Photo #: NH 65862 (extended caption)
USS Smith (Destroyer # 17)
Securing from action stations, just prior to entering New York Harbor in late March 1917.
Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation, Washington, D.C. Collection of Captain R.T. Merrill.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 52KB; 740 x 350 pixels
Note: See below for Captain Merrill's comments concerning this photograph.
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"This picture of the Smith was taken in late March, 1917, just outside of New York Harbor which she is about to enter. The Smith, under my command, had been lying in New Orleans preparatory to my taking up my duties to organize the Naval Auxiliary Reserve (officers of the U.S. seagoing merchant ships) which had been recently created by act of Congress. In March the U.S. broke off diplomatic relations with Germany. There were eight German merchantmen lying in the river to avoid capture by the British. I was ordered to prevent their escape. I dropped the Smith down below them and found that the crews were already sabotaging their machinery. I so reported as was ordered to proceed to New York forthwith. I put my wife on a Morgan liner about to sail and followed her out and up the coast, handy but out of sight. We did not know whether German submarines might make surprise attacks on U.S. shipping and so kept the Smith cleared for action the entire trip. This picture shows the crew securing ship from battle stations, with the skipper apparently giving directions from the bridge."
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13 January 2004