Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Secretary of the Navy John D. Long to Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet

[Extract]    

“Dated Washington,July 13th,1898.

     The Department intends to send all armored vessels except monitors to accompany Commodore No. 10, Register January,1898 (Watson) division and to see it safely through Strait of Gibraltar.1 You will therefore with utmost expedition coal and fill with ammunition all Commodore No. 10 (Watson) division, also New York and Brooklyn, the Iowa and Indiana, Texas the Mayflower and Aux. No. 413 (Badger) assigning publicly and to your Captain as the reason preparation for the expedition against Porto Rico. Order monitors Amphitrite and Puritan and Terror to proceed from Key West to Port Nipe,Cuba and direct upon the latter place a division of three or more small vessels under an enterprising Officer to arrive there three days before the monitors in order to reconnoiter to ascertain if mines exist etc. and, if practicable to enter the port. It is the intention to let the monitors anchor there until expedition to Port Rico is ready. Empty Aux. No. 551 (Southery) at once and send to Hampton Roads, where the fleet of colliers to accompany Squadron for Gibraltar will be organized. The Armeria and Yankee will probably sail to you from Hampton Roads at the end of this week with ammunition to fill the vessels detailed for the service contemplated. It is proposed to confide to the monitors such service at Port Rico as will require armored vessels. Send Aux. No. 434 (Dixie) or 596, (Yosemite) to Hampton Roads as soon as practicable to convoy colliers from thence. May reserve possibly the Texas but prepare her.2

L O N G.”

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 108, Entry 121, pp. 74-75. Sampson reproduced this copy of his orders from Long in a letter to Maj. Gen. Nelson A. Miles of 19 July 1898.

Footnote 1: This sortie by the Eastern Squadron, commanded by Commo. John C. Watson, was cancelled when the war ended in August.

Footnote 2: For Sampson’s steps taken to comply with these instructions. See: Sampson to Long, 21 July 1898. For the Naval War Board draft of this order, see: RAdm. Montgomery Sicard to Long, 11 July 1898.

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