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Secretary of the Navy John D. Long to Rear Admiral William A. Kirkland, Commandant, Mare Island Navy Yard


Washington, May 4th, 1898.  

Navy Yard,

     Mare Island, Cal.

     Steamer City of Pekin1 due to arrive San Francisco May fifth has been chartered for transport for Asiatic Station and must be prepared with utmost dispatch at Navy Yard or San Francisco, as you deem most expedient, to carry the ammunition you have been directed to put up for the Asiatic fleet.2 Other Bureaus may have stores to send and have been directed to inform you as to kind and quantity. Ordnance wants space for about four hundred tons of ammunition for which proper provision should be made, remote from fire rooms for coal.

     Troops may be sent also. How many can vessel carry and how soon can she be made ready to receive them.

     Owners supply everything for the voyage out and back except fuel and other steaming necessaries which Government will furnish; vessel should be supplied with as much coal as she can carry in bunkers and in cargo space not otherwise needed and owners must provision her for long voyage. A naval officer will go in her to look out for the interests of the Government and do direct her movements. Department desires vessel ready not later than May fifteenth and sooner if possible. If no troops are carried, how soon can she be made ready? Do not arrange for troops until directed. If vessel needs docking, owners must do it immediately. The necessary authority is given you to have such work done and supplies obtained as pertains to the Government. How many tons of dead weight can vessel carry exclusive of coal in bunkers. How many first and second class passengers can she carry as now arranged. What speed can she maintain under ordinary conditions on long voyage and upon how much coal daily.3


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 80, Entry 194, vol. 1, p. 48.

Footnote 1: That is, City of Peking.

Footnote 2: The City of Peking left San Francisco on 25 May, with the transports City of Sydney and Australia. At Honolulu the small convoy was joined by Charleston, which escorted it to the Philippines. It arrived at Cavite on 30 June. See: William C. Gibson to Long, 25 May 1898; Dewey to Long, 19 September 1898; and Long to George Dewey, 24 May 1898.

Footnote 3: City of Peking transported the First California Volunteer Infantry Regiment and ammunition for Dewey. For information on its crossing speed, see: RAdm. Montgomery Sicard to Long, 29 June 1898.

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