Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Commodore George C. Remey, Commandant, Key West Naval Base, to Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet

        NAVAL BASE, KEY WEST [FL]      

U. S. Flagship Lancaster, August 2, 1898

My dear Admiral:

          For several days past the BADGER has been at Dry Tortugas, arranging for the disposal of three prize Spanish vessels, with a number of sick and wounded on board. Last night I transmitted to her Commanding Officer1 instructions from the Department, to send the prisoners into Havana in one of the least valuable of the prizes, or two of them, if necessary, and to use his discretion in sending the remaining vessel to New York or Havana. The BADGER ought soon to arrive in Key West: she has not been in here since she went over to the blockade on July 3d. I have had no orders about her since then.

     (2)   I have kept your telegram of July 23d in mind,2 about sending boats for the Indiana, New York, and Iowa by the Yosemite and BADGER. The heavier boats have been loaded aboard the coal schooner AUGUSTUS PALMER, and will go to Guantanamo probably today.

     (3)   Commodore Howell3 makes urgent request for more vessels, I think very properly. The MIANTONOMOH will go over to Havana tomorrow, and at his request the small torpedo boats and the CUSHING are going to Sagua la Grande and vicinity to operate. The BANCROFT, MAPLE, AND EAGLE are on station between the Isle of Pines and Cape Frances. It was in that locality that the Santo Domingo was run ashore and burned.4 The NASHVILLE is still at Gibara; so far the Department has taken no action on Commander Maynard’s report on the situation there.5

     (4) The LEBANON will get off probably today, with a schooner in tow. She has been loaded with all the stores and private matter and mail (not already sent by the FROLIC) accumulated up to the present day. It is very difficult to find out about many of the vessels, in regard to sending matter for them; and I request that you will send me all the information possible that will be of assistance in making shipments from this point to vessels acting to the eastw’d I am in the main cognizant of the vessels that are down on the south side of Cuba or to the eastward; but if they are sent north or back to Key West, the only information I can have of such movement, unless word is sent me, is by hearing of such vessel’s arrival at some northern port.

     (5)   When the YANKEE was here about the beginning of July, she was loaded with a large accumulation of stores, government and private, and mail; but she took it all north when she went by the Department’s order to New York, July 3d. On account of a suspected case of yellow fever the Department forbade anything to be removed from the vessel before sailing to this incident is principally due the non-receipt of certain stores, which has caused complaint.

Very truly yours,      

Geo. C. Remey          

Commodore Commanding

Source Note: TDS, DNA, RG 313, Entry 51. Addressed below close: “Rear Admiral/W. T. Sampson, U. S. Navy,/Commander-in-Chief, N. A. Fleet,/U. S. Flag-ship New York.” Stamp: “RECEIVED/FLAG-SHIP N. A. STATION/AUG 5 1898.”

Footnote 1: Cmdr. Albert S. Snow.

Footnote 2: Order has not been found.

Footnote 3: Commo. John A. Howell, Commanding, First Blockading Squadron.

Footnote 4: On the destruction of the Spanish steamer Santo Domingo, see: William H.H. Southerland to Remey, 12 July 1898.

Footnote 5: Cmdr. Washburn Maynard found Gibara abandoned by the Spanish and captured by Cuban forces, but in dire need of humanitarian aid. For the full report, see, Maynard to Sampson and Remey, 27 July 1898, Report of the Bureau of Navigation, 1898, 280-282. 

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