Lieutenant Commander William W. Kimball,Commander, Torpedo Boat Flotilla, to Captain William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Station
U. S. T. B. DU PONT,
April 11 th, 1898.
Under instructions from the Chief of Staff1 I have to make the following statement and suggestions in regard to torpedo boats in port:
1. CUSHING Disabled.Leaky condenser.17 tubes plugged and work going on. Coaling and watering <b>y carts. Probably be ready for extended service evening of the 12th inst.
WINSLOW Disabled. Leaky boiler tubes. Has plugged two. Probably ready for service tomorrow evening.
DU PONT Laid up for 24 hours to make up fresh water supply with evaporators,one of the pair of which has just been retubed. It was impossible to make up feed with one evaporator while making trips and while standing by to make them for last three days.
FOOTE One evaporator choked. Needs coal and water. Will lie off guard after 3.30 P.M. to coal a[n]dclear evaporator. Probably ready tomorrow night.
PORTER Ready for service; but will need to fill up with coal if she runs much tonight and tomorrow.
2. The boats can continue to do their present duties of guard,relief guard,and picket,2for a long time,gradually deteriorating in material and personnel meanwhile; and at any given time probably two boats will be ready for full power work,with the other four in various stages of preparation according to time allowed for repairs,coaling,watering,etc., since last duty,and according to the seriousnessof casualties that may have occurred during last tour of duty.
3. I would suggest:-
a. That if all the boats mustbe ready to do full
power work at the beginning of a period of extended service,
that all boats be allowed two or three days preparation before such beginning.
b. That if the requirements of possible extended service can be met by one or two boats ready for full power work and the other capable of from 16 to 22 knots speed, there is no necessity for allowing time for preparation providedserious accidents have not occurred while doing their present duties.
4. If there were ordinarily good facilities for coaling,watering and getting access to the machine shops the time for preparation mentioned in suggestion (a),paragraph 3,could be much shortened.
Wm. W. Kimball
Commanding Atlantic T.B.Flotilla
Source Note: TLS, DNA, RG313, Entry 49. Addressed below close: “Commander-in-Chief,/U. S. Naval Force on N. A. Station,/Key West,Florida.” Stamp at top right-hand corner: RECEIVED/Flagship N. A. STATION./APR 12 1898. There is a “2” in the right-hand corner of the second page. Docketed on reverse of second page: U. S. T. B. Flotilla/Key West,Fla,April 11th 1898./Kimball, W. W./Lieut.Comdr U.S.N.,/Commanding USTB Flotilla/statement of condition and sugges-/tions in regard torpedo boats/in port.” The letters in angle brackets were handwritten corrections and additions. On certain other occasions, the typist omitted a letter and then went back and typed it over another letter already there.
Footnote 1: Capt. French E. Chadwick.
Footnote 2: The torpedo boats also served as courier vessels.