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After leaving Trinidad, the fleet was nearly three weeks in reaching Rio de Janeiro. The reception of the American Fleet in Rio made up for Trinidad. At 75 miles out they received greetings and "Welcome American Fleet" over the telegraph. At 30-miles they were met by three Brazilian warships firing a thirteen gun salute befitting a Vice-Admiral.
The fleet was accompanied by an artist, Henry Reuterdahl, from Collier's Magazine and made the trip around the horn on USS Minnesota. His artwork captured the moments in a way that a photograph cannot. His works included covers on the magazine and interior sketches and images including a full two-page illustration of the Fleet in San Francisco. I continue to look for his work to add to my collection.
They steamed single file into Batafoga Bay where the shoresk, hills and building were covered with people to view and greet the fleet. Many of the spectators had waited more than two days at there location to get a good view. Hoisting banners they fired a national salute of 21-guns to the flag of Brazil and was immediately answered by the batteries of the forts overlooking the harbor.
At right: A Brown & Schaffer photograph of the fleet entering the harbor with Sugar Loaf Mountain in the distance. Brown & Schaffer produced more than 1,000 cards during the cruise that were available for sailors to buy and save, or send home. As the cruise progressed the cards were numbered so sailors could make their selections at each port and have them printed. It is not sure if these photographers were crewmembers of one of the ships or freelance photographers allowed to join the cruise.
"i got mine" crossing the equator
One of the most common cards sent by sailors when the arrived in Rio de Janeiro was the "Initiated" card that was available on many of the ships. At left: sent by D.D.D., Dawson D. Dugan, USS Vermont to his friend Mr. James Pyle in his hometown of Warsaw, Kentucky. Dawson was the only sailor on the sixteen battleships from Warsaw!
At right sent to Miss Elizabeth M. Hanson in Cambridge, Mass.
a card of rio de janeiro
"Mr. P. J. Sullivan, Dear friend, I am dropping you a post card of Rio de Janeiro. Well we have got to parade again in Seattle. What do you think of that. Tell your sister to write me a pst card and give me her address. If i knew it, would send her some post cards. Will you come and see me as soon as we get back. I'll see if I can get to show you the tubis. S. O. Snodgrass, USS Connecticut" (ordinary seaman)
The group of items below came together. It is a group of items from an officer or midshipman on the USS Maine. My best guess is a midshipman, the two uniform stars are not part of an officer's or bluejacket's uniform and the pass for the tramway is overprinted with "OFFICER - USN." A nice little mini-collection including a wallet sized card the certify, "That the Bearer has ben duly initiated in our Royal Realm and the Mysterious degrees of the Order of the Deep."
An Excursion to corcovado
The photo at left shows a group of sailors in the dress white uniforms enjoying a meal at Corcovado mountain which had a railway that opened in 1884 to travel the 2.4 miles the top of the mountain. It operates with electric trails and the view provides a panoramic view of downtown Rio, Sugarloaf Mountain, the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas (lake), the beaches, and stadium.
Other types of cards that were available to the sailors included this "Flag and Stamps" card which many nations of the world had produced with the "Stamps" or "Coins" around the flag. This one sent by H. G. Tucker, a Second Class Machinist onboard USS Ohio.
Fast-and-Ready photographers were working in many of the ports. They would take photographs, print dozens the same day, and have them for sale. They are generally recognized by their poor "tint" due to fast processing. This one of the USS Connecticut at anchor in Batafoga Bay.
These are two cards that were locally produced in Rio for the fleet's visit. They were both mailed back home to Ohio. "Punta Arenas, Feb 2, 1908, Fort at Entrance of harbor at Rio de Janeiro, Mt. Corcovado in background. Fleet is coaling night and day for the run to Callao." "Although it is summer here there is plenty of snow in sight. The black ship is an Italian, the others Brazilian in the harbor at Rio Janeiro.
The three cards above show the harbor activity in Rio. The first is a photo of a Brazilian Cruiser, (Brown & Schaffer), the second an arrival photograph with the smoke from salutes still in the air. The third photograph shows a Brazilian torpedo boat with the Brazilian coastal defense ship Deodoro in the background. The photographs below are from a visit of sailors and marines to the SMS Bremen, a German Cruiser in the harbor. It appears they came aboard and spent time with the Officer-of-the-Deck and the seaman on deck, including the sailor at left holding his pigeon. These cards are from the M. R. Battey collection.
This card was mailed locally, cancelled in Rio, routed through New York City to Oklahoma from Charles Stotz. "USS Illinois Rio De Janeiro. Where I managed to get in my first trip ashore the scenery here is beautiful but the amount of money required to see it is enormous. Can't get anything her without paying four prices for it. It is rather a high priced city all around so I have made up my mind to say aboard from now on. Hope you are all well. January 16th 1908. Much Love, C. S."
This card was mailed locally and cancelled in Norfolk before arriving at the address in New York. "We are all enjoying our cruise and have been royally entertained here. All of which is enjoying, except the intense heat of mid-summer here."
A view of downtown Rio with a trolley car approaching the Grande Hotel. The card mailed locally and received on Valentines Day in Swanton, Ohio. "This is certainly a dandy place and a modern city. Also very pretty but it certainly is hot. W. G. B"
"This is another card from Charles to his father. "Rio from the mountain top a very beautiful city but a very expensive place to make a liberty. The people here are very nice although few speak English. They have arranged many excursions for the benefit of the American Fleet. January 16, 1908. Much Love to all C. S."
For a collector, this card is well put together, clear handwriting and all the information. Sent from F. Frietsch, USS Illinois on April 14, 1908 from Los Angeles while the ship was visiting to Mr. F. Storm of Ridgewood, Long Island. Sent with an American Ben Franklin.
The subject is nice also, Corcovado, Ponto Final da Linha. The tram that goes to the statue of Crist high above Rio de Janeiro. The card shows the car just reaching the final summit.