Thursday, April 4, 2013

USS New Jersey in Vera Cruz Expedition-Evacuating American Civilians, 1914

A museum visitor showed us these images of American civilians on board the Hampton Roads-based battleship USS New Jersey (BB-16) during the early stages of the Vera Cruz expedition. The first American ships arrived in Vera Cruz in early April, 1914.  Fighting between American forces and Mexican Federal troops broke out on April 21.

There are two items of note in these pictures: A) There is a high proportion of women on board and B) many of them are wearing Navy enlisted uniforms. To the first issue, Rear Admiral Charles Badger ordered all Americans to leave Vera Cruz for their own safety on April 26, as more fighting was possible and the American embassy had closed down. Unfortunately, many of the wives' husbands were stuck in the interior of Mexico.  The Canadian consulate promised to look after any American stragglers. To the second note, we do not have a proper explanation.  For now, we believe that the Navy donated clothing to the women who had to leave Vera Cruz in haste.

New Jersey's commanding officer, Captain Joseph Lee Jayne, is at right making pleasant talk
(and cracking a funny joke apparently) with some of the female evacuatees. 

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