1900 At Sea off Cape Ann.
August 28. Alabama passed on trial trip at full speed at 11:39:30 a.m. Kentucky returned to shoal anchorage at 7:08 p.m.
29. Portsmouth, N.H.
Up anchor at 7 a.m. Came to in Portsmouth Harbor at 1:41 p.m.
30. Rear Admiral Cromwell visited ship. Lieutenant Bernadou was detached.
31. Cadets Doyle & Schoenfeld returned from trial trip of Alabama.
September 1. I became Signal Officer and Assistant to Navigator.
Sun. 2. Underway at 6:00 p.m.
3. Bar Harbor, Me.
Anchored at 1:12 p.m. with the rest of the North Atlantic Squadron, the New York being already in port, and having fallen in with the other battleships at about 11 o’clock a.m. Scorpion in harbor.
4. At 9:45 a.m. British North American Squadron came in, anchored and fired 21 guns; salute was answered, English flag at Main. At 10 the flagship saluted Vice Admiral Bedford with 15 guns, English flag at fore. Salute answered American flag at fore truck of H.M.S. Crescent.
English squadron--Cruisers Crescent, Indefatigable, Tribune, Psyche and torpedo boat destroyer Quail.
5. A calling committee from H.M.S. Psyche paid official visit to this ship.
6. Warrant officers of American Squadron gave banquet to British Warrant Officers.
8. American to British. Smoker for Chief and First Class Petty Officers.
10. Scorpion took party to James Sound.
11. Junior Officers of Kentucky gave dinner to British Midshipmen. During afternoon visited Crescent and Psyche.
12. Barometer very low and all indications that the great storm which day before had destroyed Galveston [i] was coming towards us. Attended reception on Crescent. Strong tide and breeze and heavy sea made hard work for a launch to steam back to the Squadron. The Kentucky’s launch was the only one of the squadron that risked the trip, and she made ship safely after a dangerous passage.
13. At. Sea.
Got underway in exact column 9:30 a.m. and steamed out of channel. British squadron in column on right with U.S. flag at mainmasts. British flag at mainmasts of our squadron. The two nations cheered each other.
1900 Bar Harbor, Mt. Desert I., Me.
September 13. The British went north to Halifax, the Americans south to Portsmouth.
14. Portsmouth, N.H.
Anchored in Portsmouth Harbor 9 a.m.
15. Dance at Navy Yard.
16. 1st Lt. Wallace, U.S.M.C., reported for duty.
17. U.S.S. Dolphin came in with Secretary of the Navy. [ii] An Assembly at Pierce Hall.
18. Presentation of tablets from New Hampshire to Battleship Alabama, and from State of Alabama to the Battleship Kearsarge. Banquet at Wentworth Hotel. Fleet illuminated 7 to 8 p.m.
19. Brigade Parade from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Dance at Dr. Hefflinger’s.
20. At Sea.
Underway for Newport, in squadron, at 7:45 a.m.
21. Newport, R.I.
Anchored in Newport Harbor at noon.
22. Making preparations for squadron manoeuvres. I went out on T.B. Morris at night with five other torpedo boats for practice in searching at night.
23. Received telegraphic orders to proceed to New York to fit out for China. Left Newport at 5:45 p.m.
24. New York.
Moored alongside dock at Navy Yard, N.Y., at 11 a.m. Requested one weeks leave; took midnight train for Chattanooga. [iii] Dixie; Prairie; Atlanta: Baltimore at Yard.
25. On train to Chattanooga
26. Arrived Chattanooga 7:40 p.m.
27. Kentucky entered dry dock
28. U.S.S. Massachusetts entered harbor.
29. Ensign Palmer reported for duty.
Oct. 1. Came out of dry dock and moored at wharf.
2. I returned from leave and reported for duty at 2 p.m.
3-16 During this time the Kentucky was repaired and overhauled for Chinese service. Two additional cutters were taken on board and placed in chocks in the sailing launches where the dinghys were formerly. The dinghys were placed in the 3d and 4th cutters. A steam barge replaced the cutter barge, and a light-built carvel dingy was added.
A new ice machine of larger capacity and later
design was substituted for the one originally in the ship. The battle hatches on the Main Deck could not formerly be closed until the canopy frames were removed. This was remedied by completely new frames being substituted which ship outside of the hatch coamings. This improvement will shorten the time required to clear ship for action by at least ten minutes, and at collision drill and in a heavy sea the canopy frames will not have to be removed at all.
During the ship’s first full-charge gun test some of the cap square bolts of the 13” guns were broken, not by the recoil or shock of discharge, but by the counter recoil. It was not considered safe to weaken the counter recoil springs to lessen the strain on these bolts, so that the following changes were made:- 2-1/2 inch bolts were substituted for the original 2 inch bolts. The bolt holes being reamed out and tapped by large hand tools. The original bolts had the heads cast on them and screwed into the gun carriage. The new bolts were threaded on both ends, screwed into the carriage and had double locking nuts screwed down on them. The thread on the upper end is designed to give more elasticity than a bolt head. The plungers extending from the centers of the cylinder heads, which helped to bring the gun to a full stop at the end of the counter recoil were three inches in diameter and had a flat end. The holes in the piston rods in which these plungers operated were lined with a steel bushing to bring their diameters down to two inches. The new two inch plunger rods were given a tapered end, and the backs of the holes in the piston rods were made conical to fit the plungers. These changes are expected to prevent further breaking of cap square bolts.
17. Tom[p]kinsville, Staten I., N.Y.
At 4 p.m. unmoored and steamed down to Tom[p]kinsville, S.I. anchoring at 5 p.m. The crews of the New York and Kearsarge cheered us as we passed them leaving the Navy Yard.
October 17 Tom[p]kinsville, S.I., N.Y.
Coal lighters came alongside at 7 p.m. and were secured.
18. During nine hours 997 tons of coal were taken aboard, nearly 110 tons per hour. The coal was whipped on deck faster than it could be stowed in the bunkers.
19. Cleaned ship.
20. At 2:30 p.m. got underway bound for China. Sandy Hook signal station wished us a pleasant voyage. In the lower bay fired the 13” guns. They returned to battery very slowly, the plunger rods being too large to allow the escape of liquid by them, and instead of checking the force of counter-recoil actually stopped the gun. We returned to Tom[p]kinsville to have the guns fixed.
21-22. Officers from Ordnance Bureau inspected the guns and workmen removed the plungers, which were turned down to a looser fit.
23. Went down the bay to test the port forward 13” gun. It worked satisfactorily both at extreme elevation and depression. Returned to Tom[p]kinsville. Abandon ship drill during afternoon.
25. At Sea bound for Gibraltar.
Started down the bay at 9:30 a.m. Exercised at General Quarters and tried all 13” guns, all of which worked well. At 2:45 took departure from Sandy Hook Light Ship and set course towards Gibraltar.
26-28 As assistant to the Navigator I took numerous sights each day. Fair, warm weather and all circumstances combining to make a pleasant cruise.
29. The barometer began falling at 2 p.m.; there was a South-Easterly breeze.
30. The barometer continued falling.
31. The indications of a severe storm were beginning to be manifested. The barometer fell rapidly, at the rate of three one hundredths an hour. The wind increased till a heavy sea was raised and a whole gale blowing. The waves broke on forecastle and quarter deck with great force, sometimes reaching the upperdeck. The fore and aft bridge was full of water from the spray. At 8:40 a.m. an immense wave
[Page 25] [iv]
Oct. 31 struck the starboard life boat, the gig, and broke it in two, the halves hanging from the davits. The falls were cut and the pieces of the boat allowed to fall in the sea. The ship was headed to sea to prevent danger to the men working on the quarter-decks, but resumed her course, ESE1/4E, soon afterwards. The force of the waves crushed a catamaran lashed in the bows, and broke an iron ladder leading from upper deck to forecastle. The sounding platform was destroyed, and the lower boom got adrift, one being carried away.
The sea was on the starboard heave; the air warm, and a few short rain-squalls occurred.
The meteorological observations give the following data: The barometer fell almost uniformly at a rate of .03 inches per hour for 52 hours, falling 1.22 inches from 30.42 to 29.20; reaching this lowest point at 6:00 p.m. Oct. 31st. Wind and sea were SW. Both increased in violence, but the wind did not shift; the ship was in the path of the storm center; the path lay nearly due east.
At about 6:15 the wind suddenly shifted to NW, the storm center having passed; the north west wind was cool and cry. The wind continued to veer till seven oclock when it was NWxN, and had died down to a strong breeze.
The ship is exceptionally steady and a magnificent gun-platform. The roll averaged 7o at the height of the storm, although occasionally she rolled as much as 24o. The period is 10 seconds, from observing clinometer.
November 2. Sighted Flores Island at 11:20 a.m.; 11:40 p.m. sighted Fayal Id.
3. Ponta Delgada, San Miguel, Azores
Anchored off Cidade de Ponta Delgada at 3:22 p.m. No salute was fired as we were informed by a pilot that it would not be returned. A boat went ashore with telegrams; the U.S. Consul was called upon and returned the visit, but no one went ashore except on duty. Underway for Gibraltar at 6:25 p.m.
[i] “A West Indian hurricane, blowing steadily for 18 hours and reaching a velocity of 135 mi. an hour, piled up enormous waves which swept across most of the city. About 5,000 lives were lost, and the property loss was estimated at $17,000,000.”
[ii] John D. Long of Massachusetts, appointed 1897.
[iii] Parents then living at 510 E. 5th St., Chattanooga.