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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY 1. Mission
The mission of the Department of the Navy is to maintain a naval establishment, ready for the performance of such duties as the President, who is Commander-in-Chief, may order. 2. History
The Department of the Navy was established April 20, 1798,8 before which time naval forces were supervised by the War Department. It has been reorganized by congressional authority+ and by the initiative of the Secretary of the Navy.
The Bureau of Construction, Equipment, and Repairs was established by the Act of August 31, 1842.4 "Equipment” was taken therefrom by the Act of July 5, 1862,4 when the Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting was created, and the earlier bureau was called the Bureau of Construction and Repair, as at the present time. The Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting became Bureau of Equipment in 1890, which was abolished by the Act of June 24, 1910.6
The Hydrographic Office was established in 1866, but the hydrographic and astronomical work for the Navy Department had begun in the Depot of Charts and Instruments, established in 1830. The Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography, now Bureau of Ordnance, was organized by the Act of August 31, 1842,4 and the Secretary directed, by order dated November 26, 1842, that the Depot of Charts and Instruments be attached to that bureau as its hydrographic branch. The Depot later became known as the United States Naval Observatory and Hydrographic Office, and was transferred to the Bureau of Navigation when it was created. The hydrographic and astronomical branches were separated when the present Hydrographic Office was created, 8 providing for cheap nautical charts, sailing directions, "navigators" and manuals of instructions for the use of vessels of the United States and for the benefit of navigators generally.
The Bureau of Medicine and Surgery was organized by the Act of August 31, 1842, supra.
The Nautical Almanac Office, provided for in 1849,9 was a distinct bureau. During 1859 and 1860 it was under the Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography; from 1862 to 1889 under the Bureau of Navigation; from 1890 to 1909 under Equipment as part of the Naval Observatory.
The Office of Naval Intelligence was established in 1882 as part of the Bureau of Navigation,10 and detached therefrom by order of the Secretary of the Navy December 1, 1909.
1R. S. § 417 (Comp. St. § 616). 2 Const. U. S. art. 2, & 2. 3 Act April 30, 1798 (1 Stat. 553). 4 Act Aug. 31, 1842 (5 Stat. 579 [Comp. St. $ 622]); Act July 5, 1862 (12 Stat. 510). 6 Effective December 1, 1909. 6 36 Stat. 613. 7 Act July 5, 1862 (12 Stat. 510). 8 Act June 21, 1866 (14 Stat. 69 (Comp. St. 88 656, 658, 660]). 9 Act March 3, 1849 (9 Stat. 375).
The Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography, created by the Reorganization Act of August 31, 1842,4 supra, became the Bureau of Ordnance in 1862," when the Bureau of Steam Engineering also came into being.
The Bureau of Provisions and Clothing, established by the Act of August 31, 1842,4 supra, became the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts under the Paymaster General of the Navy.11
The Bureau of Yards and Docks was established by the Act of August 31,
In 1880 the President was authorized to appoint an officer of the Navy or Marine Corps to perform the duties of Solicitor and Judge Advocate General,12 from which office certain duties were transferred to the office of the Solicitor of the Navy Department upon its creation in 1908.13
Prior to 1845, various efforts had been made by the Navy Department for the instruction of midshipmen in naval science, etc., and several small schools had been conducted in different places, the principal ones being at Boston, New York, Norfolk, and one in connection with the Naval Asylum at Philadelphia. These were finally consolidated to form the Naval School, which was formally opened at Annapolis, Md., October 10, 1845.
Under a reorganization which went into effect July 1, 1850, the name was changed to Naval Academy, and the institution was placed under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography, immediate supervision being exercised, as before, by a superintendent. Provision was also made for a board of visitors to inspect the school annually and to report upon its condition to the Secretary of the Navy. The Academy was removed to Newport, R. I., in May, 1861, and returned to Annapolis in the summer of 1865 by act approved May 21, 1864. When the Bureau of Navigation was established, July 5, 1862, the Academy was placed under its jurisdiction. On March 1, 1867, it was placed under the direct supervision of the Navy Department, the administrative routine and financial management being still conducted through the Bureau of Navigation. On March 11, 1869, this official connection with the bureau ceased, but was renewed by a general order of the Navy Department issued June 25, 1889.14
The Naval War College at Newport was established by Navy Department General Order 325, October 6, 1884, and was transferred to the control of different bureaus in 188815 and 1890,16 and in 1885 occupied its present site on Coaster's Harbor Island. 17
4 Act Aug. 31, 1842 (5 Stat. 579 [Comp. St. 8 622]); Act July 5, 1862 (12 Stat. 510). 7 Act July 5, 1862 (12 Stat. 510). 10 March 23, 1882. 11 Act July 19, 1892 (27 Stat. 236). 12 Act June 8, 1880 (21 Stat. 164). 13 Act May 22, 1908 (35 Stat. 218).
14 See Historical Sketch of the Naval Academy, prepared for Department of Education, International Exhibition, Philadelphia, Jas. R. Soley, 1876.
15 Act Sept. 7, 1888 (25 Stat. 459 [Comp. St. § 2553]). 16 Act June 30, 1890 (26 Stat. 190).
17 See Rear Admiral Stephen B. Luce, “U. S. Naval War College,” in the U. S. Naval Institute Proceedings, vol. 36, No. 2, June, 1910, and No. 3, Sept. 1910.
The first appointment of an officer in charge of "Library and War Records” was made June 9, 1882, soon after which there was an appropriation for the department library.18
The compilation of naval war records was then begun and successive specific appropriations have since been made therefor. While the clerical force of the Library and of the Naval War Records Office are appropriated for separately, the two have always been under one head and are practically one office, under the name “Office of Library and Naval War Records." Although the word "Naval" has been used from the first to distinguish this office from the office in charge of Army war records, it was not regularly included in the name until about 1890. This office was under the Bureau of Navigation from its establishment until October 21, 1889, when it was transferred by order of the Secretary to the Secretary's Office.
After 1830, when the Department of Charts and Instruments was established, the duties of the officers of the department included the careful rating of all Navy chronometers by means of astronomical observations. In December, 1854, the Secretary of the Navy directed that the institution be styled United States Naval Observatory and Hydrographic Office, and it was known as such until the establishment in 1866 of the Hydrographic Office, after which the hydrographic and astronomical branches of the work were definitely separated. Since 1866, the official name has been United States Naval Observatory.
When the Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography, now Bureau of Ordnance was organized under Act Aug. 31, 1842,4 the Secretary of the Navy, by an order dated November 26, 1842, directed that the Depot of Charts and Instruments be attached to that bureau as its hydrographic branch. Under another act of reorganization passed July 5, 1862,4 the Depot and Observatory, by that time known as United States Naval Observatory and Hydrographic Office, was detached from the Bureau of Ordnance and transferred to the newly organized Bureau of Navigation. The Hydrographic Office was separated from the Observatory, as noted above, in 1866, and the latter, now known as Naval Observatory, was transferred to the Bureau of Equipment July 1, 1889. It was transferred to the Bureau of Navigation July 1, 1910, by changes in Navy Regulations, 1909, No. 11, issued by Secretary of Navy June 27, 1910, in pursuance of Naval Appropriation Act June 24, 1910,19 which abolished the Bureau of Equipment.
The Marine Corps was established in 1798.20
(a) The Secretary of the Navy.—The Secretary of the Navy, as the executive head of the Navy Department,21 is charged with the supervision and administration of all naval activities and operations, afloat and ashore, under the general or special instructions of the President as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. He causes to be prepared the departmental budget based upon the esti
4 Act Aug. 31, 1842 (5 Stat. 579 [Comp. St. § 622]); Act July 5, 1862 (12 Stat. 510). 18 Act Aug. 5, 1882 (22 Stat. 243). 19 36 Stat. 613. 20 Act July 11, 1798 (1 Stat. 594). 21 R. S. & 415 (Comp. St. § 610).