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At half-past
nine o'clock the bugler sounded the call to quarters, and the Jackies
appeared on deck rigged in their cleanest clothes for their regular
Sunday inspection. On board the _Texas_ the devout Captain Philip had
sounded the trumpet-call to religious services. In an instant a line of
smoke was seen coming out of the harbor by the watch on the _Iowa_, and
from that vessel's yard a signal was run up--"The enemy is escaping to
the westward." Simultaneously, from her bridge a six-pounder boomed on
the still air to draw the attention of the other ships to her
fluttering signal. On every vessel white masses were seen scrambling
forward. Jackies and firemen tumbled over one another rushing to their
stations. Officers jumped into the turrets through manholes, dressed in
their best uniforms, and captains rushed to their conning towers. There
was no time to waste--scarcely enough to get the battle-hatches screwed
on tight. Jingle, jingle, went the signal-bells in the engine-rooms, and
"Steam! Steam!" the captains cried through the tubes. Far below decks,
in 125 to 150 degrees of heat, naked men shoveled in the black coal and
forced drafts were put on.

One minute after the _Iowa_ fired her signal-gun she was moving toward
the harbor. From under the Castle of Morro came Admiral Cervera's
flagship, the _Infanta Maria Teresa_, followed by her sister armored
cruisers, _Almirante Oquendo_ and _Vizcaya_--so much alike that they
could not be distinguished at any distance. There was also the splendid
_Cristobal Colon_, and after them all the two fine torpedo-boat
destroyers, _Pluton_ and _Furor_. The _Teresa_ opened fire as she
sighted the American vessels, as did all of her companions, and the
forts from the heights belched forth at the same time. Countless geysers
around our slowly approaching battleships showed where the Spanish
shells exploded in the water. The Americans replied. The battle was on,
but at a long range of two or three miles, so that the secondary
batteries could not be called into use; but thirteen-inch shells from
the _Oregon_ and _Indiana_ and the twelve-inch shells from the _Texas_
and _Iowa_ were churning up the water around the enemy. At this juncture
it seemed impossible for the Americans to head off the Spanish cruisers
from passing the western point, for they had come out of the harbor at a
speed of thirteen and one-half knots an hour, for which the blockading
fleet was not prepared. But Admiral Sampson's instructions were simple
and well understood--"Should the enemy come out, close in and head him
off"--and every ship was now endeavoring to obey that standing command
while they piled on coal and steamed up.

Meanwhile, from the rapidly approaching _New York_ the signal
fluttered--"Close into the mouth of the harbor and engage the enemy;"
but the admiral was too far away, or the men were too busy to see this
signal, which they were, nevertheless, obeying to the letter.

It was not until the leading Spanish cruiser had almost reached the
western point of the bay, and when it was evident that Cervera was
leading his entire fleet in one direction, that the battle commenced in
its fury. The _Iowa_ and the _Oregon_ headed straight for the shore,
intending to ram if possible one or more of the Spaniards. The _Indiana_
and the _Texas_ were following, and the _Brooklyn_, in the endeavor to
cut off the advance ship, was headed straight for the western point. The
little unprotected _Gloucester_ steamed right across the harbor mouth
and engaged the _Oquendo_ at closer range than any of the other ships,
at the same time firing on the _Furor_ and _Pluton_, which were rapidly
approaching.

It then became apparent that the _Oregon_ and _Iowa_ could not ram, and
that the _Brooklyn_ could not head them off, as she had hoped, and,
turning in a parallel course with them, a running fight ensued.
Broadside after broadside came fast with terrific slaughter. The
rapid-fire guns of the _Iowa_ nearest the _Teresa_ enveloped the former
vessel in a mantle of smoke and flame. She was followed by the _Oregon_,
_Indiana_, _Texas_, and _Brooklyn_, all pouring a rain of red-hot steel
and exploding shell into the fleeing cruisers as they passed along in
their desperate effort to escape. The _Furor_ and _Pluton_ dashed like
mad colts for the _Brooklyn_, and Commodore Schley signaled--"Repel
torpedo-destroyers." Some of the heavy ships turned their guns upon the
little monsters. It was short work. Clouds of black smoke rising from
their thin sides showed how seriously they suffered as they floundered
in the sea.

[Illustration: REAR-ADMIRAL JOHN C. WATSON.

Commander of the Blockading Fleet at Havana.]

The _Brooklyn_ and _Oregon_ dashed on after the cruisers, followed by
the other big ships, leaving the _Furor_ and _Pluton_ to the
_Gloucester_, hoping the _New York_, which was coming in the distance,
would arrive in time to help her out if she needed it. The firing from
the main and second batteries of all the battleships--_Oregon_, _Iowa_,
_Texas_--and the cruiser _Brooklyn_ was turned upon the _Vizcaya_,
_Teresa_, and _Oquendo_ with such terrific broadsides and accuracy of
aim that the Spaniards were driven from their guns repeatedly; but the
officers gave the men liquor and drove them back, beating and sometimes
shooting down those who weakened, without mercy; but under the terrific
fire of the Americans the poor wretches were again driven away or fell
mangled by their guns or stunned from the concussions of the missiles on
the sides of their ships.

Presently flames and smoke burst out from the _Teresa_ and the
_Oquendo_. The fire leaped from the port-holes; and amid the din of
battle and above it all rose the wild cheers of the Americans as both
these splendid ships slowly reeled like drunken men and headed for the
shore. "They are on fire! We've finished them," shouted the gunners.
Down came the Spanish flags. The news went all over the ships--it being
commanded by Commodore Schley to keep everyone informed, even those far
below in the fire-rooms--and from engineers and firemen in the hot
bowels of the great leviathans to the men in the fighting-tops the
welkin rang until the shins reverberated with exuberant cheers.

This was 10.20 A.M. Previously, the two torpedo boats had gone down, and
only two dozen of their 140 men survived, these having been picked up by
the _Gloucester_, which plucky little unprotected "dare-devil," not
content with the destruction she had courted and escaped only as one of
the unexplainable mysteries of Spanish gunnery, was coming up to join
the chase after bigger game; and it was to Lieutenant Wainwright, her
commander, that Admiral Cervera surrendered. The _Maine was_ avenged.
(Lieutenant Wainwright was executive officer on that ill-fated vessel
when she was blown up February 15th.) Cervera was wounded, hatless, and
almost naked when he was taken on board the _Gloucester_. Lieutenant
Wainwright cordially saluted him and grasped him by the hand, saying, "I
congratulate you, Admiral Cervera, upon as gallant a fight as was ever
made upon the sea." He placed his cabin at the service of Cervera and
his officers, while his surgeon dressed their wounds and his men did all
they could for their comfort--Wainwright supplying the admiral with
clothing. Cervera was overcome with emotion, and the face of the old
gray-bearded warrior was suffused in tears. The _Iowa_ and _Indiana_
came up soon after the _Gloucester_ and assisted in the rescue of the
drowning Spaniards from the _Oquendo_ and _Teresa_, after which they all
hurried on after the vanishing _Brooklyn_ and _Oregon_, which were
pursuing the _Vizcaya_ and _Colon_, the only two remaining vessels of
Cervera's splendid fleet. From pursuer and pursued the smoke rose in
volumes and the booming guns over the waters sang the song of
destruction.

In twenty-four minutes after the sinking of the _Teresa_ and _Oquendo_,
the _Vizcaya_, riddled by the _Oregon's_ great shells and burning
fiercely, hauled down her flag and headed for the shore, where she hung
upon the rocks. In a dying effort she had tried to ram the _Brooklyn_,
but the fire of the big cruiser was too hot for her. The _Texas_ and the
little _Vixen_ were seen to be about a mile to the rear, and the
_Vizcaya_ was left to them and the _Iowa_, the latter staying by her
finally, while the _Texas_ and _Vixen_ followed on.

It looked like a forlorn hope to catch the _Colon_. She was four and
one-half miles away. But the _Brooklyn_ and the _Oregon_ were running
like express trains, and the _Texas_ sped after the fugitives with all
her might. The chase lasted two hours. Firing ceased, and every power of
the ship and the nerve of commodore, captains, and officers were devoted
to increasing the speed. Men from the guns, naked to the waist and
perspiring in streams, were called on deck for rest and an airing. It
was a grimy and dirty but jolly set of Jackies, and jokes were merrily
cracked as they sped on and waited. Only the men in the fire-rooms were
working as never before. It was their battle now, a battle of speed. At
12.30 it was seen the Americans were gaining. Cheers went up and all was
made ready. "We may wing that fellow yet," said Commodore Schley, as he
commanded Captain Clark to try a big thirteen-inch shell. "Remember the
Maine" was flung out on a pennant from the mast-head of the _Oregon_,
and at 8,500 yards she began to send her 1,000-pound shots shrieking
over the _Brooklyn_ after the flying Spaniard. One threw tons of water
on board the fugitive, and the _Brooklyn_ a few minutes later with
eight-inch guns began to pelt her sides. Everyone expected a game fight
from the proud and splendid _Colon_ with her smokeless powder and
rapid-fire guns; but all were surprised when, after a feeble resistance,
at 1.15 o'clock her captain struck his colors and ran his ship ashore
sixty miles from Santiago, opening her sea-valves to sink her after she
had surrendered.

Victory was at last complete. As the _Brooklyn_ and _Oregon_ moved upon
the prey word of the surrender was sent below, and naked men poured out
of the fire-rooms, black with smoke and dirt and glistening with
perspiration, but wild with joy.



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