Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Orders from Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet, Concerning Landing Operations at Daiquiri

ORDERS FOR LANDING TROOPS.

    Following is the order directing the operation of the Navy in co-operation with the Army in the landing of troops, issued on the afternoon of June 21, 1898:

    The Army Corps will land to-morrow morning,1 the entire force landing at Daiquiri. The landing will begin at daylight. Ships stationed to the eastward of Daiquiri will assist in clearing the way for an unopposed landing by flanking out the Spanish forces at that point. Simultaneously with the shelling of the beach and blockhouse at Daiquiri, the Ensenada los Altares and Aguadores, both to the eastward of Santiago, and the small bay of Cabanas, about two and one-half miles to the westward of Santiago, will be shelled by the ships stationed there for that purpose.

    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 a greater part 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, Gen.Rabi with 500 Cuban troops,2 will make a demonstration on the west side of Cabanas. 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 los Altares, the Hornet, Helena and Bancroft; at Daiquiri, the Detroit, Castine, Wasp and New Orleans, the Detroit and Castine on the western flank and the Wasp and New Orleans on the eastern flank.

    All the vessels named will be in their positions at daylight. Great care will be taken to avoid the wasteful expenditure of ammunition.  The firing at Daiquiri will begin on signal from the New Orleans.3

    At Cabanas, it is probable that after a few minutes, unless the firing is returned, the 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 los Altares.

    The same rule should prevail at Daiquiri, the point of actual landing. The 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.

    The Texas and Brooklyn will exchange blockading stations, the Texas going inside, to be near Cabanas. The Brooklyn, Massachusetts, Iowa and Oregon will keep a vigilant watch on the harbor mouth. The Indiana will take the New Orleans's positions in the blockading line east of Santiago de Cuba and between the flagship New York and the shore. This is only a temporary assignment for the Indiana to strengthen the blockading line during the landing and to avoid any possibility of the enemy's breaking through should he attempt to get out of the port.

    The Suwannee, Osceola and Wompatuck will be prepared to tow boats. Each will be provided with two 5 or 6 inch lines, one on each quarter and each long enough to take in tow a dozen or more boats. These vessels will report at the New York at 3 A.M., on June 22, prepared to take into tow the ships' boats which are to assist in the landing of troops and to convey them to Daiquiri.

    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 A.M. Each boat, whale boat 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,4 to manage and direct the transports' boats. Each steam launch will be in charge of an officer, who will report to Capt. Goodrich.5

    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 to the batteries. 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.

    Capt. C.F. Goodrich, commanding the St. Louis, will have, on the part of the Navy, general charge of the landing. The New Orleans will send her boats to report to Capt. Goodrich upon her arrival at Daiquiri.

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 Admiral6 ever intends to attempt to escape, that attempt will be made soon.

Source Note: TCy, DLC-MSS, Papers of William R. Shafter, roll 3.

Footnote 1: The Fifth Army Corps was under the command of Maj. Gen. William R. Shafter.

Footnote 2: Cuban Gen. Jesús Sablon Moreno, who used the nom-de-guerre Jesús Rabi.

Footnote 3: New Orleans, commanded by Capt. William M. Folger.

Footnote 4: A coxswain steers and has charge of a small boat and its crew.

Footnote 5: Capt. Caspar F. Goodrich was the senior naval officer commanding at the landing.

Footnote 6: A reference to RAdm. Pascual Cervera y Topete.

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