Lieutenant Commander Richard Wainwright to Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet
U. S. S. Gloucester,
Off Santiago de Cuba,
June 8, 1898.
I have the honor to report that in obedience to my orders of June 3 I left Key West on June 4, carrying as passengers Lieutenant Arthur H. Dutton, U. S. N., Naval Cadet Samuel W. Bryant, U. S. N., Lieutenant-Colonel Hernandez,1 of the Cuban Army, and two pilots.
The Gloucester was anchored in Port Banes on June 6 at 10.30 A. M., where I carried out my verbal instructions. I received certain despatches the next morning, June 7, and left there at 7 A. M. to report to the Commander-in-Chief.
I was informed by Lieutenant-Colonel Hernandez that besides the port of Banes that Ports Padre and Manati were also in the possession of the Cuban Army. That the Light House at Lucretia Point had been abandoned by the Spanish and that the Cubans were without oil to keep it up. Also that the entrance to Nipi was mined.
Monday afternoon I sent an armed boat’s crew, under Lieutenant Dutton, to the mouth of Banes harbor to prevent or warn me of any attempt by the Spaniards at Nipi to mine the channel. They remained there until picked up Tuesday morning.
The entrance passage into the bay of Banes is narrow and torturous. The currents are strong and irregular with but little slack water. The Gloucester could not make the turns except by anchoring and using stern warps. Even then the attempt was risky and would have resulted badly had the engines failed to respond immediately to the signal. When turning the first bend the starboard chain parted and the anchor with 22 fathoms of chain was lost.
Lt.Comdr., U. S. N.,
Source Note: TDS, DNA, RG313, Entry 48, Box 2. Addressed below close: “To the/Commander-in-Chief/U. S. Naval Forces,/North Atlantic Station.” Docketed: “U.S.S. Gloucester,/Off Santiago de Cuba,/June 8, 1898./Wainwright, Richard,/Lt.Comdr. U.S.N.,/Commanding./Reporting Execution of Orders.”
Footnote 1: Lt. Col. Carlos Hernández.