Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet, to Lieutenant Alexander Sharp, Jr.

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

Off Santiago de Cuba,            

June 6th,1898.         

Sir:-

     1. You will, at dark this evening, take position two miles to the westward of the Morro,1 and one mile from land, and will keep a vigilant lookout for torpedo boats. The Dolphin will occupy a similar position to the eastward of the port, the Suwanee to the southward, and there will be three picket launches lying inside your line; i.e. distributed on a circle drawn with a radius of one mile from the Morro as a centre.

     2. The alarm for the approach of the enemy’s vessels is two red Very signals,2 fired in quick succession. If a torpedo boat or boats, the two red should be at once followed by a green Very. This signal may be repeated if there is any doubt about its having been seen.

Very respectfully,

W.T.Sampson            

Rear Admiral,Comdr.-in-Chief,

U.S.Naval Force on North Atlantic Station.

Source Note: TDS, DNA, RG313, Entry 48, Box 7. Addressed below close: “The Commanding Officer,/U.S.S.Vixen.” Document reference: “No. 1.”

Footnote 1: The “Morro” or Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca was a castle/fort, which along with the Socapa battery, guarded the entrance to Santiago de Cuba harbor.

Footnote 2: A common type of flare gun. It was named for Edward Wilson Very, an American naval officer who developed and popularized this single-shot breech-loading snub-nosed pistol that fired flares.

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