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The Senior Officers' Wardroom Aboard the Cruiser OLYMPIA

By Patrick McSherry
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Moving forward from the stateroom area, the visitor passes through watertight doors into the OLYMPIA's senior officers' wardroom. It was this compartment which served as the senior officers' living space. This is an impressive space, entirely surrounded by full-height ash panels, which remain in place, preserved today because Commodore  Dewey decided against the usual practice of discarding the ship's woodwork in the days leading up to the battle, an act which caused some grumbling aboard the ship.

Senior Officers' Wardroom, Cruiser Olympia

This view of the wardroom shows the table, a six-pounder gun at the far end, the cabinetry at left and the paneling and piano at far right.

On either side of the space is a six-pounder gun. On the forward bulkhead are situated several sideboards and bookcases. The aft bulkhead has two built-in couches, and also has an upright piano, which was supposed to have been used to celebrate the victory of the Battle of Manila Bay. In the center of the room is a large segmented table surrounded by chairs, and cut to fit around the column in this location. Above the table is a large skylight, which rises topside, two decks above. The overhead is constructed of riveted steel. It was in this space where Commodore Dewey laid out his plans for the Battle of Manila Bay, and where he met with his commanders during the lull in the battle. During the battle, it was used as a sick bay space. Here the senior officers would have spent their free time, took their meals, etc.

In the early part of this century, it was recorded that a fragment of Spanish shell from the Battle of Manila Bay was still lodged in the wardroom woodwork. It has since disappeared.

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