Regulations for the government of the United States Navy (1865)

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Section 6.

Officers Commanding Steam Vessels.

382 When an officer shall be appointed to the command of a steam-vessel, he is to observe carefully the following directions, in addition to those prescribed in the next preceding section, relating to "Officers Commanding Vessels."

383 He is to use all possible diligence to make himself acquainted with the principles and construction of the engines, the intention and effect of the various parts of the machinery, the time the engines were constructed, the repairs they may have undergone, the period when the last repairs were made, and when the vessel last received new boilers.

384 As a material saving in the consumption of fuel may be produced by reducing the engine power, without reducing essentially the speed, and as occasions for this exercise of economy may frequently occur, he is to make himself acquainted with the principle and effect of the expansion of steam, and to require that the expansion gear should at all times be brought into play when the engines are not worked up to their full power.

385 In order to ascertain the capabilities of the ship under his command, he is, as soon as he proceeds to sea, to make careful and repeated trials by using the steam expansively, under every variety of wind and weather, draught of water, and other circumstances, so as to be able at all times to apply the principle of expansion, according to the nature of the service on which he may be engaged, and to calculate with accuracy the number of days the ship can be under steam without being obliged to put into port for fuel.

386 Except for experiments ordered, (and which will be necessary only when the information cannot be obtained from reports of the performances and capabilities of the ship on former occasions,) he is most carefully to avoid getting up, or keeping up the steam, in any case where the use of the sails alone would enable him to perform, in a satisfactory manner, the duty on which he is engaged. For the slightest neglect of this part of his instructions he will be held rigidly responsible.

387 As to the use of sails, either with or without the use of steam, or as to moderating the steam when running head to wind and sea, each Commanding Officer must be guided by his own judgment, but with the understanding that he must be prepared to justify every expenditure of fuel for steaming purposes, if called upon to do so. His judgment will necessarily be based upon a consideration of the urgency and nature of the service to be performed, of the wind and weather, and upon the difficulties of the navigation, and the qualities of the vessel; but he is to take care, first, that steam is not used at all when the service can be equally, or nearly, as well performed without it; secondly, that sail is never dispensed with when it can be employed to advantage to assist the steam; and, thirdly, that full steam power is never employed, unless in chase, or absolutely necessary, the cause for which must be reported to the Department in writing,

388 He is carefully to inform himself of the usual daily consumption of coals, and to obtain all information in regard to the most economical and efficient use of the engines and their appendages.

389 To prevent accidents by spontaneous combustion, he is to order the greatest care to be observed that the coals are not taken on board when wet, and that when on board they are kept as dry as possible. When a fresh supply is received, he is to direct that those remaining in the coal-bunkers be, as far as practicable, so stowed as to be used first.

390 He is, before leaving the port where the vessel was fitted, to cause all the spare gear belonging to the engines and machinery to be taken on board, and he is to land no part of it at any port where he may touch, without the written authority of the Commanding Officer of the station, or of the Commander of the squadron to which he belongs.

391 Whenever he joins his Commanding Officer after separation, or when he arrives at any port where there is a superior officer in command, he shall report the number of hours the vessel was under steam and under sail, and the circumstances which rendered the use of steam necessary.

392 When practicable, he shall, before going to sea, cause the boilers to be filled with fresh water.

393 He will direct the Engineer to have the flues, chimneys, and boilers cleaned whenever it maybe necessary, and when repairs or cleaning are required for the engines or boilers, they are to be made, as far as practicable, by the engineers, firemen, and coal-heavers of the vessel.

394 He shall take care that the proper lanterns, to prevent collision at sea, be kept in good order and always lighted at night, except when it may be expedient to conceal all lights.

395 He is to have the force-pumps, hose, and all other means for extinguishing fires, kept constantly in order and ready for immediate use; and he is to require the utmost care to be taken at all times in the storage of stores, the use of lights and fires, and in the adoption of all other precautionary measures to prevent danger from fire.

396 He shall examine the steam-log daily, and if satisfied of its correctness, sign it every month, or oftener, should the vessel in the mean time arrive at any port.

397 The Commander of the vessel shall transmit to the Bureau of Steam Engineering, by the first safe opportunity after the close of the months of March, June, September, and December, a fair copy of the steam log-book for the preceding quarter, and whenever a steamer is placed in ordinary, for the period which has not been previously transmitted.

398 He will require the steam-engineers to conform to the orders of the officer of the deck for the time being; but they are not, except in cases of great emergency, to be ordered to perform other duties than those immediately connected with the preservation, repair, management, or suppling of the engines and their dependencies.

399 He will cause the engineers, firemen and coal-heavers, to be arranged in watches, and, when on watch, they are to be under the immediate direction of the senior engineer of the watch, and are not to be ordered on other duties than those connected with the engines, boilers and their dependencies, except in cases of emergency, and then the engineer on duty is to be informed, that he may adopt all necessary precautions.

400 He will cause the senior Engineer to submit for his approval, watch, fire, quarter, and cleaning bills, showing the specific duties of the engineers, firemen, and coal-heavers.

401 He will require the senior engineer on board to examine daily the engines and their dependencies, and all parts of the vessel which are occupied by them, or by stores for their use, and to report them to the Executive Officer for inspection ; to make immediate report, should any defector danger be discovered ; to give timely notice to the Commander of the vessel of the probable wants of his department, and whenever articles are received for it, to carefully examine if they are of proper quality, and report any which, in his opinion, may be objectionable.

402 He will make such regulations with regard to leave onshore that the ship will never be left without the services of an experienced engineer. He will cause a full engineer watch to be kept constantly whenever the fires are lighted, and take care that one engineer at least, with a suitable number of firemen and coal-heavers, are always on watch, even though the ship may be at anchor and the fires hauled.

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