Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Commodore John C. Watson, Commander, Blockading Squadron, to Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet

U.S.S. Dolphin,               

Key West, Fla.,          

May 16,1898.      

S i r:--

     1.   I have the honor to inform you that in obedience to orders from the Secretary of the Navy,dated April 28,1898, (copy enclosed),1I arrived at Key West, Florida,very early on morning May 6th,1898,having been delayed twenty-four hours by erroneous information as to connections with Key West,given me by responsible agents of Pennsylvania Railroad in Philadelphia and Washington,and again delayed some fifteen hours by bad railroad wreck.

     2.   As you had left the coast of Cuba,and the Senior Officer2 in Key West did not know your destination,I showed him my orders and hoisted my broad pennant on the U.S.S. “CINCINNATI” the same day (May 6th),reporting by wire to the Navy Department,that I had done so.

     3.   That afternoon,Commodore Remey3 arrived,and took general command of the Key West Naval Base,hoisting his broad pennant on the “MIANTONOMOH.” On the 10th instant,by telegraphic instructions from the Department,I transferred my pennant to the “Dolphin” (on which vessel it is now flying,) and as soon thereafter as the requirements of the command and of telegraphic instructions justified,via: early on the morning of the 12th,I proceeded to the Northern coast of Cuba,and inspected the blockading stations,from Cabanas,to Cardenas inclusive, and found the blockade efficient.

     4.   I returned here Sunday afternoon to urge that the Flying Squadron be ordered to proceed from Charleston,direct to Havana blockade,to prevent possibility of blockade being broken while your force was coaling,provided you had not recommended other disposition. Commodore Remey, however,deemed it best not to send any such cable message,and I did not insist on sending it.

     5.   I am returning to Havana blockade to-night to reach there early in the morning.   

Very respectfully,               

J.C. Watson                 

Commodore U.S.N,       

Commanding Division U.S.Naval Force  

On North Atlantic Station.       

Source Note: TDS, DNA, RG 313, Entry 53. Addressed below close: “The Commander-in-Chief,/North Atlantic Station.” Note on bottom of page: “(1 Enc.)” Document reference: #14. Stamped upper-right corner: “RECEIVED/FLAG-SHIP N.A. STATION/MAY 18 1898.”

Footnote 2: Cmdr. James M. Forsyth.

Footnote 3: Commo. George C. Remey.

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