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Commander Bowman H. McCalla to Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet

U. S. S. Marblehead, 3rd. Rate.

Guantanamo, Cuba.

June 25th, 1898.


1.  I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of an order issued yesterday directing that a reconnaisance be made of all the high land on Hicocal Point.1 This was successfully accomplished this morning, and although no enemy was found in that locality, the experience gained in the work cannot fail to be of benefit to both Officers and men.

After the reconnaissance the Cubans scouted to the westward. From the mast head of the Marblehead a Spanish picket could be seen at the northern end of the hill, a mile from shore, and on the east side of the road leading to Caimanero.2

2.  So soon as the troops were re-embarked the sweeping was resumed in the channel between Hicocal Point and Cayo del Hospital by the same Officers and men of the Marblehead and Dolphin who took part in the sweepings previously reported.3 Three floating mines were found by them. Later in the morning, steam launches and whale boats from the Bancroft and Helena in command of Ensign C. Davis,4 assisted in sweeping the channel, finding a fourth mine, making thirteen in all.

3.  A new blower engine, to replace one broken down and referred to in the recent report of the Surgeon,5 was received from the Celtic yesterday and is now being installed.

Very respectfully,     

B.H. McCalla

Commander, U.S.N. Commanding.

Source Note: TLS, DNA, RG 313, Entry 48. Addressed below close: “The Commander-in-Chief./ (1 Enclosure).” Docketed: “U. S. S. Marblehead 3rd Rate,/Guantanamo, Cuba,/June 25th, 1898./McCalla, B. H.,/Commander, U. S. Navy,/Reports making a reconnaissance/of Hicocal Point.” Document reference: “No. 107.” At top right corner stamped: “RECEIVED/FLAG-SHIP N.A. STATION,/JUN 25 1898.”

Footnote 1: This order has not been found.

Footnote 2: That is, Caimanera, Cuba.

Footnote 4: En. Cleland Davis.

Footnote 5: Blower engines were used to keep engine rooms free from steam. The United States Navy in the Spanish-American War of 1898: Narratives of the Chief Events by U. S. Naval Officers Taken from Various Magazines in which They First Appeared and Bound in One Volume (1899) 1: 705. For more information, see: Passed Asst. Surgeon Andrew R. Wentworth to Medical Inspector Michael C. Drennan, 20 June 1898.

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