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Major General Nelson A. Miles to Secretary of War Russell A. Alger


Washington, D.C.

July 5, 1898.


As the object for which the army was sent to Santiago-

de-Cuba has been accomplished, viz: the forcing of the Spanish fleet out of the harbor and its destruction by the Navy,1 I deem the present time most favorable for proceeding immediately to Porto Rico. I consider it of the highest importance that we should take and keep that Island, which is the gateway to the Spanish possessions on the Western Hemisphere, and it is also important that our troops should be landed there as early as possible during this month. There are now about 4,000 men on transports at Key West, approximately 7,000 will soon be at Charleston, South Carolina, and there are already 20,000 at Santiago. If this force is not sufficient, the transports can return for more, if required.

Very respectfully,

(signed) Nelson A. Miles              

Major General Commanding.

Source Note: TCy, DNA, RG 94, Entry 13. Addressed before opening: “The Honorable/The Secretary of War.”

Footnote 1: Miles was referring to the destruction of the Spanish fleet commanded by RAdm. Pascual Cervera y Topete at the battle of Santiago de Cuba on 3 July.

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