Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Ensign Walter S. Crosley to Commander John J. Hunker

Copy.              U.S.S.Leyden, Bay of Nipe, July 21, 1898.

Sir:-

     I respectfully submit the following report of the duty performed by this vessel under your orders, this day at this place:-

     1. In obedience to you orders I approached the entrance to this bay closely followed by the U.S.S.Wasp, and entered it at 11.30 a.m. The first indication of the presence of the enemy was from the high hill to the right of the first turn in the channel, where a block house and signal station were seen. Several signals were made as follows: An American flag was hoisted and quickly run down; a black ball or shape, surmounted by a r[e]d pennant, was next run up; this was quickly run down, and the same shape, surmounting a square blue flag replaced it; this was i[n] turn replaced byna Spanish flag with the same ball under it.

     2. The Wasp fired some shot at this station, but my orders as received from you did not allow me to fire until fired upon. The Leyden was fired upon from this station by small arms, many shots striking in the vicinity of the vessel, but none striking her. At the same time a bright lookout was maintained for mines or torpedoes, but nothing to indicate the presence of anything of the kind was seen, except six floats, such as are generally used for fishing pots. At the time the shots were fired from the shore, I discovered a vessel at anchor in the bay, and was able to [m]ake out a Spanish man-of-war flying the Spanish colors

     3. Almost immediately I was able to communicate this discovery to the Commanding Officer of the Wasp,1 who, in turn, signalled to you. At the same time I found a stake in the water, with 3000 marked upon a white board secured thereto, and a puff of smoke was seen to issue from the Spanish Vessel. The shot fell near the Leyden, and [w]as followed by two more, which fell equally near.

     By this time both the Wasp and the Leyden were firing rapidly, at the same time steaming toward the Spaniard. I began firing at 4000 yds, and continued firing till the vesselmunder [i.e., vessel under] your command , which had entered while the Wasp and the Leyden were engaged , ceased firing.Many shots from the Leyden were seen to strike the vessel, the total number fired being as follows:- 6 pdr-50; 1 pdr-108.

     4. I kept on toward the Spaniard, shifting the helm to fire the 8 pd[r]s alternately, and ceased firing at 1000 yds, when she was seen to have a list to port, and to be down by th[e] head.

     5. About ten minutes after the Leyden commenced firing, two boats filled with men were seen to leave the vessel and pull ashore.

     Three more shots were fired from her forward guns, and another boat also filled with men left the vessel. The fourth and last seen to leave was a steam launch, and it was apparently well filled with men.

     6. I was able to see that the Spaniard was sinking , and at once steamed in close to her, sending a boat for the purpose of getting her colors before she sank. Her f[l]agstaff had been shot away about the time her kast [i.e., last] shot was fired, and the Leyden’s whale-boat succeeded in getting the colors before the ship’s stern went under water. This flag was turned over to the boat sent from the vessel under your command.

     7. From the position in which the Leyden was, I am positive that a four inch shell from the Annapolis struck the bow of the Spaniard, and from the fact that she went down bows first, it would seem that this shot was instrumental in sinking her.

     8. I respectfully call attention to t[h]e splendid behavior of the officers and men of the Leyden, for while she was being fired upon from astern, by small arm, and from ahead by the guns of the Spanish vessel, there was nothing but an eagerness to fire her own guns with greater accuracy visible among them.

     In accord[a]nce with instructions received from you, I did not commence firing from the Leyden, until I was fired upon from the Spanish vessel, the Jorge Juan”.

     No such instructions were given.

          Mr Crosby is mistaken. J.J.Hunker, Comdr,U.S.N.Comdg.2

Very respectfully,

W.S.Crosby,3          

Ensign, U.S.N., Commanding.

Source Note: TCy, DNA, RG 313, Entry 44. Addressed below close: “The Commanding Officer, U.S.S.Annapolis, Senior Officer Present.” Handwritten interlineation at top-right center: “Original sent to Dept/Sept15/ELB.”

Footnote 1: Lt. Aaron Ward.

Footnote 2: “No such instructions were given./Mr Crosby [i.e., Crosley] is mistaken.” This note was added after the fact by Hunker.

Footnote 3: The copyist misspelled the name of En. Walter S. Crosley.

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