1919 - 1920 HANDWRITTEN JOURNAL HANDWRITTEN BY A CREW MEMBER OF THE U.S.S. BIRMINGHAM FLAGSHIP OF THE PACIFIC FLEET’S DESTROYER SQUADRON AS IT PERFORMS POST - WW1 DUTIES, EXERCISES AND NAVY PUBLICITY ALONG THE WEST COAST OF AMERICA

By: A.N. NELSON

Price: $2,455.99

Quantity: 1 available


On offer is a journal and diary of A. N. Nelson, a crew member on the U.S.S. Birmingham, the flagship of the Pacific Fleet’s Destroyer Squadron shortly after the end of World War 1. The diary is entitled above the first entry, “Cruise of U.S.S. Birmingham with Pacific Fleet on West Coast.” This is an accurate description of what takes place in the book. From July 17, 1919 to November 22, 1920, Nelson recounts the passage of the Birmingham as it leaves the Boston Navy Yard, goes through the Panama Canal, and then anchors in San Diego to serve as Flagship of the Pacific Fleet’s Destroyer Squadron. The whole book is written in one long, continuous paragraph. There are no stops or paragraph breaks. For the most part, the book is a matter-of-fact retelling of dates, positions, and activities of the Birmingham. There are also small breaks where Nelson recounts what he sees on board the ship as well as his days of shore leave and pleasure. The book begins, “Left Boston Navy Yard Thursday, July 17 after near six months repair work...First run started on our way for West Coast. The night before we pulled out we had a draft of 200 new recruits to replace the men paid off. I was on deck when we pulled out and felt kind of blue leaving after being near home for so long.” The ship passes through the Panama Canal on route to the West Coast. “We could see the part of the Canal the French Government started to build some old rusted dredges and dirt cans and old twisted nails. Well it took us about six hours to go through the canal there being six locks to pass.” At the end of July the ship reaches Balboa, Panama. Nelson takes shore leave and goes to watch a bullfight and cockfighting, remarking that “I don’t think much of their sports over here.” Leaving Balboa with a formation of 21 destroyers (all at the Birmingham’s stern) the squadron heads to San Diego, where they are met with scores of spectators. After a quick shore leave to Los Angeles and then San Francisco, the ship moves on to Portland, Oregon, going down the Columbia River. Nelson remarks often on the beautiful scenery and mountains of the Pacific Northwest. As Flagship of the Pacific Fleet’s Destroyer Squadron, Nelson writes of the various patrols, war games, and training that the Birmingham participates up and down the West Coast. There are also passages devoted to shore leave in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland, as well as the occasional boat race against another destroyer. At the end of January, 1920, the Birmingham receives an emergency call at 2 A.M. from the army transport ship Mt. Vernon which has sprung a leak 500 miles out of San Francisco. The Birmingham escorts her back to harbor. In April, the Birmingham anchors in Pearl Harbor, and the Nelson visits the “Volcano Kilauea, which is the only active volcano that you can look into.” For the rest of the year, the Birmingham goes up and down the West Coast, being more a representative of the American Navy than anything else. In the summer of 1940 it even represents “the Navy in the American Legion Convention.” in Astoria, Oregon. The diary ends at the end of November 1920, with the Birmingham heading for San Diego “making 21 knots,” arriving in San Diego where the ship is refueled “five hundred fifteen tons” of coal. There are three loose newspaper clippings accompanying the writing, all relating to WW1 or the Birmingham directly. The book has 14 pages of writing, with each page except the last being full of writing. The book begins with about 10 pages of blank space and finishes with about 35 blank pages as well. Nelson’s handwriting is clean and crisp, very easy to read in a slightly faded black ink. It seems at a later date, Nelson might have gone back over or expanded some sections, as they are in a distinctly darker ink. The cover is cloth and shows a good deal of wear, but is still fully attached, and the name “A. N. Nelson,” can be faintly read at the top. There are a few words underneath that look to be “301st section” but they are considerably more faint. The whole book is in good condition. (Background: USS Birmingham (CS-2/CL-2), named for the city of Birmingham, Alabama, was a Chester-class scout cruiser, reclassified a light cruiser in 1920. Entering service in 1908, the ship became known for the first airplane takeoff from a ship in history in 1910. During World War I, Birmingham escorted convoys across the Atlantic. The cruiser was decommissioned in 1923 and sold for scrap in 1930. Following America's entrance into World War I, Birmingham patrolled along the northeast U.S. coast until 14 June 1917, when she sailed from New York as part of the escort for the first US troop convoy to France. After returning to New York she was fitted for service in Europe and in August reported to Gibraltar as flagship for Rear Admiral A. P. Niblack, Commander, US Forces Gibraltar. She escorted convoys between Gibraltar, the British Isles, and France until the Armistice. After a short cruise in the eastern Mediterranean, she returned to the United States in January 1919. From July 1919 to May 1922, she was based at San Diego, California as flagship of Destroyer Squadrons, Pacific Fleet, and then moved to Balboa, Canal Zone as flagship of the Special Service Squadron. After cruising along the Central American and northern South American coast, she returned to Philadelphia and was decommissioned there on 1 December 1923, being sold for scrap on 13 May 1930. Commanders: Franck Taylor Evans: 28 April 1919 – November 1919; George Bertram Landenberger: 1920 onwards.)

Title: 1919 - 1920 HANDWRITTEN JOURNAL HANDWRITTEN BY A CREW MEMBER OF THE U.S.S. BIRMINGHAM FLAGSHIP OF THE PACIFIC FLEET’S DESTROYER SQUADRON AS IT PERFORMS POST - WW1 DUTIES, EXERCISES AND NAVY PUBLICITY ALONG THE WEST COAST OF AMERICA

Author Name: A.N. NELSON

Categories: Books and Manuscripts General Overview, 20th Century Manuscript, 20th Century Diary,

Publisher: SAN DIEGO LOS ANGELES CALIFORNIA CA PANAMA CANAL, 1919

Book Condition: Good

Type: Manuscript

Size: 4to - over 9¾" - 12" tall

Seller ID: 0009029

Keywords: KEYWORDS: HISTORY OF, A.N. NELSON, U.S.S. BIRMINGHAM, FLAGSHIP, PACIFIC FLEET, DESTROYER SQUADRON, POST-WORLD WAR 1 AMERICA, BOSTON TO CALIFORNIA, BALBOA, PANAMA CANAL, SAN DIEGO HARBOR, LOS ANGELES, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA PORTLAND, OREGON, COLUMBIA RIVER, PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII, KILAUEA VOLCANO, CS-2, CL-2, MT. VERNON, POST WORLD WAR 1 NAVY, CHESTER-CLASS, SCOUT CRUISER, AMERICANA, HANDWRITTEN, MANUSCRIPT, DOCUMENT, LETTER, AUTOGRAPH, WRITER, HAND WRITTEN, DOCUMENTS, SIGNED, LETTERS, MANUSCRIPTS, HISTORICAL, HOLOGRAPH, WRITERS, AUTOGRAPHS, PERSONAL, MEMOIR, MEMORIAL, AMERICANA, ANTIQUITÉ, CONTRAT, VÉLIN, DOCUMENT, MANUSCRIT, PAPIER ANTIKE, BRIEF, PERGAMENT, DOKUMENT, MANUSKRIPT, PAPIER OGGETTO D’ANTIQUARIATO, ATTO, VELINA, DOCUMENTO, MANOSCRITTO, CARTA ANTIGÜEDAD, HECHO, VITELA, DOCUMENTO, MANUSCRITO, PAPEL