Adventures and Letters
Vera Cruz And The Great War
Late in April, 1914, when war between the United States and Mexico seemed inevitable
Richard once more left the peace and content of Crossroads and started for Vera Cruz,
arriving there on April 29. He had arranged to act as correspondent for a syndicate of
newspapers, and as he had for long been opposed to the administration's policy of
"watchful waiting" was greatly disappointed on his arrival at the border to learn of the
President's plan of mediation. He wrote to his wife:
CRUZ, April 24, 1914.
We left today at 5.30. It was a splendid scene, except for the children crying, and the
wives of the officers and enlisted men trying not to cry. I got a stateroom to myself. With
the electric fan on and the airport open, it is about as cool as a blast furnace. But I was
given a seat on the left of General Funston, who is commanding this brigade, and the
other officers at the table are all good fellows. As long as I was going, I certainly had
luck in getting away as sharply as I did. One day's delay would have made me miss this
transport, which will be the first to land troops.
A dreadnaught joined us today, the Louisiana. I wirelessed the Admiral asking
permission to send a press despatch via his battleship, and he was polite in reply, but
firm. He said "No." There are four transports and three torpedo boats and the battleship.
We go very slowly, because we must keep up with one of the troop ships with broken
engines. At night it is very pretty seeing the ships in line, and the torpedo boats winking
their signals at each other. I am writing all the time or reading up things about the army I
forget and getting the new dope. Also I am brushing up my Spanish. Jack London is on
board, and three other correspondents, two of whom I have met on other trips, and one
"cub" correspondent. He was sitting beside London and me busily turning out copy, and I
asked him what he found to write about. He said, "Well, maybe I see things you fellows
don't see." What he meant was that what was old to us was new to him, but he got guyed
April 27, 1914.
The censor reads all I write, and so do some half-dozen Mexican cable clerks and 60
(sixty) correspondents. So when I cable "love," it MEANS devotion, adoration, and
worship; loyalty, fidelity and truth, wanting you, needing you, unhappy for you. It means
VERA CRUZ, April 30, 1914.