Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Secretary of the Navy John D. Long to Captain William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Squadron

Apr. 21, 1898.

Sir:

     The Department instructions of April 6th are modified as follows:1

     You will immediately institute a blockade of the north coast of Cuba, extending from Cardenas on the east to Bahia Honda on the west; also, if in your opinion, your force warrants, the port of Cienfuegos, on the south side of the Island. It is considered doubtful if the present force at your command would warrant a more extensive blockade.2

     2. It should be bared in mind that whenever the Army is ready to embark for Cuba, the Navy will be required to furnish the necessary convoy for its transport. For this reason, it does not seem desirable that you should undertake, at present, to blockade any more of the Island than has been indicated. It is believed that this blockade will cut off Havana almost entirely from receiving supplies from the outside.

     3. The Navy Department is considering the question of occupying the port of Havana by a military force large enough to hold it and to open communications with the insurgents, and this may be done at an early date, even before the main part of the Army is ready to embark. If this operation is decided upon, you are directed to co-operate with the Army and assist with such vessels as are necessary to cover and protect such a movement.

     4. If you obtain any information of the movement of Spanish ships of War, in any part of the West Indes, you will, if practicable, inform the Department, by telegraph, of such movements.

     5. In conducting such other operations as you may deem desirable, you will be governed by the instructions contained in the Department’s letter of April 6th.

     6. The Department does not wish the defenses of Havana to be bombarded of attacked by your squadron.

Very respectfully,          

John D. Long      

Secretary.        

Source Note: CbCyS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 29. Addressed below close: “Commander-in-Chief/U.S.Naval Force/North Atlantic Station.” Document reference no.: “100398 EC”.

Footnote 2: Long sent a memorandum to Attorney General John W. Griggs on 21 April. with a list of blockaded ports. He identified: Santa Clara Bay, Cardenas, Cardenas Bay, Port Matanzas, Matanzas, Jaruco River, River Cojimar, Havana, Chorrera, Mariel, Cabanas, and Bahia Honda and any other port Sampson deemed necessary. Long to Griggs, 21 April 1898, DNA, Ibid.