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Commander Robert E. Impey to Commodore Winfield S. Schley, Commander, Flying Squadron


Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

June 27, 1898.1


1. I have the honor to confirm the following signal from the Flagship ″New York,″ June 8, 1898, off Santiago. ″Accompany ″Marblehead,″2 go with her to Guantanamo.″ The ″Sterling″ arrived at Guantanamo, and anchored at 5 P.M. June 8.3

2. On June 12, upon recommendation of Medical Officer of the ″Texas,″ and by authority of the Commanding Officer of that vessel W.T. McLean, (Mch 2 cl.)4 was transferred to the U.S.S. ″Texas,″ he having been accidentally injured while on duty in the engine room of this vessel.

    There is no Medical Officer attached to the ″Sterling.″

3. All the ″Sterling's″ Squadron stores, consisting of coal and oil, have been discharged and the vessel is now ready to proceed in obedience to order #3, of the Commander-in Chief, dated June 15, 1898, which order reads as follows, "As soon as discharged, proceed direct to Hampton Roads, Va., and report your arrival to the Navy Department."

4. Appended is a list of vessels coaled by the ″Sterling,″ during this voyage, together with the date, place and quantity, transferred.

5. Also list of the barrels of oil transferred.5

6. All the defects and deficiencies, except damages done in coaling ships on the blockade, were brought to the attention of the proper authorities through the usual official channels, before the vessel left home.

Very Respectfully,

R.E. Impey

Commander U.S.N.



Condition of Ship.

1. At the present time there are but two hoisting booms to each mast where there should be four, to enable the vessel, to more rapidly discharge her cargo.

2. There should be two winches Aft, so that both holds in that part of the ship can be discharged at the same time.

3. The above fittings are urgently needed, as the time element enters as the most important factor, in the business in which this vessel, is employed.

4. The ″Sterling,″ requires a new crank shaft and one is ordered for her awaiting arrival at Norfolk.

5   The steam steering engine requires overhauling.

6   Awnings and stanchions are required. The ship has none.

7   The water closets for officers and crew require a thorough overhauling.

8   The fore and main riggings require repairs.

9. The ships rail and side require repairs. Damage done by the ″Iowa.″6

10. Require a boat to replace the one condemned by survey.

11. The flooring should be taken up inside to clean bilges.

12. A distiller and evaporator is absolutely necessary.7

13. Gang way ladder and grating need repairs.

14. Rail and awning should be fitted on top of pilot house.

15 A platform on port side should be fitted for leadsman.

16 Doors should be cut in bulkheads between forward and after holds and steaming bunkers in order to fill the latter.

17 Ports for ash shutes need repairs.

18 The vessel should be docked.

19 Decks require caulking.

20 After boat davit socket starboard side should be repaired.

21 Require four coal shutes.

22 Shelves in store rooms necessary.

23 Six bales of cotton required for fenders.


Names of Vessels coaled by the ″Sterling.″

Name of Vessel     Place where coaled Date      Quantity

Tons pounds

U.S.S.Miantonomah         Piedras Bay   May 26/98     99

″ ″ ″Puritan                                     116

″ ″ T.B. Foote                             18

″ ″ Tug Leyden                              19

″ ″S. Sterling                             16   128

F.S.Brooklyn Off Santiago de Cuba    30      72   1389

S.Texas                           31       135 

New Orleans                    June 1/98 95   1120

T.B. Porter                    2      13   88

S. Sterling                      2     9    204

Massachusetts      ″ ″     3      126  1317

New Orleans                          69   1120

F.S. Brooklyn                      4  13   230

″″ S. Sterling                     6  8    2155

Tons Pounds

U.S.S. Suwanee      Off Santiago de Cuba    June 6/98 53   78

Sterling                      7      11   1285

        Guantanamo Bay         9      16   1305

Vixen                             10       92   920

Dolphin                         11       196 

T.B. Porter                        13       45   600 

S. Sterling                        14       3   

″ ″ ″ Panther                            15       31  

Sterling                         16      3

Vesuvius                            17       89   234 

Gloucester                            90

Yankee                            18       268  28  

Sterling                         20       36   160

T.B. Ericsson                                  19   124 

                                           Tons Pounds

U.S.S. Panther     Guantanamo Bay     June 21/98    105  456

Sterling                                  18

″ ″ ″                                  22       10   1600

″ ″ ″ Resolute                                    45   1800

″ ″ T.B. Porter                         23       4    406

″ ″ S. Hornet                                     48

″ ″ ″ Wasp                              24       67   1825

″ ″ ″ Castine                             25       168

″ ″ Tug Wompotuck                                74   875

  S. Eagle                            26       38

H                                               11   1900

U.S.S. Marblehead                       27 


Names of Vessels to which Oil was transferred

Name of Vessel Place where oil was taken    Date      Bbls

U.S.S.Texas   Off Santiago de Cuba    May 31/98     1

Vixen        Guantanamo Bay     June 10      1

Dolphin                           11       7   

Vesuvius                           17       2

Gloucester                                4

Resolute                                    82

Source Note: ALS, DNA, RG 313, Entry 48. In the upper right hand corner of the first page is a stamp of the USS Marblehead with the date in the middle: ″JUN 27 1898.″ At top right center is stamped: ″RECEIVED/FLAG-SHIP N.A. STATION,/JUN 28 1898.″ Addressed below close: ″Commander-in-Chief/Flying Squadron.″ This document was addressed to Commo. Winfield S. Schley, however, RAdm. William T. Sampson received it.

Footnote 1: This document was originally written on 26 June; the seven was superimposed over the six.

Footnote 2: Cmdr. Bowman H. McCalla commanded Marblehead.

Footnote 3: As this document reveals Sterling was a collier.

Footnote 4: That is, Machinist Second Class.

Footnote 5: Oil was used for lubricating machinery.

Footnote 6: The United States Navy took great pains to minimize the damage between ships during at sea coaling operations, nevertheless, accidents did occur.

Footnote 7: Distillation is used to separate impurities from water by evaporation and then condensation to ensure that the now purified water will be less corrosive to pipes and other machine parts.

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