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Painting, Navy ship behind sailboat
Operational Archives Branch
Naval Historical Center
805 Kidder Breese Street SE
Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5060


Diaries of Surgeon
Eugene Potter Stone,
1875-1915



Biographical Note

Eugene Potter Stone was born on 5 April 1861 to Mr. and Mrs. Ebenezer Whiton Stone, Jr. in Boston, Massachusetts. He started Harvard Medical School on 30 September 1880 after having served with the military as a young boy, at age fifteen. He was enthusiastic about his medical education, but seems discouraged by his academic performance in the first few entries of the diary.   

Stone graduated Harvard Medical School on 25 June 1884 and then started as an Intern at the Boston City Hospital on 1 July 1884.  He applied to the Massachusetts Medical Society in 1884 and was admitted. On 9 January 1885 Stone moved to Washington D.C., the following month was asked to become the Resident Physician Protem at Barnes Hospital.

On 1 June 1885 he attempted to begin his military career with the Army, but his application was rejected. After being rejected by the Army, Stone traveled through the eastern states before reporting to the Navy Board for his physical examination on 22 June 1885. He received word eight days later that he passed the medical examination but had been rejected on the preliminaries and to report back in six months for a re-evaluation. On 25 June 1886 he retook the Navy Boards, completing them over the course of two days. He received the news that he had passed the examination on July 14, and returned home to Boston. From there he traveled to West Point, New York to be measured for his uniforms.

On 17 August 1886 Stone received his commission as Assistant Surgeon in the Navy and took his oath the following day. He was ordered to RS New Hampshire in Newport, Rhode Island on 30 August. He served on USS New Hampshire until 31 December 1887 when he was transferred to USCS Bache. He served on Bache until 1 March 1888, and was then assigned to temporary duty at the New York Hospital.  From the 16 May to 28 July 1888, Surgeon Stone served aboard USS Pensacola. After serving on Pensacola he had duty on USS Richmond. On 20 October 1888 he reported to Admiral Gherardi on board USS Minnesota, and on 25 December 1889 he received orders to Mare Island where he assumed duty on RS Independence until 20 August 1890.

On 18 June 1890 Surgeon Stone married Maud Margaret Grant and took up residence at Mare Island, California. Shortly after returning to California Stone received orders to Sitka, Alaska aboard USS Pinta, where he served from 4 September 1890 until 20 November 1892. While in Alaska Stone and his wife lived in a house on Monastery Street near the harbor, which would become part of Sitka National Historical Park in 1979.

Surgeon Stone was ordered to the Marine Rendezvous Boston on 9 November 1893, and from August through December 1894 was stationed on USS Wabash. Leaving Wabash, he returned to the Naval Hospital at Chelsea, Massachusettes until 18 November 1895. He served on USS Indiana from November 1895 through April 1897 and USS Bennington until 1898. From 1898 to 1901 he served at the Naval Dispensary, Washington D.C. On 20 April 1901 he reported to USS Dolphin, serving there until 11 April 1903 when he reported to his new ship, USS Mayflower.

In March 1903 Congress was reviewing a bill giving members of the U.S. Military Medical Corps regular military rank. It was passed and Surgeon Stone received the rank of Lieutenant Commander, U.S.N.

Stone was later stationed on USS Rhode Island, a ship of the Great White Fleet. The Great White Fleet was comprised of 16 battleships and 14,000 men. From the 16 December 1907 to 22 February 1909 the fleet sailed from the East Coast of the United States of America around South America, arriving in San Francisco for a two month stay. On 7 July 1908 the Fleet reorganized and headed to Hawaii. There were later stops in New Zealand, Australia, Manila, Yokohama, Ceylon, Suez, and various ports in the Mediterranean on this journey that took the Fleet around the world before returning to the Norfolk Ship Yard.

In 1909, President Roosevelt decided to create a physical fitness test for the officers in the Navy and Army. They had to either ride 100 miles or walk 50 miles in three days. Stone describes his 50 mile walk and his view that it was not a fair test, but one designed to force some officers into retirement. For his test, Stone walked from Salem, Massachusetts to the Navy Yard on the first day, from Navy Yard to Chelsea, and from Chelsea back to the Navy Yard.

On 13 September 1911 Stone and his family traveled to Naval Hospital Canacao, P.I. where he was to do a little work and then sailed back to Mare Island, California.  Following this expedition Stone requested that he be stationed back at New York Hospital, and this request was granted. Stone and his family moved back to New York on 27 November 1911, but in January 1912 received orders to Denver.

In March 1913 Stone was recommended for retirement with disability in the line of duty due to tuberculosis. His condition worsened over the next several months. On 30 October 1913 he received orders to meet the retirement board in Washington, but was too ill to go. By January 1914, his condition had improved sufficiently for him to travel to the New York Navy Yard for examination by the retirement board. They were concerned by his state and ordered him to a Naval Hospital for further observation. Stone retired later that year, and moved with his wife to New Hampshire, where he died on 5 September 1916.


Scope and Content Note

The Diaries of Surgeon Eugene Potter Stone cover the years 1875-1915.  In the diaries are copies of photographs that he took before and during his naval career, as well as correspondence between Stone and his wife.

The Collection is just one series, Great White Fleet. The folders are arranged chronologically.


Restrictions Note

The original diaries are available only by permission of the processing archivist or Head, Operational Archives. A reference copy is found in Boxes 1 and 2, and is to be used by all researchers.


Preferred Citation

Diaries of Surgeon Eugene Potter Stone, Operation Archives Branch, Naval Historical Center, Washington, D.C.


Subject Headings

United States. Navy--Surgeons--Diaries.
United States. Navy--Cruise, 1907-1909.
United States. Navy--Officers--Diaries.


Extent

1.5 cubic feet


20 August 2003