22d Congress.]

No. 474.

[1st Session.



Navy Department, February 27, 1832.


In compliance with a resolution of the House or Representatives, passed February 23d, 1832, requesting information from this Department on various particulars connected with the lieutenants of the navy, I have the honor to report the following facts:

The first inquiry relates to "the rules observed in this Department in appointing lieutenants to vessels for active service." As no written rules on this subject can be found on file, the present Secretary can only enumerate the rules observed by himself, and which have been adopted in consequence of his own opinion concerning their propriety, and their supposed conformity, generally, to prior usages. The first object, in making such appointments, has been to select such lieutenants as have not before seen a term of sea service longer than others of the same date, so as to equalize, near as may be, the labors of that class of officers. The nest object is, to assign the oldest lieutenants to the largest, and the youngest to the smallest vessels. The next is, to place only such lieutenants on board any one vessel as may not be so objectionable to the commander as to endanger the harmony and efficient success of the service. Another object is, to choose those destined for any particular service, who are understood to be peculiarly qualified for that service by their constitutions, acquirements, or experience; and another is, in general employment, to send the different lieutenants to stations in rotation, so as to give an equal participation in the toils and benefits of each. Sometimes, also, the commander has been permitted to select his first lieutenants, when urgency for an early and full detail did not exist.

Some of the excuses, allowed from such appointments, are already indicated by the character of the above rules. Others are, that a lieutenant, when otherwise liable to the order, is on furlough or leave of absence; has recently returned from sea; is in ill health, or resides so distant as not to be able to reach the vessel before she is expected to sail.

The second inquiry is, "What rules are observed in appointing lieutenants to situations where there are additional allowances to their monthly pay and subsistence?"

The answer to this is, under the same limitation to the last nine months, as the answer to the first inquiry. The first object in appointing lieutenants to these stations of extra emolument is, to divide them, equally as practicable, among those who have seen most sea service. The next is, to select such as are deemed peculiarly fitted to the station. The next is, not to urge them on those officers not desirous of filling them, unless the public interest demands it. A departure from these rules sometimes becomes necessary, in consequence of the absence abroad of an officer in service, or of his aversion to the particular station, or of his being on leave or on furlough, or of his sickness, or of his unfriendly relations with the commander of the station where the duties are to be performed.

The third inquiry is, "How long each lieutenant has been employed in those situations, since promoted to that rank?"

The answer to this can hereafter be given with sufficient accuracy. But as it will require an examination of the services of two hundred and sixty lieutenants, some of whom have been promoted to that rank over seventeen years, and a compilation from the records of the time each has been employed in any station, whether at sea or on shore, yielding additional allowances, the answer will probably require some months of the time which can be spared by the present clerks in this office from the discharge of the current and indispensable business of the Department; and which business it is presumed not to be the object of the resolution to have suspended.

The fourth inquiry is, "What amount of extra pay and emoluments have been received by each?"

The answer to this can be obtained from the Fourth Auditor's office; but, on a reference of this part of the resolution to that office, I am informed that, from similar and additional reasons to those named in respect to the last preceding inquiry, it cannot be accurately prepared, without the labor of three or four clerks, until the next session of Congress. (A.)

The fifth inquiry, "Whether there is an account kept of the sea service performed by each lieutenant," may be answered in the affirmative, so far as to observe that the date of the order to sea service is on file in the Department, the time each vessel sails for a foreign station, and the date of her return. By a careful examination, whether any officer has had his orders revoked after joining the vessel, or has had leave of absence during the cruise, or has been sent home under arrest, the amount of the sea service of each lieutenant can be accurately ascertained.

The sixth inquiry is, "What sea service has each one performed since his promotion to that grade?"

It must be obvious that a correct answer to this, for reasons before indicated, must require much longer time, and probably as much longer as the answer to the third inquiry.

The seventh inquiry is, "What is the date of commission and relative rank of each first lieutenant now employed in our vessels-of-war at sea, and in those that are fitting for sea?"

In answer to this, I am happy to be able to report now that the number of first lieutenants so employed at this time is twenty. Of these, the commissions of two bear date in 1816; of one in 1818; one in 1820; two in 1821; seven in 1825; three in 1826; one in 1827, and of three in 1828. A particular list (B) is annexed.

"The relative rank of each of them" can also be given.

If, by the relative rank of each of them, is meant the rank as regards those associated with them in the same vessel, it is senior to all the other lieutenants in the same vessel. But, if the inquiry means the relative rank as to all other lieutenants in the service, it will be seen at once, by reference to the date of the commission of all the lieutenants in the service, as given in the annual register laid before Congress the present session, except one lieutenant, since promoted, and whose commission bears date December 30, 1831. If it means the rank as to each of the other first lieutenants, the paper annexed (B) will supply the information desired.


I have thus furnished answers to such portions of the resolution as can be examined at present.

Those portions of the resolution to which answers cannot be soon prepared, I shall proceed, unless otherwise directed, to have examined, and fully replied to, with all the dispatch in my power, consistent with the transaction of the other ordinary and necessary duties of the Department. I am, sir, respectfully, yours,


To the Speaker of the House of Representatives.


Treasury Department, Fourth Auditor's Office, February 25, 1832. Sir: In reply to your reference to me of so much of the resolution of the House of Representatives, passed on the 23d inst., as requests the "amount of extra pay and emoluments received by each" lieutenant in the navy of the United States, I have the honor to state that a compliance with that request will render necessary a minute examination of the accounts of every navy agent, foreign and domestic, every purser and acting purser, and every lieutenant, who has been in service and had accounts settled in this office since 1814. This examination, embracing cart loads of paper, would necessarily occupy three or four clerks until the next session of Congress. It could not well be done by extra aid, for, in our complicated system of accounts, a new clerk has to serve an apprenticeship of at least some weeks before he knows where or how to look for the information he may be instructed to collect. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Hon. L. Woodbury, Secretary of the Navy.


Statement showing "the date of commission and relative rank of each first lieutenant now employed in our vessels-of-war at sea, and in those that are fitting for sea.

Names of the vessels and their first lieutenants.

Date of commissions, according to rank.

Sloop Peacock, fitting for sea: John White, first lieutenant

April 27, 1816.

Frigate Brandywine, at sea: Jona. D. Williamson, first lieutenant


Sloop Fairfield, at sea: H. H. Cocke, first lieutenant

April 1, 1818.

Frigate Constellation, fitting for sea: Abraham Bigelow, first lieutenant

March 28, 1820.

Sloop Warren, at sea: Wm. F. Shields, first lieutenant

March 3, 1821.

Sloop Concord, at sea: Wm. C. Nicholson, first lieutenant


Sloop John Adams, at sea: Edward W. Carpender, first lieutenant

January 13, 1825.

Frigate Potomac, at sea: Irvine Shubrick, first lieutenant


Sloop Falmouth, at sea: Thomas Dornin, first lieutenant


Sloop Lexington, at sea: John Bubier, first lieutenant


Sloop Erie, at sea: John Crowninshield, first lieutenant


Sloop Vincennes, at sea: Frederick Engle, first lieutenant


Sloop Ontario, at sea: George N. Hollins, first lieutenant


Schooner Dolphin, at sea: Elisha Peck, first lieutenant

April 28, 1826.

Schooner Enterprise, at sea: John R. Coxe, first lieutenant


Schooner Boxer, at sea: Thomas J Leib, first lieutenant


Schooner Grampus, at sea: William Green, first lieutenant

March 3, 1827.

Sloop Boston, at sea: John Graham, first lieutenant

May 17, 1828.

Schooner Porpoise, at sea: Edward B. Boutwell, first lieutenant


Schooner Shark, at sea: Thomas D. Shaw, first lieutenant


Navy Department, February 27, 1832.