Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Lieutenant Lazarus L. Reamey to Commodore Arent S. Crowninshield, Chief of the Bureau of Navigation

U.S.S. Montauk, 3rd Rate,

Portland, Maine,

May 17 13th 1898.

Sir:-

1.   I have the honor to inform the Department that upon my arrival here on the 13th instant, with the Montauk, I consulted fully with the Mayor of the City (Mr. C.H. Randall),1 Mr. William Henry Clifford, Jr. and others and have failed to find any properly organized Naval Reserve ready to man the Montauk and in consequence, it has not, as yet, been possible to enlist a proper crew from the Portland Naval Reserves to man and care for in the stream with ammunition and equipment on board; and send the New Jersey Militia back to their headquarters.

2.   The Naval Reserves of Portland, Maine, so far as I have been able to determine, consists - for officers - of a few young men (lawyers, railroad or bank clerks and newspaper reporters) who, under the leadership of Mr. Clifford (a very young man) have been, and are, striving to form an organization for the purpose of manning the Montauk, to enable them to get on board a vessel to learn to be naval officers, while not a single one of the number has the slightest appreciation of the qualifications necessary for service on board a government vessel.

3.   Of those who will make up the Crew, Mr. Clifford informs me that he has not, as yet, made any selections for Petty Officers, intimating that he did not feel qualified to do so.

4.   The plan that Mr. Clifford, who is in command of 1st Division Naval Reserves, now has in view is to have all of the present crew (New Jersey Naval Reserves) who are willing to remain, combine with his men and form the crew for the ship.

5.   Of the officers designated for appointments, 5 out of 10 allowed, are selected from those now on board and include 3 seniors.

6.   Judging from the information at hand, I fear that the prospect for finding men who can be safely entrusted to properly care for the engines and boilers, even in port, is very poor. The present engine room force, except officers, is not sufficiently reliable to make it safe to move the ship without the assistance of a tug, which fact was fully demonstrated upon the passage from League Island here - The work was so poorly done that the engines (for lack of steam) stopped several times.

7.   While anxious to fully comply with my instructions I feel it my duty, before the Changes are made, to submit the above information for the Department’s consideration.

8.   The organization is entirely local as there is no law in Maine authorizing an Naval Reserve.

                                  Very respectfully

                                    L.L. Reamey.

                               Lieutenant, U.S.N. Commanding.

Source Note: ALS, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 130.

Footnote 1: Mayor Charles H. Randall.

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