Commodore John A Howell, Commander, First Blockading Squadron, Memorandum to Commanders Ships on the Blockade of Northern Cuba
U.S.Flagship San Francisco,
I am in receipt of information that Captain General Blanco1 is preparing to leave Cuba. The despatch states that he is expecting to leave in a vessel flying the Red Cross Flag,with sick soldiers on board. The vessel is said to be probably the Monsterrat.2
Renewed vigilance is therefore necessary,both at Havana and Matanzas,at which latter place present reports place the Monsterrat.
Vessels will keep headway on all the time until further orders,and will be prepared for instant use of the guns,and full power of engines. If any vessel is sighted coming out of port,whether flying the Red Cross Flag or not,vessels shall at once close with her taking such precautions as are necessary to prevent her escaping by a ruse. All such vessels must be taken to the Senior Officer Present and carefully searched.
Any vessel seeing another coming out of port at night shall make the required signal and fire one or more guns to attract attention.
In speaking a vessel coming out try and range up alongside her with the bow in the same direction as her own.
J. A. Howell
Commanding First Squadron,North Atlantic Fleet.
Source Note: CbCyS, DNA, RG 313, Entry 40. Address before opening: “Montgomery, Hamilton, Peoria, Castine, Fish Hawk, Miantanomoh, Hawk, Vicksburg, Piscataqua.” Addressed below close: “The Commanding Officers.”
Footnote 1: Spanish Captain General of Cuba Ramón Blanco Erenas Riera y Polo.
Footnote 2: That is, Montserrat.