Secretary of the Navy John D. Long to Secretary of War Russell A. Alger
Navy Department, Washington, May 7, 1898.
Hon. R. A. Alger,
Secretary of War.
Sir: Some question having arisen as to the injury to the defensive mine fields at New York by the passage through them of friendly vessels which have not kept in the designated channel, it becomes necessary to establish some sort of patrol for the purpose of regulating the matter.
It being assumed that the War Department will maintain the mine fields, keep them in repair, and mark suitable channels over them for use of friendly vessels, the Navy Department will, as suggested by your Chief of Engineers, furnish patrol boats for the purpose of preventing friendly ships from passing over the mine fields otherwise than through the regular channels designated by the War Department for that purpose.
Of course the chief duties of the patrol boats of the Naval Auxiliary Fleet will be to keep a lookout along the coasts of their respective districts for vessels and boats of the enemy, and to drive them off, or get reenforcements for that purpose, as the case may be.
John D. Long, Secretary.
Source Note Print: Report of the Bureau of Navigation, 1898, pp. 59-60.