Menemsha residents rubbed their eyes in amazement yesterday afternoon when six warships loomed up on the horizon shortly after noon, approached to within a mile of the beach and anchored. It was learned that among them were the cruisers Augusta and Tuscaloosa, the destroyers Samson and Winslow and two other unidentified destroyers. A fifth appeared about an hour later and joined the others.
A few minutes after they had anchored, looking ominous and businesslike in battle gray, five planes were catapulted from the decks of the cruisers. They zoomed into the air and droned over Menemsha village and Bight for half an hour. They then returned to the moorings, landed in the water and were hoisted up onto the ships with cranes.
Speculation was rife among the crowd that quickly gathered on the beach as to the meaning of the visit. The vessels had been seen steaming up the Sound earlier in the day and it was assumed they had come from Newport, but that was as much as anybody knew.

Could Not Explain It

Coast Guardsmen stationed at Menemsha said the ships were undoubtedly on maneuvers but could not explain their presence so near the Vineyard. Years ago the Atlantic fleet used to hold target practice, as it was then called, in the Sound, but no maneuvers of any consequence have been held in the Sound for a long period.
Some of the more inquisitive onlookers boarded catboats and ventured out to circle about the warships. Returning, they said that instead of obtaining information they had given it out. The sailors aboard the ships had asked them what state this was. Evidently they were also in the dark.
Some of the sailors said that they guessed they would only be here for a few hours. Their guess seemed partly confirmed by the fact that the ships appeared to be getting up steam later in the afternoon.