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 18, 1898.        

Sir:

     Until we have power to call out the Naval Militia all that the officer in charge of them can do is to arrange by consultation with their leaders what steps should be taken when hostilities begin.1 This he2 has been directed to do.

     The Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Station3 should be at once ordered to return to San Francisco. he should then undertake the protection of the Pacific Coast, using his own discretion, but providing that the Monterey and Monadnock with their scouts should protect San Francisco and Puget Sound, and that one of the vessels should be kept at San Francisco to cruise up and down the coast wherever needed; that if possible a war vessel should protect southern California, and that at least five vessels, with their headquarters at Unalaska and Sitka, should be used in protecting the coal piles and Yukon trade from the mouth of the Yukon to Puget Sound.4

          Very respectfully,

                   Theodore Roosevelt

                        Assistant Secretary.

Source Note: TLS, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 319. Addressed below close: “The Honorable,/The Secretary of the Navy.” The letter is written on stationery so “Theodore Roosevelt,/Assistant Secretary” is printed.

Footnote 1: For problems associated with the mobilization of the Naval Militia, see: Naval Militia in the Spanish-American War.

Footnote 2: Presumably referring to Comdr. Horace Elmer, Commander, Mosquito Flotilla.

Footnote 3: RAdm. Joseph N. Miller, Commander, Pacific Station.

Footnote 4: Secretary Long forwarded this memorandum to Miller in Honolulu, suggesting that he comply with its recommendations. Miller moved his command from Honolulu to San Francisco on 9 May. He returned to on 3 August 1898, where he oversaw ceremonies transferring control of Hawaii to the United States. For a detailed description of actions taken on the Pacific Station, see: Miller to Long, 9 September 1898. For more on the defense of the Pacific Coast against possible Spanish attack, see: Long to Miller, 27 April 1898. 

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