The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Erie (Steamboat), 5 Jul 1838

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Steamboat on Lake Erie - In pursuance of instructions from the War Department, the steamboat Erie, burthen of nearly 140 tons, has been chartered for the service of the United States, upon this lake. This boat is to be placed under direction of an officer to be detailed for that service by Major Young, in command of the U.S. force stationed at this point. She will however, be sailed by her captain and crew as before.
      The Journal of yesterday makes some severe strictures upon the employment of so small a boat for the purpose, and in regard to the fact that she is to be put under the charge of an army officer instead of an officer of the navy.
      If we are correctly informed in this matter, the boat in question is very well adapted for the service to which she is destined, and the arrangements made are perfectly satisfactory to those best acquainted with the nature of it. The object in chartering a boat at this time, we understand, is to aid the military and civil authorities in suppressing all disturbances on the Frontier, and preventing any violations of our neutral obligations. She is expected to cruise between Erie and Schlosser, as occasion may require, and for this duty she is admirably calculated, being a very good sea-boat, as we are assured by competent judges, and one of the swiftest on the lake. The placing her under command of an army officer, to which the Journal objects so strongly, arose from the necessity of the case. All the duties of officers of the general government on this frontier, are performed under instructions emanating from the War and Treasury Departments. There is a propriety, therefore, in placing her under the command. or, rather, at the disposal of an officer responsible to one or other of these departments. Everything relating to the management of the boat will, as heretofore, be under the control of her former master. All, in fact, that she is wanted for, is to transport an officer with his troops, to such points as he shall direct, with all the celerity possible, and the chartering of her for this special service, is altogether a different affair from the project of keeping a regularly armed government steamboat on the lake. In case that plan is carried into effect -- as we think it should be -- we agree with the Journal in thinking that a boat of large tonnage should be employed, and placed under command of a naval officer.
      We have noticed this affair at some length, in order to show that our government is acting in good faith towards a friendly power, and employing the best means to preserve inviolate its neutral obligations.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Saturday, June 30, 1838

      . . . . .

      STEAMBOAT ON LAKE ERIE. -- We learn from the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, that in pursuance of instructions from the War Department, the steamer ERIE, of 150 tons burden, has been chartered for the service of the United States.
      It was first intended that our townsman, Capt. T. J. Homans of the U. S. Navy, should take command of such a boat as might be chartered, but it appears that she will be commanded by an officer of the army.
      "The object" says the commercial, "in chartering a boat at this time is to aid the military and civil authorities in suppressing any violations of our mutual obligations. She is expected to cruise between Erie and Schlosser, as occasion may arise.
      Erie Observer
      Thursday, July 5, 1838
      . . . . .

      Steamboat Milwaukie. -- The Government have chartered the new and swift steamboat Milwaukie, for the service of the United States upon the Lakes, in place of the Erie, which was employed on the River frontier. The Milwaukie is one of the first class boats on the Lakes.
      It is stated in the Journal, that Lieut. Homans is to command the Milwaukie. The charge of the soldiers, &c., to remain however as heretofore, under an army officer, and the vessel to be subject to the requisitions and orders of the commanding officer on the frontier.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Saturday, July 28, 1838

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chartered by U.S. Army
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William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Erie (Steamboat), 5 Jul 1838