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have drawn the line of demarcation be- Medicine and Surgery, the titles indicattween the duties of Secretary and Navying the duties respectively assigned to Board, or however well it may be under- each. A line officer of the rank of captain stood there, you will find but few able to was made chief of each Bureau, with the trace it out of that building. Ask officers exception of the two Bureaus of Provisions of the navy where the duties of the Navy and Clothing, and Medicine and Surgery. Board begin? or where its responsibilities In 1853 John Lenthal, a naval constructor, end? or where rests its accountability ?- was appointed Chief of the Bureau of and no two will agree in their reply. Construction, Equipment, and Repairs. Ask the best-informed citizens the same The bureau system did not escape questions. Some will tell you that the criticism as sharp as that leveled at Navy Board is a power behind the Secre- preceding organizations.
preceding organizations. The Civil War tary, greater than the Secretary himself- demonstrated elements of inadequacy, and that there is a master spirit in that Board Congress in 1862 added the Bureau of which rules the Navy. Others will tell Steam Engineering, created the Bureau of you that the evil genius of the Navy pre- Navigation, and took equipment from sides at that Board. Him they unjustly Equipment, Construction and Repairs, charge with everything that goes amiss, making it, with recruiting, a separate and would hold responsible for the pres- Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting. The ent condition of the navy."
Rebellion also brought into existence the All which even at the present day sounds office of Assistant Secretary of the Navy, rather familiar to anybody who is familiar which was authorized in 1861 and abolwith those criticisms of the Navy Depart- ished in 1869. It was re-established in ment or any other department which are 1891 in accordance with the recommenalways in the air. “ The evils of the dations of the Secretaries who had enpresent system” are always with us and gaged in developing the New Navy. Quesalways will be.
tions involving interpretation and appliCongress, cognizant of imperfections in cation of the law constantly arising, and the departmental system, in 1839 called the need of an officer specially charged upon the Secretary of the Navy to suggest with the supervision of courts martial and a plan of reorganization which should also with the very important and growing make a proper division of the duties per- matters of contracts of all kinds to which formed by the Naval Commissioners. the Navy Department is a party, caused Disheartened by criticism and oppressed Congress in 1865 to direct the appointby the growing burdens which the increase ment of a “Solicitor and Naval Judge of the navy and the new problems which Advocate General.” With some difficulty, developments in the science of naval war- Congress was induced, just before the fare had laid on them, the Commissioners construction of the New Navy, not to disat last officially admitted that their useful- continue the office. It is to-day a very ness had gone, and recommended the important branch of naval administration, introduction of a system of bureaus prac- especially in view of the dealings, involvtically identical with that which exists ing many millions of outlay, of the Navy to-day, with the exception of the Bureau of Department with contractors of all sorts. Steam Engineering. Steam was then in its Scandals and abuses had flourished as infancy, and was not considered sufficiently the old navy declined. Regeneration of important to warrant supervision as a material was accompanied by reform of separate feature of the Naval Establish- administration. Secretary Chandler found ment. The Senate adopted the recom- serious lack of responsibility and co-ordimendation of the Commissioners, which nation of work. To obtain greater efficontemplated the organization of seven ciency, he recommended the appointment bureaus, but the House reduced the num- of three superintending naval constructber to five, and in this reduction the Sen- ors, who should have direct charge of ate concurred. The Bureaus created by all work relating to construction, steamthe act of August 31, 1842, were Navy- engineering, and equipment, under the Yards and Docks; Construction, Equip supervision of a Chief of the “ Bureau of ment, and Repairs; Provisions and Cloth- Naval Construction.” Secretary Whitney ing; Ordnance and Hydrography; and reported that large private purchases
were made by the Bureau Chiefs where which the Government paid $121,315 in the law intended that contracts, after due 499 separate open purchases, and seven public competition, should be awarded to bureaus spent $46,000 for oils and paints the lowest bidder. Instead of being in the in 269 separate purchases. Mr. Whitney hands of regular dealers, much of the busi- found that eight bureaus supplied ships ness of the navy was controlled by brokers. with stationery and three furnished lamps During the fiscal year ending June 30, and lanterns. 1885, seven bureaus, acting independently As the law authorizing the departof one another, expended $138,000 for 166 mental organization places the assignment several open purchases of coal, that is, of duties in the hands of the Secretary, without competition ; eight bureaus made Mr. Whitney directed comprehensive and 299 open purchases of stationery; six wise reforms. He consolidated the busibureaus bought lumber and hardware for ness of conducting purchases in the Bureau of Provisions and Clothing, and of that broad and general supervision made the Paymaster-General responsible over all executive business which is retherefor. In order to check unnecessary quired by a Department as comprehensive accumulation of supplies and to reduce as the navy, and cases were not infrethe expenditures for purchases made, the quent where a ship received simultaneous general-storekeeper system was created orders from three separate Bureaus which and the Bureau of Provisions and Cloth- were so directly contradictory that it was ing was charged with the keeping of impossible to execute them.” property accounts. During the adminis- Eradication of the defects which Mr. tration of Secretary Tracy the name of Tracy discovered was one of the importhe Bureau of Provisions and Clothing tant works to which he devoted his attenwas changed to Supplies and Accounts tion. The administration and operation as more truthfully defining the duties it of the fleet, including movements of ships performs.
and training, assignment, enlistment, inSecretary Tracy carried on the policy spection, and practice of the personnel, of reformation. When he assumed the were assigned to the Bureau of Naviganaval portfolio, he found that “the de- tion. The miscellaneous duties of navitails of administering the navy, as an gation, which
gation, which properly came within the existing force, its vessels in commission, sphere of equipment of ships, were transits officers and its crews, were scattered, ferred to Equipment, which lost recruit without system or coherence, among a ing. The hydrographic office was by law variety of offices, bureaus, and boards." attached to the Bureau of Navigation. As illustrating the confusion which ex- Secretary Tracy recommended that it be isted, the Secretary said in his report for placed under the Bureau of Equipment, 1889:
but it was not until 1898 that legislation “ The assignment of officers to duty, directing this was enacted. and, to a limited extent, the movements Another step in the reformation of naval of ships in commission, were in charge of administration was taken by Secretary an office of detail,' at the head of which Herbert, my predecessor at the head of the was the Chief of the Bureau of Naviga Navy Department. Mr. Herbert, in 1894, tion, which Bureau was, at the same time, issued a general order charging the Bureau supplying compasses, chronometers, and of Construction and Repair with the navigating instruments, electric-light plant, responsibility for the design, structural ships' libraries, and other miscellaneous strength, and stability of vessels built for articles. The enlistment and assignment the navy. This order was important for of seamen belonged to Equipment, which the reason that it enabled the department was also engaged in the supply of another to hold a single officer accountable for the list of miscellaneous articles, and in the success or failure of a ship. manufacture of cordage, galleys, chains, Thus, examination of the history of the and anchors. The direction of gunnery Navy Department in 1897 showed perpractice by ships in commission was in sistent effort to place the office upon a charge of Ordnance, whose all-important sound business footing; but it was also duties in providing the navy with a mod- found that much remained to be done ern armament left little opportunity for before a satisfactory organization would supervising the occupations of vessels at be in operation. Prior to the first inausea. The examination of those vessels guration of President McKinley, Congress on their return from a cruise was the had not provided for the improvement of duty of a Board of Inspection which was the navy-yards with the proportionate libnot associated with any Bureau. The erality which their importance to the steel training of officers and men was in part fleet demanded. The demand for navyconducted independently by the Naval yard reorganization at the time of the Academy, and in other parts assumed by birth of the new navy was so insistent Navigation, Equipment, and Ordnance. that Congress, in 1882, directed the To all these fragments of authority there appointment of a Commission to make a was no central unity of direction, except thorough investigation. This Commission such as could be given by the personal then advised a reorganization and conattention of the Secretary to the exclusion centration of the mechanical departments
PHOTOGRAPH BY HENRY HOYT MOORE
THE NAVY DEPARTMENT
RECORD-ROOM OF THE BUREAU OF CONSTRUCTION AND REPAIR, NAVY DEPARTMENT
of the yards at New York, Norfolk, and Mare Island yards, and ordered that equipMare Island, the closing of the New Lon- ment work should be done at the Boston don and Pensacola yards, the temporary yard. The steady growth of the navy shutting down of the League Island yard, and the size it had attained in 1897 conand the retention of the Washington yard vinced me that the time had come to for the manufacture of standard articles, enlarge the capacity of existing yards and but not as a ship-yard for the repair of to equip others to do repair work. Durvessels. Difference of opinion existed as ing my administration the yard at Port to what should be done with the Boston Royal, S.C., was the only yard abandoned, and Portsmouth yards. The Secretary but in its place Congress authorized the designated the Washington yard as the establishment of an important naval staplace where all ordnance work should tion at Charleston, in the same State. be centered, directed that most of the con- A step toward the effective reconstrucstruction and repairs of ships should be tion of the yards was the appointment of effected at the New York, Norfolk, and a competent chief of the Bureau of Yards