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(No. 27.]

NAVY DEPARTMENT, Washington, December 14, 1908.

TO PURCHASE CERTAIN LANDS IN NEIGHBORHOOD OF NAVAL

ACADEMY, ANNAPOLIS,

Sir: The reason for the department's request that certain lands be purchased in the neighborhood of the Naval Academy rifle range may be briefly stated as follows:

The only available land belonging to the Government on which a range could be established is on the opposite side of the Severn River from the academy grounds. This piece of land will not permit a range of more than 800 yards. (See "A," on accompanying sketch plan.)

Within the past few years a rifle range has been built upon this land, at a total expense of about $40,000. It has been possible to use this in firing up to 1,000 yards by hiring a small piece of private land (from the Hunter farm) in the rear of the firing line, which is on the borders of the government property. This arrangement was very

. undesirable, because while using the 1,000-yard range all firing at other distances had to be discontinued, thus causing great loss of time-a matter of importance where so many hundred midshipmen have to be trained. The owners of this land (Hunter farm) now refuse to rent it for this purpose or to sell the part we had been using. The range has therefore been developed as an 800-yard range.

By the use of this range the midshipman's knowledge of small-arms firing has been very greatly increased, and this knowledge has been of great benefit in increasing the efficiency of the enlisted men of the service. As an example of the knowledge acquired by the midshipmen, it may be stated that the report of the captain of the rifle team of the Atlantic Fleet specifies that the excellent records made by our teams over those of Australia and New Zealand were due to the expert coaching of several midshipmen recently received from the Naval Academy

It has been possible to use the Naval Academy range in the manner above indicated only because certain property, lying in front of the range and beyond the butts, has been practically unoccupied. This property is known as Greenbury Neck (see C on sketch plan). Frequently bullets fired from the Naval Academy range escape past the butts (D) and land on this neck. The owners of the property, represented by Theodore Corner, of Annapolis, have notified the Navy Department that it is proposed to sell Greenbury Neck for building sites for summer residences. If this is done, it will of course necessitate the entire abandonment of the Naval Academy range, as an injunction would be issued to prevent firing.

Not only would this range have to be abandoned for the above reason, but rifle practice would have to be discontinued at the academy, because there is no other land in the vicinity which is suitable for a range except lands that are already occupied, and which would require extensive leveling and improvements before a range could be built, and the first cost of such land would be several times that of the property it is proposed to purchase.

By reason of the limits of the land now occupied by the range, it is impossible to carry out practice beyond 800 yards, and the range is of such small capacity that even the limited amount of firing that can be allowed each midshipman consumes much more time than would be necessary with an adequate range.

As it is very desirable to increase these facilities and to establish a 1,000-yard range, because such ranges are used in all competitions, it is further recommended that the piece of land immediately adjacent to the academy range (see B, on sketch plan), and belonging to the Corner estate, also be purchased.

The purchase of these two pieces of land (B and C) will insure the permanence of the Naval Academy range, will permit the establishment of a 1,000-yard range, and will greatly increase the capacity for rapid and efficient training, which is now very desirable on account of the large number of midshipmen at the Academy and the comparatively small amount of time that can be devoted to small-arms practice.

The purchase of the property indicated above would cost much less than would be necessary to purchase and equip a range elsewhere in the neighborhood, and such a range would be much less accessible and its use would therefore involve much loss of time.

Mr. Theodore Corner informs the department that all of the land in question must be sold in the immediate future in order to settle up the estate. It is therefore probable that it can now be bought at 8 less price than after it has been sold to other persons for residential purposes.

As the acquisition of Greenbury Neck is necessary only for the reason that if owned and built upon by private parties it would force the department to abandon rifle practice at the academy, it follows that this purpose would be accomplished if we could purchase that portion of the Neck which lies south of the line from D to E, but as the owners of the property will not sell this portion of it alone, it is recommended that the whole Neck be bought, particularly as the portion D E G is but a small part of the whole, 180 acres. Very respectfully,

TRUMAN H. NEWBERRY,

Secretary The CHAIRMAN COMMITTEE ON NAVAL AFFAIRS,

House of Representatives.

NAVY DEPARTMENT,

Washington, January 8, 1909. SIR: Referring to the item of $75,000 for the purchase of land for the extension of the present rifle range near Annapolis for use of the midshipmen at the Naval Academy, submitted in the estimates of the Navy Department for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1910, and to the letter of the Secretary of the Navy to the chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs, House of Representatives, dated December 14, 1908, the department has the honor to invite the attention of the committee to the following copy of a letter from Mr. Theodore S. Corner, in regard to the purchase by the Government of the Greenberry Point land:

DECEMBER 28, 1908. Captain BADGER,

U. S. Naval Academy. Sır: In reference to a reduction to the purchase inoney for the land adjoining the range, I will say it was with reluctance that the other heirs consented to my offering the land to the Government for the same figures that we did last year, viz, $75,000; and it was only with the promise that if it was not accepted by the Government at this session of Congress I would consent to a division of the estate. We do not consider the price exorbitant, as the adjoining farm on the river can not be bought for $1,000 an acre.

The division of the estate will necessitate the working of the land in front of the range which has been in hay and has ceased to be profitable in other crops which require constant cultivation.

THEODORE S CORNER, Executor. Attention is respectfully invited to the fact that the active cultivation of this land in front of the Naval Academy rifle range, which Mr. Corner states will follow failure by Congress to appropriate at this session for its purchase, will render further use of the rifle range impracticable, in the same manner as would its division into villa sites for residential purposes, which was formerly in contemplation. Very respectfully,

TRUMAN H. NEWBERRY,

Secretary. CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE ON NAVAL AFFAIRS,

House of Representatives.

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[No. 28.)

NAVY DEPARTMENT,

Bureau of Ordnance, Washington, December 15, 1908.

1

REDUCTIONS IN ESTIMATES UNDER RITREAU OF ORDNANCE.

Sir: Referring to the promise made in my hearing before the Naval Committee, and also my talk with you

1. I have to inclose herewith memorandum concerning certain reductions in the estimates, which can be made without serious embarrassment to the bureau, if reductions must be made.

2. The estimates as submitted were all considered very necessary for properly carrying on the ordnance work of the navy; but if we can not have all that we ask for, it is suggested that the reductions be made as set forth in the memorandum inclosed.

3. I had a talk with the Secretary concerning furniture, and he authorized me to say that it could remain in the appropriation, modified so as to be furniture for naval magazines, Naval Proving Ground and Naval Torpedo Station," leaving out navy-yards and naval stations. Respectfully,

N. E. MASON,

Chief of Bureau of Ordnance. Hon. GEORGE EDMUND Foss, Chairman House Committee on Naval Affairs,

House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.

MEMORANDUM.

In regard to ordnance estimates for 1910, relative to items which can be reduced with a minimum of embarrassment: “Small arms and machine guns," $691,450. By using the old Krags for

training stations, auxiliaries, torpedo vessels, etc.-in fact for all vessels that have no landing force--this may be reduced from the amount estimated to $435,000; a reduction of....

$256, 450 “Small-arms ammunition," included under the estimate for “Ammu

nition for ships of the navy and for reserve," $478,500, may be reduced by about one-half, to $250,000; a reduction of...

228, 500 (The reduction of this amount is contingent on the suggested reduction under “Replacing small arms.")

(Note.-See also page 2, “Ammunition for ships of the navy and for reserve,”' a reduction of $1,000,000 under“Reserve ammunition," making the total reduction under the estimate for “ammunition” of $1,228,500.) 77013-09-50

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