Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Documentary Histories
Spanish-American War

Log of the Gloucester

[Extract]

Guanica, Puerto Rico, Monday, July 25, 1898.

4 to 8 A. M.

     At daylight land appeared off port beam. All transports accounted for. At 5.30 Flagship1 changed course to N N W and signalled to come within hail. Came alongside and received orders to proceed to Guanica harbor. Following wigwag messages received and sent: Massachusetts to Gloucester, “Do you see any signs of a fortification?” Answer, “No, see Spanish flag on warehouse.”

A. M. Procter.2

8 A. M. to noon.

     Lying off entrance of Guanica harbor waiting for fleet to come up. Made signal to Massachusetts, “Shall I go in”; answered, “Yes, you can try it.” At 9 A. M. entered harbor in advance of the fleet. No guns could be seen on either side of the entrance. A few people were moving near the light house. As the town came into view a Spanish flag was seen flying from a high staff. One bow gun was fired into one of the bluffs as a signal; no attention was paid to this and we could see people leaving the town by different routes. Our next shot was sent over the flag staff at a high elevation. This firing was not returned and the Spanish flag was not hauled down. Lieutenant H. P. Huse and Lieutenant T. C. Wood3 went ashore with an armed boat’s crew, lowered the Spanish flag and hoisted ours. The men aboard ship cheered to see our flag ashore. Almost immediately after this a rapid firing of rifles was heard and we became aware that our men had been attacked; many rifle bullets struck the water alongside us and went singing past. Lieutenant Huse hailed us, requesting us to fire over him. The after guns were elevated to 2000 yards and fired repeatedly by Ensign J. T. Edson and Assistant Surgeon J. F. Bransford4 in the direction indicated. We could hear the boat’s crew ashore using their Colt gun and rifles, and also the fire of the Spanish. Lieutenant Huse signaled that 250 men were needed to hold the place. Another armed boat was sent in charge of Lieutenant G. H. Norman5 and Assistant Engineer A. M. Proctor and by this time some boats of the Massachusetts had entered the harbor. Lieutenant Huse returned with landing party, having left Lieutenant Wood on shore with a squad of men and the Colt gun at request of General Gillmore, U. S. A.6 After our work was done and the troop ships were anchored in the harbor, General Miles came on board and complimented Captain Wainwright on the manner of his action during the forenoon.7 Expended in Ordnance Department ammunition as follows: 16 6-pdr.; 60 3-pdr.; 500 6-mm. for rifle; 600 6-mm. for Colt automatic.

J. T. Edson.

Source Note Print: Log of the U.S. Gunboat Gloucester Commanded by Lt.-Commander Richard Wainwright and the Official Reports of the Principal Events of her Cruise during the late War with Spain, (Annapolis: U.S. Naval Institute, 1899), pp. 91-2.

Footnote 1: Massachusetts, Capt. Francis J. Higginson, commanding.

Footnote 2: Asst. Eng. Andre M. Procter, an Assistant Engineer on Gloucester.

Footnote 3: Lt. Harry P. Huse and Lt. Thomas C. Wood.

Footnote 4: Ens. John T. Edson and Assistant Surgeon John F. Bransford.

Footnote 5: Lt. George H. Norman.

Footnote 6: Brig. Gen. John C. Gilmore.

Footnote 7: Maj. Gen. Nelson A. Miles, commander of the American expeditionary force to Puerto Rico and Lt. Cmdr. Richard Wainwright. For more on the capture of Guanica, see: Higginson to Sampson, 2 August 1898.

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