Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Major General William R. Shafter to General José Toral y Vázquez

(Copy)

Hd Qurs.5th Army Corps,

Camp near San Juan River,Cuba,

          July 6,1898.

Sir:

     In view of the events of the third instant, I have the honor to lay before Your Excellency certain propositions to which I beg trust your Excellency will give the consideration which in my opinion they deserve-

     I enclose a bulletin of the engagement of Sunday morning, which resulted in the complete destruction of Admiral Cervera’s1 fleet, the loss of 600 of his officers and men and the capture of the remainder-The Admiral General Paredes2 and all the officers others who escaped alive are now prisoners on board the Harvard and St. Louis and the latter ship in which are the Admiral General Paredes and the surviving (all except the Captain of Almirante Oquendo3 who was slain) has already sailed for the United States- If desired by you, this may be confirmed by Your Excellency’s sending a flag of truce to an officer under a flag of truce to Admiral Sampson4 and he can arrange to visit the Harvard which will not sail until tomorrow, and obtain the details from Spanish officers and men aboard that ship-

     Our fleet is now perfectly free to act, and I have the honor to state that unless a surrender is arranged by noon of the ninth instant a bombardment of the city will begin and continue by the Navy guns varying from eight to thirteen inch calibre of our ships- The City is within easy range of these guns, the eight inch being capable of firing nine thousand five hundred yards, the thirteen inch of course much further- A range of eight thousand yards The ships can so lie that with a range of eight thousand yards they can reach the center of the City-

     I make this suggestion of a surrender purely in a humanitarian spirit. I do not wish to cause the slaughter of any more men either of your Excellency’s forces or my own ; the final result under circumstances so clearly disadvantageous to Yourself is Excellency being a foregone conclusion-

     As Your Excellency may wish to make references of so momentous a question to Your Excellency’s home government, it is for this purpose that I have placed the time of the resumption of hostilities at the time named in order sufficiently far in the future to allow a reply being received-

     I beg an early answer from Your Excellency

I have the honor to be

Your Excellency’s

Obedient servant.

(Shafter)

Source Note: Cy, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 234. Addressed before opening: “The/General-in-Chief/Commanding the Spanish Forces,/Santiago-de-Cuba.” There is a handwritten note at the bottom of this copy that reads: “This copy enclosed in a letter from Captain [French E. Chadwick] to his wife.”

Footnote 1: Adm. Pascual Cervera y Topete.

Footnote 2: Capt. José de Paredes.

Footnote 3: The captain of the Almirate Oquendo was Joachim Lazaga y Garay. The commander of the torpedo destroyers, Capt. Fernando Villaamil had also been killed, but was still listed as missing.

Footnote 4: RAdm. William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet.

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