Captain W. H. H. Southerland of the U. S. S. "New Jersey" delivered an interesting lecture on "The Cruise of the Battle Fleet" before the members of the Union last night.
Captain Southerland began his lecture by saying that prior to the Atlantic squadron's departure from Hampton Roads a year ago last December there was no real American fleet. The admiral had to whip the sixteen ships into shape so that they formed an organized fleet.
After starting, the first thing that the admiral did was to form the squadron into a line in Indian file. He insisted that the ships should keep just four hundred yards apart. They straggled for a few days, when the admiral began to send disagreeable messages which touched the officers' pride, until they all decided to do what he wished. As soon as he found that they had learned to keep their distance he began to put them through every imaginable evolution until they were able to perform with perfect accuracy.
Upon arriving at the Straits of Magellan, which are well known to be dangerous, with the three miles of ships, trouble was expected. But here the past training proved of practical value and no mishap was encountered.
The fleet then sailed to Valparaiso, where fully a quarter of the population of Chili turned out to welcome it, and from there it continued to Peru and up the coast to California. Admiral Sperry then took command.
The ships visited a number of cities in Australia. They then sailed to Manila and from there to Japan. At Tokio the admiral and captains met the Mikado, receiving an honor that has seldom been conferred upon foreigners. For five days the festivities continued in honor of the squadron. At the end of that time the fleet left Japan for Manila, and after a month's gun practice it started for the United States.