Lieutenant Commander Adolph Marix to Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet.
U. S. S. Scorpion, (25)
August 9, 1898.
I have the honor to make the following report of an event which occurred two months ago, of which no report was handed in at the time, because it did not culminate in an engagement, and was therefore not called for in the regulations; but having recently learned on board your Flagship that the Official Record of a ship depends largely upon these reports, I ask permission to submit this now.
At daybreak on June 8, while this ship was convoying the ammunition ship “AMERIA” and the provision ship “SUPPLY”, from Key West to Santiago, a steamer’s smoke was sighted on our starboard quarter in the direction of Nuevitas, which place was about 20 miles off. The “AMERIA” signalled for this ship to take station astern; but considering it advisable to meet an enemy as far away from the convoys as possible, we turned around and headed for the steamer. As soon as she was made out to be a man of war went to General Quarters.
She proved to be of modern type, of considerable size, and painted like the Spanish men of war recently seen at Havana. It was impossible to make out her flag, being dead calm, although a tinge of red could be plainly distinguished. As far as I am able to say, no one doubted that she was a Spaniard. I certainly did not. When about 1000 yards of each other both vessels stopped and our starboard battery was brought to bear, but numerous orders given not to fire until the word. A very few minutes after this the flag blew out a little and was made out to be British. The vessel was the “TALBOT”.
I am glad to be able to state that most of our crew looked disappointed at this, although I myself felt differently; for we would have had a very slight chance against a vessel of that type and size, and it was only the necessity of giving the convoys under my charge a chance to escape, that I decided to engage such an enemy.
Source Note: TLS, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 231. Addressed below close:”The Commander-in-Chief,/U.S.Naval Force, N.A.Station,/U.S.F.S.NEW YORK, Guantanamo, Cuba.” Stamp on first page: “RECEIVED/FLAG-SHIP N. A. STATION./AUG 13 1898.” Docketed in left column: Bureau of Navigation with date “AUG 22 1898” and identification no. “133690.” Docketed: “U.S.S. Scorpion (25)/Daiquiri, Cuba,/August 9, 1898/Marix A,/Lieut Comdr.U.S.N.,/Comdg./Report of meeting British/man of war ‘Talbot’ June 8,/1898.” Forwarded: Docketed in right column: “U. S. FLAGSHIP NEW YORK,/At Sea-/Aug 17 1898./RESPECTFULLY REFERRED/TO Secretary of the Navy/W.T. Sampson/Rear Admiral/COMMANDER IN CHIEF U. S. NAVAL FORCE,/NORTH ATLANTIC STATION.”