Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Lieutenant William H. H. Southerland to Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet

C O P Y :--

U. S. S. E A G L E ,        

Key West, Florida,   

August 6th, 1898.

S I R :--

     In accordance with the direction contained in your No. 1. of July 22nd, 1898,1 I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this vessel from May 19th until June 1st, 1898.

     The Eagle arrived at Key West, Florida, during the afternoon of May 19th, and, after taking in coal and water proceeded to sea on the afternoon of May 21st in company with the Marblehead and Vixen bound to Cienfuegos.

     The division of three vessels referred to above joined the Flying Squadron, then lying to off the harbor of Cienfuegos, during the morning of May 24th, about eight a.m., taking a position near to the Texas, from whose officers it was learned that Admiral Cervera’s2 fleet was supposed to be in the harbor of Cienfuegos.

     At ten the Commanding Officer of the Marblehead3 directed me to precede him in the Eagle to off the site of an insurgent camp about thirteen miles to the westward of Cienfuegos. On arriving off this camp Commander McCalla communicated with the officer in command,4 and a number of articles were landed from the Marblehead by the boats of that vessel and the Eagle.

     When this work was finished the Eagle was called within hail and Commander McCalla directed me to proceed full speed to the Brooklyn and report to Commodore Schley5 that Cervera’s fleet had not been in Cienfuegos harbor, the only vessels then there being the Galicia, Balbao and nine canoneros,6 and also that he would report in person as soon as the Marblehead could join.

     This message was delivered and that evening the Eagle proceeded to sea in company with the Flying Squadron, Marblehead and Vixen, the Commodore commanding signaling that our destination was Santiago de Cuba.

     At 1 P.M. May 26th, the Eagle was called within hail of the Flagship Brooklyn, and directed by the Commodore commanding to go to Port Antonio, Jamaica for coal, as he considered that her coal on hand was not sufficient to keep her longer with the fleet.

     The Eagle reached Port Antonio, Jamaica, at 8 A.M. May 27th, and left there at 8. A.M. May 28th, arriving in Key West during the morning of May 31st, 1898.

     I have the honor to be, Very respectfully,

              W.H.H.Southerland, Lieut.,U.S.N.,Comdg.

Source Note: TCy, DNA, RG 313, Entry 44. Addressed below close: “The Commander-in-Chief,/of U.S.Naval Forces, North Atlantic Station,/Key West, Fla.”

Footnote 1: The “No. 1” of 22 July, referred to was an order from Sampson, which has yet to be found, but was issued to ships of the Flying Squadron during this period.

Footnote 2: The Spanish fleet commanded by RAdm. Pascual Cervera y Topete, was then at Santiago de Cuba.

Footnote 3: Cmdr. Bowman H. McCalla.

Footnote 4: Cuban insurgent commander Maj. Luis Orizando.

Footnote 5: Commo. Winfield S. Schley, Commander, Flying Squadron.

Footnote 6: Gunboats.

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