Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Rear Admiral Montgomery Sicard, Commander, North Atlantic Station to Secretary of the Navy John D. Long

U.S. Flagship, New York, 1st Rate,

Key West, Florida,

March 11th, 1898.

Sir:-

     1.   I find on examining the list of Spanish vessels of war on the coast of Cuba or soon to be there, that there are

4    Torpedo Boat Destroyers, 400 tons and 30 knots speed.

2.   Torpedo Boat Destroyers, 370 tons and 25 knots speed.

4.   1st class Torpedo Boats of from 97 to 108 tons and 24 to 26 knots speed

6    Torpedo vessels from 456 to 747 tons and 20 knots speed.

     2.   On our side we have no destroyers and only six (6) torpedo boats from 125 to 105 tons and 21 to 30 knots speed.

     3.   I would suggest that in case of hostilities we ought to have some destroyers and more boats and therefore recommend that some of each of these classes be purchased - say at first eight destroyers and four additional boats. When the blockade of the coast of Cuba is ultimately established it is probable that more of each kind would be needed.1

Very Respectfully,     

Montgomery Sicard 

Rear Admiral, Comdr.-in-Chief,   

U.S. Naval Force on North Atlantic Station.

Source Note: CyS, DNA, RG 313, Entry 32, vol. 9, p. 223. Addressed below close: “The Secretary of the Navy.”

Footnote 1: The U.S. Navy purchased Somers, a German torpedo boat in late March (it never joined the Atlantic Fleet) and also added five additional torpedo-boats to the roster of active ships before the war officially began. In July the Navy solicited bids for contracts for sixteen torpedo boat destroyers. See: Crowninshield to Commo, Francis M. Bunce, 28 March 1898; and Annual Report of the Navy Department, 1898, 3, 81-82. 

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