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Reference books
on the
Great White Fleet

"Other nations may do what you have done, but they'll have to follow you."
Teddy Roosevelt
February 22, 1909



The Cruise Around the World

Select the above "stars" to go directly to the port of interest

Starting with a send-off by Teddy Roosevelt on December 16th, 1907 at the Jamestown Exposition, and finishing at Hampton Roads on February 22, 1909, the ships completed 46,000 miles of steaming.  

The fleet tacked their journey in the same fashion.  At right is a chart given to crew members of the USS Virginia at the end of the cruise.  This one belonged to Frank Lesher and electrician who collected an impressive amount of small items that he kept as memories of his journey.


Original Chart with the Course of the Great White Fleet

For the time, it was an impressive feat.   There are many good references outlining the history and dates of this event, I would recommend starting with the Navy Department's site at www.history.navy.mil/library/online/gwf_cruise.htm.  It really didn't start as a "Cruise Around the World", rather in more of a diplomatic mission to the Pacific to bolster the U.S. presence.  It was extended as a way to bring the fleet back to Hampton Roads and to show the flag to the nations of the world.  With sixteen battleships and numerous support ships, there is an amazing amount of items that can be collected.  I have started a library which is found under the "Series Card" tab.  The above title published by the United States Naval Institute in 1929.  It is a great reference of photos from the individual ports the ships visited.

A note, I am a collector, and I sometimes I stray from the "pure" Great White Fleet" even for just a great photograph of the fleet!  Sometime I stray even further.  The deployment of the eight American cruisers during this period have also become an interest of mine.  So, I have dedicated a portion of my site to these ships.   

To review the Fleet's itinerary, Cheryl Morris has provided a condensed log for the three legs of the cruise:

Fleet Itinerary 1 - Hampton Roads to San Francisco
Fleet Itinerary 2 - San Francisco to approach to Suez Canal December 1908
Fleet Itinerary 3 - January 1, 1909 to Hampton Roads return

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