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Rear Admiral Montgomery Sicard, President, Naval War Board, to Secretary of the Navy John D. Long

Navy Department,




Washington, D.C.,

Aug 24, 1898           




            I have the honor to report that the appended copies comprise the most important of the transactions of the Naval War Board, from the sixth day of April, 1898, upon which date instructions were issued to Rear Admiral Sampson, by the Department, as to method of conducting naval campaign in the event of hostilities with Spain.1

     On the second day of May, 1898, Lieutenant A. H. Cobb, U. S. N., retired, reported for duty as Secretary of the Board, at which time the members of the Board were as follows:

     Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt.2

     Rear Admiral Montgomery Sicard, U. S. N.3

     Captain A. S. Barker, U. S. N.4

     Captain A. S. Crowninshield, Chief, Bureau of Navigation.

     On the ninth day of May, 1898, Captain A. T. Mahan, U. S. N., retired, reported as a member.5

     On the seventh day of May, 1898, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt severed his connection with the Board.

     On the twentieth day of May, 1898, Captain A. S. Barker, U. S. N., severed his connection with the Board.

     Full and complete press copies of all transactions of the Board are to be found in:


Letter Book “A”,             Cipher Sent Book,     )

     Letter Book “B”,             Cipher Received Book  )Bureau

     Strategy Board Book,         Stations Book,        )  of

English Telegram Book,) Nav.


            Letter Book “A” and “B” have been turned over to the Bureau of Navigation, for safe keeping with the others which have been habitually kept there when not in use.

     These books, in connection with the files in your own immediate office, and that of the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, should be consulted in compiling the full reports of the part taken by the Navy in the late war with Spain.6

     Numerous matters, some verbal, some written, were placed before the Board for its information and action. Those submitted in writing, which have been chiefly from the Office of Naval Intelligence, have been returned to that office for file.


M. Sicard                        

Rear Adml ., Pres. of  Board.        

Source Note: TLS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 372. Addressed below closed: “The Honorable,/The Secretary of the Navy/FSH.” “FSH” is undoubtedly the typist’s initials. The first three lines of the document is printed material on Naval War Board stationary.

Footnote 1: These copies were not appended. The instructions to RAdm. Sampson are not printed in the Report of the Bureau of Navigation, 1898.

Footnote 2: As indicated further on Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt resigned and joined the First Volunteer Cavalry Regiment.

Footnote 3: RAdm. Montgomery Sicard was president of the Naval War Board.

Footnote 4: Capt. Albert S. Barker was also a member of the Army-Navy Strategy Board and most likely acted as liaison between the two services. After leaving the Naval War Board he served as commander of Newark. For a copy of the operational war plan written by him and Major Arthur Wagner, the Asst. Adjutant General.

Footnote 5: Noted naval theoretician Capt. Alfred T. Mahan (retired).

Footnote 6: This paperwork was eventually compiled and published as the Annual Reports of the Navy Department for the Year 1898. Appendix to the Report of the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1898).

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