Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Commander Abraham B.H. Liller to Commodore John C. Watson, Commander, Squadron Blockading Northern Cuba

U. S. S. V I C K S B U R G .

[After 31 May 1898]

May 1st:- At sea, making passage from Norfolk, Va., to Key West Florida.

May 2nd:- At anchor, off Key West, Florida.

May 3d:-        do      do   do

May 4th:-     At 1.30 p.m. left anchorage, off Key West, Fla., and steamed for Havana, Cuba.1

May 5th:- Arrived off Havana at 8.30 A.M. Took station on the blockade. At 3.30 p.m. sighted and gave chase to a schooner and hove her to. She proved to be the Spanish schooner ORIENTE. The Tecumseh took her in tow to the Annapolis for orders.2 Vessels within signal distance were the Tecumseh, Mangrove, and the Osceola. At 5.50 p.m. sighted large steamer which proved to be the French steamer Lafayette, hove to by the Annapolis. She left at 9.30 p.m. headed for Key West, followed by the Wilmington.

     May 6th:- At 11.00 a.m. sighted the French man-of-war Dubordieu. saluted her with thirteen guns. She returned the salute gun for gun. She went into Havana harbor. At 5.50 p.m. was fired upon by Cojima batteries. No damage was done.

     May 7th:- At 7.40 a.m. sighted and gave chase to a schooner which flew spanish colors, on blank charge being fired. Fired several shots at schooner, drawing the fire of Santa Clara and Vedado #1 on us.3 Some of their shots striking very near to the Vicksburg, one carrying away the “jacob’s ladder”4 on the main. At 11.20 p.m. hove to the Fernandite, a Spanish schooner. Sent her to Key West, with prize crew on board.

     May 8th:- On blockading station. The Mayflower hove strange schooner to at 4.50 a.m. The name of the schooner not known, but she was flying spanish colors.

     May 9th:- The Vicksburg was within signal distance when the Newport chased and hove to a Spanish schooner which she took in tow at 6.00 a.m. A French cruiser came out of Havana, and went to the westward, at 4.15 p.m.

     May 10th:- About 11.00 a.m. the Lafayette came out of Havana she exchanged signals with Vicksburg.

     May 11th:- H.M.S.TALBOT came out of Havana at 10.50 a.m. and stood East, signalling to the Mayflower that she was going the Nassau.

     May 12th:- Chased and hove to steamer Gussie, a transport ship. She was afterwards convoyed by the Revenue Cutter Manning.

     May 13th:- Chase and hailed the Gussie at 2.00 a.m.

     May 14th:- Chased and hove to an English barque, the British America, bound from Mobile to Holland. Allowed her to proceed at 6.00 a.m. At 1.00 P.m. chased, hove to and boarded the Norwegian steamer Albis. Allowed her to proceed. She was bound from New York to Progresso, Mexico. At 5.30 p.m. two gunboats came out of Havana. The Mayflower fired upon them, the fire was returned by the gunboats and the batteries on the shore. No damage was done.

     May 15th:- On blockade off Havana.

     May 16th:-    do         do       . French flagship Dubordieu came out of Havana.

     May 17th:- On blockade off Havana.

     May 18th:- Sighted German man-of-war Geier. She entered Havana Harbor at 9.00 a.m.

     May 19th: On blockade off Havana.

     May 20th:-    do      do

     May 21st:- Flagship New York sighted at 11.30 a.m.

     May 22d:- At 5.00 p.m. received the orders from the New York to join fleet.

     May 23d:- At 9.30 a.m. started in cruising to the Eastward. Continued so for the rest of the day. Lost sight of flagship at 11.30 p.m.

     May 24th:- Rejoined fleet at daylight.

     May 25th:- With squadron off North coast of Cuba.

      "  26th:-       do              do

      "  27th:-       do              do

      "  28th:-       do              do

      "  29th:- The Oregon joined the fleet.

      "  30th:- With Squadron off North coast of Cuba. During the night acted as scout twenty miles eastward of fleet.

     May 31st:- with fleet. On scout duty during the night.

                        (sig.) A. B. H. Liller,

                             Comdr. Commanding.

Source Note: TCy, DNA, RG 313, Entry 2. No place given and date was derived from contents of report.

Footnote 1: See: Map of Havana harbor.

Footnote 2: Senior Officer Present was Cmdr. John J. Hunker of Annapolis.

Footnote 3: Gun batteries located in Havana.

Footnote 4: A “Jacob’s ladder” is a flexible hanging device for climbing.

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