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Secretary of the Navy John D. Long to Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet


Navy Department,

Washington [DC], May 27, 1898.

Sampson, via Key West, Fla.:     

If Cervera’s division is proved to be in Santiago,1 it is intended to make immediately a descent upon that port with 10,000 troops, landing about 8 miles east of port.2 You will be expected to convoy the transports, probably fifteen or twenty, going in person and taking with you New York, Indiana, Oregon, and as many smaller vessels with good batteries as can possibly be gathered to guard against possible attacks by torpedo destroyers and the like.3 The Havana blockade will be sufficiently provided for during the movement with the monitors and some small vessels. After arrival off Santiago, all vessels that can be spared will be returned to north coast. This early notice enables you to prepare details at once for immediate execution when orders are issued. At the army’s request, and by approval of this Department, the movement will be by north coast of Cuba and Windward Passage.4


Source Note Print: Correspondence-War with Spain, vol. 1, pp. 16-17.

Footnote 1: RAdm. Pascual Cervera y Topete’s squadron arrived at Santiago de Cuba on 19 May, but its presence there was not confirmed by the U.S. Navy until ten days later. Trask, War with Spain, 118.

Footnote 2: Three days later, in orders issued by Lt. Gen. Henry C. Corbin, Brig. Gen. William R. Shafter was given the option of landing either east or west of Santiago de Cuba. See: Corbin to Shafter, 30 May, 1898.

Footnote 3: It was Capt. Henry C. Taylor in the battleship Indiana who led the convoy. A “battery” refers to a grouping of guns.

Footnote 4: The Windward Passage is located between Haiti and Cuba.

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