Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet, to Commodore Winfield S. Schley, Commander, Flying Squadron

U. S. Flagship New York, 1st Rate,     

Key West, Florida,

May 21, 1898.

S I R :--

          Spanish Squadron probably at Santiago de Cuba,--four ships and three torpedo boat destroyers. If you are satisfied that they are not at Cienfuegos, proceed with all dispatch, but cautiously, to Santiago de Cuba, and, if the enemy is there, blockade him in port. You will probably find it necessary to establish communication with some of the inhabitants, --fishermen or others--, to learn definitely that the ships are in port, it being impossible to see into it from outside.

     2.   When the instructions sent by the Iowa and Dupont (duplicates)1 were written, I supposed that two fast scouts would be in vicinity of Jamaica, but I have since learned that they have been ordered by the Department, to get in touch with the Spanish fleet on the North coast of Venezuela. I have just telegraphed them to report for orders at Nicholas Mole.

              3.   Report from Nicolas Mole.

                   Very respectfully,

                        W. T. SAMPSON,

                             Rear Admiral, U. S. Navy,

                        Commander in Chief, U.S.Naval Force

                             North Atlantic Station.

Source Note: TCy, DNA, RG 313, Entry 56. Addressed below close: “The Commodore,/U. S. Flying Squadron.” Document reference: “No. 8.”

Footnote 1: For the transcript of the 20 May 1898 order and an explanation of Sampson’s rationale for his initial instructions, see: Journal of William T. Sampson, 20-21 May 1898.

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