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Captain Frederick Rodgers to Secretary of the Navy John D. Long

U. S. S. PURITAN, 1st Rate,

At anchor Cape San Juan, Porto Rico, August 2, 1898.

     Sir: I have the honor to report that, after leaving Key West, in company with the Amphitrite and Montgomery I proceeded with the three vessels to Port Nipe, where we were joined by the Leyden with orders to proceed to this point and await the arrival of transports. The PURITAN and Amphitrite are of slow speed and small coal capacity: and after sending to Guantanamo for a collier we were joined by the latter at Cape Haitien, where all vessels were coaled from the collier Southery. After leaving Cape Haitien in company with the Montgomery the air pump on the starboard engine broke down, thereby disabling that engine, and repairs were made on it under great difficulties, so that in thirty-four hours the engine could be again used.

     Having communicated with the Prairie off San Juan, and leaving the Montgomery there to assist with the blockade, I proceeded to this anchorage, as ordered by Rear-Admiral Sampson, a copy of which order is herewith inclosed.1

     There are no signs of a rendezvous or landing here, though it appears to be a very good place for the purpose, and vessels could coal without difficulty. We were joined here yesterday by the transports Mississippi and Arcadia. These vessels were ordered here to make a landing, but are at a loss what to do, as no information is available.2 I find no collier here, as was suggested in my orders, nor any instructions.

     St. Thomas appears to be the only available place for coaling, and the PURITAN and Amphitrite must be coaled before proceeding west again.

     Yesterday, August 1, two armed boats were sent inshore, to make a reconnaissance, under command of Lieut. H. G. Dressel.3 They went within half mile of the town and brought out a Spanish schooner and sloop at anchor there. The schooner is a good vessel, appraised at $1,500, but the sloop being worthless I have ordered her to be released.

     Very respectfully,

Fred. Rodgers,

Captain, U.S.N., Commanding.

The Secretary of the Navy,

                   Washington, D.C.

Source Note: Report of the Bureau of Navigation, 1898, pp. 650-51.

Footnote 1: RAdm. William T. Sampson’s orders are not with the letter. For his own synopsis of them, see: Sampson to John Howell, 20 July 1898.

Footnote 2: The supply ships arrived at Ponce, Puerto Rico,  by 4 August, where they met the invasion force. Correspondence-War with Spain, 356.

Footnote 3: Lt. Herman G. Dressel.

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