Lieutenant James M. Helm to Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet
Off Cape Crus, Cuba,
June 30 /98.
I have the honor to make the following report of the condition and employment of this vessel for the month of June:
Condition. Much needed repairs due to action of this date as per special report.
June 1-8. At Port Tampa, assisting senior officer present1 in getting transports into position as soon as loaded
June 9. Dispatch from Genl Miles2 stated that two Spanish cruisers and one torpedo boat3 were supposed to be outside the harbor waiting for the transports Hornet was sent out on scout duty, patrolling the coast for 60 miles.
June 10-13. Assisting Minneapolis in getting transports underway.
June 14-19. En route to Santiago de Cuba with transport fleet.
June 20-21. Lying off Santiago.
June 22 Hornet was assigned with Annapolis, Helena and Bancroft to bombard Altares in connection with landing of Army.4 The forts, block houses and barracks were struck many times by shells and soldiers driven over the hills and into woods for shelter. The Hornet steamed in close to beach and fired 97 6 pdr 19 47 and 66 1 pdr and 40 6 many of which were seen to strike the forts and barracks and encampment on hill to eastward of harbor.
June 23 At Guantanamo for coal and water.
June 24. Sent to Rear Admiral Sampson5 with dispatches off santiago.
June 25. Ordered to Cape Cruz on blockade duty. Captured Schr. Emmanuel Raoul with a cargo of supplies, bound for Manzanillo.
June 26. On blockade.
June 27. Captured steamer “Benito Estenger” en route to Jamaica from Manzanillo.
June 28. Sent prizes to Key West in charge of Ensign Ellis.6
June 29. On blockade.
June 30. Captured the schr. “E. R. Nickerson,” with a cargo of supplies, en route to Manzanillo from Jamaica. Proceeded to Limones and Manzanillo in company with “Hist” and “Wompatuck.” (See special report)7
J M Helm
Source Note: ALS, DNA, RG 313, Entry 47. Addressed below close: Rear-Admiral W.T.Sampson, U.S.N.,/Comdr-in-Chief, U.S. Naval Force,/N.A.Station.” Docketed: U.S.S.Hornet/Off Cape Cruz, Cuba/June 30/98./Helm, J.M./Lieut U.S.N./Commanding./Report of condition/and employment/of vessels for month/of June 1898.”
Footnote 1: Cmdr. John J. Hunker, commander of the gunboat Annapolis.
Footnote 2: Gen. Nelson A. Miles, commander-in-chief of the U.S. Army.
Footnote 3: The report was false. Cmdr. William H.H. Southerland of the Eagle mistook some American ships for a Spanish squadron. This report resulted in a delay of the convoy from Tampa until it was confirmed that the reported squadron did not exist. Trask, War with Spain, 187.
Footnote 4: Altares was twelve miles east of Santiago de Cuba and six miles west of Daiquiri, where the Army expeditionary force landed. Report of the U.S. Commission Appointed by the President to Investigate the Conduct of the War Department in the War with Spain, Vol. 1 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1900), 396. An eight-volume set.
Footnote 5: RAdm. William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet.
Footnote 6: Probably Ens. Hayne Ellis.
Footnote 7: The “special report” has not been found.