Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Commander Bowman H. McCalla to Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet

U. S. S. MARBLEHEAD, 3rd. Rate,  

Off Cienfuegos, Cuba,          

May 16th., 1898.

S i r :

     1.   I have the honor to report that yesterday at 1 P.M. a small and unseaworthy boat was picked up off the port of Cienfuegos containing three officers and two soldiers from the Cuban Army. Their object was to communicate with our ships off Cienfuegos to ask for ammunition and rifles of which their force here are particularly in need.

     I have  given them supplies for their wounded and 6000 rounds of sub-caliber ammunition for their Remingtons, and beg to suggest that it would be advisable to send them as many rifles and as much ammunition as possible.

     2.   In this connection I would refer to the fact that the Spanish Steamer Argonauta had on board 500 or 600 Mauser rifles and several thousand rounds of ammunition.

     If that ammunition could be sent to the blockading force off Cienfuegos it could be landed within the insurgent’s lines.

     3.   I cannot express in strong enough terms the admiration which I felt for this gallant and patriotic band of Cubans who embarked on their perilous undertaking in their small, flat-bottomed, leaky and unseaworthy boat, and in which they passed thirty hours before being seen.

     Their names are as follows:

          Luis Orizando, Major,

          José Antonio Alvárez, Lieutenant,

          BenigtoOrtez, Captain.

     Soldiers, Rafael Castro and José Larule.

     All were from the 2nd. Division, 4th. Corps, 2nd. Brigade.

     4.   I enclose a copy of the letter which Major Orizando delivered to me from the Colonel of his regiment.1

Very respectfully,               

B H McCalla            

Commander, U.S. Navy,       

Commanding,            

Senior Officer Present.     

Source Note: TDS, DNA, RG 313, Entry 48, Box 3. Addressed below close: “The Commander-in-Chief,/North Atlantic Station.” Document reference: “No. 80.” Note: Document mention “One (1) enclosure.” is attached, but said enclosure was not found with document. Docketed: U.S.S. MARBLEHEAD, 3rd. Rate,/Off’ Cienfuegos, Cuba,/May 16th., 1898./ McCalla, B.H.,/Commander, U.S. Navy,/Commanding./Senior Officer Present./Reports visit of three officers to MARBLEHEAD from the Cuban Army./one (1) enclosure.” Stamp: Document features a stamp that indicates: “RECEIVED/FLAG-SHIP N.A. STATION,/MAY 19 1898.”

Footnote 1: The referenced letter was not attached and has not been found.

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