Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States
NAVY, Department of the. This constitutes one of the seven executive departments at Washington, and was created in the tenth year of the existence of the government of the United States. The brief act of congress, approved April 30, 1789, (1 Stat. at Large, 553), embodies the outline of this department, since largely extended and reorganized under subsequent legislation.
—The head of the department of the navy, known as the secretary of the navy, is by law to execute such orders as he shall receive from the president relative to the procurement of naval materials, and the construction, armament, equipment and employment of vessels of war, and all other matters connected with the naval establishment. The secretary of the navy is by custom, not by law, a member of the cabinet, with a salary of $8,000. He is required to distribute the business of the department as he shall judge to be expedient and proper among the following bureaus: 1, a bureau of yards and docks; 2, a bureau of equipment and recruiting; 3, a bureau of navigation; 4, a bureau of ordnance; 5, a bureau of construction and repair; 6, a bureau of steam engineering; 7, a bureau of provisions and clothing; 8, a bureau of medicine and surgery. The chief of the bureau of yards and docks has charge of the navy yards and naval stations, their construction and repair; he purchases timber and other materials. The chief of the bureau of equipment and recruiting has charge of the equipment of all vessels of war, and the supply to their sails, rigging, anchors and fuel; also of the recruiting of sailors of the various grades. The chief of the bureau of navigation supplies vessels of war with maps, charts, chronometers, barometers, flags, signal lights, glasses and stationery; he has charge of the publication of charts, the Nautical Almanac, and surveys; and the naval observatory and hydrographic office are under the direction of this bureau. The chief of the bureau of ordnance has charge of the manufacture of naval ordnance and ammunition, the armament of vessels of war; the arsenals and magazines; the trials and tests of ordnance, small arms and ammunition; also of the torpedo service, and torpedo station at Newport, and experimental battery at Annapolis. The chief of the bureau of construction and repair has charge of dry docks and of all vessels undergoing repairs; the designing, building and fitting out of vessels, and the armor of ironclads. The chief of the bureau of steam engineering directs the designing, fitting out, running and repairing of the steam marine engines, boilers and appurtenances used on vessels of war, and the workshops in the navy yards where they are made and repaired. The chief of the bureau of provisions and clothing has charge of all contracts and purchases for the supply of provisions, water for cooking and drinking purposes, clothing and small stores for the use of the navy. The chief of the bureau of medicine and surgery superintends everything relating to medicines, medical stores, surgical instruments and hospital supplies required for the treatment of the sick and wounded of the navy and the marine corps. The judge advocate general receives, revises and records the proceedings of courts martial, courts of inquiry, board for the examination of officers for retirement and promotion in the naval service; and furnishes reports and opinions on such questions of law and other matters as may be referred to him by the secretary of the navy. The chiefs of these bureaus are appointed by the president and senate from among the navy officers not below the grade of captain, and hold their offices for the term of four years. Their salaries are $5,000 per annum. While these chiefs of the important bureaus into which the business organization of the navy department is divided, are thus selected from among the experts in their profession, the secretary of the navy is commonly chosen on other grounds, and without naval experience. He is required to make an annual report to congress, embodying, 1, an account of receipts and expenditures for the year under each head of appropriation. 2, a statement of all naval contracts, 3, a statement of cost of all supplies and services furnished, and of stores and materials on hand in the navy yards, etc,; 4, a statement of all sales of vessels or materials. Besides the eight bureaus before named, the act of July 5, 1862, created a hydrographic office, attached to the bureau of navigation, with the function of providing nautical charts, sailing directions, etc., for the use of all vessels of the United States and of navigators generally. The maps, charts and nautical books thus published are sold at cost to the public, and are of inestimable practical value (in connection with the charts of the coast survey) to navigators in American and other waters.
—The official and clerical force of the navy department embraced, in 1882, 135 employés, with aggregate annual salaries amounting to $148,220; and the contingent and miscellaneous expenses of the department amounted to a further sum of about $234,000 in 1882. This is for the current official expenditure of the department and its bureaus, exclusive of the cost of supplies and expenditures for the naval service proper, and the eight navy yards of the United States established at Washington, Brooklyn, N. Y., Charlestown, Mass., Kittery, Me., League Island, Pa., Norfolk, Va., Pensacola, Fla., and Mare Island, Cal.
—The naval observatory of the United States, located at Washington, is under the supervision of the secretary of the navy, with a superintendent usually having the rank of rear admiral (salary $5,000), and five professors of astronomy and mathematics, with salaries of from $2,400 to $3,500 each, according to length of service. The Nautical Almanac, issued annually for about three years in advance, is also distributed by the navy department.
—The following is a list of the secretaries of the navy, with their various terms of office:
A. R. SPOFFORD.
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