Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet, to Secretary of the Navy John D. Long
Letter No. 298.
North Atlantic Squadron,
REAR-ADMIRAL William T. Sampson,
Report of Operations of the fleet under my command ending with the destruction of the Spanish Squadron under Admiral Cervera.
298. U. S. Flagship New York,1st Rate,
Guantanamo Bay, [Cuba]
August 3rd, 1898.
I have the honor to submit the following report,covering the conduct of the fleet under my command in its operations ending with the destruction of the Spanish Squadron under Admiral Cervera.
Information being received of the sailing April 29th of Admiral Cervera’s Squadron from the Cape Verde Islands it was decided with the concurrence of the Department that a squadron should go into the Windward Passage for the purpose of observation, with a view of going further east if thought advisable , making en route Cape Haitien a place of call for despatches.
May 4th. The flagship left Key West at 5:45 a.m. of May 4th,having appointed a rendezvous of the several ships which were selected to form the squadron off Cruz del Padre Light, Nicholas Channel at 6 p. m. of that day.
The flagship calling off Havana,proceeded to the rendezvous in company with the Iowa, Indiana and Detroit. The Terror, Amphitrite, Montgomery, Porter, Wompatuck and the Collier Niagara were already there. The squadron at once stood eastward, the monitors being taken in tow.
This was the beginning of our experience with the inefficiency of the monitors. Their coal Supply was so small that it was at once evident that they must either frequently coal, or they must be towed. Therefore the “New York” took one of the monitors in tow, and the other was towed by the “Iowa”. There resulted endless trouble and delay from the breaking of tow-lines, etc. At the first opportunity, when the sea was sufficiently smooth, the monitors were given coal from the “Niagara”, and again taken in tow. Had the sea been rough, or had the enemy appeared at this juncture, the Squadron would have been in a much better position for an engagement had the monitors been elsewhere. Subsequently, when engaging the batteries of San Juan, it was evident that their shooting was very bad, owing to the quick rolling of these vessels,even in a very moderate sea, they were unable to fire with any degree of accuracy.
May 6th. At 4:30 p.m. of the 6th the Montgomery was sent ahead to call at Cape Haitien for telegrams. The Squadron arrived at a point twenty miles to the northward of Cape Haitien and communicated with the Montgomery, which came out of Cape Haitian at 11:40 p.m. of the 7th.
May 7th. The following telegrams were received:
Dated May 6th. Washington,D.C.
Fresh provision steamer will leave tomorrow Philadelphia for Cape Haitien,leave Philadelphia for Cape Haitien,leave orders with the Consul for her to follow you.
Dated May 6th. Washington, D. C
Do not risk or cripple your vessels
against fortifications as to prevent from soon afterwards successfully fighting. Spanish fleet composed of Pelayo, Carlos V,Oquendo, Vizcaya, Maria Teresa, Cristobal Colon, four deep sea torpedo boats if they should appear on this side.
Dated Washing[ton, D. C.] May 6th.
American Line steamer New York, St. Louis keep a lookout for Spanish fleet about 80 nautical miles to the East of Martinique Island,Guadaloupe Island. Paris cruising around Puerto Rico for that purpose he will inform you if he gets any reliable information. Long.
Dated Washington, May 6th.
From Halifax,N.S. it is reported that several vessels with coal Spanish fleet are to be near Point a Petre,Guadaloupe,possibly contingent Supply.
Dated Washington May 6th.
German Steamer reports from Cape Haitien today Spanish vessel(s) coaling and loading ammunition at St. Thomas,W.I. and Spanish men-of-war patrolling outside harbor. Long.
Dated Washington May 6th.
Ambulance steamer Solace will leave May 7th Cape Haitien, leave orders to follow you. Long.
All the Commanding officers were called aboard the flagship in the middle watch,and a consultation regarding the situation was held. I decided to stand on to the eastward as far as San Juan,Puerto Rico on the chance of finding the Spanish Squadron in that port, where if we were not successful in destroying it, it could at least be closely blockaded and held.
May 9th. The squadron had been stopped twenty miles north of Cape Haitien,and the afternoon of the 8th and the morning of the 9th were spent in coaling the Terror, Amphitrite, Montgomery and Detroit.
At 11:15 the following being received from Cape Haitien,the squadron stood eastward.
Dated Washington May 8th.
The receipt of telegram of 8th is acknowledged. Foreign vessels Nos. 02 Pelayo 06 Carlos V,one deep sea torpedo boat cannot leave Cadiz,Spain two weeks, foreign vessels Oquendo,Vizcaya,Maria Teresa,C. Colon, two deep sea torpedo vessels published in the newspapers were seen yesterday night near Martinique. Completion of course American Line steamer off Windward Passage May 10th, off Puerto Rico May 13th. I order them to St. Thomas to await instructions from you. Blockade of Cuba and Key West will be endangered x x x if stripped by you x x x. You should be quick in your operation at Puerto Rico. In everything the Department has utmost confidence in your discretion and the Dept. does not wish to hamper you.
May 12th. The squadron arrived off San Juan the morning of the 12th and the bombardment of that place ensue, beginning at 5:10 and ending at 7:45 It was soon seen that Admiral Cervera’s squadron was not in the port. It was clear to my own mind that the squadron would not have any great difficulty in forcing the surrender of the place, but the fact that we should be held several days in completing arrangements for holding it; that part of our force would have to be left to await the arrival of troops to garrison it; that the movement of the Spanish squadron,our main objective,were still unknown; that the Flying Squadron was still North and not in a position to render any aid,that Havana, Cervera’s natural objective,was thus open to entry by such a force as his while we were a thousand miles distant made our immediate movement towards Havana imperative.
I thus reluctantly gave up the project against San Juan and stood westward for Havana.
Marblehead Montgomery was sent into St. Thomas to send despatches and bring any information possible,with rendezvous off Cape Haitien.
May 13th. On the night of the 13th the Solace out of Key West was spoken standing eastward, the word was received that an Associated Press Despatch was current at Key West that Admiral Cervera’s squadron had
May 14th. returned to Cadiz; this was also received from a Press boat.
The squadron was stopped and the Torpedo boat Porter sent into Puerto Plata with the following telegram:
Secretary of the Navy, May 14th.
Is it true Spanish ships are at Cadiz Spain? If so send to San Juan,Puerto Rico, collier from Key West or elsewhere.
Remey May 14th.
Send without delay Vesuvius to San Juan,Puerto Rico,if the Department confirms the arrival of the Spanish fleet at Cadiz.
These telegrams had in view to return and capture San Juan, the leisure to do so and occupy the place being assured in the event of Admiral Cervera’s failure to cross the Atlantic.
May 15th. The Porter returned at 3:30 a.m. on the 15th. with the following telegrams:
Flying Squadron will sail today for Charleston, S. C. Ready to reinforce Cuban blockade or Key West if necessary. The Minneapolis leaves today to watch between Monte Christi and Caicos Banks, Bahamas,and the St. Paul to watch between Morant Point,Jamaica,and west end of Haiti. Very important that your fast cruisers keep tough [i.e., touch] with Spanish squadron.
Later: The Spanish fleet from Cape Verde Islands off Curacoa,W.I.,May 14th. Flying Squadron en route to Key West, FLORIDA. Proceed with all possible despatch to Key West.
Also: The Spanish torpedo boat,deep sea class, Terror, remains at Fort de France, Martinique, only Spanish man-of-war observed May 13th. The St. Louis report,having arrived from St.Thomas. Captain Goodrich reports having cut a cable between St. Thomas and San Juan.
The squadron in the mean time awaiting these telegrams had remained in position. I gave orders to the St. Louis which had arrived at 2:15 a.m. May 15th. from the Eastward, to proceed to Santiago and cut cables there, also Guantanamo, thence to Ponce, Puerto Rico and cut cables,thence to St. Thomas and await orders. Orders were to the Harvard & Yale, St.Thomas:
Take all coal permitted at St. Thomas and await additional instructions. Telegraph any news to Cape Haitien.
I sent the following telegram to Commodore Remey, Key West:
Have all coal lighters filled with coal for ships in my squadron on eighteenth.
and proceeded westward with the squadron, sending the Porter to Puerto Plata with the above mentioned despatches, and also to ask the Consul at Curacoa if the Spanish ships were at Curacoa,and if so what ships. The Porter after sending these despatches, was to proceed to Cape Haitien to receive replies. The Squadron then proceeded westward, the flagship arranging a rendezvous with the Porter off Cape Haitien.
May 16th. At 12:30 a.m. May 16th the Porter arrived at the rendezvous with despatches from the Consul at Curacoa, as follows:
Maria Teresa and Vizcaya in harbor coaling, arrived Saturday; Oquendo,Cristobal Colon, Terror and Pluton outside only two admitted at time,short of coal and provisions, dirty bottom.
and from the American Consul, Cape Haitien:
Inform Admiral Sampson Spanish Squadron will leave six post meridian [that is, 6 P.M.] destination unknown.
and from the Department:
Five vessels supposed to be men-of-war observed off Fort de France,Martinique,May 14th, afternoon.
Spanish fleet from Cape de Verde off Curacoa on May 14th. Vizcaya and Maria Teresa entered into port as reported, and to leave Curacoa on May 15th. Department heard from London tenth instant colliers would probably meet them north coast of Venezuela. Flying Squadron sailed May 13th for Key West?
I at once telegraphed Commodore Remey,Key West, sending the Porter into Cape Haitien for this purpose.
Inform at once vessels blockading at Cien-fuegos the Spanish fleet may appear at any time on south coast of Cuba.
and to the Department:
Auxiliary cruisers are ordered to cruise as follows: Yale to assist St. Paul between Morant Point, Jamaica,Nicholas Mole and Cuba; Harvard, Mona Passage and on North side of Puerto Rico Island; St. Louis cutting cables at Santiago and at Guantanamo,Cuba,then at Puerto Rico,thence to St. Thomas about May 19th,to await orders. United States squadron proceeding at best speed, seven knots,to Key West and will arrive early May 19th. Solace and Supply joined Squadron.
to the Commanding Officer Harvard:
Four Spanish curisers,two torpedo boat destroyers now at Curacoa to leave 6 p.m. May 15th. Probably small Supply of coal. Destination unknown,probably Santiago de Cuba or San Juan,Puerto Rico,arrive St. Thomas about May 19th. Cruize as follows: Yale to assist St. Paul between Morant Point, Jamaica, Nicholas Mole and Cuba. Harvard Mona Passage and north side of Puerto Rico. St. Louis to await orders at St. Thomas.
May 16th. The Montgomery,which on the 12th had beensent to St. Thomas to obtain news rejoined the flagship,and with her later rejoined the squadron which had been standing westward, and whose speed had been but eight knots, on account of the necessity of towing the monitors.
May 17th. At 11:30 a. m. May 17th,being then in the Bahama Channel the flagship left the squadron and proceeded with all speed to Key West; instructions being left with the senior officer (Commanding Officer of the Iowa) to follow with the squadron at best speed possible.
At 6 p.m. the Dupont from Key West met the flagship with the following copy of a despatch to him from the Department.
Naval Force on N.A. station is due May 17th,1898 in the vicinity of Lobas Cay. Send immediately your fastest vessel to inform him that Department has just heard that Spanish fleet have munitions of war essential to the defense of Havana,and the order of the Spanish fleet is imperative to reach Havana,Cuba,Cienfuegos,or a railroad port connected with Havana,at all hazards,and as Cienfuegos appears to be the only port fulfilling the conditions,Schley18 with the Brooklyn, Massachusetts and Texas to arrive Key West morning of the 18th, will be sent to Cienfuegos as soon as possible so Admiral Sampson take or send his most suitable armored ship (one) to join Schley and hurry with remainder of his heavy ships to Havana blockade. Acknowledge this by telegraph reporting action taken.
Commodore Remey enclosed to me the following copies of telegrams:
Washington May 16th. Previous plans for the St. Paul are changed and she must coal immediately and proceed with all possible despatch to Venezuela Gulf,South America, where it is considered the Spanish fleet from Cape Verde will coal. He must find and keep in communication with enemy, exercising the utmost care to avoid being captured. More vessels will be sent to join her,probably Harvard. Key West and the Department must be kept advised of important movement and plans of enemy.
Washington,May 14th. On account of the presence of Spanish fleet near Curacoa send with all possible despatch swift vessel to direct all excepting smallest blockading vessel off Cienfuegos to return to Key West. Warn the blockading vessels off north coast of Cuba but do not remove any of them.
Washington, May 14th. Spanish fleet with torpedo boats reported sighted off Curacoa by our Consul at that place,morning 14th May. Are probably fleet which was at Martinique on May 12th. Keep a close look-out for Yucatan Channel as the enemy may round Cape San Antonio,or enter Gulf Mexico. Keep very efficient despatch service to these lookout ships. St. Paul will probably join you early morning 17th May. Enemy may appear at point on south side of Cuba.
May 18th. Washington May 17th. Armored vessels and monitors the Naval Force on the North Atlantic Station and Flying Squadron must be coaled immediately upon arrival at Key West, also four gunboats of the force of the Marblehead. Flying Squadron after being increased by the armored vessels Commander-in-Chief N.A.Station considers most suitable, proceed with dispatch (utmost) off Cienfuegos accompanied by the smaller vessels above mentioned and such torpedo boats,if any,as the Commander-in-Chief will choose to send. The remainder of the Naval force on the N.A. Stations and the monitors will blockade Havana closely,remembering the importance of having current in their favor. Sampson have choice the command off Havana,or at Cienfuegos, Schley in either case to remain with his own Squadron. Commander-in-Chief is authorized to make such changes of detail in this plan as he may think proper. In general the object is to engage and capture the enemy off Cienfuegos if possible,or otherwise blockade him in that port.
From Consul at Martinique,May 17th. In obedience to your orders May 15th will leave tomorrow. Detained on account of twenty-four hours notice. Terror remains at Fort de France. Coal eight days fifteen knots an hour, eleven days twelve knots per hour. Cotton.
Commodore Remey had added, “Hornet sent to Cienfuegos May 14th.” “Uncas sent to North coast 2.00 A. M. May 15th.”
I arrived at Key West about 4 P. M. May 18th,and found Commodore Schley with the Brooklyn, Massachusetts and Texas and the St. Paul anchored in the outer roads.
The following telegrams were received at Key West:
Order St. Paul proceed with all despatch to Cape Haitian and there communicate. If he meets Yale [in the] Windward Passage,Cuba,take Yale with him,but he must not delay in order to find her. Further instructions at Cape Haitien.
The St. Paul asked permission to proceed and
carry out orders,which was granted.
The following telegram was received from the Department:
Send as soon as possible one fast cruiser about 2000 or 3000 tons to keep close lookout for Spanish fleet off Cienfuegos,Cuba.
This was answered,
“Have none available larger than Castine.”
The following telegram was received from the Department:
Owing to the absence of your armored vessels, Flying Squadron was coaled and sent off Havana, Cuba, therefore,you will coal your ships and carry out Department’s telegraphic orders of 17th,addressed to Naval Station,Key West,and beginning with the cipher words Bapposcan Ecumenical. Leave a suitable defense for Key West,and use utmost despatch to get the force off Cienfuegos,Cuba. The Oregon arrived at Barbadoes,all well on board.
and the following telegram was received for the Flying Squadron,through Commandant:
Proceed with all possible despatch to Havana, Cuba,to support blockade until arrival of Naval Force on N.A.Station. Puritan and Miantonomoh to defend Key West.
The following was received from Cape Haitien,dated May 17th.
The following from St. Thomas: Will sail immediately according to the following instructions from the Department. The Spanish fleet off Curacoa May 14th. All vessels at St. Thomas proceed at once to Key West touching at Cape Haitien to communicate with the Department. Acknowledge telegram. The following from Curacoa: American Consul, Capt Haitien. Squadron left Sunday six p.m. course West,small Supply coal.
Signed Smith Consul. Livingston, Consul.
The following telegram was received from the Department
Commander McCalla to telegraph what force and character of ships would,in his opinion,be necessary for destroying the battery at Cienfuegos and what Army force would be required to capture and hold entrance and make it safe for our vessels to lie inside, also what practicable landing for troops in immediate vicinity.
Answer was made that Commander McCalla had not yet arrived; and I also telegraphed the Department:
Schley will leave Thursday morning 19th for Cienfuegos with Brooklyn, Massachusetts, Texas and two cruisers and two torpedo boats. Iowa will leave as soon as coaled.
The Iowa arrived at Key West about dark being over hauled by the Porter from Cape Haitien with the following telegram received at Cape Haitien from the Department to the Supply:
Cruise between Caicos Bank and Monte Christi until you fall in with the Minneapolis due there 16th or 17th and transmit to her Commander the following cipher message after which proceed to Key West distributing supplies en route: “The Spanish Squadron off Curacoa on May 15th. is believed going to Venezuela Gulf,South America,to coal. Proceed with all despatch to that vicinity get and keep touch (Spanish Squadron) care must be taken to avoid x x x auxiliary 461 and 557 have been ordered upon this duty. If not able to find enemy communicate by telegraph by nearest station.
May 19th. Coaling of all ships was proceeded with all dispatch and about 9 A. M. of the 19th Commodore Schley sailed with the Brooklyn, Texas and Massachusetts and Scorpion for Cienfuegos,with instructions as follows:
No. 5 U. S. Flagship New York,1st Rate
I send you a copy of a telegram received last night from Secretary Long, concerning a vessel which was to sail on the 15th, and carrying a large amount of specie,and is supposed to be going to land it at Trinidad or to the east of Cienfuegos. This may be a blind,however,and the vessel may be bound for Cienfuegos,or even Havana.
The two cruisers will be sent out today,and with the two torpedo boats following them. As soon as the Iowa is coaled,she will follow you.
It is unnecessary for me to say that you should establish a blockade at Cienfuegos with the least possible delay,and that it should be maintained as close as possible.
Should the Spanish vessels show themselves in that vicinity,and finding you on the lookout, attempt to come around the Island,either East or West, please send me notice by the best vessel you have for the purpose,as to their direction,that I may be prepared for them at Havana.
I will try and increase the number of light vessels at your disposal, in order that you may have them to send with messages to me in case you desire to do so.
After I have the situation more in hand I will write you and give you any information that suggests itself.
North Atlantic Station.
May 19th. The Eagle and Marblehead (from Cienfuegos),and the remainder of the Squadron from San Juan,the Terror, Montgomery, Amprhtrite, Indiana,and collier Niagara, arrived.
The following telegram was received from the Department:
The United States Consul at Cape Haitien says that telegram from Port aux Praix,Haiti on May 17th reports two Spanish ships cruising off Mole every night two weeks. The United States Minister to Venezuela says that cable employees report confidentially (the) Spanish (man) men-of-war (plural) see(n) May 17th,apparently heading for West Indies,French.
The Puritan and Miantonomoh on reporting ready were ordered to proceed at once to the blockade off Havana.
The Niagara was ordered to discharge and proceed to Hampton Roads.
The Iowa and collier Merrimac was ordered to Cienfuegos, though the Iowa had not yet taken her full Supply of coal.
The following memorandum by Commander McCalla at Cienfuegos was sent to Commodore Schley:
A good landing place for troops has been found thirteen and one-half miles West of Savanilla Point. The Spanish force about Cienfuegos is reported, on good authority, to be between four and five thousand men. The Cubans need arms for two thousand men, and ammunition for the whole number. I was informed that the Cubans had perfect knowledge of what was going on within Cienfuegos, and that a force of our men could be taken into Cienfeugos without the knowledge of the Spanish force within that city. About fifteen hundred men are said to be kept within the vicinity of the castle. The only battery which fired on the ships at all was made of the old guns in the castle. They have modern six and eight inch, I am told, but not mounted five days ago. An emplacement for guns is being built on the hill above the castle. A line passing through the new emplacement and the castle leads down the middle of the river to the sea. There was working a force of men on the ground immediately below the castle, and I was told a new water-battery was being erected there. It is possible that since the attempt to cut the cables,a masked battery of small calibre is being erected on Colorados Point. The insurgents want dynamite to destroy the railway. I asked them to devote their efforts to cutting telegraph communication between Havana and Cienfuegos. They report the inland wires are repaired as fast as destroyed,while the railroad is intact. The Cuban forces in the San Juan mountains control the railway between Cienfuegos and Trinidad,so provisions cannot be sent between those places. I have Spanish charts of Cienfuegos and vicinity. Troops must be prepared for rain every day. No resources in the country; all destroyed. Fair road from landing point to Cienfuegos.
May 20th. The Iowa got under-way at 11:20 May 20th,and with the Castine and Merrimac sailed for Cienfuegos.
May 20th. The Puritan and Miantonomoh sailed for Havana.
I informed Commodore Remey of my intention and requested him to expedite as much as possible the sailing of the ships at the Key West station.
I sent the following telegram to the Secretary:
Urgently request Department to send me without delay New Orleans,the small auxiliaries can blockade in the absence of enemy, are useless for repelling attacks of armored cruisers: for difficult task of holding both sides of Cuba against Spanish squadron you should put at my disposal all your fighting force.
and received the following:
Send some light ships to blockade Cienfuegos, if necessary the Department advises a couple fast unarmored cruisers to be sent to join Schley going east on north side of Cuba to help against torpedo destroyers.
On the night of May 20th I sent the
following telegram to the Department:
Replying to Department’s telegram of the 20th, after duly considering the information therein contained I have decided to follow the plan already adopted to hold position Cienfuegos, with Brooklyn,Massachusetts,Texas and the Iowa,Marblehead,Castine, and Dupont and two auxiliary. There remain New York,Indiana and Monitors for Havana. The latter very inefficient and should not be sent from base. Have directed Schley to communicate with auxiliaries at Santiago and direct one of them to report to Department from Mole or Cape Haitien. Then to return to Santiago and further report at Cienfuegos or Havana as he thinks best. Plan may be changed when it becomes certain that Spanish ships are at Santiago.
May 20th. The following telegram was received from the Department.
The report of the Spanish fleet being at Santiago de Cuba might very well be correct so the Department strongly advises that you send immediately by the Iowa to Schley to proceed off Santiago de Cuba with his whole command,leaving one small vessel off Cienfuegos. And meanwhile the Department will send the Minneapolis now at St. Thomas, Auxiliary No. 461 proceed at once off Santiago to join Schley,who should keep up communication via Mole,Haiti,or Cape Haitien, Haiti. If the Iowa has gone send order to Schley by the fastest despatch vessel.
Army expect to have within a few days about thirty transport steamers at Tampa,Fla.,please take such means as you think proper for guarding them.
The following letter was written to Commodore Remey:
No. 4 U. S. Flagship New York,1st Rate, Key West, Fla,May 20th, 1898.
My dear Commodore:-
I feel that I must take my station on the Cuban blockade as soon as possible, and I will therefore leave here for Havana some time during the evening.
2. I desire that all the vessels that can be spared for the purpose, be sent to me at Havana as fast as repairing can be completed. After looking into the matter I find that the monitors Terror and Amphitrite will require several days to put their machinery in a serviceable condition. Will you therefore,hasten repairs on the Amphitrite, and send her to me as soon as completed.
3. I believe that the Department wishes some vessels to be retained here for the protection of Key West. You can use the Terror for that purpose while she is under repairs.
4. I have directed the Niagara to discharge the coal which she still has on board after coaling the Indiana,and to proceed North to Lambert’s Point for another cargo.
5. The Dupont has been sent to the South side of Cuba with copies of recent despatches from the Department regarding the movements of the Spanish ships; and she has been directed to remain under Commodore Schley’s command,unless he finds it necessary to send her back with information. The Iowa has also been sent to Commodore Schley.
6. I have given direction that the Marblehead and the Eagle shall sail tonight for the same direction. The Merrimac and the Castine sailed in company this morning, also to join the squadron under Commodore Schley.
7. I shall myself take station at Havana, on board the flagship New York. If you have occasion to communicate with me, I shall probably be found that point.
W. T. Sampson,
Geo. C. Remey,U.S.N.
U. S. S. Suwanee,
Key West, Fla.
May 21st. On the 21st the following instructions were written for Commodore Schley, and sent them at 3 a.m. to the Marblehead to be delivered with all despatch.
No. 8 U. S. Flagship New York, 1st Rate, Key West, Fla. May 21st 1898.
Spanish Squadron probably at Santiago de Cuba,--four ships and three torpedo boat destroyers. If you are satisfied that they are not at Cienfuegos,proceed with all despatch,but cautiously, to Santiago de Cuba, and, if the enemy is there, blockade him in port. You will probably find it necessary to establish communication with some of the inhabitants, -- fishermen or others,-- to learn definitely that the ships are in port, it being impossible to see into it from the outside.
2. When the instructions sent by the Iowa and Dupont (duplicates) were written, I supposed that two fast scouts would be in the vicinity of Jamaica, but I have since learned that they have been ordered by the Department, to get touch with the Spanish fleet on the North coast of Venezuela. I have just telegraphed them to report for orders at Nicholas Mole.
Report from Nicholas Mole.
U. S. Flying Squadron.
May 21st. The following telegram was sent to the Yale, at Cape Haitien:
Spanish squadron is reported at Santiago de Cuba. Flying Squadron will be at Santiago the 24th. Cruise in Bahama Channel and join Schley at Santiago May 24th.
and having received a telegram from the St. Louis.
Have destroyed one sub-marine cable to Jamaica,although it is possible both under the fire of the battery at Santiago. If second cable is now in working order I shall require deep sea outfit. At Guantanamo Thursday was drive away,superior Spanish force. I will attempt French sub-marine telegraph elsewhere then proceed to Ponce,Puerto Rico. Request orders at St. Thomas proceed to New York for coal and stores.
Procced selecting whichever point will give greatest despatch. Report here.
May 21st. I arrived with the flagship off Havana at 11:00 A. M. on the 21st, found there Commodore Watson, and his broad pennant,in the Dolphin, the Indiana which had left Key West the night previous,the Puritan,Vicksburg[,] Mayflower, and three other of the blockading ships.
Feeling much concern as to the early delivery of the orders (No. 8) to Commodore Schley of the Flying Squadron, by the Marblehead, I ordered the Hawk to carry a duplicate of those orders,with an additional memorandum as follows:
Memorandum. U.S.F.S.New York, 1st Rate,
Off Havana,May 21st,1898.
It is thought that the enclosed instructions will reach you by two o’clock a.m. May 23rd. This will enable you to leave before daylight (regarded very important) so that your direction may not be noticed and be at Santiago a.m. May 24th.
It is thought that the Spanish Squadron would probably he still at Santiago, as they must have some repairs to make and coal to take.
The St. Paul and Minneapolis have been telegraphed to scout off Santiago, and if the Spanish squadron goes westward, one is to keep tough [i.e., touch] and one is to go west and attempt to meet you; if the Spanish squadron goes east one will keep in touch and the other go into Nicholas Mole to telegraph me at Key West. I shall be off Cay Frances, two hundred miles east of Havana. If you arrive off Santiago and no scout meets you, send a vessel to call at Nicholas Mole and get information to be left there by scout as to direction taken by Spanish in case they may have left Santiago de Cuba.
The Yale has been ordered to cruise in the Bahama Channel until May 24th. It is thought possible that, the Spanish hearing of your departure from Cienfuegos may attempt to go there.
If this word does not reach you before daylight,it is suggested to mask your real direction as much as possible. Follow the Spanish Squadron whichever direction they take.
The Commodore W.T.Sampson,
Flying Squadron Rear Admiral, U.S.N.,etc.
May 21st._ and also the following:
Instructions were sent to the St. Paul and Minneapolis at Nicholas Mole to scout off Santiago and if the Spanish Squadron moves west the scouts to communicate with Schley who is expected at Santiago from Cienfuegos May 24th. If the Spanish go east the scouts are to telegraph the Admiral at Key West from Nicholas Mole and leave a letter for Schley, then go off Santiago to meet him. The Admiral will go with the Squadron to Cay Frances. Should two scouts be available one is to keep touch with the Spanish Squadron.
The orders for the Hawk were as follows:
U. S. Flagship New York,1st Rate,
<Havana> May 21st,1898.
You will proceed with the utmost despatch, with the accompanying orders, which are to be delivered to Commodore Schley off Cienfuegos at the earliest possible moment. When this duty shall have been completed return to your station off Havana.
In case you meet with the Vesuvius in going, and she can make better speed than yourself, transfer the papers to her with this memorandum, with the direction that, after deliver,she is to return and report to the Commander-in-Chief off Havana.
In case you fall in with the Vesuvius either coming or going,an order to report off Havana is to be given her.
Commanding Officer, Rear Admiral, etc.
U. S. S. Hawk.
During the night the flagship signaled the following vessels,Indiana,Newport,Vicksburg,Mayflower,Machias, Rodgers, Foote and Montgomery,as they were picked up on the blockade,
“Join flagship at early daylight tomorrow at a point 10 miles N.E. of Morro. Prepare to proceed 200 miles to the E’d to a point N.E. of Cay Frances.”
The Puritan and Miantonomoh were directed to go in advance of the Squadron,and left about midnight.
May 22nd. On May 22nd the following telegrams were received by the despatch boat:
Washington May 21st. Telegraph details of coal Supply taken by Schley with his vessels. The Department has ordered four auxiliaries,cruisers, and the Minneapolis off Santiago de Cuba to keep informed of movements of Spanish fleet. The Department also suggests for consideration possible advantages lee Cape Cruz,Cuba as a coaling station,and that in case Cervera has landed stores for Blanco Cape Cruz, Cuba, would be critical point for coasters carrying them to the west. Orders are being sent placing Schley under your command while in the West Indies.
Commodore Remey had replied to the above that the Iowa left yesterday with collier Merrimac, 4500 tons for Flying Squadron. I also received word from him that the New Orleans had arrived at Key West, 6:30 P.M. May 21st, needs 200 tons of coal,and water,and that the Vizcaya,Oquendo,Maria Teresa,Colon one destroyer and transport Alfonso XIII were at Santiago de Cuba this morning.
May 21st. The following telegram was received from Washington:
Washington May 21st. The following telegram of May 21st has been received from the former American Consul at San Juan,Puerto Rico,now at St. Thomas,West Indies: Reliably informed that Spanish Fleet is expected to arrive at San Juan, Puerto Rico,too soon. Preparations for coaling Supply food is very important before attacking the American coal is declared. Sig. Fonna. Schley should have this information. If he finds that the Spanish fleet has left Santiago he should follow. Report is current to the effect that the Spanish destroyer (s) are not at Santiago.
May 23rd. In the morning watch of the 23rd of May the Captains of all the ships present came on board to receive their instructions and a copy of ORDER OF CRUISING, FIRST ORDER OF BATTLE and SECOND ORDER OF BATTLE, AND ORDER OF BATTLE, of which the following are copies:
ORDER OF CRUISING.
Montgomery () 1200 yards () 1200 yards () 800 yards ()
() 800 yards 10 Newport 1. New York Detroit 5
Foote () () Rodgers
() () ()
11 Mayflower 2 Indiana 7 Machias
() () ()
12 Vicksburg 3 Puritan 8 Wilmington
F I R S T O R D E R O F B A T T L E.
1 () New York
2 () Indiana
3 () Puritan
4 () Miantonomoh
5 () New Orleans
() Foote 14
6 () Detroit
() Rodgers 15
7 () Machias
8 () Wilmington
( () Montgomery
10 () Newport
11 () Mayflower
12 () Vicksburg
13 () WASP
U. S. Flagship New York,1st Rate,
Off Havana, Cuba,
May 22nd, 1898.
S E C O N D O R D E R O F B A T T L E.
( ) | ( ) | ( ) | ( ) | ( )
↓ ↓ ↓ | ↓ | ↓ ↓ ↓
Indiana (↑) 2 1 (↑) New York
Miantonomoh () 4 3 () Puritan
Detroit () 6 5 () New Orleans
Wilmington () 8 7 () Machias
Newport () 10 9 () Montgomery
Vicksburg () 12 11 () Mayflower
() 13 () WASP
In case the Spanish ships are found to be approaching in line,signal will be made to form double column,which will be done by the even numbered ships obliquing to the left until the interval between columns is sufficient to allow the columns to pass through the 2nd and 3rd intervals between the Spanish ships counting from the left of their line.
After the heads of columns have passed through the Spanish line they will turn as follows:-- The head of the Starboard column will turn with the port helm, each column will thus double on the Spanish ships.
This is indicated in the diagram when five Spanish ships are shown.
N. B. The following signals will be provisionally employed.
Signal 241 Order of cruising.
Signal 242 1st Order of Battle
Signal 243 2nd Order of Battle
W. T. Sampson,
North Atlantic Station.
O R D E R O F B A T T L E.
U. S. Flagship New York, 1st Rate,
Off Havana, Cuba, May 22nd, 1898.
It is possible that the vessels of this squadron now off Havana, will meet the Spanish ships, consisting of the Cristobal Colon, Vizcaya, Oquendo, Maria Teresa, and one torpedo boat destroyer. These vessels are supposed to be now in Santiago de Cuba, where they are taking coal and provisions. The Squadron of Commodore Schley will probably leave Cienfuegos tomorrow morning, bound east in pursuit of the Spanish ships, and it is anticipated that they will leave Santiago de Cuba on the same day that Commodore Schley leaves Cienfuegos, or reach Havana by the North coast of Cuba, in which case the blockading squadron off Havana will attempt to intercept them by going East about two hundred miles, beyond the junction of Santaren and Nicholas Channels. It appears to be possible that, if these ships come towards Havana from that direction, they can be intercepted and brought to action.
The order of battle will be as follows,subject to such modifications as may appear advantageous at the time:--
Owing to the superior speed of the Spanish vessels, I have decided to form the ships in one column, heading to the eastward on the assumption that the enemy will be proceeding to the westward in column. The New York, Indiana, Puritan and Miantonomoh will be the four leading vessels.
These will be followed by the cruisers of the blockading squadron, the idea being that the heavy ships should first meet the enemy ,and the fire of the cruisers be brought into play after the damage inflicted by the larger ships.
The armored ships, after passing the rear of the Spanish squadron, will turn in succession by using the starboard or port helm, as the case may require, turning towards the enemy. It is believed that the fire of the cruisers, following that of the armored ships, will so embarrass the Spanish vessels that the armored vessels can turn, as before stated, and double on the enemy’s rear.
The ships designated will assemble twelve miles north-east of the Morro, at early daylight, Monday the 23rd instant, thence they will proceed in three columns, to the eastward, in the order of cruising designated, -(See plan I, first order of cruising).
The New Orleans will act as scout on the starboard hand, the Montgomery on the port, the WASP ahead.
When the enemy heaves in sight, the vessels will proceed to the eastward to meet them. While so doing they will be formed in column (First order of battle.)
The attention of Commanding Officers is called to the necessity of stopping these vessels.
In the first order of battle the two torpedo boats will take station on the off-side of the New Orleans, Detroit,and if there by a third, it will take its place on the off-side of the Machias. They will take advantage of any opportunity to torpedo an enemy’s ship.
While the Vizcaya, Maria Teresa, and Oquendo have strong protection on barbettes and water-line, they have no protection elsewhere, and are vulnerable to even six-pounders. Fire should be concentrated on the centre part of these ships, just above water-line. In case of Cristobal Colon, her belt and barbette armor is inferior to that of the other ships, but her protection elsewhere extends over a larger area. None of this armor is face hardened.
W. T. Sampson,
At 8 A. M. on the 23rd the squadron started to the eastward at low speed,the vessels in the formation being as follows: New York, Indiana, Newport, Vicks-burg, Mayflower, Machias, Rodgers and Foote. The object in view was to occupy the Nicholas Channel in such manner as to prevent the approach of the Spanish Squadron from the East towards Havana, but not to go so far to the Eastward as to make it impossible to fall back to Havana in case of their approach from the westward being signaled. This latter movement was thought possible as by a southerly course it would have been well within the bounds of possibility for them to pass to the westward without its being known to Commodore Schley’s Squadron which was supposed to be on its way to Santiago.
About 5 P. M. the New Orleans joined and was sent to station off the starboard beam,distant 2000 yards.
At night the New Orleans and Mayflower were sent ahead as scouts.
I received the following telegram from Washington:
Dated Washington May 22nd. Where is St. Louis ? What is he doing ? A message was sent from her to Griscom through Mole,Haiti on May 20th. No communication from Commander of the auxiliary to the Department. Long
Commodore Remey had replied as follows: Lieut. Staunton says that St. Louis probably bound for Northern port to coal. Latest cable address St. Thomas.
During May 24th Squadron was cruising very slowly tothe Eastward covering the entrance to Santaren Channel,and in the forenoon picked up the monitors.
The Supply joined from the Eastward, and her Captain gave the following information:
Saw Minneapolis and Harvard Sunday at noon. Parted with them about four. Signal “Am I to proceed” Minneapolis said “Yes”, all at once they put their helm to starboard and went round west end of Tortuga. Has been cruising on a N. and S. line between Caicos and Monte Christi. Was off Inagua (great) at 10:00 P. M. Sunday. Passed Lobos this (Tuesday) morning at seven, Sighted the light at 4:00 A. M. having stopped during the night on account of thick weather. A gun boat came out of Cay Romane but was lost in a squall of rain.
May 24th. About 1:00 P. M. the Montgomery which had gone into Key West with Commodore Watson on board to get the latest information,returned. She brought the following telegrams:
Dated Washington May 23rd. Notify the Admiral the Department leaves at his discretion the question of watching Yucatan Channel and Gulf of Mexico. Allen
Dated Washington May 23rd. The information of the Department all goes to indicate that the principal aim of the Spanish fleet and government is to introduce a Supply of munitions of war and or food to Blanco by Havana and Cienfuegos. This is for your information. Allen
Dated Washington May 23rd. The Department desires you to station vessels of your squadron as you may consider best fo[r] the blockade of north coast of Cuba and for watching Yucatan Channel if you deem the latter necessary. Information has been received a Supply of corn being shipped from Mexico to Cuba. Until further instructions division under Schley not to be diminished as the Spanish Division at Santiago must if possible be prevented from escaping.
Commodore Watson also brought the following memoranda:
Telegraphic information believed to be reliable,received about 6 o’clock or later Monday evening 23rd instant states Spanish fleet had not left Santiago at time information was sent.
and the following was received from the St. Louis:
St. Thomas May 23rd. Have cut cables to Guantanamo and will proceed at once to New York City.
The WASP joined about dark.
MEMORANDUM No. 10,regarding lights at night.
U. S. Flagship New York, 1st Rate,
At Sea, May 24th, 1898.
1. While cruising off Cay Frances in expectation ofmeeting the enemy,great care will be taken to screen all lights,and to see that none are accidentally shown. No night signals will be made unless unavoidable, and then only by the flagship and in reply to her. No Very’s lights will under any circumstances, except that of the discovery of the enemy, be made.
2. No running lights will be used, except the red oil lantern over the taffrail screened to show only through four points,viz: two points on each side from right astern.
3. No whistle helm signals will be made; but as the helm is put over a second red light screened like the first will be shown astern if the ship’s course is changes to starboard, and a white light if the course be changed to port, and will remain shown until the ship is steadied on her new course, when it will be withdrawn.
4. The squadron will generally cruise to the Eastward during the day time,and to the Westward during the night. It will change direction by countermarching. Vessels must, therefore be on the lookout for this countermarch. If in double column the flagship will show her red truck light when she countermarches as a signal to the leader of the second division. The countermarching will always be to the right.
5. The formation will be column or double column at distance of 400 yards or less.
6. Commanding officers will enjoin officers of the deck to keep touch without fail of the next ahead. They must keep near enough to follow her motions with or without lights, and whether thick or clear.
7. Scouts will upon the discovery of the enemy fire two red Very’s lights in succession,and as they fall back upon the fleet will repeat this signal at intervals until it is answered by a single red Very from the flagship.
8. Should a scout be captured she will before surrendering fire two green Very’s in succession.
W. T. SAMPSON,
Rear Admrial, U. S. N.,
North Atlantic Station.
The Commanding Officer,
U. S. S.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
T H I R D O R D E R O F B A T T L E.
Spanish () Ships
< 1500 yards > ↓ <1500 yards.>
Montgomery 7 () () 1 New York
New Orleans 8 () 1st Division () 2 Indiana
Detroit 9 () () 3 Miantonomoh
Cincinnati 10 () 2nd Division () 4 Puritan
Mayflower 11 () () 5 Terror
() 6 Amphitrite
Provisional Signal of 3rd Order of () 12 Wilmington
Battle- - - -244
Interval between columns for () 13 Machias
3rd Division () 14 Vicksburg
Interval between each column and the
enemy-----1500 yards. () 15 Newport
This formation will also be used as an () 16 WASP
order of cruising with the same signal.
U. S. Flagship New York,1st Rate,
Off Cay Frances, Cuba,
May 24th, 1898.
W. T. Sampson,
May 23rd. During the night of May 24th the squadron cruised slowly to the eastward in the above mentioned order, countermarching at 4 A. M.
The Vesuvius and Cincinnati joined at daylight, and at noon the Panther arrived,towing the Amphitrite.
In the forenoon the Vesuvius was sent back to Key West for despatches.
The Collier “Stirling” arrived.
The following instructions were given at noon to the New Orleans.
Go 50 miles Eastward of this point. Scout in that vicinity,leaving there in time to be off Matanzas at 10 A. M. tomorrow. If squadron not arrived await us fifteen miles north of Matanzas.
In the afternoon the Hornet arrived with the following despatches:
Washington May 24th.
Be prepared to convoy and guard about 30,000 United States troops in about 40 transports from Tampa,FLORIDA. You require some armored vessels to attack batteries to clear a landing. More details tomorrow. Long.
and from the Commodore Commanding the Naval Base copy of Department’s telegram,as follows:
Washington May 24th.
Send following to all commanding officers south coast blockade and inform Sampson it has been done. If Spanish fleet bringing ammunition and other munitions of war for heavy guns perhaps they will land them at Santiago with the intention of coasting them along the shore around Cape Cruz and inside reef to Cienfuegos and thence by rail to Havana. Therefore,you are recommended to blockade close to the shore off Cape Cruz and to the westward especially at night and stop the transportation. Long.
May 25th. About 7 P. M. the Hornet returned to Key West bearing the following telegram to the Department:
Schley ought to have arrived at Santiago May 24th. The force at my command occupied Bahama Channel last night, but not having any information from Schley, and as Spanish Squadron may have avoided him at Santiago and attempted to reach Havana by Cape San Antonio,I have moved westward to provide against this contingency. I shall attempt to cover Havana from both directions I will be Thursday morning May 26th at the west end of Nicholas Channel,Cuba,where I expect information from Schley via Key West. Movements are greatly hampered by monitors constituting the principal force under my command. I cannot despatch armored vessels until movements Spanish Squadron thoroughly known.
May 26th. The squadron stood slowly to the westward during the forenoon of May 26th. The monitors Puritan and Miantonomoh being sent with the collier Stirling under Cay Piedras to coal.
About 11 o’clock in the morning the Vesuvius arrived from Key West with the following despatch from the Flying Squadron:
Arrived May 21st off Cienfuegos,Cuba. Standing in today (this morning) May 22nd,within four thousand yards entrance,found them busily mining; cannot say whether Spanish fleet in port or not; the anchorage not visible from entrance. Iowa and torpedo boat Dupont arrived today. Expect difficulty here will be to coal from colliers in the constant heavy swell. Other problem easy compared with this one,so far from the base. Schley.
From the U.S.S.Harvard, Mole St. Nicholas:
Mole St. Nicholas, Haiti,May 25th,1898.
Key West. Sent by Schley here with official despatches. Left at Santiago de Cuba May 24th, Yale and St. Paul. Minneapolis left yesterday for Cienfuegos,to report Schley. Yale reconnoitered Santiago de Cuba,on the 21st May. He reports strongly fortified; saw nothing in harbor. I have not seen Spanish fleet; have not ascertained anything respecting recent movements Spanish fleet. Proceed for coal to Key West,May 26th. I have only 1250 tons of coal. The Minneapolis must coal within the next few days. Yale early next week. Schley directs me inform the Department Sampson decided to have the command of Schley stationed at Cienfuegos and his own off Havana. Minneapolis reconnoitered San Juan May 21st. Spanish fleet was not there.
At 1:00 P. M. the Vesuvius was sent to Key West with the following despatches for the commanding officers of the Yale, Minneapolis and St. Paul:
May 25th. Spanish Squadron is at Santiago. If Schley has not arrived there,go Cienfuegos and inform him.
About dark sent Foote into Cay Piedras to coal and send the monitors out at once to take their station in the formation.
May 26th. At 9:30 P. M. of this day,May 26th. the Dolphin came alongside with despatches,and reported that Commodore Schley had the Spanish Squadron bottled up in Cienfuegos. The reason for believing this to be the case is contained in the following letters from Commodore Schley,off Cienfuegos, May 23rd.
M43 Off Cienfuegos, May 23rd,1898.
1. In reply to your letter No. 8, I wouldstate that I am by no means satisfied that the Spanish Squadron is not at Cienfuegos. The large amount of smoke seen in the harbor would indicate the presence of a number of vessels,and under such circumstances it would seem to be extremely unwise to chase up a probability at Santiago de Cuba reported via Havana,no doubt as a ruse.
2. I shall therefore remain off this port with this squadron,availing myself of every opportunity for coaling and keeping it ready for any emergency.
3. Regarding the enclosed information fromCommander McCalla, I would state that I went twice yesterday close in to the mouth of the harbor; the first time about two thousand yards and the second time within about fourteen hundred yards but saw no evidence of any masked batteries near the entrance. Well up the river across their torpedo mine fields,now laid across the mouth of the harbor, there is a new battery constructed hardly within range from the mouth of the river.
4. The Castine, Merrimac and Hawk arrivedthis morning and I send the Hawk back with these despatches.
5. Last night I sent the Scorpion east to Santiago de Cuba to communicate with the scouts off that port, with instructions if they were not there to return at once to me here,and I expect her back day after tomorrow.
6. I am further satisfied that the destination of the Spanish Squadron is either Cienfuegos or Havana. This point being in communication with Havana,would be better for their purposes if it was left exposed,and I think that we ought to be very careful how we receive information from Havana,which is no doubt sent out for the purpose of misleading us.
7. The Iowa is coaling today,having reached this station with only about half of her coal Supply.
M44 Off Cienfuegos,May 23rd,1898.
1. Steamer ADULA chartered by Consul Dentwith proper papers from U.S.State Department,to carry neutrals from Cienfuegos,was stopped off this port this morning. She had no cargo and was permitted to enter.
2. She reports that she left Santiago de Cuba at 4:30 P. M. May 18th,and that night she saw the lights of seven vessels,seventy miles to the southward of Santiago. Next day Thursday May 19th,at Kingston,cable reported Spanish fleet at Santiago. Friday May 20th,the fleet was reported to have left Santiago.
3. Now,on Saturday May 21st,when about forty miles southwest of this port I heard from the bridge of this vessel,firing of guns towards Cienfuegos,which I interpreted as a welcome to the Spanish fleet, and the news this morning by the ADULA convinces me that the fleet is here.
4. Latest was Bulletin from Jamaica,receive this morning,asserts that the fleet had left Santiago. I think I have them here almost to a certainty.
May 26th. Memorandum from the Dolphin dated May 25th.
“The Hawk has just reported from Cienfuegos with despatches from Commodore Schley. Hood says a good number of officers do not believe the Spaniards are there at all,although they can only surmise.”
The Dolphin had received these instructions from the Hawk at 10:00 A. M. May 25th,and stood to the eastward in search of the Admiral,who,it was believed was off Cay Frances Light. She had gone to the eastward until 8.25 A. M. when she returned to the westward.
The following is a copy of notes brought on board the Dolphin by Lieut. Hood,Commanding the Hawk.:
May 23rd,1898 off Cienfuegos. Boarded British steamship ADULA of Altas Line., Captain W. Walker, bound from Kingston,Jamaica to Cienfuegos under orders of United States Consul Louis A. Dent at Kingston, to bring away Hoffren, a seaman of the Niagara, in hospital, with a broken leg, and such other Americans and neutrals as wish to leave.
The original letter, dated May 7th,1898 in first trip made, leaving Cienfuegos May 10th, 1898 with 327 passengers,--four Americans and 323 neutrals.
This trip being made under countersign of original orders, dated May 21st, by Consul Dent.
In original letter Lombard, clerk in the Consulate,was mentioned, but he had left before ADULA arrived at Cienfuegos.
Left Kingston May 21st,and came here direct having seen nothing en route. On last trip from here stopped at Santiago. While there two American men-of-war came off the port and were bombarded by the f[o]rts from twelve noon until 1:30 p.m. Could not learn if these ships were hit. City rumor that they had been driven off.
When ADULA left Santiago the same afternoon she saw nothing of the American ships,nor marks of shell on the forts. She don’t know the ships, as they were never in sight from the inner harbor.
At midnight on the 18th sighted the lights of seven ships about seventy miles South one-half West of Santiago. The next afternoon, the 19th, while at Kingston,it was reported there that the Spanish fleet had arrived at Santiago.
Santiago harbor is mined with twenty-one electric mines to be fired from a small thatched house on West side of entrance,well inside (about 300) yards the entrance.
Know of no contact mines.
Harbor of Cienfuegos is mined. Electric mines were put down,but did not work,so they have been changed to contact mines. Don’t know the number of situation of mines.
When last in Cienfuegos,May 10th,1898 there were two little gun boats and one torpedo gun boat in port. The former are a little larger than tugs,and not very formidable. The latter is the one the Eagle had a fight with,hitting one of her smoke-pipes. She has two smoke-pipes, two masts, and is painted lead color.
Note:-- The ADULA has a passenger, a British subject, P. H. Baxter, who represents the Atlas Line and is interpreter.
May 27th. The WASP was at once sent to Cape San Antonio to Commodore Schley with instructions as follows:
No. 1 U. S. Flagship New York,1st Rate,
St. Nicholas Channel,
Proceed off Cienfuegos with greatest possible dispatch,via Cape San Antonio.
2. If you find Commodore Schley off that port,deliver to him the enclosed dispatch and return to Key West.
3. Return to Key West at once in case you assure yourself that he is not in that vicinity.
Very respectfully, W.T.Sampson,
Commanding Officer, Rear Admiral,U.S.N.,etc.
No. 10 U. S. Flagship New York,1st Rate,
St. Nicholas Channel,
Every report,and particularly daily confidential reports received at Key West from Havana state Spanish Squadron has been in Santiago de Cuba from the 19th to the 25th instant inclusive, the 25th being the date of the last report received.
2. You will please proceed,with all possible dispatch,to Santiago to blockade that port. If,on arrival there,you receive positive information of the Spanish ships having left,you will follow them in pursuit.
Very respectfully, W.T.Sampson,
Commodore Schley Rear Admiral,etc.
The Dolphin was sent in to Key West with the
following despatch,and to coal.:
Secretary of the Navy:
Have received information from Schley via Cape San Antonio,Cuba,dated May 23rd, stating he is not satisfied the Spanish Squadron is not in Cienfuegos,and states he will remain off Cienfuegos keeping Squadron all ready for an emergency. He reports the steamer ADULA entered into Cienfuegos May 23rd,he probably I learned from her as she left if the Spanish Squadron was in port. I think that he has probably gone to Santiago. To assure this I sent the WASP to Cienfuegos tonight. If he has n[o]t left this will enable him to reach Santiago de Cuba before I could do so.
I also wrote to Commodore Remey to hasten the departure of the Oregon, and informed him that on reporting of Oregon in the squadron,I would send monitors to Havana and Key West.
May 27th. At 1:00 P. M. the Vesuvius arrived from Key West with despatches as follows:
From Harvard at Mole,St. Nicholas: The Department instructs me to communicate immediately with Schley. I leave immediately.
Convoy steamer ADRIA to Santiago de Cuba and direct Senior Officer at Santiago to furnish Captain Allen Signal Corps such assistance as may be practicable. Long.
Upon arrival of the Yankee send Minneapolis to Lambert’s Point for coal. Long.
May 27th. and from the Commandant Naval Base, copies of two Telegrams from Commodore Schley to the Department, as follows: Sent from Key West May 26th,under date of May 24th from Commodore Schley.
Coaling off Cienfuegos,Cuba,is very uncertain One collier not sufficient for the work when it is possible to coal. In great need of two more for this Squadron, thoroughly equipped with hoisting engines, buckets,etc.,for utmost dispatch. The Stirling,not having hoisting engine would not be useful. Recommend that she discharge cargo at Key West. I would suggest quality must equal to best Pocahontas coal for this work. Every collier should carry several thousand gallons of oil, also three or four compressed bales as fenders to prevent accidents. I have communicated with insurgents today and have supplied ammunition and dynamite,also clothing. Have ascertained that the Spanish fleet is not here and I will move eastward tomorrow communicating with you from Nicholas Mole. On account of short coal Supply in ships cannot blockade them if in Santiago.
I shall proceed tomorrow (25th) off Santiago being embarrassed however by the Texas. Short coal Supply and her inability to coal in the open sea. I shall not be able to remain of[f] that port on account of general short coal Supply of Squadron. So will proceed to the vicinity of Nicholas Mole where the water is smooth and I can coal Texas and other ships what may remain in collier. Will communicated with you from Nicholas Mole.
I at once decided to go to Key West,coal,and if authorized by the Department,proceed to Santiago.
The New Orleans was given orders to proceed with the best despatch to Santiago with Collier Stirling,with the following orders:
May 27th. No. 2 U. S. Flagship New York,
St. Nicholas Channel,
You will proceed to Santiago de Cuba to convoy the Collier Stirling.
2. You will communicate with Commodore Schley and direct him to remain on the blockade of Santiago at all hazards,assuming that the Spanish vessels are in that port.
3. Tell him that I desire that he should use the Collier Stirling to obstruct the channel at its narrowest part leading into this harbor. Inform him that I believe that it would be perfectly practicable to steam this vessel into position and drop all her anchors,allow her to swing across the channel,then sink her,either by opening the valves, or whatever means may be best in his judgment.
4. Inform Commodore Schley that the details of this plan are left to his judgment. In the meantime he must exercise the utmost care that none of the vessels already in the port are allowed to escape; and say to the Commodore that I have the utmost confidence in his ability to carry this plan to a successful conclusion,and earnestly wish him good-luck.
North Atlantic Station.
U. S. S. New Orleans.
May 28th. I arrived at Key West at 2:00 a.m. May 28th, and found the Oregon in the harbor outer anchorage.
The following telegram was sent in cipher to Commodore Schley:
The New Orleans will meet you off Santiago May 29th with important dispatches; the Spanish Squadron must be blockaded at all hazards.
Immediate communication with persons on shore must be entered upon. You must be sure of the Spanish Squadron being in port. I suggest communicating with Spanish American Company pier at Daiquiri Bay at a distance of fifteen miles east of Santiago de Cuba. One collier for you left yesterday. Shall send as soon as possible another. If Spanish Squadron has left Santiago immediate pursuit must be made.
The following was sent to the Department:
Referring to telegram Bisca orders to go Santiago is satisfied Spanish Squadron was not in port were sent in Marblehead and duplicate with explanatory memorandum later on twenty-first by Hawk to make sure of early arrival. Copies of these despatches are forwarded by mail. Schley not being satisfied that Spanish Squadron was not in port did not go. The Department has his despatch dated May 24th sent through Remey stating his intention of leaving May 25th. I do not understand this delay until next day. Cipher message will follow.
About 8:00 A. M. I received the following telegram from the Department.
If the Spanish division is proved to be in Santiago de Cuba,it is the intention of the Department to make descent immediately upon that port,with 10.000 men U.S.Troops,landing eight nautical miles east of that port. You will be expected to convoy transports,probably 15 or 20, going in person and taking with you the New York and Indiana and the Oregon,and as many smaller vessels with good batteries as can possibly be gathered, to guard against possible attack by Spanish torpedo boat destroyers,etc. The blockade off Havana will be sufficiently provided for during the movement with the monitors and some small vessels. After arrival off Santiago de Cuba every small vessel that can be spared with be returned to North coast of Cuba. This early notice enables you to prepare details at once for immediate execution when order is issued. At the request of the War Department and by approval of this Department, movement will be on the north side of Cuba and Windward Passage. Long.
The following telegram was received by Commodore
May 28th. Remey from Department May 26th,and answer thereto was
sent same day.
Telegram of May 24th from Schley conveys no information. What vessel brought it? What vessel took orders from Sampson to Schley on night of May 20th or morning of May 21st,directing him to proceed Santiago de Cuba ? Direct commander of vessel that brought telegram just received to report intentions of Schley so far as known,stating definitely whether Schley had gone to Santiago de Cuba or intended to go there,and when. Long.
answered as follows:
Cipher bioca received. Vessel referred to is Dupont in both cases. The commander was not informed of the intentions of Schley. From a letter of Schley of May 24th I am informed that Schley would proceed from Cienfuegos to Santiago de Cuba on May 25th. He would not be able to remain off that port on account of general short coal Supply. Would proceed to vicinity of Mole, Haiti,to coal in smooth water and communicate.
At 4 p.m. I sent to the Navy Department the following despatch,in cipher,beginning with the word “Regenwater
I received yesterday May 27th at 2 p.m. a copy of a despatch from Schley dated May 24th,to Department reporting his movements. I despatched immediately the New Orleans to convoy collier Stirling through Bahama Channel and then,leaving collier,go with all dispatch to Santiago with orders to Schley to blockade Spanish Squadron at all hazards and take every action necessary to prevent their egress. Shall send immediately another collier. Have advised Schley to use Spanish American Company’s property as coaling station. Notwithstanding apparent uncertainty of Schley’s movements. I believed Spanish Squadron still in port, and I came here immediately to be in better communication and telegraphed Schley to Mole St. Nicholas same orders conveyed by New Orleans, hoping to reach him earlier. He undoubtedly has sufficient coal aboard ship to still keep the sea some time as all except Iowa left here full. My orders to Schley by New Orleans included sinking of the Stirling collier across the entrance to Santiago. The channel is but three hundred feet broad,and if this be properly done the port will be closed until steamer is raised. The detail of the operation were left to Schley,with verbal explanation,through Captain Folger of my own views[.] It is for this reason additional coal has been sent. The importance of absolutely preventing the escape of the Spanish Squadron is so paramount that the promptest and most efficient use of every means is demanded.
About midnight the following telegram was received from the Department:
Schley telegraphs from Santiago de Cuba he goes to Key West with his squadron for coal though he has 4000 tons of coal with him in a broken down collier. How soon after arrival of Schley at Key West could you reach Santiago de Cuba with the New York and the Oregon,the Indiana and some lighter x-x-x and how long could you blockade there sending your vessels singly to coal from our colliers at Gonaives,Haiti,Channel, Mole, Hayti,Nipe,Port,Cuba, or elsewhere? There is one collier en route to Mole Haiti, from Norfolk and another one has been ordered there from Key West and other (s) will be sent immediately. Consider if you could seize Guantanamo and occupy as coaling station. Schley has not ascertained whether Spanish Division is at Santiago. All information here seems to show that it is there.
The Oregon left Key West for Havana blockade. Commodore Watson was directed to send the Indiana into Key West for coal.
May 29th. About 3:00 A. M. I sent the following telegram to the
Secretary of the Navy:
May 29th. Answering telegram Gozais Endiometer answering first question three days. I can blockade indefinitely. Think that can occupy Guantanamo. Would like to start at once with the New York and the Oregon arriving in two days. Do not quite understand as to the necessity of awaiting the arrival of Schley but would propose meeting and turning back the principal part of the force under his command if he has left. Try to hold him by telegraph. Watson will be in charge of everything afloat. Does the Department approve proposed action?
About noon the following telegram was sent to the Secretary of the Navy:-
Referring to my telegram of this date fifty cipher words Misionar Jiguilete I urge immediate reply to my last paragraph. Failure of Schley to continue blockade must be remedied at once if possible. There can be no doubt of presence of Spanish Squadron at Santiago.
Received the following telegram from Commodore Schley (136 cipher words beginning Abborderei)
Collier now has been repaired temporarily, and able to make six or seven knots per hour. Shall I endeavor to coal the Marblehead and the Texas in the open sea and retain position off Santiago until coal Supply larger vessels has given up x x know what safe limit shall go then to Gonaives Haiti,or coast near or near Port au Prince,Haiti,to coal x x x occurring yesterday the Marblehead and Texas took a quantity of coal at a distance of about twenty-five miles west of Santiago which enables me to hold place until coal has been reduced x x force me over to Haiti to replenish x x collier well equipped to report at Gonaives, Haiti,urgently needed to coal xxx vessel when chance occurs. Need another auxiliary for picket duty and communication. I send Minneapolis and Yale to Key West. St. Paul off Santiago still. Repairs of the Merrimac machinery completed by the Brooklyn. St. Paul May 26th captured British collier bound in with coal evidently for fleet collier having touched San Juan and Curacoa.
and received from the Secretary of the Navy telegram containing substance of the above telegram.
The following telegram was sent to the Secretary of the Navy:-
Telegram just received from (Gozais Ecumass-iez) Schley shows he is today blockading off Santiago de Cuba and will continue to do so until coal Supply has been reduced to safe limit for large ships. Yesterday auxiliary No. 557 captured collier bound to Santiago de Cuba,care of coal. The Indiana and the Minneapolis and auxiliary No. 591 will arrive at Key West for coal. The New York is ready to start to Santiago as so[o]n as authorized to do so by the Department.
The following telegram was sent to Commodore Schley to both Port Antonio,Jamaica and Mole St. Nicholas:
Congratulate you on success. Maintain close blockade at all hazards especially at night, very little to fear from torpedo boat destroyers. Coal in open sea whenever conditions permit. Send a ship to examine Guantanamo with view to occupying it as base,coaling one heavy ship at a time. Appraise captured coal use it if desired and afterwards send ship in as prize.
The following telegrams from the Secretary of the Navy were received:
Your telegram May 29th received. Department thinks it very desirable that St. Paul now off Santiago de Cuba and Yankee starts today and St. Louis tomorrow afternoon both from New York for Santiago touching Nicholas Mole.
May 29th. You carry out recommendations to go yourself with two ships to Santiago de Cuba. Act at your discretion with the object of blockading Spanish Division as soon as possible. Goodrich reports Guantanamo,Cuba,very weak. The seizure of imme-diately is recommended.
At 11:00 P. M. the New York left Key West forSantiago,going first to a point where Commodore Watson could be spoken. I spoke the Montgomery,Commodore
May 30th Watson’s flagship at 6:55 A. M. he came aboard the New York,instructions were given leaving him in command and at 9:07 signal being made to the Oregon,Mayflower and Porter to form column on the New York stood eastward, at a speed of 13 knots.
At 7 P. M. the St. Paul and Yale were met standing westward under orders for Key West for coal. I modified these orders sending the Yale to Hampton Roads and the St. Paul to New York.
The Commanding Officer of the St. Paul left with me the following copies of despatches:
From Sigsbee to Secretary of the Navy. Sent from St. Nicholas Mole at 10:30 P. M. on May 29th. Ciphers here read by me. Find in them no reason to prevent me from proceeding immediately according to the cable sent you through me this evening. Will endorse ciphers and leave them for next visiting U.S.Man-of-war. Sigsbee
From Schley to Sampson. Off Santiago de Cuba 10:00 A. M. May 29th. Sent to Sampson at 7 P. M. same day. Same to Secnav. Enemy in port recognized Cristobal Colon and Infanta Maria Teresa,and two torpedo boats,moored inside Morro behind point. Doubtless the others are here. We are short of coal using every effort to get coal in. Vixen blew out manhole gasket,have sent boilermaker on board to repiar [i.e., repair]. Colliers repaired machinery being put together. Have about 3000 tons of coal in collier, but not easy to get on board here. If no engagement in next two or three days Sampson’s squadron could relieve this one to coal at Gonaives or vicinity of Port au Prince. Hasten me despatch boats for picket work. Brooklyn,Iowa,Massachusetts,Texas, Marblehead,Vixen and collier compose Squadron here. Schley.
Secretary of the Navy to Schley. Received at cable office,Mole St. Nicholas,May 27th,1898. Read by Sigsbee May 29th and sealed under cover for delivery to next visiting U.S.man-of-war.
The most absolutely urgent thing now is to know positively whether the Spanish division is in Santiago de Cuba Harbor,as if so immediate movement against it and the town will be made by the Navy and Division of about 10.000 men of the American troops which are ready to embark. You must surmount difficulty regarding coaling by your ingenuity and perseverance. This is a crucial time and the Department relies upon you to give information quickly as to the presence of Cervera x x to be ready for concerted action with the Army. Two colliers have been ordered Mole,Haiti. Your vessels may coal singly there or in Gonaives Haiti Channel or leeward Cape Cruz,Cuba. Sampson coming around Windward Passage. Orders have been issued to the Commander of the Yankee (?) to report to you and the Minneapolis will go north. Cervera must not be allowed to escape. Long.
Secretary of the Navy to Schley. Received at the Mole,May 29th,1898 opened by C.D.Sigsbee, Captain,U.S.N. and addressed to next visiting man-of war. It is your duty to ascertain immediately the Spanish fleet if they be at Santiago de Cuba and report. Would be discreditable to the Navy if that fact was not ascertained immediately. All naval and military movements depend on that point. Long.
At 5:00 P. M. of the 31st I sent the Porter in to Mole St. Nicholas with the following despatch,to the Secretary of the Navy:
Shall arrive Santiago 4 A. M. June 1st with New York,Oregon,Mayflower and Porter. Last night met St. Paul and Yale. Ordered St. Paul to New York and Yale to Hampton Roads for coal. Please have preparations made for coaling immediately. Will telegraph situation at Santiago on arrival.
June 1st. At 6:00 A. M. I arrived off Santiago de Cuba,and found Commodore Schley’s Squadron in column to the westward of the mouth of the harbor. The Squadron was composed of the following vessels: Brooklyn,Iowa, Massachusetts,Texas,New Orleans,Marblehead,Harvard, Vixen,Merrimac and Stirling.
About 11:00 A. M. the Porter arrived from Mole St. Nicholas with the following despatches:--
Dated Washington May 30th. Schley has seen and recognized two armored cruisers and two torpedo boat destroyers the Spanish division at Santiago de Cuba.(Proceed) to Santiago with the New York and Oregon and such other vessel you may desire leave orders concerning army convoy Senior Officer Present. The Spanish torpedo destroyer Terror reported at San Juan,Puerto Rico,damaged.
Dated Washington May 30th. General Miles states if you can communicate with Cuban insurgents request Garcia to assemble his force at (or in) the rear of Santiago de Cuba,and our Army division will take with them to Santiago de Cuba five thousand stand of arms and ammunition for Cubans. Long.
June 1st. Dated Washington,May 31st. It is essential to know if all the four Spanish armored cruisers at Santiago de Cuba,as our military expedition must wait for out of information. Report as soon as possible.
The Army now embarking at Tampa,Fla. Estimate 25,000 men to proceed to Santiago de Cuba as soon as you inform me whole Spanish fleet in harbor; will be accompanied by cavalry, siege guns,mortars. It is suggested that you select places suitable for landing infantry as near as possible to Santiago de Cuba and be prepared to advise regarding landing guns and cavalry of first importance to secure bridge San Juan river the pier at Daiquiri and others. Department expects you will assist of course landing the army to utmost of your power but desires you shall not risk by operation on shore or in landing crews of the armored vessels or those needed in case of a naval engagement. Will not Guantanamo,Cuba,be the best place for landing cavalry. Auxiliary No. 592 (Yankee) must be available,also auxiliary No. 556 (St.Louis) calling at Mole,Haiti,several colliers on way to Mole,Haiti. Long.
The following are copies of telegrams received by Commodore Schley June 1st.
Mole St. Nicholas,May 30. General Miles states that if you can communicate with Cuban insurgents,request Garcia to assemble his force at the rear of Santiago de Cuba and our army division will take with them to Santiago 5000 stand of arms and ammunition for Cuban(s).
Mole St. Nicholas,May 31st. It has been suggested that an alternative line of communication could be opened with General Garcia as follows:-- landing Maceo inlet about 30 nautical miles west of Santiago de Cuba,not far from Jucaro anchorage, a message would find the neighboring country in possession of the insurgent(s) and Garcia would probably be found at Baire,thirty-three miles to the northward over the mountains. An outpost of Garcia’s force would probably be found at the northern foot of the mountains and about half way from the sea to Baire. The highest point on the road is Navanjo from where there are two paths on to Matias auras,Fors Negros,the other by Banes Calientes and Oja de Agua. Our army wishes Garcia to close down on the land side of Santiago de Cuba as previously telegraphed. Long.
Received the following copy of a dispatch sent by Commodore Schley to the Commander-in-Chief,May 31st,
The New Orleans and the Auxiliary No. 554 (Sterling) arrived,send as early as practicable picket boat I mediate between them very badly. Has (have) seen one more vessel Vizcaya class in port. Smooth sea now,I am coaling the Iowa and Brooklyn.
About 5:00 P. M. the Dolphin arrived convoying the Cable steamer ADRIA.
June 1st. Immediately on arrival,I steamed down past the entrance to Santiago harbor and saw lying close within, the Cristobal Colon and one of the Vizcaya class. Both of these got up steam and moved up into the harbor out of sight.
Preparations were at once made for sinking the Collier Merrimac in the entrance, the port watch of the New York being sent on board. The night of this day was particularly favorable for the enterprise, the tide, the time of setting of the moon,&c. all con-joining most favorably.
In consulting Assistant Naval Constructor Hobson as to the best means of sinking the vessel,he showed himself so interested, worked to such a degree in the preparation, and entreated so strongly that he might be allowed to take the ship in, that I consented, though several hundred officers and men had volunteered and many begged hard to go.
The crew finally selected was as follows:
Naval Constructor R. P. Hobson, D. Montague, Chief Master-at-Arms, New York; Gunner’s Mate,3rd Class,George Charette, New York; Coxswain,R. Clausen, New York; Machinist 1st Class,G. F. Phillips,Merrimac; Water Tender, F. Kelly, Merrimac; Coxswain, O. Deignan, Merrimac; and Coxswain, J. E. Murphy, Iowa.
Assistant Constructor Hobson had formerly been a line Officer, and was for some time Assistant Navigator of the Chicago,so that he was qualified to conduct the ship.
June 2nd._ Unfortunately the preparations were not completed before daylight of the 2nd,and the expedition had to be postponed to the next night,when at 3:30 A. M.
June 3rd._she went in and was sunk. As we now know,she did not sink until she was much higher in the channel than was intended. This was owing to the failure of her steer-ing gear,and to a partial failure of the torpedoes arranged along her side,to explode.
On June 2nd the following order of Battle was issued:
O R D E R o f B A T T L E.
U. S. Flagship New York,1st Rate,
Off Santiago de Cuba,
June 2nd, 1898.
The fleet off Santiago de Cuba will be organized during the operations against that port and the Spanish Squadron as follows:---
First Squadron:---Under the personal command of the
N E W Y O R K
I O W A
O R E G O N
N E W O R L E A N S
M A Y F L O W E R
P O R T E R
Second Squadron:--- Commodore Schley.
B R O O K L Y N,
M A S S A C H U S E T T S,
T E X A S
M A R B L E H E A D
V I X E N
Vessels joining subsequently will be assigned by the Commander-in-Chief. The vessels will blockade Santiago de Cuba, closely, keeping about six miles from the Morro in the daytime,and closing in at night, the lighter vessels well in shore. The first Squadron will blockade on the East side of the port, and the Second Squadron on the West side. If the enemy tries to escape the ships must close and engage as soon as possible, and endeavor to sink his vessels or force them to run ashore in the channel. It is not considered that the shore batteries are of sufficient power to do any material injury to battle ships.
In smooth weather the vessels will coal on station. If withdrawn to coal elsewhere or for other duty,the blockading vessels on either side will cover the angle thus left vacant.
D A Y A N D N I G H T F O R M A T I O N.
To accompany Order & Battle,dated June 2nd,1898
U. S. Flagship New York,1st Rate,
Off Santiago de Cuba,
June 2nd, 1898.
[Hand-drawn Diagram appears in text here; that diagram in printed form appears on the page preceding and can be found in the illustrations for this section.]
June 3rd. On June 3rd the St. Louis, Yankee and Collier Justin arrived.
The following despatches were received from Mole, St. Nicholas by the St. Louis:
Dated Washington June 2nd. Cable house is reported on the point of Cape Cruz,Cuba, presumably near the water and a branch from the loop connecting Manzanillo to Santiago de Cuba comes ashore there as also a branch from the cable connecting Cienfuegos to Santiago de Cuba. This report is from a person who states he helped to lay cable on the south side of Cuba. Auxiliary No. 540 (Resolute) sailed May 31st Mole,Haiti, enroute to Squadron.
Allen, Acting Secretary
Dated Washington June 2nd. The U.S.Consul at Kingston,Jamaica,telegraphs June 1st,am informed that Purissima Concepcion going Cape Cruz,Cuba,west of Santiago de Cuba and will coast inside Key, making either Manzanillo Trinidad de Cuba, Cienfuegos or go direct to Batabano has objected to Colonial Government.
Allen, Acting Secty.
Dated Washington June 2nd. General Shafter wires expects to start from Tampa,FLORIDA, on June 4th with 18.000 The Chief Engineer Boston Naval Station 20.000 men including 10 batteries of artillery and some cavalry. Commodore No. 8 will attend to convoy. Allen, Acting Secty.
Dated Washington June 1st. Spanish torpedo destroyer Terror is reported greatly damaged at San Juan,Puerto Rico,it is suggested you have her carefully watched by a sufficient force to prevent possible interference with convoy in transit. Allen, Acting Secty.
About 3:00 P. M. the Spanish tug Colon came out of Santiago Harbor flying a flag of truce,and the Vixen was sent to meet her. The Spanish fleet Captain
June 3rd. Bustemente came on board with a letter from Admiral Cervera to Admiral Sampson announcing the safety of the Merrimac’s crew.
Towards midnight the Mayflower left for Key West,via Mole St. Nicholas,taking the following telegrams:
To the Secretary of the Navy: Succeeded in sinking Auxiliary No. 494 in the channel of Santiago de Cuba today 4 A. M. June 3rd. This was carried out most gallantly under the command Naval Constructor Hobson and seven men. By flag of truce from the Spanish Admiral Cervera sent in recognition of their bravery am informed all are prisoners of war two slightly wounded. Request authority to arrange exchange if possible between these and prisoners Atlanta. Beg troops move with all possible celerity of paramount importance. Six ships Spanish squadron in the harbor of Santiago unable to avoid being captured or destroyed.
To Secretary of the Navy: Some observations made today by a reliable Cuban in accordance with my instructions makes four Spanish armored vessels and two Spanish torpedo destroyers in Santiago at that time. Repairs and more coal needed by them. Sampson.
To Secretary of the Navy: Have received reliable information from Cuban officers the Spanish force in this vicinity of Santiago consists of 7,000 men entrenched in Juraguacito and Daiquiri 5,000 men in Santiago de Cuba,in Morro de Cuba 400 men at other points in the bay 100 men with small R.F. gun and sub-marine mines at various points with superior force and insurgent force which is ready though mostly needing arms, Santiago de Cuba must fall with ships in port which cannot be entered against obstructions and mines. Sampson.
To Commodore Watson: Channel to Santiago obstructed by Auxiliary No. 494 this morning all Spanish ships inside. I am sending Mayflower to Key West for repairs and Dolphin for blockade. I will return north side as soon as I learn as soon as I learn intentions of Army. Sampson.
June 4th._ The following Battle Order was issued:
O R D E R O F B A T T L E.
U.S.F.S.New York,1st Rate,
Off Santiago de Cuba,
The Texas, Massachusetts, Iowa and the Oregon will take positions 4000 yards from Estrella Point and opposite the entrance to the port of Santiago in the order named from West to East in such position as to be able to observe the wreck of the “Merrimac”, and still fire upon any parties which may be seen working about it. If the fire be opened by the batteries, it will be returned, and an endeavor made to destroy them.
The Senior Officer of the above named ships will have charge of carrying out these instructions.
In case of opening fire upon the batteries, the Brooklyn, Marblehead and the Vixen will take an enfilading position 4000 yards to the Westward of the entrance,and well in shore; and the New York, New Orleans and the Yankee in a similar position to the Eastward, and will engage the batteries at the same time with the battle-ships.
Firing directly upon Morro Castle will be avoided, as our men from the “Merrimac” are confined there.
The battle-ships will take the above positions when signalled to do so by the Commander-in-Chief, and will occupy them until signalled to withdraw, when blockading stations will be resumed.
The following signals will be provisionally employed:
18—Battle-ships take positions assigned above.
19—Battle-ships withdraw and resume blockading station.
W. T. Sampson,
North Atlantic Station.
June 5th._The following despatches were sent by the St. Louis which went to Mole St. Nicholas for that purpose:--She to wait till 10:00 A. M.,June 6th, for replies:
To Secretary of the Navy: Very important I should know immediately whether the army expedi-tion has sailed for Santiago and its number. Vessels U.S.N. are supplied sufficiently with men. Send 100,000 pounds of fresh beef and vege-tables by each of the auxiliaries Harvard,St. Paul, Yale for immediate use when they sail.
To Commodore Remey. Send Auxiliary No. 550 to Santiago is Supply ship has not been exhausted and send her also to Santiago. Send ammunition for four inch and five inch rapid fire.
To Commodore Remey. I am sending Auxiliary No. 540 (Resolute) for battalion Marines. Have ready battalion to embark upon arrival and send immediately here.
To Commodore Remey: Send Vesuvius to Santiago.
June 5th. The Suwanee arrived. The St. Louis left for Mole St. Nicholas and the Resolute left for Key West; the Resolute to get the Marine Battalion.
Issued Battle Order and Plan for proposed attack on batteries June 6th.
O R D E R o f B A T T L E.
U. S. Flagship New York,1st Rate,
Off Santiago de Cuba,
June 5th, 1898.
Preparations will be made to engage the batteries, Monday morning, June 6th, at seven o’clock. The men should be given their breakfast at 5:30, and the divisions ready to form at six o’clock.
2. Wjen [i.e., When] preparatory signal 1 is made, ships will form South of the Morro as follows:
WESTERN COLUMN,-- heading North,
B R O O K L Y N
M A R B L E H E A D
T E X A S
M A S S A C H U S E T T S
* * * * * * * *
EASTERN COLUMN,--heading North.
N E W Y O R K
Y A N K E E
N E W O R L E A N S
O R E G O N
I O W A
* * * * * * * * *
3. When signal of execution,18,is made, the columns will move ahead. The Commander of each Division will make such signals as may be necessary to bring his division into position marked on the accompanying drawing, forming circles drawn at th[e] three thousand yards from the eastern and western batteries, on column heading in a north-westerly and the other in a north-easterly direction. This will be best accomplished by cnahging [i.e., changing] direction of columns, the easterly column to the north-eastward, and the westerly column to the north-westward, running in these directions until South of the indicated positions, then heading all vessels of the division North simultaneously turnin[g] again into column when the distance of three thousand yards has been reached. Vessels will be 400 yards apart,and will retain their positions, the westerly column using the starboard battery and the easterly column the po[r]t battery.
4. On signal from the Commander-in-Chief both columns will open fire, or fire will be opened in case the enemy begins.
5. Bearings will be taken carefully,and distances obtained with all practicable accuracy.
6. The Dolphin will take position to the Eastward,and the Suwanee and Vixen to the Westward, as shown on the plan,for the purpose of looking after any musketry fire from shore.
7. The fire will be deliberate and continued until the batteries are silenced, or an order to cease firing has been made.
W. T. Sampson,
Rear Admiral,U. S. N.,
North Atlantic Station
June 6th._ About 6:30 a.m. vessels formed two columns as per Order of Battle issued previous date. At 6:43 called to General Quarters,ships standing in towards the batteries. At 7:38 made signal commence firing. At 7:41 opened fire,this ship aiming at the battery east of the Morro at 6000 yards. At 8:05 hoisted “cease firing” when general firing was discontinued,but individual firing at slower rate of speed was continued until 9:40[.] The New York had worked in to within two thousand yards of the Morro batteries and engaged in deliberate firing. At 10:08 made signal resume blockading station. At 10:20 Flagship sounded secure.
In the afternoon sent the following dispatch to the Secretary of the Navy,by one of the newspaper tugs going to St. Nicholas Mole.
Bombarded forts at Santiago today at 7:30 A. M. to 10:00 A. M. and have silenced works quickly without injury of any kind,though stationed within 2000 yards. If 10,000 men were here city and fleet would be ours within 48 hour every consideration demands immediate army movement. If delayed city will be defended more strongly by guns taken from fleet.
About 10:30 P. M. the St. Louis arrived from St. Nicholas Mole with the following despatches:-
Dated Washington June 4th. Three telegrams of June 3rd received,your action as thus far reported approved. Will give every attention to your recommendation. Allen
June 6th._ Dated Washington June 4th. Do you consider that you need more small vessels picket duty ?
Dated Washington June 6th. The American Consul at St. Pierre,Martinique,reports by telegraph the British steamer Twickenham,4000 tons of coal consigned to the Spanish Consul having been refused permission to land coal at St. Pierre,Martinique,sailed about June 5th from St. Pierre,Martinique,for Jamaica Allen.
Dated Washington June 6th. I shall exchange for Hobson and party First Lieutenant Gastaminza one sergeant and six privates. The War Department has been requested to send to Key West. Allen
Dated Washington June 4th. Department highly appreciates heroic conduct of Hobson and associates. Send names and rates of them all and what you recommend for them. Long
About midnight the Marblehead and Yankee left for Guantanamo.
June 7th. About 7.00 A. M. the collier Kingtor arrived and brought the following despatch from St. Nicholas Mole:
Dated Washington June 6th. The prisoners of war at Atlanta are first lieutenant Puis Giner Gastaminza sixth battalion lower peninsula seven second lieutenants a sergeant and nine privates. You are authorized to make such arrangements with Admiral Cervera as may be necessary to secure our officer and men now prisoners at Santiago. Allen
The following Memorandum was issued regarding methods of blockade.
M E M O R A N D U M N o . 1 3
After careful consideration of the various schemes of main-taining an effective blockade of Santiago de Cuba at night, which have been advanced, I have decided upon the following,which will be maintained until further orders:
The weather permitting, three (3) picket launches, detailed from the ships of the Squadron each evening,will occupy position one mile from the Morro,one to the eastward,one to the westward,and one to the southward of the harbor entrance. On a circle drawn with a radius of two miles from the Morro will be stationed three vessels, the Vixen to the westward, from one-half mile to one mile from the shore,the Suwanee South of Morro, and the Dolphin to the eastward,between one-half mile and one mile from the shore. The remaining vessels will retain the positions already occupied; but they will take especial care to keep within a four mile circle.
All vessels may turn their engines whenever desirable,to keep them in readiness for immediate use,and while so doing, may turn in a small circle, but without losing proper bearing or distance.
The signal for an enemy will be two (2) red Very lights fired in rapid succession. If the enemy is a torpedo boat, these two red lights will be followed by a green light.
I again call attention to the absolute necessity of a close blockade of this port,-- especially at night and in bad weather. In the day-time, if clear, the distance shall not be greater than six miles. At night, or in thick weather, not more than four miles. The end to be attained justifies the ris[k] of torpedo attack, and that risk must be taken. The escape of the Spanish vessels at this juncture would be a serious blow to our prestige, and to a speedy end of the war.
Attention is called to the provisional signals established by General Order No. 9
W. T. Sampson,
Rear Admiral,U. S. N.,
North Atlantic Station.
June 8th. On the 8th issued Memorandum No. 14 regarding the use of Search-Lights. This was undoubtedly one of the most important elements in making the blockade successful; in that it made it impossible,as was stated on board the New York by the Captain of the Colon for the Spanish Squadron to leave at night. The entrance was by this means brilliantly lighted so that the movements of the smallest boat could be seen within. A later modification kept a second battle-ship close to the illuminating ship so that the first of these two should be able to use her guns without disturbing the illumination.
I regard the outcome of this memorandum as being thoroughly successful.
MEMORANDUM No. 14
U. S. Flagship New York, 1st Rate,
Off Santiago de Cuba,
June 8th, 1898.
During the dark hours of the night search lights will be used as follows:--
The Iowa, Oregon, and the Massachusetts will take turns of two hours each, i. e., from dark to 8 p.m., from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., in keeping one search light directly on the harbor entrance, maintaining carefully during that time their blockad-ing positions. Should a vessel’s lights fail, the next in order will at once take up the duty.
The picket launch and vidette, stationed South of the Morro will move to one side or the other sufficiently to get clear of the beam of light.
The vessel on each flank, the Brooklyn and the Texas on the western side, the New York and New Orleans on the eastern side, will take two hour turns in using one search light from time to time on the coast line, swinging it towards the Morro, but avoiding the illumination of the flanking videttes on the inside line. The light should never be turned off more than five min-utes at a time. From time to time the horizon outside will be swept.
Attention is called to bad and careless handling of search lights. Last night some of the lights were kept high in the air, and were again swept rapidly from side to side. Under such circumstances, a search light is worse than useless.
The beams must be directed to the horizon, and must be moved very steadily and slowly. Not less than three minutes should be employed in sweeping through an arc of 90 degrees.
The best way to discover a torpedo boat is by its smoke, and even this will not be seen unless the light is very well handled.
W. T. S A M P S O N,
Rear Admiral, U. S. N.,
North Atlantic Station.
The following copies of telegrams received by Commodore Remey were received from the Gloucester:--
Dated Washington June 1st. Notify Watson when convoy is about to start and direct to scour blockade coast most diligently to prevent interference by Spanish gun vessels with our convoy. Allen, Acting Secty.
Dated Washington June 1st. Deliver the following to Captain H.C.Taylor,Commander of convoy:-- The following scheme has been dis-cussed somewhat but what action the War Depart-ment proposes to take,if any,is unknown. Railroad bridge over San Juan river about two nautical miles from east of Morro of Santiago de Cuba,and probably sheltered from its fire is close to the sea, spans a deep ravine, and its possession would facilitate the operation of our army; but it is said to be mined and guarded by about 30 Spanish soldiers. It has been suggested to send a detachment of troops some hours before the main to land daybreak near bridge and carry by sur-prise,holding position until supported from the main body. The landing near bridge is said to be good for boats,and water in the vicinity good for light vessels,though we have not absolute knowledge on these points. If the attempt is to be made by the army it will probably ask you to assist the landing with the boats of your convoy and to cover the attempt with some of your small vessels,which may be done exercising due caution, but the Department has declined to use the seamen of the fleet to make the attack on shore. If the attempt is to be made send ahead to inform the Commander-in-Chief of Naval Force on N. A. Station[.] Long.
Dated Washington June 1st. Inform command-ing Officer of convoy New York Herald June 1st, says that there are in the bay of Port Nipe,Cuba, gun vessels Jorge Juan and Ligera,there are others in other coast ports. Keep a lookout for them. Allen, Acting Secty.
Dated Washington June 2nd. General Shafter wires Washington War Department June 1st he was progressing rapidly with loading transports and expects to be able to start Saturday morning. Some American troops to join from Mobile,making in all about 18.000 or 20.000 men. He does not state the number of transports. Inform Captain Taylor,co-operate with army,adding such vessels to convoy as you see fit.
Dated Washington June 3rd. You are directed to prevent any Press boat leaving Key West,to accompany the expedition about to leave Tampa. If necessary you will place Marine Guard on board to insure compliance. You will also give the commander of convoy order,directing him,if any such boats succeed in accompanying the fleet,to take possession of and compel them to remain in his company throughout the voyage and until such time as the Senior Officer Present off Santiago de Cuba shall direct release. Allen.
June 8th. Dated Tampa June 3rd. Boat capacity of transports average about 110 persons. No steam launches. General Shafter informed me that two large steam lighters are to be taken along. Con-voy ships should bring all their boats. Navy expected to assist. Army will not embark before Sunday. Hunker.
Memorandum from Commodore Remey:-- The Annapolis, Helena, Castine, and Hornet have been at Tampa several days. The Commanding Officer of the Annapolis has had instructions about organ-izing the Transport Fleet. When all are ready the fleet will proceed to a rendezvous to W’d of Dry Tortugas. Information will be received here when the fleet is to arrive off Tortugas. The follow-ing vessels will then proceed to the rendezvous, and the Commanding Officer of the Indiana will take charge,viz:-- Indiana, Detroit, Bancroft, Vesuvius, Osceola, Wompatuck, WASP, Scorpion and Manning. The Eagle has gone with despatches to Commodore Watson. She has orders to report to Commanding Officer of convoy for duty. This will make fourteen vessels in the convoy all ready June 4th. It is not known yet what day the transports will be ready to start. The Indiana has six or seven divers at work which will continu[e] until the fleet is ready to move. It is thought she will then be in good condition. The Minneapolis was to have gone with convoy but will not be ready in time.
The following letter dated June 6th was received from the United States Consul at Kingston,Jamaica:--
The Department of State having been informed that a steamer of the French Line, a sister ship of the Lafayette, was bringing over a cargo of Canet quick firing guns directed me to report the arrival of such vessel at this port. I have accordingly just reported the arrival of the Versailles,which comes from Corunna via St. Thomas with 128 passengers and 1000 tons cargo. Up to the sending of this letter I have been unable to ascertain contents of her cargo,but I take opportunity to notify you of these facts for such use as you may deem proper. The vessel leaves here tomorrow morning at eight o’clock,clearing for her regular port of Vera Cruz.
June [8?]th. The Yankee was sent to St. Nicholas Mole with the following despatches to the Secretary of the Navy:--
Yesterday morning sent from the blockade the Marblehead and Auxiliary No. 592 to arrive at Guantanamo early daylight. They entered harbor taking possession of lower bay immediately after their arrival and small gunboat defending posi-tion retreated without delay to the upper bay, which is connested [i.e., connected] with the lower bay by a narrow passage defended by eleven mines. Their instructions were not to enter the upper portion of the bay but to hold lower bay for the accommodation of our ships and this was successfully accomplished. The crew of cable steamer Adria spent several days searching for Jamaica cable from Santiago and destroyed second cable Aux. No. 556 having cut first. But the crew of the Adria has refused to do any more work on grounds that work required of them is illegal. Therefore cable from Santiago to Cienfuegos has not been cut but all communication between Cuba and outside world has been cut off. As there is some doubt that both Jamaica cable has been cut suggest that Department make inquiry into this subject. I suggest further that as the crew of the Adria has failed in their contract they should not receive compensation after the time at which they refused to do duty. As soon as possible I hope to have communication by telegraph between Guantanamo and the United States through French cables and will,inform the Department as soon as it has been established. Under these circumstances again I urge upon the Department to expedite arrival of troops for Santiago de Cuba,the difficulty of blockading the Spanish ships daily increasing and as dark and stormy nights approach difficulty must be in-creased greatly. Army should be here now. The Spanish force on north side of Cuba is insignificant absolutely and offer no impediment whatever. One cruiser could look after the whole. Yankee will wait until one for answers. The Marblehead will remain at Guantanamo.
Request that you send Vesuvius at once to Santiago.
June 9th._ About 1:00 P. M. the Dolphin returned from Mole St. Nicholas with the following despatch:--
Dated Key West June 8th. Tuesday nine p.m. 15 nautical miles north 1/2 east Bahia de Cadiz light Eagle sighted N.N.W. signal exchanged among x x x pursued about three nautical miles without bringing vessels in sight. At 9:45 P. M. sighted stern light armored cruiser – N.1/2 E. showed private signal twice-armored cruiser flashed truck light protected vessel two torpedo destroyers,fleet formation answered-Eagle scouted abreast until character Spanish vessels was ascertained – communicated immediately with Lebanon at Piedraz Cay suggesting to her Captain to send this news to fleet off Havana. Eagle then proceeded with all despatch to Key West. One deep sea torpedo vessel chased Eagle for a short time. Except stern light and occasional signal four vessels total darkness. Panther left last night to join Yosemite off Havana for convoy. Nashville with Watson left here about same time supposed they know the news. Resolute confirms it.
I placed no confidence whatever in this information, though so specific. During the next morning the Yosemite, Panther, Armeria, Scorpion and Supply arrived the Panther bringing the First Marine Battalion and the Armeria a Supply of ammunition. The Yankee arrived from Mole St. Nicholas and reported having passed a squadron of eight vessels,one of which was a battle-ship.
The arrival of the ships mentioned explained the squadron seen by the Yankee. The Yankee had been observed by them,and the Scorpion,which was acting an convoy to the Armeria and Supply,had fired upon her taking her for a torpedo boat,but the Yankee was so
June 9th. distant that these reports had not been heard,and the flashes were taken for signals. This still further convinced me of the falsity of the Eagle’s report, and shows how easily the most experienced may be deceived at night at sea.
June 10th. The following despatches were received:--
Dated Washington June 8th. The Spanish armored cruiser 1st class,torpedo destroyers are reported by Eagle and Resolute yesterday and last night and therefore the Army expedition is stopped temporarily,convoy is distributed to scour the strait and reinforce the blockade of Cuba sent two of your most fast armored vessels to search through Nicholas Channel,Cuba. x x x Key West and thence reinforce convoy to we mean to start this as soon as convoy is strong enough the delay being only temporary. Are you sure all four Spanish armored cruisers are at Santiago. 600 Marines Panther started for you last evening convoyed by Aux. No. 596 (Yosemite)
Dated Washington June 9th. It is expected that armored vessel(s) two are despatching to re-enforce convoy will arrive Sunday morning June 12th at Key West and will be coaled immediately. Commodore No. 8 is ordered to have convoy ready for sea at the same time the army will be notified and expedition get away without reference to Spanish. Allen, Acting Secty.
Dated Washington June 9th. Picket vessel Dorothea probably will leave today to join you. Fishhawk will sail this week two more purchased shall (will) take two weeks to prepare.
Allen, Acting Secty.
Dated Washington June 9th. The Vesuvius is now seeing through design stranger. Shall send to Santiago as soon as possible.
Allen, Acting Secty.
June 10th. The following memorandum was issued:
MEMORANDUM No. 15
U. S. Flagship New York, 1st Rate,
Off Santiago de Cuba,
The use of the SEARCH LIGHTS during the dark hours of last night clearly indicates that the lights can be used with the greatest efficiency if sufficient care is taken for this purpose. It is absolutely necessary that the beam of light should be held steadily up the channel into the harbor.
Under these circumstances it is believed to be practically impossible for a vessel to escape detection in any attempt to come out. I therefore enjoin the Commanding Officers of the Iowa, the Oregon, and the Massachusetts to move forward into their positions, not more than two miles from the entrance,with the entrance bearing North by East; the Iowa arriving first—at seven-thirty, and will place her light squarely up the entrance in to the harbor and hold it steadily, except during the time required to change from one search light to another, as may be required. At the end of two hours from 7:30 p.m. she will be relieved by the Massachusetts, each of these vessels going back to her blockading position- -three miles from the entrance.
It is most important that the lights should be held as near –ly stationary as possible, and that no discrimination be left to the person manipulating the light. It is believed that this method os [i.e., of] using the search light will prove to be all that is necessary or advantageous in blockading the harbor.
W. T. S A M P S O N
Rear Admiral, U. S. N
North Atlantic Station.
The Yankee went to St. Nicholas with the follow-ing despatch:
Have no confidence in the report of Eagle as to nationality or character of the vessels and consider very unwise to suspend operations on this account,but even if it is found correct there is sufficient force to furnish convoy. Armored vessel was probably Talbot which was sighted Thursday 9 A. M. by the Scorpion standing to the east,am confident no large ship could have escaped from here,am endeavoring to obtain information from Santiago as to what vessels are inside today,delay seems to me most unfortunate. Marine battalion arrived this morning and will land at Guantanamo today.
June 10th. The Panther was sent today to Guantanamo in company with the Yosemite. The Marine Battalion was there landed and established camp.
June 11th. The St. Louis arrived with the British steamer Twickenham (collier) which she captured off Jamaica. The Twickenham was sent into Key West.
The following despatches were sent to St. Nicho-las Mole by the St. Louis:
To the Secretary of the Navy: Upon receiv-ing Department’s authority to exchange prisoners sent immediately these proposals under flag of truce to the Spanish Admiral to exchange for Hobson and his seven men, 1st Lieutenant Pius Giner Gastaminza of sixth battalion Lower Penin-sular, one second lieutenant name unknown,one sergeant,five privates. The Spanish Admiral informed me Hobson and his men have been deliver-ed to General Commanding the Territorial Division of Cuba at Santiago and that the latter had reported the case to General in chief resident at Havana and therefore all arrangements in case must be dealt with through latter,therefore request that Department take the necessary steps to affect this directly through authorities at Havana as desired results can probably be effect-ed more quickly than to have negotiations carried on from Santiago. My letter to the Spanish Admiral proposed exchange should be accomplished after an agreement by delivering prisoners confined Atlanta, Ga.,to the Spanish authorities at Havana and that we would receive Hobson and his associates from them at Santiago. Department would perhaps do well to follow same plan of exchange in these negotiations. Seven men referred to are D. Montague,Chief Master Arms, George Charette, Gunners Mate third class,R. Clausen, Coxswain,from the New York; G.F.Phillips,Machinist first class, F. Kelly,Water Tender, C.Deignan,Cosxwain,from the Merrimac; J. E. Murphy,Cosxwain,from the Iowa.
To Secretary of the Navy: The following is a resume of a letter from General Garcia to Miles,
June 11th. which I send thus as the only means of its reaching him. Miles’ letter received through Colonel Hernandez on June 5th. Garcia regards his wishes and suggestions as orders and will immediately take measures to concentrate forces at the point indicated but cannot do so as early as desired on account of his expedition to Port Banes,Cuba, but he will march without delay. All his subordinates are ordered to assist to disem-bark the U.S.troops and to place themselves under orders. Santiago well fortified with advanced intrenchments but he believes positions for artillery can be taken as Miles desires,approx.-imately 12000 regulars and 3000 militia between Santiago and Guantanamo; he has sent forces in order to prevent aid getting to Santiago from Holguin. Repeats every assurance of good will and desire to second plans.
To Secretary of the Navy: The vessels seen by the Aux. No.440 were Aux. Nos. 409,546and Supply. They were in just that position at time named. The number is unimportant, as the Aux. No.592 coming from Mole,Haiti,Thursday at 11 P.M. mistook the five vessels arriving yesterday for eight or nine vessels under convoy battleship,in the morning the battle ship resolved itself into the Aux. No.546[.] General Rabi at Acerraderos with 500 men,Garcia expected there today.
To Commodore Remey: The presence of Vesuvius at Santiago is of paramount importance.
June 11th. The following memorandum was issued:
U.S.F.S.New York,1st Rate,
Santiago de Cuba,June11,1898
Until further orders the battleships Iowa, Oregon and the Massachusetts will employ their search lights in the manner so successfully employed during the last two nights. Care will be taken,however,to go in close enough to make the light wholly effective for the purpose desired. The picket boats report that the lights at times are too weak because the distance of the ships. The lights will be employed from 7:30 till daylight as follows:--
The sequence of ships will be Iowa, Oregon, Massachusetts. Tonight, June 11th, the Massachusetts will begin at 7:30 and continue until 9:30, the Iowa from 9:30 to 11:30, the Oregon from 11:30 to 1:30, the Massachusetts from 1:30 to 3:30,and the Iowa from 3:30 to daylight.
On June 12th the Iowa will begin at 7:30; on June 13th the Oregon, and on June 14th the Massachusetts again, and so on.
The vessel using the light shall keep the entrance of the harbor bearing N. by E. The instructions of my memorandum No. 15 of June 10th,1898 will be followed.
Regard must be had for the state of the atmosphere. If it is hazy an effective illumination of the harbor entrance will require a closer approach.
W. T. S A M P S O N,
Rear-Admiral,U. S. Navy,
North Atlantic Station.
June 12th_ The Torpedo boat Porter arrived from Guantanamo and brought the following report from Commander McCalla
No. 86 U. S. S. Marblehead,3rd Rate
Guantanamo Cuba,June 12th,1898
1. I have the honor to report that yester-day a scouting party of one Sergeant and two privates from the Marine Camp were killed and their remains mutilated by a party of regular Spanish soldiery or guerillas in their employ.
The names of those killed are
Sergeant Smith,Privates Dunphy and McColgan. Doctor Gibbs was killed about 1 A. M. this morn-ing in the camp; and Corporal Glass accidentally shot himself through the hand.
2 It is possible that Doctor Gibbs may have been killed accidentally by one of our own men during the fire which took place about that time.
3. I would respectfully suggest that Passed Assistant Surgeon Arnold,now at Key West, be ordered here for duty with the Marine Command.
4. I venture to suggest for your considera-tion the practicability of reinforcing Colonel Huntington with 100 Marines from the fleet with such tents and camp gear as may be on the ships.
June 12th. 5. I transmit herewith a copy of the order which I found necessary to give the Commanding Officer of the U.S.S.Panther in order to relieve the fighting force.
Break out immediately and land
with the crew of the Panther,50000 rounds of 6-m/m ammunition.
In future do not require Colonel Huntington to break out or land his stores or ammunition with members of his command.
Use your own Officers and crew for this purpose and Supply the Commanding Officer of Marines promptly with anything he may require.
I have the honor to transmit herewith two communications which I received today.
North Atlantic Station.
The Yankee was sent to Cienfuegos, and the Yosemite to the west end of Jamaica to look for the Spanish steamer Purissima Conception.
June 13th. The Vesuvius arrived on this date from scouting in the Old Bahama Channel, the St. Paul from New York and the St. Louis from Mole St. Nicholas with de-spatches,whither she at once returned. The Collier Scindia arrived at Guantanamo Bay.
Received the following despatches:--
June 13th. Dated Washington June 10th. On account of the army expedition it is most essential to know positively if all of Cervera’s armored vessels are actually at Santiago de Cuba. Inform the Department as soon as possible. Allen,Acting Secty.
Dated Washington June 10th. After you have a suitable base on shore could we authorize to allow the repair and operation of the French cable between your base and Mole,Haiti? Inform Colonel Allen,U. S. A., if this is done. Allen, Acting.
Dated Washington June 10th. The Department considers you should have a cruiser off San Juan,Puerto Rico,to observe the port. Allen, Acting.
Dated Key West June 10th. Unable to comply with your cipher despatches (send immediately) and (you see-seize-send) vessels are not here or else held back for the expedition of the army, then I can send two first class torpedo boats towed. Remey.
Dated Washington June 11th.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Conversation overheard at Philadelphia states Morro cliffs Santiago were so mined as to be blown up at will toward our vessels that may be passing in the channel. This seems improbable and probably impracticable.
The following dispatch was sent by the St. Louis:--
To Secretary of the Navy: Lieutenant Blue has just returned after a detour of seventy miles to observe inside Santiago Harbor, reports Spanish squadron all there. Spanish made vigorous attack on Guantanamo Camp. An outpost of our marines killed and their bodies were most barbarously mutiliated. Surgeon Gibbs killed,apparently accidentally by our own men.
(The report of mutiliation arose from the effect of the Mauser bullets and was later corrected.”
June 14th. During the night the Vesuvius went in close to shore and fired three shots – two at the Western battery and one into the channel between Cay Smith and the mainland.
During the morning watch,just after daylight,the New Orleans was ordered in and engaged the battery to the East of the Morro, with the idea of preventing a continuation of work, and the replacing of guns which might have been dismounted. She soon became actively engaged with both batteries, and fired with accuracy and effectiveness for about twenty minutes. Though a number of shell fell near the New Orleans and flaghip neither was struck.
Preparations have been made to open a tele-graph office at Guantanamo; it is hoped it will be in operation on the fourteenth,so that de-spatches may go via. Mole St. Nicholas.
The firing at Guantanamo has been much less today. The total losses have been:--Surgeon Gibbs and four marines killed on the 11th,and two yesterday—Sergeant Major Good and private Taurman, the latter by falling over a cliff. Six marines have been wounded.
Sixty officers and men of the Cuban forces at Guantanamo have received arms,clothing,and food,and have been of great service. Five hundred more are expected.
June 14th. About noon the St. Louis arrived with the follow-ing despatches:--
Dated Washington June 13th. Austrian gun-boat Maria Teresa in the West Indies is thought to regulate to visit various blockade to see if effective. Upon the arrival of our troops send without delay as many as consider necessary of the convoy to Commodore No. 10 off Cienfuegos, Cuba,and as there is some similarity between Austrian and Spanish flags caution your ships against possible mistakes. Allen, Acting.
Dated Washington June 13th. Convoy French cable ship ready Wednesday from Mole to Saimanera also aid establishment,French staff will operate under Colonel Allen’s censorship.
Dated Washington June 13th. Referring to cipher telegram beginning Appret Marsdensa Austrian Minister advises Maria Teresa at Martinica desire to enter blockaded ports permission granted same as to other powers.
Sent the following despatch by the Gloucester with orders to send it from Guantanamo if possible,if not from Mole St. Nicholas:
The Secretary of the Navy:-- Affairs at Guantanamo much more satisfactory,our forces have been re-inforced by fifty Cubans who are reported by Commander McCalla as of greatest assistance, five hundred more are expected who need Springfield rifles. Fleet will Supply clothing and food as far as possible. Fleet needs Supply of both.
June 15th. On the 14th a force of Marines and Cubans attack-ed the enemy, who was routed. Forty bodies were found. One Lieutenant, one Corporal, and fifteen
June 15th. privates captured. The blockhouse was partially destroyed, the well from which they got their Supply of water destroyed, and the heliograph apparatus captured. Our loss was two Cubans killed, and four wounded, two marines wounded. Twenty-three marines were overcome bu [i.e., by] heat; but all recovered. The Dolphin accompanied the force on the sea front,and shelled the enemy. The force of the enemy was stated by the Lieutenant captured,at 200; by the privates at about 450[.] The enemy was reinforced by troops from Caimanera and the Texas and Suwanee were consequently sent to destroy the fort and capture the gun-boat used in transporting men.
June 15th. The following order of battle was issued; also Memorandum No. 20 and Addendum to Order of Battle of June 15th.
O R D E [R] O F B A T T L E
U. S. Flagship New York,1st Rate,
Santiago de Cuba, June 15th1898
An examination indicates that the Spaniards have been add-ing to the defenses to the East and West of the entrance. Apparently there are mounted on the left of the Western Battery two ship’s guns,and on the right hand of the same Battery two or three old guns. On the Eastern Battery,to the right of the Light-House, are mounted three old guns, and possibly several smaller rapid-fire guns.
2. The Squadron will be prepared tomorrow morning,at early daylight, to shell both of these batteries.
3. There will be no special formation for this purpose;but vessels will, at early dawn, carefully adjust their positions and blockading distances of three miles,and go quietly to general quarters—the men having been called early enough tohave had their early coffee. The New York and the New Orleanswill exchange blockading positions.
4. When signal 18 is made, vessels will move towards the harbor entrance at a speed of five knots. Arrived at a distance of 3000 yards, each ship will stop and turn to present her broadside, the New York, New Orleans, Oregon and Iowa turning with port helm, and the Brooklyn, Texas and the Massachusetts with starboard helm. This stopping and turning will be done without signal; but all vessels should endeavor to arrive on the firing line at the same moment. After turning,distance should be closed to 400 yards, using the engines again if needed. The vessels will retain the positions thus taken as nearly as possi-ble, moving in closer, if necessary, in order to see their targets and render their fire effective.
5. On signal from the Commander-in-Chief,all vessels will open fire, or fire will be opened in case the enemy begins.
6. Bearings will be taken carefully, and distances obtain-ed with all practicable accuracy.
7. The Vixen will take position inshore on the western side, and the Scorpion on the eastern side, and look out for the musketry fire upon shore. They will be slightly outside the flank ship, and where they can, enfilade any infantry fire directed upon the ships.
8. The fire will be deliberate,and, after the batteries are silenced, will be carefully directed to their destruction. Ammunition will not be thrown away. Careful instructions will be given to gun-captains not to fire unless they can see their mark, which, in this case, will be the enemy’s guns.
9. The Vesuvius and the Porter will remain on the East side, out of range of the batteries.
10. At signal 19 the vessels will resume their day block-ading stations.
W. T. S A M P S O N,
Rear Admiral, U. S. N.,
North Atlantic Station.
MEMORANDUM No. 20
U. S. Flagship New York,
Off Santiago de Cuba,
The Commander-in-Chief desires again to call the attention of Commanding Officers to the positions occupied by the blockad-ing fleet, especially during the daytime,and it is now directed that all ships keep within a distance of the entrance to Santiago of four miles, and this distance must not be exceeded.
2. If the vessel is coaling, or is otherwise restricted in her movements, she must nevertheless keep within this distance.
3. If, at any time, the flagship makes signal which is not visible to any vessel,such vessel must at once approach the flagship or repeating vessel, to a point where she can read the signal.
4. Disregard of the directions which have already been given on this head has led to endless confusion. Many times during the day,the fleet is so scattered that it would be perfectly possible for the enemy to come out of the harbor and meet with very little opposition.
5. The Commander-in-Chief hopes that strict attention will be given this order.
ADDENDUM TO ORDER OF BATTLE OF JUNE 15th, 1898.
U. S. Flagship New York, 1st Rate,
Off Santiago,June 15[,] 1898
Reduced charges will be used in all guns of 8 inch calibre and above, with the corresponding sight marks to increase the angle of fall of the projectiles and the probability of destroy-ing the batteries.
June 15th. The fort in Guantanamo Bay was destroyed today by the Texas and Marblehead and Suwanee. The Channel to Caimanera is to be dragged for torpedoes. One torpedo was picked up by the Marblehead’s screw. There was no serious fighting reported ashore during the 14th.
June 16th. Following the Order of Battle of the 15th,the batteries were bombarded at early dawn, They were quickly silenced and the fire was continued half an hour and probably did much damage as no shots were fired at the ships as the withdrew.
June 17th. The following telegrams were received via Mole St. Nicholas:--
Dated Key West June 14th. The Vesuvius left Caysal,Cuba,for Santiago de Cuba on June 11th. Army to leave Dry Tortugas,Fla. On June 15th,morning. Two or more 1st class torpedo boats and Resolute with ammunition accompanying expedition. Vessels have provisions for three months sent from New York. Remey
Dated Washington June 14th. Celtic left Hampton Roads to join you Sunday convoyed by Dixie. Send Supply to New York. Long.
June 17th. Dated Washington June 14th. Department attaches utmost importance to maintain full strength of the blockade of Cuba and desires you send there at once some auxiliaries and other cruisers,unless you cant possibly spare them. This matter very important in view of probably hostile report Austrian gun vessel. Long
Dated Washington June 14th. From very reliable source is learned that five small Spanish unprotected vessesl and one armed transport at San Juan,Puerto Rico, no more (?) Army Supply is nearly out of provisions. Twenty-two thousand tons of coal there and only three hours Supply of shell at their fort, but would be well not to trust too much statement about shell. Department advises you blockade at once cruiser and transport at San Juan,Puerto Rico,and prevent escape. Is Terror one of them? Our army and convoy are leaving Tampa,FLORIDA. Long.
Dated Washington June 15th. The American Consul,Kingston,Jamaica,telegraphs “Spanish troops and battery removing from Manzanillo to Cienfuegos,coasting vessel carrying on Saturday weekly”. If the Spanish foresee defeat at Santiago (he) (they) may attempt to withdraw part of the garrison and field artillery by above route. Long.
Dated Washington June 15th. Forward per Gloucester[.] Universal horror barbarous mutiliation American dead. American people watching your operations anxiously but the greatest confidence. Having troops soon relieve. Kindly acknowledge. Long.
Dated Washington June 15th. The American Consul at Kingston,Jamaica,sends the following: Will you permit me to urge unobserved blockade well armed auxiliary to cover channel Key leading to Manzanillo,Cuba,and channel westward of Isle of Isle of Pines, West Indies. At least eight vessels preparing to take cargo of provisions for Cuba. Purissima Conception gets the British flag but questions granting clearance referred to
June 17th. London[,] England. Strenuously working for the principle involved. The vessel comparatively unimportant consideration. Long.
The following telegram was sent via Mole St. Nicholas by the Scorpion:--
To the Secretary of the Navy: Bombarded the batteries on June 16th for 42 minutes,firing very accurate. The batteries were silenced completely. Fleet not injured. We are providing Cubans as far as possible with clothing,food,arms[.] These and supplies of all kinds much needed by fleet. Cubans much assistance at Guantanamo where everything is now reported quiet. Intercepted letter from Guantanamo to Spanish commanding army officer at Santiago, reports there is only a small quantity of food,not more than sufficient for this month,half rations. Deserter foreign vessel No. 26 states Aux. No.494 does not block up channel, she is too far in the harbor. There is no possibility,however, of anything coming out without our knowledge,a battle ship is every night at a distance of one mile from entrance illuminating the channel most clearly. I again urge earnestly army move with all possible celerity. Fine weather may end any day.
The following is the copy of a translation of General Pareja’s letter referred to:
The seventh day,at dawn,brought seven ships before the port of Caimanera. They fired grape shot and all kinds of projectiles on the Playa del Este and Cayo Toro until they set fire to the fort on the Playa Este and burning the houses of the pilots which the detachment occupied. This lasted,cannonading with more or less intensity,until five o’clock in the afternoon.
As the Playa del Este had only two muzzle-loading guns and sand intrenchments,the detachment could do nothing before six ships,firing on them from all sides. They retired into Manigua and to the Cuzco Hill,where they remain today making sallies on the beach.
From that day 150 men occupy Punta Caracolas observed the movements of ships which occupy all the outer port,with a transport of war and a variable number of armed ships and other vessels of war and armed merchant ships; total never less than four.
I have also taken Enanto Passes and the vigilant Magne which is disposed to fall on them where damage can be done.
I remain in Caimanera and will only come to the Enanto when I think it necessary,as today. I have not been able to antagonize the American ships with rifle fire, no known ground being at hand. Yesterday the Captain of Engineers ordered to make safe protections that would impeded and to make them low, the ground of Playa Este is better for this purpose. I refer solely to disembarkation. DIA F. SANDOVAL and CAYO TORO fired with their artillery,being impeded with their short range,when the ships retired to the centre of the Channel and took positions in the middle of the Bay, or they would not have stopped answering the fire which the enemy’s ships were keeping up with impunity. SANDOVAL has not over seven discharges of piercing projectiles,and Caimanera battery did not fire,reserving fire until the ships entered the Channel,which is where their guns reached. I am told that the insurgent forces at Baracao have come down to Siguabos,their increased happiness being noticed, and Palamar,and I do not know more.
The American Squadron in possession of the outer bay has taken it as if for a harbor of rest they have anchored as if one of their own ports, since the seventh, the day they cut the cables. In the entrance and centre of the harbor,I not being able to reach them,they have not again molested me except with two cannon shots on the eighth. It appears from the work that is being done that they are preparing to plant the harbor with mines,or place their ships for disembarkation,at Playa del Este,their favorite place. If it is the first,I call your attention to it,in case that some time our squadron should come here[.] The forces of the brigade are in good spirits. I continue serving out half rations of everything, and in that way I expect to reach only the end of the month,above all in bread,as I have no flour of any kind,as I said and no way of getting any on account of there having been no corn for some time. Quinine for the hospitals the same. In hard straits I have taken private drug stores, and will have enough until the end of the month. Town in needful circumstances, first need since the second ultimo. On the seventh we had only two wounded at Cayo Toro. The cable house,riddles with shell,still stands,and if Americans abandon port,which I doubt,everything possible will be done to re-establish communication,to which end I have everything ready.
Today there is in the harbor a large armored vessel and seven more vessels with a large transport that appears to be a store ship. They patrol Playa del Este with armed launches,I have just been informed.
I return to Caimanera on seeing the carrier of this start out,he meriting my confidence as a trusty of the Brigade,having rendered me good services up to date. By sea I have ready a youth that served in the Navy and who offered himself spontaneously. I actively recommend him to your Excellency,should he arrive.
Enanto,10th June 1898.
(signed) Felix Pareja
To His Excellency,
General Commanding Division of Cuba.
(There is a seal that says Ejercito de
Operaciones en Cuba,E.M.Division de Cuba,2a
June 19th. Received the following despatch via Mole St. Nicholas:
Convoying consists of the Indiana,the Detroit, the Bancroft,the Helena,the Annapolis, the WASP, the Eagle, the Hornet, Osceola, Manning, and the Ericsson. As soon as possible after arrival you will send every vessel that can be spared from the operations at Santiago to reinforce the blockade which is suffering for want of vessels. It is the intention of the President to establish blockade to cover the Port of (?) Cuba, Batabano to Cape Cruz,as soon as can be maintained effectively. Notify the Department what date will be ready with your force to enforce it in order the proclamation may be issued. Department depends upon you solely from that time x x x the blockade,but you may intrust to Commodore No. 10 particular disposition of the vessels on any part of the blockade that you x x x Long
Dated Washington June 16th. Spanish steamer Purissima Conception recently ostensibly transferred to the British flag will leave about June 16th from Kingston,Jamaica,for Manzanillo,Cuba,or Batabano,Cuba,with supplies. Capture vessel if possible if you have code.
Dated Washington June 16th. The American Consul at Vera Cruz,Mexico,telegraphs the Spanish steamer Villaverde sailed June 17th from Vera Cruz,Mexico,cleared for San Doming City, San Domingo,took two boxes of rifles,30 men and 2 gun[.] Long.
June 19th. Sent the following telegram to the Secretary of the Navy:--
Cienfuegos blockaded already by Yankee,Cape Cruz and vicinity by Dixie; when some of the light draft vessels promised according to your letter of June 6th arrive,they will be sent to cruise in the vicinity of Manzanillo,Cuba,and the Isle of Pines. The Presidents may declare immediately the blockade of whole southern coast. Aux. Nos.557, 596 are on the way to blockade San Juan,P.R. Will send back to north coast of Cuba all vessels constituting convoy as soon as they arrive, a part will go to Cape Maysi and part Cape San Antonio so as to temporarily blockade the whole coast of Cuba. Rifles enough. Request 500.000 rounds of Springfield rifle ammunition,45 calibre. All foreign cables have been cut by Goodrich,last one of eighteenth. Recommend that isolation be made complete between Key West and Havana. Any communication sure to furnish Blanco information.
My Chief of Staff went down to Aserraderos inthe Vixen to examine the facilities for landing at that point and the points between there and Santiago de Cuba. He returned bringing with him General Calixto Garcia,General of Division Lora,and several officers of their staffs. General Garcia has about 4000 men back in the country,probably forty-five miles by road from Santiago de Cuba,two day’s march. He left behind him three thousand men who are engaged in obser- [vation of] the Spanish forces,numbering about 8000 or 10000 at Holguin,in order to prevent their moving South to the relief of Santiago. All of these seven thousand men are well armed and supplied with ammunition,the FLORIDA expedition which landed at Banes having supplied all deficiencies.
June 20th. The fleet of transports of the 5th Army Corps and its convoys arrived at a point 15 miles to the Southward at noon of June 20th. I at once sent my Chief of Staff in the Gloucester to Communicate with General Shafter. The General came up to the blockading lines in the Seguranca,and I proceeded with him to Acerraderos,where we had an interview with General Garcia,and a landing was arranged for at Daiquiri,3000 of Garcia’s troops to be brought up from Acerraderos,(which is 15 miles to the westward of Santiago) and landed as soon as possible.
June 21st. The cable at Guantanamo was connected with that at Mole St. Nicholas,and an office opened there for general telegraphic use.
Issued the following ORDER of BATTLE.
U. S. Flagship New York,1st Rate,
Off Santiago de Cuba, June 21, 1898
1. The Army Corps will land tomorrow morning,the entire force landing at Daiquiri. The landing will begin at day light, or as soon thereafter as practicable. General Castillo with a thousand men coming from the eastward of Daiquiri will assist in clearing the way for an unopposed landing,by flanking out the Spanish forces at that point.
2. Simultaneously with the shelling of the beach and blockhouse at Daiquiri,the Ensenada de los Altares,and Augguadores,both to the eastward of Santiago,and the small Bay of Cabana about two and one half miles to the westward of Santiago will be shelled by the ships stationed there for the purpose.
3. A feint in force of landing at Cabanas will be made, about ten of the transports,the last to disembark their forces at Daiquiri remaining during the day or greater art of the day about two miles to the southward of Cabanas,lowering boats and making apparent preparations for disembarking a large body of troops; at the same time General Rabi with 500 Cuban troops will make a demonstration on the west side of Cabanas.
4. The following vessels are assigned to bombard the four points mentioned above:--
At Cabanas, the Scorpion, Vixen and Texas.
At Aguadores, the Eagle and Gloucester,
At [Ensenada] de los Altares, the Hornet, Helena and Bancroft.
At Daiquiri,the Detroit,Castine,WASP and New Orleans, the Detroit and Castine on the western flank,the WASP and New Orleans on the eastern flank. All the vessels named will be in their position at daylight.
5. Great care will be taken to avoid the wasteful expenditure of ammunition. The firing at Daiquiri will begin on signal from the New Orleans.
At Cabanas it is probable that,after a few minutes,unless the firing is returned, occasional dropping of shots from the smaller vessels will be sufficient, but the semblance of covering a landing should be maintained, the ships keeping close in.
At Aguadores and Ensenada de los Altares the same rule should prevail. At Daiquiri,the point of actual landing,vessels will of course use their artillery until they have reason to believe that the landing is clear. They will take care to make the firing deliberate and effective. As General Castillo’s column,approaching from the eastward,is likely to come within range of the guns,sharp-eyed quartermasters with good glasses will be stationed to lookout for the Cuban flag,and care will be taken not to direct the fire towards any point where that flag is shown.
6. The Texas and Brooklyn will exchange blockading stations,the Texas going inside to be nearer Cabanas. The Brooklyn, Massachusetts, Iowa, and Oregon will retain their blockading positions,and will keep a vigilant watch on the harbor mouth. The Indiana will take the New Orleans’ position in the blockading line east of Santiago, and between the Flagship New York and the shore. This is only temporary assignment for the Indiana, to strengthen the blockading line during the landing, and avoid any possibility of the enemy breaking through should he attempt to get out of the port.
7. The Suwanee,Osceola and Wompatuck will be prepared to tow boats. Each will be provided with two five or six inch lines,one on each quarter; each long enough to take in tow a dozen or more boats.
8. These vessels will report at the New York at 3:00 a.m. on June 22nd prepared to take in tow the ship’s boats which are to assist in the landing of troops and convey them to Daiquiri.
9. The Texas, Brooklyn, Massachusetts,Iowa,Oregon,New York and Indiana will send all their steam cutters and all their pulling boats with the exception of one retained on board each ship,to assist in the landing. These boats will report at the New York at 3:00 a.m.
10 Each boat,whaleboat and cutter will have three men; each launch five men,and each steam cutter its full crew and an officer for their own management. In addition to these men, each boat will carry five men, including one capable of acting as coxswain to manage and direct the transports’ boats. Each steam launch will be in charge of an officer,who will report to Captain Goodrich. Care will be taken in the selection of boatkeepers and coxswains, to take no men who are gun-pointers , or who occupy positions of special importance at the battery.
11. Unnecessary oars and impedimenta should be removed from the pulling boats, for the greater convenience of the transportation of troops; but each boat should retain its anchor and chain.
12. Captain C. F. Goodrich, commanding the St. Louis,will have,on the part of the Navy, general charge of the landing.
13. The New Orleans will send her boats to report to Captain Goodrich upon her arrival at Daiquiri.
14. The attention of Commanding Officers of all vessels engaged in blockading Santiago de Cuba is earnestly called to the necessity of the utmost vigilance from this time forward – both as to maintaining stations and readiness for action,and as to keeping a close watch upon the harbor mouth. If the Spanish Admiral ever intends to attempt to escape that attempt will be made soon.
W. T. Sampson,
North Atlantic Station.
June 22nd. I received the following letter from General Shafter:
Headquarters 5th Army Corps,
On Board S. S. Seguranca,
At Sea, June 22nd, 1898.
Commanding U.S.Fleet off
Santiago de Cuba.
I shall commence landing this morning. It is my intention to proceed from Daiquiri to Santiago as rapidly as I can and take some of my land transportation. The animals are in absolute need of some rest, and for that reason I may not get very far today.
I request you to keep in touch during the advance, and be prepared to receive any message I may wish to transmit from along the bluffs, or any of the small towns, and to render any assistance necessary.
W.R. Shafter, Major General
Captain Goodrich,commanding the auxiliary cruiser St. Louis was put in charge of the landing, and some fifty steam launches and cutters were furnished from the ships of the squadron,and the landing began during the forenoon.
I had sent the New Orleans,Castine,Detroit,and WASP to cover the landing,as it was thought that the Spaniards would make some resistance. When the first detachment of boats was ready to go ashore a brisk fire was opened against Daiquiri,but there was no return; the Spanish troops evacuated the place and fell back without,so far as known,firing a shot.
During the landing at Daiquiri there was a feint made at Cabanas,and at points West. The Texas,lying off Cabanas engaged the Socapa battery during a period of about two hours; she was struck by one shell,one man being killed and eight wounded.
About 7000 men were landed during the day. Sibouney was also occupied by our forces. We began disembarking troops there also.
Much difficulty was experience on account of the wandering proclivities of some of the transports,which had to be looked up.
June 22nd. Sent the following telegram to the Secretary of the Navy:
Landing the Army progressing favorably Daiquiri. There was little if any resistance. The New Orleans, Detroit, and the Castine,Aux. Nos. 580 (WASP), 560 (Suwanee) shelled vicinity before landing. Made a demonstration at Cabanas to engage attention of the enemy. Texas engaged west battery for some hours, she had one man killed. Ten sub-marine mines have been recovered from the channel of Guantanamo. Connection by telegraph has been established at Guantanamo.
The following despatches were received via Guantnamo:
Dated Washington. You are authorized to ascertain from the Spanish authorities at Santiago whether Hobson with his men are imprisoned in the Morro or other fort exposed to your fire,and if so to inform Cervera and Commanding Army Officer he shall be held responsible by the U.S. Government for the personal safety of our officer and men above mentioned,and that you hold equal number Spanish prisoners subject to same treatment.
Dated Washington: When the Spanish give up hope at Santiago they may attempt to escape via Manzanillo,Cuba,as understood here they receive supplies now via Manzanillo,Cuba. Long.
Date Washington: It is proposed to proclaim the blockade on the east side of from Cape Cruz,Cuba,to Cape Frances,Cuba. When will you be ready ?
The following letter was written to the Secretary of the Navy:
June 22nd. No. 131 U. S. Flagship New York,1st Rate,
Off Santiago de Cuba,
June 22nd, 1898.
1. On the morning of June 16th, the batteries at the entrance of Santiago de Cuba were subjected to a severe bombardment by the fleet, the ships occupying approximately the same positions as during the bombardment of June 7th. A nearer range than that used cannot be used to advantage, on account of the height of the cliffs. The firing was deliberate, and in general,most excellent. The batteries were quickly silenced, and after firing with deliberation for some forty minute the fleet returned to its blockading positions without any shot whatever from the batteries following this movement. This fact undoubtedly shows the efficiency of our fire. I enclose a copy of the order of battle.
2. On the day previous to this; namely June 15th,the Texas has been sent to Guantanamo for the purpose of assisting the Marblehead in the destruction of a fort at Guantanamo. The fort was severely bombarded by these ships and the Suwanee. Both the Texas and Marblehead had a narrow escape from torpedoes, one being picked up by the Marblehead’s screw, and the other being dislodged by the Texas. Since then there have been eight others recovered, seven on the 21st instant, making ten out of a total of eleven reported. The complete accounts of the engagement at this point will be forwarded in the reports of the several vessels engaged.
3. The Yankee had been sent to Cienfuegos to intercept the Purissima Conception from Kingston,Jamaica,returning on the 16th instant. She had while off Cienfuegos an engagement with a Spanish gunboat, and the batteries ashore, under whose protection the gunboat ran. One man was wounded. The gunboat unfortunately escaped, chiefly on account of the fire being interrupted by the smoke. The Yosemite had been sent also with reference to the possibility of intercepting the Purissima Conception near the Western End of Jamaica. She returned on the 19th,instant having called in the mean time at Kingston.
4. The necessity of an active blockade at Cienfuegos is so great, that I at once had the Yosemite coaled at Guantanamo and ordered her again off that port; and, on the arrival of the Dixie the 19th, of June, sent her to cruise off Cape Cruz. The force at both these points will be at once strengthened by the Helena and Osceola as soon coaled, and by others as soon as possible.I despatched the St. Paul and Yosemite off San Juan,Puerto Rico; the St. Paul by the South coast of XXXX [San Domingo] and the Yosemite by the North coast.
5. I enlose a copy of a translation of a letter captured by the Cubans,addressed to the General Commanding the Division of Cuba, (Santiago de). It will be seen by this letter that the Spanish forces in the vicinity of Guantanamo are in great straights for food,and I have every reason to believe that this is also true of those in Santiago.
6. During the past week we were actively engaged in examining the various points of landing possible; and, on the 17th an attempt was made at early daylight to examine Cabanas Bay. The forces being under the charge of Lieut. Harlow, and consisting of two steam cutters,one from the New York in charges of Naval Cadet Powell, and one from the Massachusetts in charge of Naval Cadet Hart. The entrance is extremely narrow,leading into a small bay. The launches were,however, subjected to so heavy and continued a fire at short range that they were obliged to retreat. Much of the fire was from within fifty yards,and thought the two boats were struck seventeen times, no one,fortunately was injured. Lieut. Harlow in his report particularly praises the conduct of Cadets Hart and Powell,and Coxswains O’Donnell and Blom.
7. On the 19th,General Garcia and his staff paid a visit to the ship, having arrived that morning at General Rabi’s camp at Aserraderos. He had left four thousand of his men whom he had advanced to within two days march of Santiago, and had come to the coast for the purpose of consultation. Three thousand troops were left behind near Holguin to observe some ten thousand Spanish troops which are now concentrated there, and to prevent their passage in the direction of Santiago.
8. My impressions of General Garcia are of the most pleasant character. He is a large handsome man,of most frank and engaging manners,and of most soldierly appearance. He remained some time on board, though unfortunately so seasick that he was obliged to lie down during the whole of his visit.
9. The fleet has, by my direction, furnished arms,clothing and food to the extent of its ability, to the Cuban forces both East and West of Santiago. Much has been done in this direction by our ships at Guantanamo,and Commander McCalla there has been most energetic in rdering them all assistance possible. I believe that the returns for the aid rendered will be good. We have the best evidence of this in the activity and courage shown by the Cubans at Guantanamo,and Commander McCalla is most eulogistic in reference to their conduct.
9. The forces available may be placed as 600 under General Perez near Guantanamo Bay; 600 under General Castillo near Point Sigua some few miles East of Daiquiri; 1100 under General Rabi at Aserraderos, and 7000 under General Garcia, distributed as I have mentioned above.
10. On the morning of the 20th I had the pleasure of receiving by the Wompatuck a letter from Captain Taylor of the Indiana, stating that the transports convoying the army would arrive during the day. I sent Captain Chadwick, my Chief of Staff on board the Gloucester to meet the fleet, and convey my compliments to General Shafter, with the request that he would come in the Seguranca to the blockade line.
11. On arrival of General Shafter about noon I went on board, and shortly after we steamed to Aserraderos, 18 miles to the West, and we together paid a visit to General Garcia and Rabi. General Castillo had previously been sent for from Point Sigua. Arrangements were then made with reference to our future operations. It was regarded that the army should be debarked at Daiquiri on the morning of the 22nd.,that 500 of General Rabi’s men should be transported from Aserraderos to a point, Cajobabo, five miles west of La Sigua, to join there the forces under Gen. Castillo, this whole force then to assist in the landing of the army by assaulting on the flank the Spanish force at Daiquiri, and that during the landing at Daiquiri a feint should be made to the westward of the entrance to the harbor to Santiago by men–of-war and transports,assisted by 500 men under General Rabi. This was all carried out. It was further arranged that General Garcia’s forces now two days from Santiago, should be diverted to Aserraderos,a nd should be there embarked on the 24th to join our troops landed at Daiquiri. I enclose a copy of the battle order for the day, which explains in detail these arrangements.
12. The Texas engaged, or fired upon the vicinity to the entrance of Cabanas Bay,and during the forenoon was more or less engaged with the western battery. She did excellent firing at some 4000 yards range. She was struck by one shell, and one man was killed and eight wounded. At the time of writing I have not received a detailed report of the character of the injuries of the wounded.
13. At 10:30 I left the blockade and went to the eastward to observe the progress of our attempt at disembarkation. Our vessels stationed as per order of battle, were actively firing at Aguadores and Ensenada de los Altares, known locally as Siboney, and at Daiquiri. Our fire, however, at Daiquiri I found was simply preparatory to the actual landing of our troops, as practically no resistance was made, the Spaniards apparently at once retreated from this point, as also from Sibouney.
14. The progress of disembarkation was rendered somewhat difficult by a heavy sea, the heaviest which we have had during the three weeks the fleet has been stationed here,owing to a stiff blow off the coast of Jamaica. When I left, however,at three in the afternoon some four thousand men were already ashore, one of the steamers had gone alongside the pier, and there was every prospect of the work proceeding with much greater rapidity.
15. The pier itself was not injured, nor was the piping conveying the water Supply, this last being a most fortunate thing for us in every respect.
16. I shall the order the convoying vessels to the blockade on the north side as soon as possible, reserving the Helena and Osceola for strengthening that of the south coast, but shall keep the Indiana for a few days in order to send each of our heavy ships successively, to Guantanamo to complete their coaling; heretofore they have been sent only in the morning to return to the blockade at night. As soon as this shall have been I expect to return her to the north side.
17. The Vesuvius has done almost nightly firing since she has been here. There is no doubt that the explosion of shells of this character has a very important effect.
18. I enclose copies of the Squadron Bulletin now issued daily,which may be found of some interest.
Secretary of the Navy Rear Admira[l], etc.
June 23rd. Sent the following despatches via Guantanamo:
To the Secretary of the Navy: I have sent to their blockading stations via Cape Antonio,the Castine, Eagle and WASP; via Cape Maysi, the Dolphin, Annapolis, Bancroft, Hornet, Manning, and Wompatuck. I am holding on southern blockade the Helena and Osceola, and retaining temporarily at Santiago the Detroit and Indiana and torpedo bots 1st class.
To the Secretary of the Navy: under flag of truce I learned today Hobson and his men all well and now confined in the city of Santiago at a distance of 4 miles from Morro.
Referring to your cipher telegram received today such convoys will occur frequently and so reduce the available ships for blockade as to make it quite impossible to maintain strict blockade on the whole of Cuba. Vessels running blockade are smaller in size but greatly increased in number. I request most urgently such vessels as the Newark, Prairie, Columbia and Minneapolis be sent here for duty with the blockade.
Received the following telegram.
The following received from correspondent aboard Steamer Montserrat loading at Cadiz for Cuba,considerable coal going from Cadiz presumably to Canary Islands; Spanish fleet at Carthegena Spain,movement probably made to satisfy people. This information probably reliable. The French steamer Versailles at Kingston,Jamaica, receiving pistols and cartridges is bound to St. Thomas to Corunna, Spain,probably expects touch at Porto Rico. It is reported from Cardiff Wales,Spanish steamer, under convoy cruiser is due about June 23rd at Cuba. Commodore No. 8 has been informed.
June 24th. Received the following despatches via Playa:--
From Washington: Have received definite information an expedition about 25.000 men to be directed soon at Porto Rico and as you shall be probably called upon for co-operation and less or more convoy it is desirable that you connive at if you shall need any more coal and supplies accumulated to the east and if so in what place and what quantity. Long.
Dated Washington: The United States Consul at Kingston,Jamaica,says that under secretary of the Captain General of Cuba (the) Spanish naval officer(s) Virgilio Lopes Chaves came aboard ADULA with it is supposed $250.000. to purchase provisions to be taken to Manzanillo for Cervera; Chaves is going to Manzanillo to negotiate with Maceo; extensive preparations being made for shipping provisions to Cuba.
From Washington: Reports constantly received of provisions reaching Spanish forces via southern port of Cuba,and of preparation at Mexico, Jamaica,to forward further supplies,therefore, the Department desires greatly to keep all blockade effective[,] to establish blockade from Cape Cruz,Cuba,to Cape Frances,Cuba. When shall you be ready for the latter to be proclaimed ? Long.
June 25th. Sent the following telegrams:
To Secretary of the Navy: Following is list of casualties on Texas June 22nd: Frank I. Blakely, Apprentice 1st Class,Killed; Raymond Russell Apprentice 2nd Class, George Francis Mullen, Apprentice 2nd Class, seriously wounded; Rudolph Earl Engel,Seaman,Hugh Amos Lee,Apprentice 2nd Class,John Emory Lively,Landsman,John Edward Nelson,Apprentice 2nd Class,John J. Simonson, Seaman,Aroid Sjoquist,slightly wounded.
To the Secretary of the Navy: The Detroit Hornet, and Yankton ordered to proceed for the blockade between Cape Cruz,Cuba,and Cape Frances, Cuba. The Helena and Osceola after coaling will sail immediately.
June 25th. A force was sent by Commander McCalla this morning to determine whether the enemy still occupied the extremities of Punta del Jicacal,Guantanamo Bay.
The force under Colonel Huntington,U.S.M.C.,consisted of two companies of Marines and two thirds of the force of Cubans under Colonel Thomas,in all about 240 men.
The landing flotilla consisted of boats from the various ships towed by the steam launches of the Helena,Annapolis,and Bancroft,which left their ships at 2 a.m. for the Marine Camp, under the command of Commander Eaton. The Eagle took station for the night off Jicacal Point and at 4 a.m. the Marblehead and Helena moved into position close to the beach to South and westward of high lands of Jicacal Point to cover the landing. The boats advanced in three columns and the troops were landed quietly and quickly,and a thorough reconnaissance was made of the point. The enemy was not seen. The men re-embarked about eight.
A picket line of Spaniards was seen from the ships,one or two men at a time across the dry lagoon a couple of miles to North and Westward.
The Marblehead then proceeded to the channel between Jicacal and Cayo del Hospital to drag for mines; four mines were found and successfully raised. This makes thirteen mines in all raise in the channel.
June 26th. Sent the following dispatch:
To the Secretary of the Navy: As the Department may not fully understand the situation here I send the following: Nine vessels of convoying squadron are coaling at Guantanamo,the New York, off Santiago,and the others must be coaled. The Yankee is at Cienfuegos,Aux.No.434 is at Cape Cruz. The Helena and Hornet left yesterday for these stations. The Detroit and Aux. No.440 follow. The St.Paul and Yosemite are at San Juan Puerto Rico. In smooth water ships can coal off Santiago with some difficulty. I regard it essential not to reduce this force too much for some few days in view of the fact that the weather may compel us to coal at Guantanamo. Channel was not obstructed by Aux. No.494 and we must be prepared to meet the Spanish fleet in they attempt to escape. I am preparing torpedo attack in order to hasten their destruction. Regret to resort to this method because of its difficulties and small chance of success,torpedo boats being subject to small arms and rapid fire guns from the shore for a long distance. I should not do this were present force to be kept here as it is now insures a capture which I believe will terminate the war. Shall ships named,the Oregon,the Iowa and Yankee, etc.,be collected here for the proposed move ?
The above telegram was sent with reference to the proposed detachment of some of our heavy ships for service abroad.
June 28th. Received the following despatches:
Dated Washington: You are authorized to detain the Oregon and the Iowa until the other U.S. armored vessels are coaled fully so as to be able to hold our position at Santiago de Cuba,but you will hurry this to the utmost possible,as the Department desires to get this (these) vessel(s) to the east via Spain. Watson with Newark leaves today to join you to command division for Spain; you assemble at same time cruisers,Yosemite ,Dixie and Yankee,and coal them for same service.
Dated Washington June 26th: As soon as Sampson gives the order you shall sail with the Iowa and Oregon,the Newark,Yosemite,Yankee, and Dixie for St.Michael,Azores,for orders,en route to Tangiers,Morocco. Colliers ordered to join you Saint Michael. If they have not arrived when you have reached their,leave a cruiser to convoy them and to follow. Shift your flag to Iowa.
June 28th. Dated Washington June 28th: Commodore No. 4 has been ordered to report to you with his squadron. Distribute the vessels to the blockade and give to Commodore No. 4 the command that Commodore No. 10 held. Long.
June 30th. Received the following communication from the Commanding General of the Army:
Headquarters 5th Army Corps,
Camp near San Juan River,
I expect to attack Santiago tomorrow morning. I wish you would bombard the fort at Aguadores in support of a regiment of Infantry which I shall send there early tomorrow, and also make such demonstration as you think proper at the mouth of the harbor so as to keep as many of the enemy there as possible.
Very truly yours,
July 1st. On July 1st,in accordance with the preceding request made by General Shafter, the New York, Suwanee, and Gloucester took position off Aguadores at 6:00 a.m. and awaited the arrival of the troops,which came by rail to within a mile and a half of this point; which did not arrive,however, until 9:20 On their arrival the vicinity of Aguadores was shelled by the three ships mentioned.
There were two rifle-pits on the hill above the railway bridge,at which a few men had shown themselves, numbering at various time from sixteen to twenty; these disappeared as the firing began. A corner of the fort was knocked off and the flagstaff was knocked down by the Suwanee.
Desultory firing was kept up by the Spanish from the wood adjoining the rifle-pits, and about noon a small field piece was brought down the gorge which fired four or five times. The New York on observing this,enfiladed the gorge,firing several 8” shell and a number of 4”. No firing by the enemy was observed after this. The troops then returned to the railway train in which they had come,and left for Sibouney at about 12:30 The New York and Oregon then took up position and fired a number of 8” shell over the hills in the direction of Santiago and the ships in the Bay, using a range of from 3 1/2 to 4 miles.
July 2nd. I received on the 2nd the following communication from General Shafter:
Kajo July 1st,1898.
To Admiral Sampson,
General Shafter’s compliments to Admiral Sampson. Wishes him to keep up his fire on Santiago on the water front. Enemy has six inch guns there annoying us very much our move Our troops watching within an hundred yards of city on the East side,will assault at daylight tomorrow morning.
Dated July 1st.
A few shells of large size fell some distance behind our lines today,it is hardly possible that they come from your ships,but I cannot account for them unless they come from the enemy’s Navy. W.R.Shafter,Major General.
In accordance with the request of General Shafter the batteries at the entrance of the harbor,and that of Punta Gorda were heavily bombarded from 5:49 to 7:45 this A. M.
I received the following from General Shafter:
Dated July 2nd.
Terrible fight yesterday but my line is now strongly intrenched about 3/4 mile from town. I urge that you make effort immediately to force the entrance to avoid future losses among my men which are already very heavy. You can now operate with less loss of life than I can. Please telephone answer.
and the following was telephoned to him:
To General Shafter: Admiral Sampson has this morning bombarded forts at entrance of Santiago, and also Punta Gorda Battery inside,silencing their fire. Do you wish further firing on his part? He began at 5:30 finished at 7:30 Your message to him here. Impossible to force entrance until we can clear channel of mines. A work of some time after forts are taken possession of by your troops. Nothing in this direction accomplished yesterday by the advance on Aguadores.
To which reply was made as follows:
Dated July 2nd.
It is impossible for me to say when I can take batteries at entrance to harbor if they are as difficult to take as those which we have been pitted against it will be some time and a great loss of life. I am at a loss to see why the Navy cannot work as well under a destructive fire as well as the Army. My loss yesterday was over 500 men. By all means keep up fire on everything in sight of you until demolished. I expect however in time and sufficient men to capture the forts along the bay.
I wrote General Shafter the following letter,and began making preparations to countermine,and with the object of arranging an attack upon the batteries at the entrance a visit was arranged to General Shafter so that the matter might by thoroughly discussed and combined action take place. I had in view the employment of the marines for an assault on either the Morro or Socapa battery,while at the same time assaulting the defenses at the entrance with the fleet.
No. 7 U.S.F.S.New York,1st Rate,
Off Santiago de Cuba,
July 2nd, 1898.
My Dear General:-
I have your note of this morning; just received at 11:30
2. An Officer of my staff has already reported to you the firing which we did this morning but I must say in addition to what he told you that the forts which we silenced were not the forts which would give you any inconvenience in capturing the City, as they cannot fire, except to seaward. They cannot even prevent our entrance into the harbor at Santiago. Our trouble, from the first, has been that the channel to the harbor is well strewn with observation mines which would certainly result in the sinking of one or more of our ships if we attempted to enter the harbor, and by sinking of a ship the object of the attempt to enter the harbor would be defeated by the preventing of further progress on our part.
3. It was my hope that an attack, on your part, of these shore batteries, from the rear, would leave us at liberty to drag the channel for torpedoes.
4. If it is your earnest desire that we should force our entrance, I will at once prepare to undertake it. I think,however, that our position,and yours, would be made more difficult if, as is possible, we fail in our attempt.
5. We have in our outfit at Guantanamo, forty countermining mines,which I will bring here with as little delay as possible, and,if we can succeed in freeing the entrance of mines by their use, I will enter the harbor.
6. This work, which is unfamiliar to us, will require considerable time.
7. It is not so much the loss of men as it is the loss of ships which has,until now,deterred me from making a direct attack upon the ships with the port.
North Atlantic Station.
July 3rd. The sortie of Admiral Cervera’s Squadron,and its destruction has been made the subject of a separate paper and need not be repeated here.
This event closes the purely naval campaign, crowning with complete success the anxious work of almost exactly two months.
W. T. Sampson
North Atlantic Station.
The Secretary of the Navy,
Washington, D. C.