Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Lieutenant Edwin A. Anderson to Commander Bowman H. McCalla

U.S.S. Marblehead, 3d Rate

Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

June 11th 1898

Sir:

1. I have to make the following report of the search for mines in the channel leading to Guantanamo Harbor.

2. The steam launch of this vesell, conned by a Guantanamo Pilot, was used for dragging a grapnel fitted with about three fathoms of chain and forty fathoms of line _ A small boat was towed astern.

3. Thirteen lines were run parallel to the axis of the channel between Pt del Hicocal and Cayodel Hospital to within about 400 yards of the fort. The speed of the launch was regulated so as to keep the grapnel on the bottom, which was soft and covered with grass.

4. Zigzag lines were run across the channel, starting at Cayo del Toro. Off Cayo del Hospital the lines were run about twenty-five yards apart. A small boat grapnel, in addition to the one already mentioned, was used in running these lines. No signs of any mines were found.

5. When on the southern end of one of the lines I took the small boat alone and paddled up to the fort. Every thing seemed to be quiet and, as far as I could judge by the light, no new work had been done_ I could not see the gun boat.1

6. There were no lights along the shores and, although the night was very calm, there were no noises to indicate the presence of troops_

I would respectfully suggest that in case of further search for the mines two launches be used for sweeping. Two or three lengths of boat chains, with 14 pound leads at their4 ends could be used, and if the launches were kept well separated I think the presence of any mines could be determined without much doubt.2

Very respectfully

E. A. Anderson,

Lieutenant, USN

Source Note: ALS, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 231. Addressed below close: “The Commander,/USS Marblehead.” There are two stamps on the first page. One is an ellipsis shaped stamp with: “-USS-/*JUN 11 1898*/Marblehead.” The other stamp indicates: “RECEIVED/FLAG-SHIP N. A. STATION,/JUN 12.” There is a note at bottom of the last page of the report: “Approved and respectfully forwarded,/B.H.McCalla/Commander.” There is docketing on a separate sheet: “U. S. S. Marblehead/Guantanamo Bay, Cuba/June 11th 1898/Anderson, E. A./Lieutenant, U. S. N./Reporting search for/mines in channel to/Guantanamo Harbor, Cuba.” On the same page as the docketing is a Bureau of Navigation stamp with the date “JUN 25” on one side and “1898” on the other; the stamp also contains the identifying number “121988.”

Footnote 1: Spanish gunboat Sandoval.

Footnote 2: For the locations mentioned in this letter see: the map of Guantánamo Bay. For more on the anti-mining operations at Guantánamo Bay, see: Bowman H. McCalla, Lessons of the Late War, 1899.

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