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The Last Cruise of the Saginaw   By:

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THE LAST CRUISE OF THE SAGINAW

[Illustration: LIEUTENANT COMMANDER MONTGOMERY SICARD]

THE LAST CRUISE OF THE SAGINAW

BY

GEORGE H. READ PAY INSPECTOR, U.S.N. (RETIRED)

With Illustrations from Sketches by Lieutenant Commander (afterwards Rear Admiral) Sicard and from Contemporary Photographs

[Illustration]

BOSTON AND NEW YORK HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY The Riverside Press Cambridge 1912

COPYRIGHT, 1912, BY GEORGE H. READ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Published February 1912

ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY COPIES OF THIS FIRST EDITION PRINTED AND BOUND UNCUT WITH PAPER LABEL

THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF THE NOBLE MEN WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN THE EFFORT TO OBTAIN RELIEF FOR THEIR SHIPWRECKED COMRADES

PREFACE

Dear Mr. Read:

I am greatly obliged to you for letting me read your deeply interesting account of the wreck of the poor Saginaw and the loss of Lieutenant Talbot. With General Cutter's approval I shall take the manuscript with me to Boston, but I will return it carefully.

I leave the two photographs, but I have the curious drawing and newspaper scraps, which I will safely return.

Very truly yours, EDWARD E. HALE.

Dec. 21, 1880. WASHINGTON.

A recent re reading of the above old letter from a friend who in his lifetime stood so high in the literary world, has, together with the suggestions of other friends and shipmates, decided me to launch my narrative of the cruise and wreck of the Saginaw on the sea of publicity.

The story itself may be lost in the immense current of literature constantly pouring forth, but some good friends advise me to the contrary.

The fact that stories of sea life and adventure have ever possessed the power to attract the interest and stir the imagination, adds to the courage given me to set forth my plain unadorned story without any pretensions to literary excellence.

Some of the first instructions given to a newly fledged naval officer enjoin upon him the necessity for brevity and directness in his official communications, both oral and written, and eventually he becomes addicted to formal expressions that pervade his entire correspondence. Eloquence or sentiment would probably be crushed with a reprimand. I trust, therefore, that the reader will consider the above conditions as they have surrounded me throughout my service, should he or she find a lack of decorative language in my narrative.

To my mind, as a participant in the related events, there is material in the story to rival the fictions of Fenimore Cooper or Marryat, and I think that the heroes who gave up their lives in the effort to save their shipmates should stand as high on the roll of fame as do those lost amid battle smoke and carnage.

G.H.R.

August 16, 1911.

CONTENTS

I. THE BEGINNING OF THE CRUISE 1

II. THE WRECK 12

III. ON THE ISLAND 31

IV. THE SAILING OF THE GIG 58

V. WAITING 72

VI. RESCUED 85

VII. THE FATE OF THE GIG 96

APPENDIX 121

ILLUSTRATIONS

LIEUT. COMMANDER MONTGOMERY SICARD Frontispiece

U.S. STEAMER SAGINAW, FOURTH RATE 2

THE LANDING AT MIDWAY ISLANDS, SHOWING SEALS AND ALBATROSS 8 From a sketch by Captain Sicard

THE MIDWAY ISLANDS AS WE LEFT THEM 8

OCEAN ISLAND AND REEF 14

VIEW OF OCEAN ISLAND, REEF AND LAGOON AS SEEN FROM THE SOUTH 16 (The island is at the lower edge of the circle)

OCEAN ISLAND AS VIEWED FROM THE NORTH 16 (The arrow shows where the Saginaw struck)

THE SAGINAW IN THE GRIP OF THE BREAKERS 24

THE CONDENSER MADE FROM A SMALL BOILER AND SPEAKING TUBES 36 From a sketch by Captain Sicard

GATHERING TIMBERS FROM THE WRECK 36 From a sketch by Captain Sicard

THE CAPTAIN'S TENT 42 From a sketch by Captain Sicard

THE STOREHOUSE ELEVATED TO AVOID THE RATS 42 From a sketch by Captain Sicard

LIEUTENANT JOHN G... Continue reading book >>




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