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Battle of Manila Bay:

Account of Lt. Dion William

(A U.S. Marine aboard the BALTIMORE)

Contributed by Nick Mitiuckov

Lt. Dion Williams, Cruiser Baltimore
Lt. Dion Williams and a portion of his U.S. Marine Contingent

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The Battle of Manila Bay

On Sunday, April 24, when the war between the United States and Spain broke out, the United States Asiatic Squadron under command of Commodore George Dewey, lay at Hong Kong ready in every respect for sea.

This squadron consisted of the first class protected cruiser "Olympia",  of 5,870 tons displacement, flagship; the second class protected cruisers "Baltimore", 4,500 tons; "Raleigh", 3,200 tons; and "Boston", 3,000 tons; the gunboats "Concord", 1700 tons; and "Petrel", 890 tons; the revenue cutter "Hugh McCulloch", 1300 tons; and the transports "Nanshan", 4,000 tons; and "Zafiro" 2,000 tons.

The "Baltimore" had arrived from Honolulu on April 22 with a supply of ammunition for the other ships of the fleet and was docked and cleaned, and filled up with coal and stores with the greatest despatch; the "McCulloch", while on a voyage from New York to San Francisco by way of China, had been turned over to the Navy Department by the Treasury Department when war became imminent; the "Nanshan" and "Zafiro" had been purchased from their English owners just prior to the war, their original English crews gladly remaining with them.

The cruiser BALTIMORE, Dion Williams' ship

The BALTIMORE, the ship on which Dion Williams served.

On the twenty-fourth the English governor of Hong Kong, in the interests of neutrality, requested our fleet to leave Hong Kong, as a state of war existed and we were avowedly fitting out for a hostile expedition against Manila. Our fleet accordingly moved thirty miles eastward to Mirs Bay in Chinese waters, from which communication was kept up by means of tugs with Hong Kong.

On the afternoon of the twenty-fifth Commodore Dewey received a cablegram from the Navy Department announcing that a state of war existed, and ordering him to proceed to the Philippine Islands and capture or destroy the Spanish fleet there.

According to the best information at that time the Spanish fleet in the Philippines consisted of the protected cruiser "Reina Cristina", 3,600 tons; the composite cruiser "Castilla", 3,260 tons; and the gunboats "Velasco", 1,150 tons; "Don Juan de Austria", 1,159 tons; "Don Antonio de Ulloa", 1,160 tons; the sister ships "Isla de Cuba" and "Isla de Luzon", 1,045 tons; "Elcano" [El Correo], 560 tons; "General Lezo", 530 tons; "Marques del Duero", 500 tons; the sister ships "Villalobos" and "Quiros", 334 tons; and twenty small river gunboats ranging from 50 to 200 tons, under command of Admiral Patricio Montojo y Pasaron.

In addition it was reported that the channels leading into Manila Bay, the Boca Chica and the Boca Grande, were mined, and that batteries were mounted on Cor regidor Island in the midchannel, and on the mainland north and south of the entrance.

All arrangements having been completed, at 2:00 P.M. on the twenty-seventh, the squadron weighed anchor and proceeded under easy steam, at nine knots speed toward Manila, 600 miles away.

Before leaving Hong Kong the ships had been painted a dull slate color from water line to main truck and the yards had all been unshipped except light signal yards. During the twenty-eighth and twenty-ninth the ships were cleared for action.   Awning stanchions and all deck hamper not necessary in battle were unshipped and sent below, and, following the lesson of the Yalu, all woodwork not absolutely necessary was thrown overboard.   Gratings, skylights, tables, mess-benches, and in some of the ships, the wooden bulkheads in the officers' quarters were unshipped and thrown over the side.

Drills were carried on night and day, and the engines and guns put in the best possible working trim.

Arriving off the coast of the Island of Luzon, eighty miles north of Manila, at daylight on the thirtieth, two of the ships of the squadron were sent ahead as scouts to reconnoiter the bays and inlets, but they found them deserted.

At sundown the commanding' officers of all the ships of the squadron were ordered aboard the flagship and informed by the commodore that the fleet would enter Manila Bay by night with every light screened, and run the batteries there, taking the southern and larger channel, the Boca Grande.

At 7:30 P.M. the crews were called to quarters, the guns loaded, and with every man at his station, the squadron, steaming in column at 400 yards distance between vessels, at six knots speed, entered the Boca Grande in the following order: "Olympia", "Baltimore", "Raleigh", "Petrel", "Concord", "Boston", "McCulloch", "Zafiro", and "Nanshan".

The moon was in the first quarter and the sky partially cloudy, while a low haze hung near the land, and it seemed certain to everyone on board that the lockouts at the forts and shore batteries would soon discover our ships.

Yet looking down the line from the leading vessels the following ships showed, even at that close distance, only in dim outline, and clearly proved the value of the so-called invisible war color.

At 11:30 a red rocket shot up from the crest of Corregidor Island, and the anxious watchers on the ships knew that we were discovered by the enemy, and everyone waited in silence for the first gun from the shore batteries, or the dull boom that would announce the explosion of a dreaded mine.

The long dark line of ships moved steadily on, but not until 12:15 A.M. did the first gun on shore speak, followed at long intervals by several more, the shells from all of which whistled harmlessly over us.

At 2:10 A.M., having successfully passed the entrance, the flagship stood tor the center of the bay and signaled speed four knots, aiming to arrive off  light. The fighting force followed in column, the reserve squadron, composed of the "McCulloch", "Nanshan" and "Zafiro" forming a second column on the port beam.

The gun crews sat down near their guns, but few slept, every man from the commodore to the Chinese steerage boys anxiously awaiting for the bugle call that would send them to battle quarters for the longedfor fight with the Spanish fleet. The only doubts were that the Spaniards might have given us the slip and scattered among the thousand islands of the Philippines, in which case it might have taken months to hunt them down.

At daybreak the city of Manila was visible about five miles off the starboard beam, and a few merchant sailing ships were anchored close in shore.  The crews were called to battle quarters and silently fell in at their stations, and turning to starboard the squadron steamed along in front of Manila.

At 4:40 A.M. the Spanish fleet of ten vessels could be made out in an indented line between Sangley Point and the shore at Las Pinas. At 4:55 A.M. the shore batteries at Manila fired on us, but the shots fell far short and only the "Raleigh" and "Concord" replied.

The reserve squadron hauled off to the northward and lay to, awaiting the result of the battle.

At 5:05 the flagship signaled "Prepare for general action," and the Stars and Stripes broke out from every masthead as the squadron of six ships stood straight for the Spanish fleet, keeping perfect distance at 400 yards between ships.

At 5:15 the enemy bore on the starboard bow distant about 6,000 yards, when the Spanish fleet opened fire supported by the shore batteries on Sangley Point, but their shots at first fell short by a thousand yards. At 5:30 our squadrons opened fire with the starboard batteries and then turning to starboard, steamed slowly along in front of the enemy on a general westerly course, firing with the port batteries. The action then became general.

Our gunners soon got the range and fired with the coolness and deliberation of target practice, many of the shots striking, home. The Spaniards' gunnery was poor, their shots falling short or passing over us with that sharp "whirr" which once heard is never forgotten. From my station on the high forecastle of the "Baltimore", the second ship in our column, I had a clear view of the battle, and by the aid of fieldglasses could see many of our shots strike the Spanish cruisers.

The Spanish ships maneuvered but little. the "Castilla", "Velasco", and "Ulloa" remaining at anchor throughout the engagement while the rest of the fleet moved in and out behind Cavite Point.

At 5:45 the flagship signaled "Close up, speed six knots," and after passing them on the first run, our column turned to starboard and steamed back to the eastward, firing with the starboard batteries.

During this run past the enemy's position his fire increased and his shots fell closer; one 4.7-inch armor piercing shell striking the "Baltimore" just abaft the after 6-inch gun, passing through the side and ripping up the spar deck for several feet. Deflecting slightly upward and passing through the after engine room hatch, it struck and disabled the port after 6-inch gun, denting one of the recoil cylinders, cutting a deep fur row on the inner side of the 2-inch gun shield and coming to rest on the deck with-out exploding.

Path of the projectile that hit the Cruiser Baltimore

Beneath where this shell struck the deck the seven-inch steel deck beam was bent down three inches and nearly broken, and in its flight the shell struck a box of three pounder Hotchkiss ammunition, one of the cartridges of which exploded. The splinters wounded two officers and six men, and had the shell exploded many would have been killed.

Ensign Irwin, who commanded the gun division where this shell struck, was wounded by a flying splinter of steel and thrown to the deck. As he regained his feet the executive officer, noticing the extra noise and confusion and thinking some accident had occurred at the after 6-inch gun, sang out, "My God, what are you trying to do, Irwin?"

Saluting with his wounded right arm the ensign replied "Nothing, sir, that was just a Spanish shell that came aboard," and turning to his gun rearranged the crew on account of the six wounded men and continued the fire against the enemy.

The injured gun on the opposite side was fired once as that side came into action on the next round, but owing to the dented recoil cylinder it would not return to battery, and had to be abandoned for the rest of the action. After the battle the gunner's gang worked all night on the disabled gun and before the next morning had repaired it temporarily so that it could be fired with comparative safety.

A six-pounder Nordenfeldt shell passed through the "Baltimore's" side about fifty feet from the bow and exploded in the berth deck without doing any damage.

One small projectile struck the forward turret of the "Olympia" but exploded without doing any damage; another shell passed over the forward bridge of the flagship where the commodore had taken his station, and cut one of the shrouds.

Turning to starboard the column again steamed to the westward, firing with the port batteries at 4,000 yards. At 6:18 the flagship signaled "Don't turn so quick," and at 6:50 smoke could be seen pouring out of the after hatches of the Spanish flagship "Reina Cristina" while her fire visibly slackened. She had been struck by many of our shells, her steering gear was carried away, and she was afire in several

The "Castilla" was also on fire and the loss of life had been great on both of these ships, as our fire had been mostly concentrated on them on account of their large size.

During this run a six-pounder shell penetrated the "Baltimore" at the water line amidships exploding in a coal bunker, while another passed through the cowl head of the forward ventilator, and still another penetrated the side amidships and, striking a pipe on the berth deck, exploded without doing any damage to the crew.

At the end of the run to the westward the column turned to starboard and made its last run to the eastward, firing with the starboard battery. The small Spanish ships had sought cover behind Cavite Point, but the "Reina Cristina", "Castilla", and "Don Juan de Austria" remained off the point and kept up a fire against us, while the "Don Antonio de Ulloa" fired from behind the low sand spit of Sangley Point.

Near the end of this run some of the small Spanish craft sought shelter behind the walls of Cavite, and an enthusiastic signal boy, probably without authority, signaled by a wig-wag flag from the after bridge of the "Olympia" "Half whipped."

Turning to starboard the column steamed for the third and last time to the westward, firing steadily with the port batteries. At 7:00 A.M. the flagship signaled "Close up," as the column had straggled out a little, each ship being too intent on its own work.

At 7:35, as the enemy's fire had almost ceased, our ammunition was rapidly disappearing, and our crews had been at their quarters for twelve hours, the commodore signaled to the fleet, "Withdraw from action," and the squadron steamed out of range of the Spanish shore batteries and lay to, while the captains of all the ships hurried aboard the flagship in obedience to orders by signal and reported to the commodore.

One after another they reported the results of the action, their injuries, and the condition of their ammunition magazines. The commodore probably felt more anxiety on this subject of ammunition than on any other, for we were 7,000 miles from our nearest base of ammunition supply, while the total supply carried by a modern cruiser may be fired away in a few hours, and we might have other battles yet to fight before a fresh supply could reach us.

Having received satisfactory replies from all his captains on this vital point, nothing stood in the way of finishing the now crushed and demoralized enemy but breakfast, which was taken "al fresco" by the tired and hungry but happy and jubilant officers and men as they watched the smoke break into flames on the doomed "Castilla" and "Reina Cristina".

The damage to our fleet had been very slight. Besides the hits already noted, the "Boston" was struck four times, one shot passing through the steel foremast a few feet above the line of the bridge where Captain Wildes and his aides were standing; another penetrating the side abreast the wardroom, exploding and setting fire to the inflammable woodwork there, which was soon extinguished; the third striking the superstructure deck and exploding in the hammock nettings, while the fourth struck the side amidships abreast the berth deck. Two of the crew were slightly wounded by splinters. The "Baltimore" was the only other ship which had any wounded, two officers and six enlisted men, all wounded by splinters and all of whom have recovered without any serious consequences.

On the "Baltimore" one sailor with one of the small bones of his leg broken insisted on going back to his gun, after the doctor had dressed his leg, and finishing out the rest of the fight.

The loss on the Spanish side had been great, however, and their flagship, the "Reina Cristina", the "Castilla", and one of the gunboats could be seen burning. At 9:00 A.M. a heavy explosion occurred on the "Castilla", probably a magazine, followed by smaller explosions as the fire reached the charges for the guns on deck; and shortly after this she sank in shoal water still burning fiercely.

At 10:45 A.M. our squadron got underway to go in and finish the work. A steamer was sighted standing up the bay from the Boca Chica and the "Baltimore" was sent to intercept her, but she proved to be the English mail steamer "Esmeralda", and the flagship signaled "Engage shore batteries "Baltimore" leading."  The "Baltimore" then turned and stood in toward Cavite.

The batteries on Sangley Point and the "Don Antonio de Ulloa" behind the point opened fire, but the "Baltimore" answered with a perfect hail of shell at about 2,500 yards range, the rapidity of fire greatly exceeding that of the first engagement, and the batteries were silenced in thirty minutes, while the crew of the "Ulloa" deserted her, leaving the colors still flying, and she soon sank with only her forward upper works above the water.

Her flag was afterwards found nailed to its staff and was secured by a boat's crew from the "Petrel".

The rest of the squadron came up in twenty minutes and after firing a few shots into Cavite arsenal, the five Spanish flags which were flying there were hauled down and the white flag was run up. The gunboat "Petrel" was ordered to go into Bacoor Bay back of Cavite Point and destroy the Spanish shipping there, and at 12:50 P.M. she signaled from inside the point, "A general surrender."

The Spanish had scuttled their ships and deserted them, and sinking in shoal water only their upper works remained above the water line.

Under orders from the commodore, the "Petrel's" crew set fire to the Spanish ships and most of the woodwork above the water burned, while the "General Lezo" was ruined by an explosion of a magazine.

The Spanish mail steamer "Isla de Mindanao", which had arrived ten days earlier from Spain with large stores of ammunition, had been run aground by her crew between Las Pinas and Bacoor, and the "Concord" was sent to examine her. She fired upon the "Concord" and was fired on in return by the "Concord" and "Olympia". These shots set her on fire and, her crew deserting her, she burned during the day and night.

The armed transport "Manila" of 2,000 tons displacement was captured inside of Cavite Point, and officers and a crew from our fleet were put aboard of her. Though very dirty she was otherwise in excellent condition and with additional guns captured from the enemy mounted aboard, makes a valuable addition to our fleet. The small steamer "Mindanao", which was undergoing repairs at the yard, was also captured in the bay. She is uninjured though some of her machinery is in the shops of the navy yard.

In the engagement the Spanish lost all the ships of their fleet, including the flagship "Reina Cristina"; the cruisers "Castilla", "Don Antonio de Ulloa", "Don Juan de Austria", "Velasco", "Isla de Cuba", and "Isla de Luzon", the gunboats "General Lezo", and "Marques del Duero", and the armed Hydrographic Commission steamer "Argos" of 500 tons.

Of these the "Reina Cristina", the "Castilla", and the "Don Antonio de Ulloa" are lying outside of the Bay of Bacoor, where they were sunk by our terrific fire. The remaining seven are sunk inside of Cavite Point with their upper works partially above water. The "Reina Cristina", and "Castilla" are complete wrecks, and while they burned during the afternoon and night after the fight, frequent explosions occurred aboard them. The "Castilla's" sides being of wood, she burned to the water'sedge.

A few feet of the sides of the "Reina Cristina" show above the water, surmounted by a mass of twisted and blackened iron, deck beams, upper works, and davits, but even after all the woodwork has been burned the results of our fire can be seen in many places. The "Ulloa" sank with only her forward upper works out of the water, but in these parts of her forty hits have been counted.

All of the seven ships inside had been scuttled and deserted by their crews, and show evidences of our gunnery. The "Don Juan de Austria" showed fourteen hits in the part above the water; one of these had completely disabled her steering gear and must have rendered her unmanageable, as she had only a single screw. The "Isla de Cuba" and the "Isla de Luzon" are apparently but little injured and are to be raised, repaired, and put into the service of the United States.

A large number of small tugs and launches were captured and are being used as tenders by the ships of our fleet. Many of the guns on the Spanish ships are practically uninjured and some of them have been remounted on our ships and tenders. while the others will be sent to the United States.

As several white flags were flying in Manila on the afternoon of the first, the United States Consul to Manila, O.F. Williams, who had been with our squadron since April 27, opened communication with the Spanish governor general at Manila.

Under directions from the commodore the consul demanded the surrender of the Spanish ships in the Pasig River and the promise from the governor general that the batteries at Manila would not fire upon our squadron, and threatened that in case of any hostile move on the part of the Spanish, our Squadron would destroy the city. The governor general declined to say whether there were any other gunboats near Manila, but promised not to fire on us as long as we refrained from attacking Manila.

On the night of the first the squadron anchored off Manila and Cavite, keeping an especially bright lookout for torpedo attacks. About 11:30 P.M. the commander at Cavite asked for terms, and on the second that place with the navy yard, arsenal, and forts situated there, were abandoned by their defenders. These forces, comprising in all about 2,500 officers and men, moved out toward Manila with their arms and what stores they could carry.

On the morning of the third a marine guard from the "Baltimore" landed, established sentry posts around the navy yard, and hoisted the Stars and Stripes, the first to be raised over captured territory in the Philippines.

The store houses, work shops, offices, and dwellings were commodious and well fitted. Large stores of material for the construction and repair of ships, engines, and guns were found, while the magazines held immense supplies of shell and powder for the guns of the fleet.   In one building six Schwartzkopf-Whitehead torpedoes were found, and everywhere were to he seen evidences of the hasty preparations which must have followed the declaration of war.

The grounds are well laid out and the shady roadways are bordered with little plazas with fountains and shrubbery. Sweet smelling tropical flowers bloom amid the horrors of war and spread their perfume in the air, where it mingled with the sickening stench of the Spanish dead, whose comrades had left them unburied.

On the second of May the "Raleigh" and the "Baltimore" steamed down to the entrance of the bay and, entering the Boca Chica, demanded the surrender of the batteries there. The Spanish governor resident at Corregidor came on board and signed articles of capitulation, and the guns, fifteen in all, were afterward destroyed or disabled.

The Spanish officers said that many contact mines had been placed in the channel, and expressed great surprise that our ships had not been blown up, but we found none of them after steaming all over the channel.

With the exception of a few of the officers of high rank, none of the men who manned our squadron had ever been in action, and yet they stood to their guns during the action with all the coolness and courage of veterans, and the firing was done with the accuracy and precision of a target practice drill. All the guns worked without a hitch and the firing was rapid while passing the enemy's position.

When in turning at the end of the runs the ships of the American squadron passed each other close aboard, the crews of the passing ships cheered with that ringing cheer which marks the Anglo-Saxon spirit, and presented a series of stirring incidents amid the roar of the battle.

The Spaniards also fought their guns with great courage and determination, although their gunnery was especially poor.

According to the report of the Spanish Admiral Montojo, he fought his ships until the "Castilla" was destroyed, the "Reina Cristina" unmanageable and afire in many places and the "Don Juan de Austria" and one gunboat disabled, and then at 7:30 A.M., seeing that further resistance would simply rnean the sacrifice of his brave men, he transferred his flag to the "Isla de Cuba" and ordered the remaining ships to seek cover behind Cavite Point in Bacoor River.

On April 25 with the "Reina Cristina", the "Don Juan de Austria", "Isla de Cuba", "Isla de Luzon", "Castilla", "Marques del Duero", and transport "Manila", Montojo had gone to Subig Bay intending to fight our squadron there, aided by the shore batteries which he supposed had been erected.

Finding that the batteries had not been erected, and learning from the Spanish consul at Hong Kong that the American squadron had sailed for Subig and Manila to fight the Spanish fleet, a council of war was held and it was decided to return to Manila Bay and await the attack in the shoal water off Sangley Point and Cavile, where the "Castilla" and "Ulloa" could fight at their moorings while the shore batteries could give additional support. Both the "Castilla" and "Ulloa", on account of disabled machinery were incapable of motion by their own power and were thus no more than floating

The naval experts of our squadron generally agree that considering all the difficulties with which Admiral Montojo had to contend, the disposition he made of his ships was the best to be expected.  However several of his smaller vessels were fitted with torpedo outfits and had these ships courageously steamed out to meet us with in torpedo range they might have sunk one or more of our ships, although at the almost certain risk of the loss of their ships with all on board.

Our arrival at Subig at 3:00 P.M. on the thirtieth was telegraphed to Montojo at Manila and from then until our arrival off Cavite he was kept informed of our movements, and had his squadron as well prepared to meet us as lay in his power, so the many stories of a surprise are groundless.

But by most of the precedents of naval warfare, the Spanish admiral was justified in thinking, as he did, that we would first send out scouts to reconnoiter his position so the boldness and decision with which Admiral Dewey took the entire American squadron in to the attack regardless of torpedoes and shore batteries must have been a surprise to the ever-cautious Spaniard.

Yet the Spanish fleet was ready for the battle and opened the fire upon us at long range some minutes before we saw fit to reply. What they expected to do will probably ever remain a mystery as Admiral Montojo says he knew they were certain to be defeated before the fight began, while many of his officers have said since the battle that they relied upon the support of the shore batteries to make upfor our superior sea force and thought that the chances were equal for their ultimate victory.

The Spanish lost, according to their own account, 320 killed and nearly 300 wounded. Of these the "Reina Cristina" lost 150 killed, including the captain, captain's clerk, chief engineer, surgeon, and boatswain, and ninety wounded, including the executive officer.

The "Castilla" lost 110 killed, including the second engineer, and 160 wounded, including the captain and one lieutenant.

The "Don Antonio" lost sixteen killed and fifteen wounded, including the captain, paymaster, and surgeon.

The "Don Juan de Austria" lost fifteen killed, including one lieutenant, and thirty-five wounded, including the chief engineer and one lieutenant.

At one of the batteries on Sangley Point composed of two Hontoria 6.2-inch rifles. Six men were killed and four wounded.

The remaining killed and wounded were from the other ships and from the shore batteries and barracks. It is quite probable that many of the wounded went down with the sinking ships or were burned to death in the fierce fires, as most of the wounded were left on the "Castilla" and "Reina Cristina" when those ships were hastily abandoned by their crews.

Many of the wounded were removed to the hospitals in the arsenal and the town of Cavite. Surgeons from our ships who-visited these hospitals after the battle say that, although the Spanish surgeons had large stores of the very best material for dressing wounds, their surgery was very bad. In many cases of cut arteries, instead of tying them, they had used perchloride of iron and the dressings were also very poor. This could be accounted for in part by the great confusion incident to the crushing defeatand the large number of the wounded. After the evacuation of Cavite by the enemy, many of the wounded were taken to Manila on board one of our tenders under a flag of truce.

When our force landed on the third the naval hospital at the Cavite arsenal presented a scene of the greatest confusion. The cots from which the wounded had been removed were covered with blood-soaked bandages, and surgical instruments and medicines were scattered about. Under the portico in the rear of the building eight of the Spanish dead had been laid out in a row. Some of these bodies were dressed in underclothing such as officers would wear; all were frightfully mangled, and decomposition had set in so that the stench was pronounced. They were buried in an unmarked grave by men from our ships.

It seems a remarkable fact that, although the Spanish had twenty-four hours between the battle and the evacuation, they had not buried their dead but left them on the ships and in the hospitals. The bodies on the sunken vessels were devoured by the sharks that infest these waters and the ones on shore were buried by us.

The accompanying tables show the principal data of the Spanish ships engaged, but though there is an apparent inferiority of their force as compared with ours, this was made up by the shore batteries which they had.

The small injury inflicted on our ships is attributed by our officers to the fact that the accurate fire of our large guns at long range demoralized the enemy before his smaller guns could be brought into action, as well as to the poor marksmanship of the Spanish gunners, which is directly traceable to the fact that they seldom have target practice.

It is particularly interesting to note the amount of ammunition fired by the ships of our squadron during the engagement. The reports show that the "Olympia" fired thirty-six 8-inch shell, 350 5-inch, 1,000 6-pounder, and 360 1-pounder; the "Baltimore" fired seventy-three 8-inch, 175 6-inch, 410 6-pounder, 169 3-pounder, and 692 1-pounder; the "Boston", forty-eight 8-inch, 162 6-inch, 220 6-pounder, 256 3-pounder, and 420 1-pounder; the "Raleigh", fifty-three 6-inch, 341 5-inch, 137 6-pounder, and 100 1-pounder; the "Concord", 182 6-inch, and a proportionate amount of secondary battery ammunition; and the "Petrel", eighty-three 6-inch and her proportion of small caliber shots.

According to the best information obtainable the weight of the ammunition fired was "Olympia", 26,500 pounds; "Balimore", 35,750 pounds; "Boston", 28,200 pounds; "Raleigh", 22,350 pounds; "Concord", 20,000 pounds, and "Petrel", 10,000 pounds, a total of nearly seventy-two tons of steel, or about one-half of the total ammunition supply of the Squadron.

Another point of interest to the student of naval affairs is illustrated by the fact that, although the ships of our squadron had never drilled in concert, all the evolutions under fire were performed with an accuracy and precision that would have done credit to a peace time drill.

When we left Hong Kong the home date of our latest mail was March 27. At that time the slogan "Remember the "Maine"", had not been invented and the war-like feelings of the crews of our ships on the Asiatic Station had not run toward that revengeful sentiment; so, although it contradicts every account of the battle I have yet seen in print, in the interests of truth it should be recorded that the signal, "Remember the "Maine", was never hoisted on the "Olympia" nor was it "shouted in a hoarse chorus by officers and men."

The above account was written shortly after the battle and gives the impressions of a participant who served aboard the U.S.S. "Baltimore.".


(As a service to our readers, clicking on title in red will take you to that book on

Goldstein, Donald M. and Katherine Dillon, The Spanish-American War : The Story and Photographs. (Washington: Prange Enterprises, 1998) 58. (image of Williams)

Williams, Lt. Dion., USMC "The Naval Battle of Manila", Proceedings of the United States Naval Institute. (Annapolis: United States Naval Institute, May 1928) #303,  p.345-353.

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