Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Secretary of the Navy John D. Long to Commodore George C. Remey, Commandant, Key West Naval Base

COPY OF CIPHER TELEGRAM.

Washington, D.C., June 1, 1898.

Naval Base, Key West, Fla.

     Deliver following to Captain H.C.Taylor Commander of convoy:1- the following scheme has been discussed somewhat but what action the War Department proposes to take, if any, is unknown. Railroad bridge over San Juan river about two nautical miles 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 body to land daybreak near bridge and carry by surprise, 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 those 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 seaman of the fleet to make the attack on shore.2 If the attempt is to me [i.e., be] made send a vessel ahead to inform the Commander-in-Chief of Naval Force on N.A.Station.3

(signed) Long.

Source Note: Sn:TCy, DNA, RG 313, Entry 51.

Footnote 1: Capt. Henry C. Taylor, commander of Indiana and senior officer commanding the escort for the convoy.

Footnote 2: For more on this operation see: Richardson Clover to William T. Sampson, 30 June 1898.

Footnote 3: RAdm. William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet.

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