Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Rear Admiral Joseph N. Miller, Commander, Pacific Station, to Secretary of the Navy John D. Long

Bu. Nav., 42.]                           U.S. Flagship Philadelphia,

Honolulu, H.I., September 9, 1898.

   SIR: 1. In compliance with article 260, United States Navy Regulations, 1896, and the Bureau’s telegram of August 3, 1898, I have the honor to make the following report, embracing the period from July 1, 1897, to August 12, 1898, the date of suspension of hostilities in the war with Spain.

  2.  On August 14, 1897, I relieved Rear-Admiral L.A. Beardslee,1 U. S. N., in command of the Pacific Station, hoisting my flag on the Philadelphia.

DISTRIBUTION OF SQUADRON ON JULY 1, 1897.

Philadelphia, at Honolulu, H. I.

Monadnock, at Portland, Oreg.

Monterey, at Portland, Oreg.

Bennington, at navy-yard, Mare Island, Cal.

Marion, at Honolulu, H. I.

Alert, at Frederick Sound, Alaska.

Oregon, at Tacoma, Washington.

CHANGES OF VESSELS.

  Philadelphia. —Left Honolulu, H. I., October 5, 1897, for navy-yard, Mare Island, to be placed out of commission.

  Monadnock.—Detached from Squadron June 4, 1898. Left San Francisco for Manila on June 23, 1898.

  Monterey.--Detached from squadron on May 24, 1898, upon arrival at Mare Island Navy-Yard. Left San Francisco for Manila on June 7.

  Bennington.—No change. Still attached to squadron.

  Marion.—Detached from squadron by Department’s order November 4, 1897.

  Alert.—May 23, 1898, Left San Francisco for Mare Island Navy-Yard to be placed out of commission. Placed out of commission June 4, 1898.

  Oregon.—Detached from squadron April 18, 1898, in accordance with Department’s order No. 100516, of April 7, 1898.2

  Wheeling.—Reported for duty in squadron May 20, 1898.

  Baltimore.—Placed in commission at Mare Island, Cal., October 12, 1897, and joined the squadron. Detached from squadron March 25, 1898.

  Philadelphia.— Placed in commission July 9, 1898, at Mare Island, Cal., and joined the squadron.

  Mohican.—Reported for duty in squadron May 20, 1898.

  Marietta.—Joined the squadron December 29, 1897. Detached from squadron April 18, 1898, in accordance with Department’s order No. 100516, April 7, 1898.2

CHARACTER OF WORK PERFORMED BY EACH VESSEL, WITH CHANGES OF COMMANDING OFFICERS.

   Philadelphia.—Protecting American interests at Honolulu, H. I., from June 30, 1897, till October 5, 1897, when she left for San Francisco to go to Mare Island Navy-Yard to be put out of commission and transfer officers and crew to the Baltimore.

   Capt. N. M. Dyer,3 United States Navy, relieved Capt. C. S. Cotton,4 United States Navy, September 1, 1897.

   Alert.—Convoying U. S. S. Pinta from Sitka, Alaska, to San Francisco, from June 30, 1897, till July 17, 1897.

   Special duty with peace commissioners of Costa Rica and Guatemala. Protecting American interests at San Juan del Sur, and engaged in surveying Brito Harbor; also protecting American interests in Guatemalan waters until detached and ordered to Mare Island to go out of commission.5

   Commander B. S. Richards relieved Commander F. HanfordAugust 20, 1897. Commander B. S. Richards detached December 18, 1897, Lieut. L. Young left in command.6

   Commander E. H. C. Leutze7 assumed command January 7, 1898.

   Commander E. H. C. Leutze detached and ordered to command the Monterey on May 18, 1898.

MariettaCommander F. M. Symonds,8 commanding.—Reported for duty in squadron December 29, 1897.

   Protecting American interests in the vicinity of La Libertad, Salvador, from February 7, 1898, till March 15, 1898, when she was directed to proceed to Panama and coal.

   Detached from squadron April 18, 1898, upon receipt of the Department’s order No. 100516, of April 7, 1898, when she proceeded by way of the Straits of Magellan to join the North Atlantic Squadron.

   WheelingCommander U. Sebree,9 commanding.—Reported for duty in squadron May 20, 1898.

   Took Coast Survey party from Seattle to St. Michaels, Alaska. Engaged in Patrolling Bering Sea and Alaskan waters, visiting canneries, etc.

   Marion—Commander G. M. Book,10 commanding.—Engaged in protecting American interests at Honolulu, H.I., till August 26, 1897, on which date he left Honolulu for San Francisco, Cal. Detached from squadron in accordance with Department’s order of November 4, 1897.

   Bennington.—Arrived at Honolulu from San Diego, Cal., August 23, 1897. Engaged in survey of Pearl Harbor and protecting American interests until June 16, 1898, on which date left for San Francisco. Investigating reported presence of Spanish privateer in Alaskan waters.11

   Commander H. E. Nichols12 detached (sick) July 13, 1898, on which date Lieut. Commander J. F. Moser13 assumed command.

   Oregon.--Cruising in Puget Sound until March 6, 1898, on which date left for San Francisco. Left San Francisco March 19, 1898, for Callao, Peru.

   Detached from squadron upon receipt of Department’s order No. 100516, of April 7, 1898, when she proceeded by way of the Straits of Magellan to join the North Atlantic Squadron.

   Capt. A. H. McCormick relieved Capt. A. S. Barker14 January 17, 1898.

   Capt. C. E. Clark15 relieved Capt. A. H. McCormick March 17, 1898.

   Baltimore—Capt. N. M. Dyer, commanding.—The Baltimore went into commission October 12, 1897, Captain Dyer taking command October 14, 1897.

   Engaged in protecting American interests at Honolulu from November 7, 1897, until March 25, 1898, on which date left for Hongkong with orders to report to commander in chief Asiatic Station. Detached from squadron upon departure from Honolulu.

   Monadnock--Capt. W. H. Whiting,16 commanding.--Cruising on coast of Oregon and Puget Sound.

   Drilling naval militia of Eureka, Cal., at that place. Guarding approaches to Northern ports, being stationed at Port Townsend for that purpose. Was detached from squadron June 4, 1898, to join Admiral Dewey’s17 squadron in Asiatic waters. On June 23, 1898, left San Francisco, Cal., for Manila.

   Monterey.--Cruising on coast of Oregon and in Puget Sound. Stationed in San Francisco Bay at the beginning of hostilities. On May 24, 1898, left San Francisco for Mare Island Navy-Yard, and upon arrival there was detached from squadron. Left San Francisco for Manila June 7, 1898, but was compelled to call at San Diego, Cal., to replenish coal supply. Left latter port June 11, 1898.18

   Capt. C. E. Clark detached from command March 15, 1898, and ordered to command the Oregon.

   Lieutenant-Commander Carlin19 reported for duty as executive officer, and assumed command March 22, 1898.

   Commander E. H. C. Leutze assumed command May 18, 1898.

   3. The dates of arrival at and departure from each port visited and the miles sailed or steamed by each vessel have been furnished the Department by each vessel in the routine cruising reports. The coal consumed and the cost thereof have been furnished the Department in the routine reports to the Bureau of Equipment. The information in these routine reports is omitted in this report in accordance with Bureau’s letter No. 75163, of July 29, 1895.

   4. The general condition and efficiency of the vessels have been good. The discipline of the squadron has been good. Owing to the frequent changes in the squadron, complete data in regard to discharges, enlistments, etc., are not at hand.

   5. The sanitary condition of the command has been very good.

   6. The following vessels were inspected by me during the period mentioned in this report:

   Bennington, December 20 and 21, 1897.

   Adams, December 28 and 29, 1897.

   Baltimore, February 16, 17, and 18, 1898.

   Reports of above inspections were sent to the Department.

   7. Target practice has been held in accordance with the Bureau’s circular of July 22, 1897, by the vessels of the squadron and has generally been excellent, and I must congratulate the Bureau on originating a system which has produced such excellent results in the late war with Spain. Routine reports have been made of the particulars of all target practice.20

   8. There have been no tactical maneuvers with the vessels of the squadron during the period embraced in the report, as there has been no opportunity for bringing the vessels of the squadron together.

   9. The Philadelphia is in excellent condition; the Bennington is in good condition considering the length of time she has been in commission, and she should be generally overhauled; the Wheeling is short one 4-inch gun, which is at Mare Island, and should be installed on her as soon as possible.

   10. On my arrival at San Francisco, May 9, 1898,21 the Department placed me in charge of the auxiliary naval force on the Pacific coast. This force consisted of the Albatross, Revenue-cutters Perry, Corwin, Grant, and Rush, and tugs Active, Vigilant, and Iroquois. On my departure for Honolulu, July 27, the command of this force was turned over to Lieut. Commander C. K. Curtis,22 U. S. N. A number of the Naval Militia of California were enlisted to man the tugs Active, Vigilant, and Iroquois, and the auxiliary force was stationed along the coast in accordance with a plan reported to the Department.

   The condition of affairs on the Pacific coast rendered in inadvisable to call on the Naval Militia of the other States for a larger force.

   11. In obedience to instructions from the Department, I left San Francisco in the Philadelphia on July 27, 1898, for Honolulu, to take part in the ceremonies incident to the change of sovereignty of the Hawaiian Islands and the hoisting of our flag. I arrived here on August 3; the arrangements were discussed and finally arranged between the United States minister,23 the Hawaiian Government, and myself, and the ceremonies took place at noon on August 12, 1898, as reported in detail in my No. 54, of August 14, 1898.24

     Very respectfully,

J. N. Miller,                      

Rear-Admiral, U. S. N.,            

Commander in Chief, Pacific Station.         

Source Note Print: Report of the Bureau of Navigation, 1898, pp. 141-44. Addressed below close: “The Secretary of the Navy,/Navy Department, Washington, D. C.,/(Bureau of Navigation).

Footnote 1: RAdm. Lester A. Beardslee.

Footnote 2: On 6 April 1898, the Oregon and Marietta were ordered to proceed to Montevideo and both ships departed on 7 April. Their crossing into the Atlantic Ocean on 21 April though the Straits of Magellan put them in the South Atlantic Station and outside of Miller’s command. See: Report of the Bureau of Navigation, 1898, 48-50 and Clark to Long, 6 April 1898.

Footnote 3: Capt. Nehemiah M. Dyer.

Footnote 4: Capt. Charles S. Cotton.

Footnote 5: There was a revolution in Guatemala in 1898.

Footnote 6: Cmdr. Benjamin S Richards, Cmdr. Franklin Hanford, and Lt. Lucien Young.

Footnote 7: Cmdr. Eugene H.C. Leutze.

Footnote 8: Cmdr. Frederick M. Symonds.

Footnote 9: Cmdr. Uriel Sebree.

Footnote 10: Cmdr. George M. Book.

Footnote 11: This turned out to be a hoax created by Spanish agents in British Columbia. See: Long to Miller, 21 July 1898.

Footnote 12: Cmdr. Henry E. Nichols.

Footnote 13: Lt. Cmdr. Jefferson F. Moser. Moser was also the author of the United States plan for the defense of the Pacific coast. For a copy of his plan, see: Long to Miller, 27 April 1898.

Footnote 14: Capt. Alexander H. McCormick and Capt. Albert S. Barker.

Footnote 15: Capt. Charles E. Clark.

Footnote 16: Capt. William H. Whiting.

Footnote 17: RAdm. George Dewey, Commander, Asiatic Squadron.

Footnote 18: For cruising reports of the Monterey and Monadnock, see: Leutze to Long, 10 June 1898; and Whiting to Long, 12 July 1898.

Footnote 19: Lt. Cmdr. James W. Carlin.

Footnote 20: While United States Navy marksmanship surpassed their Spanish opponents, their skill let much to be desired. Then Lt., and future Admiral, William Sims spent a considerable effort to bring this concern to the attention of Naval leadership. Nathan Miller, The U.S. Navy: A History (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1997), 172.

Footnote 21: RAdm. Miller was ordered to return to San Francisco on 19 April by Secretary Long to manage the defense of the Pacific coast of the United States. For a copy of the order, see, Long to Miller, 19 April 1898, Report of the Bureau of Navigation, 1898, 26.

Footnote 22: Lt. Comdr. Clinton K. Curtis.

Footnote 23: United States Minister Plenipotentiary to Hawaii Harold M. Sewall.

Footnote 24: For a copy of Miller’s report of the annexation ceremonies on August 12, see, Miller to Long, 14 August 1898, Report of the Bureau of Navigation, 1898, 145-147.

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