Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Major General William R. Shafter to Adjutant General Henry C. Corbin

CAME IN CIPHER.

Playa [del Este, Cuba], July 5th, 1898.        

          Headquarters, Fifth Army Corps, near Santiago de Cuba.

     Navy should go into Santiago Harbor at any cost. If they do I believe they will take the City and all the troops that are there. If they do not, the country should be prepared for heavy losses among our troops. After talking with the French Consul,1 myself, and Lieutenant Miley,2 with several others, I do not believe I will bombard the town until I get more troops, but will keep up fire on trenches. If it was simply a going out of the  women and to outside places, where they could be cared for, it would not matter much, but now it means their going out to starve to death or to be furnished with food by us and the latter is not possible now. I should very much like the Secretary’s views.3

SHAFTER,

Major General.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 233. Addressed before opening: “Adjutant General,/Washington.” Note below close: “Copy respectfully furnished the Honorable The Secretary of the/Navy./H.C.Corbin,/July 5, 1898. 2:30 pm. Adjutant General.”

Footnote 1: French Consul at Santiago de Cuba E. Hippean.

Footnote 2: Lt. John D. Miley, United States Army.

Footnote 3: Shafter was referring to Secretary of War Russell A. Alger, not Secretary of the Navy John D. Long, to whom this copy was given.

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