Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Journal of Naval Cadet Arthur St. Clair Smith

Landing troops at Daiquiri. Bombardment of June 22, 1898.

     The convoy arrived of[f] Santiago on the 20th of June. Two days were occuppied in completing arrangements for landing.

     The final arrangement provided for three simultaneous attempts. Two were to be feints the third the real attempt at Daiquiri. At Aguadores two miles and a half east of the entrance of Santiago harbor the first feint was made. The attacking force here consisted of three of the smaller gunboats. The feint in force was made at Cabanas1 three miles west of the harbor entrance. The Texas led the attacks at this point and was assisted by some of the smaller ships. Ten transports added to the appearance of this attempt. At Daiquiri where the remaining transports were collected were the New Orleans, Capt Goodrich2 U.S.N. commanding the landing, and several smaller vessels. All the boats and steam launches belonging to the fleet were sent to assist the landing.

     The Indiana remained with the head of the column of transports until the beginning of the bombardment of Daiquiri by the New Orleans and then started for her station on the blockade in accordance with orders from Admiral Sampson.3 As she left the scene of the landing fires could be seen burning on shore and it was evident that the Spaniards were destroying everything that would burn. The ore and coal dock were thus set on fire but was not seriously damaged by fire.

     The resistance to the landing party practically amounted to nothing. This was no doubt partly due to the assistance of the Cubans.

     As the Indiana steamed westward along the coast heading for her blockading station the Texas moved in and began a bombardment of Socapa Battery - on the western side of the entrance.4

     As far as could be noticed she used only her large guns - 12’ and 6’.5 The shooting was excellent and the shells seemed to hit right in the battery. This we were in a good position to observe being well on the flank. The fire of the Texas was returned by the battery but most of the shells fell wide of the mark. The Texas was however struck once by a shell and one man killed and eight wounded.6

     The Brooklyn fired a shot or two after the Texas withdrew and then the Indiana was signaled to close in and engage the batteries. The bombardment lasted something over an hour. The range at first was poor but this was soon improved and the shots became nearly as accurate as those of the Texas had been. It appeared from the ship that we dismounted one of the guns of Socapa battery but this is not absolutely certain. The Brooklyn credited the Indiana with having done so. As we moved by the Brooklyn as we were moving out of range to the westward of the batteries we were loudly cheered by that ship.

     The succeeding days until the Wednesday the 29th of June were spent on the blockade. This gradually became closer and added precautions were constantly being added. The distance of the blockading ships was constantly being lessened and the lookouts at night strengthened.

Ammunition expended June 22, 1898.

3 - 13” Full charges         11 - 6” Full charges.

3 - 13” Common shell         11 - 6” Common shell

10 - 8” Full charges.        27 - 6 pdr shells.

10 - 8” Common shell

Source Note: AD, DNA, RG 45, Entry 608.

Footnote 1: That is, Cabañas.

Footnote 2: Capt. Caspar F. Goodrich.

Footnote 3: RAdm. William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet.

Footnote 4: The entrance to Santiago de Cuba harbor.

Footnote 5: Twelve and six-inch guns.

Footnote 6: On Texas, Apprentice First Class Frank I. Blakely was killed and nine wounded during the exchange of gun fire.

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