Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

United States Consul at Gibraltar Horatio J. Sprague to Lieutenant William S. Sims, United States Naval Attaché in Paris

Confidential.

Gibraltar, 25th May 1898   

My dear W. Sims

          Yours of the 15th and 20th instant duly received.

          The party you name has not presented himself.1

          Beyond the arrival of Spanish troops in this immediate neighborhood with more daily expected, consisting of infantry, artillery, Engineers and Cavalry, part of which is destined to garrison Ceuta, Tarifa, Canary Island &c, with the constant patrolling of torpedo boats and an auxiliary armed cruiser about the Straits, nothing is going on here to call attention.

          On is now anxious to learn regarding the future movements of the Cadiz fleet under the Command of Admiral Camara2 who was lately at Madrid in Consultation with the Spanish government.

          Newspapers from the Capital with private telegrams to the local journals here, seem to believe that the Admiral’s fleet will proceed to Cuba instead of the Philippine Islands, as was first given to suppose, and that the expedition is likely to take its departure at an early date, perhaps accompanied by a detachment of marines.3 I have already wired the Department of States to that effect, but every thing is yet Conjecture.

     It is reasonable to suppose however, that the Spanish government may wish to ascertain first something about the ultimate fate of the fleet under Admiral Cervera,4 before the carrying out of further naval movements from Cadiz -

I am very truly yours.           

Horation J. Sprague.             

P.S. My last was dated the 20th instant._

Source Note: ALS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 464. Document has a stamp with “OFFICE/Naval Intelligence,/JUN 15 1898 RECD,” in a rectangular box. Sims forwarded Sprague’s letter to Commodore ArentS. Crowninshield, Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, from Paris on 3 June 1898, with his own attached letter.

Footnote 1: Sims’ letters to Sprague have not been found and it is not clear who Sprague was supposed to meet on Sims’ behalf.

Footnote 3: Sprague included a Spanish newspaper clipping that translated says:

     Madrid 23---12.50 M. The squad that was ready to go in the direction of the Philippines, has been rerouted to Cuba and will leave tomorrow for their new destination.

A new echelon  has been ordered to form under the command of Cardinal Cisnero.

Footnote 4: Adm. Pascual Cervera y Topete.

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