North Atlantic Fleet Squadron Bulletin No. 25
U. S. Flagship New York. Off Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
THURSDAY, JULY 7, 1898.
THE Massachusetts and Texas paid a visit to the wrecks of the [Almirante Oquendo] and Infanta Maria Teresa.
An effort was made by the flagship to communicate with General Cebreco at Guayacabon and deliver some provisions for the Cuban troops, but without avail; the whereabouts of none of his force could be discovered. It was important to communicate with him in order to inform him as to the existence of a truce which was to last, under certain circumstances, until noon of the ninth. The basis of this was the following letter from General Shafter to the Spanish Commander-in-Chief.
Headquarters 5th Army Corps.
Camp near San Juan River, Cuba.
The General-in-Chief, July 6th, 1898.
Commanding the Spanish Forces,
Santiago de Cuba.
1.─In view of the events of the 3rd instant I have the honor to lay before your Excellency certain propositions to which I trust your Excellency will give the consideration which, in my opinion, they deserve.
2.─I enclose a bulletin of the engagement of Sunday morning which resulted in the complete destruction of Admiral Cervera’s fleet, the loss of 600 of his officers and men and the capture of the remainder. The Admiral, General Paredes and all others who escaped alive are now prisoners on board the Harvard and St. Louis, and the latter ship, in which are the Admrial, General Paredes and the surviving Captains (all except the Captain of the Almirante Oquendo, who was slain,) has already sailed for the United States. If desired by you, this may be confirmed by your Excellency sending an officer under a flag of truce to Admiral Sampson and he can arrange to visit the Harvard, which will not sail until to-morrow, and obtain the details from Spanish officers and men aboard that ship.
3.─Our fleet is now perfectly free to act, and I have the honor to state that, unless a surrender be arranged by noon of the ninth instant, a bombardment of the city will be begun and continued by the heavy guns of our ships. The city is within easy range of these guns, the eight-inch being capable of firing nine thousand five hundred yards, the thirteen-inch of course much farther. The ships can so lie that with a range of eight thousand yards they can reach the center of the city.
4.─I make this suggestion of a surrender purely in a humanitarian spirit. I do not wish to cause the slaughter of any more men either of your Excellency’s forces or my own; the final result, under circumstances so disadvantageous to your Excellency, being a foregone conclusion.
5.─As your Excellency may wish to make reference of so momentous a question to your Excellency’s home government, it is for this purpose that I have placed the time of the resumption of hostilities sufficiently far in the future to allow a reply being received.
6.─I beg an early answer from your Excellency.
I have the honor to be your Excellency’s obedient servant,
WILLIAM R. SHAFTER, Major-General, U. S. V.,
Commanding 5th Army Corps.
During the evening the Commander-in-Chief was informed, by letter from General Shafter, that the Spanish Commander had decided to refer the question to Madrid.
Commander Watson shifted his broad pennant from the Oregon to the Newark.
The Brooklyn, flying the broad pennant of Commodore Schley, returned from Guantanamo.