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Rear Admiral Montgomery Sicard, President of the Naval War Board, to Secretary of the Navy John D. Long enclosing Draft of letter to Secretary of War Russell A. Alger




July 5, 1898.



Referring to a telegram from Gen. Shafter,1 of date the 5th instant,2 and forwarded to the Navy Department by the Adjutant General of the United States Army,3 stating, in effect, that the Navy should go into the harbor of Santiago at any cost; the Board recommends that the appended letter be sent to the Secretary of War.


M Sicard

Rear Admiral,

Pres. of the Board.




John D. Long,





Washington, July 5, 1898.


The Honorable

     The Secretary of War.


     You will remember that the Navy Department, ever since the inception of the Santiago expedition, has pointed out that in order to enable the Navy to enter Santiago harbor, the mines at its entrance must first be sufficiently removed to enable our ships to pass in safely, and that the proper way to effect the removal of the mines is for the Navy to batter the Morro, and when it is thus sufficiently reduced, for the Army to take it by assault, and thence spreading along the banks of the entrance canal, covered and aided by the fire of the ships, to drive off the enemy’s infantry, and thus enable the boats of the ships to work at the removal of the mines from the channel. This being effected, the Navy to enter the harbor and reduce any remaining batteries and the town.4

Very respectfully,

John D. Long


Source Note: TLS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 29, pp. 151-52. Addressed before opening: “for the Secretary of Navy.” Handwritten at bottom of the page of the second document: “Meantime we have, as requested by the President, telegraphed Sampson to confer with Shafter.” There is more to this handwritten note, but the text has been cut off and is unreadable.

Footnote 1: Maj. Gen. William R. Shafter.

Footnote 2: The word “instant” means this month.

Footnote 3: Brig. Gen. Henry C. Corbin, Adjutant General.

Footnote 4: There is no evidence that Long sent this letter to Alger, however, it is also clear that the sentiments expressed here were conveyed to both Alger and President William McKinley. As a result, as noted in the handwritten note appended to this draft, RAdm. William T. Sampson and Shafter were ordered to meet and work out a way to attack the city that was acceptable to both services. For the sequence of events, see: Sampson to Long, 15 July 1898.

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