There are now under construction for our navy three vessels of an entirely new class, which are expected to prove a very serviceable type. These. are the scout cruisers “Birmingham” and “Salem,” building at Fore River, and the “Chester,” building at the Bath Iron Works. As they are not designed to do any fighting, except in an emergency, the effort of the designers has been to make them fast and thoroughly seaworthy. To this end they are provided with a lofty forecastle deck; and although they are but of 3,750 tons displacement, they are being fitted with engines of 16,000 horse-power, with which they must develop a speed of 24 knots. With a view to obtaining data as to the relative efficiency of the three types of engine, the “Birmingham” is being fitted with twin-screw reciprocating engines, the “Chester” with four-screw Parsons turbines, and the “Salem” with twin-screw turbines of the Curtis type. The armament consists of twelve 3- inch rapid-fire guns and two 21-inch submerged torpedo tubes. One excellent feature of these boats is the large coal supply, of 1,250 tons, which is expected to give them a radius of action larger than that of contemporary scouts of other navies. fill with water; but the commander-in-chief may find imposed upon him the consideration: Where should we flll with coal, and to what extent beyond the bunker capacity, in order to make the successive coalings, and the necessary stretches from point to point, most easy and most rapid? What distribution of these operations will make the total voyage shortest and surest? What anchorages may be available outside neutral limits, should neutral states consider coal renewal and other THE TRUE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PACIFIC CRUISE. (Continued from, page 407.) on a speed trial with picked coal and firemen, but that which loses no time because it never misses opportunity. At the end, when he came off Brest, out of the dozen ships with him, all but two were turned over to the admiral there commanding, ready for any call ; to blockade or to fight. Of the two, one, worn out structurally, he had retained from the first chiefly because of her value as a fighting unit, due to an exceptional captain; the other, his own flagship, had been over two years from a home port, yet within a month of arrival sailed again for his last battle. Compared to these its antecedents, Trafalgar is relatively a small matter. The example is for all time. Incidental conditions have changed since then, but the essential problem remains. Steamers may not find in a calm, or in an unprofitable head wind, the propitious moment for clearing a storeship, or running into a near port to Displacement, 3,20 tons. Speed, knots. Bunker Capacity, 700 tons. Armor: Deck, inch on flat, 1 inch to 2 inches on slopes. Armament: Ten 5-inch R. F.; eight 6-pounders : two 1-pounders; four Colts ; one 3-inch field gun. Complement, 293. SEMI-PROTECTED CRUISER “ DES MOINES.” ALSO “ CLEVELAND,” “ CHATTANOOGA,” “DENVER,” “GALVESTON,” AND “TACOMA." refreshment an operation of war not to be permitted within their jurisdiction? What choice is there among these anchorages, for facility due to weather? If driven to coal at sea, where will conditions be most propitious? For concrete instances: How much of the wide and shoal estuary of the La Plata is within neutral jurisdiction? Is the well-known quietness of the Pacific between Valparaiso and the equator such that colliers can lie alongside while the ships hold their course? If so, at what speed can they move? Then the mere operation of transferring the coal, or other stores, under any of these circumstances Is done more rapidly the second time than the flrst; and the third than tile second. At what points of the voyage should additional colliers join, having reference, not only to the considerations above mentioned, but also to the ports whence they sail, that the utmost of their cargo may go into the fleet and the least be expended for their own steaming? It is always well to consider the worst difficulties that may be met. From the north tropic on the one side to the same latitude on the other, the whole voyage of an American fleet will be in foreign waters, except when on the ocean common. Upon what hospitality can It count in war? I hold it to be impossible that a fleet under a competent commander-in-chief and competent captains—not to mention the admirable junior official staff of our navy, of highly trained officers in the prime of life—can make the proposed voyage once, even with the advantages of peace, without being better fitted to repeat the operation in war. No amount of careful pre-arrangement in an office takes the place of doing the thing itself. It is surely a safe generalization, that no complicated scheme of action, no invention was ever yet started without giving rise to difficulties which anxious care had failed to foresee. If challenged to point out the most useful lesson the fleet may gain, it may be not unsafe to say: its surprises, the unexpected. If we can trust press reports, surprise has already begun in the home ports. The fleet apparently has not been able to get ready as soon as contemplated. If so, it will be no small gain to the government to know the several hitches; each small, but cumulative. In my estimation, therefore, the matter stands thus : In the opinion of Sir Charles Dilke—than whom I know -no sounder authority, because while non-professional he has been for a generation a most accurate observer and appreciative student of military and naval matters —the United States navy now stands second in power only to that of Great Britain; but it is not strong enough to be divided between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. 2oth are part of a common country; both therefore equally entitled to defense. It follows inevitably that the fleet should be always ready, not only in formulated plan, but by acquired experience, to proceed with the utmost rapidity—according to the definition of mobility before suggested—from one coast to the other, as needed. That facility obtained, both Leh, 40 feet. Bam, 46 feet8 iInches. Trtal raft, 16 feet 10 incnes. Depth Amidship, 36 feet Cinches. Dlsplacement on TrITrIal, 3,750tons. Battery, twre 3-tachTorpedo Tubes, two submerged. Armor: Beck, inch, side, 2 inches. Horse Power, 16,00. Speed, 24 knots. Coal Sopply, tons. SCOUT CRUISER “ SALEM.” CLASS OF THREE SHIPS. coasts are defended in a military sense. By this I do not mean that an enemy may not do some flying injury—serious injury—but that no large operation against the coasts of the United States can prosper, unless the enemy command the sea; and that he cannot do, to any effect, if within three months a superior United States force can appear. Rodjestvensky took longer; but could he have smashed Togo, as Togo did him, what would have been the situation of Japan, for all the successes of the preceding fourteen months? Evidently, however, the shorter the transit from the Pacific to the Atlantic, the greater will be the power of the fieet for good; just as it would have been better if Rodjestvensky—assuming his success—had come before Port Arthur fell, or better still before its fieet was destroyed. Such mobility can be acquired only by a familiarity with the ground, and with the methods to be followed, such as Nelson by personal experience had of the Mediterranean and of the West Indies; of the facilities they offered, and the obstacles they presented. Such knowledge is experimental, gained only by practice. It is demonstrable, therefore, that the proposed voyage is in the highest degree practical; not only advisable, but imperative. Nor should it be a single spasm of action, but a recurrent procedure; for admirals and captains go and come, and their individual experience with them. Why not annual? The Pacific is as good a drill ground as the Atlantic. Paper from Peat. In the report of United States Consul R. S. S. Bergh, of Gothenburg, Sweden, it is announced that paper making from peat has been begun in Sweden on a commercial scale. A company capitalized at over a million has acquired possession of extensive peat bogs, and has prepared plans for mills to turn out wrapping paper and pasteboard. Although the money for the enterprise was largely put up in London, the process by which the vegetable fiber of the peat is to be turned into paper is covered by an American patent. It is claimed that the cost of a ton of paper worth $30 is but $15, leaving a more than satisfactory margin of profit. Further claim is made that but two hours are required to convert peat into paper. This process.
This article was originally published with the title "The Scout Cruiser “Salem” and Class"