Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Brigadier General Frank T. Hines, U.S.A., Chief of Embarkation, to Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations

 

WAR DEPARTMENT

EMBARKATION SERVICE

Washington

CONFIDENTIAL                                      July 13, 1918.

MEMORANDUM FOR THE CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS.

     SUBJECT:  Naval Crews.

          Confirming recent verbal advices, the War Department will shortly call upon the Navy Department to take over and man all the vessels now operating as Army transports which are manned with civilian crews provided either by the Army Transport Service, the Shipping Board or owners.

          The transports manned with civilian crews provided by the Army Transport Service are the following:

NAME

CREW

ESTIMATED NEXT ARRIVAL IN U.S.

Julia Luckenbach

43

About due

Kentuckian

41

  "    "

Santa Rosa

41

  "    "

Mariana

34

July 20 - 25

Montana

41

  "   "   "

Panaman

41

  "   "   "

El Sol

61

  "   "   "

Munsomo

35

  "  25 – 30

Buenaventure [Buena Ventura]

65

  "   "   "

Medina

49

  "   "   "

City of Atlanta

70

August 1st – 5th

El Oriente

61

  "    5th – 10th

Joan

34

  "    "   "

Oregonian

47

  "    "   "

Minnesotan

41

  "    "   "

Robert N. Thompson

31

  "    "   "

Howick Hall

49

September 10th – 15th

Edward Luckenbach

58

  "         "      "

San Jacinto (?)

38

  "         "      "

City of Savannah

70

  "         "      "

El Occidente

61

  "         "      "

Florence Luckenbach

40

  "         "      20th

Hewitt

45

  "         "      "

Floridian

41

  "         15th – 25th

Eagle

37

  "         "      "

Montoso

34

  "         "      "

Dakotan

34

  "         "      "

Pennsylvanian

41

  "         "      "

Joseph Cudahy

33

  "         "      "

     As you are aware, the SAN JACINTO is now reported proceeding toward St.Johns in a sinking condition, after being in collision, and may prove a total loss. There is also a possibility of several of the above vessels being withdrawn from the Army service upon their return from abroad this time and transferred to the coastwise trade. These possibilities are the City of ATLANTA, CITY OF SAVANNAH and ROBERT M. THOMPSON.

     Any transports manned with civilian crews provided by the shipping Board and operating transatlantic, are the following:

AMPHION

ARCADIA

HERCULES

ITASCA

MONTICELLO

MONTPELIER

SUWANEE

VIRGINIAN

ARAKAN

ARTEMIS

BLACK ARROW

CORONADO

DORA

NANSEMOND

OSAGE

SEATTLE

WOONSOCKET

WESTWARD HO

WESTOVER

YOSEMITE

BREMERTON

OSSINEKE

APPELES [Apelles]

ERNY

IROQUOIS

WEST ARROW

WESTLAND

LUCIA

OTSEGO

SHOSHONE

TIPPECANOE

NYANZA

WYANDOTTE

 

 

     The Shipping Board is being requested to apply to the Navy Department to have these vessels manned with Naval crews, unless the Shipping Board can arrange to provide crews for said vessels without the payment of the 50% war zone bonus which is now generally paid on Shipping Board vessels operating transatlantic. Accordingly, if request for Naval crews for these vessels is made, it will be made by the Shipping Board.

     Army transports assigned to the War Department on a time charter basis and manned by the owners, are the following:

CLARE

CUBORE

EDITH

FELTORE

K.I. LUCKENBACH

SANTA PAULA

SAGUA

TANAMO

GEORGE C.HENRY

SOGONY [Socony]

ARIZONIAN

CACIQUE

FELIX TAUSSIG

NEWTON

WM.A.MC KENNEY

MUNALBRO

MUNPLACE

OHIOAN

CHINCHA

CRASTER HALL

NORLINA

SANTA CECILIA

SANTA CLARA

 

 

     The War Department is requesting the Shipping Board to notify the owners of these vessels that upon their return to the United States the time form of charter will be altered to bare boat, and it is then the desire of the War Department that the Navy arrange to take over, man and operate these vessels for the War Department’s account.

     In addition to the above transports which are all operating transatlantic, there are 19 Army transports being operated by General Pershing1 in Cross Channel service on a bare boat charter, manned with civilian crews. These are:    

AUSABLE

BERWIND

CAROLINIAN

JUPITER

HILTON

FREDERICK LUCKENBACH

KERESAN

KEROWLEE

KERKENNA

KERLEW

KERMOOR

KERWOOD

LEVISA

LEWIS K. THURLOW

MACONA

MC CLELLAN

MOLDEGARDE

PEQUOT

WILLIAM O’BRIEN

 

 

     General Pershing also has operating in Cross Channel service the following 20 Lake Steamers2 which have been allocated to the War Department on a time charter basis,3 the crews of which are being furnished by the Shipping Board and their agents. These vessels are:

Lake Arthur

Lake Clear

Lake Crescent

Lake Lemande

Lake Lillian

Lake Otisco

Lake Owens

Lake Powaukee

Lake St.Regis

Lake Sunepee

Lake Traverse

Lake Tulare

Lake Weston

Lake Edon

Lake St.Clair

Lake Capens

Lake Mary

Lake Markham

Lake Elizabeth

Lake Portage

 

     In the case of the first 19 vessels which are on bare boat charter, it is the War Department’s desire that the Navy Arrange to take these vessels over and man them as promptly as possible. In the case of the 20”Lake” steamers, the Shipping Board has been advised that the War Department prefers to have these boats allocated on time form instead of on bare boat form,4 and they have promised to communicate with the Navy Department and request that these 20 ships be manned by the Navy as promptly as possible[.] The request for manning in connection with the Cross Channel ships is being made at General Pershing’s suggestion, and presumably the necessary details in connection with the taking over of this Cross Channel tonnage can be worked out between General Pershing and Vice Admiral Sims.

     In addition to the foregoing, there are 30 “Lake” steamers which have been assigned for Cross Channel Service, on the same terms as the other “Lake” vessels, but which have not yet passed Montreal, eastbound. The names of these are:

Lake Earney

Lake Fernwood

Lake Charlotte

Lake Largo

Lake Pepin

Lake Harris

Lake Conesus

Lake Eckhart

Lake Elsinore

Lake Eliko

Lake Pleasant

Lake Catharine (Ex-Lewis)

Lake Silver

Lake Geneva

Lake Carza (Garza)

Lake Bloomington

Lake Blanchester

Lake Dymer

Lake Gaspar

Lake Berdan

Lake Daraga

Lake Helen

Lake Dancey

Lake Damita

Lake Lasang

Lake Benbow

Lake Francis (Ex-McGrath).

Lake Gedney

Lake Gakona

Lake Wimico

 

     The Navy Department may accordingly be called upon to take over, man and operate the following tonnage during the next 90 days:

Transports manned by Army - - - - - - - - -29

   "         "    "    "  Shipping Board- -33

   "         "    "    "  Owners - - - - - 23

   "         "    "    "  Abroad, - - - - -19

   "         "    "   Ship.Board, abroad- -20

   "         "    "    "    "   on lakes, -30

                                          154

     It is the desire of the War Department that the transports manned x with Army Transport Service crews being given the preference in being taken over by the Navy, the ships manned by the Shipping Board are those manned by the owners being then taken care of as rapidly as possible. This letter is intended to serve as a memorandum on which the Navy can make its plans for the additional personnel required to man these boats, but it is assumed that individual arrangements regarding each ship will have to be made as they approach this side.

     It is of course understood that the 154 ships above mentioned are those which can now actually be named by the War Department, but do not include those in the course of construction for which requests for crews have been made by the Shipping Board.

     On account of the general tonnage situation, and the imperative need of every transport losing as little time as possible, it is essential that the Navy take over these ships, when requested to do so, without delaying them in order to make increases and improvements in crews’ quarters, which, if necessary, it is thought should be made only between trips and without delaying the actual movements of the steamers. It is assumed that this condition can be met, and your assurances that it can be will be appreciated.

     By authority of the Director of Purchase, Storage and Traffic:-

/s/ FRANK T. HINES,          

Brigadier General, General Staff, 

Chief of Embarkation.        

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. This copy was an attachment in a letter from Benson to commandants of naval districts, dated 17 July. At a later time, someone wrote “(sunk)” in pen next to Buena Ventura and Joseph Cudahy. Their dates of sinking were 16 September and 17 August 1918, respectively.

Footnote 1: Maj. Gen. John J. Pershing, Commander, American Expeditionary Forces.

Footnote 2: For more on the Navy assuming control of Lake steamers, see: Sims to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, 17 July 1918, and Benson to Sims, 17 July 1918.

Footnote 3: A time charter involves hiring a boat and crew for either a designated voyage (port to port) or a specified period of time.

Footnote 4: In a bare boat charter, only the vessel itself is provided, and the person or entity chartering the boat is responsible for providing a crew and provisions.