« ПретходнаНастави »
NATIONAL ENCAMPMENTS AND COMMANDERS-IN-CHIEF.
1866–Indianapolis. 1868–Philadelphia 1869--Cincinnati. 1870-Washington 1871-Boston.. 1872-Cleveland. 1873-New Haven. 1874-Harrisburg. 1875-Chicago 1876-Philadelphia 1877—Providence 1878-Springfield, Mass. 1879—Albany . 1880--Dayton, O. 1881 --Indianapolis. 1882-Baltimore. 1883-Denver 1884-Minneapolis 1885-Portland, Me 1886-San Francisco 1887 St. Louis,.. 1888-Columbus, O 1889- Milwaukee, Wis 1890---Boston, Mass. 1891-Detroit, Mich.
Stephen A. Hurlbut, Illinois.
Lucius Fairchild, Wisconsin.
COAST DEFENSES. *
Among the many valuable papers left by Hon. Samuel J. Tilden at his death at Graystone, Westchester Co., N. Y., Aug. 4, 1886, was a letter that he had written to Hon. John G. Carlisle, Speaker of the House of Repre. sentatives, in regard to the urgent necessity of liberal appropriations for such a system of coast defenses as would place the United States in a position of comparative safety against naval attack. It was the last important public document he ever wrote, and it elicited wide-spread and favorable comment from the press in all parts of the country. It precipitated the subsequent favorable action of Congress during the administration of President Cleveland, in making liberal appropriations for what is known as the “ New Navy," and of which Mr. Whitney will always have the honor, as the one who saw the first cruiser (of the new navy) under his official position as Secretary of the Navy, launched upon the waters of the deep.
The coast defenses, however, that Mr. Tilden wanted, were land fortifications with their proper armament. An act of Congress was approved March 3, 1885, making provisions for fortifications and other works of defense, and for the armament thereof, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1886, and for other purposes, for the following ports recommended by the board appointed by the President: New York, San Francisco, Boston, the Lake ports, Hampton Roads, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, Portland (Me.), Rhode Island, ports in Narragansett Bay, Key West, Charleston (S. C.), Mobile, New London, Savannalı, Galveston, Portland (Ore.), Pensacola (Fla.), Wilmington (N. C.), San Diego (Cal.), Portsmouth (N. H.), defenses of Cumberland Sound at Fort Clinch, defenses of ports of the Kannebec River at Fort Popham, New Bedford (Mass.), defenses of ports on the Penobscot River (Me.), at Fort Knox, and New Haven (Conn.).
Under the provisions of the recommendation by the board and the Act of Congress (1885) Senator Dolph, on December 15, 1891, introduced bill 871, asking for an appropriation of $100,000,000 for fortifications and their armament, to be made available as follows: For the fiscal year ending June 30, 1892, $10,000,000; for each fiscal year thereafter, for the period of ten years, $9,000,000; all of said appropriation to be available until expended.
Section 6 provides that the guns shall be fabricated at the army gun factory, Watervliet Arsenal, New York, and at such other government gun factories as may be established under the authority of Congress. The ma
terial for guns and armor shall be purchased by contract, and for the purpose 1 of providing the same the Secretary of War is hereby authorized, from time
to time, as the same shall be required, to make contracts with responsible steel manufacturers for the supply of rough-bored, rough-turned, oil tempered and annealed steel, in forms suitable for heavy ordnance adapted to modern warfare, and steel finished, for armor and other army purposes, in quantities not less than 10,000 gross tons, in quality and dimensions conforming to specifications, subject to inspection and tests at each stage of manufacture, and including all the parts of each caliber specified.
The bill was read twice and referred to the Committee on Coast Defenses. It was again reported by Senator Dolph, with amendments, January 12,1892.
An act to increase the “Naval Establishment,” and providing for floating batteries, torpedo boats, etc., was approved August 3, 1886.
In the Senate of the United States Mr. Squire, from the Committee on
* For most recent legislation on this subject, up to the moment of going to press, see Addenda, preceding Index.
Coast Defenses, introduced, March 7, 1892, the following report, to accompany Senate Bill 537, introduced December 10, 1891, by Mr. Dolph, which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Coast Defenses, “to provide for the establishment of a gun factory for the finishing and assembling of heavy ordnance on the Pacitic coast.
The Committee on Coast Defenses, having had under consideration the bill (S. 537) to provide for the establishment of a gun factory for the finishing and assembling of heavy ordnance on the Pacific coast, submit the following report:
The committee have carefully considered, in connection with this bill, the report of the Board on Fortifications or other Defenses, as well as that of the Board on Gun Factories and Steel Forgings for High-power Guns. For the purpose of securing the opinion of an expert of the War Department, the committee availed itself on iwo occasions of the services of Brig.-Gen. Flagler, Chief of Ordnance of the Army, whose statement is herewith submitted and made a part of this report.
The Board on Fortifications or other Defenses, appointed under the act of March 3, 1885, recommended for twenty-seven principal ports of the United States 599 guns of from 8 to 16 inch caliber, and 700 12-inch mortars, making a total of 1,299 pieces of ordnance. Of this number about one-fourth of the guns and about one-fifth of the mortars will be required for the defense of three points only on the Pacific coast, namely: San Diego, San Francisco, and the mouth of the Columbia River. No provision was made in this report for the defense of Puget Sound, which has become of far greater importance than it was when the report was made, nor of Gray's Harbor, nor other ports on the Pacific coast. At least 510 guns and mortars will be required for the proper defense of the Pacitic coast at the four principal points named; at least 200 guns and mortars being required for Puget Sound alone.
As will be seen, upon examination of his statement, Gen. Flagler unqualifiedly favors the establishment of another gun factory, to be located on the Pacific coast, for reasons which, to the committee, seem incontrovertible. The necessity for another gun factory and the advantages which would accrue from its location on the Pacific coast are manifest. Among others the advantage of having the factory near to the fortifications, a * military advantage,” as it has been termed, is of great importance. Gen. Flagler on this point said:
“I would like to invite attention to, and lay great stress upon, one point that I make, and that is the very great advantage, amounting in some cases to something like a necessity, of having this establishment nearer to the fortifications than the Atlantic coast.”
The saving in the cost of transportation which would result from the establishment of the proposed gun factory would be enormous, and would more than equalize whatever slight difference there might be in the cost of manufacturing the guns on the Pacific coast as compared with some eastern point. There is great doubt whether the larger guns, particularly the 16-inch, could be safely transported by rail across the continent; and the highest authorities question the practicability of such an undertaking.
The question has arisen whether it may not be preferable to double the capacity of the present factory at Watervliet, so as to provide for the manufacture there of the guns and mortars contemplated, which, it is estimated, could be done for $150,000 less than it would cost to build a new plant. It has not been in accordance with the policy of the government, nor would it seem wise, to locate both gun factories at the same point. By having them located at different points the disastrous results of great fires, whereby both might be destroyed, are averted; and the possibility, however remote, of a
total cessation of work, by the capture of the factories by hostile forces, or by labor troubles, is removed.
The objections to having both factories at the same point seem conclusive, and the committee are of opinion that the interests of the country will be best subserved by the establishment of another separate gun factory, to be located on the Pacific coast.
Gen. Flagler estimetes that after deducting 100 guns, which are now under contract with the Bethlehem Company, the Watervliet factory will be able to manufacture the balance of the i, 299 guns and mortars referred to by the
Another statement appended indicates that with the present capacity of the Watervliet Arsenal it will require twenty-two years to finish the guns required for the Atlantic coast alone; for the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, twenty-six years, and for the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts it will require forty years. If the south wing of the Watervliet factory shall become as fully equipped as is the north wing now, the capacity of the two wings could only enable completion of the guns for the Atlantic coast alone in ten or twelve years; for the Atlantic and Gulf coasts in thirteen years, and the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts in about twenty or twenty-one years.
There is no doubt that the steel forgings for even the largest guns can be manufactured on the Pacific coast. Representations have been made to the committee as to the facilities for the production of steel forgings at San Francisco, where open-hearth furnaces capable of casting a 27-ton steel forging are now established; and Benicia has received consideration with reference to its suitableness for a gun factory. The Chamber of Commerce of the city of Seattle urges the location of that factory at or near that point. J. Furth, president of that body, says:
“Iron and coal of excellent quality abound in this city, and the mines easily accessible from Seattle. A large part of the armament for the coast must be used on Puget Sound, and the establishment of the foundry here would save great expense in transportation. The Moss Bay Company at Kirkland, on Lake Washington, is erecting a first-class steel plant, on which $250,000 has already been spent, and which will be completed within a year. Responsible parties guarantee a suitable location on Lake Washington for the government foundry."
Others, again, favor the establishment of the proposed factory at some point on the Columbia River near which pig iron is found.
In view of the difference of opinion existing as to the exact place on the Pacific coast where the factory should be located, the committee are of the opinion that its location should be left to the decision of a board of competent' experts, to be appointed by the President, as provided for in the bill.
It appears from the statement of the Chief of Ordnance that if there be no large establishment of this kind located on the Pacific coast, there will be need of two small establishments for repairs, one to be located at Benicia, and the other farther north, on the Columbia River or on Puget Sound.
The bill appropriates $1,000,000 for the erection of suitable buildings, the purchase of suitable machinery, and other materials necessary for the establishment and maintenance at some point on or near the Pacific coast of a plant for finishing and assembling the parts of heavy guns and other ordnance for the use of the army and navy. It authorizes the President to appoint a board, to consist of three officers of the army and three officers of the navy, to examine and report what, in their opinion, is the most suitable site for the erection of the plant, thus leaving the location dependent upon the report of the board of experts.
The committee, fully appreciating the necessity of another gun factory, and the advantages which would result from its location on the Pacific coast, report the bill favorably and recommend that it do pass.
For Hon. Samuel J. Tilden's letter on coast defenses see Appendix H.