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.
14 July 1916
We met at the Armory at the foot of Main Street at 0730. The boys have been looking forward to this day with the greatest enthusiasm and now that it is here, we are all happily packing our bags, lashing our hammocks, and putting everything in readiness for the long-expected cruise. At 1030, equipped with rifles and side arms, we paraded around the principal streets of the city, headed by a brass band. At 1300 we marched to the Union Depot to entrain for Portsmouth, Virginia.