|Previous Page||Next Page|
had to go through the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal for the purpose of attacking the coast of California?
Mr. Ludlow. There might be a slight advantage. But these other nations have all got nearer stations than that; the French and German as well as the English are in possession.
The Chairman. I suppose our Navy would not be of much use to us if we could not do more than to send our ships with coal enough to go out and fight and get back?
Mr. Ludlow. That is all we can do. We have made no effort to get any coaling station abroad.
The Chairman. As a naval officer, do you think it is a wise policy?
Mr. Ludlow. For this country, yes.
The Chairman. Then we do not need a Navy.
Mr. Ludlow. Oh, yes. You can not defend California with fortifications; you have to defend that place on the sea.
The Chairman. The high sea?
Mr. Ludlow. Outside of gunshot. The class of ships we have been building there are battle ships. We have a few cruisers, but not what we would call fighting ships.
The Chairman. Your idea, then, of the use of a navy would be that the best policy is to have strong ships, well-armed vessels, at the principal ports, where they could come inside, get their coal and provisions, and go outside and fight?
Mr. Ludlow. Yes; and not to allow our territory to be hurt. It is not so much offense as defense.
The Chairman. When you get up in the country about Puget Sound where they have large military and naval establishments on Vancouver Island, or Victoria Island, wherever it is, you would find difficulty there unless you stationed your ships inside the sound?
Mr. Ludlow. Yes; but we have some 8,000,000 or 9,000,000 men in the United States, and we could have 1,000,000 men over there in no time. They would lose that in thirty days.
The Chairman. That is to say, the land forces would go out?
Mr. Ludlow. Yes; we could get them across.
The Chairman. In that case, then, your reliance would be upon the land forces and not upon the navy?
Mr. Ludlow. We would have to be there to see that they got there safely. They have to have vessel transportation.
The Chairman. You seem to think that we have little need of a navy, more modern fighting ships, except of the cruising class.
Mr. Ludlow. Oh, no; battle-ship class.
The Chairman. You prefer those?
Mr. Ludlow. We need them both. If a man has certain work to do he wants proper tools to work with. They work together.
The Chairman. Can you name the ports on the Atlantic where you think these battle ships should be stationed to meet the ships of another nation, say British ships?
Mr. Ludlow. You can count those ports very readily because the depth of water comes in. There are several ports on the coast of Maine. Portland is probably the principal one. There is another at Portsmouth, N. H., where we have a naval station. Then you come down, and, although Boston is not a safe port to get into under all the circumstances with a heavy-draft ship, yet it is of great importance that that port should be defended. Then there is New York, of course, and the mouth of the Delaware.
The Chairman. And Newport?
Mr. Ludlow. Yes; you have Newport.
The Chairman. Any other places?
Mr. Ludlow. You could mention many harbors up there that have sufficient draft of water for these ships to enter, but other ports could be looked out for with lighter draft ships.
The Chairman. Going on the same principle you would have ships with sufficient power at the entrance of these principal bays on the Atlantic, the Gulf, and Pacific to fight foreign ships as they came in at each of these places?
Mr. Ludlow. They would have to be in a position to be easily gathered together.
The Chairman. Would it not be a little difficult to gather a fleet at particular points-say New York-to defend an attack by English vessels, if you had to bring them from the different ports of the Gulf and South Atlantic and Chesapeake, and so on, in order to meet a military or naval force from Great Britain?
Mr. Ludlow. You have got to move, no matter how the blow is to be struck.
The Chairman. It would be a risky operation?
Mr. Ludlow. Of course there would be some risk.
The Chairman. It would not be so much so if we owned the outside points, say the Bermudas?
Mr. Ludlow. They are near enough as an outpost, and sufficiently near to be supported.
The Chairman. As a naval defense you say that the Atlantic coast would not be so safe against the invasion of a foreign fleet without the possession of these different points that we are speaking of, as if we owned them?
Mr. Ludlow. It would be very much better if we owned them.
Senator Sherman. I would like to have you describe much more fully than has been done here the defense on Vancouver Island. I have been there, and know something about it, but I have not a knowledge of the geographical terms. What kind of fortifications or defenses have been established at Vancouver Island?
Mr. Ludlow. Not very many of them. They have been mounting some high-power modern guns there, I think not to exceed a half dozen, within the last two years. But they have a small naval station on a little harbor that they go into, and it has been principally directed to the defense of that.
Senator Sherman. How far is that from the city of Victoria?
Mr. Ludlow. It is 2 miles, or 2 1/2 miles as I remember it. I was there as a visitor only, a very short time.
Senator Sherman. Have the English any other fortifications or naval stations along the Pacific coast except that one? Is there any up in Canada, farther north?
Mr. Ludlow. No; that is the only one. They have their depot of supplies farther south, down to Coquimbo.
Senator Sherman. How far is Port Townsend from Victoria?
Mr. Ludlow. About 25 miles. You mean the strait where Puget Sound runs in?
Senator Sherman. Land to land-from Port Townsend across to the nearest land; in plain sight of it, is it?
Mr. Ludlow. Yes.
Senator Sherman. Do you think the channel is 10 miles?
Mr. Ludlow. Do you mean the strait?
Senator Sherman. Yes.
S. Doc. 231, pt 6----73
|Previous Page||Next Page|