Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Rear Admiral George Dewey, Commander, Asiatic Squadron, to Secretary of the Navy John D. Long

From...COM’D’R-IN-CHIEF

To...Secretary of Navy.

Date...Cavite, May 25, 1898.

Subject...General situation.

Blockade.

Scarcity provisions.

Spanish expedition.

Battleship or ar-

mored cruiser for

Squadron.

British friendly.

Capt. Gridley.

Arms arrived.

Supplies and coal.

Bark Saranao.1

Sent at Hongkong May 27.

No change in the situation.

The blockade is effective.

It is impossible for the people in Manila to buy provisions except rice.

The French man-of-war must go Saigon for provisions.2

It is important that I should know as early as possible whereabouts and strength of the possible squadron expedition to the Philippines Islands and if possible that the Spanish should be re-inforced with a battleship or armored cruiser.3

The British authorities both here and at Hongkong most friendly.

Gridley, Captain, condemned by medical survey, is ordered home.4

Leave by O.&.O.S.S.Co’s.steamer5 from Hongkong on May 28th.

Commander Lamberton6 has been appointed to the command of the Olympia.

Steamer has just arrived from Amoy with 3000 Mauser rifles and a great amount of ammunition for Aguinaldo, whose forces are increasing constantly.

In the event of a war between Great Britain Russia, it will be impossible almost to obtain supplies and coal on this station.7

British man-of-war arrived today from Iloilo gives me the following information:

The bark Saranao is sailing under British flag.

Is loading with sugar at Iloilo for New York.

Source Note: Cy, DLC-MSS, PGD.

Footnote 1: That is, Saranac. For more on its mission and its capture, see: Dewey to Long, 20 May 1898.

Footnote 2: The French cruiser Bruix.

Footnote 3: Dewey is referring to the Squadron under Adm. Manuel de la Cámara y Libermoore forming in Cadiz, Spain, when this cable was being drafted.

Footnote 4: Capt. Charles V. Gridley. Gridley died during the journey home to the United States.

Footnote 5: Occidental and Oriental Steamship Company.

Footnote 6: Cmdr. Benjamin P. Lamberton.

Footnote 7: Britain and Russia were at the time in a diplomatic dispute over the future of Port Arthur, present day Incheon, Korea that Dewey feared might erupt into open conflict. See: Dewey to George Goodwin Dewey, 4 January 1898.

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