Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Commodore Winfield S. Schley, Commander, Flying Squadron, to Secretary of the Navy John D. Long

C O P Y .

FLYING SQUADRON.

U.S.Flagship BROOKLYN,       

Off Santiago de Cuba,  

June 1, 1898.

S i r :-

     1. I have the honor to make the following detailed report concerning the reconnaissance of the 30th ultimo.

     2. As the BROOKLYN, TEXAS and MARBLEHEAD were coaling, I shifted my broad pennant to the MASSACHUSETTS, and together with the IOWA and NEW ORLEANS steamed in from a position about 5 miles S. W. of the entrance. At 12:45, made signal “Clear for action” and at 1:05 the signal for “General Quarters”. The speed was set at 10 knots with the three vessels in column at distance, the MASSACHUSETTS leading and the IOWA following the NEW ORLEANS.

     3. Stood in with port helm heading gradually to about N. E. , then casing to N. N. E. The distance having decreased to about 7000 yards, headed East, and at 2:00, the COLON1 having been opened out in the entrance, commenced firing with our port batteries, using the guns of greatest range on the COLON, and the smaller ones against the fortifications.

     4. Our fire was at once returned by the ships inside the harbor (firing at random over the land) and by the forts to the eastward and westward of the entrance and on Cay Smith; also by the COLON At 2:10, ceased firing, turned with port helm to W. by S. and slowed. Headed off shore at 2:23 and stood out of range. The shore batteries and the COLON continued firing until about 3:00 p.m.

     5. None of our vessels were struck although the shots fell over and around them. I have learned from insurgent sources that the Reina Mercedes was struck by a shell, and eight men were killed; also that a number of shots struck the Morro.2

     6. The reconnaissance developed the fact that the Spanish vessels were in the harbor, and that the fortifications are well provided with long range guns of large caliber. They used smokeless powder almost exclusively, with the exception of the batteries to the westward of the entrance.

Very respectfully,                   

W. S. S C H L E Y,               

Commodore,U.S.Navy,         

Commander-in-Chief Flying Squadron.       

Source Note: TCy, DNA, RG 313, Entry 52, Box 9. Addressed below close: “The Honorable Secretary of the Navy,/Navy Department,Washington,D.C.” Document reference: “#163”

Footnote 1: Spanish Cruiser Cristóbal Colón.

Footnote 2: Reina Mercedes was not struck during the exchange.

Related Content