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Rear Admiral Montgomery Sicard, President, Naval War Board, to Secretary of the Navy John D. Long

Navy Department,

Office of Naval War Board,

Washington, D. C.  July 11, 1898.         

     The board recommends that the following telegram be sent to Admiral Sampson.1


M. Sicard

Rear Admiral,

Pres. of the Board.

          The Department intends to send all the armored vessels except monitors to accompany Watson’s division, and to see it safely though Straits of Gibraltar. You will therefore, with utmost expedition, coal and fill with ammunition all Watson’s division;2 also New York, Brooklyn, Iowa, Indiana, Texas, New Orleans, Prairie Badger and Mayflower, assigning publicly and to your captains as the reason preparation for the expedition against Porto Rico. Order the monitors Amphitrite, Puritan and Terror to proceed from Key West to NipeBay, directing upon the latter place a division of three or more small vessels under an enterprising officer to arrive there three days before monitors, in order to reconnoitre, ascertain if mines, exist, etc., and if practicable to enter the port. It is the intention to let monitors anchor there until the expedition for Porto Rico is ready. Empty steam collier Southery at once and send to Hampton Roads where the fleet of colliers to accompany the squadron for Gibraltar will be organized. The Ameria and Yankee will probably be ready to sail to you from Hampton Roads at the end of this week, with ammunition to fill the ships detailed for the service herein contemplated. It is proposed to confide to the monitors such service at Porto Rico as will require armored vessels. Send Dixie or Yosemite to Hampton Roads soon as practicable to convoy the colliers from thence. May possibly reserve Texas, but prepare her.3


Source Note: CbCyS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 372. On “office of the naval war board” stationery.

Footnote 1: RAdm. William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet. The Eastern Squadron was to be sent to support RAdm. George Dewey in Manila and discourage the Spanish from continuing the war by threatening Spanish home ports. See: RAdm. Montgomery Sicard to Long, 1 July 1898. For the final draft sent to Sampson, see: Long to Sampson, 13 July 1898. 

Footnote 2: Commo. John C. Watson, Commander, Eastern Squadron.

Footnote 3: “May possible reserve Texas, but prepare her” added and handwritten by Secretary Long.

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