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. F. S. New York, 1st Rate,

Key West, Florida,

May 19, 1898.

S I R : --

          I send you a copy of a telegram received last night from Secretary Long,1 concerning a vessel which was to sail on the 15th, and carrying a large amount of specie, and is supposed to be going to land at Trinidad or to the East of Cienfuegos. This may be a blind, however, and the vessel may be bound for Cienfuegos, or even to Havana.

The two cruisers will be sent out to-day, and with the two torpedo boats following them. As soon as Iowa is coaled, she will follow you.2

It is unnecessary for me to say that you should establish a blockade at Cienfuegos with the least possible delay, and that it should be maintained as close as possible.

Should the Spanish vessels show themselves in that vicinity, and finding you on the lookout, attempt to come around the Island, either East or West, please send me notice by the best vessel you have for that purpose, as to their direction, that I may be prepared for them at Havana.

I will try and increase the number of light vessels at your disposal, in order that you may have them to send with messages to me in case you desire to do so.

After I have the situation more in hand I will write you and give you any information that suggests itself.

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 Commanding Officer,/Flying Squadron.” Document reference: “No. 5.”

Footnote 1: Secretary of the Navy John D. Long. Documents has not been found.

Footnote 2: Sampson’s orders were interrupted by a 19 May, message from Secretary Long stating that the Spanish Squadron was at Santiago de Cuba and that the Minneapolis and Harvard were being sent there to assist with the blockade. Sampson did not send the Torpedo Boats, but did send the Iowa to Cienfuegos with instructions for Schley to go to Santiago de Cuba. Report of the Bureau of Navigation, 1898, 393-94. 

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