Charles Frederick Holder.

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to hold the organization together. It
brought home to them the fact that
though separated on shore, on
they are all in the same ship's crew.

From the advent of the Charleston y
Captain Picking commanding, Un-
characteristic history of the Naval
Battalion commences. Before that, the
boys felt the terms "land sail.
and " fresh-water sailors,*' which were
freely applied, had as much truth ;is



ridicule in them, but the Charleston
has been the means of making real
seamen out of the raw reserves, and to
speak ill of the gallant craft in pres-
ence of a reserve man is as bad as to
belie his commander.

The Charleston entered the service
of the battalion in July, 1892. On
alternate days the city companies used

to demolish them with phantom shot
and shell. Thousands of the people
of the city watched the sight, for it was
truly a magnificent one ; and for a
great many the inquiry as to what
was the meaning of those four dazzling
beams of light, shooting about like
gigantic ghostly arms, brought the
first information of the Naval Bat-


to muster all the men available, and
they would row out in their own
barge to the white cruiser, and would
drill for hours at her guns. After
some weeks of this, a night attack was
planned, and one moonlight evening
the nine boats of the cruiser were
manned by two of the city companies,
while the third manned the search
lights on board. The boats tried to
come close enough to launch an imag-
inary torpedo with deadly effect, while
the great streaks of light shot across
the water, spying them out, and en-
abling the men on the machine guns

talion, an organization which had
been in their midst for more than a

August 6th, 1892, in Battalion
order No. 10, came the order to
gather upon the Folsom-street wharf
at 7:30 A. m., August 12th, and pro-
ceed on board the Charleston for a
trip to Santa Cruz. Short as the
time was, the men hurried round ask-
ing for vacations — those who had not
had any, and those who had, brought
influence to bear upon employers to
get another: as a result, when the
Battalion formed upon the wharf at



the appointed time, there
were one hundred and sev-
enty men in line from the
three San Francisco com-
panies. The men were fully
armed and equipped. This,
in naval parlance, means
that each man wore his
blue suit and tan canvas
leggins, and that he carried
a haversack, containing his
lunch, a tin plate and cup,
knife and fork. Over each
shoulder was slung the
blankets, wrapped in the
rubber poncho, around each
waist was hooked the belt
and bayonet with its scab-
bard, and in the hand was
the rifle.

The cruiser Boston was
in the harbor at the time,
and she was ordered to
accompany the Charleston
to Santa Ciuz. She took
none of the men, however,
but gracefully saluting as
the Charleston passed her,
she took her place off the
starboard quarter, and in
this way escorted her sister
ship down the coast.

The run down was a
beautiful one. A slight
ground swell gave the ship
j ust enough roll to keep the
boys careful of their steps,
but not sufficient to dis-
turb any stomach. The
officers and men of the
Charleston behaved toward
the battalion in a way to
fully justify the statement
that the "white squadron"
is manned by gentlemen
and sailors. There was
never a laugh at any of the
clumsy actions which at
first characterized the re-
serve men, but instead the
sailors took the boys in hand and
showed them everything. At mess,
although the battalion boys had been
warned to fill their haversacks, as



there would be no provisions for them

on the ship, the crew took them below

and loaded them with a seaman's fare.

Several times on the way down the




men were called to quarters, and \\i re
made to. "cast loose and provide," "se-
cure," "prepare to ram" etc. Then
first and second boarders were called
away; first, second and third riflemen
were called away, and altogether the
ship's decks were kept lively by the
men hurrying to and fro with shot and
powder, rifles and cutlasses. One of
the reserve companies was formed
into the powder division, and the men
stalked about in their long white
robes and wooden shoes, to the
amusement of all, until the reason for
such a costume was explained; then
there was no more laughing.

When oif Santa Cruz, Governor
Markham boarded the vessel and in-
spected the men, both regulars and
reserves, and then the companies were
landed at the wharf. They were
marched to some bath-houses, in
which the men were to spend the
nights of their stay in Santa Cruz, for
there was not room on board the
cruisers for the battalion. Here
quarters were paid for out of the com-
pany's funds, and not a word of com-
plaint came from the men when they
had to sleep on the hard floor, for

they saved money thereby. They
provided their own meals too, as
the State had made no appropria-
tion for the expenses of the trip,
but the boys cared little for that.

The next day, Saturday, the
companies again boarded the
Charleston, and all the morning
they pegged away at a target with
the big guns. The loading, firing,
and sponging were done entirely
by the reserves, there being a
regular seaman at each gun, how-
ever, to prevent accidents. The
green gunners soon caught the
knack of tiring just as the ship
completed her upward roll, and
then some really creditable shoot-
ing was done. If a ship had been
in place of a target, she would
probably have been sunk, but it
would have taken every shot, lor
souk- went rather wide of the
On Saturday afternoon the seamen
from the Charleston and Boston, and th •
naval reserves marched to Camp Col-
umbus, the militia camp, two miles in
from the coast, and they formed a fea-
ture of the big parade held on that day.
It was hoped to have them land on
the beach and attack a battalion of
infantry, but there was not time to ar-




range for such a manoeuver, and be-
sides the reserves had not yet been given
cartridges, either blank or ball.

On Sunday morning the Charleston
weighed anchor and started for home.
The only really notable thing on the
trip up was the Sunday inspection, in
which the naval battalion shared.
Everything was found in good con-
dition, for the Charleston 's men had
patiently and without a word of com-
plaint, cleaned all the big guns after
the reserves were through with them
on Saturday, a proceeding the boys
watched closely, and from which they
gleaned many bits of information
about the mechanism of breech-blocks
and. gun-carriages.

It was during this homeward cruise
that the boys responded to their
first "church call" at sea. Down on
the berth deck they assembled, where
stood a table, and oeside it a small or-
gan, and where officers and seamen
sat together with heads uncovered.
The simple services transformed the
bare cheerless place at once into as

solemn a house of worship as any on
land, and rank and distinction
were alike forgotten for the time bein^.
Just below, the loam swished softly
around the steel prow of the vessel as .
it drove through the water, and the
sound blended sweetly with the voice
of the chaplain, as lie offered a prayer
for "poor Jack;" while the steady
even roll of the vessel, the forbidding
steel sides and deck beams, and the
gurgling of the waves on the cut
water beneath, emphasized the prayer
and brought the words home to the
reserve boys with a meaning they had
not seen before. In the minds « 1
more than one, that simple sea -<. ji
is one of the most vivid tnemorii
the trip.

Being Sunday, of course there was
no drill, so the boys amused them-
selves as best they could. This was
disastrous, for following the well estah
lished rule that an idle mind will work
evil, the thoughts of quite a number
turned to their stomachs, and as a eon-
sequence they became seasick. Even




then, however, the regulars never
cracked a smile, but kindly offered
valuable assistance to the stricken re-
serve men, who recovered quickly
under the treatment and were all well
before the vessel arrived home.

The three days' trip ended without
an accident, and as the boys left the
white cruiser, the cheers they gave came
from the heart as well as the head. It
was echoed back from the decks more
than once, and when the Charleston' s
men stood upon the rail the better to
see the departure, the officers of the
ship did not order them down.

The cruise is ancient history now,
and every one is familiar with all its
events, those who stayed at home as
well as those who went ; but, never-
theless, it is still a subject of armory
conversation, and will continue to be
such for a long time to come. The
only drawback was that Company A
of San Diego could not go also.
Company A has now had fully as much
drill on the cruisers as the other com-
panies, however, and is quite as ef-

At present, the battalion is in a most
enviable condition in every way. The
companies have turned out several
times, and the organization is looked
upon as being a permanent, prospermia
and efficient element of the State
militia. The battalion is relieved from
all apprehension on the score of finan-
ces, for the State allowance began in
July, and by special act, an appro-
priation was made to pay armory rent
from January, 1893.

The drill of the companies is, in
infantry tactics, substantially the same
as that of the army, only it is not so
exacting. They have, in addition,
their field gun drills, their boat drills,
their cutlass drills, their lectures on
seamanship, and when a cruiser is
handy, their drills on ship board.

On this last matter, however, the
battalion will soon be made indepen-
dent of periodical drills on visiting
ships of war, for the Pensacola, that
famous old frigate which made such a
gallant record for itself during the late

war, will be ordered down to the city
from Mare Island for its use. She will
be used as a receiving ship by the Go-
vernment, and will have on board a
sufficient number of men and officers
from the regular service to take care
of her. She will be armed with con-
verted rifles bored for breechloaders,
and with a good secondary battery of
modern machine guns. A couple of
modern 6-inch rifles will also be
mounted on board. It is hoped, too,
to have her old frigate rig put on her
again (she is now dismantled) but it
may be that she will have only mili-
tary masts. Her engines will be left
in her, however, and each year it is
intended she shall take the battalion
out into blue water for at least a week.
She will be moored to a wharf, and
her decks, guns, and boats will at all
times be at the service of the battalion.

The original organization of the
companies, prescribed by the bill, has
been closely adhered to, but there are
changes which experience shows are
much needed. Bacn company has four
officers and sixteen petty officers, and
tlie membership of each keeps at sixty
or over. The petty officers in each
company are chief boatswain's mate,
chief gunner's mate and chief quarter-
master ; boatswain's mate, gunner's
mate and quartermaster ; captain of
the forecastle, captain of the fore-top,
captain of the main-top, captain of the
mizzen-top, captain of the afterguards,
three coxswains, a signal man and a
bugler. This number is considered
too large, as it provides for posi-
tions not found on a modern war
ship such as the naval reserve would
be required to man. It is, therefore,
probable that the list of petty officers
w r ill be revised.

There will be more equipments re-
ceived in a short time, for the second
federal appropriation, since the organ-
ization of the battalion, has been
made. It was decided to use it in the
purchase of three 1 -pound Hotchkiss
rapid-fire guns, a number of revolvers
and belts, some cutlasses and tents
.sufficient to cover the whole battalion.




The Hotchkiss guns each cost $1500.
Each has three mounts — a boat mount
for use in the barge, a barbette mount
for use on earth- works or land forti-
fications, or on shipboard, and a field
mount for use as light artillery and in
street work.

The new equipments are even now
on their way here, and when they
arrive, and when the Pensacola is
placed at its disposal, the California
Naval Battalion will be one of the
best equipped militia bodies in the
United States. The men will have
fine new rifles of the latest pattern ;
they will have three of the best rapid-
fire guns made ; they will have a ship
— a real ship with a glorious record,
and not an old hulk — for drill and for
cruises ; they will have modern breech-
loading rifles for heavy ordnance prac-
tice ; they will have all the necessary
boats for boat practice, and the only

thing lacking will Ik- instruction and
illustration in the theory and practice
of torpedo warfare.

The best thing about the battalion.
and the characteristic which will
make it a credit to the State and
to the service, is the evident disin-
clination of the men to be taken for
anything but sailors of the naval
reserve. They are very proud of their
uniform, and when in citizen's clothes,
the little "battalion button" is con-
spicuously displayed on nearly every
man's coat. In addition to this, many
of the boys have had their cuticles
engraved with all manner of shapes
and figures dear to the nautical heart,
but constant intercession by the offi-
cers is putting a stop to this truly
laudable ambition to be u salt." The
officers are all young and enthusiastic,
and many of them have risen from the
ranks. The complete list of the bat-



talion officers is as follows : Charles
M. Goodall, Lieutenant Commander ;
Frank A. Brooks, Lieutenant and
Adjutant ; Fred H. Stahle, Lieutenant
and Ordnance Officer ; Shafter How-
ard, Lieutenant and Paymaster ;
Daniel B. Northrup ( San Diego ) ,
Lieutenant and Surgeon ; Albert H.
Taylor, Ensign and Assistant Sur-
geon ; James G. Decatur (San Diego),
Ensign and Assistant Ordnance Offi-
cer. Company officers — Company A:
William D. Bloodgood, Lieutenant ;
Frank M. Simpson, Lieutenant Junior
Grade ; Thomas M. Shaw and Joseph
C. Crenshaw. Ensigns ; Company B :
Charles H. Crocker, Lieutenant ; Cecil
C. Dennis, Lieutenant Junior Grade ;
Guy C. Calden and W. F. Burke,
Ensigns ; Company C : Colin A.

Douglass, Lieutenant ; Ewald J.
Schmeider, Lieutenant Junior Grade :
Edward E. Manseau and John T. Mc-
Mullen, Ensigns; Company I): Louis
H. Turner, Lieutenant ; William K.
Gunn, Lieutenant Junior Grade;
Theodore F. Trace? and Chaona j
M. St. John, Ensigns

The Lieutenant Commander is a
well tried sea captain, who has com-
manded more than one large vessel,
and among the other officers are
eral ex-man of warsmen and a Dumber
of yachtsmen, so the battalion is not
without nautical hands to guide it.
The boys are willing to learn, and the
teaching is easy, for officers and men
are bound together by two inseverable
ties. One is the flag under which the)
serve, the other is their love for the




When Time has ceased and back from whence we sprung
We go, all men shall be forever young,
And even here must God's immortal youth
Begin in souls that love immortal truth.




MY father was dying. All night
long he had been lying in a
stupor, his breath coining more
and more feebly, and his pallid face
sharpening in the dim light of the
sick chamber. All night long I had
hung over him with the agony of a
love about to be deprived of its single
treasure. All night long Seflor Mar-
tinez, my father's old friend, had
shared my lonely vigil, begging me
again and again to lie down and take
a little rest. I paid no heed to his
entreaties. Between me and the
desolation of complete bereavement,
lay, at the most, but a few hours, and
every moment was precious, though

The faint light of morning— morning
in a California coast town, gray and
chill, struggled into the room. Senor
Garcia arose and turned out the gas,
then stepped noiselessly to a window
and opened the shutters. He was an
old man, with antiquated courtesy.

He moved noiselessly, but something,
it might have been the sudden change
from the dim glare of gas light to the
white light of dawn, aroused my father.
His eyes, sunken but strangely lus-
trous, rested on me with the kind
look that had been the joy of my
childhood, and that had greeted me
when I joined him in vacation time
in after years, to share for a little
time the wandering life he had led
since my mother died. But now the
tender affection in them was shadowed
by a great anxiety. I laid my face
against his, and try as I might,
could not repress the great sobs that
welled up from my bursting heart.

"Marian!" His voice was scarce
a whisper, but it recalled me to my
reason. I lifted my head and tried to
meet his look bravely.

"Marian, marry — '' his voice
failed, and it was only after a struggle
and an incoherent whisper that he
regained it — " Garcia."

5 So



This command, which was less a
command than the piteous plea of one
who loved and was about to leave me,
came to me without awakening any
realization of all that it meant. I
looked toward Senor Garcia, dark,
withered, white-haired, with the look
of premature decay that comes to so
many of the native Californians, and
he answered me with a look of assent.
My father's voice sounded again,
tremulous, failing :

' ' He understands. Promise —

The Seilor'sthin hand was extended
to me. Selfish and thoughtless as I
was, I could not reckon my own
wishes in that dark hour.

I laid my hand in his ; the anxiety
in my dear father's eyes gave way to
peace, and my bethrothal was sealed on
his dead lips.

?f* 2yC 5|C *jC 5}C

The old Senor was kindness itself
during the drear days that followed,
for the strain and terror through
which I had passed brought on a
severe illness, and I lay for weeks in
the gloom of a strange hotel, attended
by a hired nurse, a gentle, faithful
creature, whose paid service and
schooled sympathy brought into
agreeable contrast the old gentleman's
deep .solicitude, manifested by his fre-
quent inquiries, the fresh flowers with
which he brightened my room, his
calls when I grew better, and the
delightful drives to which he treated
me as soon as my physician permitted
me to go out. And yet these calls and
drives bore their burden of annoyance,
for it was during them that I learned
of Raoul Garcia.

That I should have a step-son, I, a
girl of barely eighteen, seemed absurd
enough ; but that this step-son should
be a man grown, and a paragon of all
excellencies, added a grotesque element
to the situation. Every act of the
old man's life seemed to be directed
by Raoul, or ordered with reference
to him. He scarcely seemed to have
an independent opinion. As to mat-
ters of business, he dismissed them

with an airy wave of his hand, con-
fessing that he had no head for such
matters, but that Raoul would attend
to everything when lie came.

A very clear picture formed in niv
mind of this admirable Raoul. He

would be of the Cavalier type, a latter-
day, juvenile version of the lath.
dashing, handsome yOUUg man. supple
and slender, with a beauty almost
effeminate : the type One cannot help
but admire, as one admires a butter-
fly or swift-winged bird, and with no
more reliance upon its stability .

The law of California comp
unseemly haste in the settlement of
estates, and there came a day when I
had but half recovered from my i'*l
ness, when my presence was required
at a lawyer's office, to sign \
papers. The lawyer was convei
with a man whom I took to be past
thirty. I set him down at once as a
very dull and commonplace person.
He was of medium height, squarely
built, with a dark skin and firm,
regular features, as stolid and impas-
sive as the sphinx. The Senor
exclaimed and rushed forward as he
saw him. Then he brought him to
me :

11 Marian, this is my BOH Raoul."

How proudly the old man's voice
rang ! Raoul held out his hand to
me, and I met the searching gaze of a
pair of beautiful dark eyes, the single
redeeming feature of Raoul < I
face, as I saw it then. I shivered as
I met them. I was very weak and
tired. Raoul hastened to bring m
chair and to hand me a glass of water ;
but in all that interview we did not
exchange a single word.

The days that passed were like a
dream. There were women who came
and went and took measurement
my figure, suggesting only a ghastly
remembrance of the measurements for
my father's coffin. There were papers
drawn up, that I signed without
much as glancing at their contents.
And, at length there came a bright
day in October when I donned the
white robe they brought me, and rode



with the Seilor to the old Mission
church in San Sebastian valley, where
the Garcias, for generations past, had
been christened, married, and had
their funeral services read over them.

It was there, in the entrance to the
ancient church, that my girlhood rose
in sudden revolt against the step
being forced upon me. The pain I
had suffered had benumbed my mind,
and I had been in a lethargy, unable
to feel or to think. A sudden horror
and repugnance possessed me. In the
presence of the witnesses who had
been called to the ceremony, and of
Raoul Garcia, I protested against the
outrage that was being done my youth.

" I consent to this, only because it
was my dying father's request," I
cried. "Remember, although I bear
your name, there is a gulf between us
that can never be passed. We have
no interests, no sympathies, no tastes
in common. You are an alien, of an
alien race."

The two witnesses, grave men of
property, resident in the neighbor-
hood, moved away in their embarrass-
ment. My heart was full of entreaty
as I looked at the old Sefior. If I en-
tertained any desperate hope that he
might at this last moment release me
from the pledge I had made, it was
disappointed. He winced a little
under my bitter speech, but I noticed
with contempt that he turned to
Raoul, after his custom, as if to ask
his advice. There was a moment of
indecision. I felt Raoul' s glance,
calm and searching, rest upon me:
then he gave an almost imperceptible
motion of his head.

There was a chime of bells over-

"It is time to enter," said the old
Sen or gravely.

I could not answer. There was a
light touch on my arm, and I felt my-
self borne through the doorway and
over the tiled floor, nearer and nearer
to the voice of the priest, .solemnly
intoning some Latin sentences unin-
telligible to me.

I stood before the altar, blind and

unseeing. The beautiful ceremonial
of the Catholic Church fell unheeded
on my ears. A heavy band of gold
was placed on my finger. Over this
the priest pronounced a blessing that
I have never heard before or since,
asking that the shining circlet, em-
blem of eternal union, might be sym-
bolic of the union of our hearts, a con-
solation in trouble, a protection in .
danger, a guard against temptation.
But as he pronounced us man and
wife, the full terror and desolation of
my position swept over me, and my
husband led me, weeping, from the
church, aud placed me in the carriage
that was waiting. Once within this
friendly shelter I abandoned myself to

uncontrolled grief, and was only
aroused when a man's voice, full and
low, said kindly:

" Marian, we are home,"

I lifted my head and saw that we
were in a long avenue lined with
palms, with the gray-green of olive
trees beyond. Before us, surrounded
by orange trees fragrant with bloom,

its broad veranda draped with roses,
was a red tiled adobe house. But it
was Raoul Garcia who sat beside me ;

it was Raoul, who grave and unsmil-
ing, led me past the swarthy , laughing
faces gathered to greet me ; and it was
Raoul Garcia, my husband, who si-

Online LibraryCharles Frederick HolderThe Californian (Volume 4) → online text (page 74 of 120)