Louis Poisson Davis, Sr., Oral History Interview

July 15, 1976; May 26, 1976
Oral History #OH0034
Davis, Louis Poisson, 1883-1978; Lennon, Donald R.
Physical description
0.015 Cubic Feet, 3 audiocassettes, 1.5 hours, 55 pages
Preferred Citation
Louis Poisson Davis, Sr., Oral History Interview (#OH0034), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Scope and arrangement

Captain Davis discusses his career from graduation at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1905 through retirement in 1946. His first sea duty was aboard the USS KEARSARGE in the Caribbean where he describes gunnery practice and a misfire (pp. 2-3) and ship repairs (p. 4). Joining the China Fleet in 1908, Davis discusses the Japanese presence in Manchuria (p. 6), U.S. presence in Hong Kong, duty on the USS GALVESTON, money values, servants, and Chinese executions (pp. 9-12). Aboard the USS DELAWARE in 1910, Davis was involved with engineering and maintenance duties (pp. 17-20). He joined the USS PANTHER, a repair ship, in 1913 and the USS MINNESOTA in 1914 as engineering officer. Davis describes a trip to Veracruz in 1916 and some of the activities of Carranza's presidency (pp. 23-24). Aboard the destroyer USS JARVIS during World War I, he discusses refueling from a tanker at sea (p. 26), patrolling for submarines, and convoying British ships (pp. 28-31).

Promoted to Commander after World War I, Davis joined the 33rd Division and describes an accident where seven ships ran aground at Point Pedarnales, California, in 1922. He then spent 2 1/2 years withthe 11th Naval District in Panama devoting most of his time to field maneuvers (pp. 38-40). Promoted to Captain and given command of the USS CAYANA, Davis discusses President Franklin D. Roosevelt's attitude toward the Navy, keeping the fleet in Pearl Harbor during the Sino-Japanese War (pp. 42-43). During World War II, Davis was at the naval ammunition depot in Hingham, Massachusetts, where he developed palletized and stacked ammunition (pp. 44-45). Davis spent the remainder of the war with the Bureau of Ordnance as inspector of ammunition depots. The interview concludes with comments on Josephus Daniels' handling of social diseases in the Navy (p. 47), Admiral A. T. Mahan as a naval strategist (pp. 48-49), ordnance (pp. 50-52), and Chester Nimitz (pp. 51-52).

For related material see the Louis Poisson Davis Papers, #309.1-309.40s.

Administrative information
Source of acquisition

Gift of Louis Poisson Davis, Sr.

Processing information

Processed by L. Harris; M. Boccaccio, June 1987

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

Repository does not own copyright to the oral history collection. Permission to cite, reproduce, or broadcast must be obtained from both the repository and the participants in the oral history, or their heirs.

General note


Key terms
Personal Names
Daniels, Josephus, 1862-1948
Davis, Louis Poisson, 1883-1978
Mahan, A. T. (Alfred Thayer), 1840-1914
Nimitz, Chester W. (Chester William), 1885-1966
Corporate Names
United States. Navy Department. Bureau of Ordnance
United States. Navy--Officers--Interviews
United States. Navy. Pacific Fleet
Destroyers (Warships)--United States--History--20th century
Jutland, Battle of, 1916
Shipwrecks--California--Honda, Point--History--20th century
World War, 1914-1918--Naval operations
World War, 1939-1945--Naval operations, American
Honda, Point (Calif.)--History, Naval--20th century