Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Major General William R. Shafter to Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet

COPY OF TELEGRAM RECEIVED AT GUANTANAMO, AUGUST 1st, ’98,

From MAJOR GENERAL W. R. SHAFTER.

Dated Santiago, August 1, 1898.  

          I do not acknowledge the authority of the Secretary of the Navy1 in the matter in which you wire me. The surrender of Santiago was made to me by General Toral2 in person, in surrendering verbally all the prisoners and public property of Spain in the district commanded by him, and I accepting the same in the presence of troops representing all the respective armies. The details for carrying this into effect were arranged by three commissioners on each side.3 These articles were signed by the respective commissioners in duplicate, one copy handed to General Toral and the other copy was sent by me to the Secretary of War.4 Neither General Toral or myself signed them. Certainly could not and would not present these articles to any other for signature, my own not being affixed, and I shall protest to the Secretary of War against your signature to that document. I respectfully invite your attention to the fact that no claim for any credit for the capture of Cervera5 and his fleet has been made by the Army, although it is a fact that the Spanish fleet did not leave the harbor until the investment of the city was practically completed, and Cervera had sufficient losses on land on July 1 and 2, notable among them his chief of staff.6

W. R. Shafter, Major-General.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 237.

Footnote 1: Secretary of the Navy John D. Long, see: Long to Sampson, 20 July 1898.

Footnote 2: Gen. José Toral y Vázquez.

Footnote 3: The American signatories were Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler, Maj. Gen. Henry W. Lawton, and 1st Lt. John D. Miley. For a full copy of the agreement, see: Surrender Agreement for the City of Santiago, 15 July 1898.

Footnote 4: Secretary of War Russell A. Alger.

Footnote 5: Adm. Pascual Cervera y Topete.

Footnote 6: Capt. Joaquin Bustamante y Quevedo.

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