Secretary of the Navy John D. Long to Secretary of War Russell A. Alger
Washington, April 27, 1898.
1. The Department relies upon the harbor of Dry Tortugas for coaling battle ships and other large ships of the fleet, there being no other suitable harbor south of the Chesapeake.
2. In consideration of the fact that the President1 some time ago ordered Fort Jefferson at Dry Tortugas to be garrisoned and placed in a defensive condition, the Department entered into contracts to build there wharves, coal houses and machinery for handling coal rapidly.
3. The Department requests to be informed at what date Fort Jefferson will be garrisoned and placed in a defensive condition. The matter is urgent to this Department.2
I have the honor to be,
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 80, Entry 194, vol. 1, p. 19. Addressed before opening: “The Secretary of War.”
Footnote 1: President William McKinley.
Footnote 2: Dry Tortugas was used during the war as a coaling station for ships too large to enter dock at the Naval Base at Key West.