Through War Torn Europe: An official trip after WWI told in the words of James Gordon Steese
Number Two

At Sea, U. So Army Transport "Leviathan".
Wednesday, July 16th, 1919.

 Over 500 miles today! We are due at Brest about noon Sunday, or a little less than seven days for the trip. We are having glorious weather, a sea of blue, no vibration to the ship, and scarcely any roll.

Today a Navy chap took us through the engine, boiler, and machinery rooms. I'll not bore you with a description of the many marvels below. Then the ship was taken over from the Germans, there were no blue-prints nor instructions of any kind. The machinery was deliberately damaged and, in addition, it was in bad run-down condition. It was necessary to climb around and follow out every connection. The destruction of the heavy elevating worm shafts of the turbines was especially serious. Now the Navy claims to get better efficiency out of her than the Germans ever did.

Thursday, July 17th, 1919.
One has ample leisure on shipboard for working out many difficult problem and giving consideration to lots of things that have been shoved aside in the bustle of every day life. One can not read all the time. One has not even sufficient energy to take the minimum exercise necessary to keep up a good appetite.

I have been trying to distract myself by planning some wonderful trips for my leave next year. Just before our entrance into the War. I had finally arranged everything for a second trip to South America. This time I was going down to Peru, over the Andes' through the Madre de Dios country, and out the Amazon to Para. Of course, on the way down, there would be little jaunts in Cuba, Jamaica, Panama, and possibly Costa Rica and Colombia. I have been to all of them before, except Colombia, but did not exhaust their possibilities. After accomplishing the real purpose of the expedition, there would then be visits to Rio and Buenos Ayres, of which I have such pleasant memories, before returning via Paris and London. This was recently modified to making the approach to the Amazon Valley through Bolivia instead of Peru, and over an easier route.

At the same time I was planning an African trip for after the War. I had it pretty well worked out to go from the Cape up to the heart of the Continent and out the Congo; then around to Zanzibar, into the heart again and on out the Nile to Cairo, thus putting the sign of the cross on Africa, south to north, and east to west. It really works out quite easily and practicably, with an interesting jaunt around the Mediterranean and through Europe on the way back.

Friday, July 18th, 1919.
We are now only 900 miles from Brest and will be in on time easily. Then the strenuous work begins. Got a blue stripe on my coat sleeve now and it looks quite foolish under the circumstances.

The Executive Officer occupies the Kaiser's suite, similar to mine, plus a sun-parlor, and listed at $5,000.

Saturday Night, July 19th, 1919.
The Cadets put on a little show tonight, ending with a song fest. The old songs quite got me and I'm feeling as sentimental as a school boy. But I am not going to impose on your patience furthers I'll go to bed and sleep it offs I'll mail this in Brest tomorrow. Such notes as I am able to drop from time to time will be numbered, so you will know whether any are missing. Of course, nothing can be done about the mail service, but it will be some satisfaction to know how one's mail stands.

Of some thirty or forty ocean voyages, this has been the most comfortable, but it has been rather dull and uninteresting.

End Notes and Bibliography