DISBURSEMENTS AT NAVY YARDS; PURCHASE OF TIMBER, INCREASE OF THE NAVY; NAVY HOSPITALS; DOCK-YARDS; REGISTER OF THE NAVY AND MARINE CORPS.
COMMUNICATED TO THE SENATE, DECEMBER 11, 1815.
Navy Department, December 7, 1815.
In obedience to the resolutions of the Honorable Senate of the United States, of the 28th of January, and the 28th of February last, I have the, honor to report upon the several subjects as per papers enclosed, numbered one to six inclusively.
I am, very respectfully, sir, your most obedient servant,
B. W. CROWNINSHIELD.
Hon. John Gaillard, President of the Senate.
Navy Department, Accountant's Office, December 4, 1815.
I now hand you a statement of the amount expended under the third section of the act of Congress of the 30th March, 1812, prepared in pursuance of the resolution of the Senate of the 28th of February, 1815.
The account required by the resolution of the Senate of the 28th of January, 1815, cannot be furnished from this office. The aggregate amount expended by the several Navy Agents in each year could be furnished, but there is no distinct account rendered by them for the disbursements at the navy yards; if reference could be had to the agents' accounts, with considerable labor, perhaps a dissection might be made, and the expenditures at the navy yards selected so as to render a tolerably correct account; but it is understood that all the accounts settled at this office, prior to the year 1812, were destroyed by the burning of the Treasury Office by the enemy in August, 1814. With great respect, I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient servant,
The Hon. B. W. Crowninshield.
A statement of the amount expended under the third section of the act of Congress of the 30th March, 1812.
Viz: Purchase of timber, - - - - - $128, 774 15
THOMAS TURNER, Accountant.
Navy Department, Accountant's Office, December 4, 1815.
Report relative to the gradual and permanent increase of the navy.
The importance of a permanent naval establishment appears to be sanctioned by the voice of the nation, and I have a satisfaction in stating that the means of its gradual increase are completely within the reach of our national resources, independently of any foreign country. The materials for building and equipping ships of war are all at command. Steps have been taken to ascertain the best growth and quantities of timber for naval construction, preparatory to contracts and purchases. The want of a mould loft for the naval constructor to lay out the moulds, "by which the timber is to be cut and shaped previously to transportation, has delayed the completion of arrangements for an adequate supply. A building has been erected at the navy yard in this city for that purpose, and will soon be finished, when the business will progress.
Cannon foundries, manufactories of sheet copper, cordage, canvass, and all the mechanical branches, are in a state to furnish the several supplies which may be required.
The commerce of the United States, increasing with the resources and population of the country, will require a commensurate protection, which a navy alone can afford; and the experience derived from the active and vigorous employment of a limited navy, during the period of the late war, has demonstrated its efficient utility.
I do, therefore, with confidence, recommend an annual increase of our navy of one ship, of the rate of 74 guns; two frigates of the first class, rated at 44 guns; and two sloops of war, which can be built with the surplusage of smaller timber, and with a great saving in that material.
The act to increase the navy, passed January 2d, 1813, authorized the building of " four ships, to rate not less than 74 guns, and six frigates, to rate 44 guns each." This act has been partly carried into effect, by building three ships of the rate of 74 guns, and three frigates of 44 guns, in the Atlantic ports; the residue of the appropriation under that act was applied to the building of large ships and frigates upon Lake Ontario.
The concentration of our navy in one or two of the principal ports of the United States, where the depth of water is sufficient for the convenient ingress and egress of the larger vessels, will necessarily lead to the enlargement of the navy yards at such places, with docks for repairs, and the collection of all important materials for the armament and equipment of the different classes of vessels, in order to bring them into active service upon any emergency, with the advantage of combined force.
A general system for the gradual and permanent increase of the navy, combining all the various objects connected with an enlarged naval establishment, such as building docks, and extending the accommodations of navy yards and arsenals of general deposite, will form the subject of a more extensive report, to be laid before Congress during the present session.
Report relative to the measures taken respecting navy hospitals.
The subject of navy hospitals was necessarily suspended during the late war, in consequence of the more imperious duties of the commissioners appointed under the act of Congress of February 26, 1811.
The commissioners met in the early part of the year 1812, and surveyed the several sites in this city most eligible for the erection of an hospital, and directed an able architect to prepare a plan of the building and estimate of the cost. The eldest and most skilful surgeons of the navy have reported upon the general system, organization, and economy of an hospital; all which are now under consideration, and the commissioners are preparing a report upon the subject.
The appropriation of fifty thousand dollars, by the abovementioned act, "out of the unexpended balance of the marine hospital fund, " has not been drawn out of the treasury; and it is considered that this sum, in addition to the contributions by the officers and men of the navy of twenty cents per month, will be inadequate to carry the intention of Congress into full execution, without further provision.
The subject merits the attention of Congress, and will receive all the consideration of the commissioners, to complete such an establishment as may meet the public expectations, and furnish relief to those brave officers and men, whose faithful services and wounds entitle them to all the benefits, accommodation, and comfortable maintenance which such an asylum can afford.
Report relative to the establishment of a dock-yard.
The act of March 3, 1813, appropriating " one hundred thousand dollars for the purpose of establishing a dockyard, for repairing vessels of war," &c. could not be carried into effect during the late war, from the multiplicity of imperious duties which devolved upon the Secretary of the Navy in the active operations of the general service. The subject, however, received all the attention which the Secretary could bestow upon it; surveys of particular sites, and the opinions of experienced and scientific men, were collected, preparatory to a decision, which was suspended by the events of the year 1814; and no further measures were taken until after the peace. During the summer past inquiries and surveys have been made, the result of which will be laid early before Congress. The importance of this appendage to the naval establishment, the necessary arrangements connected with it, and the amount requisite to carry the system into complete effect, require a more detailed statement and estimate than can be embraced in the present report, without anticipating the result of a survey in the southern section of the United States, which is not yet completed.
I cannot omit this occasion of repeating the opinion of the absolute necessity and urgency of having docks constructed as soon as possible, for the repairs of our vessels of war.