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that still outranked that of the United States, and as long as it remained a menace, it was for the navy to act and not the army.*

At the outbreak of the war the Spanish Atlantic fleet had been divided into two squadrons: the heavy reserve fleet under command of Admiral Camara being stationed at Cadiz, the flying squadron under Admiral Cervera being ordered to the Cape Verde Islands. Just as the declaration of neutrality by Great Britain had the effect of closing the harbor of Hong Kong, so did Portugal's declaration of neutrality close the harbor of St. Vincent to Cevera's fleet. Notwithstanding this fact, under the pretext of making repairs to his ships, he tarried for a week longer finally sailing on April 30 with destination unknown. The cities of the Atlantic coast began to have visions of rapidly approaching destruction, and from Boston to Savannah came frantic calls for ships and guns.

Nor were their fears wholly groundless. With this swift and powerful fleet at large on the high seas, almost any theory with respect to the purpose it might have in view could be justified. The information that was abroad regarding the ships of Cervera's fleet justified the belief that their sphere of action was very extended, hence a swift blow struck at New York or Boston was not at all im

For fuller discussion of strategical points see Wilson, The Downfall of Spain, chaps. iii., v.; Sargent, Campaign of Santiago, vol. i., pp. 65-78.

possible. Various guesses were made as to the destination of the fleet: one hypothesis being that it would return to Spain, another that it would endeavor to intercept and destroy the Oregon, then on her remarkable voyage around South America. The generally accepted theory, however, and the one acted upon by the administration, was that Cervera would come to the rescue of Havana. To both countries this city seemed to be the key to the situation, hence the first blow was directed against it by the establishment of the blockade, planned, even before the outbreak of hostilities. Admiral Sampson's fleet was accordingly dispatched from Key West on April 22, the first day of the war.

The American fleet was an exceedingly heterogeneous collection of vessels, and contained examples of every type of American war-ships from the fast battleships like the Iowa to the antiquated monitors, the Terror and the Amphitrite. A fleet is like the proverbial chain, and is no faster than its slowest ships, hence the efficiency of the blockading of the blockading squadron was greatly lowered by the relative weakness of many of its units. In order to gain the services of an officer recognized as an authority on modern ships and guns, Captain William T. Sampson was given command of the blockading squadron, with the rank of Acting Rear-Admiral. To give him this post, he was summarily promoted over twenty officers, including six rearadmirals: an action that resulted in no little criticism and heart burnings, and


in the end doubtless made his task more difficult than it would otherwise have been. Nevertheless his training and peculiar fitness justified the irregularity of the appointment. The command of the Atlantic coast squadron was given to Commodore Winfield S. Schley, whose gallant rescue of the survivors of the Greely Arctic expedition had brought him prominently before the public.

The blockade had the effect of frightening the citizens of Havana thoroughly, but did little else as far as the city itself was concerned. There was no intention in the minds of the leaders of the administration of taking a step so desperate, and one so productive of needless suffering as the bombardment of a city of the size of Havana. Nevertheless it became more and more evident as the blockade progressed that nothing short of such an attack would cause the capitulation of the city. The blockade itself was strictly kept, and a number of vessels. bringing cargoes to Havana were captured, yet it appeared that the resources of the city had been underestimated, and were sufficient for an indefinite defense against such a mild form of attack.

A more active policy was accordingly adopted, and while Havana was still permitted to go unscathed, attacks were made on three of the towns that in a sense formed the outer line of the capital city's defences. The first of these, and, indeed, the first real collision of the war, took place at Matanzas, a town of 35,000 inhabitants, 50 miles


east of Havana. It was reported that the Spanish forces were strengthening the fortifications at Point Rubelcava, three miles from the entrance to Matanzas harbor. Accordingly the flag-ship New York, the Puritan, and the Cincinnati appeared before that port on May 27. As soon as the little fleet approached within range, they were challenged by a shell from one of the forts. The American ships replied immediately, and and so effective was their gunnery that the fortifications were destroyed in a few minutes. It cannot be questioned but that there was loss of life on the part of the defenders, but from the reports sent forth by the Spanish authorities it was claimed that the net result of the action was the death of an army mule. Thus, officially, the Matanzas mule was the first victim of the war, becoming thereby a figure of historical and international interest, and above all a godsend to the periodical humorist.

Another incident that narrowly escaped being humorous was a duel that took place during the early days of the war between the New York and a troop of Spanish cavalry which was patroling the shore near Mariel, a small town a few miles to the west of Havana. With an audacity that was either sublime or insane, the troopers attacked the warship with their rifles, attracting thereby a shower of shrapnel from the rapid firing guns that soon hurried them to cover.

The news of Dewey's victory arrived on May 7, a week after the battle, and aroused the country to a pitch

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blood to be shed by Spanish bullets. The scene of the first of these was Cardenas, a town some 60 miles to the east of Havana. Three days before, the torpedo boat Winslow endeavored by a ruse to draw three Spanish gunboats within the harbor away from the protection of the batteries, but failed in its efforts to do so. The second attempt, made on the 11th, however, was productive of quite unexpected results. Instead of entrapping the Spaniards, the Winslow itself was snared, and found itself far into the harbor and in the midst of anchored buoys that marked the range for the guns of the vessels and the batteries on the shore. When the little craft reached these she immediately became the target for a furious attack. A shell fired early in the engagement

wounded Lieutenant Bernadou, the commanding officer and wrecked the steering gear. The gunboats Wilmington and the Machias, and the cutter Hudson came to the rescue of the disabled boat, the latter making a heroic effort to tow the Winslow to

safety and ultimately succeeding in getting her out of danger by lashing alongside. Nevertheless assistance came too late to prevent the most disastrous incident of the action. Ensign Worth Bagley, the executive officer of the Winslow, who was detailed to direct the vessel, found it necessary, after the injury to the steering-gear, to make trips back and forth from the machine-room to the deck. While standing on the deck near Lieutenant Bernadou, after one of these trips, a Spanish shell exploded close by, instantly killing him and four others, and in addition wounding six more. It was only by almost superhuman efforts that the boats succeeded in escaping from the zone of danger.* The Spanish forces, however, paid still more dearly for their temporary victory, for the Wilmington and the Machias avenged the disaster by shelling the harbor and the city, destroying two of the ships, the Antonio Lopez and the Ligera, reducing the batteries, and burning the houses along the water-front.

On the same day another collision occurred at Cienfuegos on the southern coast. This city, next to Santiago, is perhaps the most important station of the Atlantic and Gulf cables, five lines entering at this point. In order to render the blockade more efficient, and to isolate Cuba as thoroughly as possible, it was

* Bernadou, The "Winslow" at Cardenas in Century Magazine (March, 1899).

+ Winslow, Cable-cutting at Cienfuegos in Century Magazine (March, 1899).


Nos. 1, 2 and 3 by courtesy of Collier's Weekly.




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