Albert Gleaves.

A history of the transport service; adventures and experiences of United States transports and cruisers in the world war online

. (page 1 of 27)
Online LibraryAlbert GleavesA history of the transport service; adventures and experiences of United States transports and cruisers in the world war → online text (page 1 of 27)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

MARCH 10, 1934

EXARCH 2, 1931 IP

IUII(III\/1L ivuutrLTiO,

Squadron Commander in World

War, fietired in 1919, to

Rest in Arlington


I The body of Rear Admiral Thomas-
Slidell Rodgers, seventy-two, U. S. N.,
retired, was to be sent to the home of
his brother, Colonel Alexander Rodgers
in Washington today. Burial will be
in Arlington Cemetery tomQrrow. Ad-
miral Rodgers died In Polyclinic Hos-
pital only a few minutes after he had
become a patient there.

He was believed to have recovered
from an attacK of neuritis when he
again fell ill and went to the hospital.

Rear Admiral Rodgers, son of the
late Rear Admiral C. Raymond Perry
Rodgers, commanded Squadron 3 and
Division 6 of the battleship force of
the Atlantic fleet during the World
War. He was retired In 1919.

He was graduated from Annapolis in
1878 and served on th - Moiiterey in the
Spanish-American War. He was super-
visor of New Yorlc Harbor, 1911-1912,
director of Naval Intelligence, 1912-
1913, commander of the battleship New
York, 1913-1915, and was at the Naval
War College from 1915 to 1917.

Since his retirement Admiral Rodgers
had lived at the University Club In this
city and in Washington. He was a
member of the University and New York
Yacht Clubs and of the Alibe and
Metropolitan clubs of Washington.

Besides his brother, Mrs. Louis Nlel-
.len of this city, a sister, survives. Ad-
miral Rodgers never married.

Captain Who Led Destroyers
in World War Succumbs in!
Brooklyn; Served 54 Years

Capt. Ward Kenneth Wort-
man, U. S. N., died yesterday in
the Naval Hospital, Brooklyn. He
was born on Januai-y 31, 1880,
in Lafayette, Indiana and entered
the naval academy in 1896 from
Montana. He was graduated in
the class of 1900.

In the Spanish-American war
he served on the U. S. S. New
Orleans and the U. S. S. Solace.
In 1918 he was ordered to com-
mand the U. S. S. Rathburne and
later had additional duty at the
destroyer base in New York.


Capt. Wortman served overseas

' on the Rathburne and as com-

, mander of Group 2, destroyer

force in European waters. For

heroic duty in the World War he

was awarded the Naval Cross.

In 1919 he took command of
Flotilla 4 and later Flotilla 10, de-
stroyer squadron, Pacific fleet. In
1920 he was assigned to the Naval
War College and later to Newport,
R. I., and Boston, Mass.

In 1923 Capt. Wortman com-
manded the naval station in Cuba
and in the following year the
Destroyer Squadron 9, scouting
fleet. Three years later he was
assigned to the naval base in the
Canal Zone and in 1928 to the
i, command of the U. S. S. Arizona.


In 1930 Capt. Wortman was as-
signed to command the submarine
base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. At
the time of his death he was as-
signed to duty in the Hydro-
graphic Office of the Third Naval

He leaves his widow, Charlott-
H., of 455 E. 51st St., this city.

MA^CH 0, 1934


Services Here Today for Son
of Famous Admiral; Burial
Will Be In Arlington Grave

Captain Frank Taylor Evans,
U. S. N., retired, son of the late
Rear Admiral Robley D. (Fighting
Bob) Evans, died Wednesday night
in the Naval Hospital, Brooklyn.

Captain Evans, a veteran of the
Spanish - American and World
Wars, came of a distinguished
naval family. He was a nephew
of the late Rear Admiral H. C.
Taylor. One of his cousins is the
wife of Rear Admiral W. R. Gher-
ardi and another cousin is the wife
of Captain E. S. Kellogg, U. S. N„


Captain Evans was born in Swit-
zerland September 9, 1875, and in
1894 was appointed to the Naval
Academy at Annapolis, Md., by
President Cleveland. He was grad-
uated in 1898, assigned as an en-
sign to the y. S. S. Iowa, com-
manded by his father, and took
part in the battle of Santiago July
3 of that year.

When_the United States entered; a9:^suus ^nenba S9.
JO ;,p[ SI iBqAv' ajdduo o:^ s:ju;
■\d(\T8 puB piB o\ :jS8q"jr9ip auo'


sj^siaNvovdOHci aaam ^

JO ssaupe.T-Bdajdnn jo sa^^ooA
-an aq:} 0% tui^oia ■b [^bj 0; s
o« SI siqj^ -(^aoddns s;i joj
9SU8J8P t'Buoi^'Bn ^q:^ q;iA\. sot
•asnojj £j
JOJ SS81 qonra 'aa^iuumoo siq ]
-uirq JOJ ^jao sjinads aq ;Bq:^l
*sj'B9^ ;u909j ai noi^BziueSjol
m^ lis JO uoi:^HSi;s8Ani a^Bsa
apera sq 0; sdaof)'aiY ^iujv 9


Wkjkf. ii^FnMHwMMMBMBMllit^^iiMMiii "" "'"^"^^^X^m^^H


^^b^hI^ ^8^^^^^^'W^^^K jpY^IP

t Wi

W '


Capt. Frank Taylor Evans,
U. S. N., retired, who will
receive a hero's burial in
Arlington National Ceme-
tery tomorrow. He died
here Wednesday.

DECEMBER 5, 1934



Heart Attack Fatal to Holder
of Navy Cross; Commanded
Warship in World War

NEW MILFORD. Conn., Dec. 4|
(AP) .—Rear Admiral C. L. Hussey,
United States Navy, Retired, of
Washington. D. C, and Litchfield,
died of a heart attack today after
alighting from a train.

The 64-year-old retired officer,
holder of the U. S. Navy Cross,
was stricken on the railroad plat-
form as he was about to enter his
automobile to be driven to his
Litchfield home.

Came from Capital

Rear Admiral Hussey, who re-
tired Oct. 1, 1927. had come here
from Washington. D. C, where he
resided at 2029 Connecticut ave.

He was born in Rochester, N. H.,
Aug. 18, 1870, was graduated from
the United States Naval Academy
in 1892 and from the Naval War
college in 1920. He was promoted
to the rank of Rear Admiral June
4. 1926.

During the Spanish-American
War he served on the Oregon and
in 1903 commanded an expedition
to Abys.sinia. He commanded the
Birmingham during the World
War and from 1922 to 1924 was
the naval attache to the American
I Embassy at London.



vnr. MtMiMM Mill. Ill III i; v\i:s, r. s. n.









NEV^ ^^lair YORK




S 7 or/2.













There seems no excuse for offering the public another
book of personal Memoirs of the Great War; but so
much has been written about all the different phases of
preparation and action, and so little of the actual trans-
portation of the troops, which'made the fighting possible,
that I have yielded to the persuasion of friends and
shipmates to add my contribution to the daily increasing
stories of the events of 1917-18. I do this because in a
measure I may be able to show my appreciation of the
hard work done by the officers and men of the American
Transports, and my admiration for their unsurpassed
skill and endeavor in the performance of their duties.
At sea almost constantly, in the severest weather that
has swept the Atlantic Ocean for many years, these Mas-
ter Mariners of the United States lived up to the highest
traditions of the sea, and brought credit to their coun-
try. For the most part this story is told by them, in
their own words, and so far as possible taken from their
official reports.

In thus presenting the narrative the book will have
served its purpose if it throws a light on the character
and professional ability of those officers and men of
the Navy who had the good fortune to take our gallant
Army to France.

I am much indebted to Commander C. C. Gill, U. S. N.,
my Aide and Flag Secretary, for his wise counsel, his
unfaltering assistance while preparing the manuscript,
and for his literary skill in smoothing out my patchwork



in getting into shape a mass of material which sndden
orders to sea forced me to leave confused and unfinished.

Albeet Gleaves,

Admiral U. S. Navy.
Commander in Chief,
United States Asiatic Fleet.
U. S. Flagship South Bdkota^
Vladivostok, Siberia,
13th January, 1920.



Introduction — The Crisis of 1917 .... 17


I The Naval Mission — Summary of Transport

Operations 24

II The First Expedition 32

III The Stay in France — The Return Voyage . 50

IV Lessons Learned from Experience of First

Voyage — Repairing the German Ships . . 62

V Safeguarding the Troopships 75

VI Development of Transport Force — Returning

the Army 86

VII Sinking of Antilles — Finland Torpedoed . . , 103

VIII Loss of President Lincoln — Covington Torpedoed . Ill

IX U-BoATS Bring War to American Shores — San

Diego Sunk by a Mine 133

X Mount Vernon Torpedoed 143

XI The Work of the Cruisers 154

XII Contacts of Transports and Cruisers with

Enemy Submarines 161

XIII Orizaba Depth Bomb Explosion — Great Northern
Collides with British Freighter Brinkburn —

Fire on Board the Henderson 172




XIV Sidelights on Transport Life 180

XV The Loss of the TJ. S. S. Ticonderoga . . . 195

XVI Foreign Transports in U. S. Convoy — Loss of
Dwinsk — Adventures of Lieutenant White-
marsh ..... 202

XVII Adventures of Lieutenant Isaacs .... 217


A Organization of Cruiser and Transport Force of United

States Atlantic Fleet, July 1, 1916 240

B Report by months of transport and escort duty per-
formed by U. S. and foreign navies up to the signing
of the armistice 241

C Report by months of transport duty performed by U.
S. Navy and all other ships, U. S. and foreign, in re-
turning troops and other passengers to U. S. prior to
signing of armistice 244

D Report by months of transport duty performed by U. S.
Navy and all other ships, U. S. and foreign, in re-
turning troops and other passengers to U. S. since
signing of armistice 245

E Record of ships of the cruiser and transport force
List of all U. S. Naval Transports and U. S. Battle-
ships and Cruisers engaged in transporting troops to
and from France between the dates of June 14, 1917,
and October 1, 1919 246

Battleships and cruisers used for returning ships . . 252

Merchant ships converted into troop transports for
returning troops after signing of armistice . . 254

. German ships used for returning troops after signing

of armistice 263



P Record of ten leading ships, cruiser and transport force 264

G Sick and wounded returned by the cruiser and transport

force, during 1918 and up to October 1, 1919 . . 266

Memorandum of von Holtzendorff , Chief of the German
Admiralty 271


Vice Admiral Albeut Gleaves, U. S. N. . . Frontispiece


General Pershing and Admiral Gleaves on Deck of

U. S. S. Seattle in the Harbor of Brest .... 28

U. S. S. Seattle 28

Admiral Gleaves and Aides at Jonchevy, France, 5

July, 1917 28

Point Espagnole, Brest Roadstead 28

Ceremonies at LaFayette's Tomb, Picpus Cemetery, 4th

July, 1917 29

St. Nazarre Harbor, the Landing Place of the First Ex-
pedition 29

U. S. S. Cydops, "Mystery Ship" 29

Sea Plane Scouting 44

Starting Sea Plane off Catapult 44

Hoisting in Sea Plane 44

WatchiisTg for the Enemy. Mast-head Lookout . . 44

OBSERVATidN Balloon Towed Aloft 44

Blimp Escorting Transport Through Danger Zone . 44

Convoy of Troopships at Sea 45

Convoy of Troopships at Sea 45

Convoy of Freighters at Sea 45

Examples of Camouflage. U. S. S. Destroyers Fairfax

AND Small 45

Examples of Camoui^lage. U. S. S. North Carolina . . 45

The German Raider See Adler 57

Damage to Pommern's Boilers 68




Prinzess Irene. Damaged H. P. Cylinder, Ready for In-
sert, Preparatory to Welding 68

Prinzess Irene. Insert in H. P. Cylinder in Place, Ready

TO Weld 68

Prinzess Irene. Finished Weld in H. P. Cylinder . . 69

Agamemnon, Ex-Kaiser Wilhelm II. Showing Clearance

Between Stern and Head of Dock 69

Agamemnon, Ex-Kaiser Wilhelm II. Showing Clearance

Between Stern and Caisson of Dock .... 69

Captain De W. Blamer, U. S. N., Chief of Staff . . 69

Naval Transport Gun Crew 76

Range Finding 76 '

Adjusting Timing Mechanism on Depth Bomb of "Y"

Gun 76

Depth Charges in Position for Dropping .... 76

Decoy Ship with Attending American Submarines . 77

A Double Depth Charge Fired from a "Y" Gun . 77

A Convoy Steering a Zig-zag Course 77

Recruiting Poster by Herman Reuterdahl ... 77

Burney Gear, Hoisting in One of the Otters . . 77 .

Burney Gear. Sketch Showing Method of Fitting . 77

American Troops Carried by Ships of Each Nation . 91

U. S. S. Leviathan when Sailing under the German Flag

AS the Vaterland 92

U. S. S. Leviathan in Dress of Camouflage .... 92

Rear Admiral Hilary P. Jones, U. S. N 92

Rear Admiral Marbury Johnston, U. S. N 93

Transport Docking at Hoboken 93

U. S. Cruiser Charleston Arriving at Hoboken with Re-
turn Troops 93



Number of Men Transported Monthly to France . . 95

Ports of Embarkation in America and Debarkation

Centers in Europe 97

Down the Gang-Plank. The Last "Over the Top" . 108

The Kaiser's Goat. Official Mascot of the 27th Di-
vision 108

Disembarked Troops, in the Reservation Yards at

Hoboken 108

Decorations at Pier in Hoboken to Greet the Return

of General Pershing 108

Repatriated German Prisoners on U. S. S. Princess

Matoika 108

Transport Madawaska Arriving with Troops at New-
port News 109

Soldiers on Deck of Madawaska Awaiting Their Turn
TO Go Ashore 109

The Imperator while in Transport Service of the
United States 109

Torpedoing of the President Lincoln 112

Sick and Wounded Troops at Sea 124

Wounded Arriving at Hoboken 124

Rough Weather, Rigging for Man with Compound
Fracture of Leg 124

The X-ray Plant on U. S. S. George Washington . . 124

Rough Weather. Rigging for Man with Compound
Fracture of Both Legs 124

Typical Troop Hospital Installed on U. S. S. Imperator 125

Caskets Brought from Overseas Awaiting Removal
from Pier at Hoboken 125

President Wilson with Officers and Crew o^ the

George Washington 125

U. S. S. George Washington Carrying t^ce Presidential
Party to France 125



Torpedoing of the Covington 126

U. S. S. George Washington in Brest Harbor .... 140

President and Mrs. Wilson among the Wounded on

Deck of the George Washington 140

The U. K. 152 on Watch for Allied Shipping . . . 140

U. S. S. Ticonderoga 140

The Life Boat of the U. S. S. Ticonderoga Alongside the

U. K. 152 140

U. S. S. Covington Sunk by German Submarine, 2 July

1918 141

U. S. S. Covington Listed to 45 Degrees Just Before

Up-ending 141

U. S. S. Covington. Stern Just Going Under . . . 141

U. S. S. President Lincoln Sunk by German Submarine

U-90, 13 May 1918 141

Troops on Deck of President Lincoln in Danger Zone . 141

U. S. S. San Diego Sunk by German Mine .... 156

Submarine Division Eight, Operating with Transport

Force 156

U. S. Naval Officers Examining a German Mine Picked

Up off the American Coast 156

Shell Hits on U. S. S. 0-6 156

E-2 Making a Periscope Observation at Slow Speed 156

Sea Plane View of Submarine Firing a Torpedo . . 156

Making Passage. U. S. Submarine en Route to Azores 157

The Deck of a U-Boat 157

Sea Plane View of Submarine on the Surface . 157

Forecastle of a U-Boat 157

The U-1 1 1 at ] 7 Knots with an American Crew Aboard 157

Survivors from a Torpedoed Vessel Afloat in an Open

Boat 157



The E-2 Trailing the Schooner Helvetia (a Decoy Ship) 157

Smoke Screen Thrown by Destroyers Around Mount

Vernon 172

No. 2 5-iNCH Gun on Mount Vernon Coming into Action

i- on the Morning of 5 September 1918 .... 172

Hole in Hull of Mount Vernon Caused by Torpedo . 172

War Nose of German Torpedo Found in Fire-Room of

Mount Vernon 172

Crew on Deck of Mount Vernon Shortly After Torpe'do

Struck, 5 September 1918 172

U. S. S. Von Steuben 173

Admiral Cleaves and Staff 173

U. S. S. Z)e KaZ6 173

Admiral Cleaves and his Flag Lieutenant Lawson . 173

Mascot of U. S. S. Huntington 188

Submarine Lookout in Winter Clothing and Life

Jacket 188

U. S. S. Huntington 188

Ice on Forecastle of a Cruiser 188

Frozen Spray During Severe Winter of 1917-1918 . 188

Cruiser in Heavy Weather at Sea 189

Types of Garments Supplied to Men Working in Ex-

■; POSED Positions 189

Torpedo Striking a Steamer 189

IT. S. Destroyer Cassin in Dry Dock After Being Struck

by a Torpedo 189

U. S. S. Henderson 204

U. S. S. Pocohontas Loaded with Troops on Way to France,

September, 1917 204

U. S. S. Great Northern 204

IT. S. S. Orizaba 204



Bird's-eye View of the Harbor of Brest .... 205

Their First View of France. Soldiers on the Leviathan 205

Lightering Troops Ashore at Brest 205

Marines Disembarking at French Port Direct by

Gangway onto Dock 205

Crowded Deck of Princess Matoika 220

Daily Inspection on U. S. S. Mercury 220

A Lesson in French en Route to France .... ,220

Song Service Aboard a Troop Ship 220

Mess Deck Provided with Benches and Tables for

Troop Use . . . . . . .221

Bunks Triced Up for Inspection 221

Troops at Mess on Swinging Tables 221

Part of Galley Equipment on U. S. S. George Washington 221





In April, 1917, at the time of tlie war declaration of the
United States, the Allied cause was in serious danger.
Apparently Germany had victory within her grasp. Both
on land and at sea William Hohenzollern was at the
zenith of his power. France was on the verge of col-
lapse. Great Britain, dazed by the submarine blow
struck at her trade and shipping, found her sea suprem-
acy challenged and the great British Navy unable to pro-
tect fully the commerce essential to England's existence.
Had the German genius been equal to the role, this
would have been the year for the supreme effort of Prus-
sian Militarism. But the German General Staff was
contemptuous of the unprepared, peace-loving peo-
ple across the Atlantic. The War Lords miscalculated
the spirit and fighting abilities of the American people.
They had applied their own formulas in reckoning with
a nation totally unlike their own. This was their fatal
error. When Ludendorff in the Spring of 1918 launched
his great offensive, it was too late. By that time the
U-boat had been checked and Allied supremacy of the
sea reestablished. This marked the wane of Prussian



The fierce attacks and temporary successes of the
enemy on the Western front in the Spring of 1918 rep-
resented the final desperate effort to wrench victory
from defeat. It was doomed to failure. The weight of
America's potential power was already beginning to tip
the scales. A great army had arisen ; it was being spir-
ited across the seas, and a few months later, at the
Marne, it met, turned, and routed the best troops of
Germany. This reverse shook the Hohenzollem throne,
and served notice to all the world that the strength of
the United States Army was equal to its task.

It was not only the effective fighting of our Army
which contributed so much to win the war. Even more
overwhelming was the surprise of its presence, its dem-
onstrated ability to fight, and the conviction forced upon
the German command that there was an unending stream
of the same fighting power pouring in upon the battle-

All this, however, came one year after the crisis of
1917. Judgment in retrospect is often influenced by the
light of later events. In view of what has happened
since May, 1917, to the casual inquirer it now appears
to- have been a natural and obvious course, that the
United States should have devoted all its resources to
raising, equipping and transporting a great army. Analy-
sis and reflection, however, show that this was not an
ordinary enterprise either in conception or in execution.
On the contraiy, it was unique and remarkable. There
is little risk of hyperbole in venturing the opinion that
the raising, transporting and supplying overseas of this
army of two million men will be finally ranked as one of
the greatest achievements in the annals of history.

Turning back now to the Spring of 1917, we find that
on land German arms were ascendant on all fronts. In


the East, Russia had been almost eliminated as a mili-
tary factor ; Roumania, Serbia and Montenegro had been
conquered; Bulgaria and Turkey, although ostensibly
Allies of Germany, were actually under the Prussian
yoke ; the aims of the German Eastern Policy, which in-
cluded a German Mittel-Europa, had been realized, and
it only remained to compel the Western countries to
recognize them. In the West, although foiled in the at-
tempt to crush France, German arms had attained con-
siderable success; Belgium and Luxemburg had been
overrun; Holland had been isolated; and a valuable strip
of Northern France had been occupied.

On the Western front, likewise, the adverse factors
in the military situation must be appreciated; it is true
that Joffre had stopped the enemy at the Mame in 1914,
and that the German offensive against Verdun in 1916
had failed, but, on the other hand, the much-heralded
Allied offensive for the Spring of 1917 was at that time
also ending in failure. The hope of Allied victory
aroused by German readjustments along the Hindenburg
line had been quenched by their stubborn defense in the
Battle of Arras (April-May, 1917), and it had become
evident that success in ''breaking through" the German
positions was no nearer than it had been before the
costly Battle of the Somme.

The Italians had also been unable to develop a suc-
cessful offensive. In fact, both in the East and in the
West the Central Powers were showing ability to hold
fast all the great military advantages they had gained.
It is not surprising that enemy hopes ran high, while
the Allied peoples were depressed.

Nor did the enemy fail to exploit their advantage.
For long years they had prepared for this opportunity
and the German Government had a special army of secret
agents and political hirelings scattered throughout for-


eign countries instructed to kindle sedition and under-
mine Allied morale. In this connection, it is interesting
to recall the " Spurlos Versenkt" ^ incident, the Zimmer-
man note (scheming the return of New Mexico, Arizona,
California, and Texas to Mexico), the rumor of a Ger-
man-Japanese treaty, and, most significant of all, the
political disintegration — almost always a consequence of
military disaster in the field — ^proceeding in France in
the Spring of 1917. Even now, few people in this coun-
try appreciate that enemy agents had attained such pow-
er in Paris that they then worked almost in the open,
spreading corruption both in the homes and in the
trenches. When French regiments mutinied and the
Commanders in the field reported explicitly to their gov-
ernment the sources from which sedition was propagated,
officials either would not or dared not take prompt effec-
tive action. All this was revealed at the trial of Malvy,
then Minister of the Interior, and charged with safe-
guarding France against enemy machinations. He was
finally convicted for neglect of duty and banished. Also,
the then Head of the Secret Police, together with the
Assistant Prefect of Police in Paris, were later sen-
tenced to prison for intercourse with the enemy during
this period. It was not until after the first American
Expedition had landed in France and Clemenceau had
been swept into power that these alarming conditions
were fully exposed and dealt with effectively.

Bad as was this 1917 situation on land, the situation
on the sea was even more threatening. The German
Government had broken away from international law
and on February 1, 1917, had begun a campaign of un-
restricted submarine warfare. This had been planned
as the great German offensive of 1917. It was a blow

' "Spurlos Versenkt," the conception of German diplomacy by wliich all evi-
dence of U-boat uDscrupulousnoss was to be obliterated by sinkinR without
leaving a trace of ship, crew, or passengers.


aimed at the vitals of the Allies, their lines of communi-

Online LibraryAlbert GleavesA history of the transport service; adventures and experiences of United States transports and cruisers in the world war → online text (page 1 of 27)