' quarters, and the mes-
senger boy of the executive officer came to him and asked
him if it was true that the members of the crew were to be
shot down that canvas tube.
So the proclamations grew in number and with them in-
creased the power of the yarns. The royal electrician was
ordered to test the batteries and the royal boatswain was
told to prepare his towlines and co-operate with the royal
diver to see that the towing was done properly, and finally
came the last message from Neptune on the day before the
line was reached. It approved all that had been done.
Old Nep. howled with joy because the bears were hungry,
the knives and razors were sharpened, the lather had been
mixed just right, the electric batteries were sizzling, the
drop into the tanks had been put up to thirty-eight feet,
and he wound up with this sentiment :
" God help the poor rookies ! "
Whereupon Fore Top issued this final order:
N E P T U N E
Courtesy oj Collier's Weekly
Neptune Ahoy !
NEPTUNE AHOY! 69
GENERAL ORDER NO. 23.
All loyal subjects will at once make their final reports to me in de-
tail. Report to me the names of the pollywogs, landlubbers and sea
lawyers whose names have been entered on the books for severe pun-
Good-by and good luck to the poor rookies who will come under
your notice to-morrow! Deal in a befitting manner with them all.
See to it especially that the newspaper man gets his.
FORE TOP, O R. O. H. M. G. M. N. R. R. R. D.
The names of about a dozen well known sea lawyers of
the ship were posted immediately upon the scuttlebutt and
the newspaper man " got his " later.
That afternoon Capt. Wainwright and his executive
officer, Mr. Eberle, being sticklers for the preservation of
as many of the old time naval and sea traditions in modern
warships as possible, took official notice of what was going
on and this order was published to the ship:
U. S. S. LOUISIANA,
AT SEA, LAT. l'-30' N., LONG. 39-10 W.,
January 5, 1908.
1. Official notification has been received that his Majesty, Nep-
tunus Rex, will visit this ship in state at 9 a.m. on the 6th day of
2. His Majesty will be received with due ceremony at the time
appointed. At 8:45 a. m. the divisions will be called to quarters,
after which "all hands will be called to muster" to receive his
Majesty in a manner befitting his high rank. The boatswain and
eight boys will attend the side. When his Majesty reaches the quar-
terdeck the officers and crew will salute, the band will play a march
and the Royal Standard of Neptune will be hoisted at the main.
3. After the official reception the royal ceremonies of initiation will
70 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
4. All ceremonies will be conducted in an orderly manner, in keep-
ing with the time honored traditions of the Naval Service.
E. W. EBERLE,
Lieutenant-Commander, U. S. Navy,
Captain U. S. Navy,
At a general muster of the crew that Sunday morning
each man who had not crossed the line and a complete
list had been prepared of them received this subpoena as
he was dismissed from the deck:
You LANDLUBBER, POLLYWOG AND SEA LAWYER: You are hereby
notified that the good ship Louisiana, on which you are serving,
will to-morrow enter the domain of which I am the ruler. As no
landlubber, pollywog or sea lawyer can enter my domain or be-
come one of my royal subjects unless he undergoes the initiation
as prescribed by me, you will when the ceremonies commence present
yourself for the initiation, and if you show that you are worthy
you will become a member of my royal realm and be subject to my
orders in all seas on which you may be.
If you do not present yourself for this initiation and I am re-
quired to despatch members of my staff to bring you before me by
force I will deal severely with you. His Majesty,
Ruler of the Royal Domain.
Of the 960 odd persons on the Louisiana only about 100
had ever crossed the line. The proportion was about the
same on all the other ships of the fleet, so it is a fair esti-
mate that 12,500 men were waiting the arrival of Nep-
tune. A wireless message was sent to the Louisiana that
his Majesty's secretary and orderly would come on board
on the evening of January 5 to make the final prepara-
NEPTUNE AHOY! 71
tions for the ruler's visit the next morning. The call for
hammocks was sounded about 7 :30 o'clock that evening and
while the men were aft the officer of the deck, Ensign N.
W. Post heard a pistol shot across the bows of the ship fol-
" Aye, aye, sir," said the officer of the deck, giving the
accepted greeting for an officer.
" What ship is that? Where are you from and whither
are you bound?" came the voice.
" The U. S. S. Louisiana, from Hampton Roads, bound
through the domains of his Majesty Neptune Rex for the
Pacific Ocean," shouted Post through a megaphone.
" Heave to ; I want to come aboard ! "
" Aye, aye, sir. Come aboard."
Thereupon the ship was hove to theoretically and two
men in fantastic dress popped over the starboard bow and
made their way aft. Mr. Eberle, the executive officer, had
been notified that Neptune's secretary, Main Top Bowline,
was on board, and went forward to receive him.
Capt. Wainwright was notified and appeared on the
quarter deck. Soon, with the bugles sounding attention,
Main Top Bowline and his orderly emerged through the
superstructure with Mr. Eberle. The secretary and as-
sistant were in full dress, their swallowtails of bright red
chintz accentuated by enormous negro minstrel collars and
by ties of pink that flowed out to their shoulders. They
carried full dress cocked hats of navy regulation pattern.
Their faces were Indian red with various splashes of paint
that suggested mermaids and sea serpents. Main Top
Bowline had a pair of binoculars made from black beer
72 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
bottles which were capped by the rubber pieces that fit the
eyes on the sighting apparatus of the guns.
Mr. Eberle presented the secretary to the captain, while
the officers and dozens of the crew gathered around. The
secretary said that Neptune would come aboard at 9 A. M.
the next day and would be prepared to take possession of
the ship and exercise due authority. He complimented
the captain on the appearance of his " fine ship," said that
Neptune would visit the Louisiana only because it had once
carried his " distinguished colleague, the President," and
he expressed the hope that the captain and the crew would
extend the proper honors. Capt. Wainwright straight-
ened himself to his full height and said :
" Mr. Secretary, Main Top Bowline : It gives me great
pleasure to welcome you to this ship and to receive the
notification of the contemplated visit to-morrow of his
Majesty Neptunus Rex. I beg of you to convey to him
the expression of my highest esteem and to say to him that
we shall pay him the distinguished honors that belong to
his rank, and shall obey gladly all his august commands.
If you will now proceed with me to my cabin we will dis-
cuss there the details of the ceremony."
Then the captain and the visitors disappeared down the
captain's gangway and a bottle of champagne was opened
and the health of Neptune toasted. The captain told
Main Top Bowline that he had been a member of Nep-
tune's domain for thirty-eight years but had not met Main
Top Bowline before. Main Top said he had been in his
Majesty's service only fifteen years. Full particulars of
Mr. Roosevelt's trip on the Louisiana were requested to be
reported to Neptune and then the secretary left and called
NEPTUNE AHOY! 73
on the wardroom. He served subpoenas himself on the
officers and asked especially for the newspaper man. He
said that Neptune had been misrepresented so often in print
and that it was so seldom that he ever found a reporter on
a real ship of the line that he was bound to tell the news-
paper man to be prepared for the worst. Then the vis-
itors were escorted forward and they disappeared, after
ordering this message sent to Admiral Evans:
The Commander-in-CMef f U. S. Atlantic Fleet.
By virtue of the authority invested in me by his Majesty, Neptunus
Rex, ruler of the Royal Domain, I have to inform you that I have
this night boarded the good ship Louisiana for the purpose of in-
forming the commanding officer that he has entered the domain
ruled by his Majesty and that he has a cargo of landlubbers, polly-
wogs and sea lawyers on board whom it will be necessary to initiate
into the royal realm before he can pass through, and as such his Most
Gracious Majesty will to-morrow morning board the good ship Lou-
isiana and carry out the ceremonies as prescribed by the regulations
of the royal realm. His Majesty wishes me to convey his compli-
ments to you and to state that he is pleased to have you with him
once more in his royal domain, although it has been some time since
he has been able to greet you personally.
MAIN TOP BOWLINE,
Secretary of His Most Gracious Majesty,
Ruler of the Royal Domain.
Admiral Evans signalled back his thanks for the greet-
ing, sent his compliments to Neptune and expressed the
hope that Neptune and his party would have a " royal
good time on the Louisiana."
The next morning everybody was up bright and early.
Word was sent throughout the ship to wear no arms at
quarters. Every man put on his cleanest uniform. Quar-
ters was sounded and the men assembled at their usual
74. WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
stations. The officers emerged one by one from the super-
structure and reported to the executive officer that their
divisions were all present or accounted for. Then came
the bugle for general muster on the quarter deck. All
hands were marched aft and the officers took their proper
stations with a large space vacant about the captain and
a passageway from the superstructure. Miss Sally Ann,
the Trinidad monkey, was allowed to come along to see
the fun. She perched on one of the 12-inch guns and
flirted her tail about like an angry cat. A wait of several
minutes followed after Mr. Eberle had gone forward to
receive Neptune. This was due, it was reported after-
ward unofficially, to getting Amphitrite, Neptune's wife,
up the gangways with all her toggery in good condition.
Not being used to skirts, it was quite a job. At the en-
trance to the deck eight side boys and the boatswain's
mates were stationed.
Suddenly a great blast from the bugles announced the
approach. Then the shrill boatswains' whistles smote the
ears and Sally Ann set up an awful screeching. The word
" Salute !" rang out and every man stood at attention
while Neptune and his wife preceded by two pages stepped
on the quarter deck. At that moment a monster red flag,
eighteen feet by twelve, with a white sea serpent on it that
would have made any Chinese dragon run to cover, was
raised to the main, the band struck up Neptune's march
and his Majesty and consort and their court of fifty-two
persons in stately step trod the deck to greet Capt. Wain-
wright. Neptune swung his trident proudly, and as he
came to a full stop he said:
" Sir : I have come to-day to your ship to exercise
NEPTUNE AHOY! 75
the full command that pertains to the rule of my domain. I
have come to initiate the landlubbers and pollywogs on
this vessel. You will relinquish command to me and I
expect that full honors will be paid to my rank. I am
honoring this ship of the fleet especially because my dis-
tinguished friend and colleague, the President of the
country from which you come, once used this ship on a
near approach to my dominions. I am informed that he
would be here to-day in person if the cares of State did
not prevent. I am told he is here in spirit. I shall order,
therefore, a special honorary certificate of membership for
him. [Aside, " Can't some of you keep that damned mon-
key from screeching so much?"] I shall now proceed to
your cabin, after which the ceremonies of the royal initia-
tions will proceed."
Capt. Wainwright bowed profoundly and the irreverent
in the crew set up a howl of laughter as they saw the
makeup of Neptune and his party. Neptune and Am-
phitrite and the two pages went below with the Captain.
The others remained on deck. There were the two secre-
taries that had come aboard the night before and next to
them were two royal doctors, in long swallowtails and with
tall hats that looked like the headgear of Corean high
priests, only there were skulls and crossbones on them for
ornament. The doctors carried dress suit cases. One was
labelled "Dr. Flip" and the other "Dr. Flap." The
cases contained the surgical instruments and medicines.
Then came the royal counsellors with enormous law books.
The lawyers wore the wigs of English practitioners and
long black robes. Two " high cops," in chintz, followed
and then there was a large squad of policemen each with
76 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
a badge numbered 23, with stuffed clubs, followed by the
barbers, a dozen black bears and a lot of retainers.
Neptune himself wore a scarlet robe with sea serpents em-
broidered on it and with a golden hemp fringe all around
the edges. His face and legs and arms were stained a
beautiful mahogany color. A great beard of yellow rope
hung down over his fat belly. Amphitrite was in white.
She wore a sea green flat hat and carried a black cat done
up in baby's clothes. That cat stayed with her for two
hours without moving.
" My ! " said one of the ordinary seamen who had
cruised many a time along the Bowery, " don't she look
just as if she came straight from the Bowery and Hester
street? How are ye, Amph? "
A clout on the head by a mate made him " shorten his
Before Neptune reappeared Dr. Flip went up to Dr.
Wentworth, the ship's surgeon, to pay his professional re-
spects. Dr. Flip said he was of the old school and a
graduate of the " Royal College of the Doldrums, class
of Umpdy-umpdy-ump-ump." He was strong, he said,
on the use of leeches and bleeding. Dr. Wentworth tact-
fully admitted that the old school had its merits.
Then came Neptune on deck again and the party, fol-
lowed by 800 officers and men, went to the fo'c'sle deck
for the initiation. Neptune mounted his throne on a plat-
form. Two tanks had been erected between that and the
forward turret. The bears slipped over the sides as the
retainers filled the tanks with water. Drs. Flip and Flap
unloaded their saws, knives, teeth extractors and many bot-
tles of vile looking medicine. The lawyers opened their
NEPTUNE AHOY! 77
books to certain paragraphs of the " Revised Statutes,"
chiefly paragraph 4-11-44; the barbers sharpened their
enormous razors, " made in Yarmany " ; the policemen
drew up in line, the orderlies rolled up the barrel of lather,
made of oatmeal and water, and another barrel of " tonic,"
to be used in enormous squirt guns. It was Neptune's
" dope " for the unruly. Then Neptune, with a flourish
of his trident and settling his gilt crown well back on his
head, as Amphitrite nestled to his side, asked if all prep-
arations had been completed.
" Yes, your Majesty," replied Main Top Bowline.
" Then let the initiations proceed. Bring forward as the
first victim that newspaper man. He shall have special at-
tention," was the command.
The Sun man mounted the steps to the howls of 800
persons. Dr. Flip sounded his lungs, examined his teeth,
felt his arms and legs, made him wiggle his fingers and
" Your Majesty, a very bad case. 'E's got a ingrowin'
brain ! "
" What do you prescribe ? "
" Well, your Majesty, we have here medicines for the
cure of spavin, sore throat, consumption, chilblains, diph-
theria, eczema, measles, neuralgia, heartburn
" Never mind the rest," said the King. " What is the
" The same for all, sire," was the response. " A good
shave, an injection in the arm of my ' dope ' [composed of
molasses and water] some powder on his head and a duck-
ing in the briny seas."
"Very good!" replied his Majesty.
78 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
Then the trouble began. A pill as big as a horse chest-
nut and made of bread crusts was forced down the victim's
throat. The squirt gun hit him full in the face, a lotion
was rubbed in his hair and then he was forced into the
chair and shaved. A question was asked of him, and as
he opened his mouth to reply a great paint brush of lather
was thrust into it. Then came the order to pull out the
plug from the chair and drop him over backwards into the
tank. Well, that flight and that ducking ! Here descrip-
tive powers fail the Sun's correspondent. It can be de-
scribed best in the words of Herman Melville, in his story
of " White Jacket," relating to a cruise he made in 1843
around the horn in the United States frigate, United
States, when he went into the water in another way.
" Time seemed to stand still and all the worlds poised on
their poles as I fell. I was conscious at length of a swift
flinging motion of my limbs. A thunder-boom sounded in
my ears. My soul seemed flying from my mouth. Some
current seemed hurrying me away. In a trance I yielded
and sank down deeper with a glide. Purple and pathless
was the deep calm now around me, flecked by summer light-
nings in an azure afar.
" Then an agonizing revulsion came over me as I felt
myself sinking. Next moment the force of my fall was
expended and there I hung vibrating in the deep. What
wild sounds then rang in my ear? One was a soft moan-
ing, as of low waves on the beach, the other wild and heart-
lessly jubilant, as of the sea in the height of a tempest.
The life and death poise soon passed, and then I felt my-
self slowly ascending and caught a dim glimmering of
light. Quicker and quicker I mounted, till at last I
NEPTUNE AHOY! 79
bounded up like a buoy and my whole head was bathed in
the blessed air."
That was just as it was and when the Sun man escaped
from the tank he was greeted with more applause and cheer-
ing than he had ever received in his life.
The first initiation on the Louisiana was over. Then
came a roll call of the officers. They had to produce cer-
tificates or pay tribute. The crew was assembled in long
lines. One by one they went up the ladders. Drs. Flip
and Flap received them. Elaborate examinations were
made of their condition.
, "My, my, sire!" Dr. Flip would shout. " 'E's got
valvular contraction of the eyelids ! "
" What is the remedy ? " Neptune would ask.
" My usual treatment, sire," would be the response.
Then would come a dose of dope, a rub of hair oil, a
shave and a toss over into the tank to the hungry bears.
Souse, souse, souse again would follow, and when the vic-
tim came to the surface each time he would send up a stream
of water from his mouth that resembled the spouting of a
whale. Those who were waiting for their duckings would
shout with the members of Neptune's party. Officers
crowded to the front of the bridge and the midshipman who
was using the stadimeter to get the proper distance in
formation had the hardest day of his life trying to keep
his eye on the flagship.
" Pass 'em up quick ! " shouted Neptune.
Dr. Flip would diagnose a case as " Fatty degeneration
of the shinbone, sire," and the usual remedy would be pre-
scribed. Over the victim went into the tank. Dr. Flip
would then announce a case:
80 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
" Palpitation of the hair, sire. You can see for your-
self how it is shaking."
" Let him have the prescribed treatment," was the order.
Dr. Flip then announced a case of " f olderols in the
right ear, sire."
" Soak it to him good ! " was the command.
Dr. Flip then had a case of " tickdullerous." Similar
treatment. All diseases looked alike to Neptune.
" Bunions ! " was the next report of Dr. Flip.
66 Poultice his hair good. It draws 'em up. Then saw
off his leg at the knee," was the remedy prescribed for the
bunion ailment. Dr. Flip brought out the saws with vile
looking teeth. The two doctors sawed away.
" By cracky ! sire, I can't cut it off," reported Dr. Flip.
"Give him an extra dousing!" ordered his Majesty.
Dr. Flip next reported a case of toothache.
" What do the Revised Statutes say ? " asked Neptune.
" Beg pardon," said Dr. Flip, " that is in the phar-
" Well, what does the farm whatever it is say ? "
" Gargle, sire," said Dr. Flip ; " the fumes kill the pain."
The victim got the gargle treatment.
" Mullygrubs in his back, sire," was the next from Dr.
Flip. A lambasting with stuffed clubs was the extra treat-
ment for that, in addition to the ducking.
Then came a strange case, that of a youngster who
spends his spare time on board studying mathematics in the
hope of getting higher in the service. Dr. Flip went over
him with great care. He got out bottles and pills and saws
NEPTUNE AHOY! 81
and bandages and plasters. The crowd could see that it
was a most serious case.
Dr. Flap was called in consultation. The books were
produced and the symptoms were pondered over with many
grave shakes of the head. At last Dr. Flip made the right
" 'E's got the hypotenuse rampant," he shouted. " My,
my ! I am astonished that a surgeon of the established
reputation of Dr. Wentworth of the United States Navy,
sire, should let all these ailments that we have here to-day
escape 'im, sire," shouted Dr. Flip.
" Send for Dr. Wentworth ! " roared Neptune. Dr.
Wentworth came. He told Neptune that he had been a
royal subject of his for more than twenty years. Nep
softened a bit at that, and then said he was glad to see him
again, but how about these strange ailments? Why had
he not cured them?
Dr. Wentworth is a man of tact, great tact, and he ex-
plained that the ailments occurred nowhere else than in
Neptune's domain and, therefore, he thought it was best to
have them treated by Neptune's own specialists who were
familiar with the newest developments and the best treat-
While the initiations were going on Neptune ordered this
message semaphored to Admiral Evans, the Commander in
Admiral R. D. Evans, U. 8. Atlantic Fleet.
I am happy to inform you that your son and the son of the cap-
tain of your noble flagship have this day declared their allegiance as
iny loyal subjects.
82 [WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
Lieuts. F. T. Evans and H. W. Osterhaus are attached
to the Louisiana and occasionally they have to take a good
deal of chaffing and no favors when an " unofficial mes-
sage " from " father " comes over the signals. This was
the reply that Neptune received from the flagship:
We are delighted that our sons are at last real sailors. They have
Served a long time. Soak 'em, boys !
EVANS and OSTERHAUS.
Young Evans and young Osterhaus were soaked all
The initiation ceremonies were kept boiling all the time.
Occasionally a sea lawyer, one with an established reputa-
tion as such among the crew, would come up. He was
asked if he wanted to argue his case. Not one of them did.
" Give it to him good," Neptune would shout. And they
did. The rest of the crew understood the significance of
the extra ducking and howls of glee resulted. The sea
lawyers usually had to be helped out of the tank. Now
and then a man would lose his temper when he got into the
tank. Small mercy for him ! He would drag a bear
under the water with him. Forthwith half a dozen bears
would go to the rescue of their companion, and in the res-
cue that man who had dragged the bear under would think
he was going to kingdom come before he got a breath of
air. Oh, it didn't pay to be fresh in that salt water !
The ceremonies were half over when there came the un-
foreseen. A victim came up with a peculiar glitter in his
eye. Dr. Flip saw it and diagnosed the case as " extremis
mortuis of the right optic." The diagnosis was correct,
NEPTUNE AHOY! 83
for, catching Dr. Flip in a favorable position, the victim
toppled Dr. Flip over into the tank himself.
" Flip is taking a flap ! " shouted the crowd. The bears
fell on Dr. Flip, thinking he was a new arrival, and he
got such a sousing as few who preceded him had received.
He lost his glasses, but when he clambered back upon the
platform he called out : " Next case ! " as if nothing un-
usual had happened.
Long before the initiation was over the policemen had
roused the excitement of Sally Ann, who was perched in
the rigging over the bridge, watching the strange per-
formance, as they ran about the ship chasing culprits who
tried to escape. Each succeeding arrest stirred her up
more and more, and she shrieked out her grief in unearthly
yells. One of the bluejackets had to gather her in his
arms and stroke her head and talk soothingly to her before
she would be comforted.
Another thing that pleased Neptune and the bluejackets
was the appearance of an enormous gull, a " goney bird,"
they called it, that hovered over the initiation ceremonies
for more than an hour, turning and twisting its head and
giving out strange calls. Where the bird came from no
one saw. The ship was 300 miles out to sea. No other
bird of the kind was in sight. It was the sailor's omen of
good luck. When the bird alighted in the rigging a cheer
went up. That sealed the matter of good luck and then
the bird flew off to the other ships and watched the cere-
So hour after hour the initiation went on until the last
man had been rounded up and Neptune pronounced the
84 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
day's work well done. He sent this signal to Admiral
The Commander-in-Chief, U. 3. Atlantic Fleet.
I have to inform the Commander-in-Chief that I have completed
the ceremonies on board the good ship Louisiana, will haul down my
standard and take my departure. The Commander-in-Chief will ac-
cept my best wishes for himself, officers and men of the United
States Atlantic fleet for a most pleasant voyage, and may all the
royal subjects meet again.
Ruler of the Royal Domain.
Neptune then retreated into the fo'c'sle for refreshment
and remained there until darkness came. Then a barrel
filled with oakum and oil and tar was set on fire and put
afloat. It sailed away in the night. It was " Neptune's
boat," and he was going back to his royal domains.
After he had gone certificates duly signed and embel-
lished with mermaids and sea urchins and starfish and ropes,
with an octopus for a background and a picture of Nep-
tune rising from the sea at the top and with the ship's seal
affixed to bits of red, white and blue ribbon, were presented
to all hands. Never again will a man who can show one
of them have to take a dousing and barbering with suit-
able medical treatment on crossing the line.
The certificates read:
DOMAIN OF NEPTUNTJS REX,
RULER OF THE RAGING MAIN.
To all Sailors, wherever ye may be, and to all Mermaids, Sea Ser-
pents, Whales, Sharks, Porpoises, Dolphins, Skates, Eels, Suckers,
Lobsters, Crabs, Pollywogs and other living things of the sea.
GREETING: Know ye that on this 6th day of January, 1908, in
latitude 00,000 and longitude 37, 11', W., there appeared within the
limits of Our Royal Domain the U. S. S. Louisiana, bound southward
for the Straits of Magellan and Pacific ports.
NEPTUNE AHOY! 85
BE IT REMEMBERED
That the Vessel and Officers and Crew thereof have been inspected
and passed on by Ourself and Our Royal Staff.
AND BE IT KNOWN: By all ye Sailors, Marines, Landlubbers and
others who may be honored by his Presence that
having been found worthy to be numbered as one OF OUR TRUSTY
SHELLBACKS, has been gathered to our fold and duly initiated into the
SOLEMN MYSTERIES OF THE ANCIENT ORDER OF THE DEEP.
BE IT FURTHER UNDERSTOOD: That by virtue of the power invested
in me I do hereby command all my subjects to show due honor and
respect to him whenever he may enter Our Realm.
DISOBEY THIS ORDER UNDER PENALTY OF OUR ROYAL DISPLEASURE.
Given under our hand and seal this sixth day of January, 1908.
NEPTUNUS REX.. ,
His Majesty's Scrib?.
[Seal of the Louisiana.]
BRAZIL'S ENTHUSIASTIC WELCOME
Never Before Did American Ships Have Such a Welcome The
Visit a Continual Exchange of Prisoners Made by Friendship
Americans Found it Easy to Sail Into This Bay of all Delights,
but Very Hard to Sail Out Jack Had a Fine Time Ashore and
Behaved Properly More Than 4,000 of Him on Liberty at One
Time Official Welcome Sincere, and That of the People From
the Heart Vice Admiral's Salutes Greeted Evans.
On Board U. S. S. Louisiana, U. S. Battle Fleet,
Rio JANEIRO, Jan. 22.
IN Describing the arrival, reception and stay of the
American fleet in this port, the impulse is almost irre-
sistible to use superlatives. There can be no error of
judgment or of taste in employing the comparative de-
gree, for strict accuracy compels the assertion that never
was an American fleet greeted more cordially and never
entertained more elaborately in a foreign port than in this
port, the " Bay of All Beauties," and in this city, fast be-
coming the Paris of the Western Hemisphere.
The greetings were unmistakably of the heart. They
were far more than official expressions of esteem. It was
our old familiar friend of the North, the Vox Populi, that
spoke, and no levity is intended when that expression is
used. The people acclaimed the fleet and that aspect was
so overwhelming, so constant, so omnipresent that it
BRAZIL'S ENTHUSIASTIC WELCOME 87
dwarfed everything else. No foreign port and no Ameri-
can port ever saw so many American bluejackets ashore in
ten days ; no foreign port ever opened its arms more freely
to American sailors of high and low degree.
The reception of the fleet was a decided surprise. The
officers were confident that the welcome would be cordial,
that the expressions of politeness customary on such occa-
sions would ring true, that the entertainments would be in
keeping with the situation. No one doubted that Brazil
would do the handsome thing. It was expected that the
officials would exert themselves to say pleasing things and
provide receptions and dinners, and would exchange calls
and observe punctiliously all the niceties that international
courtesy demands. But no one expected what might be
called strictly an uprising of the people, and the bestowal
of that fiction of official receptions in a foreign port,
known as the freedom of the city, in such a manner as to
turn fiction into fact.
It seemed to be true and undoubtedly was true that the
Americans captured Rio, took it by storm, if you please ;
it did not seem to be true but was true that Rio captured
the Americans from Admirals down to coal passers. From
the hour of arrival to the hour of departure it was a con-
stant, an incessant exchange of friendship's prisoners.
Without this the American fleet could never have sailed
away, and the fears expressed in the United States when
the fleet left on its cruise that it might never come back as
a unit or in parts would have been realized.
It was easy as a matter of seamanship to sail into Rio
harbor. It was as hard a job as any American Admiral
ever tackled, as a matter of parting with friends, to sail
88 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
out. Any American President who may order a fleet of
battleships into this harbor in the future should take that
matter into serious consideration. The Americans do not
want to lose their battleships. Prudence requires caution
hereafter in running risks with Brazilian hospitality.
It was about 9 o'clock on Sunday morning, January
12, when the fleet passed Cape Frio, seventy-five miles to
the east of Rio. Far back on the hills is a signal station.
It used the international code and the flags that snapped
in the breeze said:
" Welcome, American fleet ! "
" Sounds pretty good," said a signal officer. Then
came the Yankton, which had been sent on ahead to meet
Admiral Evans and inform him of the plans for anchoring
and receptions and the like. Just before noon three Bra-
zilian warships were observed about a dozen miles out from
Rio. On they came and bugles were sounded and rails
manned and salutes exchanged. One, two, three, and so
on, went the guns of the Brazilian cruiser that led the two
torpedo boats. One by one the reports were counted care-
fully, as is always the case on a warship. Thirteen were
boomed out and then came another and another and then a
stop. It was a Vice-Admiral's salute.
Instantly the query ran through the fleet: Has Ad-
miral Evans been promoted? The wiseacres were not de-
ceived. They said that the Brazilians reasoned that the
Commander-in-Chief of any fleet the size of this should be
a Vice-Admiral, and that the Brazilians were taking no
chances in not being sufficiently polite to cover any con-
Soon the mountains immediately surrounding the beau-
BRAZIL'S ENTHUSIASTIC WELCOME 89
tiful harbor came into view. A dozen steam launches had
ventured outside. Then came the careful evolutions of
getting into exact column for entering the harbor.
The day was beautiful, old Sugar Loaf and Corcovado
and all the other peaks seemed to be standing up with the
dignity of stiff salutes, and then came a peep into the nar-
row entrance of the harbor. The place was alive with
small boats. The signal stations were all aflutter with
Slowly the Connecticut led the way and, when just be-
yond old Fort Santa Cruz on the eastern side, boomed a
salute to the port. From a little rock all smoothed off
and fairly polished, given up entirely to a fort, Ville-
gagnon, came the answering salute. Instantly the whis-
tles of hundreds of craft were set loose and tied down. No
American has ever heard such a shrieking of vessels ex-
cept at the international yacht races off Sandy Hook. The
noise at Sandy Hook was greater because the number of
boats about was greater ; that's the only reason. How-de-
do and welcome came from big and little craft all loaded
down with people in their Sunday best, if they have such
things down here. Parenthetically it may be remarked
that judging from the way the women dress for street wear
every day is Sunday with them in the matter of clothes.
There were half a dozen boat crews out in eight-oared
barges. Launches, rowboats, steamers, ferryboats, sailing
craft of all kinds were just inside the harbor entrance.
Soon magnificent Botafoga Bay unfolded itself with
that wonderfully beautiful long reach of avenue, Bairo-
Mar, running four miles in a crescent from the heart of
the city toward Sugar Loaf, all set out in artistic land-
90 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
scape treatment. It was black with the people. Then the
fleet approached the city proper. With a glass one could
make out that the hills, the houses, the waterfront were
black with the people. As Vice-Admiral Maurity after-
ward said in a speech :
" The whole of the population of Rio, of all ages, chiefly
belonging to the fair sex, could not avoid going out of
their houses to crowd the neighborhoods of the harbor, the
hills and islands around it, and all other points of view
from the city of Rio and the Nictheroy's side, in order to
greet the passage of the American fleet and to better appre-
ciate the interesting display of her manoeuvres."
Moreover, the population had been waiting there prac-
tically for two days. The fleet was scheduled to come in
on Saturday. All of Saturday and far into the night tens
of thousands had waited upon the hills and waterfronts.
They were back, we were told, early on Sunday morn-
ing and they blackened and whitened the entire city. The
American officers were almost dumfounded. What does
it all mean, was the general inquiry.
On steamed the Connecticut, and it was discovered that
there was a German cruiser, the Bremen, in the harbor.
More salutes! By the way, it may be remarked that
Admiral Evans got the Rear Admiral's salute inside the
harbor, the proper one that his two-starred flag requires.
He got another Vice-Admiral's salute and many persons
thought it was a delicate hint to the United States when
the Italian cruiser Puglia came in a day or two later and
gave him fifteen guns.
When the ships anchored in four lines opposite the cen-
tral part of the city, the Brazilian ships, about a dozen of
BRAZIL'S ENTHUSIASTIC WELCOME 91
them, were anchored inside. Pratique was granted within
half an hour of the time of the anchoring, which required
some slow manoeuvring in order to reach the exact posi-
No official calls were made that night because it was well
after 5 o'clock when the last anchor was down, and it was
Sunday. The populace thronged the waterfront, in some
places ten deep, until after dark, and then the Brazilian
ships illuminated in honor of the fleet. Fireworks were set
off from the hilltops. Still the people stayed on the water-
front. Up to midnight they could be seen in thousands.
They were there when daylight came ; if not the same ones,
then a fresh relay. From that day on until the ships left
there never was an hour when the waterfront, especially of
the city proper, was not thronged with the people looking
at the ships.
The far famed Bay of Rio ! What shall be said about
it? Travellers and guide books have told of its beauties
without ceasing. Every well-informed person knows that
it is regarded as the finest in the world, that even Naples is
dwarfed in these descriptions in comparison. It is worth
while to recount its glories again, especially as it revealed
itself to naval men.
The writer knows of no better naval twist to give to such
a description than was written by Herman Melville, who
entered this bay on the United States frigate United States
way back in 1843, and who has described the scene in his
fascinating book "White Jacket." Nature is still the
same. Old Sugar Loaf, the liberty capped Corcovado,
literally the hunchback, the Organ Mountains and all the
other peaks still rear their heads as they did then and en-
92 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
circle Rio. Here is what Melville wrote from a naval
" Talk not of Bahia de Todos os Santos, the Bay of All
Saints, for though that be a glorious haven, yet Rio is the
Bay of all Rivers, the Bay of all Delights, the Bay of
all Beauties. From circumjacent hillsides untiring sum-
mer hangs perpetually in terraces of vivid verdure, and
embossed with old mosses convent and castle nestle in valley
" All around deep inlets run into the green mountain
land, and overhung with wild highlands more resemble
Loch Katrine than Lake Leman, yet here in Rio both the
loch and the lake are but two wild flowers in a prospect
that is almost unlimited. For behold, far away and away
stretches the broad blue of the water to yonder soft swell-
ing hills of light green, backed by the purple pinnacles and
pipes of the grand Organ Mountains fitly so-called, for in
thunder time they roll cannonades down the bay, drowning
the blended bass of all the cathedrals in Rio.
" Archipelago Rio, ere Noah on old Ararat anchored his
ark, there lay anchored in you all these green rocky isles I
now see, but God did not build on you, isles, those long lines
of batteries, nor did our blessed Saviour stand godfather
at the christening of you, you frowning fortress of Santa
Cruz, though named in honor of Himself, the divine Prince
" Amphitheatrical Rio ! in your broad expanse might be
held the Resurrection and Judgment Day of the whole
world's men-o'-war, represented by the flagships of fleets
the flagships of the Phoenician armed galleys of Tyre
and Sidon; of King Solomon's annual squadrons that
BRAZIL'S ENTHUSIASTIC WELCOME 93
sailed to Ophir, whence in aftertimes, perhaps, sailed the
Acapulco fleets of the Spaniards, with golden ingots for
ballasting ; the flagships of all the Greek and Persian craft
that exchanged the warhug at Salamis ; of all the Roman
and Egyptian galleys that, eaglelike, with blood dripping
prows, beaked each other at Actium; of all the Danish
keels of the Vikings ; of all the mosquito craft of Abba
Thule, King of the Pelaws, when he went to vanquish Artin-
sall ; of aU the Venetian, Genoese and Papal fleets that came
to shock at Lepanto ; of both horns of the Spanish Armada ;
of the Portuguese squadron that under the gallant Gama
chastised the Moors and discovered the Moluccas; of all
the Dutch navies led by Van Tromp and sunk by Admiral
Hawke ; of the forty-seven French and Spanish sail-of-the-
line that for three months essayed to batter down Gibral-
tar; of all Nelson's seventy-fours that thunderbolted off
St. Vincent's, at the Nile, Copenhagen and Trafalgar; of
all the frigate merchantmen of the East India Company;
of Perry's war brigs, sloops and schooners that scattered
the British armament on Lake Erie; of all the Barbary
corsairs captured by Bainbridge ; of the war canoes of
Polynesian Kings, Tamma-hammaha and Pomare ay,
one and all, with Commodore Noah for their Lord High
Admiral, in this abounding Bay of Rio might all come to
anchor and swing round in concert to the first of the flood.
" Rio is a small Mediterranean, and what was fabled of
the entrance to that sea, in Rio is partly made true, for here
at the mouth stands one of Hercules's Pillars, the Sugar
Loaf Mountain, 1,000 feet high, inclining over a little
like the leaning tower of Pisa. At its base crouch like
mastiffs the batteries of Jose and Theodosia, while opposite
94. WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
you are menaced by a rock bounded fort. The channel be-
tween the sole inlet to the bay seems but a biscuit's
toss over, you see naught of the landlocked sea within until
fairly in the strait. But then what a sight is beheld!
Diversified as the harbor of Constantinople, but a thousand-
fold grander. When the Neversink (the frigate United
States) swept in word was passed, 'Aloft, topmen! and
furl t '-gallant sails and royals ! ' At the sound I sprang
into the rigging and was soon at my perch. How I hung
over that main royal yard in a rapture! High in air,
poised over that magnificent bay, a new world to my rav-
ished eyes. I felt like the foremost of a flight of angels
new lighted upon earth from some star in the Milky Way."
Few men on this fleet felt the rapture that Melville des-
cribed so poetically, but every one felt a thrill. Had Mel-
ville lived to more recent times he might have included the
fleet of Farragut and Porter, of the Austrians and Italians,
of the Russians and Japanese, of the Spanish, in that
mighty roll call of the ressurrection of fleets of the world,
for surely there is room for all.
For twenty miles up there is deep water in the bay, and
hiding places too among the 365 islands, one for every
day in the year, that stud the waters. Santa Cruz and all
the other forts Melville mentions are still there and a dozen
more besides, most of them inside the harbor, built, as one
grim fighter on the American fleet said, more for use
against domestic than foreign foes. The very situation of
those forts spells out fear of revolution, but that's another
The next morning after arrival came the unfolding of
Rio to the visitors. Even those who had visited the place
BRAZIL'S ENTHUSIASTIC WELCOME 95
before had shaken their heads solemnly about it. The
scenery all about is grand, they said, wonderful, but the city
itself well, hands were raised in deprecation, nostrils di-
lated, followed by a sad shake of heads. Didn't the guide
books tell you it was a foul, ill smelling place? Wasn't
it a matter of course that the city would be reeking with
yellow fever in this its midsummer time?
The officials told the fleet officers that there was no yellow
fever in the place. Polite expressions of surprise with
surreptitious nudges behind the back! They said that
the city had been transformed in the last four years, was
well paved and beautified and they expressed the hope that
the Americans would like it. More expressions of polite
surprise and assurances that the city always was at-
tractive, with more nudges behind the back. And then
when the officials went back to shore didn't the officers make
a dive for the ships' libraries and read facts, real facts,
mind you, about the place? Didn't W. E. Curtis write
this about Rio :
" Viewed from the deck of a ship in the harbor the city
of Rio looks like a fragment of fairyland a cluster of
alabaster castles decorated with vines; but the illusion is
instantly dispelled upon landing, for the streets are narrow,
damp, dirty, reeking with repulsive odors and filled with
vermin covered beggars and wolfish looking dogs. There
is now and then a lovely little spot where nature has dis-
played her beauties unhindered and the environs of the
city are filled with the luxury of tropical vegetation ; but
there are only a few fine residences, a few pleasant prome-
nades, and a few clusters of regal palms which look down
upon the filth and squalor of the town with dainty indif-
96 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
ference. The palm is the peacock of trees. Nothing can
degrade it, and the filth in which it often grows only serves
to heighten its beauty. The pavements are of the rough-
est cobblestone; the streets are so narrow that scarcely a
breath of air can enter them, and the sunshine cannot reach
the pools of filth that steam and fester in the gutters,
There are half a dozen descriptions such as that, some
of them as recent as 1900. Oh, yes, the Americans knew
what kind of a city they were going to see. Hadn't some
of them been here before? Didn't some of the surgeons
on the fleet shake their heads gravely when it was signalled
from the flagship that there would be general liberty?
What did the Americans find? This is part of what the
Americans saw ; it would take pages to tell it all :
They saw one of the cleanest and best paved cities in the
world. New York in the Waring days never had cleaner
streets. There was not a foul smell in evidence. There
was even no West street or South street odor along the
waterfront. Where the streets were not of asphalt they
were of wood. There were no beggars on the highways ;
at any rate the Sun's correspondent did not see one, and
he spent hours ashore every day.
The old part of town still has its narrow streets, the
chief of which, Ouvridor, is about half as wide as Nassau
street and which no vehicles are permitted to enter. But
the great surprise of all was the magnificent Central ave-
nue, built within the last four years right through the
heart of the city from north to south, just as Napoleon
built highways in Paris, connecting at the south with the
BRAZIL'S ENTHUSIASTIC WELCOME 97
great sweeping shore boulevards, where the beautiful Mon-
roe Palace stands.
This new avenue rivals anything that Paris can show.
It is about 120 feet wide, with sidewalks fifteen feet broad.
In the centre are lofty lights on artistic poles, each group
set in a little isle of safety filled with flowers and grasses
and plants. The architecture along the avenue is harmo-
nious throughout. The effect is imposing and makes a
New Yorker think.
But those sidewalks ! It is mighty fortunate for New
York that she has none like them. If she had, the psycho-
pathic ward in Bellevue would have to be enlarged ten
times over for the patrons of the Great White Way.
They are big mosaics, composed of small pieces of black
and white granite. The black pieces are used for orna-
mentation. Every block has a different design. Some
have zigzags, others curves and curlycues, others dragons
and starfish (at least they resemble such), others swing here
and there ; others are straight, until you feel that all you
need is a brass band to make you march ; others take you in
swoops this way and that ; arrows and daggers point them-
selves at you; bouquets in stone attract you until you
almost feel that you want to stoop to get a whiff; but the
predominant feeling is that the designs were sunk for sail-
ors to roll back to the ship on, heaving to occasionally for
bearings; or for intoxicated men to take another tack in
the hope of finding a shorter way.
One of the bluejackets hit this particular " beach " one
afternoon after he had been drinking too much. He
stopped short and called to his mate, a few feet away :
98 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
" Bill, come here ! Take me away ! What do I see ?
Look at 'em ! Snakes ? Yes, they are snakes ! I got 'em !
Hit that big feller on the head ! It's the brig f er me when
I get back. Take me away, Bill! Think o' the disgrace
o' gettin' the jimjams in a foreign port. Bowery booze
f er me after this ! Take me away, Bill ! 'Tain't snakes ?
Honest? Jes' sidewalk? 'Ray for Brazil!"
Then the bluejacket got on his knees and felt to make
sure it was " jes' sidewalk " while a crowd of Brazilians
gathered around and some of them thought Yankee sailors
either had queer ways of investigation or of making their
devotions under the effect of libations and smiled, and in
Portuguese told Bill and Tom they were good fellows.
As one went to the south on this Central avenue he came
upon the nearly finished municipal theatre, one of the
handsomest playhouses in the world and probably the larg-
est in the western hemisphere. Then came the new pub-
lic library and other Federal and municipal buildings that
are being erected back of old Castello Hill, where the first
settlers squatted, and the remains of their huddled manner
of living still present themselves to the eye. And then
one came to the white Renaissance pile, the strikingly beaut-
iful Monroe Palace, named after our own Monroe, whose
famous doctrine is woven into the woof and warp of the
The building is segregated and is at the very gate of
the great boulevard system fronting on the bay. It is
conspicuous from the harbor. Brazil's flag the green
field, representing luxuriant vegetation; the yellow dia-
mond, representing the gold and other mineral wealth ;
4he broad, banded globe of blue in the centre, representing
BRAZIL'S ENTHUSIASTIC WELCOME 99
the dominion of Brazil, with one star above the equator
for its single State in the northern hemisphere, and other
stars in the south portraying the southern States, and also
the famous constellation of the Southern Cross at a certain
significant date in the year the Brazilian flag flew from
the dome and on each corner were large American flags.
This palace is where the Pan-American Congress met,
where Secretary Root made a profound impression in his
address. Next to Roosevelt the name of Root is foremost
on the lips of Brazilians. His visit made the deepest im-
pression here. It is still talked of, even on the highways.
That visit, the Monroe Palace and the visit of this fleet are
bound to be felt for years in the expressions of genuine
international friendship of various kinds which will be
made between the two great republics of the North and
Then one saw the boulevard system. Again one must
repress himself. It is safe to say that no city in the world
has anything like it, that no avenue or highway is more
beautiful and imposing. One might combine the beauties
of the waterfront of Naples and Nice or of any spot in
the Riviera with those of the Shore Drive of New York's
Narrows and Riverside Drive and Lafayette Boulevard in
New York, and still they could not compare with this beau-
tifully ornamented stretch of boulevard that curves about
the bright blue bay.
Illuminated with thousands of lights at night the effect
from the harbor is that of a long crescent of diamonds
flashing upon the forehead of the bay. No one who has
ever seen this highway of miles with its palatial dwellings
fronting upon it and set back against the hills can ever
100 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
forget it. It wasn't here when Melville wrote, but truly
it makes the city Amphitheatrical Rio !
Then the Americans began to wander about the city.
The narrow streets in the business district are like those
of Havana and many other cities of people of Latin de-
scent. Through this part of town run little mule propelled
tramways with the narrow rails so close to the sidewalks that
when the tram is crowded to the side steps there is danger
of sweeping the passengers off by passing pedestrians.
The visitors saw the cafes, real cafes, where the principal
drink is coffee, " strong as the devil, as black as ink, as
hot as hell and as sweet as love."
Some of the Americans liked the coffee, but the wise
ones confined their drinking to limeades. Then the visitors
saw the many crowded cinematograph shows, the crowded
shops, the powdered, and what Americans would call over-
dressed women, the panorama of the highways, the news-
boys, the hundreds of lottery shops.
But above all else they noted the clean condition of
things. They asked if it was a sudden spurt of cleanliness
and were told that it was not. They asked how about
these new streets and the extensive, harmonious and com-
prehensive building that is going on. It was declared
to be part of a broad policy that has been in progress for
four or five years, part of a plan to make Rio one of the
most beautiful cities in the world, a plan to make it fit the
magnificent surroundings which nature has provided for
it. American opinion was all summed up in this general
" As handsome a city as I ever saw."
It was when the bluejackets went ashore that the Ameri-
BRAZIL'S ENTHUSIASTIC W?LCpjME iilpljj
cans began to realize what Brazil's welcome really meant.
The boys landed with a whoop and began to scatter.
Sailorlike some of them headed for the saloons, but the
people expected that and were surprised that more of them
didn't fall by the wayside. Most of the men, however,
went in for rational enjoyment. They crowded the post
card emporiums, they bought fruit and trinkets, they piled
on the tramways and went any old place so long as it was
They filled the streets, the cinematograph places. Yes,
they hired automobiles and rode about like nabobs to the
astonishment of the natives, who must have wondered at the
princely wages the United States paid its men. They went
to the best restaurants and hotels. Everywhere they were
welcomed. " English spoken here " was a frequent sign.
They were even allowed to loll on the grass of the many
beautiful parks, an act that costs a native a fine of from
five to fifteen milreis. They were respectful to all, but
they had a commanding way about them that took. They
owned the town ; they knew it, but did not attempt to take
the slightest advantage of it.
As the days went by and one saw the behavior of these
bluejackets his American heart was filled with pride over
them. They were clean, intelligent, manly, open, as fine
a brand of sailor as ever wore a uniform, obeyed an order
or sported their money lavishly in a foreign port.
The first thing that greeted the eye of every man who
landed at the beautiful park that used to be an eyesore in
the central part of the waterfront was a big sign reading :
" Information Bureau for American Seamen."
It was an information bureau, a real one. It was the
;!<? WI^H THE BATTLE FLEET
most useful kind of a welcome ever provided in a foreign
port for the sailors of any people. The American and
English residents, aided by those of other countries, had
been busy preparing for weeks for the visit of Jack ashore.
Every safeguard, every assistance that was possible to make
his liberty comfortable, profitable, enjoyable was looked
after. It took hard cash to do it, but the money was
raised and it amounted to thousands of dollars.
In the first place, the ferry company to Nictheroy set
apart a large room in its commodious new building.
Counters were put up for information booths, postal card
booths, exchange of money, sale of various kinds of tickets
for things with guides by the score and attendants anxious
to answer all kinds of questions. Men and women worked
there from twelve to fourteen hours a day for ten days in
the stifling heat, all eager to be of assistance to Jack ashore.
A pamphlet was provided giving a map of the city and
displaying all the chief places of interest. Full informa-
tion was printed about everything that a man bent on ra-
tional enjoyment could desire. The pamphlets told all
about transportation, about the places to see, about postage
and the many general and special excursions that had been
Jack soon found it out and he rushed there in throngs.
He found long tables in the room with free writing paper,
ink, pens, mucilage, and down he sat to write to sweetheart
or wife. Then he went to change his money. Here he
struck a snag. A dollar is worth 3,200 reis. One of the
sailors got a $10 note changed. He received in exchange
32,000 reis. He was astonished.
" Here, fellers ! " he shouted, " I got 32,000 reis for $10.
BRAZIL'S ENTHUSIASTIC WELCOME 103
Gee, whiz! Me for Wall Street! When kin I get a
steamer home, mister? Holy Moses! I've got rich and
I didn't know it."
Jack found out quickly that he wasn't rich, for Rio is
just now fairly oppressed with enormously high prices,
due, it is said, to paying heavy taxes for all the improve-
ments that have been going on. He found that he had to
pay 300 reis for an ordinary postage stamp, 400 reis for
a glass of limeade, about 800 reis for a handkerchief or
a collar, and as for a bottle of beer, that was good for a
thousand reis or so, and the money began to melt quickly.
But what did Jack care? It was an automobile for him,
or something equally expensive. What's the use of being
an American man-o'-war's man if you can't act like a mil-
lionaire for an hour or so in a foreign port?
When the money was changed Jack found out the full
value of these self-sacrificing men and women who * had
done so much for his comfort. He got a fair exchange
for his money and wasn't robbed. This committee had
provided him with guides to all sorts of places free of
charge, had made up excursion parties all over the city
and the surrounding country, had provided rubbernecks
and how Jack did grin when he saw the familiar things
carriages, special trams and what not ; had provided
for the sale of meal tickets, the best postal cards, had co-
operated with the police to look for stragglers.
Well, Jack smiled and smiled, and he knew he was in the
hands of his friends. The Prefect of the city, Gen. Souza
Aguiar, was chairman of the committee, and all the lead-
ing Americans and Englishmen joined in. Especially ac-
tive was the acting Consul-General of the United States,
104 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
J. J. Slechta, and Myron A. Clark, the Y. M. C. A. sec-
retary. The Y. M. C. A. here is affiliated with the Sands
street branch in Brooklyn. The placards told Jack all
about it, and the first thing he asked was if Miss Gould had
helped to pay the expenses. He was told that she had
not, because she had probably not been informed about it.
He answered invariably:
" Betch'r sweet life she would if she'd known about it.
'Ray for Helen Gould!"
Here is a summary of what work was done for our sailors
by this bureau in ten days:
Eight thousand sheets of paper and 5,000 envelopes pro-
vided free of charge, 21,000 guides to the city printed and
circulated, about 175,000 postage stamps sold, nearly
2,000 meal tickets sold, 3,500 special excursions provided,
these in addition to the many general excursions; about
$175,000 exchanged at the lowest possible rates, about
170,000 post cards sold, about 2,000 automobile trips ar-
So Jack and all the others of the fleet went sightseeing.
They went to Petropolis, the summer capital, with its tem-
perate climate, in the tropics, and only twenty-two miles
away, up back of the Organ Mountains. You climb the
heights on a cog railroad, just as you climb Pike's Peak,
and you see the magnificent views of valleys, the bay, the ra-
vines and gulches that would do credit to the Rocky Moun-
tains. Jack and his mates went to Corcovado in throngs,
starting on trolleys that crossed the famous old aqueduct
back of the hills right in the city and climbed on and up
around the city for miles with scarce a hundred feet of
straight track. Then they took the steep cog railroad,
BRAZIL'S ENTHUSIASTIC WELCOME 105
and after a time found themselves poised on the peak 2,300
feet above the city, with this place of 800,000 inhabitants
and its bay and the sea all spread out before them in prob-
ably the most fascinating panorama that the world pre-
sents. They visited the wonderful botanical garden, with
its magnificent avenue of royal palms and its flower beds,
its trees, its ferns, a truly royal place. One of the young
officers told what he thought of this garden when he said :
" When I get married I am going to come down here
and march up that mile of palms for the aisle in God's
church. It will be the finest setting for the finest bride
in the world. The newspapers needn't take the trouble
to mention the bridegroom's name. That of the bride
linked with the majestic aisle will be sufficient."
And so one might go on and on into raptures and ex-
travagant expressions. The people's gracious mood
matched their city and the visitors were simply overwhelmed
with hospitality on every side.
The sailors grew to the situation. Day by day there
were fewer signs of too much drinking. Occasionally a
man or two would overstep the bounds, but the authorities
saw to it that the Americans handled their own men in that
Only one incident marred the visit, and it was a pity
that any mention of it was cabled to the United States.
After that had been done it was necessary to send the truth
and correct misapprehension. It was on the first night of
liberty. It was merely a saloon brawl. A native negro
had a row with another and threw a bottle at him. The
second dodged it and the bottle struck one of our seamen
at a table and hurt him. He got after the negro, who
106 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
escaped. Back the negro came with a razor and fell upon
the first bluejacket he saw.
Several of the best petty officers on one of the ships
jumped in to quell the disturbance. The rabble thought
they jumped in to fight. Stones were thrown and three of
the peacemakers were hurt. The local police didn't size
up the situation and were slow to act. They arrested the
negro, but let him go. After that they said it was a de-
Liberty was recalled at once and marines were sent ashore,
but it was soon over, and the next morning at the request
of the authorities 2,000 men were sent ashore instead of
1,000 daily as had been planned. The men were warned to
conduct themselves properly, and to the everlasting credit
of our American seamen it must be said they heeded the
An illustration of what might have been occurred on the
night of Sunday, January 19. Rival political clubs were
parading about town carrying banners and flags and also
giving cheers of " Vivan los Americanos ! " They invited
a lot of bluejackets to join them. Not knowing what the
parades meant, good natured Jack of course would go
along. About twenty of them joined each of two proces-
sions and had the distinction of carrying the flags and
hurrahing every other step. It was great fun. The naval
officers on shore heard of what was going on and dashed up
in automobiles. The Brazilians would not let their dear
friends go and the officers had a hard time to get the men
free. They at once obeyed instructions to scatter, and
said they were simply having a good time with their new
BRAZIL'S ENTHUSIASTIC WELCOME 107
Ten minutes later those two parades minus the blue-
jackets came into a collision and there was quite severe
rioting, with stone throwing and the use of knives and
bludgeons. Had the bluejackets remained innocently with
the parades they would have been in the thick of it and
terrible reports would probably have been cabled to the
United States of our sailors mixing in political affairs,
probably instigating revolution and being most awful
rioters. It was a narrow escape to get them away in time.
By the end of the week so completely had good feeling
been established that from 4,000 to 5,000 men were sent
ashore on Sunday. It was the largest liberty party of
American sailors ever known. New York never saw so
many of our men ashore at one time. It made one proud
of his country and its men to see that party ashore. There
were not twenty cases of drunkenness when the boys came
Nothing could have been more cordial and warmhearted,
more lavish, than the entertainments given in the name of
the Brazilian Government. The one regret was that Ad-
miral Evans, because of an attack of his recurrent malady,
rheumatism, was unable to take part in them personally.
Admiral Thomas took his place admirably.
The tone of all the official greetings was that of undis-
guised friendship. President Penna made it manifest on
the first day when he met the officers at Petropolis. Then
Vice-Admiral Cordovil Maurity voiced it in English on the
top of Corcovado the next day, and perhaps it is well to
give his speech in full. Here it is as translated for the
108 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
Ladies, His Excellency Vice-Admiral the Minister of Marine,
Gallant Admirals, Captains and officers of the Navy of the U. S. A.,
In my character of Admiral of the Brazilian Navy, Chief of the
General Staff and Commander-in-Chief of the Fleet, as well as with
the authority of an old sailor, who knows the rules of military and
diplomatic pragmatic, I feel very happy in this moment, to speak
to you, American sailors, in the name of my Government, of the
Brazilian people and of my comrades of the National Navy, in
order to salute and give the hearty welcome to Admiral R. Evans,
the Commander-in-Chief, Admirals Charles Sperry, Charles Thomas
and William Emory, the Captains, Officers and Crews of the powerful
North American fleet that entered the day before yesterday in the
harbour of Rio.
I beg then to avail myself of this fine opportunity, when we are
just gathered at the summit of Corcovado, at 800 metres above the
level of the sea, to present the warmest demonstration of sym-
pathy and friendship towards our brothers of the great Navy of
the United States of America, as a general and sincere greeting
spontaneously born from the core of the Brazilian's hearts. The
real proof of this true assertion of mine you have just met during
the solemn occasion of the triumphal entrance of your brilliant fleet,
the most efficient naval strength, up to the present, that has ever
been seen crossing this side of the Atlantic Ocean and getting into
waters of the bay of Guanabara.
Indeed, it was such an important naval scene, such a splendid
maritime spectacle, that the whole of the population in Rio, of all
ages, chiefly belonging to the fair sex could not avoid going out
their houses to crowd the neighbourhoods of the harbour, the hills
and islands around it, and all other points of view from the city
of Rio and the Nictheroy side, in order to greet the passage of
the American fleet and to better appreciate the interesting display
of her manoeuvres. So, I may assure you, gentlemen, with my ex-
perience of a sea man, that the splendor of the scenery just alluded
to, in combination with the singular and natural beauties of the
bay of Guanabara, in which you were fraternally received with open
arms, by the mild people all classes of our society, was of the sort of
those fairy things impossible to be described, written or spoken about.
Yes, gentlemen, the peaceful commission of your fleet waving the
star spangled banner of the great Republic of the United States of
BRAZIL'S ENTHUSIASTIC WELCOME 109
America around this continent of ours and training the crews of
her men-of-war across the largest and deepest oceans, is certainly an
act of very right naval policy, chiefly on the behalf of order and dis-
cipline of industry, labor and trade, of diplomacy and fraternal
comity, and, at last, it means an exchange of civilisation amongst the
peoples of the several countries of the young, immense and futurous
continent of both Americas.
Therefore, I raise my cup for the health and prosperity of the
sister Navy of the United States of America, one of the mightiest
and more illustrious of the world, whose sacred emblem in command
and perfect sisterhood with ours, let God grant may float side by
side ever for ever and ever for the benefit of universal peace
and general comfort of mankind.
President Penna again made the welcome plain when he
said at his luncheon the day following to the Admirals and
several Captains at Petropolis:
The warm and fraternal welcome which the people of the capital
of the republic have given to the American fleet which is now visit-
ing us ought to prove how deep and sincere the sympathy and friend-
ship which the Brazilian nation feels for its great and prosperous
sister of North America.
These are no fleeting or transitory sentiments, since they date
from the hour of our birth as a nation and are ever growing in
strength. Every day the bonds of friendship and of trade between
the two nations are drawn closer.
When the South American peoples proclaimed their independence,
at that moment so fraught with misgivings and uncertainty as to
the future, the young American republic gave them strength by
solemnly declaring the intangible unity of the peoples of the new
world through the declaration of their great President Monroe,
whose name figures in history with brilliance as a statesman of great
perception and of rare political foresight.
The long and difficult voyage of the powerful fleet which to-day
is the guest of Brazil, necessitating as it does the doubling of the
American continent, is a fresh and splendid evidence of the un-
equalled vigor and the extraordinary energy of the great power which
is a friend of Brazil.
With an expression of ardent and sincere wishes for the fortunate
110 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
continuation of the voyage of the friendly fleet I drink to the glo-
rious American navy, to the prosperity of the republic of the
United States of America and to the personal happiness of its emi-
nent chief, that great statesman, President Roosevelt.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs added to all this in the
great banquet given to the officers later in the Monroe Pal-
ace when, after offering a toast to President Roosevelt, he
The ancient sympathies between the American and Brazilian
navies, added to by these deeds of war, could not fail to be aug-
mented, until the point they have attained by the beneficial force of
the increasing approximation between the two friendly peoples. In
Norfolk and Washington last year the unequivocal demonstrations
made to our officers, which the American Government so expressly
associated itself with, caused the Brazilian gratitude and indebted-
ness; and it is to-day with the greatest satisfaction that in the enter-
tainments promoted by the Brazilian Government, by our navy, and
by our society the people of Rio de Janeiro welcome the American
sailors with the same spontaneous enthusiasm with which they saluted,
in his memorable passage by this country, the eminent propagandist
of peace and of continental concord, Mr. Root.
Brazil is grateful for the visit of her Northern friends, arrived
here in these powerful men of war, which, according to the fine
expression of President Roosevelt, are messengers of friendship and
good will, commissioned to celebrate with us the long continued and
never to be broken amity and mutual helpfulness of the two great
I invite my countrymen here present to unite with me in the name
of the Brazilian nation and its Government in a toast to the gallant
American navy, an example of skill and military discipline, a model
of devotion to their country, and a formidable guardian of the im-
mense prestige of the Great Republic, the pride of the continent.
The same thing was iterated and reiterated in hundreds
of private dinner parties. It received its most vociferous
expression on January 16 at a smoker given to the officers
of the fleet at the Park Fluminense, an outdoor music hall
BRAZIL'S ENTHUSIASTIC WELCOME 111
with a mere roof covering and a stage, set in a garden.
It was like the outdoor suburban amusement places in which
St. Louis and other of our Western cities abound. Four
bands of the ships were massed at the entrance to the pa-
vilion. An immense American shield was lighted with
The flags of Brazil and England and the United States
were entwined. The place was reserved exclusively for
American officers and their hosts. They had an unusually
good vaudeville show and in the intervals our combined
band played. Beer and cigars were served, and soon
things began to warm up. When a medley of patriotic
American airs was played the cheers began to rise. They
could have been heard for blocks. Soon Annapolis songs
and yells and shouts were being given. In the intermis-
sions the place fairly rocked with the songs and yells of
old days. Men who had been tablemates for months shook
hands with one another as if they had just met after a
prolonged separation. Speeches were going on at a dozen
places at once.
Then came the close. Our bands first played the Bra-
zilian national hymn. What a job that is will be told
later. A great outburst of cheers followed after every
man had ceased to stand at attention. The Brazilians were
beside themselves with joy. Then came " God Save the
King ! " Every one could sing that, and while standing at
attention a mighty chorus of song rolled out. More fran-
Then came "The Star Spangled Banner." Profound
silence was observed to the last note. When the salute
was finished a cyclone roar followed. Men jumped on
WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
chairs and yelled and yelled. Hats went into the air.
The Brazilians and English could not be contained. A
score of men were on tables, each trying to take command
of the occasion, each calling for three cheers for this person
and that, for this country and that. None heard the
others, but it was a grand acclaim of good fellowship and
One little Brazilian called for three cheers for President
Roosevelt. The Sun man heard him because he was only
two feet away. The cheers rolled out and the Brazilian
thought he had taken the place by storm, and was as happy
as a child, but the cheers were simply a part of all that
was going up and meant for everybody and everything in
the way of international friendship. It was a night that
And so the visit wore on, and it was a pretty tired crowd
of guests and hosts before the finish came. Probably the
weariest men on the ships were the bandmasters who strug-
gled through the bars of the Brazilian national hymn.
No disrespect is meant, but those Americans who are clam-
oring for a new national hymn ought to hear what the
Brazilians have to put up with and then rest themselves
content for all time with what we have.
In the first place the Brazilian hymn is so long that
when you are playing it as a Brazilian warship passes the
Brazilian gets out of hearing and almost out of sight
before you finish. After a few struggles with the music
the orders were given on some ships to shorten up if the
other ship was out of hearing and save the wind of the
players. Then too it is queer music. It goes hippety hop
it seems a combination of waltz and march, of anthem
BRAZIL'S ENTHUSIASTIC WELCOME
and jig. It may be music, but the writer of this is frank
to say that the Japanese national hymn, with its weird
swoops and dives, curls and twists, seems like a gliding
Strauss waltz compared with the Brazilian hymn. One of
the bandmasters on the fleet complained that his men could
not play it properly.
" Musish no-a good," he said. " No Italian musish
players. All come from Kalamazoo, bah ! "
The Brazilians had hard struggles with the names of
our warships. Minnesota, Louisiana and such were all
right, but Connecticut staggered them. They made almost
as bad as a mess of it as when they pronounced the name of
the High Life Club here or the Light and Power Company.
The Brazilian name for the High Life Club is Higgie
Leaffie Cloob. That of the Light and Power concern is
Liggety Poor Companee. Let it go at that. The reader
must imagine how they pronounced Connecticut, for it
can't be put down on paper.
The departure of the fleet bids fair to be even more
spectacular than the one at Hampton Roads, only the
powder and smoke, and the blare of the bands and all the
rest of the show will be in honor of another President than
our own. When the last gun has boomed it will mean not
only good-by to President Penna and Brazil, but it will
be the blackthroated response of 14,000 American sailors
to Rio. The guns will declare Rio to be not only the City
of All Delights but the City of All Hospitality.
NATIONAL SALUTES AT SEA
Unique Meeting of United States and Argentine Ships 300 Miles
From Land Grand Naval Spectacle High Honors for Ad-
miral Evans and Cordial Greetings for All His Men Fine Dis-
play of Seamanship on South American Vessels Picturesque
Incidents of the Voyage From Rio to the Most Southern City in
the World Nature Put on Mourning as the Farewells Were Said
and Signalled at Brazil's Capital The Man-o'-War Mail From
On Board U. S. S. Louisiana, U. S. Battle Fleet,
PUNTA ARENAS, CHILE, Jan. 31.
THE passage of the battle fleet from Rio to this the
southernmost city of the world was marked by a
marine spectacle unprecedented, so far as any one
in this fleet can recall, in naval annals. A squadron of the
Argentine navy came out hundreds of miles to greet our
ships, and probably for the first time in the history of
navies national salutes were fired upon the high seas.
Squadrons and fleets have passed one another before time
and time again, and honors have been exchanged, the flags
of flag officers have been saluted, but after these courtesies
have been finished they have gone their separate ways, all
official proprieties having been observed.
But this greeting was so unusual that Admiral Evans
set a new naval fashion, and after his flag had been sa-
NATIONAL SALUTES AT SEA 115
luted seventeen guns, by the way ; the number increases
on the way around, and if the warships keep it up, each
one giving the Rear Admiral more and more guns, he will
soon be an Admiral of the fleet in the thundered judg-
ment of other nations, no matter what action Congress may
take he ordered the salute of twenty-one guns for the
Argentines. The Argentine ships gave full justification,
for they had manned the rails on approaching our ships,
an honor paid ordinarily only to the head of a nation.
Admiral Evans met this unusual compliment by choosing
to regard it as an honor to our nation, not a personal
matter, and he fired twenty-one guns, to which the Argen-
tine flagship responded at once. In addition to those
honors the crews of the various ships cheered one another as
they passed. It was all different from the accepted rule of
fleets or squadrons in passing and it left a fine feeling.
" I never saw sentiment carried so far in all my naval
experience," said one man who will soon have the right to
hoist a two-starred Rear Admiral's flag. " Perhaps it was
unusual, but it was impressive; it was impressive."
Our fleet had no sooner reached Rio than Admiral Evans
was informed that the Argentine ships would come out
from Buenos Ayres to greet him on the way to Punta
Arenas. Three days before sailing inquiries were made as
to his probable course and the hour when he would be off
the mouth of the River Plata. The information was cabled
duly and our fleet held itself in readiness to do the proper
and handsome thing for this unusual occasion. Saturday,
January 525, was almost a wonder day at sea. The air,
which had been accumulating a chill under cloudy skies
and an eastern wind, became balmy and the sea was as
116 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
smooth as a pond. The sky remained overcast and the
fleet had been running for three days practically by dead
reckoning. Late on Saturday night the fleet overtook the
tender Yankton and the " beef boats," Glacier and Culgoa.
They were ordered to take their places with the fleet and
when everybody except those on watch went to sleep it was
expected that the three smaller craft would be in their
places in the morning. But the wise weather sharps who
know this region sniffed the air and said:
" Weather breeder ! "
Sure enough at daybreak a heavy sea began rolling
across from the southern coast of Africa and the wind be-
gan to blow. Before 7 o'clock the ships were plunging
and making heavy weather of it. On the log books it was
set down as a moderate gale. The waves sometimes were
twenty-five feet high. The ships with quarter decks cut
down were smothered with spray and solid water from time
to time. The ships rolled very little never in the strong-
est gale have the ships of the Connecticut class at least had
their tables racks in place but they yawed and dipped,
as all ships in heavy weather are expected to do. The
Yankton and Culgoa were not in sight. The weather had
been too much for the little Yankton and she was ordered
to slow down and the Culgoa was told to stand by her.
The air was thick with rain squalls and mist and a more
miserable day could hardly be imagined.
The morning wore on and nothing was heard from the
" Guess the sea was too much for them," was the general
comment. According to our reckoning we had passed the
thirty-fifth parallel of latitude, right off the Plata, just
NATIONAL SALUTES AT SEA 117
before noon. We were also in the proper longitude, but
all was thick, and the general supposition was that the Ar-
gentine fleet had met our torpedo flotilla, which was more
than a day ahead of us, and had escorted that into the
It was just about 1 o'clock in the afternoon when a wire-
less message was received from the Culgoa saying that the
Argentine ships were asking him by wireless for our longi-
tude and latitude. The figures were sent back promptly.
Their figures were also given and some error was made in
transmission. It was figured that they were something like
110 miles to the south and a little to the west of us. The
weather began to moderate and then the opinion was that
if they steered straight for us we ought to meet them about
6 o'clock that Sunday evening. But about 4 o'clock there
came another message from the Culgoa, saying they were
about five miles from that ship and going southwest, the
same course as ours. It was a surprise.
Admiral Evans also received by wireless through the
Culgoa this message of greeting from Admiral Oliva, in
command of the Argentine ships :
Jan. 26, 1908, 2 p.m.
To Rear Admiral Evans:
The commander of the San Martin division of the Argentine navy
salutes Rear Admiral Evans, his officers and men, and transmits to
him the position of the Argentine division ordered to meet him as by
dead reckoning latitude 36 46' S., longitude 53 41' W.
To this greeting Admiral Evans sent this response:
Jan. 26, 1908, 2:43 p.m.
To Rear Admiral Oliva:
Rear Admiral Evans thanks the chief of the Argentine division
118 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
for his courtesy and begs that he will transmit to the Argentine
Government his thanks for sending a naval division to meet the
United States fleet.
Then came another surprise. The Culgoa told us that
the Argentine ships were steaming at the rate of fourteen
and a half knots and were only fifteen knots away.
" Fourteen and a half knots, eh ! " was the open eyed
and arch browed comment. " Wonder how long they can
keep that up! Pretty smart that for a South American
squadron ! "
The sun burst out from the clouds half an hour before
sunset and the navigators got satisfactory observations
and it was possible to send back our exact position. The
Argentines had been groping around for us up to that time
and the best they could do was to find the Culgoa and the
Yankton. The long twilight of the high latitude in mid-
summer followed, but just after 8 o'clock the Connecticut
sent a signal to the fleet and immediately shot its after
searchlight high in the heavens. It caught the clouds miles
and miles back, a brilliant beam. Then came another
signal to the fleet and instantly the after searchlights of all
sixteen ships were combined in a monstrous shaft of light
that cleft a path gleaming with the brilliance of a comet's
tail through the lowering clouds. It vibrated and pul-
sated with the glow of an aurora borealis and every quiver
and dart seemed to say to the Argentines:
" Here we are ! Here we are ! Follow this and you'll
find us. We're only going ten knots an hour. You'll
soon catch up. Hurry along ; we'll be glad to see you."
For twenty minutes that extract of the sun bored into
NATIONAL SALUTES AT SEA 119
the clouds behind, showing the way. It was a veritable pil-
lar of fire by night. The combined smoke of all the
smokepipes of the fleet would have made a pretty good
pillar of cloud by day had it been clear, but it was too late
for that now. Shortly before 9 o'clock, well astern, the
faint light of a ship could be made out with the naked
eye. The quartermaster on the bridge said there were
four lights. Word was sent to the Captain the usual
rule when any, vessel is sighted and the news spread
about, and soon dozens of men were straining their eyes to
see the four lights. By a little after 10 o'clock all had
become so plain that it was said the ships were within five
miles. They came a little nearer and then slowed down for
the night, keeping the same speed as our ships.
When daylight came on Monday, January 27, one of
the fairest days nature ever provided, with a crisp south-
west breeze, corresponding to the northwest breeze with us.
every breath of it a tonic, the Argentine ships were about
three miles astern of us. Shortly before 7 o'clock Admiral
Evans ordered a double evolution. The fleet was in four
divisions abreast, an Admiral leading each division. The
second and fourth divisions were slowed down, and then by
an oblique movement two squadrons were formed. These
again were shifted into one column of sixteen ships pro-
ceeding wing and wing. The colors were hoisted at the
gaff and the Argentines showed their beautiful blue and
Soon the Argentines were observed to put on more speed.
The naval day begins at 8 o'clock in the morning. No
greetings would be passed before that time. The Argen-
tine ships kept creeping up, and when the first passed the
120 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
Kentucky, the last ship in our column, to starboard, it was
seen that her rails were manned. The Argentine ships were
in war color, dark olive green. Their crews were in white.
Our crews had been shifted to blue in the chilly blow of the
day before, but our ships were white.
Up along the line came the Argentines. Every ship
had received a signal to pay the usual honors. Marine
guards were drawn up, the crews were at attention, the
bands on our ships played the Argentine national hymn
and the bands on the four Argentine vessels played
Sixty-four times the national air of each country was
played as the Argentines slowly forged ahead. Many of
the officers had got out the naval books to recognize the
ships of the visitors, as they might be called. Most of the
officers made them out correctly. They were two armored
cruisers of the Cristobal Colon class and two protected
cruisers. They were the San Martin, Buenos Ayres,
Pueyrredon and 9 de Julio, and they made a smart show,
each having a bone in her teeth. They were at intervals
of 1,000 yards, and they kept the intervals as accurately as
American ships would have done, and that is saying a
great deal, as any one can testify who has seen this fleet
sweep into a foreign harbor.
The San Martin had passed the Louisiana and Vermont
and was abreast of the Kansas and just behind the Con-
necticut, and about a thousand yards to the westward, when
up went the American ensign. It was a beautiful new flag,
and the bright sun lit up its folds gloriously. The ensign
could scarcely have looked better upon Old Ironsides.
Then a gun barked out the first detonation of the salute.
NATIONAL SALUTES AT SEA
One by one the guns were counted. Thirteen roared out.
Then came another flash and report.
" Hello ! They're going to follow the Brazilians' ex-
ample and give Admiral Evans a Vice-Admiral's salute,"
was the comment.
Fifteen guns sounded and then came another flash and
boom. Then there was another and then they stopped.
Well! The Americans were surprised. An Admiral's sa-
" They do things in their own way down here," was the
comment, and to this was added invariably : " Wish it was
really true," for it must be recorded here in a spirit of ac-
curacy that there is not an officer or sailor or marine on this
fleet who, if he had his way, would not make Admiral Evans
not only a vice but a full Admiral. It is the honest opinion
of this fleet that he deserves to be at least a Vice-Admiral.
The men in the fleet do not think it becoming to have the
Commander-in-Chief fly a Rear Admiral's flag, a sight that
would not be seen in any other navy.
The Connecticut responded to the salute gun for gun, as
was quite proper as naval things go. The salute from the
San Martin had scarcely ceased before the men on the Ar-
gentine ships broke into cheering, and well they might, for
they were looking upon a naval spectacle such as few other
navies have ever seen. The San Martin crept up beside
the Connecticut, forged ahead and then the Connecticut
with the Argentine ensign at the main fired the usual salute
to the flag of another country upon the high seas. It made
the men familiar with the etiquette of salutes jump. It
was thrilling to them. The San Martin answered quickly
and the exchange of courtesies with guns and bands and
WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
manning of rails was ended. But not all the exchange was
over. The wireless keys were ticking now and this message
came from Admiral Oliva to Admiral Evans:
Jan. 27, 1908, 8:28 a.m.
To Rear Admiral Evans:
Having completed the honorable duty with which I am charged
by my Government, I am about to part company for Buenos Ayres,
and it would give me great pleasure to transmit any despatches for
Admiral Evans sent this reply:
Jan. 27, 1908, 8:57 a.m.
To Rear Admiral Oliva:
The Commander-in-Chief thanks you and the Argentine Govern-
ment most heartily for the graceful honor done his fleet. He will
thank you to transmit to Washington upon your arrival in port that
we are all well and proceeding to our destination in the Pacific.
He wishes you a pleasant cruise.
A further exchange of good wishes for pleasant trips
Then the Argentine ships sheered off. They did it most
politely. Although their destination was more than 300
miles to the rear, they turned a right oblique, the move-
ment being done in a way that excited the admiration of
the Americans, and went off in the same general direction
in which our fleet was travelling.
" Don't want to turn their backs on us ! " was the ex-
planation given. In toward the coast they went, and not
until they were nearly hull down did they turn about and
head for home. It was a pretty compliment from most
polite men on extremely smart ships.
NATIONAL SALUTES AT SEA 123
" That's a real navy ! " said the Americans, " even if it
Coming, as the exchange of greetings did, upon the first
bright day after the departure of our fleet from Rio amid
gloom and other depressing surroundings, it warmed up
the hearts of those on the fleet and the cheers for the Ar-
gentine Republic and her navy were genuine expressions
of good will.
All that day and the day following the high seas greet-
ing of the Argentines, the ocean was remarkable for its
placidity. It was about as boisterous as the heaving bil-
lows of famous Cheesequake Creek under a hot summer sun.
On the night of the second day of this there came indi-
cations of a change. The sea lumped itself a little, the
wind changed and on the following morning, Wednesday,
January 29, there came the first experience with fog on
this voyage. The ships had been manoeuvred into a differ-
ent formation from that on the way to Rio. The four ves-
sels of the first division were abreast at 400 yards interval,
with the flagship as right guide. The three other divisions
followed each at 1,600 yards distance, the flagship of each
division acting as right guide and directly behind the Con-
necticut. It was a very open formation and seemed to fill
the entire circle of the horizon.
Along about 8 o'clock in the morning a fog bank was
noticed directly ahead. The temperature had risen about
10 degrees. The day was clear but a blanket of mist
hung over the water. There was no time, even had there
been any inclination to do so on the flagship, to order the
fleet into exact column and put over the towing spars,
WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
whereby each ship can tell when it is exactly 400 yards
astern of its predecessor.
Orders were given to turn on searchlights in case the
ships were obscured from one another. It wasn't long
before each ship was cut off from the rest. Then came
the turning on of searchlights. One naturally would
think that this would be almost farcical when the sun was
shining, but not so. Those bright little suns could be
seen on the ships near by, gleaming through the mist,
when the outlines of a ship only 400 yards away could
not be made out. You could keep your distance easily in
this way. You knew where your nearest neighbor was,
and often you could make out the position of two or three
of your neighbors. The lights looked like reflections of
the sun in a mirror, only slightly obscured. You can see
that, you know, any time a looking glass is used in day-
light, as many a small boy has found out when he plays
pranks. The glare from the ships was truly a beacon in
the gloom, and it made you feel comfortable as you
thought of the dangers of navigating those immense ships
in close proximity in a treacherous fog.
Sometimes the fog would lift and you could get a view
of the ships of your own division. Occasionally the ships
of the division behind you would be revealed in the same
way. Then would come another thick bank and you
would be shut out from the rest of the world, and then
you would take particular notice of the signalling by whis-
tles. Each ship would sound its own letter by the toots
which made the number corresponding to its letter. This
is the way it would go:
NATIONAL SALUTES AT SEA 125
Connecticut Letter F Toot, toot toot, toot toot, toot
Kansas Letter S Toot, toot t-o-o-t toot, toot.
(Vermont Letter R Toot, toot t-o-o-t t-o-o-t.
Louisiana Letter W T-o-o-t t-o-o-t toot, toot t-o-o-t.
The Connecticut would sound her signal. Then across
the line could be heard the signal of the Kansas, and then
the Vermont would sound hers and then the Louisiana
would get busy. After a short interval the whistling
would be repeated. This and the searchlights made it
possible to keep the line well fixed. The quartermasters
were taking special pains to steer the exact course that had
been set. You saw how nicely it all worked out when the
fog lifted, and there would be the leading ships almost
exactly in line, ploughing their ways to the southwest, just
as if there had been no interception of vision. One
glimpse of this really fine work reassured you at once and
you began to think that a fleet of warships all huddled
close together in a thick fog was not in the unsafe predica-
ment you had fancied it to be. About noon the fog lifted
entirely as the sun burned it away. One evening later
there was about twenty minutes of fog, but that was the
end of this kind of experience on the Atlantic coast.
For five days before Cape Virgin was sighted at the
eastern end of the Strait of Magellan the change in the
temperature became marked. The thermometer went
down to the fifties. The air became bracing. Gradually
all white was eliminated from the uniforms. You put on
your overcoat and sweater when you went on the bridge to
stay. You slept under a blanket at night. Then you
closed your port. You rubbed your fingers together to
126 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
warm them up in the morning. Preparations were made
for turning on steam. Only the cranks took a cold shower
bath in the morning.
The men showed the change from the enervating cli-
mate of the tropics to the bracing one of the lower tem-
perate zone by their sprightly movements. All hands felt
good, as the saying is. We had gone from the beginning
of winter at home, with the snowstorms, into the oppres-
sive heat of the equator, and now we were back in the
weather conditions of the Nova Scotia coast in midsum-
mer, only the cold winds were from the south off the Ant-
arctic ice, instead of from the frozen north, as at home.
Things do get turned around in this Southern Hemis-
phere, sure enough. It was strange to see the moon curv-
ing itself from east to west in the northern sky. We have
already crossed the line of the sun and that is beginning
to steal off to the north, although it is almost directly
overhead at meridian. You see new stars such bright
ones! with the beautiful Southern Cross as the most
conspicuous constellation, just now in such a position that
it has its top turned toward the eastern horizon as if to
point toward Jerusalem. The winds come from an un-
usual direction and you soon become so mixed that you
are not sure whether a clear, brilliant sunset with a dry air
is an augury for clear weather on the morrow.
Cape Virgin's fine headland came in sight on Friday
morning, January 31. It was thought desirable to swing
ships before the strait was entered, and then it was too
late to try to make the run through the eastern part of
the strait to Punta Arenas, about 120 miles, with the first
and second narrows, that day, and so we anchored for the
NATIONAL SALUTES AT SEA 127
night in Possession Bay, a great open sheet of water, with
the Patagonian mountains to the north. Early this morn-
ing we started on the first leg of the picturesque passage
that Magellan first revealed to the world, and this afternoon
came to anchor here.
The departure of our fleet from Rio was dramatic rather
than spectacular. Nature took a hand in the snapping
of the heartstrings and scolded and wept copiously. It
was precisely as if an overwrought woman had been keep-
ing a smiling face up to the last moment before the part-
ing with some one close to her heart whom she might never
see again and then giving way to hysterical weeping and
even lamentations, her face turned away after one look
and covered with a veil except for an occasional peep until
the loved one was out of sight.
The morning had been blistering hot. Shore leaves
had expired at 9 o'clock, all were aboard except those sent
ashore to look out for any stragglers that had not re-
ported and the mail orderlies who took off the last missives.
By 10 o'clock the seams in the decks of the ships were
exuding pitch. President Penna of Brazil was expected
to come down the bay soon after noon to call upon Ad-
miral Thomas on the Minnesota. About 11:30 one of
those delightful sea breezes that make the summer after-
noons in Rio not only tolerable but even attractive sprang
up and every one was happy.
Just before noon it was observed that a few fog banks
with darkening edges were being swept in over the tops
of Sugar Loaf and Corcovado. It was soon a little low-
ery in the southern horizon. Then the word was passed
that the Presidential yacht was approaching. At a sig-
WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
nal from the flagship the long lines of flags used to dress
ship were swayed aloft and all the American battleships,
the Brazilian ships, the Italian cruiser and the German
cruiser in port suddenly were alive with snapping pen-
nants from bows to taffrails. The American ensign was
at the fore and the Brazilian ensign at the main of our
The saluting signal came and the 3-inch guns on the
ships roared out a welcome of twenty-one guns on each
vessel to the President. Slowly the yacht approached the
fleet and began to encircle it, passing first on the side
opposite from Rio. The Louisiana was the first ship to be
passed. The rail was manned with men with locked arms,
the band played the Brazilian national air, the officers
stood at salute. Then the Virginia was passed and the
same greeting was repeated. Down around the line the
yacht went until it drew up near the Minnesota on the
opposite side. A launch steamed off to get the President.
As he approached the Minnesota gave him twenty-one
Then the fleet gave itself up to final preparations for
departure. Twenty minutes later the Minnesota fired an-
other salute to mark the President's leavetaking. He went
to the Brazilian cruiser, Benjamin Constant, which, with
the rest of the Brazilian ships, sixteen in number, was to
escort the American fleet out of the harbor. By that time
the clouds had begun to descend from the hills, the wind
to blow in gusts and a few raindrops to fall. It was seen
that the waterfront was black with people. Then sharp
dashes of rain swept over the city and hid it from view.
The clouds fell upon the shore in great fog banks.
NATIONAL SALUTES AT SEA 129
The President by this time had gone to Fort Villegag-
non, the naval station in the harbor half a mile from the
beautiful Flamingo boulevard and beach. The starting
signal for the American fleet was given precisely at 3
o'clock. Anchors were aweigh on the minute. The har-
bor was so thick and black that one could scarcely see
1,000 yards. With the black smoke of the funnels of the
ships being swept down upon the water an inky darkness
spread itself over everything, and often it was with diffi-
culty that the ship ahead at 400 yards could be made out
As one ship after another swung in toward Villegagnon
and thundered her twenty-one good-by guns the rain de-
scended in sheets. If the President was reviewing the
fleet no one on board could see him. Rio was wiped out.
The thunder peals from Sugar Loaf and Corcovado at
times outroared those of the guns. Nature was saluting
in angry tones. She seemed indignant that the fleet was
going away and made no bones about saying it. From
'way back on the north where the majestic Organ Moun-
tains nearly pierce the clouds there came the roar of pro-
The mountain-encircled city was surely giving way to
hysteria. Sackcloth and ashes were in evidence, the furi-
ously driving fog clouds being the sackcloth and the soot
from smoke of funnels and powder blasts being the ashes.
Half the ships had passed Villegagnon when the rain be-
came a patter suddenly and the veil was lifted from Rio.
The waterfront was still black. The people had stood
there for nearly an hour in a driving rain. Their flutter-
ing handkerchiefs could be seen plainly.
130 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
More and more the clouds lifted and once or twice old
Corcovado and Sugar Loaf peeped out as if for a final
look. Then they hid their faces. Soon the entire Ameri-
can fleet could be made out in the murky atmosphere.
At last the line became clear. Directly behind it came the
line of Brazilian ships. They added their salutes to the
noise of the day, in passing Villegagnon, but nature had
ceased to cry out ; the thunder was over.
Down at the harbor entrance were launches, rowboats,
sailing craft, ferryboats, yachts and several ocean-going
liners, all loaded down with people. Dozens of them went
outside with the fleet and rolled and tossed about while
their occupants waved and shouted good-bys. Some of
the little craft ran close to the ships in the hope of saying
a frantic last good-by to the American friends they had
made at private dinner parties and receptions. A mist
soon settled upon the water and finally blotted the harbor
entrance from view. The Brazilian ships following were
made out from time to time. The good-by was over and
every one was glad.
It was entirely different from the Hampton Roads de-
parture. There was a President present at each place,
but there were twice as many ships roaring out salutes at
Rio. There were twenty times as many people on shore.
Nature smiled at Hampton Roads ; nature not only sulked
but made a pitiable exhibition of her uncontrolled anger and
grief at Rio. The fresh breezes crinkled out the flags and
made them beautiful at Hampton Roads ; the driving gusts
tore ensigns to ribbons at Rio and made a prolonged job
of mending bunting on all the ships.
When darkness was beginning to fall and speed cones
NATIONAL SALUTES AT SEA
had been lowered and masthead and other lights had
been turned on a steamship was noticed coming out
of the mist behind the fleet. She was alive with bunt-
ing and ran straight toward the middle of the fleet. Close
at hand she began a great tooting of the whistle. She was
one of the ocean-going vessels that had been chartered for
the good-by, and she had run nearly twenty-five miles in
the thick weather for a final glimpse and farewell shriek.
Rio certainly hated to let the fleet go. Hospitality such
as the Brazilians showed was never experienced by an
American fleet, or probably any other nation's, before.
It is likely to pass down as one of the brightest spots in our
The farewell had a double side. The emotions of the
Americans were divided for the reason that the mail had
just arrived that morning the first mail from home in
six weeks. Letters from loved ones took the thoughts
away from Rio for an hour or two, and then came the
parting with the memory of those back in the States fresh-
ened by the missives that had come well, naval officers
don't show it when they are blue, but that night you
couldn't find three men in the Louisiana's wardroom
the same was probably true of the other ships and if
you made a trip around the ship, far out in some sheltered
place where the rain gusts did not fall and the wind did
not blow, you would find some fellow sitting looking
blankly out in the darkness. When you gave him a greet-
ing you got a low growl for an answer and you passed
The ordinary civilian can scarcely appreciate what it
means to a warship to get mail. Officers and men talk
132 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
about it for days. The departure of the fleet from Rio
was set for December 21, but it was seen that it meant that
the mail from New York would probably be missed by one
day. The fleet was all agog as to whether Admiral Evans
would remain over one day or would leave a collier to bring
the mail on. When it was learned that the official recep-
tions and good-bys would require another day in port there
" We'll get the mail ! " was on every one's lips.
Soon word was passed that the steamship Byron, bring-
ing it, had reached Bahia. Then came the announcement
that she would reach Rio between 4 and 6 P. M. on Jan-
uary 21. The time came and no mail ship. Then came
8, 9 and 10 o'clock, and no steamship had been reported
passing in. Long faces were everywhere. Just before 6
o'clock the next morning the lookout reported the Byron
passing in. Word was passed around and many an officer
tumbled out of his bunk to catch a sight of the vessel that
had letters from home on her. The bluejackets were al-
ready at work, but they stopped long enough with the oth-
ers to give greeting to the ship.
" The mail has come ! The mail has come ! The mail
has come ! "
You heard it everywhere. Even the bugles seemed to
sound it out. Good cheer was on all sides. Soon it was
learned that the ship had been passed by the quarantine
officer. Then came a race for her with launches. More
than twenty of these boats, counting those from auxiliaries
as well as battleships, began a race to reach her. The en-
gineers hit 'er up and the coxswains steered as straight as
they could. Over the rollicking waves the little craft
NATIONAL SALUTES AT SEA 133
plunged and rolled and every snort they gave seemed to
" The mail has come. We're after it. We'll soon be
back. The mail has come ! "
The launches clustered about the ship like an eager
crowd of boys scrambling for pennies. They had to be
straightened out. The bags had been arranged on deck
and then there came a stream of men passing them down.
There was an average of twenty bags to each ship. As
fast as each launch got its load it dashed back at full speed
to its ship. The bags were hurried up the sides and fairly
ripped open. Half a dozen men were set at sorting out
the letters and papers. In less than two hours after the
Byron had anchored hundreds of men were going about
with a contented but far away look upon their faces.
" Oh, yes, thank you," was a general remark. " They're
all well and they had a pleasant Christmas. Your people
all right, too? That's good. 'Twas nice to hear from
home, wasn't it? Wonder when we'll get the next one? "
There are many stock questions asked on board of a
man-o'-war. In time of conflict the chief one is :
" Wonder where we'll catch the enemy ? "
In time of peace the chief one seems to be :
" Wonder where we'll get the mail? "
To a passenger on one of these ships that seems to be the
most important question to be asked and answered. Spec-
ulation as to the time of reaching port, of remaining in
port, of departing, of the length of the cruise, as to the
routine or even unusual work to be accomplished all
these seem to be of minor importance to the question as to
when the mail will come. The American man-o'-warsman
WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
surely does love his home and people. " God's country
and God's people ! " is the way he puts it. Apparently
what he cares for most in all the world is mail from God's
country and God's people.
But there will be no mail for the ships here at Punta.
There used to be a hidden post office in the straits for sailor-
men. It was where the Indians could not find it. Let-
ters and papers were left there to be mailed and reading
matter was dropped behind for another vessel to pick up.
It is said that never was that strange mail box trifled with
and never robbed. But all that was years ago.
Now there is a modern city of something like 12,000
people here, with a Chilean post office to see that things are
managed properly; but the mails are irregular, for they
still depend for their despatch more or less on the irregular
calls of steamers. Of course there are certain vessels which
make regular trips, but these are few and far between, and
you never know when you mail a letter here how long it will
be before it reaches its destination.
If you don't find the old sea post office here there is one
thing you do find, and it exists nowhere else in the world.
Did you ever hear about the willy waws? No? Well,
you see 'em here when the season's right.
Did you ever see a hobgoblin? No? Well, a willy waw
isn't a hobgoblin. Neither is it anything like a willy-
boy. Any one who knows what willy waws are knows they
are a thousand times worse.
Well, what is a willy waw? We'll save that for another
article. You see there might not be much else to write
Pleasant and Busy Life in City of Perpetual Winter Wealthy and
Well Ruled Millions Made in Wool, Mutton and Furs One
Splendid Mansion Amid Many Corrugated Iron Buildings Famine
in Postal Cards Jack on Horseback Officers Found More Fun
in Social Gatherings Than Out in the Wilds Surreptitious Traf-
fic of a Free Port.
On Board U. S. S. Louisiana, U. S. Battle Fleet,
PUNTA ARENAS, Feb. 7.
PUNTA ARENAS is known commonly as the jump-
ing-off place of the earth. The generally accepted
meaning of that characterization is that it is not
only the southernmost settlement of any size of civilized
people in the world, but that it is the most forlorn, dreary,
desolate place that any one could find in which to live.
Indeed, before this fleet arrived here it is probable that
not one person in a hundred in the United States knew
where Punta Arenas was, and those who had some vague
idea about it had an impression that it is one of those re-
formed penal colonies where the driftwood of humanity
huddle together, tolerate one another because they are
birds of a feather and eke out a miserable existence in traf-
ficking with Indians, herding sheep, looting wrecks and
spending their spare time in low ceilinged saloons gulping
down liquor that would put knockout drops to shame.
1136 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
Well, it simply isn't true ! Punta Arenas is a lively city
of 12,000 residents, one of the best governed in the world,
with all modern improvements except trolley cars, half a
dozen millionaires and scores of men worth $500,000 or
more, with one residence at least that would hold its own
more than favorably with the residences on Madison Ave-
nue in the Murray Hill part of New York, with excellent
schools, with a " society " that knows as well as any on
earth how to wear Paris gowns and to give entertainments
as finished in all the delicate niceties as could be found in
Punta Arenas isn't pretty in any sense and even the well-
to-do are content to live in one-story houses with cor-
rugated iron roofs, but it is a hustling, busy place where
every comfort and luxury can be secured, and it has a
pronounced twentieth century air about it. It resembles
strongly a western Kansas or Nebraska town. Its climate
is always cool but never seriously cold. The lowest re-
corded temperature in this place, which corresponds in lat-
itude to Labrador in the Northern Hemisphere, is 20 de-
grees Fahrenheit above zero. The highest is 77. Why,
there are two four-in-hands and one French automobile,
this in a town, mind you, where there are no roads out in
the country and no place except the town streets in which
to drive I Any one who has seen these smart turnouts is
justified in dropping into slang far enough to say that
is going some!
There was good reason for a preconceived unfavorable
opinion of Punta Arenas. Recently there have been sev-
eral flattering accounts published of the town and its life,
but they have not received a wide circulation. Such ac-
PUNTA ARENAS 137
counts as were In the books of travel, with probably one
exception, were repellant. Here is what William E. Curtis
said in 1888, in his book entitled " The Capitals of South
America," and dedicated to Chester Alan Arthur:
" It [Punta Arenas] belongs to Chile and was formerly
a penal colony ; but one look at it is enough to convince
the most incredulous that whoever located it did not intend
the convict's life to be a happy one. It lies on a long spit
that stretches out into the strait, and the English call it
Sandy Point, but a better name would be Cape Desolation.
Convicts are sent there no longer, but some of those who
were sent thither when Chile kept the seeds and harvests of
her revolutions, still remain there. There used to be a mil-
itary guard there but that was withdrawn during the war
with Peru and all the prisoners who would consent to enter
the army got a ticket of leave. The Governor resides in
what was once the barracks and horses are kept in a stock-
ade. Hunger, decay and dreariness are inscribed upon
everything on the faces of the men as well as on the
houses they live in and the people look as discouraging
as the mud.
" They say it rains in Punta Arenas every day. That is
a mistake sometimes it snows. Another misrepresenta-
tion is the published announcement that ships passing the
strait always touch there. Doubtless they desire to, and
it is one of the delusions of the owners that they do ; but
as the wind never ceases except for a few hours at a time,
and the bay on which the place is located is shallow, it is
only about once a week or so that a boat can land, because
of the violent surf.
" The town is interesting because it is the only settle-
138 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
ment in Patagonia and of course the only one in the strait.
It is about 4,000 miles from the southernmost town on the
west coast of South America to the first port on the eastern
coast a voyage which ordinarily requires fifteen days;
and as Punta Arenas is about the middle of the way it
possesses some attractions. Spread out in the mud are 250
houses, more or less, which shelter from the ceaseless storms
a community of 800 or 1,000 people, representing all sorts
and conditions of men from the primeval type to the pure
Caucasian convicts, traders, fugitives, wrecked seamen,
deserters from all the navies in the world, Chinamen, ne-
groes, Poles, Italians, Sandwich Islanders, wandering Jews
and human driftwood of every tongue and clime cast up
by the sea and absorbed in a community scarcely one of
which would be willing to tell why he came there or would
stay if he could get away. It is said that in Punta Arenas
an interpreter for every language known to the modern
world can be found, but although the place belongs to
Chile, English is most generally spoken."
All that may have been true in those days, except about
the rain, the wind, the shallow harbor and the impossibility
of landing in a boat more than once a week and several
Here is what Frank G. Carpenter said in 1900 in his
book on South America, and it is the most favorable of any
of the books dealing with Punta Arenas :
" The city has been cut out of the woods, and as we
enter it we are reminded of the frontier settlements of our
wooded Northwest. Its houses are scattered along wide
streets with many recurring gaps and here and there a
stray stump. The streets are a mass of black mud through
PUNTA ARENAS 139
which huge oxen drag heavy carts by yokes fastened to
their horns. At one place the sidewalk is of concrete, at
another it is of wood, and a little further on it is of mud.
Many of the houses are built of sheets of corrugated iron,
their walls wrinkled up like a washboard, and all have
roofs of this material. A few are painted, but nearly all
are of the galvanized, slaty color of the metal as it comes
from the factory.
" There is plenty of building space, but when you ask
the price of vacant lots you find that property is high.
What in the United States would be a $50 shanty is here
worth $500, and a good business corner will sell for sev-
eral thousands of dollars.
" Punta Arenas has one residence which would be con-
sidered a mansion in Washington city. This house, how-
ever, is the only one of its kind in Punta Arenas. Most
of the dwellings are one-story structures which in the
United States could be built for from $500 to $2,000.
Many of the poorer houses are occupied by rich men ; in-
deed, Punta Arenas has as many rich men as any frontier
town of its size. It has thirty-three men each of whom
owns or controls from 25,000 to 2,500,000 acres of land.
Each has tens of thousands of sheep, and the wool clip of
some of these sheep farmers is worth more than the annual
salary of the President of the United States.
" The citizens of Punta Arenas come from all parts of
the world. Some of the richest people are Russians ; oth-
ers are Scotchmen who have come from the Falkland Is-
lands to engage in sheep farming; among them also are
treacherous Spaniards, smooth-tongued Argentines and
hard-looking brigands from Chile. The lower classes are
140 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
chiefly shepherds and seamen, and among them are as many
rough characters as are to be found in our mining camps
of the West."
That extract caused you to be more interested in the
place, but still the reference to rough characters made you
feel that if you were going ashore it would be better to
leave your money on the ship and not go alone. When
the fleet came in sight of the town all the glasses in each
ship that could be spared were in constant use. You saw
a gathering of dwellings, almost entirely one-story struc-
tures and all of a slate color. There was one tower in the
centre of the place. The town stretched for nearly a mile
and a half along a sloping hill, nearly flat in the fore-
ground, and it extended back in a straggling way for
about three-quarters of a mile. Back of the town on ris-
ing ground was a belt of burned timber, bleak and forbid-
ding, and then came the sharp rise of the ground into a low
range of mountains, eight or ten miles away and about
1,500 or 1,800 feet high, with patches of snow here and
there in sheltered nooks.
" Quite a town, that ! " was the general comment. The
harbor contained a dozen or fifteen steamships, coasters
and tugs and was alive with Chilean flags. Fully one-
half of the buildings, many of them mere shacks, had the
Chilean flag above them. The red, white and blue color
gave bright relief to the sombre appearance of the town.
That display of bunting warmed up the Americans some.
Anchor was cast soon after noon and by 3 o'clock the first
men were ashore. The glad hand was stretched out to
The visitors were surprised at the place. They found
PUNTA ARENAS 141
shops where everything that one could wish was to be pur-
chased. If you wanted your fountain pen fixed all the
parts necessary were to be obtained. If you wanted kodak
supplies there they were. If you desired paint, brass
tubes, fine olives, dog biscuit, rare wines, high grade
cigars, a theatrical performance, a suit of clothes made to
order, fresh meat or fish, fresh milk, diamonds, hunting
supplies, books, hardware well, everything that a reason-
able person could wish was to be had at moderate prices,
except furs. The furs were there by the bale, and they
too were cheap when you considered the prices you would
have to pay for the same product in the United States, but
they were not cheap for Punta Arenas. Prices were ad-
vanced 50 per cent, on furs as soon as the first man from
the fleet got ashore.
The first thing that struck the eye as the launches
swung into the long landing pier was an enormous sign
painted on the sea-wall saying :
SPECIAL PRICES FOR THE
It was the strict truth, especially as to furs. Fox skin
rugs that had been selling for $25 went to $40. Guanaco
skins that had been $10 went up to $15. Seal skins that
were $50 went to $75. The only way to get the lower
prices was to get some resident of the town to purchase
for you on the pretext that he wanted to make a gift of
the furs. Then you paid him and you got furs nearer their
real Punta Arenas value.
The visitors found the city laid out in squares with the
WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
wide streets in the central part of the town paved with rub-
ble. The curbs are marked with heavy wooden timbers and
most of the walks are narrow and covered with gravel.
Probably one-third of the buildings in the central part of
town have concrete sidewalks in front of them. The visitors
also found the place well policed with men in long cloaks
and swords, bad looking men to go up against, but men who
soon had orders, apparently, to go into the back streets
and disappear. At any rate they were seldom seen in the
heart of the city after Jack got ashore, and it was whis-
pered openly that the authorities had told them to " go
into the bosky " and let the Americans do their own polic-
ing. This was done and the best of order prevailed during
the fleet's stay.
The visitors also found a fine water supply brought
from far back in the mountains, an excellent fire depart-
ment and the streets sewered and clean. Electric lighting
was the common mode of illumination in the shops and
scores of dwellings. Most surprising among the little
things to be observed was that practically every dwelling
had an electric bell at the front door. Galvanized iron
was the predominant material for dwellings and some stores.
The reason was soon apparent. The fire regulations do
not permit the erection of wooden buildings in the city
up to date, you see and stone and good bricks have to
be brought in. Rough bricks are made here, but those of
a better quality have to be imported. They will be made
here in time doubtless, but the town has been too busy mak-
ing money in wool, exporting mutton and selling furs to
start up manufactories for building material for home con-
sumption strictly. Corrugated iron is the easiest and
PUNTA ARENAS 143
cheapest to get and the fashion of having a residence of
that material has been so well established that even a rich
man takes it as a matter of course that he must live in one.
As one wandered further into the town he found a cen-
tral plaza with a band stand in it, the western frontage
occupied with the Governor's residence and the Catholic
church ; the northern side the site of a residence that made
the visitor gape with astonishment to find so really hand-
some a building in such a place, the office and general whole-
sale store of Moritz Braun, the American Consular Agent
here, and the shop of Jose Menendez of Buenos Ayres and
Punta Arenas, the richest man in all this region. On the
eastern side of the plaza were two banks, shops, clubs and
a dwelling or two. The southern side bordered on a vacant
square sold recently for $150,000.
The plaza was quite impressive in its pretensions. As
one wandered further he observed that the city was tree-
less, that there was a little railroad on one of the wide
streets to the north which leads to the coal mine in the hills
about seven miles from town, that there were few gardens
and flowers. Occasionally one could see a patch of radishes
or potatoes or lettuce growing in a yard, but most of the
yards were bare, with a wood pile wood is cheap here
as its chief ornament. A small white pink was about the
only flower that was grown freely out of doors. In hun-
dreds of windows, however, there were house plants, largely
geraniums, in bloom.
Street scenes occupied one's attention immediately. The
most common would be drays pulled by fine oxen with the
yokes about their horns. Better looking animals are not
to be found anywhere in the United States. All the dray
144 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
work is done by these carts. There are hundreds of them
in town. The next thing to catch the eye was the fine
horses. A gaucho clad in gay colors would ride through
the streets occasionally with the easy swing of one of our
cowboys and he had a picturesque getup that would fit a
circus parade at home. You noted that when they tied
horses they simply hobbled their forefeet.
Few women were to be observed on the streets. Many
of them wore black mantillas for headdress. Now and
then a smart carriage with a coachman in livery would go
dashing by. Again one would see a pony cart with chil-
dren under a nurse's care in it. Then one's eyes would
open as he saw a fine coach drawn by four horses swing
along. It made the visitor smile a little to see a big bag
of potatoes tied up behind the coach, like a trunk in the
racks of stages in some of our Western towns, but you
must expect crudities of some kind in the jumping-off
place. Then would come the Governor's carriage, correct
as to livery and all the other appointments befitting his
The signs were all in Spanish, of course. Saloons were
found all over. The entire aspect of things, however, was
one of our Far Western towns that had struck it rich and
was in that stage where the wealthy men are still residents
of the place, actually proud to acknowledge that they have
come up from humble beginnings, content to live where
they have made their money and in humble dwellings, and
are not yet ready to advance upon New York and build
palaces that blare out to the world that they are among
the newly rich and want all mankind to know it.
After you had wandered about a bit you came back into
PUNTA ARENAS 145
the plaza for a look at the one fine residence of the city.
It belongs to Mrs. Sara Braun Valenzuela, wife of Vice-
Admiral de Valenzuela of the Chilean navy. She is one
of several children of the Braun family of which Moritz
Braun is now the head. The family's life has been spent
here, for their parents came here as immigrants from Rus-
sia more than thirty-five years ago. The daughter Sara
married a man named Nogueira, who, with the rest of the
Braun family, prospered and grew rich in herding sheep
and keeping store. As they prospered they improved
themselves mentally and acquired finish in social matters.
To the credit of the family it must be said that each of its
members speaks freely of his or her rise in the world, and
you must smile a little at the twinkle in their eyes as these
accomplished linguists, well-equipped business people, fa-
miliar with finance, stock speculation, trading, correct
sacial usages, say:
" You know our people came here as immigrants, very
poor, and had to make their way in the world, just as many
of the ancestors of the rich in your own country did. By
the way, I believe that the founder of the Astor family
started out in life peddling furs and then selling them in
a store. Of course, one has to start in life as best he can.
We sold furs, of course, but the sheep and wool industry
gave us our opportunity. However, one should be modest
about his belongings. This is our home and here we shall
probably stay. We are of the town and have no aspira-
tions except to do our share in advancing the place and to
be good citizens."
Several years ago Senor Nogueira died, leaving his wife
a millionaire. She decided to have more of the physical
146 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
comforts and she built the fine house in which she dwells.
Building materials and workmen were brought from
Buenos Ayres, and the result was a house that would do
credit to any city in the world. Its glass covered porch
and its conservatory give it the appearance of the home of
one who not only appreciates luxury but has a love of
flowers and good taste in furnishings. Four years ago
Mrs. Nogueira, still a young woman comparatively, mar-
ried Admiral de Valenzuela. The Admiral's duties keep
him away for the most part, but his wife remains, content
to dwell where the rest of her family reside and where she
can look after her immense business interests. She owns
a good part of the town and has an enormous income for
a woman in South America. Her house cost about $150,-
000 to build. The furnishings cost well into the tens of
thousands and the combined result is to make it one of the
most comfortable, luxurious and complete dwelling places
to be found anywhere. One sight of it was sufficient to
make the observer stop short and admire. It was so un-
expected, you see, after you had been wandering about in
a city of corrugated iron dwellings.
There are half a dozen other rather pretentious places in
the town. Mr. Braun's house and lot cost him about $150,-
000, and there are two or three places that would be worth
probably from $10,000 to $20,000 in the States. Other-
wise the rich are content to dwell as if they were in mod-
You wandered about the plaza some more and soon found
yourself in the rooms of the Magellanos, or the English
club, well fitted up establishments, with smoking rooms,
reading rooms, reception rooms and billiard rooms. These
PUNTA ARENAS 147
clubs are small compared with those in New York, but
they are complete as far as they go and are really pleasant
loafing places. Then perhaps you went across the plaza
to look at the mission Catholic church. As you went down
the side street you noticed an entrance to what seemed to be
the parish house and a school. Some one told you that in
there was a museum of natural history that was really un-
usual. In you went, and you met Father Marabini, ur-
bane, gentle, cordial and a scholar, a lover of nature, under
whose supervision a small but most valuable collection of
birds, fishes, reptiles, animals and geological specimens
has been gathered together. When many of the animals
found in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego have been de-
stroyed and wiped out under the pressure of civilization,
like our buffaloes and the seals, all this country and the
lovers of natural history everywhere, to say nothing of the
devotees of science, will be grateful to this humble Do-
minican monk for his labor and patience of years.
In addition to natural history Father Marabini has gone
into anthropology to some extent. His collection along
that line has yet to be enlarged, but you find weapons,
hunting and fishing implements, canoes, specimens of cloth-
ing of Indians, photographs of the aborigines, now fast
disappearing. Chief Mulato, the last of the high grade
Patagonian Indians, died only recently of smallpox. The
Fuegan Indians, described as the canoe Indians and the
lowest form of humanity on earth, are also going. Speed
will have to be made to get a complete anthropological
collection of these people.
In the natural history collection you see specimens of the
albatross, the largest bird that flies; the condor, all the
148 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
fowl of the region, the deer, guanacoes, otter, seals and
other fur bearing animals ; you also see geological speci-
mens bearing on the mineral wealth of the country and
also specimens devoted to pure geology. You see the
pottery and the metal working of the natives. You can
spend hours there with Father Marabini and you leave
him with regret and respect. His museum is one that
would make a most creditable showing in New York's
Museum of Natural History.
You wander out to the north and you soon find a large
building surrounded by a high fence. You learn it is the
Charity Hospital, with accommodations for thirty-five pa-
tients, a boon to this far off land. The late Dr. Nicholas
Senn made a visit to this hospital late last summer and
commended it highly. He prided himself on having visited
the most northern hospital in the world at Hammerfest,
Norway, in 1890, and the most southern last year. He
declared this one to be " a credit to the young city and a
refuge for the homeless sick and injured in this hospitable
and remote part of the world."
So the visitor found this a well equipped, modern city
with the residents rosy in their cheeks, cheerful and con-
tented with their lot in life. They said that sometimes
it grew a little monotonous, but never dreary. Most of
the year they have theatricals, and just now they have a
more or less permanent company. A good many of those
on the fleet went to the vaudeville show and said they
found it very good indeed.
It was not until Mr. Braun, our Consular Agent, gave
a reception to the fleet that the full power of Punta Arenas
to do the handsome and correct thing was revealed. The
PUNTA ARENAS 149
guests entered a home modern in every respect. They
found a great hall whose floor was covered with rugs, a
large room behind that as big as a private saloon in Paris,
a magnificent dining room with panelled ceiling, a superbly
furnished drawing room and side rooms used for smoking
or retiring rooms. There did not seem to be a door on all
the first floor. It is a house of large floor dimensions
rather than of elevation, and the first floor was like a
palace rather than a mere dwelling.
The appointments table furnishings, beautiful can-
delabra, glassware, punch bowls (there were half a dozen
of them), dainty little tables spread with confections and
the main dining room table elaborately set and decked out
were such as only great wealth could provide.
And the company ! Of course the naval officers were in
full dress with all their gilt fixings and white gloves, but
every other man there, and there were dozens, was as cor-
rectly garbed in evening dress as at any Fifth avenue re-
ception. The number of handsomely gowned women was
a surprise. There were probably fifty in costumes that
were distinctly Parisian. The one comment was:
"Where did they get these fine looking women?"
You didn't see them on the streets and you were aston-
ished that there was so much society in the place. You
heard all languages spoken and you might imagine you
were in Paris. When the band struck up it was with a
quadrille. You were pleased perhaps to see the old dances
quadrilles, lanciers, schottisches, the old waltzes
danced. You see, the new kind of glides, two steps,
walk arounds, fancy steps they call dancing nowadays
and perhaps it is dancing hasn't struck Punta Arenas
150 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
yet. Surely in that respect the town was behind the times.
It couldn't do the hippety-hoppety steps and the slides and
glides. Poor old fashioned Punta Arenas!
The brilliant scenes at Mr. Braun's home were dupli-
cated two nights later at the Governor's ball. This re-
ception was a display in keeping with the wealth of the
place. There was no vulgarity, no crudeness, no little
amusing sidelights that showed that the town had just
arrived in a social way. It was plain that Punta Arenas
knew how to entertain. Scores of naval officers said that
they never saw entertainments in Washington in better
After all this you began to investigate what it meant.
There was one answer to the question wool and sheep.
When you hunted for statistics you got them from an
official whose business it is to collect them. You found
that last November the population of the place was 11,800
and of the territory 17,000. In 1889 the population of
the territory was 2,500 and the town only 1,100. It was
a pretty raw town then. You found that in 1906 the
number of sheep in the Magellan territory was 1,873,700
and that thirty years ago it was less than 2,000. You
learned that the industry was started through the Falkland
Islanders, 200 miles to the eastward, where the Scotch mis-
sionaries got rich quick and were not averse to worship-
ping mammon to some extent. You learned that the num-
ber of tons of wool exported last year was 7,174, that the
number of refrigerated sheep exported last year was
104,427 and that this year it would probably be 130,000.
You learned that the imports of the town were nearly
$3,000,000 a year and the exports nearly $5,000,000.
PUNTA ARENAS 151
You found that there was a coal mine in operation close
by, producing about 12,000 tons a year, chiefly for local
use. The coal is of the lignite variety and disintegrates
rapidly. It is improving as the shaft sinks deeper, and
the owners hope soon to have coal that they can sell to
steamships. That will help Punta Arenas a good deal.
You learned that there are three daily newspapers here,
each giving cable news. Indeed, we heard of the assassi-
nation of King Carlos here as quickly as the rest of the
civilized world. You were even surprised to find that there
is one tri-weekly newspaper in English and you get a
copy and read the list of guests at Mr. Braun's reception,
quite up to date with the society news. You learned that
Punta Arenas had been connected with the rest of the
world since December, 1902, when the overland telegraph
was put through to Buenos Ayres. You learned that
there was gold in all the hills near by; that four dredges
were engaged in mining over in Fireland, as they call
Tierra del Fuego here, and one in a gulch just back of
the town. Some progress has been made with this mining
and there are Americans and men from the Transvaal
engaged in the industry. A lot of money has been put
into it, but the expense of getting the gold is still too
high to make the proposition attractive to the general
public and so one need not look for a gold rush here for
some time. You learned that there was copper mining in
many places, but that the difficulty in getting transpor-
tation by water from the remote places high up the moun-
tains where such mines are is such as to eat up most of the
profits. You learned that about 60 per cent, of the popu-
lation is foreign, ranking as follows as to numbers: Aus-
152 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
trian, German, French, English, Spanish, Scandinavian and
The prosperity of the town you then realized depended
upon sheep and furs, chiefly sheep. You found four im-
mense ranching companies doing business here and you
got the annual report of the largest one, the Exploration
Society of Tierra del Fuego. It has 1,200,000 shares,
owned mostly by Valparaiso and Santiago people, but
Punta Arenas has 140,000 shares, of which Mr. Braun
owns 62,000. This company owns 1,200,000 acres of land
and its wool clip is nearly 6,000,000 pounds. Last year it
had 900,000 sheep, 14,000 cattle and 8,000 horses on its
property. Its capital is $6,000,000 and last year it paid
nearly 15 per cent, in dividends. It has its property di-
vided into five big ranches. Altogether its real estate hold-
ings are as big as the State of Delaware and nearly one-
half as large as the State of Connecticut. That isn't
very large compared with the entire territory of Tierra del
Fuego, because that land is as big as the State of New
York, but it is pretty big doings as sheep ranches go.
Australia and Argentina can make a slightly better show-
ing in the production of wool, but, as the Punta Arenas
people say, this country is still young in the business.
You began to wonder how the sheep could thrive in this
terribly cold and barren region and you were surprised to
be told that really it wasn't very cold here. You hunted
that matter up for yourself and you found that Father
Marabini had been keeping a well equipped meteorological
establishment for fifteen years and you got the printed
records. You found that the average temperature for
February, the warmest month in the year, was 52.5 Fah-
PUNTA ARENAS 153
renheit, 11.6 centigrade; that the highest temperature for
fifteen years was 77 degrees (20.59 centigrade), and that
the lowest recorded in summer in all that time was 33.8
(1.31 centigrade). That made you shiver some. Then
you looked for the lowest winter records. You found them
in July. The lowest recorded temperature for that month
is 20 degrees above zero ( 6.70 centigrade), and the
highest 44 degrees (7.91 centigrade). You found that
the average temperature for the three summer months in
fifteen years was 52.5 (11.396 centigrade), and the aver-
age for the winter months was 36 (2.225 centigrade).
Few places in the temperate zone can show a variation
of temperature of only sixteen degrees between winter and
The temperature record and the rich grasses on the
plains told the story of sheep farming here. There isn't
much snow. Now and then there is a fall of from two to
three feet, but for the most part the snowfalls are only a
few inches in depth. The greatest climatic drawback is the
searching winds. These winds blow hardest in summer and
give a decided chill to the air. The fleet was here in the
best season of the year. On two days out of the six it was
comfortable to wear light overcoats. The temperature
was something like our April weather. Occasionally it
rained for a few minutes, but four of the days were abso-
lutely clear. We came in when there was a high wind and
a drop in the temperature and we feared that the stay
would be most uncomfortable. It was anything but that
from a climatic standpoint.
So goes the statement quoted early in this article, that it
doesn't rain every day in the year in Punta Arenas be-
154 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
cause some days it snows. The value of the other state-
ment that the bay is shallow is shown by the fact that if the
port hadn't been crowded the fleet would have anchored
within half a mile of the city. As it was, it anchored about
a mile out and the water was so deep that three of the
battleships had to move in a quarter of a mile because
there is a limit to the length of anchor chains. As to the
impossibility of landing more than once a week, it may
be said that there never was an hour when the launches
could not land. Once or twice the wind came up and the
little craft tossed about a bit, but that happens in any port.
So goes another of the many informing things that have
been said incorrectly about this much abused and misun-
After learning something about the business of the place
the inquirer naturally turned to the form of government.
He learned that it was a place without politics because
it has no suffrage. The Governor and three alcaldes, with
a consulting board of paid city officials, run things. The
alcaldes are representative men. One represents the for-
eign interests especially. They pass rules and ordinances
which are approved or disapproved by what would be
called in Santiago the Colonial Office. These laws are
rarely disapproved. The alcaldes are wise in their gener-
ation. They do not adopt unpopular measures. Public
opinion is so strong that any alcalde who got to cutting up
and attempting boss rule would find himself so cut off
from the rest of the people with whom he must live and
do business that he would feel as if he had been banished.
There is a movement to make the territory a province
PUNTA ARENAS 155
with political powers of its own, but it is being fought
" We are so well governed," said a resident of ten years
to the Sun man, " that we do not need a change. We can
put the responsibility right on the one man in our present
situation. Nothing goes wrong and our taxes amount to
about $3 on $1,000 in a year. Real estate and live stock
are about the only things taxed."
Well governed as Punta Arenas is it is curious to note
how certain customs in municipal government exist the
world over. Did you notice that police official who just
went by? Well, he keeps his carriage and private coach-
man and his people dress well, and his home is above the
average in its pretensions. His salary? Oh, about $1,500
a year. You see they can't pay high police salaries in a
town of- 12,000 and only about fifty policemen. But
there are certain resorts which sailormen and others sup-
port in all remote places of any size, and the authorities
somehow seem not to observe them too closely well,
there's no need to go into the matter further.
Some things, however, are a little different in Punta
Arenas from other places, because it is one of the few large
free ports in the world. You can import anything duty
free. Chile had to adopt this plan to build the place up.
Even ocean freight is high to this far off place. Argen-
tina had to make several of its neighboring ports free in
consequence of the advantages of Punta Arenas, and so
you have about five free ports down in this neck of the
Some curious effects have followed, the most interesting
156 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
of which is that Punta Arenas is one of the greatest centres
of smuggling in the world. You will not get any of its
merchants to admit it openly. For instance, it is said that
there are more Havana cigars imported into Punta Arenas
than into all the rest of Chile put together. They are not
consumed here. They go somewhere. Punta Arenas does
not begin to use all the millions of goods imported. A
little figuring would show that. The outside population
in the territory, amounting to about 5,000, could not take
care of the rest after the wants of Punta Arenas are
satisfied. Why, there are no less than twenty-two coast-
ing steamers engaged in trade from here, to say nothing
about scores of sloops and schooners darting in and out
among the islands and channels that run far up the Pacific
coast. One of the merchants gave an instance of the
smuggling. He said:
" Not long ago I had several hundred articles of limited
sale consigned to me by mistake. I couldn't sell them here
and didn't want to send them back. I sent some some-
where else. They sold like hot cakes. You see the price
was so much lower than you could buy them before in that
same city where they were sent. It is true that there is a
great deal of quiet wealth here, but really you mustn't ask
too many questions."
An interesting sidelight was thrown on this subject
when this same man was talking about the illumination of
the city by the American fleet's searchlights on the night
before the fleet sailed. Fully seventy-five beams were
thrown from the ships. They swept the town fore and
aft. Some of the ships concentrated their lights in one
spot. Five beams from our ship were centered upon the
PUNTA ARENAS 157
church steeple in the plaza. It made the place so light that
you could read a newspaper anywhere. The entire town
was in a light almost like that of midday.
" I wonder that it didn't make some of our people run
into holes to hide," said a citizen who knew -things when he
was speaking of the brilliant illumination.
As is well known, Punta Arenas started out in life as a
penal colony. It will surprise most of those who know
the place and probably some of the residents themselves
that it is still a penal colony legally, because the penal
laws were never repealed. Indeed, it is even now a place
of exile. Every few months some man arrives from the
upper part of Chile who has been banished to the place.
Once here he is welcome to stay or go as he pleases. These
men are usually embezzlers or undesirable citizens from
some other cause in small places where the machinery of
justice is inadequate to fit the crime. The culprit is
ordered to Punta Arenas.
It was in 1843 that Chile took possession of all this ter-
ritory, wresting it from Spain. She established a penal
colony at once in Port Famine, a few miles from here.
In 1849 she removed the colony to Punta Arenas. Two
years later there was mutiny of the guards, led by Lieut.
Cambiaso. There was a good deal of slaughtering be-
fore it was quelled. In 1877 there was another similar
mutiny, and then Chile withdrew the guards and let Punta
Arenas get along as a commercial place.
The free port regulations followed, merchants came
dropping in, fur trading became profitable and then came
the sheep industry and Punta Arenas graduated into the
really modern city it is. Where it is possible to make
158 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
money there you will find people these days, for the rovers
of the earth are just as active as ever and neither cold nor
heat, sickness nor desolation will stop the march of com-
There are still many citizens of Punta Arenas who came
here in the days of the penal colony. Many of them were
political prisoners. Many were mere youths who had gone
wrong. Scores of them have remained and have grown up
to be good citizens and solid business men, a credit to any
community. Still the memory of the past remains with
some, as was shown when the Sun man was walking
along the street with a merchant and stopped to look at
a finely dressed party of men and women going down to
the pier to go off to the Connecticut on the day of the
elaborate reception on board. The men were in frock coats
and tall hats and the women in beautifully fitting after-
" That's as fine a looking group of men and women as
you would see in any of our ports," said the Sun man.
" Perhaps so," said his companion, " but one has to
smile a little when one thinks of some things."
" A past ? " inquired the Sun man.
" Oh, yes," was the answer, " but one shouldn't refer to
that. Only it does make me smile."
This man hadn't received an invitation to the reception.
He had a past that would bear the closest scrutiny. His
point of view was responsible for the tone of his remarks.
Nevertheless, how many of our own frontier towns could
stand inspection when it comes to investigating the careers
of some of their solid citizens ?
Here is a town which has fine free schools, where the
PUNTA ARENAS 159
Methodist mission conducted by the Rev. J. L. Lewis not
only has a congregation of 300 but an English school of
forty pupils; where the Episcopal mission has a congre-
gation of 400 and a mixed school of 100 children ; a town
where there is very little crime, and what there is is chiefly
disorderly conduct ; a place where everybody is prosperous,
apparently; where life is sometimes dull, but always com-
fortable, with good government, and where a man can
stand on his own merits as he is and not as he has been.
The bluejackets enjoyed their stay here thoroughly.
Only the special first class men were allowed on shore; to
have turned all the men of the fleet loose would have
swamped the town, for there were more persons in the fleet
than in the city. The men who did get shore leave made
for post card shops first. In a day nearly all the best
cards were gone. The supply lasted throughout the stay,
but now and then you would meet a party of bluejackets
hunting the town over for better specimens. So serious
was this drain upon the town that the supply of postage
stamps ran out on several days. It was necessary to go
to the treasury vaults here to replenish the post office.
The bluejackets then swamped the fur stores. Many
really fine specimens of furs can be secured here and at
moderate prices compared to those in the United States.
The bluejackets spent thousands upon thousands of dol-
lars, and so did the officers. Fox, guanaco, seal, otter,
alpaca, vicuna, puma any kind of fur that seems to be
in the market, except tiger's skins, was to be found. Then
the plumage of birds, ostriches, swans, gulls and so on was
sought out eagerly. Some of the skins were fully dressed
and some not, but the commonest sight in Punta Arenas
160 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
for the six days the fleet was here was hundreds of sailors
making for steam launches with great bundles of furs
under their arms. Many a woman in the States will have
the opportunity of explaining to inquiring friends that
Tom or Dick or Bill got that fur for her right across
from Tierra del Fuego, and many an officer will show a
floor covering with something of the same satisfaction.
Having purchased his furs and postal cards and having
taken samples of the various brands of libation, as sailor
men usually do in foreign and home ports it must be
said in truth there was almost no excessive drinking be-
cause only special first class men were ashore Jack
turned his attention to other things. He soon found that
there were dozens of very good saddle horses in town and
he promptly went horseback riding. Scores of sailors
could be seen galloping about the streets. Amusing?
Yes, in a way, but not because they could not ride. Many
of them rode like cowboys. You see a large part of the
young blood of this fleet, indeed most of it, comes right
off the farms, Western farms, too, and those boys know
how to ride and handle horses. The people gaped at them
and then took it as a matter of course that an American
Jack tar could do almost anything.
The officers, too, had their fun ashore. In two hours
after the fleet was anchored many of those off duty were
seen in riding costume cantering about the streets on fine
horses that the chief of police put at their disposal. An
hour or two later the launches began to land roughly
dressed men with rifles and bags. They were hunting
parties, going right out to get foxes and pumas and all
sorts of wild things in the suburbs. Finally a mysterious
PUNTA ARENAS 161
group landed from the Vermont. They had ponchos and
picks and shovels and guns.
" Where you going? " was the inquiry on all sides.
" Ask Connolly," was the answer.
Now, Connolly is the famous writer of sea fiction, par-
ticularly Gloucester fishing stories, the warm personal
friend of the President, and he once served in the navy
two months as yeoman, at Mr. Roosevelt's suggestion, so
as to pick up local color.
" Going out to camp on the hills and discover gold ! "
was all you could get out of Connolly. Late the next
afternoon the bedraggled party swung into town again.
Connolly's hand was tied up. A more trampy looking
outfit never struck a town.
" What's the matter ? " asked the crowd surging about
Connolly on the pier.
" Oh, nothing at all," he said, and then he looked faint
and sighed. Then began a quest for information as to
whether they found gold or shot anything, and how was
Connolly hurt. Finally it was whispered that a Tierra del
Fuego Indian who had stealthily crossed to the mainland
had shot at the party and the Mauser bullet, Mauser, mind
you, had nipped Connolly and had caused a bad flesh
wound. Then it was a puma that had leaped upon him
and he had strangled it to death. Then the story went
that he had been shot accidentally by one of the party.
Then he had broken his fist in a fierce personal encounter
with savages. All through this period of rumors and
yarns all Connolly could do was to nod and make a show
of great nerve in not noticing the terrible pain under which
he was suffering.
162 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
Well, there had to be an end of it, and it came out that
Connolly had slipped in wading a stream and in trying to
keep himself from falling had put a finger out of joint.
He grinned over the joke and when he was asked for de-
tails of the shooting he said :
" Honestly, we did see some puma tracks 1 "
That, so far as results were concerned, was the experi-
ence of all the hunting parties. The Yankton took some
of the officers across to Fireland, about twenty miles, one
day. They got some fine birds and a fox or two and had
really good sport. Punta Arenas not providing any hunt-
ing, the officers took to receptions for the rest of the stay.
One thing that keeps impressing itself upon the patri-
otic observer as this fleet goes from port to port should
be mentioned. It is the painful lack of the American
flag on shipping. The English and German flags are
seen everywhere. All over this South American country
you also hear one lament from merchants. It is that there
is no American line of steamships trading directly all along
the coast. Everywhere they tell you of the great oppor-
tunities for American goods down here.
" If you Americans would only find out what we want
and then learn how to pack the goods and then would es-
tablish steamship lines there is immense wealth to be had in
our trade. Give us American steamship lines," is the
burden of general comment.
This is not the place for a discussion of the revival of
the American merchant marine or the best methods to at-
tain that end. The writer of this has no desire to go be-
yond the province of his assignment, which is to chronicle
the doings of the fleet, but surely one may mention with
PUNTA ARENAS 163
propriety the one remark in every port that the presence
of the fleet has brought forth.
Punta Arenas was like the rest in its craving for Ameri-
can trade. It may be the jumping off place of the earth,
but if you did have to jump off a ship and should land
here you might be in far worse places, and if you had to
jump off from here the fact would still remain that you
might jump from more undesirable places. The Ameri-
can sailor men were practically unanimous in voting Punta
Arenas all right and a tremendous surprise.
THROUGH MAGELLAN STRAIT
Fog, Shoal, Wind and Tide Most Awesome Scenery in the World,
but Not a Place to Anchor Start at the Witching Hour of 11
p.m. on Friday Brought Only Good Luck to the Long Line of
U. S. Leviathans, Flanked by Its Torpedo Flotilla Vessels Wab-
ble Where the Tides Meet, but Steady Hands Curb Them Back to
the Course The Willywaw Island Post Office and Cape Pilar,
Where No Ship-wrecked Seaman Ever Escaped.
On Board U. S. S. Louisiana, U. S. Battle Fleet,
AT SEA, Feb. 15.
WHEN word was cabled from Chile just before Ad-
miral Evans's fleet swept in and out of Valpar-
aiso harbor on February 14< that the fleet had
passed through the Strait of Magellan safely, there was
probably a feeling of relief in Washington. Admiration
for the successful performance of a great feat of seaman-
ship was probably expressed generally throughout the
world. The passage accomplished, it was easy to say
that all along every one who had any sense knew that
it would come out all right and not for one moment had
there been any real cause for anxiety. Of course, of
Nevertheless all the world knows there was great anxiety
and even dread lest something serious might happen in
navigating this most treacherous and dangerous passage
THROUGH MAGELLAN STRAIT 165
in the world. Even the foreign press said that it would
be a supreme test of American seamanship to take a fleet
of sixteen battleships, to say nothing of the auxiliaries,
through those waters.
It is comparatively easy to take one or two ships through
the straits. Two or three hundred skippers perform that
task with success every year. Time and again have our
warships, singly and in groups of two or three, gone
through with ease. But here were sixteen monster ships
that had to go through in single file and within about 400
yards of one another, with no place to anchor and without
the possibility of stopping, buffeted by swift tides and
currents, in danger of running into the sheer cliffs of
mountains or of striking hidden rocks in fog or possibly
snow. If any serious mishap had occurred there was
nothing to do but go right on. You couldn't lay to in
these waters. If fog hid the way you must keep on and
trust to picking up headlands here and there, and you
must maintain your sustained speed of ten knots, because
each vessel would then know where its immediate prede-
cessor or follower ought to be.
Certainly it was a difficult performance, one fraught
with great danger and grave responsibility. The chief
point is, however, that the fleet got through without the
slightest mishap. It was done as easily as entering the
harbor of New York. There was not the slightest mani-
festation of undue concern by any of the officers of the
fleet, but it cannot be denied that every one was keyed up
to his best and all were glad when the roll of the Pacific was
felt. When it was over all hands looked at one another
and said, in the French expression, " It is to laugh."
166 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
But you want to know all about it? Is there an im-
patient call for details of this much-heralded trip of dread,
a breathless demand to know how many close calls and
narrow escapes there were from hitting sunken rocks, glid-
ing against precipices, scraping the paint from the ships'
sides, dodging willy waws? You want to learn how many
men were nearly swept from the decks by overhanging
cliffs and limbs of trees, how often icebergs choked the
narrow places, how many times the treacherous Fuegan
Indians, " the lowest form of humanity on earth," lit their
fires as signals that there would be fine plunder and good
eating of humans when one or more of these ships went
on the rocks; whether it was true that the officers and
crews went without sleep or food until all dangers were
Well, if you guessed any or all those things you must
guess lagain. None of 'em happened. Of course the
winds blew fiercely at times, but they do that every day
in the year in the Magellans. Of course the tide rips
caught the ships at certain critical places and twisted and
turned them somewhat. Of course the rain fell occasion-
ally and now and then shut out from view a most beautiful
glacier or snow field just when you wanted to see it most.
Of course the clouds obscured the mountain tops from time
to time. Of course the currents and tides swept through
the various reaches like mill races. Of course a willy waw
or two came out and smote us, and of course there was
But if you want to know how easily the passage was
made let it be said the last thirty miles of it was in a
mist that thickened into a dense fog, obscuring the land
THROUGH MAGELLAN STRAIT 167
on both sides completely for hours and only now and then
lifting for a moment's revelation of some rock or head-
land. Yes, the American fleet not only went through the
dangerous passage, but it actually sailed through miles
and miles of fog in doing so, and it was done in as smart
a fashion as if the ships were on the high seas and not
in the most fearsome strait in the world, intervals and
speed being kept perfectly. After all, even if the men
on the fleet pretended to make light of it, the performance
was a fine piece of navigation. Admiral Evans has just
reason to be proud of it and so have the American people.
It couldn't have been done better.
There was reason for dread. Hadn't all the timid folk
spoken of the terrible risks to be run? Hadn't the super-
stitious lifted up their voices and pointed out that in the
fifty-two wrecks that had occurred in the strait in, say, the
last twenty years, exactly twenty-six had been of vessels
beginning with the letter C? Didn't we have the Con-
necticut to lead us? And worse than thrvt, wasn't it the
Chilean cruiser Chacabuco which had been sent to Punta
Arenas as a national compliment and to act as escort about
half a mile in front of the Connecticut? One ship begin-
ning with C was enough, but here were two. That surely
was wilful defiance of all the high signs and deep por-
tents. And, then, didn't we start out from Punta Arenas
on Friday night at the eleventh hour? Hadn't the moon
just gone down, and who knows but that a darky had failed
to catch a rabbit over in the graveyard on the beach yon-
der and so had missed having his left hind leg in his pocket
(or whatever the details of that superstition are)? And
so there was no adequate guarantee from escaping death
168 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
and destruction. Certainly it was ticklish business, a task
for the ignorant or the foolhardy.
But, speaking seriously, what the maritime world thinks
of this region is revealed best probably by the nomen-
clature of the various headlands, islands, bays and capes.
A study of the charts presents such names as these: Deso-
lation Island, Point Famine, Famine Reach, Point Mercy,
Delusion Bay, Dislocation Harbor, Useless Bay, Disap-
pointment Bay, Spider Island, Corkscrew Bay and Cor-
morant Island, to say nothing of Snow Sound and Snowy
Inlet. Why, the very contemplation of the chart was
sufficient to give a landsman the shiverees !
The Strait of Magellan is 360 miles long and the width
varies from about a mile and a half in the narrowest part
to twenty-five miles. The strait is in the form of a letter
V with the right part curved down a little at the top and
the left part extended above what would be the correct
proportion of a well-shaped letter. The short end reaches
out into the Atlantic and the long end into the Pacific.
The short right end is barren of fine scenery, the grandeur
of the hills being reserved for the long or western end.
Down at the point of the latter is Cape Froward. Coming
from the eastern end there is about fifteen miles of rugged
scenery before you make the turn to the northwest. Punta
Arenas, or Sandy Point, as the English call this hustling,
modern city, is about two-thirds down the eastern side on
a broad stretch of water known as Broad Reach. Opposite
is Useless Bay, probably so called because it is useless to
go over there to find an exit from the strait.
It is desirable, almost necessary in fact, to make the run
through the strait in daylight. To do this you enter,
THROUGH MAGELLAN STRAIT 169
say, from the east as early in the morning as possible so
as to make Punta Arenas by night. Leaving that port
you start at night, about midnight. You have about
forty-five miles of broad deep water with no difficulties in
navigation to Cape Froward, which you reach by day-
break. After that you can go through the western end
of the strait by daylight and reach the Pacific about night-
The strait has half a dozen lights in it, but in time of
fog or fierce snowsqualls these are of little value unless
by accident you happen to pick them up. Again the tide
races through the strait at the rate of never less than three
miles an hour and in some of the narrow places it has a
speed of from five to six miles. Where the tides of the
Atlantic and Pacific meet there are cross currents and dis-
turbances that catch even the most high-powered ship and
swing it here and there, despite careful work of the helms-
Still hundreds of steamships go through safely every
year and a close study of the chart revealed only three
places which occasioned anxiety to the fleet officers.
One of these places is Sarmiento Shoal that juts out
into the Atlantic for miles from Cape Virgins, the Argen-
tine headland, 135 feet high, that marks the beginning of
the eastern end. It really is no more dangerous to cross,
for example, than the shoals of Nantucket. The fleet came
down to the shoal about noon. There is one place where
there are nine fathoms of water and it has a width of only
four or five miles. The task is to fix the place of crossing
from bearings and then to cross it. When the exact spot
was reached a fierce black cloud came up and obscured
170 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
things. With it came a strong southwest wind that made
things choppy. Over the narrow part of the shoal the
ships headed. Once or twice, perhaps because the looks of
the water or the lead may have given warning, the flagship
made short turns. But in half an hour it was over and
the fleet turned to the northwest, past Dungeness light, five
miles below Cape Virgins, and marking the real entrance
to the strait, which is now under the entire jurisdiction of
Chile. From the mast of the Chilean signal station there
fluttered flags which said, in the language of the interna-
" Enter Chilean waters ; welcome distinguished American
seamen ; pleasant voyage."
The fleet voted the sentiment all right, even if the ver-
biage was somewhat unusual. There was a quick run up
into the broad waters of Possession Bay, close to the en-
trance of the First Narrows. There are two narrows on
the run to Punta Arenas and here is where the tide runs
strongest in the strait. If the tide is against you it is
better to anchor and wait for the turn. There is a good
anchorage in the bay and about 4< o'clock of the afternoon
of January 31 the mudhooks were dropped in a boiling
sheet of water that in its actions resembled the lower part
of Chesapeake Bay in a storm.
At daylight the next morning the fleet was under way
again with a favorable tide. The First Narrows are ten
miles long, two wide and have water forty fathoms deep.
There was no trouble in just skimming right along. Then
the ships entered another big bay, Philip Bay, and after
about twenty-five miles of deep water came to the Second
Narrows, twelve miles long. This passage also has a swift
THROUGH MAGELLAN STRAIT 171
tide, but the waterway is about three miles wide and very
deep, and no one had any concern about getting through.
It was as easy as rolling down hill.
Then came the waters of Broad Reach, the wide sheet
of water that stretches clear down to Punta Arenas. At
the very beginning there is one of the two really difficult
places in the strait to navigate. The reach has extensive
shoals. Santa Magdalena Island, with a lighthouse on it,
faces an oncoming ship and there are two channels, one
to the north and the other to the south. Small vessels
usually take the north passage, called Queen's Channel,
but larger ones take the other, known as New Channel.
There are two buoys which indicate dangerous places from
tide rips and shoals.
Well, the fleet officers were a little nervous as they saw
those tide rips. Soon it became evident that the current
was dangerous. It was difficult to keep exactly on the
course. Twice the Connecticut made turns to overcome
the sweeping effect of the tide and keep well clear of shoals.
The long line of ships kept zigzagging here and there,
but in less than half an hour all the dangers of the first
leg of the strait had been passed. There was nothing but
fine deep water all the way to Punta Arenas, where we
dropped anchor about noon.
All the experts of the fleet, the men who had been
through not once but several times before were unanimous
in declaring that the worst was over with the passage of
New Channel and it made every one feel good. If that
was all there was to going through Magellan, why on
earth had there been such a big scare about it all? It
didn't compare with navigating the Chesapeake in a fog
172 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
or a storm and it seemed farcical to make so much fuss
The fleet lay at Punta Arenas for six days, taking on
coal, giving liberty and the officers going through a round
of official receptions and other courtesies that made the
stay one day longer than was expected because of the
unusual courtesy on the part of Chile in sending a cruiser
down to Punta Arenas to greet the fleet bearing a Rear
Admiral, our Minister to Chile, Mr. Hicks, and our Consul
The departure of the fleet at night was set for 11 o'clock.
Before that time slow-moving lights in the harbor showed
that the Chacabuco had changed her station to be near the
head of the procession when the start was made. Other
lights had revealed that the six torpedo boats of our flotilla
had been taking up cruising positions on the right and
left flanks of the line that was to be formed. Just before
11 o'clock the signal had been made from the flagship to
prepare to get under way. The ships had hove short.
At the stroke of 11 the red and white lights flashed from
the flagship and they were answered from all the ships. At
once anchor engines began tugging at the chains, and soon
on every ship the officer in charge of the f o'c'stle sang out :
" Up and down, sir ! "
That meant that the anchor was directly under the bow
of the ship and was leaving the mud, the chain being
straight up and down. In a moment or two the call was:
" Anchor's aweigh, sir ! "
That meant that the ship was now swinging with the tide
and bells were jangled in all the engine rooms to go ahead
slowly. It was all still, only a few lights on each ship were
THROUGH MAGELLAN STRAIT 173
showing and soon the harbor presented the appearance of
twenty-five or more craft slowly moving in one direction as
if stealing away down the broad Famine Reach softly so
as not to disturb the slumbers of the town. But the town
wasn't asleep. Half the population was out to witness the
departure. The thousands of electric lights showed that.
As you drew away from the place it looked as if you were
leaving the north shore of Staten Island and going up New
York Bay, so thick were the lights on the land.
The Connecticut was quite close in shore and headed to-
ward it. She made a sharp turn, and the Kansas, Ver-
mont and Louisiana and the others fell in quickly. There
were gaps in the line for the ships that had sought better
anchorages, and these were filled in when the proper time
came. Gradually the line became compact and within fif-
teen minutes one long column of American warships was
gliding southward at a speed of ten knots, the Chilean flag-
ship off the starboard bow of our flagship, all silently steal-
ing away in the beautiful starlight night from hospitable
and attractive Punta Arenas. The start was made as
smoothly and easily as in broad daylight. There was no
fuss about it. The fleet had gone about its business in a
businesslike way. That business was to get through the
rest of the strait in the easiest and safest manner.
You went to bed at midnight leaving orders to be called
at 4 A. M. so as to come on deck and see the flagship turned
toward home at Cape Froward, the lowest continental point
of land in the world. You got out just abeam of Cape San
Isidro, with its flashing white light, and you found yourself
in the midst of rugged scenery. The sky was overcast and
a strong wind, like that which churned Possession Bay when
174 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
the fleet entered the eastern end, was blowing. Bare moun-
tains and rocks stood out in the gloom. Soon the shadows
began to purple the hillsides and rocks ; there was visible a
strip of green which you made out to be trees reaching half
way up the black mountain sides. Then the clouds light-
ened ; everything stood out clearly in a gray light and you
knew it was time for sunrise.
The clouds broke to the east and suddenly there shot
through them six great shafts of crimson light as if they
were the rays of an enormous searchlight in the east, rays
colored by passing through bright red glass. You stood
on the bridge fascinated and almost enthralled. Then you
saw the edge of the snowfield of Mount Sarmiento far to
the south. The clouds hid its brow but as they broke occa-
sionally you could catch a glimpse now and then of a
glacier gripping the mountain sides with the strength and
permanence of the ages and you knew that truly you were
looking at God's country, not the country of home, as most
folks the world over call God's country, but one that re-
vealed the majesty of creation.
So on and on you went in the narrow channels bordered
by rock-faced hills and mountains, green from the water
half way up their sides. Some of the mountains were en-
tirely of stone with abrupt sheers like the sides of the prec-
ipices in the Yosemite. Waterfalls leaped from cliffs here
and there and now and then one could see a stream rushing
down the hillside, foaming and roaring, its waters madly
dashing to complete obliteration in the swirling sea where
the immutable laws of gravity sent them. It seemed a pity
that a thing so white and pure should find an ignoble end,
but the power of the sun's rays had set the forces of per-
THROUGH MAGELLAN STRAIT 175
petual motion in those leaps and bounds and the same
streams will dash down to the sea doubtless as long as the
sun's power lasts to heat the edges of the glaciers and try
to rob them of their strength. You saw great peaks and
short ranges. Every one had a different light upon it ;
every one differed from another in formation.
But this is an account of navigation rather than a de-
scription of scenery. The ships went along in the slack
water easily and smoothly and again you wondered at the
stories of the difficulty of steaming through this wide
deep strait. You passed through Froward Reach into
English Reach, and miles away, straight ahead, you saw
the Thornton Peaks, where Jerome Channel cleaves a w r ay
into the large mysterious and only half explored Otway
Waters, a body of water like one of the Great Lakes at
home. You saw no channel ahead.
As you approached these mountains it was like the turn
in the Hudson up in the Highlands, where you seem to be
headed for the rocks with no way of escape except by turn-
ing back. You knew from the chart that you were then ap-
proaching Crooked Reach, that runs beside the island called
Carlos III. Soon you saw a bend toward the left and
then you stiffened yourself a little, for you knew that in
less than half an hour you would be in the one dangerous
place of navigation in the western half of the strait. It is
necessary to make an S curve in Crooked Reach, something
like the one in the Subway at Fourteenth street, only it is
one six or eight miles long and not of a few hundred feet.
Just before you reached the line running from Jerome
Point to the upper end of the island of Carlos III. you saw
black lines in the water running from shore to shore, now
176 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
only a little more than a mile apart. These lines were
foam-crested and they marked the meeting place of the
tides of the Atlantic and the Pacific. The officers had no
time now to look at scenery. Here was serious work. The
Connecticut crossed the first one and so intent were you in
watching preparations to cross on your own ship that you
scarcely noticed her movements. But what was the matter
with the Kansas, directly astern? She was swaying off to
starboard violently. Then she made a swoop to port.
Queer kind of steering it seemed ! Perhaps it was the Con-
necticut that had swayed this way and that. Wait a mo-
Soon the Kansas got fairly straight with the Connecticut
and then the Vermont took to dancing sidesteps this way
and that. The helm was being shifted constantly in the
endeavor to keep in the middle of the road. It was the
Louisiana's turn next. Standing on the bridge you
scarcely noticed any deviation, but when you looked at the
line of ships behind you knew that the Louisiana was hav-
ing its troubles keeping straight and when you saw the
quartermaster twisting the wheel about, now this way and
now that, you knew that this ship had been doing fancy
stunts far from home.
Then you looked at those behind. On they came, and
that straight line, the pride of any one who has seen it from
day to day, went zigzagging, twisting and turning, thrust
here and there until it resembled the twists of a snake crawl-
ing along the ground rather than a fleet of majestic ships
sailing in a straight line. Once again a similar perform-
ance of the fleet occurred and you began to realize what the
dangers of navigating Magellan meant. You realized that
THROUGH MAGELLAN STRAIT 177
with high-powered vessels such as these ships it was easy to
correct the swaying of the tides and currents, but you un-
derstood what smaller ships had to contend with.
We were going through at the most favorable season of
the year, but you shuddered to think what it must be to
be caught here in the winter, perhaps with darkness coming
on, no place to anchor and a blinding snowstorm or a fog
hiding the way and your steamer having hard work even to
hold its own against the terrific current that might be run-
ning against you. Oh, yes, then you knew what a task, a
dangerous task it was to brave the perils of Crooked Reach
and you were glad you were on a warship with strength
enough to scorn nature's effort to hurl it against the rocks.
You passed dangerous Anson Rock and you soon glided
out into Long Reach, an arm of the strait that runs for
fifty or sixty miles to the northwest almost as straight as a
taut rope, and you then took up your glasses to look
around. You saw the little island just off Borja Bay,
where the famous post office of the strait was situated, a
place where sailors rowed ashore to leave their letters to be
mailed and their newspapers months old to be read by those
who followed them. You could see the signs nailed to the
trees giving the names of ships that had called, the dates
and the ports to which they were bound. All that is done
away with now that Punta Arenas looks after the mails and
gives hospitable welcome to sailormen, but those signs, some
of them a half century old, told tales of hardship, of ship-
wreck, of misery to many a man who could read what they
Then you began again to watch the mountains. Far down
Snowy Inlet you saw the sloping sides of Mount Wharton
178 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
and a magnificent blue glacier sloping down its broad
reaches. It had teeth all over the lower part where it had
cracked under the sun's rays, but back for miles and miles,
as far as the eye could reach, the blue ice extended until it
hid itself in the vast snowfields of the mountain's top. You
were glad that the sun's rays came out from time to time
to show you a patch of the top of the mountain, for then
you understood what Darwin meant when he compared some
of the glaciers in the strait to " a hundred frozen Niag-
aras." You knew that you were looking at one of the
greatest accessible ice patches in the world outside of the
ice cap of Greenland.
The wind began to strengthen and black outbursts of it
were seen coming toward you from time to time. Then at
last you began to realize what a willywaw is. It is a fierce
blast that comes down from these mountains with well de-
fined limits like the ray of a searchlight in the night. One
moment you do not feel it and then you shoot into it and it
tosses you about, churns up the waters, roars and barks at
you and you feel that a demon from the hills is trying to
tear you to pieces. Half a dozen times one of these willy-
waws got started for the fleet and then the sun came out,
the clouds broke up and the blast was dissipated. You
could see it all with your eyes, you didn't have to imagine
it. It was as if some big policemen had scattered a crowd
that had begun to torment a procession and had said
" G'wan ! " It g'wanned all right. Finally a big one
gathered force that laughed at the policeman, and it fell
upon us. With it came mist and dashes of rain. It spat
in our faces. It wrapped our coats about our legs in
THROUGH MAGELLAN STRAIT 179
knots. It shrieked and howled at us, and when we stag-
gered through it it laughed at us, as if to say :
" You may be a great fleet of warships, but I'm not
afraid to tackle you, just like any other ship or set of ships.
I have fun with every ship that goes through here, and if
I don't one of my rough brothers does the business. No
one who goes through here can escape a willywaw. How
do you like being tousled up ? Ha ! Ha ! "
All that the writer of this cares to say is that willywaws
are rude things, the rudest kind of things he has ever met,
and he's glad that you can find them nowhere else in the
world than in Magellan Strait. Like the man who made a
mistake in matrimony, he is willing to sing hereafter the
" Once was enough for him ! "
When you got past that willywaw you began perhaps to
speculate on the height of the mountains and you were sur-
prised to learn that they are not high, as snow-capped
mountains go ; that they varied in height from 3,000 to
4,500 feet with occasionally a monster in the distance from
5,000 to 7,500 feet tall. They looked like the Alps or the
Canadian Rockies. You soon realized that it was because
they rose directly from the water and there was no slope to
them before they began to shoot upward, as is the case in
the great mountain ranges of the earth. The fact that
they were snowclad, like all the other great mountains, also
made you feel as if they were as high as such elevations.
As hour after hour passed you saw why it was that one
writer had said that if you had taken the Himalayas, the
Andes, the Alps, and had moved them all here and had sub-
180 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
merged them up to their necks you would get scenery like
that which the strait presents. As you looked at the moun-
tains and saw the bays here and there you began also to
realize what another writer meant when he said that a hun-
dred Lake Comos, Lucernes and Genevas could not present
the lordly beauty of some of these bays and inlets. Per-
haps you compared the trip with that of the Inland Sea of
Japan. If you did you could only say :
" This is grand ; the Inland Sea is beautiful."
And when we began to reach the end of Long Reach and
to get into the wide open waters of Sea Reach and the fog
shut us in completely many a person then was not alto-
gether sorry, for he had been surfeited with it all. We
went down to dinner just as the ships began to feel the
Pacific's swells. The wind from the northwest began to
blow violently and soon after 8 o'clock word was passed
that we had passed Cape Pilar, where no shipwrecked mari-
ner ever escapes, and that the fog had lifted and those on
the bridge had caught a glimpse of it. There had been
thirty miles of fog navigation in the strait itself. Two
hours later as the ship was plunging and careening in the
gale they always have a gale or extremely heavy swells
at the Pacific entrance to Magellan we heard that the
Evangelistas Islands, four rugged rocks with a light on
one, had been seen, and then we turned in, knowing that in
an hour or so the fleet would be headed due north, every
turn of the screws bringing us nearer home. On the whole,
every one was glad that if the fog was to be it had shut
off the view of the mountains and glaciers and bays just
after it had been finest. We had seen the strait at its best
and there was not a man who did not feel something of awe
THROUGH MAGELLAN STRAIT 181
over it, believing as he did that he had been in sight of the
grandest handiwork of the Creator that the earth presents.
" And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of
the waters and let it divide the waters from the waters.
" And God made the firmament and divided the waters
which were under the firmament from the waters which were
above the firmament, and it was so."
Any one who has sailed through the Strait of Magellan
can easily believe it was there that God began to divide the
waters from the waters. Any one also who has sailed
through the strait into the heaving, tossing Pacific, wrongly
named for that part of the world, could realize the full sig-
nificance of what was in the heart of a sailor of the mid-
watch who sang softly to himself as you passed him :
" Rocked in the cradle of the deep 1 "
IN AND OUT OF VALPARAISO HARBOR
Courtesy That Means Cordial Relations for Many Years Eight
Hundred Guns Proclaim Peace President Montt Reviews Ships
and Congratulates by Wireless Wonderful Sailing of the Battle-
ships Amid Thick Fog on the Rolling Pacific Formation Pre-
served in the Dark Great Scene in the Sunlight as the Armada
Swept In Near the Shore and Thundered Salutations to Vast
Throng of Chileans The Animated "Welcome" Sign Meeting
With the Chicago.
On Board U. S. S. Louisiana, U. S. Battle Fleet,
AT SEA, Feb. 15.
AN act of international courtesy, unprecedented in
American naval annals at least, and probably un-
precedented in the world's history, occurred yester-
day in the harbor of Valparaiso, Chile, when Admiral
Evans sailed in and out of the harbor, saluting the port
and then the President of Chile in person. It was a demon-
stration which in not only its immediate but its far-reaching
effects was worth probably more than a quarter of a cen-
tury's exchange of diplomatic notes and expressions.
Moreover, for sundry reasons which the intelligent ob-
server of more or less recent events can appreciate, there
was no better place on the South American continent for
such a remarkable performance. Especially gratifying to
Admiral Evans were the cordial messages of thanks and es-
IN AND OUT OF VALPARAISO 186
teem he received by wireless. The last time he sailed away
from Valparaiso kind words did not follow him. Thus
does time and a marked advance in naval power work won-
ders in international affairs.
The greatest honors that the fleet of any nation could
pay to the head of another nation were paid to President
Montt. They were precisely such as the fleet paid to Pres-
ident Roosevelt on the departure from Hampton Roads.
They differed only in their setting. The flag of another
republic was at the main. Three times as many people
witnessed the spectacle in Valparaiso as observed it in
Hampton Roads. The saluting was in a foreign port, girt
about with lofty hills instead of the low lying and far dis-
tant shores of Chesapeake Bay. Elaborately dressed ship-
ping, flying the flags of half a dozen nations, added color
to the scheme.
A great city terraced up the mountain sides made a holi-
day to gaze, first in silence and then with cheers, at an
armada which meant not conquest but a visible message of
safety from conquest by European Powers, and an assur-
ance that not only Chile but every other Power in South
or Central America could pursue the path of commercial
and intellectual development secure from the envy and ava-
rice of other parts of the world. Exhibiting that fleet to
Chile was like showing her a paid-up, interminable insur-
ance policy of peace, made out in the name of all American
peoples. Judging from the responses it elicited Chile
liked the way the policy read.
Few harbors in the world are better adapted for such a
scene. There is no deep bay, no narrow channel to choke
the entrance. The harbor is simply an open roadstead of
184 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
the Pacific. All that Admiral Evans had to do was to turn
to one side, sweep along the city front just outside the line
of moored shipping and pass on. He was on the broad
swells of the Pacific again within an hour from the time he
had turned in shore. It was an hour of education for
Chile, with a lesson in it that otherwise she could not learn
in years, and at its conclusion there was such a genuine
note of appreciation in the exchange of farewells that any
student of the forces that work for good or evil in inter-
national affairs must have been glad that the courtesy call
One also could understand somewhat the feelings of Ad-
miral Evans, who, after it was all over, sent this charac-
teristic Evans message to the fleet in words that every man
on every ship understood thoroughly :
" The Commander-in-Chief thanks the officers and men
of the fleet for the handsome way they did the trick today."
It was handsome and it was stirring. Of course the
word trick was used by the Admiral only in a colloquial
sense ; there was no trick about it, for it was simply going
a little out of the way to be nice and decent to a people
who for many years had mistrusted us and had said things
too. But what is the use of being a big nation if you
can't be big hearted with it and show that you don't hold
resentments ? A thousand to one that Chile's sincere friend-
ship will be ours for many, many years to come.
Unusual as this cruise is, it is the unusual and unex-
pected that have come out from it as its salient features.
The profound indifference of the people of Trinidad to the
fleet was unusual and something of a bump. The ex-
uberant welcome and unrestrained hospitality of Brazil was
IN AND OUT OF VALPARAISO 185
unusual. The salutes to the flags exchanged between the
fleets of Argentina and the United States on the high seas
were unusual. The despatch of a cruiser on the part of
Chile to its most remote port and carrying our Minister
was unusual. The Vice-Admiral salutes given all along the
line to Admiral Evans, whether by accident or design, were
unusual. Having a warship escort the fleet through al-
most the'entire length of its coast line, as Chile did, was un-
usual. Lastly the departure from an established pro-
gramme to run into the greatest harbor of another nation
to fire salutes to its flag and President was unusual.
From the moment that the fleet headed out into the
Pacific from the Strait of Magellan, in company with the
flagship Chacabuco carrying the flag of Admiral Simpson
of the Chilean navy, there was much speculation as to the
kind of reception it would receive in Valparaiso. The
great cordiality shown by Admiral Simpson and the
Chilean authorities in Punta Arenas bespoke the warmest
kind of a welcome. But speculation still continued, and
indeed there was little else to do, for a fog settled upon the
waters, which, added to the turbulent condition of the Pa-
cific, made the trip for several days one of comparative
gloom. Occasionally the fog would lift and you could
catch a glimpse of some of the other divisions of the fleet.
Once after nearly twenty-four hours it vanished completely
and there was a genuine ring of satisfaction over the sight
it must have presented to the Chacabuco far off to the
westward, for there was the entire American fleet exactly in
position, sailing precisely as if there had been no fog to
hide the ships from one another. But everybody knew that
it would be so.
186 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
" That's going some ; wonder what the Chilean Admiral
thinks of that? " was heard on all sides.
Then the fog shut in again and for two days more the
fleet ploughed on. It was in a column of divisions forma-
tion, that is, the four ships of the first division were abreast
of one another and 400 yards apart. Twelve hundred
yards astern the ships of the second division were in a sim-
ilar formation. The third and fourth followed in the same
way. Sometimes the fog was so thick that on the Louis-
iana, which was on the left flank of the first line, we couldn't
see our nearest neighbor, the Vermont. The Connecticut,
off to the right, would toot her letter on the whistle, the
Kansas would toot hers at once and then the Vermont would
sound hers, followed by the Louisiana. The steering was
done by compass almost entirely. Occasionally we would
find the Vermont inching over to us and she would loom up
out of the fog quite near, but her whistle would say :
"Give me a little more room, please; the Kansas is
crowding me over. When she goes back toward the flag-
ship, or the flagship eases off a bit, I'll go back. Just a
little room, please ! "
Then the Louisiana would swing off and a fog bank
would cut off sight of each other. Then there would be
another lift and it would be found that one ship was a
hundred yards or so ahead of the others, or perhaps that
they were exactly in line. The searchlights on the ships
were thrown abeam so that for most of the time it was
comparatively easy to tell where your immediate neighbor
was. Sometimes we could hear the ships of the other di-
visions whistling faintly and we wondered whether the fleet
formation had been broken seriously by currents or faulty
IN AND OUT OF VALPARAISO 187
steering, but every time the fog lightened there the ships
were, shifted now and then a little, but in the main exactly
where they should be.
Then the Chacabuco signalled that she intended to run
into Talcahuano, the Chilean naval port, and would send
messages of our safe passage through Magellan and also
notify the Chilean authorities of the hour of our arrival in
Valparaiso. The two Admirals had agreed upon % o'clock
on the afternoon of Friday, February 14. The day after
the Chacabuco left, the air cleared. She agreed to meet
us again at noon on February 13 at a certain latitude and
longitude and sure enough shortly after 8 o'clock on the
13th, her smoke and that of three torpedo boats accom-
panying her was made out. On they came and they were
abeam at exactly noon. Behind them was a large passen-
ger steamer, loaded down with folks from Concepcion,
Chile. That ship ran close to the fleet and gave its pas-
sengers a fine view. Then those in the fleet knew that Chile
took intense interest in the passage.
It was necessary to slow to nine, then to eight and then
to seven knots so as not to reach Valparaiso ahead of time.
The sea calmed, the sun came out and a more perfect after-
noon was never witnessed on the ocean.
Daybreak on the morning of the 14th showed a lower-
ing sky. Just before 9 o'clock the Chilean coast could be
made out and then the fleet made one or two turns and
twists, apparently to kill a little time. Admiral Simpson
took his place at the head of the column which had been
formed and his three torpedo boats took up positions on
our right flank, the side nearest to the city in the harbor, so
as to protect the line from any intrusion. Just before 1
188 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
o'clock we could make out the people on the high hills
south of Angeles Point, fittingly named for a great ceme-
tery sloped up the hillside. The place was black with
spectators. Around the point we could see the puffs of a
salute, given probably by one of the forts or ships to note
the arrival of President Montt. Then we came close to
Angeles Point. The beach was thronged. There were
tents where jimcracks were being sold and double decker
tram cars were loaded to the limit. It seemed as if all Val-
paraiso had come out to that place. The glasses were
turned upon Fort Valdivia, just beyond Point Angeles. It
is a naval station.
Suddenly a midshipman discovered that there was a sign
in English on one of its terraces. It said:
" Welcome ! "
" That's mighty nice to whitewash a lot of stones in that
way, isn't it? " said an officer on the bridge.
Three minutes later the navigator sang out:
" Captain, that sign isn't made of stones. It's made of
men ! "
A dozen glasses were focussed upon the sign at once.
Sure enough, stretched upon the terrace there lay a human
sign, made up of sailors or naval cadets in white. It took
three mens' length to make the height of a single letter.
Two men were required for the top and the bottom of the
letter O. These men must not have been entirely comfort-
able for they lay there fully an hour, but the sign was as
immobile as if it were made of stone. That compliment
touched the kindly feeling of every one on the ships. It
made a sensation. No one had ever seen anything like that.
There was no way of answering it in kind, as you can in
IN AND OUT OF VALPARAISO 189
saluting; you could only look at it in dumb amazement
and feel grateful.
You were glad then that the compliment had been paid
to Admiral Simpson of allowing him to lead the fleet in
with his little cruiser no Chilean naval officer ever had
such a post of honor and all the ships took keen notice
of the signal from the flagship to fire a simultaneous salute
of twenty-one guns when notice should be given. As the
fleet turned in the glasses revealed a large collection of
ships, some of them old whalers, lying in the harbor.
Grand stands had been built on various eminences for the
people and hundreds of white parasols showed that the fair
sex was alive to the great sea-show.
Half an hour before the fleet approached the harbor it
was noticed that a great canopy of blue sky rested over it.
Out where the fleet was it was still lowering. Abreast of
Fort Valdivia the fleet emerged into the sunshine and stood
clearly revealed. Every ship had a bright new American
ensign at its gaff and foretruck. At every main there was
a Chilean ensign. A fresh breeze started up and blew the
ensigns out proudly. Nature helped dress the ships in
Around Point Angeles the Connecticut swept slowly and
majestically. She got well inside the harbor and was al-
most abeam of Duprat Point when a set of flags fluttered to
the signal yards. They said:
" Prepare to salute ! "
The flags hung there until all the answering pennants
were shown and then they wavered an instant as they be-
gan to fall, and at once the sixteen battleships roared out a
salvo such as no one in Chile had ever heard before. The
190 iWITH THE BATTLE FLEET
effect of the thunder was electric. The wind fortunately
blew the smoke away from the ships. People on the shore
were seen to jump and run. All along the shore line below
Fort Valdivia they began to race back toward the city and
harbor by the thousands. It was literally a stampede.
Great clouds of dust engulfed them and partly hid them
from view. It made those on the ships laugh.
" The town has gone out too far and now has to run
back," they said.
Not so ; a glimpse along the waterfront showed that what
Lieut. Gherardi, commanding the little Yankton, which had
arrived the day before and was anchored in the harbor, all
beautifully dressed, had sent by wireless early in the morn-
ing was true. Gherardi said there was intense interest in
the fleet and all the stores and banks had closed for the day.
A clear space in front of the shipping was preserved.
Hundreds of launches, sailboats and rowboats were out on
the water. The hills were black. The highways running
down to the waterfront were filled. Flags were every-
where. All Valparaiso was out to see the great parade,
and for a time it seemed that she was looking on in awe.
Then there came sounds of cheering from shore and occa-
sionally the sound of " The Star Spangled Banner " was
Iieard as some band played it.
In less than two minutes after the fleet had fired its salute
Fort Valdivia responded with twenty-one guns. Then
Ihree or four miles across the harbor at the other entrance
puffs of smoke could be seen, showing that an army fort
was giving its greeting and saying:
" Glad to see you ! "
Admiral Simpson sent a message to Admiral Evans that
IN AND OUT OF VALPARAISO 191
President Montt was on the training ship Gen. Baquedano,
clear across the harbor, near Fort Callao, which had fired
the army salute. The fleet went into the harbor, made a
slight turn and then sailed for about half a mile in a
straight line close to the shipping and about a mile from
shore. Then it curved away again toward the harbor en-
trance, following the lead of the Chacabuco. It now
closed the entire harbor. Silently it approached an an-
chored training ship, whose yards were manned. The ship
was crowded with high governmental functionaries and
their families and friends. In one corner of the bridge the
President could be made out with glasses. The Chilean
ensign with a coat of arms on it, the President's stand-
ard, was at the main. When within 100 yards of the
Baquedano the Chacabuco began its salute of twenty-one
guns to the flag of its President. A slight interval of si-
lence followed and then the Connecticut roared out its per-
sonal greeting to the head of another nation. As each
American ship approached it fired twenty-one guns. The
air was filled with smoke, but the strong breeze blew it away
and set the sixteen ensigns of Chile and the thirty-two of
the United States all vibrating and snapping out almost as
plainly as if you could hear it:
" Hurrah ! "
In solemn state the ships passed the uncovered President.
He received then and there such a tribute of honor as no
other President of Chile ever received. He saw a collection
of worships such as no other South American President,
with the exception of President Penna of Brazil, ever saw.
He had the satisfaction of witnessing a friendly tribute
such as no other nation ever received from the United
192 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
States. Whatever was the effect upon the President and
the people of Chile, it thrilled those on the American war-
For a mile or two beyond the Chacabuco led the fleet and
then it turned and fired a salute to the American flag as it
headed back to Valparaiso. The Connecticut answered
with twenty-one guns for the Chilean flag, signalled to re-
sume the cruising speed of ten knots and the spectacular
call on the President of Chile and the people of its chief
seaport was over. Altogether nearly 800 guns were fired
in the saluting. It was like the roar of a battle.
In ten minutes after the Connecticut had fired its salute
to the President and before some of the American ships
had begun theirs Admiral Evans sent this message to
Admiral Simpson on the Chacabuco:
To Admiral Simpson:
The Commander-in-Chief of the United States Atlantic fleet begs
that you will convey to the President of the republic in the name
of himself, officers and men, their appreciation of the honor he has
done them in reviewing the fleet. Please add to this my personal
expression of highest regard. In saying good-by to you, Admiral
Simpson, may I express the hope that we may meet again in the
future, and let me convey herein to you the sincere thanks of my-
self, officers and men of the Atlantic fleet for the many acts of cour-
tesy you have extended to us. We wish you good health and all
Then Admiral Evans sent this to our Minister, Mr.
Hicks, on the Chacabuco:
To Minister Hicks:
I beg that you will express to the President of the republic the
thanks of the officers and men of the Atlantic fleet for the many gra-
cious acts of courtesy we have received from the representatives of
IN AND OUT OF VALPARAISO 193
the Chilean Government since reaching their coast. I am sure that
the people of the United States will fully appreciate the courtesies
and that they will go far toward cementing the friendship between
the two nations. With expressions of highest consideration for you
personally, I remain, yours sincerely,
In five minutes the replies were being heard in every
wireless room of the American ships. This is what Ad-
miral Simpson said:
Many thanks for your very kind message which I will convey with
the greatest of pleasure to the President, and my personal thanks
for your good wishes in regard to myself and officers. They join
in their good wishes for Admiral Evans and send a hearty farewell
greeting to the Admiral and his officers and men and wish them all a
most successful and prosperous voyage,
Mr. Hicks said:
To Admiral Evans:
Your message just received. I will deliver it to President Montt
immediately. Kindest regards to you and your officers. The whole
review was all that any one should ask for and I am proud of the
fleet. Good-by and good luck to you.
Then Admiral Simpson sent this greeting from President
Montt to Admiral Evans :
The President instructs me to thank Admiral Evans for his very
kind message and for having brought the American fleet to Val-
paraiso and to express to him his admiration of its splendid appear-
ance. He further requests me to express to Admiral Evans his sin-
cere hopes that his health will continue to improve and his personal
desire that he may arrive at his destination in perfect health.
194* WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
This was followed by this message from Minister Prato
of the Army and Navy of Chile and it pleased Admiral
To Admiral Evans:
The Minister of War and the Navy, in the name of the republic of
Chile, thanks profoundly Admiral Evans for the delicate courtesy
of his salute in Valparaiso and congratulates him, the Admirals, Cap-
tains, officers and crews under him, for the splendid demonstration
given us to-day of seeing the power and discipline of the fleet under
your command. With many cordial wishes for a pleasant voyage
and also for the recovery of your health at an early date,
Minister of War and the Navy.
To this greeting Admiral Evans sent the final message of
the day through the Yankton :
Transmit this to the Minister of War and the Navy Prato. The
cordial welcome extended by the officials and citizens of the Republic
of Chile has met with our deep appreciation, and I am sure that
it will be a source of great gratification to the people of the United
States when they learn how you have greeted us. It was a great
pleasure to be reviewed by your distinguished President, and it gave
me the greatest satisfaction to extend to him the same honors that
were extended to the President of the United States on leaving
Hampton Roads. Hoping that my action of to-day may in some
small way draw closer the bonds of friendship which unite the two
great republics and thanking you most gratefully for your personal
expressions, Yours most sincerely,
It was a good day's work, and even if it did cause the
fleet to lose a day in the run to Callao in addition to the
one lost in Punta Arenas in answering the courtesies of the
Chileans, no one begrudged the delay.
The appearance of the city of Valparaiso was a distinct
IN AND OUT OF VALPARAISO '195
disappointment to those on the fleet who had not seen it be-
fore. Its name means a Vale of Paradise. Was it in-
tended as mockery ? One travel writer has said that nature
never meant that a city should be planted there. The hills
come down so near to the water that there is room for only
four or five streets parallel with it. The city is strung
along the harbor for more than two miles. To find other
room for itself it has to climb steep hills and build homes
on terraces. The streams have made great gullies, or
barrancas, in their courses to the sea, and these gulches give
a disjointed appearance to the place. There seems to be
no continuity about it. It is irregular, tilted here and
there and most of the hills have to be overcome with steep
railroads, like those which climb the hills of Pittsburg or
Cincinnati. A line of railroad with English carriages runs
along the waterfront. The railroad finds an opening, not
visible from the harbor, where it may escape the girdle of
the hills. There seem to be few houses around the water-
There was little or no color in the buildings. All seemed
to be made of grayish mud. There was no visible verdure
in the town. The hills were brown, as if blighted by a
great drought. All was bleak and bare and dusty. The
place looked barren and almost cheerless. A greater con-
trast to hill and mountain adorned Rio de Janeiro, the last
large city we saw, heavy with its mantle of green, could not
be imagined than this sun-baked, brown collection of dull-
colored buildings constituting a great seaport. The effects
of the earthquake of last year could be seen here and there
with a glass. Walls were broken and buildings toppled
over. This added all the more to the forlorn appearance
196 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
of the place, but it gave point to the exuberant welcome
which its people gave to the fleet.
The day before the fleet sailed into Valparaiso harbor it
had a little celebration, somewhat unusual on the high seas,
that was strictly American. The cruiser Chicago, bound
for the Atlantic from San Francisco, met us. Wireless
signals had been exchanged and about 3 o'clock in the
afternoon the smoke of the Chicago could be made out on
the horizon. An hour later she was approaching the flag-
ship. Then she saluted the Admiral's flag. Every ship
had been told to show passing honors. The guard was
paraded, the rails manned and the band was on the quarter-
deck. The fleet and the Chicago almost drifted by one
another. As the Chicago passed down the line the band on
every battleship played " The Star Spangled Banner."
When the bars were finished on the Louisiana the band
struck up u Home, Sweet Home." The long homeward
bound pennant of the Chicago seemed to have an extra
flutter in it as the notes sounded over the smooth sea. In
many a man's throat there was a gulp. After the fleet had
passed the Chicago hove to and lay for a quarter of an
hour, all its men gazing as a fond relative after another
for which fate had decreed a long separation.
It was a pretty ceremony, and it furnished food for
naval thought. There was the first steel ship of the United
States navy, the flagship of the White Squadron of more
than twenty years ago of which Americans were so proud.
She seemed a puny thing beside any one of this fleet. The
earliest and the latest in modern American warship build-
ing were presented to the eye. And what an advance!
Still the Chicago presented a smart appearance and her
IN AND OUT OF VALPARAISO 197
8-inch guns, with which she holds the navy record, told
that she was still useful and she could hold up her head
proudly. Every one was glad she was still in existence.
Right then and there many a young American naval officer
got a better idea of the growth and strength of the navy
than most of his books and his study could reveal to him.
Whatever may have been the motive that impelled Presi-
dent Roosevelt to send this fleet on its long journey to the
Pacific whether it was to dare Japan to resent it or to
serve notice on that nation to be good ; whether it was for
political effect on the Pacific Coast in the hope of rounding
up delegates for some one candidate for President or elect-
ing some man United States Senator; whether it was in
accord with some suggestion perhaps that Secretary Root
made in his trip to South America ; whether it was simply
a desire to be spectacular; whether it was a sincere belief
that the navy needed just such a cruise to fit it for its best
work and the Pacific was as much entitled to see how it
could be protected as the Atlantic; whether it was for any
or all of these, and all have been suggested in print
whatever it was, let this be said as to the unexpected and
to some extent unforeseen advantages that have resulted:
The Monroe Doctrine is to-day more of a living, vital
thing with the nations of South America because of the
cruise of this fleet than it has ever been since President
Monroe penned its words.
Gracious and Artistic and Inspired by Cordial Friendship Sailors
in the Bullring Work of the Matadors Considered From a Nau-
tical Point of View Interchange of Good Wishes by Admiral
Thomas and President. Pardo Charms of a City That Survives
From the Middle Ages Trip 15,000 Feet Up the Andes Re-
mains of Pizarro Journalistic Compliments and Official Enter-
On Board U. S. S. Louisiana, U. S. Battle Fleet,
OFF CALLAO HARBOR, Feb. 29.
PERU remembered !
Almost as trite as the saying that corporations have
no souls, or that politics makes strange bed fellows,
is another that in international affairs the friends of yes-
terday, may be the foes of to-day, and that nations, as
nations, have no memories. If it is true, Peru is the rule
proving exception. Her gracious welcome to the Ameri-
can fleet, from the first acclaim of greeting to the last fare-
well, was marked by a sincerity that was peculiar in the
exchange of international courtesies.
There was reason for this. Of all South American
countries none is more devotedly the friend of the United
States than Peru. In the time of Peru's direct distress, when
the hell horrors of war left her plundered, sacked, pillaged,
PERU'S WARM-HEARTED GREETING 199
as no nation in modern times has been despoiled; when she
was bereft of nearly her entire population of early man-
hood; when dynamite and the torch were employed in a
heartless exhibition of brutality to mark as permanently
as possible the pathway of a mocking conquerer ; when the
vandalism of victory even destroyed the trees of botanical
gardens, robbed altars of decorations, cut paintings from
frames to make bonfires, pillaged the savings of children,
destroyed civic utilities for the sake of wanton destruc-
tion ; when the conqueror struck the most terrible blow that
a conqueror can strike, the violation of the sanctity of
homes and be it remembered that the women of Peru
are declared by all authority to be the most beautiful,
proud and high spirited in the world when all this was
done, the first nation to comfort, to advise, to shield \vas
the United States.
True, once or twice the United States seemed to falter
and Peru almost cried out with bitterness because of it, but
there was another handclasp with sincere words of real
friendship back of it and Peru emerged from her trial
grateful and steadfast. That was a quarter of a century
ago and Peru said she would remember. Her hospitality to
the great American fleet proved that she did. She is no
longer poverty stricken. She is fairly well-to-do and
things are looking better all the time. She lives in com-
fort. She even wears colors occasionally. She has young
men again and their energy is making for prosperity and
advancement all around. To the American fleet Peru said
as plainly as could be:
" I am truly glad to see you. We can't do as much for
you in the way of entertainment as our hearts could wish.
200 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
We can't lavish wealth upon you, but such as we have is
yours, all yours. We have remembered."
And so it was that Peru's entertainment of the fleet was
not extravagant or burdensome. It was delicate rather
than effusive. It was the welcome and hospitality of high
breeding. From the first gun of the cruiser Bolognesi,
sent 250 miles out to sea to escort the fleet in to Callao, to
the last " Eep ! Eep ! Eep ! Oorah ! " on the tug that fol-
lowed us furthest to sea as we left this morning every act
of hospitality was in perfect taste and in a spirit utterly
foreign to vulgar display.
Yes, Peru remembered, and its effect upon the Ameri-
can visitors was well expressed officially by Rear Admiral
Thomas on board the Connecticut on February 27 at a
dinner given in honor of President Pardo when he said:
" Nothing has been left undone that would add to our
convenience, comfort or happiness, and, permit me to say,
as military men, with the instinct of organization, we have
been impressed with the perfection of every detail and the
artistic taste displayed at every entertainment from the
time the fleet dropped anchor in Callao Bay to the occa-
sion of the brilliant garden party at the exposition grounds.
But most important of all, and that which has touched our
hearts deeply, is the warmth and sincerity of the welcome
that has been accorded to us, so patent to all.
" In our fleet there are nearly six hundred officers and
fourteen thousand men, and when we reach home waters
and in the course of time these officers and men are dis-
persed throughout the forty-five States of the Union, visit-
ing their respective homes, each and every one of them will
be a missionary to carry a message throughout oux broad
PERU'S WARM-HEARTED GREETING 201
land from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the Canadian
border to the Gulf of Mexico, telling of this welcome, the
result of which must of necessity tend to the drawing
closer and closer the ties of union between the two republics.
It will be a tradition to be handed down not only to our
children, but to our children's children."
The Admiral's speech was the fleet's answer to the formal
welcome of President Pardo at a dinner the republic gave
to the Americans on the night of Washington's Birthday.
This translation of the President's words was placed in
front of each of the guests the instant President Pardo
ADMIRAL: The arrival at our shores of American warships has
always been looked forward to with the greatest pleasure by the Gov-
ernment of Peru and her citizens, as it gives us an opportunity for
showing the true friendship which exists between this country and the
United States and for my countrymen to extend a cordial welcome
to the American Navy.
Were it possible our welcome would be augmented by the glorious
spectacle which you present us in Callao of the starry banner waving
from the masts of the most powerful fleet that has ever navigated the
Pacific Ocean, as well as by your most successful accomplishment of
this difficult voyage, which demonstrates the power and discipline of
the American Navy, to-day universally acknowledged by the entire
With the sincere welcome of the Government and the people of Peru
we wish to express our admiration of the justice which has inspired
President Roosevelt's policy in the relations of the United States
with the Latin-American countries and their relations between them-
selves, a policy which has met with the utmost success in the recent
conference at Washington and assures a permanent peace in Central
A welcome to you, Admirals and officers of the American fleet.
Peru receives you with hearty friendship and reminds you that you
are on friendly strands.
On this day, when your country honors the memory of George
WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
Washington, the founder of its glorious independence and of its ad-
mirable form of government, I ask you to join me in the toast I pro-
The prosperity of the United States, the health of its eminent
President, Mr. Roosevelt, and that good luck may always accom-
pany the fleet under your command.
So much for the official welcome. The unofficial wel-
come was everywhere. It began as soon as the ships en-
tered Callao Bay. There are no headlands or hills sur-
rounding the harbor, which is practically an open road-
stead. The fleet had to anchor two miles out. The har-
bor was crowded with all sorts of little craft laden to the
danger point. Every tug, every launch, all the sailboats
that could be found, rowing barges, dories, two large
oceangoing steamers, came out to say howdy and bearing
cheering people by the thousand. Some of the little craft
fired national salutes with toy cannon. Those that had
whistles tied down the cords. One tug was crowded with
young men who insisted on giving the Cornell yell every
time a ship passed by.
As soon as anchors were cast a look shoreward revealed
that tens of thousands had come to the waterfront. Later
when one went ashore he learned that the Government had
declared a holiday in honor of the arrival of the fleet and
that all of Callao and Lima 9 seven miles distant, had come
down to see the ships. The stores and shops were closed
as if it were Sunday. Business was at a standstill. Of-
ficial visits were begun at once, but those who could get
away made haste to go to Lima on the modern trolley
S3rstem which in addition to two railroads accommodates the
traffic between the two cities.
The visitor noted that Callao was an ill smelling place of
PERU'S WARM-HEARTED GREETING 203
garish colored houses and narrow streets a mere port of
40,000 inhabitants and that it had many of the charac-
teristics of some of the cities on the southern shore of the
Mediterranean. Once out in the flat country, the visitor
was reminded somewhat of the country between Brooklyn
and Coney Island. Truck farms were frequent. What
looked to be American corn was growing profusely side
by side with banana trees and sugarcane fields. Patches
of good old fashioned vegetables onions, cabbages, rad-
ishes, lettuce were also under cultivation. Large herds
of fine cattle grazed on some of the fields, and in others
were herded splendid flocks of sheep. It looked almost
like home. The fences alone were strange. They were
made of thick blocks of dried mud. The entire cultiva-
tion was dependent upon irrigation from the Rimac River,
the splendid mountain stream that dashes down from the
Andes in a torrent clear to the sea.
Then one came to Lima itself, situated on a plain girdled
by the foothills of the Andes, with its low lying houses,
all made of mud plastered upon bamboo reeds, with not a
roof in the city that would shed water, for in Lima it never
rains; to Lima, the one city in the Western Hemisphere
which has preserved a large amount of the architecture of
the Middle Ages and is rich in traditions of the past.
There in this city of 150,000 people with its well paved
streets, its bustling activities, its fine climate (the tempera-
ture never goes above 80 degrees, although the city is only
1 degrees from the equator) and attractive people the
Americans found plastered on every building in town a
paper reproduction of the American flag with the words
printed on it:
204 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
" Welcome to the American fleet ! "
Peru's flag was posted by its side frequently. The
Government had done it. You see every person in town
couldn't come up to you and tell you that he or she was
glad to see you. He or she was; but it had to be told in
some other way, and so these placards voiced the feeling
of the people. If anything else were needed to complete
the greeting it was supplied when the Diario, the leading
newspaper of Lima, came out with halftone reproductions
of ships, officers and the Annapolis Academy, a page of
news in English from the United States and a formal wel-
come to the fleet. This welcome was unique. It is worth
reproducing at length. This is what it said:
Every social class in our country, all the elements which make up
the life of Peru, have attended with sincere exhilaration to contem-
plate the gallant representatives of the power and greatness of the
These ships come after a trial of resistance which has proved the
discipline, the self-denial, the moral energy, the patriotic pride of
race, all those eminent faculties which beautify the spirit and elevate
the personality of the great republic of the north.
Peru has the glory and good fortune among the nations of America
to offer its hospitable strand to serve as a shelter during the short stay
which their itinerary imposes on our guests.
Peru receives them with the affection of brothers, with the tradi-
tional and courteous nobleness of our race, with the sympathetic and
respectful admiration which the example of the great and lofty North
American virtues awaken in our mind.
A people which has itself worked up in its own laboratory such a
colossal fermentation of greatness, a people which owes everything to
the efforts, to the activity, to the work, to the initiative of its men,
a people which has not forsworn the splendid incentives of its ideals,
and which carries within itself as a secret impulse to irradiate its
spirit beyond its natural boundaries, is a people which raises in all
others the warm and ample admiration which the Americans have ex-
perienced in the entire course of their voyage.
PERU'S WARM-HEARTED GREETING 205
The powerful fleet which to-day reaches our shores, the most for-
midable and splendid which has stemmed the waters of this continent,
does not come on a war footing or as a menace. A high sense of
political prevision, the most eminent virtue of a statesman, induced
President Roosevelt to order the movement of the Atlantic fleet to the
Pacific coast. The illustrious governor who carries on his shoulders
the enormous responsibility of directing this great people has proved
himself worthy of his post, contemplating with serenity and firmness
all future eventualities, and consistent with his pacific intentions,
which do not exclude designs of warlike prudence, has prepared him-
self by this spirited parade of force to prevent a war.
No technical authority, either military or diplomatic, believes in
the probability or imminence of a great war. The United States
have many efficacious resources for dissolving or removing indefinitely
the threatening and apocalyptic spectre of a universal conflagration
such as would take place in the world, given the present aggrupations
Their economic strength, their marvellous industrial richness, their
bullion reserves, their growing population, their formidable means of
attack and defence which we contemplate to-day, all thet>e are so
many conservative encouragements which will help to check audacity
and outside ambition.
This welcome is presented to show how Lima and the
editors of the Diarlo really tried to make the Americans
feel at ease. Of course the printed English translation
failed to do full credit to the excellent Castilian of the
original, but there could be no mistaking the genuineness
of the welcome.
It was sincere all right, and no doubt there was a proud
man in Lima as he contemplated the mass of fine words he
had piled up. As soon as the paper came out and the
Americans had passed the word along that it was great
there was a rush to get it. The visitors stopped one
another on the street corners to read it aloud and the general
206 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
" Fine ! It makes us feel as if we were right back in
Brooklyn. No such language as that can be read in a
newspaper in any other place in the world except Brooklyn.
Of course we are used to such expressions as ' colossal fer-
mentation of greatness," ' threatening and apocalyptic
spectre,' 'aggrupations of factors ' and the like of that
in Brooklyn, but who would have imagined that we'd meet
'em so far from home ? "
And as if that wasn't enough to make it plain to the
Americans that the freedom of the place was theirs they
were met at the terminal of the trolley line from Callao
with men who distributed a pamphlet of information got
out by a firm with American names, makers and purveyors
of a popular libation. The title page bore this inscrip-
" Here's happy days to the men of the American squad-
The inside of the pamphlet told salient facts and gave
statistics about Callao and Lima, informed you how to get
about, where to go and what to see among the " points of
interest." The way it put the matter was this : " Over
and above a hearty welcome, here's what's worth while."
It advised the visitors to give the sexton of the Cathedral
a tip for showing them Pizarro's bones, but said :
" Don't tip him too much or you'll spoil the market,
'cause this isn't New York."
Then the pamphlet said, sundry items of advertising
SPECIAL NOTES. DRINKS and their PRICES." SWEAR WORDS
and How to say them in SPANISH, etc.
Cocktail 25 to 30 cts. peruvian equal to 15 cts. American. Whis-
PERU'S WARM-HEARTED GREETING 207
key, Gin, Sherry ("hair ace") Port (Oporto) etc. all cost the same.
The Cocktails known here are, American, Martini, Whiskey, and
No! is No! just as we say it, and the harder you pronounce it the
better it is understood.
YES ! ... .si, pronounced " see."
Vaya....go on, pronounced as spelt (Roseveltian, excuse this).
Sigue no mas! (seegay no mas) Drive on!
Corida de Toros, Bull-Fight
Plaza de Toros Bull Ring
Toro ............ Bull
Torero .......... Bull Fighter
Matador ......... The Killer, this is the man who finally does the
Fuera Toro!!!. .. .pronounced fuera toro, "put the Bull out. he's
no good ! Give us a Bull that Fights :
(Blank spaces for american expressions if your Spanish runs short
While it isn't as fast as Coney Island, Luna Park, Steeplechase,
nor the Hippodrome, you'll move quite as " fast " if you get down
into the Ring.
Wishing you each and all a most pleasant sojourn in this "City
of the Kings " and a bon voyage on your journey Northward.
Then began the exploration of Lima. Standing on one
side of the beautiful Plaza de Armas is the great Cathedral,
which was started in 1540 and which cost $9,000,000,
despite the fact that its walls are of mud and, as one writer
has said, could be run through with a fence rail in almost
any place. It was the inside decoration that cost so much,
for it has rare wood carvings, and once was fairly plastered
with gold and silver stolen by Pizarro, " the pious old cut-
throat," from the Incas. You see, Pizarro founded Lima
in 15S5, and although he was known as the " Indian
butcher," he began right by establishing a Cathedral, and
there his bones in a mummified condition rest. They are
208 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
kept in a glass case and are in a crypt. An attendant
takes you to the coffin, lights a candle for you to read the
inscription on the case and to peer in and you get a first
rate look at a mummy.
Pizarro undoubtedly knew his business well. He gath-
ered in the millions upon millions that the Incas had saved
up for a rainy day. It was explained that Pizarro had
found out that it never rained where he intended to set up
in Lima and therefore he told the Incas they really had no
use for all that gold and he would take it, establish a city
and give them real religion and be a missionary and all that
" All of which," as a bluejacket who had been reading
up the history of the place said, " he done good and
Pizarro attracted the attention of thousands of the
visitors. Not all were irreverent or flippant. Many of
them paused a long time before the mortal remains of one
the greatest men in historjr. You felt as if you were really
at a shrine.
Then the explorers visited other churches which took
one back to the Middle Ages. There was the Franciscan
convent and church. There was the church where the re-
mains of Santa Rosa, the only American woman saint, rest.
Then there were numerous other edifices with old doors
and heavy bolts and locks, and inside some of them were
decorated with what seemed to be solid sheets of gold about
their pillars ; churches where there were beautiful old paint-
ings of religious subjects, churches where the tiling was
brought from Europe and is now almost priceless in value,
churches where there were historic parchments.
PERU'S WARM-HEARTED GREETING 209
The visitors then went to see the Senate Chamber, with
its carved ceiling, one of the wonders of the world in that
line ; brought from Europe and paid for with Inca treasure
in 1560. That room was used in the days of the Inquisition,
which lasted longer in Peru than in Spain and was almost
as terrible. In fact in this viceregal city, the second
founded in the Americas by the Spanish, one could see re-
ligious emblems at every turn. Just outside the city on a
hill overlooking the bullring is an enormous cross, probably
fifty feet high. Every year the society that had it erected
makes a pilgrimage up that hill after a parade in the city
and holds services, wherein vows to uphold the faith and
lead lives of purity and honor are retaken. On a dozen
other hills crosses and shrines may be seen.
It is evident that Peru as a nation is still devout, but if
one could have seen the crowd at the San Pedro Church
on Sunday morning when the doors were opened and the
beauty and high blood of Lima came out from their de-
votions he would have been convinced that Peru is really
no exception to other Latin American countries, and indeed
most other countries, in that the women are the mainstay of
the church. That beauty parade is one of the sights of
Lima, and the Americans, officers and men, were there, side
by side with the men of the city to see the show.
As the visitors went about, one change, national in char-
acter, impressed itself upon them immediately. Every
writer on Peru has commented on the fact that the head-
dress of the women, worn universally, is the black manta.
It is said that it is a relic that has come down from the
Incas when they put on mourning for their great chief
Atahualpa. Rich and poor have worn that headdress on
210 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
the street for centuries. It was an established institution.
Well, it is going. About one-half of the women, some
of them in good circumstances evidently, wore mantas on
the streets, but as for the rest well, a man has no busi-
ness to write about women's hats. All that this man can
say is that he never saw more dazzling specimens of flower
gardens than those bobbing around over the graceful
drapery with which the Peruvian women adorn themselves.
Thus does fashion war successfully upon established cus-
tom. The Peruvian woman loves a beautiful hat just as
much as any other woman on earth. Moreover, what is
said about her surpassing beauty is true. Given great
beauty and the love of a hat on the part of a woman
what chance has a black manta got? The manta has got
to go and is going. Truly this is a world of change and
there are those who will say it is one of decay, but let no
one breathe that in a fashionable millinery shop in Lima.
Then came more sightseeing. All the clubs of the city
were thrown open. All the postal card shops had extra
" English Spoken Here " was posted on the windows and
doors of scores of shops. One sign that was amusing to
the Americans read:
AMERICAN SPOKEN HERE.
BUY A SEWING MACHINE.
The first formal entertainment came on the night of
Washington's Birthday, when the officers of the fleet were
the guests of the republic and the President at dinner.
The banquet was given at the exposition grounds, a park
PERU'S WARM-HEARTED GREETING 211
where sundry exhibits of great worth from the standpoint
of history, natural history, commerce, education and the
like, are preserved. The dinner was in the grand hall of
the main building. The decorations were almost exclu-
sively of the colors of Peru, red and white. On the stage
an immense orchestra was massed and the American colors
were used there for decorations. That band played as
only a trained South American band can play.
It was the opinion of naval officers who have dined the
world over, with kings and emperors, with great welcoming
committees and the like, with Government guests of our
own in Washington and New York, that they had never
attended a better managed affair than that dinner in Lima.
Not only was the dinner perfect from an epicurean stand-
point but the service matched it. Every appointment was
in the best taste. Not the slightest detail was lacking.
The American officers grew enthusiastic and when Presi-
dent Pardo finished his address of welcome there was tremen-
dous enthusiasm. The President, after Admiral Thomas
had made his reply, arose and walked into a beautiful illu-
minated garden and there the diners met him socially and
found this young man, who represents what Peru has
needed most for years, a commercial and not a military gov-
ernment, delightful and unassuming, with a grasp upon
matters of statesmanship which showed that not only was
he practical in his management of the country but a good
deal of a scholar. Pardo believes in education rather than
the sword, in the development of commerce rather than in
personal aggrandizement and the display of military force.
Then there was a garden party at Minister Coomb's
home, a beautiful place; the garden party of the munici-
WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
pality at the exposition grounds, pronounced by all the
naval officers as the finest thing of the kind they ever at-
tended; the delightful ball at the National Club and the
excursion to the famous Inca ruins of Pachacamac. The
officers had the eminent archaeologist, Dr. Unhe, to explain
the wonders of the Temple of the Sun, the other buildings
and the hundreds of specimens of pottery, metal and other
things recovered from the ruins at Pachacamac.
But with all these functions there were two others offered
by the Government as the chief things in the way of en-
tertainment, a bull fight and a trip up the wonderful Oroya
railroad to the top of the Andes Mountains, the highest
place in the world reached by a railroad.
Now, as to that bull fight. Let it be said at once that
in the main it was like all other bull fights, described thous-
ands upon thousands of times. All the trappings and fit-
tings were there. Of course, the bulls had no show. They
had to die, six of them. It was just as brutal as Americans
are wont to call such exhibitions, with the exception that
no horses were allowed to be disembowelled and killed.
Peru up to two years ago had always fought bulls with the
horse killing feature eliminated. For that reason many
persons regarded her bull fighting as the best in the world.
Two years ago the people demanded a change and horses
were gored in the style of Spain's best brutality. Out of
respect for the Americans, and by order of the President,
the horse-goring feature was omitted this time.
There was plenty of excitement. All three of the mata-
dors were injured. One was tossed by the first bull three
minutes after the animal had entered the ring. That
settled the famous Bonarillo. He went out of business.
PERU'S WARM-HEARTED GREETING 213
Another matador, Padilla, was gored in the throat by the
fifth bull and for a time it was thought that he was injured
mortally. The third matador was scraped up the side by
the last bull as the death thrust was delivered, and Lar-
gartijillo chico, the young Largartijillo, just as we say
Young Corbett, came near going to dwell with his fathers
Oh, yes, there was lots of excitement and agility and skill
and all that, but why describe a bullfight as a bullfight?
No story is older. What was peculiar about this fight was
the presence of 3,000 American sailors. That's a different
story. You want to know how Jack saw it and what he
said and thought and did. You can see bullfights any
time you want to pay for them; you can't see American
bluejackets at such a spectacle as the chief guests of a
Government, and that's what made this fight tremendously
Well, this one was held in the famous ring almost as old
as Lima. Six bulls from the famous stock of Rinconada
de Mala, the property of Dr. Don Jesus de Asin, had been
provided. They were the fightiest bulls in all Peru ; and to
make sure that they would do their best they had been
teased privately beforehand. The fight, as the handbills
announced, was a " grand gala," one given " in honor of
the North American squadron to celebrate its happy arrival
at the port of Callao."
Well, the hospitality of the Government went further,
for it named the bulls in honor of the fleet. The first bull
was " the gallant Alfred, in honor of Admiral Evans " ;
the second, " the heroic Ranger, in honor of Admiral
Thomas " ; the third, " the Brave Teddy, in honor of Ad-
WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
miral Emory " ; the fourth, " the Shufly, in honor of Ad-
miral Sperry " ; the fifth, " Ban j o, in honor of the officers
of the navy " ; the sixth, " Yankee Doodle, in honor of the
sailors." Could hospitality go further than that?
About 175 men from each ship and all the officers of the
fleet were invited. The sailors filled two-thirds of the arena
and the officers and the high society of Lima filled the boxes.
All had assembled on time, and then came the President to
sit in the box directly opposite that of the officers of the
municipality, with chairs of red plush for the box and a
dais for the President, who was in evening dress. The
American Admirals and Captains were in that grand box.
The Peruvian band played " The Star Spangled Banner "
and the bluejackets stood at attention and then all hands
cheered. When the President came and the Peruvian
national hymn was played, the bluejackets gave three rous-
ing cheers for Pardo and Peru. Then all was ready for
business. The key was tossed into the ring for the parade
of the fighters, capeadores, banderilleros, matadors, the rig
to pull the dead bulls out, and all that.
The Americans were all intense. The fighters took their
stations, the Mayor gave the word, a bugle blew, a door
was opened and a great brown and black bull with horns,
as one of the local newspapers described them, " like the
spires of a steeple," bounded into the ring, took one look
around and dashed madly after an aged horseman riding
a beautiful iron gray pony and flaunting a red cape over
his mount's flanks. There were two of these horsemen and
the exhibition they gave of fine riding would have put the
best cowboy or rough rider to shame. The man the bull
put after was more than eighty years old and the way he
PERU'S WARM-HEARTED GREETING 215
twisted his pony here and there and just escaped the lunges
of that bull, turning sharp angles, pulling up short, mak-
ing his horse fairly leap out of the way, dodging this way
and that until the bull was astonished elicited roars of ap-
plause from the bluejackets. They liked that part. Then
a younger man took up the same work. He was even
more skilful. Bullfighting was fine so far.
But let Bill Watkins, bos'n's mate, be heard from.
Bill, you see, had been to these things before in his gyra-
tions round the world, now having five stripes on his sleeve.
Bill gathered a group of younsters about him and in-
vited the Sun man to come along to have a bullfight " ex-
"You see," said Bill, "these Spiggoties (a sailor term
applied to Latin Americans because they say * Me no spig-
goty English') think they know all about bullfights.
They doesn't, to use good grammar. You want to look
at 'em from the standp'int o' seamanship an' gunn'ry.
There's where you get the real benefit. Why, many a
middy c'n learn more 'bout seamanship an' gunn'ry here
than he kin from two years on a bridge. I tell ye these
bullfights oughter be in the kricklum, or whatever they call
it, at Annapolis."
Just then a bugle blew telling the mounted cape men to
give way to those on foot. Bonarillo, the matador, ad-
vanced with a purple lined cape " to feel the bull out."
He waved the garment gracefully from side to side. The
bull dashed at him. Bonarillo's foot caught in the corner
of the cape, the bull gathered him on his horns and agilely
tossed him over one shoulder and then dashed away after
another capeador. Bonarillo tried to get up, but couldn't.
216 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
Soon he was carried out of the ring. Glory was not to
be his that day. Bill took it all in and explained :
" There ye go ! Ye see, that matador ought ter re-
membered that he was in shoal water. He thought he
c'd navigate 'thout takin' soundin's or gettin' bearin's.
That bull had his range all right, but his deflection was
poor. When the bull got 'im under the leg with his horn
that shot sure counted. The bull hoisted 'im all right,
but the man who was tendin' the fall let 'im go by the run
when it came to lowerin' away. There, the wreckin' tugs
have got 'im ! Now they're carryin' 'm 'behind the break-
water. It's the drydock for cocky Bonarillo, all right.
Mighty poor seamanship and just ordinary gunn'ry fer
the bull ! You see, 'twas only a pot shot."
Then the cape men began to wave their emblems at the
bull. Now and then the bull would catch one of the capes
in his horns and toss it to the ground and trample on it.
The men had to run for the shelters often. The bull was
fresh. Bill explained:
" Ye mustn't take too many chances in a fresh breeze.
There, ye see, that fellow's let his lower stu'nsail get car-
ried away. He didn't shorten sail soon enough. The man
at the wheel let 'er luff too soon, and come to against the
helm. Don't never belay no sheet ! "
Then came the signal for the banderilleros to sink their
darts in the shoulders of the bull. One of them would
catch the bull's attention and they would rush toward
each other. The banderillero would change his course
after the bull got under way and by just grazing his horns
would plant the darts in his shoulders. The first man got
rousing cheers. From his darts two flags unfurled. One
PERU'S WARM-HEARTED GREETING 217
was that of Peru and the other that of the United States.
It was supposed to be a pretty compliment to the Amer-
icans. Bill explained how the banderillero did it :
" Say, did y' see that feller? He stands close hauled
right up to the weather mark, then he bears up and passes
to leeward, with his lee rail awash. He's been whaling
all right we was eighteen months in the Mozambique
once, when I was whaling out of New Bedford, and our
iron man always took his fish like him. Ye see, ye stands
yer course right up to the animal, then give a rank sheer,
heave, and let him go by ! "
The bull was now very tired. Padillo, the second
matador, came out, bowed to the authorities and asked the
President's permission to kill the bull. He got it and it
was up to him to do it. He waved his bright red cape,
sheltering his sword, repeatedly in front of the bull, step-
ping aside just in time to escape the horns. The bull was
dazed. Then Padillo stood about ten feet away, poised
his sword to take aim and rushed on the bull. The sword
did not hit the fatal spot. The thrust was a failure.
Bill said :
" Ah he's a bum pointer ! A guy what's been in
training as long as he has and ain't got no better sense
than to fire before he's steady on don't deserve to hold the
rate. Mighty poor gunn'ry that ! "
Again the matador failed. The sword went in deep.
Muscular contraction, which had forced the first sword out,
failed to move this one and a capeador threw his cloak
over the weapon deftly and drew it out. Again there
was a failure to kill, but the bull was almost exhausted.
He sank to .his knees, got up and made one more lunge at
218 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
Padillo, who then sank the sword to the hilt in the proper
place and all was over. There were cheers, but Padillo
hadn't done well. Bill said:
" Say's he's a bum reefer and a yardarm f urler. I'll
bet that guy's a trimmer. Ye can tell by the cut of his
jib that he's in everybody's mess and nobody's watch.
He's jack outside the lift when the liberty party's called
away, but sick bay for him when the coal comes along-
The second bull, Ranger, gave the horsemen plenty to
do. He soon had the aged horseman in difficulty. Time
and again the horseman, looking over his shoulder,
flaunted his cape this way and that; but it was evident
that the bull could not be escaped easily. All the fighters
became nervous. At last the bull made a thrust that
caught the beautiful iron gray pony in the flank with a
deep wound. The cape men interfered at once and the
horseman rode away to safety. Bill had this to say :
" There, that rider went wrong ! The bull was after
him under full sail and was yawin' 'round three or four
p'ints each side o' the course and rollin' and pitchin' some-
thin' awful. That man on the horse, the picalilly, or
whatever ye call 'im, tried to give the bull the right o' way,
although, bein' close hauled, he should a-held his weather
helm on 'im. However, not obeyin' the rules o' the road,
he starts to give way, but at the critical moment the bull
makes a yaw to port, rams the horse in the starboard quar-
ter. The picalilly man tops his boom, stands to the east-
ward and tries to put his collision mat over. He should
a-put his helm over the other way. Poor work, poor
PERU'S WARM-HEARTED GREETING 219
So the fight went on. Padillo killed another bull, but
he had three failures at thrusts before the beast sank down
and died. There were hisses for him, and some of the
" Take him out and put him in a minor league ! "
Lagartijillo chico killed the third bull and did no better
work. There was a diversion in this fight. A banderillero
sat on a chair and made the bull charge at him. The
banderillero rose just as the bull reached him, planted his
darts in the animal's shoulders and leaped to one side. It
was a beautiful piece of work, and the bluejackets roared
their applause. Bill approved the seamanship and said:
" That man on the chair apparently didn't have no
more chance than an ice skatin' rink in Zanzibar, not to
mention a hotter place, usin' a shorter and uglier word.
He shifted his moorin's jest in time. It was too late to
repel boarders, but he got away. Fine seamanship for
the man! Poor work by the bull! He ran down the
moorin' buoy, that was all, and splintered it all fell and
gone. Ye see the man got the right to choose position
and fire at will. That's a great thing. Jest remember
In the same fight one of the men took a long pole, ran
straight at the bull, planted the pole directly in front of
the animal and vaulted clear over him, coming down just
as the bull hit the pole. In his descent the man seized
the bull's tail and gave it a twist. Bill was delighted.
" Lay aft to the braces ! Weather main and lee crojic
braces! Hard down there! Lay yer maintops'l to the
mast. No ! by ! Hard down ! He's going to wear
sharp 'round and bring up to windward of him ! Say, that
WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
feller's a sailor all right every hair a rope yarn, every
finger a fishhook and every drop of blood a drop of tar."
Padillo killed the fourth bull and made his usual num-
ber of failures. The fifth bull, Banjo, aroused the sym-
pathy of the crowd. He fought magnificently. He
would not be tired out. It came time to kill him. Padillo
w r ent after him with his cape and the bull deftly caught
him, lifted him in the air, and he fell beside Banjo and
rolled under the animal. Down went the horns to gore
him. The cape men fluttered all around. Padillo curled
himself up in a ball. The bull stepped this way and that
and then charged off after a cape man, leaving Padillo
unharmed but his nerve gone. He went after the bull
again. He was deathly pale about the mouth. One of
his legs trembled violently. Deathlike stillness was over
Soon the bull began to tear his cape from his hands, a
disgrace. Once, twice, three times the bull did this. The
Peruvians were enraged. They cried " Shame ! " Padil-
lo's father, who was in the ring, tried to explain that it
was a bad bull and invited the critics to come and try it
themselves. Almost beside himself, Padillo made three
rushes at the bull without taking proper aim, in the hope
of catching the animal unawares and giving him a death
thrust. The fourth time he gave the thrust.
The bull saw him coming, did not lower his head, and
just as Padillo placed his sword in the neck the bull raised
his head, caught Padillo on his horns, one of them pene-
trating under the chin and entering the mouth cavity. A
cry of horror went up. Padillo fell but got up quickly,
and with a look of mighty disgust saw the bull reel away.
PERU'S WARM-HEARTED GREETING 221
Then, catching himself by the throat and staggering for-
ward Padillo ran to the enclosure from which the bull had
entered, a distance of about twenty feet, the blood stream-
ing from his wound. He dropped just inside the en-
closure and word was passed around that bull and man
had each given the other the death thrust. Tragedy could
not have been more complete had it been true, but Padillo
went to a hospital and didn't die. There were thousands
of Americans who said they really did feel a little sorry
for the bull. Bill Watkins explained the poor gunn'ry
" Up in the air ! Up in the air ! Come down out of
the balloon ! Say, he's like a landsman at a 13-inch gun
with a misfire don't know what to do with it himself
and can't give it away. Take him out of the hood ! Give
him an air gun ! Let him blow soap bubbles ! Don't fire
until the gun's loaded, sonny ! There, the operating lever
caught him in the mush ! Yer better keep out of the line
of fire next time ! "
The last bull was killed by Lagartijillo. It was the
same story, except that just as the matador gave the
deathblow the bull hooked him along his right side and
tore his clothes. He had a narrow escape. His wounds
were only bruises. As the bull sank down dying fully 200
bluejackets jumped into the ring to follow the example of
two who earlier in the fight had leaped in and secured
the darts in an animal's neck for moment oes. They
swarmed at Yankee Doodle. He saw them coming and as
they seized the darts rose to his feet and tried to lunge at
some of them. It was too much and he fell as the men
began to scatter and died at once. Bill said:
222 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
" Fine work ! He tried to repel boarders, and he done
it, too ! If yer ship's sinldn' and it's yer last gasp don't
never fergit to repel boarders. Ye kin go to glory satis-
fied then. They ought ter named that bull Cumberland."
Bill explained the day's events :
" Ye see, the bull ain't got no chance after his ammuni-
tion is gone. He was firm' his last 3-inch guns when he
got that Padillo feller. It's a case o' destroyers and gun-
boats fightin' an unarmored cruiser with a short supply o'
ammunition. When that gives out the cruiser is bound to
go. Some o' the destroyers gets put out, as Bonarillo
and Padillo did, but there's no use in goin' t' sea unless
ye got full magazines and ain't cut off from your sup-
plies. Oh, yes, there's lots o' things to learn from these
bullfights ! "
Then Bill shifted his quid and joined the crowd going
out. The bluejackets didn't care much for the sport.
Some of them left after the third fight and there was a
steady stream from the ring afterward. Those who re-
mained had this one comment:
" One feller got it in the neck got the hook, all
The writer holds no brief for the defence of bull fight-
ing, but he wishes to say that the exhibition, with the
goring of horses left out, was no more disgusting than a
prize fight between two bruisers. Any contest that has
the letting of blood as its chief feature may, be called
sport if its devotees so choose. This fight was no more
brutal than shooting at bears from a safe distance and
was not half so cruel as wounding a deer and allowing it
to drag itself away and die in suffering. The bulls were
PERU'S WARM-HEARTED GREETING 223
in pain from the darts and showed it from time to time,
but in their rage forgot the pain after an instant or two.
Giving them a thrust in the heart was no more cruel in the
way of killing than it is to hang up a turkey or a chicken,
cut its throat and let it bleed to death.
Death came almost in an instant to the bulls. The
fighters risked their lives dozens of times. The bull had
a fair show at them. Their quick movements, hairbreadth
escapes, showed that nerve and rare skill were required.
Compared with prize fighting where two sluggers cover
themselves with blood, and when one is staggering about
from exhaustion the other gives him a blow that makes
him unconscious well, the writer says unhesitatingly that
he prefers the Peruvian bull fight. It all depends, you
see, upon the point of view.
Only a limited party could be the guests of the Govern-
ment on the Oroya Railroad trip. It was known as the
official party. An unofficial party with an engine and a
passenger car followed. This Oroya Railroad was started
by Henry Meiggs, the defaulting partner of Ralston in
California who fled to Chile, got rich and paid up his
debts. In 1869 he went to Peru and started this railroad.
Peru had money to spend then. Meiggs finished the
road up the mountains as far as Chicla in 1876, and then
the money gave out. More than $26,000,000 had been
spent going eighty-eight miles. Later the Peruvian
Corporation finished the road to Oroya, on the other side
of the Andes, and connections have been made with the
road to the famous Cerro de Pasco mines, owned by Mr.
Haggin and other American millionaires. Two other
branches have been built and ultimately it is planned to
WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
extend the road to the headwaters of the Amazon in Peru,
so as to give the country on the east of the Andes an
outlet to the Atlantic Ocean for its products.
The highest place on the line is Galera tunnel, under
Mount Meiggs. It is 15,665 feet high. The distance is
106 miles from Callao. There is not an inch of down
grade in the climb. There are no less than fifty-seven
tunnels. Bridges over chasms and foaming cascades and
the River Rimac, whose course the road follows, are num-
bered by the score. For forty-seven miles it is a steady
climb beside the Rimac torrent in a desolate country, with
the mountains red and bare. There is no rainfall in that
Then you come to where the river is hemmed in by
mountain gorges, and you have to climb by means of
switchbacks. Up you go, tilting this way and that, be-
yond two layers of clouds. The sides of the mountains
become green. You are now in the land of the ancient
Incas. Abandoned terraces that lose themselves in the
clouds flank scores of mountain sides. The Incas raised
their products there by some system of irrigation.
Fine specimens of trees appear, fruit orchards with
chirimoyas, palta, nispero and pacay, and willow and pep-
per trees in abundance. The flowers begin to greet you,
the heliotrope, solanaceas, spurge and cacti all around.
Back and forth you seesaw with massive, towering moun-
tains above you and several lines of tracks far below you.
Now and then you come upon a little town thousands of
feet in the air.
Then you reach a place where a smelter sends its blasts
up in the skies, and you begin to see what supports this
PERU'S WARM-HEARTED GREETING 225
road. A footpath or trail climbs the ravines, and you see
scores of llamas bearing their burdens and driven by the
native Indians. A hundred cascades, some of them with
the beauty of Yosemite's Bridal Veil leap with their spray
down the sheer cliffs. The lights and shadows paint the
bare rocks delicate hues, such as you cannot see even in a
You come to the famous Verrugas bridge, 575 feet long
and 225 feet high, in its day the greatest feat of railroad
engineering ever known. You are now in a belt twelve
miles long where no tourist can live, for there the Ver-
rugas fever rages. It is one of those strange local diseases
found occasionally in the world peculiar to a small zone
and baffling to medical science.
You see crucifixes all along the route. Still you climb
and climb and you see ragged edges of mountains above
you which you know you will surmount. You come to a
dead stop against the face of a mountain thousands of feet
high. You back away up its side, and little by little, twist-
ing and turning you lift yourself above another cloud
The air gets cold, a dash of rain comes as you pass
through the clouds. At 10,000 feet high a sharp pain
runs through your ears. You take several long gasps of
breath and it passes away. A slight headache comes at
12,000 feet. It passes away and finally you reach the
tunnel and emerge on the other side of the Andes with
the snow all about you and you throw a few snowballs and
start back. Your head begins to feel strange. At 18,000
feet it aches violently. The ache is as near like the morn-
ing-after headache as can be. In the official party not
226 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
one person escaped it. Half a dozen strong men became
sick at the stomach and had violent attacks of vomiting.
The mountain sickness was on. Other men were laid out
in the cars prostrate.
At this stage came a complication. Heavy rains had
been falling below and word was telegraphed that there
were four washouts and the party would have to stay in
the mountains all night. The faces of the railroad offi-
cials became grave. To keep that party at the height of
13,000 feet all night might prove almost fatal to some.
It was this trip which brought on the illness that ulti-
mately killed the late Dr. Nicholas Senn.
Word was sent that by care the train might descend as
far as 10,000 feet. A handcar was sent on as a pilot and
in the darkness and snow that train was piloted down those
mountain declivities, where the least slip of the earth would
have sent it hurtling down cliffs thousands of feet. The
pace was only five miles an hour.
The sickness did not diminish until at 11 o'clock at
night Tamboraque was reached, where the unofficial party
of officers which had not gone up the full height was
stalled. There was one inn with four beds and ninety
men to occupy them. The unofficial party was in full
possession. They had organized the Society of the Llama,
Landslide Chapter. They had a merry night. The offi-
cial party, sick, worn out, turned in to sleep in car seats.
The next morning by walking around landslides and meet-
ing trains in the gaps the party was got down to Callao.
Several did not get over the mountain illness for three
days. It was a magnificent trip in the grandest scenery
PERU'S WARM-HEARTED GREETING 227
in the world, but mountain sickness, all concurred, was
worse than seasickness.
By way of return entertainment by the fleet a dinner
was given to President Pardo on the Connecticut, and then
a fleet reception was held on the same ship the day before
sailing. This morning President Pardo boarded the Pe-
ruvian cruiser Almirante Grau and the fleet thundered out
twenty-one guns on each ship in unison. The Grau
passed out to sea and orders were signalled from the flag-
ship to get under way. Then the fleet passed by President
Pardo in the best of style, each ship firing a salute as it
went by. It made a fine spectacle. The honors were
the same as paid to President Roosevelt in Hampton
Roads, President Penna at Rio and President Montt at Val-
President Pardo sent his thanks by wireless and got a
fine reply of appreciation from Admiral Evans, and it was
good-by to Peru, with the sounds of cheers coming over
the water and the sight of fluttering handkerchiefs from
thousands ; the last salute.
True it was Peru had remembered, and those who had
called on Dr. Polo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, began
to realize the significance of the fact that in his office there
hangs just one picture. It is the portrait of an American
statesman James G. Elaine.
TARGET SHOOTING AT MAGDALENA BAY
High Tension on the Fleet Effect of Target Shooting on Man-o'-
War Crews Splendid Advantages of Magdalena Bay Making
the Targets and Clearing for Action Why They Are All Nervous.
On Board U. S. S. Louisiana, Battle Fleet,
MAGDALENA BAY, March 22.
"W If THEN Admiral Evans's fleet arrived in Magda-
^/ ^/ lena two days ahead of schedule time there was
undoubtedly a sense of relief in official circles
in Washington over what was practically the termination
of the long cruise to the Pacific, and also one of gratifica-
tion because the ships, as Admiral Evans notified the Navy
Department, were in better condition than when they left
Hampton Roads and ready for any duty within an hour's
On the fleet there was no sense of relief over the safe
and prompt arrival. That was taken as a mere matter of
course. It is true every one was a little proud over the
performance of the fleet and glad that it had shaken itself
into a homogeneous unit and was in first class fighting
condition, not as separate battleships but as a fleet. In
the matter of cruising the fleet at last was as one ship and
lots of useful things had been learned.
On the ships the arrival was marked by just the oppo-
Copyright by A. Dujtont
Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans
TARGET SHOOTING AT MAGDALENA
site feeling from relief and gratification. The officers and
men frankly were not in a placid state of mind. All were
under an intense tension. They were what might be called
wrought up. What, you say, American men-o'-wars men
in a nervous condition one that actually showed itself
in their work and their play? No, not in their play, for
there wasn't any. Well, but sea fighters nervous? Not a
mother's son of them would admit such a thing. Prepos-
terous ! Men with nerves on warships ? Well, perhaps not
nerves as the ordinary person speaks of these anatomical
cutups, but certainly something was the matter with all
hands. Evidences of what the cub reporter would call sup-
pressed excitement were plenty everywhere on every ship.
What was it all about? What was the matter? The
answer is very simple and short:
The time to begin shooting had come that was all.
But why get worked up over that, you ask? Shooting
is what a navy is for. Of course ; and in the old days real
shooting was done only in time of war. The navy no
longer waits for war to learn how to shoot. Twice a year
it has exhaustive target practice once for what is called
record and once for battle practice.
Record practice is at a target at exactly a known dis-
tance. Every gun on every ship is fired individually at
that target. Battle practice is at a target that simulates
in size and distance the ship of an enemy. All the guns
of the ship that reach that range are fired apparently
helter-skelter for a given number of minutes. The range
in that case has to be found out.
Record practice is held to qualify gun pointers, or, as
the English call it, gun layers. Its purpose is to find out
230 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
the best shooters in the ship and to give them practice.
Battle practice is to give these gun pointers an opportunity
of displaying their skill in what would seem to be slam-
bang work, but what is really the result of months, and
even years, of scientific training of the eye and hand and
of the mind in knowing just when to pull a trigger or
snap a lanyard at exactly the right fraction of a second.
You see, the secret of success in fighting on the sea, as it
is practically in every kind of fighting, lies after all in
what the Western man calls " getting the drop on the
other fellow." The way to get that drop on warships
is to find out the men who can shoot straightest and
fastest and can keep their nerve, and then be prepared to
turn 'em loose when war comes. The target practice here
has been of that kind, to pick out and train gun pointers.
It was record practice exclusively.
So far as this fleet is concerned this cruise was chiefly
for this purpose. Aside from mere cruising and getting
shaken down the officers and men had their minds and their
energies centred on shooting guns. No matter what was
the reason why the fleet was sent to the Pacific, the officers
and men passed it by as something that concerned them
only incidentally. They take their orders to go here or
there with simply passing interest. They obey. Their
one idea, their chief work, mentally and physically, during
the entire cruise has been to prepare for this target shoot-
ing. To them it was the business end of the cruise.
Some people think that the purpose of the cruise was to
go calling internationally, to say " How d'y do ? " and
fire salutes, the officers to be entertained with receptions
and dances and dinner speeches and the men to have lib-
TARGET SHOOTING AT MAGDALENA
erty on shore, with a chance to get a drink of real red
" likker " ; some might say that the purpose was to get
data as to the cruising ability of the fleet ; some might say
it was to get the men used to what might be called the
navy habit; some might say it was to gain experience in
meeting problems of warship navigation; some might say
it was for other than strictly naval reasons, to make a
show of strength or to satisfy a public clamor or advance
a political plan.
Whatever ideas others may have had about the cruise,
the officers and men have had only one, as a matter of
business and daily toil, and that was that the cruise would
have its real naval culmination in target shooting in Mag-
dalena Bay. That was what it was for to the men on these
ships, and from the very hour the ships said good-by at
Hampton Roads every effort was made to get them in
fighting condition as a fleet entity. The target practice
was to reveal whether they had done good work in strictly
naval business. To the fleet the cruise was no spectacular
parade around a continent; it was to prepare to shoot in
the finest naval shooting place in the world, Magdalena
Every one was glad to see Magdalena Bay because of
this tension. It is a splendid sheet of water, in a general
way about fifteen miles long and ten wide, with a narrow
entrance and water just deep enough for safe manoeuvring
and good anchorages everywhere. A line of sharp crested
hills shuts it in from sight of the Pacific. There is only
one village on it, consisting of about twenty dwellings, and
no commerce in its waters. The shores on the inside are
flat and there is a good horizon. The warships of thes
WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
world might find an anchorage here without crowding one
another. It is cut off from the rest of the world, in a
desolate, barren region, and was designed apparently by
nature for the very purpose of modern target shooting.
It seems a pity that American statesmanship years and
years ago could not have had the foresight to secure it,
when such a course would have been easy, for use of the
navy, when a great naval station could have been built
up and proper use of the place for strategical purposes
could have been made certain. With a naval station on
Puget Sound, one in San Francisco and this one on Mag-
dalena Bay, the entire Pacific Coast within our immediate
sphere of action would have been within our grasp. Oh,
yes ; it's a pity too bad that we do not own Mag-
dalena Bay. Perhaps an effort to secure it would still be a
most desirable field for the exercise of statemanship. One
feels like suggesting to Washington to get busy and keep
As soon as the fleet came to anchor there were things
doing. On every ship what is known as bore sighting had
to be done. That means that a telescope sight had to be
inserted in the exact axis of the bore of the gun and the
sighting telescopes had to be so adjusted that they were ex-
actly in line with the centre of the gun. It had to be
proved scientifically that when the sights of the gun were
exactly on a bullseye with their cross wires the centre of the
gun was also exactly on the same spot. Every sight on
every gun had to be tested and checked up, and it was
tedious work. But you couldn't shoot straight without it,
and it took hours and hours of most careful adjustment to
make sure that all was in perfect condition.
TARGET SHOOTING AT MAGDALENA 233
Then came the laying out of the ranges. This required
careful surveying. An equilateral triangle had to be laid
out for each range. Along one side, the base, spar buoys
with flags on them had to be fixed, and buoys fixed further
along at each end, so as to give a ship an opportunity of
getting on the exact range in its turnings. At the apex
of each triangle a great raft of thick timbers and poles on
it for the targets had to be put in position. All this took
time, but it was surprising how quickly the work was done.
And then the targets had to be brought out. Now the
ship's crew had been working on those targets in spare mo-
ments for several weeks. Each ship had less than fifty and
more than twenty-five of them to make. The biggest tar-
gets are for the smaller guns and the smallest ones for the
larger guns. The size is proportional, as the experts put
it, to " the angle of fall," and the size also represents, they
tell you, " the mean error of fire " of a gun. Well, the
angle of fall and mean error of fire may not convey a sat-
isfactory idea to you, but you must remember that the shot
of a little gun goes to its target in a high curve, while the
shot of a big one goes almost horizontally. So you can
see why a little gun ought to have the bigger target. It
curves more, has a greater angle of fall, than a big gun
has. And the mean error of fire has to do with what ex-
perience has shown that guns perfectly pointed and fired
ought to do. They vary a little in their performances and
the target is just large enough for every shot to hit it, if
everything works absolutely perfectly.
The making of the targets is a long job. Great rolls of
canvas were broken out of storerooms and cut into a cer-
tain number of strips of a certain length. These strips
WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
had to be sewed together, and at times certain compart-
ments resembled the inside of a tailor shop with sewing ma-
chines buzzing and trimming and cutting going on. Then
the rough target had to be spread out and the edges cut
off until there was just margin enough to sew it all around
to a rope about an inch thick. It required hard work with
stout needles and thick leather palms to put the ropes on
all four sides.
Then came careful measurements for the black lines
about two inches wide that marked the targets into squares
and a great square in the centre for the bullseye. Out
came the paint pots. Some of the targets were made black
with white lines and white centres and others were left white
with black lines and centres. Then came the battens to
which the targets were nailed so as to be stretched on the
poles of the raft. Ropes had to be attached in certain
places for fastening the target in the exact place and at
the exact height. All this work had to be exact, for the
umpires measured every target to see that no ship got the
The targets being prepared, the next thing done on
every ship was to clear for action. All stanchions, boats,
ridge ropes, chests, gangways, everything movable, were
taken down and the decks stripped. Hatches were closed
and the ship was stripped for fighting. Theoretically
everything wooden and not absolutely necessary to the
fighting of the ship was thrown overboard. Pictures
were removed from bulkheads and crockery packed away so
as to save breakage. So carefully was all this packing
done on the Louisiana that all the breakage that occurred
when the big guns were fired was one water pitcher in a
TARGET SHOOTING AT MAGDALENA 235
stateroom under the forward bridge and one pane of glass
in the bridge storm shield.
The articles that were removed were not really thrown
overboard, but were moved to out of the way places and
marked with a tag which read:
These tags furnished about the only element of fun in
the entire practice. A mischievous boy, who may have
been too familiar with the ship's Angora goat you know
goats have a way of doing things to persons when the per-
sons are leaning over sometimes, and do not expect any-
thing unusual to happen or who didn't like the way the
goat refused to eat tin cans occasionally and also spurned
a pot of nice fresh paint, tied one of the labels to Billy's
horns. Billy thought it was a decoration and if he had
been a jackass instead of a goat would have heehawed with
the rest of the crowd.
Then there was a little rascal of a youngster who is al-
ways getting into trouble because of his pranks and all too
often has to be summoned to the mast for his offences,
where he gets regularly penalties of from five to ten hours
extra duty and grins as soon as the Captain's back is
turned. Something had to be done about him. A ship-
mate stole up behind him and fixed an overboard tag on
his back. For hours he carried it about and was surprised
to see that suddenly he had become popular, while the rest
of the crew grinned and laughed and slapped their sides
just as ordinary folks do on April fool day when a sedate
man goes down the street with a rag pinned to his coat tail.
But why should they be nervous about the shooting?
Well, if for three months you had been working almost
236 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
day and night in the practice of loading and firing guns,
had been lifting, pushing, pulling things about to repre-
sent great and small projectiles and bags of powder, and
if you had been drilling so as not to make a false step or
move and had been getting up team work so as to do your
work in the shortest possible time, where fractions of sec-
onds count ; if you had a gun crew or were a member of
one where probably one-half of the men had never heard a
big gun go off before and there was danger that you
would go gun shy ; if for weeks and weeks you had been
told to do exactly this and that and never to do that and
this, and a lot of other tremendously important things had
been dinned into your ears, especially matters relating to
safety, and you realized that some blunder of yours might
endanger not only yourself and your mates, but the ship
itself; if you recalled that the navy gives a prize to the
best crew on the fleet for each kind of gun fired and there
is also a ship's prize for the best work of these guns, and
that if you did your work well and won out there would be
from $20 to $60, or possibly more, for yourself and each
of your mates ; if you knew how one gun's crew bets it will
beat its rival ; if you knew how every man on every ship is
intensely eager to get the naval trophy in shooting for his
own ship, so that all hands can put on proper airs and say
in a deprecating way : " Of course we were glad to get
the trophy, but it was nothing, mere nothing; why, we
could beat it all to pieces in a fight, but of course we don't
want to brag ; " if you could see these men working over-
time of their own volition in the Morris tube training, the
miniature target shooting that is practised daily on the
TARGET SHOOTING AT MAGDALENA 287
ships you'd begin to realize how a ship gets all wrought
up over this target practice.
The Captain naturally wants his ship to come out first
when you get down to the real business of a warship ; the
division officers want the ship to win and their own division
to be first ; the gun crews, with money at stake for them and
with the great pride that Uncle Sam's sailormen have, down
to the last man, to excel in any contest, are more eager, if
that were possible, than the officers to get the shooting
record. The result is that when the great day approaches
every one is as much under a severe strain as a trained uni-
versity football team approaching the great game of the
season. Team work has been the aim of the drills. To
pretend to be cool and utterly unconcerned is the little
game of byplay that is going on.
As the day comes on you don't hear much levity about
the ship. The time of the grouch is at hand. Why, even
the officers can hardly be civil to one another, and as for
the men they get saying things to one another in their dis-
putes and heat and anxiety that would make a stranger
think they were dangerously near an uprising. The ord-
nance officer loses all his friends and the division officers
glare at him and one another as if each felt sorry that the
earth in general and the ship in particular was encum-
bered with such pitiful specimens of humanity.
Now and then they get to telling one another what they
think of things, not meaning a word of it, and sometimes a
dispute goes clear up to the Captain for him to decide.
He does decide it gravely, and perhaps when the disputants
leave he turns away and smiles as he recalls that men are
288 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
but children of larger growth, and after all he's glad to see
these things come up because it shows how hard and ear-
nestly every one is working and bending all his energies to
be first. Be first ! Be first ! That's the thought of every
one, and all these bickerings, sharp-tongued retorts, objec-
tions, suggestions, sullen looks yes, even drawn faces
mean that every ounce of energy, of intensity that the men
on the ship have is being expended in the task at hand.
When you see all this you can understand why the men
of a 7-inch gun's crew, for example, who think they have
what they call a look-in for the navy prize elect to sleep
beside their pet gun all night, just as a stable boy sleeps
in the stall of his great racer who is to be out the next day
for the supreme contest of the year; you can understand
why some of the officers refuse to shave themselves until
target practice is all over and they begin to look as if they
were training to be pirates, bad and bold ; every naval hoo-
doo is avoided ; you can see why the men go over every part
of the mechanism of the guns oiling, rubbing, shining,
testing parts until you wonder whether the gun itself is not
in a state of agitation and the molecules, which the experts
gravely assert are always in a state of motion, are not rac-
ing back and forth and saying contemptuous things to one
Why some of these men never allow themselves out of
sight of their gun lest something may happen to it.
They pat the guns with their hands and whisper pet names
to them, and tell them to do their best, and if they win why
they'll put ribbons on them and point them out to every
one. And, indeed, more than one gun it would be tell-
TARGET SHOOTING AT MAGDALENA 239
ing to say which ones did wear ribbon decorations and
did receive embraces from a victorious crew after the shoot-
ing was over.
Just before the shooting begins a calm, a stillness, comes
over the ship. Men steady themselves with a supreme effort
to keep cool, and the spirit of do or die takes possession of
the ship, and as the guns go bang, bang and boom, boom
you'd think these officers and men had done nothing else
all their lives but shoot off projectiles and it was as much a
matter of course with them as getting their breakfasts.
All hands are now smiling and good cheer pervades every
compartment, and it's "That's fine, Bill!" "Hit 'em
again!" "Sock it to 'em!" "Soak 'er!" "You're
doin' great ! " " Never mind, that's only one miss ! "
Bully boy ! "
And when the target is brought on board between the
runs to be repaired for use again you can understand why
the men crowd around it while the umpires examine the
rents to see if they made any mistake in their decisions and
you can also enter into the feelings of some young fel-
low who has done the shooting at it and has to repair
it, as he looks at it and sees only three hits, for ex-
ample, out of five shots, while he fairly moans : " I'll
never get over this as long as I live. I thought I was on
the target and don't see how I missed it." And you can
also enter into the feelings of pride and exultation of an-
other youngster as he mends his target with every shot a
hit and done in the fastest time ever known, while his mates
slap him on the back and say: "'Great work, Bob!
Great work ! " And when he finishes his mending and
240 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
catches the eye of the newspaper correspondent on board
you know how he feels when he comes up and touches his
hat and says:
" You know my home, sir, is in a little town in the centre
of Ohio. I don't suppose our country papers print your
articles, but I know my people and friends, and I guess all
the town, would be glad to know how well I did and would
like to see my picture in the paper, sir." Well, you feel
sorry that you have to tell him that you are not allowed to
give results of the target shooting or to mention names or
to say whether any ship or any gun did well or badly.
But when you tell him that in good time all his people and
friends and neighbors are sure to find out about it he smiles
with great pride and says :
" Thank you, sir. I guess we've got 'em all skinned
good and proper."
But how is it all done? Why don't you give details?
perhaps you, gentle reader, as the old-time books used to
say, are asking. Well, this article if it interests you at all
will interest you because of what it will not say rather than
because of what it will say. Listen to the pledge, which
every correspondent bound himself to keep when he came
on this cruise :
" To refrain from giving out for publication, either
while with the fleet or later, any military information that
might be of value to a possible enemy, such as detailed de-
scriptions of mechanism or of methods of drills, of han-
dling fire control (that means the way of controlling the
fire of the guns), tactical manoeuvres, scores at target prac-
And this pledge was supplemented on arrival in Mag-
TARGET SHOOTING AT MAGDALENA
dalena Bay by further instructions from the Commander-
in-Chief , which said :
" No statement of scores shall be forwarded or whether
ships do well or badly.
" No comments on the workings of the battery or its
appurtenances, including the fire control, shall be for-
Now, what can a conscientious correspondent do when,
for the good of the service and the welfare of the country,
he's all tied up like that? Well, there are lots of things
that can be told about target shooting, things that every
naval man knows about and are no secret and that the ordi-
nary person doesn't know about. There's no inhibition on
writing about noise, and the flare of guns and the puffs of
smoke, and the geysers that shoot up out of the water as
the shots ricochet far out to the horizon. Oh, yes, the old
adage is still true that there are a good many ways to skin
As has been said, the preparations for this target prac-
tice began as soon as the fleet was out of Hampton Roads.
There w r as the daily drill of hours and hours at Morris
tube practice, where the men shoot at little targets from lit-
tle rifles attached to the big guns. The targets are kept
in motion and every man has to shoot his string of so many
shots. The division officer soon comes to know which men
have the sharpest eye, the steadiest hand, the coolest tem-
perament, and in time the pointers and trainers are se-
lected and each man has his post assigned to him. And
when the miniature target shooting is over for the day
there is the team work drill with dummy projectiles and
powder bags and day by day the men become expert in
WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
making this exact step and avoiding that false move, and
show increasing deftness and zeal. They get to dreaming
of what they will do. They learn just how far to lean
back and move their heads when the gun darts past their
faces in its lightning recoil, and those who have never
heard a big gun go off try to imagine what the roar will
be like and to nerve themselves not to mind it any more than
a firecracker's report. Then as the final test comes and
they hear the officers scold or praise them they get into
the state of anxiety described in the first part of this
But it is time to shoot. Every one now is calm and
eager to begin. The bos'n and three launches and two
boats' crews go out and put up the first targets. The ship
gets under way and steams about slowly until she gets the
proper headway of a predetermined speed. The men at
the targets set them up and steam away to a buoy a quarter
of a mile from the target. Slowly the ship swings out
and comes on the range, just grazing the buoys that mark
the path. The men are at the guns. The outward buoy
is passed and then the ship approaches the first buoy, where
the firing is to begin. The exact range of that point is
known. The elevation of the gun is known, as is also the
deflection. You know the sights have to be right on the
target, but the gun itself has to be aimed a little to one side,
so as to account for the side movement of the projectile,
due to the ship's motion, as it flies through the air. What
is called fire control determines just how much the gun
must be elevated and how much it must be deflected at a
certain instant. There is a man at the gun who turns little
wheels and adjusts gauges, and he gets word from some one
TARGET SHOOTING AT MAGDALENA 243
else just what to do and when to do it. Never mind how
this is communicated to him.
Meantime one man has been training the gun sideways
and another has been raising or lowering it, independently
of the man who has been setting the deflection and fixing
the range. When the cross-wires in the gun pointer's tele-
scope are right on the bullseye and it is time to fire he pulls
a trigger and the electrical apparatus sends a lightning
impulse into the powder, there is a roar, a thin cloud of
smoke from the primer, a flash and you look for the splash
to see if it is a hit.
As the ship proceeds along the base of the triangle the
deflection and range have to be changed constantly. The
change is greatest at the ends of the run. Along about
the centre, when you are just opposite the target, the
changes are slight, but it is just as hard to hit the target.
All these changes are matters of fractions of seconds. It
is not deliberate work, but it is done carefully, and there is
where the element of training comes in.
The first roar of a gun sends a thrill through the ship.
The man who has fired it is nervous. If it's a miss, he
steadies himself at once. Rare is it that the second shot is
a miss. The gun-shy part of that man's career is over.
He is now as cool as if he were whistling Yankee Doodle.
Bang and crack go his shots. Perhaps the gases obscure
his vision to some extent. He waits an instant from time
to time before he fires. Pump, pump, goes the trigger.
He's got the range, he's got his nerve, he knows when he
hits and when he misses. It's a big contest, and his tools
of trade are the confined elements of destruction with the
accumulated scientific skill of decades behind him, and the
WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
result depends upon his clear vision and steady hand.
The task inspires him, his face is drawn tense, he forgets
everything else. He becomes part of that machine of de-
struction, an automaton.
The most spectacular part of the shooting is with the
smallest and biggest guns. The small guns are shot at
night. Great black targets with white centres are put up,
and then your own ship, or possibly another anchored
near, illuminates the targets with four or five great
searchlights. The guns boom, and soon a little curlicue
of light is seen curving through the air. It is what is
called a tracer, a chemical set on fire by the redhot projec-
tile as it flies. You see it hit the target, and then under
the lights you see a splash.
Then the light goes curving up into the air and you
know the projectile is ricocheting. Down it comes. There
is another leap and flight and then another and another, and
far off, two or three miles away, it disappears. The pro-
jectile has made its last jump. So fast are the small guns
fired that frequently from five to ten of these rockets are
leaping and jumping toward the sky and curving back
into the black water. It is beautiful fireworks.
Although the small guns are fired at night, some of them
are fired in the daytime. The string of these guns is run
off first. No noise of a gun is quite so disturbing as that
of the 3-inch weapons. You may stuff your ears full of
cotton and nearly every one on ship does that but the
terrible crack smites through it and gives you a jolt. The
deck feels an earthquake tremor, and you are glad when the
ship goes off the range. But this is getting ahead of the
story. Suppose the ship has just passed the outer buoy.
TARGET SHOOTING AT MAGDALENA 245
Steadily she approaches the first firing mark. Soon word
is passed :
" Buoy on the bow ! "
The umpires have their watches in hand, the crew pre-
pares to load. Now the buoy is abeam. A red flag goes
up to the forward yardarm, the whistle blows and then the
command is heard:
" Commence firing ! "
That is all the command that is given. For the small
guns a given number of shots must be fired as quickly as
possible. For the big guns as many shots may be fired
as possible within a certain number of minutes. The shots
are counted carefully for the small guns, and when the
given quota is fired the order is given :
" Cease firing ! "
When the time limit has expired for the big guns a whis-
tle is blown by the umpire who has the watch and the same
command is given, but the crew has the right to fire one
more shot within a given number of seconds so as to dis-
charge any projectile that may have been in the gun when
the cease firing command was given.
As soon as the command to fire is given intense activity
starts. Crack goes the 3-pounder or 3-inch. Then comes
the splash. A geyser jumps up out of the bay, then an-
other and another, as the projectile hits the water. These
geysers look as if Old Faithful of the Yellowstone had been
brought down to give a special performance. The spurts
are not in a straight line, for the curvature of a small wave
deflects the course of the projectile and sends it careening
this way or that. You can tell from the position of the
spurt whether it was hit or not and you count the hits and
246 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
misses carefully. You forget the ear-smiting cracks of
the guns and the jolt of the decks. Did he make a hit? is
what you want to know. And is the pointer doing his
work well? Cheers come from various parts of the ship
as hit after hit is made, and if it's a clean string there is
But the ship is moving steadily along the course. There
is always a slight gap in the shooting when the pointers
change positions and telescopes, but bang, bang, crack,
crack, come the reports, and before you know it the whistle
blows and the red flag is lowered and that string is over.
Then the ship slowly circles areund to the targets, and the
repairing cTew in the small boats dash over to mark the
hits of the small guns with red paint and to make repairs,
change targets and fix things up generally. Then comes
another start for the range, and so hour after hour the
ship goes back and forth until every small gun has had its
say and every pointer has had his few minutes.
When the time comes for the target practice of the great
guns no red paint is needed to mark the hits. You can see
the projectiles as they near the target, needlelike things
that seem to flee with the speed of light. You can see the
holes they make if you take a glass. Their roar is dull
and the shake of the ship is a powerful tremor. Your
ears are not smitten, as with the smaller guns, but the
shock is tremendous. You are close to the manifestation
of a terrific force. But if you wish to see the best part of
the work you must go into the casemate, where the firing is
done. Ah, there's where team work is going on !
Take a 7-inch gun. The word to commence firing is
passed. Powder and projectiles are all ready. The gun
TARGET SHOOTING AT MAGDALENA '247
captain throws open the breech block. The men lift the
projectile and place it in the breech. Scarcely have they
removed their tray before a long wooden rammer is thrust
in and the projectile, which has been carefully smoothed off
and oiled, is run home and seated. Get out of the way
quick, rammer, for the powder bags are being thrust in !
Don't make a false step, for you may hinder some one who
has just one thing to do in the shortest possible time!
The charge is now home, the gun captain whisks the
breech block into place, the primer is attached and then the
captain slaps the pointer on the back or cries ready. All
this time the gun is being trained, the range and deflection
have been changed, and instantly there is a roar, a blinding
flash. The members of the crew close to the gun move
just far enough back to escape the recoil, like a prize-
fighter when he throws his head back and escapes a blow by
the fraction of an inch.
Open comes the breech in a flash, then another charge on
it by the various men, another slap on the back, another
roar and it's a hit or a miss. Then a third charge, and an-
other and another. The men sweat and breathe hard, their
faces become strained and some of them white. The fight
is on, and the work, second by second, every one of them
as valuable as hours would be ordinarily, saps the strength
and energy of the men in their supreme effort.
" Every shot a hit ! " cries one of the crew exultingly.
" What was the time? " asks another.
" So many seconds," says the umpire.
" That beats all records ! " shouts another, and then
there are cheers and great rejoicing. After the first fire
scarcely a man hears the noise of the gun. It is a mere
248 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
pop to them. Sometimes they overreach themselves in the
desire to be quick and they make a miss. They don't hear
the last of that for some time, but it's all in the work and
part of the general eagerness to do well.
Then come the 8-inch guns. The rumble and roar is
only a little worse than the 7-inch guns. The geysers
shoot a little higher and the echoes from the report come
back to the ship like so many sharp thunderclaps, where the
lightning is close. Indeed, if you want to have a better
reproduction of thunder than any theatre can produce just
manage to be on a battleship while it fires off its 8-inch
guns in rapid succession. It's the kind of thunder that
comes when lightning hits and you look out to see if the
tree in your front yard has been split. Crash after crash
comes back to make you duck and dodge until the projectile
has finished its thunderbolt career and darts into the water
with perhaps the ignominious mission of killing a fish in-
stead of shattering a battleship.
But the IS-inch guns ! Pack the cotton well into your
ears ! Keep your mouth open ! Stand as far away from
the muzzle as you can on the ship ! Secure all the things
in your stateroom, for if you don't you may find your
shaving mug on the floor and your hairbrush mixed up with
the fragments of your soap dish ! Close your port or else
your trinkets may be whisked into a heap and some of them
broken into pieces ! The whistle has blown. The seconds
go by, oh how slowly! Will they never get that gun
loaded? Then comes a blast. The white flame seems
brighter than sunlight, the roar runs through you like an
electric shock, the decks seem to sink and you wonder if
the eruption of Mont Pelee had more force than that. You
TARGET SHOOTING AT MAGDALENA
look toward the target. There goes the projectile, straight
through the bullseye. Then an enormous geyser leaps
into the air more than a hundred feet high. Surely that is
Old Faithful! Then comes another half a mile away.
Then another and another and you wonder if the projectile
is going clear over to Europe.
And with this comes that peculiar roar that no other
agent of power produces. It is more like the rush of a
limited express into and out of the mouth of a tunnel.
You can hear the chug, chug of the locomotive. You hear
the rumble of a fast train on a still night through a val-
ley. You can almost see the hills and the little river as
the train dashes over bridges and noisy trestles. There it
goes into the tunnel again, and before you can speak of it
out it comes with another roar! More bridges and tres-
tles, more tunnels, more chugs, and then there comes a
steady roar. The train is going over the hill and out of
the last tunnel, and you take a long breath. Before you
expel it from your lungs there is another smiting flash
and you are dancing on your toes again. The ship seems
to settle and you get the geysers, the roar of the fastest
train that ever ran. And so it goes until the whistle blows
and you swing around to look at the target and then re-
peat the performance. You now begin to realize what a
battleship means, and you are speculating about it when an
officer comes around and says :
" Pretty fine, eh ? Well, that's nothing to battle prac-
tice! when for a certain number of minutes we let all the
guns go together. That's real noise! This is just pop-
Well, if it is not noise you begin to think that if there is
250 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
ever another war you know one place where you don't want
to be, and that is on a battleship. Every one of the ships
had to go through this work, and when it was all over then
it was that the men on these ships felt the sense of relief
that none of them experienced over their safe arrival and
the performance of the fleet on the way to this bay. They
were ready to drop in their tracks. They were worn out,
as the expression goes.
There is one moment of great suspense at every gun in
such practice as this. It is when some adjustment has
gone wrong, when some accident has occurred, and when
there is real danger. Then the officer in charge cries
That means that no more shots must be fired from that
gun on that run. With it goes a penalty that works
against the ship's record. More than once such command
has been heard on these ships, but it is wise, for all too sad
have been the records of accidents at target practice not
only in our own ships but in those of every other navy. It
would have pleased any one to observe all the precautions
that were taken this time. The navy has learned some les-
sons. Safer and safer the turrets are becoming all the
time. And this element of speed which enters into all con-
tests with the firing of guns conduces to that end. You
see, it is not only the hits that count but the time in which
they are made.
But why this haste, you ask. Well, it trains the men to
get the drop on the enemy and also, and perhaps of just as
much importance, it reveals the defects in the system. In
other words, it tends more to make turrets and ordnance
TARGET SHOOTING AT MAGDALENA 251
what the experts call " foolproof." It may be said that
nearly all of our ordnance on these ships has reached that
stage, the stage where some man by some unforeseen fool
action, one that no one could guess would happen, endan-
gers and probably costs the lives of himself and several
others. Every breakdown of a gun on this practice has
had its value and it all goes toward speeding the day when
these faults will be corrected and a ship may go into action
with a reasonable assurance that all its mechanism will do
the work it was intended to do. Yes, speed has its ad-
vantages, very great advantages.
What a change in twenty years ! There are men on this
ship who used to take part in the old practice on such ships
as the Saratoga or the Quinnebaugh, the one that was on
the European station so long that some one in the Navy
Department forgot for a year or two to put it in the Naval
Register. The Saratoga had one 8-inch muzzle loading
rifle that had formerly been a smooth bore 11-inch Dahl-
gren gun, the kind of gun that resembled a soda water bot-
tle and was called such. It was mounted amidships be-
tween the fireroom hatch and the break of the to'gallant
fo'c's'le. The bulwarks at that place were pierced by
pivot gun ports that could be secured as part of the bul-
warks when the gun was not in action.
The gun swung on circles and pivot bolts by using haul-
ing and training tackles, and could be used on either
broadside and about ten points forward and abaft the beam.
The ship had also four 9-inch smoothbore Dahlgrens to
complete its main battery. It required about twenty-two
men to handle such a gun. The charges of powder were
in canvas bags and rammed home. The guns could be
WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
sighted up to 2,000 yards. The recoil was taken up by
a heavy hempen hawser fastened to the bulwarks and passed
through the cascabel of the gun. The range for target
practice was 1,000 yards, and lucky was the gunner if he
made 30 per cent, of hits.
In those days the men at the guns were not half stripped,
as they are now. One-half of them were armed with cut-
lass and pistol and the other half with magazine rifles and
bayonets. This was to repel boarders. That's all gone.
No battleship ever expects to repel boarders in these days.
Protection for the gunners was made by piling up ham-
mocks and bags about the last thing that would be
thought of, with its danger from fire, in these days, even
if all else failed. Nowadays the recoil is taken up hy-
draulically, and the gun is shot back into place with
springs. Even fewer men are required to handle an 8-inch
gun than twenty years ago. One of these guns will shoot
five times further and do ten times yes, one might say
almost a hundredfold more damage than the old ones.
And there are eight of these on a ship like the Louisiana,
to say nothing of twelve 7-inch guns, four 12-inch, twenty
3-inch and twelve 3-pounders.
In target practice on one of these ships ten shots are
fired from each 7-inch gun, twenty from each 3-inch gun,
twenty from each 3-pounder and as many from each
8-inch and 12-inch as can be got off in a given
time. It may, be stretching the proprieties to tell even
that much, and to get back to generalities it may be
said that about twenty-five tons of metal were fired
from all the guns. The cost? Well, put it for con-
venience sake at $300,000 for the fleet. Expensive?
TARGET SHOOTING AT MAGDALENA 253
Not a bit of it ! That expenditure is the best money spent
by the United States Navy. It is the premium of insur-
ance paid annually for efficiency, and it will prove its
value if these ships ever get into war. There'll be no hit
or miss or reckless helter-skelter shooting then. To make
the practice record here each ship has to steam about 100
miles in going over the course and in a general way it may
be said that each ship made from thirty-five to forty runs
on the range. There, that's about all to be said in print
or elsewhere about target practice by this fleet.
Well now honest, you say, didn't the ships do well,
pretty well, just a little better than ever before, perhaps a
great deal better? Just that much is what you want to
know? Well, you'll have to ask the Navy Department
about that. In its own good time and in its own way it
may decide to give out such information and it may not.
You'll never get an answer from the Sun's correspondent
on this trip.
ROUTINE OF A BATTLESHIP
Life and Work on U. S. Battleship Every Day Crowded With
Duties and Drills for All on Board The Overworked Executive
Responsibility for Everything Finally Culminates With the Cap-
tainAll Effort Has in View the Efficiency of the Ship as a
Fighting Machine Minute Care in Seemingly Minor Details
Makes for Perfection in Case of Crisis Standing Watch and Gen-
eral Quarters Catering and Hygiene Smart Signal Work
Launch Etiquette Reverence for Quarter Deck and National
On Board U. S. S. Louisiana, U. S. Battle Fleet,
PUNTA ARENAS, CHILE, Jan. 31.
UNUSUAL and attractive as an extended cruise on a
warship from the Atlantic to the Pacific is to a
civilian, and however it may cause him to be envied
by his acquaintances, it must also be set down, if one would
chronicle the truth and nothing else, that it has its draw-
backs. Probably the first that the supernumerary cargo
discovers is that there is practically no place on the decks
where he may sit down. He soon realizes that a warship
is not a passenger steamship, with steamer chairs, smoking
rooms, deck stewards and all the other appurtenances that
go to advance the traveller's comfort.
The next drawback that forces itself upon one's atten-
tion, after the novelty of looking around wears off to some
extent, is that the warship passenger is a mighty lonely
ROUTINE OF A BATTLESHIP 255
person, and, unless he can amuse himself or is naturally one
of the reserved kind and lives in his own shell he'll find time
hanging heavy on his hands.
You see you can't go up to an officer and gossip when
he's drilling a crew in loading shells in a gun. You can't
pounce upon the Captain whenever you see him on the deck
and make him chat to you. You can't exercise conver-
sational powers when general quarters or fire drill is on.
You don't feel like asking for what is called a gabfest
when the other fellow is figuring out problems in naviga-
tion. It is not the time to be chummy when every man on
the bridge is watching signals from a flagship and hurrying
things so as not to be the last to send up the proper pen-
nant or to haul it down. When the red and white lights
of the ardois signal system are flashing at night or the stiff
arms of the semaphores are throwing themselves about in a
helter-skelter fashion day or night it is not wise to ask what
they are saying.
There is so much going on entirely foreign to the aver-
age man that he feels as if he were in a new world with
busy people all about him speaking a strange language and
doing strange things and he's literally alone. Gradually
it is borne in on him that he's a cat in a strange garret.
There's plenty of civility all around, but for hours and
hours a day there is no companionship ; no one with whom
he can form a pool on the day's run, or sit down with a
steward at his elbow to play a friendly game, or one for
blood ; no yarn spinners handy when you want 'em ; no lux-
uries in travelling.
Of course one may find easy chairs in the wardroom
with plenty of reading matter, and you have a chair and a
256 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
desk, in addition to your bunk, in your room, but no one
can stay below at sea unless the weather is foul, and even
then he chafes at it. No matter how fine your house is at
home you take more comfort in seasonable weather in sit-
ting on your porch than in your library, and the same
holds true at sea on a warship when it comes to sitting in
an easy chair in the wardroom or in your own room.
There are excellent reasons for these two drawbacks, the
lack of creature comforts, luxuries, if you please, and of
genial companionship at any hour, in going to sea
as a civilian on a warship. Only one need be mentioned.
That is that a warship is a tremendously busy workshop
where the boss, his assistants and the workmen have a
peculiar kind of work on hand, such as exists nowhere else
in the world, and there is no time in which to pander to
the whims and desires of an outsider sent on board by the
order of executive authorities higher up.
The work on hand is to move a floating fort of steel
swiftly through the water in complete synchronism with a
lot of other floating forts and then to prepare those who
are engaged in work in this fort for just one thing, to de-
stroy and kill. Everything is subservient to one idea to
be ready to fight at the swiftest pace for just about one
hour; for be it known that if one of the warships in this
great battle fleet were fought at its swiftest and fullest
capacity it would be all over, one way or the other, in an
hour or less. You see fighting a warship is not a long
distance race; it's a hundred yard dash, to change the
figure. Getting ready for that dash, that supreme effort
at the fastest speed, calls for all the concentration and
ROUTINE OF A BATTLESHIP 257
hard, unremitting toil that years of education in a com-
plex specialty and years of experience can employ.
When this work is going on those engaged in it want
outsiders out of the way, and if you're a wise outsider you
want to get out of the way. Hence at such times it is likely
that you'll get pretty tired standing around on your feet,
with no place to rest your weary bones and no companion
with whom you can even be bromidic. Yes, it's fine and
great to cruise 14,000 miles on a splendid warship, but truly
it has some drawbacks.
It must not be inferred from this that one lacks for
comfort, complete comfort, or for genial companionship
on a battleship. Far from it. The ship abounds in read-
ing matter. There are easy chairs in plenty in the ward-
room. And as for companionship, a more genial set of
good fellows never existed in any profession than these
same busy naval officers, from the Captains down. There
are many diversions. You can watch the drills, the signal-
ling ; you can have a game of cribbage or whist in the even-
ing; you have a fine band to play for you at dinner and
on deck in the warm evenings ; you can make friends with
the pets on board, tease the dog, play with the cats, watch
the monkeys, talk with the poll parrots and stroke the
goat's head, all the time watching lest he tries to butt
you, you can figure out the course, estimate latitude and
longitude; you can talk with the men when the smoking
lamp is lighted, although you must never be chummy, but
sometimes you can get an old quartermaster who has been
all over the world and draw him off into a secluded place
and let him spin his yarns to you, and also let him growl
258 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
out his growls and try to convince you that everything
in this world, especially in the navy, is rotten, after which
he feels better and you have had a pleasant hour of amuse-
ment, knowing full well that when he gets to port and
meets another quartermaster of another navy he'll be blow-
ing himself hoarse in his contention that our navy is the
best in the world and that there's no calling equal to that
of a real sailor man, and he's ready to fight to prove it.
So it isn't all work and no play on a warship, but it
comes mighty near to it for days and days, for, like a
woman's work the work is never done. You'd realize it if
some night after a hard day's work is over you heard the
bells and bugles crying out for general quarters for you
to tumble out of your hammock or bunk when you had
earned a good night's rest. You'd realize it if you had
been straining your eyes for hours in the daylight at
target practice and then had to go at it again at night.
You know you may have to fight at night and you've got
to be ready for it. There's no other way to prepare for
it than by work at night.
It's all a matter of course, part of the day's work, with
these sea dogs and gun fighters. And when you suggest
that you are thinking of writing a piece for the paper
telling about the routine on a warship they are surprised
that any such topic could be interesting and tell you that
it's nothing new and is going on all the time just as it has
been going on for decades and centuries. Then they'll ad-
mit perhaps that the general public doesn't realize the
amount of work that is done on a warship and they'll pro-
duce this schedule of hours and tasks that sums it up :
ROUTINE OF A BATTLESHIP 259
DAILY SEA ROUTINE.
3:00 A. M. Call ship's cook.
3:45 Call the section of the watch, relieve wheel and lookout.
4 :00 Relieve the watch on deck.
4:30 Turn to, out smoking lamp, pipe sweepers, clear up deck.
4 :50 Call music, masters-at-arms and boatswain's mates.
5 :00 Reveille, bugles and drum ; call all sections except mid-
5 :15 Execute morning orders.
5:30 Trice up clothes lines.
At sunrise station masthead lookouts, take in deck lookouts and put
out running lights.
6:30 Break up and send below to be burned all boxes and arti-
cles that will float.
6 :40 Trice up six bell hammock cloths.
6 :50 Up all hammocks, serve out water, hoist ashes.
7:00 Time and uniform signal; mess gear for sections below.
7:15 Breakfast for sections below, light smoking lamp; ditty
7 :30 Mess gear for watch on deck.
7 :40 Relieve wheel and lookouts.
7 :45 On deck duty sections. Section on deck to breakfast.
8:15 Turn to, clean gun and deck bright work.
8:25 Sick call.
8 :45 Report at mast.
8 :50 Clear up decks ; down towel lines and ditty boxes ; sweepers.
8:55 Officers' call.
9:00 Quarters for muster and inspection; setting up drill.
9:30 Drill call.
10:00 Relieve the wheel and lookouts.
Signal (1) absentees, (2) number of sick.
11:00 Hoist ashes.
11:30 Retreat from drill. Pipe down clothes, if dry; sweepers.
11:45 Mess gear for sections below.
Noon Dinner; duty section remain on deck. Signal (1) coal on
hand, (2) coal expended, (3) latitude, (4) longitude.
P. M. Mess gear for duty section.
Dinner duty section.
1:00 Turn to; out smoking lamp; down ditty boxes; sweepers;
pipe down clothes if dry, then aired bedding, if up; start work about
260 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
1:30 Serve out provisions.
2:00 Relieve wheel and lookouts.
3:00 Hoist ashes.
4:00 Relieve the watch.
4:30 Knock off all work. Clear up decks; sweepers; pipe down
5 :15 Mess gear for sections going on watch.
5 :30 Supper for sections going on watch.
5 :45 Mess gear for other sections.
5 :55 Relieve wheel and lookouts.
6 :00 Relieve section on duty. Other sections to supper.
At sunset Set running lights; lay down masthead lookouts; sta-
tion deck lookouts; couple fire hose; muster life boats' crews;
coxswain report when crews are present and lifeboats ready for lower-
ing. Test night signal apparatus.
6:30 Turn to; sweepers; scrub clothes on forecastle (except
7:00 Hoist ashes. Clear deck for hammocks.
8:00 Relieve watch, wheel and lookouts. Signal and searchlight
drill as ordered. Signal (1) latitude; (2) longitude.
At sea when meals are piped the duty section will remain on deck
until relieved by the next section for duty. When, however, the ship
is cruising singly at sea and there is no immediate necessity for the
services of the section on deck, or when cruising at sea in company
and it is apparent that the services of men on deck, other than those
actually on watch at stations, is unnecessary, then mess gear will be
spread for all sections at the same time, and all sections will go to
meals at the same time, except those men actually on duty, but reliefs
must get their meals and relieve their stations promptly. In any
case the duty section must stand by to answer an emergency call.
In bad weather, or when engaged in manoeuvres, or when in the imme-
diate vicinity of land, the duty section shall remain on deck until re-
lieved by the next section.
There is a daily port routine, similar in general outline
to the one for cruising. It calls for the ceremony of
colors, hoisting or lowering the flag, boat duty and other
things which can come only when a ship is in port. But
these two schedules only hint at the full story.
ROUTINE OF A BATTLESHIP 261
Probably the first impression that a stranger to all this
ship routine gets is that a warship is one of the most dis-
cordant places in the world. They are everlastingly blow-
ing bugles, each bugle out of key with all the others. One
bugler will sound a lot of hippity-hoppity notes and then
another will take up the same refrain with a blare and a
mean half note or quarter note variation and then two or
three others will join in, on decks, below decks, and the
jangling jumble rolls in on your ear drums in such a dis-
cord that you feel as if you'd like to punch the man
who told 'em to do it. At the same time you see men,
hundreds of whom must have no ear for note discrimination,
jump to the tasks to which they are summoned and you
wonder how they know what the bugles are telling them.
There are ninety-eight of these bugle calls on a man-o'-
war and how the men differentiate them passes your un-
derstanding. It aggravates you that you can't make them
out yourself. You begin to study them and you do get so
that you are able to recognize two or three, and then you
get lost and you begin to have an admiration for the men
who have mastered them all, just as you admire an iron-
worker who can walk a beam 400 feet in the air. He can
do something that you can't do and you respect him for it.
Still you keep trying to master those calls. Finally you
learn the trick partly. You associate certain words with
certain jingles perhaps it would be better to say
certain jangles and then you pat yourself on the back
and feel that you are pretty nearly half as good as a sailor-
man in Uncle Sam's navy. The trick is the same as with
the army calls and many of the jingles are the same. For
example, you soon learn reveille, for the refrain,
WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
We can't get 'em up ; we can't get 'em up ;
We can't get 'em up in the morning.
fits the call so completely that one who has once learned it
can never forget what it means.
Again when the bugles sound the sick bay call you find
yourself unconsciously saying to yourself:
Come and get your quinine, quinine.
When the officers' call for quarters is sounded you feel
like saying to the one nearest you :
Get your sword on; get your sword on.
When the mess call is blown you know that the blue-
jackets are saying to themselves as the notes blare out:
Soupy, soupy, soup, without a single bean;
Porky porky, pork, without a streak of lean.
When assembly sounds you join with the rest in the
You'd better be here at the next roll call.
When the swimming call comes you say to yourself:
Bought a chicken for fifty cents ;
The son of a gun jumped over the fence!
When the call for pay day is made you know how the men
feel as they say:
Pay day; pay day; come and get your pay.
And when tattoo is over and then comes taps you feel
drowsy as the sweet notes, one of the very few in army or
navy calls that are sweet, sing to you:
Go to sleep; go to sleep; go to sleep.
ROUTINE OF A BATTLESHIP 266
Oh, yes, you finally get to know many of these calls and
then somehow the discord seems to leave them, and, like the
ship that found herself, you begin to find yourself on ship-
board and you feel that you are getting on. That bugling
ceases to trouble you further.
The pipes of the bos'n also pierce your ears. Always
shrill, they all seem to end in a piercing shriek. At first
they make you grate your teeth. You feel as if you would
prefer that some one would cuss you out, as the naval ex-
pression is, rather than give you orders in that mean way.
And when you hear these same mates, one of whom is sta-
tioned at every place of importance where the men live and
sleep, roar out something that seems to be a mixture of the
blast of a cyclone, the trumpeting of an elephant and the
bray of another animal you think that if you were the
sailorman addressed you'd feel like saying to that mate
you'd be damned if you'd do it, whatever it was he was
ordering you to do. Why, such language as the bos'ns'
pipes employ is more calculated to inspire profanity than
was the term applied by Daniel O'Connell to the fishwoman
when he called her out of her name by saying she was a hy-
pothenuse. But gradually you learn some of these calls
too there are no rhymes or j ingles for them and that
worry blows over.
The work on the bridge also soon excites your admiration.
When you are in squadron or fleet formation it's a different
game from when you are alone. Then all you have to do
is to keep your course and go sailing along at the speed set
for you, keep your eye on things, receive reports, give this
and that order, when you are through set down a record of
what has happened in the deck logbook. All that's simple
WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
and easy compared with cruising in a fleet. With a fleet
you are not on the bridge five minutes before you are aware
that a peculiar kind of game is being played. It is
" Watch the Flagship." The watch officer, the signal offi-
cer, the quartermasters, the signal boys, are all engaged in
the work. Let a signal go up from the flagship. There
is a hasty peep through glasses and then a hoarse cry for
certain flags, a rush for the bunting, a quick bending of
it on the halyards and then a mad rush by half a dozen lads
across the bridge as the signals are hoisted. Hurry; be
the first to answer, is the sentiment inspiring all. After the
signal is hoisted you take a hasty look around, and you
grin as this or that ship hasn't got hers up yet, and you
say to yourself that it was pretty smart work. When the
first sign of a flutter comes from the flagship that the
pennants are coming down the hoarse yell of " Haul
down ! " comes like a thunderclap ; and woe betide the
clumsy signal boy who gets the halyards foul and doesn't
have the signals out of sight before the flagship has hers
Or perhaps it is approaching sunset and the time comes
to lower the speed cones for the night and start the mast-
head and truck lights to glimmering. Intently all hands
watch the flagship and at the first tremor of the cone the
boy begins to haul down. In a jiffy not a cone is to be seen
at the yards on the entire fleet.
Then there is the night signalling with the ardois red and
white lights. There flashes from the flagship a row of
vertical red lights, four of them. " Cornet ! " is the cry.
It means that each ship must turn on the same signal as an
answer to attention call. Then the flagship talks, with this
ROUTINE OF A BATTLESHIP
and that combination of red and white lights, all flashed
so fast that before the impression of one combination fades
from the eye two or three others have followed and you
wonder how on earth any one can make them out. But as
each one is flashed a boy calls out the letter and another
writes it down the cubbyhole where the navigator's chart
is sheltered, and you find that these messages are recorded
as fast as a telegrapher could write out his clicks.
Then the semaphore is lighted up and the arms of lights
go jiggering this way and that way, just as the gaunt
black and white automata do in the daytime, and you find
the boys reading off the message as easily as a grown per-
son can spell cat when the letters are big and the print is
plain. You sometimes wake up in the night when you are
at anchor and look out of your port. Rare is it that you
do not see a semaphore or an ardois combination flashing.
When you ask about it in the morning the officers will tell
you that it probably was the signal boys talking with one
another and that it is allowed because it is good practice to
let them gossip when there is nothing else going on and the
night watches are long and tedious. Invariably one boy
will make the signal letter of another ship where he sus-
pects a friend is on duty at the signals and this is what he
" How is it for a game of flat? " meaning an unofficial
" All right," comes the answer : " go ahead."
Then those two boys chat over all sorts of things, chaff
each other, make appointments for the first liberty, talk of
the latest ship gossip, and all that, but there's one feature
about it that's peculiar. The messages are always in
266 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
polite form. It's always, " Will you kindly ? " or " Please
be good enough," or something in that fashion. No sig-
nal boy ever forgets himself or the dignity of his place in
a game of talk. Besides, there might be officers observing
things and it is never nice to have your name put on the
report. You are brought up at the mast and you might
get five days in the brig on bread and water or something
like that if you exchanged language that was not seemly
for use on a warship's signals.
And then in bridge work in cruising there is that difficult
job of keeping distances. The favorite cruising formation
in this fleet is at 400 yards distance from the preceding
ship. The Louisiana was fourth in whatever line was
formed. That meant 1,200 yards from the flagship. Now
the engines of no two ships move the 16,000 tons of those
ships at exactly the same speed through the water. You
may know theoretically how many revolutions of the pro-
pellers are needed to go at the rate of ten, eleven, twelve
or even more knots an hour, but even then one ship will inch
up, so to speak, foot up might express it better, and you
have got to correct this all the time or you will be crawling
up on the quarter deck of the ship in front of you, or
lagging so behind that the ship after you will be in danger
of crawling up on your own deck.
You have a midshipman using the stadimeter all the
time, every fifteen or twenty seconds or so, and then you are
kept signalling to the engine room to make one or two or
three revolutions faster or slower, until you get your
right place and you don't have to fly your position pen-
nant, confessing to the flagship that you are making a
bad job of your work and have got more than forty yards
ROUTINE OF A BATTLESHIP 267
out of your position. You see, coal varies in its steaming
qualities from time to time, and sometimes the engine room
force gets a little slack or orders get mixed and it is one
perpetual struggle to keep exactly where you ought to be.
Then you have to sail on the course announced, and the
helmsman and quartermaster have to be continually moving
the rudder back and forth to correct the yaws from the
seas and other influences that throw you off that exact
Then there is the routine bridge work, giving orders, re-
ceiving reports, making decisions, tasting the food of the
crew that is brought always to the officer on watch, sighting
ships and other things and always notifying the Captain
day or night of all important things going on. Oh, yes,
there is plenty to do on a bridge in a fleet, and you watch
its progress with fascination for hours until you suddenly
begin to realize the presence of that drawback mentioned
first in this article, that there is no seating place up there,
and you go below to read or get some rest sitting down.
As one becomes accustomed to the naval routine there
are some ceremonies that he skips as a matter of course
and some that he does not. One of the latter is the gen-
eral muster of the officers and crew on a Sunday morning
once a month. Quarters are sounded as usual and then
comes the inspection of the ship and the men in their
stations, while the band is playing lively airs. When this
is over the entire ship's company not engaged in actual
duty in running the ship is summoned aft. The officers
and their divisions come to the quarter deck, and each officer
reports his division " up and aft " to the executive officer,
who in turn reports that fact to the Captain. The latter
268 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
then orders the ship's roll to be called. The paymaster
steps out from the group of officers with the roll. On the
Louisiana he calls :
" Richard Wainwright ! "
Capt. Wainwright responds:
" Captain, United States Navy."
"E. W. Eberle!"
" Lieutenant-Commander, United States Navy," the ex-
ecutive officer responds.
"C. T. Jewell!"
"Lieutenant-Commander, United States Navy," says the
navigator, and so on down the roll of officers the Pay-
master proceeds, each man saluting as he answers to his
name. Then the Paymaster retires and the pay clerk steps
up and takes up the call. He reads the names of the
members of the crew. As each man hears his name called
he answers with his designation on the roll, John Jones will
answer " Coal passer, United States Navy," and William
Smith will declare that he is an ordinary seaman, and so on.
As each man answers to his name he drops out of the ranks,
proceeds aft and walks by the Captain, hat in hand. When
the name of a man on duty somewhere in this ship, in the
engine rooms or the bridge or elsewhere, is called, the ship's
writer, who stands beside the executive officer, says.
" On duty, sir."
" The absentee is marked " accounted for." Men in the
sick bay are accounted for in the same way. It requires
almost an hour to go through the nearly 1,000 names, and
when it is all over the Paymaster reports to the executive
officer that all are present or accounted for and that fact
is duly communicated to the Captain. By that time the
ROUTINE OF A BATTLESHIP 269
deck is clear of the men and only the officers remain, and
these are dismissed.
It's a fine thing to see a fine crew individually and size up
each man. When the President was on the Louisiana it is
said that he took the keenest interest in this personal ap-
pearance of every man on the quarter deck in answer to the
call of his name and showed his satisfaction over the ap-
pearance of the men as he stood beside the Captain and
watched each one of the husky lads pass by.
Once a month on a Sunday morning the crew is also
summoned aft to have the Articles of War read. The ex-
ecutive officer does the reading. Here is propounded the
law and the gospel of a man-o'-war's duties and responsi-
bilities. The men are told what they must do and what
they must not do. The punishments inflicted for certain
offences are read out, offences in time of peace and similar
offences in time of war. More than once are heard the
words " shall suffer death." All through the idea per-
vades that there must be instant and complete obedience of
orders. Reading the Articles of War constitutes a solemn
occasion and when it is finished one realizes as never be-
fore what a serious thing it is to swear allegiance to Uncle
Sam as part of his naval force.
The organization of the ship's force soon becomes well
fixed in the mind. There is one head to it all, the Captain,
on whom falls final responsibility for everything, discipline,
safety of ship and men, work of every kind. He is assisted
by about twenty-five commissioned subordinate officers and
midshipmen and nearly a dozen warrant officers, besides
numerous petty officers and their mates. The ship has
several large departments just as a big store in the city.
270 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
The executive officer is the right hand man, the general
manager, if you please, of the ship, and he sees that the
Captain's orders are carried out and he also keeps the vessel
One of the departments is that of the navigator. An-
other is the department of ordnance. A third is that of
the engineer, a fourth that of the medical officer, a fifth
that of the Paymaster and a sixth has to do with the
The executive officer not only runs almost everything on
the ship but is in charge of all equipment and stores. He
is the man who can do most to make a ship happy or hellish.
He looks after the daily routine, drills, repairs, cleaning
up, issuing of stores, and the like. He is the man to whom
all other officers, big and little, report. He is busy from
early morning until late at night. When he isn't keeping
things in order he is writing reports. He almost never has
time to sit down at ease except at the head of the wardroom
table at meal time, where he is a sort of social arbiter, as
well as general manager.
The executive officer is also the housekeeper of the ves-
sel. At one time he is in consultation with the bandmaster
over a music programme and then he is consulting with a
plumber about a drain. He runs the clothing establish-
ment and varies that work with looking after the hoisting
of ashes or the arranging of liberty parties. His work
has no beginning and no end and a faithful and hard
working man seldom has time to write to his family, to
say nothing of reading a book occasionally or stealing
away to his room for a quiet smoke or a siesta.
The navigator does the navigating, as might be ex-
ROUTINE OF A BATTLESHIP 271
pected. He relieves the officer on watch on the bridge
when quarters are sounded. He has charge of all the
electrical apparatus, and he is also instructor in navigation
to the young midshipmen, who have to keep up their study
and work along that line.
The ordnance officer has charge of the guns, ammuni-
tion, the work of target practice, the making of targets
and everything that pertains to shooting. The Paymaster
has charge of all money matters, payment of wages, the
purchase of supplies, providing clothing and meals for
the crew. He is the purser of the ship. The medical
officer besides caring for the sick is responsible for sanitary
In addition to these commissioned officers there are Lieu-
tenants and Ensigns who are watch officers; that is, they
stand the watch of four hours on the bridge at sea, repre-
senting the Captain in seeing that the ship goes all right,
and four hours on the after deck in port, where they direct
and have charge of all that is going on.
There is besides the engineering division, which is a sort
of world all to itself.
Then there are the warrant officers, the boatswain, gun-
ner, electrical gunner, carpenter and machinists. They
are what might be called the general foremen or superin-
tendents. They are assisted by the petty officers, of whom
there are three grades, and mates of various kinds, who
are the foremen of the individual gangs of men in their
work about ship. Pretty soon one begins to learn the signs
and marks upon sleeves and other devices that tell the
grade of this man and that. He also learns about sea-
men, ordinary seamen, yeomen (the clerks of each depart-
272 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
ment), coxswains, jacks-o-the-dust, lamplighters, gun
pointers, hospital attendants, shipwrights, the printer and
the numerous other classifications into which the crew is
He learns that the crew is split up into various divisions
and each division into various sections. The officers are
called division officers when the responsibility for handling
the men by divisions comes up. Then the passenger also
learns how the entire crew is split up into watches so that
some of the men are on deck and other duty at every hour
of the day and night. He soon learns all about the ham-
mock netting, where the hammocks of the men are stowed,
and he can even find the places where the ditty boxes of
the men are kept when not in use. He knows what things
are in those little square ditty boxes, writing paper, pho-
tographs of those at home, mending material, brushes,
blacking, possessions of every kind, all subject to inspec-
tion by the officers.
Having mastered something of the personnel of the ship
it is surprising how soon one falls into the drill routine.
This is a more or less delicate subject about which to
write, for the reason that tactical matters and certain drills
the details of which are kept secret are not proper subjects
for publication, and all correspondents with the fleet have
bound themselves by written pledge never to reveal what
they may learn about them. There are certain drills, how-
ever, which are common to all navies and a matter of ordi-
nary routine, in reference to which there is no inhibition,
inasmuch as the Navy Department has even authorized
and approved publication of these details. You will find.
ROUTINE OF A BATTLESHIP
them all written out in the book " The American Battle-
ship in Commission," written by an enlisted man.
On certain mornings of the week certain drills are al-
ways gone through with. You know when it is ordinary
quarters, when fire, collision and abandon ship practice is
to be gone through with, when certain kinds of gun prac-
tice are tried out. You know just how often this and that
division goes through with " pingpong " shooting, the
work with what are known as Morris tubes, the kind of
shooting that has superseded to a large extent the former
sub-calibre practice on shipboard.
You then learn all about hammock and bag inspection
days, you even get to know when the flagship will probably
order hammocks or bags scrubbed and you get to know just
about how often the clotheslines will be strung up over
the fo'c'stle and just how often bedding will be hung on
the rails for airing and when it will be taken in and all
that. You get used to seeing the lanterns put in the life-
boats at night for emergency use. You know that every
half hour when the ship's bell is struck the sentry on the
quarter deck will turn toward the after bridge and will sing
" Life buoys, aft ; all's well ! "
You know that up on the forward bridge with every
" bell " the port and starboard side lights will be reported
burning in the same manner. You know how often the
marine guard is changed and what the stations are. You
know that on Saturday morning there will be no quarters
and that all hands will be set to cleaning the decks with
sand and holystones and that the mud, if a combination
WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
of sand and water can be called mud, will be so thick that
for nearly all the morning you will have to wear rubbers
if you want to get about in comfort. You know when
bright work will be cleaned and you know when the smok-
ing lamp will be lighted, which means at just what hours
smoking will be permitted, for there is no real lamp in
these days when nearly everything on a warship is run
You get to know just when the awkward squad of ma-
rines will be drilled and you know when the patent log,
which is watched most carefully and which nearly every-
body scoffs at because one never can depend much upon
it, will be read. You know soon from the color of the
water when you are on soundings, and you gather about
the little contrivance far back on the quarter deck which
unreels the wire for the lead that goes swishing hundreds
of fathoms into the sea and finally brings up on the bottom
and then records the depth. You gather about the chief
quartermaster as he has the line pulled in and you look
with him at the thermometerlike arrangement which by
discoloration shows the depth of the water. You know
just how often the temperature of the sea will be taken
and how often the temperature of the air will be recorded
in the log and the height of the barometer set down.
And then perhaps your mind turns again to the house-
keeping of this home of 1,000 men. You visit the cook's
galley, where the head cook and several assistants are busy
night and day preparing the meals for the men with red-
hot stoves and great caldrons. You see the copper coffee
and tea tanks, the soup tanks, the bean tanks and the rest.
You see the electrically operated potato paring machine,
ROUTINE OF A BATTLESHIP 275
just like the one used in the model kitchen of the world
at West Point. You visit the butcher's shop, where about
2,000 pounds of meat is served out and cut up each day.
Then you go to the scullery and see the dishwashing
machines, also copied from those in use at West Point and
all large hotels. You visit the bake shop with its intense
heat and the bake rooms store shop where the loaves of
bread are piled up like so many cords of wood. You go
to the sick bay and see a hospital in operation comparable
favorably in every way with the best appointed hospital on
land. You visit the operating room with its fullest set of
surgical appliances. You even go to the brig and you see
where men can be confined in cells or left out in the open so
that they may have company and simply be restrained,
the latter being the prevalent form for light punishments.
You may attend the " mast," where the Captain every day
holds his police court for light offences, and you may read
in the log what has been done in each case. You may
attend the summary courts-martial, where more or less
serious cases are tried by a board of officers, but you must
leave the room when the board goes into executive session
to form its judgment on the case and fix the penalty if the
accused is found guilty.
You may see the tests of powder and guncotton at regu-
lar intervals, and if you wish to go around at night with
the carpenter's force you may see them making soundings
of the hold every hour. You may see the tests of electrical
machinery and you may watch the operation of closing all
watertight doors every evening at 5 o'clock, and always in
going in or out of port or in time of fog. You can even
solve that mystery to every civilian as to why there is g
276 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
sailmaker, with assistants, on a craft that carries no sail.
When you find men working over canvas targets for days
and days, making awnings and windsails, working at ham-
mocks and the like, and when you realize that the ship
carries more cordage than the old Constitution, you under-
stand it all. The work of the sailmaker is no cinch. You
can see the men once a month paid off in long lines, each
man's signature attested by the division officer.
So you wander about hither and thither without any
well developed plan and run across this and that form of
employment and hard daily toil and you wonder how it
can be, with so much to do and so little time in which to
do it, that proficiency in any one line of work can be se-
cured. Familiarity with it, however, shows that such a
condition is approximated, and you begin to feel absolutely
confident that if the ship ever did get into a scrap all this
work and drill would show its effects at once in a way
that would make you proud of the men and the ships of
the navy. A sense of confident security comes over you
and you soon have the feeling that nobody in the world
can beat the Yankee sailor man for man in fighting and no
ship of equal capacity in the world can beat the one on
which you are sailing in a fight. You may be overconfi-
dent, but it's a comfortable kind of feeling to have.
You watch the rivalry among the various ships of the
fleet in such matters as they can show rivalry in during a
cruise as you begin to have confidence in the one on which
you are a passenger. When target shooting comes this
rivalry will take an impressive form. At present the riv-
alry consists largely in keeping distances, in making turns
accurately, in making and responding to signals. Every
ROUTINE OF A BATTLESHIP 277
morning you watch the flags go up at 10 o'clock, when the
signals are hoisted on the second recording the number of
sick and absentees on each ship. The officers and men
read these flags off quick as a flash and you speculate
about the condition of things on this and that vessel.
At 11:20 in the morning you watch the flags go up to
catch the change of time for all clocks. At noon every
one is keen to see the flags sent up telling how much coal
has been used and how much each ship has on hand. Then
come the flags which give the reckoning of the navigator
on each ship as to latitude and longitude, either by ob-
servation or dead reckoning, and you comment upon the
variations in the reports.
So the routine goes on and you get used to it and in
some respects become part of it. You even fall into a
certain station at certain times. The Sun man, for ex-
ample, has one place where he is expected to report when
the call is made. No other duties are assigned to him as a
passenger. He has a certain station when the abandon
ship drill takes place. He goes to his station, reports and
then is excused. Otherwise he is free to do pretty much
as he pleases, always observing as well as he can the little
proprieties on shipboard, which are simply those govern-
ing the ordinary actions of gentlemen.
Every man on a warship has his little or big place that
is his own and you must not cross its confines without
permission. For instance, the starboard side of the quar-
ter deck is the Captain's. You don't walk there unless he
indicates that he would like to have you join him. The
port side of the deck belongs to the other officers. The
Captain almost never goes there, although, being the Cap-
278 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
tain, he can go where he pleases. Each officer's room is
sacred when the curtain is drawn. And so on through
the ship there is a little piece of territory sacred to each
man or set of men. The fo'c'stle deck is the men's.
Launch etiquette, however, is peculiar. One of the first
things to learn about travelling in a naval launch is that
it is a little ship of itself. You salute its deck, so to speak,
when you enter it if you observe the niceties. The highest
ranking officer sits in the stern and goes into the boat last.
All the others stand until he seats himself. He is the first
to leave and the others go in the order of their rank. You
mustn't smoke in a launch in the daytime, and if you do so
on the sly you must be sure not to show your cigar
in passing the flagship, for the quartermaster on watch on
the after bridge will report you and there'll be trouble.
You mustn't smoke at night except by permission of the
ranking officer on board. If you see him light a cigar or
cigarette all the rest of you may do so. Otherwise you
will please throw away your cigar or cigarette when you
enter the boat.
As you go out to your ship at night you hear the quar-
termaster on some other ship call out, " Boat ahoy ! " and
the coxswain of your boat answers with a yell, " Passing 1 "
When you approach your ship or another to make a stop
the coxswain must be particular about his answers to the
boat ahoy call. If he has the President of the United
States aboard, as coxswains on the Louisiana have had
repeatedly, he calls out:
" United States ! "
If an Admiral is on board the answer to the hail is :
ROUTINE OF A BATTLESHIP 279
If a Captain is on board the answer is the name of his
If other commissioned officers above the grade of mid-
shipmen are on board the answer is " Aye ! aye ! " and if
the launch contains only midshipmen or other officers of
lower grade the answer is, " No ! No ! " as if to say you
needn't bother about this bunch. If it has only enlisted
men on board the call is " Hello ! " By these answers the
officer of the desk is informed as to who is approaching.
Of course they are used only in the night, for in the day
time observation will reveal the situation.
The longer one remains on a warship, either as a mem-
ber of the crew or as a guest, two things become more
and more impressive. One is the reverence for the quarter
deck and the other is the patriotic regard for the national
hymn, " The Star Spangled Banner." The quarter deck
seems to be almost a holy place. The officers salute it as
they step upon it. No stain is allowed to remain upon it.
If a man for instance were found spitting upon it well,
hamstringing would be the fitting penalty, if the feelings
of those outraged by the performance were consulted.
This regard for the deck has come down from the earliest
naval traditions. The soil of the country is represented
there. The flag waves above it. Sovereignty finds ex-
pression there. It is the place of all ceremonies, the one
place sacred to all that is best in tradition, rules of con-
duct, liberty, national achievements on the sea, national
hopes and aspirations. It must never be profaned.
The sound of the first bar of the national hymn brings
every naval man who hears it to attention. The mental
attitude is one of intense respect as well. That anthem
280 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
never becomes a bore to the officers and men. Its notes
are a call to duty and the salute, when it is ended, is a
public pledge of fealty to the flag. No music is played
on ship more carefully and with more earnest effort to get
every shade of feeling out of the notes. Reverence for
the tune is a living thing, and after one has been on ship-
board for a week he begins to feel ashamed of the public
indifference to the tune ashore.
Let one incident reveal the regard for the hymn on
shipboard. We were steaming just below the equator on
the way to Rio Janeiro one evening, when showers made it
impossible for the band to play on deck. The concert
was held in a casemate and the humidity added great dis-
comfort to the intense heat. The members of the crew off
duty had stripped to their undershirts and trousers. The
musicians had also thrown off their coats. Their faces
ran with sweat as they played.
Every concert ends with " The Star Spangled Banner."
It was time to play it. All the musicians stood up and the
men who had crowded in to hear the music came to atten-
tion, but not one move toward lifting his baton would the
bandmaster make until every one of his men had put on
his coat and hat. They might play Strauss waltzes and
even Wagnerian selections in their undershirts, but no note
of the national hymn could be played until every man was
in dress befitting the occasion. All this is nothing unusual,
but it is impressive to the man who sees it for the first
So although there is no place for comfortable loafing
and sometimes it is lonely a civilian passenger on one of
these ships after all can find entertainment and other things
ROUTINE OF A BATTLESHIP 281
to interest him. Day by day he feels his patriotic impulses
quickened. Day by day he is more and more glad that
he is an American citizen. And when taps is sounded and
he knows that the men not on duty are swinging quietly
in their hammocks, tired out from their work, he can under-
stand and appreciate the full significance and beauty of
the refrain which soothes one and all with its soft good-
" Go to sleep ! Go to sleep ! G-o t-o s-1-e-e-p ! "
Manly, Free Entertaining and Ever Fruitful of Self-Control Or-
ganization of the Ship's Company Into Messes Chaff Keeps the
Wardroom Merry, but Never Passes the Bounds of Good Nature
Something Better Than Romance in the Ships of To-Day Man-o'-
War Bill of Fare No Longer Includes Lobscouse or Bargoo Fine
Libraries for All Hands The Canteen.
On Board U. S. S. Louisiana, U. S. Battle Fleet,
AT SEA, OFF PANAMA, March 6.
SOCIALLY the modern man-o'-war houses a series of
clubs, one large and several small ones. They are
called messes. The large club's membership, the
general mess, consists of the entire crew, with the exception
of the officers. Uncle Sam, through accredited agents on
board, runs that club. The small clubs' membership con-
sists entirely of officers, and these clubs are managed by
The officers' clubs are graded according to rank. On a
flagship the Admiral may form a club all by himself, or he
may enlarge the membership, as Admiral Evans does, by
having his staff officers join his mess. The Captain is
also a club of one member. The commissioned officers
make up the wardroom mess. The midshipmen, junior
paymaster, junior officers of the marines and the pay clerk
form the steerage mess. The warrant officers bos'n,
SOCIAL LIFE ON A MAN-O'-WAR
carpenter, machinists, gunners and the like have another
mess, and the largest of the small clubs is that of the chief
With the exception of the general mess all these clubs
provide their own supplies of food and drink. The Gov-
ernment used to allow every man on a ship, no matter
what his rank, the sum of 30 cents a day for rations. The
members of the crew in the old days formed various messes
of from twenty to forty members. Some of these messes
drew provisions from the ship's stores amounting to the
value of 30 cents a day for each man. Others drew only
three-quarters of the ration and commuted the rest of the
30 cents, to which they added more or less money of their
own, and purchased food luxuries from time to time. The
allowance of 30 cents a day to all hands was made just
after the civil war, and Jack celebrated the event by a song
They gave us thirty cents a day
And stopped our grog forever.
Jack's grog did stop, although other navies still serve
out liquor regularly to their sailors, but he got pretty
good rations. There were times, however, when he did not
fare well. Sometimes the mess treasurer would go ashore
with the mess treasury and would fall into the hands of
the Philistines and the mess would have to go hungry or
borrow from the kindly disposed members of other messes.
Nearly ten years ago Congress cut off the 30 cents a
day allowance for the officers above the rank of midship-
men. The consequence is that every commissioned officer
on an American warship has to purchase his own food and
other household necessities, That act of Congress cost
284 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
each officer about $110 a year, a matter of at least three
Naval officers must live well and must entertain when
in various ports, at home and abroad, and, being persons
of extremely moderate salaries and generally with families
to support, they must exercise economy to make both ends
meet. It is no easy task, and the communal plan of pay-
ing for food and the individual plan of paying for
drinks is the best solution of the problem. The navy
regulations provide for the formation of messes, tell
how they shall be managed, and declare that they must
show clean financial sheets to the Captain at every quar-
ter. They must not contract debts which they cannot
Suppose a new ship is going into commission. About
fifteen officers below the Captain must mess together. The
Government provides certain necessities, such as tables and
chairs, and an allowance of crockery and linen, but the
officers must assemble their own food and wine supplies for
a cruise of say three years. It requires capital. Few
officers are so forehanded that they have sufficient money
to lay in supplies then for several months. They are not
allowed to run in debt for them. They must eat and drink,
and what do they do? They take advantage of a clause
in the regulations, which shows that there are many ways
to kill a cat, especially if the cat is running-into-debt, and
" When a vessel is in a United States port and preparing
to proceed on a cruise the commanding officer may sanction
supplies for officers' messes being received on board, at
the risk of dealers, to be paid for as consumed, in not less
SOCIAL LIFE ON A MAN-O'-WAR 285
than quarterly instalments, provided the dealer shall agree
thereto in writing."
This means that as soon as an officers' mess is organized
its treasurer goes to certain dealers and contracts for a
large quantity of food supplies on condition that payments
shall be made at certain intervals. There are many large
wholesale houses that are glad to get that kind of trade
because they know that ultimately they will receive every
cent due them. The members of the mess are assessed so
much a month, according to experience in such matters, and
the result is that the food of a naval officer costs him in
the prepared state about $1 a day. A treasurer is elected
once every month. He must serve, and he sits at the foot
of the table, while in the wardroom mess the executive offi-
cer sits at the head. The treasurer may be elected to serve
a second month, but he cannot be made to serve more than
two months consecutively.
The organization of the other messes is similar to that
of the wardroom mess. The wine mess is composed of such
officers as wish to join it. They get their supplies from
a dealer who backs them, and to make up for breakage
and loss they charge 10 per cent, more than the cost prices
of the wines, beers, waters and cigars consumed. The offi-
cers are not allowed to have distilled spirits in the wine
When you have a dozen or more men eating together
three times a day and for weeks confined to their club-
rooms the social life of the company is likely to be beset
with pitfalls and shoals. You can imagine how it would
be on land, especially if military rule prevailed in a club
and every member was compelled to spend all his time in it
286 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
and was superior or inferior in rank to every other man.
This matter of rank has to be taken into consideration.
The members of the mess are seated according to rank.
Still they are equal in the matter of membership of the
mess, and between this matter of rank and social equality
some delicate situations arise. The man who may cause
you to be disciplined sits close to you in the bonds of
supposed good fellowship, and to preserve the club feature
of the mess calls for a display of restraint that develops
It is a primary rule of the military service of the country
that an officer must be a gentleman. That means that
good breeding, consideration for the feelings of others,
kindness, tact and all the other well known qualifications
used in defining the word gentleman must govern the con-
duct of an officer. Good form also requires that there
must be no discussion of subjects in the mess that would
lead to discord, such as religion or politics. The result is
that to the person not familiar with the traditions an offi-
cers' mess on board a warship seems to be a place for small
talk or else for shop talk. Really there are few places in
the world where the word gentleman has a better exempli-
fication. The officers adapt themselves to the situation of
enforced close intimacy of months and months in a way
that excites admiration. You see, you've got to live with
a person to find him out. When you touch elbows with
him all the time all his little peculiarities stand out and
all his annoyances of manner become conspicuous. The
one social task on a ship is to ignore all these things and
try to have a companionship as genial as if one's good
points alone were on view for a day or two,
SOCIAL LIFE ON A MAN-O'-WAR 287
Keeping in good humor is the trick.- One way in which
this is done on ship is by a light chaffing that runs through
the intercourse of the members of the mess. Probably
no more skilful skating on thin ice takes place around any
board than in the wardroom of a warship. Good natured
thrusts and parries are going on all the time, and just as
the danger point of going too far in personal matters is
reached the talk is shifted in some mysterious way, and a
new tack is taken.
A favorite means of fun is to tackle the mess caterer, as
the treasurer is called, and tell him what poor food he is
serving. Now, every man knows he is trying to make the
mess money go as far as possible, and also to provide good
food. He has a thankless job and the members of the
mess like to run him, as the expression goes. Suppose he
serves up that delightful concoction of domestic economy,
meat balls. The running fire of comment on such fare
would make any ordinary man's hair gray in a month.
The members of the mess even go so far as to tell him that
when he dies his monument should be topped with a mar-
ble representation of a dish of meat balls.
Let some man appear in evening dress after word has
been passed that for once such a costume may be omitted
at dinner. The luckless one is howled out of the ward-
room and invited to set 'em up when he comes back. Let
a man make some wild or foolish statement or boast; he
never hears the last of it. Perhaps the chief engineer may
get permission not to wear evening dress for an evening or
two while he is fixing up some dirty work in the engine
room. Some one will sing out:
" Captain, I work so hard ; please excuse me from dress-
288 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
ing for dinner." Forthwith the Fourth Ward, as the
lower end of the table is called, gets up a yell and at a
signal this is heard:
Bill Johnson ! Bill Johnson ! Bill Johnson !
1 work so hard !
Johnson, Johnson, Johnson !
Bill says it is on him and what'll ye have?
Let some one declare that he is on the water wagon and
decline to join in a friendly glass. Forthwith over his
place at the table will appear the H. T. T. banner, which,
being interpreted, means Holier Than Thou, and the man
says he'll stay on the wagon if you don't object, but will
the others please order what they'd like at his expense.
Lovesick members of the mess get it unmercifully, but
when the glasses come on the table at dinner some evening
and the lovelorn man smiles and announces his marriage
engagement, hearty, indeed, are the congratulations and
the girl's health is drunk with gusto. Let some member
have a birthday. Again good wishes predominate. All
hands make speeches. Poems are presented. Hits and
grinds are got off. It all goes to make the men of the
mess forget that they are made of human clay, the kind
that grows brittle and crumbles upon close contact.
Various expedients for making social life delightful arc
tried. Take the Kansas, for instance. Go over to dinner
there some night and you will find the usual good natured
raillery going on all the time, but at the end of nearly
every course some one will get up and go to the piano and
sing a song, a good one, too. They have half a dozen
singers on that ship, and you can scarcely spend a more
delightful evening anywhere. Perhaps they have invited
SOCIAL LIFE ON A MAN-O'-WAR 289
Father Gleeson of the Connecticut over, and after suitable
urging this accomplished chaplain priest will tell some
Irish stories or will sing " The Wearin' o' the Green " for
you. And then the ordnance officer will probably step up
and sing some rare English ballads, and you make him
sing half a dozen times that old gypsy song " Dip Your
Fingers in the Stew."
Perhaps you go to the Minnesota. That ship has the
prize runners. They do josh a man for certain. There's
Henry Ball, for instance, only that isn't his name. Down
at one corner some man will cry out :
" Who killed Cock Robin? "
At the far end another will respond:
" * I,' said the sparrow."
In the middle will come a voice:
" 6 With my bow and arrow.' "
And down and around will go the details of the dreadful
tragedy of the death of Cock Robin. It's a mournful
tale, but as the details are set forth loudly there comes a
twinkle in the eyes of certain men, and then after Cock
Robin is buried decently a shout will come:
"Who knows it all?"
Another shout will answer:
"Henry Ball, Henry Ball!"
"He knows it all!"
Still another voice :
" With his brass and gall ! "
Mr. Ball has been guilty of the assumption of too much
knowledge and he must take his medicine and grin.
The luckless newspaper man who is a passenger on a
290 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
warship does not escape. He's meat for these flesh eaters.
The Sun man mentioned one day that he was sorry he
had missed a certain piece of news because it was some-
thing that would interest everybody, millions of people,
" How many millions of people, for example ? " asked
an innocent voice.
" Well, there are more than three millions of people in
New York city alone," was the reply. It was a mistake.
Scarcely a day has passed on the cruise when some one at
the wardroom table does not say in the proper tone of voice
and just at the psychological moment:
" Three millions of people made happy ! "
That moment comes often in port after some one has
asked the correspondent if he has cabled such and such a
piece of news. He usually says he has.
Up rises the table and a 12-inch roar shakes things.
" Three millions of people made happy ! "
A mess attendant drops a dish and the accident starts
a discussion as to the large amount of breakage of crock-
ery. One member who has been afflicting the mess with
the recital of numerous details of his household affairs,
having been married only a year and a half, protests
against the carelessness of mess attendants. He says it is
an outrage the way the mess crockery is broken. There
is no excuse for it. Downright carelessness it is, and some-
thing ought to be done about it right away.
" Why," he says, " do you know that in our married
life we have had just one servant and I give you my word,
she has not broken one single piece of crockery. That's a
SOCIAL LIFE ON A MAN-O'-WAR 291
" What do you use in your home, Jackson agate
ware ? " asks a rogue across the way, and for the rest of
the meal the mess is relieved from any more details of
Jackson's domestic affairs.
Just on the edge of the Fourth Ward is a Lieutenant who
has a wonderful baby. The mess hears all about that
kid whenever a fresh mail arrives. The child must be
pretty fine and the mess puts up with the narration of his
superior points and cunning ways with a kindly indulgence
and restraint. The conversation drifts one evening to the
case of a seaman who was sick all night and unable to sleep
and the big doctor, as the ranking surgeon is called, is
telling about the way the man must have suffered before
he complained. The father of the baby takes the matter
up at once and says:
" Doctor, Mrs. Williams writes me that the other night
the baby cried all night long. Neither she nor the baby
got a wink of sleep. What do you do for a baby who
cries all night without stopping? "
" Take it out the next morning and choke it to death,"
growls the doctor.
Williams is puzzled at the shout that goes up and while
he is trying to fathom its meaning the mess rises up and,
pointing its collective finger at the big doctor, hurls this
shout at him:
" Cruel man ! Cruel man ! Cruel man ! "
Williams's baby never cries all night again for that
Chaffing like this is going on in all the ships constantly.
At every opportunity the fun takes a wider scope. For
example, on St. Valentine's day every one on the Louisiana
WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
got a wireless message transmitted from home in some
mysterious way through the flagship ; at least that is what
the messages said. The messages contained roasts that
set the wardroom in an uproar. The Sun man was noti-
fied by his managing editor that " Three millions of people
were made happy " by what he had written. Peculiar
messages signed Sweetheart and other endearing terms
reached some of the younger members. The proud father
of a new baby got word of the usual cutting of the first
tooth. The man who was living on a " dead horse " re-
ceived word that the increased pay bill might fail.
Taken all in all, this chaffing is similar to a Clover Club,
a Gridiron Club, or an Amen Corner lambasting. It is
given and taken in good part. Years of skill have taught
the naval officer how far to go and when to stop to avoid
pitfalls. The man who shows anger or resentment gets it
all the more. There is a delicacy of adjustment in it all
that commands admiration.
Occasionally there will be something formal in the roast-
ing process. For instance on the Vermont they have what
they call Campfire No. 6 of the Spanish War Veterans.
Its members consist of a correspondent and officers who
served in the Spanish war. They meet at stated intervals.
They hold long sessions. These are supposed to consist
of recitals of heroism, hairbreadth escapes, devotion to duty
and the like. They had one of their meetings on Decem-
ber 31 last. The members of the campfire were surprised
to find a printed programme of the evening's entertain-
ment. The correspondent member is J. B. Connolly, the
sea story writer and the President's friend. This was the
SOCIAL LIFE ON A MAN-O'-WAR 293
I. The old favorite
WILD BILL TARDY
familiarly known to theatregoers as the
BIG CHIEF OF MONOLOGUE
Mr. Tardy has consented to recite the touching poem "My Bullies
Shan't Play Ball To-day."
2. LITTLE ABE BRINSER
The peerless, precocious sharpshooter. The feature of this act will be
the shooting of a clay pigeon before it leaves the trap.
3. That wonderful Oriental Magician
In plain view of the audience, he will grow a horse chestnut into a bull
weighing 1,728 pounds.
N. B. First time on any stage.
4. The blacksmiths of Journalism
CONNOLLY and PATCHIN
This act is REALLY great, consisting of Novel writings and
P. S. Audience requested not to go to sleep.
The clever character sketch comedian,
faithfully portray, noted English characters, viz.:
LAWRANCE D'ORSAY, &c.
6. Those smooth canteen idols
Jack HIGGINS and DOUGLASS Spike
In a screaming farce entitled
SKIN'EM AND CHEAT'EM
7. The Alexander Salvini of polite vaudeville
L. C. BERTOLETTE
The great emotional tragedian in the
BALCONY SCENE FROM ROMEO & JULIET
Positively pathetic, piercing and painful.
294 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
The names of these officers of the campfire were printed
on the back :
" Roast Master," C. P. Snyder ; " Libation Master," L.
M* Overstreet ; " Keeper of the Logs," F. M. Furlong ;
"Keeper of the Alarm Clock," A. B. Drum; "Bouncer,"
B. L. Canaga.
If there is any man who can write verse or jingles he
has to exercise his muse when any gala day comes. Here
is what Mr. Connolly produced when the Vermont crossed
Vale of Seaweed, Hall of Atlantus.
HEAR YE, HEAR YE.
In this my sacred realm, where lively dolphins leap
And beauteous mermaids round and round me sweep,
In this fair sea where warm south trades
Do toss the gentle ocean 'bove the whirling blades,
Has come, I learn, a battleship first rate,
And at her peak the flag of nation great
Her name Vermont, with many turret guns,
Of twenty thousand horse-power and sixteen thousand tons.
And learning this, I Neptunus, and of Ocean King,
Do don my trident and my signet ring
To mark which of her white clothed numerous crew
Are known to me, which to my realm are new.
Your name, strange sir, I find not on my roster
A most disgraceful thing, and branding you imposter;
Appear you, then, that this foul blackest stain
By baptism be cleansed in our domain.
All ye firemen, water tenders and greasy oilers,
All ye mess lads, commissaries and chicken broilers,
All ye boat destroyers and gun busters,
All ye marines, signal boys and jack-o'-dusters,
All ye topsiders, warrants and enlisted men,
SOCIAL LIFE ON A MAN-O'-WAR 295
No matter where ye shipped or when,
All ye who are not of the slush anointed
Appear, I say, before the Court appointed.
Fail to appear and ever rue the day
My kingly law you dared to disobey.
Attest: OCTOPUS, Executus Officerius. ,
January 4, 1908.
There is always a good deal of serious conversation,
especially as to naval matters. There was the everlasting
discussion of the pay bill and its chances before Congress.
Always there was talk of naval history, incidents of old
cruises. Naval Academy reminiscences, and not a day
passed without earnest shop talk, how to improve this or
that thing, how to add to the fighting efficiency of the
ship. All this talk is from a lofty and patriotic stand-
point and the one thing that impresses the outsider is the
intense loyalty to the flag.
By way of other diversion there is always harmless card
playing of one kind or another after dinner and the day's
work is over. Chess and checkers are played also. It is
a mistake to think that there is gambling on warships as
a rule. Bridge has its devotees. Many people believe that
naval officers are inveterate poker players. They may
have been in the past, but if the cruise of the Louisiana is
a criterion it has disappeared. The Sun correspondent
has been in a position to know the facts and he asserts
with the utmost positiveness that there has not been a single
game of poker played by the officers of this ship on the
present cruise. Heaven knows naval officers, just' like
other folks, have enough of human frailties to answer for,
but they rise superior to many folks in that they have not
296 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
the sin of poker playing to explain away, at least not in
the modern conditions of naval life at sea. This form of
gambling may exist on some ships but if what the officers
of the Louisiana say is true it is rarely nowadays that it is
practised in the navy.
Social amenities are observed most carefully by these
men. Every mess has its social secretary, who looks after
social correspondence. The mess has its social card.
When a ship reaches port where there are other ships of
the navy or where there are foreign warships the niceties
of calling and entertaining etiquette are observed. A naval
officer would no more neglect observing all social pro-
prieties than he would appear without his proper uniform
on the quarter deck.
Many officers spend a large part of their time in reading.
They are an unusually well-informed set of men. Their
wide travel conduces to this. Some of them are musically
inclined and many an evening is spent in the steerage where
there is a piano. It takes only a few minutes to get up
an improvised orchestra of a couple of violins, a guitar,
a mandolin and a horn or two. Songs soon begin to be
heard and the music fest often develops into a story tell-
ing contest and all hands turn in late after a jovial meet-
Officers* club life on warships is run on good, whole-
some lines. It is manly, free, entertaining, fruitful of
self-control and always in keeping with the responsible
station of men who have sworn to defend with their lives
the honor and integrity of their country.
There are those who lament that in these days of steel
ships and electrical appliances all the picturesque side of a
SOCIAL LIFE ON A MAN-O'-WAR 297
sailorman's life on a warship has disappeared. They talk
of the old days of romance and poetry and sentiment
aboard ship. Well, things have changed for the sailor-
man, but those who know how much his creature comforts
have been improved, how his health is safeguarded, how
his mental necessities are looked after, are glad with him
that there has been a change. A warship is not intended
to be a poetry factory. It's a fighting machine and with
the best guns that you can get you need the best men
available to shoot them.
No longer is the navy the last refuge of the scum of
town and country, the receptacle of jailbirds temporarily
at large, the resort of men not fit for any decent toil on
land. The navy needs men of intelligence and good char-
acter, the bright boys from the farm; young lads from
the city, who otherwise would have to spend their lives in
factories. The navy needs these men, and it is getting
them all the time. Why? Because largely there have
been many changes from the old methods, because no
workingmen in the world have better food, more comforta-
ble clothes, more sanitary housing, more opportunities for
mental improvement, more wholesome recreations.
It is true that Jack no longer has to do duty as a cap-
tain of a top, no more does he receive orders to cockbill
spars, square yards, man the main clew garnets and bunt-
lines, as in the old days. The old horse block, as the plat-
form where the officer of the deck formerly stood to give
his orders at sea was called, can be found no more on war-
ships. The old sports of head bumping, hammer and
anvil and sparring, old style, have gone. Here is what
sparring used to be:
298 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
" Sparring consists of playing single stick with bone
poles instead of wooden ones. Two men stand apart and
pummel each other with their fists (a hard bunch of knuck-
les permanently attached to the arms and made globular
or extended into a palm at the pleasure of the proprietor)
till one of them, finding himself sufficiently thrashed, cries
Pretty good swatting, that.
No more are Wednesdays and Saturdays the regular
shaving days with every man restricted to two shaves a
week. No more are the sick bays the most cramped and
worst ventilated places in the ship. A lot of these things
have disappeared, just as flogging has disappeared, and if
the romance of the sea has gone with the passing of sailing
ships and the development of steel ships into great
factories and arsenals the general condition of Jack has
improved in inverse proportion and the country can say
good-by to the old ways with no regrets.
When the general mess of the crew was formed in recent
years there were those who said it would never do. Croak-
ers and obstructors of new things abound in all walks of
life and at all times. The result has been that one won-
ders how a warship ever managed to get along without the
mess. One man now has charge of the feeding of all the
men. There are no longer thirty or forty messes with
varying grades of food. The navy regulations declare
that so much material shall be fed to the crew for each
man. He gets that allowance, and it is as wholesome food
as any person can eat.
The Sun correspondent knows, for he has eaten with
SOCIAL LIFE ON A MAN-O'-WAR
these men. Many a time has he seen members of the
wardroom mess send out for some of the food the sailor-
men were eating at that moment, the officers preferring it
to the food of their own mess. Every man on a warship
has his pound and three-quarters of meat a day. He must
be provided with it, the regulations, say, no matter what
the cost. He must have a certain allowance of this and
that, and a general steward sees that it is made up into
The sailorman no longer eats his meals sitting on a deck
with the food spread out before him on a piece of canvas.
He has tables and benches and plated knives and forks.
His dishes are washed by machinery, his tables scrubbed
until they are as clean as any housewife could make them.
And when he is through his meal all are triced up out of
the way, in what a landsman would call the rafters, prac-
tically out of sight.
Gone are the days of scouse, lob scouse, skillagalee,
burgoo, lob dominion. Gone are the days when the men
divided themselves up into societies for the destruction of
salt beef and pork. Slush, as the duff made from large
quantities of beef fat was called, is one of the absent mor-
sels of food. You don't hear anything more of dunder-
funk. What was dunderfunk? Well, it has been defined
by sea sharks in this way : " As cruel nice a dish as man
ever put into him." It was made of hardtack hashed and
pounded, mixed with beef fat, molasses and water, and it
was baked in a pan. No, the men nowadays have cottage
pudding, tapioca pudding, ice cream, if you please. Their
meats are of the finest. Every article of food is the best
WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
that can be bought. It's plain food, true, but no food
was ever better than the best of plain food. Here is a
menu of one week picked at random from the collection :
Baked Pork and Beans.
Bread and Butter.
Bread and Butter.
Cold Corned Beef.
Bread and Butter.
Corn Meal Mush.
Fried Pork Sausage,
Bread and Butter.
Gravy and Potatoes.
Bread and Butter.
Beef Pot Pie.
Bread and Butter.
Bread and Butter.
Fricassee of Veal.
Bread and Butter.
Bread and Butter.
Baked Pork and Beans.
Bread and Butter.
Bread and Butter.
SOCIAL LIFE ON A MAN-O'-WAR
Bread and Butter.
Fried Pork Chops.
Bread and Butter.
Bread and Butter.
Cold Corned Beef.
Bread and Butter.
Oatmeal and Milk.
Bread and Butter.
Pot Roast Beef.
Macaroni and Tomatoes.
Bread and Butter.
Bread and Butter.
Bread and Butter.
Bread and Butter.
Bread and Butter.
The menus of every ship have to be forwarded to the
flagship every week so that the Admiral may observe
whether the men have had the proper kind of food. No,
Jack no longer kicks seriously about his food on a war-
ship. No workingman in the world gets better.
Take the libraries nowadays. There are two of them
WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
on every ship, the ship's library and the crew's library.
The officers use the ship's library. It is scattered about
the officers' quarters in various cases, some in the ward-
room, some in the Captain's or Admiral's quarters, some
in the steerage. There are about thirty classifications,
dealing with technical subjects, with history, travel, ad-
venture, poetry, a limited amount of fiction and so on.
The crew's library is three times larger. There is a great
deal of history and travel and adventure and some science
in it, but the larger part is made up of as good fiction
as the English language provides. The classic authors
are represented, but a large amount of the newer fiction is
also represented. You find Kipling, Anthony Hope, E.
W. Hornung, W. W. Jacobs, Jack London, Weir Mitch-
ell, Booth Tarkington, S. J. Weyman, along with Bret
Harte, Mark Twain, R. L. Stevenson, Scott, Thackeray,
Charles Reade, Washington Irving, Bulwer-Lytton and
And the men read these books ! Far into the night you
will come across some youngsters whose hammock is near
a light and who cannot sleep straining his eyes in reading
some book. At any time when the smoking lamp is lit and
the men have knocked off work if you walk through the
ship you will probably find 150 men reading books. Their
association with the best fiction and best history is con-
stant. They discuss these books and they get a fund of
information that no other grade of men in a factory re-
And how was it in the old days? Melville tells about
it in his " White Jacket," the book that relates to the old
frigate United States in 1843. He says ;
SOCIAL LIFE ON A MAN-O'-WAR 303
" There was a public library on board paid for by Gov-
ernment and entrusted to the custody of one of the marine
corporals, a little, dried up man of a somewhat literary
turn. He had once been a clerk in a post office ashore, and
having been long accustomed to hand over letters when
called for he was now just the man to hand over books.
He kept them in a large cask on the berth deck, and when
seeking a particular volume had to capsize it like a barrel
of potatoes. This made him very cross and irritable, as
most all librarians are. Who had the selection of these
books I do not know, but some of them must have been se-
lected by our chaplain, who so pranced on Coleridge's
' High German Horse.' "
" Mason Good's * Book of Nature,' a very good book, to
be sure, but not precisely adapted to literary tastes, was
one of these volumes ; and Macchiavelli's ' Art of War,'
which was very dry fighting ; and a folio of Tillotson's ser-
mons, the best of reading for divines indeed, but with little
relish for a main top man; and Locke's Essays, incom-
parable essays, everybody knows, but miserable reading at
sea ; and Plutarch's Lives superexcellent biographies,
which pit Greek against Roman in beautiful style, but then,
in a sailor's estimation, not to be mentioned with the lives
of the Admirals ; and Blair's Lectures, University Edition,
a fine treatise on rhetoric, but having nothing to say about
nautical phrases, such as * splicing the main brace,' c pass-
ing a gammoning,' ' puddin'ing the dolphin,' and 6 mak-
ing a carrick-bend,' besides numerous invaluable but un-
readable tomes that might have been purchased cheap at
the auction of some college professor's library."
The sailorman has lots of recreation nowadays. Three
304 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
times a week, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday nights,
the band plays for him on the fo'c's'le deck. He seizes
his mate and he dances wildly, madly or slowly and grace-
fully, as he pleases. You see as fine dancing there as you
can see in a fashionable ballroom in any capital of the
world. He has his cards, his pets dogs, cats, birds
and he foregathers from time to time to sing. He likes to
box and play baseball and to row, and the Government pro-
vides for suitable athletic equipment for his sports. He loves
a boxing contest on the quarter deck with all the officers
looking on and the rules of the ring enforced rigidly. It
gladdens his heart to applaud and to hear others applaud,
and he was much rejoiced in Callao when several Peruvians
who were the guests of the New Jersey's wardroom at a
boxing contest, sang out in their delight :
"Viva la box fight!"
Jack laughed at that long and hearty. He loves rowing
contests and he and his mates on a single ship frequently
wager as much as $10,000 on their own crew. Jack goes
broke for months sometimes on these races. Sometimes a
man will bet from $500 to $1,000 or $1,200 on his crew
and he'll be all in for months afterward, but he likes a run
for his money. When he wins all hands know it at the
next liberty and Jack and his friends have trouble in toe-
ing a seam, but Lord ! what a good time they've had !
Then there is the ship's canteen that ministers to Jack's
comfort. The canteen is not like what an army canteen
used to be, a place where drinks were served, but it's a coun-
try store. In it Jack can buy tobacco, stationery, soap,
little articles of clothing, thread and needles, knickknacks
and above all things else, candy. You see, Jack gets
SOCIAL LIFE ON A MAN-O'-WAR 305
nothing to drink but water in various forms on ship and he
runs to sweets. Many a ship carries away with her on a
cruise two or three tons of candy in starting out. In less
than six weeks the Louisiana's canteen had sold more than
$2,000 worth of candy to the crew.
The canteen makes a small profit so as to overcome losses
by the deterioration of goods, but all its wares are sold
practically to Jack at cost price. It is for his benefit ex-
clusively that he gets the best quality of goods at the low-
est prices. It is under charge of the ship's paymaster and
it is financed much as the ship's messes are. What profits
there are go to swelling the athletic fund or perhaps to
provide for a minstrel show ; anyhow, it all goes toward
making Jack's life on ship as comfortable as possible.
So Jack eats well and sleeps well and he works and plays
with zest. He sings and dances and perhaps he gets more
fun out of a minstrel show on board than any other thing.
In Callao harbor the Louisiana had its minstrel show. On
the after part of the quarter deck was a stage about twenty
by twenty-five feet. It had flies and wings and all the up-
per and lower entrances. It had three drop curtains, one
of them with " Asbestos " painted on it. It had foot-
lights and spotlights. It had red lights with " Exit " and
" Fire Escape " lettered on them. Every bit of the stage
scenery was painted by expert men on the ship. Every bit
of electric lighting was done by the ship's crew. It was as
creditable as most of the scenic and stage work in a large
theatre. The quarter deck was all shut in and canopied
and you could scarcely realize that you were not in a mod-
All the crew attended the show. Delegations of twenty-
WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
five men from each of the battleships in the fleet came.
They were met at the port gangway by ushers who had re-
served seats for them. Programmes, the woodcuts for
which were made on board and the entire printing was
done there as well were handed out to each person as he
took his place. The officers were given programmes at the
starboard gangway by pages in bolero and plush breeches
and silk stockings. An old naval custom was revived by,
having side boys with lanterns.
It was the old fashioned minstrel show, with end men and
jokes and songs for the first part and stunts and sketches
for the second. More than 1,600 men looked on. Imag-
ine 1,600 men seated in comfort on a quarter deck! My,
how the ships of the navy have grown ! The 12-inch guns
were tilted down and seats covered with flags built on them.
The turret was utilized for a gallery. The after-bridge
took the place of nigger heaven. There was no sign of a
warship about, all the implements of trade being hidden.
Only the uniforms of the men suggested the thought of a
navy ; those and the grinds on the officers and ships.
The singing was quite as good as that of any travelling
minstrel show. The company had a manager, secretary,
treasurer, pianist, electrician, stage manager, master of
properties, costumer, carpenter and all the rest of a regular
theatrical outfit, and all hands voted it as good as any-
thing you could see in that line on any stage.
And when it was all over, flags were dropped, ropes
loosened and the trappings came down in a jiffy, just as a
circus packs up its effects. The visitors were marched to
certain gangways. They went down as their boats, which
were lying alongside, were called, and in thirty minutes all
SOCIAL LIFE ON A MAN-O'-WAR 307
the guests were gone, all the trappings put away and the
routine of ship life was in progress as if there never had
been the slightest interruption. But Jack had had a night
It is by making Jack happy and comfortable, giving
him wholesome pleasure as well as wholesome food, that the
best fighting results are obtained. There is no better sailor
afloat, mentally or morally. He is intelligent, willing and
he loves his flag. Of course, he's human. He will streak
for a saloon when he gets liberty. He spends his money
on shore foolishly. He's a child in many respects, for
Uncle Sam looks after him on shipboard paternally, tells
him what to wear and when, gives him his food in scientific
measure, looks after his health, provides amusement and
mental diversion for him. He gets in the brig occasionally
and he's mighty sorry for it. He gets scolded now and
then, but he tries to do his duty. Watch his enthusiasm
when target practice approaches and see him sneak out be-
fore breakfast and do extra work just for the love of it
and you'll appreciate what it means.
Growl? Lord bless your soul! he wouldn't be happy
and the ship wouldn't be happy and the officers would be
alarmed if he didn't growl. But sulk ! Not on your life !
He wants his ship to get the record in shooting, rowing,
boxing, economic consumption of coal, signal work, speed
and every other contest that enters into fleet life. He'll
back his money on his own ship and when he fights he's
willing to go down fighting with her if that's to be his
Dibdin's ballads of the true English sailor are as true to-
day as when they were written, a century ago. And thejr
308 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
are as true of the American sailor as of the English. Here
is one that sums up Jack's seagoing life :
Jack dances and sings and is always content;
In his vows to his lass he'll ne'er fail her.
His anchor's a-trip when his money's all spent;
And this is the life of a sailor.
And so you see that a warship may have guns and mag-
azines and ponderous engines and coal bunkers and deep
recesses in her hold, and her purpose may be to destroy and
kill, but with it all there's good fellowship abounding in
her gradation of compartments, and perhaps on reading
this you get some indication of what was meant in the be-
ginning of this article by the statement that socially a war-
ship houses a series of clubs. Good clubs they are, too I
END AND LESSONS OP THE CRUISE TO THE PACIFIC
IT JT TITH the arrival of the battleship fleet at San
^/^/ Francisco on May 6, 1908, the longest cruise
ever made by a fleet of battleships of any navy
came to an end. About one month was consumed by brief
stays in various California anchorages on the way from
Magdalena Bay to San Francisco. On the long cruise the
fleet was reviewed by the Presidents of four republics
President Roosevelt, at Hampton Roads ; President Penna,
at Rio Janeiro ; President Montt, at Valparaiso, and Pres-
ident Pardo, at Callao. According to the log of the
Louisiana, on which the Sun's correspondent sailed,
the fleet cruised 13,738.7 knots, or in round numbers 13,-
750 sea miles. Estimates of the exact distance vary on the
sixteen battleships, according to the calculation of individ-
ual navigators. Some days' runs were estimated by dead
reckoning, and there was no way of determining to a knot
the distance that the ships travelled.
The elapsed time from leaving Hampton Roads on De-
cember 16 to dropping anchors in San Francisco harbor on
May 6, was 141 days 7 hours. The actual time of cruis-
ing for the 13,750 knots voyage was 61 days 19 hours.
Practically 80 days (79 days 12 hours, to be exact) were
consumed in various ports. Of this time a period of 30
days was occupied largely in practice at Magdalena Bay.
310 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
In Trinidad there was a stay of 6 days ; in Rio, 10 ; Punta
Arenas, 7; Callao, 9; or sixty-two days in round numbers.
The rate of steaming was practically 10 knots. Occa-
sionally 11 and even 12 knots was tried; several times speed
was reduced to 8 knots and once or twice to 6 for experi-
mental purposes or because of some mishap to a ship.
Such accidents were few and at most only delayed the
fleet an hour or two.
Allowing reasonable time to coal in foreign ports and
eliminating the time for target practice at Magdalena Bay
and the various stops along the California coast, the trip
could have been made easily at 10 knots steaming in less
than eighty days. One day could have been saved at Trin-
idad, 5 at Rio, 2 at Punta Arenas and 4 at Callao. These
with 30 days at Magdalena Bay and 21 spent in California
stopping places make 63 days which could have been cut
off the elapsed time if the movement had been purely mili-
These data are valuable as showing what an American
battleship fleet can do if called upon in the way of steam-
ing long distances. All the strictly unnecessary time
spent in foreign and home ports, with the exception of
Magdalena Bay, was occupied with social duties and pleas-
ures. The Government now knows it would take seventy-
eight days without undue speeding to send a fleet of battle-
ships from Hampton Roads to San Francisco, providing
all coaling arrangements are made in advance.
The longest run of the cruise was from Trinidad to Rio,
a distance of 3,225 miles as the fleet sailed it, occupying
thirteen days twenty hours. There was a strong head
wind, a southeast trade wind. This and the persistent
LESSONS OF THE CRUISE 311
Amazon current caused the fleet to sail far out to the east-
ward along the northern coast of South America. The
next longest run was from Callao to Magdalena Bay, 3,025
miles, occupying twelve days twenty-two hours. The trip
from Punta Arenas to Callao, although only 2,693 miles
long, occupied twelve days ten hours, largely because the
fleet was slowed down on the way for nearly forty-eight
hours to obtain data as to slow cruising, and also because
of a fog. Slow speed was maintained for some time, in
order not to enter Valparaiso harbor in advance of schedule
This trip from Atlantic to Pacific was supposed by peo-
ple generally to be one of hazard and great daring. From
the cruising standpoint it was almost a picnic. There was
no bad weather to speak of. Off the River Plata there was
half a storm one morning and the ships were shaken up a
little as they emerged into the Pacific from the Magellan
Strait, always a bad place. Not once, however, were table
racks used on the ships and the heaviest roll the Louisiana
experienced was less than twelve degrees. Other ships
would probably tell a similar story.
There may have been some element of danger in passing
through the Magellan Strait, but otherwise the cruise was
a summer jaunt over smooth seas and for the greater part
of the time under blue skies. There were four days of in-
termittent fog after entering the Pacific and there were
one morning and two hours one afternoon of fog on the
Atlantic a day or two before the Strait of Magellan was
reached. The passage through the strait, the last thirty
miles of which was sailed through quite a thick fog, was
accomplished, according to commanding officers generally,
312 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
with greater ease and less real danger than entering New
York harbor and sailing up the Hudson River to the usual
The trip was one of surprises. The coolness of the peo-
ple of Trinidad was as great a surprise as was the ex-
uberant welcome of Brazil and other foreign countries.
Rio's welcome was the most demonstrative, Callao's prob-
ably the most heartfelt, that of Punta Arenas the most un-
expected. There were two highly spectacular events on the
cruise the welcome at sea on the morning of January
29 by a squadron of the Argentine navy off the mouth of
the River Plate and the entrance to and exit from Val-
paraiso harbor on the afternoon of February 14. The
American and Argentine fleets exchanged national salutes
on the high seas. Many naval officers believe this was the
first time such an act of courtesy ever took place.
No naval officer ever remembered such a ceremonious call
as was made at Valparaiso. With the Chilean ensign at the
fore the ships made a great curve in the shape of a cres-
cent in the harbor. On entering the port the ships fired a
national salute of twenty-one guns in unison. On leaving
the harbor each ship fired twenty-one guns as a personal
salute to Chile's President, who had come out to review the
parade. The day was glorious, the hills were crowded with
people, the shipping in the harbor was all dressed. Every
naval officer agreed that it was the most spectacular naval
parade he ever saw. All were glad that this happened in
a port of Chile, a country which not long ago was not over-
friendly to us. The messages exchanged between Admiral
Evans and the President and other officials of Chile were
extremely cordial, and there can be no doubt that the visit
LESSONS OF THE CRUISE 513
to Valparaiso was highly beneficial in fully restoring good
feeling between the countries.
All naval officers are of opinion that professionally the
cruise was of great benefit both to the men and the ships.
It was absolutely true, as Admiral Evans telegraphed the
Navy Department from Magdalena Bay, that the vessels
were in better condition when they arrived there than when
they left Hampton Roads. They had been shaken down,
as the expression goes. They had become a coherent force.
A large quantity of work had been done on each of them
such as is usually done in navy yards. The longer the
cruise continued the more the truth of the naval saying
that " the place for ships to be is at sea, not in navy
yards " seemed confirmed.
A large part of the routine work on the ships was taken
up with drills preliminary to target practice. The pur-
pose of a warship is to shoot; it is a truism to say it.
Hence the large amount of time given to learning how to
shoot accurately and quickly was precisely what was needed
on the fleet. The value of all this work will become known
when the Navy Department decides to make public such of
the records as may be deemed desirable regarding the work
at Magdalena Bay. One may not speak freely of that
work, but it is not beyond the limits of propriety to say
that the American people will not be ashamed of the men
behind the guns when even partial results are made known.
The voyage revealed the cruising qualities of the ships
and many lessons were learned from incidental mishaps
as many lessons were learned at Magdalena Bay from sim-
ilar causes as to the way to improve target shooting.
On the Atlantic coast there were frequent minor break-
314 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
downs, boilers, condensers, steering engines and the like
needing repairs. All these incidents showed not only how
and where mishaps were likely to occur, but showed that it
was possible to make repairs in such cases at sea. Al-
though several ships dropped out of the column at various
times only once was the fleet slowed down, and then only
for a few hours while repairs were going on. The ships
might fly " breakdown " pennants but they kept up right
along. On the Pacific coast there were very few mishaps,
and these chiefly relating to steering gear. One of the
ships had a cylinder accident coming up to Santa Barbara
roadstead, but the ship kept right along in the column.
There is little doubt that if pleasure stops had not been
made it would have been comparatively easy to take the
fleet right on around the world without docking or sending
them to a navy yard for repairs. Many officers in the
fleet regret that such a course was not adopted, once it was
decided to have the fleet encircle the globe, so as to make a
record such as the naval world has scarcely dreamed of.
The trip has also been valuable in determining not only
the cruising capability of the ships but also the best cruis-
ing speed. Although it was proved that the ships could go
faster than ten knots it was found that from ten to eleven
knots was the most trustworthy speed to be maintained.
You could depend upon ships at that speed. Valuable
data as to coal consumption and wear and tear on ma-
chinery have also been secured. From the engineering
standpoint Uncle Sam has learned now exactly what his
ships can do in sustained steaming under favorable condi-
tions of weather.
By way of contrast between the fine cruising record of
LESSONS OF THE CRUISE 515
the battleship fleet and that of the Russian fleet on its way
to Japan, one should read the diary of one of the Russian
naval officers who sailed under Rojestvensky, which was
published about a year ago. It had this to say about the
" There are continual mishaps to the various ships.
One gets sand in her valves. Although six miles off shore,
she must have scraped a shoal. Another gets hot bearings
and the whole fleet is stopped. Another breaks her con-
densers, another smashes her propeller blade, another
breaks her piston rod. With most of them the steering
gear is continually getting out of order. Naval construc-
tors are in demand night and day."
Nothing of that kind happened with the American ships.
They were sent out to cruise and they did cruise, accidents
in no way interfering with their steady progress.
The effect on the men was most beneficial. They got
the sea habit, so to speak. They were in splendid health.
You could almost see youngsters growing robust from day
to day. Discipline improved all the time. The men, like
the ships, were shaken down into a cohesive force, with
wholesome, fresh, American youngsters, hundreds of them
right off the farm, as the bone and sinew of the fighting
force. They are a fine set of men, and no fighting force in
the world can compare with them in what is called morale.
In every port their conduct elicited enthusiastic commenda-
tion from the authorities high and low. They honored
their uniform. Contrast this also with the conduct of
the Russian crews, as the Russian naval officer already
quoted records in his diary:
" A transport, the Malay, is largely loaded with luna-
316 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
tics. She is about to return to Russia with lunatics,
drunkards, invalids and men deported for crimes. The
crews are all hard cases, beachcombers and the like, picked
up in the Madagascar ports. All the officers carry loaded
revolvers ; mutiny breaks out among the lunatics and other
prisoners; the officers suppress it with slaughter."
It's many a year since an American naval officer carried
a loaded revolver because of fear of his men. The scum
of the country is not found in the American navy these
days. No brighter, more hard working, loyal men in the
world are to be found than those behind the guns on the
Atlantic fleet, and when the ships left Magdalena Bay no
crews on any warships in the world were in more efficient
Although much has been said about the need of a hos-
pital ship to accompany the fleet, and the Relief did join
the ships at Magdalena Bay, the truth of the matter is that
each of the ships cared for its sick adequately on the way
around. Surgeon-General Rixey lamented publicly that
when the fleet left Hampton Roads it had no hospital ship
with it. While there can be no doubt that some cases
could receive better attention on a hospital ship than on a
battleship, especially in the way of better quarters and pos-
sibly better diet, it is also true that none of the sick on the
fleet suffered seriously from the lack of a hospital ship,
unless it was in tubercular cases. Such could have been
put on shore for better air and sustained treatment in vari-
ous places had it been necessary. The sick on each ship
were not more than from twenty to twenty-five cases on
an average and a large part of these were trivial, slight
accidents of colds and the like.
LESSONS OF THE CRUISE 317
There were the usual number of deaths. No one can say
that any of these lives would have been spared had there
been a hospital ship with the fleet. Some of these cases
developed on a single run, when it would have been impos-
sible to transfer them to the hospital ship. This comment
is not meant in any way as taking sides in the hospital ship
controversy. It is meant to declare that it is quite feasible
for a great fleet while cruising to take care of its sick suc-
cessively, even if no hospital ship be at hand.
One great drawback to the full enjoyment and probably
to the full development of the benefits of the cruise was
the condition of Admiral Evans' health. Soon after leav-
ing Trinidad, his old enemy, rheumatism, took hold of him
and laid him low for the rest of the voyage. Complica-
tions in the nature of stomach troubles followed. The
Admiral suffered intensely from pain. At times he was
in a most serious condition, as the country now knows.
The correspondents with the fleet did not feel it necessary
to reveal the grave condition of the Admiral's health,
largely because of the misunderstandings that might arise,
to say nothing of possible complications. For the most
part they kept silent, recording, however, at every oppor-
tunity any favorable change in his condition.
Nevertheless, although Admiral Evans was a gravely
sick man, the truth is that he was always in command of his
fleet up to the time when he left it at Magdalena Bay.
He might have done more work with it in the way of
manoauvring had he been well. His work may have been
negative rather than positive, but he was in command all
the time. He directed all important movements. He was
informed of every situation. He gave every important
318 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
order himself. He also kept up with the routine and many
painful hours did he spend signing documents and going
over routine work.
The details of an Admiral's task are burdensome even
to a well man. Yet Admiral Evans insisted on keeping up
with most of the work even when every stroke of the pen
caused him severe pain. Never did he have more loyal
Particularly was this true of Rear Admiral C. M.
Thomas. Had the latter made unfavorable representa-
tions to the Navy Department of the condition of Admiral
Evans he possibly might have secured the command of the
fleet for himself. Not for one moment would he have lis-
tened to such a suggestion, and no one dared to make it to
him. Robley D. Evans never had more loyal friend or
more faithful subordinate officer than Charles M. Thomas.
He deserves lasting honor from the country for his record
on this cruise, to say nothing of the enviable record
throughout his long service to his flag.
California's welcome to the fleet was characteristic of the
ardent temperament of that commonwealth. It received
the men and the ships with an acclaim such as might have
been bestowed justly had they returned to an American
port victorious on the high seas over an enemy. The peo-
ple seemed to go mad in their enthusiasm. The demonstra-
tions began when Admiral Evans left Magdalena Bay in
the latter part of March by the advice of his physicians,
to go to Paso Robles, Cal., for a stay on land. His flag-
ship took him to San Diego and his presence in California
seemed to stimulate the people into a sort of frenzied
LESSONS OF THE CRUISE 319
The fleet stopped at five California anchorages on the
way from Magdalena to San Francisco, the real terminus
of the cruise as ordered originally by President Roosevelt.
There was a stay of four days at San Diego, of seven
days in the four anchorages adjacent to Los Angeles, the
fleet being split up into four divisions ; of five days in
Santa Barbara and of four days in Monterey and Santa
Cruz. At each port the welcome was overwhelming.
Streets and buildings were decorated, flowers were scat-
tered on the streets before the marching sailors and thrown
in profusion into vehicles in which the officers rode. Los
Angeles particularly devoted its attention to entertaining
the bluejackets. Santa Barbara gave one of its wonder-
ful flower shows. It was the most novel and beautiful en-
tertainment of the cruise. The other cities entertained
with dinners, balls and receptions. The keynote of the
functions was one of great rejoicing on the part of Cali-
fornia, not only because the United States had a great
fleet of battleships, but because California was enabled to
see them all at one time.
The arrival of the fleet at San Francisco on May 6 was
characterized by such a demonstration of enthusiasm and
an outpouring of the people as the country never saw be-
fore. Tens of thousands came hundreds of miles to see
the entrance through the Golden Gate. Admiral Evans,
who had returned to the command of his flagship the day
before at Monterey, led the fleet into the harbor. The
hills were black with spectators. The harbor was crowded
with beautifully decorated shipping carrying thousands
on the water to see the show. The Pacific fleet of eight
armored cruisers and auxiliaries lay inside the bay. With
320 WITH THE BATTLE FLEET
the Battle Fleet was the torpedo flotilla that made the trip
around South America at the same time that the Battle
Fleet went around.
The Atlantic and Pacific fleets joined in one and then
Admiral Evans made a circle, nearly two miles in diameter,
leading no less than forty-two men of war of the United
States, ' the largest number of American warships ever
assembled together since the civil war, and the most power-
ful fleet ever seen in the Western hemisphere, a fleet greater
in size and power than any nation had ever gathered to-
gether before with the exception of Great Britain.
Following the arrival of the fleet there was a great land
parade in San Francisco, the next day, in which 6,000 blue-
jackets joined with the regular army troops and state
national guard and other organizations. It was the largest
parade of the kind since the great Dewey parade in New
York ten years before. Admiral Evans rode in the line.
It was his last public appearance as a Commander-in-Chief .
The people cheered the bluejackets wildly, but they went
mad over Admiral Evans. They made a hero out of him
because of his persistent and plucky struggle with pain
and disease. Although thousands of men marched in the
parade there really was only one man in it Fighting
Bob Evans. All the others were a mere escort. His naval
sun went down that day in a veritable blaze of glory.
The next day Secretary Metcalf of the Navy Depart-
ment reviewed the combined fleets, passing through the lines
on the gunboat Yorktown and receiving a salute of seven-
teen guns from each ship as " the personal representative
of the President." The next day Admiral Evans gave up
command formally to Admiral Thomas at a hotel^ where
LESSONS OF THE CRUISE 321
that evening Admiral Evans was taken in a wheeled chair
to the dining room where a banquet in honor of Secretary
Metcalf and the officers of the fleet was being held and
where Admiral Evans, wan and feeble and scarcely able to
stand, electrified his audience by declaring impassionedly
that what this country needs " is more battleships and
fewer statesmen." On the day following Rear Admiral
Thomas hoisted his flag as Commander-in-Chief, to be re-
lieved five days later by Rear Admiral Charles S. Sperry.
Under the latter's command the fleet went to Puget
Sound to give the people of that region an opportunity to
see the ships, such as had been given along the California
coast. There were the usual rounds of entertainment and
then the fleet scattered to various places to make repairs
and to prepare to resume the voyage around the world by
way of Australia, the Orient and the Mediterranean.
The arrival of the fleet at San Francisco marked the real
end of the cruise. With that there was accomplished the
specific purpose for which it was ordered to the Pacific.
What that purpose was may never be revealed. All the
naval officers concerned felt that the rest of the trip to the
home stations of the ships would be largely a pleasure
jaunt. All agreed that with the arrival at San Francisco
the record of a momentous cruise by a momentous fleet had
been made up.
" It really deserves a corner by itself on the bookshelf,'*
says the Boston Transcript of
THE CITY THAT WAS
A Requiem of Old San Francisco
This tribute to the San Francisco that
passed away with the disaster of April, 1 906,
has become classic. Originally it was printed
in the New York Sun, having been written
with a copy-boy at the author's elbow. In-
spired by the thought of intimate ties which
made every feature of the city dear to him,
and the dangers by which it was still threat-
ened, Mr. Irwin dashed off a prose epic
which will always remain the truest memorial
to San Francisco's greatness.
Board covers, net 50 cents, postage 4 cents
Limp leather, in box, autographed by Mr. Irwin ;
net $2.00, postage 8 cents
At all booksellers or of
B. W. HUEBSCH PUBLISHER NEW YORK
" She is a lovable creature, as fine a portraiture as any
writer of tales has added to our literature in a generation,*'
says the Rochester Post-Express of Denise in
A PRINCESS AND ANOTHER
LIEUT. STEPHEN JENKINS
"This capital story .... shows as great a knowledge
of the historical situation as that famous novel, Hugh
Wynne .... In point of fact, the novel is excellent
history ; in point of fiction, as good a love tale as one
may desire. Of excellent characterization, full of clear,
contrasting types, yet never straining the verisimilitudes,
the book possesses brisk action .... Carried away by
the good story he has to relate, he bears the reader along
with him. The plot is well developed .... The
novel is as much a promise oi good things to come as a
source of present entertainment .... One is safe to
predict a growing audience for Mr. Jenkins* work."
Louisville Courier- Journal.
" It should probably be classified as a historical romance,
but it is vivid, lifelike, and surcharged with human interest.
A story remarkable for its reminiscent value, for its con-
structive skill, for its grouping of characters and incidents
in a style which captivates the reader."
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
" Stephen Jenkins has proved in A Princess and
Another * that a novel of colonial days can still be written
that is worth reading." Springfield Republican.
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