Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Commodore George C. Remey, Commandant, Key West Naval Base, to Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet

NAVAL BASE, KEY WEST [Fla.]

U. S. Flagship Lancaster, July 15, 1898

Sir:

          As the extension of the blockade on the north side of Cuba increases the need of vessels,1 I have the honor to request that you will send as many around from the south side as you can spare. Every available vessel here is kept out on the blockade as long as she can stay, but this number is occasionally drawn on for convoys.2 The NEWPORT has just been sent north by the Department’s order, convoying four prize steamers to New York, and the DOLPHIN has not yet returned from being repaired at Norfolk. Commodore Howell3 has expressed a particular desire for all the small vessels to be had.

     (2) The Department has sent here the Torpedo Boats MORRIS, TALBOT and GWIN, to be used on blockade between the Isle of Pines and Batabano. I have sent the NASHVILLE down to examine into the practicability of maintaining these small craft in that vicinity, with a sub-base at Siguanea Bay or near there.4 I expect the NASHVILLE to return in a few days.

     (3) Regarding the monitors for service in Porto Rican waters, I have just reported to the Department that all four can be ready, as far as known, on the 20th instant, the PURITAN being obliged to go with two defective boilers blanked off. I have said they can go to Guantanamo with their own steam, convoyed by one vessel, but to go direct to Porto Rico they would need towing vessels, one of them to be a steam collier. There is no steam collier here now, the nearest one being the POMPEY, stationed at Cardenas.

     (4) The CINCINNATI has just arrived from the North.

Very respectfully,

Geo. C. Remey

Commodore Commanding

Source Note: TLS, DNA, RG 313, Entry 51. Addressed below close: “The Commander-in-Chief,/North Atlantic Fleet./Flagship New York.” There is a stamp in the upper right-hand corner of the first page: “RECEIVED/FLAG-SHIP N.A. STATION/JUL 19 1898.”

Footnote 1: On the extension of the blockade, see: Commo. John A. Howell to Sampson, 17 July 1898.

Footnote 2: On 13 July, Remey wrote Howell that he was sending six vessels to assist with the blockade. He also wrote that he had to retain Hawk for use as a convoy escort. DNA, RG 313, Entry 71.

Footnote 3: Commo. John A. Howell, Commander, First Blockading Squadron.

Footnote 4: Remey’s orders to Comdr. Washburn Maynard of 13 July are in DNA, RG 313, Entry 71. Maynard’s report has not been found, but in early August it was decided to invade and occupy the Isle of Pines, known today as the Isle of Youth. See: Sampson to Caspar F. Goodrich, 8 August 1898.

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