Lieutenant Commander Raymond P. Rodgers to Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet
U. S. S. I O W A, 1st Rate.
Off Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
June 15th, 1898.
S i r:-
I have the honor to make the following report of the engagement of the batteries at Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, this morning, in which the IOWA took part.
1. In obedience to the instructions contained in your Order of Battle, dated yesterday, the men were given an early breakfast at 4:00 O’Clock, and the ship was cleared for action at 4:30.
At 4:52 went to General Quarters. At this time the vessel was about 4,000 yards distant from the Morro; it bearing North by West.
2. All the crews of guns not actually engaged were sent below, within the case-mate armor.
3. At 5:14, upon signal from the Flagship, this vessel headed to the north-eastward, and closed upon the NEW ORLEANS as much as the position of the OREGON would permit.
4. At 5:23 the IOWA commenced firing. The guns engaged were:
All the turret guns and the four-inch rapid fire guns.
At 5:32 ceased firing in obedience to signal.
(a.) The ranges employed during this interval varied between 3300 and 3100 yards.
At 5:37 again commenced firing, and
At 5:45 ceased firing, in obedience to signal.
(b.) The ranges employed during this interval were between 2800 and 2700 yards.
5. During this interval the fire of this ship was much interfered with by the position occupied by the NEW ORLEANS, which had stood across the line and lay for some time, nearly stopped, directly in our line of fire.
At 5:51, again commenced firing and continued until 5:56; when the firing ceased in obedience to signal.
(c.) The ranges employed during this interval varied between 2700 and 2600 yards.
6. At 6:06 the Flagship signalled to withdraw and resume blockading station. This vessel then hauled off to the southward and steamed slowly to its prescribed station, south of the Morro.
7. During the engagement the port battery alone was engaged. The fire was directed entirely against the eastern battery.
8. The enemy’s fire was fairly strong during the first interval referred to above; but during the second and third intervals its fire became slackened, and during the third interval the eastern battery may be said to have been silent, and it remained silent while the vessels were standing out to their blockading stations.
9. While the vessels were withdrawing, and while the OREGON was in line with the Punta Gorda battery, this battery fired several shots at the squadron. Some of the projectiles struck abreast of this ship and astern of the OREGON.
10. No casualties occurred on board this ship; nor was its hull or fittings in any way injured.
11. The following ammunition was expended:-
9, 12 - inch Semi A.P. Shell; with reduced charges.
16, 8 – inch Common Shell; four with full charges, and twelve with reduced charges.
37, 4 – inch Cartridges; with Common Shell.
12. There are no accidents to the battery to report, except in the case of the two 12 – inch guns in the forward turret.
The elevating gear of the right gun of the forward turret worked stiffly, and after the second round was fired it jammed and could not be worked. This gun is now out of action. The elevating gear is being overhauled; but at the present moment the time required for its repair cannot be definitely stated.
The left gun, at the third round fired by it, carried away its dash pot. The dash-pot head was driven through its collar, the top of the threads stripping.
The broken dash pot is being removed, and will be replaced by one of the old dash-pots; so that it is probable that this gun will be ready for service to-night.
I append, hereto, the report of Lieutenant L. S. Van Duzer, the Officer of this Division concerning the injuries to these two guns.
13. The numerous cases of failures of the dash-pots and the recent failures of the elevating apparatus of these 12 – inch turret guns indicate that they are, in these respects, too light in design. A set of new, and stronger, dash-pots is required for these guns at the earliest moment.