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

hdqrs. 5 Army Corps    

Near Santiago, Cuba

July 10, 1898.

Sir:

          I have the honor to inform you that it is expected that the bombardment of the City of Santiago-de-Cuba will begin this evening or tomorrow morning.

     I enclose you a revised chart showing location of the American and Spanish lines, I will communicate to you later in the day the exact hour when the firing should begin and it is respectfully suggested that you be ready to begin at 4 PM today.1

     The falling of the first shell will be observed and its results communicated to you by signals[.]

     It would be very disastrous for the morale of my men to have any of the shell fall near them and I think it would be better, at first, to put your shots in the westward part of the city near the Bay.

Wm R. Shafter

Major General,

US. V.

Source Note: LS, DNA, M625, roll 234. Addressed before salutation: “Admiral Sampson,/US. Navy.” There is a stamp on the first page: “RECEIVED/FLAG-SHIP N. A. Station/JUL 10 1898.”

Footnote 1: Shafter later sent a telegram to Sampson later the same day asking that the bombardment begin as “near four pm as possible.” Below the signature was added: “that has been signaled to his fleet.” Ibid.     

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