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Bill Thayer

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From the Mississippi
to the Sea


By
Robert E. Coontz
Rear Admiral United States Navy, Retired

Admiral Coontz's long career, from Midshipman at the Naval Academy to Chief of Naval Operations and Commander-in‑Chief of the United States Fleet, spans the period from the wooden sailing ship to the early days of naval aviation, the promise of which he was quick to recognize well before it became obvious to all. In this memoir we get not so much a detailed autobiography as an autobiographical memoir: many amusing anecdotes — mostly naval of course — but he also recounts more serious events and concerns, and here and there provides us a window into American naval policy. His book seems particularly valuable for giving us a good feel for the daily life of the Navy the way it was in his time.

[p7] Contents

Early Days in Missouri

13

Boyhood Experiences

34

Choice of a Career

50

My First Cruise

63

Graduation from Annapolis

79

A Scarcity of Commissions

95

Ensign Coontz

107

Five Years on the "Pinta"

117

A Difficult Undertaking

135

A Winter in the North

146

My Marriage in Alaska

156

Assignment to the "Michigan"

170

Lieutenant — Junior Grade

181

"Sealed Orders"

194

The Surrender of Manila

204

Aboard the "Enterprise"

221

A Record Voyage

229

Back to the "Philadelphia"

244

The Trip to Honolulu

260

Executive Officer of the "Nebraska"

271

Honolulu to Samoa

281

Promotion to Commander

296

A Foreign Cruise

310

In Authority at Guam

327

Conditions and Customs in Guam

340

From Guam to Battleship

355

Bremerton Yard: Preparation for War

367

[p8] The Work and the Life at Bremerton

381

Demobilization

389

Chief of Naval Operations

399

Limitation of Naval Armaments Conference

411

Control of the Oil Situation

422

Commander-in‑Chief of the United States Fleet

431

Winter Maneuvers at San Pedro

441

The Cruise to Australia and New Zealand

451

Our Visit to New Zealand; the Fleet Leaves for Home

460

I Haul Down My Flag as Commander-in‑Chief

469
478
481
483
479

 p9  Illustrations

Admiral Coontz

Frontispiece

facing page

R. E. Coontz

64

Cadets Kittrell and Coontz, Second Class Dance

64

U. S. S. "Mohican"

80

U. S. S. "Enterprise"

80

Sitka Harbor, Alaska

112

Sitka

112

Totem Poles

128

Sitka Indians Before a "Potlatch"

128

Battle Practice

256

U. S. S. "Nebraska"

256

U. S. S. Wyoming, Flagship of Admiral Coontz

272

U. S. S. "Iowa", Flagship of Sampson and Evans

272

The Governor's Palace at Guam

336

The Governor on a Trip of Inspection

336

Fleet Parade Passing Government House, Melbourne

352

U. S. S. "Maryland" Illuminated

352

Admiral Coontz and Staff, Office of Operations, Washington

400

Secretary Daniels and Assistants

416

The Commander-in‑Chief, United States Fleet, and Staff

416

President Harding, General Pershing, Vice President Coolidge, and Admiral Coontz Marching Behind Caisson of Unknown Soldier

448

The Czar's Ring

464

Technical Details

Edition Used

The edition followed in this transcription appears to be the first and only one. It was © 1930 Dorrance and Company, Inc. but is now in the public domain because the copyright was not renewed in 1957 or 1958 as then required by law: details here on the copyright law involved.

For citation and indexing purposes, the pagination is shown in the right margin of the text at the page turns (like at the end of this line); p57  these are also local anchors. Sticklers for total accuracy will of course find the anchor at its exact place in the sourcecode.

In addition, I've inserted a number of other local anchors: whatever links might be required to accommodate the author's own cross-references, as well as a few others for my own purposes. If in turn you have a website and would like to target a link to some specific passage of the text, please let me know: I'll be glad to insert a local anchor there as well.

Proofreading

As almost always, I retyped the text by hand rather than scanning it — not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise which I heartily recommend: Qui scribit, bis legit. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if successful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

My transcription has been minutely proofread. In the table of contents below, the sections are shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe the text of them to be completely errorfree; a red background would mean that the page had not been proofread. As elsewhere onsite, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme.

The printed book was remarkably well proofread. The inevitable typographical errors were very few, and all trivial: I marked them with a dotted underscore like this: as elsewhere on my site, glide your cursor over the underscored words to read the variant. Similarly, glide your cursor over bullets before measurements: they provide conversions to metric, e.g., 10 miles.

A number of odd spellings, curious turns of phrase, etc. have been marked <!‑‑ sic ‑‑> in the sourcecode, just to confirm that they were checked. They are also few.

Any other mistakes, please drop me a line, of course: especially if you have a copy of the printed book in front of you.



[image ALT: A head-and‑shoulders frontal photograph of a middle-aged man with a brush moustache and a friendly expression. He wears an American naval uniform with four large stars on his collar. He is United States Navy Admiral Robert E. Coontz; the image serves as the icon on this site for his autobiography 'From the Mississippi to the Sea'.]

The icon I use to indicate this subsite is a colorized version of the book's frontispiece, above.


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Site updated: 31 Dec 16