MINE PLANTERS. The mine planter service in time of peace is organized for instruc tion purposes. In time of war the vessels of this service, together with such additional ves sels as may be obtained for this duty by the War Department, are assigned to the various coast defenses for service in planting mines. The vessels for this service are known as United States army mine planters, and when not assigned to coast artillery districts, coast defenses or to the Coast Artillery School, are under the control of the quartermaster-general of the army.
Upon arrival in a coast-defense command for the purpose of carrying out the instructions of the War Department, the commanding offi cer of a mine planter reports by telegraph to the coast artillery district commander and in person to the coast-defense commander. He retains command of his vessel, hut the planter becomes a part of the local submarine defense equipment of the coast-defense command. The planter is assigned, for instruction purposes, to the mine commands by the coast-defense com mander. The latter exercises general super vision over the mining instruction, and is held responsible that full advantage is taken of the presence of the planter for instruction purposes. i Except in case of emergency he does not use the mine planter, nor permit the use thereof, for any other purpose than for carrying out the instructions prescribed by the War Depart ment.
Whenever a mine planter leaves one coast defense command for another, or leaves for any locality outside the limits of a coast defense command for repairs or for other pur pose, the commanding officer of the planter telegraphs to the coast artillery district com mander his time of departure, and on arriving at his destination his time of arrival thereat. During the time mine planters are beyond the limits of a coast-defense command they are under the direct control and supervision of coast artillery district commanders. At such
times coast artillery district commanders have the same control over ,mine planters, as they have over other elements of the coast defenses, within the limits of their districts, respectively, subject to the requirements prescribed by the War Department.
Upon completion of the work in a coast defense command, the commanding officer of the vessel submits a report covering (1) in general terms the work done during the pres ence of the mine planter; (2) a statement of any unusual difficulties encountered; (3) the condition of the entire mine equipment in the coast-defense command (including both struc tures and material) and (4) any important recommendations. This report is submitted in triplicate to the coast-defense commander. Communications relating to the crew's equip ment and repairs are sent to the quartermaster general of the army.
On the last day of each month the com manding officer of the vessel forwards to the adjutant-general of the army, through military channels, an extract from the logbook, showing the movements of the vessel during the month; any unusual incidents, collisions, groundings or other accidents; assistance rendered other ves sels; dates of inspections and by whom;, also the quantity of coal consumed, in pounds, and the number of miles run each day; with the total coal and water consumption, number of mines planted, number of mines taken up, miles of multiple cable laid, miles of multiple cable taken up and miles traveled during the month. The shipping laws recited in the official log book of the Mercantile Marine of the Depart meet of Commerce govern so far as they may be applicable to mine-planting boats and are not in conflict with army regulations and orders of the War Department.
When engaged in planting or taking up mines a lifeboat is kept in readiness for immediate launching. EDWARD S. FARROW, Consulting Military and Civil Engineer.