[Report of engagement at Manila Bay, May 1, 1898]
U. S. S. CONCORD
Manila, May 2, 1898
In compliance with article 275, United States Navy Regulations, I have to submit the following report of the late action so far as this vessel was concerned:
In obedience to our orders I took position in line. In passing the city a big gun opened on the fleet, to which I replied with two shots. The Concord held her position in the line until your order to withdraw from action.
Later in the day I was ordered by you to burn a transport. To arrive at the position of the transport my course lay so as to open the dockyard and vessels therein, at which I took a few shots with the 6-inch battery. I succeeded in firing the transport, which is still in flames.
Each and every one of my subordinates did his whole duty with an enthusiasm and zeal beyond all praise. I am particularly indebted to the executive officer, Lieut. Commander George P. Colvocoresses, for the cool, deliberate, and efficient manner with which he met each phase of the action, and for his hearty cooperation in my plans. Lieut. T. B. Howard, the navigator, proved that, like his father, he was ready to offer his life to his country and flag. The officers of divisions---Lieut. P. W. Hourigan, powder; Lieut. (j. g.) C. M. McCormick, third gun; Ensign L. A. Kaiser, second gun, and Ensign W. C. Davidson, first gun---performed every duty with zeal and alacrity. Ensign O. S. Knepper, in charge of signals, performed the duty as though he were in the daily habit of being under fire. P. A. Paymaster E. D. Ryan volunteered to take charge of the after powder division, and was most useful therein. The steam department, under Chief Engineer G. B. Ransom and P. A. Engineer H. W. Jones, was in perfect condition, working as though on parade. Pay Clerk F. K. Hunt volunteered to assist the surgeon. The crew, one and all, worked with enthusiasm. I have nothing but praise for each and every man.
I am happy to report that there were no casualties. The Concord was not hit.
The following is a list of the ammunition expended: One Hundred and fifteen 6-inch full charges, sixty-seven 6-inch reduced charges, six shrapnel, one hundred and seventy-six 6-inch common shell, two hundred and twenty 6-pounder cartridges, one hundred and twenty 3-pounder cartridges, and sixty 1-pounder cartridges.
I inclose a list of the ammunition remaining on board; also the report of the executive officer and of the chief engineer.
Commander, U. S. N., Commanding.
The COMMANDER IN CHIEF U. S. NAVAL FORCE,
U.S.S. CONCORD, 3D RATE,
Manila Bay, May 3, 1898
I have the honor to submit the following report of the action in Manila Bay:
At 12.25 a. m., May 1, 1898, the Concord being in her assigned position in the column and cleared for action, entered the Boca Grande. While passing El Fraile a rocket was fired and soon followed by a shot from a battery on shore. This ship returned the fire. A second shot from the battery passed between our main and mizzen masts and over. We fired again, after which the battery did not reply.
At 12.45 a.m. we fired at a moving light on the starboard quarter, and it was extinguished.
At 5.05 a.m., while approaching the anchorage off Manila, we were fired upon by a shore battery and two shots were exchanged; we also fired at a supposed torpedo boat that ran out from Cavite and was sunk by the Olympia=s guns. Another boat made for the Olympia, but meeting a warm reception, turned, ran on the beach, and was abandoned.
The squadron, in splendid order, turned to the right when off the city and advanced on the Spanish fleet, which appeared in line of battle off Sangley Point, in Cañacao Bay. They opened upon us at once, but most of their shots fell short. As we steamed past the enemy=s line each vessel of our squadron delivered fire from her port battery and the effect was soon apparent. The ensign of a cruiser, which we took to be the Reina Cristina, was shot away, but hoisted again, and she took fire at 7.25 a. m., apparently from the effects of a shell from the Concord=s third division, and the fire hose could be seen playing aloft.
Three complete turns were made by our squadron in front of the enemy=s line, the ships firing whenever the guns would bear.
At 7.40 a. m. we ceased firing, in obedience to signal from the commander in chief, and at 8.10 a. m. the crews went to breakfast. At this time several of the enemy=s ships were in flames and explosions took place onboard one of them; some were sinking and others withdrawing for protection behind Canacao and Cavite.
At 8.30, in obedience to a signal from the flagship, AConcord, go in and see what ships are on fire,@ this vessel promptly proceeded toward the Spanish line, but the order was annulled.
At 9.25 a loud report was heard, which came from one of the Spanish cruisers, and was followed by flames and smoke.
At 11.45 a. m. our squadron again stood in for the enemy, when signal was made for the Concord to destroy a large transport that was anchored well inside in shallow water and where there were a number of fish weirs. In passing we fired with great effect at the curtain of the fort at Cavite and at two Spanish vessels. At this time the battery work of all our divisions was most excellent, exhibiting all the coolness and precision of ordinary target practice. On arriving within 2,500 yards of the transport we commenced firing with main and secondary batteries, and at the first round about ten boats loaded with men were seen to leave her and land on the beach.
At 12.25 not a Spanish flag was flying in the harbor except from the staff of the sunken cruiser Don Antonio De Ulloa, submerged behind Sangley Point; the Reina Christina was a mass of flames and sunk near the bastion at Cavite, and the Castilla was burning rapidly in Canacao Bay. The remaining vessels of the Spanish fleet sought refuge behind the arsenal and several of them were on fire; the guns at the Cavite and Sangley batteries had almost ceased firing, and a white flag appeared on the shears at the arsenal.
The Concord continued firing at the transport in obedience to signal, and to hasten operations the first cutter and whaleboat, in charge of Ensigns Kaiser and Davidson, armed for cutting out, were got into the water, the former from the skid beams, with the greatest promptitude and provided with inflammables, but before they had gone any distance it was discovered that the transport was on fire and the boats were recalled and hoisted in. At 1.45 we started to rejoin the squadron, but were ordered to go to the Petrel at Cavite, where she had been sent to destroy the vessels at the arsenal. She signaled as we anchored, AHave destroyed eight vessels here.@ White flags were flying at various points on shore and there was no longer any resistance.
The Boston joined us at 5.30.
During the engagement a number of shot and shell passed over and near us, but neither the vessel nor her crew received damage from the enemy.
The blocks of the whaleboat=s falls and a chest hanging over the quarter, several panes of glass, and some crockery were injured by the concussion of our own guns.
The zeal, energy and steadiness displayed by all the men and officers while under fire are deserving of the greatest praise, and the thorough and efficient working of the battery, the promptness of the ammunition supply, the completeness of preparations for the care of the sick and wounded, and the perfect working of the engines and mechanical devices reflect the highest credit upon each of the officers of divisions and heads of departments of the ship under your command.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. P. COLVOCORESSES,
Lieutenant-Commander, U. S. N., and Executive Officer.
Commander ASA WALKER,