Assistant Secretary of the Navy Charles H. Allen to Secretary of War Russell A. Alger
Washington June 11, 1898.
This Department desires to inform you that Commodore Remey, Commandant of the Naval Base at Key West,1 has been directed to reassemble and coal, as soon as possible, the naval force which was recently designated to convoy the army transports in which is embarked the military expedition for Santiago de Cuba.
As soon as Commodore Remey reports when the convoy will be coaled and ready, his instructions are to send it to meet the army transports in the passage or strait between Rebecca Shoal and the Dry Tortugas,2 and considerable time would be saved if the army transports could leave Tampa about 18 hours before the Key West division of the convoy reaches the neighborhood of Rebecca Shoal.
The date and hour at which the Key West division of the convoy will reach the vicinity of Rebecca Shoal cannot yet be exactly fixed, but you will be informed of it as soon as practicable.
The Commanding Officers of the troops on each transport should have instructions, in case they become separated from the convoy, to make the best of their way to Santiago de Cuba.
CHAS. H. ALLEN
P.S. A suitable convoy to escort the Army transports from Tampa to Rebecca Shoal is in attendance at Tampa.3
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 80, Entry 194, vol. 1, p. 181. Addressed before open: “The Honorable/The Secretary of War.”
Footnote 1: Commo. George C. Remey, Commandant, Key West Naval Base.
Footnote 2: Rebecca Shoal was a coral bank 31 miles east of the Dry Tortugas, which are the end of the Florida Keys. It was roughly 500 miles from Santiago de Cuba.
Footnote 3: For the arrangements made to convoy the troop transports, see: Remey to John D. Long, 31 May 1898. For more on the army’s convoy from Tampa, see: John J. Hunker to John D. Long, 13 March 1899. The troop transports were private vessels leased by the Army and were not manned by Navy personnel.