Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Lieutenant William W. Kimball to Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Squadron

U. S. T. B.1 DU PONT,

Matanzas Blockade,[Cuba]

May 6th, 1898.

Sir: -

     1. At 2.45 P.M. today while examining the shoal off Point Maya, and when between two and two and one half miles from Point Gorda battery, which was considered silenced, the gun in the middle embrasure gave us a single shot, good line, 1000 yds. short. It seemed to be an 8 in. or possibly a 10 in. shot. Did not burst.

     2. The fire was acknowledged by a 1 pdr. at extreme elevation and then fire was opened with two 1 pdrs. on a party of soldiers engaged in running a telegraph line to Point Maya Light, and on the block house and small infantry fort there, while carefully avoiding hitting the light house establishment.

     The soldiers, about 25 in number, scattered to the woods, and probably did not return the fire with rifles or machine guns, as no splash of bullets was seen.

     As the DU PONT’S 1 pdr. shell were too small to make the fire on the block house impressive, I directed the HORNET to drop a few 6 pdr. common shell through the block house and infantry work, which she did, while avoiding hitting the Light House.

     Meantime, under my direction, the DU PONT ran up the beach to the middle of Maya Bay where there is a fortified post, with a garrison of 25 soldiers, which I have inspected from time to time, and dropped a few 1 pdr. shells through the roof of the quarters and into some infantry trenches and scattered the garrison.

     3. Captain Dorst,2 when here in the LEYDEN, landing Cuban agents, asked me to scatter the patrol posts along shore, as they were a serious menace to his operations, but I did not feel authorized to do so unless fire was opened by the enemy. After Point Gorda battery opened fire I had no hesitation in returning it, where the armament at my disposition would be most felt.

     4. In my opinion the Cavalry posts at Dupont and at the village at the base of Icacos peninsular, unnamed on any chart I have, should also be broken up: but as there are non-combatants at those two places and consequently a notification should be given, I have not felt authorized to do this.

     5. It would seem proper to prevent the [running] of telegraph wires to Point Maya, since the wires going up this time would indicate that the Light is to be used as an observing station for mines or range or for important signals: and I would suggest that this point can be readily held by a small landing party, supported by a blockading ship, and that if it be so held the anchorage for small craft under the point can be utilized during the day by such vessels on this station.

     6. A full report of the conditions here will be made to any Senior Officer arriving at this station.

     7. The DU PONT will have to go to Key West for coal on the 7th instant, and remain long enough to wash out boilers, scale evaporators, and reseat and renew siphon valves.

Very respectfully,

W.W. Kimball

Lieut.Commander, U.S.N.,         

Commanding Atlantic T.B. Flotilla.

Source Note: TCyS, DNA, RG313, Entry 49, Box 8. Addressed below close: “Commander-in-Chief,/U.S.Naval Force on N.A. Station.” Stamp: “RECEIVED/FLAG-SHIP N A STATION/MAY 17 1898.”

Footnote 1: United States Torpedo Boat.

Footnote 2: Capt. Joseph H. Dorst, United States Army, 4th Cavalry Regiment.

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