NEWPORT NEWS, Va., April 7.—A party arrived at Old Point this morning on the yacht Kanawha, owned by Mr. H.H. Rogers, the Standard Oil magnate. They had been to Charleston and Cuba, and came here to inspect places of interest surrounding Fort Monroe. On board were Mr. Rogers, ex-Speaker Thomas B. Reed, Prof. Laurence Hutton of Princeton, Dr. Rice, ex-Representative Foot[e], and Samuel L. Clemens, (Mark Twain.)
The Kanawha dropped anchor about 10 o’clock and the party came ashore. They were met by friends from Fort Monroe and shown around the peninsula this afternoon.
The Kanawha sailed this evening for New York.
Thomas B. Reed left the group so he might take a train to argue a law case [MTHHR 483n2; NB 45 TS 9].
Sam’s notebook: “Saw Reed off to Washington. Chamberlain Hotel. Maj. Gen McCook, wife, daughter, & wife’s sister. Old Point Comfort—18 hours by excellent vessel from New York. Delightful hotel Fortress Monroe. Jeff Davis. Hampton School, 20 minutes left for it, 2 or 3 p.m.” [NB 45 TS 9].
Sam’s ship log: “Saw Reed off to Washington by rail. Guard-mount at Fortress Monroe. Military Club in the embrasures of the fortress—guests of Maj. Gen. McCook. Jeff Davis resided here (by request) for a while. / Hampton School 20 minutes away. / Sailed at 3 p.m.” [MTP]. Note: Edward M. McCook (1833-1909), famous Civil War General and a member of the famous Ohio family of “Fighting McCooks”; Governor of Colorado Territory 1869-75; thereafter a wealthy investor in real estate, mining, and European telephone companies.
April 8 Tuesday – Sam’s notebook: “Before midnight, storm came on. Much rolling. Violent squalls of wind, with downpour of rain, lightning—one boom of thunder, rather mellow. Took shelter in Delaware breakwater before dawn. Several other vessels—coal tugs outside with women & children in the barges. Myriad of ducks / On Knees for Matches. Fine piece of navigating” [NB 45 TS 9].
Sam’s ship log offers a somewhat less cryptic account:
Before midnight a storm came on. Much & competent rolling. Violent squalls of wind, with heavy downpour of rain, some flashes of lightning—one solitary thunder-boom, rather mellow. I put on a dressing-gown & an over-coat & went up to the poker-chapel at 2 a.m. to smoke. Found everything on the floor in a mess, & the matches underneath—but on my knees I secured them in time to explain to the Commodore, who put his head up for a moment. Then Hutton came up, & said, his bed was wet—which compelled comment.
The deluge of rain blotted out the coast-lights, & we had to find the Delaware Breakwater with the lead, after running many miles beyond it. Secured shelter there before dawn—a handsome navigation exploit. A big ship followed our lights & saved herself from destruction thereby.
Tarried all day. Other vessels in refuge with us—among them a great liner. Very stormy outside.
Myriads of ducks [MTP].
April 8, ca. – Thomas R. Lounsbury wrote to Sam, wanting to know “what in hell is an oesophagus” in his “Double-Barrelled Detective Story.” (Sam’s line: “Far in the empty sky a solitary oesophagus slept upon motionless wing”) [MTP].
April 9 Wednesday – The Kanawha sailed at 9 a.m.from Old Point Comfort, Va. to N.Y.C. Sam’s
notebook: It arrived at 5 p.m. “a brisk run of 165 miles. Caught 5.45 train for home. Telegram sent at 8 yesterday took all day. / Mrs. Bunce at home” [NB 45 TS 9].
Sam’s ship log: “Sailed at 9 a.m. for New York. The yacht was believed to be a good & staunch sea-boat before—she is known to be one now.
Arrived off East 23d at 5 pm—a brisk run of 165 miles.
Caught 5.45 train for Riverdale.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.