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Services Performed by the Flagship Chicago
During Conflagration in San Francisco, California,
And Operations of the Navy in Control of the
Sixth District (Water Front) of the City.

Period Covered
April 19th to May 10, 1906

Portland, Oregon
May 31, 1906

The Commander-in-Chief

Pacific Squadron


In accordance with Article 46, Pacific Squadron Regulations, I have the honor to submit the following report of the Condition and Employment of this vessel for the month ending May 31, 1906. In order that a continuous narrative may be made of her employment in connection with the earthquake which occurred at San Francisco, April 18th 1906, and the disastrous fire which resulted therefrom, the report is commended from and including that date.

2. During the period covered by the report the condition and efficiency of the "CHICAGO" has been very good.

3. At 5:45 a.m. April 18, 1906, the "CHICAGO" got underway at San Diego, Cal., and accompanied by the "BOSTON," and "PRINCETON," left the harbor bound for Long Beach, Cal.

4. At about 10:05 a.m. a wireless message was received from the DeForest Wireless Telegraph Station at San Diego giving the press reports of the disaster at San Francisco. This information was later confirmed in a message from the Mayor of San Diego. The Commander-in-Chief immediately ordered fires started under all boilers and as soon as the necessary instructions could be given to the vessels in company the CHICAGO started at full speed for San Francisco.

5. Under the very efficient and zealous supervision of Lieut.-Comdr. T. W. Kinkaid, U.S.N., the Senior Engineer Office, and the other officers of the Department, and the untiring and enthusiastic work of the men of the Engineer's Force, the ship maintained remarkably good speed during the entire run, making good over the ground, 13.1 knots per hour for the passage. Considering that her bottom was rather foul, the coal, not of the best and that there was an adverse current estimated at half a knot per hour, this was an excellent showing. On the 19th the quarterly four hour full speed trial was held. At one time the engines were making 104 revolutions, which would give a speed through the water under favorable conditions of a little over 17 knots per hour. Throughout air pressure was carried in the forward fire room.

6. During the passage continuous touch was held with one or more of the various wireless telegraph stations on shore - the DeForest Station at San Diego and Los Angeles, the Government Stations at Point Arguello, Farallones, Mare Island and Yerba Buena. At 6 p.m. the 19th, the ship arrived off San Francisco, by which time, by means of the wireless telegraph, a fair estimate was held of conditions obtaining in the burning city. On account of possible changes due to the earthquake, on the bar and in the harbor, a pilot was taken and at 7:30 p.m. the "CHICAGO," anchored off Fort Mason, then the Army Headquarters.

7. A Landing party, fully equipped, stood ready for instant service and the Commander-in-Chief immediately sent an officer to communicate with the Military Authorities. The officers returned, reported, and orders were given to land the ship's battalion at daylight of the 20th.

8. The city on the Fort Mason side of the harbor was, at this time, in full blaze. The buildings within the limits of the post were in danger. The air was filled with burning cinders which were blown by the wind far into the harbor and all the awnings on board had to be furled and the decks wet down to prevent fire. Thousands of panic stricken, homeless and destitute people thronged the shore in the neighborhood of the Fort. Food was being supplied but there had not yet been time for any well organized system of distribution. Drinking water was difficult to find. All were eager to leave but no transportation was immediately available. The officers quarters at Fort Mason were crowded. Many of those who had been driven from their homes and had acquaintances at the Fort sought shelter there. Some of them were the families of Navy Officers. The Commander-in-Chief sent word to the Commanding Officer of Fort Mason that he would be glad to offer asylum on board the "CHICAGO," to those needing it. Many availed themselves of this opportunity and were received and entertained on board until the emergency had passed.

9. A Naval detachment under the command of Lieut. F.N. Freeman, U.S.N., consisting principally of the officers and crew of the U.S.T.B.D. PERRY had been early sent by Rear Admiral McCalla, Commandant of the Mare Island Navy Yard, to assist in fighting the fire raging in the neighborhood of the water-front. When the CHICAGO, arrived this party was still hard at work, having to assist and support time the Navy Tugs FORTUNE, ACTIVE, and LESLIE and other State and private tugs fitted with pumping apparatus. Assistance was rendered this party by the CHICAGO when possible. Food, hose etc. etc. were furnished and men were detailed to take the places of those who became exhausted by hard and long continued work. In the early morning of the 21st the original party was almost replaced from this ship. Lieut. Comdr.'s. C.B. Morgan and G.W. Williams who had volunteered their services to the Commander-in-Chief took charge and with them went Mid'n S.W. Wallace and practically a fresh detail of men. Ensign Caspar Goodrich volunteered for service with this party. None of these officers and men came under my personal observation while at work but there can be no doubt that the wharves and water-front property were saved from destruction by the gallant, intelligent and untiring efforts of the men of the Navy. All accounts concur in assigning to Lieut. Freeman the principal credit for preventing the spread of the fire along the water-front. On the 20th, Lieut. L.R. Sargent, with a party of sixteen men from the CHICAGO went to the U.S. Appraisers' Building to assist in the attempt to save it from flames. (This party also did not come under my observation but the gallant and successful work performed has been fully attested by others.)

10. At daylight on April 20th a battalion was landed from this ship under the Command of Lieut.-Comdr. Wm. P. White, U.S.N., the Executive Officer. This landing party was made up as follows, 10 officers, 22 petty or non-commissioned officers and 157 enlisted me, a total of 189 men. Lieut.-Comdr. White reported directly to the Department Commander, Brigadier General Frederick Funston, U.S. Army, and was at once assigned the duty of patrolling certain districts of the city for the preservation of order and the protection of life and property. This duty was well performed until the afternoon of April 22nd when, with the exception of the Marines, it was recalled on board for other work. Lieut.-Comdr. White and the officers and men of his command are to be commended for their excellent work under very trying and unusual conditions... .

11. At 5 p.m. of the 22nd, the landing party having returned on board, the CHICAGO got underway and was shortly berthed at pier No. 21, foot of Filbert Street. The location of the other ships of the Squadron in port then and subsequently was follows:-

U.S.S. BOSTON, pier No. 8, foot of Howard St.

U.S.S. MARBLEHEAD, pier No. 26, foot of Main St.
(withdrawn from duty at San Francisco, May 6th.)

U.S.S. PRINCETON, pier No. 7, foot of Broadway.
(arrived April 23rd, remained at pier No. 7 until May 6th then went to pier No. 26 in place of MARBLEHEAD).

U.S.T.B.D. PAUL JONES, pier No. 17, foot of Union St.
(From April 23 to May 1st.)

All the available vessels of the Pacific Squadron were thus distributed at intervals along the water-front and served as Headquarters and points of supply for their respective landing parties. Re-enforcements could be immediately furnished to the force maintained on short if necessary.

12. Commander Charles J. Badger was placed in command of the 6th District at 6:30 p.m. April 22nd in accordance with an order from Rear Admiral C.F. Goodrich, U.S.N., Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Squadron, Flagship CHICAGO, dated San Francisco, Cal., April 22nd, 1906... .

13. The limits of which District, as defined in General Order No. 12, Headquarters Pacific Division, April 22, 1906, included "the wharves between Fort Mason wharf and the Pacific Mail Dock, both inclusive, in charge of the Navy". These limits were modified in General Order No. 13, April 24th, so as to exclude the Fort Mason wharf. The total length of the District was about three and one half miles.

14. On April 23rd Headquarters were established in the office of the Port Warden, in a small building near the Market Street Ferry entrance.

15. The District was divided into sections, each to be guarded and patrolled by men from a designated ship and as soon as the vessels were fast to the wharves the patrol was taken up and continued until the withdrawal of the Command from the District.

16. The total strength of the Guard averaged 30 officers, 39 petty officers and 260 blue jackets. The Marines of the Squadron with the exception of the BOSTON'S Guard were assigned to duty with the Marine Battalion under Command of Lieut.-Col. Lincoln Karmany, U.S.M.C., Commander of the 4th District. The BOSTON'S Guard was employed in and about the Ferry Building at the foot of Market Street. The number of posts was at first considerably greater but was gradually reduced as seemed desirable. The men did duty two hours on and six off and continued it nearly three weeks without apparent physical distress. 17. A detail of 16 men, with three (3) officers, was maintained on Fort Mason wharf from the 20th until the 24th, principally to assist the embarkation of the large number of refugees seeking exit from the city at that point. Lieut. J.W. Schoenfield of the CHICAGO was first in charge and it is estimated that during the 20th and 21st he succeeded in sending away at least twenty thousand people, probably many more. Any steamer that touched at the wharf was utilized to ferry the waiting people to some of the towns across the Bay, principally Oakland and Sausalito. To maintain order and to embark without accident such numbers of people required constant watchfulness and high executive ability. In recognition of the excellent work done by Lieut. Schoenfield and party Major General A.W. Greely, U.S.A., Commander of the Pacific Division, addressed a letter to the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Squadron, commending Lieut. Schoenfield for his performance of the difficult duty assigned him. After the 21st a way to the Market Street ferry through the burned district became practicable and the situation at Fort Mason was greatly relieved. The post was maintained, however, until the 24th, being, after the morning of the 22nd in charge of Lieut. W.D. Lehy, U.S.N., of the BOSTON and later of Lieut. Commander C.W. Williams, U.S.N., on leave from the U.S.S. OREGON. These officers and their assistants did most useful work to the time of withdrawal. At various times the following officers did duty as assistants on the wharf in all cases with credit to the Navy- Boatswain J.. Glass, Carpenter T.B. Casey and Pay Clerk J.A. Ihurn of the CHICAGO Chief Boatswain A. Rettig and Chief Carpenter F. Johnson of the Union Iron Works Paymaster R. Nicholson and Pay Clerk Roor of the U.S.R.S. INDEPENDENCE.

18. To the officers and men of the Torpedo Boat Destroyer PAUL JONES was assigned the duty of a fire patrol to watch the numerous fires still smoldering in the vicinity of the waterfront and to take measures to prevent their becoming active.

19. A force was landed on the afternoon of the 22nd from the U.S. Training Ship PENSACOLA, under the immediate command of Lieutenant Commander Guy W. Brown, U.S.N., and was assigned to the 6th District. This force aggregated 10 officers, 27 petty officers and 490 men, mostly recruits. About one hundred were armed and equipped for guard duty. These men were quartered and for the most part messed at pier No. 12, foot of Folsom Street. This pier, its approaches and some of the large buildings in the immediate vicinity, notably Folger's Coffee Warehouse, the Sailor's Home, where there was a small camp of refugees, and the Santa Fe Railroad Warehouses were guarded for several days by men from this detail. The greater part, however, did most valuable stevedore work in unloading steamers and cars bringing relief supplies and, under the direction of the Army and Relief Committees, issuing and distributing stores of all kinds. Wagons conveying relief supplies to distant parts of the city were furnished guards by Lieut-Comdr. Brown. The duties of the PENSACOLA'S detail were not confined to the Folsom Street Wharf. Where-ever along the water-front working parties were needed for the relief work of unloading cars or steamer, men were furnished from it. Much good work was done at the Lafayette Park Relief Station (The Crocker Relief) near the Santa Fe ferry slip. At 5:30 p.m. April 26th, officers and men were returned to the PENSACOLA their services being no longer needed... .

20. The maximum number under my command in the 6th District was reached April 23rd when 50 officers, 79 petty officers, 912 blue jackets were present for duty.

21. Captain O.C. Hamlet, U.S.R.C.S., the Senior Officer present of the Revenue Cutter Service had tendered to Rear Admiral Goodrich the services of the vessels under his command in San Francisco harbor. As there was no need for more men on shore he requested to detail the Cutter "GOLDEN GATE" to the patrol of the water-front and harbor under the orders of the Commander of the 6th District. This important work was well performed. On May 1st, the necessity for her further employment on this duty having ceased, she was returned to her regular duties under the Collector of Customs.

22. The State of California owns and manages all the wharves and water-side property in San Francisco, and cooperation was sought from the State Officials in control. At the first intimation, Mr. C.H. Spear, President of the State Board of Harbor Commissioners, immediately responded and his intimate knowledge of all the details of water-side affairs, his wide acquaintance with the local business community, his energetic endeavors to restore normal business conditions in the shipping district in the shortest possible time and his sound and loyal assistance merit the highest praise. He was worthily assisted by his colleagues in the State Service.

23. The condition of affairs within the limits of the newly created 6th District, April 22nd, was as follows:- Business along the water-front, except at the Pacific Mail Docks, the U.S. Transport Docks, the Ferry slips and at one or two local Steamer Docks, was entirely suspended. Many wharves and adjacent storehouses were unwatched and large quantities of private property was unguarded. Considerable damage had been done by the earthquake, but at most of the wharves vessels could still be berthed and cargo worked. All the shipping, except as noted above, was in the stream where it had been towed when threatened by fire. Smoldering fires existed all along the line. The principal danger points were at the western end in the neighborhood of the Santa Fe ferry slip, about the foot of Bay Street, the Gibraltar Warehouse, the Italian-Swiss Colony Wine Company, and at Folsom and adjacent Streets, a nest of tumble down wooden buildings, which by some miracle had escaped the great fire. The ferry lines were taking away thousands of people anxious to escape from the city and some effort was being made on the other side of the Bay to prevent return except for sufficient reason. On the whole good order existed. There were no guards in evidence, except in the neighborhood of the Transport Docks, and no police. Apparently there had been little or no looting on the wharves.

24. As soon as it was understood that a Military District had been established with authority to cover the administration of the wharves, numbers of people called at Headquarters for information. Managers of steamship lines, Shipping men, Commission Merchants, Watches, Warfingers, etc. etc. They wanted to know their status under this new order of things. All were willing to take up their business where it had been left off but were uncertain how far they could go without permission from the Military Authorities. Every man was told to start up as soon as possible and in his own way. Orders were issued to the Commanding Officers of the several Naval vessels to assist and encourage any efforts towards the re-establishment of business. A marked change was immediately apparent. The State authorities resumed active charge. Vessels came in from the stream and commenced working their cargoes. Teams of all kinds appeared, and in two or three days the business of the water-front was in full flow. So rapid was the increase in wheeled traffic that for a time the question of keeping the vehicles in movement was, more or less, a serious one. There were thousands of people about the Ferry Plaza and hundreds of vehicles. Restricted as travel was to one or two streets, congestion at the Ferry was inevitable, but the Navy sentries rose to the occasion and though inexperienced at the work managed somehow to keep things moving. A few policemen appeared about this time, members of the old "water-front squad," and, with their expert assistance, no further trouble was experienced in keeping the Ferry approaches open.

25. The importance of preventing any disastrous fire on the water-front at this time was even greater than under ordinary circumstances and means were at one taken for its protection. A fire alarm to be sounded by each vessel in case of fire in her district was prescribed and published to those concerned. The two fire tugs maintained by the State for the protection of its property on the water-front were always in readiness. In addition to these vessels, one fire tug from the Mare Island Navy Yard was, as far as possible, kept at hand. The tug used at the Naval Training Station was under orders to proceed to the scene to the first alarm and it was agreed with Mr. F.S. Samuels, Manager J. D. Spreckels Bros. that all tugs of their firm fitted for fire purposes should immediately answer any call. There were also two team fire engines belonging to the San Francisco Fire Department ready for use at all times. With this organization and equipment and the arrangements made for calling it into instant use it was believed that any ordinary fire occurring in the District could be quickly gotten under control.

26. The sanitary conditions in the District were, in the main, very good. One of the piers had been turned over by the Harbor Commissioners to the City Health Department from which to dump garbage brought from the unburned part of the city and conveyed in lighters into the Bay where it was discharged. This threatened, at one time, to become a nuisance, as much more was brought than could be taken away immediately, but upon representation the state of affairs was corrected and no further trouble occurred. A few latrines were located along the edges of the wharves, some of them erected by Commanding Officers of the ships in the neighborhood: these proved of great convenience to the public generally. On May 6 Dr. E.F. Donnelly reported as Inspector for the City Health Department and his reports were forwarded from that time until withdrawal of the Navy force. On the whole, he expressed himself as highly pleased with the general sanitary conditions.

27. On May 1, a Lieutenant of Police with a small force of patrolmen was established in Headquarters near the Ferry Post Office and thereafter no difficulty was found in the disposition of such minor offenders as it became necessary to arrest from time to time.

28. There were no stations for the regular distribution of food to individuals within the 6th District.

29. The only extraordinary expenditures authorized by me were for the hire of a tug from the J. D. Spreckels Company for six days immediately after assuming command. The Charter was for $50 per day and was made after consultation with Captain William C. Wren, Quartermaster's Department, Headquarters Fort Mason. At first the tug service was greatly disarranged and it became necessary to have a tug always at call to move vessels or to perform any other required service. Among her regular duties was the conveying of a supply of milk for the women, children and sick at the refugee camps in the vicinity of Fort Mason and the Presidio, a Naval working party loading and unloading her at each end of the line. She also made several trips to Port Richmond for the purpose of obtaining medical supplies for the General Hospital. These supplies were in small quantities in numerous cars at Port Richmond and the services of a considerable number of men were required to search for and obtain them.

30. On the 22nd inst. upon the arrival of the CHICAGO at her berth, pier No. 21, the Tug PILOT was found pumping at the end of a line of hose leading to smoldering fires in the neighborhood of the Gibraltar Warehouses. Her Master had rather hazy ideas as to who had employed him, but as his services were very useful at the time, he was permitted to continue pumping until the 24th when he was dismissed from further attendance. A claim for compensation for the services of this tug from her first employment has been referred to me from Department headquarters for investigation and will be made the subject of a special report as soon as the necessary information can be obtained.

31. The regulations against the introduction and sale of liquor were strictly carried out and it is to its absence that much of the good order maintained along the water-front with so little difficulty is to be largely attributed. A few cases occurred where liquor in bottles and flasks in the hands of unauthorized persons were seized and destroyed.

32. A few individuals were arrested and turned over to the Police on charges of petty theft or intoxication. One small sloop loaded with metal and junk was seized and delivered to the Police, but no looting of importance occurred in the District from the time it was placed under guard.

33. The relations with the Police, Fire Department and Civil Officials generally were always pleasant and any and all requests made of them were promptly complied with.

34. The section of the 6th District patrolled by the CHICAGO'S men extended from Fort Mason boundary to Pier No. 11, foot of Vallejo Street, a distance of about two miles. Although much longer than any other section in the District that part from the foot of Lombard Street to Fort Mason required comparatively few men to guard it. Two sub-sections were formed, the Western being in charge of Lieutenant E.F. Eckhard, who had with him Midshipmen C.S. Graves, C.A. Woodruff and Chief Carpenter F. Johnson, - the Eastern, in charge of Lieutenant A. N. Mitchell, with Midshipmen S.C. Hooper, F.M. Perkins, G.K. Davis and Chief Boatswain A. Rettig. The guard averaged about eighty petty officers and enlisted men.

35. All of the officers and with very few exceptions, all of the men, performed their rather monotonous duties with commendable fidelity and zeal. The conduct of men both on shore and on board ship was, on the whole, excellent.

36. For the first few nights a water patrol of the district was maintained by the steam launch of the CHICAGO in charge of Midshipman J.S. Woods and F.M. Perkins. During one of these patrols trips Carl Sommer, Machinist Mate 2nd class, lost his life by the accidental discharge of his revolver. This was the only serious accident to any of the personnel which occurred.

37. The Headquarters of the 6th District was centrally located and was immediately placed in telegraphic communication with Army Headquarters and telephonic communication with the CHICAGO by the Army Signal Corps. The office force consisted of three officers, two yeomen, two telegraph operators from the Squadron, beside orderlies and door sentries.

38. Lieutenant Commander A.S. Halstead, as Senior Aide was in immediate charge of the office and of the details of the administration of the District. I desire to specially commend this officer to the Commander-in-Chief for the very able manner in which he performed a difficult duty. As Aides and Inspectors Lieutenant J.G. Schoenfeld and Midshipman S.W. Wallace rendered valuable service. Midshipman Hooper who had had previous experience and proved to be an expert operator was given duty in the office in connection with the telegraphic work. He also performed valuable work. Chief Electrician A.F. Peters, of the CHICAGO, also deserves commendation. Midshipman Hooper and he proved to be the only reliable telegraph operators in the Squadron and between them they attended the instrument day and night. An automobile was furnished the District Headquarters by the Army for use in carrying orders, making inspections, etc.

39. Commander D.W. Coffman, Commanding the BOSTON, Commander R.T. Mulligan, Commanding the MARBLEHEAD and Commander F.H. Sherman, Commanding the PRINCETON ... performed their duties with marked ability, tact and good judgement and I take pleasure in testifying to the loyal support always accorded the District Commander.

40. The duty on shore was carried on under the orders of the Commanders of the Pacific Division and Department of California. The relations with the authorities at Military Headquarters was always pleasant and cordial. Where Districts bordered each other similar relations existed between the Army on one side and the Navy on the other. Mutual aid and support were always willingly accorded.

41. The friction developed in conducting the occupation of the District was surprisingly small considering the people and the various interests to be dealt with. Commendable patience and moderation were practiced by all. Not a case of the use of rifle, bayonet or other weapon occurred and there is reason to believe that the removal of the sailor sentries from the water-front was viewed with regret by those whose persons and property had been safeguarded by them for a period of nearly three weeks.

42. At noon, May 10th, in accordance with General Orders No. 25 Pacific Division, May 8, 1906, and orders from the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Squadron, the Naval forces were withdrawn from the 6th District and returned to their respective ships. The command was turned over to Major F.V. Keesling, 1st Battalion, Coast Artillery, N.G.C.

43. On the same afternoon the vessels of the Squadron left the wharves, the CHICAGO going to an anchorage off Sausalito where she remained until May 21st. On the afternoon of that day she sailed for Portland, Oregon, where she arrived May 24th.

Very respectfully

Commander Charles J. Badger, U.S. Navy,
Commanding Flagship Chicago
and Commander of the Sixth Marine District
of San Francisco, California

National Archives Military Records Group 45, Box 464.
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