Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Lieutenant Lucien Young to Captain Caspar F. Goodrich

U.S.S.Hist,                  

Manzanillo,Cuba,     

August 13th,1898. 

Sir:-

     I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by this vessel in the attack of yesterday upon the fortifications of Manzanillo.

     The vessel,after piloting the squadron to off the Northern Entrance to the harbor,proceeded at full speed to Calicito, about six miles south of Manzanillo,in order to communicate with the Cuban forces at that place consisting of a squadron of cavalry. Lieutenant Colonel Rodriguez de Socoaras was brought on board and given information of our arrival and intentions He was instructed to at once convey such knowledge to General Rabi and Rios,1the two Cuban Generals,encamped with about 500 troops at Blenquizal,2and to further instruct them that should they hear our guns they were to at once assault the Spanish forces from the rear. This errand having been accomplished,the vessel returned to anchorage near the “Suwanee” off the Northern Cay of the Harbor.3

     Cleared ship for action at 1.35 P.M. in accordance with General Signal and was later on informed by the Commanding Officer of the “Suwanee4 of your plans of action and for me to follow in his wake and his movements,the Osceola to lead. At 3.20 got under way and went to General Quarters. We entered the harbor by the western entrance between the Cays and when clear,fired one shot for range,at the fort on the end of Caimenara wharf,but it fell far short.

     Turning with the starboard helm and still following the “Suwanee,I brought the fort within range and opened fire with the bow 3pdr. and starboard 6pdr. and continued to fire upon that fort,the block-house to the rear and fort on the hill until the signal was made to cease firing,at 4.17. Shortly after the Newark opened fire I saw a gun open from the fort on the crest of the hill and also one from the Saragossa battery but did not see their fall,hence was unable to judge of the direction of their fire.From where we were the shots from the Newark could be well marked and they were doing fine work. Off the end of Caimenara wharf and in mid channel,this vessel ran so close to a triangular wooden buoy anchored with a large rope,that the helm had to be quickly put over to throw the stern clear. Close to and farther on were three more buoys exactly similar and I was unable to make out whether they were for range flags or torpedoes, more likely the latter from their appearance.

     After the vessels had ceased firing and all appeared quiet on shore,the white flag in front of the barracks on the hill,troops moving about the streets and the Alvarado approaching the city flying the white flag;we were suddenly fired upon from a sand battery near the center of the town at a range certainly not in excess of 400 yards.Three shots were fired,apperantly one at each of our three vessels,and the one aimed at  this vessel passed over the deck-house. I immediately gave orders to open fire with the entire battery at the fort and buildings to the rear. In a few seconds the fight became general,all the forts,field batteries and troops keeping up a continuous fusillad,5which was returned by this vessel; first by the starboard battery and then winded and with the port and again with the starboard battery; until 5pm when the three vessels steamed out and came to anchor,as per signal,close to the “Newark” at the Northern Entrance. Although many shots came dangerously close to this vessel,especially those from a field gun on the end of Caimenara wharf,not one struck the vessel and there were no casu[a]lties.6

     During the action the working of the battery was extremely unsatisfactory,in the first place the two after 3pdrs were out of commission owing to the securing bolts having been sent to Guantanamo for repairs about one week before and had not been returned. The firing spring of the forward 3pdr - Hotchkiss would lose its tension after about three shots and necessitated a cessation of fire from that gun while it was being taken out and spread,a serious fault I have experienced with this gun in every action so far. The Automatic Colt jammed twice. All four Maxims failed to function after the first or fourth round,due to insufficient play of the lever made so by strain or some unknown cause that weakened the mechanism. They could not at the time,be made to work either automatically or single the main work was performed by the two 6pdr. Driggs-Shroeder which gave entire satisfaction.

     The number of shots fired during the engagement were deliberate,with care and precision and consisted of 32-3pdr Common Shell,47-6pdr armour piercing and 4-37mm. common shell and 90-6mm. cartridges from the automatic Colt.

     The officers and crew acted in a most enthusiastic and commendable manner. The Executive Officer,Lieutenant (J.G.) C.W.Hazeltine7 and Assistant Engineer E.S.Kellogg8 rendered especial assistance,the first in the general workings of the vessel and the battery,and the latter in admirable handling of the engines while winding ship twice under a galling fire.

     In conclusion I congratulate you upon having fought the last fight and fired the last gun,I hope of this war,and for the magnificent work performed by all the vessels under your command against such a superior force. It is with great pleasure I was enabled to be with you upon this occasion.

I am respectfully,          

Lucien Young           

Lieut.,U.S.N.,Commanding.

Source Note: TDS, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 238. Addressed below close: “Captain C.F.Goodrich,U.S.N.,/Commanding U.S.S.Newark and Senior Officer Present.” The docketing appears on a separate page in two columns. The left column starts with a “BUREAU OF NAVIGATION” stamp with the number designation “135895” and the date “AUG 31 1898.” Below that is: “U.S.S.Hist,/Off Manzanillo, Cuba,/Aug. 13th 1898./Young,Lucien,/Lieut.,U.S.N.,/Commanding./Report of battle off/Manzanillo,August 12th 1898. The right column begins: “U S S “Newark,”/Aug 14 1898/Respectfully forwarded/for the information/of Commander-in-/Chief./Captain, U. S. N./Command/U.S.F.S. Newark/August 16, 1898/ Forwarded to Comd in Chief/North Atlantic Station./JCWatson/Commodore/Comdr in Chief Eastern Squadron.”

Footnote 1: Cuban insurgent leaders Generals Jesús Sablón y Moreno, who used the nom de guerre Jesús Rabi, and Salvador Hernández y Rios.

Footnote 2: That is, Blanquizal, Cuba.

Footnote 3: That is, Manzanillo.

Footnote 4: Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Delahanty.

Footnote 5: “Fusillad” is handwritten.

Footnote 6: Someone handwrote the “a” in casualties, presumably after the letter had been typed.

Footnote 7: Lt. Junior Grade Charles W. Hazeltine.

Footnote 8: Asst. Eng. Edward S. Kellogg.

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