Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Squadron, to Lieutenant John C. Fremont

U.S. Flagship New York, 1st Rate,

Off Havana, Cuba,           

April 30th, 1898.      

S I R :--

          You will proceed to Cayuannes Point with the torpedo boat under your command and land Mr. Sylvester Scoval for the purpose of obtaining information. You will take the Pilot Santos with you.1

     2.   If the required information is awaiting you, you will return without delay.

     3.   If it is necessary to delay for the information, you will return and make a subsequent trip to pick up Mr. Scoval.

Very respectfully,               

Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy,         

Commander in Chief, U.S.Naval Force, 

North Atlantic Station.             

Source Note: TCy, AFNRC, M625, roll 228. Addressed below close: “The Commanding Officer/U. S. T. B. PORTER.” Document reference: “No. 9.” Docketed: “U.S. Flagship New York,/(1st RATE.)/Off Havana, Cuba,/April 30 1898/SAMPSON, W. T./ CAPTAIN Rear Ad./Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Naval Force,/North Atlantic Station./SUBJECT:/Copy of orders to/Commanding Off./U.S. T. B. PORTER.” Document features a stamp from the “BUREAU OF NAVIGATION” dated 5 May 1898, with the number “108250.”

Footnote 1: Sylvester H. Scovel was a correspondent for The New York World. He was well acquainted with the leadership of the Cuban insurgency after years of covering the war and acted as a currier and agent for the Navy in Cuba while continuing his reporting. Fremont and Scovel were to recover three other journalists, Francis H. Nichols, James H. Hare, and H. J. Whigham. The three correspondents were landed by the Triton on 26 April 1898, to relay news of the American declaration of war to Cuban insurgent leader Gen. Máximo Gómez y Báez and communicate a desire for collaboration. The trio found Gomez on 1 May, received correspondence from him for American military and civil leaders and were joined by a fourth American correspondent, Fred O. Somerford. The foursome then headed for the coast. In the meantime Scovel, now under the belief the other three correspondents had been capture, landed and proceeded into the jungle, missing the rendezvous. Short on provisions and fearing capture the foursome stole a fishing boat and sailed for Cárdenas where they were rescued by the torpedo boat Winslow on 7 May. Charles H. Brown, The Correspondent’s War: Journalists in the Spanish-American War (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1967), 176-81.

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