Secretary of the Navy John D. Long to Commodore George C. Remey, Commandant, Key West Naval Base
May 17, 1898.
Naval Station, Key West, Fla,
Armored vessels and monitors North Atlantic Station and Flying Squadron must be coaled immediately upon arrival at Key West; also at least four vessels of about the force of the MARBLEHEAD. The Flying Squadron, after being increased by the armored vessel the Commander-in-Chief of the North Atlantic Station1 considers most suitable, will proceed with the utmost dispatch off Cienfuegos, Cuba, accompanied by the small vessels above mentioned, and such torpedo-boats, if any, as the Commander-in-Chief North Atlantic Station will choose to send.2 The remainder of the Naval Force on the North Atlantic Station and the monitors will blockade Havana closely, remembering the importance of having current in their favor. Sampson has the choice of the command off Havana or Cienfuegos; Schley, in either event, to remain with his own squadron.3 Commander-in-Chief is authorized to make such changes in detail in this plan as he may think proper. In general, the object is to engage and capture the enemy off Cienfuegos, if possible, or otherwise, to blockade him in that port. The Department’s telegram of the 16th beginning cipherwords ARQUIMERSA ACHOCARAS KLEBWERK.4
Source Note: TCy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 28, vol. 5, p. 613. Addressed below date: “Naval Station, Key West, Fla.”
Footnote 1: RAdm. William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet.
Footnote 2: The assumption was that the Spanish fleet commanded by Adm. Pascual Cervera y Topete might be headed for Cienfuegos, Cuba.
Footnote 3: Commo. Winfield S. Schley, Commander, Flying Squadron.
Footnote 4: It is not known which telegram Long is referring to here. The Department sent several to both Remey and Sampson on that date.