North Atlantic Fleet Squadron Bulletin No. 16
U. S. Flagship New York. Off Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
TUESDAY, JUNE 28, 1898.
THE Army is still engaged in landing stores; no advance has taken place since last report.
The colliers Aberenda, Scindia and Alexander have sailed for Norfolk; the Lebanon and a large four-masted schooner with coal have arrived from Key West.1 The Lebanon has brought the fleet and army mail and a quantity of packages which have accumulated for officers and messes at Key West.
Information has been received, by two Cuban officers from Manzanillo, that General Pando,2 with 8500 men, left Manzanillo on the 23rd for Santiago, and is moving at the rate of 12 miles a day, carrying with him cattle as food.
General Perez is actively engaged against the enemy in the Guantanamo district.3 As the Commanding Officer reported in an intercepted despatch that his food (half rations,) would last only until the end of June, they must be in considerable straits. The total Spanish force there is about 5000.
Several persons from Santiago have come into our lines; they report great scarcity of provisions—rice is the chief support─they gave some minor information as to block-houses and batteries. They stated that a panic existed among the inhabitants of the town.4
Source Note: Printed, DNA, RG 313, Entry 56. This bulletin was produced on a printing press on New York (the flagship of RAdm. William T. Sampson’s North Atlantic fleet) and was distributed to the vessels. It is listed as number 16 in Squadron Bulletins, 35.
Footnote 1: A coaling base at Guantánamo Bay was being outfitted to serve the American fleet blockading Santiago Harbor. The four-masted schooner has not been identified.
Footnote 2: Lt. Gen. Luis Manuel Pando y Sánchez was second in command to Capt. Gen. Blanco. Pando had only 3,700 men. Trask, War with Spain, 231.
Footnote 3: Gen. Pancho Pérez.
Footnote 4: The people of Santiago de Cuba endured severe deprivation due to the blockade. This city “has never been very well supplied and provisions have never been abundant there” and many people “suffered from actual hunger, and many persons have starved to death”… and “horses, dogs, and other animals were dying from hunger in the streets”. . . . Lt. José Müller y Tejeiro, Battles and Capitulation of Santiago de Cuba, Office of Naval Intelligence, Information from Abroad, War Notes No. 1,(Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1899), 32-33.