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Captain Benjamin P. Lamberton to Rear Admiral George Dewey, Commander, Asiatic Squadron

U.S.Flagship OLYMPIA,   

Manila, P.I.,     

August I6, I898.


     I. I have the honor to make the following report on the part taken by this ship in the capture of the city of Manila on the I3th of August, I898.

     2. At 8:42 A.M., in obedience to general signal, got underway, in company with the fleet, formed for action and at half speed, steamed down for the Spanish works, just ahead of the U.S.Forces and opposite the Magazine at Malate. Went to general quarters and hoisted battle flags at each masthead. At 9:35 A.M. opened fire at 3700 yards and steamed up within 3000 yards of the fort.

     The U.S.S.Raleigh, Petrel, Callao and tug Barcello1 joined in the attack and soon rendered the fort untenable. Owing to the rapid advance of the U.S.Troops stopped firing at I0:35 A.M.

     3. Brigadier General Anderson,2 U.S.A., made a gallant assault on the fort and trenches - in plain sight of the ship - and planted the United States Flag on the fort at I0:56 A.M.

     4. At II A.M. Flagship hoisted signal “ International - D.W.H.B.- Surrender”3 - and steamed up toward the Walled City.4

     At II:40 a white flag was seen on the city wall and hostilities ceased. General Whittier,5 U.S.A., and Lieutenant T.M.Brumby,6 U.S.N., went on shore to communicate with the Spanish authorities. Lieut. Brumby returned at 2:25 P.M. and announced that the city had surrendered. At 5:42 P.M. the Spanish Flag was hauled down. Immediately after the United States Flag was hoisted by Lieutenant Brumby, U.S.N., and saluted with a national salute from each ship of the Fleet, amidst cheering and general rejoicing.

     5. The supply of ammunition for all guns was easily maintained and the hoists worked well. In the after turret the switch for electrical hoist was blown out, so hoisted ammunition by hand. The usual precautions against fire were taken. In the forward turret four common shells were fired from the right 8” gun and five from the left gun. The three electrical batteries and all gear of this turret worked well.

     6. The after turret fired one common shell from the right 8” gun and four from the left gun. The battery and dynamo circuits of right gun failed after the first shot so shifted to percussion primers. The gear of this turret worked well with the exception of the blowing out of the switch for hoist before mentioned.

     7. The starboard 5” battery fired 65 common shells. There was one misfire ( defective primer ) and three shells fell out of cases in loading. Otherwise the battery and ammunition worked perfectly. Two guns used smokeless powder but the gas generated was as bad as the brown powder smoke in obscuring the target.

     8. The 6 pounder battery on the berth deck was not used. The 6 pounders on the upper deck fired 8 shots.

     9. The smoke at first gave considerable trouble and the ship was moved ahead or astern one length to clear it.

     I0. We had no casualties the enemies shots falling short.

     II. The Marine Guard was divided into relief gun crews and mustered on the upper deck as sharpshooters.

     I2. In this connection I beg to call the attention of the Commander-in-Chief to the very efficient work performed by Lieutenant C.G. Caulkins,7 U.S.Navy, the navigating officer of this ship. With tireless energy he familiarized himself not only with the soundings in the vicinity of the Spanish batteries, often within range of their guns - but with all prominent land marks so that the ship could be handled in shoal water with safety.

     It is also with great pleasure to me to commend the gallant action of Naval Cadet W.R.White,8 who took the steam tender of this ship, armed with a 37 m/m gun, and steamed close in to the beach, and assisted in clearing the way for the advance of the army. He received two volleys from the Spanish troops but continued up to the walled city were, where the white flag was hoisted. Again later when sent in to assist in landing troops, and seeing a Spanish transport on fire he steamed into the Pasig River, and attempted to save her. His conduct deserves the highest praise and I heartily commend him to the favorable notice of the Commander-in-Chief.

     I3. In conclusion I beg to congratulate the Commander-in-Chief on the successful termination of the most remarkable naval operations in history. The World was surprised at its brilliancy and future generations will be astounded that such stupendous results could be accomplished without losing a life.

I am, Sir, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

B. P. Lamberton                      

Captain, U.S.Navy,

Commanding U.S.Flagship OLYMPIA.     

Source Note: TDS, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 364. Addressed below close: “The Commander-in-Chief,/Asiatic Station.” Document reference: “No. I4-C.”

Footnote 1: That is, Barcelo.

Footnote 2: Brig. Gen. Thomas M. Anderson.

Footnote 3: “D.W.H.B.” means “Do you surrender?”

Footnote 4: “Walled City” refers to the older fortified section of Manila.

Footnote 5: Gen. Charles A. Whittier.

Footnote 6: Lt. Thomas M. Brumby.

Footnote 7: Lt. Carlos G. Calkins.

Footnote 8: Naval Cadet William R. White.

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