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Assistant Secretary of the Navy Charles H. Allen to Rear Admiral William t. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet



July 8, 1898.


     The BUFFALO, formerly the NITCHEROY,1 of the Brazilian Navy, is about to be refitted for service in our Navy. The tube of the dynamite gun2 with which she was originally fitted has been removed, but the foundation and the air-compressors are still on board. In view of the recent tests of dynamite guns in actual service by the VESUVIUS in attacks on Santiago,3 it may be worth while to fit a dynamite gun to the BUFFALO, and the Department will be governed in its decision largely by your opinion.

     Please advise the Department, at your earliest convenience, as to the results of the actual use of the dynamite guns of the VESUVIUS, together with your opinion as to the desirability of fitting a dynamite gun on the BUFFALO. You are doubtless aware that the BUFFALO is a vessel over 400 feet long, and fitted with a single screw.

     In this connection the Department would be pleased if you would incorporate in your report the opinion of the Commanding Officer of the VESUVIUS4 as to the success of the dynamite guns on that vessel.

Very respectfully,

Chas. H. Allen

Assistant Secretary.

Source Note: TLS, DNA, RG 313, Entry 47. Addressed below close: “Rear Admiral W.T.Sampson, U.S.N.,/Commander-in-Chief,U.S.Naval Forces on/North Atlantic Station.”

Footnote 1: Nictheroy, renamed Buffalo, was purchased from Brazil. For more information, see: Mobilization.

Footnote 2: The dynamite gun, which uses an explosive charge, was invented by D. M. Medford and improved by Edmund Zalinski.

Footnote 3: For more information of the role of Vesuvius, see: Naval Operations at Santiago de Cuba.

Footnote 4: Cmdr. John E. Pillsbury.

Footnote 5: Sampson’s reply has not been found but Buffalo was fitted out as an auxiliary cruiser without a dynamite gun. DANFS

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