Journal of Secretary of the Navy John D. Long
Washington, May 30, 1898.
Only a word this morning. Saturday afternoon Helen and I went, with the Presidential party, in a special car a dozen miles out into Virginia, to Camp Alger. It was a day of dust, perspiration and discomfort. We stood in the hot sunshine upon a platform, past which the various regiments went in review. After the Massachusetts Sixth went by, Lodge and Helen and I drove down to their tents and sat with them for a while. There was an element alike of pathos and humor in the whole thing. Sad to think of these boys running the risk of their lives, of disease, wounds, suffering and; at the same time, the melancholy of their
picnic exposure in the open air, dusty, dirty, uncomfortable, made it seem like the fag end of a tiresome picnic when everyone wishes he was at home. . . .
Yesterday, Sunday, I came to the Department and stayed until noon. Dispatches had come from Commodore Sschley showing indecision and indications of inefficiency on his part and the possibility of his starting
out back from Santiago de Cuba. This, coupled with the fact that he was not able to tell us whether the Spanish fleet was inside the harbor or not, was very irritating. I sent him rather a sharp telegram, that he must find out that fact. . . .
Source Note: Transcript, MHi, Papers of John D. Long, vol. 78. Note: Document is on Navy Department stations with “J.D. LONG/SECRETARY” in the top left corner.