Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Commander Chapman C. Todd to Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet

U.S.S.WILMINGTON, 3d Rate,

Off Jucaro, Cuba,    

July 21, 1898.

Sir:-

     1.  On the evening of the 18th the MANNING joined the blockading force.

     2.  At 2.00 p.m., of the 19th, the WOMPATUCK was sent with despatches to the Commander-in-Chief, accompanied by the HORNET and the HIST. The former to maintain the blockade near Cape Cruz, the latter, having a pilot on board, was directed to show the way to the other vessels to rejoin the blockading force off Santa Cruz next forenoon. The remaining vessels of the blockading force steamed to and anchored at Guayabal over night.

     3.  At 6.00 a.m., the 20th, the vessels got underway and proceeded off Santa Cruz, the HIST rejoining as the town was approached. The approach to the town was made in column of vessels, the WILMINGTON heading for the eastern edge of the place, where was located a blockhouse. When in as close as the depth of the water would warrant, this vessel was headed gradually to the westward and some 6 pdr. shell thrown at the blockhouse, the other vessels following her movements. As the western end of the town was reached in which is located the barracks of the soldiers, some small shell were thrown at the building. Two circuits were made by the vessels firing from each occurring, as it came into position, on the two places mentioned.

     4.  The only evidence of life about the entire place was upon the approach of the vessels, when some thirty soldiers from the blockhouse were observed to ferry themselves across a narrow stream by boats and dispersed among the trees. The town appeared to be absolutely deserted and not a single vessel of any distinction was visible.

     5.  At 11.30 a.m., the signal “Cease firing” was made and the SCORPION and OSCEOLA directed to return to Guayabal and maintain the blockade of Manzanillo from the northward. The remaining vessel[s] then proceeded westward, passing through the Outer Mate Passage, the PinguePass, and anchored before dark in Gitano Pass.

     6.   This appearance of the force off Santa Cruz was simply intended as a demonstration. It is evident from the absence of shipping throughout the waters in which these vessels have been that a great effect has been produced by their simple presence be-known to exist. The only means of transportation from Santa Cruz, either east or west, is by water, and I do not consider it at present of any great importance so far as blockading is concerned, but it will be visited by some one of the vessels occasionally to keep it under observation.

Very respectfully,                   

Commander, U.S.N.,               

Commanding,                 

Senior Officer Present.

Source Note: CbCy, DNA, RG 313, Entry 41, vol. 4, p. 101. Addressed below close: “The Commander-in-Chief, U.S.Naval Force,/North Atlantic Station.” Document reference at top of first page: “No. 25.”

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