Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Commander William H. Emory to the Crew of the Yosemite

 

The commanding officer publishes this information received this a.m. June 26th for the information of the officers and crew of the Yosemite in order that they will individually understand the great necessity for a strict lookout at all times.1

With proper precautions to avoid a surprise the commanding officer feels confident that the Yosemite can maintain the blockade and dispose of the Spanish force in the harbor should they come outside of the range of the shore batteries, which are high-power guns of large calibre.

 

U.S.S. Yosemite,  

          Off San Juan, Puerto Rico

Sunday June 26.

Megaphone message from St. Paul Sunday a. m. June 26, off San Juan, Puerto Rico.1

 

     That steamer bound for New York.

     Torpedo boat was repairing and was coming out again to-day. The captain does not know how soon she can come out.2

     You had better keep a bright lookout and not go in the same place every night. I am going to change my position during the night. I think we better keep near each other during the day so that if that vessel comes out we would be near xxxxxx together.

      Will use port battery.  My starboard battery is a little out of gear.

     2d message (few minutes after above)

     Four tramp steamers in the harbor.

     I gave you the correct number of Spanish war vessels yesterday.

The Spanish transport Monts errat is coming here with a lot of troops and may be here at any time.3 The Ravensdale reports the torpedo boat is going out to convoy her.4

One of the crew of the tramp steamer said that the torpedo boat was coming out last night but she had a shot hole to repair.

Message No. 3, Received at 11 a.m.

     Have changed my intention of going to-morrow night.

Leave for Newport News at once.

If I waint until to-morrow night it will take me three days to get word to Sampson as I would not have coal enough to stop at the Mole.5

I am going now --- going to the Mole. Will telegraph Sampson from the Mole.

Torpedo boat preparing night and day to come out. Think they are sending us yarns.

Am going to the Mole. Will have coal enough to get to Newport News. If I wait until to-morrow night I will not have coal enough.

     You have all the orders I have for this blockade.

     Will get word to Sampson6 from the Mole to-morrow night. We killed at least three people, killed one outright. An American7 gave me a bottle with a paper in it saying that we killed the first and second engineer. Vessel has a hole in it. They say the Captain is very brave man but he cannot come out while his vessel has a hole in it.8

          I will go right away and instead of going to New York will go to Newport News.

Will get to the Mole by to-morrow at 6:00 o’clock and them Sampson will get word to-morrow night.

     Stand off together down the coast.

Source Note: TCy, DLC-MSS, William Emory Papers. At left right corner: “(Copy).”

Footnote 1: The St. Paul arrived at San Juan on June 20th and Yosemite five days later to take over blockade duty. See Report of the Bureau of Navigation, 1898, 220-22 and French E. Chadwick, The Relations of the United States and Spain: The Spanish-American War, Vol. II (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1911), 341.

Footnote 2: A reference to the Spanish torpedo boat destroyer Terror, commanded by Lt. Francisco P. de la Rocha.

Footnote 3: The steamer Montserrat was commanded by Capt. Manuel Deschamps y Martínez.

Footnote 4: The British steamship Ravensdale was under the command of Captain Luke. See, New York Times, 4 July 1898.

Footnote 5: Mole St. Nicholas, Haiti was a rallying point for ships and a communications center for telegraphs.

Footnote 6: RAdm. William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet.

Footnote 7: The American was E. Aarons, a cook who was serving on Ravensdale. See, Ibid.

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