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[239]

The squadron in the Pacific, under the command of Flag-Officer John B. Montgomery, consists of 6 vessels, 82 guns, and 1,000 men.

The West India squadron is under the command of Flag-Officer G. J. Pendergrast, who has been temporarily on duty, with his flag-ship, the Cumberland, at Norfolk and Hampton Roads, since the 23d of March. He will, at an early day, transfer his flag to the steam-frigate Roanoke, and proceed southward, having in charge our interests on the Mexican and Central American coasts, and in the West India Islands.

The East India, Mediterranean, Brazil, and African squadrons, excepting one vessel of each of the two latter, have been recalled.

The return of these vessels will add to the force for service in the Gulf and on the Atlantic coast about 200 guns and 2,500 men.

resignation and dismissal of officers.

Since the 4th of March two hundred and fifty-nine officers of the Navy have resigned their commissions or been dismissed from the service. This diminution of officers, at a time when the force was greatly enlarged, and when the whole naval armament of the country was put in requisition, has compelled the Department to send many of our public vessels to sea without a full complement of officers. To some extent this deficiency has been supplied by gentlemen formerly connected with the Navy, who had retired to civil pursuits in peaceable times, but who, in the spirit of true patriotism, came promptly forward in the hour of their country's peril, and made voluntary tender of their services to sustain the flag and the country. The Department gladly availed itself of the tender thus patriotically made, and received these gentlemen into the service in the capacity of acting Lieutenants. The alacrity with which they presented themselves for duty in any position the Government might assign thme, when others who had been the trusted and honored recipients of Government favors were deserting the standard, was no less honorable to them than to the profession which they adorned and the country which they loved.

enlistment of seamen.

The authorized increase of enlistment and the immediate establishment of naval rendezvous at all the principal seaports, with an abbreviation of the term of enlistment, enabled the Department to recruit a sufficient number of seamen to man the vessels added to the service with almost as much rapidity as they could be prepared, armed, and equipped. Only one or two ships have experienced any detention for want of a crew, and none beyond two or three days. At no period of our history has the naval force had so great and rapid an increase, and never have our seamen come forward with more alacrity and zeal to serve the country.

the Naval Academy.

The Naval School and public property at Annapolis attracted the attention of the disloyal and disaffected about the period when the conspiracy culminated. Some demonstrations were made to wards seizing the property, and also the frigate Constitution, which had been placed at Annapolis, in connection with the school, for the benefit of the youths who were being educated for the public service. Prompt measures rescued the frigate and Government property from desecration and plunder, and the young men, under the superintendence and guidance of Capt. Blake, contributed, in no small degree, to the result. As it was impossible, in the then existing condition of affairs in Annapolis and in Maryland, to continue the school at that point, and as the valuable public property was in jeopardy, it became necessary to remove the institution elsewhere. Newport, R. I., presented many advantages, and the War Department tendered Fort Adams for the temporary occupation of the students, which was at once accepted, and the school, with the frigate and other public property, were removed thither. Although the numbers at the school are reduced by the resignation of nearly every student from the insurrectionary region, and a call of the elder classes to active professional duty, the younger classes that remain form a nucleus reestablish and give vitality to the institution.

Some legislation will be necessary, not only in relation to what has been done, but with a view to the future continued success of the school, which has already accomplished so much towards the efficiency and elevation of the Navy. By the existing law the appointment of students can be made only upon recommendation of the member of Congress from the district in which the applicant resides, and in case he omits to make selection of a suitable person there is no way provided to fill the vacancy. In consequence of this regulation the school has not its authorized number, for nearly one-third of the districts neglect or refuse to be represented at the academy, and there is no legal way of supplying this deficiency from other districts, although the applications are numerous.

Congress must provide for this deficit, and it is, moreover, worthy of consideration, whether for a period, at least, the numbers in the school should not be increased, until a full complement of officers is supplied.

Ordnance Department.

In the ordnance branch of the service there has been great activity, and the works at the Navy Yard in this city have been in constant operation, day and night, to meet, as far as possible, the extraordinary demands that have been made. When the late Commandant of the Washington Yard, on the 22d of April, declined further connection with the Government, and was dismissed the service, it was believed that the true interest of the country would be promoted by placing the yard and foundry in


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