No. 239. [1st Session.
NAVAL PEACE ESTABLISHMENT.
COMMUNICATED TO THE SENATE BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE ON NAVAL AFFAIRS, FEBRUARY 3, 1824.
Senate Chamber, December 23, 1823.
I am requested by the Committee of the Senate on Naval Affairs to request you would be pleased to communicate to themó
The aggregate annual expense of maintaining the existing naval establishment of the United States on its present basis:
Your opinion as to the future naval peace establishment, and particularly of what number of ships of the line, frigates of the first class, frigates of the second class, sloops of war, and vessels of all other descriptions, it should consist; with the full complement of officers and men which would be needful therefor when brought into service, and the estimated annual expense thereof:
The number of vessels, and description of them, which it would be expedient to keep, or put in commission, under, the general permanent peace establishment of the United States, with the annual expense thereof:
The number of naval stations it would be useful to keep up on the Atlantic in time of peace; the distribution of officers that would be required for them, and the estimated annual expense thereof:
Also, your opinion as to the expediency of withdrawing all the naval stations on Lakes Erie, Ontario, and Champlain; and of disposing of the public vessels and property thereat; and if, in your opinion, it would not be expedient, so to withdraw the said stations, to state such as you would judge it advisable to continue; the number of vessels, with their description, you would deem it desirable to retain thereat; the number of officers and men which would in that case be needful for such stations, with the annual expense thereof:
And whether any, and what, vessels, now belonging to the United States, are so decayed, or unfit for service, as to make it inexpedient to repair or longer to retain them; and to report the names of such vessels, and where situated, and your opinion as to the advantage or disadvantage of breaking up, or making sale of them during the present year, at such time as circumstances may render most eligible.
With great respect, I have the honor to be, your obedient and humble servant,
The Hon. S. L. Southard, Secretary of the Navy of the U. S.
Navy Department, February 2, 1824.
I have the honor to transmit to you herewith, a copy of a report made to the President of the United States by the Secretary of the Navy, upon the subject of a reorganization of the naval establishment, accompanied by the projct of a bill, with the various tables and estimates, and a letter from the Commissioners of the Navy, in answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 15th of December last.
With great respect, I am, sir, your obedient servant,
For the Secretary of the Navy,
Hon. James Lloyd, Chairman of the Naval Committee of the Senate.
Navy Commissioners' Office, January 10, 1824.
In reply to the questions of the Chairman of the Naval Committee of the Senate, which were referred to this Board in your letter of the 3d instant, we beg leave respectfully to state, that an answer to the first inquiry of Mr. Lloyd will be found in the paper annexed, (and marked C) which shows the force at present in commission, and the aggregate expense of the whole naval establishment, marines excepted, at the present rates of pay, and by the rates recommended in the proposed reorganization of the navy. [See No. 236, page 911.]
The answer to the second question will be found in the paper annexed, (marked B,) which shows the force at present authorized by law, with the additional ten sloops of war that you have recommended. It also shows the number of officers and men, marines excepted, necessary for the whole establishment, and the expense under the different heads of pay and subsistence, for vessels in commission, for navy yard's, for naval stations, for recruiting service, for hospitals, and for Navy Commissioners. This estimate is also calculated by the present and proposed rates of pay, ana, as it supposes no officer to be unemployed, from any cause whatever, the annual expense, by the proposed rates, exceeds the amount by the present rates; but, as some officers will, of necessity, always be unemployed, this difference may be less, although it can never be greater. [See No. 236, page 911.]
The reply to the third inquiry will be found in the paper annexed, (and marked A,) which paper exhibits the species and extent of force which it is thought will [generally be necessary to keep in commission upon different stations. A force equal to one-fifth of this will be necessarily in commission at different periods, for the purpose of relieving the force on foreign service. The number of officers and men, marines excepted, deemed necessary for the whole establishment, and the expense by the present and proposed rates of pay, is separately shown for the force in commission, and for all the other branches of the service, marines excepted, together with the pay of officers unemployed. [See No. 236, page 910.]
The paper annexed, (and marked D,) is a reply to the fourth query, and shows the number of navy yards, naval stations, recruiting stations, and hospitals, which it may be necessary to keep up on the Atlantic coast, in time of peace, with the number of officers and men, marines excepted, that will be required for them, and the annual expense of the same. [See No. 236, page 912.]
In reply to the fifth question, it is deemed expedient to dispose of all stores belonging to the navy, at the yards upon Lakes Erie, Ontario, and Champlain, which cannot be advantageously removed to the Atlantic, or which, being imperishable in their nature, may, at some future period, be required at those places.
It is also recommended that all the public vessels at those places be sold, the two ships of the line which are upon the stocks at Sackett's Harbor excepted; and that so soon as these arrangements shall be completed, and all the officers shall be removed from Lakes Erie and Champlain; and that only so many as may be necessary to preserve the property at Sackett's Harbor shall be retained at that place.
Paper E shows the number and description of vessels proposed to be retained at Sackett's Harbor, with the number of officers and men to be continued at that place, with the annual expense thereof. [See No. 236, page 912.]
In answer to the sixth question, the Board respectfully state, that all the vessels upon the lake stations, excepting those on the stocks at Sackett's harbor, from the reports made by the commanders at those places, are so much decayed as to be unworthy of repair, and they have accordingly, in their reply to the fifth question, recommended them to be sold.
The only vessels upon the list, other than those above mentioned, that have been represented to be so much decayed as to be unworthy of repair, are the Java frigate, of forty-four guns, at Boston, and the small schooner Asp, at Baltimore.
The Board propose that the Java shall be carefully surveyed by the naval constructors, to ascertain the relative cost of repairing her, or building another ship of equal capacity; and as she answers the purpose of a receiving vessel, they would not recommend her being broken up, or disposed of for the present. The Asp is also used as a receiving vessel, and, while she will answer, saves the expense of hiring another vessel for that purpose.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
The Hon. S. L. Southard, Secretary, of the Navy.