Sometime towards the latter part of April 1872, we find the Doctor on board the "Caspian" at Liverpool docks. It is here that his Journals begin. His entries throughout the journals betray the sensitivity of his nature, and the gallantry of the good Doctor is clearly illustrated in one of his early entries. "We have six Irish girls with us, I have taken them under my wing and taken care of them, and got the Officers to get them nice things to eat. I look after them on deck and see that the German young men do not molest them." Denis paid particular attention to the vessel, noting its size, speed, and knots travelled each day. He became very familiar with the elements and their effect on the sea journey. He notes on one occasion during a very bad three-day storm. "I really thought we would all go down, still I was cheerful". Obviously, he seems to have enjoyed what to other people might have been terrifying ordeal.
On Wednesday 8th of May the Caspian reached Norfolk, Virginia where there was a four hour wait. Here he enters in his journal "We passed Fortress Munroe where there are hundreds of large Guns placed. It is one of the strongest fortifications in America". Anyone vaguely acquainted with American History of that period will be well aware of the significance of that moment. Dr Meany would almost certainly have been familiar with the recent events of that particular time. Today Fort Munroe houses the headquarters of the United States training and doctrine command. It has some form going back as far as 1600, but the building of the fort began in 1819 and was named after President James Munroe in 1832. The great Robert E Lee was involved in its construction early on and seven years prior to the arrival of the Caspian, Jefferson, President of the confederacy had been imprisoned there for two years after a most bitter and savage civil war.
Author: Eddie Cantwell