Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Secretary of the Navy John D. Long to Pastor Horace F. Barnes

OFFICIAL BUSINESS

(TELEGRAM.)

Navy Department,

BUREAU OF NAVIGATION,

Washington,

July 18, 1898.    

     Should the Massachusetts hospital ship1 carry any Army and Navy stores not strictly hospital stores, she loses her character as a hospital ship and is liable to capture the same as any man-of-war or other merchant vessel would be at the hands of the enemy.2

Long         

Source Note: TLS, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 132. Addressed before open: “H. F. Barnes,/88 Tremont Street, Boston, Mass.”

Footnote 1: Volunteer hospital ship Bay State.

Footnote 2: The hospital ship Bay State, formerly a Boston Fruit Company steamer, was the first hospital ship fitted out by an aid association (the Massachusetts Volunteer Aid Society) and the only hospital ship sent out by a state to care for its soldiers. Because it was so unique there was some question about what its function should be. “Many regarded its principal object to be that of a supply ship, not alone to furnish supplies to the sick and wounded, but to combatants as well.” Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, vol. CXL, no. 3 [19 January 1899], 53, 66.

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