Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Pay Clerk Edgar H. Roberts to Commander Bowman H. McCalla

(Copy)

U. S. S. Marblehead,

Off Cienfuegos, Cuba.

May 11th, 1898.   

Sir:-

     The following is a report of Bombardment of Colorados Point May 11th, 1898, recorded by me:

     Called to Quarters at 6:45

     Nashville signaled “ready” at 6:46

     Our answer, “Execute Orders”.

 We signaled Nashville go within six cables of Light House, time 6:58

First shot fired was from a gun at Cable house at 7:07, at 7:10 opened fire from No. 1 Port Gun and 7:11 No. 2 Port Gun.

At 7:14 Cable House was demolished.

At 7:20 general firing from Port Guns, on the woods beyond and to the left of cable house  .

At 7:40 firing pin broke on No. Port 6 Pdr. Gun, was fixed and ready to fire at 8:12

At 8:24 Manned starboard battery and commenced with the 6 pdr. Guns.

8:20 signalled to Nashville, “keep up slow firing on the woods.”

8:40 signalled Nashville not to hit Light House. Commenced firing our one pounder guns at 8:42

9 o’clock signalled Nashville, “can you haul end of cable out to deep water “ (failed to get answer)

9:25 opened fire with starboard 5 in. Guns,steam and sailing launches under hot fire.

9:30 signalled Nashville, “go in closer”.

9:32 signalled Nashville, “where are they fireing from? ” Answer, Enemy fireing on slope in line with Light House.

9:55 steam and sailing launches under hot fire and retreating.

10:13 our boats came along side; 10:13 Nashville signalled “we are getting out of small arm fire, Captain1 is hurt.” We signalled, “did you cut cable”, Answer, “Yes” We answered, “Congratulations”.

10:13 Nashville ceased fireing.

10:25 signalled to Nashville, “how many hurt”, answer, “Captain, two men in Launch and two on ship.”2

10:28 Secure. 10:28 B Gun so hot ceased fireing it.

10:30 Signalled Nashville “were the wounded seriously injured” answer, “one badly,going to the “Windom”.3

11 o’clock Windom came up and signalled “can we engage”, answer “yes open fire on Light House 1300 yards.” At 11:14 signaled from “Windom” “are engaged”,answer “open fire on Light House Tower 1350 yards   11:20 signaled Windom. Negative 1. Cease fireing, signaled Windom, “well done.”

Respectfully,

E.H.Roberts,

Pay Clerk and Acting Recorder.

Source Note: TCy, DNA, RG 313, Entry 48. Addressed below close: “To Commanding Officer,/U. S. S. Marblehead.” Forwarded to Secretary of the Navy, John D. Long, by Cmdr. McCalla in a collection of documents pertaining to cable cutting operations at Cienfuegos on 11 May 1898.

Footnote 1: Cmdr. Washburn Maynard.

Footnote 2: For a complete list, see:  Asst. Surgeon Frank L. Pleadwell to Maynard, 11 May 1898.

Footnote 3: Probably a reference to Seaman Robert Volz who was killed while dredging for the cables.

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