CPL Ernest Grosskopf Diary
With the Armed Guard on the Upper Yangtze River
On Wednesday March 14, 1928 I received orders that with Lieut. P.A. Lesser in charge. I would go aboard the S.S.I. Ping of the Yangtze Rapids Steamship Co. with the following named men. Privates Earl J.Gardner, Roger C. Haring, Simon Janssen, Ralph L. Jenkins, Vincent C. Kelly, Bernard F. Louer, Cliff R. Sherwood, Howard J.J. Heiss, and Henry C. Withenmeyer.
It was fifteen minutes of ten that we went aboard the I. Ping, at fifteen minutes of eleven we cleared the I. Ping of all pidgin passengers. At midnight, with the Chi Lai and Chi Nan in convoy, we got underway and stood up river.
We steamed all night and day and on the evening of the fifteenth we dropped anchor above Chinglin, with the Chi Lai to port. Put a watch on both outboard ships but nothing unusual happened during the night.
Next morning March 16th we got underway at 6:00 A.M. and proceeded up river, The scenery this far has been nothing more than what can be seen most anywhere in China, We came to anchor at 6:10 P.M. and as on the previous night the Chi Nan and Chi Lai tied up alongside.
Next morning Saturday March 17 we got underway and at 10:15 A.M. we passed the H.M.S. Ladybird standing downstream with five ships in convoy. At 2:20 P.M. we caught up with the U.S.S. Monocacy. She had four Standard Oil Co. boats in convoy. At 7:40 P.M. we anchored as on the previous night. The Monocacy and her convoy anchored off to port. I sure would like to go aboard a Standard Oil boat as an armed guard. They sure are fine boats and have wonderful accommodations.
Next morning, Sunday March 18th we weighed anchor at 5:50 A.M. and proceeded on up river.
I forgot to mention that we had on board four American missionarys as passengers, going to Chungking. There are three women and one man.
As a rule, the missionarys are not very well liked by the men of the service, but these that we had on board seemed so different that we had come in contact with before. I really think that it was the thoughts of them, that we were on the I. Ping to protect them and that they thought it was their duty to entertain us to keep the trip from becoming monotonous. They had all been up and down the river several times and they were always ready to answer any questions that we might ask. We sure did ask many of them.
Ichang in the distance. Sampans (and there were many of them) came alongside before we had ever stopped our engines. We finally dropped anchor at 4:15 P.M. Searching parties came aboard in sampan loads I don't think we had less than ten searching parties aboard. They look for pidgin cargo and the customs handle the cargo end of it. My orders were to keep these searching parties off of the top side away from the first class cabins. We sure carried these orders out with much gusto.
The Chi Nan and the Chi Lai were anchored off to starboard and at sundown I established a watch on all three ships.
At about 10:10 P.M. we heard a shot fired from the direction of the Chi Nan, and immediately Lieut Lesser, myself, Private Heiss, and the Capt. of the Chi Nan went over to the Chi Nan to investigate. Arriving at the Chi Nan we boarded through the after cargo port (on the starboard side) to save time. This cargo space was very dark and Lieut Lesser knowing that she had already discharged her cargo walked right on in thinking her deck was clear. Her deck was clear all right but there was an open cargo hatch and into this open hatch Lieut Lesser stepped falling on the angle irons ten feet below. If the Captain of the Chi Nan had only flashed his flashlight on a few seconds sooner I don't think that Lesser would have had this accident. "If" is a mighty big word but still in all if the hatch cover had been on this hatch (as they should have been) there would have been no danger of anyone falling through.
Heiss and I went down in the hold to help Lieut Lesser to his feet. This we did and he said I'm alright. Grosskopf, go and see if you can find out who fired that shot. . I immediately looked for the sentry and finding him, I asked him who fired the shot and he said that a chinese soldier accidentally fired his rifle.
That finished we all went back to the I. Ping. Lieut Lesser under Doctors orders turned in when we got back. The Doctor from the U.S.S. Palos said that he probably received a ruptured kidney.
Monday, March 19th we did nothing but lounge around in the saloon. Lieut Lesser was confined to his bed all day. I asked him if he thought he would get to go on through to Chungking with us and he said that he didn't know but that if he did not he would be very disappointed.
Tuesday, March 20th. Lieut Lesser is in a pretty bad fix. The least little move he makes causes him severe pain.
At 11:00 A.M. we got underway and went alongside of the Mei Foo of the Standard Oil co. We put Lieut Lesser aboard the Mei Foo for transfer to the hospital at Haukow,then proceeded to the Standard Oil Co. installation and took on a cargo of kerosene. Our cargo aboard we got underway again and at 4:40 P.M. we anchored off Ichang.
Wednesday, March 21st. The sentry called all hands at 4:15 A.M. and at 4:30 A.M. we began clearing the Chi Lai and I Ping of all pidgin passengers. This sure is a job, first you round all division officers together and have them get all their men together. after that is done we start out and search every little hole on the ship. After this is done the head man of each department or division officer checks his men and if he finds any that he does not recognize, off they go. Now then, we are quite sure that we have no bandits aboard so at 6:10 A.M. we get underway with the Chi Lai (in convoy) taking the lead. Our first place of interest is the Konghng Rapids. This rapids is not so swift but there are rocks that are invisible and if the pilot is not real careful he is apt, most apt to put the ship on the rocks. coming into the rapids they steer the ship straight for a big rock and when about what seems like ten feet they give her a sharp turn to the right and then to the left again. These river boats can almost turn on a dime, there rudder power is so great. They have three rudders and some of them have four. A ship with just one rudder wouldn't have much of a chance on the Upper Yangtze River.
Just above the rapids is where we anchored at a place by the name of Miaoho. We couldn't go any further on account of the Chi Lai not being able to make Wushau by nightfall. Wushau is the only place above Miaoho that is suitable for anchorage without having to spar moore. It was 10:15 A.M. when we anchored at Miaoho.
A couple of us went ashore after chow and we met up with some Red Spears or (as they call themselves) Buddahistic Sacred Soldiers of the Virtuous Way. They are an organization formed against the pirates to be in readiness to protect their own property. They have rifles and pistols in their outfit but from what they claim they never use them for anything else other than to signal with. Their chief weapon of the Red Spears is a cutlass made of an alloy of steel and I don't mean maybe, it sure is sharp. Their dress consists of the regular chinese costume, with a red girdle and a red sash crossing the body over the right shoulder. This red sash has on it the characters which when translated means Buddahistic Sacred Soldiers of the Virtuous Way. They also wear red wrapped leggins and a red cloth wound around the head leaving the top of the head showing.
Their belief is that they are immune from knife wound or gun shot. If one of them should be killed, it is their belief that he has done something to anger the gods and was therefore punished by death.
Thursday March 22nd. We got underway and continued our trip up river. Two hours later we came to the Chen Rapids where we layed to at slow speed waiting for the Chi Lai to clear the rapids. The Chi Lai had to be heaved over and it took her twenty minutes to go through. There were a couple hundred chinamen on the beach pulling her through and at the same time she had her engines turning over at full speed. The I. Ping has greater horsepower than the Chi Lai and from the time Capt. Frandsen called for full speed on the enunciator till we got through the rapids it was exactly four minutes. I thought that I was beyond being thrilled but the trip through these rapids gave me a thrill to last a life time.
Passing through the gorges you see some wonderful formations of rock and natural caves. In one place in the gorge is a cliff that has holes the size of ones fist in it, running zig zagged from the bottom to the top. The story that was given to me was that one time there was an army trapped in this gorge and that they drilled these holes in the cliff and by putting bamboo poles in the holes, the whole army escaped by crawling up the side of this cliff on the bamboo poles and going over the top.
Further on up the gorge there are two sets of very stout poles on either side of the river. At one time pirates used to run chains across the river from these poles and in this way they stopped ships and looted them.
About 11:15 A.M. we stood by our battle stations with machine guns, automatic rifles, and rifles while passing through an area inhabited by river pirates. This was the first time we had been called to our stations but no luck did we have.
At 3:15 P.M. we anchored off Wushau
. Both ships took on coal and while they were coaling I took the gang ashore for a little recreation to get the kinks out of their legs.
Friday March 23rd we got underway at 6:30 A.M. and at 8:15 A.M. stationed all details for action. As we approached Taichi (a rendezvous of the pirates) we observed sampans leaving the shore for mid-stream. As we came abreast of them they shouted that we could go on by because they knew we were fixed. The monkey mail line must have been busy.
Just astern of us was an Italian river steamer that they held up and made them pay the usual tribute which was $800.00 from what we heard. No luck again for us.
at 2:30 P.M. stationed all details for action while passing Yunglin. as at Taichi, they started out in their sampans. Evidently they saw one of our men for they began shouting foreign soldiers and turned back toward the beach.
At 6:05 P.M. we anchored for the night.
Saturday March 24th we got underway at 6:30 A.M. and proceeded up river. At 8:20 A.M. we anchored off Wanchien. This is a place on the river where all ships have a lot of red tape to go through before they can discharge or take on cargo. This is a treaty port and all ships are required to stop and be searched. It sure is a good place to stay away from.
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At noon transferred Privates Kelly and Janssen aboard the Chi Lai as they had no armed guard aboard her.
At 3:30 P.M. we anchored off Wulingchi. Had a watch on all night as on previous nights. Everything was peace and quiet.
Sunday March 25th we weighed anchor at 6:30 A.M. This country and on up the river, the raising of opium is extensibly carried out. They also raise a good bit of wheat, where, on the lower river it is mostly rice.
At 10:45 A.M. we stationed all details for action while passing Fouchow. Again no luck. At this place we saw several thousand chinese soldiers drilling on the beach. In drilling they use a step that is similar to the goose step. Anchored at 6:30 P.M.
Monday, March 26th we got underway at 7:05 A.M. From here on in to Chungking both banks of the river are covered with the poppy plant. On every little piece of ground between rocks and everywhere they plant the poppy.
Well here we are in Chungking. Dropped the anchor at 6:40 P.M. and in less than no time, sampans galore were alongside.
Tuesday, March 27th we got underway and went alongside the Yangtze Rapids S.S. pontoon.
Several of the gang and myself had made plans to go on a sight seeing trip but as we were getting ready to leave the ship, Lieut Commander Mac Farlane (Commanding the U.S.S. Monocacy, in charge of armed guard on the I' Ping) called me to his cabin and showed me an invitation from the American Missionarys, asking for as many Marines as possible to come and have tea with them. Well none of the gang cared to go so Private Sherwood and I decided we should go and pay our respects considering the way they treated us on the trip up river.
By the time the missionarys guide arrived to show us the way to the mission we were able to recruit Private Mac Donald (one of the Marines on the I' Ling) to go along with us. The trip up to the mission was nothing but up steps and more steps which went rather hard on me and my bay window, which has grown considerable in the past two years.
Well we finally arrived at the mission (all out of breath) and after talking over the topics of the day we sat down to tea. Imagine E. G. Grosskopf indulging in tea, "Oh Boy." I'll soon be up with the four hundred. Everything went well till I (big dunegan that I was) had to go and pick my cake up with my fingers instead of using my fork as any society bred young man would do. It wasn't really all my fault though. There wasn't any fork there for me to use in the first place, but they soon shipped me one when they saw me with it (the cake) in my fingers. Whats one bad break between friends anyway. We men of the service are supposed to be a bunch of blockheads anyway so I guess they didn't think much about my blunder.
Finished with tea, Sherwood and I played a couple sets of tennis with the missionarys. Forty love Dear.
We had a very enjoyable afternoon considering the surroundings and atmosphere we were in.
Wednesday March 28th we got underway at 8:40 A.M. and 10:10 A.M. we anchored with the Chi Liu in "Man O War" anchorage abreast of the H.M.S.Widgeon. We anchored here on account of low water and being unable to go downstream. Here we stay till the river commences to rise.
After we anchored several of us got underway and went on a sightseeing trip. The first thing we did was hire ponies, then we decided that we would investigate and find out what a pagoda really looked like at close range. This particular pagoda that we had in mind was situated on the top of a high mountain. The ride up this mountain is sure a rough one. Nothing but steps, steps and more steps from the very bottom to the top. These steps are made of flat stone layed unevenly but these ponies we hired made the trip very nicely. They sure are sure-footed little fellows.
Arriving at the pagoda we went inside (it must be hundreds of years old) and there we found names scratched on the walls that were put there back as far as 1894. This being the first time Marines had ever been up the river any further than Ichang we had to let them know the Marines had landed at last, by scratching our names and name of the organization on the walls. We also let them know what part of Gods country we hailed from.
The trip down the mountain was much more hazardous than going up but we arrived at the bottom safe but a little shaken up.
Thursday March 29, 1928. Still at anchor waiting for a rise in the river. Several of the fellows went ashore while the rest of us stayed aboard and either read or slept.
Friday, March 30th. Six of us went riding along the beach. For about five miles along the beach we had some bad riding over rocks and boulders with short open stretches now and then where we would slacken the reins and let them race.
We finally came to a place where there was a Buddha that stood about fifty feet high. I sure would liked to have snapped a picture of that old boy, but on the account of the sun being A.O.L. I was out of luck.
All through this section the poppies were in bloom and they were sure pretty. A good picture missed all on account of old Sol. Probably we will have better luck next time.
After we had rode about nine miles, we came to a sandy beach. Here we unsaddled our ponies and gave them a drink and a good rest. After a good rest we started back again at a good clip. Just as we were coming out on a nice sandy stretch my pony fell and over his head I went hitting the sand with a thud and rolling over about three times. Here the gang gave me the Ha Ha and a bunch of chinamen who were standing nearby gave them a hand in giving me the razz. One of the gang (Kelly) wasn't quite so fortunate as I. After I had mounted again we started to race and coming to a great, huge, flat bolder Kelleys pony fell, making Kelly do a Lindbergh over the head of the pony and crashing pretty hard on the bolder. Fortunately he received nothing but a shaking up.
We finally arrived back at the ship and after chow we all turned in feeling pretty tired.
Saturday March 31st. We all woke up rather late and feeling pretty stiff, but, being brutes for punishment decided to go riding again. We went riding again alright but we sure didn't stay very long as we just couldn't stand the gaff, to stiff and sore from the previous day.
For the balance of the day we amused ourselves by playing cards or sleeping. I myself found more amusement in sleeping.
Sunday, April 1st and all fools day. We may all be a bunch of nuts but we are not so foolish as to go ashore in the rain.
Monday, April 2nd. Another bad day. Everybody stayed aboard and growled at one another. That is on account of the growing monotony staying at anchor. We all felt a little better when we found out that the river was rising.
Tuesday, April 3rd. I woke up with a bad cold in the chest and no appetite. What a fix to be in.
What a relief. We got underway at 2:05 P.M. with the Chi Lai, a good thirty minutes steaming ahead of us.
As we were coming into Muangchangtsin we heard rifle shots which we found out were directed at the Chi Lai. Soldiers on the beach fired on her just as soon as she anchored. As we came in they commenced firing on us. Stationed all details for action. The firing continued from the beach but no signal did we get to open fire. The Capt. of the ship (Capt. Frandsen) had his boatswain shout over to the beach asking why they were firing on us. Their reply was that, that they did not want us to anchor. It was then to dark for us to procede on down river any further so Capt. Frandsen said let go (all this time we were laying to) and down went both anchors. Immediately they commenced firing on us again. Then Lieut Comdr Mac Farlane gave one blast of his whistle and our machine guns and rifles let go at them. We let them have about thirty rounds of good old thirty caliber ammunition that silenced them for the balance of the night. Whether we killed any, we do not know as it was to dark to see anything on the beach other than lights.
From sentrys report, there had been one shot fired during the night about two hundred yards up river.
Wednesday, April 4th we got underway at 6:05 A.M. and proceeded down river. At 2:20 P.M. we anchored off Wanchien.
At 5:20 P.M. we got underway again and at 5:55 P.M. we anchored for the night off Pauto. This was just a small place and here we spent a very peaceful night.
Thursday, April 5th. We got underway at 6:25 A.M.
At 9:30 A.M. we stationed all details for action passing Kweifus. No luck here so ten minutes later secured all stations. At 10:05 A.M. stationed all details for action while passing the notorious Paichi. No luck again so at 10:15 A.M. secured all stations. Lieut. Comdr. Mac Farlane remarked that, nothing ever happens if you are prepared for it. Just a few minutes later we heard about four single shots ahead of us then we heard old Kelley on the Chi Lai (which was about a mile ahead of us) let go with his automatic rifle. All details to stations, commence firing.
Did we commence firing? We didn't do anything else but, and it was sure fun to watch those pirates take off and hide behind boulders. Some of them decided that they were not safe from our fire behind boulders and decided to run, much to their sorrow I presume. We are sure of having made five good chinamen out of these bandits but if there were more all the better. We expended about two hundred and forty rounds here. The name of this place was Changnantsin.
At 10:40 A.M. secured all stations but automatic station. At 1:30 P.M. stationed all details passing Patung. The monkey mail line had been busy again as we had no luck here. At 1:50 P.M. secured all stations.
At 3:45 P.M. we anchored off Micioho. The water was to low to risk it through the Kongling Rapids.
The Puituila (new gunboat) was in Miaoho when we got there. She was on her first trip up the river.
Friday, April 6th we got underway at 9:05 A.M. and at 11:55 A.M. we anchored off Lchang. Nothing of importance happened the balance of the day so several of the gang celebrated our successful trip by having a beer party.
Saturday, April 7th drew twelve hundred rounds of ammunition from the Monocacy. Have four thousand, six hundred rounds on hand now. We'll sure give the pirates hell next trip if they fire on us.
In the afternoon I took the gang to the Monocacy to get paid. Played poker for coppers the balance of the day.
Sunday, April 8th. Easter Sunday and a gloomy day it is and a hell of a port to have to spend Easter in. Stayed aboard all day and slept.
Monday, April 9th brought both smiles and scowls on the faces of the gang when I brought them their mail from the Monocacy. My letters made me feel rather good but having the bozo that shared the cabin with me seemed to have received a letter that was not very pleasing and caused him to get the old blues and much kidding by me. Thats all there is for today for there isn't anymore and I have letters to answer.
Tuesday April 10th lounged around all day. Spending to much time in the one port grows monotonous.
Wednesday, April 11th got underway at 3:10 P.M. and at 6:45 P.M. we anchored at Miaoho.
Thursday, April 12th we got underway at 7:00 A.M. and proceeded up river.
At 5:20 P.M. we anchored off Wushan. Took on coal. Nothing exciting happened during the day.
Friday, April13th we got underway at 8:00 A.M. anchored off Panto at 5:20 P.M. Went ashore at Panto with a pot of white paint and painted the initials U.S.M.C. in letters five feet high on a rock. They sure can be seen from the river.
Took a few pictures today and I sure do hope they turn out good.
Had stationed all details for action this morning while passingTaichi. No luck. There were two ships anchored there paying the usual tribute but we went straight on through without any trouble.
Saturday, April 14th got underway at 6:00 A.M. and proceeded up river.
At 9:30 A.M. anchored off Wanchuin. Took on more coal here. At 1:30 P.M. we got underway again and at 6:10 P.M. we anchored off Shihpaochia.
Sunday, April 15th we got underway at 7:00 A.M. and at 7:30 P.M. we anchored off Fouchow. This is a place where there are so many soldiers.
We got hold of a poppy bulb and this is where I learned how opium is procured. The chinamen makes a dozen or more scratches on the bulb and then after a certain length they go and scrape off the gum that has oozed out through these scrathes. The next thing they do, is to boil down this gum to a certain degree and then it is ready for the user.
The user sure is a very patient being in preparing his pipe.
Opium when being smoked has an odor that is far worse than the odor of a skunk to my estimation.
Monday April 16th got underway at 7:00 A.M. and 3:50 P.M. we moored alongside the Y.R.S.S.Co's pontoon.
Tuesday, April 17th. Hall (Q.M. 1/c from the U.S.S. Palos) and I went ashore in the afternoon and made a visit to Mr. Nieksen, an old German fellow here in Chunking. He had us stay for chow which finally drew out that we stayed all night. I won't say what condition we were in when we went to bed.
Wednesday, April 18th. Stayed aboard and took life easy.
Thursday, April 19th Fire started in Chungking which carried on and on burning thousands of buildings. It sure was a sight to see. If a big heavy thunderstorm which came up at about 9:00 P.M. last night had held off for a day Chungking would be a heap of ashes today.
Friday, April 20th. Still raining unable to find out if the fire is still going strong.
Cleared the ship of all pidgin passengers. They sure are getting nervy. Found about thirty of them that had counterfeit tickets which they did not get away with. They had to buy the original or get off the ship. We found one chinaman that had no ticket at all and not enough money to buy one. When told that he would have to get off, he got down on his knees and begged the Compradore to let him go to Wanchien and that he would pay what money he had. When asked why he begged to go to Wanchien on the ship he said that the soldiers had had him for weeks making him act as their coolie and no pay and very little chow. The agent at Chungking finally consented to let him go on what ever money he had.
Just before getting underway I was told that due to the heavy rain during the night, the fire in Chungking was unable to spread any further and finally played itself out.
Got underway at 1:00 P.M. Private Weiss came to me and said that it looked as though he had blood poisoning. We just happened to have a Doctor aboard (French Navy Doctor) and he said that even though he didn't have blood poisoning as yet it was sure developing into that. He had him bathe his hand in hot water with some sort of solution in it. Anchored for the night at Marking 266. At 7:30 P.M.
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Saturday, April 21st got underway at 5:45 A.M. and at 12:10 P.M. we anchored off Wauchien. The military came aboard and wanted all our cargo off as we were suspected of carrying sixteen tins of opium. The Captain said go ahead take it off and you'll put it on again. At this they pondered so in the end the Compradore had to give them a little squeeze money. If he hadn't give them any squeeze they probably would have made us stay right where we were. Well we finally got underway at 4:10 P.M. Going out we passed the Shu Ho. She has no armed guard and she was commandeered by Wang Sen to carry his troops. Anchored off Panto at 6:05 P.M.
Sunday, April 22nd. Got underway at 5:45 A.M. At 9:30 A.M. Stationed all details for action. Secured all stations at 1:00 P.M.
After going through the Kungling Rapids we came upon the Fook La over halfway under water. She left Chungking the day before us. If she had just waited one more day she would have had plenty of water and would most undoubtedly go over the rapids safely. This old Yangtze River will rise or fall many feet just over night. Anchored off Ichang at 5:55 P.M.
Monday, April 23rd. Woke up feeling pretty bum and with a bad headache and stomach on the blink. Capt.Frandsen of the I 'Ping was relieved by Capt. West. Capt Frandsen is taking over the job as river inspector with the Custom Service.
Took a big dose of castor oil this afternoon. A person could go eighty years from the last time they had taken a dose of castor oil and then not forget the taste of it. I sure didn't.
Tuesday April 24th. Took the gang to the Monocacy to draw their pay. Took shots for the prevention of cholera. Nothing much doing laying around here.
Chinese soldiers caught one of the coolies (who were boarding the ship) stealing cotton yarn. They brought him on the ship bound his hands behind his back and then tied the ends of the rope to the over head. Then they let his trousers down and then sat him down on a stool. This idea of dropping his trousers is in case that he should get his hands loose, he wouldn't be able to run until he could pull his trousers up and by that time his guard had plenty of chance to knock him down. From what I have heard, his punishment will be to go before a good big crowd with some of this cotton yarn draped about his neck and then be whipped with bamboo sticks.
Wednesday, April 25th. Did nothing but lounge around all day. The Chi Lai got underway at 2:40 P.M. and stood up river.
I forgot to mention in my events of the 23rd that on this day, the Chief Engineer, the Compredor, the Steward, and the Boatswain gave a Chinese dinner in honor of Capt. Frandsen. The guard all attended this dinner along with Capts. of four other ships. It sure was some dinner. I couldn't begin to explain what all it consisted of and I must say there was plenty of it that I wouldn't eat on a bet. There were more than forty courses. Everyone uses chop sticks and also everybody eats out of the same dish. We all sat down and the first thing out of the fat we had to grab our glass which was filled with beer. The chief pilot said Gambi (which means bottoms up). Well we turned bottoms up alright and then they were filled again at which the Boatswain said Gambi. Down again. Well according to Chinese custom everybody at the table must get up and say Gambi during the course of the meal. Well there were seven at our table and when we didn't Gambi somebody was saying in English, heres how. Well by the time that feed was over well all felt low.
Thursday, April 26th. The sentry called all hands at 4:00 A.M. and at 4:30 A.M. we cleared the ship of all pidgin passengers. At 8:00 A.M. we got underway with the Chi Cheun (Y.R.S.S. Co.) in a convoy. At 5:A.M. this morning, I transferred Privates Jenkins and Withenmyer to the Chi Chein. At 6:20 P.M. we were fired upon by soldiers at Chingshitan. Private Sherwood returned fire with a short burst of machine gun fire which silenced them immediately. Just before we were fired upon a French Commander (going to Chungking to take over a French Gunboat there) was writing home to France that it was all bull about ships being fired upon on the Upper Yangtze. He said he sure was surprised at the time the firing came. We must have been, as he bought us all a bottle of beer. We anchored off Wuhsan at 7:15 P.M. We expected to see the Chi Lai here as she was to be in our convoy. Her Capt., Capt. Fickerment I suppose thought he was wise and thought he would go on further. Well from what Lieu Fife U.S.N. said, he will lose his guard if he pulls that sort of a trick again. To my opinion and that of many others, Capt. Frickerment is sore because he did not get the I'Ping (which is a larger ship than the Chi Lai) when its position was made vacant by the resignation of a grand man, and Capt of the I'Ping, Capt Frandsen.
At 7:15 P.M. we anchored off Wyhsan and at 8:30 P.M. the Chi Chuen anchored astern of us. At 9:15 P.M. we received a message from the people at Chingshitan wanting to know why we fired on them as they were not firing at us. They also stated in this message that we killed or wounded twenty men that they would attack us at 3:00 A.M. I stood by all night with the sentrys but nothing happened. Nothing like taking all precautions. This message was brought to the I'Ping by a chinese cook from the Fu Juan (Chinese ship). He said that he was forced to bring it at the point of a pistol. At 5:40 A.M. the I'Ping and Chi Chueu got underway and proceeded up river.
A complete translation of the letter the Compradore received on the 26th of april 1928,
while anchored at Wuhsan. 7th day.
Dear Compradore of the I'Ping.
Our troops along the river are always offering protection to all
steamers. On this day when your ship passed through our zone we had no other aim than making signals
by fire. It was unexpected that your ship fired at us with several hundred shots, several tens of us
were wounded and over ten were killed in this tragedy.
What is your meaning by it?
You think you have plenty soldiers and guns on your ship!
Our provoked soldiers insist to make fight against your ship in the midnight of this night.
I therefore notify you the fact. We have to make trouble to you, if you will not give us compensation
for the lost lives and the wounded persons.
Please answer us by the kindness of Capt. of S.S. Fu Yuen.
The party that translated this letter says that it was written by bandits because it was so poorly written in Chinese.
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Friday, April 27, 1928. Transferred Private Sherwood to the Chi Chuen as machine gunner and signalman, by orders Lieut Fife. Private Jenkins transferred back aboard the I'Ping. At 6:15 P.M. we anchored off Wauchien. Chi Lai arrived Wauchien an hour and a half ahead of us. Lieut Fife had Capt. Frickerment come aboard for a confab. Capt. Fickerment warned that the next time he leaves the convoy, he would lose his armed guard. At 7:15 P.M. the Chi Chuen anchored astern of us. Private Sherwood reported that at Pungyangtzu they were fired on by civilians and military. At the Capts orders, fire was returned. Shots directed, overhead and in the water to scare them off. Twenty nine shots expended. Firing from sampans silenced quickly.
Saturday, April 28th. Got underway at 6:50 and proceeded up river. At 1:50 P.M. we passed the I'Ping and the Chi Nan standing downstream. At 5:35 P.M. we anchored off Kaochichen. Chi Lai moored alongside and the Chi Chuen anchored astern.
Sunday. April 29th. Got underway and proceeded up river. At 6:10 P.M. anchored off Pochi. Chi Lai moored alongside and the Chi Chuen anchored astern.
Monday. April 30th. Got underway and proceeded to Chungking. At 10:40 A.M. we moored to pontoon at Chungking. Chi Chuen moored to pontoon astern and the Chi Lai anchored in midstream abreast of the pontoons. Stationed the watch on all ships. Capt. Fickerment of the Chi Lai gave the sentry (Haring) orders to allow no pidgin cargo to go off the ship. Shortly after, Haring caught the Chief Engineer taking off kerosene. When he stopped him the Chief said Maskee, Capt. say I can do. Waring went to the Capt. and told him about this and he said yes let him go. Haring reported this to me and I reported same to Lieut. Fife. Lieut Fife said that he would speak to the Capt. Fickerment about this and that if it happened again we would take the guard off of his ship. They say that Fickerment was an officer in the German Navy at one time, holding the rank of Lieut. Commander. A hell of an officer he must have been if he can't give an order and hold to it.
Tuesday - May 1, 1928. At 12:30 P.M. We made a search of the ship for pidgin passengers. Didn't find any this time. They must be getting wise to the fact that they can't get by with it any more. At 1:25 P.M. we got underway with the Chi Lai and the Chi Chuen in convoy and stood down river. At 6:30 we anchored off Fouchow.
Wednesday - May 2, 1928 - we got underway at 5:30 A.M. and proceeded down river. at 1:20 P.M. We anchored off Wauchein. Everything was rather quiet in Wauchein this trip. No bustling around of searching parties or anything. At 4:35 P.M. We got underway and proceeded down river. At 5:15 P.M. we passed the I'Ling (Y.R.) standing up river. At 5:25 P.M. we passed the Chi Nan standing up river. at 5:30 P.M. we passed the Mei Lu (T.O.) standing up river. 6:10 P.M. we anchored off Pauto for the night. About midnight two sampans came alongside. Having called the Compradore I told him to find out what these people in the sampans wanted. After about ten minutes of jabber he said to me. This old fellow is a Mandarin and he wishes to take passage for himself and five students to I-Chang on the I'Ping. He said that he is most willing to let you search his person and his baggage. I said well you see the Capt. and if he says can do why then we'll give them a through search, baggage and all. We searched them but nothing did we find other than the fact that they were well to do Chinamen. One of them had a fur coat made of lion skin that sure was a beauty.
Thursday. May 3, 1928. Got underway and proceeded down river at 5:45 A.M. At 12:50 P.M. We passed the Ping Yang Maru standing up river with convoy. The Ping Yang Maru is the first large steamer to run on the Upper River this season.
At 4:35 P.M. we anchored off Ichang. TheYek Pau (Y.R.) was in Ichang when we arrived. She had an armed guard of six men, CPL A. J. Arbrecke in charge. About 6:30 P.M. the Moei Foo of the Standard Oil stood in and moored to the Standard pontoon. She had the balance of the Marines from the Helena on board. 1st. Lieut. P.A. Lesser U.S.M.C. in charge.
Friday. May 4th. Received our baggage from the Moei Foo in the morning. In the afternoon 1st Sgt. Mac Cauley paid the guard. Transfers that were affected this date by orders of Lieut. Lesser were. Privates first class Davis Johns and Cox from the Moei Foo to the I'Ping. Privates Janssen, Weiss and Withenmeyer from the I'Ping to the Moei Foo. Transferred PFC Cox to the Chi Chuen to replace
Withenmeyer. Johns to the Chi Lai to replace Janssen. Also transferred Private Gardner from the Chi Lai to the Chi Chuen.
Ensign Jordan came aboard around 6:30 P.M. and not in any to sober a condition. He made known the fact that he was now in charge of the guard and that he was going to make many changes. After dinner I went to the Yet Pan to see the Marines there and I had no more than got seated when Haring came over and said Whitey you had better come back to the ship. Mr. Jordan is drunk and he is down in the chinese cabins with his pistol drawn and sticking it at chinamen. I came aboard and found him in the chinese second class saloon. I asked him what the trouble was and he said do you know this man? I told him he was one of the crew. Who is this one? He is a passenger. How do you know all these people? I have been on the I'Ping seven weeks and I thought it my duties to acquaint myself with the faces of the crew. He said well I am going to throw some of them off. I told him that he did not realize the situation on the upper river. He said well if I shoot someone it won't be your fault but if you are so afraid take my pistol and put it in my room. I went on top side but I did not put his pistol in his room as I thought it best not to. In the time this was all going on Haring was on his way to the Palos to bring an officer down to the I'Ping.
After I had come on top side, Capt. West went down to see if he couldn't get Mr. Jordan to come on the top side. In a few minutes Capt. West came back and right behind him was Ensign Jordan. Mr. Jordan went to his room and while he was preparing for bed he called me. I went to his room and he said, Grosskopf why didn't you bring my pistol to my room as I told you? I brought it top side and gave it to Jenkins sir. and told him to hold on to it until I came back up and before I got back up you had already gone to your room and sent for me. He then said. What are you trying to do make a fool out of me? No sir. You think more of this Capt. than you do the Marine Corps or Navy. No sir, I do not I just realize the situation we are in, here. Well you and I will have to get along somehow. Yes sir, I hope we will sir. Alright.
Mr. Jordan then turned in and he had no more than turned in when Lieut. Comdr Thomas, Capt. of the Palos came aboard. Mr. Jordan heard the motor pan and he got up. When Capt.Thomas saw him he said alright Jordan get your clothes on you are going with me under arrest. Aren't pajamas alright? You get your clothes on and get down in that boat or I'll have the Marines manhandle you. I hate to have to have Marines manhandle as officer but if you can't go like a man alright. Waring and Jenkins took him down to the motor boat and with Capt. Thomas they took him to the Palos.
Mr. Lesser came aboard the I'Ping as Mr. Jordans relief in charge of the armed guard.
Saturday - May 5, 1928. At about 10:30 A.M. Mr. Simonds, (Agent at Ichang for the Y.R.S.S. Co.), Lieut Lesser and myself made a search of the Chi Lai for pidgin cargo and smuggled ammunition that was believed to be on the Chi Lai. Put off a lot of pidgin cargo.
At 1:35 P.M. I'Ping got underway and stood up river. Chi Lai and Chi Chuen in convoy. At 6:00 P.M. we anchored off Miaoho and at 6:40 P.M. The Chi Lai stood in and moored alongside the I'Ping. The Chi Chuen had to anchor at mileage twenty one on account of trouble with her steering gear.
May 6th. Sunday. Got underway at 5:30 A.M. and proceeded up river. At 8:45 A.M. we anchored at mileage 54 to let the Chi Lai catch up a little. At 9:50 A.M. we stood by our battle stations while passing Muckontau. At 10:00 A.M. we secured all stations. Did not sight the Chi Chuen all day, suspected that she had gone back to Ichang. Anchored off Kurifu at 5:00 P.M. At 5:50 P.M. the Chi Lai stood in and anchored ahead of the I'Ping. At 6:15 P.M. the Chi Chuen stood in and anchored ahead of us.
Monday, May 7th got underway at 5:30 A.M. and proceeded up river. At 8:25 A.M. we passed the Chi Man standing down river. At 8:45 A.M. we passed the I'Ling anchored at mileage 135. I'Ling waiting for the Chi Lai to put a new Captain on her and take Capt. Fickerment back to Ichang on account of being sick. Capt. Bierusann, new Captain of the Chi Lai.
At 8:55 A.M. we passed the Ping Huo at mileage 137. She sure was a wreck, listing about 40 degrees. At 2:45 P.M. we anchored off Wauchien. Chi Chuen stood in and anchored at 4:15 P.M. Chi Lai stood in and anchored at 6:25 P.M.
Tuesday, May 8th got underway and proceeded up river 6:25 A.M.
At 7:00 A.M. We passed the Puig Yuan beached at mileage 177.
at 6:50 P.M. I'Ping anchored at mileage 266.
At 7:30 P.M. Chi Lai stood in and moored to port side of I'Ping.
At 7:40 P.M. Chi Chuen stood in and anchored forward of the I'Ping.
About 9:00 P.M. we cleared the I'Ping and Chi Lai of all visitors from shore. Suspected that there were bandits among them.
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Wednesday - May 9th. got underway at 5:30 A.M. and proceeded up river. At 10:30 A.M. we passed the Putuila anchored at mileage 304, having target drill. I'Ping moored to pontoon at Chungking at 4:30 P.M. at 5:55 P.M. the Chi Lai stood in and anchored off pontoons. Chi Chuen stood in and moored to pontoon at 6:00 P.M.
Thursday. May 10th. Went to see old Frank Neilsen in the morning and I don't mean maybe by the time I got out of his place I sure was feeling rather spiffy.
At 6:30 P.M. I made the following transfers by orders of Lieut Lesser.
Cpl E. G. Grosskopf and Pfc R. C. Waring from the I'Ping to the Chi Chuen. Pfc M. F. Cox and Pvt C.R. Sherwood from the Chi Chuen to the I'Ping. Pvt B.F. Lower from the I'Ping to the Chi Lai.
Friday. May 11th. Chi Lai got underway and stood down river at 5:00 A.M. At 5:30 A.M. I'Ping got underway and at 5:40 A.M. the Chu Chuen got underway.
At 9:20 A.M. convoy anchored at mileage 304. Putuila still at anchor. It seems that there is some sort of trouble. At Wauchien and they stopped to have the Putuile send a wire through to the Comdr. Yantze Patrol.
At 1430 or 2:30 P.M. I'Ping, Chi Chuen and Chi Lai got underway and proceeded down river. The U.S.S. Putuile got underway and followed the convoy down river.
At 5:35 P.M. the Chi Chuen anchored at mileage 266. The Chi and I'Ping anchored forward of the Chi Chuen and the Putuila anchored astern.
Saturday May 12th. Convoy got underway at 6:10 A.M. in same formation as on the eleventh.
At mileage 258 1/2 there were three shots fired toward the ship, none scoring a hit.
Got caught with my pants down this time. Gardner was still asleep and Waring had just turned in as he had just come off watch. I was up alright, but I had been getting ready for a bath. Just as I had stepped in the tub, bang and before I could get out of the tub and put on my bath robe, bang goes another one. Not bothering with shorts, I beats it out of the bath room and I had no more than passed through the door way when bang goes another shot. This one cracked just over my head. I beat it to the rooms and got Waring and Gardner out. More shots had been fired. Waring came dashing out with his machine gun with just his trousers and a pair of socks on. Of course he had on his underclothes. He came out raving about someone stealing his slippers. I had used his slippers in going to the bathroom and when we were fired on I didn't put them on so, Waring seeing me in my bare feet gave no thought that I had his slippers.
We did not return the fire. For the reason that they were hid behind rocks and that we could not tell if they were military or civilians. Had they fired again we would have given them a little taste of machine gun fire to let them know that we were also armed.
At 9:50 A.M. we passed the S.S. Wushun standing up river. She had her information board (all the ships on the Yangtze have a board on which they show, anything unusual that has happened) and it read, that at mileage 87 there was very heavy firing by bandits. This is in the Wushan Gorge. I hope we may have some fun.
At 1:00 P.M. the convoy anchored off Wanchien. The I'Ping and the Chi Nan were at anchor when we pulled in. They had already been at anchor for more than thirty hours. The military would not leave them get underway.
At 2:00 P.M. the U.S.S. Putuila stood in and anchored.
About four o'clock, Lieut Comdr Baltzly, Capt of the Putuila, Capt Anderson of the Chi Nan, and the Capt. of the I'Ling and the Compradoe of the I'Ping went ashore to see General Yang Sen.
When they returned we learned that there was a boycott on the British ships and that General Yang Sen wanted to hold all other ships so that he would be able to show good face to the British.
Capt. Baltzly told him that the American ships would get underway in the morning and if one shot were fired, the gunboat and the armed guard on the American ships would return fire.
Sunday - May 13, 1928. The I'Ling and Chi Nan got underway and stood up river. No trouble. At 5:45 A.M. the I'Ping and convoy got underway and proceeded down river. Chi Chuen going first, Chi Lai second and the I'Ping bringing up the rear. No trouble. Evidently Yang Sen thought better about trying to stop any American ships.
At 9:45 A.M. The I'Ping passed us and took the lead.
At 6:40 P.M. convoy anchored off Ichang.
Monday, May 14, 1928. Made the following transfers by order 1st. Lieut. P.A. Lesser. Cpl E.G Grosskopf, PFC R. E. Waring and Pvt E.J. Gardner from the Chi Chuen to the I"ping. Pfc G. W. Johns and Pvt B.F. Lower from the Chi Lai to the I'Ping. Pvt C.R. Sherwood from the I'Ping to the Chi Chuen as a dashing signalman. Pvt V.C. Kelly held aboard the Chi Lai as a signalman.
Just when I had moved into a good state room with all the conveniences in the world they had to transfer me. Just my luck. To good to last.
Tuesday. May 15, 1928. More transfers. They figured they could use whistle signals for all the signalling that was necessary so back to the I'Ping came Kelly and Sherwood. Maybe Sherwood wasn't hot. Tuesday before, he had left a good state room on the I'Ping and when he got transferred back to the I'Ping again he wasn't quite fast enough. Kelly beat him to the only state room left so, now Sherwood bunks in the saloon. Is he hot? "Oh Boy!"
Transferred Pfc G. W. Johns to the U.S.S. Palos for medical treatment. Women sure will ruin you if your not careful.
Mei Lu of the Standard Oil stood in from up river and anchored at 5:00 P.M. She had an armed guard in charge. They had a little scrap at Fowchow with the soldiers.
Wednesday May 16, 1928. Made a search of all three ships for pidgin passengers and cargo. Got notice to knock off before we were half finished.
Found out we were not getting underway as there was plenty of fighting up river among soldiers of different Generals.
In the afternoon we had all Wanchin cargo discharged from all three ships and took on coal enough to take us straight through to Chungking. Had to do this as it is doubtless whether we could get coal at Wauchien or not.
Thursday. May 17, 1928. Got the gang up at 3:30 A.M. and at 4:00 A.M. we made a search of all three ships for pidgin passengers and cargo. Found plenty of both. The Chi Chuen, Chi Lai and Meu Lu got underway at 5:15 A.M. and stood up river. Don't take the I'Ping along to catch up to them.
I'Ping got underway at 6:30 A.M. and stood up river. Hell will probably pop before this day is over with.
At 1:10 P.M. the I'Ping anchored at Mileage 52 to wait for the Chi Lai. Got underway at 1:50 P.M. and proceeded up river.
At 6:55 P.M. the I'Ping anchored off Wushan. Chi Chuen stood in and anchored astern of the I'Ping at 7:30 P.M. Mei Lu stood in and tied up to the port side of the Chi Chuen, Chi Lai at 9:00 P.M.
I took a guard of four men to the Chi Chuen to prevent commandeering by chinese soldiers. Nothing happened during the night. The I'Ping had her search light working at intervals during the night.
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Friday - May 18, 1928. Secured the watch on the Chi Chuen at 5:00 A.M. Chi Lai got underway at 5:00 A.M. and proceeded up river. Mei Lu got underway at 5:15 A.M. the Chi Chuen at 5:25 A.M. and the I'Ping at 5:40 A.M. Stationed all details for action while passing Kweifu. At 8:25 A.M. Chi Chuen gave one long blast and two short blasts on her whistle, meaning that she was fired on. At 8:30 A.M. as we came within range single shots were fired our way from soldiers on the beach. Had a hard time finding just what points the firing was coming from, but we did, "Oh Boy"! we sure gave it to them. We fired approximately 190 rounds. Well hell didn't pop loose yesterday as I thought it would, but she sure let go today and probably it will again.
Just above Kweifu we began passing large bodies of troops on the march bound up river. They fired one shot but whether it was at us or just a signal we couldn't tell. Secured all stations at 9:15 A.M.
At 10:35 A.M. we passed the Hsiang Chi (German). She was anchored at mileage 120. He put out information board and it read commandeered. He left Ichang the same time that we did but being a faster ship, he made Kweifu instead of anchoring at Wushan. Kweifu was where she was most undoubtedly commandeered.
At 1:45 P.M. stationed all details for action, passing Yunyang. At 2:00 P.M. secured all stations. Saw large bodies of troops on the March, moving up river.
At 5:15 P.M. six shots were fired from shore at Siaochouchit. Unknown at the time whether shots were fired at ships or not. Learned later (upon arrival at Wauhsien) from Capt. Bierman that they fired at him. He gave no signal as to having been fired on so therefore we did not return the fire.
At 7:10 P.M. the I'Ping anchored off Wauhsien. Chi Chuen anchored at 7:15 P.M. Chi Lai at 7:25 P.M. and the Wei Lu at 7:40 P.M.
Wanhsien is much different now than it has been on previous trips. Very few soldiers. General Yang Hsin has all his troops out fighting.
May 19, 1928. Saturday. At 4:50 A.M. Mei Lu got underway and proceeded up river. 4:55 A.M. Chi Lai got underway. 5:10 A.M. Chi Chuen got underway and at 5:25 A.M. the I'Ping got underway.
Stationed all details for action passing Chungchow. No luck so, at 3:15 P.M. secured all stations.
At 6:20 P.M. I'Ping and convoy anchored at mileage 249. Took a five man guard to the Chi Chuen to protect the Chi Chuen and Mei Li from the soldiers who have been commandeering ships on the river.
Kept a close watch all night but morning came with out any trouble.
May 20, 1928 - Sunday. I'Ping and convoy got underway at 5: 30 A.M. and proceeded up river.
At 6:30 A.M. stationed all details while passing Fengtu. No action, secured at 7:00 A.M.
Lieut Lesser had a good talk with Capt. West in regards to keeping a speed where he would be close at hand should anything happen to the convoy. Capt. West told Lesser that he was running the ship at which Lesser replied. Alright go ahead but I shall make a report of it to the Admiral when we get to Chungking. Capt. West is an old fool if you ask me.
At 11:00 A.M. stationed all details for action passing Fouchow. Shu Huo at anchor at Fouchow. Her skipper said she was commandeered. Secured all stations at 11:45 A.M.
At 7:00 P.M. we dropped anchor at mileage 332.
U.S.S. Putiula, S.S. Ling and Chi Nan at anchor when we arrived. Admiral Sterling in the I'Ling with his flag on the Putiula.
Lieut Lesser and Mr. Henderson (American in business on the Yangtze) went over to see the Admiral. Later Lesser told me that Mr. Henderson told the Admiral plenty and that he also praised the Marines very highly that were on the I'Ping. Lesser told me that the Admiral thanked him and then told him that he has received quite a few good reports about the I'Ping guard and that he was very pleased.
At 9:30 P.M. the entire guard transferred from the I'Ping to the Chi Chuen. Lieut Lesser said that this transfer was ordered by the Admiral. Maskee, the Chi Chuen puts out better chow anyway. She has a big cook that sure knows his groceries over a stove.
The Chi Chuen had come to anchor at Mei Lu at 7:30 P.M.
May 21, 1928 - Monday. Chi Chuen now flag of the convoy
At 5:35 A.M. Chi Chuen and convoy got underway and proceeded to Chungking. Eighteen more miles to go..
At 7:55 A.M. I'Ping went alongside of pontoon at Chungking. 8:15 A.M. Chi Chuen moored to pontoon Mei Lu proceeeded on up to installation. At 8:25 A.M. Chi Lai stood in and anchored off pontoons
At 3:15 P.M. transferred Pfc G.W Davis. Pfc R.C. Haring and Pvt C.R Sherwood.
Lieut Lesser told me to transfer three men to the Mei Chuen. I asked him if he wanted anyone in particular transferred, at which he answered, no. Well I hated to pick out any certain three so in order to give them all a square deal, I took and made out nine slips, three of them bearing the letters (S.O.) and six of them with the letters (Y.R.). I then folded them up and put them in my hat and then told the gang to pick them out. Davis, Sherwood & Waring drew the (S. O.). I was rather glad to get rid of Davis but the rest of the gang are all a bunch of good fellows and as far as I can see I don't believe any but Davis had any dislike for me. Davis was a regular dunegan and he sure gave everyone a pain. I really think he should wear dresses. He can stand in front of mirror for an hour and primp. As for having an education, he is actually the dumbest man (as he is suppose to be) that I have ever run across.
May 22, 1928 - Tuesday. At 5:00 P.M. Chi Chuen and convoy got underway and stood down river.
May 23, 1928 - Wednesday. Chi Chuen got underway at 5:45 A.M. and proceeded down river. Chi Lai and I'Ping followed shortly after.
At 9:20 A.M. stationed all details while passing Fouchow.
Secured at 9:30 A.M. At 5:20 P.M. Chi Chuen and convoy anchored off Waushien.
May 24th - Thursday. At 5:40 A.M. Chi Chuen and convoy got underway and proceeded down river.
At 1:50 P.M. we passed the I'Ling and Chi Nan standing up river. They had practically on a new guard all Marines.
At 6:25 P.M. Chi Chuen and convoy anchored off Ichang.
May 25th - Friday. Pfc G. W. Johns returned to duty. In the afternoon we got three more men on the Chi Chuen in the capacity of old bartender 1st. Sgt. McCaulley and two of his able assistants Cpl Abrecke and the horrible (Bobwire) Holmes.
Transferred Kelly, Jenkins and Gardner to the Chi Lai and the man also yours truly to the I'Ping with Johns and Lower as my able assistants. Both good men.
Lower, Kelly, Cox Jenkins and myself went to a sing song party with a bunch of our chinese friends. We didn't eat very much of the chow they put out but we sure did lay heavy on the old five star beer.
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Last year there were over thirty killed on the Chi Chuen and since then the ship has had quite a few accidents and the chinese with their superstitions beliefs, believe that there are devils on board the ship. Now to get rid of these devils they have the ship all decorated with lanterns and paper josh men and everything. Two junks astern on which there are chinese priests who mumble a lot of bunk and then hand a bunch of josh paper to an under priest who burns it and throws it to the water devil. Then they start the fireworks as the concluding ceremony of ridding the ship of devils. Americans think that on fourth of July that they have very pretty fireworks in falls, pinwheels and the likes but these chinese had anything beat that I have ever seen.
May 26th - Saturday Chi Chuen and convoy got underway at 5:05 A.M. and stood up river. I'Ping dropped anchor at 12:20 P.M. to wait for the Chi Cheun and Chi Lai to heave over the Yehtau. Weighed anchor at 1:30 P.M. and proceeded up river. Did we heave the Yehtau? I'll say we didn't.
The I'Ping hasn't heaved a rapid since I've been on her. She sure is a strong old girl.
Passed the Mei Lu & Mei Hsia standing down river.
Sherwood from the Mei Hsia signalled that the I'Ling was fired on at Mileage 157. That was on her trip up river. I hope we have a little luck there. Passed hundreds of Red Spears on the march down river this afternoon.
At 7:35 P.M. the L'Ping anchored off Wushau. Due to high water this is a poor anchorage now. The Chi Lai was alongside of the Chi Chuen but the two ships kept surging so much that the Chi Lai had to cast off and anchor on the other side of the river.
About 3:30 A.M. the Chi Cheun broke her wire that she had out to the beach. Sure is swift water now.
May 27th. Sunday. Chi Cheun and Chi Lai got underway about 5:15 A.M. and we got underway at 5:45 A.M.
Stood by for action when we came to Kurifu. They didn't fire at us this time. I guess we made it to hot for them last time we went up river.
At 4:30 P.M. we anchored off Pauto. Had to anchor here on account of the Chi Lai. They signaled that she was about out of coal, did not have enough to make Wauhsien. Took three tons from the Chi Cheun.
May 28th. Monday. Got underway at 5:45 A.M. and proceeded up river. Chi Cheun taking lead. I'Ping second and Chi Lai third.
Anchored off Wauhsien at 9:30 A.M. Took on coal and when they finished and we made preparations for getting underway, we found that we were commandeered.
Lieut Lesser went to the H.M.S. Petrel and sent a radio to the U.S.S. Guam at Chungking. These gunboats are like policemen. Never around where they are needed.
Chungking generally is a peaceable place whereas Wanhsien is just opposite, yet they keep no gunboat here.
We may be able to hold our own until the Guam arrives, but it is sure slim chances ten Marines have with hundreds of soldiers.
Received a message from the H.M.S. Petrel that the Guam was underway from Chungking and would most likely be in Wanhsien before noon tomorrow.
Let Buddha have pity on the breathern soldiers that try to come on the bridge of these American ships tonight or I should say between now and the time the Guam arrives. When she arrives, they will all take off to the tall timbers and we will get underway and proceed on to Chungking.
If anything should happen before the Guam arrives we sure will get many of them while they are getting us. Machine guns, automatic rifles, automatic pistols, riot guns, and good 30 caliber Springfield rifles can shoot to fast and true against their ancient rifles.
May 29th. Tuesday. Found out this morning that it was all a lot of baloney about the Guam coming down river. The Marine officer and the Captains of the three ships just spread that dope in hopes that the military would get hold of it. Well they did and they said they did not want to use our ships for transporting troops but were just holding us so that we wouldn't get underway and be commandeered by their enemy.
Besides these three American ships they have three Chinese, one German and one Finnish ship commandeered. They are well loaded down with troops whereas we have just a ten man guard on each of our ships.
Shots have been fired all morning whether at random or not we do not know, At least none of them have come in our direction. When they do come our way, well yours truly is going to stand by for acommnass from the Chi Cheun and, if it is fire well I'll make the old Lewis gun do some talking with short affective bursts.
The Wu Hsing (Chinese) Fu Yang (Chinese) Hsiang Chi (German) and the Yung Fung (Finnish) got underway and stood up river loaded down very heavily with troops.
We may now get results and get out of here. Yang Sens troops are back in Wauhsien and at present the commissioner of foreign affairs (Yang Sens nephew) is over on the Chi Chuen having a confab with Lesser and the three Captains.
There is more talk going about that the Guam left Chungking this morning. Where they get there dope I don't know but I hope it is true.
Well it was no rumor this time. The Guam stood in and anchored at 7:45 P.M. All hands were standing by their stations.
Our Chinese crew was sure tickled when they saw her steaming in. They have no fear now.
The Captain of the Guam sent a message to the authorities in Wanhsien stating that the American ships would get underway in the morning and that if his guard was not off by then, the Marine guard would eject them gently but firmly.
May 30th - Wednesday. The Chinese guards left all three ships at 4:45 A.M. and at 5:30 A.M. we were given our release.
At 6:A.M. made a through search of the ship for pidgin passengers.
At 7:05 A.M. convoy got underway and proceeded up river. Chi Cheu taking the lead, I'Ping second and the Chi Lai third with the Guam bringing up the rear.
Convoy anchored, 5:00 P.M. at mileage 227. We were forced to anchor on account of a break down to the pressure pump on the port engine of the Chi Lai.
May 31st. Thursday. Convoy got underway at 5:25 A.M. and proceeded up river. Chi Lai in the lead, Chi Chuen second, I'Ping third and the Guam bringing up the rear.
I'Ping anchored at mileage 247 at 8:30 A.M. due to break down of vacuum pressure pump. 8:45 A.M. anchor aweigh and proceeding up river.
At 2:00 P.M. We passed the Wu Hsing, Fu Yang, Kiu Kiang, Hsiang and the Yung Fing anchored at mileage 279. These are the five ships that were commandeered at Wauhsien.
The Kiu Kiang left Wauhsien just ahead of us yesterday morning. She is Chinese owned.
Convoy anchored at 6:30 P.M. at mileage 304.
June 1st. Friday. At 5:25 A.M. Convoy got underway and proceeded up river, Chi Lai first, Chi Cheun second, I'Ping third and the Guam last. At 6:10 A.M. convoy fired upon at mileage 207, by soldiers evidently as there was to many shots fired, to be bandits. We three on the I'Ping were still sleep when the firing started but it sure didn't take us long to get in action. I got my machine gun going but after about ten shots the damn thing had to go and jam. Firing from beach continued. Got my machine gun going again and after five shots she jammed again. Thats the Lewis gun for you. The Browning is the only rifle for real action. We didn't do so bad though. I got out fifteen, Louer got out twelve and Johns got out ten. The Chi Cheun gave them hell through and I guess Kelly and his gang on the Chi Lai also gave them a good dose.
Chi Cheun was fired on again at mileage 209 Changshou. She silenced them mighty quick.
The funny part of all this was at the time we were fired on the Guam was nowhere in sight. They never would have fired had the Guam been around. Received word from the Chi Chuen that they had one chinaman that got shot in the back.
Made a rough inspection of the I'Ping and found that she was hit nine times. One shot went on through the galley door.
I'Ping moored to pontoon at Chungking at 12:25 P.M.
When the rest of the convoy arrived, we found out that the Chi Cheun and Chi Lai were fired upon as heavily as we were and that they had better luck with their machine guns than I did.
Also learned that the Chi Cheun had a narrow escape of losing the Captain. He was at one of the small holes in the shutters when a bullet hit not more than two inches from the hole the Captain was looking through. They tell me it is a great joke to hear the Captain tell about it. He is German and his broken english is rather interesting to listen to.
The Chinaman on the Chi Cheun that got hit was not seriously injured. Just got him a glancing blow and broke the skin.
June 2nd. Saturday. More than three thousand troops left Chungking this morning on a march down river. Evidently they are planning for a counter attack on Yang Sens army
There are five or six Chinese ships being held here in Chungking. They are not holding them because they want to transport troops, but because they don't want to take chances on them going down river and have their enemy commandeer them to transport troops.
June 3rd. Sunday. Turned in at three, roused out at noon, ate a good healthy chow and spent the rest of the day reading a blood curdling Arizona feud story by Zane Grey.
June 4. Monday. Searched ship at 5:00A.M and at 6:00 A.M. the entire Chi Cheun guard transferred to the I'Ling, just for the day.
I'Ling guard all transferred to the Chi Lai.
At 10:15 A.M. convoy got underway in the following order and stood down river. Chi Lai first, Chi Wan second, Chi Cheun third, U.S.S. Guam fourth, I'Ping fifth, and the I'Ling last.
At 8:10 P.M. convoy anchored at Wuhingchi mileage 193.
At 10:00 P.M. guards all returned to their respective ships.
June 5th - Tuesday. Convoy got underway at 5:00 A.M. and proceeded down river.
Convoy anchored all Wauhsien at 6:30 A.M.
Convoy got underway at 9:25 A.M. stood down river.
Guam got underway and stood up river.
At 8:05 P.M. anchored off Ichang.