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COOPERATION WITH GOVERNOR PARDEE.
Unfortunately several telegrams sent by me to his excellency George C. Pardee, Governor of California, and several from him to me were seriously delayed, which caused mutual misapprehension as to our relations and attitude. During a visit, April 27, which his excellency made to my headquarters at Fort Mason, the whole situation was thoroughly discussed by us, and this conference cleared up the situation to our mutual satisfaction. His excellency recognized that the military force under my control was to be handled purely as an adjunct to the civil authorities and in the interests of the tens of thousands of destitute and helpless people. The Governor was most generous in his appreciation of the efficient services of the army. He requested me, if it would be agreeable, to transmit to Gen. J. A. Koster, commanding the National Guard of California, copies of orders issued to the army, with a view of promulgating similar orders, which was done.
In all matters later discussed between us, his excellency invariably displayed a most courteous spirit. He was pleased to telegraph to the President that the Federal forces had been of estimable value, and later to commend the services of the army in his message to the extra session of the legislature of California. As a result the legislature, by senate concurrent resolution No. 4, June 12, 1906, expressed its appreciation of the services of the army in connection with the disasters to San Francisco in the following forms:
SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION, NO. 4.
Whereas the people of San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Rosa, and other cities, and, indeed, the whole State of California, owe much to the military forces of the United States and to the National Guard of California for their efficient services rendered since the disaster of April 18, 1906; and
Whereas it is fit and proper that recognition should be given in the most public manner and due acknowledgment made to the officers and men of both services of the debt of gratitude owed them by the State; and
Whereas commencing at an early hour on the morning of April 18 last and continuing down to this date the troops of the Regular Army, under the command of Maj. Gen. A. W. Greely and Brig. Gen. Frederick Funston, have been tireless in the work of preserving order, suppressing turbulence, administering relief to the sick and needy, and improving sanitary conditions; and
Whereas the troops of the Second Brigade of the National Guard of California were also on duty from an early hour of the first day of the great disaster, and the other brigades as soon as they could be transported to the points where they were most needed, under the command of Adjt. Gen. J. B. Lauck, were also on duty and continued on the faithful performance of duty until such time as their presence was no longer needed, and while a great city was in flames and hundreds of thousands of people had suddenly been rendered homeless the conduct of the officers and men of the National Guard was in the highest degree soldierly, efficient, and creditable: Be it
Resolved, That the people of the State of California, through its representatives in senate and assembly assembled, hereby makes public recognition of the grateful appreciation of the services rendered by the officers and men of the Regular Army and the National Guard in one of the greatest calamities that ever convulsed a brave, a resolute, and a resourceful people.
RELATIONS WITH THE NATIONAL GUARD OF CALIFORNIA.
His excellency Governor George C. Pardee had called upon the National Guard of California for service connected with the earthquake disaster. The entire force aggregated, it is believed, some three thousand men. In addition to a considerable force in Santa Rosa, in
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San Jose, and in Oakland, there was a brigade under the command of Brig. Gen. John A. Koster stationed in San Francisco, where, by an agreement with General Funston, they occupied the district bounded by Page, Fillmore, Pine, Van Ness avenue, Eleventh, Harrison, Sixteenth, and irregular line over the hill to K street, Eleventh avenue, H, and Stanyan streets.
Governor Pardee, in conference, expressed his willingness to place the Guard under my orders, which, however, I declined as being beyond the strict letter of the law. It further seemed advisable to decline to give them any orders even in emergency, but at the Governor's request, copies of all my general orders and circulars were furnished to General Koster. The delicacy of the situation was enhanced by the request on April 23 of Mayor Schmitz and the Citizens' Committee that the National Guard be withdrawn from the city, which was not, however, favorably received by Governor Pardee. The strictest policy of noninterference with the status or duties of the Guard was initiated and invariably followed. When once or twice, for mutual convenience, some rearrangement of the limits of the districts seemed advisable, the questions were adjusted by General Koster and my chief of staff, Capt. W. G. Haan.
The relations of General Koster with the commanders of contiguous military districts occupied by the Regular Army, with General Funston, the department commander, and with myself, were always of the most courteous and harmonious character. Some local feeling was aroused in the city against the Guard through the unfortunate fact that two San Franciscans, Frank Riordan and Joseph Meyers, were shot by members of the Guard on April 19.
The services of the Guard necessarily entailed hardships, through sacrifice of personal and material interests while on emergency duty. No doubt exists that the young men of the Guard were intelligent, well meaning, subordinate, and zealous. They were always judged by me from this standpoint, due consideration being given for their youthfulness and inexperience. This inexperience is alleged to have caused them to occasionally ignore municipal authority.
COOPERATION WITH MAYOR SCHMITZ.
The day after my return, his honor E. E. Schmitz, Mayor of San Francisco, was provided with office accomodations at my headquarters. During the ensuing week important measures connected with various phases of civil government and municipal affairs were discussed by us and put into operation. In order that there might be no misunderstanding as to the status under which the United States Army operated in San Francisco, the conditions of such service were carefully stated to his honor the Mayor. Concisely, the situation was defined as follows: In matters of purely military control, including the guarding of Federal buildings and property, my own orders and actions were supreme, these to be strictly military according to existing orders and Army Regulations.
As regarded what might be called nonmilitary duties, it was clearly set forth that the army was in San Francisco for the purpose of assisting the municipal authorities to maintain order, protect property, and especially to extend relief to the destitute and homeless.
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All operations in any of these directions were to be strictly confined to such methods and measures as might be either formulated or indorsed by the Mayor as necessary in the public interests. The army was expressly forbidden to seize stores or vehicles, and was ordered to refrain from interfering with private business or restricting personal liberty. Authority was granted to arrest only persons guilty of personal assaults, robbery, looting, or other serious offenses, and the persons so arrested were to be promptly turned over to the nearest police authority. Wherever the police were not in sufficient force to make arrests, or to maintain public order, the army was to assist them. In short, the military force was to be strictly subordinate to the civil authorities.
This declaration of the attitude of the army was most gratifying to Mayor Schmitz, who repeatedly expressed his appreciation therefor. It may be added that this line of policy was invariably adhered to from the day of my return. As a result there has never been any friction or dispute between the municipal and military authorities. Both worked to common ends; that is, the maintenance of public order, the protection of property, the conservation of personal rights, and especially the relief of the destitute and helpless.
From time to time, at the request of the Mayor, I signed with him joint proclamations on matters of public importance, where it was thought that the moral force of Federal authority would strengthen the decisions of his honor. Among these may be mentioned the following: Counseling wholesale and retail dealers to renew business, and assuring complete protection of property and freedom from impressment; suitable regulations regarding lights, the building of fires, the use of chimneys, the opening of safes, the observance of sanitary methods, the economical use of water, the operating of electric railways, the restoration of the electric-light system, and other similar matters as to which the abnormal condition of affairs demanded regulation or restriction.
Whenever the Mayor requested expert assistance in work of any kind—such as dynamiting, special inspection, etc.—details of officers and men were made with the distinct provisions that such operations should proceed under the specific direction of a suitable city official designated by the Mayor. It was particularly observed in the dynamiting of walls and buildings left by the fire in a condition believed to be dangerous to the public safety. In this connection, special injunctions to conservative action were given personally to the officers in charge of this work and on occasion a change was made in the personnel of the command thus employed, so as to insure the safest and most cautious action.
In addition to the ordinary relief work, and to furnish the highest professional talent on matters of importance, other officers were placed on special duty in the interests of engineering work and sanitation. Col. W. H. Heuer, Corps of Engineers, was charged with investigations regarding the water supply, electric lighting, electric railways, etc. Col. G. H. Torney, Medical Department, was authorized to serve on the health commission as an adviser regarding sanitary conditions in San Francisco.
Whenever modification of regulations was suggested or advice on public affairs was tendered by me to the Mayor, either verbally or
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in writing, such recommendations invariably received considerate and prompt action on the part of his honor. In turn all his requisitions upon me for aid or counsel were promptly and cheerfully granted.
It is most gratifying to report that not only has the most cordial and harmonious relations existed from the beginning until the present day between his honor the Mayor and myself, but that a similar spirit of harmony and consideration has marked the relations of subordinate officers and men of the army with the officials and employees of the city government. I have no knowledge directly or indirectly that any act of personal violence was committed by the police or by the army, either on each other or upon any civilian. Indeed, the total absence of quarrels during two months of joint service was surprising, since it would naturally be expected that differences would daily occur among thousands of men serving together, even if they were entirely of the army or of the police department.
It might not be improper to state that in my prolonged and intimate relations with his honor the Mayor I was strongly impressed by his fund of common sense, his appreciation of the situation, his regard for the public interests, and his freedom from acts of political or personal bias. In his strenuous and unremitting labors he seemed to have constantly at heart the interests of the community. Neither word nor act of discrimination emanated from him against or in favor of any race, sect, color, or nationality. his attitude with reference to liquor selling must have demanded unusual moral courage. Regardless of pressure and remonstrance from those financially interested, he adhered manfully to his original decisions to keep saloons closed until normal conditions were restored, to restrict the number of saloons, to insist on high licenses with rigid supervision, and particularly to eliminate the obnoxious grocery saloon.
On withdrawal of the army, the Mayor, under date of June 30, in a letter to the commanding general, Pacific Division, expressed himself regarding the services of the army as follows:
Now that you, with the Federal troops, are to withdraw from official connection with the management of the refugee camps in San Francisco, it gives me great pleasure in behalf of our stricken people to extend to you and through you to General Funston, the officers, and men under your control the sincere thanks and gratitude of a grateful community. As you state, the relations of the army with the citizens of San Francisco and also with the municipal officials have been most cordial and friendly. There has seemed to be but one spirit that prompted all engaged in this class of work, and that was the spirit of helping those in distress, irrespective of their former station, religion, or nationality.
The magnificent work which has been done by the United States Army under your control in the matter of taking care of our homeless and destitute should justly receive the commendation of all of our fair-minded citizens. It has been a great pleasure and personal privilege to have had the aid, during the trying times, of our national troops and has tended largely to the successful handling of the situation. I am pleased to note that there has not been one death caused by the regular soldiers, and, in fact, no serious disturbance or conflict of any kind. I am proud as an American to testify to the manly qualities exhibited on this occasion of the regular soldier, and of the high efficiency evidenced by the officers of the Army, and I am also proud to be Mayor not only of this great American city, but of a brave people who have established what is now known as "cheerful courage." This only proves what has been stated upon many occasions that the American people are equal to any and every emergency, and that the higher qualities of the American citizen come to the surface during great trials.
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CALL FOR TROOPS.
From the first I fully realized the importance of exact and comprehensive information as to the march of events, the trend of opinion, and particularly as to the movements and physical condition and needs of the homeless destitutes. A system was organized under Lieut. Col. John A. Lundeen, inspector-general, in which the city was divided into districts. Trained inspectors traversing them daily verbally spread the situation before me each evening. These full and intelligent reports made it possible for me to estimate the extent and importance of the situation, and especially to accurately foreshadow the unprecedented magnitude of future relief operations. Consulting with the commanding general of the Department of California, with my chief of staff and other competent officers, I was unanimously advised by them on April 23 that a force of 5,000 additional men was necessary to preclude possibility of unfavorable conditions. Had that number of troops been available they could have been utilized to great advantage, as subsequent events clearly indicated. I decided, however, to ask for 2,500 troops, with the intention of making the relief force entirely military, thus insuring at once efficiency, promptness, and ultimate economy by systemization and restriction. Although I was unaware that the transportation of these troops would be charged against the relief appropriation, yet no doubt exists that had they been promptly forwarded double the cost of their transportation would have been saved in food and relief supplies, which in the first emergency were scattered with a lavish generosity that continued in somewhat abated form until military control was complete. The exact terms of the joint resolution of Congress for relief purposes were officially known by me on April 28, to which day I necessarily acted on general information from the newspapers as to the conditions under which relief was sanctioned by law, if indeed at all. The Secretary of War was, however, kept fully informed of the line of operations adopted and followed by me.
SELECTED DETAILED OFFICERS.
On assuming supervision of relief issues on April 29 the necessity of an additional force became more pressing than ever. It had not as yet been practicable for the War Department to start troops asked for by me six days previously. Meanwhile conditions had so changed that any satisfactory adjustment of affairs demanded the speediest possible reenforcements. Realizing that selected officers could be more quickly secured than complete organizations, it was decided to change the form of the requisition for additional troops. On April 29, therefore, I telegraphed to the Secretary of War that the situation could be handled with 1,500 troops additional, provided that 45 selected officers, men of administrative ability, sound judgment, and physical energy, could be sent to San Francisco as the framework of a relief organization. These were to consist of 5 field officers and 40 captains or first lieutenants, and in connection therewith it was insisted that men without force, experience, or tact would be worse than useless. In addition to these detailed officers, there were also sent, on my requisition, additional officers of the Medical, Subsistence, and Quartermaster's departments. Certain other officers of staff
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departments and of the line who were present in San Francisco were pressed into service.
The entire force engaged on relief duty consisted of two general officers; the 1st and 14th Regiments of Cavalry; the 10th, 25th, 27th, 29th, 32d, 38th, 60th, 61st, 64th, 65th, 66th, 67th, 68th, 70th, and 105th Companies of Coast Artillery; the 1st, 9th, and 24th Batteries of Field Artillery; the 11th Battalion of Field Artillery (17th and 18th Mountain Batteries); the 10th, 11th, 14th, 20th, and 22d Regiments of Infantry; Companies C and D of the Corps of Engineers; Companies A and B of the Hospital Corps; Companies A, E, and H of the Signal Corps, and 168 staff, detailed, and retired officers, among whom were selected representatives from every corps of the Army, including volunteers from the retired list. To these were added a large force from the Navy, consisting of a command of blue jackets, a battalion of marines, and a force of naval apprentices.
This committee of 50, appointed by his honor the Mayor, was a body of extremely efficient men. Among them were ex-Mayor James D. Phelan, Horace Davis, M. H. De Young, J. F. Drum, G. W. McEnerney, W. F. Herrin, I. W. Hellman, H. E. Law, United States Judge W. W. Morrow, A. Pollok, Rudolph Spreckels, Collector of Port F. B. Stratton, and others, whose abilities and energies had been connected with the upbuilding of San Francisco. Now they gave their great powers of organization and administration in the way of counsel and activity on the most important questions connected with the relief work and restoration of normal conditions. They quickly organized, while the fire was still burning, a system of food relief, which was remarkably efficient, considering that it was administered by volunteers under conditions of confusion and chaos. Immediately on my return, under the chairmanship of Mayor Schmitz they met in my office for several days, in order to insure cooperation between the State, the municipal authorities, the people at large, and the army. At various times this conference was also attended by the Hon. Victor H. Metcalf, Secretary of Commerce and Labor; his excellency George C. Pardee, Governor of California; Mayor Mott, of Oakland; Dr. Edward T. Devine, special representative of the Red Cross; Mr. E. H. Harriman, and Gen. Frederick Funston. Policies and measures were often sharply discussed in executive session, but when a decision was reached the entire committee labored zealously and efficiently along the approved lines. Later the finance committee of the Citizens' Committee reorganized as a finance committee of the Red Cross, so as to insure most thorough cooperation with that relief organization.
RELIEF OPERATIONS IN SAN FRANCISCO.
The most important duty devolving upon the army apart from the stopping of the fire was the formation and administration of an adequate system of relief for the homeless and destitute people in San Francisco. For the first few days the conditions were such that fully 350,000 persons had to be fed. San Francisco is particularly a city where food supplies are obtained from day to day, and the destruction of all the wholesale and large retail stores in the city left its inhabitants practically without food other than that provided by
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the army or brought from neighboring towns, and even these transfers were accomplished with extreme difficulty owing to the entire absence of local transportation. Conditions can not be better emphasized than by the statement to me by a very prominent business man, a millionaire, that he was obliged to obtain his food for several days from the relief supplies, his family waiting their turn in line.
Although the Citizens' Relief Committee had organized an emergent volunteer system, yet it speedily realized that the proper maintenance and operation was beyond its power. I was asked on April 23, the first day, by the Mayor to take over this work, which I declined to do on the grounds that such action would be unwarranted by law. I added, however, that I would personally and officially assume any and all responsibilities if he could convince me that such a course was a civic duty imperatively demanded to prevent public suffering. The next day, April 24, a conference was held in my office and the situation thoroughly discussed. The Mayor, the Citizens' Committee, the national and local representatives of the Red Cross and the commanding general of the Department of California were present. They, one and all, unanimously advised me that the conditions were so urgent and desperate as in their opinion made it an imperative public duty for the army to assume charge of the issue of food supplies. They were informed that neither officers nor men were available in sufficient numbers to efficiently administer such service or even to exercise an effective supervision. As they considered effect of Federal control indispensable, I finally consented to take over the system within forty-eight hours, by noon of Thursday, April 26. This decision was made with the expectation that the 2,500 troops asked for on April 23 would be supplied, as I contemplated the entire operation of relief supplies by officers and men of the army independent of volunteers. It was clear that such a system would lessen the drain upon relief funds and supplies, which had assumed such proportions as threatened to exhaust the treasury and deplete the storehouses within a very brief period. This work was begun with two officers, Maj. C. A. Devol, quartermaster, in charge of transportation, and Maj. C. R. Krauthoff, commissary, in charge of food supplies. From these two officers grew up, as personnel became available, a force which, operating at first about 177 stations, finally aggregated 64 officers and over 500 enlisted men. Within twenty-four hours I was astounded by the report, based on estimates, that about 325,000 persons had been supplied food the first day. This number appeared incredible, but later developments indicate that it was practically correct, as will be shown later. Further details as to transportation, subsistence, and administration appear under later headings.
It was necessary to distribute the military forces in such manner as first to protect the mint and other Federal buildings; secondly, banks serving as national depositaries, etc., and third, so that any calls from the Mayor or the police department for assistance to preserve public order could be promptly met. For this purpose there were continued or established six military districts, whose commanders were as follows:
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First district: Col. Charles Morris, Artillery Corps.
Second district: Maj. G. W. McIver, 4th Infantry.
Third district: Col. Marion P. Maus, 20th Infantry (relieved May 10 by Col. Alfred Reynolds, 22d Infantry).
Fourth district: Brig. Gen. John A. Koster, National Guard of California (not under command of the army).
Fifth district: Col. Albert L. Myer, 11th Infantry.
Sixth district: Col. J. A. Irons, 14th Infantry.
These troops were for a brief period under the direct orders of the division commander, and even later, when they were returned to the control of the commanding general, Department of California, it became necessary in emergencies to communicate directly with them. Touch was also kept through the inspectors of the division staff, who daily visited the various headquarters, and also their daily reports to the commanding general, Department of California, which were forwarded to the division commander.
The management, control, and discipline of the troops were excellent, there being but two instances reported in which any enlisted men were charged with grave misconduct. The reports in these cases were transmitted to the commanding general, Department of California, for trial on general charges. Fortunately neither misconduct had serious results.
The most important duties were those devolving upon Colonel Maus, who guarded the business center in the burned district, and Lieutenant-Colonel Irons in the Mission and Potrero districts. The latter, in addition to an enormous number of destitutes, was contiguous to San Mateo County, where flagrant disregard of the proprieties of the occasion was shown by open saloons. This situation naturally forced more or less intoxicated persons upon the districts. However, by tact and vigilance, no serious disorders arose. Major McIver, in the Golden Gate Park district, was brought into direct contact with more than 4,000 destitutes, whose care and sanitation were long under his intelligent and efficient supervision.
The division reserve at the Presidio was in turn commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Irons; Maj. H. C. Benson, 14th Cavalry; Col. Alfred Reynolds, 22d Infantry, and Col. M. B. Hughes, 1st Cavalry.
GENERAL PLAN OF RELIEF OPERATIONS.
To satisfactorily administer relief operations of such magnitude, especially with an inadequate personnel and uncertain supplies, it was of primary importance to formulate and publish a systematic plan of operations, which was done on the day that the army assumed charge of this duty. This plan (published in General Orders, No. 18, April 29, hereto attached) divided the city into seven civil sections whose operations are described under "Relief food distribution."
The administrative work was organized in four divisions, as follows:
1. System of relief food distribution.
2. Receipt, storage, and distribution in bulk of all stores.
3. Providing food supplies and filling approved requisitions.
4. Providing supplies other than subsistence and filling approved requisitions.
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The officers in charge of these four divisions transacted business direct with each other and with outside applicants, so as to insure an efficient and prompt service. The officers in charge of the seven civil sections previously enumerated were charged not only with coordinating the work, but also with instituting methods to prevent dishonesty and wastage, to eliminate impostors, and to reduce the relief stations as to number and personnel. They were also to carefully instruct their subordinates as to requisition methods, to restrain lavish issues of food, and to exercise discretion in giving articles of special diet to children, women, and the sick.
The stations from which food was issued were so located as to facilitate prompt relief and in such numbers as to afford speedy delivery. The supervision of these numerous stations was through daily examination by division inspectors, supplemented by occasional conferences of issuing officers with the chairmen of the relief sections. Rigid economy was not only enjoined, but the irresponsible use of relief funds, which had previously proceeded on individual judgment, was forbidden. All officers were required to make requisitions, with a brief statement of needs, and to present them in person or by authorized representatives to an officer designated by division headquarters so as to expedite business and restrict wastage. Expenditures in advance of allotments were strictly prohibited. Officers in charge of supply departments were required to report the condition of stores under headings of those actually received to date, those reported in transit, and those issued daily, whether to stations under army control in the city or to towns outside of San Francisco.
Meanwhile a permanent relief ration was fixed, which in nutritive value corresponded to about three-quarters of the ration for an enlisted man of the Army. Such ration was enforced from May 1, the issues being of articles named or proper equivalent substitutes. The needs of infants, invalids, and nursing women were recognized by the issue of special diet when prescribed. Prior to the fixing of this ration food in great variety and excessive quantities was issued so long as supplies lasted to every applicant without questioning.
CENTRALIZATION OF FUNDS AND AUTHORITY.
Among the conditions, on resuming command, which made the most effective work impossible, was the extensive decentralization of funds and authority. When, on April 27, the work of relief was undertaken, there was not a dollar, as far as Government funds were in question, under the immediate control of the division commander. The Citizens' Committee assured me, however, that any expenditures incurred would be met from funds at their disposal; a most satisfactory and generous offer of assistance, but which it was clearly foreseen would entail embarrassment and criticism. Official advices were received that the appropriation of two and one-half millions, under joint resolutions of Congress, had already been overdrawn in the form of allotments and in the value of issues made from the stores on hand.
The depot quartermaster, the depot commissary, the medical supply officer, and the chief signal officer were amply supplied with funds which were being spent independent of any local authority,
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though these officers were willing to furnish supplies which the division commander might request. In addition, the surgeon in charge of the General Hospital, the surgeon at Fort Mason, and probably others were incurring indebtedness without any supervision by, or any authority from, the division commander, assuming correctly that their accounts would be paid either by the United States or out of the Red Cross relief funds. It was evident that the continuance of such methods would necessarily impair the efficiency of the service by incurring irresponsibility and division.
The confused condition of affairs was such on May 4 that the status of the disbursements and indebtedness of relief funds was impossible of determination. On representation to the Secretary of War, he authorized, on May 5, a centralization of funds and a supervisory control of expenditures. This largely corrected useless and extravagant expenses, although they continued to some extent. An appeal was made over the division commander's head for expenditures not absolutely necessary for relief purposes. Such action was later coupled by a declination of one officer to pay accounts unless each one was specifically ordered by the division commander. This resulted in the centralization of all the funds under one officer, a course whose wisdom has been fully emphasized by present experiences. Under similar future emergencies, a like centralization should be made at the beginning and not near the end of the work. There was then available for expenditure by the division commander in San Francisco such sums as could be obtained by turning back to the United States unused supplies, which could be credited at their money value. Through the medium of Major Devol there were collected and transferred to the general quartermaster's depot, supplies to the value of $266,812.07. Restrictions were made on expenditures of other bureaus, and there were added to this amount unexpended sums from the Medical Department of $97,200.89, from the Subsistence Department of $14,354.68, and from the Signal Corps of $1,036.88, aggregating in all $112,592.45. From this amount there was expended up to July 18 by Major Devol, in whose hands these funds were centralized, the sum of $224,634.08, thus leaving an apparent balance of $114,770.44 [$154,770.44?], against which there are outstanding authorizations of $79,832.60, which may be slightly increased by later orders.
METHODS OF EXPENDITURE.
In addition to verbal instructions to such disbursing officers as were under the control of the division commander, a regular inspection of all money accounts relating to relief funds appropriated by Congress was made by Lieut. Col. John P. Wisser, Artillery Corps, acting inspector-general. Colonel Wisser reports on July 12, 1906, that the accuracy of the vouchers was verified and the legality of the expenditures determined in each and every case. He stated that suitable methods for protecting the interests of the Government were followed in making purchases, particularly since May 1, 1906. While extreme difficulties attending the making of purchases and the obtaining of services in San Francisco since April 18 caused all actions to be necessarily of an "emergency" character, yet proper inspections of materials were made when possible, and well-known
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and reliable firms were dealt with when practicable. Disbursements were made to date of inspection as follows:
Signal Corps.—Services, not clerical, $1,227.20; material, $3,735.92; total, $4,963.12.
Chief quartermaster, Department of California.—Services, not clerical, $50.
Medical supply depot.—Services, clerical, $5,187.91; not clerical, $11,426.96; material, $36,184.24.
Purchasing commissary.—Services, clerical, $1,480; not clerical, $11,901.55; material, $43,621.89; total, $57,003.44.
Depot quartermaster.—Services, clerical, Pacific Division, $2,013.84; Department of California, $466.50; depot quartermaster, $1,521.84; total, $4,002.18. Not clerical, depot quartermaster, $41,608.09; permanent camps, $18,989.16; chauffeurs, $3,182; total, $63,779.25.
Transportation: Land, $48,195.58; water, $2,027.50; autos, $16,544.25; total, $66,767.33. Material: General, $19,805.52; autos, $13,558.45; auto supplies, $773.36; total, $34,137.33.
The general quartermaster's depot of the Army, in San Francisco, passed in a day from a well-ordered, effective system to chaotic conditions. All warehouses and offices in the city were destroyed by noon of April 18, with supplies amounting to over $2,200,000. Recourse was at once had to the surplus quartermaster's stock at the Presidio, where fortunately, 3,000 tents were available, making it possible to relieve immediate distress and shelter many of the homeless. This shelter was later supplemented, especially during the torrential rains of April 23, by large issues (13,862) of ponchos and about 20,000 blankets, to protect the shelterless thousands, an action which relieved much distress and probably saved lives. Many refugees were without shoes, while the footgear of others was in a terrible condition from work among the débris of the fire. To relieve these, the army promptly issued 40,173 pairs of service shoes.
The promptness of the War Department and the generosity of the American people started enormous quantities of relief stores to San Francisco. With a less able quartermaster than Maj. C. A. Devol congestion and confusion would have seriously interfered with the processes of relief, but he immediately made systematic arrangements to receive and distribute these supplies with the least possible delay. With unerring judgment he selected the best available points of operation, as was evidenced by the fact that no changes therein were found necessary. In all his work Major Devol justified his previous reputation as an officer of great administrative ability through his masterly arrangement of the receiving, storing, and transportation of relief supplies. The army supplies alone issued by Major Devol aggregated in value to date $717,141.42. Through efficient subordinates at Oakland pier, Point Richmond, Folsom street dock, Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe freight depot, the Presidio dock, and the Southern Pacific Railroad yards at Fourth and Townsend streets enormous quantities of supplies were handled without delay or unusual confusion. At first the urgent necessities of the situation required delivery from car to boat, from boat to wagon, and from wagon direct to the people, time not permitting a proper segregation
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