Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Memorandum for United States Army Convoy

Should the enemy be sighted in force, the following signals will be made;

(I) International P N F . . . . . . STOP All ships will stop1

(2) Navy Code 242. . . . . . . . FIRST ORDER OF BATTLE.2

All naval ships, except the ANNAPOLIS and PANTHER, will leave the transports and form in column in the following order;

() INDIANA.

() YOSEMITE.

() HELENA

() CASTINE.

() BANCROFT.

() SCORPION

() VESUVIUS.

() DETROIT.

() MANNING

() HORNET.

() WASP

()   EAGLE.

() WOMPATUCK.

     The PANTHER and ANNAPOLIS will remain with the transports and direct their movements.

     After forming the FIRST ORDER OF BATTLE, the DETROIT will repeat all signals. International signals will then apply to the transports only; the PANTHER and ANNAPOLIS will repeat them, and wil[l] make such others as may be necessary for the maneuvering of the transports.

     If at any time however, the original T C F (Order of Cruising) be made, it will be answered and obeyed by all vessels, transports and convoy alike.

     In case of separation of ships from the main body, the course to be steered should be as follows;

South of Cay Sal Bank and nearer to it than to the Cuban shore; thence South of Anguila Id. through the center of Old Bahama Channel thence passing I0 miles south of Cay S. Domingo; thence proceeding to a point I0 miles W.N.W. of Mathew Town Light, Gt. Inagua Id.3

     At this point the belated ship will be awaited for a few hours, and the course thence will be to a point I5 miles East of Cape Maysi;4 thence, keeping I5 miles from shore, to a point I5 miles South of Santiago.

     A transport if disabled, will signal the fact, using, by day, International T D. If disabled at night, she will display at the fore two white lights, about six feet apart, in vertical hoist. Day or night, she will sheer out of column with port helm if in the center or right hand column, with starboard helm if in the left hand column. In such cases, and whenever, for any reason, a vessel changes course without[t] previous signal, the whistle is to be used as prescribed in the “Rules of the Road,”5 and the greatest care taken to avoid collision.

     All vessels, both transports and convoy, scouts excepted, will carry from sunset to sunrise, a red light at the stern, screened so as to show only from right astern to two points on each quarter. All other lights must be extinguished or carefully screened, and every ship made as dark as possible; but transports should be prepared to show their side lights instantly, if necessary to avoid collision.

     Transports must follow accurately the leaders of their own columns and preserve the prescribed speed- distance. Changes of speed or course will be made by signal. Signals for speed will be as follows; International K L Q . . . . .6 knots.

                   "         K L M . . . . 8    "

                   "         K L R . . . . 9    "

     In changing course, transports will follow their Naval leaders turning in succession on the same ground[.] Vessels of the pivot column must take steerage-way while turning; those of the center column about 6 knots; and those of the outer column continue at 8 knots, or take full speed, 9 knots.

     The guide in each division will habitually be right, unless changed by signal.

     Should any transport or transports be compelled to fall behind permanently, the BANCROFT and WASP will leave their stations and form an escort for the disabled vessels; if necessary, other Naval ships will be detailed by signal to assist.

     A transport falling out will, if possible, be taken in tow by a rear vessel of the Second Division. For this purpose, the tran[s]ports best fitted for towing should be placed as rear vessels of the Second Division and provided with tow lines.

     The Navy Department has ordered that no press-boat shall accompany the expedition, and has ordered the authorities of Key West to prevent them by force if necessary;6 and has directed further, that if any press-boat succeed in accompanying the fleet the Naval ships shall take possession of them, and compel them to remain with the fleet throughout the voyage. Commanding Officers will carry out this order, and will palce [i.e., place] an Officer on board any such press boat, with sufficient force to ensure compliance, and will keep this force on board during the voyage.

     Upon receipt of this order, all vessels of the convoy will fill up with coal to their utmost capacity, and be prepared to leave Key West Tuesday morning, the 7th., instant, at daylight, for the rendezvous at Tortugas, I0 miles West O f [i.e., of] Tortugas Light.

     From Key West to Tortugas the formation will be double column the starboard column being the Ist., Division, INDIANA leading; the port column the 2ND. Division, DETROIT leading.

Source Note: TD, DNA, RG 165. Docketed on same sheet in three-box stamped rectangles: “3/709” (handwritten); “5th Army Corps” (typed); and “RECEIVED” (typed). On separate sheet: “Instructions for/Commanding Officers/of transports enroute/to Santiago.”

Footnote 1: “PNF” comes under the heading of general vocabulary signals in the International Code of Flag Signals.

Footnote 2: Naval numeric code.

Footnote 3: Great Inagua Island is the most southerly of the Bahama Islands approaching Cuba.

Footnote 4: Cape Maysi is located on the further eastern tip of the north coast of Cuba.

Footnote 5: “Rules of the Road” is a colloquial phrase for the various compiled navigation rules, such as: sounds, light signals, conduct, etc.

Footnote 6: Newspaper reporters frequently trailed naval vessels in their own vessels. In a letter dated 19 May, Sampson, for instance, Sampson expressed concern to Long that newspapermen on boats were reporting his squadron movements. DNA, RG 313, Entry 32.

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