The exceptional credit won by the U.S.S. St. Louis in the transportation of troops during the late war with Spain is due to several concurrent circumstances.
In the first place, her commanding officer, the writer, had, in 1882, made a trip on board of a chartered trooper in the Tel-el-Kebir campaign under General Sir Garnet Wolseley, and he had studied the question of how British soldiers are conveyed in merchant steamers hired for the purpose and temporarily equipped. He had but to recall a former most interesting and valuable experience and to consult the official report on the subject to recognize the imperative necessity of making certain preparations and of establishing an orderly method of procedure in advance. Of these preparations, adequate water closet accommodations are first in importance. Twenty men to one hole is a barely comfortable but not luxurious ratio; over fifty men to one hole is a ratio bordering on the distressful. About a dozen extra seats were provided in the St. Louis to reach the former proportion.