Commodore George C. Remey, Commandant, Portsmouth Navy Yard, to Commodore Arent S. Crowninshield, Chief of the Bureau of Navigation
U.S. Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H.
March 18th 1898.
1. If the Court of Inquiry on the MAINE disaster finds that
the loss of the Battleship was due primarily to an external explosion, I beg to suggest to the Government, the propriety of seizing, or destroying if necessary with a superior force, the Spanish Torpedo Squadron now crossing the Atlantic before its arrival at a Spanish port in the West Indies.1
2. I presume the Government has considered this point, but
the fear that it may have been not duly weighed, or overlooked in the multiplicity of the duties and cares of the situation, prompts me to make this communication.
Geo. C. Remey,
Commandant, Navy Yard and Station.2
Source Note: TLS, DNA, RG 45, AFNRC, M625, roll 227. Addressed below close: “Chief of Bureau of Navigation,/Navy Department,/Washington D.C.” The letter is done on stationery so the location and the first three numbers of the year in the date line are printed. There is a reference number “31” written in the upper left-hand corner of the document. Actually, it is written twice. But the first “31” is crossed through and a second “31” is written immediately above it. On the reverse side of the document is a printed-form docketing repeating the place of origin, date (which is handwritten), and “SUBJECT,” followed in handwriting by: “Relative to disaster/to the MAINE, and to the/Spanish Torpedo Squad-/ron./—————.” Above the docketing is stamped the number “97600” (by someone in the Bureau of Navigation) with the date MAR 19 vertically placed and boxing 97600 on the left side and 1898 on the right side. There is a second stamp below the subject section, which reads: “FILE, W.”
Footnote 1: This was one of several letters from high-ranking U.S. Navy officers arguing that the sailing of the Spanish squadron westward should be treated as a hostile action and that an American fleet should be dispatched to capture or destroy it. For example, see, Capt. William T. Sampson to Secretary of the Navy John D. Long, 29 March 1898, DNA, RG 313, Entry 32, vol. 9.
Footnote 2: A few days after writing this letter, Commo. Remey was ordered to Key West to take command of staging operations in the West Indies.