Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet, to Secretary of the Navy John D. Long

GUANTANAMO BAY, JULY 25th,1898.

              THERE ARE ABOUT FIVE THOUSAND SPANISH SOLDIERS IN GUANTANAMO AND CAIMANERA SEVENTEEN HUNDRED OF THEM SICK. THEY HAVE NOT YET BEEN CONGREGATED IN ONE ENCAMPMENT AS SUGGESTED BY US BETWEEN TWO RIVERS ON THE NORTH AND WEST AND POINT MANATI ON AND WEST SIDE OF JOA. THERE ARE POLITICAL PRISONERS STILL IN JAIL IN GUANTANAMO KEPT THERE BY ORDER OF GENERAL PAREJA1 FOR THEIR SAFETY FROM THE VIOLENCE OF THE SPANISH VOLUNTEERS WHO HAVE ALREADY IT IS SAID BY CONSUL BROOKS2 ATTEMPTED TO TAKE THEM FROM JAIL BEING PREVENTED ONLY BY A FORCE OF CAVALRY IN THE STREETS BY PAREJA’S ENERGY. THESE POLITICALS ARE STILL UNDER SPANISH CONTROL AND CANNOT WITH SAFETY BE REMOVED UNTIL THE CITY IS OCCUPIED BY OUR FORCES OR CUBAN AUTHORITIES. STEPS SHOULD BE TAKEN IN INTEREST OF SANITATION AND HUMANITY, AND GARRISON BE PLACED IN GUANTANAMO SO THAT THE PROSPERITY OF THE DISTRICT MAY BEGIN WITH THE REOPENING OF THE PORT. TWO LINES OF TORPEDOES HAVE BEEN REMOVED FROM THE CHANNEL IN FRONT OF FORT AND COMMERCIAL VESSELS MAY NOW PASS TO CAIMANERA, BUT STEPS MUST BE TAKEN FOR ORGANIZATION.

     160.000 RATIONS ARRIVED THIS MORNING FROM SANTIAGO, BUT THE MASTER OF THE TRANSPORT COMES TO ME FOR ORDERS NOT KNOWING WHAT TO DO WITH THEM. I HESITATE TO TAKE ANY STEPS IN THESE MATTERS WITHOUT REQUEST FROM THE ARMY THOUGH MOST READY TO ASSIST IF DESIRED.

     SENT FOLLOWING TO SHAFTER:3

              TRANSPORT 51 ARRIVES WITH 160.000 RATIONS AND RESQUESTED DIRECTIONS. HAVE SENT IT TO CAIMANERA. IS THIS WHAT WAS DESIRED AND CAN I DO ANYTHING TO AID YOUR WORK IN THIS VICINITY.

SAMPSON.  

Source Note: TD, DNA, RG 313, Entry 47. Typist’s initials in left-hand corner: “EVS.” Address above open: “SECNAV./WASHINGTON.” The letters “cl” appear below Sampson’s name.

Footnote 1: Spanish Brig. Gen. Félix Pareja Mesa.

Footnote 2: United States Consul at Guantanamo Paul Brooks.

Footnote 3: Maj. Gen. William R. Shafter.

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