Captain Charles E. Clark to Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet
Off Cuban Coast,
1. I have the honor to report that,having been signaled at noon of this day by the U.S.S.BROOKLYN, “Report the name of six miles South Santiago de Cuba” (Tel.7854-8459-6439-8580-Geog.9198),proceeded in obedience thereto.
Out of a cloud of smoke on that bearing,which the Officer of the deck was about to report to me as a strange vessel approaching when the signal was made,a steamer was soon discovered heading to the Southward and running at a high rate of speed. Made every exertion to overtake her before she could reach the neutral waters of Jamaica forced draft being used,and at 2:45,p.m., having approached near enough,fired a gun.
The chase which showed American colors and immediately rounded to proved to be the tug TRITON and the officer whom I sent on board learned that her Master’s name was W.T.LEWIS, and that she had on board a correspondent of the New York Herald a Mr.Thomas F.Millard, and one from the New York World,Mr Alex C. Kenealy. Had the TRITON stopped or even slowed for a short time when it was evident that a government vessel was steaming at full speed in pursuit,a loss of fifty tons and an exhausting effort on the part of engineers and firemen,who were already weakened by the long trip from the Pacific might have been avoided. It was stated to the boarding officer that ,they did not know at first that they were being chased and afterwards thought the OREGON might be another news vessel.
2.During the run back met the MARBLEHEAD which vessel reported that we had mistaken the signal and that she had been sent to bring us back but this in no wise affects the attempt of the TRITON to escape being overhauled.
Source Note: TDS, DNA, RG 313, Entry 48, Box 5. Addressed below close: “The Commander-in-Chief,/U.S.Naval Forces,/North Atlantic Station.” Document reference: “#2.” Stamp: “RECEIVED/FLAG-SHIP N. A. STATION/ JUN 5 1898.” Docketed: “U. S. S. OREGON/Off Cuban Cos./June 2-/Clark CE/Captain, U. S. Navy/Commanding/Subject/Chasing tug/Triton/ Enclosures.”