Lt. Bustamente Reports on the FUROR

Contributed by Nick Mitiuckov


General:

This is an account by Lt. Bustamente, the executive offficer of the Spanish Torpedoboat Destroyer FUROR, about the Naval Battle of Santiago.

Bustamente's Account:

When we got to the bay's mouth, we saw our squadron [Cervera's four cruiser's had exited the bay previous to the FUROR and PLUTON], and decided, that if we went to west, we could gain the protection of our squadron. But there was some distance between us and squadron. One shell hit on our hatch, where our boiler's ventilators were located, so our steam pressure reduced considerably, and our speed slowed. At this time we had suffered a great quantity of hits. One shell cut up the boatswain in half and the part of his body fell into the steering control line. As a result of this, the ship lost partial rudder control. We needed to clear the body from the steering control line. Next, a shell destroyed the steam governor. A third exploded on the poop deck magazine and destroyed it.

We had torpedoes cleared for action. Fuses were screwed in place, but we were unable to fire because, the distance was too great during the battle. As a result of these circumstances the commander of both destroyers, Capitan de Navio Villamil ordered us to abandon ship. Myself and  part of the crew leaped overboard about 3 miles off the coast.

In the water I saw one of my comrades (probably the boatswain) was killed by a bullet to the head. At this time our destroyer, after a series of explosions, sank. When we got to the coast, we went on foot east toward Santiago. Shortly afterwards, we met the men of Lt Caballero (senior officer of TERROR) and together proceeded to Santiago.


Bibliography:

Excerpted  from:

Tejeira, José Muller, Combates y Capitulacion de Santiago. Madrid: 1898, (Tejeira was a Spanish Navy Officer and personal witness of the campaign).


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