Commodore John C. Watson, Commander, Eastern Squadron, to Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,
July 15, 1898.
I was on the point of sending this telegram, copy enclosed1 when I found the GLOUCESTER was about returning to you, so I write to beg you will please not turn your captured lighter over to the Army until after first using her as a water lighter to bring fresh water from Daiquiri for the boilers of our ships here.
It is of the utmost importance just now to have her
to tow towed2 back and forth from Daiquiri. She is tight and can probably bring 25000 gallons at a time anyhow.
I congratulate you on the surrender. We have plenty of coal in here for the moment, and the SOUTHERY, steam collier, has Pocahontas coal.3 A schooner with 3500 tons Cumberland coal4 was towed in by the SOUTHERY.
Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Squadron.
Source Note: TLS, DNA, AFRNC, RG 313, Entry 53. Addressed below close: “Rear Admiral W.T.Sampson, U.S.N.,/Commander-in-Chief,/North Atlantic Fleet.” Stamped at top-left corner of page. “RECEIVED/FLAG-SHIP N. A. SQUADRON/JUL 16 1898.”
Footnote 1: The telegram was just an abbreviated version of this paragraph with the comment that bringing the fresh water would be “an invaluable service now-.”
Footnote 2: Someone crossed out “to tow” and handwrote “towed” above it. In the next sentence a “t” is written over an “l” to make the word “tight” instead of “light.”
Footnote 3: Pocahontas coal was from Virginia and West Virginia and according to a survey of Navy captains, the most desirable coal available in the United States. Bureau of Equipment, U.S. Navy, Coal. Equipment Expenses Abroad, 1902-1903 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1906), 96-97. This report is one of three bound together.
Footnote 4: Cumberland coal or “Big Vein” coal was from Pennsylvania. Ibid., 97.