Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Lieutenant Harry P. Huse to Captain Richard Wainwright

“B”                U. S. S. Gloucester,

Guanica,Porto Rico,July 25,1898.

Sir:

     I have the honor to report as follows on the landing party sent this morning to capture the village of Guanica.

     The force under my command consisted of twenty-eight men and Lieut.T.C.Wood, embarked in the cutter. We landed without meeting with any opposition at a little wharf,and the men were at once deployed to cover the beach. The Spanish flag was hauled down and our colors hoisted in their place. An irregular fire increasing in strength opened on our right flank and center.1 This was answered with a slow fire on our part/backed up by the Colt automatic in the cutter,that had taken up a position at the foot of the highway that leads up into the country. I sent Lieut.Wood to take charge of the right flank with some eight men,while Chief Yeoman Lacy with four completely covered the left flank from the ruins of a stone house excellently situated for the purpose. From a countryman,I learned that the local military force consisted of about thirty regulars/but that reinforcements had already started from Yanco,about ten miles away.2 I signaled to you for reinforcements and pushed forward our centre along the highway. The enemy’s fire was well sustained but high and no casualties resulted from it. At the northern limit of the village we built a wall across the road and placed there the new Colt 6 m/m automatic gun you had sent ashore/and strung two barbed wire fences fifty and one hundred yards to the front across the road. The first Colt automatic gun was jammed. Presently the Gloucester opened fire from her 3 pdrs. and 6 pdrs. firing over our heads,and the enemy retreated.

     A little later the first contingent of the invading army,under General Gilmore,U.S.A.,landed and pushed forward beyond our limits.3 In obedience to your orders the landing party then returned to the ship. At the special request of General Gilmore I left Lieut.Wood and party ashore with the Colt gun. They returned to the ship an hour later.

     I wish to specially mention the gallant conduct of Lieut.Wood and of Chief Yeoman Lacy. All the men under my command behaved splendidly. The navy rifle behaved abominably,the majority jamiing [i.e., jamming] at inopportune moments,and several being rendered useless when we appeared to be in considerable danger of defeat.

Very respectfully,

Harry P. Huse,

Lt. and Executive Officer.

Source Note: TCyS,DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 236. Addressed below close: “To the Captain.”

Footnote 1: Lt. Thomas C. Wood of Gloucester. In his report, which accompanied Huse’s, Wainwright wrote that the Spanish had “a few troops both to the right and left of the harbor, besides those in the village.” DNA, RG 45, Entry 608.

Footnote 2: Chief Yeoman F. W. Lacy. In his report, Wainwright wrote that these reinforcements were mounted. In his report to Sampson, dated 4 August, Wainwright called this place “Juaco.” Report of the Bureau of Navigation, 1898, 641.

Footnote 3: According to his report to Sampson, Wainwright asked Colonel Black to immediately land part of his engineer battalion, which Black did, and those were the troops to whom Huse turned over the village. Ibid. In his report on the capture of Guánica, Maj Gen. Nelson A. Miles wrote that the Spanish defenders were “surprised” and that a “few shots” from Gloucester effectively ended Spanish resistance. He complimented Higginson and Gloucester for rendering “able and earnest assistance.” He added that Guánica was a “well-protected harbor; water sufficiently deep for all transports, and heavy vessels can anchor within a few hundred yards of shore.” Correspondence-War with Spain, 1: 322.

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