Short URL for this page:

[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]

[Link to a series of help pages]
[Link to the next level up]
[Link to my homepage]
[image ALT: a blank space]

This webpage reproduces part of
Thence Round Cape Horn

Robert Erwin Johnson

published by
United States Naval Institute
Annapolis, Maryland

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


[image ALT: link to next section]
Chapter 1
This site is not affiliated with the US Naval Academy.

 p. vii  Preface

This is the story of the United States naval forces in the eastern Pacific Ocean, an area known to the Navy as the Pacific Station during most of the period 1818‑1923. Just as the United States attained the status of world power in the course of that period, so the Pacific Station increased in importance until it became the cruising ground of the United States Fleet in the years following World War I. The growth of the nation and that of the station were not unrelated; the Pacific Squadron, later the Pacific Fleet, was one of the agencies contributing to the rise of national power, although its role was often unspectacular.

It was found convenient to follow a chronological arrangement in large part, but this work is not an operational history in the strict sense. Rather I have endeavored to reveal the policies responsible for the assignment of an American naval force to the eastern Pacific and for its maintenance there. Because the warships influenced, and were influenced by, the political, economic, and diplomatic conditions prevailing in the lands bordering on their station, an account of this relation­ship has been included. Some narration of actual operations was necessary to illustrate the discussion of policy and practice, but the reader must not expect to find all of the events which occurred on Pacific Station chronicled herein. The inclusion of technical aspects, baffling as they may be, was essential for my purpose. An effort has been made to define adequately the more mysterious terms.

The introductory chapter contains a consideration of the factors which led the United States Navy to adopt the distant-station policy, with especial emphasis on the conditions which caused the eastern Pacific to be one of its cruising stations. Most of the major  p. viii problems faced by senior officers on distant stations are described also.

I have chosen to relate the events of two early cruises in some detail so that the reader may become familiar with the nature of duty on Pacific Station. Most of the more important occurrences of other cruises have received consideration, and attention has been given to events which seem to have been virtually unnoticed by other historians.

It is difficult to write of ships without frequent use of their names; this repetition may be tiresome to one who does not feel their enchantment. I am not among this group; therefore, I invite the reader to share with me the pleasure of such ship-names as Fairfield and Brandywine, names which have disappeared, I hope not for long, from the United States Navy.

In large part, of course, this is a story of the sea, of an ocean space so wide as to be almost beyond comprehension. Those who share my interest in "the way of a ship in the midst of the sea" perhaps will find in the following chapters more than a modicum of the attraction that the Pacific Station and the men‑o'‑war which cruised over its vast expanse have had for me.

A number of people assisted with research; among them my especial thanks must go to the following: the staff of the Navy Section, War Records Branch, National Archives, particularly Thomas C. Coleman, Jr., and Elmore A. Champie (both now employed in other governmental agencies); the staffs of the Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, and of the New‑York Historical Society; Rear Admiral John B. Heffernan, U. S. Navy (Ret.), formerly Director of Naval History; Admiral Arthur J. Hepburn, U. S. Navy (Ret.); and Mrs. Harriette Saxton of Pasadena, California. The John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation of Los Angeles, California, was responsible for the grant which enabled me to do the research for this study, and my sister, Mrs. John Menegat of Arago Route, Myrtle Point, Oregon, lent additional financial aid. I am grateful to Mrs. Wilburt Scott Brown and John Fraser Ramsey who read the galleys, and to my wife, Vivian, who helped to read proof and prepare trepare index.

Finally, I can only acknowledge my debt to Professor John Haskell Kemble of Pomona College and the Claremont Graduate School,  p. ix my good friend and adviser, who offered sound counsel at every turn. His admirable library on maritime history was open to me during the original writing of the work, and his knowledge of manuscript collections was of much value.

R. E. Johnson

Tuscaloosa, Alabama
28 March 1963

[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 9 Mar 16