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By JOHN D. LONG
SECRETARY OF THE NAVY FROM 1897 TO 1902
THE ORGANIZATION AND EDUCATION
OF THE NAVY
THE effectiveness of a navy de deck of the shot-torn and sinking Bon
pends vitally upon the efficiency Homme Richard, shouting orders to his
of its personnel. Provided with men, who are working like demons at war-ships of latest construction, a service such guns as are yet unmounted by the made up of officers and men inadequately enemy's fire ? Above the noise of boomtrained and lacking spirit is half way to ing cannon and the sharp rattle of mus. ward defeat. Composed of inferior ves- ketry and the hoarse cries of infuriated sels, manned by experienced and resource- crews he hears the hail from the smokeful officers and men, a fleet may wrest hidden Serapis: victory from a physically stronger enemy. “ Has your ship struck ?"
The history of the United States and And then the laconic reply: that of Spain, foes in 1898, furnish many “I have not yet begun to fight !" instances of valor and intelligence over It was not a question of that courage coming numerical and material superior- which is so common, but of that nerve ity. Philip of Spain saw his Invincible which endures to the end and without Armada harried and finally scattered by which the ordinarily brave man finches the smaller command of Howard and from the ultimate test and responsibility. Drake. Three hundred and ten years Outside of Boston Harbor the unlucky later, a queen holding in trust the scepter Chesapeake, manned by a green and hetPhilip once wielded sent to annihilation erogeneous crew, is wildly firing at the a squadron of war-ships as modern in con- well-disciplined British frigate Shannon. struction and armament as were in their Lawrence is struck and is borne below. day the wooden vessels despatched by the “Don't give up the ship!” he cries. earlier monarch to subjugate England. " Tell the officers to fight to the last. The force of 1588 sustained reverse be- Never strike the colors. They shall wave cause it was deficient in sailors; that of while I live.” 1898 suffered total destruction because it The Nation is rent by civil war. lacked engineers.
Under a rain of shot and shell, a Union No such disasters as befell the navy of feet steams into Mobile Bay. The first Spain have yet clouded the navy of Amer- ship, the Brookiyn, falters. ica. The cycle from our Revolution to “What's the trouble ?" is shouted from the Spanish-American War is bright with the flagship, the Hartford. shining deeds, the fruit of the gallantry “ Torpedoes,” is the explanation, trumand skill of the men who did them. What peted in reply. can be more inspiring than the intrepid “Damn the torpedoes !” exclaims Farity of John Paul Jones as he stands on the ragut. “ Four bells. Captain Drayton,
go ahead. Jouett, full speed.” "Copyright, 1902, by the Outlook Company. All rights reserved
The dawn glows on the Bay of Manila This is the third of a series of twelve papers to appear on the first of Mav, 1898. An Amei in the Magazine Numbers of The Outlook. Other papers will be: The Administration of the Navy, The squadron, which it reveals, steams str: Preparation for the War with Spain, The Battle of
for a Spanish force lying under the battera's Fleet, The Battle of Santiago, Valiant Deeds in teries of Cavite. Soon shell are hurtling the War with Spain ; Samoa, the Philippines, and China; Recent Naval Lessons.
toward it, but, falling short, expend their
Manila Bay, The Blockade of Cuba, Bottling up Cer
energy in the water. When the proper negotiations for the settlement of important range is reached, Dewey turns and quietly diplomatic questions, and he frequently remarks:
represents the Government at functions "You may fire when you're ready, of international consequence. He rescues Gridley."
the shipwrecked, gives assistance to the Courage has been always a character national merchant marine, and, if called istic of the American sailor, but it alone on, quells its mutinies. He surveys danwas not responsible for victories achieved gerous coasts, makes deep-sea soundings by our men-of-war over those of enemies for the triple purpose of finding a suitable no less brave. In the days of the sailing bed for a projected cable, charting the ship the superiority was due, in an im- bottom of the ocean, and promoting portant degree, to the greater skill with ichthyology. He determines for naviwhich the ship was handled by experienced gators the longitude and latitude of doubtofficers and its crew of hardy longshore- ful points. He should have at least a men. Hull won as much distinction in rudimentary acquaintance with astronomy, sailing the Constitution as in fighting her and understand something of chemistry The native intelligence, the quick eye, and metallurgy. Because legal questions and the supple limbs of the men, born are sometimes raised by or referred to him, and bred in the salt air of the Atlantic and because he serves on courts martial coast, easily worked the simple guns of and administers punishments, he ought to the day. Raw material is not so easily be familiar with the principles of common convertible into the experienced man-o'. law. Above all, he must be a man of war's-man of the twentieth century. The quick decision, of nerve, and of sound abandonment of sails and the substitution judgment, for, as commanding officer of a of steam and electricity, with the countless battle-ship or even a vessel of inferior improvements accompanying the change, class, he should know in battle when to have created in the war-ship of the new strike and strike sure; in peace, how to navy a demand for a mechanic-sailor- determine an important question affecting that is, a man trained in the operation the honor of the Nation which is brought and repair of fighting machinery, yet im- to him for immediate settlement. pregnated with the salt of the sea. Abil. I have described the attainments of the ity to navigate and sail a ship was the ideal officer, but it does not follow that first requisite of an officer and a seaman every member of the commissioned force of the old navy ; to-day they are engineers of the navy possesses them. At the same and mechanics first, and sailors afterwards. time, the preliminary education given at A modern battle-ship from stem to stern the Naval Academy and the subsequent is simply a huge fighting machine. It is training in active professional life insure propelled by machinery; its turrets, them- the development of an officer, provided he selves machines, are operated by machin- can and will improve his opportunities Ery; the guns are loaded and fired by there. It is the proud boast of the Amermachinery; the torpedoes, complicated ican navy that in its existence of more engines, are sent on their careers of than a century in but few instances has destruction by machinery; small boats the man been wanting when the occasion and anchors are lowered and hoisted for him came. by machinery, and water-tight compart- The personnel of the navy of the United ments are opened and closed by machinery. States was created simultaneously with
Steam and electricity are the powers the authorization of the first war-ships of which move this terrible creature of man's the old navy. The Act of Congress of destructive genius; and steam and elec- March 27, 1794, directed that “there shall trical engineers are required to guide and be employed on board each of the ships supervise its operation. An officer's duties of forty-four guns, one captain, four lieuare not, however, limited to the practical tenants, one lieutenant of marines, one application of these sciences. He must chaplain, one surgeon, and two surgeon's also know how to navigate his ship and mates; and in each of the ships of thirtybe able to care for the health and general six guns, one captain, three lieutenants, well-being of the men under his command. one lieutenant of marines, one surgeon, Occasions arise when he must conduct and one surgeon's mate, who shall be
appointed and commissioned in like man- ments in the cominissioned branch of the ner as other officers of the United States." navy are made from civil life. Medical Thus was formed the Line, and the Ma- officers are selected at large, after a thorrine, Medical, and Chaplains' corps. The ough examination. President McKinley * purser," an enlisted man, was to de- approved my recommendation that apvelop into the paymaster. An experi- pointments of civil engineers, assistant enced ship-builder was needed to design paymasters, and professors of matheand construct the first ships, and Joshua matics should be made after competitive Humphreys was appointed a naval con- examination. In this connection it may structor and assigned to duty. As the navy be said that it is difficult to see why any grew, additional constructors were required, of the various staff officers, who as a and the men employed for construction corps never go to sea, should have military work were eventually given commissions. rank or title. Taking advantage of a law authorizing the The commissioned personnel of the first appointment as assistant naval construct ships of the old navy was formed during ors of any cadets who had graduated with the administration of Presidents Washdistinction in the Mechanical Department ington and Adams. The midshipmen, of the Naval Academy, Cadet Engineer F. who were designed to be the future capT. Bowles, in 1879, applied for an appoint- tains, were all of tender years when apment, and also requested permission to pointed, and, without preparation, were attend the Royal Naval College at Green- sent on board ships either fitting out or wich, England, which had an advanced about to sail in search of the enemy. course in ship-building The older con- Yet the need of mental education for the structors opposed Mr. Bowles's ambition, youngsters was great, and fitful attempts but grit and persistency gained for the were made to provide it. Congress havyoung cadet a victory of the greatest ing refused to establish a naval schools importance to his corps. Only leading the Navy Department in 1802 prescribed graduates of the Academy have since been in regulations the duties of schoolmasters; assigned to the construction corps-none but schoolmasters were not appointed. from civil life. The professors of mathe. When, in 1819, the Navy Department matics—now an anachronism in the mili- decreed that midshipmen must pass a tary organization of the navy—were origi- professional examination in order to renally teachers on board ship of midshipmen ceive promotion to the grade of lieutenant, of the old navy. They no longer follow the country greeted the reform with gratithe sea, and their duties are civilian. Of fication ; the youths were affected with the fifteen officers of this corps in consternation. It was the thing for a November, 1902, eight are on duty as “middy” during the greater period of teachers at the Naval Academy, one his apprenticeship to apply himself to is director of the Nautical Almanac, “ doing what he was told, and doing itand the remainder are connected with quick”—a process which was frequently scientific work of the Naval Observatory. accelerated by a rope's end-and to devote Congress should provide that no further as much time as he could spare in the six appointments be made to this corps, as all months prior to examination to the study its work can be procured from civil life, of the theory of seamanship. This theo and the anomaly of a pension or retire- retical education was obtained from a few ment for non-military service should be books on mathematics and navigation, and done away with.
sometimes from the kindly help of a Like naval constructors, civil engineers superior. In “ The United States Naval first received appointments from the Sec- Academy," written by Mr. Park Benjamin, retary of the Navy, and were liable to dis- whose full and excellent history of the missal or removal at his pleasure. They, Naval Academy I have followed, the author too, were a: last made a part of the com- thus describes the examination of Midshipmissioned force. Civil engineers have man Joseph Tatnall : many and important duties, relating prin- “ Commodore: “Mr. Tatnall, what cipally to the planning and construction would be your course, supposing you of naval stations. With the exception of were off a lee shore, the wind blowing a the line and construction corps, appoint- gale, both anchors and your rudder gone,
HON. JOHN D. LONG
Secretary of the Navy from 1897 to 1902. all your canvas carried away, and your " Tatnall: (At last and desperate.) ship scudding rapidly toward the break- Well, I'd let the infernal tub go to the
devil, where she ought to go.' “ Tatnall: 'I cannot conceive, sir, that “ Commodore : (Joyously.) · Right, sir, such a combination of disasters could perfectly right! That will do, sir. The possibly befall a ship in one voyage.' clerk will note that Mr. Tatnall has
" Commodore: Tut, tut, young gentle- passed.'” man, we must have your opinion suppos. A temporary Government school for ing such a case to have actually occurred.' educating midshipmen was organized in
“ Tatnall : Well, sir-sails all carried 1821. Seventeen years later Secretary away, do you say, sir?'
Paulding established a preparatory school "Commodore: Aye, all-every rag' in the Naval Asylum, a home for aged "Tatnall: Anchor gone, too, sir? seamen, at Philadelphia. To this school “Commodore : 'Aye, not an uncommon boys were sent for instruction for a period case.'
of eight months, after which they were “ Tatnall: "No rudder, either?'
ordered to sea. Aside from the fact that "Commodore: Aye, rudder unshipped.' it marked an advance in naval training, (Tatnall drops his head despondingly in this school is remembered to-day because deep thought. Come, sir, come-bear a it caused the connection with the navy of hand about it. What would you do?' William Chauvenet, who was appointed