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No. 240


San Francisco, California,
May 10, 1906

S I R:-

I have the honor to make the following report concerning the part taken by this vessel in the relief of the sufferers in the late catastrophe in the city of San Francisco, California, and the part taken by the marine guard and crew of this vessel in the preservation of order and property along the water front from Clay street to and including Pier #20.

2. The BOSTON left San Pedro, California, at 3:10 a.m., April 21st 1906, with five (5) car-loads of provisions, some bedding and some clothing, contributed by the relief association of Los Angeles, California. When about eighteen (18) miles east of Santa Barbara, California, I communicated with the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Squadron, through the wireless stations at Point Arguello, Farallon Islands and Mare Island, stating the amount of provisions on board and the probable time of arrival.

3. On the 22nd, while at sea, a wireless message was received from the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Squadron, directing that the BOSTON should proceed to the Folsom street wharf and discharge her relief stores and have her marine guard ready to land.

4. On proceeding for the purpose of going alongside the dock I was notified that a berth was prepared on the North side of Pier #8 at the foot of Howard street. At 5:16 p.m. BOSTON docked at Pier #8 and commenced immediately to discharge the relief stores, after consulting with Captain S.F. Bottoms, U.S. Army, the assistant to Major C.A. Devol, U.S. Army. The Marine Guard was immediately landed under Second Lieutenant William T. Hoadley, U.S. Marine Corps, Ensign Arthur G. Caffee, U.S. Navy, and Midshipman Frank N. Eklund, U.S. Navy, sentries being stationed from Clay Street to Pier #2, foot of Mission Street. About 9:00 p.m. the relief stores had been landed on Pier #8.

5. The morning of the 23rd a detachment of bluejackets was stationed as sentries from Pier #2 to Pier #20, inclusive, for the protection of property and to preserve order as directed in the orders of the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Squadron... .

6. Each pier was occupied by two sentries, one on the dock near the water front, the other at the head of the dock covering the wharf as far as the water front curb, relieving sentries stationed at these places under the command of Lieutenant-Commander Guy W. Brown, U.S. Navy, from the Training Station at Yerba Buena Island, California.

7. Upon arrival of the BOSTON there was noticeable an unsettled condition amongst the civilians. There were numerous local relief representatives and also representatives of the Red Cross, many of whom appeared to have a desire to distribute relief stores to the sufferers anD from observation there seemed to be a lack of system except where the Naval forces and the Army were handling the situation.

8. The next day after the relief stores had been landed it became necessary to call attention to the fact that there was certain cooked food with the stores brought from Los Angeles by this vessel, which together with the tinned food was taken away by direction of the Depot Quartermaster.

9. During the 23rd, 24th and part of the 25th, the relief clothing brought by this vessel from Los Angeles was, at the request of the Depot Quartermaster, distributed to the destitute.

10. On the 23rd and 24th the members of the crew of this vessel, who were not detailed as sentries, assisted in unloading relief stores from vessels and cars brought alongside Pier #8, foot of Howard Street.

11. On the 25th it was found necessary to double the sentries over some wine on Pier #10, there being thirty-\three cases of forty-five gallons each of sherry and port, which had been placed there for shipment to Seattle, Washington. Some of this wine was broached by the crews of vessels making this wharf for the purpose of discharging relief stores or taking away stores on the pier for shipment.

12. On the morning of the 26th I notified the agents on the pier and through them succeeded in having the wine removed by the owners from the dock. On this same date the Army having posted sentries the sentries from this vessel were withdrawn from Docks 8 and 10, but the line of sentries belonging to this ship were arranged in such a manner as to be in touch from the North end of the Ferry Building to the corner to the southward of Pier #20.

13. On the morning of the 27th a deal of men was sent to the Ferry Building to load milk for the Presidio, the PENSACOLA'S detail having been relieved the evening before. This same day at 2:00 p.m. a sentry was posted by the order of the Commanding Officer of the 6th District, at the request of the Army, over the Folger Coffee warehouse, corner of Folsom and Steuart Streets. This sentry was relieved by an Army sentry at 7:00 p.m. the same day. Also on this date surgical instruments were loaned to the Ferry Emergency Hospital at the request of the surgeons in charge. The following day a general operating case was loaned to the same institution. On the 27th the small shops, not including the bar-rooms, on the opposite side of the street along the water front, opened for business.

14. During the afternoon of the 28th a guard of six (6) marines and a First Sergeant reported to Lieutenant J.W. Schoenfeld, U.S. Navy of the U.S.F.S. CHICAGO, who took them to California City [Tiburon], for the purpose of inspection and investigation of the health conditions at that place. This guard returned to the ship a few hours later. On this same date the posts were singled so that one sentry covered the beat which had been patrolled by two (2) from the 23rd up to this time. Also this same evening the Western Fuel Company requested that a sentry should be posted from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. each night over the safe in their office, opposite pier 16, containing a quantity of money. This sentry, although within the Army lines, was maintained until the Naval forces were withdrawn.

15. On the 29th looting was reported on Mission street dock and upon investigation very indefinite information could be had. A sentry was posted on this dock to prevent looting, since which time none has been reported. On this same day a man named William Steward, of 217-1/2 Perry Street, was injured at the Pacific Mail Dock and was found in the street by the Corporal of the Guard of this vessel. He was sent to the Dock Emergency Hospital for treatment. Also, at 7:00 a.m. a woman who was found exhausted in the street was sent to the same hospital. On this date one of the crew of the German Steamer Uarda, alongside Pier #6, was reported by the Master for refusing to work and inciting a strike. The Master was informed that he had the power to place this man in irons and that if he created any disturbance on board he should place him on the dock where he would be arrested by one of our sentries and turned over to the civil authorities.

16. On the 30th two (2) passengers with liquor who had just landed from the Vallejo boat, were turned over to the police. An extra sentry was posted on Pier 20 to protect valuable stores and to prevent the city firemen, quartered there, from smoking. A Marine in charge of certain stores from Mare Island, consigned to Lieutenant Colonel Karmany, U.S.M.C., was found to be under the influence of liquor and was brought on board this ship for safe keeping, Colonel Karmany being notified of the conditions.

17. On the 1st of May about 9:30 a.m. an automobile endangered a woman; one of the marine sentries from this vessel jumped in front of the automobile and ordered the chauffeur to stop but the chauffeur paid no attention to him other than to turn his head away and put on full speed. This automobile was No. 4844 Cal; Chauffeur A.H. Van Cott, Warrant Machinist, California Naval Reserves, 5th District, Headquarters 7th and Jay Streets, San Francisco, California. The same date one man under the influence of liquor was turned in on Pier #2 until sober. One the same date the detail for handling the milk at the Ferry was discontinued.

18. On the 2nd a safe, brought from the burned district, containing some of the records of the U.S. Naval Recruiting Station was landed at the head of Pier #8 and opened. This being within the lines of the Army pickets I called the attention of Captain Hasbrook of the 14th U.S. Infantry, to what was being done, he not having yet received the order prohibiting the opening of safes without a permit signed by the Mayor and General Greely. At the present time the safe remains on the shore end of Pier #8.

19. On the 3rd a crowd gathered in front of the Excelsior saloon on the opposite side of the street from Pier 10. There being evidences of a distribution of liquor the matter was reported to the police for investigation.

20. On the 4th a drunken man was arrested and turned over to the police; also, a report that liquor was being sold at 214 Steuart street was made to the police and upon investigation no liquor was found. The same date an appeal was made to the officer in charge of the marine posts, for aid by a woman who had lost her truck and valise. The expressman who had taken the trunk was held and an investigation made and the matter satisfactorily arranged.

21. On the 5th one straggler from the Training Station on Yerba Buena Island, and three (3) from the INDEPENDENCE were detained on board for protection over night. The following morning they were marched to the boats for Yerba Buena Island and Vallejo and placed on board.

22. At 1:45 a.m. of the 6th two (2) men from the INDEPENDENCE who were under the influence of liquor was arrested and brought on board for safe keeping and protection. One of these men named J. Murfy, Fireman 1st Class, resisted and it became necessary for the sentry to strike him over the head, inflicting a superficial wound. This same date two (2) men under the influence of liquor were sent outside of the lines and their flasks broken. One drunken man who had been insulting women on the street near Pier 16, and one who had been smoking on the dock were arrested and turned over to the police; also, one looter, a foreigner, was found with a small wagon filled with china in sacks. This looter and loot were turned over to the police.

23. From the time that the crew and marine guard of this vessel were landed for the protection of property and the preservation of order the conditions have been generally quiet and orderly, with the exception of those cases mentioned above.

24. The sanitary conditions at first existing on Pier #4 were corrected after the first two or three days, since which time the work has been systematically carried on and the nuisance abated.

25. Several water-closets for the use of men and women were built between piers 4 and 8 over the edge of the docks.

26. The sentries and patrols from this vessel were divided into three squads with two officers and a Chief Petty Officer in charge of each detail. The offers were:- Lieutenant O.G. Murfin, U.S. Navy, Lieutenant W.D. Leahy, U.S. Navy, Lieutenant C.S. Freeman, U.S. Navy, Boatswain James Leckie, U.S. Navy, Chief Gunner William Zeitler, U.S. Navy, and Carpenter A.W. Jones, U.S. Navy.

27. I take pleasure in stating that all work and all sentry duty has been cheerfully performed. The behavior of all as a whole has been very commendable there being a few sporadic cases which have been tried by Court-martial and others have been reported to the Commander-in-Chief for trial.

28. Many destitute persons were furnished with meals by this vessel.

29. On the night of May 9th a drunken man was turned over by the police with the request that the BOSTON care for him during the night, which was done. About 2:00 a.m. of the 10th a soldier named D. Kautz, 24th Company Field Artillery, Presidio, who was carrying a loaded revolver and was drunk at the Ferry Building was arrested, brought on board, placed in double irons and his morning was turned over to Captain Hasbrook, U.S. Army, 14th Infty.

30. The ship hauled away from the dock and proceeded to Mare Island, California, in accordance with the orders of the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Squadron.

Very respectfully

(signed) D.W. Coffman


The Commander-in-Chief Pacific Squadron. (thro' the Commanding Officer, 6th District.)

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