Lieutenant Commander John B. Briggs to Captain Nehemia M. Dyer
May 3rd, 1898.
1. In compliance with Art. 525, U.S. Navy Regulations, I have the following report to submit of the action of May 1st, at KCavita. 2. The BALTIMORE was engaged twice during the day in company with other vessels of the Squadron. The action of the battery, and the conduct of all connected with it and its service were admirable. It is difficult to discriminate where coolness and efficiency prevailed throughout the ship’s company. The spirit and readiness of all were in the highest degree commendable. The service of the guns and the delivery of ammunition were most prompt, and the experience has indicated to me that when occasion demands, the supply of ammunition is sufficient to meet all probable wants. 3. The BALTIMORE was struck five times, with small projectiles, all of which, with one exception, exploded or broke up. The most serious hit, happily attended with no serious injury to any officer or man, came from a 4.7 in. steel projectile, which entered the ship’s side forward of the starboard gangway, about a foot above the line of the main deck. It passed through the hammock netting, downwards through the deck planks and steel deck, bending and cracking deck beam in Ward Room stateroom No. 5-- then glanced upwards through the after engine-room coming over against the after cylinder of No. 3, 6-inch gun (port) carrying away lug and starting1 several shield bolts and putting the gun out of commission, deflected over to the starboardside, striking a ventilator ladder and dropping on deck. In its passage it struck a box of 3-pdr. ammunition of the 4h division, exploding several charges, and wounded Lieutenant Kellogg,2 Ensign Irwin3 and 6 men of the gun’s crew-- none very seriously. A second shot came in about a foot above the berth deck, just forward of the blowers, passed through the ‘thwartship alleyway, hitting the exhaust pipe of the starboard blower, causing a slight leak. A third shot struck about two feet above the water line on the port side, abreast Bunker B-110, passed into the bunker, cutting blower drain and main air ducts, and exploding in bunker. A fourth shot came in about six6 feet above the water berth deck, starboard side, abreast the forward end of the forward wash-room, and broke up in a clothes-locker. A fifth struck starboard forward ventilator, slightly bending it. 4. The upper cabin skylight, the after range finder, and the two whale-boats hanging at the davits were all destroyed by the shock of discharge from the 8-inch guns of the 2nd division. 5. The holes in the port side were temporarily plugged with leak stoppers and afterwards patched with rubber and iron patches. No. 4 gun was gotten ready for use by the afternoon of May 2nd, Ensign N.E. Irwin devoting intelligent personal efforts to the accomplishment of the work.
Lieutenant Commander, U.S.N.,
Source Note: CyS, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 363. Addressed below close: “The/Commanding Officer.” Editing down was done at a later date by an unknown person.
Footnote 1: “Starting” a bolt involves loosening or tightening it.
Footnote 2: Lt. Frank W. Kellogg.
Footnote 3: En. Noble E. Irwin.