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

COPY. MEMORANDUM:       U.S.Flagship New York, 1st Rate,       

Off Havana, Cuba,        

May 21st, 1898.

     It is thought that the enclosed instructions will reach you by 2.00 A.M.May 23rd.1 This will enable you to leave before daylight (regarded very important) so that your direction may not be noticed and be at Santiago A.M.May 24th.

     It is thought that the Spanish Squadron would probably be still at Santiago, as they must have some repairs to make and coal to take.

     The ST. PAUL and Minneapolis have been telegraphed to scout off Santiago and if the Spanish Squadron goes westward, one is to keep touch and one is to go west and attempt to meet you; if the Spanish Squadron goes east one will keep in touch and the other go into Nicolas Mole to telegraph me at Key West. I shall be off Cay Frances 200 miles east of Havana. If you arrive off Santiago and no scout meets you send a vessel to call at Nicolas Mole and get information to be left there by scout as to direction taken by Spanish in case they may have left Santiago de Cuba.

     The Yale has been ordered to cruise in the Bahama Channel until May 24th. It is thought possible that the Spanish hearing of your departure from Cienfuegos may attempt to go there.

     If this word does not reach you before daylight, it is suggested to mask your real direction as much as possible. Follow the Spanish squadron whatever direction they take.

                        W. T. Sampson,

                   Rear Admiral, Comdr.-in-Chief,

              U.S.Naval Force on the North Atlantic Station.

Source Note: TCy, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 230. Addressed below close: “The Commodore,/Flying Squadron.” Docketed: “U.S.F.S.NewYork, 1st Rate,/Key West, Florida,/May 28, 1898./S A M P S O N , W. T.,/Rear Admiral, U. S. Navy/Commander in Chief, U.S.Naval Force/N.A. Station./Copy of a memorandum sent to/Commodore Schley/May 21st, 1898.” Stamp 1: Stamp is a “BUREAU OF NAVIGATION” rectangular stamp with the numbers “133081” in the middle. Stamp 2: Stamp is oval shaped with, “NAVY DEPARTMENT/RECEIVED/JUNE 9 1898/BUREAU OF NAVIGATION,” in the middle. Note: Handwritten at the top of the document is: “Sent by Hawk.

Footnote 1: These instructions reached Schley at 7:30 AM on 23 May 1898. Harold D. Langly, “Winfield S. Schley and Santiago,” in James C. Bradford, ed., Crucible of Empire: The Spanish-American War & Its Aftermath (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1993), 77.

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