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Captain Abner H. Merrill, United States Army, to Adjutant General Henry C. Corbin



July 15, 1898. ,189 ,


     I have the honor to request that the Engineer Officer on duty at Fort Taylor,may be directed to take up and remove,at once,the submarine mines that have been placed in the harbor of Key West. It is not believed that there will be,in the near future,any necessity for mines in the harbor; and those now in position are a serious obstruction to the use of the harbor. I may be permitted to say,now,that it has been a concurrent opinion here that the line of mines already laid down was in a very unfortunate position. The line is much too far in,that is too near the wharves,to be of any use as a defense;and moreover it is so laid across the small area of the inner harbor as to be a constant trouble and obstruction to the use of this harbor. Every inch of the available space of the inner harbor has been required every moment for several months,for use by Navy. The position of these mines has been such as to deprive the Navy Department of the use of a sensible portion of the inner harbor,which is at best quite too small for their purpose. The movement of their vessels has been impeded and delayed,and altogether there has been considerable irritation over the matter. During all this time however the Officers of the Navy,with the politeness and courtesy which is characteristic of them,have refrained from any word of complaint or protest against an act which was done by a different Military Department of the Government.

Very respectfully,     

Your obedient servant,      


Captain 1st Artillery,      

Commanding Post.       

Source Note: TLS, DNA, RG 313, Entry 72. Addressed above open: “The Adjutant General, U.S.Army,/Washington, D.C./( Through Headquarters Department of the Gulf.)” Letter on the stationery of the: “OFFICE OF POST COMMANDER,/KEY WEST BARRACKS, FLORIDA.” The number “189” after the date is part of the printed stationery but was not used the typist.

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