Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

North Atlantic Fleet Squadron Bulletin No. 54

Squadron Bulletin.

U. S. Flagship New York.         Off Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 5, 1898.

THE Frolic came in at 8.30 p. m. from Key West with mails.

     The Senior arrived with a wrecking party for the Colon; material in the way of pontoons and bags with a displacement of 8 or 9 tons is following.1

     The Marines broke camp and went on board the Resolute preparatory to service elsewhere.2 The Battalion has been remarkably healthy during its stay at Playa del Este, its condition being a marked tribute to the precautions and care exercised as to its well-being. It shows in how great a degree the question of health in the tropics, even in the worst season, is made to depend upon foresight and care. Their camp was, of course, exceptional well-placed, with no swamps, with good drainage, dry, etc., but the earlier days of their duty ashore were of a very trying character, and, had not special care been taken, would have resulted in sickness. The distilled water used, furnished by the ships, no doubt contributed very materially to this good result. The question of health is an interesting and most important one, and the following information will not be amiss.3

     The following shows the number of officers and men aboard each ship except the Supply now in Guantanamo Bay and the number of sick:

Number of

people aboard.

Number of

sick.

New York

658

21

OREGON

555

14

BROOKLYN

560

27

MASSACHUSETTS

516

21

NEWARK

315

14

IOWA

583

8

INDIANA

562

13

DIXIE

325

2

MARBLEHEAD

269

6

YANKEE

324

5

DETROIT

250

3

VESUVIUS

79

0

Resolute

122

11

SCORPION

111

4

VIXEN

80

6

WOMPATUCK

32

0

OSCEOLA

28

4

MARINE BATTALION

496

12

5865

171

     This gives an average of about three per cent. sick for the ships and about two and a half for the MARINE BATTALION.

Source Note: Printed, DNA, RG 313, Entry 56. This bulletin was produced on a printing press on New York (the flagship of RAdm. William T. Sampson’s North Atlantic fleet) and was distributed to the vessels. It is listed as number 54 in Squadron Bulletins, 85-86.

Footnote 1: The attempt to salvage the Spanish cruiser Cristóbal Colón, which was sunk by its crew during the Battle of Santiago on 3 July 1898, was unsuccessful. Chadwick, The Spanish-American War, 2: 319.

Footnote 2: The Marines were sent to capture the Cuban port of Manzanillo, however, the war ended before they began operations. See: Naval Operations at Manzanillo.

Footnote 3: This comment was a “dig” at the Army Fifth Corps at Santiago de Cuba, whose commander reported on 3 August 1898 that seventy-five per cent of his troops were suffering from malaria and that an epidemic of yellow fever was taking hold within his command. William T. Shafter to Henry C. Corbin, 3 August 1898, Correspondence-War with Spain, 1: 200-1.

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