Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet, to Secretary of the Navy John D. Long

 

U.S. Flagship New York, 1st Rate,

Off Santiago de Cuba,

June 27th, 1898.

 

Sir:-

1. The landing of the army was completed yesterday afternoon all having been disembarked, with the addition of 2978 Cubans of General Garcia’s forces,1 who were brought from Acerraderos to Siboney (otherwise known as Juraguacito) five miles west of Daiquiri. The First Division was also landed at this point; no resistance was offered at any time. Large quantities of stores have also been disembarked at both these points, and a base established.

2. General Shafter has been most kind in his recognition of the aid afforded by the fleet; all of our boats with several hundred officers and men assisting during this period in the work.2 General Shafter in his telegram to the War Department states that the aid given him by the navy was enthusiastic, and also that he thinks he could not have effected the landing without its aid in ten days if at all.3 Such a disembarkation in the face of the enemy, and upon a surf bound coast of the character of this must be regarded as a very successful piece of work, and I desire to make mention of the ability displayed by Captain Goodrich4 and the officers detailed to assist him, and of the zeal and cheerfulness with which the men did their work.

3. The Yale arrived this morning with some 1300 troops, and these are now being debarked at Siboney.5

4. On the 25th I sent a letter to the Consul at Kingston, Jamaica6 requesting that he engage four pilots for use on the Southern coast, and the Hist left Guantanamo last night for Port Antonio for the purpose of bringing them to the fleet.

5. The necessity of instituting a strong and effective blockade of the coast from here westward is increasing day by day, and I desire if possible to render it thoroughly effective. The Yankee is now off Cienfuegos, and I have sent the Helena, Yankton and Eagle to the same point. The Dixie and Hornet are off Cape Cruz, and the Osceola goes there to-day. The Detroit goes to Cienfuegos, as soon as she can take some fresh water, a necessity on account of the very bad condition of her boilers; she must shortly go to Key West for repairs.

6. I desire as soon as possible to organize a force sufficient to raid the Bay of Manzanillo, which is now a nest of small Spanish gunboats, and thus cut off communication between that point and the west.7

7. The Dolphin was sent yesterday to the blockade off Havana, and the Castine, Manning, Wasp and Bancroft are ordered to proceed as soon as coaled at Guantanamo.

8. As soon as possible the blockade should be extended along the whole of the north Cuban coast, covering particularly Nuevitas and Saguale Grande. I enclose the proposed arrangement of ships, the final disposition of vessels will, however, be left in the hands of the two Commodores assigned to Divisions, one of whom will have command on the north and the other on the south.8

9. It has been my earnest wish to increase the efficiency of the blockade, but circumstances have been so imperative, and the difficulties so great, that it was impossible to do more on the south side at least, than has been done. I have no doubt that the Commodore commanding on the north coast has done all in his power;9 the number of ships which must go to Key West for coal and for repairs must always be large, and the army movements caused the temporary removal of twelve effective ships from their stations.

10. There is no doubt that an addition of eight or ten vessels carrying 5-inch guns is needed in order to thoroughly patrol this coast line of nearly 2,000 miles, a line greater in extent than that patrolled by nearly 600 ships during the civil war, and one in many respects offering greater difficulties.10

11. I propose making arrangement for the establishment of a coaling base at the Isle of Pines, or under Cape Cruz, as it is now necessary for ships off Cienfuegos to come 340 miles East for this purpose.

Very respectfully,

W.T. Sampson

Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy,

Commander-in-Chief, U.S Naval Force,

North Atlantic Station.

 

BLOCKADE.

 

Guantanamo,

Cape Cruz.

MARBLEHEAD

Dixie

Osceola

Off Santiago de Cuba,

Cienfuegos,

New York

Yankee

INDIANA

Yankton

NEW ORLEANS

Detroit

OREGON

Hornet

IOWA

MASSACHUSETTS

Isle of Pines & Batabano

TEXAS

BROOKLYN

Eagle

SCORPION

Helena

VIXEN

Hist

GLOUCESTER

SUWANEE

VESUVIUS

San Juan de Puerto Rico

WOMPATUCK

ST. PAUL

YOSEMITE

VIXEN     )

 

GLOUCESTER) special with flag for night picket.

VESUVIUS   )

 

 

NORTH COAST.

 

PURITAN    )

TERROR    ) TWO AT KEY WEST.

MIANTONOMAH)

AMPHITRITE )

MONTGOMERY

LEYDEN

MARIETTA

TECUMSEH

WILMINGTON

UNCAS

MACHIAS

HAMILTON

Castine

MORRILL

NASHVILLE

HUDSON

NEWPORT

WOODBURY

ANNAPOLIS

WINDOM

VICKSBURG

Manning

Dolphin

McLANE

Bancroft

HAWK

MAYFLOWER

Wasp

MANGROVE

ARMERIA

CINCINNATI & NEWARK to come from North

Source Note: TLS, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 232. Addressed below close: “The Secretary of the Navy,/Navy Department,/Washington, D.C.” At top of first page is identifying number: “No. 147.” Docketed on separate sheet: “U.S.F.S. New York,/Off Santiago de Cuba,/June 28-1898./Sampson W.T./Rear Admiral, U.S.N.,/Commander in Chief U.S./Naval Force, N.A. Station./Landing of Army-distribu-/tion of ships on blockade.” Also on the sheet with docketing a Bureau of Navigation stamp dated “JUL 12 1898” and numbered “12914.”

Footnote 1: Gen. Calixto Ramón García Iñiguez.

Footnote 2: For the list of boats participating Navy ships that contributed boats to the landing and the type of boats they provided, see: Boats furnished for the landing of the 5th Army Corps at Daiquiri, June 22 1898.

Footnote 3: In a letter of 23 June to Adjutant General Henry C. Corbin, Maj. Gen. William R. Shafter wrote: “The assistance of the navy has been of the greatest benefit, and enthusiastically given. Without them I could not have landed in ten days, and perhaps not at all, as I believe I should have lost so many boats in the surf. At present want nothing.” Alger, Spanish-American War, 101.

Footnote 4: Capt. Caspar F. Goodrich commanding St. Louis oversaw the landing operations. For his report on the landing, see: Goodrich to Sampson, 2 July 1898.

Footnote 5: These were troops from a Michigan volunteer regiment commanded by Brig. Gen. Henry M. Duffield.

Footnote 6: United States Consul at Kingston Louis A. Dent.

Footnote 7: For the Manzanillo operations, see: Carl W. Jungen to Sampson, 1 July 1898.

Footnote 8: Commo. John C. Watson, Commander, Northern Blockading Squadron, and Commo. Winfield S. Schley, Commander, Flying Squadron.

Footnote 9: A reference to Commo. John C. Watson.

Footnote 10: Sampson is referring to the blockade of the coastline of the Confederate states during the American Civil War as part of what is known as the North’s “Anaconda Strategy.”

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