COLONEL WILLIAM A. HOWARD - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 08/20/1865 - HFSID 174700
Sale Price $432.00
WILLIAM A. HOWARD
In this fascinating letter, Revenue Marine Captain William A. Howard made numerous suggestions to Secretary of the Treasury Hugh McCulloch about improving the Revenue Marine (today's Coast Guard). These suggestions were made in 1865, only months after the American Civil War.
Autograph letter signed "W A Howard" as a Captain in the U. S. Revenue Marine. 6 pages, 7¾x12¼, 3 ruled sheets, front and verso, two binder holes in top left corner. Chatham, N. Y., Aug. 20, 1865. Copy of a report by Howard. Addressed to the Honorable H. McCulloch, Secretary of the Treasury. In full: "Sir, I have the honor to make the following report suggestions, trusting the Hon [illegible] not for a moment [illegible] I am transcending my duties, as I am impressed with the idea, it is the duty of any officer and his chief in any tiny way render his Corps more servicable [sic] to [illegible] by his Govt and country. That the Rev Marine [illegible] be the most active & of more immediate benefit to the country than any other, is self evident - that it is the reverse I regret to say is as evident: the time has arrived when the country de-mands its greatest Exertions. - which constant & unremmitt-ing watching & cruising can alone furnish. Are the measures furnished adequate to the demand of the service? I fear not. Vessels of good & proper size have been built & at sufficient cost to warrant the best service - but for [illegible] of practical knowledge - large expenses are [illegible] in the corps not at all necessary, but which fortu-nately can be remidied [sic], by a slight change in the mode of Propulsion -Steam must be used as an Auxiliary to Wind. The main motive power - the new [illegible] have this in an eminent degree & could not be fitted more appropriately to that end - but the other power is ignored, hand the vessel is neither capable of Steaming or Sailing with first class Vessels, and a Rev Cruiser above all others should possess the Element of Speed - As at present they are 'Jury' rigged with a Propeller wheel dragging at their stearns [sic] - are inca-pable of shifting [illegible] berths (unless under very formidable circumstances) without a large expenditure of Fuel & Time - This necessary ordinary cruising [illegible] should be done without the expenditure of Fuel as the Expenses of the Service would be too great and create dissatisfaction - that Steam cannot be dispersed [illegible], is evident to any man of ordinary intelligence - how to use it effectively and in that most Economical manner - the Necessity & Time of using, must be fully stated in the Log of the vessel [illegible] by the [illegible] Officer & the Officer of the Watch To make their steamers effective & capable of of [sic] competing with the fastest, it is only necessary to Rig them as all Sailing Vessels are of the same class & character - After their stearns [sic] & Propellers, that the latter may be taken out of water, then you have a perfect sailing vessel unhamper'd by the heavy drag of a wheel that retards the Working & Sailing which prevents her from going into [illegible] out of Port, without the most favourable opportunity, but [illegible] great risk grounding & fouling other vessels The saving of Fuel for six months would pay the proposed alternatives nearly. The question of Ex-penditure of Fuel & consequent great expenditure of money has already attracted the attention of Hon Secretary, and measures taken by [illegible] to lessen the Expenses of [illegible] vessels, limiting the Expenditure to Thirty (30, terms for month keeping This "banked" &c. &c. Why should this be kept banked in at all! the alternatives proposed no. [illegible] be necessary. Boilers should be filled. Furnaces Primed and made ready for lighting [illegible] at any moment. An important order finding the vessel at anchor, the [illegible] immediately on its Escape and if necessary tight her [illegible] 'En orute' [sic] to the performance of her duties [illegible] are banked for the purpose of enabling the vesse to move at any moment - as it generally requires from2 to 3 hoursto obtain steam from Cold Water, but if the Vessel posses the necessary sailing qualification, she can move at any moment. These remarks are not applicable to the [illegible] vessel building, I have not seen them - [illegible]. Steam must be the main motive power, but little aid can be obtained from Canvass [sic], none in fact except on long stretches or on a cruise when time can extended to take off [illegible] from the Wheels & then not always with success - I regard to my sugges-tions as to the attraction of the Propellers I would respectfully state, that if its Consideration meet's [sic] the view of the Department I will submit estimates for an drawing for the proposed alterations As the 'Lincoln' is still in the hands of her builders & destined for a long range, I would res pectfully [sic] recommend she be changed as proposed proposed [sic], as the saving of Fuel on her voyage would nearly if not quite meet the Expenses of the changes required. That exclusive preparations are being made to evade the Rev [illegible] of the country there is no doubt & [illegible] will require more vigilance & deter -mination in the performance of the duties of the Cutters, to detect & punish the [illegible], than I have seen evinced. This corps has always suffered for the want of a permanent Head 'of its own' &freedom from close &frequent inspection, the result of which should be made known to the Department, comprising of the charac-ter of Each and any officer, discipline of the crews, [illegible] & condition of the Vessels with their [illegible] for, & the ammound for service performed since last inspection. It was to the close, frequent & unnanouced time of Inspection that caused the Armies if the US. To perform the great &glorious service [illegible] did in the War of the Rebellion - but this was not [illegible] home to the Corps until repealed dismissal of officers, particularly from the higher ranks, in the first years of the War. The Rev Marine has never had such an officer to hold them to their duties, without it, it never can be a well disciplined Corps - I respectfully recom-mend the appointment of such officer - May I be permitted to say, this officer must possess not only the qualification of a thorough Seaman & Officer, but he must divest himself of all personal prejudices - reporting to the Department the true condition and and [sic] character of any officer &vessel of the corps, for [illegible] guidance and action possessing this knowledge & the views of the Department a System of uniform disci-pline [illegible] be introduced through out [sic] the Service - which should be taught, that is is the [illegible], that the protection of life, property & legitimate Trade, demands its particular care & attention - that on the arrival on the coast of a Vessel (apart from the claims on duties of said Vessel) the officers & crews had a right to demand the assistance to be taken sakely into Port, thereby securing the good will of the Commercial Community, & shewing [sic] the [illegible] care of the Govt for its people. To enable the Hon Secretary to rightly under-stand the Expenses actually incurred for the collection of Duties by the Rev Marine, as well as to be relieved from the responsibilities of its Expenditure I respectfully re-commend, that Yearly estimate be laid before Congress same manner as by the Army &Navy &c. &c. The Law already provides for the number of men required for Cutters & is a very fair allowance I would [illegible] most respectfully suggest the time of service be not less than two (2 or 3) or three years and the pay of the Navy be adopted, with the addition of clothing, taking the Army standard. this will not only secure uniformity but be more satisfactory to the crews. I would also respectfully recommend the Non-Commissioned Officers, Boatswain, Gunner & Carpenter be mandated by the Hon Secy Secretary [sic] of Treasury on reccommendations [sic] of Captains they having previously pass an Examination as good Seamen of good moral character, with sufficient education [illegible] as Officers of Customs. their [illegible] so empowering them to act. These Officers should recei-ve fifty (50) dollars per month & one (1) Navy [illegible] per diem. One of the greatest demands of strength & usefullness [sic] has been entirely overlooked in the Service. Not a single boat has been fited (as far as I can asc-ertain) for cruising or capable of carrying an Anchor and chain in the event of straned a Wreck The Cutter that cannot send two boats at least filled with sails, awnings, arms &provision for a weeks cruise, or to sent Provisions &Water to a distress-ed Vessel, is not capable of Performing the Services required of her, more seizures will be made by the boats than the ship herself, the English Preventive Service show this fully. One of the good effects of the war has been to teach by the stern rules of active warfare many young men, rank &file, who are anxious to enter our Service & can [illegible] to a medal is an honorable discharge I would respectfully recommend that the following works be added to the Litany of Each Cutter, [illegible], Howitzer & Boat [illegible], Levi's [illegible] Rules ®ulations of a ma o'war & an improved Sumary [sic] Work in Steam &Steam Engine. Resp. Submitted". Howard (1807-1871, born in Maine) was an American naval officer. He entered the United States Navy in 1824, but resigned his commission to become a captain in the United States Revenue Marine (now the Coast Guard). While in the Revenue Marine, he assisted vessels off the coast of New England. He was said to look so resplendent in his uniform while commanding the revenue cutter USRC Jackson that naval officers pressured Navy Secretary Levi Woodbury to remove epaulettes from Revenue Marine uniforms. However, when war broke out, he raised a regiment of heavy artilery for the Army of the James and a regiment of marine artillery for General Ambrose Burnside. He also commanded the defenses around Portsmouth and Norfolk as a colonel. He resumed his captaincy in the Revenue Marine after the war. Lightly toned, soiled and creased. Light tear on right and left edges of page 6. Random ink stains. First two pages are folded once. Last page is folded four times; comes folded once. Folds are lightly discolored on page 6. Otherwise in fine condition.
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