Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Captain William P. Biddle , United States Marine Corps, to Captain Charles V. Gridley

U.S. FLAGSHIP OLYMPIA,

CAVITE, PHILIPPINE ISLANDS,

MAY 2, 1898,

Sir:-

     I have the honor to submit the following report of the Marines on this ship during the Battle of Manila Bay on May 1st.,1898. The men were distributed or assigned as follows: 1 Sergeant and 4 Privates manned a 6 pdr. gunthroughout the engagement, 2 crews for 5inch and 2 crews for 6 pdr. guns, as relief or reserve crews, were held under me on superstructure deck acting as sharpshooters, 6 Privates were posted along superstructure deck keeping up communications from bridge with gun divisions, 1 Private was on after bridge and another in forward pilot house at speaking tubes, 1 Sergeant and 1 Private were orderlies to Commander-in-Chief,1 1 Private was orderly to yourself.

     During the engagement a torpedo boat2 was reported 500 [torn] on the starboard bow when the sharpshooters opened fire [torn] they also fired for a short period when the range was about [torn] yards, expending altogether about 1000 rounds small arm am (Cal. 45.) No Marine was hurt or struck.

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

W.P. Biddle

Captain Commanding Marine Guard and

 Marine Officer of the Fleet.

Source Note: CyS, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 363. Addressed below close: ”The Commanding Officer,/U.S.F.S. OLYMPIA.” Docketed: “U.S.F.S. OLYMPIA/Cavite PI/May 2 1898/ Biddle, WP/Capt USMC,/Report of Marines during the Battle of Manila Bay./Endorsed CV Gridley.”

Footnote 1: Commo. George Dewey, Commander, Asiatic Squadron.

Footnote 2: This torpedo boat was actually an unarmed Filipino launch that was attempting to flee the battle. Spector, Admiral of the New Empire, 60.

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