Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Secretary of the Navy John D. Long to Commander William H. Emory

NAVY DEPARTMENT,

Washington,  

May 11, 1898.

S i r :-

     The Department has received a visit from a Member of Congress, who came at the instigation of an officer on board of your vessel, recently appointed from the Naval Militia, making complaints as to the assignment of some other officers to duty on board of your vessel. This officer has written a letter to the Member of Congress about the matter. The Department considers such requests as unnecessary and insubordinate, and directs that you impress upon the officers of the Naval Militia, who have been assigned to your vessel, that such procedure is unofficerlike and insubordinate, and meets with the unqualified disapproval of the Department.1

     In this connection, the Department calls your attention to the following extract from a letter recently written to an officer of the U.S.Navy, bearing upon the same subject:

“The department has recently received numerous requests, both personal and written, from Senators and others, in regard to your assignment to duty, and, in this connection, the opportunity is taken of informing you that the Department disapproves very decidedly your bringing political influence to bear upon its assignments, and trust that you will consider this as a warning to refrain from pursuing this course hereafter.”

Very respectfully,     

John D. Long      

Secretary.   

Source Note: TDS, DLC-MSS, Papers of William Emory. Addressed below close: “Commander/W.H.Emory, U.S.N.,/U.S.S.Yosemite,/Newport News, Va./JMH.” Document reference: “110038 FWD.” Stationery contains the following: “John D. Long/secertary.” Emory was commanding officer of the auxiliary cruiser Yosemite.

Footnote 1: Emory had ongoing problems with his Michigan Naval Militia crew. In June the Spanish steamer Purisima Concepcion, carrying gold and food stuff, avoided capture and Emory attributed this lapse to the watch officer’s drunkenness. A Militia officer wrote a spirited defense that claimed Emory had ignored repeated reports of the ships position. This contention was supported by inconsistencies in Yosemite’s logbook. In another report of 18 July, Emory noted that he was holding 28 men in Yosemite’s brig at St. Thomas for unseamanlike drunken behavior. See: Emory to RAdm. William T. Sampson, 18 June 1898; and DLC, Papers of William Emory.

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