Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Major General Nelson A. Miles to Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet

Headquarters of the Army,

On board U. S. S. Yale,

Guantanamo Bay, July 19, 1898.

Sir:

     I have the honor to send you herewith extract of the following order received last night, dated Washington, July 18, 1898:

     “Major General Miles,

          On Board Yale, Guantanamo.

              x        x        x        x

     “The Secretary War1 directs you land troops now on Yale and other transports at such points in Porto Rico as you may designate. He gives you the fullest discretion, but your determination of time and place of such landing should be made with full knowledge that reinforcements cannot reach you from five to seven days from this date. Admiral Sampson will be ordered to give you such assistance as you and he may regard as necessary.

               x        x         x        x

H. C. Corbin,2

Adjutant General.”

In accordance with the above, I am ready to move to Pt. Fajardo, Cape de San Juan, Porto Rico, without delay, and request a strong force of naval vessels to accompany my transports, cover landing from the same, protect the flanks of the military force during the occupation of that place, and render all assistance possible in the movement from there to the investment and capture of the harbor and city of San Juan.    I also desire such cooperation as may be needed in the capture of other seaport towns on the Island of Porto Rico.

     If you think it advisable, I would be glad to have the corps of marines accompany my troops.

     I think it advisable that a strong demonstration be made near the harbor of San Juan before the landing of troops at Pt. Fajardo.3

Very respectfully,

Nelson A. Miles

Major General Commanding U. S. Army.

Source Note: TLS, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 235. Addressed open above: “Admiral Sampson,/Commanding North Atlantic Squadron.” This letter is typed on Army stationery. Stamp in the top-right corner: “RECEIVED/FLAG-SHIP N. A. STATION./Jul 19 1898.”

Footnote 1: Secretary of War Russell A. Alger.

Footnote 2: Adjutant General Henry C. Corbin.

Footnote 3:  Miles did not land his force at Fajardo. For Sampson’s response to this request and Mile’s explanation for the change in landing site, see: Francis J. Higginson to Sampson, 2 August 1898.

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