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Basilio Agustin y Dávila, Governor General of the Philippines, to the Government of Spain

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Telegram from the Captain General

of the Philippines, May 1, 1898.

     Last night, April 30, the batteries at the entrance to the port announced the arrival of the enemy’s squadron, forcing a passage under the obscurity of night. At daybreak the enemy took up position, opening with strong fire against Fort Cavite and the arsenal. Our fleet engaged the enemy in a brilliant combat, protected by the Cavite and Manila forts. They obliged the enemy with heavy loss to manoeuvre repeatedly. At nine o’clock the American squadron took refuge behind foreign shipping on the east side of the bay. Our fleet considering the enemy’s superiority, naturally suffered a severe loss. The Reina Cristina is on fire and another ship believed to be the Don Juan de Austria was blown up. There was considerable loss of life; Capt. Cadarso,1 commanding the Reina Cristina, is killed. I cannot now give further details. The spirit of the army, navy and volunteers is excellent.2

Source Note: Cy, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 363.

Footnote 1: Capt. Luis Cadarso y Rey.

Footnote 2: This woefully inaccurate cable was sent the evening of 1 May, before the Zafiro severed the telegraph cable out of Manila on 2 May. It was the only report available on the outcome of the Battle and its contents were published in advance of Dewey’s cable, which did not reach Washington until 7 May. That cable revealed the extent of the American victory. See: Dewey to Long, 1 May 1898.

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