Secretary of the Navy John D. Long to Rear Admiral William A. Kirkland, Commandant, Mare Island Navy Yard
Navy Yard, Mare Island, Cal.
Am informed by War Department to-day that City of Pekin1 will not be ready until next Friday or Saturday. This Department has been urging War Department to expedite preparation of troops for Pekin in order that sailing of that vessel might not be delayed beyond fifteenth, date fixed for that vessel to be ready to leave San Francisco. It now appears that this Department, after interfering with the arrangements made by the War Department will not be able to get the Pekin off on time. What is the cause of this delay, and if extra work has been authorized, by whom was it done.2
We want all to go at Eight pm the moment3
Source Note: CyS, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 320.
Footnote 1: That is, City of Peking.
Footnote 2: The City of Peking was an armed civilian steamer meant to double as a supply ship and personnel transport for Army and Navy personnel. RAdm. Kirkland was overseeing City of Peking’s retrofit as a war vessel, including its repainting and the addition of guns and mounts. This began on 4 May, and was supposed to be completed on 15 May so that the ship could reach and assist the Asiatic Squadron, then blockading Manila, by mid-June. Long asked Secretary of War Russell A. Alger to rush troops to San Francisco so that the ship might leave as soon as possible and feared embarrassment if Naval personnel slowed down the City of Peking’s departure. The ship eventually left San Francisco on 25 May. See, Kirkland to Long, 5 May 1898, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 320; and Trask, War With Spain, 385.
Footnote 3: This sentence was handwritten as was the signature.