Jun
2012

USS Cleveland, August 14, 1918

Somewhere on the Atlantic
USS Cleveland
August 14, 1918

My dear Maude,

Well here it is Wed and 17 days since we have seen land. We sure had a storm Sun nite and Mon. We had the wind on our beam so we felt the roll worse than if we had been heading rite into it. Mon morning they set the tables for breakfast but we could hardly eat. The tables, benches and all would slide from one side of the deck to the other. One table turned over and quite a bit of mess gear was broken. By noon it was so bad that we couldn’t set the tables and had to take a plate in our hand and eat like at a picnic but believe me it was no picnic. You had to have hold of a stanchion or something with one hand, you couldn’t stand up alone. It was sure funny to watch people try to walk. I slid into the bulkhead first on one side, then on the other. I saw one fellow start to slide from one side of the deck with a plate of beans in his hand to the other. In trying to keep his balance he stuck one foot straight up and his plate of beans straight out and slid for about ten feet on one foot and the funny part was he only spilled three beans.

The worst thing was that they made us shift and scrub bags and hammocks. Imagine trying to scrub a hammock spread flat on the deck with a long handled scrubbing brush when you slid first one way and then the other. I know I banged up against the rail several times. A good many of the fellows accidentally sat down on them. Well soap is all rite for blue trousers but you hate to get it on in spots especially when you don’t want it.

This ship is only supposed to stand a 45 degree roll and we rolled 38 degrees so I guess we wouldn’t have wanted to roll very much more.

But yesterday and today were sure swell. There was still considerable roll yesterday but the sea is sure still and calm this evening.I sure saw a beautiful sunset last nite and the moonlite made the ocean look like silver. I sure wished you could have been standing by me watching it with me.

It is about 6:30 now. We can turn in at 7:30 and I will turn in as soon as I can because I am on watch from 12-4 tonight and I want to get as much asleep as I can. It is pretty warm again now. I am sitting on the topside so as to get the breeze. It is pretty hot down below. I have only slept below four nites since I have been on the ship. I got wet in my hammock every nite for a week from spray while I was sleeping on topside.

We are making about 14 or 15 knots today. Covered 276 miles since noon yesterday till noon today. I think we ought to reach Hampton Roads by Sun then one day to coal ship and two days for target practice and we’re off for New York.

I think Clark will be in City Park Barracks yet when I reach there. I sure hope so anyway. I guess we sill wear whites again starting tomorrow. We have been wearing blues on account of the cold weather. Yesterday and today are the first two days I haven’t been soaked for two weeks. You get so you kind of like to go around wet and cold after you get used to it. So they say, but I never got used to it myself.

Well my dear, I guess that I will have to ring off for tonite. Seems foolish to be writing you when we have 3 or 4 days yet without site of land but you can read it all some of these days.

I am as ever your affectionate sailor,
Sylvan

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