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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Naval Battle of Manila Bay, May 1, 1898.

Communications Before the Battle

WASHINGTON, January 27, 1898.

DEWEY, Olympia, Yokohama, Japan:

          Retain until further orders the crew of the squadron whose terms of enlistment have expired.

CROWNINSHIELD.

_______

WASHINGTON, February 25, 1898.

DEWEY, Hongkong:
          Order the squadron, except the Monocacy, to Hongkong. Keep full of coal. In the event declaration of war Spain, your duty will be to see that the Spanish squadron does not leave the Asiatic coast, and then offensive operations in Philippine Islands. Keep Olympia until further orders.

ROOSEVELT.

_______

WASHINGTON, February 26,1898.

DEWEY, Hongkong:
          Keep full of coal---the best that can be had.

LONG.

_______

WASHINGTON, March 21, 1898.

DEWEY, Hongkong:
          The Baltimore has been ordered to proceed to Hongkong, upon the arrival of the Mohican at Honolulu, with ammunition for the Asiatic Station.

LONG.

_______

WASHINGTON, April 1, 1898.

DEWEY, Hongkong:  
        Fill up with provisions purchased on station; then how many days provisions have you on hand? How much soap and tobacco shall I ship?

LONG.

_______

WASHINGTON, April 4, 1898.

DEWEY, Hongkong:
          Can you purchase immediately supply steamer? What will be the cost of?

LONG.

_______

HONGKONG, April 4, 1898.

SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, Washington:
          I have chartered the British steamer Nanshan, having over 3,000 tons of coal now on board. Before the outbreak of hostilities can and would purchase this steamer. I request the earliest information in order to conclude arrangements. Can not be made after the outbreak of hostilities.

DEWEY.

_______

WASHINGTON, April 6,1898.

DEWEY, Hongkong:
          Purchase immediately Nanshan and one more vessel for supplies. Charge special appropriation. Send the receipts to the Department. Enlist for special service, if possible, one year, unless sooner discharged, the crew of. Detach and order assume command of each an officer. Arm if possible. War may be declared. Condition very critical.

LONG.

_______

WASHINGTON, April 6,1898.

DEWEY, Hongkong:
          The receipt of telegram of April 4 is acknowledged. I approve the action. Expedite delivery. April 6 maybe last opportunity.

LONG.

_______

HONGKONG, April 6,1898.

SECRETARY OF NAVY, Washington, D.C.:
          I have purchased Nanshan and I have engaged her crew. Will detail an officer for command. I have ordered three officers, 50 men from Monocacy to fill vacancies here. I hope to get another steamer.* * * The receipt of telegram April 6 acknowledged, to expedite delivery.

DEWEY.

_______

WASHINGTON, April 7,1898.

DEWEY, Hongkong:
          Land all woodwork, stores, etc., it is not considered necessary to have for operations.

LONG.

_______

HONGKONG, April 9,1898.

SECRETARY OF NAVY, Washington, D.C.
          I have purchased the British steamer Zafiro, for supplies, for £18,000 sterling. I will arm, equip, and man vessel immediately.

DEWEY.

_______

WASHINGTON, April 21,1898.

DEWEY, Hongkong:
          The naval force on the North Atlantic Station are blockading Cuba. War has not yet been declared. War may be declared at any moment. I will inform you. Await orders.

LONG.

_______

WASHINGTON, April 24,1898.

DEWEY, Hongkong:
          War has commenced between the United States and Spain. Proceed at once to Philippine Islands. Commence operations at once, particularly against the Spanish fleet. You must capture vessels or destroy. Use utmost endeavors.

LONG.

_______

HONGKONG, April 25,1898.

SECRETARY OF NAVY, Washington:
          The squadron will leave for Manila, Philippine Islands, immediately upon the arrival of the United States consul from Manila.

DEWEY.

_______

HONGKONG, April 25,1898.

SECRETARY OF NAVY, Washington:
          In accordance with the request of the governor of Hongkong, the squadron leaves to-day for Mirs Bay, China, to await telegraphic instructions. Address, Hongkong. I will communicate by tug.

DEWEY.

_______

WASHINGTON, April 26,1898.

DEWEY, Hongkong:
          Following proclamation of the President of the United States is forwarded for your information:

          Whereas, by an act of Congress approved April 26, 1898, it is declared that war exists and that war has existed since the 21st day of April, A.D. 1898, including said day, between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Spain; and whereas, it being desirable that such war should be conducted upon principles in harmony with the present views of nations and sanctioned by their recent practice, it has already been announced that the policy of this Government will be not to resort to privateering, but to adhere to the rules of the declaration of Paris: Now, therefore, I, William McKinley, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the power vested in me by the Constitution and the laws, do hereby declare and proclaim: One, the neutral flag covers the enemy's goods, with the exception of contraband of war; two, neutral goods, contraband of war, are not liable to confiscation under the enemy>s flag; three, blockades, in order to be binding, must be effective; four; Spanish merchant vessels in any ports or places within the United States shall be allowed till May 31st, 1898, inclusive for loading their cargoes and departing from such ports or places, and such Spanish merchant vessels, if met at sea by any United States ship, shall be permitted to continue their voyage, if, on examination of their papers, it shall appear that their cargoes were taken on board before the expiration of the above term, provided that nothing herein contained shall apply to Spanish vessels having on board any officer in the military or naval service of the enemy, or any coal, except such as may be necessary for their voyage, or any other article prohibited or contraband of war, or any despatch of or to the Spanish Government; five, any Spanish merchant vessel which, prior to April 21, 1898, shall have sailed from any foreign port, or place in the United States, shall be permitted to enter such port or place, and to discharge her cargo, and afterwards, forthwith, to depart without molestation, and any such vessel, if met at sea by any United States ship, shall be permitted to continue her voyage to any port not blockaded; six, the right of search is to be exercised with strict regard for the rights of neutrals, and the voyages of mail steamers are not to be interfered with except on the clearest grounds of suspicion of a violation of law, in respect to contraband or blockade.
          In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
          Done at the city of Washington on the 26th day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight, and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and twenty-second.

  WILLIAM McKINLEY.                

By the President:
JOHN SHERMAN, Secretary of State.

LONG.

________

HONGKONG, April 27, 1898.

SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, Washington:
          Williams, the United States consul from Manila, has arrived. The squadron will sail immediately for the Philippine Islands.

DEWEY.

Continue to The Battle of Manila Bay: Miscellaneous Documents


Source: Appendix to the Report of the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, Annual Reports of the Navy Department for the Year 1898. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1898.

23 July 1999