Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

President William McKinley to Secretary of the Navy John D. Long

     General Shafter and Admiral Sampson should confer at once for cooperation in taking Santiago.1 After the fullest exchange of views they should be left to determine the time and manner of attack.2

William McKinley       

July 5, 1898.

Source Note: TDS, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 233. Addressed open: “To the Secretary of the Navy.” This order was forwarded by Long to Capt. ArentS. Crowninshield as a handwritten note with the additional words: “Please convey this order to Sampson.”

Footnote 1: Maj. Gen. William R. Shafter and RAdm. William T. Sampson.

Footnote 2: McKinley wrote this order in response to a dispute between Sampson and Shafter. Shafter’s troops suffered from disease and supply problems so he wanted the Navy to force its way into the harbor and bombard Santiago de Cuba. Sampson had earlier been ordered by Long not to jeopardize his ships in attacking Spanish positions. Sampson wanted Shafter to assault the coastal fortresses at the mouth of Santiago harbor as a preliminary to a naval attack. Both men sought orders from the President, who refused to decide strategy. See: Shafter to Adjutant General Henry C. Corbin, 5 July 1898; and Sampson to Secretary of the Navy John D. Long, 13 July 1898.

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