United States House of Representatives & Senate Documents
THE NORFOLK NAVY YARD
Report of audit of Miles King, Navy Agent, Norfolk 
Navy-Yards-Salaries of Officers, &c., from 1838 - 1843
Investigating the Gosport Navy Yard 
The Condition of the Navy Yard, Norfolk 
Relating to the Construction of the Iron-Clad Monitor 
Purchase of Land Opposite Gosport Navy-Yard 
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BOARD OF NAVAL OFFICERS.
Letter of the Secretary of the Navy,
communicating, in answer to a resolution of the House,
reports of the board of officers
ordered to examine into the condition of the navy yards.
March 1, 1860.
Excerpt: No. 2. NAVY YARD, NORFOLK.
WASHINGTON, D. C., June 20, 1859.
SIR: After having made as thorough an examination of the New York navy yard as circumstances would admit, the board went directly to the Norfolk yard, and proceeded to make like inquiries there.
The following report is the result of their investigation, and in accordance with the record:
Importance of the yard noticed.
The Norfolk yard is not (perhaps owing to its position) liable to be so governed by political influences as the New York yard. It is the largest and most important yard in the United States, and serious injury would result to the service if such were the case, and due regard was not paid to efficiency and economy.
Erroneous views of the officers as to abuses existing.
It becomes a very difficult matter to ferret out the abuses of so large an establishment as the Norfolk yard, when there is but one opinion from the commandant down that no abuses exist; and had not the board ocular proof every day of the abuses in this yard, and had confined themselves merely to the testimony of the officers, the department might at this time be under the impression that one yard in the Union was in the highest state of discipline, and there was little to complain of on the score of economy and efficiency.
Commandant liable to be imposed upon by the workman.
Reasonable allowance must be made for the evidence of the commandant, when he says that no abuses of any kind exist in the yard. The duties of his office confine him more or less to his desk, where mind is occupied with an onerous correspondence; he seldom comes in contact himself with the personnel of the yard, who communicate with him generally through his organ, the executive officer. It is the interest of every one to keep all abuses covered up so that he not discover them, and when he goes the rounds of the yard there is an apparent alacrity amongst the workmen, which the commandant is pleased to think exists throughout the day.
Difficulties experienced in ferreting out abuses.
The board were much facilitated in the first yard they examined by the desire of the officers to see abuses rectified, and their consciousness of the many evils existing and requiring to be corrected by stronger authority than they possessed; but there seems to have been a blind infatuation amongst some of the officers of the Norfolk yard regarding its efficiency in every respect, which is not sustained by any evidence except their own; no doubt these officers were fully convinced in their own minds that the government was faithfully served by every one employed in the yard; and if we take the standard of service in navy yards for the last ten years, perhaps they were justified in thinking so; but it does appear to the board that many of the abuses existing might have been known to the officers of the yard, who had been on duty there a long time, when the board, with all the disadvantages they were working under, discovered them in a few days.
Wants of officers much felt.
In some respects this yard labored under great disadvantages, and the most prominent one was, the want of officers to enable the commandant to carry out such regulations as might have been instituted. There has been but one lieutenant in this large yard, (two having been ordered to Paraguay,) upon whom, by regulation, devolved a multiplicity of duties, which one man alone could not possibly attend to. No commandant can be expected to keep up discipline in a yard, have the appropriations expended economically, maintain that perfect efficiency which the department seems desirous shall exist, unless he has the requisite number of officers to assist him.
Regulations of the yard not enforced.
The regulations of the Norfolk yard are sufficiently comprehensive, if carried out, to maintain good order throughout every department; but the board regret to say that they are not carried out either to the letter or in spirit. Out of fourteen articles for the preservation of discipline, &c., only six are carried out, and the rest only partially observed. No matter how good any set of regulations may be, they are valueless unless placed in the hands of those persons who are to be governed by them; and the printed regulations of all yards should be posted up in every part of the establishment, so that no one could profess ignorance on the subject. There is but one set of regulations, that the board are aware of, in existence in the Norfolk yard; they are kept in the commandant's office, subject to the examination of any one, but not likely to be called for by the persons most interested in becoming acquainted with them.
Executive officer—his duties, powers, dc.
The executive officer of the Norfolk yard is invested with all proper authority as far as the orders of the commandant go; is required to exact a rigid compliance with all regulations —noting delinquencies and reporting them to the commandant—and has all the general authority to keep order usually conferred on persons in such cases. Admitting the evidence of the executive officer, that there are no abuses, it would be fair to premise that all the regulations are put in force; but there is other evidence on record to prove the contrary. The executive officer of this yard, after saying there were no abuses, admits "that politics is the bane of the Norfolk yard," and that "a good man can be run off by the system at present existing, or by a combination against him." He cites an instance where the government lost a good master workman by a combination of his men against him, and finally lost the foreman for some cause connected with the above mentioned combination. Notwithstanding the authority with which the executive officer seems to be clothed, he admits that he could not help it in any way, if master workmen chose to keep on inefficient men; which testimony is adverse to the opinion of the executive officer expressed elsewhere, when he says the yard is only deficient in organization with respect to the number of officers. As an argument adverse to the above opinion, he admits "that he has a general supervision, but has no right to interfere with the work going on in any department."
Duties of executive officer—how performed.
This is an anomalous position for any officer to hold, if he can possibly avoid it; and it is reasonable to suppose that the executive officer of this yard has found himself so hampered, and unable to carry out the regulations in the face of so many combinations, that he has gone along quietly and done his duty to the best of his ability, avoiding dissensions with the hidden power of the constructor, master workmen, and others, which has never failed to cause the discomfiture of any officer who has attempted to run counter to it.
It is the custom in all well-regulated yards for all persons (no matter who they are) to obtain permission from the executive officer before they leave the yard under any pretence whatever; but the constructor, civil engineer, and storekeeper leave the yard whenever they please—for which, however, they are in no way to blame, there being no regulation to the contrary in the book of regulations, though there has been an order lately issued by the commandant forbidding the officers alluded to leaving the yard during working hours. Another order has also been issued to the master workmen not to leave their shops until bell-ring, and the executive is under the impression that the order is carried out; but the board have ample proof that this regulation, like many others, is a dead letter, affording another example, if any is wanting, of the loose manner in which duty is carried on.
The executive officer here should have the authority of keeping off inefficient men, which he cannot do now by the present regulation allowing constructors, master workmen, and others to send their requisitions for laborers direct to the commandant, who could not be supposed to know if such were efficient or not.
The executive officer goes over this yard twice a day or oftener, and goes through the shops, which, though a means of making the men work while present, is no guarantee against their idling away their time when his back is turned. A critical examination of the work going on at the time in one shop would be of much more benefit than a general supervision of the whole. As far as the stowing of vessels is concerned, and fitting them out generally for sea, the executive holds his proper position, and is assisted in his duties by the first lieutenant, the only other commissioned sea officer on duty in the yard.
Ordnance department—its present condition, &c.
The new ordnance building will, when finished, be a fine establishment; the ordnance department is at present very incomplete for the want of such a building, which, when constructed, will meet all the requirements of the service for many years to come.
All the stores belonging to the ordnance are not at present properly arranged and preserved, and the department appears to disadvantage.
In one of the wings of the ship-houses are stowed a quantity of gun-carriages in a bad state of preservation. The ordnance officer complains that he has no room to store them; but this kind of property is very expensive, and it should be the duty of the ordnance officer to make proper representations when he wants the means to take care of the property under his charge.
Ordnance officer—his powers, duties, &c. .
The ordnance officer did, however, in September last, make complaints to the commandant of the state of his department; altogether, the ordnance at Norfolk does not compare favorably with that in New-York. The laborers though are subordinate and respectful, and no more men seem to be employed than are necessary. There is one fault in the arrangement of the ordnance department at this yard—the ordnance officer is held responsible by the bureau for any defects that may occur in the construction of gun-carriages. The gun-carriage maker is only, nominally under his orders, while in fact the ordnance officer should control everything in any way connected with his departments.
Department of provisions and clothing very efficient.
The department of inspector of provisions and clothing is administered by an officer who has been a short time in his present position. This department has been brought to a high state of efficiency, and the same system is carried on now, under Purser Johnson, as in New York. There are now large buildings going up for provisions and clothing, which, when finished, will will afford ample room for all provisions required for the navy at this station. It is recommended, when these buildings are finished, that no more be erected for the same purpose.
Naval steam engineer—his powers, &c.
The naval steam engineer has charge only of the steam engines building and undergoing repair, and can only be said to have a nominal authority over those departments, where he should exercise almost unlimited control. Even in the boiler-shop, where the steam engineer is constantly supervising the work that is going on, he has no say whatever in the selection of the men, and testifies that all the men employed in the boiler-shop are not competent to perform their work. He is firmly of opinion that the government cannot continue to build steam engines at the yards, on account of the expense of construction, unless the system is so altered as to place the power of selecting men in other hands. He is of the opinion (and the board concur with him) that the steam engines in the navy can be built better and cheaper if the steam department is properly organized. There is not the same arrangement here with regard to the position of steam engineers that exists in New York.
The engineer there approximates to the mechanical head of the steam department and its dependencies, while the engineer at the Norfolk yard might as well hold a subordinate position to the work-men, for all the authority he now has.
Steam engineer's department—too many men employed in.
He testifies that the government work could be done with two-thirds the number of men now employed, which would, in the opinion of the board, be a reasonable reduction. The engineer is also of opinion that, if he had naval engineers as his assistants, he could perform fully one-third more work than is now done, provided all the machine shops and dependencies were under one head. In the opinion of the engineer the men "are kept longer on work than is justifiable, to avoid the necessity of discharging them, which causes great expense; and that only by a thorough and systematic military organization can the yard be kept up economically and efficiently."
Outside influences—commandant should have power to resist.
From his testimony it appears that "an outside influence is constantly brought to bear on every workshop in the yard," and he is infavor of making the command of the commandant as absolute as it is afloat. Though this opinion of the engineer may be subject to criticism, he has no doubt been brought to this conclusion by the maladministration of affairs in the different departments, and his zeal for the service has made him recommend a system that no doubt would settle all difficulties at once.
Steam engineer's department—how it should be organized.
There is now employed in the departments properly belonging to the engineer the following assistants, permanently:
One naval steam engineer
One draughtsman $2 75 per day.
One master machinist 3 50 per day.
One foreman 3 12 per day.
One foreman of moulders 2 81 per day.
One foreman of boiler-makers 3 00 per day.
One foreman o plumbers 3 00 per day.
One foreman of coppersmiths 3 12 per day.
One foreman of armorers 2 81 per day.
One writer to steam engineer 2 00 per day.
This allowance should not be increased for the present, and the number of men employed should be reduced in accordance with the rule recommended by the board for the New York yard.
Warrant officers—their position, &c.
The warrant officers of the yard are directly under the control of the executive officer, and no abuses exist in those departments that the board are aware of. The sailmaker's department has been in charge of a civilian for many years, but he has latterly preferred giving it up and obtaining a sailmaker's appointment, having been subjected to much inconvenience from combinations against him by persons whom he would not employ. Officers of the grade of sail-maker find themselves debarred the privileges enjoyed by^ other grades, in having the position of sailmaker filled by a civilian, as is the case at the Norfolk yard ; and for obvious reasons the board recommend that a naval sailmaker be appointed to fill that department.
The police of the yard is represented as good. There are twenty-four watchmen now employed, besides the marine posts, and four more are required by the commandant. The duties of the watchman do not seem to be very arduous, and are confined to short ranges in and about the yard.
Watchman at the gate—his duties, &c.
There is a watchman stationed at the main gate, whose duties might be made very important; but he has little authority to prevent any one from leaving the yard during working hours; there is too much discretion left to this watchman in arresting or reporting any person going in or out; he has workmen's pay docked sometimes, if in his opinion they stay out too long. On questioning a policeman, the board ascertained that master workmen were in the habit of going out an hour before bell-ring, without the policemen having the right to report the matter to the executive officer. It is recommended that the captain of the watch posted at the gate in the Norfolk yard shall keep a pass-book, in which shall be inserted the name of every person whatsoever who may leave the yard during working hours, which book shall be laid before the executive officer every morning at eight o'clock.
Policemen not armed or uniformed.
The policemen are not uniformed, (with the exception of a star on the breast,) and present rather a shabby appearance. These watchmen have nothing in the shape of arms, and the only weapon they carry is a stick, which, in case of necessity, would be of no use whatever.
Naval Constructor Hartt—his good character—how he performed his duties, &c.
The department of naval constructor has been conducted by a very intelligent gentleman—Mr. Hartt—who, since the meeting of this board at Norfolk, has died in the discharge of his duties.
Mr. Hartt had been constructor at this yard for twelve years, and and gained many friends, owing to his estimable character, and for his fearless sacrifice of all personal considerations during a time of great peril, in the midst of pestilential disease.
With every quality to adorn the position he held, he made himself less useful than he might have done if he had exerted himself more to sustain the naval authority in the yard—laboring frequently under a false impression that his rights were invaded, and that he could exercise almost as much authority as the commandant himself. These radical notions detracted very much from the character of the man, while they in no way interfered with his attention to his duties in any department under him. He lived long enough to complain to this board of the difficulty he encountered, under the present system, in carrying on his duties, owing to his having no authority over the men in his department, which could not have been well regulated, from the fact that the master ship carpenter claimed the right to nominate his own men, without any reference whatever to the constructor.
Naval constructor's views as to making the position of master workmen permanent.
The constructor was very strongly in favor of making the heads of departments in the yard permanent, partaking somewhat of a militarycharacter; and his opinions are entitled to a great deal of consideration, owing to his having been brought to this conclusion by the disorganized state of the yard, and having to change opinions long cherished—opinions which involved him in disputes on more than one occasion—and which he would not have yielded up, but from the sternest necessity. For his views, which are rather extended, the board respectfully refer you to the evidence of the constructor brought out before them.
Constructor's department—how it should be organized.
The following allowances are recommended by the board in the constructor's department:
One draughtsman, $2 81 per day; one clerk, $800 per annum; one writer, $2 per day; one office-attendant, (laborer,) $1 25 per day; one master carpenter, $1 50 per day; one writer to master carpenter, $1 50 per day; one master shipjoiner, $3 50 per day; one foreman, to assist and work, $2 81 per day; one master blacksmith, $3 50 per day; one foreman, to assist and work, $3 12 per day; two laborers in smith's shop, each, $1 25 per day; one master boatbuilder, $3 50 per day; one leading man, with 25 per cent, additional pay to first class workmen, $2 25 per day; one laborer, to attend and clean shop, $1 25 per day; one master mastmaker, $3 50 per day; one master painter, $3 50 per day; one leading man, to assist and work, at 25 cents additional pay to first class workmen; one laborer, to work and attend in shops, at $1 25 per day; one master blockmaker, $3 50 per day; one leading man, to assist, at 25 per cent, addition to first class journeymen's pay; one laborer, to attend and clean shops, $1 25 per day; one foreman of coopers, at $2 50 per day.
This department has but little work since iron tanks have been used. There are but five men employed in the shop, and a master-cooper is not required.
In addition to the above allowances, as many quartermen as may, in the judgment of the commandant and naval constructor, be necessary to carry on the duty, may from time to time be rated, not exceeding more than one quarterman to every thirty journeymen employed, to receive 25 per cent, upon first-class workmen's pay; provided the increased pay does not exceed fifty cents per day. Laborers and apprentices not to be included in estimating the number of quartermen in any gang.
The naval constructor, with the sanction of the commandant, may employ in the above departments as many laborers as in his judgment may be necessary—placing them under the heads of the several departments to be mustered, time charged and returned by them; and the naval constructor may, in like manner, apportion the necessary number of foremen or leading men to the laborers employed in any gang, allowing, as with the mechanics, 25 cents in addition to the pay of laborers.
No water boys allowed in any of the gangs, or minors employed as laborers.
Civil Engineer—his duties, how performed.
The office of civil engineer is held by a gentleman whose conduct and attention to duty is characterized by the commandant as admirable; nevertheless, there seems to be a good many abuses in this department, which, if not rectified at once, will make the buildings now under construction cost much more than they should.
Office of civil engineer—present force employed in.
There is now on duty in this yard one civil engineer, one assistant, one draughtsman, one clerk, one messenger, and two master masons, one of whom considers that he is performing the duty of assistant engineer; one master mason, in the opinion of the board, is all that is required at this yard at any time, and the way two berths of this kind happened to exist at the same time is, that the master mason, Mr. Herbert, was turned out to make room for an incompetent person, and taken back again ten days after; as the first master mason could not be removed, Mr. Herbert was brought in as superintendent of quay wall, an office not at all required.
The superintendent of quay wall testifies that if he was constructing a private work that he would not employ so many men, and also says that the men in the engineer's department do not work as well as men outside of the yard. If this is so, the conduct and attention to duty of the engineer cannot be said to be admirable, for it is his duty to see that his department is conducted with a due regard to efficiency and economy.
Master mason—but one is necessary.
In view of one of the master masons being unnecessary, the board recommend that one of them shall be abolished; and as Mr. Herbert seems to be the most faithful and competent person, it is recommended that the preference be given to him.
Dock carpenters' gang—should be abolished
Attached to the engineer's department is a gang of men called dock carpenters, whose duty can be performed, according to the testimony, by the carpenter gang. By getting rid of the dock carpenters one more department can be dispensed with, and all the duty of that kind brought under one head, as it ought to be. The dock carpenters' gang originated with the dry-dock, and after they were no longer required there they were kept on the building of quay walls. The engineer complains very much that he cannot carry on his duties to his satisfaction owing to the want of subordination in the work gangs; he is in favor of the commandant having the entire control of all the appointments of master workmen, and that then he will consider the labor organization perfect.
Military authority too weak.
He thinks the military organization entirely too weak, and that officers should be invested with more authority. He considers that the navy yard at Norfolk is neither civil nor military. This evidence, coming from a civilian who has been connected seven or eight years with this yard, is important, showing that the evil must be very great to bring forth an opinion of the kind from a person holding no military position.
Civil engineer too often absent from the yard.
The board had reason to be dissatisfied with the conduct of the engineer for going to the north so often for the purpose of purchasing material. This has, however, been done in some cases with the sanction of the bureau; but it very much increases the expense of a building if the engineer is permitted to run on to a northern establishment to procure material, when the article required might be obtained nearer at hand. Now that there is a casting and machine shop in the yard, there will be no further necessity for the engineer's leaving his post at all.
Civil engineer's incompetency commented on.
The civil engineer, though theoretically subordinate, was not practically so when questioned by the board relative to a supervision over the selection of men by the executive officer. His evidence on that occasion was very inconsistent, and it was quite evident that he desired to prevent the military authority from exercising that control in his own department which he was so desirous to see established in other departments of the yard.
Lieutenant North, of the navy, was called before the board to give information relative to the system practiced in English dock yards. When asked if he had ever had his orders countermanded by any inferior in the yard, he answered that he had had them countermanded by the civil engineer in a disrespectful manner. This is a state of things which should never exist in a government dock yard, and it offers an argument in favor of curtailing the power of any department whose position enables it to dictate to the lawful authority of the yard.
Storekeeper's duties—how executed.
By the evidence of the officers of the yard the storekeeper's department is in good order in every respect. He is attentive to his duties, attends every day, unless absent by permission, and altogether gives general satisfaction. The commandant is of opinion, however, that his duties could be performed by a purser in the navy, and, as this office is political in its tenure, thinks the same rule should be adopted with regard to it as is recommended for the New York yard.
The board examined every part of the building, and could find no fault in the arrangement, except that there were too many persons employed, some of them old pensioners, who had done good service the navy.
Mustering of men liable to abuse.
The plan of mustering men here is liable to great abuse. There are five mustering points, so far apart that they cannot properly be attended by a commissioned officer.
The clerk of the yard admits that the plan is subject to fraud, and that he had stated his objections to the head of the bureau. After a man is once put on the rolls he is never mustered again by the clerk of the yard, who musters his own gang; and, if any of the irresponsible persons employed to muster the men at the different points chose to enter into collusion with them, the government would be defrauded.
Muster—first lieutenant should attend.
Although there are so many points of mustering, there is no reason why the first lieutenant of the yard should not be present at those adjacent to each other, for the purpose of having the muster performed properly. The muster on several occasions was attended by members of the board, who were convinced every time they witnessed it that the whole matter was very improperly conducted.
Two points of mustering sufficient.
The board recommend that the muster be performed at two points only, and that a commissioned and warrant officers attend, as at other yards.
Owing to the number of mustering points there are a great many writers employed who might be dispensed with. The services of two at least in the mustering office are not required.
Master workmen—neglect of duty.
The master workmen in this yard do not attend the muster, which they should be compelled to do, and are in the habit of going in and out of the yard whenever it suits their convenience. There are but three or, four of the entire number of master workmen who stay in their shop until bell-ring, and notwithstanding a late order to the effect that no master workman shall leave the yard during working hours, the master blacksmith, mason, machinist, and caulker, pay no attention whatever to it. The master workmen as a body are an intelligent set of men, and under proper regulations, and with their powers circumscribed, would no doubt faithfully perform their duties to the government.
The abuse of leaving the yard can never be corrected while the commandant has such limited authority; and if it was fully understood that he had the power to dismiss any one for the violation of the order, the abuse would soon disappear.
Organization of yard imperfect.
In the face of all the abuses enumerated in this report, the board can only come to the conclusion that this yard is not properly organized in any one department. There seems to be a great want of attention to duty in almost all the workshops; and there are more departments than are required. The whip-saw pit, where six men are employed, should be abolished; for as at present conducted it is of no use whatever. The dock carpenter's department is very badly conducted; the men in that department having been seen by members of the board sitting about doing nothing. On inquiring for the foreman, thirty minutes after bell-ring, he was no where to be found.
Boatbuilder's department very negligent.
This inattention to duty in the shops was more particularly noticed in the boatbuilder's department. Out of nineteen men, twenty-five minutes after bell-ring, not one of them was at work, but were chasing each other about the loft. On inquiring for the master boatbuilder or foreman, neither of them could be found at their posts. From their observation throughout the yard, the board were convinced that a much smaller number of men would do all the work now going on if the heads of departments attended to their duties.
Fire department efficient.
The fire department, as a part of the organization of the yard, is an exception to the general rule, and is in excellent condition, apparently competent to extinguish any fire that may occur in the yard. The fire-bell places the men under the control of the constructor, when in fact they should be led by the executive officer and 1st lieutenant of the yard.
General appearance of the yard.
The general appearance of the yard is good, and the building in pretty good order, with the exception of the ship-houses.
The Board discovered that the galleys are not properly taken care of, being stowed in a damp building with a dirt floor. Hemp cables and hausers are also stowed in the same building, much to their detriment. The chain cables are too remote from the water, requiring expensive transportation.
There is a gang of negro men termed "scavengers," whose duty it is to clean up the yard, and perform labor which would be distasteful to a white person. They get a low rate of pay and are very useful in the yard; the number may seem greater than there is any necessity for, but the board are of opinion that they are all required.
Want of system and military authority in the yard.
The board have devoted a good deal of patient investigation into the affairs of this yard, and it would lengthen out this report too much to go into the details of every existing abuse. The fault is in the system practiced in our navy yards generally, and in the absence of proper authority being vested in the commandant.
Master workmen generally politicians.
The master workmen, considering themselves necessary to their political friends, and being assured of protection, have assumed a bearing independent of proper authority, out of keeping with their position, and not to be found in any other navy yard. It is very apparent to the board, although they have not taken much evidence on this point, that the leaders of a majority of the shops are politicians, and have around them a set of men who are selected as much for their political as mechanical character. They nearly all admit the fact, and say, without hesitation, that if their offices were made permanent and during good behavior, it would make their positions independent of their men, and enable them to do their duty faithfully to the government; for the corroboration of which opinion, the board respectfully refer you to the accompanying testimony.
We have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servants,
F. H. GREGORY, Senior Officer.
G. J. VAN BRUNT, Captain.
C. H. POOR, Commander.
J. R. TUCKER, Commander.
DAVID D. PORTER, Lieutenant.
Hon. I. TOUCEY, Secretary of the Navy.
N. B.—There is a custom prevalent in the Norfolk yard, to allow the men to go out one hour before regular bell-ring on election days to vote. This rule exists in no other yard visited by the board, and it is recommended it be discontinued.
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The following is a list of the master workmen, clerks, writers, and other employees which the board recommend should be allowed at the Norfolk navy yard:
One clerk to commandant, $1,200 per annum; one second clerk to commandant, $960 per annum; one porter, $456 per annum; one messenger, 88 cents per day.
One writer, $2 50 per day; one writer, $2 per day; one foreman of gun-carriage makers, $3 12 per day; one messenger to attend on the commander's office also, 88 cents per day.
FIRST LIEUTENANT'S OFFICE.
One messenger, to be employed in cleaning up when not otherwise employed, 88 cents per day. The offices of boatswain, gunner, carpenter, and sailmakers, to be filled by naval warrant officers. One foreman of riggers, $2 50 per day; one foreman of sailmakers, $2 81 per day.
MASTER OF THE YARD.
Two master's mates, to assist the master to look after the yard laborers, $2 per day.
One draughtman, $2 81 per day; one clerk, $800 per annum; one writer, $2 per day; one office attendant, $1 25 per day; one master carpenter, $4 per day; one writer to master carpenter, $1 50 per day; one master ship joiner, $3 50 per day; one foreman, to assist and work, $2 81 per day; one laborer, to clean up, $1 25 per day; one master blacksmith, $3 50 per day; one foreman, to assist and work, $3 12 per day; two laborers in smith's shop, each, $1 25 per day; one master boat builder, $3 50 per day; one leading man to work with tools, and receive 25 per cent, addition on first class journeymen's pay; one laborer, to attend and clean up shop, $1 25 per day; one master caulker, $3 50 per day; one master mastmaker, $3 50 per day; one master painter, $3 50 per day; one leading man to assist and work, and to receive 25 per cent, addition on first class journeymen's pay; one laborer, to work and attend in shop, $1 25 per day; one master blockmaker, $3 50 per day; one leading man to assist and work, at 25 per cent, addition on first class journeymen's pay; one laborer, to attend and clean up shop, $1 25 per day; one foreman of sawyers, $2 81 per day; one foreman of coopers, $2 50 per day; one inspector of timber, $1,200 per annum; one writer to timber inspector, $2 per day.
STEAM ENGINEER'S DEPARTMENT.
One chief naval engineer; one draughtsman and writer, $3 per day; one writer, $2 per day; one laborer, office attendant, $1 25 per day; one foreman machinist, $3 per day; one foreman boilermakers, $3 12 per day; one foreman moulders, $3 12 per day; one foreman plumbers, $3 12 per day; one foreman coppersmiths, $3 12 per day; one foreman armorers, $2 81 per day; one foreman tinners, $2 50 per day, two assistant engineers, one at $3, and the other $2 50 per day.
The above foremen to take the place of master workmen now employed—the gangs being small, masters are not necessary. The chief naval engineer is to have charge of all the engines and machines in the yard worked by steam; to keep them in good order and repair; to see that proper and efficient men are put in charge of the engines, and no more employed for working them than are absolutely necessary.
The naval engineer is to superintend the manufacture of all articles made in the above departments, the fitting of steam engines, and all other matters required in the equipment and repair on board ships coming within the duties of an engineer.
Upon the approval of the commandant, he shall answer all requisitions from other departments, and render to each accurate accounts of costs of work, without delay, after completion.
The number of firemen and coal-heavers to be regulated according to circumstances.
CIVIL ENGINEER'S DEPARTMENT.
One civil engineer, $2,500 per annum; one draughtsman, $950 per annum; one writer, $2 per day; one laborer, office attendant, 88 cents per day; one master mason, $3 50 per day; one quarterman to every thirty men employed, and such additional quartermen as the civil engineer, with the sanction of the commandant, may deem necessary—the quartermen to receive 25 per cent, addition on first-class journeymen's pay, provided it does not exceed 50 cents per day; one master house joiner; one foreman. The number of quartermen to be regulated by the same rule as in the mason's gang; one to-every thirty mechanics, not including laborers and apprentices.
INSPECTOR OF PROVISIONS, &c.
One clerk, $750 per annum; one writer, $2 per day; one receiver, $2 per day; one laborer, $1 50 per day; one laborer, $1 38 per day.
PURSER OF THE YARD.
One clerk, $750 per annum; one writer, $2 per day; one messenger, to act for the lieutenant, purser, and clerk of the yard, 88 cents per day.
CLERK OF THE YARD.
One clerk of the yard, $1,200 per annum; one check clerk, $2 50 per day; one writer, $2 50 per day.
One chief clerk, $1,200 per annum; one clerk, $900 per annum; one Writer, $2 per day; one receiver, $1 75 per day; one receiver $1 50 per day; 5 laborers, each $1 25 per day.
One head teamster, $2 per day, to be paid for Sundays and holidays; drivers, as many as the commandant may think necessary, at $1 25 per day; two attendants for every eight yoke of oxen, and receive $1 25 each.
Three captains, (1st, 2d, and 3d,) each $1 75 per day; 26 watchmen, each $1 50 per day.
Ex. Doc. No. 86.
LETTER OF THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY,
In compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 2ith instant, information
in relation to the construction of the iron-clad Monitor.
JULY 25, 1868—Ordered to lie on the table and be printed.
July 25, 1868.—Ordered that 500 extra copies be printed for the use of the Navy Department.
NAVY DEPARTMENT, July 25, 1868.
SIR : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the following resolution:
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES,
July 24, 1868.
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Navy be requested to communicate to the Senate the facts concerning the construction of the iron-clad Monitor, including a copy of the proposal to build said vessel, a copy of the contract, a statement of the amount paid for her construction, the time and amount of each payment, and any other facts necessary for a full history of the origin and construction of this memorable vessel.
At the extra session of Congress which convened on the 4th of July, 1861, pursuant to the proclamation of President Lincoln, a report was submitted by the Secretary of the Navy, in which he adverted to the fact that other governments were constructing armored vessels, and he recommended that initiatory measures should be taken by our government for the construction of "one or more iron-clad steamers or floating batteries."
The following is the abstract referred to:
IRON-CLAD STEAMERS OR FLOATING BATTERIES.
Much attention has been given within the last few years to the subject of floating batteries, or iron-clad steamers. Other governments, and particularly France and England, have made it a special object in connection with naval improvements ; and the ingenuity and inventive faculties of our own countrymen have also been stimulated by recent occurrences toward the construction of this class of vessels. The period is, perhaps, not one best adapted to heavy expenditures by way of experiment, and the time and attention of some of those who are most competent to investigate and form correct conclusions on this subject are otherwise employed. I would, however, recommend the appointment of a proper and competent board to inquire into and report in regard to a measure so important; and it is for Congress to decide whether, on a favorable report, they will order one or more iron-clad steamers, or floating batteries, to be constructed, with a view to perfect protection from the effects of present ordnance at short range, and make an appropriation for that purpose.
It is nearly 20 years since a gentleman of New Jersey, possessing wealth and talent, projected the construction of a floating battery, and the government aided the work by a liberal appropriation. The death of this gentleman a few years since interrupted the prosecution of this experiment, and application has been recently made by his surviving brother, the authorities of New Jersey, and others, for additional means to carry it forward to completion. The amount asked is of such magnitude as to require special investigation by a competent board, who shall report as to the expediency and practicability of the experiment before so large an expenditure should be authorized.
Congress responded with liberality and promptness to this recommendation of the Secretary, by an act, passed on the 3d of August, authorizing him to appoint a board of three skilful naval officers to investigate plans and specifications, in conformity with the suggestion in his report, submitted just one month previously.
The act, which is brief, and contains not only a full authorization, but an appropriation to carry it into effect, is in these words:
AN ACT to provide for the construction of one or more armored ships and floating batteries, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Secretary of the Navy be, and he is hereby, authorized and directed to appoint a board of three skilful naval officers to investigate the plans and specifications that may be submitted for the construction or completing of iron or steel-clad steamships or steam batteries, and, on their report, should it be favorable, the Secretary of the Navy will cause one or more armored or iron or steel-clad steamships or floating steam batteries to be built; and there is hereby appropriated, out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated, the sum of one million five hundred thousand dollars.
SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That in case of a vacancy in the office of engineer-in-chief of the navy the appointment thereto shall be made from the list of chief engineers.
Approved August 3, 1861.
No time was lost in adopting measures to give effect to this act, for, on receiving an authenticated copy, on the 7th of August, the following advertisement was issued:
IRON-CLAD STEAM VESSELS.
The Navy Department will receive offers from parties who are able to execute work of this kind, and who are engaged in it, of which they will furnish evidence with their offer, for the construction of one or more iron-clad steam vessels of war, either of iron or of wood and iron combined, for sea or river service, to be of not less than ten nor over sixteen feet draught of water; to carry an armament of from eighty to one hundred and twenty tons weight, with provisions and stores for from one hundred and sixty-five to three hundred persons, according to armament, for sixty days, with coal for eight days. The smaller draught or water, compatible with other requisites, will be preferred. The vessel to be rigged with two masts, with wire-rope standing rigging, to navigate at sea.
A general description and drawings of the vessel, armor, and machinery, such as the work can be executed from, will be required.
The offer must state the cost and the time for completing the whole, exclusive of armament and stores of all kinds, the rate of speed proposed, and must be accompanied by a guarantee for the proper execution of the contract, if awarded.
Persons who intend to offer are requested to inform the department of their intention before the 15th of August, instant, and to have their propositions presented within twenty-five days from this date.
August 7, 1861.
On the following day, the 8th of August, the Secretary issued the following order, appointing three naval officers, as required by the act, and directed them to convene as early as practicable at the Navy Department, and make a written report:
NAVY DEPARTMENT, August 8, 1861.
SIR: The provisions of the act of Congress approved August 3, 1861, directs "that the Secretary of the Navy be, and he is hereby, authorized and directed to appoint a board of three skilful naval officers to investigate the plans and specifications that may be submitted for the construction or completing of iron or steel-clad steamships, or steam batteries, and on their report, should it be favorable, the Secretary of the Navy will cause one or more armored or iron or steel-clad steamships, or floating steam batteries, to be built; and there is hereby appropriated, out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated, the sum of one million five hundred thousand dollars;" and the department hereby appoints you the senior officer of the board referred to in the foregoing enactment, with Commodore Hiram Paulding and Commander Charles H. Davis as your associates.
The board will convene at the Navy Department as early as practicable, and will make a written report of the result of its investigations of the subject embraced in the law before quoted.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Commodore JOSEPH SMITH,
United States Navy, Washington, D. C.
The Secretary visited Connecticut early in September, and while at Hartford, C. S. Bushnell, esq., of New Haven, brought to him the plan of the original Monitor, invented by Captain John Ericsson, of New York. It received the instant favorable approval of the Secretary, who requested Mr. Bushnell to proceed to Washington without delay and submit it to the board, then about to decide on the plans presented. He was assured that in case of unavoidable delay beyond the time limited for receiving proposals, an exception should be made in favor of this novel invention of a submerged vessel with a revolving turret, and that it should be embraced among the plans on which the opinion of the board would be required.
In compliance with the suggestions made at the interview in Hartford, Mr. Bushnell proceeded to Washington, and the Secretary arrived about the same time. The report of the naval officers on the various propositions presented is herewith communicated in full, embracing their views and a brief summary of the several plans presented.
REPORT OF BOARD TO EXAMINE PLANS OF IRON-CLAD VESSELS, UNDER
ACT OF AUGUST 3, 1861.
Bureau of Yards and Docks, September 16, 1861.
SIR: The undersigned, constituting a board appointed by your order of the 8th ultimo, proceeded to the duty assigned to them, in accordance with the first section of an act of Congress, approved 3d of August, 1861, directing the Secretary of the Navy "to appoint a board of three skilful naval officers to investigate the plans and specifications that may be submitted for the construction or completing of iron-clad steamships or steam batteries, and on their report, should it be favorable, the Secretary of the Navy will cause one or more armored or iron or steel-clad steamships or floating steam batteries to be built; and there is hereby appropriated, out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated, the sum of one million five hundred thousand dollars."
Distrustful of our ability to discharge this duty, which the law requires should be performed by three skilful naval officers, we approach the subject with diffidence, having no experience and but scanty knowledge in this branch of naval architecture.
The plans submitted are so various, and in many respects so entirely dissimilar, that without a more thorough knowledge of this mode of construction and the resisting properties of iron than we possess, it is very likely that some of our conclusions may prove erroneous.
Application was made to the department for a naval constructor, to be placed under our orders, with whom we might consult; but it appears that they are all so employed on important service that none could be assigned to this duty.
The construction of iron-clad steamships of war is now zealously claiming the attention of foreign naval powers. France led off; England followed, and is now somewhat extensively engaged in the system ; and other powers seem to emulate their example, though on a smaller scale.
Opinions differ among naval and scientific men as to the policy of adopting the iron armature for ships of war. For coast and harbor defence they are undoubtedly formidable adjuncts to fortifications on land. As cruising vessels, however, we are skeptical as to their advantages and ultimate adoption. But while other nations are endeavoring to perfect them we must not remain idle.
The enormous load of iron, as so much additional weight to the vessel; the great breadth of beam necessary to give her stability; the short supply of coal she will be able to stow in bunkers; the greater power required to propel her; and the largely increased cost of construction, are objections to this class of vessels as cruisers which we believe it is difficult successfully to overcome. For river and harbor service we consider iron-clad vessels of light draught, or floating batteries thus shielded, as very important: and we feel at this moment the necessity of them on some of our rivers and inlets to enforce obedience to the laws. We, however, do not hesitate to express the opinion, notwithstanding all we have heard or seen written on the subject, that no ship or floating battery, however heavily she may be plated, can cope successfully with a properly constructed fortification of masonry. The one is fixed and immovable, and though constructed of a material which may be shattered by shot, can be covered, if need be, by the same or much heavier armor than a floating vessel can bear, while the other is subject to disturbances by winds and waves, and to the powerful effects of tides and currents.
Armored ships or batteries may be employed advantageously to pass fortifications on land for ulterior objects of attack, to run a blockade, or to reduce temporary batteries on the shores of rivers and the approaches to our harbors.
From what we know of the comparative advantages and disadvantages of ships constructed of wood over those of iron, we are clearly of opinion that no iron-clad vessel of equal displacement can be made to obtain the same speed as one not thus encumbered, because her form would be better adapted to speed. Her form and dimensions, the unyielding nature of the shield, detract materially in a heavy sea from the life, buoyancy, and spring which a ship built of wood possesses.
Wooden ships may be said to be but coffins for their crews when brought in conflict with iron-clad vessels ; but the speed of the former, we take for granted, being greater than that of the latter, they can readily choose their position, and keep out of harm's way entirely.
Recent improvements in the form and preparation of projectiles, and their increased capacity for destruction, have elicited a large amount of ingenuity and skill to devise means for resisting them in their construction of ships of war. As yet we know of nothing superior to the large and heavy spherical shot in its destructive effects on vessels, whether plated or not.
Rifled guns have greater range, but the conical shot does not produce the crushing effect of spherical shot.
It is assumed that 4^-inch plates are the heaviest armor a sea-going vessel can safely carry. These plates should be of tough iron, and rolled in large, long pieces. This thickness of armor, it is believed, will resist all projectiles now in general use at a distance of 500 yards, especially if the ship's sides are angular.
Plates hammered in large masses are less fibrous and tough than when rolled. The question whether wooden backing, or any elastic substance behind the iron plating, will tend to relieve at all the frame of the ships from the crushing effect of a heavy projectile, is not yet decided. Major Barnard says, "to put an elastic material behind the iron is to insure its destruction." With all deference to such creditable authority, we may suggest that it is possible a backing of some elastic substance (soft wood, perhaps, is the best) might relieve the frame of the ship somewhat from the terrible shock of a heavy projectile, though the plate should not be fractured.
With respect to a comparison between ships of iron and those of wood, without plating, high authorities in England differ as to which is the best. The tops of ships built of iron, we are told, wear out three bottoms ; while the bottoms of those built of wood will outwear three tops. In deciding upon the relative merits of iron and wooden-framed vessels, for each of which we have offers, the board is of opinion that it would be well to try a specimen of each, as both have distinguished advocates. One strong objection to iron vessels, which, so far as we know, has not yet been overcome, is the oxidation or rust in salt water, and their liability of becoming foul under water by the attachment of sea grass and animalcules to their bottoms. The best preventive we know of is a coating of pure zinc paint, which, so long as it lasts, is believed to be an antidote to this cause of evil.
After these brief remarks on the subject generally, we proceed to notice the plans and offers referred to us for the construction of plated vessels and floating batteries.
It has been suggested that the most ready mode of obtaining an iron-clad ship of war would be to contract with responsible parties in England for its complete construction; and we are assured that parties there are ready to engage in such an enterprise on terms more reasonable, perhaps, than such vessels could be built in this country, having much greater experience and facilities than we possess. Indeed, we are informed there are no mills and machinery in this country capable of rolling iron 4-1/2 inches thick, though plates might be hammered to that thickness in many of our workshops. As before observed, rolled iron is considered much the best, and the difficulty of rolling it increases rapidly with the increase of thickness. It has, however, occurred to us that a difficulty might arise with the British government, in case we should undertake to construct ships of war in that country, which might complicate their delivery; and, moreover, we are of opinion that every people or nation who can maintain a navy should be capable of constructing it themselves.
Our immediate demands seem to require, first, so far as practicable, vessels invulnerable to shot, of light draught of water, to penetrate our shoal harbors, rivers, and bayous. We, therefore, favor the construction of this class of vessels before going into a more perfect system of large iron-clad sea-going vessels of war. We are here met with the difficulty of encumbering small vessels with armor, which, from their size, they are unable to bear. We, nevertheless, recommend that contracts be made with responsible parties for the construction of one or more iron-clad vessels or batteries of as light a draught of water as practicable consistent with their weight of armor. Meanwhile, availing of the experience thus obtained, and the improvements which we believe are yet to be made by other naval powers in building iron-clad ships, we would advise the construction, in our own dock-yards, of one or more of these vessels upon a large and more perfect scale, when Congress shall see fit to authorize it. The amount now appropriated is not sufficient to build both classes of vessels to any great extent.
We have made a synopsis of the propositions and specifications submitted, which we annex, and now proceed to state, in brief, the result of our decisions upon the offers presented to us.
J. Ericsson, New York, page 19.—This plan of a floating battery is novel, but seems to be based upon a plan which will render the battery shot and shell proof. We are somewhat apprehensive that her properties for sea are not such as a sea-going vessel should possess.
But she may be moved from one place to another on the coast in smooth water. We recommend that an experiment be made with one battery of this description on the terms proposed, with a guarantee and forfeiture in case of failure in any of the properties and points of the vessel as proposed.
Price, $275,000; length of vessel, 172 feet; breadth of beam, 41 feet; depth of hold, 11-1/2 feet; time, 100 days; draught of water, 10 feet; displacement, 1,255 tons; speed per hour, nine statute miles.
John W. Nystrom, Philadelphia, 1216 Chestnut street, page 1.—The plan of (quadruple) guns is not known, and cannot be considered. The dimensions would not float the vessel without the guards, which we are not satisfied would repel shot. We do not recommend the plan.
Price, about $175,000; length of vessel, 175 feet; breadth of beam, 27 feet; depth of hold, 13 feet; time, four months ; draught of water, 10 feet; displacement, 875 tons; speed per hour, 12 knots.
William Perine, New York, 2,777 post office box, presents three plans. The specifications and drawings are not full. The last proposal (No. 3, page 2) for the heavy plating is the only one we have considered; but there is neither drawing nor model, and the capacity of the vessel, we think, will not bear the armor and armament proposed.
Price, $621,000; length of vessel, 225 feet; breadth of beam, 45-1/2 feet; depth of hold, 15-1/3 feet; time, 9 months; draught of water, 13 feet; displacement, 2,454 tons; speed per hour, 10 knots.
John C. Le Ferre, Boston, page 9.—Description deficient. Not recommended. Sent a model, but neither price, time, nor dimensions stated.
E. S. Renwick, New York, 335 Broadway, presents drawings, specification and model of an iron-clad vessel of large capacity and powerful engines, with great speed, capable of carrying a heavy battery, and stated to be shot-proof and a good sea-boat. The form and manner of construction and proportions of this vessel are novel, and will attract the attention of scientific and practical men. She is of very light draught of water, and on the question whether she will prove to be a safe and comfortable sea-boat we do not express a decided opinion. Vessels of somewhat similar form, in that part of vessel which is immersed, of light draught of water on our western lakes, have, we believe, proved entirely satisfactory in all weathers. To counteract the effect of the waves, when disturbed by the winds, by producing a jerk, or sudden rolling motion of flat, shoal vessels, it is proposed to carry a sufficient weight above the centre of gravity to counterpoise the heavy weight below, which is done in this ship by the immense iron armor. If, after a full discussion and examination by experts on this plan, it should be decided that she is a safe vessel for sea service, we would recommend the construction upon it of one ship at one of our dock-yards.
The estimate cost of this ship, $1,500,000, precludes action upon the plan until further appropriations shall be made by Congress for such objects.
Time not stated; length of vessel, 400 feet; breadth of beam, 60 feet; depth of hold, 33 feet; draught of water, 16 feet; displacement, 6,520 tons; speed per hour, at least 18 miles.
Whitney & Rowland, Brooklyn, Greenpoint, page 13, propose an iron gunboat, armor of bars of iron and thin plate over it.
No price stated. Dimensions of vessel, we think, will not bear the weight and possess stability. Time, 5 months. Not recommended.
Length of vessel, 140 feet; breadth of beam, 28 feet; depth of hold, 13-1/3 feet; draught of water, 8 feet.
Donald McKay, Boston, page 16.—Vessel, in general dimensions and armor, approved. The speed estimated slow. The cost precludes the consideration of construction by the board.
Price, $1,000,000; length of vessel, 227 feet; breadth of beam, 50 feet; depth of hold, 26-1/2 feet; time, 9 to 10 months; draught of water, 14 feet; displacement, 3,100 tons; speed per hour, 6 to 7 knots.
William H. Wood, Jersey City, N. J., page 14.—Dimensions will not float the guns high enough. Not recommended.
Price, $255,000; length of vessel, 160 feet; breadth of beam, 34 feet; depth of hold, 22 feet; time, 4 months; draught of wafer, 13 feet; displacement, 1,215 tons ; speed not stated.
Merrick & Sons, Philadelphia, pages 7 and 8.—Vessel of wood and iron combined. This proposition we consider the most practicable one for heavy armor. We recommend that a contract be made with that party, under a guarantee, with forfeiture in case of failure to comply with the specifications; and that the contract require the plates to be 15 feet long, 36 inches wide, with a reservation of some modifications which may occur as the work progresses, not to affect the cost.
Price, $780,000; length of vessel, 220 feet; breadth of beam, 60 feet; depth of hold, 23 feet; time, 9 months; draught of water, 13 feet; displacement, 3,296 tons; speed per hour, 9-1/2 knots.
Benjamin Rathburn, ____, page 20.—We do not recommend the plan for adoption.
Price not stated; length of vessel not stated; breadth of beam, 80 feet; depth of hold, 74 feet; time not stated; draught of water, 25 feet; displacement, 15,000 tons; speed not stated. Specification incomplete.
Henry R. Dunham, New York, page 11.—Vessel too costly for the appropriation; no drawings or specifications; not recommended.
Price, $1,200,000; length of vessel, 325 feet; breadth of beam, 60 feet; depth of hold not stated; time, 15 to 18 months; draught of water, 16 feet; displacement not stated; speed per hour, 12 miles.
C. S. Bushnell & Co., New Haven, Conn., page 121, propose a vessel to be iron-clad, on the rail and plate principle, and to obtain high speed. The objection to this vessel is the fear that she will not float her armor and load sufficiently high, and have stability enough for a sea vessel. With a guarantee that she shall do these, we recommend on that basis a contract.
Price, $235,250; length of vessel, 180 feet; breadth of beam, __ feet; depth of hold, 12-2/3 feet; time, 4 months; draught of water, 10 feet; displacement, tons; speed per hour, 12 knots.
John Westwood, Cincinnati, Ohio, page 17.—Vessel of wood with iron armor; plan good enough, but the breadth not enough to bear the armor. No detailed specification; no price or time stated; only a general drawing. Not recommended.
Neafie & Levy, Philadelphia, page 5.—No plans or drawings ; therefore not considered. Neither price nor time stated.
Length of vessel, 200 feet; breadth of beam, 40 feet; depth of hold, 15 feet; draught of water, 13 feet; displacement, 1,748 tons; speed per hour, 10 knots.
Wm. Norris, New York, 26 Cedar street, page 6.—Iron boat without armor. Too small, and not received.
Price $32,000; length of vessel, 83 feet; breadth of beam, 25 feet; depth of hold, 14 feet; time, 60 to 75 days ; draught of water, 3 feet; displacement, 90 tons; speed not stated.
Wm. Kingsley, Washington, D. C, page 10, proposes a rubber-clad vessel, which we cannot recommend. No price or dimension stated.
A. Beebe, New York, 82 Broadway, page 18.—Specification and sketch defective. Plan not approved.
Price $50,000; length of vessel, 120 feet; breadth of beam, 55 feet; depth not stated; time, 100 days; draught of water, 6 feet; displacement, 1,000 tons; speed per hour, 8 knots.
These three propositions recommended, viz., Bushnell & Co., New Haven, Connecticut; Merrick & Sons, Philadelphia, and J. Ericsson, New York, will absorb $1,290,250 of the appropriation of $1,500,000, leaving $209,750 yet unexpended.
The board recommends that armor with heavy guns be placed on one of our river craft, or, if none will bear it, to construct a scow, which will answer to plate and shield the guns, for the river service on the Potomac, to be constructed or prepared by the government at the navy yard here for immediate use.
We would further recommend that the department ask of Congress, at its next session, an appropriation for experimenting on iron plates of different kinds of $10,000.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
C. H. DAVIS.
Hon. GIDEON WELLES,
Secretary of the Navy.
Without adverting to other topics and other plans embraced in this report, it is sufficient to state that the plan of Mr. Ericsson was one of the three accepted, and on the 4th day of October, 1861, the department entered into a contract with that gentleman, with good and sufficient sureties, as required in all cases, for a vessel to be constructed on the principle by him presented.
The following is a copy of the contract, with the names of the gentlemen who were the sureties of Captain Ericsson.
This contract, in two parts, made and entered into this fourth day of October, anno Domini one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, between J. Ericsson, of the city of New York, as principal, and John F. Winslow, John A. Griswold, and C. S. Bushnell, as sureties, on the first part, and Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, for and in behalf of the United States, on the second part, witnesseth—
That in consideration of the payments hereinafter provided for, the party of the first part hereby contracts and agrees to construct an iron-clad shot-proof steam battery, of iron and wood combined, on Ericsson's plan; the lower vessel to be wholly of iron, and the upper vessel of wood; the length to be one hundred and seventy-nine (179) feet, extreme breadth 41 feet, and depth 5 feet, or larger if the party of the first part shall think it necessary to carry the armament and stores required; the vessel to be constructed of the best materials and workmanship throughout, according to the plan and specifications hereto annexed, forming a part of this contract; and in addition to said specifications, the party of the first part hereby agrees to furnish masts, spars, sails, and rigging of sufficient dimensions to drive the vessel at the rate of six knots per hour in a fair breeze of wind; and the said party of the first part will also furnish, in addition to the said specifications, a condenser, for making fresh water for the boilers on the most approved plan; and the party of the first part further contracts and engages that the said vessel shall have proper accommodations for her stores of all kinds, including provisions for one hundred persons for ninety days, and shall carry 2,500 gallons of water in tanks; that the vessel shall have a speed of eight sea miles or knots per hour under steam for twelve consecutive hours, and carry fuel for her engines for eight days' consumption at that speed; the deck of the vessel when loaded to be eighteen inches above load line amidships; that she shall possess sufficient stability, with her armament, crew, and stores on board, for safe sea service in traversing the coast of the United States; that her crew shall be properly accommodated, and that the apparatus for working the battery shall prove successful and safe for the purpose intended, and that the vessel, machinery, and appointments, in all their parts, shall work to the entire satisfaction of the party of the second part.
And the party of the second part hereby agrees to pay for the vessel complete as aforesaid, after trial and satisfactory test, the sum of two hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars, in coin or treasury notes, at the option of the party of the second part, in the following manner, to wit: When the work shall have progressed to the amount of fifty thousand dollars in the estimation of the superintendent of the vessel on the part of the United States, that sum shall be paid to the party of the first part on certificate of said superintendent, and thereafter, similar payments according to the certificates of said superintendent, deducting, reserving, and retaining from each and every payment twenty-five per centum, which reservation shall be retained until after the completion and satisfactory trial of the vessel, not to exceed ninety days after she shall be ready for sea.
And it is further agreed between the said parties that the said vessel shall be complete in all her parts and appointments for service, and any omissions in these specifications shall be supplied to make her thus complete; and in case the said vessel shall fail in performance of speed for sea service, as before stated, or in the security or successful working of the turret and guns with safety to the vessel and the men in the turret, or in her buoyancy to float and carry her battery, as aforesaid, then and in that case the party of the first part hereby bind themselves, their heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns, by these presents, to refund to the United States the amount of money advanced to them on said vessel, within thirty days after such failure shall have been declared by the party of the second part, and the party of the first part acknowledge themselves indebted to the United States in liquidated damages to the full amount of money advanced as aforesaid. And it is further agreed that the vessel shall be held by the United States as collateral security until said amount of money advanced as aforesaid shall be refunded.
And the party of the first part does further engage and contract that no member of Congress, officer of the navy, or any person holding any office or appointment under the Navy Department, shall be admitted to any share or part of this contract or agreement, or to any benefit to arise thereupon. And it is hereby expressly provided, and this contract is upon this express condition, that if any such member of Congress, officer of the navy, or other person above named, shall be admitted to any share or part of this contract, or to any benefit to arise under it; or in case the party of the first part shall in any respect fail to perform this contract on their part, the same may be, at the option of the United States, declared null and void, without affecting their right to recover for defaults which may have occurred.
It is further agreed between the said parties that said vessel and equipments in all respects shall be completed and ready for sea in one hundred days from the date of this indenture.
JOHN F. WINSLOW.
JOHN A. GRISWOLD.
C. S. BUSHNELL.
GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy.
Signed, sealed, and delivered in presence of—
W. L. BARNES, as to the signatures of J. Ericsson, John F. Winslow, John A. Griswold, and C. S. Bushnell.
JOS. SMITH, as to signature of G. Welles.
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK, ss:
I do hereby certify that, in my judgment, John F. Winslow, John A. Griswold, and Cornelius S. Bushnell, the sureties in the foregoing contract, are sufficient to pay any sum that may be demanded of them in pursuance of the terms thereof. And I further certify that I have made diligent inquiry before giving this certificate.
C. DELAFIELD SMITH,
United States District Attorney.
NEW YORK, October 4, 1861.
It is understood between the contracting parties that after the battery shall be ready for sea, and be taken possession of by the government for the purpose of testing her properties as stipulated in the contract, such possession shall be regarded as accepting the vessel so far only as the workmanship and quality of materials are concerned, and that the test of the qualities and properties of the vessel as provided shall he made as soon thereafter as practicable, not to exceed ninety days, the reservation of twenty per cent, to be withheld until the test is made.
The amount of the successive payments made by the department while the work was progressing, the time when these payments were made, the last being five days before the Monitor sailed from New York, are as follows:
November 15. First payment, $50,000, less 25 per cent . . . . . . . $37, 500
December 3. Second payment, $50,000, less 25 per cent . . . . . . . .37, 500
December 17. Third payment, $50,000, less 25 per cent . . . . . . . . 37, 500
January 3. Fourth payment,$50,000, less 25 per cent . . . . . . . . . . 37, 500
February 6. Fifth payment, $50,000, less 25 per cent . . . . . . . . . . .37, 500
March 3. Sixth payment, $25,000, less 25 per cent . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18, 750
March 14. Last payment, reservations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .68, 750
Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .275, 000
In the contract for the Monitor, the Navy Department, as in other contracts, was careful to protect the public interest by requiring guarantees of the contractor and his sureties for its fulfillment. Similar guarantees and forfeitures are in the contract of the New Ironsides, made at the same time, and also in contracts for other vessels. Payments were promptly made, according to stipulations, as will be seen by the foregoing schedule, so that only the reservations remained unpaid when she started on her trial trip. By the terms of the contract, the reservations were to be retained until the points and properties of the vessel were fully tested, not exceeding 90 days. Her performance from New York to Hampton Roads, and her encounter with the Merrimac, were satisfactory tests, and the payment of the reservations was immediately made, within one week after the action in which she was engaged, as will be seen by the date of the last payment in the schedule already given.
It is proper that the statement of amounts paid for the Monitor, and the times when they were paid, should be stated, in consequence of erroneous impressions which exist, having their origin in statements that certain parties "built the original Monitor at their own risk, having agreed not to call upon the government for remuneration until the vessel had been tested in action. Strong in faith, receiving but a negative support from the Navy Department, they completed the Monitor at their own cost." This extraordinary statement, and an affirmation on the floor of the House of Representatives that " a member from New York advanced the money and paid the entire expense out of his own funds, in order to get the Monitor built which met the Merrimac in Hampton Roads," are mistakes, as the contract, the payments rapidly made from the 15th of November to the 14th of March, and the records of the department throughout fully demonstrate. The money which was applied to build the Monitor was appropriated by Congress on the recommendation of the Secretary of the Navy in August; the plan of the Monitor was submitted to him, as stated, in the early part of September; was sent by him at once to the board which he had appointed; was favorably reported upon by that board; a contract for its construction was immediately entered into; the funds requisite for the work were promptly handed over as the work progressed, and the last stipulated payment (excepting the reservations) was made before the vessel sailed from New York, amounting in the aggregate to over $200,000.
Although the department received but little encouragement from any quarter in regard to this novel experiment while she was building, but much ridicule and abuse, its confidence in her success was as unshaken as that of the sureties or the inventor himself. After the wonderful achievement of the Monitor at Hampton Roads, the tone of many was changed, and there then were persistent efforts to deny the department any credit for the adoption or construction of the Monitor. These misrepresentations led the inventor, Mr. Ericsson, to write the following letter, which constitutes a part of the history called for in the resolution of the Senate, and, like the contract, the payments, and the successive reports, is essential to a correct knowledge of the case.
Letter from Mr. Ericsson relative to contract for Monitor.
NEW YORK, April 25, 1862.
SIR: In your remarks on the administration of the Navy Department in to-day's Herald you have inadvertently done the Secretary of the Navy great injustice relative to the construction of the Monitor. A more prompt and spirited action is probably not on record in a similar case than that of the Navy Department as regards the Monitor. The committee of naval commanders, appointed by the Secretary to decide on the plans of gunboats laid before the department, occupied me less than two hours in explaining my new system. In about two hours more the committee had come to a decision. After their favorable report had been made to the Secretary, I was called into his office, where I was detained less than five minutes. In order not to lose any time, the Secretary ordered me to "go ahead at once." Consequently, while the clerks of the department were engaged in drawing up the formal contract, the iron which now forms the keel plate of the Monitor was drawn through the rolling mill.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES GORDON BENNETT, Esq.
On the 2d of December, 1861, the work on the Monitor and the two other armored vessels being then in progress, the Secretary of the Navy, in his annual report, made the following reference to the subject:
To carry into effect the provisions of the act approved August 3, 1861, providing for the construction of one or more armored ships and floating batteries, I appointed Commodores Joseph Smith and Hiram Paulding and Captain Charles H. Davis, skilful and experienced naval officers, to investigate the plans and specifications that might be submitted. The subject of iron armature for ships is one of great general interest, not only to the navy and country, but is engaging the attention of the maritime powers of the world. Under the appropriation made by Congress, the department, on the favorable report of the board, has contracted for the construction of three iron-clad ships of different models, the aggregate cost of which will be within the limits of the appropriation. The difficulty of combining the two qualities of light draught and iron armor, both of which are wanted for service on our coast, could not be entirely overcome; but the board, in this new branch of naval architecture, has, I think, displayed great practical wisdom, and I refer to their very full and able report, which is appended, for a more explicit and detailed exhibit of their inquiries and conclusions.
The Monitor left New York for Hampton Roads on the 6th of March; the last stipulated payment for her construction (except the reservation, which was withheld according to the contract) had been made on the 3d of March.
On the 8th of March the vessel, under command of Commodore John Worden, with a gallant fighting crew, reached Hampton Roads, and^on the succeeding day her memorable encounter with the Merrimac took place, when the hopes, wishes, and expectations of the department, her contractor, the sureties, and all interested in her success, were fully realized. To the distinguished inventor of this new-class vessel, to his sureties, to the board of naval officers who reported in her
favor, to the vigilant and very able naval officer who superintended her construction, the Secretary has, on repeated occasions, tendered his obligations and his thanks for their patriotic services in coming to the assistance of the department and the government in a great emergency. Great praise and commendation are due to them respectively, but no one can be justified in attempting to arrogate to himself undue merit at the expense of others. The Navy Department, under great embarrassments, was compelled to enter upon a new field in naval warfare, and in this experiment it had the services and active and efficient co-operation of Captain John Ericsson, with that of the wealthy and deserving gentlemen who aided in the development of this new class of vessels, which have entered into the navy of the United States, and been elsewhere incorporated into the service of other governments.
Under misapprehensions and misstatements that have been made in regard to this vessel, it is proper that the real facts should be made public, and the department has gladly embraced the opportunity of communicating the official documents, records, and facts connected with the construction of the iron-clad Monitor.
Secretary of the Navy,
Hon. B. F. WADE,
President pro tern, of the United States Senate.
"Purchase of Land Opposite Gosport Navy-Yard"
Amos Cummings, from the Committee on Naval Affairs, in the House of Representatives, on a bill then pending. We quote from his report, No. 2244, Fifty-second Congress, second session.
The land it is purposed to purchase is on the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River, opposite the Gosport Navy-Yard. The width of the river to the port warden's line at that place is 600 feet. United States vessels awaiting repairs and refitting are frequently moored in the river opposite the navy-yard, impeding commerce and at times rendering navigation dangerous. The obstruction will become greater if the river is filled to the warden's line and manufactories or warehouses are built thereon. Indeed, it would be almost impossible to launch a vessel within the 600 feet. There is hardly room to turn one around.
By purchasing the property the water area could be greatly widened and vessels that now anchor in the main channel be provided with an anchorage inside of the warden's line, where they would not obstruct and endanger navigation. Aside from this, the property, if acquired by the Government, would be of great use in the construction of a wet dock, of wharves, and for other purposes.
The purchase has been recommended by different boards appointed by the Secretary of the Navy to investigate the matter. The first board submitted its report on September 14, 1857. After detailing the result of its investigations it made the following recommendation:
"In view of these facts and the considerations herein presented, we recommend, as a means for the accommodation of Government ships in ordinary, and for other advantages tending to the improvement of this station, the purchase of such a portion of the lands and shore opposite to the navy-yard and in the vicinity of the lands already owned and improved at St. Helena as may be necessary for the purpose."
The members of the board making this recommendation were Commodore C. H. Poor, Naval Constructor S. T. Hartt, and Civil Engineer Calvin Brown.
In 1869 Admiral David D. Porter was a member of a second board which recommended the purchase of the property. In a report to the Secretary of the Navy he said:
"This yard must ultimately become the most important in the United States, as it will not be possible to increase the area of the Northern yards, while at Norfolk some three hundred acres can be obtained at a reasonable cost. This should be purchased before land advances in price, as it is certain to do in a few years. The recommendations of the naval board in relation to yards and docks and for the purchase of land are entitled to the greatest consideration, and no practical man would hesitate to indorse them. The present commandant at Norfolk, Rear-Admiral Davis, is of the opinion that all the water front on both sides will be valuable to the Government."
These views were indorsed by Commodore Stevens in 1873.
On October 30, 1880, Commodore Truxtun, commanding at Gosport Navy-Yard, in writing to the Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks concerning this property, said:
"If the property immediately opposite passes into the hands of others for commercial purposes and is built on the port warden's line, this yard will be, in the cotton and lumber season, almost inaccessible."
Commodore Law, Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, writing to the Secretary, of the Navy, January 13,1881, recommended the purchase of the property. He said:
"Its purchase by the Government would prove a valuable acquisition to the navy-yard, and should it pass into other hands the usefulness of the navy-yard would be seriously impaired. The tract contains 50 acres and has a water front of 1,600 feet. The whole tract is offered for the sum of $150,000, and the Bureau recommends that Congress be requested to appropriate the amount above named for its purchase."
The papers were referred to Admiral Porter by the Secretary of the Navy. He made the following return on April 12, 1881:
"I have examined carefully all the papers sent to me and agree with the recommendations therein made—that the Government should purchase all the land opposite the Norfolk Navy-Yard between St. Helena and the southern end of the yard."
On July 22 following a board, of which Rear-Admiral Rodgers was president and Rear-Admiral Fairfax and Captain Law were members, reported to the Secretary of the Navy that they had made diligent inquiry into the advisability of buying the ground. They called attention to the width of the channel between the port warden's line on this property and the navy-yard wharves, and said:
"This distance is too small for the commodious necessities of the navy-yard, and the money spent on it, amounting in the aggregate to many millions of dollars, will, to a large extent, have been spent in vain should the property be thus used.
"If the navy-yard at Norfolk is to be retained—and if we are to keep a Navy it can not well nor cheaply be abandoned—then the Cedar Grove property should be bought. In a few years, with the advantages possessed, the acquisition now will be acknowledged as real and wise economy."
The Naval Committee of the Forty-sixth Congress adopted a resolution unanimously requesting the Appropriations Committee to make an appropriation in the sundry civil bill to enable the Navy Department to buy the property.
In the Forty-seventh Congress the Committee on Naval Affairs reported a bill to the House providing for its purchase. After detailing the unanimous testimony of the different naval boards for twenty years, boards composed of the most distinguished officers in the naval service, the report said:
"Bearing in mind the rapidly increasing demands for water fronts for commercial and business purposes, at the same time taking into consideration the rapid development of Norfolk as a port for the direct exportation of cotton—now the third in importance in the country—which presages an increased demand for wharf property that may at any time deprive the Government of the opportunity to purchase this property; in addition to which there is also the constantly increasing volume of interstate commerce passing through this channel; and, above all, appreciating the importance of the Norfolk Navy-Yard as a yard to which vessels have free access at all seasons of the year, and at which point work can be done with comfort all the year round; and believing that the requirements of this important naval station demand the purchase of this property, at the same time finding the price demanded is below that recently obtained for similar water fronts in the immediate vicinity, we recommend the passage of the bill as reported."
What was true then is true now. The development of Norfolk and the steady increase of its commerce are enhancing the demand for wharf property, and unless the Government takes some steps for the purchase of this land its increasing value will necessitate a much larger appropriation.
At the first session of the Fifty-fourth Congress Senator Bacon, from the Senate Committee on Naval Affairs, reported favorably a bill which passed the Senate authorizing the Secretary of the Navy to purchase this property.
The report of Senator Bacon is submitted herewith:
The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred the bill (S. 1211) authorizing and directing the Secretary of the Navy to contract for the purchase of a lot of land opposite to the Gosport Navy-Yard, having had the same under consideration, beg leave to submit the following report:
The committee recommend the passage of the bill for the reasons stated in the letters of the Acting Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, as follows:
Washington, January 23, 1896.
SIR: Referring to the bill (S. 1211) authorizing and directing the Secretary of the Navy to contract for the purchase of a lot of land opposite to the Gosport Navy-Yard, I have the honor to inform you that said bill having been referred to the Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, that officer returned the same with the following indorsement:
"Numerous boards of officers have, since 1857, recommended the purchase of this property, at this the second yard in importance on the Atlantic coast. The channel of Elizabeth River, between the navy-yard and the port warden's line on Cedar Grove side, is only 600 feet in width, which is entirely too narrow for the safe handling of the larger vessels that are now sent to this yard, and should this property be bought for business purposes the improvements would necessarily include wharves which, with the vessels at them, would render the channel very difficult of navigation, as the large ships would not have room to turn.
"The purchase of this property would enable the Government to increase its dockage room within the port warden's line, a thing much to be desired.
"It would be to the best interests of the Government to purchase this property at this time."
The Department, concurring in the above views of the Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, recommends the within bill to the favorable consideration of the committee.
Very respectfully, W. MCADOO,
THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE ON NAVAL AFFAIRS,
United States Senate.
Department of the Navy,
Washington, D. C, February 8,1896.
SIR: In reply to Senator Bacon's request to be furnished with a statement of the efforts made by the Navy Department to acquire land opposite the navy-yard, Norfolk, Va. (now known as Cedar Grove), would state that on March 5,1892, Secretary-Tracy, in reply to an inquiry from Senator Butler, of the Naval Committee, inclosing bill S. 1543, said: "The acquisition by the United States of the land described in said bill has been repeatedly recommended by officers of the Navy charged with the duty of investigating and reporting upon the subject, and its purchase for navy-yard purposes in connection with the navy-yard at Norfolk, Va., is undoubtedly-desirable, and will ultimately become essential. Its possession is not essential at the present time, and whether said land should be purchased this year, or whether its purchase should be postponed until a later date, is a matter for the determination of Congress."
The bill of Senator Butler, appropriating $200,000 for this purchase, passed the Senate April 22, 1892. This same bill (S. 1543, Fifty-second Congress) was reported to the House January 13, 1893, by Mr. Cummings, from the Committee on Naval Affairs, with an amendment reducing the amount to be appropriated to $150,000.
This report of Mr. Cummings goes onto say:
"The land it is purposed to purchase is on the southern branch of the Elizabeth. River, opposite the Gosport Navy-Yard. The width of the river to the port warden's line at that place is 600 feet. United States vessels awaiting repairs and refitting are frequently moored in the river opposite the navy-yard, impeding commerce and at times rendering navigation dangerous. The obstruction will become greater if the river is filled to the warden's line and manufactories or warehouses are built thereon. Indeed, it would be almost impossible to launch a vessel within the 600 feet. There is hardly room to turn one around.
"By purchasing the property the water area could be greatly widened and vessels that now anchor in the main channel be provided with an anchorage inside of the warden's line, where they would not obstruct and endanger navigation. Aside from this, the property, if acquired by the Government, would be of great use in the construction of a wet dock, of wharves, and for other purposes.
"The purchase has been recommended by different boards appointed by the Secretary of the Navy to investigate the matter. The first board submitted its report on September 14, 1857. After detailing the result of its investigations it made the following recommendation:
"'In view of these facts and the consideration herein presented, we recommend, as a means for the accommodation of Government ships in ordinary, and for other advantages tending to the improvement of this station, the purchase of such a portion of the lands and shore opposite to the navy-yard and in the vicinity of the lands already owned and improved at St. Helena as may be necessary for the purpose.' * * *
"The Naval Committee of the Forty-sixth Congress adopted a resolution unanimously requesting the Appropriations Committee to make an appropriation in the sundry civil bill to enable the Navy Department to buy the property.
"In the Forty-seventh Congress the Committee on Naval Affairs reported a bill to the House providing for its purchase. After detailing the unanimous testimony of the different naval boards for twenty years, boards composed of the most distinguished officers in the naval service, the report said:
"'Bearing in mind the rapidly increasing demands for water fronts for commercial and business purposes, at the same time taking into consideration the rapid development of Norfolk as a port for direct exportation of cotton—now the third in importance in the country—which presages an increased demand for wharf property that may at any time deprive the Government of the opportunity to purchase this property; in addition to which there is also the constantly increasing volume of interstate commerce passing through this channel, and, above all, appreciating the importance of the Norfolk Navy-Yard as a yard to which vessels have free access at all seasons of the year, and at which point work can be done with comfort all the year round; and believing that the requirements of this important naval station demand the purchase of this property, at the same time finding the price demanded is below that recently obtained for similar water fronts in the immediate vicinity, we recommend the passage of the bill as reported.'
"What was true then is true now. The development of Norfolk and the steady increase in its commerce are enhancing the demand for wharf property, and unless the Government takes some steps for the purchase of this land, its increasing value will necessitate a much larger appropriation.
"Your committee report the bill to the House as amended, and recommend its passage."
S. Rep. 3 22.
On December 12, 1894, another board was appointed, with a view to deciding upon some basis of exchange of such parts of the St. Helena property adjoining the Cedar Grove property as are not needed for Government purposes for such of the Cedar Grove property as it was most desirable to obtain possession of. But the owners were not then empowered to enter into any terms of exchange.
In the naval appropriation bill, approved March 2, 1895, was a paragraph under the head of "Public works, Bureau of Yards and Docks, navy-yards and stations," and subhead, "Navy-yard, Norfolk, Virginia."
"The Secretary of the Navy is hereby authorized to exchange such of the land at the navy-yard, Norfolk, Virginia, being a part of a tract known as Saint Helena (on the east side of the Elizabeth River), which the Government does not need, for a part of the adjoining tract, known as 'Cedar Grove,' and now belonging to private parties, upon such terms as may be determined upon by a board of officers, accepted by the present owners of Cedar Grove, and approved by them, as may in his opinion serve the best interests of the Government."
Another board was accordingly appointed to appraise the value of such of the St. Helena property as they thought it would be to the best interests of the Government to exchange for "Cedar Grove" property, but the owners of the "Cedar Grove" were not willing to accept the appraised value put upon the St. Helena property, so the negotiation ended. This board, however, considered $150,000 as a fair valuation of the Cedar Grove property.
Respectfully submitted. E. O. MATTHEWS,
Chief of Bureau Yards and Docks.
THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY.
At the second session of the Fifty-fourth Congress Mr. Tate, from the Committee on Naval Affairs of the House of Representatives, reported the same bill favorably, and in support of it, besides adopting the aforesaid Senate report made by Senator Bacon, the said report of the House committee (Report No. 2499) contains the following:
The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred the bill (S. 1211) authorizing and directing the Secretary of the Navy to contract for the purchase of a lot of land opposite the Norfolk Navy-Yard, have fully considered the same, and recommend its passage for the reasons set forth in the report of the Senate committee accompanying said bill, which report is hereby adopted and made a part of this report.
A similar bill was reported favorably by Mr. Tyler from the Naval Committee of this House on the 2d of May, 1891, second session Fifty-third Congress, in which report the following language was used, which is made a part of this report:
"The necessity of this property being owned by the Government becomes more apparent year after year, as the Navy increases in size and efficiency, and a corresponding increase in accommodations and facilities at the yards is demanded. For this property to pass into private hands for commercial purposes would seriously impair the usefulness of the Norfolk yard. Further delay in its purchase may either result in its loss to the. Government altogether or, on account of the increasing value of such property in Norfolk and its vicinity, a larger appropriation than that proposed by this bill will be required."
The committee recommend the following amendments: Insert the following as a preamble:
Whereas the tract of land known as the Cedar Grove property, containing fifty acres, with a water front of one thousand six hundred feet on the Elizabeth River, immediately opposite to the Gosport Navy-Yard, in the State of Virginia, is desirable and necessary for the use of said United States navy-yard, now commonly called the Norfolk Navy-Yard, for the purpose of constructing a wet dock, and for other purposes; and
Whereas an effort was heretofore made, under an act of Congress passed in eighteen hundred and ninety-five, to acquire said property by exchange for other property, which said act failed because the owners of said property refused to accept the appraisements made; and
Whereas a portion of said property now belongs to the estates of deceased persons: Now, therefore.
Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the following:
That the Secretary of the Navy is hereby authorized and directed to cause to be commenced within three months after the passage of this act, and the Attorney-General is hereby directed to carry on proceedings for the condemnation of said land under the act of Congress approved August first, eighteen hundred and eighty-eight, entitled "An act to authorize condemnation of land for sites of public buildings, and for other purposes," and other laws of the United States, so as to completely vest in the United States the title to said land. And such sum of money as may be necessary to pay the several owners of said tract of land the sum that may be found to be due to them for their interests therein, and for such of the expenses of said condemnation proceedings as may be adjudged against the United States and are not otherwise provided for, shall be paid by the Secretary of the Treasury out of any moneys in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated: Provided, That no moneys shall be paid for any portion of said lands until it shall appear from the proceedings of the proper court of the United States that by such payment a valid title to the same will be vested in the United States, and until the State of Virginia shall have released and relinquished jurisdiction over the same and exempted from taxation such land and such buildings as may be erected thereon so long as the same may be the property of the United States.
Amend the title so as to read as follows:
A bill authorizing and directing the Secretary of the Navy to proceed to acquire by condemnation, for the use of the Gosport Navy-Yard, a certain lot of land known as the Cedar Grove property.