Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Minutes of a Meeting Between Captain French E. Chadwick and Major General William R. Shafter

Headquarters 5th Corps

Camp near San Juan River, Cuba,  

July 6, 1898.

Minutes of a conversation between Captain Chadwick of the Navy, representing Admiral Sampson, and General Shafter.1

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That a long continual bombardment be made of Santiago from the Sea, with the heavier guns of the fleet, the fleet firing slowly and continuously during say 24 hours, at the rate of 1 shell every 5 minutes, excepting 1 hour at the rate of every 2 minutes. This refers to the 8” & 13” shells[.] If this not be sufficient to bring the enemy to terms that an assault be arranged on the Socapa battery using marines as and the Cuban forces under General Cebreco2 and an effort made to enter the harbor with some of the smaller ships of the squadron.

     This attack to be made upon knowing of the result of a second demand made upon the Commanding Officer of the Spanish Forces3 for surrender of the place, stating to him the conditions that surround him : destruction of the Spanish fleet &c. and the number of forces opposed to him. To give him time to consider the matter the date of bombardment is fixed at noon of the 9th unless he positively refuses to consider it at all. When it will be begun at such time as this is convenient to ourselves.

   General Shafter will furnish Admiral Sampson with correct map showing where his lines will be surrounding the city and also open telegraphic communication by the way of Siboney down to near Aguadores to give information as to falling of shots4

Source Note: AD, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 234. Stamp: “RECEIVED/FLAGSHIP N. A. STATION,/JUL 7 1898.” These minutes were submitted to RAdm. William T. Sampson. There is a copy of these minutes in the William R. Shafter Papers, DLC, said to be in the handwriting of Assistant Adjutant General Lt. Col. Edward J. McClernand. There are no substantive differences between the two versions.

Footnote 1: RAdm. William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet and Maj. Gen. William R. Shafter.

Footnote 2: Cuban Insurgent leader Maj. Gen. Augustín Cebreco y Sánchez.

Footnote 3: Brig. Gen. José Toral y Vázquez.

Footnote 4: The map has not been found. For more on this agreement and the bombardment, see: Sampson to John D. Long, 15 July 1898.

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