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TtUi AH&TJBi WEDNESDAY AUGcST 2M, 1901.
THE SCHLEY . " "
Facts Which Led to the Appointment of the
Court of Inquiry The Hunt For Cer
vera's Fleet and the Famous "Loop"
In the Sea Fight Off Santiago.
Ej I in the history of this
H I country Is just now oc-
public attention. After
two years of somewhat
undignified bickering our
naval officers are about to settle sev
eral vexed questions, among them the
truth or falsity of a charge imputing
cowardice to a, rear admiral.
All good Americans regret, of course,
that any such controversy should have
arisen. - Most of us will be glad to see
It wiped off the 6late for good and all.
Meantime, however, we would like to
know exactly what the row is all about.
Hem nrc the facts In the case so far
r ;..iy have been disclosed, set down
ns impartially as may be.
Now let us begin in the early days-
of the Spanish-American war. In ac
cordance with the, plans of the navy j
IlEAK ADMIKAL SCHLEY.
department a flying squadron was or
ganized, with base of operations at
Fort Monroe, for the protection of any
point on the Atlantic coast that might
be menaced by the hostile Spanish fleet.
This squadron was placed under com
mand of Commodore W. S. Schley
Meanwhile the Spanish fleet, which
bad been fitted and sent out under
command of Admiral Cervera, was ap
proaching the United States. . ,
This fleet, which was reported as
leaving Cape de Verde on April 29. was
composed of the armored cruisers Cris
tobal Colon, Vizcaya. Almirante Oquen
do and Infanta Maria Teresa, besides
the torpedo gunboats Fuqpr, Terror and
riuton. It was supposed, of course,
that It would sail for Cuba as its ulti
mate destination. On news of Cervera
leaving Cape de Verde, Sampson sailed
eastwardly with a portion of his fleet
for the purpose of observation. It was
on this cruise that he bombarded San
Juan, Porto Rico, having had informa
tion that the Spaniards were to call at
that port, but meanwhile Cervera had
touched at Martinique, then at Cura
cao, near the coast of Venezuela, and
by making a clever flank movement
bad come up to the south coast of Cuba
and entered the harbor of Santiago
wholly unobserved by the Americans.
Through its secret agents in Ha
vana and elsewhere the nayy depart
ment had been Informed that Cervera
was under instructions to reach Ha
vana, or some port connected by rail
with the capital, as. he carried muni
tions of war for Jts defense. , Instruc
tions were accordingly forwarded to
observe and, if necessary, blockade
Cienfuegos, on the south coast of Cuba,
as the only port affording the condi
tions favorable for reaching Havana,
Accordingly the flying squadron, under
Schley, sailed from Key. West for
Cienfuegos. with Instructions to estab
lish a blockade at that port with all
dispatch. It arrived off Cienfuegos
May 20, where the original fleet com
posed of the Brooklyn, Texas. Massa
chusetts and Scorpion, was later aug
mented by the Iowa, Castine and the
collier Merrimac. The same day the
navy department received information
that Cervera was reported at Santiago
de Cuba and so Informed Sampson,
who at once dispatched the Marble
head with advices to Schley ordering
him. If Cervera was not at Cienfuegos,
to proceed with all haste to Santiago.
On the 22d Sampson, then off Havana,
received a dispatch from Key West
stating that Cervera's squadron un
doubtedly bad been in the harbor of
Santiago, on the morning of the pre
vious day, but that it was expected it
might sail for San Juan. Porto Rico,
and If Schley had found that it had left
Santiago he should promptly order him
to follow . in pursuit. Sampson was
then blockading Havana and the north
coast, bat he at once Bailed eastward
to prevent the possible approach ot the
Spanish squadron through the channel
iu that direction. On the 26th he re
ceived a letter from Schley, dated May
23, stating that he was by no means
satisfied the Spanish squadron was not
at Cienfuegos. A dispatch boat was
sent on the 27th with urgent orders for
Schley to proceed at once to Santiago,
but meanwhile cable dispatches were
received from him stating that he bad
ascertained the Spanish fleet was not
in that port, and that on account of
fchort coal supply he could not blockade
the Spanish ships in Santiago, but
would proceed to Nicolas mole. Haiti,
from which point he would communi
cate. Sampson then cabled Schley from
Key West that the New Orleans would
meet him off Santiago and to make
every effort to ascertain the location
of Cervera's squadron. Leaving Clen
fuegos May 24, Schley steamed to a
point about 20 miles southward and
eastward of Santiago, where he signaled
bis squadron that the destination was
Kev West for coal. On the morning
rT tlio Tth ttio Unrvnrd hronclit him I
WABHixaTox, via Mole St. Nicolas, Way 23, 199S.
All department's information indicates Spanish
division, is still at Santiaijo. The department
looks to you to ascertain iacts and that tha ene
my, if therein, docs not leave without a decisive
action. Cubans familiar with Santiago say that
there are landing places five or six nautical miles
west from the mouth of harbor and that there in
surgents will be found and not the Spanish. From
the surrounding heights can see every vessel in
port. As soon as ascertained notify the depart
ment whether enemy is there. Could not squadron
and also the Harvard coal from Merrimac leeward
of Cape Cruz, Uonalves channel, or Hole Haiti T
The department will send cost immediately to
mole. Br-port without delay situation at Santia
go de Cuba. Los a.
Schley's answer was as follows:
Eixostox, May 23, 1808.
Secretary Navy, Washington:
Sir Merrimac engines disabled: is besvy; am
obliged to have towed to- Key West, yave been
unable absolutely to coal the Texas, Marblehead,
the Vixen, the Brooklyn from collier, all owing to
very rough sea. Bad weather since leaving Key
West. The Brooklyn alone bas more thaa suffi
cient coal to proceed to Key West. Cannot re
main off Santiago present state squadron coal ac
count. Impossible to coal leeward Cape Crus in
the summer, aU owing to southwesterly winds.
Much to be regretted cannot obey orders ' ot de
partment. Have striven earnestly; forced to pro
ceed for coal to Key West by way of Yucatan pas
sage. Cannot -ascertain anything respecting ene
my positive. Very difficult to tow collier to get:
cable to bold. Schlst.
Later In the day on which this dis
patch was sent the Texas and the
77 33224 :
EEAB ADMIBAIi HOWISOS (RETIBED).
.Member board of inquiry.
Marblehead went alongside the collier
Merrimac and' coaled, the squadron at
. i. n ' Koine ghnnf A( miloa t r tho '
southward and westward of Santiago. J
tb direction of Santiago, stopping for
the night about ten miles distant from
that port, with the Marblehead scout
ing about two miles inside: the line.
TIbvIv h.t mnrnln?. MtT 29. a Snanish
: &k L J - U f If F .
,, - - - . . -i i. i. - A
xnan-bf-war, the Cristobal Colony was
seen lying at anchor ' Just .inside the
harbor entrance, and later other ships
which were identified as belonging to
Cervera's squadron, so at 10 a. m.
Schley cabled to Washington that the
Spaniards were . undoubtedly there.
1 he Colon continuing to occupy Its po
sition within view of the American
ships, on the morning of the 31st
Schley, on board the Massachusetts,
with the Iowa and the New Orleans,
exchanged shots with her and the forts
at a range of about 7,000 yards.
The next day, June 1, Sampson ar
rived and took command, finding
Schley's squadron to the westward of
the harbor mouth. Immediately upon
the union of these two forces a close
CAPTAIX I.ZMX,T, JUDGE ADYOCATK.
! blockade was established, and a cordon
was drawn about the harbor entrance
with cruisers and battleships in a semi
circle in front of it and a double line of
smaller vessels and boats Inside these.
Thus the harbor of Santiago, in which
Cervera had been definitely located, was
watched constantly, powerful 'search
lights, being turned upon it at night.
No effort was relaxed during the weary
month that followed to prevent the es
cape of the enemy, and Sampson pro-
Irniulgatcd in standing orders a plan of
attack by which our vessels were to
close in upon any of the Spaniards
On June 3 occurred the sinking of
the Merrimac at the harbor entrance
of Santiago in order to prevent if pos
sible the escape of Cervera's fleet. On
June 7 the Marblehead and the Yankee
took possession of the lower bay of
Guantanamo as a harbor of refuge for
the fleet in coaling, etc., and the ma
rines were the first to land a3 Invaders
on the soil of Cuba. On the 15th Samp
son was advised that 30 transports
with troops would be sent from Tampa,
Fla., and a convoy was provided for
them through the . Bahama channel.
The disembarkation of troops was com
menced on the morning of the 22d of
June at Baiquiri, to the eastward of
Morro Castle. Sampson had 6eut his
chief of staff to communicate with
General Shafter, but as the latter was
irslstent that the navy should more
actively co-operate by shelling the
THE FAMOUS "LOOP"
forts, Morro Castle, and, if possible, the
city of Santiago, an interview was ar
ranged between the two commanders
to take place on the 3d Of July.
It was while Sampson, in the New
York, was hastening toward Siboney
that Cervera made his attempt to es
cape. The New York bad reached a point
about four miles cast of her block
ading station and about seven miles
from Morro Castle when, the Spanish
squadrou was espied steaming out of
the narrow channel leading from San
tiago's .harbor to the open sea. The
flagship Immediately reversed her
course and steamed in the direction of
the escaping fleet, flying the signal to
close In aDd attack the enemy. This,
however, the ships on blockade had al
When the Spanish ships were first
sighted, all the blockading vessels were
In a semicircle in the following order,
reckoning from the eastward: The
Indiana., the Oregon, the Iowa, the
Texas and the Brooklyn, the last
named being farther to the westward
than any of the other great ships. The
Massachusetts ' had gone to Guanta
namo for cosl, the torpedo boat Erics
son was in company with the flagship
and the Gloucester and Vixen lay close
to land, to the eastward and westward,
respectively, of the channel.
One of the most important of the
precepts in the court of Inquiry Investi
gation deal with the so called "loop"
- - mcr
rs: . ,.
f the Brooklyn. Captain F. A Cook
of the Brooklyn says in his official re
port: "We opened fire on the leading
ship in five minutes from the discovery.
The port bittery wa first engaged as
we stood witlrport helm to head off
the leading ship and . gave ) them a
raking fire at about 1,500 yards range.
The enemy turued to the westward to
close . into the land. We then wore
around to starboard, bringing the star
board battery into action. The enemy
bugged the shore to the westward."
This was the since famous "loop"
which now plays so conspicuous a part
in the controversy, since different mo
tives for this maneuver are ascribed
. Schley explained this maneuver by
stating that he wished to avoid being
rammed by the approaching Maria
Teresa, and also that he did not wish
to "blanket" the fire of his other ships.
A prominent officer. Lieutenant Com
mander nodgson, who was on the
bridge at the time, is accredited with
having asked Schley when the order
to port the helm was given, "You mean
starboard T' "No. I mean port." Schley
Is said to have replied. "But we will
run down the Texas," the officer is al
leged to have remonstrated. "Let the
Texas look out for herself' is the re
joinder said to have been made by
Schley. In a recent Interview Lleu-tt-nant
Commander Hodgson is alleged
to have remarked: VTo my personal
knowledge the helm was kept hard
nport during the whole time of turn
iug the loop until eased up to parallel
the course of the Vizcaya, then about
2.S00 yards away on the starboard
bow. As the Brooklyn's tactical
diameter is only about COO yards, she
therefore could not have run farther
than COO yards to the southward."
Iu his annual report for 1898 the sec
retary of the navy says: "Since my
last annual report the navy has for the
first time since its rehabilitation been
put to the supreme test of war. Years
of patient, persistent training and de
velopment had brought it to a point of
high efllclency which resulted In the
unparalleled victories at Manila and
Santiago victories which have given
the names of our twval commanders
worldwide fame .UM) added an addi
tional page to the glorious naval his
tory of our country." There was "no
blot on the record," the secretary ob
served, and In concluding his report he
said: "The department feels, in con
templating the vast amount of work
necessary to the successful operations
of the navy during the last year (1898).
that the country as well as the service
has cause for congratulations in the
results which have followed and which
have been so generally approved, and
In the further fact that uo personal
feeling has arisen to mar the glorious
victories and magnificent work of the
In the concluding clause, unfortu
nately, the secretary was, to state it
mildly, rather premature in alluding to
the good feeling which was supposed
to prevail among those most promi
nently eugaged In the naval service off
the coast of Cuba. It Is not necessary
to go back to the beginning of the con-
OF THK BROOKLYN.
troversy recently precipitated by the
publication of a book reflecting upon
the conduct of Rear Admiral Schley In
the movements off Santiago, and par
ticularly of bis action in the battle In
which Cervera's squadron was de
stroyed. The naval court of inquiry
will determine those matters and will
doubtless settle the discussion as to all
points at Issue. ,
, It will be recalled that soon after
naval operations were over friends of
the present rear admirals. Sampson and
Schley, urged their ; respective claims
to promotion 'with a great deal of
warmth, and that action upon the ad
vancement not only of the parties most
prominent, but of their brother officers
entitled to promotion for bravery and
excellent service was delayed in conse
quence. It Is not uecessory to more
than allude to the deep feeling which
has since developed, the events are so
recent and so well known. Neither
Sampson nor Schley had taken official
cflgnizance of reports and even charges
agalust their characters, and nearly
three years elapsed before such a'ction
was takeu. When, however, in the
third volume of Maclay's "History of
the Navy" passages occurred reflecting
severely upon Rear Admiral Schley's
conduct, he felt Impelled to seek a vin
dication in the following letter to the
secretary of the navy:
Cat it Ktcc. K. Y.. July 22. 1901.
. Sir Within tc last lew days a series of press
coaussnts bar beea teat to m trsa various pax
f tbe country ot book entitled "The History of
tha Kavy," writUn by one Edgar Stanton ataolay.
From these reviews it appears that this edition is
third volume ot tbe said history, extaaded to in
clude the war with Spain,, which . the first two
volumes did not contain, and were in use as text
books st the Naval academy,.
From excerpts quoted in some reviews, in which
the page and paragraph are given, there is auch
perversion of facts, misconstruction of intention,
such intcmvate abuse and defamation ot myself,
which subjects Mr. Maclay to action in civil law.
While I admit the right of fair criticism of every
public officer, I must protest against tbe low
flings and abusive language of this violent, parti
san opponent, who has infused into the pagea of
bis book so much of the malice ot unfairness ss
to make it unworthy the name of history or ot
use in any reputable institution of the country.
I have refrained heretofore from all comment
upon the innuendoes of enemies muttered or mur
mured in secret and therefore with aafety to them
selves. I think tbe time has now come to take
such action as may bring this entire matter under
discussion under the clearer and calmer review of
my brothers in arms, and to this end I ask such
sction at the bands of the department as it may
deem best to accomplish this purpose. ..
But 1 would express the request in this connec
tion that whatever the action may be it ocvur in
Wabimrton. .,!fre m-t of my papers and data
are stored. Verv respectfully,
W. S. Schley, Bear Admiral, U. S. X.
nis request was promptly granted, as
appears by Secretary Long's reply:
. Natt DrrKTMEXT, WasHixGTOx, July 2, 1901.
Sir I am in receipt of yours of the 22d inst.
with reference to the criticisms upon you in con
nection with the Spanish-American war and hear
tily approve of your action under tbe circum-
r?.- V'i, -''.' 7:
'fmAiWvNilv hi iff; w
REAR ADMIKAL SAMPSON.
stances in asking st the hands ot this department
such action as may bring this entire matter under
discussion "under the clearer and calmer review of
my brothers in arms."
The department will at once proceed in accord
ance with your request. Very respectfully,
John U. Lono.
The objectionable paragraphs In Ma
clay's "History of the Navy" are as
Schley, on May 23, 1S03, sullied this brightest
of American mottoes by tanning, "Much to be re
gretted cannot obey orders" and turned in caitiff
flight from tbe danger spot toward winch duty,
honor and the whole American people were moat
earnestly urging him.
Viewed in whatever light it may be, the fore
going dispatch cannot be characterised otherwise
than as being, without exception, the roost hu
miliating, cowardly and lamentable report ever,
penned by an American naval officer.
In his report about the coal supply of the ves
sels under his command Schley exhibited a timidi
ty either amounting to absolute cowardice or a
prevarication of facts that were intrinsically false
hoods. The coal supply of his squadron, so far from be
ing meager, as Schley reported, is shown by the
respective logs of those ships, as indicated at
noon May 27, to have been roost satisfactory.
litre, then, we bave the humiliating spectacle
of an American naval officer of high rank, hav
ing each and every one of bis fighting ships with
more than three days' coal supply aboard, with a
collier laden with 4.000 tons o( coal, reporting, at
a moment when the greatest crisis of the war was
at hand, that "as the psnspect did not seem fa
vorable for replenishing the meager coal supply of
tbe larger vessels, the squadron stood to the west
ward," or away from the point the whole United
Statea was most fervently praying and urging him
Soon after the fiasco with the Eagle Schley
found another pretext for delay in the collier
Merrimac. which embarrassed the movements of
the squadron by breaking her intermediate pres
sure valve stem and cracking her stuffing box.
"This," reported the commodore, "was a source
of considerable anxiety, as, with the weather con
ditions that prevailed since leaving Cienfuegos, it
appeared absolutely necessary to abandon the po
sition off Santiago and seek a place where the
vessels could be coaled and the collier's machinery
This excuse,, like the surf off Cienfuegos, which
Schley deemed too strong for American naval
valor to surmount, and the "rain and rough
weather" which delayed the run to Santiago, was
soon siiown to be groundless, for the energetic en
gineers ot the Merrimac soon repaired the dam
age. Again the author says:
The one great lesson that Kelson gave in naval
strategy was that a captain is never out of posi
tion when alongside sn enemy. Farrsgut's great
axiom. 60 years later, was that "the nearer you
get to your enemy the harder you can strike."
Schley's contribution to naval strategy, as t"o
plainly shown by his conduct throughout this
campaign, wav "Avoid your enemy as long as
possible, and if be makes for you, run."
The reader has doubtless already
formed bis own opinion regarding Rear
F.EAB ADMIBAI BENHAM (RETIRED).
Member board of inquiry.
Admiral Schley's conduct in tbe war
and. what is made the most of by
Schley's critics, the famous "loop" of
the Brooklyn in entering tbe race
against the Spanish warships rwhlch is
explained by his friends as a technical
maneuver warranted by the exigencies
cf the moment. . The whole materfpr
examlnaltem Is summed up In Secret
tary Long's ,"rrecept" Issued to the
court of Inquiry, which contains ten
counts that will clearly explain the
case In controversy, particularly if read
in connection with the resume of
operations leading up to and before
Santiago given in the opening portion
of this article.
These are the lines of investigation
which Secretary Long has designated
for the official inquiry to follow:
1. His conduct In connection with the
events of the Santiago campaign.
2. The circumstances attending, the
reasons controlling and the propriety
of the movements of the flying squad
ron off Cienfuegos in May, 1898.
3. The circumstances attending, the
reasons controlling and the propriety
of the movements of the said squadron
In proceeding from Cienfuegos to San
4. The circumstances attending the
arrival of the flying squadron off San
tiago, the reasous for Its retrograde
turn westward and departure from off
Santiago and the propriety thereof.
n. The circumstances attending and
the reasons for the disobedience by
Commodore Schley of the orders of the
department coutained in its dispatch
dated May 23, 1SDS, and the propriety
of his conduct In the premises.
G. The condition of the coal supply
of the flying squadron on and about
May 27. 1S0S; Its coaling facilities; the
necessity, if any. for, or advisability
of, the return of the squadrou to Key
West to coal, and the accuracy and
propriety of the official reports made
Ly Commodore Schley with respect to
7. Whether or not every effort in
cumbent upon the commanding officer
of a fleet under such circumstances
was made to capture or destroy the
Spanish cruiser Colon as she lay at
anchor in the entrance to Santiago har
bor May 27 to 31 inclusive, and the
necessity for or advisability of engag-
irresident board ot inquiry
ing the batteries at the entrance to San
tiago harbor and the Spanish vessels at
anchor within the entrance to said har
bor at the ranges used, and the proprie
ty of Commodore Schley's conduct in
S. The necessity, if any. for and ad
visability of withdrawing at night the
flying squadron from the entrance to
Santiago harbor to a distance at sea,
if such shall be found to have been tbe
ease; the extent and character of such
withdrawal and whether or not a close
or adequate blockade of said harbor to
prevent the escape of the enemy's ves
sels therefrom was established, and the
propriety of Commodore Schley's con
duct In the premises.
0. The position of the Brooklyn on
tle morning of July 3. 1S0S, at the time
of the exit of the Spanish vessels from
the harbor of Santiago, the circum
stances attending, the reasons for and
the Incidents resulting from tne turn
ing of the Brooklyn in the direction
which she turned at or about the be
ginning of the action with said Span
ish vessels, and the possibility of there
by colliding with or endangering any
other of the vessels of tbe United
States fleet, and the propriety of Com
modore Schley's conduct in the prem
ises. 10. The circumstances leading to and
the incidents and results of a contro
versy with Lieutenant Albon C Hodg
sou, U. S. N., who. on July S. 1S98, dur
ing the battle of Santiago, was naviga
tor of the Brooklyn, In relation to the
turning of the Brooklyn; also the col
loquy at that time between Commodore
Schley and Lieutenant' Hodgson and
the ensuing correspondence between
them on the subject thereof, and the
propriety of the condcrt of Admiral
Sehleyjn the premises, .
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