Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Commodore George Dewey, Commander, Asiatic Station, to Secretary of the Navy John D. Long

United States Naval Force on Asiatic Station.

FLAGSHIP OLYMPIA,                

HONGKONG,              

     APRIL 18, 1898.   

Sir:

     1.   I have the honor to submit the following report of the squadron under my command from April 1st:-

     2.   The squadron, with the exception of the Monocacy, has remained at this port, keeping full of coal, provisions and stores.

     3.   The Monocacy has remained at Shanghai, and arrangements are being made by her Commanding Officer1 by which it is believed that he will be able to furnish coal and supplies to the purchased steamers at or near that port in case of hostilities.2

     4.   On the 6th instant, in obedience to you orders, I purchased the British Steamer Nanshan of London, of 2200 gross and 1344 registered tons.  She was built in 1896 and is in excellent condition.  The purchase price was 32000 pounds sterling with the privilege of re-selling her within three months for 26000 pounds. She has on board 3000 tons of Cardiff coal which I had previously purchased.

     5.   On the 11th, the British Steamer Zafiro was bought for 18000 pounds sterling. She is 1062 gross and 675 registered tons, was built in 1884 and is in excellent condition. She has on board provisions for the squadron for two months and 660 tons of Cardiff coal.  Both of these vessels have their bunkers full of Japanese coal for their own consumption.3

     6.   On the 10th instant, Lieutenant B.W. Hodges, Ensign H.A. Pearson and Passed Assistant Engineer G. Kaemmerling4 with fifty men arrived having been transferred from the Monocacy by my offer.  They are assigned as follows:

     Lieutenant Hodges, with four men to the Nanshan.

     Ensign Pearson, with four men, to the Zafiro.

     Passed Assistant Engineer Kaemmerling to the OLYMPIA.

The rest of the men were distributed to fill vacancies temporarily in the vessels of the squadron.5

     7.   The BALTIMORE arrived at Yokohama on the 11th instant. She was ordered to fill up with stores and best coal and proceed to Hong Kong immediately and sailed for this port on the 15th instant.

     8.   The revenue cutter McCULLOCH arrived on the 17th instant with orders for service with this squadron.6 She will be coaled and provisioned immediately.

              Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

                        George Dewey

                   Commodore, U.S.Navy,

              Commanding U.S. Naval Force on Asiatic Station.

Source Note: CyS, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 363. Document Reference: “No.198-D.” Addressed below close: “The Secretary of the Navy,/Washington, D.C./(Bureau of Navigation.).” Copy sent to the Bureau of Navigation. Document on “United States Naval Force on Asiatic Station,” stationary.

Footnote 1: Cmdr. Oscar W. Farenholt.

Footnote 2: Monocacy was a Civil War era side-wheel gunboat believed to be only suitable for rivers and coastal waters. Dewey was familiar with the limitations of the Monocacy and the 26 February order by Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt to prepare to attack Manila specifically stated that Dewey should leave the Monocacy behind. Dewey intended to use the Monocacy as a purchasing agent and facilitator for the Nanshan and Zafiro while he and the remainder of the Squadron blockaded Manila. See: Commo. Frederick V. McNair to Dewey, 31 December 1897; Roosevelt to Dewey, 26 February 1898; and Dewey to Cmdr. Oscar W. Farenholt, 9 April 1898.

Footnote 3: The purchase of the supply steamers Nanshan and Zafiro were ordered by Secretary Long and arranged by Dewey between 4 and 9 April 1898. See: Dewey to Long, 4 April 1898; Long to Dewey, 5 April 1898; Long to Dewey, 6 April 1898; Dewey to Long, 6 April 1898; and Dewey to Long, 9 April 1898.

Footnote 4: Lt. Ben W. Hodges, Ens. Henry A. Pearson and PA Eng. George Kaemmerling.

Footnote 5: Dewey used officers and men from the Monocacy because he planned to leave the vessel in China.