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


Off Havana, April 28, 1898.

     I find that a large number of fishing schooners are attempting to get into Havana from their fishing grounds, near the Florida reefs and coast. They are generally manned by excellent seamen, belonging to the maritime inscription of Spain, who have already served in the French Navy, and who are liable to further service. As these trained men are naval reserves, have a semi-military character and would be most valuable to the Spaniards as artillery men either afloat or ashore, I recommend that they should be detained prisoners of war, and that I should be authorized to deliver them to the commanding officer of the Army at Key West.1


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 80, Entry 194, vol. 1, p. 24. Addressed before opening: “Secretary of the Navy,/Washington.”

Footnote 1: Long responded to Sampson on 30 April 1898, by telegram, stating:

Spanish fishing vessels attempting to violate blockade are subject, with crew, to capture, and any such vessel or crew considered likely to aid enemy may be detained. See, Sampson to Long, 30 April 1898, Ibid, 38.

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