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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.

Ship Action Reports: USS Raleigh


[Report of engagement at Manila Bay, May 1, 1898]

 

U. S. S. RALEIGH,
Off Manila, Luzon, May 4, 1898

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this vessel of your squadron during the engagement with the Spanish squadron and shore batteries at Cavite, near Manila, on the morning of May 1, 1898:
          At about 12.10 a. m. of May 1, when passing in column, natural order, abreast of El Fraile Island, at the entrance to the bay, I observed a flash, as of a signal thereon, and at about 12.15 a. m. a shot was fired from El Fraile, passing, as I think, diagonally between the Petrel and this vessel. A shot was fired in return, but without effect, by the starboard after 5-inch gun of this vessel.
          At 5 a. m., when the squadron was nearly abreast the city of Manila and the flagship was turning to pass down toward Cavite, the Lunetta Battery, of apparently heavy guns, at Manila, opened fire and continued so long as the squadron was in action. This vessel shifted position from starboard to port (inside) quarter of the Baltimore, and held that position until retired at 7.35 a. m. At a few minutes after 5 a.m. this vessel, so soon as the Spanish vessels at Cavite bore on the port bow, opened fire with the 6-inch gun, and then with the 5-inch guns in succession, as fast as they would bear. The secondary battery guns did not seem to reach the enemy, and their fire was soon stopped and not again used until the distance was considerably lessened. At 11.20 a. m., when signal was made to reengage, this vessel started ahead full speed (using reserve speed) to keep up with the flagship, but it was found to be impossible, and falling behind all the time, I cut across to gain line abreast of Cavite Battery just as the flagship passed the Baltimore at that port, at which time we opened fire with all guns. At 12, in obedience to signal, this vessel attempted to get into the inner harbor to destroy enemy=s vessels, but getting into shoal water ---20 feet---was obliged to withdraw, and so reported. While attempting to get inside, the battery was used on an enemy vessel at anchor (supposed to be the Don Antonio de Ulloa) until she sank. Not being able to find a channel farther inside, and everything in sight having been destroyed, this vessel, at 1.30 p. m., withdrew and later anchored near the flagship. I inclose a statement of the ammunition expended during the engagement.
          I am very pleased to report that the officers and crew behaved splendidly. Each and every one seemed anxious to do his whole duty, and so far as I can learn, did it. Their whole conduct was beyond praise.
          This vessel was struck but once, and then by a 6-pounder shell, which passed through both sides of the whaleboat (above her water line), and then glanced along the chase of the starboard 6-pounder on our poop. The gun was not injured, and the whaleboat but slightly, and she is again ready for service.
          I am happy to report that there were no casualties of any kind. This vessel at the close of the engagement was in as good condition as when it began, and without any preparation could have fought it over again.
          In conclusion, permit me to congratulate you upon the very brilliant victory you achieved over a naval force nearly equal to your own and backed by extensive shore batteries of very heavy guns and this without loss of a single life. History points to no greater achievement.
          Very respectfully,

J. B. COGHLAN
Captain, U. S. N., Commanding.

Commodore GEORGE DEWEY, U. S. N.,
Commander in Chief U. S. Naval Force, Asiatic Station.


Continue to Ship Action Reports: USS Concord


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