ADDITIONAL SLOOPS AND SCHOONERS, AND THE NUMBER FIT FOR SERVICE, OR WORTHY OF REPAIR.
COMMUNICATED TO THE SENATE, FEBRUARY 16, 1819.
Navy Commissioners' Office, January 21, 1819.
The Board of Navy Commissioners had the honor, yesterday, of receiving your letter of the 18(h instant, covering a resolution of the Senate of the 4th instant, and a letter from the chairman of the Naval Committee of the Senate, of the 18th instant, in which the following queries are propounded:—
1st. What is the due proportion of sloops of war, and other small vessels, on an establishment of twelve ships of the line, and twenty frigates, this being the number of those classes of vessels, either afloat, or authorized by law, in the navy of the United States.
In reply to this query, the Navy Commissioners have to state that, in their opinion, twenty sloops of war, and fifteen schooners of 120 to 200 tons each, would be a proper proportion of small vessels, on an establishment of twelve ships of the line, and twenty frigates.
2d. Whether, live oak timber has entered into the construction of any of the sloops of war, or other small vessels belonging to the navy, and if so, which are they? and also, what number of vessels, and their rates, below the rate of frigates, are now fit for service; or worthy of repair?
Of the sloops of war, the John Adams and the Hornet have been built of live oak. Of the smaller vessels, none are of live oak.
The number of vessels, and their rates, below the rate of frigates, now fit for service, or worthy of repair, are, the John Adams, Cyane, Erie, Hornet, Peacock, and Ontario.
Of these, the Adams and the Hornet have lately been repaired, and are ready for service; the Cyane requires general repairs. The Erie and Ontario are on foreign service, and, on their return, will require repairs. The Peacock requires repairs.
The number of vessels, and their rates, below the rate of frigates, now fit for home service, but will be unworthy of extensive repairs, are, the brig Spark, schooners Nonesuch, Hornet, Lynx, Asp, Despatch, and Firebrand.
These vessels were bought in from the merchant service, and from the bad materials with which they have been constructed will require extensive repairs in eighteen months.
3d. Would it be expedient, in the opinion of the Department, to build, hereafter, the sloops of war, and other small vessels necessary for the naval service, of live oak, as far as that article generally enters into the construction of ships of war? and if so, at what price can this material be contracted for at this time?
In the opinion of the Navy Commissioners, it would be expedient to build the sloops of war, and other, small vessels, hereafter, of live oak.
It is not precisely known on what terms live oak, suitable for the frames of sloops and schooners, could be procured at this time; but it is confidently believed, that it might be purchased and delivered at any of our navy yards at a price not exceeding $1 20 cents per cubic foot for that required for sloops of war, and $1 10 per cubic foot for that required for schooners.
I have the honor to be, with high respect, sir, your most obedient servant,
JOHN RODGERS, President of the Navy Board. The Honorable Smith Thompson, Secretary of the Navy.