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Jersey City And Its Historic Sites

By Harriet Phillips Eaton
Published 1899

This Web version, edited by GET NJ

Naval Militia

The Naval Militia of New Jersey was organized in the spring of 1895. The members are largely from Jersey City, Newark and Hoboken. The Navy Department allowed them the old man-of-war, the Portsmouth, which had been dismantled and consigned to "Rotten Row." The Jersey sailors have fitted her up with masts and rigging and again she is fit to go to sea and has become once more a school to turn out thorough going seaman. In addition to the yearly cruise on the Portsmouth, the militia have drills, inspections, etc., on board other men-of-war. In 1897 these drills were aboard the Maine off Tompkinsville, and from the official report of the Board of Naval officers to inspect them, the following data is taken:
The Battalion of the East:
Fifteen commissioned officers; eight chief petty officers; one hundred and eighty-six officers and enlisted men.

The commander, executive officer and navigator are elected by majority vote of all the commissioned officers; the adjutant, ordinance officer, paymaster, surgeon and assistant surgeon are appointed by the commander; the divisional officers are elected by the men of their divisions. Three of the commissioned officers are graduates of the Naval Academy. Another passed two years and seven months at the Naval Academy; and two are from the merchant service.

The state appropriations average about $7,500 and the balance of the fund needed has been contributed by the citizens and by the members of the battalion.

The armament consists of: Main battery; eleven 8 inch Dahlgreen M. L. smooth bore ; one converted Parrott B. L. R. Secondary battery; one 1 pounder Hotchkiss Repeating Rifle, mark II; two 3 inch B. L. R. (Navy Howitzer 350 pounds); one Gatling, long. Of the guns, all the secondary have field carriages. Boat mounts are to come out of the U. S. appropriations. Small arms : 200 Lee rifles, 2d model; 45 calibre and accoutrements; 150 Navy revolvers; 150 cutlasses; 150 belts, boxes and frogs.

"The boats include: 1 steam cutter, 3 cutters, 2 whale-boats, 1 gig, and 2 dinghy. The signal outfit consists of the International Code, Navy numerals and wigwag flags. The uniforms of the officers are similar to those worn in the regular Navy and that of the petty officers and men of the Navy pattern.

Tents are furnished when required by the Quartermaster of the state. The battalion owns a complete outfit of mess gear. Drills and exercises on board ship: Seamanship, compass, log line, boats, signals, ship routine and discipline. On shore: Infantry, artillery, signalling.

The men of the Engineers' division have technical instruction at Stevens' Institute, on steamers of regular lines running out from New York, and in operating and caring for the steam plant on board of the Portsmouth.

On several occasions the Battalion of the East has won praise and distinction in public parades, and during the present year have acquitted themselves with honor in the war with Spain. Among the first volunteers to be called into service last spring five of their men had charge of a signal station at Barnegat. Detailed to the Badger they took part in blockading duty off Cuba, where for several days the Badger was the flag ship. The Badger is the only ship manned by Naval Militia that captured any prize, and the Jersey boys are very proud of their record, having captured three.

Table of Contents

Jersey City History
Your Ancestors' Story
Asbury Park
Bruce Springsteen's Jersey Shore Rock Haven!

The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and The Central Railroad Terminal
Visit Liberty State Park!

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297 Griffith St.
Jersey City, NJ 07307