Captain William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Station, to Commodore Arent S. Crowninshield, Chief of the Bureau of Navigation
U.S. Flagship New York, 1st Rate,
Key West, Florida,
April 1, 1898.
My dear Crowninshield:--
Replying to your question contained in your letter of the 25th instant,1 which was long on the way, regarding Commanding Officer of Torpedo Boats, I think such a person is very useful here as things are now arranged.2 If the Torpedo Boats were scattered as on a blockade it would undoubtedly increase the red-tape to have one officer in command of them. Now they are assembled here, and it is convenient to have one person who can arrange for a night attack upon big ships outside, and to arrange the detail for patrol duty to the southward at night. In case there is any temporary derangement of one boat on the detail he can substitute another without sending outside the reef to have the detail changed.
In the same manner the senior officers in command of the cruisers has authority to make minor changes in the detail for coaling, receiving stores or ammunition, etc., without sending outside to the Flagship.
Just at present the weather is smooth and fine, but for a long time the boating has been abominable.
I am glad the monitors are coming, for we have only two fighting ships, as you know. I have written the Secretary3 to send the “Massachusetts”. If there is to be war she should be here; if there is no war she is just as well here as where she is.
The “Indiana” finishes her boilers tomorrow.-- It has been a big job, and has been quickly and well done.
Source Note: TDS, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 228. Addressed below close: “Captain A. S. Crowninshield, U. S. Navy,/Bureau of Navigation,/Navy Department,/Washington, D.C.” Document reference: “No. 30.” Docketed: “U.S. Flagship New York/(1 st RATE.)/Key West, Fla,/April 1, 1898/SAMPSON, W. T.,/Captain,/Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Naval Force,/North Atlantic Station./SUBJECT:/Commanding Officer/of Torpedo Boats./Monitors.” Document features a stamp with “BUREAU OF NAVIGATION” along the top, “APR 5” along the left side, “1898” along the right side, “NAVY DEPARTMENT” on the bottom and the number “100125.”
Footnote 1: This document has not been found.
Footnote 2: Lt. Comdr. William W. Kimball was selected to serve as the commander of the Torpedo Boat Flotilla.
Footnote 3: Secretary of the Navy John D. Long.