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Yarns of a Kentucky Admiral

Hugh Rodman
Rear Admiral, United States Navy

The Author and the Book

Hugh Rodman, a graduate of the Naval Academy, Class of 1880, is best known as the commander of the U. S. Navy's Battleship Division 9, that served in the North Sea in World War I as Battle Squadron 6, an integral part of the British Grand Fleet; after the war he was Commander-in‑Chief of the U. S. Navy's Pacific Fleet.

His book is aptly titled, since it is in no way a connected autobiography, but rather a loosely chronological thread of stories he chooses to tell us; a more formal biographical article, published just after World War I, by Jouett Taylor (Mrs. John S.) Cannon can be found in Vol. 18, No. 51, pp57‑63 of the Register of Kentucky State Historical Society, under the straightforward title "Rear Admiral Hugh Rodman".

[p7] Contents

In Old Kentucky


Early Days in the Navy


Some Rough Weather on the High Seas


A Bit of Nautical Talk


Strange Phenomena of the Sea


A Hawaiian Coronation and a Few Fish Stories


Some Nautical Feats of the Hawaiians and Others


Anent the Gay South Sea Islands


Hunting and Shooting in Alaska


Alaska, Whales and Lighthouses


Gunboating in Asiatic Waters


The Canal Zone


With Commodore Dewey in 1898


In the Mists Off Scotland, 1917‑18


The Navy as a National Asset and Necessity


List of Illustrations

Admiral Hugh Rodman


Midshipmen at drill in the days when Admiral Rodman was at the Naval Academy.


Spar deck of the U. S. S. Santee, station ship at the Naval Academy


An old-time sailing vessel on which Admiral Rodman served as midshipman


U. S. S. New Mexico, the flag-ship of Admiral Rodman, Commander-in‑Chief of the Pacific Fleet


Old-time sailing man-of‑war under top sails and courses in heavy weather


Battle-ship in heavy sea


A devil-fish


The Monongahela, a similar ship to Farragut's flag-ship, the Hartford


Vessel in which Admiral Rodman cruised to China and returned, 1886‑1889


Old-time sailors


United States Pacific Fleet off Lahaina Roads, Maui


A colony of sea birds on Midway Island


Hawaiian war canoe, — warriors masked


Admiral Sir David Beatty, R. N., Captain Wurtsburg, U. S. N., Admiral Hugh Rodman, U. S. N.


Admiral Rodman and hunting party on a mountain-top in Alaska


On the banks of an Alaskan trout stream


Landing a four-pound trout from an Alaskan stream


U. S. S. Utah, coming bows‑on


Group of officers on the U. S. S. Elcano, gunboating on the Yangtze Kiang, China


Hongkong Harbor, where Dewey's Fleet lay prior to sailing for Manila


Catch of Tarpon, Gatun Spillway, Panama


The Battle of Manila Bay


Gun salvo broadside from a modern battle-ship


Admiral Beatty, Admiral Rodman, King George V, Prince of Wales, and Admiral Sims, aboard U. S. S. New York


Surrender of the German Fleet, Admiral Rodman pointing it out to Admiral Sims


King Albert and Queen Elizabeth of Belgium being welcomed aboard the U. S. S. New York by Admiral Rodman


Technical Details

Edition Used

These webpages transcribe my copy of the original hardback edition of 1928, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis. It is marked, contradictorily,

Copyright, 1928, By The Bobbs-Merrill Company


Copyright, 1927, U. S. Naval Institute

but is now in the public domain because neither copyright was renewed in 1955/1956 or 1954/1955 as the case may be, 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 authors' 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.

Illustrations and Proofreading

The printed edition includes 26 photographs, tipped in at various points, not usually related to the text. A few of them even seem to have little bearing on that text. I've exercised considerable liberty in moving them from their original pages in the book to places that seemed more germane. The photos are all black-and‑white; I've colorized them slightly to navy blue. In addition, I inserted one color photograph of my own that perfectly illustrates Adm. Rodman's description of his hometown.

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 most of them were caught in an errata list on (the unnumbered) p5: I folded those corrections in without marking them. The other errors are almost 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 what was actually printed. One correction didn't lend itself to that treatment because it conflicted with HTML: it is marked with a bullet like this.º Similarly, glide your cursor over bullets before measurements: they provide conversions to metric, e.g., 10 miles.

Adm. Rodman regularly writes practise for the noun. I've left it.

A number of other 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 photograph of a three-masted sloop under full sail; it is the U. S. S. Essex, a ship on which Admiral Hugh Rodman sailed for three years. The image serves as the icon on this site for his autobiographical memoirs, \'Yarns of a Kentucky Admiral\'.]

The icon I use to indicate this subsite is the photo of the sailing ship in which the author lived toward the beginning of his naval career (p86).

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Site updated: 22 Dec 17