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Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet, to Secretary of the Navy John D. Long


Playa del Este, via Hayti,       

July 21, 1898.

     Off Playa del Este, Cuba, July 21st. Replying to your number fifty-six,1 I was ordered July 12th to prepare all armored ships and certain cruisers for special service and I have been lead to believe that the Department regarded this of prime importance. This work is in progress. I was ordered to send a specified force to Bipe2 to remove mines and hold it as a rendezvous. This was done. I was informed yesterdat that the army has decided not to rendezvous there but the expedition had sailed. I placed yesterday at General Miles3 disposal the “Cincinnati” which had been ordered from Key West and the “New Orleans,” blockaded at San Juan. The “Columbia” and “Yale” carrying troops are both powerfully armed. This is an ample convoy for his expedition and to effect his landing. At his urgent request for further force, however, I sent to Nipe to order the “Annapolis”, “Wasp” and “Leyden” to San Juan. They will await the troops Cape San Juan. I also added the “Gloucester” here and have ordered three monitors from Key West. General Miles has from the first insisted upon a convoy of heavy ships. This I have told him my instructions did not permit. The Department will observe that General Miles’ failure to obtain the naval force which he considers necessary is due to the Department’s instructions.4 Following the instructions in Department’s No. 56, I have ordered the “Massachusetts” and “Dixie.”5 The “Indiana” and “Newark” are under repair to steam machinery. The “Iowa” is not in condition to go. I cannot find any telegram here unanswered.


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 80, Entry 194, vol. 1, pp. 308-09. Addressed before opening: “Secretary of Navy,/Washington.”

Footnote 2: That is, Nipe.

Footnote 3: Maj. Gen. Nelson A. Miles.

Footnote 4: Secretary Long was glad to receive the message, if only because it provided evidence that Maj. Gen. Miles frequent complaints of Navy failings were ill founded. Long wrote to Sampson on 22 July 1898:

Your dispatch of yesterday received and is of much value, showing that you have done all you could for General Miles, who has been deluging the War Department with request for convoy. The information you give is what the Department has needed for the last two or three days, to set it and you right. DNA, RG80, Entry 194, Vol. 1, 315.

Footnote 5: For document “No. 56," see: Long to Sampson, 13 July 1898.

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