In 1916, the author, then a member of the Florida Naval Militia, got a chance to experience the real Navy during a summer cruise on board the battleship Louisiana .
In a carefully documented album of postcards, snapshots, and entries, the 19-year-old author wrote of his two-week trip up the Atlantic coast from Jacksonville, Florida, where he and other members of the 2nd Battalion, Florida Naval Militia boarded the USS Louisiana for their first summer cruise. By 21 July 1916 the entire North Atlantic Fleet stood at anchor in Narragansett Bay off Newport, Rhode Island. The diary captures Militiaman Fernety's youthful optimism and gives a hint of 19th-century jingoism before America entered World War I. What follows is an abridged version of Fernety's battleship diary.