Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt to Secretary of the Navy John D. Long

NAVY DEPARTMENT,

WASHINGTON,       

April 12, 1898.

Sir:

     The Secretary of War1 asked me to present to you the fact that effort should be made to prevent the Spaniards from getting coal from the United States. They are getting ammunition and food also. Of course the delay is all in their favor, but I don’t see how the Navy Department can act in the matter.

     The Board recommends that the Mosquito Fleet be stationed at Port Eads2 in the event of war; and that if possible one old monitor be spared for the defense of the mouth of the Mississippi, but that the deep-sea patrol of the Gulf Coast must be left to the Commander-in-Chief of the North Atlantic Squadron.3 He will probably close the [passes?] to the south as well as to the north of Cuba.

     The Board earnestly recommends that the Flying Squadron be sent to see for two or more days for exercise and drill. It is important that these ships should be drilled together, as the MINNEAPOLIS and COLUMBIA will be of little use unless they are given such sea drill, three fourths of the crews being new.4

     I enclose herewith a list of vessels we have already purchased, and a list of those which we are meditating purchasing.5

Very respectfully,          

Theodore Roosevelt     

Assistant Secretary

Source Note: TLS, MHi, Papers of John D. Long, Box 40. Addressed below close: “The Honorable,/The Secretary of the Navy.” Document is on “Theodore Roosevelt/ASSISTANT SECRETARY” stationary.

Footnote 1: Secretary of the War Russell A. Alger.

Footnote 2: Port Eads, Louisiana.

Footnote 3: Commo. William T. Sampson.

Footnote 4: The cruisers Minneapolis and Columbia were in reserve until the beginning of the Spanish-American War when they were crewed and designated to serve with the Flying Squadron to patrol the coast of the United States and later the Caribbean. DANFS.

Footnote 5: The list was not attached.

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