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Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels to Navy Bureaus, Navy Yards and Stations, and Naval Districts



MAY 31 1919  

To:    All Bureaus.

       All Navy Yards and Stations.

       All Naval Districts.

Subject:  Submarine Chasers – General policy regarding repairs, alterations, preservation and disposition.

References (a) Department’s letter 24514-910:3 of March 20, 1919.

           (b) Department’s letter 28865-386 of May 1, 1919.1

1.      Reference (a) reads in part as follows:

     “The District Commandant shall have authority to authorize urgent repairs to district vessels within the limits of the monthly allotment of funds authorized by the Bureaus concerned.”

2.      Reference (b) reads in part as follows:

     “Commandants of Naval Districts will take the initiative in placing any of these vessels (subchasers) in ordinary when it is found that the number assigned is greater than the number actually required to meet the peace needs of a district.

     Any change in the status of submarine chasers assigned to any districts will be reported to the Office of Naval Operations. The Department is considering the sale of such subchasers as are not actually required for Navy use.”

     3.   Based on the above no funds other than that necessary for the operation of a district will be expended on repairs and alterations to subchasers.

     4.   When a subchaser in active service is in need of extensive repairs and there is available in the district another vessel in operative condition to take her place, the one in poor condition should be laid up, and report made to the Navy Department.

     5.   The Department desires to sell such subchasers as are not actually required for Navy use as soon as possible. To this end Commandants concerned will report the numbers of the subchaers no longer needed, to the Navy Department, in order that active steps may be taken to effect the sale.

     6.   As a general policy submarine chasers permanently operating south of 39° North Latitude2 should be protected against the action of the Teredo3 by copper sheathing the hulls.

     7.   Based on the assignment of submarine chasers, as contained in Operations’ letter 28865-386 of 1 May 1919, the sheathing of the hulls of the following subchasers is authorized. The work is to be undertaken as soon as funds are available for this purpose.

Fifth Naval District4 - - - - - - -15 subchasers.

Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.- - - - 24 subchasers.

Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.- - - - -  4 subchasers.

Naval Proving Ground, Indian Head- - -4 subchasers.

Sixth Naval District5 - - - - - - -16 subchasers.

Eighth Naval District6 - - - - - - 13 subchasers.

Thirteenth Naval District7 - - - -  5 subchasers.

Fifteenth Naval District8 - - - - -12 subchasers.

American Patrol Detachment9 - - - -12 subchasers.

Division 2, Pacific Fleet- - - - - -  4 subchasers.


St. Thomas, Virgin Islands- - - - - - 4 subchasers.

San Juan, Porto Rico- - - - - - - - - 2 subchasers.

San Domingo- - - - - - - - - - - - -  8 subchasers.

Haiti- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  6 subchasers.

Guantanamo- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 8 subchasers.

     8.   In accordance with the above subchasers assigned to Naval Districts will be made available for this work at the discretion of the Commandant of the Naval District in which the vessels are operating.

     9.   Subchasers assigned to the Naval Academy will be made available for this work by the Superintendent of the Naval Academy.10 The work will be undertaken in the Fifth Naval District. The superintendent of the Naval Academy will confer with the Commandant of the Fifth Naval District11 as to the time and place to make these vessels available for this work.

     10.  Submarine chasers operating under the Commandant, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., will be made available for this work at the discretion of the Commandant Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.12

     11.  Submarine chasers operating at Naval Proving Ground, Indian Head, will be made available for this work at the Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., at such time as the Bureau of Ordnance may direct.

     12.  Steps have already been taken by the Department to copper sheath the 28 submarine chasers now operating in the West Indies.

     13.  According to the records of the Navy Department the 4 subchasers operating at Division 2, Pacific Fleet, and the 12 subchasers operating at American Patrol Detachment, have already been copper sheathed.

     14.  Commandants and Bureaus concerned will report to the Navy Department, monthly, the subchasers which have been copper sheathed in accordance with the foregoing orders.

     15.  Certain subchasers have already been sheathed with steel as a protection against ice. The question of sheathing additional vessels for this purpose will be held in abeyance pending further needs as determined by future assignment and disposition.  

Josephus Daniels

Source Note: TDS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 415. Document identifier at top right of both pages: “Mat-3-ER-5/27.” The document is typed on Navy Department stationary and includes a printed return address, which has not been recreated. Below the signature is a notation: “Copy to:/Op-14-38-66.”

Footnote 1: The two documents listed in references are quoted in the text of this memorandum.

Footnote 2: Thirty-nine degrees north latitude is roughly the line on which Washington D. C. can be found.

Footnote 3: Teredos or shipworms are marine bivalve mollusks in the family teredinidae. They are notorious for boring into (and eventually destroying) wood that immersed in sea water.

Footnote 4: The headquarters of the Fifth Naval district was Norfolk, VA.

Footnote 5: The headquarters of the Sixth Naval district was Charleston.

Footnote 6: The headquarters of the Eighth Naval district was New Orleans.

Footnote 7: The headquarters of the Thirteenth Naval district was Puget Sound.

Footnote 8: The headquarters of the Fifteenth Naval district was the Panama Canal Zone.

Footnote 9: The American Patrol detachment was responsible for securing the Caribbean Sea.

Footnote 10: RAdm. Archibald H. Scales.

Footnote 11: RAdm. Augustus F. Fechteler.

Footnote 12: RAdm. Albert W. Grant.

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