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A Sailor’s Log

Water-Tender Frederick T. Wilson, USN, on Asiatic Station, 1899–1901

Military History

Frederick T. Wilson was an engineer who carried the rank of first-class petty officer and served on one of the Navy’s first modern battleships, the USS Oregon, at the turn of the twentieth century.

Wilson offers a rare uncensored picture of enlisted life, with descriptions of bar girls and waterfront establishments that catered to the needs of American bluejackets, as well as observations on world events during imperialism. Wilson also discusses one of the great yet largely ignored issues of the turn-of-the-century U.S. Navy—the failure of naval officers to provide the quality leadership necessary to ensure the operation of efficient, effective warships. A Sailor’s Log is a detailed and insightful account of life in the Asiatic Fleet that enriches our understanding of U.S. Navy life a century ago.