Alaska 200 Letters Fishery Exploration Ship Captain 1898 Archive For SaleAlaska 200 Letters Fishery Exploration Ship Captain 1898 Archive
Steamer Albatross Spanish American WarThis is a fantastic letter copybook of over 200 letters from Lt Commander Jefferson Moser of the Steamer Albatross.He was a part of the US Commission of Fish and Fisheries as an expedition to Alaska, California and the Pacific Ocean.There are several letters dealing with the beginning of the Spanish American War, which the ship was being retained to be a part of.Many are typed and some are handwritten and all are signed.They are from 1897-1898 and have great content throughout.They say in part:We have finished work in the vicinity of San Diego and came up here yesterday.I was outside two days with the vessel dredging and fishing and can’t say that we were very successful.Parameter started for Mare Island Sunday and Ensign McLean reported on Saturday…When we returned to San Diego on Saturday we were much surprised at the startling preparations for war.We learned that the Coast Survey vessels had been laid up, officers detained, and we wondered whether it was our turn next.Sunday and Monday it looked more quiet but at this long range I hardly see how war can be prevented unless Spain takes a decided back step…I don’t want to give up this job and learn afterwards that there will be no war, and yet I feel that I should be on hand in the East when hostilities commence…Naturalist trained to the collecting and scientific work an assistant who also acted as photographer, and a Fishery Expert who was a practical fisherman and knew all the methods of practical fishing.The gentleman filling the place of naturalist, Mr Townsend, was promoted, and the position filled by an office man who never saw and never expects to see the ship…Last summer on the salmon investigations fearing that the work would not be done as I wanted it.I did a large part myself, the result is such a great mass of material that I have been all winter digesting it and even now for want of time I have cut many things so as to finish up…Please regard yourself detached from duty on board this vessel and proceed to San Francisco and thence to Honolulu taking passage in the steamer sailing from San Francisco on April 6th, 1898.Upon your arrival at Honolulu, report to the Commander in Chief of the Pacific Station for duty on board the USS Mohican…I send you herewith the record of Tides taken in Alaska last season by this vessel.These comprise the only tidal observations made for record in afew other instances we accepted the nearest Coast Survey reductions in correcting our soundings…Orders received from Commissioner to land equipment not necessary for naval purposes…I have the honor to report that I have been directed by US Commissioner of Fishery and Fisheries to remove and store all laboratory, fishing and dredging and other scientific outfit of this vessel not required for naval purposes and then to turn the vessel over to you for naval purposes….Mr A.B. Alexander agent of the Fish Commission at San Francisco with whom I have been directed to confer concurs in the opinion expressed in this letter…As this vessel has been transferred to the regular Naval Services and will therefore not make the intended cruse in Alaskan waters this coming summer, I beg leave to inform you that the folding boats will now not be needed…Honorable John Brady, Governor of Alaska…During my recent visit to Sitka you seemed to take much interest in the salmon fisheries and I am sure depreciate the illegal fighting as much as any loyal subject possibly can.It has occurred to me that with the machinery at your hand it would be possible to ascertain what the reported condition of the different streams is through the Indians that visit Sitka…Does the stream carry Red, Cohoes, Humpback or Dog Salmon.What is the average value of the stream in numbers of salmon.Is the stream barricaded…There are many small streams on Baranof Island and Chichagof Island both on the outer coast and inside and known only to the Red Fish Bay Cannery and the Indians…I fancy next summer we may have difficulty with our men on account of the Klondike. We did not go to Chilkat until the last, my idea was if the men skipped there our work would not suffer, but we lost none…I am quite sure we could have gone to Dyea or Skaguay without losing a man, and I felt tempted to go but did not care to place myself in a position where I knew I would be appealed to by a lot of impecunious people to carry them out of the country…I hope you may remain and attend to the Omaha Exposition work as I hear the Naval Exhibit at Nashville was very creditable…The Albatross has been employed during the past summer in an examination of the salmon streams of Alaska and for this purpose succeeded in visiting all the canneries in operation south of the Bering Sea and many of the streams.Whilst we have accomplished more than I expected at the outset, yet remains to be done.We have however made a very good general reconnaissance and have a fair idea of the situation…Our work consists first of a very good reconnaissance of Hunters Bay and a good sketch of that blank space on the lower left hand corner of 8100.What is published there bears no resemblance to the real conditions.We have 30 or more miles of sketch work in that locality with geographical position of Hunters Bay.The work on the south and east sides of Prince of Wales Island is well, not good.I don’t say much about it and wouldn’t care to repeat this: Dewey Rock is out of position at least a mile.At Nichols Bay you would hardly recognize the entrance from the chart.I think I can read a chart pretty well but I was puzzled when we entered Nichols Bay with this vessel.At Kiawak we have an excellent reconnaissance from the head of the inlet to St Johns Island, in fact the essential features for entering by Buccarelli Sound.We have a good reconnaissance of Red Fish Bay…In Prince William Sound we have a good large sheet covering Orca and Odia bordering the Copper River delta.On the island of Kadiak we have Kariuk, two bays in Uyak, and the lower part of Uganuk and we have a large sheet of a portion of Chignik Bay….We took on board a big load of coat at Comox and arrived here with full bunkers.I should like very much to make that laboratory storeroom change turning a portion of it into a bunker this winter if you have $1000 to spare…This includes our docking and repairs at Tacoma, some paints and other material for repairs, pilots pay in fact the total expenditure and we have our bunkers full now.I don’t like to go to sea with too heavy a deck load.I am always a little afraid of straining the decks, particularly over the wardroom…If you know Stoney’s plan for relieving Arctic Whaling Fleet wire me immediately your idea of its feasibility.I must answer today…In 1889 Sanborn and Ellmore of Astoria built a cannery at Fresh Water Bay under the name of the Astoria and Alaska Packing Co made a pack in 89 and 90 moved to Point Ellis in 91 made a pack that year and cannery burst in 93…Last night we liberated from this vessel and her boats along the shore and about 1 mile from the shore on the NE Side of the SE Parollon, 223 adult female lobsters in spawn and 41 adult male lobsters and a few tautog…I believe that along the shores of SE Alaska will be found conditions more nearly akin to those on the New England coast clear clean rocks and ledges covered with kelp that will afford hiding places from the numerous pelagic forms that prey upon this crustacean.If we are to return to SE Alas next Spring and it is convenient to ship a few lobsters to Puget Sound.I should be very glad to try the experiment of making a plant there.I believe it would be successful…By direction of Captain JJ Brice, US Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries I beg to send herewith fourteen blue prints of reconnaissances and sketches made by the officers of the Albatross during the last summer whilst engaged upon Alaska salmon investigations…Your study of the Alaska salmon and your practical work in their propagation entitled your opinion to a just consideration.We have during the past summer visited all the Alaska canneries outside of Bering Sea and many of the lakes and streams.Yet I feel that we have only commenced the work and I am more and more conscious how little we know of these fish…I am somewhat can doubt about certain data relating to the Chignik Bay canneries which I would thank you to verify.On reliable authority it is stated that in 1890 the three Chignik Bay canneries combined…It is also stated that the Chignik Bay Company’s cannery was built by the Fishermen’s Packing Company of Astoria and the Alaska Packing Company of Nushagak, that the Shumagin was built by Portland Capital and the Chignik Bay Packing Company by San Francisco Capital…We are a good deal in the dark here about the probable war but on Saturday thinks looked warlike, I am ready for anything anywhere all I ask is sufficient notice to close up my affairs properly…The Coast survey vessels are laid up but I fancy in the event of hostilities that the Albatross would be armed and retained for regular service…Be sure to add me to your favorites list!
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