FROM SAIL TO STEAM
RECOLLECTIONS OF NAVAL LIFE
CAPT. A. T. MAHAN
"THE INFLUENCE OF SEA-POWER UPON HISTORY" ETC.
HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS
NEW YORK AND LONDON
Copyright, 1906, 1907, by Harper & Brothers.
All rights reserved.
Published October, 1907.
||Naval Conditions Before the War of Secession—the Officers and Seamen
||Naval Conditions Before the War of Secession—the Vessels
||The Naval Academy in its Relation to the Navy at Large
||The Naval Academy in its Interior Workings—Practice Cruises
||My First Cruise after Graduation—Nautical Characters
||My First Cruise After Graduation—Nautical Scenes and Scenery—the Approach of Disunion
||Incidents of War and Blockade Service
||Incidents of War and Blockade Service—Continued
||A Roundabout Road to China
||China and Japan
||The Turning of a Long Lane—Historical, Naval, and Personal
||Experiences of Authorship
When I was a boy, some years before I obtained my appointment in the navy, I spent many of those happy hours that only childhood knows poring over the back numbers of a British service periodical, which began its career in 1828, with the title Colburn's United Service Magazine; under which name, save and except the Colburn, it still survives. Besides weightier matters, its early issues abounded in reminiscences by naval officers, then yet in the prime of life, who had served through the great Napoleonic wars. More delightful still, it had numerous nautical stories, based probably on facts, serials under such entrancing titles as "Leaves from my Log Book," by Flexible Grommet, Passed Midshipman; a pen-name, the nautical felicity of which will be best appreciated by one who has had the misfortune to handle a grommet which was not flexible. Then there was "The Order Book," by Jonathan Oldjunk; an epithet so suggestive of the waste-heap, even to a landsman's ears, that one marvels a man ever took it unto himself, especially in that decline of life when we are more sensitive on the subject of bodily disabilities than once we were. Old junk, however, can yet be "worked up," as the sea expression goes, into other uses, and that perhaps was what Mr. Oldjunk meant; his early adventures as a young "luff" were, for economical reasons, worked up into their present literary shape, with the addition of a certain amount of extraneous matter—love-making, and the like. Indeed, so far from uselessness, that veteran seaman and rigid economist, the Earl of St. Vincent, when First Lord of the Admiralty, had given to a specific form of old junk—viz., "shakings"—the honors of a special order, for the preservation thereof, the which forms the staple of a comical anecdote in Basil Hall's Fragments of Voyages and Travels; itself a superior example of the instructive "recollections," of less literary merit, which but for Colburn's would have perished.
Any one who has attempted to write history knows what queer nuggets of useful information lie hidden away in such papers; how they often help to reconstruct an incident, or determine a mooted point. If the Greeks, after the Peloponnesian war, had had a