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From Sail to Steam, Recollections of Naval Life   By: (1840-1914)

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FROM SAIL TO STEAM

RECOLLECTIONS OF NAVAL LIFE

BY

CAPT. A. T. MAHAN

U.S.N. (RETIRED)

AUTHOR OF "THE INFLUENCE OF SEA POWER UPON HISTORY" ETC.

HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS NEW YORK AND LONDON MCMVII

Copyright, 1906, 1907, by HARPER & BROTHERS. All rights reserved. Published October, 1907.

CONTENTS

CHAP. PAGE

PREFACE v

INTRODUCING MYSELF ix

I. NAVAL CONDITIONS BEFORE THE WAR OF SECESSION THE OFFICERS AND SEAMEN 3

II. NAVAL CONDITIONS BEFORE THE WAR OF SECESSION THE VESSELS 25

III. THE NAVAL ACADEMY IN ITS RELATION TO THE NAVY AT LARGE 45

IV. THE NAVAL ACADEMY IN ITS INTERIOR WORKINGS PRACTICE CRUISES 70

V. MY FIRST CRUISE AFTER GRADUATION NAUTICAL CHARACTERS 103

VI. MY FIRST CRUISE AFTER GRADUATION NAUTICAL SCENES AND SCENERY THE APPROACH OF DISUNION 127

VII. INCIDENTS OF WAR AND BLOCKADE SERVICE 156

VIII. INCIDENTS OF WAR AND BLOCKADE SERVICE CONTINUED 179

IX. A ROUNDABOUT ROAD TO CHINA 196

X. CHINA AND JAPAN 229

XI. THE TURNING OF A LONG LANE HISTORICAL, NAVAL, AND PERSONAL 266

XII. EXPERIENCES OF AUTHORSHIP 302

PREFACE

When I was a boy, some years before I obtained my appointment in the navy, I spent many of those happy hours that only childhood knows poring over the back numbers of a British service periodical, which began its career in 1828, with the title Colburn's United Service Magazine ; under which name, save and except the Colburn, it still survives. Besides weightier matters, its early issues abounded in reminiscences by naval officers, then yet in the prime of life, who had served through the great Napoleonic wars. More delightful still, it had numerous nautical stories, based probably on facts, serials under such entrancing titles as "Leaves from my Log Book," by Flexible Grommet, Passed Midshipman; a pen name, the nautical felicity of which will be best appreciated by one who has had the misfortune to handle a grommet[1] which was not flexible. Then there was "The Order Book," by Jonathan Oldjunk; an epithet so suggestive of the waste heap, even to a landsman's ears, that one marvels a man ever took it unto himself, especially in that decline of life when we are more sensitive on the subject of bodily disabilities than once we were. Old junk, however, can yet be "worked up," as the sea expression goes, into other uses, and that perhaps was what Mr. Oldjunk meant; his early adventures as a young "luff" were, for economical reasons, worked up into their present literary shape, with the addition of a certain amount of extraneous matter love making, and the like. Indeed, so far from uselessness, that veteran seaman and rigid economist, the Earl of St. Vincent, when First Lord of the Admiralty, had given to a specific form of old junk viz., "shakings" the honors of a special order, for the preservation thereof, the which forms the staple of a comical anecdote in Basil Hall's Fragments of Voyages and Travels ; itself a superior example of the instructive "recollections," of less literary merit, which but for Colburn's would have perished.

Any one who has attempted to write history knows what queer nuggets of useful information lie hidden away in such papers; how they often help to reconstruct an incident, or determine a mooted point. If the Greeks, after the Peloponnesian war, had had a Colburn's, we should have a more certain, if not a perfect, clew to the reconstruction of the trireme; and probably even could deduce with some accuracy the daily routine, the several duties, and hear the professional jokes and squabbles, of their officers and crews... Continue reading book >>




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