Letters Home - Charles Ambrose Cooney

SHERIDAN NATIVE CHARLES Ambrose Cooney was only sixteen years old when he enlisted in the United States Navy on April 14, 1917 -  one of the youngest recruits from Sheridan County. Prior to his enlistment, he attended Sheridan High School and worked at both the Sheridan Iron Works and The Sheridan Post


After the war, Cooney returned to Sheridan, where he lived with his mother and brother on East Works street. Following a short stint at the University of Wyoming, he got a job as an apprentice printer at The Laramie Boomerang. This led to his career as a printer and reporter for a variety of Wyoming newspapers. He eventually wound up in southern California, where he died in 1993.


Cooney was stationed aboard the USS Mississippi, the biggest battleship in the Navy. In an undated letter printed in The Post on May 24, 1918, Cooney provides a few details about life as a sailor on the Mississippi.

We left here [Norfolk, Virginia] about the fourteenth or later of March, and from here went to Hampton Roads, where we went out for a few days to give our guns a preliminary test before an official test was made. We came back to Hampton Roads and stayed a few days and then went to Guantanamo, Cuba, where we gave an official gun firing test before government officials and experts. We were there for about 30 days firing all our guns and made tests of our engines. 


There is a large detachment and a few sailors at Guantanamo, and we were entertained at smokers the Marines gave us. There are several ballparks there and also several rifle ranges. We went on the range one morning, and the next day we left.


Cerninere and Guantanamo City are where men from the camp go on liberty. We sure had a great time there picking up coral, etc. We had movies every night. The uniform was undershirts and bare feet. I got a good tan there.


The only work I do is to drill and stand watches when we are under way. You must remember the Mississippi was just put in commission the 17th of December [1917]. She is the biggest of our ships afloat. She has the biggest guns of any ship in the navy. Carries about 130 men.


When we came into Hampton Roads from Cuba, we stayed a couple of days and went to Yorktown and joined the fleet under Admiral Mayo. We went out with the fleet Monday, came back yesterday and came in the navy yards at Norfolk today. We had recreation Saturday and Sunday, and there were several baseball games. When we went out with the fleet, I counted twenty-seven battlewagons. Imagine that.

 State Historic Site

Trail End

(From "In the World War")