Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Lieutenant Francis J. Haeseler to Captain John W. Philip

U. S. S. TEXAS,

Santiago de Cuba, 

July 2nd., 1898

Sir,

I beg to call your attention to the following plan for attempting to dismount the guns of the Western Battery by gun fire.1

The angles of fall for the different calibres of great guns of this ship average, at 1600 yards,about 1" 50', which is also the angle of sight for this battery at that range; therefore, at this point in the trajectory the projectile is traveling in a horizontal line which will reduce to a minimum the error due to an error in estimating the range.

I beg to suggest that,if the ship engages this fort at from 3000 to 2500 yards ,or less, until it is silenced, and then closes to fifteen hundred yards, she will be able to use the secondary battery with great effect, keeping the guns of the forts silenced while an attempt is made to dismount them with the main battery. One ship alone will make the firing to be much more accurate and it is believed that these guns could be dismounted in this manner with a less expenditure of ammunition and with less danger to the crew than by general firing at longer ranges. If necessary, ships could relieve each other at the firing point, which could be indicated by anchoring a box or other object which would not look like a buoy, with a piece of cod line and a small anchor, thus enabling an accurate range to be used when once determined.

The best light for firing at this fort is during the afternoon.

Very respectfully.     

F. J. Haeseler    

Lieut. U.S.Navy

Source Note: TLS, DNA, RG 313, Entry 48. Addressed below close: “The Commanding Officer,” Stamped at top center: “RECEIVED/flag-ship n. a. station./JUL 2 1898.” Typewritten in italics. Note: “ U. S. S. TEXAS/Off Santiago de Cuba/July 2nd. 1898./Respectfully forwarded for/the information of the Command/er–in–Chief of the North At-/lantic Station./J.W. Philip/Captain Commanding.”

Footnote 1: The western battery of Morro Castle (El Morro) at the entrance to Santiago de Cuba harbor.

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