Archive for the ‘World War I’ Category

A Sailor’s Story; the sinking of the Ticonderoga

In an undated letter, my gg-grandfather, William John “John” Haines writes to his sister Mary (Haines) Stevens:

Dear Sis,

….my son went down with the transport that was torpedoed, I regret that they didn’t have a fighting chance but were brutally murdered…..

Your brother John.

Letter to Mary from John

I have written of this son, my gg-uncle, Alexander “Alex” Haines, who died when the Ticonderoga was attacked in World War I: story here

ticonderoga photo

In that post, I quote my uncle, who surmises:

…There is no way of knowing exactly what happened to Alex.  My guess is that he was every bit as scared as we would have been but still did what he was supposed to do and probably a little more….

A few weeks ago I attended the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records (Gen-Fed), a one week program offering in-depth study of material held by the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and College Park, Maryland.  This led me to Record Group (RG) 45, US Naval Vessels, entry 520, box 1391 and 1392 where I learned more of that grievous day.


A short history of the Ticonderoga quotes several survivors:

While stories differ slightly, a manuscript gives a complete account: “A Sailor’s Story, Comprising the Log of the U.S.S. Ticonderoga and an American Officers Experience Aboard the German Submarine U.K.-152)“, written 1 December 1920, by Frank L. Muller, Lieutenant Commander, U.S.N.R.F., Manuscript courtesy of Rev. Albert Muller O.P.  (a brother of Frank Muller) Dominican House of Studies, 467 Michigan Ave., Washington, D.C.

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Frank Muller writes:

Nearly the whole of the “TICONDEROGA’S” story is from memory as both the ship’s and my personal log is buried in the Deep…. [he continues, saying he was able to retain notes to aid in documenting the later part of his story].

…We arrived in Newport News about September 12, 1918, completing the third voyage of the U.S.S. TICONDEROGA.  One hundred fifteen artillerymen under the command of Lieutenant Frost, U.S.A., marched over the gangway.  The  TICONDEROGA cast off her lines, about to depart on her fourth voyage over there. We went from Newport News to New York to join our East-bound convoy.  Our convoy, consisting of twenty four ships and one cruiser escort, sailed from New York September 22. On September 28, six of the ships had been detached from the main convoy.  They were bound further to the Northward. The night of September 29, the last night in this world for ninety percent of the TICONDEROGA’s complement, was unusually dark.  The sky was over-cast, obscuring even the starlight.

With the first hint of day on September 30, 1918, the TICONDEROGA was found to be in the rear of the convoy, approximately four miles.

In his report, Captain Madison elaborates. He claims the Ticonderoga could not hold it’s speed the evening prior to the attack (which he attributed to a bad batch of coal).  The convoy pulled ahead, the night was dark and misty and by 2:30AM they were no longer visible.

Report of Captain Madison to the District Supervisor, New York, 24 October 1918:

Muller’s story continues:

However, not much time for an exact determination of the distance remained just then, for the moment after the shapes of the convoy ahead were made out, another gray shape, very low on the surface of the water, was sighted by Ensign Stafford, the Navigating Officer. Ensign Stafford immediately reported it to Captain Madison, who had been on the bridge the entire previous night. Captain Madison recognized it as an enemy submarine.  He ordered the rudder to put “hard a left” in a vain attempt to ram the submarine.  The bow of the TICONDEROGA missed the submarine by a bare ten feet.  With the very missiles of his gun against our port side, he fired the first volley from his two 6-inch guns.  Both shots stuck the bridge, reduced it to wreck, killed Quartermaster Hudson, who had the wheel, and the two seamen on lookout.  The submarine was then on our starboard bow.  About forty-five seconds later, it fired two more shots, which destroyed the 3-inch gun forward and killed all the gun crew.

Captain Madison put the wheel “hard a right” in another attempt to ram the enemy, but their third volley struck the bridge, destroyed this structure absolutely and wounded Captain Madison very severely; so he did not succeed in either attempt to ram the enemy. Owing to the steering gear having been shot away, we had lost ship control. The submarine was speeding away from the ship and also keeping a hail of shrapnel bursting over our decks.  For the next fifteen minutes, he had us at his mercy.  Our remaining gun, the 6-inch aft, could not be trained forward of the beam, owing to the superstructure and Sampson posts forward of it.  At last our ship had drifted around with the action of the sea and we commenced firing our 6-inch gun. The submarine was about two miles off.  About twenty five shots had been fired by the enemy, every one of which had taken a large toll in lives.

The shots from our 6-inch gun were striking all within a few feet of the U-boat, which was increasing the distance between us every moment.  The tenth shot fired apparently struck the submarine and he submerged immediately.  We ceased firing after dropping two shots at the point where he submerged.

Only one of the dangers had been temporarily removed when the U-boat submerged, for our ship was a mass of flames, fore and aft. All the wooden upper superstructure had been set afire by the enemy’s shrapnel. Besides, fully fifty percent of all on board had been killed or wounded in that first engagement of one-half hour.  It was about 5:40 a.m., when the enemy was sighted and about 6:10 a.m. when we forced him to submerge.

However, not a moment was lost.  One party of sailors and soldiers, under the direction of Ensign Stafford was detailed to clear away the wreckage of the life boats that had been destroyed by shell fire and prepare the remaining ones for use; another party, under the direction of Ensign Gately, was detailed as fire brigade to get under control the fire, which at the moment threatened to drive us from the ship; Ensign Riengleman, and his 6-inch gun crew stood by their gun, waiting for the Hun to appear above water. I, personally took charge of a repair party for the purpose of rigging up the auxiliary steering gear. Paymaster S.S. Magruder had established a first-aid station amid-ships during the first part of the engagement and was doing his best to relieve the shrapnel-torn youngsters of some of their pain.

Captain Jimmy Madison, whose master spirit had saved his ship and the lives of his crew six months before, was still the directing mind. Although severely wounded and covered with blood, he carried on. Never were men confronted with so many disadvantages and never was the spirit of “carry on” so well personified as it was during the last hours of the TICONDEROGA.

Captain Madison had ordered the wells sounded and it was found that we were yet in a floating condition. The pumps were started, both for the purpose of pumping the water out of the holds and putting out the deck fires.

About 6:25 the auxiliary steering gear was in order.  Captain Madison ordered the ship put on a West course. The West course would take us in the general direction of America, as it would have been useless to continue onto France in that condition. Besides, the West course aided greatly in getting the fire under control, because it prevented the fire from spreading amidships.

At 6:30 Ensign Gately and his tireless fire party had gotten the fire under control. Although all our wooden deck houses were burned to the level of the main deck, the fire was prevented from spreading to the lower holds and magazines.

About forty-five men were aboard the ship after the three remaining lifeboats had been launched. For these forty-five to abandon ship, there remained but one life-raft, and one small, wooden boat termed a “wherry”.  Both the life-raft and wherry were in a very un-seaworthy condition, owing to the effects of the shrapnel fire. The life-raft was secured to the center of the upper boat deck. In order to launch it over the side, it was necessary for the seventeen officers and men to drag it twenty five feet to the ship’s side. The upper boat deck was forty five feet from the water, so they waited until the ship had sunk low enough to decrease this distance in order to avoid wrecking the raft.

The wherry presented the same problem. It had never been used as a lifeboat and had been secured to the center of No.6 hatch aft, on the quarter-deck, for three trips. It could not be dragged to the side, owing to ventilators and other obstructions. Our only means of launching it was to wait for the quarterdeck to become awash; then it would float. The quarterdeck was but ten feet from the water, so we would not have long to wait. Still, it was a long chance to take; for the ship might have sunk before the quarterdeck became submerged.

As I mentioned before, seventeen were gathered around the life-raft amidships. The remaining twenty eight were with me on the quarterdeck. We were busy collecting wooden hatches, boat spars, etc., for those whom the wherry couldn’t accommodate – the wherry could carry but twenty persons at the very most – when a shrapnel shell burst over the quarterdeck. About fifteen were killed outright and a number of the remaining twelve wounded.  This must have been about 7:35. For the third time, at least, and in two particular instances, which I will briefly describe, I miraculously escaped death.

Muller explains he was in his room early morning, just beneath the bridge, when the first explosion occurred. He was impacted by the shell gas, but able to flee, only to find himself surrounded by fire.  He jumped eighteen feet to the forward well deck, escaping with a few scrapes and bruises. His story continues:

About the same instant, the shell exploded among us, a torpedo struck us amidships [the submarine log book has no record of a torpedo, see reference below]. The ship commenced settling rapidly after that. During the next few minutes, the quarterdeck became submerged and the wherry floated clear of the ship’s side. We had placed seaman J.L. Davis who had had his foot shot off, and two wounded soldiers in the boat. The remaining six clung to the sides of the wherry as it floated clear. The wherry filled with water far quicker than it could be bailed out. Even the three wounded man were forced to hang to the side with the other six of us. How their wounds must have smarted! But there was never a murmur from them. Davis in particular must have suffered terribly, but to all appearances, he was one of the coolest of the nine.

Our position at that time was a most dangerous one. The TICONDEROGA was rising and plunging heavily and with every swell, sinking lower in the water. As every plunge threatened to be her last, we prayed for our waterlogged craft to drift clear of the deriliot [?]. Our prayers were answered and we succeeded in placing one hundred yards between our wherry and the ship before she sank. Davis was facing the ship while I faced him across the four feet breadth of the wherry. He called my attention to the final plunge of the TICONDEROGA with the following words, “there she goes Mr. Muller, there goes the old “TICON” our home for the past nine months”. I turned my head to watch her sinking and answered, “Yes, Dave, she was a good home, too, and probably the last we shall have in this world.” Even as I finish speaking, the TICONDEROGA had disappeared beneath the surface of the Atlantic. She sank stern first, her bow high in the air and pointing toward the zenith. It is a solemn sight to witness the sinking of a great ship far out to sea, especially when she has been your little world for nine months. The only effect we felt of the TICONDEROGA sinking was a larger swell than usual. Apparently, there was no suction, for we did not notice any. All that remained of what had been a 6,000 ton ship, was wreckage, with men clinging to some of it. When we were elevated above the level on the crest of a swell, the life-raft could be seen, approximately two hundred yards away. It appeared to be crowded with men. We could not see the submarine.

With chattering teeth, we discussed the possibilities of our being picked up, fifteen hundred miles from both America and France, in the very heart of a great ocean, our chances were very slight, but the hope of a breathing human is always evident no matter how faint it may be at times. So we reasoned that the water would close the torn seams of our boat very soon, then we could hope to bail it out and put it in shape for our accommodation. The wherry had been turning over and over with the action of the swells. At times, it would be upside down, with the keel showing just above the water. When it would capsize in this manner, of course, we were forced to release our hold from the gunwales and scramble for a new grip on the keel until it would again return to the upright position. We had gone through this procedure about four times and was back to our original positions about the gunwales when we drifted among a great number of floating potatoes–we kept our potatoes on deck on the TICONDEROGA and when the ship sank, they floated off.

These potatoes were a great boon to us, for they would furnish both food and drink. Everyone seized a potato and commenced chewing on it. Then we decided upon a scheme for reserving potatoes for future use. As all the soldiers had four pockets in their coats we decided to fill their pockets with raw potatoes. I was busily engaged reaching out for potatoes with my right hand while I held onto the gunwale with my left. The first sergeant of the troops, who was next to me on the wherry side was stowing them in his pockets as I handed them to him. I was reaching several that were just beyond arm’s length, facing away from the wherry, when an extra-large swell capsized the wherry on top of me.

Muller describes his terror as he tries to escape, while his life preserver holds him captive and unable to swim under the boat to freedom.  After a few minutes, the boat rolled again, releasing him, but he lost consciousness.

The events which led to the sinking of the Ticonderoga end here.  We don’t know if Alex made it to one of the lifeboats, the wherry or lost his life from shrapnel or fire.

Details of the submarine’s log is included in “The Submarine Warfare, 1914-1918” by Vice Admiral Andreas Michelson:

The log did not note the torpedo shot which the survivors thought to have seen, so that the action was a pure military engagement. This occurred in latitude 43 5′ N and longitude 38 34′ W; the submarine firing 83 shells, 35 in the first phase before diving and 48 in the second.

Muller’s story continues.

At about 3:30 PM that same day he awakened, finding that had been taken hostage by the German submarine.  He describes the U-boat and the men he encountered. He was seen by the doctor, given whiskey and dry clothes and told to rest. They offered food, but he was feverish and too sick to eat.

For several days, the Captain, a man called Franz and others interrogated him asking of his background, the origins of the ship and the convoy’s destination.  Muller claimed to know nothing.  The ship surgeon continued to treated him and soon he felt better and hungry. His last meal had been aboard the Ticonderoga when Mcgruder’s men had given all hands a cup of coffee and a corned bill sandwich [Alex worked in the ship’s kitchen as a baker].

Muller later names and describes his thoughts of other crew members, including the Executive of the U-boat, Von Werm; Navigator and Diving Control Officer, Wille (who he dubs “a real gentleman”);  the Chief Engineer, Heine; the Surgeon, Fuelcher;  the Communications Officer, Swartz; and Ordinance and Gunnery Officer, Franke.

He describes Captain Franz as a 33 year old nervous man with a violent temper, with bravery approaching recklessness (having witnessed him attacking a group of three armed vessels on October 17) , Franz had been in the German Navy nearly fourteen years and had an evil side. He killed harmless enemies and subjected the crew to violent verbal abuse.

Despite this, Muller was treated well, perhaps because he confessed his father was a German who had come to America 50 years earlier.  On 3 October, the Captain invited him to eat at his table, a meal of canned brown bread, marmalade, butter and very good coffee, offered with white sugar and canned sweet milk.  His dry clothes were returned. He was given a dozen thin cigarettes and permission to venture to the outside deck.  Here he interacted with the scraggly looking, dirty crew, several of whom spoke English and had visited America, including his hometown of Oakland, California. He observed that most of the ship’s company, about 80 of them, were boys between the ages of sixteen and twenty.

The crew explained, after the Ticonderoga sunk, they were searching the loose parts floating in the water.  They saw what appeared to be a dead body, had roped it and brought it aboard thinking it was the ship’s captain.  The doctor pronounced the person “alive” and the crew proceeded to resuscitate him [in a New York Tribune interview, published 18 December 1918, Muller reports that he was ordered aboard “at the muzzle of the German captain’s revolver].  They confessed they had seen men anxiously clinging to debris and were sorry they were not allowed to save others.  Franz had ordered them to fire upon the Ticonderoga life boats; two with wounded men sunk.  Five shots were fired at the remaining life boat, however the 22 aboard survived.

The following day, the Captain informed Muller that Lieutenant Fulcher, the Assistant Engineering Officer, had been rescued from a life-raft;   The Captain indicated he would have rescued more souls, but had no room on the ship.

In a conversation with Fulcher, Muller learned that the submarine had submerged because the Ticonderoga shots had taken out a Gun Captain and carried away part of the rail on the forward deck.  Franz had assumed they were using shrapnel.  A vessel in the convoy had also fired shots, which came 1,500 yards short.  Franz’s intent was to capture the Ticonderoga’s Captain and Gunnery Officer as evidence to his German leaders they had “strafed” an American ship.

Muller wrote of the men’s work on the ship, them mending torn clothes, playing cards and checkers and of a five member orchestra which played German tunes as the men sang along while the officers “drank as much booze as they could put away”.  The U-boat made daily practice dives and on several occasions unsuccessfully chased and fired upon other vessels.  Meanwhile Muller and Fulcher played cribbage a few hours each day and lived for the days when the sea was calm so they could breathe fresh air and gaze at the night sky.

On October 10th it seemed as something strange was going on.  All 80 men were permitted on deck and the wireless officer carried frequent messages to the Captain.  At lunch the next day, the Captain informed Frank that all U-boats had been given the order to cease operations on the American coast.  They were 370 miles from New York.  Apparently the German government was proposing peace, on the terms of President Wilson’s New York speech.

On October 12, the men washed their clothes, took baths, and gave themselves “a general overhauling”.  The boat stopped, a smaller boat launched with the Captain and several others, who paddled along taking photos; several of which included Muller and Fulcher.

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The next day, the wireless man told Muller in confidence that the German Army was suffering a number of reverses on the Western Front.  The British had retaken Cambrai and the Allies were making successful advances.

On October 13, the submarine overtook a sailing vessel; a Norwegian ship which they looted and then sunk after ordering its crew to the boats, who sailed toward Newfoundland (1,000 miles away).  Among the articles were a belt and life ring with the name Steifinder.

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The submarine secured canvases, ropes, sails, flour and all kinds of provisions including 3 live pigs, a stout sow and two small sucklings. The cook killed the pigs immediately and served fresh meat for three days (the only time in their 57 days of captivity). From the haul, Muller was given a cap, pair of slippers and American newspapers and magazines (he had been bare-footed and bare-headed since arrival on the ship). Fulcher was given underwear and socks. The haul would allow them plentiful amounts of fresh bread and potatoes, for the remainder of the voyage.

On October 15th, the submarine went after an unarmed English steamer and was attacked by destroyers responding to their SOS.  They survived nine violent explosions.

On October 20th, the Captain announced that they were to cease war on all merchant vessels and return to Kiel as quickly as possible. They were only to confront ships of war.  The crew erupted, shouting, singing and laughing.  The captain felt peace was imminent and invited Muller and Fulcher for a celebratory glass of Rhine wine. From this point forward, the crew was allowed beer and wine on Sundays and Wednesdays and each got a daily ration of a half bottle of Cognac.

On October 25th they learned Ludendorff had resigned; October 27th that Austria had sued for peace and October 30th that Turkey had been granted an Armistice.  The Allies continued a successful drive along the entire Western Front.

The submarine continued, avoiding destroyers and bombing planes by submerging.  On November 3rd news of the Kiel mutiny and surrender of Austria leaked to the crew. The Captain paced, muttering to himself.  There were endless messages from the wireless room to his cabin.

On November 7th, news was received of Bavaria having proclaimed herself a republic. On the 9th, news was received of the abdication of the Kaiser [Wilhelm II] and of the revolution in Berlin. On the 11th, the Captain officially informed Muller that an armistice had been agreed upon by all the powers, which would take effect at 1:00 AM. At that time he and Fulcher would cease to be prisoners of war. They would be his guests, until such time he could get them to Germany or a neutral country.  The captain went on to say:

Mr. Muller, the cause that Germany has fought for during these four years is lost.  Our Allies have all deserted us during these last fifteen days. There have been mutinies and revolutions all over Germany…..When the big ships were called upon to fight and make one last offensive at sea for the Fatherland, our crews mutinied and refused to go to sea. Then they started to revolt, which spread through my country….and even now they are killing men on submarines who did all the fighting.  My country is ruined.  My King is deposed.  I am a brokenhearted man.

The submarine continued toward Kiel, avoiding mine fields.  They came across another German submarine a U-53 commanded by Captain Von Schrader. The two captains exchanged war stories on the megaphone. Franz exclaimed in German: “We sank an American auxiliary cruiser in the Atlantic Ocean with 300 American soldiers aboard, they were all killed”. The U-53 led them through the final mine field, they anchored and several of their officers boarded where they spoke of the war.

The U-boat continued, anchoring a bit in Copenhagen, then resuming it’s trek to Kiel which was then delayed due to heavy fog. They encountered a U-B boat, a delegate of the Soldiers and Workmen’s Council boarded and assured them that the conditions were again normal in Kiel.  He informed Muller and Fulcher that they would be well cared for and would get home quickly.

Upon arrival, the crew was mustered and given passes.  Muller and Fulcher boarded the Prinz Heinrich, were given real beds with sheets and pillows, had a bath (the first in 45 days), were given four bottles of beer and a package of cigarettes.  The next day, they were given a pass to visit Kiel proper where they walked the main streets and entered some of the better cafes.  Everyone stared.  The streets were crowded and the police presence high.  There were plenty of souvenirs that could be bought, but no clothing. Shopkeepers told them the Soldiers and Workmen’s Council had requisitioned all clothing to provide for the soldiers returning from the front and the sailors discharged from the fleets.

The next morning, they had breakfast with the crew of the submarine.  They were told that the crew voted Franz, Von Wurn, Heins, Swartz and Franke off the ship and elected Wille as Captain.  The submarine was to be surrendered to England.

After a bit of red tape, Muller and Fulcher were slated to sail on the transport ship that would be accompanying the submarines.  The night prior to their departure, Captain Wille and the entire crew invited them to instead sail aboard the submarine on which they had been prisoners.  They gladly accepted this offer, which included a luxury state room and an abundance of food.  They were given discharge papers and set sail on November 20th, eager to get home.  Fulcher had a wife and child [Ruth] and Muller a father and six brothers, all of whom surely thought them dead.

discharge paper

Upon landing in England, a launch came alongside, the German crew boarded and were taken to the merchant vessel that would convey them back to Germany. As the launch left the U-boat’s side, the crew gave three cheers for their ex-prisoners.

A second launch arrived and took Muller and Fulcher to the vessel Maidenstone.  Here they were presented to Sir Eric Geddes [the First Lord of the Admiralty] who gave them a hardy hand and welcomed them back to their own people. From there they were sent by train to London where a government taxi was waiting to take them to the Washington Inn, St. James Square.  In Burberry’s the next day, they ordered new uniforms. They enjoyed a few days in London and set sail on December 7th on the S.S. Corona. [spelled Caronia on the ship manifest] 2:00 AM on December 17th.  Muller writes:

…the S.S. Corona dropped anchor in sight of the Green Goddess that guards the entrance to the City Wonderful, where more than fifty homeward bound Canadian and American officers raised a glass of champagne and drank to Her, the symbol of Liberty.



Source Citation

Year: 1918; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 2614; Line:20; Page Number: 67

Source Information New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.

Original data:

Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897. Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls. NAI: 6256867. Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36. National Archives at Washington, D.C.



William Bell Clark, in his book, “When the U-boats came to America”, in the chapter “The Epic Of the Ticonderoga” offers yet another slant with a bit more detail.  Copy online – here  This version gives details of the men who were on the Norwegian, Steifinder.  After 15 days, one group was picked up and taken to New York.  The remaining men landed on November 5th at Turks Island,  British West Indies.

A slightly different version of Muller’s story was published in the New York Tribune:

New York Tribune


Coming soon… a version of the story from witnesses on the US cruiser Galveston and a court martial!


Frances “Frank” Louis Muller, USN Reserve Force, was awarded the Navy Cross by The President of the United States of America, for distinguished and gallant service as an officer of the U.S.S. TICONDEROGA on the occasion of the engagement of that vessel with a submarine.

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According to city directories, in 1923, Frank, a Master Mariner, was residing with his wife Irene in Houston, Texas. By 1928, the pair had relocated to San Fernando, California (no occupation mentioned).

By 1930 they owned a home on Mountain View Street in San Fernando.  Frank is listed in the census with his wife Irene, who is said to be born about 1898, in North Carolina. His occupation is recorded as “none”.  The census enumerator notes that Muller’s father [Major Henry Muller] was born in Hesse Kassel, Germany.

Frank died 23 October 1932 in San Fernando, California and was buried in the San Francisco National Cemetery with full military honors. His cause of death was pulmonary tuberculosis, nephritis and parenchymatous which he contracted in 1924.  His obituary mentions he was a Captain in the Merchant Marine until he became ill and had to be hospitalized.

He was of a large well known military family. Survivors are named as his widow [likely Irene] and six brothers: George and Harry of the Army Transport Service, San Francisco;   Captain William, U.S.A. Wichita, Kansas; Lieutenant Walter, U.S.A. Gainsborough, Florida; Captain Charles, U.S.A. Fort Worth, Texas and Reverend Albert, Antioch, California.





Junius Fulcher died 5 November 1967 in Norfolk, Virginia at the age of 91.


His obituary reads:

Retired Navy Reserve Lt. Junius Harris Fulcher, 91, of Norfolk, Va., a veteran of 40 years with the U.S. Lighthouse Service, died Sunday [Nov. 5, 1967] at 11:25 a.m. in a hospital.

A native of Frisco he lived in Norfolk 58 years. He was the husband of Mrs. Grace (Talbot) Fulcher and a son of the Rev. George L. and Mrs. Cynthia Stowe Fulcher.

During World War I he was captured by a German submarine off the North Carolina Outer Banks and subsequently escaped.

Besides his widow surviving are a daughter, Mrs. Edwin Ricket of Rockville Centre, Long Island, N.Y.; a son, Junius Harris Fulcher, Jr. of Houston, Texas; a sister, Mrs. Anges Styron of Hatteras, N.C. and 6 grandchildren.

A funeral service was conducted Wednesday at 2 p.m. in Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home by the Rev. Ira Austin of Fist Methodist Church. Burial with Masonic rites was in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Fulcher’s daughter Ruth was a Genealogist.  Her obituary reads:

RUTH A. RICKERT–Ruth A., age 96, died February 24, 2014. Beloved wife of Edwin Rickert, mother of Jean, Wendy and Allen. Grandmother of Michael, Henry and Thomas. Born in Norfolk, VA, January 3, 1918, Daughter of Junius and Grace Fulcher. Ruth graduated from Sullins College, the Maryland Institute of Art and Teachers College at John Hopkins. She taught high school art in Maryland. She was a leader in Scouting, the PTA, and an active member of the United Church of Rockville Centre, NY. Her art was exhibited and she published several books on family genealogy. She was related to preachers, farmers, revolutionary and civil war veterans but her most sentimental heritage was of the generations of Cape Hatteras lighthouse keepers. She kept a light in her heart for everyone. She is survived by her children Jean and Allen. Donations may be made in Ruth’s name to the charity of your choice .
– See more at:



WWI aboard the Ticonderoga

Alexander Haines was the favorite sibling and younger brother of John Haines, my great grandfather (the father of Edith Anna “Nana” (Haines) Hall, who was my dad’s mother).

Alexander Haines

Uncle Alex was stationed on the Ticonderoga.

Following is a story written by dad’s brother in remembrance of Uncle Alex:

When you sail on the Atlantic, you know it is a powerful and treacherous sea with many bad stories to tell.  Also it is incredibly attractive. Occasionally feeling endangered when brushing against the deep you get a prized rush from that shot of emotion called adventure.  Unfortunately, if things don’t go well, terror is a short distance down the road. This has always been true but never more so than during World War 1.

During that conflict American allies fretted over the ocean.  If the Allies were to win, the sea-lanes had to be used to assure supplies.  In an attempt to gain an advantage and because of the importance of this problem strategies were devised and tactics invented.

The United States idea focused on using the Atlantic to swarm cargo ships to France and provide an overwhelming superiority in supplies.  There was no attempt to feint or otherwise baffle with bullshit.  The mission, get as much war goods to France as achievable in the shortest possible time.  For protection, run the ships in convoy and use whatever ships of the line you can spare for escort duty.  However if a vessel malfunctions or warships are unavailable, remember the mission is to maximize the goods on the beach in France not minimize the risk to a few sailors.

By 1917 the U.S. was manufacturing plenty of war goods, but didn’t have enough ships to transport the material. To alleviate this crisis, the U.S. built ships, converted ships, and seized ships.

One of the ships central to this story was the German cargo ship Camilla Rickmers that was seized by U.S. Customs officials in 1917. After being turned over to the Navy, she was fitted out as an animal transport; armed with a 3-inch gun forward and a 6-inch gun aft.

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Renamed Ticonderoga, she was commissioned at Boston in the Naval Overseas Transportation Services on 5 Jan 1918, with Lt. Commander James J. Madison, USNR  in command.

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Sixteen young sailors from New England were included in the crew including Alex Haines of Malden Massachusetts.

Based on some data, I’ve drawn conclusions about our Alex.  Growing up in what today we know was a highly unusual family situation, he had to be a little bit crafty to survive and maintain his popularity with both his father and his brothers. This characteristic would of course help him avoid difficulty with the bureaucracy that surrounds an enlisted man.

In addition, having observed descendent great uncles Bill and Jack Haines as young men, I can say with some certainty that the generation earlier Alex was handsome, had very strong social skills and was popular with guys and attractive to women including his wife the cute, dark haired, Ina.

Ina & Alex

Ina and Alex

Alex was a young guy who laughed a lot, had a zest for life and an itch to see what was over the next hill. I‘m including a letter Alex wrote to his father after his third Atlantic crossing. In it I think you can feel his youthful bravado and enthusiasm for life.

September 16, 1918, USS Ticonderoga Norfolk, Virginia 10 p.m. 

Dear Father,  I have returned from my third tour and will start this week again for France.  I am having a good time and seeing a great many things.  Our first trip was in the spring, and naturally was stormy.  The second trip was very pleasant, until 800 mi. out coming back we ran to a storm, and lost a man, June 21 washed overboard.  I spent the Fourth of July in Virginia.  I might as well have been in a naval yard it was so dead.  I have had Ina come down to spend the week with me this time.  Ina will start back for Boston tomorrow.   

This trip was pretty lively there were 35 ships in the convoy and an American cruiser, which left us in the war zone 800 miles from France on July 21 at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. They and the destroyer were to pick us up the next day but there were two subs following along looking for an opportunity.  At 7:30 a torpedo hit the Tippecanoe in the stern.  If it had not hit them, it would have got us amidships.  We saw a torpedo but not the sub.  The Tippecanoe was our sister ship and was riding on our port side.  She sank in 25 minutes.  It got dark, and we were not bothered for the rest of the night.  At four o’clock the next morning we sighted two on the horizon.  At 7:30 one rose four times to get the ship on our starboard side.  But each time, we opened fire, and made it so warm that they could not launch a torpedo.  The destroyers picked up our wireless and got there in time to stop further loss.  The crew of the Tippecanoe was picked up the next morning.  The subs got into our convoy again one day out from France and one of the destroyers launched a depth bomb that brought up a whale. 

We landed in La Police(?)this last time but the first two trips were Bordeaux.  We came back, by way of the Azores where we ran into subs again.  At eight o’clock in the evening we saw a sub off our port bow.  We were escorting an unarmed ship back to the states.  At nine o’clock they opened fire on us, which we returned.  There were about 20 shots fired.  We do not know whether we got him or not, but he did not bother us any more.  The rest of the way was very pleasant.  Labor day we met a ship and hoisted signals, which they did not answer.  We put two shots across their bow and prepared to sink her.  She answered before we got that far. 

I am sending you my picture that I had taken last trip, and would have sent you, but did not have your address.  I would like to get the address of Aunt Mary, as I would like to write to her. Ina and I are thinking of going out that way after the war.  I am feeling fine, and like this life very much.  I would not have missed this trip for anything.  When you write give me your home address.  Will say goodbye for another trip. 

Your loving son,    

Alex  USS TiconderogaNorfolk VA  

Three days after Alex wrote the letter, the Ticonderoga loaded with horse soldiers, their animals, and supplies steamed to New York and joined a convoy. This passage would be the fourth trip to France for Alex.  Things went well from the time they departed New York on September 22nd until they were well out to sea on the night of the 29th.  Then the ships engine began malfunctioning.  The problem attributed to bad coal continued and by the evening of the 30th the convoy drew away leaving them quietly alone.  At least they hoped they were alone.

Unfortunately they were not alone. At dawn, the calm was shattered by lookout shouts and ships alarm. The German submarine U-152 commanded by Captain Adolf Franz from the dreaded Kreuzer Flotilla thrashed to the surface and cleared for action. Within the first six shots, the forward gun of the Ticonderoga was silenced and after that it was a very uneven battle. For two hours round after round screamed in on the nearly defenseless ship with horrific results shattering the wooden lifeboats and wounding almost all 237 men aboard.

Finally, mercifully, the Ticonderoga slipped beneath the sea leaving only 24 left to tell the tale.

There is no way of knowing exactly what happened to Alex.  My guess is that he was every bit as scared as we would have been but still did what he was supposed to do and probably a little more.

But then as in The Abyss, ” For an instant that seemed to him eternal, a globe of scarlet palpitated within him, or perhaps outside him, bleeding on the sea.  Like the summer sun in polar regions, that burning sphere seemed to hesitate, ready to descend one degree toward the nadir; but then, with an almost imperceptible bound upward, it began to ascend toward the zenith, to be finally absorbed in a blinding daylight, which was, at the same time, night.”

This battle wasn’t totally ignored.  There was a front-page report in the NY Times and two consecutive days of front page reporting in the morning edition of the Boston Globe.  However it wasn’t the lead story and there were no headlines although Alex got his name in the Globe as one of the New Englanders killed.  In a newspaper the story of self-interest of nations and posture of leaders always trumps the sacrifice of citizens.

Not true in the hearts of families however.  This writing has in my mind and I hope yours transformed Alex from a name and a date on a genealogy chart to a person.  Next Memorial Day remember Alex a young man deserving of our respect.

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Graves markers for 113 of these brave men, including our Alex, all who are deemed “missing in action” are at Suresnes American Cemetery, France (website:

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I was hoping to learn more of Alex’s life.

On page 275 of the finding aid Lists of Logbooks of US Navy Ships, Stations and Miscellaneous Units, 1801-1947; special list 44 is listed a Ticonderoga log dated 5 January – 31 August 1918.  I learned that in 1918, the log would have been created on a preprinted form and might include such information as temperature, winds, distance travelled, sightings, crew condition and leaves, training exercises and miscellaneous events of the day.  This Ticonderoga log is part of the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, record group 24 (National Archives RG 24, stack area 18w4, row 22, compartment 16, shelf 4).

During a visit to the National Archives in Washington D.C. during the summer of 2011, I found the log book and took photos of its delicate pages (not all organized yet!, but on Flickr)

The story is fascinating!  Alex, a baker, is mentioned several times.  There were men thrown off the ship for various infractions (like drinking), little did they know it ultimately saved their lives. There was even an onboard murder!

The journal not only gives a glimpse of Alex’s last days, but is chock full of genealogical information – for example an entry dated  Saturday, February 16, 1918, reads:

Three officers and 104 enlisted men of the U.S. Army came aboard during the day for passage overseas, names as follows:Ticonderoga


Fairchild, Samuel G.; McComas, Ben C.; Krowl, Chas. J.; Baugh, Clyde C.; Shrivers, Oura O.; O’Brien, Henry J.; Whitmore, Haswell; Kandell, Norman; Parmley, Wm. J.; Real, Thomas H.; Talbot, John L.; Dzik, Standley; Armstrong, Frank; Engle, Harry; Nordli, Arne A; Kirchenstein, J.D.; Powell, Leo; Roberts, Frank M.; Shirley, Walter; Smith, Henry C.; Lalonde, Edward E.; Vernon, Roy C.; Hochleutner, Irwin E.; Wilkinson, Gerald; Carpenter, Ray. C.; Krohn, Herman; Smith, Robert R.; Amsbury, Harvey E.; Arnold, Warren H.; Benson, Martin; Bock, William C.; Coffman, James W.; Consul, Ralph; Craig, George; Claiborne, Joseph S.; Darling, Raymond D.; Dean, Benjamin A.; Dunlap James Jr.; Everett, Tetie; Fitzgerald, Frank F.; Hanson, Ben A.; Harvey, Earl D.; Hill, Noble McK.; Hosen, Wm. S.; Karnes, Alfred R.; King, Lonnie L.; Kain, John M.; Jones, Ray; Lupp, Luther L.; Lane, Milton; LaBunker Wm. F.; Lederle, Walter H.; McCoy, Geo. T.; Merrill, P.P.; Minnich, Henry; McGlynn, Chas. J; McGuinn, Dan P.; Mellen, Oliver A.; Mellen, James K.; Mitchels, C.E.; McNeal, Wm. H.; Morris, Fred D.; Nickerson, Earl J.; Payne, Howard B.; Provost, Ernest F.; Reeves, John F.; Ring, Albert S.; Rourke, Wm. J.; Rooney, John P.; Sammler, Walter W.; Smith, Leonard; Sweeny, Hubert; Sawatzky, August; Saxton, Lucian H.; Short, Wm. W.; Bradshaw, Lee; Carraro, John; Greene, Henry; Sevenresky, Martin; Deyong, Henry; Stone, Hardin E.; Baker, Ralph V.; Burns, Arthur M.; Carden, Samuel A.; Camp, Enoch; Dalton, Walter; Davies, John; Eby, Robert C.; Boyle, Norman R.; Boreman, John; Horn, Elmer B.; Hoolehan, John; Holloway, Sidney L.; Harvey, William H.; Kelly, Floyd V.; Line, Claud C.; Leiber, Eugene; Long, Norwood; Phillips, Crawford; Ryan, Edward L.; Stonesifer, Robt. H.; Vorac, Rudolph; Welsh, James B.; Lillicotch, Frank V.; Tracy, John; Whitney, Leonardo O.; Martin, Walter


Log Book (Summary) – U.S.S. Ticonderoga – Jan 5, 1918 to Aug 31, 1918

The log commences at noon on Monday, December 31, when Lieutenant Commander James J. Madison reported on board.

Wednesday, January 2 – 48 mattresses and pillows are delivered along with two typewriters and a safe.

Thursday, January 3 – the Navy Yard delivers 7 life rafts.  The starboard anchor arrives and is shackled onto the starboard chain.

On Saturday, January 5 a large number of the crew reports for duty.  Ship’s store and provisions are delivered.

A. Haines, Baker 2c reported for duty on Monday, January 7 

On Thursday, January 10, members of the ship not on watch were granted liberty.  They returned and resumed their duties the next morning.

During this week a number of contracted workmen reported to perform repair and construction work on the ship, they worked from 7am to 5 pm most days but remained until 10PM on Sunday, January 6th and Monday, January 7th and worked through the night on Tuesday, January 8th.  They continued working on Wednesday, January 9th from 7am to 10pm and then again through the night on Thursday, January 9th.  This continued with varying hours through Wednesday, January 16th.

Monday, January 14th – 3 chronometers were delivered. A number of men reported for duty.

Tuesday, January 15th – all persons not members of the ship’s company were ordered ashore. The ship prepared to sail on 10 minute notice.

Wednesday, January 16th – 8:25am proceeded from Hodges Wharf, East Boston, MA enroute to adjust compasses.  Ship maneuvered various courses adjusting compasses.  12:42pm full speed enroute to sea. 5pm Cape Cod light abeam.

Thursday, January 17th – 2:46am sighted Nantucket Shoal Lightship bearing WSW.  Gentle breeze, moderate sea, long swell.

Friday, January 18th – 12:07pm heavy fog set in, engines stopped, at 12:26pm the fog lifted and the vessel proceeded full speed ahead.

Saturday, January 19th – 8am to 4am off anchor Cape Charles, VA; clear skies with snow squalls.   Passed Fortress Monroe at 10:54am.  The ship docked and mail was delivered onboard.

  • Arrival notes: Passage Boston, MA to Newport News, VA
  • Bar to bar – 2 days, 6 hours, 48 minutes; 501.5 miles, 9.14 mph
  • Dock to dock – 3 days, 3 hours, 31 minutes; 541.5 miles, 7.17 mph

January 20th – 31st, – seaman continued working, a number of men departed and reboarded the ship and it snowed quite a bit.  Two men lost liberty for 7-12 days for changing quartermaster watch without permission and one man was tried by the deck court for 36 hours overleave and for being arrested for drunkenness (he lost liberty for 90 days). A few were placed on the binnacle list once for influenza and another for orchitis.  Two men were transferred from NTS Naval Operating Base to the Ticonderoga.

Friday, February 1st – seamen exercised in swinging out and lowering the life rafts.

Sunday, February 3rd – US Mail was delivered.

Feb 4th – cleared ice between ship & dock

Feb 16th – 2 men left ship w/o permission and were discovered trying to board the ship unnoticed by the stern line; 3 officers and 104 enlisted men of the US Army came aboard during the day for passage overseas.

Feb 18th – set sail to NY

  • Arrival notes: bar to bar 0 days, 23 hours, 30 min; dock to anchorage 1 day, 5 hours, 25 min. Anchored off Tompkinsville, Staten Island – weather clear, cold & calm.

Feb 19th – Lieut Arey, executive officer was “sent to his room” charged with being under the influence of liquor.  The next day he was detached and left the ship for conduct unbecoming of an officer.

Wed, Feb 20th – headed out of NY Harbor as part of a convoy enroute to Eurpore with Cargo for A.E.F.

Fri, Feb 22nd – A few dead mules were thrown overboard.

Sat Feb 23rd – wind increased in violence & convoy began to scatter, passed a ship displaying the signal “I am out of control”, rain squalls; 8-12pm no ships of convoy in sight.

Sat, Feb 24 – 9 mules dead this morning; 8-12pm unidentified ship of convoy in sight, made signal but she did not answer.

Tues, Feb 26th  – 1:37pm sounded general alarm, and fired 3 shots from each gun

Sat, Mar 2nd – 2 men were confined to only bread and water for 24 hours commencing at 10am for failing to stand guard in a proper manner.  7:25 sighted convoy of ships off port bow, exchanged signals; 4pm to 5:45pm received various signals from “Aclonza” started to zig zag.

Sun, Mar 3rd – lifeboat cut adrift as it was damaged beyond repair; exchanged signals with convoy; weather stormy and overcast

Monday, Mar 4th – rec’d signal from H.M.S. Arlanza to zig zag throughout watch; ship rolling slightly to long ground swells.

Tuesday, Mar 5th – sighted 2 unidentified steamers, change course; zig zagging from 8am to 6:20pm

Wednesday, Mar 6th – sighted patrol boat and two destroyers; resumed zig sagging; changed course a number of times

Thursday, Mar 7th – rec’d orders from destroyer to follow close; Las Pures Novres beacon abeam at 10:55am and Point Mathew beacon abeam at 11:27am; 4pm proceeded up harbor of Brest and anchored at 12:55pm with 60 fathoms of chain.

  • Arrival notes: Bar to bar: 14d, 21h, 15m; 3,074 miles
  • Anchorage to anchorage: 15 days, 0 hours, 40 min; 3,093 miles

Friday, Mar 8th – commenced heaving anchor and fell in line with rest of convoy.  Point De Petit Minion Beacon abeam. 1:38pm Aux Montons Light House abeam.; 1:57pm The Perfect Lighthouse abeam; 3:35pm sighted Le Croix Island.Rec’d orders from USS Truxton to proceed to Bordeaux instead of St. Naziere; weather cool and hazy, sea calm.  5:48pm sighted object which resembled periscope of submarine; order commence firing and general quarter signal sounded; 5:51pm gun commenced rapid firing at object, 10 shots were fired from 3”gun and 3 shots from 6” gun.  USS Truxton investigated object and reported it to be a buoy marking a wreck. Hits were scored from the last two shots of 6” gun, range 4,200 yards.  In convoy from Brest to Quiberon Bay.  6:35pm Belle Island Lighthouse abeam. 7:54pm dropped anchor at Belle Island in 11 fathoms of water.  Hove up anchor at 8:20pm and followed USS Truxton to another anchorage south about 4 miles.

Sat, Mar 9th – under way 5:55am, Peg Rock abeam 6:25am, Grand Cardinaux light abeam at 6:52am. 9:40am received signal from destroyer to change course, 11:28am sighted Isle Drier, Point du Corbeau light abeam at 12:45pm, Nazaire tower abeam at 3:10pm, sighted Grand Baige light at 3:47pm, 5:11pm Balaunes light house abeam, rec’d signal from escorting destroyer “follow me”, ship altered course following in destroyer wake, 6:35pm Chasserion light on starboard, 7:55pm let go anchor in Pallice Roads with 22 fathoms of chain in the water.

Sun, Mar 10th – swung anchor in at 2:45am with tide; signaled to passing destroyer “we are bound for Bordeaux, have you any orders?” They responded, “Southbound convoy will leave sometime today”, weather calm, sky clear, horizon hazy; Cheaveou light on starboard 9:45am; Chassiron light on port 10:45am; 1:15 sighted Point de la Coubre beacon; 1:58pm sighted Cordouan Light House; 2:23pm Point de la Coubre abeam per standard compass distance approx. 2 miles; 2:30pm passed north bound convoy.; rec’d message from vessel of convoy to take on pilot at Verdun Roads;  3:20pm slowed and took on pilot. Anchored near Tallis lightship at 4:04pm at 5:25pm set clocks ahead one hour.

Mon, Mar 11th – swung up anchor just after midnight, full speed ahead, 2:55am dropped anchor at Pauillac; anchored off Lazaret at 4:25am; French Police officials boarded at 8:20am and departed at 8:32am; warm weather; anchor aweigh at 3:15pm steamed up Gironde River and proceeded up to Bordeaux dropped anchor at 6:15pm and sent first line ashore; at 7:10pm Military Police (US Army) of corporal and three men stationed aboard; at 8:45pm Second Lieut Ellas representing Commanding General, Port of Debarkation rec’d field returns, classification list and report of insurance.

Tue, Mar 12 – Field Artillerymen and Machine Gun men were mustered ashore with their equipment; ship underway for Berth 1, American Docks, Bassens at 5pm, anchored at 5:50pm.  Men granted liberty until 9:30pm, 12 men returned 40 minutes overtime, 3 men returned 1 hr and 15 min overtime, 2 returned 18 hours sand 50 min overtime another was 23 ½ hours overtime [Alex was not among them].

Thurs, Mar 13 – SS Mexico of Havre while underway up the river in fog struck the Ticonderoga on port bow, carried away wire and manila moorings and drove her eastern into the bow of the SS Woonsocket, bow of the Ticonderoga damaged slightly, stern damaged more severely.

Fri, Mar 15 & Sat, Mar 16 – 8 men reboarded the ship having been absent without permission [Alex was not among them], a number of punishments were assigned each man losing 12 liberties.

Sun, Mar 17th – EW Mootz released from brig., discontinued unloading cargo out of hold #2 until repairs could be made, 6pm started coaling ship, 8:36pm pilot came aboard with sailing orders for the commanding officer; 11pm all cargo in hold #1 discharged, weather mild and clear.

Mon, Mar 18th – Stevadores at work in #2 hold, finished discharging cargo at 5am, put life boats back aboard, finished taking bunker coal, made preparations for getting underway, deck court was held and 8 men lost 10 days of liberties and pay varying from $11.97 to $23.94, anchored of Verdun Roads.

Wed, Mar 20th – ship heading north, crew stopped cleaning ship at 11:30am, Whaleboat from SS Munplace came alongside with sick man asking for ships doctor, ship left with patient after having rec’d instructions and medicine from doctor.

Thurs, Mar 21 – crew painting side

Fri, Mar 22 – motorboat from SS Munplace came alongside with 4 men needing medical attention.

Saturday, March 23 – A. Haines Bkr 2c admitted to the sick list, diagnosis tonsillitis  

Sun, Mar 24 – rec’d signal from escort to zig zag; 3:55pm notified by USS May to take position in the convoy; alarm bell rung for battle station followed by fire and boat drills.

Mon, Mar 25 – no ships of convoy in sight, started zig sagging, stopped at 12:40pm on the account of engine trouble, 3 American ships passed, 10:19pm engine repaired, full speed ahead, ship rolling slightly.

Tues, Mar 26 – mast held – JS Vanhorn, profanity 3 days bread and water and 12 days restriction to ship; LL Keenan abusive and profane language, 5 days restriction to ship.   Nathan Stern, neglect of duty and falsehood, loss of pay $23.93 and restricted to limits of ship for 20 days.

Thurs, Mar 28 – mast held – E. Metzdorf , disobedience of orders, 2 days of solitary confinement and bread and water. Baylor, skylarking and attention during reading A.G.N., 6 days restriction.  RJ Drew, skylarking and attention during reading A.G.N., 6 hours extra duty.  CB Frantz admitted to sick leave with tonsillitis.  1:15pm sighted Isle of Terceria

Mon, April 1st –Wind increased in violence, stopped engines for 12 minutes, then full steam ahead. Ship rolling, sea rough, ship pounded heavily under #2 tank several time between 8 and 10PM.

The following named men, by their good conduct and attention to duty, have earned advancement, and the Commanding Officer takes pleasure in promoting them to the next higher rank – 7 men are listed, among them: A. Haines, Baker 2c to Baker 1c

Tues, Apr 2nd – fire & boat drills, moderate sea, sighted 2 steamers

Thurs, April 4th – mast held – F.B. Berlucci refusing to obey orders, 5 days solitary confinement and on bread and water; N. Stern sleeping on duty,  refusing to obey orders, falsehood – to be tried by summary court martial.

Fri, Apr 5 – distant thunder and lightning; sighted a large unidentified steamer.

Mon, April 8 – 9:35pm let go of anchor, Statue of Liberty – Departure Verdon Road Mar 22 arrival NY April 8

Tues, April 9  – ship swinging side to side, cleared USS Iris by 20 feet, dropped anchor pier Oriental Mining, Staten Island.

Wed, Apr 10 – Gale driving ship to shoreward could not round NE End light ship so passed between it and the beach, let go anchor and sent out an SOS for assistance; 6:20pm passed Cape Henry light, sent signal for them to have Navy Yard send tug.

  • Arrival notes: New York to Newport News, VA Apr 9-Apr 12.

Fri, Apr 12 – two bags of mail brought onboard, Stevedores resumed work [Stevedore, dockworker, docker, dock labourer, wharfie and longshoreman can have various waterfront-related meanings concerning loading and unloading ships, according to place and country] .

Sat, Apr 13 – two naval tugs assisted in shifting berth, proceeded from Chespeak & Ohio dock to Government docks Norfolk, published the proceeding of court martial in the case of Nathan Stern, rec’d five bags fresh water, a variety of men left and reboarded ship, stevedores working. Water barge #56 came alongside to deliver 27,000 gallons of fresh water.

Sun, Apr 14 – Liberty party shoved off at noon, carpenters and stevedores resumed work (loading cargo from 7AM to midnight).

Mon, Apr 15 – 4 men were taken to the Naval Hospital and 4 others left the ship for dental work.  One bag of first class mail, 3 bags second class mail and 6 registered letters were brought aboard; diver worked on the propeller, stevedores working.

Tues, Apr 16 – Haines, Baker 1c (and a number of others) left the ship on 5 days leave of absence.

Wed, Apr 17 – stevedores resumed work, driver commenced work on screw, iron company men boarded to do work, a number of men left and reboarded, warm weather and clear the entire day, motor launch from Norfolk ship building came alongside and took part of the ships engine away (wheel) for repqir.

Thurs, Apr 18 – stevedores resumed work, liberty party, crew and various repairmen on and off ship.

Fri, Apr  19 – stevedores resumed work, caulker started recaulking deck, motor boat with meat provisions came alongside with 12 tons of commissary store, various crew members off and on ship.

Sat, Apr 20 – stevedores & caulkers resumed work, workman working on propeller,  Riverside came alongside with powder charges, cartridges and GSK stores), various crew off and on ship.

Sun, Apr 21 – stevedores & caulkers resumed work, #56 resumed giving 100,000 gallons of fresh water, commenced coaling, various crew off and on ship.

Mon, Apr 22 – Company D, 310 Battalion (Labor) boarded, stevedores & caulkers resumed work, various crew off and on ship.

Tues, Apr 23 – stevedores & caulkers resumed work, various crew off and on ship, Haines A. Bkr 1st class returned from 5 days leave of absence including travel time, Haines, A. and Tapply, G.S. were 2 hours and 40 minutes late; detachment of troops embarked consisting of 134 enlisted men.

Wed, Apr 24 – stevedores & caulkers resumed work, various crew off and on ship, life raft fell from roof of warehouse to dock in trying to lower aboard.

Thurs, Apr 25 – machinist working on ship engine resumed work, various crew off and on ship, Riverside delivered 15 barrels of oil; rec’d two bearing and anchor engine crank.

Fri, Apr 26 – pipefitters and machinists resumed work, various crew off and on ship, liberty party mustered and sent ashore.

Sat, Apr 27 – cast off lines from dock, docked Lamberts Point, began coaling, various crew off and on ship

Sun, Apr 28 – resumed coaling, ship underway 12:30pm, Craney Island abeam, Craney light abeam, Bush Bluff light abeam, first line to dock #9, various crew off and on ship.

Mon, Apr 29 – cast off pier 12, Newport News and proceeded towards sea 10:58am, cargo 5,113 tons, bunkers 1,444 tons, water 1,150 tons, stores 20 tons, data re cargo to be entered in the bridge log, took departure from Cape Henry fog horn. Passed Fortress Monroe, Fortress Woll, Thimble shoals, Winterquater buoy and lightship.

Tues, Apr 30 – passed Fenwick Island, Tuckers Beach, Barnegat Light, Sea Girt. Practiced abandoned ship drill, went under Brooklyn & Manhattan Bridge – first line ashore Brooklyn Navy Yard 6:35pm, various crew off and on ship.

Wed, May 1 – various crew off and on ship.

Thurs, May 2 – various crew off and on ship, several men transferred to the US Navy Hospital

Fri, May 3 – various crew off and on ship., received radio; steering, telegraph and whistle tested, 12:04 three tugs came alongside to assist us out , 12:30 full ahead, headed down the East River passed Governors Island , Statue of Liberty, Robbins Reef, Tompkins & Lafayette Forts, Hoffman’s Island, Northern Point Light, Union Island, West Bank Light, Buoy #14, Roamer Shoals Light, Ambrose L.V. Exchanged signals with Commodore. Thunder and Lightening followed by rain.  Following WB ship in convoy.

Sat, May 4 – Following WB ship in convoy, gear disabled and repaired.

Sun, May 5 – Following WB ship, ship pitching slightly to moderate –choppy sea

Mon, May 6 – Following WB ship, started zig zag course, put out fog buoy, hauled in fog buoy, ship dropped out of “Convoy not under command”.

Tues, May 7 – Following WB ship, captain personally held sick call, zig zagging

Wed, May 8 – Following WB ship

Thurs, May 9 – Following WB ship, VD ship dropped from column with damaged steering gear, zig zagging

Fri, May 10 – Following WB ship, rec’d order from Commodore to take position as leader of the W column

Sat, May 11 – Steaming in frontal formation, zig zagging

Sun, May 12 – Steaming in frontal formation, heavy fog set in, passed unidentified ship, zig zagging

Mon, May 13 – Steaming in frontal formation, took in fog buoy started zig sagging, ship rolling slightly to a choppy sea

Tues, May 14 – Guiding on Commodore, zig sagging, exchanged signals with the convoy, USS Charlestown (Ocean Escot) left convoy.

Thurs, May 16 – Steaming in frontal formation, zig sagging.

Fri, May 17 – Convoy separated, followed American Destroyers

Sat, May 18 – followed American Destroyers, passed Pte du Petit Minno lighthouse, arrival at Brest France,passed  Mengam Rock

  • Passage 14 days, 12 hours, 47 min – 3,101 miles bar to bar; coal consumed 382 tons

Sun, May 19 – passed Mengam Rock, Pte du Petit Minou, Tevenonee LH, LaVielle LH, Mana LH, Stine buoy, Isle de Penfiet, Isle de Croix, Leno Rk, Paulaine Light, La Tugnouse; let go anchor 8:11pm, 45 fathams cable

Mon, May 20 – underway 4:10am; passed Les Grand Gardinaux, Ide La Duex, Pte de la Francke, Pte de Corbean. Following punishments awarded – two given “warnings” (1) for clothing stowed under bunk and a dirty life preserver, (2)wearning non-regulation clothing; dirty hammock loss of 2 liberties, washing clothes during inspection loss of 2 liberties; wasting food by throwing it at another man, loss of 4 liberties; smoked on deck, loss of 3 liberties

Tues, May 21 – Army doctor came aboard to examine crew

Mon, May 27 – stevadores on board (discharging cargo), various men off and on ship

Tues, May 28 – 10:50 PM O’Grady return aboard from liberty 20 min overtime, intoxicated with intoxicating liquors and using obscene language.

Wed, May 29 – life boat damaged by crane #44, armed guard crew of SS Carolianian came aboard to be paid off by Paymaster.

Sat, Jun 1 – Old Bassens, Berth #5, Bordeaux France

Mon, Jun 3 – Liberty party returned 8 ½ hours overtime – reason, army trucks refused to take them back to ship as usual and they could not return otherwise. Began fumigating soldiers quarters.

Tues, Jun 4 – SS Black Arrow proceeded down river and rec’d salute of 3 whistles, a number of men boarded the ship for transportation to the US, since there was no suitable accommodation available they left.

Wed, Jun 5 – civilian crews of tugs sold to the French Government came aboard for transportation to the US.

Thurs, Jun 6 – Mootz E.W. to the brig for being drunk and disorderly.

Sat, Jun 8 – started back to the US (names a bunch of places passed while leaving)

Tues, Jun 11 – following ship ahead, exchanged signals with the convoy.

Thurs, Jun 13 – SS Armguay found missing at daybreak, sighted suspicious object, fired 3 shots, all clear

Thurs, Jun 20 – steaming in rear of convoy, rest of convoy out of sight

Sun, Jun 23 – 1:25pm reported that Naughtin, T.J. seaman in missing a thorough search was made from forward to aft without results; 3:00pm board of investigation met to investigate the death of Naughtin.

Mon, Jun 24 – carrier pigeon of Red Antwerp breed lighted on deck, was caught and examined, it was found to have a brass ring with #5484 and an aluminum ring with #37169 about its leg; Summary Court Martial convened trying Eannucci, J.

Tues, Jun 25 – Sighted schooner wrechm Chas W. Alcott, fired 4 shots scoring 4 shots from 2000 yards range

Thurs, Jun 27 – let go starboard anchor off Newport News 7:35am, immigration inspector came aboard to inspect passenger passports

Fri, Jun 28 – the 60 men carried as passengers from France left ship, several men were transferred to the naval hospital

Sat, Jun 29 – started scraping ships bottom, several men left on 5 day leave

Sun, Jun 30 – taking coal aboard (docked at Lamberts Point, Norfolk, VA)

Tues, Jul 2 – a number of men reported aboard for duty

Tues, July 9 – effects of Naughton, T.J. sea 2c U.S.N. taken ashore

Fri, Jul 12 – moved from Norfolk, VA and arrived in NY (lists running time and categories of cargo in tons)

Sat, July 13 – Full speed ahead, rec’d signal to take up position in convoy

Sat, Jul 20 – Boex, L.F.B while carrying a bottle along after well deck fell on same receiving severe cuts on left arm and hand.

Thurs, July 25 – SS Tippecanoe struck by a mine or torpedo on stern, battle quarters sounded and crew mustered on station, Tippercanoe was seen to sink at 9:14 GMT, 8 pm A.T.S., when last seen boats of Tippercanoe were together astern of ship.  Proceeded zig sagging.

Fri, July 26 – submarine sighted on starboard quarter, fired 3 shots at 4000 yards; 2 torpedo boat destroyers joined convoy.

Arrival La Pallice France, 14 days, 20 hours, 23 min; 3241 miles

Wed, July 31 – anchor at La Pallice Roads, France

Sat, Aug 3 – 115 troops of USAQMC mustered, baggage and accoutrements placed on board tug, proceeded to La Pallice.

Wed, Aug 7 – German prisoners on board to work cargo, liberty part left ship. Liberty party retured clean and sober.

Thurs, Aug 8 – German prisoners commenced unloading cargo

Fri, Aug 9 – Army Officers came aboard to look over repairs needed to ship and main engine.

Mon, Aug 12 – two men tried by deck court martial, each sentenced to lose 20 days pay and 20 days liberty.

Tues, Aug 13 – 8:30 pm base ball team returned aboard ship, liberty party returned clean and sober

Fri, Aug 16 – fire alarm sounded on dock, fire and rescue team of 30 men left ship

Mon, Aug 19 – 22 men boarded for passage to the US

Tues, Aug 20 –  sailed from La Pallice to Verdon Roads, France.

Wed, Aug 21 – 12:47pm sounded battle stations – a French ship opened fire on some unknown object outside of the nets.  Join convoy, steaming in rear of UX Ship.

Fri, Aug 23 – zig sagging, fog set in, all of the escort but two destroyers departed.  Passed empty lifeboat. 8:45 pm remaining destroyers left convoy

Tues, Aug 27 – 7PM SS Montosa reported submarine, sounded battle stations and crew mustered at stations, 8:25PM suspicious object off starboard quarter, fired 3 shells at a range of 6000 yards, 9pm all secured.

Sat, Aug 31 – stopped engine for repair 2:54pm, 3:14pm engine repaired, full steam ahead…

The log ends here with the boat at sea.  The final page simply remarks: Vessel Sunk October 6th 1918

Epilogue (from Wikipedia)

The Ticonderoga loaded another Army cargo at Norfolk between 5 and 19 September. She then steamed to New York where she joined a convoy bound for Europe. On 22 September, Ticonderoga cleared New York for the last time. During the night of the 29th and 30th, the transport developed engine trouble and dropped behind the convoy. At 05:20 the following morning, she sighted the German submarine U-152 running on the surface; and she cleared for action. For the next two hours, her gun crews fought the enemy in a losing battle. The U-boat’s gunners put her forward gun out of commission after six shots, but the 6-inch gun aft continued the uneven battle. Almost every man on board Ticonderoga — including her captain — suffered wounds. Eventually, the submarine’s two 5.9-inch guns succeeded in silencing Ticonderoga remaining gun. At 07:45, Ticonderoga slipped beneath the sea. Of the 237 sailors and soldiers embarked, only 24 survived. Twenty-two of those survivors were in one lifeboat and were picked up by the British steamer SS Moorish Prince four days later. The other two, the executive officer and the first assistant engineer, were taken prisoner on board the U-boat and eventually landed at Kiel, Germany, when U-152 completed her cruise. Ticonderoga’s name was subsequently struck from the Navy list.


Lieutenant Commander James Jonas Madison received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions on the Ticonderoga.

Medal of Honor citation

Rank and organization: Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Naval Reserve Force. Born: May 20, 1884, Jersey City, N.J. Appointed from: Mississippi.


For exceptionally heroic service in a position of great responsibility as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Ticonderoga, when, on 4 October 1918, that vessel was attacked by an enemy submarine and was sunk after a prolonged and gallant resistance. The submarine opened fire at a range of 500 yards, the first shots taking effect on the bridge and forecastle, 1 of the 2 forward guns of the Ticonderoga being disabled by the second shot. The fire was returned and the fight continued for nearly 2 hours. Lt. Comdr. Madison was severely wounded early in the fight, but caused himself to be placed in a chair on the bridge and continued to direct the fire and to maneuver the ship. When the order was finally given to abandon the sinking ship, he became unconscious from loss of blood, but was lowered into a lifeboat and was saved, with 31 others, out of a total number of 236 on board.[1]


James L. Mooney, editor, Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Historical Sketches; 8 volumes(Washington: Naval Historical Center Department of the Navy, 1981), 7: 181-2, 209.

Claudia Bradley, Michael Kurtz, Rebecca Livingston, et al, compilers, Lists of Logbooks of US Navy Ships, Stations and Miscellaneous Units, 1801-1947; special list 44 (Washington: National Archives and Record Service – GSA, 1978), 275.

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