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Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet, Fleet Memorandum No. 15


U. S. Flagship New York, 1st Rate,

Off Santiago de Cuba, Cuba,

June 10, 1898,


     The use of the SEARCH LIGHTS during the dark hours of last night clearly indicates that the lights can be used with the greatest efficiency if sufficient care is taken for this purpose. It is absolutely necessary that the beam of light should be held steadily up the channel into the harbor.

     Under these circumstances it is believed to be practically impossible for a vessel to escape detection in any attempt to come out. I therefore enjoin the Commanding Officers of the “Iowa, the “Oregon, and theMassachusetts” to move forward into their positions,1 not more than two miles from the entrance, with the entrance bearing North by East; the “Iowa” arriving first—at seven-thirty, and will place her light squarely up the entrance into the harbor and hold it steadily, except during the time required to change from one search light to another, as may be required. At the end of two hours from 7:30 p.m. she will be relieved by the “Oregon, and in turn she will be relieved by the “Massachusetts”, each of these vessels when relieved going back to her blockading position—three miles from the entrance.

     It is most important that the lights should be held as nearly stationary as possible, and that no discrimination be left to the person manipulating the light. It is believed that this method of using the search light will prove to be all that is necessary or advantageous in blocking the harbor.

Very respectfully,


Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy,

Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Force,

North Atlantic Station.

Source Note: TD, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 231.

Footnote 1: Battleship Iowa, Capt. Robley D. Evans, commanding; battleship Oregon, Capt. Charles E. Clark, commanding; battleship Massachusetts, Capt. Francis J. Higginson.

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