Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

 

Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet, Circular Letter Number 56

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U.S. FLAGSHIP NEW YORK (1st Rate),

Off Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.

Squadron Circular Letter No. 56.                    June 22, 1898.

The following communications are published for your information and compliance.

 

William T. Sampson,

Rear Admiral,

Commander-In-Chief, U.S. Naval Force,

North Atlantic Station.

 

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TREASURY DEPARTMENT, Washington, June 8, 1898.

 

To the Honorable the Secretary of the Navy.1

Sir:

I have to acknowledge receipt of your letter of May 14th stating that, in reply to the request made in my letter of May 3rd, the Commandant of the U.S. Naval Station at Key West and the Commander-in-Chief of the North Atlantic Squadron have been furnished with copies of my letter,2 and have been instructed to keep a lookout for and to apprehend any small vessels which it is believed intend to effect a surreptitious landing on the Florida coast.

In addition to this precaution I have to request that the proper officers of your Department be directed to forbid the transportation from Cuban, or other ports liable to be infected with yellow fever, on any of the vessels under the supervision of the naval authorities, of any refugees, also baggage, clothing, merchandise, or other material capable of conveying infection which is not strictly military or naval in character.3

I am informed by the Surgeon General of the Marine Hospital Service4 that there is little apprehension of danger with regard to regular vessels of the Navy, but that unusual care is necessary with regard to prize vessels and auxiliary vessels which do not carry medical officers, and I have to make additional request that through the proper officers orders be given that the quarantine regulations relating to the disinfection of suspected vessels and contents, and detention in quarantine of persons who may have been exposed to yellow fever be strictly complied with. This matter has been placed before Commodore Remey at Key West, who concurs in this recommendation.

I have the honor to remain,

          Respectfully yours,

                   (Sig.) L.J. GAGE, Secretary.5

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U.S. NAVY YARD, NORFOLK, VA.,

Sir:                                            June 13, 1898.

     I am informed by the quarantine officer of this port that owing to the appearance of yellow fever, that he will inspect all vessels arriving from Southern ports, except those having naval surgeons on board. Will you please inform all vessels under your command.

              Very respectfully,

                   N.H. FARQUHAR,6

                        Commodore, Commandant.

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BUREAU OF MEDICINE AND SURGERY,

Sir:                         Washington, D.C., June 6, 1898.

     The Bureau has placed on the U.S. Ambulance Ship Solace a large supply of blank forms which I will thank you to inform the medical officers of the Squadron under your command, can be obtained upon duly approved request for blank forms and books.

              Very respectfully,

                        J.C. BOYD,7

                   Acting Chief of Bureau.

Source Note: TD, DNA, RG 313, Entry 37.

Footnote 1: Secretary of the Navy John D. Long.

Footnote 2: The commandant of the U.S. Naval Station at Key West was Commo. George C. Remey and the Commander-in-Chief of the North Atlantic Squadron was RAdm. William T. Sampson.

Footnote 3: Outbreaks of yellow fever, especially in river and seaports, since colonial times caused great concern among public health officials.

Footnote 4: At this time the Department of the Treasury oversaw the Marine Hospital Service, which operated medical establishments and enforced quarantine protocols. Walter Wyman was the Supervising Surgeon General.

Footnote 5: Secretary of the Treasury Lyman J. Gage.

Footnote 6: Commo. Norman H. Farquhar, Commandant, Norfolk Navy Yard.

Footnote 7: Surgeon John C. Boyd was filling in for the Surgeon-General Commo. William K. Van Reypen at the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.

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