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        

U. S. FLAGSHIP SUWANEE

Key West, Fla, May 24, 1898

Sir:-

     (1) Yesterday afternoon, about 5 p. m., Commodore Watson1 reported in my office from you, desiring all the vessels in this port that could be spared, to report to you or on the blockade off Havana.

     (2) At the time of Commodore Watson’s arrival, I was more than busy with telegrams, etc, and told him, at his suggestion, after some hesitation and reflection, that the Panther2 could take the Amphitrite in tow and join you as soon as the vessel could be made ready and the Marines be landed from the Panther; that the Terror could not go, as her Commanding Officer3 had informed me only a few hours before that his vessel could not be made ready for sea until certain repairs (then being made) were completed.

     (3) This was my understanding also about 7 p. m. with Flag Lieutenant-Commander Davenport.4 On my return from my office to the Flagship SUWANEE, about 10 p. m., a note left by Mr Davenport was handed to me, which informed me that Commodore Watson had arranged to tow the Terror by the Panther, and that the Amphitrite was to go by her own steam, thus taking both vessels from this harbor.

     (4) Upon mature deliberation I decided to retain the Terror in this port, directing that her boilers be scaled at once, in order to get the vessel ready for service. I have been influenced by the consideration that if the boilers of the monitor class are not closely watched,5 the services of these vessels will be lost for a long time; and also by the Department’s telegraphic instructions of the 18th instant, to the Flying Squadron through the Commandant, that the Puritan and Miantonomoh be left to defend Key West.

     (5) In this defense I shall always make use of the vessels most in need of repairs and overhauling, sending them to you when in cruising trim.

     (6) It is not only my duty but also my earnest desire to co-operate with you in the heartiest manner, and help you in every way possible to execute your plans.

Very respectfully,     

Geo. C. Remey          

Commodore Commanding   

Source Note: TDS, DNA, RG 313, Entry 51. Addressed below close: “The COMMANDER-in-CHIEF,/U. S. Naval Force on North Atlantic Station,/U. S. Flagship New York.” Stamp on top of first page: “RECEIVED/FLAG-SHIP N. A. STATION/MAY 25 1898.” Docketed on separate sheet: Naval Base/Key West & Dry Tortugas/U.S.F.S. SUWANEE/May 24, 1898/Remey, Geo.C./Commodore Comdg/Regarding movements of/ships.”

Footnote 1: Commo. John C. Watson., Commander, Squadron Blockading Northern Cuba. For Watson’s description of his time at Key West see: Watson to Sampson, 27 May 1898.

Footnote 2: Panther convoyed the 1st Marine Battalion. They arrived at Guantánamo on 10 June 1898. John R. Spears, Our Navy in the War with Spain (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1898), 261.

Footnote 3: Capt. Nicoll Ludlow.

Footnote 4: Lt. Cmdr. Richard G. Davenport.

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