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Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet, to Commodore John A. Howell, Commander, First Blockading Squadron

U. S. Flagship New York, 1st Rate,

Off Santiago de Cuba, Cuba,

July 20, 1898.

S I R :--

     Please send the “CINCINNATI” to Santiago de Cuba with great dispatch. If she is now at Key West direct her to bring the mail and etc. for the Squadron. She is required to accompany the Army expedition to San Juan, Port Rico, to cover their landing and remain with the expedition until the City of San Juan has surrendered.

     2.   A telegram from the Secretary of the Navy informs me that the plans to use NipeBay as a place of rendezvous for the Army transports have been abandoned.1 Therefore the old orders which have reached you from me with regard to this matter are cancelled.

     3.   At the same time, when the vessels sent from here to Nipe reach that place, they are at liberty to prosecute the plan of taking possession of the Bay—-if you deem it advisable.

     4.   If, in your estimation, the monitors are in a fit condition to make the voyage from Key-West to San Juan, Porto Rico, please execute my order in sending the monitors to San Juan.2 It will be necessary, however, to send some capable vessel to accompany them in case they break down, which is probable.3 Should you send these monitors to Porto Rico, and it should become necessary to coal them in the Bahama Channel, or about that point, I strongly advise sending them to Guantanamo.

Very respectfully,

W T Sampson

Rear Admiral, U.S.Navy.

Commander in Chief, U.S.Naval Force,

North Atlantic Station

Source Note: TCyS, DNA, RG 313, Entry 54. Addressed below close: “Commodore/John A. Howell,/Commanding 1st Squadron,/(U. S. S. San Francisco.).” Numbered at top of first page: “No. 4.”

Footnote 2: The three monitors were: Puritan, Amphitrite, and Terror. For the activities of these vessels, see: Capt. Frederick Rodgers to John D. Long, 2 August 1898. All three monitors participated in the Puerto Rico campaign.

Footnote 3: Sampson already ordered that one of the ships sent to capture Port Nipe, the armed tug Leyden, remain there to escort the monitors when they arrived. Sampson to Cmdr. John J. Hunker, 20 July 1898, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 235.

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