The recent sale of the old cruiser Baltimore in Honolulu leads this writer to recollections of her most famous cruise under a gallant captain.
Toward the end of 1897 our’ relations with Spain had become so strained that war seemed more than probable. At this time the Baltimore, on which I was serving as a watch and division officer, was in Honolulu expecting to relieve the Olympia as flagship of the Asiatic. Honolulu was then an isolated paradise without cable connections and with only a mail steamer once a week.
One evening near the end of February, 1898, when our officers had gathered on the lanai of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel from various pastimes in the city, a clerk rushed out to tell us that the mail steamer had arrived bringing news that the Maine had been blown up in Havana Harbor with the loss of 260 officers and men.
We sat silent in the darkness for awhile, mentally stunned, then hurried back to the ship, one of us remarking:
“That means war!”
Whereupon Ensign George Hayward, a research hound, remarked: