Mahan: The Life and Work of Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan, U.S.N.

By W. D. Puleston | Go to book overview

Chapter XXIV Return to America

LATE in October the Chicago left Southampton for two uneventful weeks in Lisbon, and then began a round of visits to Tangier, Malaga, Gibraltar, Barcelona, and Marseilles. In January, 1895, Mahan learned that the Chicago would be relieved by the San Francisco, and would head for New York sometime in February. While the Engineer Department overhauled the engines and boilers, he concentrated the efforts of the crew on preparing for the inspection he expected on his return. "The approaching inspection is ever on my mind," he wrote his wife. ". . . I can not get rid of the fear that some censure will fall on me. People talk to me as if my reputation was such as to make [me] invulnerable. I hope it may be so, but I am not presuming on it." Just before Admiral Kirkland shifted his flag to the San Francisco, he informed Mahan that he intended "to write the Department to express his entire satisfaction" with him. This was very gratifying but only caused the captain to redouble his efforts.

The Chicago completed her Mediterranean tour early in February. On the sixteenth Kirkland transferred to the San Francisco and a few days later the Chicago steered for home. Admiral Kirkland now wrote the Navy Department an official letter stating that on assuming command of the European Station he had received a memorandum from Admiral Erben censuring Mahan. He supposed they had received information of a similar nature. He therefore considered it

an act of justice to give to the Department the result of my own personal observations in the case of Captain Mahan--based upon six months of actual service with him on board the Chicago viz: "Captain A. T. Mahan, U.S.N., is a careful yet bold Navigator-- never afraid of his ship. He is a just and careful administrator of

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