Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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

 

[Extract]

U.S.Flagship New York, 1st Rate,

Off Santiago de Cuba, Cuba,

July 19, 1898.

Received July 20,1898.

Dear Sir:-

     I have just received your letter of to-day in which you quote the direction of the Secretary of War to land your troops, now on board the “YALE” and other transports, at such points in Porto Rico as you may designate in which you desire a force of Naval vessels to accompany these transports to protect the flanks,landing,etc.1

     2. The following are my orders from the Navy Department upon this subject:--2 . . . . 

     3. Immediately after the fall of Santiago, and before you went to Guantanamo, I telegraphed to the Department, as follows:-3 . . . .

     4. Under these circumstances I think it is my duty to prepare the two fleets, one to be commanded by Commodore Watson,4 the other probably by the Senior Officer present,5 without encroaching upon the vessels designated by the Department for this service; and, for your further information. I may state that these two fleets include every available ship of this command except the smaller cruisers. It will yet be several days before these vessels are prepared to sail, being incomplete in their supply of ammunition, which is now on its way from New York to Guantanamo.

     5. I will immediately telegraph the Secretary of the Navy as to what I am expected to do under the circumstances.6

Very respectfully,                   

W.T.SAMPSON,                

Rear Admiral, U.S.Navy,          

Commander in Chief,U.S.Naval Force,  

North Atlantic Station.     

P.S. I hope to run down to Guantanamo and see you in the morning. W.T.S.

Source Note: TCy, DNA, RG 108, Entry 121, pp. 74-75. Addressed below close: “Major General/NELSON A MILES U.S.A./Commanding U.S.Army.” Identification number at top of page: “No. 22.”

Footnote 1: Secretary of War Russell A. Alger. See: Miles to Sampson, 19 July 1898.

Footnote 2: Here Sampson quoted in full the cable from Secretary of the Navy John D. Long of 13 July, which is printed elsewhere. See: Long to Sampson, 13 July 1898.

Footnote 3: Here Sampson quoted in full his cable to Long of 16 July, which is printed elsewhere. See: Sampson to Long, 16 July 1898.

Footnote 4: Commo. John C. Watson. For more on the Eastern Squadron, see: Eastern Squadron.

Footnote 5: Command of the Navy force that accompanied Miles to Puerto Rico was assigned to Capt. Francis J. Higginson.

Footnote 6: Secretary of the Navy John D. Long. See: Sampson to Long, 21 July 1898.

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