Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Captain William V. Pratt, Assistant Chief of Naval Operations to Naval Districts Section

NAVY DEPARTMENT

WASHINGTON

<October 31, 1917.>

MEMORANDUM

For: Naval Districts Section.

Subject:  Vessels needed for mine planters, to be requisitioned.

     1.   Take immediate steps to requisition the Steamers MASSACHUSETTS and BUNKER HILL to be taken over for conversion and commission as mine planters as soon as enough material is ready to proceed with conversion expeditiously.

     2.   The Steamers HARVARD and YALE now on the Pacific coast, oil burners, are to be inspected immediately to determine whether their fuel capacity may be increased sufficiently to give them a 3300 mile radius at 12 to 15 knots. If inspection shows this can be done without extensive alterations, requisition them at once and bring them to an Atlantic port off Hatteras for conversion into mine planters and commission.

     3.   Requisition four out of the following vessels for immediate conversion and commission as mine planters:

 

Name.

Built

Cargo

Speed

Radius

Employment

Owner.

1.

Cherokee

1886

2400

11

3280

Passengers

Clyde

2.

Chippewa

19o5

3375

11.5

3300

Freight

3.

Mohican

1904

2200

10.5

3600

4.

New York

1875

2230

10

3500

Passenger

5.

Pawnee

1907

1550

13

6920

Freight

6.

Delaware

1907

1550

13

6920

7.

Lexington

1877

1250

12

1590

Passenger

M&M T.CO.

8.

Rio Grande

1876

2300

11.5

5520

Pass.&Frt.

Mallory

9.

Sabine

1889

2939

11

4658

Passenger

10.

San Jacinto

1903

4819

13

4992

11.

San Marcos

1881

2290

11

4224

12.

San Saba

1879

6563

11

4488

13.

Maracaibo

1889

1882

12

3600

Pass.&Frt.

A&C SN

14.

Philadelphia

1885

2681

12

3500

15.

Zulia

1901

1273

12

3600

16.

Navajo

1911

3000

10

5500

Passenger

WSN

17.

Amazonia

1891

3000

10

3360

Freight

RL Smith

 

     4.   Other things equal, Nos. 5 to 8 above are preferred, since preliminary plans for their conversion have already been made, provided their machinery and boilers are to be depended on, and provided Lexington’S fuel supply can be easily brought up to 3300 miles without decrease of mine carrying capacity. It is important that the vessels taken be in good condition, not merely passable, as there will be constant activity and few repair facilities at their operating base.

     5.   All these vessels should be in full commission by February 1, 1918.

     6.   This is essential to the execution of the plan recommended by the General Board and approved by the Secretary of the Navy 29 October, 1917.1

/s/ W. V. Pratt.       

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Identifying remarks, “Op. 31 E 10/30”, appear in the top right hand corner of the document.

Footnote 1: Josephus Daniels. See: Diary of Josephus Daniels, 29 Ocotber 1917.

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