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Good Night: 1897

Circa 1897. "Aboard the U.S.S. Brooklyn -- good night." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative by Edward H. Hart, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

Circa 1897. "Aboard the U.S.S. Brooklyn -- good night." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative by Edward H. Hart, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Lines, not Ropes

Those spare bits of line are used to trice up the hammocks, as when the order 'All Hands Heave Out and Trice Up' is passed at reveille.

Well, this is timely:

"The first African American to graduate from the Naval Academy died this week, 63 years after being commissioned into the Navy.

"Retired Lt. Cmdr. Wesley Brown died Tuesday evening.

"He was 85."


"At the time Brown was trying to enter the academy, Navy physicians looked for reasons to find the young African American man unfit to attend.

"The only defect they could find was an overbite. After an African-American congressman complained, they gave Brown a second look and deemed him qualified."

Author is one Tina Brown, so I guess she works for capgaznews (Capital Gazette News? Not at my newsstand.)

There's a little more in the article, which you can probably get with a Google.

According to the Register of Alumni, he stood 372nd in a class of 790 (Class of '49). Bet he had a miserable Plebe Year.

So much for integration

Anyone notice that the two minority sailors seem to be hammockless? At least there are no empty/rolled hammocks in sight. Re the salt sleeping on the deck, I think the fact that he's not bothered to remove his shoes or deploy his bedding indicates he recently came onboard and is soon due to go on duty.

Air Pump?

For Oldmanmac: The wheel at left isn't the ship's wheel. Too small, and there aren't any handles on the ends of the spokes. I think it's actually part of a hand-operated air pump for supplying fresh air to hard-hat divers. Compare it to this slightly smaller example from the Museum of London.

If you look closely at the Brooklyn's pump, you can see one of the crank handles has been reversed and stuck through the wheel spokes, probably to prevent "owies" in the cramped below decks area.

Nevermind the Longjohns

They've likely set up their hammocks to escape stuffy or overly warm regular quarters. I think the sailors are on an exterior sheltered deck toward the stern, where the auxillary/docking steering would be found. Exterior doors of that louvered type were quite common on ships of that era and don't in and of themselves suggest any interior space (though I doubt you'd find them in an area not well sheltered by a deck above).


We have a mixed race crew who seem to be comfortable in each others company. I thought that the military was segregated until Truman's Presidency.

[Racial segregation in the US Navy began under Woodrow Wilson's administration. -tterrace]

Re: Rope

The ropes seen in this photo were most likely used for lashing up the hammocks when not in use. Note the one that is lying on the deck and is being uses as a pillow by the young lad who seems to feigning sleep.

Sleeping in a hammock on a moving ship would not be difficult at all. as the ship rocked the hammock would remain stationary, acting somewhat like a pendulum. the sleepers weight would pull it downward whilst the ship rotated around it. Now, to be honest, rough seas that caused the ship to pitch (rise and fall) rapidly would be a different story.

Interesting to see that this ship has a mixed crew and that the sleeping quarters are not segregated.

Odd compartment!

I'm trying to figure out where this would be on this ship.I'm thrown by the ornate wooden doors on the right, the steam heat radiator in the middle and what looks to be a ships wheel on the right! With the wheel there, I'd say aft steering but it can't be.But then again !! Footnote; My ship had an aft steering wheel almost identical the air pump wheel but padded around the rim.Not all ships wheels have handles.


"Now lie down and pretend you're asleep whilst I take this picture."

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