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Commander Andrew Dunlap to Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet

U. S. Ambulance Ship Solace,

Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

June 19. 1898.


                I have the honor to report the following as to the condition and employment of this vessel for the month of May, since leaving the Navy Yard, Norfolk,Va., on the seventh of that month.

     2. This vessel is in excellent condition, but many improvements for efficiency could not be made owing to the limited time allowed at the Navy Yard. Among these can be mentioned the following, viz: proper anchoring fittings, pull bell for anchor engine, electric alarm and bell system, hoisting apparatus for sick and wounded, exchange of three metallic life boats for two whale boats and a dinghy, detaching apparatus for two life boats, two detachable life buoys, ice, evaporating, distilling and laundry plants placed directly on deck without leading the same and without proper ledges and drains: the ice plant has been found too small for the purpose, not making ice and keeping the temperature of the refrigerating room down at the same time; no log books; no Navy signal flags; no service box of Very signals;1 no azinith circle for standard compass;2 no hawser reels; steering engine not properly drained; stand for typewriter; new wash bowl in cabin; part of ash chute, scupper, and exhaust lips in place; track arranged for handling spare evaporator coils; and many store not received. The electrical control of the steam steering gear is not thoroughly reliable, occasionally giving out at inopportune times. Some of the above changes were made on a subsequent visit to the New York Navy Yard, but the stay was too limited to finish those attempted, and will be referred to in the report for June.

     3. Seventh of May, sailed from Navy Yard, Norfolk, Va., at 9.45 A. M. for Key West, Fla.

Eleventh of May, arrived a Key West, Fla., at 7.20 A. M.

Eleventh of May, sailed from Key West, Fla., at 6.30 P. M.

Fourteenth of May, joined the fleet, off North coast of Haiti, at 2.15 A. M. Reported to Commander- in Chief. Received one wounded man from the New York and three from the Iowa.

Nineteenth of May, arrived at Key West, Fla., at 7.00 A. M.

     Transferred the wounded to the Army Hospital ( Convent ),3 Nineteenth to thirtyfirst of May, anchored at Key West. Coaled ship.

     4. Distance run, Norfolk to Key West,  1065 miles.

     Key West toward Porto Rico            735 "

     Return to Key West                     735 "

                                     Total  2535 "

Very respectfully,

A. Dunlap

Commander U. S. Navy.


Source Note: TLS, DNA, RG 313, Entry 47, Box 5. Addressed below close: “Commander- in-Chief, North Atlantic Station.” Identifying Number at top of first page: “#54.” Docketed on separate sheet: “U.S.A.S. Solace,/Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,/19th June, 1898./Dunlap A.,/Comdr. USN Comdg./Report of Condition and/Employment of vessel for/month of May.”

Footnote 1: “Very signals” were a system of signaling in which balls of red and green fire are fired from a pistol, the arrangement in groups denoting numbers having a code significance.

Footnote 2: That is, azimuth circle.

Footnote 3: For its hospital in Key West, the U.S. Army took over the convent of the Sisters of Mary Immaculate. Albert W. Diddle, “Medical Events in the History of Key West,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Vol. XV, No. 5 [1944], 27 and n.

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