Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Major General Nelson A. Miles to Secretary of War Russell A. Alger

Playa [del Este, Cuba] July 18, 1898. 

(Received 12.24 p.m.)

Secretary of War, Washington:

     On board U.S.S. Yale, Guantanamo, July 18, 1898.—Your telegram was not received until 6 o’clock yesterday, forty-eight hours ago,1 when the surrender of the Spanish forces was an accomplished fact. I notified Admiral Sampson that I was authorized to organize and take an expedition to Porto Rico and desired the cooperation of the Navy. Last night I sent a telegram saying that I was ready to go with 3,000 men and desired an escort to cover debarkation. No replies have been received to either of these communications. As the enterprise is so important and time valuable I think it advisable that some naval officer, with whatever vessels may be spared,2 be ordered to report at once to act under the general direction of the Commanding General of the Army. The experience of the last few weeks should not be repeated.

Miles, Major-General Commanding.

Source Note Print: Correspondence-War with Spain, vol. 1, pp. 281-82.

Footnote 1: Miles is referring to a telegram from Adjutant General Henry C. Corbin sent on 18 July ordering Miles to follow through with his plan to attack Puerto Rico. See, Trask, War with Spain, 349.

Footnote 2: Earlier the same day, Miles cabled Alger to say he wanted an “efficient” naval force to accompany him to Puerto Rico. By early on the morning of 20 July, Miles was demanding a “proper naval assistance” and later that day he was complaining that the force Sampson proposed sending with him was inadequate. See: Ibid., 281, 293; and Miles to Alger, 20 July 1898.

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