Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Journal of Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet

May 31st. Weather fine. Squadron standing to the eastward. Speed 13 knots.

About 5.00 P.M. sent the Porter in to Mole St.Nicolas with the following dispatch, to the Secretary of the Navy.1

Shall arrive Santiago 4 A.M.June 1st with New York, Oregon, Mayflower and Porter. Last night met St.Paul and Yale. Ordered St.Paul to New York and Yale to Hampton Roads for coal. Please have preparations made for coaling immediately. Will telegraph situation at Santiago on arrival.

June 1st. At 6.00 A.M.arrived off Santiago de Cuba, and found Commodore Schley’s Squadron2 in column to the westward of the mouth of the harbor. The Squadron was composed of the following vessels-Brooklyn,Iowa,Massachusetts,Texas,NewOrleans,Marblehead,Harvard,Vixen,Merrimac and Sterling.

          About 11.00 A.M. the Porter arrived from Mole St. Nicolas with the following despatches:--

          Dated Washington, D.C.,May 30. Schley has seen and recognized two armored cruisers and two torpedo destroyers the Spanish division at Santiago de Cuba (Proceed 7) to Santiago with the New York and Oregon and much other vessel you may desire leave orders concerning army convoy Senior Officer Present. The Spanish torpedo destroyer Terror reported at San Juan, Porto Rico, damaged.      Long.

          Dated Washington May 30. General Miles3 states if you can communicate with Cuba insurgents request Garcia4 to assemble his force at (or in) the rear of Santiago de Cuba and our Army division will take with them to Santiago de Cuba five thousand stands of arms and ammunition for Cubans.

Long.        

          Dated Washington, May 31. It is essential to know if all the four Spanish Armored cruisers at Santiago de Cuba as our military expedition must wait for out of information? Report as soon as possible.

          The Army now embarking at Tampa,Fla.estimated 25,000 men to proceed to Santiago de Cuba as soon as you inform me whole Spanish fleet in harbor; will be accompanied by cavalry,siege guns,mortars. It is suggested that you select places suitable for landing infantry as near as possible to Santiago de Cuba and be prepared to advise regarding landing guns and cavalry of first importance to secure bridge San Juan river the pier at Daqueri and others. Department expects you will assist of course landing the army to utmost of your power but desire you shall not risk by operation on shore of in landing crews of the armored vessels or those needed in case of a naval engagement. Will not Guantanamo,Cuba,be the best place for landing cavalry. Auxiliary No.556(St.Louis) and auxiliary No.822(Yankee) must be available you calling at Mole,Haiti several colliers on way to Mole,Haiti.

Long.        

          The following are copies of telegrams received by Commodore Schley, June 1st.

          Mole, St.Nicholas,May 30. General Miles states that if you can communicate with Cuba insurgents,request Garcia to assemble his force at the rear of Santiago de Cuba and our army division will take with them to Santiago 5000 stand of arms and ammunition for Cuban(s).  Long.

          Mole St. Nicolas. May 31. It has been suggested that an alternative line of communication could be opened with General Garcia as follows:-landing Maceo Inlet about 30 nautical miles west of Santiago de Cuba, not far from Jucare anchorage, a message would find the neighboring country in possession of the Insurgent(s) and Garcia would probably be found at Baire, thirty-three miles to the northward over the mountains. An outpost of Garcia(‘s) force would probably be found at the northern feet of the mountains and about half way from the sea to Baire. The highest point on the road is Navangjo from where there are two paths on to Matias auras,Fors Negres,the other by Banes Calientes and Oja de Agua. Our army wishes Garcia to close down on the land side of Santiago de Cuba as previously telegraphed.  Long.

          Were engaged in the afternoon making preparations for sinking the Collier Merrimac at the entrance to Santiago Harbor. Sent the port watch to help on board the Merrimac

          Received the following copy of a dispatch sent by Commodore Schley to the Commander-in-Chief,May 31st,1898. (Cajonaz Enrobions)5 The New Orleans and the Auxiliary No.554 (Sterling) arrived send as early as practicable picket boat I mediate between them very badly. Has(have) seen one more vessel Viscaya class in port. Smooth sea now I am coaling the Iowa and Brooklyn.

          About 5.00 P.M. the Dolphin arrived convoying the Cable steamer Adria.

Source Note: Transcript, DNA, RG 313, Entry 56.

Footnote 1: Secretary of the Navy John D. Long.

Footnote 2: Commo. Winfield S. Schley, Commander, Flying Squadron.

Footnote 3: Gen. Nelson A. Miles.

Footnote 4: Gen. Calixto García Iñiguez.

Footnote 5: “Cajonaz Enrobions” are the first two words in the ciphered message.

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