Secretary of the Navy John D. Long to Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Station
April 28, 1898 .
1. The Department has decided to send you two commodores, to serve under your orders, the senior to command the naval base at Key West, which will include the naval establishment on shore and all the vessels in the harbor permanently, and those that at any time may enter.
2. In a general way his duty will be to see that the ships of your squadron are coaled, provisioned and supplied with ammunition, speedily, and that any repairs on them which have been authorized by you are pressed with all the despatch possible with the facilities on the ships themselves and at the station on shore. It will also be his duty to see that the coaling and provision facilities are maintained in a most effective condition, and by the best methods practicable; and the same with the arrangements regarding the furnishing of ammunition. He is in fact to maintain a general command over the Key West station, but is entirely under your orders. This control on his part will extend to Tortugas. One of his most important duties will be to complete each vessel that you send him, or that comes into his station, as quickly as possible, and return her to you.
3. The present Commandant at the Key West Naval Station will continue to execute the duties which he is already charged with, but of course subject to the orders of the commodore who commands the whole base.
4. The junior commodore sent you is to be employed in the squadron, operating on the coast of Cuba or in the general neighborhood. You will assign him a ship on which to hoist his pennant, and will charge him with such duties suitable to his rank as you may think best. The object of sending him is to assist you in the military duties devolving upon you in connection with the squadron of operations. This officer may of course be sent on any detached expedition or on the south side of the Island of Cuba, or where it seems to you most expedient to have him go.
5. If for any reason you should be obliged to be absent from the station the senior of these two officers will succeed to temporary command.
John D. Long
Source Note: TLS, DNA, RG 313 Entry 47. Addressed below close: “Commander-in-Chief of the/North Atlantic Station.” The letter is written on the stationery of “John D. Long/Secretary.” On the top of the first page is a stamp: “RECEIVED/FLAG-SHIP N. A. STATION./MAY 6 1898.”