Satchwell, Herbert J.
Manuscript Diaries and related ephemera of Pvt. Herbert J. Satchwell, U.S.M.C., of the U.S.S. Kearsarge, recounting several cruises of the ship along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, the Gulf of Mexico, and the West Indies, dated 1900-1903

6 volumes, small quarto, 960 manuscript pages, entries dated 1 November 1900 to 21 September 1903, plus ephemera, as follows:

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Vol. 1. -  163 pp., entries dated 1 November 1900 to 26 April 1901; bound in leather, written in ink, in a legible hand, minor wear at edges. Recounts a trip from Brooklyn Navy Yard, down to Hampton Roads, Virginia, then to Florida, around Florida to the Gulf of Mexico, stopping at various ports along the way, then to the West Indies, passing Cuba and Haiti, then to Puerto Rico, where they went ashore at Culebra, before sailing to Kingston, Jamaica and then returning to Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Vol. 2. - 136 pp., entries dated 24 May 1901 to 23 October 1901; with 31 pp. essay “A Battleship Community,” plus 3 pp. on the President McKinley assassination; bound in half leather, marbled paper backed boards, spine and tips chipped, front board shaken, boards scuffed, entries written in ink, in a legible hand. After some time in dry dock at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Kearsarge leaves for a cruise along the New England coast stopping at Newport and Block Island, Rhode Island and Gay Head (Aquinnah), Woods Hole, and Nantucket, and Camp Higginson. They then sailed south to Virginia, to Newport News, Hampton Roads, Cape Henry. They spend time at sea, and then proceed into Chesapeake Bay, before heading back north to New York (Staten Island), and New York City.

Vol. 3. - 200 pp., entries dated 1 November 1901 to 19 May 1902; bound in half leather, cloth backed boards, spine and tips chipped, front board shaken, some scuffing to binding, in ink, in a legible hand. This diary begins while in New York, the Kearsarge then sails to Newport News, Virginia, before going on a cruise to the West Indies. The ship proceeds to Havana, Cuba; then Culebra Island, Puerto Rico, where they set up camp. After some time, they sail to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, then to Cienfuegos Bay, Cuba. After Cuba the ship sails to Colon, Columbia; then to Port of Spain, Trinidad; Fort-de-France and St. Pierre, Martinique; St. John, Antigua; St. Thomas, D.W.I.; back to Culebra Island, and back to Hampton Roads and Newport News, Virginia.

Vol. 4. - 147 pp., entries dated 20 May 1902 to 6 November 1902;”, bound in half leather, cloth backed boards, lacks spine, front board and first couple of pages loose, some scuffing to binding, entries written in ink, in a legible hand. This volume opens while the ship is in the Chesapeake Bay and Annapolis, Maryland, before sailing to New York City and Ft. Warren, Massachusetts, then back to the Brooklyn Navy Yard before going north to New England and  ports in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, and returning to the Navy Yard at New York during the months of September through November.

Vol. 5. -  208 pp., entries dated 7 November 1902 to 28 May 1903; “Winter Cruise of 1902-1903” written on inside front blank; lacks page 27-28; page 86 blank, with circular of North Atlantic Station tipped in; page 87 left blank; bound in half leather, marble paper backed boards, spine badly chipped, front board shaken, some scuffing to binding, entries written in ink, in a legible hand. Starting out in Tompkinsville, Staten Island, New York, the ship sails to Hampton Roads, Virginia and then to Culebra Island, Puerto Rico; and other ports in the West Indies: Port of Spain, Trinidad; St. Lucia; St. Kitts Island; Ponce, P.R.; off Galveston, Texas; then to Pensacola, Florida, where they spend 28 February to 11 April 1903; then at sea for target practice for several days, and return to Pensacola for five days, before returning north to the Brooklyn Navy Yard where they remain from 12 May to the end of the journal.

Vol. 6. - 72 pp., entries dated 29 May 1903 to 21 September 1903; “Summer Cruise of 1903” written on inside front blank; bound in half leather, marbled paper backed boards, spine chipped, front board shaken, some scuffing to binding, entries written in ink, in a legible hand. Journal starts at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where after several days they sail north to Bar Harbor, Maine; then to Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York; then back to Maine; and Massachusetts; before returning to New York City.

       With the following ephemeral material:

1 photograph album containing 49 small black and white photos, not labeled, plus an additional 11 photographs laid in, not dated, circa 1890s-1910s.

The Holy Bible, containing Old and New Testaments: translated out of the Original Tongues; and with the former translations diligently compared and revised. New York: American Bible Society, 1881; 12mo, 726, 226 pp., printed in double columns, cloth bound, ownership inscription on front flyleaf “Hubert Satchwell / April 20, 1885 / Hubert Satchwell Jr. / Aug 22nd 1924.” Three Satchwell family births are recorded on the reverse side of the title page for New Testament.

The Proverbs: translated out of the Original Hebrew; and with the former translations diligently compared and revised. New York: American Bible Society, 1903; 125 pp., bound in limp leather, measures 3 ¼” x 4 ¼”, front board and title pages detached, spine chipped, inscribed on front fly leaf “To my friend / Hubert J. Satchwell / from / The Marines Friends / M.M. Day / July 7, 1904.”

1 Masonic medal in leather folding case; 25 newspaper clippings, some about McKinley Assassination; 9 pieces of printed ephemera, circular about ship, menu for ship, obituary card, etc.; 13 pieces of manuscript ephemera, lists of ships, verse, memoranda, notes, etc.

       Pvt. Herbert Joseph Satchwell (1870-1930)

Herbert Joseph Satchwell was born 14 November 1870 in New Jersey. In 1880 he was enumerated in the Newark (NJ) Orphan Asylum. He was married, first, in 1896 to Ada Esther Sturgis (1872-1899); however, she soon died, on 1 October 1899. The couple had no children. The 1900 Census, taken on 7 June 1900, six months after the death of his wife, and Satchwell was then living in Newark, New Jersey, with his aunt and uncle, Harvey and Hannah Blake. Herbert was working as a clerk.

It was either his wife’s death, or perhaps his boring job, and living with his aunt and uncle, that led Satchwell to join the military. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on 10 July 1900 in Newark, New Jersey, less than a year after his wife’s death. His enlistment was for a five-year term. Having served his full enlistment, he was discharged on 10 July 1905 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York.

The military document, included in this collection, states that Satchwell was appointed corporal on 7 November 1904, but was reduced back to private on 21 January 1905. He had spent 2 years, 11 months, and 4 days at sea service; with 6 months and 7 days at foreign service at Guantanamo, Cuba. He had no distinguished service, no marksmanship commendations, and was never wounded, or participated in any battles, nor was he on any expeditions. He was on a winter cruise on U.S.S. Kearsarge from 7 November 1902 to 4 May 1903, from Staten Island, New York, to Virginia, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, St. Lucia, Texas, Florida, and back to New York. He was also on a summer cruise in 1903.

After he mustered out of the military, Satchwell returned to New Jersey. He was married a second time in 1910 to Laura Cynthia Guerin (1878-1961). With Laura, Satchwell had at least three children: an infant who died at birth on 16 June 1913; a daughter Ruth Satchwell born about 1914; and a son Herbert Joseph Satchwell, Jr. (1915-1990). Satchwell’s children were baptized in the Dutch Reformed Church.

The 1910 federal census and the New Jersey state census record Satchwell living in Newark, New Jersey. The 1920 Census shows Satchwell and his family living at Irvington, New Jersey, Satchwell was working as a shipping clerk in a dry goods company.

Herbert Joseph Satchwell is listed in the 1928 Newark, New Jersey city directory, but he appears to have died by the time the 1930 directory came out. The 1930 Census shows Laura was a widow living in Newark with her two surviving children and working in sales at a department store.

Herbert Satchwell was buried in Clinton Cemetery in Irvington, New Jersey, where his first wife and infant child were also buried. His second wife Laura died in 1961 and was buried with her husband.

      U.S.S. Kearsarge

The first USS Kearsarge was a Mohican-class sloop-of-war, best known for her defeat of the Confederate commerce raider CSS Alabama during the American Civil War. Kearsarge was the only ship of the United States Navy named for Mount Kearsarge in New Hampshire. Subsequent ships were later named Kearsarge in honor of the ship. The original USS Kearsarge was struck from the ship register in 1894.

The second Kearsarge, named by act of Congress to commemorate the famed steam sloop-of-war, was launched 24 March 1898 by the Newport News Shipbuilding Co., Newport News, Va.; sponsored by Mrs. Herbert Winslow, daughter-in-law of the Kearsarge's commander, Captain John A. Winslow, during her famous battle with the Alabama; and commissioned 20 February 1900, Captain William M. Folger in command. Satchwell, our diarist, served aboard the second Kearsarge starting on 2 November 1900.

   Kearsarge became the flagship of the North Atlantic Station, cruising down the Atlantic seaboard and in the Caribbean. From 3 June 1903 to 26 July 1903 she served briefly as flagship of the European Squadron while on a cruise that took her first to Kiel, Germany. She was visited by the German Emperor 25 June 1903 and by the Prince of Wales 13 July. She returned to Bar Harbor, Maine, 26 July 1903 and resumed duties as flagship of the North Atlantic Fleet. She sailed from New York, 1 December 1903 for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where, on 10 December, the United States took formal possession of the Guantanamo Naval Reservation. Following maneuvers in the Caribbean, she led the North Atlantic Battleship Squadron to Lisbon where she entertained the King of Portugal, 11 June 1904. She next steamed to Phaleron Bay, Greece, where she celebrated the Fourth of July with the King, Prince Andrew and Princess Alice of Greece. The squadron paid goodwill calls at Corfu, Trieste, and Fiume before returning to Newport, R.I., 29 August 1904.

    Kearsarge remained flagship of the North Atlantic Fleet until relieved on 31 March by the battleship Maine, but she continued operations with the fleet. During target practice off Cape Cruz, Cuba, 13 April 1906, an accidental ignition of a powder charge of a 13-inch gun killed two officers and eight men. Four men were seriously injured. Attached to the 2d Squadron, 4th Division, she sailed 16 December 1907 with the "Great White Fleet" of battleships, sent around the world by President Theodore Roosevelt. She sailed from Hampton Roads around the coasts of South America to the western seaboard, thence to Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, and Japan. From there, Kearsarge proceeded to Ceylon, transited the Suez Canal, and visited ports of the Mediterranean, before returning to the eastern seaboard of the United States. President Theodore Roosevelt reviewed the Fleet as it passed into Hampton Roads 22 February 1909, having completed a world cruise of overwhelming success, showing the flag and spreading good will. This dramatic gesture impressed the world with the power of the U.S. Navy.

    Kearsarge decommissioned in the Philadelphia Navy Yard 4 September 1909 for modernization. She recommissioned 23 June 1915 for operations along the Atlantic coast until 17 September when she departed Philadelphia to land a detachment of marines at Vera Cruz, Mexico. She remained off Vera Cruz from 28 September 1915 to 5 January 1916, then carried the marines to New Orleans before joining the Atlantic Reserve Fleet 4 February 1916 at Philadelphia. She trained Massachusetts and Maine State Naval Militia until America entered World War I, then trained thousands of armed guard crews as well as naval engineers in waters along the East Coast ranging from Boston to Pensacola. On the evening of 18 August 1918, Kearsarge rescued 26 survivors of the Norwegian Bark Nordhav which had been sunk by German Submarine U—117. The survivors were landed in Boston.

    Kearsarge continued as an engineering training ship until 29 May 1919 when she embarked Naval Academy Midshipmen for training in the West Indies. The midshipmen were debarked at Annapolis 29 August and Kearsarge proceeded to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, where she decommissioned 10 May 1920 for conversion to a crane ship and a new career.

        Sample Quotes from Diaries:

“Thursday Nov 1 – 1900

Brooklyn Marine Barracks

Came off duty today for two days. I am at this time sitting on my bunk writing a letter to L, until I was told to get ready to go on board the U.S. F.S. Kearsarge after getting everything ready and after dinner, I went to Newark and Irvington got back to barracks about midnight.”


“Friday Nov 2 -1900

Came on board the Kearsarge today at about 11:30 AM. It is a large ship of 11,500 tons and has a crew of 500 or 600 men including us marines and there are about 60 of us.”

“Saturday Nov 3 – 1900

The Kearsarge is in the dry dock. We have to go ashore for all the water we use, but it is fresh water if we were to use the ship water it would be salty water, after we leave the dry dock, we will have one less post to guard.”


“Tuesday Nov 6 -1900

Guard just eh same. I went to Newark at about 1:30 PM and put in my vote for McKinley, after that I went up to Irvington L and J were not at home, they went to the Newark Theatre, but they got back before supper time. I left Irvington at about 11:30 PM and reached ship at 1 o’clock Nov 7.”


“Wednesday Nov 7 -1900

Republicans win the election, hard to find any Bryan men on board today. Yesterday there were lots of them. Doing guard as before, left dry dock at about 11:30 AM.”


“Saturday Nov 24 -1900

It has been a very busy day for us. Finished coaling this morning, took on in all about 500 tons of coal. The rigging that I was at work on broke and the fellow that was standing next to me was hurt so bad that he had to be carried off the deck to the sick room and it was some time before he came to his senses. He was hurt very badly.”


“Sunday Nov 25 -1900

Left Brooklyn Navy Yard at about 9 o’clock this morning, arrived at Tompkinsville at about 10:30 AM. It rained all the way down…Three marines did not get back from liberty to sail with us…”


“Tuesday Nov 27 -1900

Left Tompkinsville this morning at about 9 o’clock, doing guard duty 2 hours on and 10 off, no drill today, some of the fellows are sea sick, I may be the next one, we are about 150 miles from New York, the ship is rolling very bad, expect to reach Hampton Roads tomorrow.”


“Wednesday Dec 5 -1900

Had a fire drill this morning. Liberty party went ashore this afternoon. One of the fellows that went ashore yesterday has not got back yet. I am writing this as I stand my midnight watch. It is on the brig #6 post. Got in a little trouble about my mattress cover this afternoon. Received a letter from Will Osmond and answered same. I have 8 prisoners to look after, all are asleep at this time. United States Transport Rawlins came in and stopped at Fort Monroe this morning. She was loaded with soldiers to or from Manilla. I do not know which.”



“Saturday Dec 8 – 1900

Have not done anything all day but two hours duty. Liberty party went ashore at one o’clock. Not very many went ashore, no prisoners in brig, #6 post so we have one 3 posts to guard. United States Transport Rawlins passed us today on her way to Manilla she was loaded with troops.”


“Thursday Dec 13 -1900

The Captain came on board today, but the Admiral Major and the first Lieutenant are still away. We did not have any drill today, some of the fellows that went ashore with the liberty party yesterday are not back yet. A company of sailors went ashore to drill this morning. Started to coal ship this afternoon. The collier with the coal on was one of the ships that was captured during the Spanish American War.”


“Thursday Dec 20 -1900

We did not get off today as we expected to, there was a heavy fog and the cruiser Buffalo with 30 or more sailors were expected to arrive from Brooklyn Navy Yard but she did not reach here. Something very strange happened last night. A sailing vessel sunk about 100 yards from where we are at anchor and nobody knew anything about it until this morning and all we could see of her was the top of her masts. I do not know if anyone drowned, or not, we had to get away so as not to strike her when we turned around…”


“Saturday Dec 22 -1900

Well, we are at sea again, we left Hampton Roads at about 8:30 this morning, the Massachusetts started after us, she is only a little way behind us…”


“Tuesday Dec 25 – 1900

Christmas day at sea

We did not anchor last night as we expected, but at day light this morning we were in sight of land, it was the coast of Florida…”


“Wednesday Dec 26 – 1900

Up anchored at 5:45 this morning. We are sailing in the Gulf of Mexico. Flying fish and sharks are very plentiful around us. It is just like summer. The sun is very hot just as hot as if it was July instead of December. The sailors are in white uniforms and the marines are in white trousers and blue coasts and white caps…”


“Saturday Dec 29 -1900

Dropped anchor at 3:15 this morning a few miles out of Pensacola. I was on the bridge on watch at the time. We expected to run in at day light , but when day light came, it was so foggy that we could not do it, but had to wait until about 11 o’clock so it was about 12 o’clock noon before we reached Pensacola…The sand along the shore is very white it looks almost like snow.”


“Sunday Jan 13 -1901

It has been a find day. Had church service at 10:30 this morning. Quite a number of people came aboard from Pensacola. A male quartet sang and one man sang a solo. The Chaplain had a very good talk or sermon, our Admiral attended the service and about 100 of the crew. In the afternoon the colored base ball team went ashore to play ball with the Union team of Pensacola. Other fellows stayed aboard and played cards or fished. They seem to think Sunday is a day for sport…”




“Thursday March 29 -1901

I had the 4 to 6 watch this morning. At day light we could see the island of Cuba. We sailed along the coast all day it was a grand sight to see. Great high mountains we could not see the tops of some of them for they were above the clouds. At about 10 AM we sailed past where Sampson had his battle with the Spanish fleet. We could see all that was left of the Spanish fleet as we sailed by the band played the Blue & Gray and soon, we all had a holiday. It is no wonder that the Spanish and Cuban war lasted so long for a few Cubans could hold back a large company of Spaniards with out any trouble. About 3 PM we passed Santiago Bay and a little later we passed Morro Castle, an old Spanish fort then we passed Guantanamo Bay. It has been very hot all day…”


“Wednesday April 3 -1901

A party of 20 marines went ashore today, I was one of the party. After landing we started to walk to the village it was a wild walk through valley and over mountains. On our way we passed large herds of cattle. They were about the finest lot of cattle I ever saw. Cattle, bananas, and tobacco is about all they have on the island. IN a small wood lot, we saw a flock of wild parrots flying about. The walk to the village was about 6 miles each way. We followed a trail at times. It was very rough and narrow other times it was all of 10 foot wide. Once in a while we would see a native go by on his pony with two large baskets of bananas strapped to the pony. At one place we saw some natives loading a sail boat with bananas. They take them to the city of St. Thomas or San Juan to ship north. Fruit is very cheap here. We can buy organs in small lots for 10 cents a doz, or 60 cents a 100 and large bunches of bananas for 15 cents a bunch. Coconuts grow on the island also. We bought a number of them at the village but our ship’s doctor along with us would not let us eat very much of them, so we drank the milk and threw the rest away. The doctor would not let us drink any of the water on the island. He was afraid it would make us sick. We arrived back at the ship at about 4:30 P.M.”


“Wednesday Dec 18 -1901

Havana, Cuba

Dropped anchor some time between midnight and 5 AM this morning just outside of Havana harbor. At about 7 AM a pilot came on board and took us in the harbor. Morro Castle is on the left side coming in. Havana is a very old looking city, most of the houses are very low and white washed or blue washed. The American flag is flying on all the public buildings. I only saw one Spanish flag on our way in. We are tied up about 200 yards from all that is left of the U.S.S. Maine. All that can be seen of her is one of her fighting tops and her mast and part of the hull. Is a sad sight to see one of our fine battle ships laying as she does and to know that 318 men lost their lives at that time. It is also some satisfaction to know that she has been revenged and that the Spaniards paid more than life for life…”


“Thursday Dec 19 -1901

Havana, Cuba

…At one o’clock this PM the liberty party went ashore. I was one of the party. Havana is a queer city. The streets are not much more than ten feet wide. The side walks from one to two feet wide. You can not walk side by side if you meet anyone, to pass them one or the other has to step into the street. American money is used also Spanish money for a dollar of our money you can get $1.36 in Spanish money and some do stores take our money and some do not. The houses look more like prisons than like houses and are covered with some kind of wash, some white, some blue, and others yellow. Spanish language is spoken more than any other languages. Horses are used only for carriages. Mules and oxen are used for carts. There is an electric car line running through the city and for a few cents you can ride from one end to the other. I saw where the body of Columbus was supposed to have been buried, but they do not claim that it is there now. There are a few old cathedrals still standing. Looks as though they were built during the year one. We were only allowed four hours liberty so I could not see everything. Two other places I did not see were the Young Men’s Christian Association and General Wood’s palace. It is a fine place…”


“Thursday Feb 20 -1902

Cienfuegos Bay

The Kearsarge has been in commission just two years today. Had regular morning quarters at 9 AM. Then went through with the regular morning drills. The report that no more liberty would be allowed here was not true. Liberty party went ashore at about 2 PM. A number of fellows not return with the liberty party at sun set. A number of fellows got into some trouble with the police while on shore. Shots were fired and a few fellows where hit. One fellow had his arm broke another fellow was hot in the head. It is just this kind of [things] that makes it hard for the Captain of ships to give liberty down at these ports…”


“Wednesday April 2 – 1902

Fort of France, Martinique

Last night after all hands had turned in for the night, the call for general quarters sounded and each one had to go to there stations. It was after 10 PM before everything was quieted down again for the night. Sighted land about 9 AM and about 2 PM we arrived here at Fort of France. This port is not on our list but as the U.S.S. Olympia was to meet us here, the Kearsarge and the Indiana stopped while the Alabama and the Massachusetts went on to St. Pierre. Fort of France is a French city so as we came in, we raised the French flag and fired the National salute. It was answered from the fort. There are three French battle ships laying near us and as soon as we were at anchor their flag ship fired an Admiral salute and we answered it with a salute of gun for gun. The Olympia also gave us an admiralty salute, and we answered it with a Captain’s salute. Our admiral visited the French admiral and he visited our admiral so more salutes were exchanged in fact enough powder was fired to almost capture an enemy fleet. The Olympia had two bags of mail for us. Full guard had to stand by all the afternoon as officer were coming and going all the time. I suppose this is the last night we will fly the admiral’s flag from the Kearsarge for the admiral expects to transfer his flag to the Olympia making that his flagship. We are at anchor very near the city. It is not very large place and the houses are very small, that tis the most of them. We can see one large church. It looks as though it could hold all that live in the city. We were not much more then at anchor before we were surrounded by small boats from shore, some had wash women that were after washing, others had oranges to sell. No one was allowed on board until the quarantine doctor had been aboard. I have heard more French talk this afternoon then ever before. The French National air was played over and over again during the afternoon. It has been my day off so I had a chance to see and hear everything that was going on.”


“Sunday April 6 – 1902

St. Pierre, Martinique

We left Fort of France at about 6:30 AM. Full guard was called most of the fellows were not out of there hammocks so it was a case of hurry up. It is very unusual to call a full guard on Sunday, especially so early in the morning. It was only about 10 miles from Fort of France to St. Pierre and by 9 AM we were at anchor again, about 200 yards off St. Pierre. The water at this place is very deep. Where we are it is 33 fathoms, so we were able to get very close to shore. St. Pierre is some what larger than Fort of France. The houses are about the same with here and there a church.  The natives are about the blackest lot of people I ever saw. They come around the ship in small boats and are willing to do anything for money. That is to dive after it or swim for it, some of the darkies do not look more than 6 or 7 years old, but they can get around in and under the water like so many fish. There were so many of them around our ship that we had to turn the fire hose on them to keep them away…”


“Wednesday Dec 24 – 1902

Port of Spain, Trinidad

Quarters at 9 AM as usual. Liberty party of about 100 men went ashore at 9:30 AM. I was one of the party…I started out to visit the leper’s hospital. I was shown through by one of the keepers and what I saw there I never wish to see again as long as I live. We started with the first ward and when through the different wards until we came to what the keeper told me was the death ward. It was here where the worst cases were brought and where they poor fellows lay until they were relieved by death. There were some awful sights in this ward. Fellows with their hands and feet all eaten away by the awful disease. All they could do was lay and wait for death. The keeper told me that at the beginning of the disease it is painless, but just before death it is some thing awful. The disease is taken by people of any age, some were very old person, others were very young. When they are able to do anything, they are expected to do it, but they soon get to far gone to do even for themselves. After leaving the hospital I took the car back to town. The street cars here are not anything like we have up our way. A team of mules pull them along and as may be expected they make very slow time…”


A record of the service one rank and file Marine.