The Loss of Pier No. 4

Biographical and Historical Notes

Charles Rupert Biggs was a US Navy Storekeeper who served in the Wilmington Area during the First World War. A graduate of Princeton and Michigan Law School, he was admitted to the Delaware bar during or shortly before 1917.


Information derived from collection.

Scope and Content Note

This short, narrative account of activities at a World War I cargo operation located at "Southern Railroad pier No. 4" was written by US Navy Storekeeper Charles Rupert Biggs.

This handwritten account was created by Charles Biggs, a naval pay clerk in the Wilmington, Delaware, are during World War I. Biggs' account was written in an acerbic tone, and the narrative was presented in the form of a classical Greek drama, complete with cast list (including himself), and chorus. He described each cast member, with especial (harsh description) reserved for Pay Clerk Moss of North Carolina. The story related involved the acquisition of Southern Railroad pier No. 4 by the United States Navy and Biggs' trip to the pier.

The Navy gained possession of the pier after sending seven thousand submarine net buoys to the pier, "with the assumption that possession is 9/10s of the law." Biggs, along with another clerk and his superior officer, was sent to oversee operations at the pier. Much of the short narrative regarding this "trip to the pier" dealt with the behavior of Paymaster Caroran (his superior officer), who was, according to Biggs, unpleasant to work with if one was a subordinate and whose attitude demoralized the entire outfit.