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one of the main avenues when we came to a big bul-
letin in front of a newspaper office. About a thousand
people were gathered in front of it and reading a notice.
To catch your eye there was printed a huge hand hold-
ing a dagger dripping with blood, and beneath it the
announcement of another episode of the revolution
which was scheduled to take place on the following



Saturday afternoon. Some class to this burg. They are
not satisfied with trouble as it comes along, but even
advertise it in advance.

We are all going uptown to see a bull-fight on Sun-
day. They have them two afternoons a week, but we
have picked Sunday as we want to take in part two of
the revolution as duly announced for to-morrow. In
spite of the political rough-house the city is really
wonderful and we are very lucky to be laid up here,
even if we do miss out on a few weeks of the war. The
only thing that gets me is how the deuce to talk this
Portuguese lingo. We were all learning French very
rapidly and can get along O.K. in that language, but
the stuff these people patter is simply terrible to make
out. Here we have to turn to and learn a third lan-
guage, and by the time we return to God's country we
ought to be linguists of note.

The money here is very different from France. It is
the reis, not the franc, that demands your careful
attention. It takes sixteen hundred reis to make an
American dollar, and when you get change for ten
dollars or so, you get a basketful of junk that looks like
so many United Cigar Store coupons. It costs about a
million reis to buy a good meal, but the food is excel-
lent and we get real honest- to-goodness hot rolls, just
like back home, but about as big as a football. I
brought a dozen back to the batteau last night and
when I came to pay for them I handed the gink about
seventeen hundred thousand reis, more or less. It
makes you swell up and feel richer than Rockefeller to
be handing out fortunes in this careless way, and it's
lucky for us, as the ship has not been paid off in the
Lord knows when and most of us are flat broke. How-
ever, the moving-picture theatres are good and fairly
cheap, and Charlie Chaplin is here, and we are allowed



to stay ashore until eleven-thirty at night, which is a
long liberty for a foreign port.

It was difficult for the officers of the Corsair to
maintain the customary round of duty and disci-
pline while the ship was under repair, with a crowd
of Portuguese artisans aboard, many distractions
ashore, and things more or less upset, but they suc-
ceeded in enforcing the high standards of the
United States Navy aboard. No more gratifying
evidence of this could be desired than the following
letter from the Secretary of the Navy :

March nth, 1918
To Commanding Officer, U.S.S. Corsair.

" Preston.
Subject: Good Behavior of Men in Lisbon.

The Department is much gratified to receive through
the State Department an excellent report of the
behavior of the men of the Corsair and Preston during
their stay in Lisbon. The following is an extract from
the letter of the American Minister:

I am sure that the Department will be pleased to know, as
well, that all the men behaved splendidly and made a very cred-
itable impression in Lisbon. It is needless for me to say that I
was very much gratified by it all and personally felt that our
men were worthy of the cordial attention and generous hospi-
tality bestowed upon them by the Portuguese people and others.

This evidence of good discipline reflects credit alike on
the officers and men of the ships and on the Naval Service.
(Signed) Josephus Daniels

To be caught in the midst of a Portuguese revo-
lution caused the crew of the Corsair more amuse-



ment than alarm, and the only regret was that they
could find no lawful excuse for taking a hand in the
shindy. It was largely a local affair, between the
military and naval forces of the Provisional Govern-
ment, and Lisbon seemed less disturbed about it
than if the street railways had gone on strike. The
shooting and commotion were mostly confined to
the water-front, and the experience of Quarter-
master Bayne, for example, would indicate that the
American sailors really enjoyed it:

January ist. It was my day's duty on board, so
could not go to the party at the American Legation.
Everybody said it was a bully good game. We created
a large disturbance last night. When we blew our siren
to welcome the New Year, it brought the entire town
out all standing, as they thought it was the signal for
another revolution. The Portuguese troops were or-
dered out and started to march at the double-quick to
the Navy Yard, as they took it for granted that the
Navy had touched off an uprising. The situation might
have been serious, but some general or other found
out that it was us and what we were doing, and the
soldiers were ordered back to the barracks. The Lisbon
newspapers gave us a write-up, and we ran true to form
as the gallant but quite unexpected and unaccountable

January \th. This has been an exciting day. I went
ashore at two in the afternoon and was to meet the
rest of the crowd for dinner at seven. They did not
show up, and I learned later that the harbor was so
rough that the ships had to shove off and anchor in
mid-stream for a while, and no boats could come



ashore. I spent the evening at General Barnardiston's
and then started to foot it back to the ship. The gates
of the Navy Yard were locked, but the Portuguese
guard let me pass through. As I wandered along to the
wharf, I noticed that all lights were out in the build-
ings, but I did n't think much about it, although sev-
eral squads of soldiers looked me over pretty carefully.

When I got back aboard the Corsair, I saw that our
guns were manned, and I was greeted with, "Thank
God, you got through. How did you do it?'* I asked
what was up, and got this story. The Army and Navy
were pulling off another revolution. Fighting had been
going on between the War Ministry and the Naval
Ministry buildings. Our ship was close to both. One of
our coxswains, Lindeburg, was in a motor-boat at the
foot of the Army Building and as he left the boat and
started to beat it for the ship, he was fired at while
running along the wharf. He ducked back to his boat,
and the Corsair, getting uneasy about him, ordered a
rescue party away. They were shot at, too, and had to
seek cover.

This was a bit too much, so the battery was loaded
and trained on the buildings, while an armed guard,
carrying the Stars and Stripes, marched to both
buildings. Meanwhile the captain had sent a radio
message to the authorities, demanding an instant
explanation and apology for firing on our men. This
second party of ours was not attacked and soon re-
turned with the other men. Half an hour later we re-
ceived an official apology. Knowing nothing about all
this ruction, I had walked through the Navy Building,
right between the lines, and aboard ship. Copeland
and Ashby were with me and for some reason we were
not shot at.

That about ended the trouble, as far as we were con-



cerned, but it looked like business for a little while,
because if they had fired on our flag we should have
knocked their buildings over for sure. I understood
that our skipper sent them the message, "If you fire
on our flag we shall attack at once." . . . During the
afternoon the wind and sea had been so high that most
of the ships in the harbor dragged their anchors and
the French destroyer next to us had to move out after
knocking a hole in our side which probably means dry-
dock again.

January 7th. The revolution is still on, and we are
advised to keep off the streets, more or less, as there is
plenty of rifle-firing, and when these Portuguese get
excited they mistake our uniforms for their own Navy
and so take pot shots at us. . . . January 8th. Big
revolution to-day. The Army opened up with about a
hundred shells on the flagship Vasco da Gama, and it
was lots of fun. The shells passed almost over us and
we watched the scrap. The Navy did n't shoot back.
The shrapnel was falling fast and the ships hauled
down their colors. The whole Portuguese Navy tried
to crowd aboard the Corsair for protection, but we
would n't stand for that. There was a good deal of
machine-gun and rifle shooting uptown all day. There
was no liberty, but the captain sent for me and five
others and gave us special liberty to go to Mme.
Girard's for tea. Had a fine time. We were warned to be
careful, as the soldiers fired at any naval uniform they
happened to see. They did not bother us, although we
passed a lot of infantry heavily armed.

At dinner ashore, the programme was interrupted
by a battle in front of the hotel, and almost everybody,
excepting ourselves, left the dining-room because the
bullets were popping about. We refused to budge, for
there was a corking good dinner on the table and the



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Portuguese soldiers are pretty rotten shots. They
played a dirty German trick to-day. Some of their
Navy men shoved off unarmed in small boats and
tried to row ashore, but the troops opened fire on them,
not far from our ship, and killed a couple of the poor
Portuguese gobs. It made us so sore that we felt like
cutting loose on them.

January gth. No revolution to-day. The French
officers on the destroyer Intrepide have behaved splen-
didly to us chaps. Of course, association with enlisted
men is unknown in the French service, that is, in a
social way. At first they could n't quite understand
how we happened to meet them at these various teas
and receptions, but after a time or two they grasped
the situation and have since put themselves out to be
agreeable to us.

The report of Commander Kittinger is an accu-
rate and interesting summary of the episodes of
this sputtering little revolutionary outbreak in
which the Corsair played a part during her pleasant
interlude at Lisbon. He wrote as follows:

About 9 p.m., January 4, 191 8, the U.S.S. Corsair,
being moored to the dock at the Naval Arsenal, desul-
tory small-arms firing broke out in the Naval Com-
pound. The firing was observed to come from the
windows of the second floor of the east wing of the
building forming the Arsenal Compound. It was re-
ported that the coxswain of the motor dory was in
the immediate vicinity, securing his boat for the night.
At intervals the firing was resumed, but the object
which drew the fire could not be made out from the
ship. Lieutenant Commander Porter and Ensign
Schanze, with four bluejackets, left the ship for the



Arsenal offices to arrange for the safety of the coxswain.
On approaching within about fifteen feet of the door
in the centre of the north wing, firing was opened, ap-
parently at the Corsair party, from the same place,
the bullets hitting the walls and pavement near them.
The party entered the building without casualty.

Intermittent firing continued after this. After wait-
ing a reasonable time for the return or for news of the
first party, a second party led by Lieutenant McGuire
left the ship, carrying a flag. The searchlight from the
ship was used to illuminate the flag. This party was
not molested and returned with the first party and the
coxswain. It developed that the firing came from the
windows of the Colonial Office and was directed at
Portuguese bluejackets passing across the open space
from the shore end of the wharf to the main entrance.

About 1 1 p.m. a military aide of the President called
on board and presented the compliments of that official
with the usual courtesies, and inquired as to casual-
ties, if any, in our force. He was informed of what had
taken place and that no damage was done. A report
of the riot was made to the American Consul-General,
Mr. W. L. Lowrie, whose reply is herewith attached:

From American Consul-General, Lisbon,
To Commanding Officer, U.S.S. Corsair.

I have to acknowledge the receipt of your memo, of January
$th concerning the firing in the Arsenal Compound during the
evening of January 4th. Personal representations have been
made and I trust there will be no recurrence of the rioting,
although as you are fully aware conditions here just now are
most unsettled. I am extremely thankful that no one was hurt
during the rioting and that no damage was done.

Beginning January 3rd it was noticed that condi-
tions in Lisbon were unsettled politically. On that
night some rifle-firing took place in the streets between



Portuguese sailors and soldiers on patrol duty. Shots
were exchanged nightly up to January 8th when the
counter-revolution took place. The situation briefly
is this:

The Portuguese Navy has been the controlling factor
in the politics of the country. The Army has been the
opponent, but has been negligible because of its ineffec-
tiveness. The Navy deposed the King in 1910 and set
up a Republic which has been perpetuated until the
present time, the last incumbent being President
Machado. When Portugal entered the war, the Army
was largely increased and equipped, and forces were
sent to the Western Front and to the Portuguese
African colonies. Army preparations continued in Por-
tugal and there is a large mobilization at present.

On December 5, 19 17, the Army started a revolu-
tion and succeeded in overthrowing the Government
two days later, the President being exiled on that date.
As a precautionary measure, the naval forces present
at Lisbon were disarmed. In spite of this, the Navy
prepared plans for a counter-revolution. The present
Provisional Government took steps to send the major-
ity of the sailors to the Portuguese African colonies
because of the serious reverses suffered by their troops
in Africa while fighting the Germans.

The Navy took steps to defeat this manoeuvre and
on January 8, 1918, the Vasco da Gama (flagship)
anchored off Lisbon. At 1045 a.m. a battery of three
field pieces at Saint George's Castle in the middle of
the city, opened fire on the Vasco da Gama. The flag-
ship fired five shots in return and hoisted a red flag
under the ensign. The shots of the shore battery were
dispersed, but some seemed to strike the ship. Shrapnel
and projectile were fired. At 11. 10 a.m. the Vasco da
Gama hauled down her flag and hoisted a white flag



at the foremast and abandoned ship. A number cf
shots were then fired at the destroyers Douro and
Guardiana, which also struck their colors and hoisted
white flags. The cruiser Almirante Reis, a transport,
and several gunboats did likewise. At 11.20 a.m. firing
ceased at the shore battery. Rifle fire continued in the
city streets. The Arsenal plant closed down at the be-
ginning of the firing and the workmen employed on
board the Corsair stopped about 1 1 a.m. No further
work was done by the Arsenal force that day.

On January 9th (the next day) the Arsenal resumed
operations as usual, and I was informed that the
trouble was over and work would continue as before.
The Vasco da Gama, with the Guardiana and Douro,
stood down the river on January nth, apparently

The crew of the Corsair felt a personal interest
in the Provisional President, Sidonio Paes, as some
of them had sat at the table next to him in the
dining-room of the hotel and one or two of the offi-
cers had met him at the theatre. One of the street
spectacles was a huge parade in honor of Sidonio
Paes, and a bluejacket described it as "tremen-
dous enthusiasm, everybody yelling to beat the
band and waving their hats, and the Portuguese
thought it was great, but it was n't as good a show
as when the Seventy-First Regiment came back
from the Mexican Border and marched up Fifth
Avenue.' '

What the Corsair considered the big moment of
the long stay in Lisbon was when the landing party
marched off the yacht to rescue the two officers and



the four men who had gone ashore to look for the
coxswain and find out what the row was all about.
The ship's searchlight was turned and held to illu-
minate the bright folds of the Stars and Stripes
while the gun crews stood ready for action, every
sight-setter, plugman, and shell-handler taut upon
his toes and blithely confident that the Corsair
could knock the adjacent buildings into a cocked

It was discovered that the first party had been
mistaken for Portuguese sailors and fired at from
a window only fifty feet distant. The bullets spat-
tered the doorway into which they turned, and ttfey
proceeded upstairs to hold emphatic discourse with
an excited Portuguese naval officer and the chief of
the radio service who were earnestly telephoning to
ascertain what the ruction was and who had started
it. Coxswain Lindeburg had the largest grievance,
however, for he had been almost potted while
securing his motor-boat at the wharf, and it was
solemnly affirmed that he was combing the bullets
out of his hair after being escorted aboard by the
comrades who had sallied forth to find him.

It seems extraordinary that in this affair at Lis-
bon the Corsair should have seen more actual
fighting, with rifle and shell fire, than during her
many months of active service with the American
naval forces in the Great War. And even when the
fleets in European waters, under the general direc-
tion of Admiral Sims, had increased to four hun-



dred ships and seventy thousand men, none of
them saw as much action as this almost bloodless
little outbreak in Portugal, as action had been
regarded in the days before the German doctrines
of submarine warfare. It goes to show how new and
vastly different were the problems which had to be
solved by the Allied navies.

This does not mean that American ships and
sailors went clear of danger and disaster, but almost
never was the chance offered to fight the hidden
foe. The fine destroyer, Jacob Jones, of the Queens-
town flotilla, was blown to pieces by a torpedo and
sixty-four officers and men died with her. The
Coast Guard vessel Tampa was blown up and van-
ished with all hands, a crew of more than a hun-
dred. Many a time the naval guard of a merchant
steamer stood by their guns and were drowned
when the ship went down. These, and the yacht
Alcedo, and all the other brave ships which are
listed upon the American Navy's roll of honor, were
worthy of the spirit and the traditions of John Paul
Jones, although to them was denied the privilege
of signalling the enemy, "We have not begun to

The badly damaged Corsair required a long and
costly overhauling to make her ready and fit for
service, and this work was undertaken, and well
done, by the organization of the Portuguese naval
docks and arsenal. With a most admirable spirit of
friendship and cooperation between two allies in



the struggle against a mutual enemy, the Govern-
ment of Portugal refused to accept any payment
whatever, although every effort was made to obtain
a bill for services rendered. Commander Kittinger
explains this handsome incident in the following

The U.S.S. Corsair arrived at Lisbon, Portugal, on
December 19, 191 7, in need of repairs to make her
seaworthy. The matter was taken up with the Portu-
guese naval authorities by the American Consul-
General and the Commanding Officer. An engineer and
a naval constructor were immediately sent off to the
ship from the Naval Arsenal to estimate and report.
The same day the Director of the Arsenal stated that
he could and would do the work, and that the ship
would be berthed at the Arsenal on the following day.

As promised, the Arsenal workmen came on board
and started the work, and in the afternoon the ship
was moored to the Arsenal dock. An estimate of time
and cost was requested. The time was estimated at
from one month to six weeks, but the cost estimate
could not be given. It was suggested that the cost be
made actual for labor and material, plus a reasonable
overhead. To this the Director replied that the Min-
ister of Marine had ordered the work done free of
charge to the U.S. Government, stating that repairs
had been done to British and French Government
vessels gratis.

The work proceeded rapidly and efficiently. I made
periodical calls at the office of the Chief Engineer and
Naval Constructor to obtain a cost estimate. This was
promised for my information, but never received.
Finally I was told that if the Consul-General would



write a letter on the subject to the Minister of Marine,
the estimate would be given and a basis of payment
arranged, but that the money would be turned over
to the Red Cross. i

The reply to the Consul-General's letter is herewith
attached, the substance of which is a refusal on the part
of the Portuguese Government to accept payment.

I requested the Consul-General to keep at the busi-
ness of trying to obtain a basis of settlement. Later on,
I was informed through the Consulate that the Pro-
visional President, to whom the Minister of Marine
had referred the matter, had decided to accept pay-
ment. This was the status of the question until January
25th, the day before the Corsair's departure, when the
Commanding Officer, accompanied by the Consul-
General, made leave-taking calls upon the Arsenal

The Director of the Arsenal at this time stated that
he had orders from the President to render no bill to
the U.S. Government. As our Government had not
recognized the officials in power in Portugal during
this time, the American Minister could take no action.

The cost of repairs to the U.S.S. Corsair by the Por-
tuguese Government during the period from December
20th to January 25th is a gift to the U.S. Government.

A translation of the letter in which the naval
authorities of Lisbon, with the most courteous
obstinacy, decline to permit the Corsair to pay for
the valuable services received, reads as follows:

Office of the Minister of Marine
Administration of Repairs and
Equipment, Naval Arsenal

I have the honor to accept the receipt of your com-
munication dated the second instant and to transcribe



the decree of the fourth instant by His Excellency, the
Minister of Marine, concerning the matter, viz :

The Minister of Marine, appreciating the spirit of the note,
No. 830, and taking into consideration the fact that the damages
were suffered in the service of the Allied Cause which we jointly
defend, and desiring to have the approval of His Excellency, the
Consul-General, and therefore of the Government which he rep-
resents, has decided that payment cannot be accepted for the
repairs made.

It is our pleasure and privilege to give all that is within
our power, and we pledge our word to cooperate with our most
earnest efforts for the cause of humanity and justice.

{Signed) Pelo, Director

To His Excellency " To our Welfare and Fraternity 11

The Consul-General of the
United States of America



When the Corsair again meets a blow,

The crew they will surely all know,

Tho' the distance be great,

They '11 work early and late

To make the good port of Lisboa.

It's hither and thither and there,
But divil a bit do we scare,
For the captain and crew
Will see the thing through
In the dear little gray Corsair.

The Fo'castle Glee Club

READY again to tussle with the wintry seas
offshore, the Corsair sailed from Lisbon on
January 26, 1918, and returned to her base at Brest
at the usual cruising speed of fourteen knots. There
were many pleasant memories of the smiling, gra-
cious city on the Tagus, and a few broken hearts
which were soon mended among the Yankee mar-
iners who had sterner business and were anxious
to get on with the war. They found a greatly in-
creased activity at Brest, where the largest trans-
ports were pouring the troops ashore in swelling
volume and thousands of negro stevedores emptied
the holds of supplies which overflowed the wharves

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Online LibraryRalph Delahaye PaineThe Corsair in the war zone → online text (page 13 of 20)