Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Documentary Histories
Spanish-American War

Log of the Petrel

Log of the United States Ship “Petrel” 4th Rate Under the Command of Commander E. P. Wood,1 U.S.N, Manila Bay, Philippine Islands. Sunday, May 1st, 1898

Midnight to 4 A.M.

     Weather fair and warm. Lightning throughout watch. Light airs and breezes from East. Clouds moving from East. At 1:22 moon set. Standing up Manila Bay in column, natural order,2 flagship Leading. Crew at quarters on arms. About 12:20 gun on El Fraile fired three shots, which were returned by the Raleigh and Concord. At 130 flag ship signaled, “Speed 4 Knots.” At 2:55 sighted lighter of Manila. Av. steam 86. Av. rev. 71.6. Steam alone. Distilling

A.N. Wood.3

Lieut. U.S. Navy.

4 A.M. to 4 P.M.

     Weather fair and clear. Very warm. Light airs to gentle breezes from East. Batteries on shore began firing at 5:00. Cleared ship for action and manned guns. At 5:20 first shot was fire from Concord. Ships standing in for Kavite, Olympia leading, in exact column, Baltimore, Raleigh, Petrel, Concord and Boston following. Sighted several of enemy’s ships, one moored4 and several steaming in harbor of Kavite. Engaged in firing, column steaming from East to West, around in circle in front of shore. Had to cease firing several times on account of smoke, and ammunition running low. Ceased firing at 7:45. Went to breakfast. Several Spanish ships were seen to be on fire. Then at 11:00 got underway and steamed in column, Baltimore leading, then Olympia, Petrel, Raleigh and Boston, Concord standing to Eastward. At 1145 Petrel stood in for inside of breakwater. Stood well in and fired at ships that were not sunk or burning. During firing at one ship it was discovered that building flying Geneva Cross was in line of fire; stood in further so as to bring it out of range of fire. At 12:30 the Spanish flag was hauled down, and a white flag hoisted on government buildings. Stood in and anchored in 3 1/4 fathoms water, 15 fathoms chain. The Reina Christina, Castilla, Don Antonio de Ulloa, and a transport, probably Manila, found to be Mindanao, burning and sinking in outer harbor. In obedience to order from Commodore, sent Lieut. Hughes5 and whaleboat crew in to destroy vessels not sunk, he destroyed Don Juan of Austria, Isla de Cuba, Isla de Luzon, Marquis del Duero and General Lezen.6 The sent Ensign Fermier ashore to destroy the gunboat El Correo and one, name unknown, afterward found to be Velasco, making seven in all. Sent Lieut. Fiske7 ashore in steam whaleboat to ring off steam tug Rapido, brought off also Hercules, three steam launches and one whaleboat. Lieut. Plunkett8 was sent in steam launch to bring off boats moored in harbor, of which took two, one gig and one whaleboat belonging to the Reina Cristina, and hoisted them instead of 1st whaleboat and gig, which were cut away during action on account of being on fire. Weighed anchor at 1:50 and stood close in, so as to open inner Kavite mole. For ammunition expended during firing see list:[Ammunition expended first firing: 92 6” common shell, 79 6” full charges, 10 6” reduced charges, 60 3-pdr. ammunition, [com.], shell, 176 1-pdr. ammunition, [com.], shell.] No casualties or accidents during action. The following signals were made: . . .

W.S. Montgomery9

Ensign U.S.N.

4 to 6 P.M.

     Fair and warm. Light breeze from East. At 530 got underway and shifted anchorage.

A.N. Wood.

Lieut. U.S. Navy.

6 to 8 P.M.

     Fair and warm. Light breezes from East. At 620 anchored in 9 fms, 45 fms. port chain. Anchored 1 mile West of Flagship.

C.P. Plunkett. Lieut. U.S.N.

8 P.M. to Midnight.

     Generally clear and pleasant. Light breeze from East. Distilling. At 1100 the Concord came out and transferred Spanish officers, with letters to the Commander-in-Chief,10 to the Flagship and at 1130 returned to her place near Kavite. The secondary battery crew slept at their guns and sentinals were posted forward and aft.(Signed) Geo. L. Fermier, Ensign U.S.N

Examined and found to be correct.     I certify that this page is an exact copy of the log.

     B.A. Fiske,                                B.A. Fiske,

     Lieut. U.S.N., Navigator                   Lieut. Navigator

Source Note: CyD, Log Entry, DNA, RG 45, Entry 464. Document, “Certified Copy of Log of USS Petrel Under the Command of Commander E.P. Wood U.S.N. During the Engagements of May 1:98 and Aug. 13:98. At Manila,” on “ RECORD OF THE MISCELLANEOUS EVENTS OF THE DAY.” form.

Footnote 1: Comdr. Edward P. Wood.

Footnote 2: The Encyclopedia of Nautical Knowledge defines the use of “Natural” as: “In accordance with or governed by law or design.” In this case “natural order” refers to the order of ships and their heading being arranged before the battle. A.H. Lewis & William Alvin McEwen, Encyclopedia of Nautical Knowledge (Cambridge, MD: Cornel Maritime Press, 1953), 356.

Footnote 3: Lt. Albert N. Wood.

Footnote 4: The cruiser Castilla was leaking through its propeller apparatus. The affected area was sealed with cement and the leak stopped, but this made propulsion impossible and the Castilla’s only use was as a stationary floating gun platform. See: Admiral Patricio Montojo y Pasarón’s report from 1 May 1898.

Footnote 5: Lt. Edward M. Hughes.

Footnote 6: That is, General Lezo.

Footnote 7: That is, Elcano, En. George L. Fermier and Lt. Bradley A. Fiske.

Footnote 8: Lt. Charles P. Plunkett.

Footnote 9: Ens. William Montgomery. The signals mentioned were:

5 am., F. to Fleet, 9278; 510.F. to Fleet 2522; 800 F. to Fleet, annul 2522; 805,F. to Fleet 2577; 1000 F. t Fleet 3094; 1100, F. to Fleet 121; 1115, F. to Fleet 163; 1130, F. to Fleet, Dis. {5380; 1145, F. to P. 5211; 1210 P. to [shor] Internat’l D.W.H.B.; 1215 F. to P., [Tel] 4578, 5801, 3299, 8382; 1230, P. to Fleet 4169; 1250 P. to Flag., [Tel]. 4904, 624; 230 P. to C. for Flag, [Tel]. 9287, 756, 3637, 8374, 1357, 1810; several times during action [4] was hoisted, times not noted.

Footnote 10: Commodore George Dewey

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