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This was to prevent communication between the
Philippine Islands and the government at Madrid, and necessitated the
sending of Commodore Dewey's official account of the battle by the
dispatch-boat _MCCullough_ to Hong Kong, whence it was cabled to the
United States. After its receipt, May 9th, both Houses adopted
resolutions of congratulation to Commodore Dewey and his officers and
men for their gallantry at Manila, voted an appropriation for medals for
the crew and a fine sword for the gallant Commander, and also passed a
bill authorizing the President to appoint another rear-admiral, which
honor was promptly conferred upon Commodore Dewey, accompanied by the
thanks of the President and of the nation for the admirable and heroic
services rendered his country.

[Illustration: MAP OF CUBA]

The Battle of Manila must ever remain a monument to the daring and
courage of Admiral Dewey. However unevenly matched the two fleets may
have been, the world agrees with the eminent foreign naval critic who
declared: "This complete victory was the product of forethought, cool,
well-balanced judgment, discipline, and bravery. It was a magnificent
achievement, and Dewey will go down in history ranking with John Paul
Jones and Lord Nelson as a naval hero."

Admiral Dewey might have taken possession of the city of Manila
immediately. He cabled the United States that he could do so, but the
fact remained that he had not sufficient men to care for his ships and
at the same time effect a successful landing in the town of Manila.
Therefore he chose to remain on his ships, and though the city was at
his mercy, he refrained from a bombardment because he believed it would
lead to a massacre of the Spaniards on the part of the insurgents
surrounding the city, which it would be beyond his power to stop. This
humane manifestation toward the conquered foe adds to the lustre of the
hero's crown, and at the same time places the seal of greatness upon the
brow of the victor. He not only refrained from bombarding the city, but
received and cared for the wounded Spaniards upon his own vessels. Thus,
while he did all that was required of him without costing his country
the life of a single citizen, he manifested a spirit of humanity and
generosity toward the vanquished foe fully in keeping with the
sympathetic spirit which involved this nation in the war for humanity's

The Battle of Manila further demonstrated that a fleet with heavier guns
is virtually invulnerable in a campaign with a squadron bearing lighter
metal, however gallantly the crew of the latter may fight.

Before the Battle of Manila it was recognized that the government had
serious trouble on its hands. On May 4th President McKinley nominated
ten new Major-Generals, including Thomas H. Wilson, Fitzhugh Lee, Wm. J.
Sewell (who was not commissioned), and Joseph Wheeler, from private
life, and promoted Brigadier-Generals Breckinridge, Otis, Coppinger,
Shafter, Graham, Wade, and Merriam, from the regular army. The
organization and mobilization of troops was promptly begun and rapidly
pushed. Meantime our naval vessels were actively cruising around the
Island of Cuba, expecting the appearance of the Spanish fleet.

[Illustration: THE BATTLE OF MANILA, MAY 1, 1898.


This illustration is historically correct. It shows the positions of the
vessels in that memorable battle which sounded at once the death knell
of Spanish authority in the East and West Indies.]

On May 11th the gunboat _Wilmington_, revenue-cutter _Hudson_, and the
torpedo-boat _Winslow_ entered Cardenas Bay, Cuba, to attack the
defenses and three small Spanish gunboats that had taken refuge in the
harbor. The _Winslow_ being of light draft took the lead, and when
within eight hundred yards of the fort was fired upon with disastrous
effect, being struck eighteen times and rendered helpless. For more than
an hour the frail little craft was at the mercy of the enemy's
batteries. The revenue-cutter _Hudson_ quickly answered her signal of
distress by coming to the rescue, and as she was in the act of drawing
the disabled boat away a shell from the enemy burst on the _Winslow's_
deck, killing three of her crew outright and wounding many more. Ensign
Worth Bagley, of the _Winslow_, who had recently entered active service,
was one of the killed. He was the first officer who lost his life in the
war. The same shell badly wounded Lieutenant Bernadon, Commander of the
boat. The _Hudson_, amidst a rain of fire from the Spanish gunboats and
fortifications, succeeded in towing the _Winslow_ to Key West, where the
bodies of the dead were prepared for burial and the vessel was placed in
repair. On May 12th the First Infantry landed near Port Cabanas, Cuba,
with supplies for the insurgents, which they succeeded in delivering
after a skirmish with the Spanish troops. This was the first land
engagement of the war.


On the same date Admiral Sampson's squadron arrived at San Juan, Porto
Rico, whither it had gone in the expectation of meeting with Admiral
Cervera's fleet, which had sailed westward from the Cape Verde Islands
on April 29th, after Portugal's declaration of neutrality. The Spanish
fleet, however, did not materialize, and Admiral Sampson, while on the
ground, concluded it would be well to draw the fire of the forts that he
might at least judge of their strength and efficiency, if indeed he
should not render them incapable of assisting the Spanish fleet in the
event of its resorting to this port at a later period. Accordingly,
Sampson bombarded the batteries defending San Juan, inflicting much
damage and sustaining a loss of two men killed and six wounded. The loss
of the enemy is not known. The American war-ships sustained only trivial
injuries, but after the engagement it could be plainly seen that one end
of Morro Castle was in ruins. The Cabras Island fort was silenced and
the San Carlos battery was damaged. No shots were aimed at the city by
the American fleet.

Deeming it unnecessary to wait for the Spanish war-ships in the vicinity
of San Juan, Sampson withdrew his squadron and sailed westward in the
hope of finding Cervera's fleet, which was dodging about the Caribbean
Sea. First it was heard of at the French island, Martinique, whence
after a short stay it sailed westward. Two days later it halted at the
Dutch island, Curaçoa, for coal and supplies. After leaving this point
it was again lost sight of. Then began the chase of Commodore Schley and
Admiral Sampson to catch the fugitive. Schley, with his flying squadron,
sailed from Key West around the western end of Cuba, and Sampson kept
guard over the Windward and other passages to the east of the island. It
was expected that one or the other of these fleets would encounter the
Spaniard on the open sea, but in this they were mistaken. Cervera was
not making his way to the Mexican shore on the west, as some said, nor
was he seeking to slip through one of the passages into the Atlantic and
sail home to Spain, nor attack Commodore Watson's blockading vessels
before Havana, according to other expert opinions expressed and widely
published. For many days the hunt of the war-ships went on like a
fox-chase. On May 21st Commodore Schley blockaded Cienfuegos, supposing
that Cervera was inside the harbor, but on the 24th he discovered his
mistake and sailed to Santiago, where he lay before the entrance to the
harbor for three days, not knowing whether or not the Spaniard was
inside. On May 30th it was positively discovered that he had Cervera
bottled up in the narrow harbor of Santiago. He had been there since the
19th, and had landed 800 men, 20,000 Mauser rifles, a great supply of
ammunition, and four great guns for the defense of the city.


On May 31st Commodore Schley opened fire on the fortifications at the
mouth of the harbor, which lasted for about half an hour. This was for
the purpose of discovering the location and strength of the batteries,
some of which were concealed, and in this he was completely successful.
Two of the batteries were silenced, and the flagship of the Spaniards,
which took part in the engagement, was damaged. The Americans received
no injury to vessels and no loss of men. On June 1st Admiral Sampson
arrived before Santiago, and relieved Commodore Schley of the chief
command of the forces, then consisting of sixteen war-ships.


Admiral Sampson, naturally a cautious commander, suffered great
apprehension lest Cervera might slip out of the harbor and escape during
the darkness of the night or the progress of a storm, which would compel
the blockading fleet to stand far off shore. There was a point in the
channel wide enough for only one warship to pass at a time, and if this
could be rendered impassable Cervera's doom would be sealed. How to
reach and close this passage was the difficult problem to be solved. On
either shore of the narrow channel stood frowning forts with cannon, and
there were other fortifications to be passed before it could be reached.
Young Lieutenant Richmond Pearson Hobson, a naval engineer, had attached
himself to Admiral Sampson's flagship, _New York_, just before it sailed
from Key West, and it was this young man of less than thirty years who
solved the problem by a plan originated by Admiral Sampson, which he
executed with a heroic daring that finds perhaps no parallel in all
naval history. At three o'clock A.M., June 3d, in company with seven
volunteers from the _New York_ and other ships, he took the United
States collier _Merrimac_, a large vessel with 600 tons of coal on
board, and started with the purpose of sinking it in the channel. The
chances were ten to one that the batteries from the forts would sink the
vessel before it could reach the narrow neck, and the chances were
hardly one in one hundred that any of the men on board the collier would
come out of this daring attempt alive. The ship had hardly started when
the forts opened fire, and amid the thunder of artillery and a rain of
steel and bursting shells the boat with its eight brave heroes held on
its way, as steadily as if they knew not their danger.

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