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Page 29 text:
ROVINGS or A “JACKIE”
to tell whether they were ships or clouds; some are painted to represent the sun, others painted with big polka dots, etc.
We drew up alongside our boat about 1 o’clock and formally took possession of it. We arranged ourselves in our (piarters, ate lunch, fooled around the boat, had dinner and here I am writing.
There are so many things I have to write of that I just don’t know where to begin.
hirst of all, we are lying on the Brooklyn side of the Hast River, directly opposite the Singer Building, tied up to the Long Island City docks. The boat itself is a first-class merchant vessel, about 300 feet long, completely steel-armored. Jt is about half filled with cargo (sugar from Puerto Rico), and all day long they have been unloading it.
It is not an ocean-to-ocean vessel, but built only for coastwise commerce, and up to the seizure by the United States was used only between the islands and here. Therefore, our hopes of taking a trip to the other side are gone, and we will have to be content with coastwise trips, if we remain aboard her. She is slow, developing only eight knots per hour (about eight miles). It is needless for me to say that the Dutch crew aboard are wild.
The official surrender took place at 5:20 this evening, and it was so impressive that it bears mentioning. The Dutch crew lined up on one side of the deck and the American crew at the other. Two of our men were detailed to lower the Hag, and as it was being hoisted down we stood at attention and held the salute, while the Dutch crew uncovered. Folks, it was pitiful to see the expressions on the faces of the Dutch crew; half of them filled up with tears. I doubt if anything could have affected or touched their hearts more than that simple act. When the flag was lowered, it was folded and handed to our commander, who in turn handed it to the Dutch captain. The scene would have done justice to any movie. The American officer came to attention, saluted and passed the flag to the Dutch captain. lie uncovered and
Page 28 text:
THE IGNATI AN
ers? I anxiously await word, for I am a long, long way from Hayes and Shrader streets. I must complete my letter. for the bugle has just announced mess, and you know from past experience the eagerness with which I have always responded to that call. W hat about the fortunes of the Sodality baseball team? suppose the boys arc still bending them over and lining them out on Sunday mornings. 1 sure wish that I was there to help you out by an occasional crashing drive to the bleachers as of yore. ( I la, ha, he, he.)
Give my kind regards and best wishes to all of our mutual friends, and as for yourself, be sure to stay under cover when the big wind blows.
S. S. Wierlingen, X. V. Harbor. March 21, 1918.
Thursday X ight, 8:15.
Mv Dearest Dad and Mother:
Did you observe the title of this letter? It is all very true, and here I am.
This morning at 9 o’clock our crew was mustered, along with forty-five others, and were sent aboard the different boats that were tied up to Ellis Island, to be sent to our new homes. Every crew had a junior and a senior officer attached to it, and it looked like a big naval review. The occasion of it all was the seizure of the Dutch boats, the details of which, I suppose, you are familiar with by this time.
There were several other crews aboard our boat, which necessitated cpiite a lengthy trip around Xew York harbor. Consequently, 1 was given an opportunity to see Xew York harbor from the beginning to end. Mother, never thought there were so many boats in the world, as 1 saw anchored about here; boats from every country, of every size and description; and you ought to see the way some of the boats are “camouflaged.” From a mile away you would be unable
Page 30 text:
extended his hand to the other, and both shook hands warmly. The old Dutch captain was on the verge of breaking down. You can’t appreciate what the entire affair meant, and no description of mine could aid you. Tomorrow morning at 8 o’clock the Stars and Stripes are raised and it becomes an American vessel; the crews of not only this, but all other Dutch ships seized, are put off and deported back to Holland.
Ye are now acting as armed guard and are patrolling all parts of her, for fear that they may attempt to tamper with her. I have just come in off watch in the engine-room and am going to turn in. Tomorrow we move over to the New York side and dock. All told, there are 14 of us in the crew—the six of us whom I mentioned before and one other: also seven firemen. Every Dutch vessel is armed with the same sort of crew along with two officers.
The living-quarters are fine and we are all patting ourselves on the shoulder for drawing such a class A boat. Tomorrow we take on I’nited States cooks, and you can rest assured that we will continue to be fed in regular navy style. Everything is great, and the spirits of all of us are high. hat the next move will be none of us knows, but it is almost certain that we will be around here for some time to come, and whatever trip we may make will not be far from home shores. As said before, we are all a trifle disappointed, but I suppose that it is all for the best, so none of us complains. That just about constitutes a record of today’s events. It has been a busy day and one that I'll always remember.
New York’s waterways are just as crowded and busy as its streets. I’oats by the thousands are steaming continually to and fro: it is like a city on the water. The city lying across the way looks beautiful, all illuminated. Thomas Edison’s plant is almost directly opposite us. I guess they are working night and day there, for the works are going full blast now.
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