Commodore Arent S. Crowninshield, Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, to Chiefs of the Navy Bureaus
March 25, 1898
MEMORANDUM FOR THE BUREAUS AND OFFICERS OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT:
The following vessels compose the North Atlantic Squadron:
The NEW YORK, IOWA, INDIANA, MIANTONOMOH, TERROR, PURITAN, CINCINNATI, MARBLEHEAD, MONTGOMERY, DETROIT, CASTINE, NASHVILLE, HELENA, WILMINGTON, FERN, VESUVIUS: torpedo boats FOOTE, DU PONT, ERICSSON, CUSHING, PORTER, WINSLOW; tugs LEYDEN, SAMOSET.1
The following vessels compose the Flying Squadron:
The BROOKLYN, MASSACHUSETTS, TEXAS, MINNEAPOLIS, COLUMBIA.2
Chief of Bureau.
Source Note: CyS, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 227. Typists’ initials and document reference no.: “SCH/”98384.” Note: Attached to this copy was a routing slip intended to track which Navy Department Bureau representatives had seen this document and the time and date when they had seen it. The list includes the initials of Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance, Commo. Charles O’Neil (1000, 3/26); Bureau of Construction and Repair Chief Clerk Darius A. Green (1100, 3/26); and Chief Intelligence Officer Cmdr. Richardson Clover (200, 3/26). Initials of representatives from the Bureau of Equipment, Judge Advocate General’s Office, and Hydrological Office were also entered but are impossible to decipher. No one from the Bureaus of Steam Engineering, Supply and Accounts, and Medicine and Surgery initialed the memorandum.
Footnote 1: The North Atlantic Squadron was a fluid entity commanded by RAdm. William T. Sampson from 26 March 1898 until the end of the Spanish American War. After the Flying Squadron under the command of Commo. Winfield S. Schley joined Sampson’s North Atlantic Squadron at Santiago de Cuba on 24 May 1898, the North Atlantic Squadron became the North Atlantic Fleet and Sampson its commander-in-chief, while Commo. Schley was named the commander-in-chief of the newly designated Second North Atlantic Squadron. The North Atlantic Squadron initially included two divisions, one under Sampson’s direct command, the other blockading northern Cuba under the command of Commo. John C. Watson. Sampson’s command also included the Key West Naval Base. The North Atlantic Fleet was reorganized on 21 June 1898 into the 1st North Atlantic Squadron, 2nd North Atlantic Squadron, Eastern Squadron, and included the Key West Naval Base. The commands, areas of operation, and commanders of the North Atlantic Fleet during the war were:
I. North Atlantic Squadron (Sampson’s Division)- Puerto Rico and eastern and southern Cuba. Commo. (Acting RAdm. 21 April 1898) William T. Sampson, 26 March to 24 May 1898.
II. North Atlantic Squadron (Blockading Division)- northern and western Cuba. Commo. John C. Watson, 6 May 1898 to 21 June 1898.
III. Flying Squadron- Independent command until 24 May 1898 when it joined the blockade at Santiago de Cuba and was subsumed into Sampson’s Division of the North Atlantic Squadron. Commo. Winfield S. Schley, 24 May 1898 to 21 July 1898.
IV. 1st North Atlantic Squadron - northern and western Cuba. Commo. John C. Watson, 21 June 1898 to 27 June 1898; Commo. (Acting RAdm. as of 10 August 1898) John A. Howell, 1 July 1898 until war’s end.
V. 2nd North Atlantic Squadron - southern and eastern Cuba. Commo. (Acting RAdm. as of 10 August 1898) Winfield S. Schley, June 21 1898 until wars end.
VI. Eastern Squadron - Organized to attack Spain and Spain’s colonies in the Eastern Atlantic. Commo. John C. Watson, 7 July 1898 to 20 September 1898.
VII. Key West Naval Base - Encompassing the coaling station at Dry Tortugas, coastal Florida, and the area around the Key West Naval Base. Commo. George C. Remey, 7 May 1898 to 24 August 1898.
See: Long to Sampson, 28 April 1898; and Report of the Bureau of Navigation, 1898, 37-38, 42-43.
Footnote 2: The Brooklyn, Massachusetts, Texas, Columbia and Minneapolis were later joined by the auxiliary yacht Scorpion (1 May), protected cruiser New Orleans (8 May), ram Katahdin (until April 16) and the colliers: Merrimac (9 April to 29 April), Saturn (21 April to 29 April) and Sterling (1 May). The Flying Squadron, commanded by Commo. Winfield S. Schley from his flagship, Brooklyn, operated independently from April to 24 May when Commo. William T. Sampson took direct command of it as part of the North Atlantic Squadron. The former was dissolved on 11 July. Chadwick, The Spanish American War, Vol. 1, 401; and Report of the Bureau of Navigation, 1898, 37, 42.