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Rear Admiral James Alden letter 13 December 1871

ALS dated 13 December 1871, Commanding European Fleet. To Captain Creighton of USS Guerriere, 1st Rate. Regarding an exchange of crew members between Guerriere and Wabash.

U.S. Flagship "Wabash" 1st Rate
Off Cadiz, Spain
December 1871
Captain J. B. Creighton, USN
Commanding U.S.S. Guerriere 1st Rate
Your letter of the 16th ish, in reply to
mine of the same date, has been received, and I have to call your
attention to the following points. The Department was fully aware of
the conditions of the "Guerriere", when she was ordered here for the
purpose of putting a portion of her crew on board the "Congress "; and
it was then contemplated that you should receive other men
in their place, to enable you to go "upon the American coast in
mid winter". Now although for some unexplained reason (which,
however, it is easy to guess, in view of recent public events [...] )
this transfer has been dispensed with; yet as, there was then, no question
of "hazarding the safety of your ship". Again: by the statement of
your Executive Officer, all the worthless and least valuable men of
the "Guerriere's" crew, have already been transfered to other vessels of
the Fleet, and only the best men have been retained. On the other
hand my proposition was to exchange "hale and hearty men" for such
as would at once render this vessel an efficient man-o war; thus
affording you the opportunity to correct, what I cannot but consider

[Page 2]

an error in making the previous transfer; and this exchange of man for
man, was further made dependent upon the willingness of your ex
-perienced men to volunteer for the cruise of this vessel, where they
would have unusual chances of being promoted to petty officers
ratings. I think, therefore, you will hardly fail to perceive that your
protest "against transferring any of the crew" under my proposition was
a very grave mistake. With a view, therefore, solely, to the interests of
the public services you will be pleased to find out how many of
the "Gueriere's" crew are willing to volunteer for the cruise of the
"Wabash"; and you will select from among the best of such volunteers,
so far as possible, the following numbers in the different rates. Viz
ten (10) Seamen and fifteen (15) Ordinary Seamen.
To be exchanged for an equal number of the same rates, from this ship.
And in addition to the above, there will be Sixteen (16) other men trans
-ferred to your vessel for a return to the United States; only Six
of whom are sick, and the others indifferent, but none will be required
of you in exchange for them.
James Alden
Rear Admiral, USN

Published: Thu Mar 26 12:08:59 EDT 2020