Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Commodore George Dewey, Commander, Asiatic Station, to Commander Oscar W. Farenholt

United States Naval Force on Asiatic Station.

FLAGSHIP OLYMPIA,

HONGKONG, APRIL 9, 1898.             

Sir:

     1.   Referring to your letters Nos, 15 and 19,1 I am pleased to learn that you can obtain supplies, and also, it is hoped, coal, at Shanghai.

     2.   In the event of war and of operations by this squadron in the Philippines, I shall be dependent in large measure upon your tact and ability to procure these necessities for the squadron, in spite of international complications that may arise.

     3.   It is hoped that I can be in telegraphic communication with you and that, on my dispatching one of the two purchased supply steamers2 to Woosung or such other port as may be preferable, you will be able to have the supplies and coal meet them and be transferred without interference by the Chinese or other authorities.3

                        Very respectfully,

                             George Dewey

                             Commodore, U.S. Navy,

     Commanding U.S. Naval Force on Asiatic Station.

Source Note: CyS, DLC-MSS, PGD. Addressed below close: “To the Commanding Officer,/U.S.N. MONOCACY./Shanghai, China.” Document reference: “No, 328-S.” Document on “ United States Naval Force on Asiatic Station,” stationary.

Footnote 1: Referenced correspondence has not been found.

Footnote 2: Collier Nanshan and supply steamer Zafiro.

Footnote 3: Dewey’s decision to order Farenholt, commander of the Monocacy, to disregard Chinese neutrality in the event of war with Spain was in league with the contemporary practices of Western powers concerned more with expediency than the Chinese sovereignty. Dewey biographer, Ronald Spector, pointed out that this was indicative of Dewey’s expanded view of his authority, because the Commodore made this order without consulting the Navy Department. Ronald Spector, Admiral of the New Empire, 48.

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