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  1. The Admirals by Walter R. Borneman (ebook)
  2. The Admirals
  3. General Event Information

A horrific land battle followed at Mukden now Shenyang , China, with upwards of 35, killed and , wounded on both sides.

Another 20, Russian troops were captured as the Russian army abandoned the field and made a disorganized retreat northward. Rear Admiral Zinovi Rozhdestvenski was in port on Madagascar when word reached him that the outpost had fallen to the Japanese. Rozhdestvenski faced a crucial decision. Should he turn around, with his only loss being pride, and return to the Baltic, or should he continue on to Vladivostok?

Rozhdestvenski chose to continue and in doing so elected to take the most direct route.

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These were hardly friendly waters. Before dawn on May 27, , a heavy fog parted long enough for the Japanese to detect the Russian fleet nearing the southern entrance to the strait. Crude wireless flashed the news to Admiral Togo aboard his flagship Mikasa.


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His fleet was waiting at a secret anchorage at Masan Bay, Korea, just to the west. Next came the tactics that every American naval officer would subsequently study at either Annapolis or the Naval War College. Choosing to fight one grand battle that he hoped would settle the conflict and establish complete naval superiority, Togo assembled a major force.

In line astern of the Mikasa, his twelve capital ships steamed south to meet the approaching Russian fleet. Rozhdestvenski had his ships deployed in two parallel lines, with eight lesser battleships and cruisers in the port column and his four principal battleships, including his flagship, Kniaz Suvarov, to their starboard.

Togo might well have chosen simply to pass the Russian fleet on its weaker port side while going in the opposite direction and duke it out with broadsides right down the line. This may have caused some damage—quite probably to both sides—but it would have left the Japanese headed south and the Russians escaping north to Vladivostok. Instead, Togo chose to cross the T, not once but twice. In this maneuver, the Japanese line first turned to starboard and passed across the bows of the advancing Russian columns mostly beyond gun range—the first crossing. Then Togo executed a hard U-turn to port back to the east—not in unison, which would have put his flagship in the rear instead of the van, but one ship at a time.

For just a moment, the Russians thought that Fortune was smiling on them. As the Mikasa led the turn, it appeared momentarily stationary, and the Suvarov opened fire.

Each of the following Japanese ships would also be sitting ducks as they made the turn. But coming out of the turn, Togo increased speed and led his fleet back across the head of the Russian columns to cross the T again, this time at much closer range and with a withering effect on the oncoming Russian ships.

In so doing, the Japanese ships could bring all of their guns to bear to starboard on the Russian lines, while the Russian ships, coming on at a right angle, could bring only their forward batteries to bear. Rozhdestvenski attempted to get his four main battleships into a line ahead of his weaker ships to protect them, but by then the damage had been done.

Of the twelve capital ships in the Russian battle line, eight were sunk and four captured. The Russians lost nearly 12, men, 4, killed and almost 7, taken prisoner. The Japanese rejoiced in their newfound naval might, and Admiral Togo became a godlike hero.

Despite the bitter end for the Russians, the Japanese had also suffered some setbacks over the course of the eighteen-month conflict, including the loss of two battleships to mines. It was a lesson in tactics and politics that King would remember. Once more back in the Philippines, King had been away from the United States for three years, two and a half aboard Cincinnati.

He was anxious to return stateside, particularly when he found officers a year his junior being rotated home.


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His request was granted, and in June he headed home. He had certainly crisscrossed that part of the globe, but despite his later involvement with events there, Ernest J.

The Admirals by Walter R. Borneman (ebook)

King would never again have permanent duty in the Far East. Hampton Roads, Virginia, had rarely seen such a display of naval power. After fourteen months at sea, sixteen U. The architect of this endeavor, President Theodore Roosevelt, was as giddy as a schoolboy as he stood on the deck of the presidential yacht, Mayflower, and watched his Great White Fleet pass in review to the booming of twenty-one-gun salutes. But more important, in less than two weeks Roosevelt would be leaving office, and he was not about to miss this exclamation point on his foreign policy.

The goals for the navy that he had laid out as assistant secretary even before the dash of the Oregon were now triumphant before him. Connecticut led the line, just as the battleship had when departing Hampton Roads in December There followed the other ships of the first division, Kansas, Minnesota, and Vermont. The only slight frustration about this thundering parade was that the weather was not cooperating with the moment. They assembled on the foredeck below the forward inch gun turret, but as the president started to climb onto the base of the turret to address them, he slipped on the rain-slick surface.

Sailors caught him and boosted him up to the makeshift platform as cowboys might push a dude up on a horse. Out of hearing range on the nearby Kansas, Ensign William F. He was delighted to be home. The world cruise had been an eye-opener, but Bill, as his friends called him, had a girl waiting. Still, Halsey had not spent the cruise pining away. He and his shipmates had been the toast of every port of call from Rio de Janeiro to Yokohama, and they had taken full advantage of it. Lieutenant Harold R.

Stark, class of , and Passed Midshipman Raymond A. Spruance, class of , stood on the Minnesota. Ensign Husband E. By the time another such gathering of naval power occurred, Halsey would command the fleet, and two of those officers would be disgraced.

The Admirals

The third would be his rival. Bill Halsey came from a line sprinkled with sailors and at least one pirate. Among his escapades was a ferocious attack on four ships at once, capturing two in the process. Other Halseys followed Eliphalet to sea, but Charles Henry Halsey chose to remain securely on land as first a lawyer and then an Episcopal clergyman. He married well—Eliza Gracie King was the granddaughter of the Federalist politician Rufus King—but Charles died young when he fell out of a window while inspecting the construction of a rectory.

Eliza was left with a brood of six or seven children the record is not clear , including two-year-old William Frederick Halsey. Eliza settled in Elizabeth, New Jersey, to raise her fatherless children, but it was a tough lot. Robeson, was appointed secretary of the navy in , William, by now about fifteen, announced that he would like to go to the U. Naval Academy. Robeson made the necessary arrangements, giving William a vacant slot from Louisiana, and he proceeded to graduate from Annapolis in the class of After William Halsey advanced to lieutenant in , he married Anne Masters Brewster, a childhood friend who traced her roots back to the Brewsters of Plymouth Colony.

Shortly after the wedding, the bridegroom reported for a lengthy sea tour, but not before Anne was pregnant.

General Event Information

Characteristically, he took matters into his own hands when he was fourteen and wrote a rather rambling letter directly to president-elect William McKinley requesting a presidential appointment. Both a strict disciplinarian and a keen academic, William Frederick Halsey, Sr. He had enrolled Willie in a boarding school, Swarthmore Grammar outside Philadelphia, in hopes of readying him for the academy. When the letter to McKinley showed no promise, William Sr. Grandly known as Buck Wilmer University, it was run by a retired naval officer—Buck Wilmer himself—for the express purpose of preparing prospective appointees for the rigorous entrance exams.

But there were two problems. Willie even wrote to the congressman who represented the district in Louisiana from which his father had been appointed, but those had been special circumstances. By the fall of , with no hope of Annapolis in sight, the Halseys chose another tack for their son. The academic result was predictable.