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Lot #407
World War II

Amazing eyewitness account of the attack on Pearl Garbor by the commander of the California

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Amazing eyewitness account of the attack on Pearl Garbor by the commander of the California

War-dated TLS signed “M. N. Little,” seven pages, 8 x 10.5, USS Beaver letterhead, May 15, 1942. Letter to Captain J.W. Bunkley, USN, at the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Commander Little outlines what was done on the “California” after the attack on Sunday, December 7, 1941, day by day, to Thursday, December 11, 1941. In part, “Sunday forenoon and afternoon. Closed watertight doors, hatches and ventilation systems remaining open. Fought fire. Ran additional mooring lines to the interrupted quays. Rigged suction hoses through hatches to flooded spaces. Evacuated wounded to shore base hospital. Rescued personnel trapped below. Organized personnel to keep AA battery fully manned continuously. Procured ammunition for the battery from the ammunition depot…When the attack struck us we were moored fore and aft to the interrupted quays with eight lines, a bow wire, stern wire, forward bow spring, after bow spring, bow breast, forward quarter spring, after quarter spring and quarter breast…We fought the fire using hoses from the tugs, oil barge and mine sweeps alongside, plus chemical extinguishers, both CO2 and foam type, supplied from our own ship, the Base Force and the Yard. We were careful in our use of the hoses because of the fact that all water entering the ship immediately ran to the low side, thereby greatly increasing the capsizing moment…I am sorry that I have no idea how many bodies were removed from the ship before she settled. The work of removal was done I believe on Monday and/or Tuesday and I gave it no more than passing attention as I saw that bodies were being carried out.” Some scattered light toning and edge wear and two punch holes to top edges, otherwise fine condition. RR Auction COA.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Rare Manuscript, Document & Autograph
  • Dates: #434 - Ended August 13, 2014