Captain Charles E. Clark to Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet
U.S.S.Oregon, 1st rate,
Off Santiago de Cuba
I have the honor to report that the firing last night must have been mainly from machine guns perhaps landed from the Spanish fleet. As the videttes who afterwards passed within hail made no reports I have no idea whether they were fired upon or not. Bullets were reported passing over the ship1 that may have been aimed at the searchlight2 or they may have glanced in our direction after being fired at another object. We went to quarters and trained our guns towards the batteries but as the latter did not open fire we soon after secured. Previous to, during, and after the firing the searchlight illuminated the entrance so clearly that I felt assured no vessel or boat even attempted to come out.
Source Note: TLS, DNA, RG 313, Entry 48, Box 5. Addressed below close: “The Commander-in-Chief,/U.S.Naval Force,/North Atlantic Station.” Identification number at top of first page: “#6.” Docketed on separate sheet in a mixture of printed and handwritten information: “U.S.S. Oregon/Santiago de Cuba/June 13, 1898/Clark, C.E./Captain, U.S. Navy/Commanding/Subject/Reporting firing/from shore/Enclosure______.” The second, third, fourth, eighth, and ninth lines are handwritten. There is also a stamp on the top of the first page of the letter that reads: “RECEIVED/FLAG-SHIP N. A. STATION/JUN 14 1898.”
Footnote 1: That is, Oregon.
Footnote 2: Sampson had ordered that the entrance to Santiago de Cuba harbor be illuminated nightly using searchlights on board the American blockading vessels so as to detect any attempt by the Spanish fleet to come out of the harbor under cover of darkness. See: Sampson Fleet Memorandum No. 15, 10 June 1898.