Charles Eaton Creecy

 

Charles E. Creecy was active in public service for several years before he began practicing law in Washington, DC in 1869. He was also president of the Pneumatic Gun Company and the Rapid Fire Company. In 1894, he was hired by the Holland Torpedo Boat Company to represent their interests in Washington, DC.

Prior to 1894, John Holland convinced Captain Sampson (Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance) to recommend an investigation into the potential of submarine boats. Once Captain Sampson secured an appropriation, 14 people came forward with designs for submarine boats, but the decision came down to George Baker and John Holland, both of which had built submarines before. Charles Creecy was instrumental in countering the strong Baker lobby. Once Holland won the competition, the opposition changed tactics and argued the the concussion of the shell would kill everyone in the boat. Construction was delayed an additional year while tests were done with a calf, some roosters and a shell that was exploded nearby.

After the company built the Holland, Creecy applied to the Secretary of the Navy for a Board of Inspection. When the board headed by Lieutenant-Commander Sperry retuned an unfavorable verdict, Creecy gathered depositions from many of the observers and convinced the Secretary to appoint another (unbiased) board. Shortly after the Spanish American war began (April 1898), Creecy and Holland offered to send the Holland VI to Cuba, but the Navy was not interested. Creecy convinced the Navy to reassign Lieutenant W. J Sears to the east coast and assign Captain John Lowe to the New Suffolk station in 1899.

The 1899 Board of Inspection recommended the purchase of the Holland, but the Secretary was reluctant because he felt the submarine was still experimental and they already had a submarine (the Plunger) under construction.

Creecy felt it was important to bring the Holland to Washington and exhibit it to congressmen and newspaper reporters. The company was reluctant to do so, because of the expense, but Creecy prevailed and the Holland made up to three trips a week in early 1900 down the Potomac to Mount Vernon where the water was deep enough to dive and showed what she could do. Creecy convinced Admiral Dewey that he should see what everyoneone was talking about in order to form his own opinion about the value of submarine boats. When Admiral Dewey testified before congress, that, had there been two such boat in Manila, he would not have been able to maintain the blockade, Congress was convinced submarine boats were the most cost effective way to protect our harbors.

Between 1894 and 1900, Creecy testified before the House and Senate Naval Affairs Committees and varies Navy boards regarding the value of a submarine. During this time, he was paid in company stock, which he sold in 1900 for between $10,000 and $12,000. From sometime in 1900 until March 3, 1903 Creecy was paid $6,000 per year.

Up until 1902, he had complete control of everything the company was doing in Washington, but in 1902 Isaac Rice sent Elihu Frost to Washington to take over general management of the business affairs. Creecy resigned from the Electric Boat Company in 1903 because of "unfriendly relations which had grown up between Frost and himself".

After severing ties with the Electric Boat Company, Creecy represented John Holland in his efforts to gain support for his new high speed (25 knots) submarine.



1999,2000,2002 Gary McCue

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