A large part of Galbraith’s journal is dedicated to describing the USS
Columbia’s technical specifications and detailed descriptions of a variety of components including the triple expansion steam engine, screw propellers, condensers, boilers, drainage and pumping systems, steering mechanism, passing rooms, coal bunkers, armament, shell rooms and magazines. Galbraith’s descriptions are accompanied by diagrams, blueprints, illustrations, and photographic prints. Also included are descriptions of the ship’s decks and rooms along with profile, plan and cross-section diagrams.
Beginning on page 95, Galbraith describes his time on board USS
Columbia, starting on November 21, 1895, when the ship was docked in Kingston Harbor, Jamaica. Galbraith details a cruise to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba describing the local municipalities and the docking procedures. Galbraith then describes the ship’s travels between ports along the North Atlantic Coast of the United States. He includes descriptions of routine tasks, inspections by commanding officers, and drills conducted with the North Atlantic Squadron. Galbraith also mentions the comings and goings of a number of other vessels he encountered during his travels, including the Sandy Hook lightship, Nantucket lightship, USS
New York, USS
A.D. Bache, and the steamship
A chart of the Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua with an index of plantations can be found on pages 164 and 165. Pages 166 to 171 contain photographs and an illustration of the USS
Kearsarge before and after it wrecked, photographs of the ship’s crew, and a chart of Roncador Bank where the ship wrecked are included in pages 166 to 171. Galbraith indicates that these materials were obtained while the USS
Columbia was anchored at Colon, Panama in April 1895.
Also included in pages 175 to 206, are materials relating to the dedication of the Kiel Canal in Germany for which Galbraith was present. Opened on June 20, 1895, the canal connects the North Sea to the Baltic Sea. Galbraith includes photographic prints of the ships present at the dedication along with general specifications for each ship. Also included are German language programs and promotional materials for the dedication, a photograph of the dedication ceremony and the Kiel dockyard, diagrams and charts of the Kiel Canal and the town of Kiel, and a chart showing the anchorage of ships taking part in the dedication.