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Secretary of Navy Letters 1808-1814
Furnished by : John Sharp


LETTERS FROM THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY TO COMMODORE THOMAS TINGEY AND OTHERS AT THE WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
1808 - 1814
This correspondence which date from 1808-14 is that of three early and important Secretaries of the Navy; Robert Smith, Paul Hamilton, William Jones and Chief Clerk of the Navy Department, Charles W. Goldborough. Most of their letters are addressed to Commodore Thomas Tingey, who was in charge of the Washington Navy Yard from 1801 -1829. While these letters are but one side of an official conversation they are important, since they relate to a wide variety of topics, especially issues involving military and civilian employees of the the Yard. These letters were transcribed from a microfilm made of the Department of the Navy, official copy books. The Department of the Navy letter copy book is where the naval clerks recorded in their meticulous copperplate script all outgoing and incoming correspondence and since the original went to the recepient, in most cases the copy book entries are our sole surviving record.

While nearly two hundred years old, these early naval documents have much to offer modern readers. Historians and genealogists, will find they provide us a unique window into the world of the early District of Columbia and its largest employer, the Washington Navy Yard. In these remarkable letters we can see reflected the political, social and personal concerns of three Secretaries of the Navy and likewise those of the many ordinary employees and receipients who were employed at Washington Navy Yard. In 1808 when this correspondance begins, the Department of the Navy, had little in the way of bureaucracy or formal procedures, indeed there was only one fulltime clerk, Charles W. Goldborough. Most everything within the youthful federal government still retained a great deal of informality. That this casual environment extended to the top echelons of the republic is evident in a letter from Secretary of the Navy, Robert Smith's to Thomas Tingey (15 October 1808) ’There were two other seamen, at the office this morning whom you may likewise employ. They are not now in the office and their names are not known to us, but it appears that they have both been in public service, and they will probably apply to you. There was also at the office this morning an Irishman, a laborer at this place with a family who will apply to you, and whom you may employ - His name is not known to me.” Three days later Smith forwarded to Tingey the name: ’Timothy Dougherty the bearer of this is the Irishman alluded to in my letter of the 15 inst.” President Jefferson would transmit requests to employ various seamen through Secretary Smith a request to hire seamen as day labor (23 February 1808).

Proximity to the White House and the early Navy Department was definitely a mixed bag for the Washington Navy Yard employees. On one hand, Commodore Tingey was able to gain rapid assent to changes in employee wages or gain the Secretary of the Navy's concurrence on important matters as for example, Robert Smith's speedy consent to Tingey's proposed WNY regulation governing changes to the manner in which Yard time and attendance was recorded. This was achieved in a mere three days (See Secretary Smith to Commodore Tingey letter dated 7 November 1808). Mail was mostly sent by messenger who walked to their destination or if the Commodore was visiting the Secretary's office, most likely he driven in his coach. The White House was 3 miles from the Yard and the first Navy Department offices at 17th Street between F and G Street were a similar distance. On some occasions though Commodore Tingey, and other Yard employees (see R. Smith to Dr. Ewell 14 June 1808) may well have desired a greater distance. ’Mr. Kearney did not bring the right book this morning. You will send Mr. Kearney to the office tomorrow morning with the same book - you can at the same time come to the office yourself.”

Here in this correspondence we can see the naval preparations for the War of 1812, the convening of naval courts-martial, and official inquiries into complaints and alleged WNY irregularites. Some of the letters with great candor attempt to deal with the vexing issues of slave labor, while other attempt to solve military/civilian personnel issues and still other give directions for construction and repair of naval and civilian vessels, and the procurment of naval supplies. Below is a brief summary of the authors and major personalities named in the correspondence.

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SECRETARIES OF THE NAVY & CHIEF DEPARMENT CLERK
Paul Hamilton (1762 -1816)       See : Biography
third Secretary of the Navy. 1809 to 1814

William Jones (1760 -1831)       See : Biography
became Secretary of the Navy in January 1814

Robert Smith (1757 -1842)       See : Biography
Secretary of the Navy 1801 to 1809

Charles Washington Goldsborough (1779 - 1843)       See : Biography
Chief Clerk of the Navy

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ADDRESSEES
Thomas Tingey (1750 -1829)       See : Biography
Commandant of the Washington Navy Yard
 
Captain John Cassin (1758 -1822)       See : Biography
During the War of 1812 he led the U.S. Navy in defense of Philadelphia.
 
Dr. Edward Cutbush (1772 -1843)       See : Biography
headed a commission to draft rules and regulations for government of naval hospitals.
 
Louis Deblois, Naval Purser, Washington Navy Yard  See: Biography
appointed 25 February 1812 and dismissed 27 May 1829 because his books were out of balance. Land for the old U.S. Naval Hospital is said to have been taken from his estate as restitution for funds owed.
 
William Doughty (1773 -1859)       See : Biography
naval constructor, designed many naval vessels.
 
Dr. Thomas Beale Ewell (1785 -1826)       See : Biography
Naval Surgeon 1808-1815.
 
Josiah Fox (1763 -1847)       See : Biography
Ship Constructor or Naval Architect
 
Samuel Hanson,       See : Biography
Naval Purser from 1804 to1811.
 
Benjamin King (1779 - 1837),       See : Biography
Master Blacksmith, did much of the early iron work for the nation's capitol
 
Commodore John Rodgers (1772 -1838)       See : Biography
Commodore of the Mediterranean Squadron
 
Commodore Stephen Decatur ( 1779 - 1820)       See : Biography
 
youngest Captain in the U.S. Navy
 
Robert Fulton (1765 - 1815)       See : Biography
designed and built the first practical steam boat
 
Captain James Lawrence (1781 -1813)       See : Biography
naval hero
 
Benjamin Henry Latrobe (1764-1820)       See : Biography
the country's first Surveyor of Public Buildings

Slaves
From the nation's founding, slavery was an integral and legally recognized part of the new United States. Slaves made up a significant but generally unacknowledged part of the District of Columbia and Washington Navy Yard antebellum workforce. At the Washington Navy Yard most African-Americans (free and enslaved) were confined to unpleasant, less skilled work (e.g., laborer, caulking or working in the anchor shop see letter R. Smith to Thomas Tingey of 16 May 1808). Most of the slaves listed in these letters worked as ’strikers” in the Blacksmiths shop. Strikers were Blacksmith assistants who wielded heavy hammers in the forging process for naval anchors and other iron work. The anchor shop was considered one of the most demanding and dangerous of all the work assigned in the Yard. Benjamin Latrobe recounts Master Blacksmith Benjamin King as a severe and harsh task master ’Ben. King is forging the Crank. He has thought proper to alter his opinion and is making it the most tremendous lump of Iron, the Necks 4 inches in diameter, the squares 5 inches. He now thinks it too weak. He has been swearing and whipping his black Strikers at a terrible rate these two days past ...
(Letter from Benjamin Latrobe to James Smallwood dated 5 Oct 1810)”
 
White workers frequently resented and feared their African-American coworkers and were especially apprehensive of those enslaved in the anchor shop. From contemporary documents it's clear that many white workers saw this black population as a direct threat to their economic livelihood (WNY Blacksmith's petition circa 1805). Michael Shiner's who worked at WNY as a slave in the paint department give us glimpses in his remarkable diary of what it was like to be enslaved at WNY. Shiner who was a slave of the Chief Clerk Thomas Howard in the late 1820's probably enjoyed somewhat better treatment then those who worked in anchor shop yet still he records incidents of casual brutality, to which even the most trusted of slaves; such as Commodore Thomas Tingey's young coachman, could be subjected to when after a late arrival he was disciplined with a ’starter” (See entry for 1828 or the sudden and terrible events that could break a black family apart as when Michael Shiner's wife, Phillis and their three young children were taken by slave dealers (See entry for 5 June 1833) within a few blocks of the Yard.
 
The exact number of slaves employed at WNY varied with the season and the work at hand, Secretary of the Navy R. Smith's letter to WNY Commandant Thomas Tingey lists 23 slaves for retention (The total number of employees during this period was approximately 300) but number of those enslaved in much official naval correspondence most likely does not reflect those employed as ’servants” which is often a euphemism in the anti bellum period for slave, see Smith to Tingey 25 May 1808. In the Yard white workers and free and enslaved African Americans worked together especially in the anchor shop in uneasy tension at the WNY. Many of the early secretaries were aware of this tension and occasionally took steps to limit the number of slaves employed less they provoke open animosity.
 
Michael Shiner's diary entries capture this tension, especially in the dramatic events of the 1830's where he describes his own precarious survival. In times of apparent danger or political upheaval such as the ’Snow Storm” (See Michael Shiner account of the events of 1835-1836 and the election of 1857), many of the yard's white workers resorted to violence and riot to intimidate enslaved and free African-Americans. The daily reality of this oppression is also reflected in Shiner's diary.
 
Many of the Yard's early leader's, both officers and senior civilians, owned slaves and benefited directly from their labor. Some of these leaders such as the Yard's first and second WNY Commandants, Thomas Tingey and Isaac Hull used their slaves as household servants while other employees of a more entrepreneurial disposition like Naval Constructor Josiah Fox, Master Blacksmith Benjamin King and WNY Chief Clerk Thomas Howard each had their slaves leased directly to the navy.

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Bibliography
Crawford, Michael J., Christine F. Hughes, Charles E. Brodine, Jr., and Carolyn M. Stallings eds. The Naval War of 1812: A Documentary History, Vol. III, 1814-1815, Chesapeake Bay, Northern Lakes, and Pacific Ocean, Washington, DC: Naval Historical Center, 2002.
 
Dudley, William S., et al. The Naval War of 1812: A Documentary History, Volume II, 1813 Washington, DC: Naval Historical Center, 1992
 
Hibben, Henry B. Navy Yard-Washington History from Organization, 1799 to Present Day. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1890.
This history is now on line at Naval Historical Center webpage
http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/wny_history.htm
 
Latrobe, Benjamin H. Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe. Vols. 1-3. Maryland Historical Society, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984-1988.
 
Latrobe, Benjamin H. The Journals of Benjamin Henry Latrobe 1799 -1820 from Philadelphia to New Orleans. Yale University Press 1980.
 
Maloney, Linda M. The Captain from Connecticut: The Life and Naval Times of Isaac Hull. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1986
 
Paullin, Charles O. Commodore John Rodgers: Captain, Commodore, and Senior Officer of the American Navy, 1773-1838, a Biography. 1910. Reprint. Annapolis: U.S. Naval Institute, 1967.
 
Peck, Taylor. Round Shot to Rockets: A History of the Washington Navy Yard and the Naval Gun Factory. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1949.
 
Sharp, John G. History of the Washington Navy Yard Civilian Workforce, 1799-1962.
Stockton, CA: Vindolanda Press, 2005.
This history is now online at Naval Historical Center webpage
http://www.history.navy.mil/books/sharp/WNY_History.pdf
 
Michael Shiner, The Diary of Michael Shiner Slave and Freeman at the Washington Navy Yard 1813-1869, Relating to the History of the Washington Navy Yard edited by John G. Sharp
http://www.genealogytrails.com/washdc/michaelshiner/shinerdiaryintro.html
 
Waldo, Samuel Putnam. The Life and Character of Stephen Decatur; Late Commodore and Post Captain in the Navy of the United States, Clark & Lyman 1822
 
Westlake, Merle. Josiah Fox 1763 -1847, Xlibris Corporation 2003
 
National Archives and Records Administration Pay Roll for Blacksmith, employed in the Navy-Yard Washington in the month of July 1814 RG - 45

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TRANSCRIPTION METHOD
This transcription was made from National Archives and Records Administration microfilm: Letters Sent by the Secretary of the Navy to Commandants and Navy Agents M441/1 Rolls 1 & 2. The focus of this transcription is the Washington Navy Yard; hence most letters are to WNY Commandant, Commodore Thomas Tingey. This selection of (108 letters) represents the wide diversity of concerns and problems that were typical of those referred to the Secretary of the Navy in the early 19th century.
 
In transcribing all passages from the manuscript I have striven to adhere as closely as possible to the original in spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and abbreviation, including the retention of dashes and underlining found in the original. Words and passages that were crossed out in the diary are transcribed either as overstrikes or in notes. When a spelling is so unusual as to be misleading or confusing, the correct spelling immediately follows the misspelled word in square brackets and italicized type or is discussed in a foot note.
 
The names of all ships are italicized and are linked where possible to other Naval Historical Center records pertaining to that vessel. Lastly I have added a few notes in brackets to help identify some of the personalities and incidents mentioned.


Index to Correspondence of the Secretary of the Navy,
to Commodore Thomas Tingey, Commander Washington Navy Yard and Others
1808 -1814:
FROM   TO  DATE  SUBJECT
R Smith to Thomas Tingey  6 Feb 1808 Doctor Wallace's invention
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  12 Feb 1808  Employment of Laborers
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  16 Fed 1808  Employment of Mr. Hickson/ Fell Hammer preparation
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey   23 Feb 1808  Employment of Day Labor mentioned by President
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey   10 Mar 1808  Employment of Seaman
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  7 Apr 1808 Use of Whiskey for Spirituous Liquors
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  16 Apr 1808  Use of Spirituous Liquors
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  21 Apr 1808  Reduction of Expenses, Civilians and Slaves
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey   23 Apr 1808  Employment of Pierre Peloux, Gunsmith
R. Smith to Samuel Hanson  7 May 1808  Strike from Rolls the Names of Slaves
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  7 May 1808  Copy of above Instructions
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey   8 May 1808   Mr. King's Mathematical Instrument
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey   12 May 1808  Jonathan Myers Contract for Timber
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  16 May 1808  List of 23 Slaves to be retained at WNY
R. Smith to Dr.Thomas Ewell  16 May 1808  Question re Pay & Emoluments
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  19 May 1808  Strike names of slaves: Hamilton, Nevitt & retain Baker
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  25 May 1808  Servants Must Be Discharged
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  26 May 1808  Gen Strickler & Procedures for Procurement
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  27 May 1808  Gun Boats No. 64, 65 & 67
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  1 Jun 1808  Josiah Fox Plan for Gun Boats
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  2 Jun 1808  WNY Master Cooper's Pay
R. Smith to Dr. Thomas Ewell  14 Jun 1808  Request for Account Book & Contradictions in Accounts
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  17 Jun 1808   Loan to the Bridge Company
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  21 Jun 1808  Appointment of Officers to Examine Charges against Mr. Gardner
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  29 Jun 1808  Memorial of Mr. Gardner
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  2 Aug 1808  John Hebron's wages
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  14 Aug 1808  More on the Employment of Slaves
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  17 Aug 1808  Mr. Fulton
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  7 Sep 1808  Decision re WNY Mast Maker Peter Gardner's Employment
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  10 Sep 1808  More on Peter Gardner
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey
                     John Cassin
                Samuel Hanson
  19 Sep 1808  Regarding Accusation
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  15 Oct 1808  re employment of Russet, Lawson, Peter & Irishman
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  18 Oct 1808  Final Decision re Peter Gardner
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  18 Oct 1808  re Mr. Hanson's Letter
R. Smith to Samuel Hanson   18 Oct 1808  re Mr. Hanson's complaint
R. Smith to Samuel Hanson  18 Oct 1808  re Mr. Hanson's complaint
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey   18 Oct 1808  Employment of Timothy Dougherty
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  29 Oct 1808  re Employment of Thomas Turley
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  31 Oct 1808  re Implied Accusation in T. Tingey's Letter
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey   2 Nov 1808  re Permission for Mr. Thompson's Servant
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey   7 Nov 1808  New Regulation re Hours of Work
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey   14 Nov 1808  re Changing Arrangement of Slaves
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  4 Dec 1808  Mr. King to Baltimore
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  8 Dec 1808  $ 6,000 for a Useless Article
R. Smith to Circular   10 Dec 1808  Allegations against Thomas Tingey
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  12 Dec 1808  Rooms for Court of Enquiry
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey
              Capt John Cassin
             Capt John Rodgers
           Samuel Hanson Esq.
  12 Dec 1808  Procedure for Enquiry
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  19 Dec 1808  Peter Johnson & Jno Thompson re Employment
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  27 Dec 1808  re Problems with Repairs to Frigate Essen
R. Smith to John Rodgers  6 Jan 1809  re Court of Enquiry
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey   7 Jan 1809  re ’If white men can be procured”
R. Smith to Thomas Tingey  11 Jan 1809  re Ditto
C.Goldsborough to Thomas Tingey  14 Mar 1809  re Wages of WNY Workmen
P. Hamilton to Thomas Tingey  2 May 1809  re Peter Gardner
P. Hamilton to John Cassin   1 Jul 1809   Approval for Reduction in Force
Preference to veterans of Rev War & ’friends of our government”
P. Hamilton to Thomas Tingey   7 Jul 1809  re Retention of WNY Apprentices
P. Hamilton to Dr. Thomas Ewell  17 Jul 1809  re Rental of Private House for Naval Hospital
P. Hamilton to Thomas Tingey  18 Jul 1809  re Leasing of ’twenty good slaves”
P. Hamilton to Thomas Tingey   2 Aug 1809  re Salaries of Fox, Byers, W. Small, J. Owner, & W. Sanford
P. Hamilton to Josiah Fox  2 Aug 1809  re Fox's Appointment Revoked
P. Hamilton to Thomas Tingey   2 Aug 1809  Guidance on Contracting & Procurement
P. Hamilton to Thomas Tingey   11 Aug 1809  re Josiah Fox's Termination date
P. Hamilton to Thomas Tingey   12 Aug 1809  re ’every unnecessary person in the Yard must be discontinued”
P. Hamilton to Thomas Tingey  16 Nov 1809   Ship Carpenters to be returned to Work
P. Hamilton to Thomas Tingey  11 Dec 1809  Capt Decatur's Complaint
P. Hamilton to Thomas Tingey  21 Mar 1810  Whiskey to Norfolk Navy Yard
P. Hamilton to Samuel Hanson  22 Mar 1810  re ’your Services are not longer required”
P. Hamilton to Thomas Tingey  25 Apr 1810  re ’a trusty man” for the Magazine
P. Hamilton to Thomas Tingey  1 May 1810  Mr. Latrobe & Steam Engine
P. Hamilton to Thomas Tingey   3 May 1810  re ’Our means are so limited
P. Hamilton to Thomas Tingey   4 May 1810  Mr. Fulton's ’Torpedo War”
P. Hamilton to Thomas Tingey  14 May 1810  WNY Salaried Mechanics & Furlough
P. Hamilton to Thomas Tingey   1 Aug 1810  Guidance re Mr. King and the press
P. Hamilton to Thomas Tingey  4 Sep 1810  Burial of Col. Whiting
P. Hamilton to Thomas Tingey  19 Oct 1810  re Loan of WNY equip to Bridge Company
P. Hamilton to Thomas Tingey  20 Oct 1810  Mr. Latrobe's request
P. Hamilton to Thomas Tingey   9 Jan 1811  Denial Mr. Latrobe's request for
Mr. Ellis WNY Steam Engine Operator pay increase
P. Hamilton to Thomas Tingey   25 Jan 1811  re Mr. B. King ’Sharpe admonition”
P. Hamilton to Thomas Tingey  18 Mar 1811  Act Establishing Naval Hospitals
P. Hamilton to John Cassin  6 Jul 1811   Discharge of Foreign Seamen
P. Hamilton to Thomas Tingey  26 Sep 1811  re Mr. Ellis ’to be paid off”
P. Hamilton to Thomas Tingey  27 Sep 1811  Mr. Ellis ’continue him at the Steam Engine”
P. Hamilton to Circular  28 Aug 1812  re Guidance on intercepting Public & Private vessels
W. Jones to Benjamin King  3 Feb 1813  re Notification to B. King re Reinstatement
W. Jones to Thomas Tingey   5 Feb 1813   Enq. re 150 Discharged Carpenters
W. Jones to Thomas Tingey   6 Feb 1813  Notification to T. Tingey re B. King
W. Jones to Thomas Tingey   8 Feb 1813   William Doughty Chief Constructor
W. Jones to William Doughty  8 Feb 1813   Notification of Appointment as Chief Constructor at WNY
W. Jones to Thomas Tingey  10 Feb 1813  re WNY Carpenters ready to Journey to Lakes
W. Jones to Thomas Tingey   13 Feb 1813  Mr. Catalano to Inspect Powder Works of Dr. Ewell
W. Jones to Dr. Thomas Ewell  13 Feb 1813  Ditto
W. Jones to Thomas Tingey  7 Apr 1813  Malignant Fever on USS New York
W. Jones to Thomas Tingey   21 Apr 1813  re Employment of Mr. Wheeler & Spotswood
W. Jones to Dr. Thomas Ewell  28 Apr 1813  ’neglect of ...official duties”
W. Jones to Thomas Tingey   10 May 1813  Court Martial of Henry L. Duffel
W. Jones to Thomas Tingey  11 May 1813  Advance Pay Sailing Master Sanford
W. Jones to Thomas Tingey  15 May 1813  re Sailing Master John Earle's ’Sinecure is inadmissible”
W. Jones to Dr. Edward Cutbush   25 May 1813   re His appointment as Naval Surgeon/guidance on
WNY med care for Civilians & Slaves.
W. Jones to Thomas Tingey  29 Jun 1813  Death of Capt James Lawrence & Official Funeral
W. Jones to Thomas Tingey  18 Jul 1813  British Forces in Potomac River
W. Jones to Thomas Tingey  17 Sep 1813  Mr. Dorsey's Carronade
W. Jones to Thomas Tingey   13 Jun 1814  Dr. Rraff request B. King to Assist
W. Jones to Thomas Tingey   20 Sept 1814  ’proceeds thereof not accounted



Washington Navy Yard 1814

Capt. Thos Tingey   Navy Depart.
6 Feb 1808
        The Bearer Doct. Wallace has invented a Machinery which he confidently will prove of great benefit and I wish to give it an experiment. You will therefore put any of the men that can be best spared to making this machinery, agreeably to directions which will be given by Doctor Wallace.

R. Smith


Capt. Thomas Tingey
Navy Yard
  Navy Depart.
12 Feby 1808
        Can you employ at the Yard as laborers the number of men mentioned in the enclosed paper.

R. Smith


Capt. Thomas Tingey   Navy Depart.
16 Feb 1808
        You will employ Hickson for the purpose mentioned in yours of 30 ult.

        As mentioned in your letter of this date the preparation for the Fell Hammer may now be completed but it is not my wish that such preparations should retard the work for Mr. Cullings machinery.

R. Smith


Capt. Thomas Tingey   Navy Depart.
23 Feby 1808
        Employ as day laborers the Seamen mentioned in the Presidents note sent to you.

R. Smith


Capt. Thomas Tingey   Navy Depart.
10 March 1808
        The bearer who entered the Service 2 years & served on board No. 67 from which boat he was sent to the hospital at this place by order of Lt Carrot for the purpose of being cured of ulcerated legs and has been discharged from the hospital without being cured must be again received into the Hospital and there kept until he shall be perfectly restored.

R. Smith


Thomas Tingey
Navy Yard
  Navy Depart.
7 April 1808
        We must discontinue the use of all Spirituous Liquors at the Yard here excepting whiskey, which is a better drink then common Spirit, made within ourselves & far Cheaper than Spirit. Consider this therefore as a standing order to use whiskey instead of Spirit.

R. Smith


Capt Thomas Tingey   Navy Depart.
16 April 1808
        You will go on using the Spirit until we can get a supply of Whiskey, for which I have this day written to Genl Striker of Baltimore.

        The storekeeper return is incomplete and does not furnish the information I wish as much as it excludes the parcel of copper [line illegible] of the 12ult. I wish a full complete return of the whole quantity on hand. Be pleased to call on the storekeeper for such a return & send it to me as soon as possible by Monday next at furthest.

R. Smith


Capt Thomas Tingey   Navy Depart.
21 April 1808
        Our expenses at the Yard must be reduced. They are at present astonishingly great. You will take a particular view of all the different departments & of each class of laborers the work to be performed, and number of the laborers necessary to perform the minimum of labor necessary to perform it & report the sum to me in your opinion as to the retrenchment which must most economically be made. You will at sometime send to me a muster roll of all the persons of every description employed in the Yard designating the monthly or daily pay allowed to each & in case of black whether they be free or Slaves & where they were Slaves the persons to whom they respectively belong and you will communicate all such other circumstances as may be know to you or as may be disclosed to you whist you shall be making the enquiry, herein directed, which maybe calculated to assist in the retrenching in the most judicious manner the expenses of the yard.

R. Smith


Capt Thomas Tingey   Navy Depart.
23 April 1808
        The bearer Pierre Peloux is said to be a skillful Gunsmith. Have conversation with him & inform me, whether, such a person be wanted at the yard or not, what is his reputations are & what he would take for his Services, if he should not be wanted at the Yard, sent this letter to Captain Wharton who will consider it hence as addressed to himself.

R. Smith


Mr. Samuel Hanson of Samuel
Purser of the Navy Yard
Washington
  Navy Depart.
7 May 1808
        Immediately after the next pay day you will strike from the Rolls, the names of all Slaves of every description, excepting Mechanicks - No payment made by you to the owners of such Slaves for Services rendered after that day, will be admitted to your credit.

R. Smith


Capt. Thomas Tingey
Navy Yard
  Navy Depart.
7 May 1808
        The enclosed is a copy of instruction this day referred to the Purser of the Yard.

R. Smith


Capt. Thomas Tingey   Navy Depart.
8 May 1808
        Mr. King states that he has invented a Mathematical instrument, which is calculated to ascertain certain distances with great facility and he wants the assistance of Mr. Small to enable him to complete the instrument. Let him have Mr. Small or any other Mechanic of the Yard that he may require for this purpose.

R. Smith


Capt. Thomas Tingey
Navy Yard Washington
  Navy Depart.
12 May 1808
        The bearer Jonathan Myers says that he has bough to this place from a considerable distance about 20 pine logs, under the impression that the public would purchase them of him. I do not like to disappoint this poor old man, and I wish the practice of bringing timer without a previous contract to be discouraged. If this timber therefore be suitable for the Navy purposes it may received at the price usually given for such timber.

R. Smith


Capt. Thomas Tingey
Navy Yard Washington
  Navy Depart.
15 May 1808
        The Master of the Ship Carpenters, the Master Boat Builder, the Master Mastmaker, the Master Joiner & the Mathematical Instrument Maker are each to be allowed in lieu of the pay heretofore respectively allowed them, the sum of one thousand Dollars annually and this without any other allowance whatever either for House rent or for any thing else.

R. Smith


Capt. Thomas Tingey
Navy Yard Washington
  Navy Depart.
16 May 1808
        Your letter of the 12 inst has been received
Joe Byers
Jim Brown
Luke Cannon
Joe Edwards
Brazill Nevill
Joe Smoot
Joe Thompson
Andy Washington
Chr. Washington

 

Strikers in the Smith's Shop
Leck Nally
Pompey Hatee
Bill Barnes
Bill Campbelt

 

Blowers in Ditto
Harry Hicks
Rodger Howard
Luke Rivers
Jeph. Woodland

 

Carpenters Laborers & Borers
Bill Holmes

 

Pitch Boiler
Harry Smallwood
Hezrah Smallwood

 

Grindstone Turners

 

Peter Selly
Bill Hamilton

 

Caulkers Reamers

 

        are to be retained in the Yard, and considered as excepted from my letter of the 7 inst. & all other Slaves whether Seamen or laborers of every description, excepting mechanicks, are to be immediately discharged. - You will send a copy of this letter to Mr. Hanson the Purser for his Government.

R. Smith


Doctr Thos Ewell
Navy Yard
Washington
  Navy Depart.
16 May 1808
        Among the papers submitted to the Department by Capt Cassin, there is a note from him to you, which among other things states that you did not receive by $ 1000 the Salary which Doct. Bullis received.

        As you are entitled by law to receive the same pay & emoluments, that Dr. Bullis did, you will please to state in what manner & by whom so large a portion of your salary has been annually withheld from you.
[Most likely John Bullis, Surgeon's Mate, 9 March, 1798. Surgeon, 20 July, 1799]

R. Smith


Capt. Thomas Tingey
Navy Yard
  Navy Depart.
19 May 1808
        I have received your letter of the 18 inst. In my letter to you the 16 inst. enumerating the Slaves to be retained in the Service of the Yard, you will strike from the list the name of Bill Hamilton and insert in his stead Red Nevitt and you will also retain Wm. Baker the driver of the Oxen.

R. Smith


Capt. Thomas Tingey
Navy Yard Washington
  Navy Depart.
25 May 1808
        Your letter of the 19th inst has been received and considered. There exists no law, which warrants the indulgence therein asked. Nor does the usage either of the army, Navy or Marine corps, sanction such an indulgence - And I cannot permit the introduction of a rule, without law or precedent, or any apparent necessity. The Servants in question must therefore be immediately discharged.

R. Smith


Captain Thomas Tingey
Navy Yard Wash.
  Navy Depart.
26 May 1808
        I have written to Genl. Stricker for the 2000 numbers of black lead crucibles No. 30 to No. 50 & the 200 lbs of zinc or spelter & the sand mentioned in your letter of the 25 inst.

        I should also write to the proper Agents for the Tar, pitch, turpentine etc. but I presume that the quantity stated in the paper accompanying your letter is not as much as we want. It would be well to make your requisitions in season for all articles wanted at the Yard that the proper agents might be written to in time to procure them. We can certainly procure then through our agents for cash, cheaper then they can be delivered here by any other person who may have - purchased them on a credit, and who must have his profit upon them, which whether he purchased them on a credit or for cash - By making purchases through regular agents, residing at the places, where these articles wanted can be best procured we shall at all events save to the public the profit which would otherwise accrue to individuals purchasing such articles at such places & bringing them here to order to the public. And it is our solemn duty to observe all the possible economy in the disbursement of the publick monies.

R. Smith


Capt. Thomas Tingey
Navy Yard
  Navy Depart.
27 May 1808
        Your letter of the 26 & 27 inst have been received. You may procure for each of the gunboats No's 64. 65. 66, such carpenter's tools as are essentially necessary. None of the articles mentioned in the indent are of sufficient importance to justify the delay of the Boats. If we had such a plan and do not think it inadvisable, I should have no objection to your furnishing them but they are all unimportant accepting the Carpenters tools - The guns are to b placed in the holds - & can't be removed until the Boats arrive at New Orleans - hence powder for them would wholly useless, particularly as we shall have a Supply at New Orleans. The Marines will I presume be furnished with every article appertaining to their Service.

        I have requested Genl. Smith to purchase and ship to this place the tar, pitch, turpentine & which you state to be limited -

        In answer to you letter of the 26 relative to the Servants, I have to propound to you this question. Do you know any instance of an officer in the army or marine Corps receiving pay from the Public for Services of his Slave employed as his Servant?

R. Smith


Capt. Thomas Tingey
  Navy Depart.
1 June 1808
        Mr. Fox furnished the Deck plan of the boats at Baltimore and their decks have been finished agreeably to that plan. The simple question then now is what weight of metal can be mounted upon such deck plan - In that plan there was a different diameter of the circles - the fore circle was larger then the aft - For what the weight of metal was the fore circle in the deck plan calculated? & for what weight of metal was the aft circle calculated - Send me the answer this morning - Be pleased to return Capt. Evans letter upon this Subject.

        The Dredging machine or Ballast Lighter proposed by Mr. Latrobe you will have made agreeably to his plan & description.

R. Smith


Capt. Thomas Tingey
Navy Yard
  Navy Dept.
2 June 1808
        The Master Cooper at the Yard is to be allowed in lieu of the pay heretofore allowed him the sum of eight hundred thirty five dollars annually, and this without any other allowance whatever for Household or anything else.

R. Smith


Capt. Thomas Tingey
  Navy Depart
6 June 1808
        We took the Seamen from the Alexandria from charity - They now it appears will not engage to serve on board the gun boat - They cease then to be objects of charity - and as we have no occasion for their Services in the Yard - You will forth with dismiss them & pay them off.

R. Smith


Doctr. Thomas Ewell
Navy Yard
  Navy Depart.
14 June 1808
        Mr. Kearney did not bring the right book this morning - I want the book in which entries are made of the medicines used - and I want this book for the purpose of ascertaining whither the medicines which you took out of the publick Stock, & applied to your private use were purchased by you of Mr. Ott for the purpose of replacing the medicine so taken out & used on your private account as this investigation may be interesting to you, you may had probably best be present when it shall be made.

        You will send Mr. Kearney to the office tomorrow morning with the same book - you can at the same time come to the office yourself.

        You will bring or sent me the bill which Mr. Ott originally made out for the articles which you purchased of him. This bill I am told by Col. Hanson was sent to him, with an order upon him, with an order upon him to pay the amount and it remained in his possession until you had received my letter of the 2nd inst you called upon him & asked for the bill in question, which he then delivered to you - It is the original Bill which I now wish to see.

        In your statement there appear so many contradictions that I feel it to be my duty to investigate immediately every circumstance in relation to the Subject.
[Mr. Kearney is most likely, Robert S. Kearney, appointed Naval Surgeon's Mate 1808, 1810 Naval Surgeon, died 1826.]

R. Smith


Capt. Thomas Tingey
  Navy Depart
17 June 1808
        The directors of the bridge company state that they may probably want some assistance from the Yard to enable them to go on rapidly with the Bridge I have no objection to your furnishing them from the yard any assistance that can be conveniently furnished - If they borrow any articles they must come under engagement to return them in good order or pay for them their full amount.

R. Smith

Capt. Thomas Tingey
  Navy Depart
21 June 1808
        Appoint three commissioned officers to examine the charges stated against Mr. Gardner - to hear the evidence pro & con & report to me the results with their opinion which you will forward to me.

R. Smith


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