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Franklin i.e. Albert Franklin Matthews.

Back to Hampton Roads, cruise of the United States Atlantic fleet from San Francisco to Hampton Roads, July 7, 1908. February 22, 1909, supplementary to With the battle fleet, online

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BACK TO HAMPTON ROADS




NICIIT ILLUMINATION IN SYDNEY



BACK TO
HAMPTON ROADS



CRUISE OF THE U. S. ATLANTIC FLEET

FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO HAMPTON ROADS

JULY 7, 1908 FEBRUARY 22, 1909



SUPPLEMENTARY TO
"WITH THE BATTLE FLEET"



BY

FRANKLIN MATTHEWS



ILLUSTRATED



1909

B. W. HUEBSCH

NEW YORK



V



Copyright 1909
By B. W. HUEBSCH



Printed in U. S. A.



TO
THE BLUEJACKETS OF THE UNITED STATES NAVY,

INTELLIGENT, STURDY, WILLING MEN, TRUE REPRE-
SENTATIVES OP THE BEST PATRIOTISM OP THE
COUNTRY AND ALSO TRULY REPRESENTATIVE OP ITS
BEST FAMILIES, THE PLAIN PEOPLE OP AMERICA



3G927G



CONTENTS



CHAPTER PAGE

I. HAWAII'S SPELL 1

II. " HAERE MAI," NEW ZEALAND'S CRY . 28

III. FLEETITIS, A NEW DISEASE 57

IV. MAD WELCOME AT MELBOURNE 83

V. BIG BROTHER TO AUSTRALIA 106

VI. LOOK BACKWARD AT AUSTRALIA 131

VII. MANILA IN HARD LUCK 149

VIII. FLEET IN A GREAT STORM 172

IX. JAPAN PROVES FRIENDSHIP 183

X. CHINA A LAVISH HOST 209

XI. WARSHIPS IN BATTLE PRACTICE 227

XII. REMAKING THE PHILIPPINES 240

XIII. CEYLON, WHERE ALL SHIPS STOP . 255

XIV. WARSHIPS CROSS THE DESERT . ...... . 278



INTRODUCTORY,

This book aims to describe and narrate, more or less
in detail, the leading events that marked the homeward
cruise of the United States Atlantic Fleet from San Fran-
cisco to Hampton Roads, by way of New Zealand,
Australia, Japan and the Suez Canal, a cruise that ex-
tended from July 7, 1908, to February 22, 1909. It is
intended to supplement the author's account of the cruise
of the Atlantic Fleet from Hampton Roads to San Fran-
cisco, published in the book "WITH THE BATTLE
FLEET." These two complete the story of a naval cruise
without parallel.

When it was decided to send sixteen battleships on a long
cruise, the original plan was to despatch them from Hamp-
ton Roads to San Francisco, from one American port to
another. Whether there was any ulterior purpose, diplo-
matic or political, in the undertaking, was never revealed
by the authorities. Ostensibly it was for strictly naval
purposes alone. Second to the despatch of the Fleet was
the question whether it should return as a whole or in part
to the Atlantic coast, how it should return and when. For
military and other reasons the prompt return of at least
part of the Fleet was necessary.

Scarcely had the ships started from Hampton Roads
before it was announced to those on the Fleet, but not to
the country at large, that it would return by way of the

ix



x INTRODUCTORY

Suez Canal, after a brief stay on the Pacific Coast. The
announcement became known generally through a wireless
message from the Fleet the next day after it sailed. Forth-
with Australia began a public movement to have the Fleet
visit that Commonwealth. By the time the Fleet had
emerged from the Strait of Magellan the invitation to
visit Australia had been accepted. New Zealand then se-
cured the acceptance of an invitation to visit that colony.
Japan extended an invitation to spend a week there and it
was accepted. China asked to have the honor of enter-
taining the Fleet in one of her ports, and one-half of it,
the second squadron, was sent there.

There was a month's stay in Manila Bay for Battle Prac-
tice and then came the start home by way of Colombo, and
the Suez Canal. In the Mediterranean the Fleet was split
up into groups to visit ports of various nations. The
Fleet then made a rendezvous at Gibraltar, whence it
started for Hampton Roads on February 6, 1909.

Of the sixteen battleships which started from Hampton
Roads only fourteen, the Connecticut, Vermont, Kansas,
Minnesota, Georgia, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Louisiana,
Virginia, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and Kearsarge,
made the entire trip. The Maine and Alabama were de-
tached from the Fleet at San Francisco and sent home by
way of Manila and the Suez Canal in advance of the other
fourteen. The Wisconsin and Nebraska took the places
of the Alabama and Maine respectively. The Fleet there-
fore consisted of sixteen battleships when it departed and
of the same number when it returned. Rear Admiral Rob-
ley D. Evans was Comniander-in-Chief from Hampton
Roads to San Francisco. The late Rear Admiral Charles



INTRODUCTORY xi

M. Thomas was in command for an interim of five days in
San Francisco harbor and then Rear Admiral Charles S.
Sperry became Commander-in-Chief, retaining that post
until after the arrival in Hampton Roads.

In round numbers the Fleet steamed on the world-gir-
dling cruise 46,000 knots, nearly twice the distance in a
straight line around the globe at the equator. The logs of
the ships vary as to the distance covered, according
to the side trips that were made in Puget Sound and in the
Mediterranean. The log of the Louisiana, on which the
author was a passenger, shows that it steamed 44,628
knots, exclusive of Target Practice work, in Magdalena
and Manila Bays, estimated at 850 miles. The distance
from Hampton Roads to San Francisco, in round num-
bers, was 14,500 knots. That from San Francisco to
Puget Sound and return was about 1,800 knots. From
San Francisco to Hampton Roads, by way of Australia
and Japan, the distance was about 29,000 knots.

The Fleet was gone from Hampton Roads a year, two
months and six days, or 434 days in all. The records of
the ships showed only 433 days of actual absence, the miss-
ing day being one that was lost when the international date
line was crossed in the Pacific Ocean on the Westward j our-
ney. Of the 433 days that the Fleet itself counted, 190
were spent in cruising and 243 in various ports. Of the
latter a month was spent in record Target Practice in
Magdalena Bay and another month in Battle Practice in
Manila Bay. In this work each battleship steamed
about 850 knots, so that really the fourteen ships
which made the entire journey steamed about 46,000
knots.



xii INTRODUCTORY

The Fleet steamed at various rates of speed, from eight
to twelve and sometimes thirteen knots, but the actual tran-
sit time was made almost exactly at the average rate of ten
knots an hour. It has been estimated that if social duties
had been eliminated and stays in port had been limited
solely to sufficient time in which to coal, the cruise of
45,000 miles could have been made, at ten knots steaming,
in a little less than nine months.

The Fleet visited every continent on the globe. It
crossed every navigable ocean and nearly every known sea.
It crossed the equator four times and almost touched it a
fifth time when it passed by Singapore. Four Presidents,
Roosevelt of the United States, Penna of Brazil, Montt of
Chile and Pardo of Peru, reviewed the Fleet. The Em-
peror of Japan received the admirals and captains in audi-
ence and gave them a luncheon. Prince Lang of China
entertained the officers of the Second Squadron at luncheon
and dinner repeatedly at Amoy. The Khedive of Egypt
entertained a few of the officers in Cairo. The King and
Queen of Greece dined on one of the battleships at Piraeus.
The King of Italy received Admiral Sperry and staff in
Rome in appreciation of the succor given by the Fleet to
the stricken people at the Messina earthquake. The Gov-
ernor General of Australia, the Governors of New Zealand,
Ceylon and Gibraltar also visited the Fleet.

On the journey around the globe the Fleet exchanged
naval greetings with warships of Brazil, Argentina, Chile,
Peru, Mexico, Great Britain, Japan, China, Turkey,
Greece, Italy, France, Russia and Portugal. This was the
itinerary of the Fleet on its homeward trip :



INTRODUCTORY



Xlll



PORT

San Francisco (departure)
Hawaii
Auckland
Sydney
Melbourne
Albany
Manila
Yokohama

Manila (First squadron)
Amoy (Second squadron)
Manila (Second squadron, ex-
cept Louisiana)
Hong Kong (Louisiana)
Manila (Louisiana)
Colombo
Suez

Port Said

Mediterranean ports
Gibraltar
Hampton Roads (arrival)



DATE



July 7, 1908
July 16-23
Aug. 8-15
Aug. 20-27
Aug. 29-Sept.
Sept. 11-17
Oct. 1-10
Oct. 18-25
Oct. 31-Dec. 1
Oct. 30-Nov. 5

Nov. 7-Dec. 1
Nov. 6-7
Nov. 9-Dec. 1
Dec. 14-20
Jan. 3-7, 1909
Jan. 5-8
Jan. 10-Feb. I
Feb. 1-6
Feb. 22



In the Mediterranean ports were visited as follows :

Messina Connecticut and Illinois.

Naples and Villef ranche Connecticut, Vermont, Kansas and Min-
nesota.

Marseilles Georgia, Nebraska, New Jersey and Rhode Island.
Smyrna Louisiana, Virginia, Ohio and Missouri.
Athens and Salonica Ohio and Missouri.
Malta Wisconsin, Illinois and Kearsarge.
Algiers Wisconsin, Illinois, Kearsarge and Kentucky.
Tangier Georgia and Nebraska.
Tripoli (Africa) Kentucky.

During the cruise these captains became Rear Admirals :
Seaton Schroeder, Virginia; Richard Wainwright, Louisi-
ana ; William P. Potter, Vermont. Two captains died be-
fore the cruise was finished, Henry McCrea of the Georgia



xiv INTRODUCTORY

and G. A. Merriam of the Missouri. Six of the fourteen
ships that made the entire cruise had new commanding offi-
cers on the homeward trip: Louisiana, Kossuth Niles;
Virginia, Alexander Sharp; Georgia, Edward F. Qualt-
rough; Ohio, T. B. Howard; Missouri, R. M. Doyle;
Vermont, F. F. Fletcher. The captains of the Wisconsin
and Nebraska were F. E. Beatty and R. F. Nicholson
respectively.

The following pages tell of the important things which
occupied the attention of those on the Fleet on the j ourney
home. They consist largely of letters written on the
cruise by the author to The Sun of New York for publica-
tion in its columns and those of its clients throughout the
country, and are reproduced by permission of The Sun
Printing and Publishing Association. Considerable mat-
ter, hitherto unpublished, has been interpolated.



BACK TO HAMPTON ROADS



CHAPTER I

HAWAII'S SPELL

Gala Days in Honolulu for the Officers and the Bluejackets Molo-
kai Visit to Liliuokalani Island Poet Bursts Into Verse When
the Battleships Arrive Festival for the Sailors, With Songs That
Will Long Be Remembered No Flower Wreaths for the Crews
in Spite of George R. Carter's Plea Surf Riding at Waikiki.

U. S. Battle Fleet,

HONOLULU, July 22.

ONE may talk glibly about a spell being cast or
broken, but he never realizes the full meaning of
those figurative expressions until he has been to
Hawaii and has tried to get away. It is MQ\ on record that
any visitor ever left Honolulu gladly ; that's because it can? t
be done. You can leave any other place -on,(ittk <>$'& > ^
your home excepted, of course than you can go away
from here. Something gets hold of your heartstrings and
ties them unbreakably to the place. You can't undo the
knots; you just have to break away.

What is the spell that holds the visitor? Alas! Poets
and philosophers and statesmen and travellers of every
degree have tried to define it, but have failed. You can
describe to some extent how the spell affects you, and no
visitor who can use a pen ever failed to do that ; but to
set forth the subtlety of the charm of Hawaii is as diffi-

1



2 BACK TO HAMPTON ROADS

cult as it is to make a qualitative analysis of the power of
love, the still small voice of a conscience, or, to be more con-
crete, the glory of a sunbeam. Every one who has ever
been here has felt it. It hits the sailorman hardest of all,
for he knows where the beauty spots of the world are.
Perhaps as thoroughly descriptive an expression of what
the grip of Hawaii means to a man's heart came the other
day from a sailorman who was awed by the majesty of the
Pali and said:

" Any man who dares to commit suicide in these islands
and come before his God unsummoned and a self-murderer
ought to be roasted in a hell seventy-seven times hotter than
any hell that a sailorman ever consigned his worst enemy
to. That's all Pve got to say. The idea of any man
in these islands ever wanting or being willing to die ! "

All of us are familiar with the stock phrases describing
Hawaii. It is nothing new to be told that it is the para-
.dise-.of the/ pacific,- the place where the Garden of Eden
sRduld have been established, with all due respect to the
, AMgfey/.in- easfe -fie made an error and put it somewhere
else. All that is commonplace and has been dinged into
our ears endlessly. Every one knows that flowers bloom
more profusely here than elsewhere; that there is no
brighter sunshine, no balmier air, no gentler breezes, no
more productive climate, no more beautiful mountains, no
more glorious sunsets than here.

Here nature has cast aside its habiliments of anger and
has left them in plain view to remind one and all not on?
of what it might have been but actually has been and now
displays instead its sweetest, gentlest and most attractive
mood. If you don't know it already it is time that you



HAWAII'S SPELL 3

knew it now that Hawaii is simply the most delightful
loafing place in the world. If there was ever a place
where life should be one grand sweet song, that place is
Hawaii. If you are looking for the one best place in all
the world where you may loaf and invite your soul, that
place is Hawaii.

But why tell about it again? you ask. Well, in the
first place the spell so takes hold of any man who has
access to the columns of any publication that he can no
more resist writing about it and trying to depict the effect
of its potency than a properly brought up child can go
to bed at night without saying " Now I lay me." In the
next place the presence of the great Atlantic fleet brought
Hawaii again into the public eye peculiarly, and the story
of its fascination is one of those that never grow old and
that age cannot wither. Of what other place can this be
said:

" There are no fogs, no hurricanes, no malaria, no sand-
storms, no sunstrokes, no reptiles, no wild beasts, no ty-
phoons, no tidal waves, no beggars, no poisons, no frosts
in Hawaii."

People used to be cannibals, didn't they? you ask. Ask
again and you will be told that no aborigines ever were
more skilled in song and music than the native
Hawaiians ; that no one ever loved flowers more than
they. Where else in all the world do laborers dig ditches
with garlands around their necks? Where else in all the
orld do the people festoon you and themselves with flow-
ers as if you and they were church pillars at a wedding
ceremony, and this as you go about the streets and they
about their daily tasks? Where else in all the world do



4 BACK TO HAMPTON ROADS

you hear " Aloha," a word whose meaning no dozen words
in English or any other language can express welcome,
greeting from the heart, all good wishes, farewell, every
kindly impulse with a hundred shades of meaning that any
human being can feel? Where else in all the world can
practically the entire nation sing beautifully and where
not to be able to join in the glorious harmony is the
exception and not the rule? And what about that saying
that one who truly loves flowers and music is almost fit
for the kingdom of Heaven?

Lest you may feel that the writer of this is unduly ex-
alted and beginning to rhapsodize, read Mark Twain's
beautiful tribute to Hawaii's spell; it gives the present
writer countenance:

" No alien land in all the world has any deep, strong
charm for me but that one; no other land could so long-
ingly and beseechingly haunt me sleeping and waking
through half a lifetime as that one has done. Other
things leave me, but it abides ; other things change, but it
remains the same. For me its balmy airs are always blow-
ing, its summer seas flashing in the sun ; the pulsing of its
surf beat is in my ear; I can see its garlanded crags, its
leaping cascades, its plumy palms drowsing by the shore,
its remote summits floating like islands above the cloudrack.
I can feel the spirit of its woodland solitudes. I can hear
the splash of its brooks; in my nostrils still lives the
breath of flowers that perished twenty years ago."

If you are one of those who think Mark is what a plains-
man might term a " sentimental cuss " and are suspicious
of him in consequence read what a long, hardheaded man
of business, culture and wide experience with the world,



HAWAII'S SPELL 5

Oscar S. Straus, Secretary of Commerce and Labor, ex-
diplomat, merchant and traveller, said in an address here
less than a year ago:

" I have seen much of the world. I am familiar with
those places which are the favored lands for tourists, and
my eight days' stay here has convinced me that there is
no land on the face of the earth, considering climate and
population and considering beauty and attractiveness of
scenery and charms of hospitality, which offers so much
to the tourist either in health or pleasures as this Eden of
the Pacific."

After that the writer of this thinks he has justification
for going on, with the promise of getting down to earth
after he quotes what a local writer has to say :

" If there is a spot on earth where one may smile at
adversity and feel that money is not everything, that spot
is Hawaii."

There were many naval officers and men in this fleet
who knew what to expect when the ships started west.
They had been here before, and their eyes snapped as they
talked about the good time all would have. Their eyes
have lost something of the animation ; they are soon to
leave. Hawaii's welcome was just what might have been
expected. It was not noisy ; it was deep seated, and from
what we so often refer to as the bottom of the heart.
Before the ships had left San Francisco E. A. Mott-Smith,
the Secretary and acting Governor of the Territory, had
sent a greeting of welcome. He said:

" Expectant Hawaii, with its azure skies, its sunny seas,
its richly clad mountains and valleys, awaits you. Here
will be added one more welcome, full, deep and hearty, to



6 BACK TO HAMPTON ROADS

the many you have received in your remarkable cruise
from the East to the West. Hawaii has prepared for
your coming. Her principal city, Honolulu; her parks,
her streams, her mountains, her seas, every facility
whereby you may enjoy yourselves, during your too brief
stay, the glorious open air life of this fair land is at your
service. Come ashore ! "

Later Gov. Frear supplemented that welcome by a more
formal one " in the spirit of the national pride."

Nor was the work of public welcome confined to official
representatives. The poets got busy. E. S. Goodhue of
the island of Hawaii effused:

Nowhere will fairer sky o'erspread

Its canopy of blue;
Nowhere will purer moonbeams fall,

Or gentler stars shine through.

Nowhere will breezes blow more soft;

Nowhere will sun and rain
Mingle in such a mystic arch

Over the hill and plain.

Nowhere are woody slopes more green,

Nowhere are tints more rare;
Sweet are the flowers which bloom unseen,

Scenting the evening air.

Storms break their fury on our rocks,

Dying in foam and spray;
Nowhere is nature more benign,

Nowhere so full of play.

Voices of maidens here are low,

Musical, soft and sweet,
Charming the ear with their cadences

Boys of the noble fleet.



HAWAII'S SPELL 7,

Nowhere are smiles more genuine,

Nowhere are hearts more glad;
Welcome from every isle of us.

Welcome, each sailor lad.

That was good enough for a starter, and 1 then the oth-
ers began to whoop 'er up, and you must remember that
Hawaii is as full of poets as Cuba is of political agitators.
Here is one more that will show the spirit of the occasion,
the author being W. F. Sabin :

Glory be to the men who make

Our country grand in story !
Glory be to the manned machines

That proudly flaunt Old Glory!
Hail to the men, armada men,

Whose hearts are the White Fleet's soul;
Whose brawn and brain shall e'er maintain
In triumph trip or in lightning rain,

The strength of the Peace Patrol.

It was early on the morning of July 16 that the first
sight was caught of Hawaii. On the port bow famous
" Molokai the Blest," the home* of the leper settlement,
was made out. Admiral Sperry, the Commander-in-Chief,
went within four miles of shore so as to afford the most
forlorn people of the world an opportunity to look at the
fleet. You could see the great gray ridge of mountains
running east and west along the island, and you knew that
over and behind, on the sheltered side, there were many
people living in peace and contentment, the ridge acting
as a barrier that reaches often clear into the clouds be-
tween them and the lepers. You also' knew that midway
down the length of the island there was a low peninsula
jutting out into the ocean, and that there was the settle-



8 BACK TO HAMPTON ROADS

ment. All eyes were strained to catch a glimpse of it, and
soon the little white houses began to brighten the spot;
patches of green could be made out, then flowers could be
seen with a glass, and finally* some of the people were seen
waving greetings to us.

Exposed to the blasts of the northeast trades and with a
bleak, bare background of lava tipped mountains, the
place seemed most cheerless despite the efforts to make it
seem somewhat less forlorn than nature had made it.
Thousands of those on the fleet spoke of Father Damien.
If a kindly memory is a lasting monument to a hero a
mighty tall shaft went up toward heaven as the fleet sailed
by. There was no communication with the shore, but
what those helpless unfortunates thought of it was shown
in a letter printed yesterday in the Advertiser of this place
written to Admiral Sperry " in gratitude and good will "
by Joseph Dutton, one of the brothers down there. Some
of what he said is worth quoting :

" These sixteen battleships that have the full confidence
of America came down the lane with a friendly nod and
passed on, so dignified and beautiful, this early July morn-
ing. The weather is favorable, everything is, for this,
wonderful visit, this visit so wonderful as to make the
blood tingle and the heart grow warm. It helps to bring
our patriotism to the surface. It makes us love our whole
navy, every officer and sailor. It makes us salute Uncle
Sam very affectionately. It makes us better Americans.

" And may God bless every one who has had even a little
to do with bringing about this great pleasure !

" In all this I am speaking for the people of the leper
settlement. Mr. Walamau, representing the Board of



HAWAII'S SPELL 9

Health in the absence of Mr. McVeigh, has asked me to
extend thanks to all concerned, in the name of every one
here, of all in the leper asylum, a place having in it some
suffering, it cannot be denied, but it is the home of sensible
and contented people, whose lot has become, after many
years of labor and improvement, a condition not so very
difficult to bear, a people also becoming better acquainted
with Uncle Sam and better satisfied to be Americans.

"Our abode has been called 6 Molokai the Blest.' It
has surely been so this day."

Pathos in patriotism ! It gives one a new kind of thrill
to realize its depths, and to do that you have to be here
almost in touch with those people consigned to a living
death, something like 1,200 of them. The people of the
mainland can never understand what the sight of the fleet
meant to those unfortunates; but there was not a man on
the fleet who was not glad that the ships had gone over
there before the Third Division, under command of Rear
Admiral Emory, separated from the rest of the fleet to go
to Maui to coal.

Just abreast of the settlement the fleet was broken and
Admiral Emory and his four ships the Louisiana, Vir-
ginia, Missouri and Ohio turned back and went south-
east and the others went on to Honolulu. At first it
seemed a pity that we could not go straight on and be
there to witness the official welcome, but as the ships swung
round and passed by Molokai the Blest, we saw here and
there beautiful waterfalls leaping from the cloud-capped
mountains ; we caught sight of numerous pretty settlements
on the shores and at frequent intervals little white chapels
along the shores, their very presence testifying to the



10 BACK TO HAMPTON ROADS

wonderful influence, the ministration of religion, that has
made this leper island what they call a home of the blest.
Nature then seemed more kindly, and well, you were
glad that churches and waterfalls and flowers and bright
skies and flashing seas were there and that kindly impulses
have softened the lot of those to whom the sin of the world
has been most cruel.

In an hour or two we approached the island of Maui
and skirted its shores for about twenty miles. The real
beauty of these islands began to be unfolded. There were
mighty hills, cut and slashed by the rending power of
earthquakes as the place was thrown up from the seas.
Deep blue shadows almost purpled their cavernous recesses


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Online LibraryFranklin i.e. Albert Franklin MatthewsBack to Hampton Roads, cruise of the United States Atlantic fleet from San Francisco to Hampton Roads, July 7, 1908. February 22, 1909, supplementary to With the battle fleet, → online text (page 1 of 21)