Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Lieutenant Benjamin Tappan to Rear Admiral George Dewey, Commander, Asiatic Squadron

U.S.S. Callao          

Off Manila,       

August 14th, 1898

Sir:

     I have the honor to report as follows. On the morning of the 13th inst. in obedience to orders the Callao steamed in towards the beach to support our troops in their advance on Manila, and opened fire on Fort San Antonio and the earth-works of the enemy to the Ed.1

     Upon the enemy abandoning their positions and retreating, she advanced with the left flank of our troops, keeping in 2 fathoms of water but ceased firing in obedience to general signal from the Flag Ship,2 having fired 1202 rounds. Detachments of the enemy sheltered from the fire of our troops by buildings; men in plain view from the Callao and only a few hundred yards distant, but as they retreated as we advanced without firing on the troops I did not fire on them.

     Ensign S.B.Bradshaw3 performed the duties of Executive Officer gallantly and ably, and when the firing-pins of the 3pdr R.F.4 gun broke he promptly fitted a new one himself.

     Passed assistant Surgeon L.L. Young5 rendered valuable assistance in observing the movements of the enemy and our troops while I was engaged in handling the ship. The crew of the Callao behaved admirably. Many Mauser bullets splashed near the ship and several struck the hull and sparr,6 but there were no casualties.   I sent Ensign Bradshaw with an armed boat crew to take possession of the Spanish transport Cebu in the Pasig River. He found her abandoned and on fire and they were unable to extinguish the flames, and though they closed the sea valves she sank during the night. Naval Cadet W.R. White7 with the crew of the Barcelo, and boat crews under the command of Lieutenant Ridgely and Mell8 from the McCulloch assisted in the efforts to save the Cebu.                         Respectfully submitted

Benjamin Tappan

Lieut. U.S.N.

Comdg. U.S.S.Callao.  

Source Note: ALS, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 364. Addressed below close: “To/The Commander in Chief/U.S.Naval Force in Asiatic Station.” Docketed: “U.S.S. Callao/Manila Bay/August 14th, 1898/Tappan Benjamin/Lieutenant U.S.Navy/Report on the/Action on the/12th of August.”

Footnote 1: That is, Eastward.

Footnote 2: Cruiser Olympia. The Callao, being a gunboat, was able to provide close support to the American infantrymen.

Footnote 3: Ens. George B. Bradshaw.

Footnote 4: That is, Rapid Fire.

Footnote 5: Passed Asst. Surgeon Louis L. Young.

Footnote 6: Presumably, Tappan was referring to Callao’s spar, or upper, deck.

Footnote 7: Cadet William R. White.

Footnote 8: 3rd Lt. Randolph Ridgely Jr., R.C.S. and 3rd Lt. John Mel, R.C.S.

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