Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Journal of Secretary of the Navy John D. Long

Washington, D.C., Wednesday, April 20th, 1898.

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     An unusually busy morning. A great number of Senators and Congressmen calling. Parties coming in to sell ships, and an incessant drive.

     At 3 o’clock go with Admiral Sicard1 and Commodore Crowninshield2 to confer with the President,3 who has, also, the Secretary of War4 and General Miles.5 It reminds me of what must have been a similar scene in the early days of our civil war, when President Lincoln6 was surrounded by military advisers who were all at sixes and sevens. At present it seems as if the army were ready for nothing at all. They suggest that they will not be ready to act in Cuba for a couple of months, owing to a lack of proper drill and preparation. Then, to, General Miles advises against their going at all, until the Spanish fleet is disposed of, as, if it should succeed in crippling our own, our soldiers on the Island would be cut off from means of returning home. It is much easier to suggest how not to do it than how to do it. At any event the burden is likely to fall upon the Navy. I am inclined to think that if war actually comes, the country will demand that our soldiers make a landing and do something.

Source Note: Transcript, MHi, Papers of John Davis Long, vol. 78.

Footnote 1: RAdm. Montgomery Sicard, President of the Naval War Board.

Footnote 2: Commo. Arent S. Crowninshield, Chief of the Bureau of Navigation.

Footnote 3: President William McKinley.

Footnote 4: Secretary of War Russell A. Alger.

Footnote 5: Maj. Gen. Nelson A. Miles.

Footnote 6: President Abraham Lincoln.

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