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Adjutant General Henry C. Corbin to Major General William R. Shafter


Executive Mansion,

Washington, June 7, 1898—7.50 p.m.

General Shafter, Tampa, Fla.:

  That you may know the exact situation, the President1 directs me to send you the following from Sampson:

  “Bombarded forts at Santiago 7.30 to 10 a.m. to-day, June 6. Have silenced works quickly without injury of any kind, though stationed 2,000 yards. If 10,000 men were here, city and fleet would be ours within forty-eight hours. Every consideration demands immediate army movement. If delayed, city will be defended more strongly by guns taken from fleet.

(Signed) Sampson”

He2 further says that you will sail as indicated in your telegram, but with not less than 10,000 men.3

H. C. Corbin, Adjutant-General

Source Note Print: Correspondence—War with Spain, vol. 1, pp. 29-30. Below the letter is printed the following note: “Same telegram sent by Secretary of War [Russell A. Alger] to Gen. Shafter or Maj. Gen. [Nelson] Miles. Dispatch referred to apparently missing.”

Footnote 1: President William McKinley.

Footnote 2: That is, President McKinley.

Footnote 3: Presumably referring to the telegram sent on 6 June, at 11:40 P.M. by Miles addressed to the Secretary of War, which in part reads: “Troops have been marching on board to-day and will continue all night. General Shafter hopes to sail to-morrow night or next day.” Ibid., 28. An hour later, Alger telegraphed Shafter: “Since telegraphing you an hour since the President directs you to sail at once with what force you have ready.” Minutes later, Alger sent another cable reiterating the orders even more forcefully: “You will sail immediately, as you are needed at destination at once. Answer.” At 9 P.M. Shafter cabled that the transports would sail “to-morrow morning. Steam can not be got up earlier.” See, Ibid., 30.

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