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Algeria was visited by the Kearsarge, Wisconsin, and Illinois arriving on the 24th of January. They were joined three days later by the Kentucky on the 27th. Because of the earthquake in Italy there was no celebration or fanfair, instead the fleet visited and paid respects to the local government as a show of diplomacy. Cards from this port visit show ship postmarks and local postmarks and postage.
The fleet visited Algiers but sailor were told to avoid the casbah. This old part of the city has narrow streets and venders of questionable character. To go into this area of town might have certainly invited trouble for a sailor. The card above, with the man and woman, depicts that side of town, the other images the finer qualities of downtown Algiers.
USS Kentucky seen in Algers, Algeria in the harbor, a rare card with a postmark from the Kentucky dated February 25, 1909 after their arrival back in Hampton Roads. "Hampton Roads, February 23, 09, My Dear Mrs. Darrow, Received your letter the 22nd and will glad to hear from. Am sorry you have been sick. Hope you re much better now. It seam so good to get back home again. Give my regard to all the folks. Will write later. Arthur"
I have found two cards from this unknown photographer, the other shown below. Both are of high quality and well attended subject and composition. Would be interested in hearing from anyone who has found others cards from this photographer.
Much of the mail that was delivered in the ship post office in Cairo did not get mailed until the next port. In the card at right, Will writes "Passed through Suez safely. But find Port Said a fright. We certainly get our eyes filled going through the Suez. Will write letter." It is not possible to know which ship this sailor was one, but it had to be the Wisconsin, Illinois, or Kearsarge because the Kentucky did not arrive until the 27t of January.
The card shows a view of the Mosque at Port Said and a view of the city sent from Will to Miss Ethel Clotfelter,sent to her from Algers. "Hello Ethel, Passed through Suez safely, but found Port Said a fright. We certainly got our eyes filled going through the Suez. Well write. Will" Will was on the USS Kentucky and I have a card from him from Gibraltar canceled with the Kentucky postmark. However, there was only one sailor from Coffeen, Illinois, William Smith, a Yeoman First Class on the Vermont. My guess is he cross-decked between ships, either by choice, or to fill a shortfall is manning on the Kentucky.
the city taken from the casbah
This is a nice card posted on January 29, 1909 in Alger from Alvin on the USS Wisconsin to his "Bro" Albert Zierman who was a "1st Class Sergt, Signal Corps in Manila". The card reads "January 28, 09, Will leave here the 30th for Gibraltar. Rec'd lot of mail from home since our arrival here. Some reached here in less than two weeks. Have not rec'd any from your yet."
the u.s.a. fleet around the world
This is the second RPPC of the fleet's visit to Algiers. This card pictures the USS Illinois in the harbor, similar, and by the same company as the USS Kentucky card above.
Cards and souvenirs from this port visit are scarce. Four ships Algiers. Sailors did not find this to be a welcoming for their style of liberty. The cards below are from the M. R. Battey collection. Battey was an ordinary seaman on the Missouri who purchased postcards from one of the shipboard photographers in the fleet and brought them home. For more of his collection follow this link: M . R. Battey.
Cards for the fleet were made by local entrepreneurs. At left is a swell little calendar card with image of the USS Kearsarge in the greeting.
At right, a photo of the USS Illinois at anchor in the harbor. The card is locally posted and mailed to Miss Jennie Richards in Bristow, Iowa.
"In Algiers, Algeria. We are starting for Gibraltar tomorrow, January 30th. R. C. K.
the usa fleet around the world
This is a nice real photo postcard dated February 3, 1909 showing the USS Kearsarge sitting in Algiers with the city in the background. It is the third one in this series from the same publisher. Also shown in the picture is the the USS Wisconsin. A nice card, all in French, on the front, "Souvenir of the passage the group of American ships"
a sailor's mail
Sometimes in this process the only way to accept a card is from a sailor of the cruise is by deduction. This card mailed, January 24th, 1909 from Alger to Baltimore and written in English is from a sailor that was onboard the Kearsarge, Wisconsin, or Illinois. I have second card shown on the Malta page address to the same woman. As the last name does not appear in the list of sailor for the Kearsarge or Illinois, I can venture a guess he was on Wisconsin which the crew roster was not published.
Three days after arrival back in Norfolk, Virginia, this Kentucky sailor:
"Hello Miss E. M. have just arrived believe me I'm glad I'm home once more. I hope walking to Seattle will be good. I want to meet you again. I'll be sure to send the picture. Would you exchange with me? Sincerely, Roy F.