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The Log of the Auxiliary Cruiser Yankee

Part 1

Contributed by Charles W. White

Auxiliary Cruiser U.S.S. Yankee
The Auxiliary Cruiser YANKEE

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This account is the log of the Auxiliary Cruiser YANKEE, which saw action during the Spanish American War, with additional info. added from the diaries of George Yardley and S. H. P. Pell [indicated by indented text].

The Log:

On April 14, 1898, the YANKEE was placed in commission at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, N.Y., but the ship was in the hands of the construction department until the sixth day of May.

On April 19, her commanding officer, Commander Willard H. Brownson, U.S.N., reported for duty and joined his ship.  The ship was assigned to the North Patrol Squadron, under Commodore John A. Howell.

On April 20, Lieutenants John Hubbard and William G. Cutler, her executive officer and navigator respectively, reported for duty.

On April 26, the crew enlisted at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  Assigned to the New Hampshire for duty until their vessel was ready.

Orders to the Naval Militia of the State of New York were issued to report at eight p.m.  Aboard the NEW HAMPSHIRE, moored at the foot of 28th Street, New York City.  After roll call, the names of the men selected to man the Yankee were read and orders to report at eight o’clock the next morning were issued.  The next few days were spent on the New Hampshire getting ready for the cruise.

A week or so ago volunteers for the war had been called for and practically the whole of the Naval Militia had offered their services.  At the final examinations a few men failed to pass.  The enlisted men were graded Seamen, Ordinary Seamen and Landsmen in rather a haphazard manner.  No one knows how long we are in for or what it means, but we are enlisted for one year or until discharged.

On April 30, Lieutenants W. Butler Duncan, Jr., and S. Dana Greene reported for duty.

We went to the YANKEE, formerly the Morgan liner “EL NORTE.” She has been converted into an auxiliary cruiser.  Her main battery consists of ten five-inch guns, eight mounted on the gun deck and two in the forecastle.  Secondary battery, six breech-loading six pounders, two in the bow, two in the waist and two in the stern, and also a pair of light automatic Colts on the superstructure.  We returned to the New Hampshire in the afternoon.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard, where the YANKEE is moored, is a busy place.  There is great confusion as a number of ships are being outfitted.  We are loading sup-plies and all kinds of truck for what is evidently to be an extended cruise.  All kinds of rumors flying about but no one really knows anything.

May 2nd, 3rd & 4th,  Busy loading provisions and stores on the YANKEE. Very hard work for such of us who had never done manual labor before, but the crew is full of enthusiasm and ambition. Returned to the New Hampshire for the night.

Friday, May 6.  At Brooklyn Navy Yard.  The crew of the YANKEE, detailed from the First Naval Battalion, left the New Hampshire by the navy yard tug Narkeeta under the command of Lieutenant W.  Butler Duncan, Jr., U.S.N., and reported on board the YANKEE for duty.  Crew assigned to stations.  Took on stores during the afternoon.  Orders to report to command-ing officer of North Patrol Squadron at Provincetown, Mass., as soon as ready for sea.

Saturday, May 7.  At Brooklyn Navy Yard.  Spent the day in taking on stores and supplies.

Food ample but as some of our mess cooks tried to ship as firemen and finding there was no vacancies claimed to be cooks; the result is not so good.

All hands were turned out at 8 bells (4 o’clock) in the morning. For break-fast, coffee and hard tack.  However, what we miss in experience we make up in enthusiasm and everyone is doing his best.

Sunday, May 8.  At Brooklyn Navy Yard. Loaded ammuni-tion all day. United States Marine Guard, twenty-seven men [Including William Edgar White, Private U.S.M.C.], under Lieutenant Pendleton, reported on board for duty.
Monday, May 9th -Today, amid the blowing of whistles and tears and lamen-tations of our friends and relatives the YANKEE left the Yard.  As we steamed by the Statue of Liberty our hearts sank to think of the many months before we would see it again.  We need not have worried, however, because we only got as far as Tompkinsville, where we anchored for the night.  Carried away port rudder chain.  A Committee of the Sons of the Revolution came aboard and presented a jack and large ensign to the ship.  The speech of the Chairman was very patriotic, and also, a trifle embarrassing as he told us that we were heroes and threw all kinds of flowery bouquets at us.  During the speeches, we noted a peculiar smile on Mr.  Cutler’s face, which we didn’t understand at the time.  The Sons of the Revolution were hardly clear of the ship when we were enlightened. In his peculiar nasal tones he called, “About a million of you heroes jump up and get in that sea ladder.  “Heroes “ we are evidently & be for the balance of the cruise.

Tuesday, May 10.  At anchor off Tompkinsville.  Took on ammunition.  Crew assigned to stations.

Wednesday, May 11.  At anchor off Tompkinsville. Proceeded to sea. Passed Sandy Hook, N. J., at 5 p.m.

Next week was spent on a “beat” between Cape Henlopen and Block Island.  At night we show no light and when we sight a ship we steam slowly toward her and suddenly flash our search light.  So far we have not met any Spaniards.  Our days are taken up with drills and in learning the routine of a man-of-war.

Thursday, May 12.  At sea. Routine of ship’s company and general quarters during the day.  Arrived off Provincetown, Mass., and anchored. Received orders to proceed with the U.S.S.  COLUMBIA to Block Island, and in company with that vessel establish a patrol from Block Island, R. I., to Cape Henlopen, Delaware.  Weather cool and cloudy.

Friday, May 13.  At sea.  Still at anchor off Provincetown, Mass.; the Columbia arrived at 6 a.m., and received orders from her to follow her south. Got up anchor and put to sea in company with the Columbia.

Saturday, May 14.  On patrol.  Arrived off Block Island, R. I., at noon and anchored. Got up anchor and put to sea at 4 p.m., bound south.

Sunday, May 15.  On patrol.  Arrived off Barnegat, changed the course to north.  Cleared ship for action during the fore-noon watch.  Arrived off Block Island, and anchored.  At 4 p.m. put to sea bound south.

Monday, May 16.  On patrol.  Arrived off Barnegat, at 3 a.m., changed the course to north.  Arrived off Block Island, R.I., at 1 p.m., and anchored.  At 4 p.m., put to sea, bound south.

Tuesday, May 17.  On patrol.  Arrived off Barnegat at 2 p.m., changed course to north. General quarters at 2:30 a.m.  Sighted strange steamer.  Arrived off Block Island at noon and anchored. Put to sea bound south.

Wednesday, May 18.  On patrol.  Arrived off Barnegat, changed the course to north.  Arrived off Block Island at noon and came to anchor.  Spoke the U.S.S.  ONEIDA bound south. Put to sea bound south.

The ” Rumor Committee” has been very busy of late settling our ultimate destination. No one believes we will stay on this patrol work long.  The self-appointed Chairman of the Committee has started a dally newspaper or rather a bulletin which is to be posted on the main-mast near the ”scuttle-butt.” In today’s editorial a fair idea of how rumors get about is given. It says:-

The editor would like to state
That no one will be “ Roasted”
And every rumor be confirmed
Before it will be posted.
Our news today is right directly from the Captain’s galley
His steward ‘told the ward-room Jap
Who went and told La Valley.
La Valley told a gunner’s mate
Who whispered to Bedee,
Who passed it on to Perry Pentz,
And so it came to me!

Thursday, May 19.  On patrol.  Arrived off Cape Henlopen.  Anchored off the Delaware Breakwater. Put to sea bound north.

Friday, May 20.  On patrol.  Arrived off Block Island and anchored.  At 3 p.m.  Sighted torpedo boat coming in from sea, went to general quarters; she proved to be the U.S.  Torpedo boat TALBOT. Put to sea bound south.

Saturday, May 21.  On patrol.  Arrived off Cape Henlopen, changed the course to north.  Arrived off Block Island and anchored.  At midnight put to sea bound south.

Sunday, May 22.  On patrol.  Arrived off Cape Henlopen, changed course to north.  Arrived off Block Island and came to anchor. Put to sea bound south.

Today we had our “ General Muster.” All hands were formed on the gun deck and Mr.  Hubbard read the Articles of War.  As near as I could make out every offence but one is punishable by “ death or such other punishment as the Court Martial may direct,” and that one gets ”life imprisonment.” Past week spent on patrol duty.

Monday, May 23.  At anchor off Delaware Breakwater.  Ar-rived off Cape Henlopen at 11 a.m.  Anchored off the Delaware Breakwater. Port anchor chain parted and lost anchor.  The COLUMBIA and the ONEIDA arrived and anchored.  The COLUMBIA left at 6 p.m., bound north, and the ONEIDA at 6:30 p.m., bound south. Remained at anchor all night.

Tuesday, May 24.  At anchor off Delaware Breakwater. Got up anchor at 3 p.m.  And left for Block Island.

Wednesday, May 25.  On patrol.  Arrived off Block Island at noon and anchored. Left for sea bound south.  Target practice.

Thursday, May 26.  At sea.  Arrived off Cape Henlopen, changed the course to north.  Arrived off Block, Island and came to anchor.  Sailed for New York to coal ship.

Friday, May 27.  Arrived off Tompkinsville, and anchored.  Coaled ship all day. Received orders detaching ship from duty with Patrol Squadron, and ordered to proceed, as soon as coaled, to the blockade squadron off Santiago de Cuba, and report to the senior officer present.

The coaling is very hard work as the coal is passed entirely by hand and we were unbelievably filthy when our work was over.

Saturday, May 28.  At anchor off Tompkinsville.  Coaled ship all last night and today.  The U.S.S.  ST. PAUL arrived and proceeded to the Navy Yard.

Sunday, May 29.  At anchor off Tompkinsville.  Coaled ship all last night and until 4 p.m.  Today.  The COLUMBIA arrived at noon with a large hole in her port bow, the result of a collision at sea.  Got up anchor at 4:30 p.m., and at 5:30 p.m. passed Sandy Hook, N. J., bound south for Cuba.

Monday, May 30.  At sea.  Entered the Gulf Stream during the morning. General quarters and target practice during the afternoon.  An accident occurred while at target practice, in which Corporal James Murray was killed and Private Jesse Fuller was wounded by the explosion of the port bow six-pounder, due to an unusually long hang-fire with the English Cordite.  At sundown Corporal Murray was buried at sea with the usual honors.

Tuesday, May 31.  At sea.  Target practice during the after-noon. Loaded the guns at evening quarters and crews ordered to sleep by them.  This was kept up until the close of hostilities.

Still going South.  The Rumor Committee announce that we are to stop at Tampa for a load of good-looking Red Cross nurses so all hands are sprucing up.  Soap and hair brushes are in great demand.

Before target practice today, we were mustered on the gun deck where the Captain, referring to yesterday’s accident, stated that it was almost unheard of but warned us to be extremely cautious with miss-fire cartridges.  He also said that as we doubtlessly already knew we were bound for the theatre of war and that as we were an unarmed vessel our only protection was the rapidity and accuracy of our gun fire.  That our vigilance must be doubled in everything and that breach of discipline would not be tolerated.

Wednesday, June 1.  At sea.  Target practice all day.

Thursday, June 2.  At sea.  Target practice during the morning.  Sighted Cape Maysi, Cuba, at 3 p.m.  At 5:30 p.m.  Arrived off St. Nicholas Mole, Hayti.  Sighted two steamers in the harbor, and cleared ship for action.  They proved to be the U.S.S.  ST. LOUIS and the U.S.S. JUSTIN.  Arrived in the harbor at 6 p.m.  Sailed for Santiago de Cuba at 10 p.m.

Commander Willard H. Brownson, U.S.N., of the YANKEE

Commander Willard H. Brownson, U.S.N., of the YANKEE

Friday, June 3.  Arrived off Santiago at 8:30 a.m., went to quarters and passed the NEW YORK, flagship, BROOKLYN, flagship, OREGON, IOWA, MASSACHUSETTS, TEXAS, NEW ORLEANS, DOLPHIN, MAYFLOWER, MARBLEHEAD, VIXEN, and torpedo boat PORTER.  Commander Brownson reported to Rear Admiral Sampson, the Commander-in-chief , and was assigned to our station with the fleet, relieving the MAYFLOWER at the eastern end of the blockading line.

Last night Lieut.  Hobson sank the collier MERRIMAC in the Channel.  He and his crew of seven men were all saved.  A good stunt and most extraordinary that they all escaped.

Saturday, June 4.  Off Santiago.  At 12:20 a.m.  A signal was made by the NEW ORLEANS that a torpedo boat was escaping from the harbor and almost immediately she opened fire with her secondary battery.  The crew of the Yankee was called to general quarters and opened fire, which continued for half an hour. No vessel was seen but a black object was seen near shore.  At daybreak the PORTER picked up two expended torpedoes.  At 3 p.m., the flagship signaled “clear ship for action”; the fleet formed a crescent, YANKEE being next to the flagship.  The fleet stood in under the shore batteries with a view to drawing fire, but as the enemy failed to open the fleet withdrew and took their positions on blockade.  Commander Brownson asked permission of the flagship to engage the batteries at the right of Moro Castle, but was refused.

Sunday, June 5.  Off Santiago.  The DOLPHIN and YANKEE were sent in under the shore batteries during the afternoon with a view of drawing the enemy’s fire, but as they refused to open the ships withdrew and took their position. Received word from the Warship during the evening that the fleet would engage the batteries at 7 a.m.  Tomorrow.

Monday, June 6.  Off Santiago.  All hands at 5 a.m.  As per orders from the flagship received yesterday.  Breakfast at 5:30 a.m.  At 6:30 a.m., the fleet formed in divisions as fol-lows: Western Column (heading north), BROOKLYN, MARBLEHEAD, TEXAS, and MASSACHUSETTS.  Eastern Column (heading North), NEW YORK, YANKEE, NEW ORLEANS, OREGON and IOWA.  At 6:43 a.m., general quarters and cleared ship for action.  At 7:41 a.m., opened fire on the forts and batteries at the entrance to the harbor; this ship opened fire at 3,000 yards and closed in to 800 yards; ceased firing at 10 a.m.  Batteries completely silenced.  Ammunition expended by this ship 125 five-inch and 300 six-pounder shells. Resumed blockading station. Left fleet at midnight for Guantanamo, Cuba.

Tuesday, June 7. In Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  Arrived off the entrance to Guantanamo Bay at 5 a.m., and reported to the commanding officer of the MARBLEHEAD, Commander McCalla, and proceeded after him into the harbor, to protect the St. Louis, Captain Goodrich, which was dragging for the cable.  Cleared ship for action and shelled the blockhouse on the hill at Fisherman’s Point and the village below, both of which were destroyed.  The MARBLEHEAD and this ship then proceeded farther up the harbor and engaged the Spanish gunboats SANDOVAL and ALVARADO and the fort at Caimanera in the upper bay.  The gunboats were driven into the upper bay.  The fort was soon silenced.  At 7:45 p.m., the ST. LOUIS having finished her work in cutting the three cables left for sea.

"The Bombardment of The Morro, Santiago, June 6, 1898" by Worden G. Wood, Ordinary Seaman, U.S.S. YANKEE

 "The Bombardment of The Morro, Santiago, June 6, 1898" by Worden G. Wood, Ordinary Seaman. YANKEE is shown from the stern at center.
We had just began to scrub our clothes out on the forecastle, when we were called to general quarters by the sound of firing in the harbor, and, after hastily putting our half washed clothes to one side, we hurried to our stations.

We discovered the MARBLEHEAD in the bay firing at a fort about two miles off, which was replying ineffectually at intervals with a big smooth bore.

The fort, being in the upper bay, beyond a long neck of land, was discernible only from a point considerably higher than the deck, and Mr.  Cutler ordered me3 to the masthead to call out to him whether our shots at the fort were taking effect or falling short or going beyond the mark.

My position at the masthead gave me a fine view of the bay and surrounding country. The fort, about six thousand yards away, was a large ramshackle stone affair, and evidently had but one effective gun -and that an old fashioned smooth bore muzzle loader -for they were unable to fire at us oftener than about once in five minutes, and then their shots fell anywhere from five hundred to a thousand yards short of the YANKEE.

It was interesting to first see the white cloud of smoke emerge from the fort, indicating that their gun had been fired, and then, two or three seconds later, hear the report and see the projectile plunge into the bay.

There was also a small gunboat near the fort which fired several well aimed six-pounder shots in our direction, but the guns of the YANKEE and MARBLEHEAD made it so hot for her that she soon steamed to a sheltered position behind the fort.

A good many of our shots struck the mark, and after a few hours the fort was thoroughly battered and its gun silenced.

At breakfast time I was not relieved with the watch on deck, and consequently felt pretty hungry about nine o’clock, having had nothing to eat since my four a.m.  Cup of coffee and hardtack. I was also hot and uncomfortable in my cramped position.

Our guns were still firing occasional shots at the fort and at a blockhouse on the eastern shore, and I knew perfectly well that I ought to remain where I was until someone was sent to relieve me, but my desire was stronger that my sense of duty, so I called to Dunning on the bridge to have somebody take my place while I got a bite to eat.

Mr.  Cutler, who was pacing to and fro on the bridge, looked up, glared at me in silence for a moment, and then shouted “ You shut your -mouth.”

He then ignored me entirely for half an hour, when he ordered Dunning to relieve that -baby at the masthead and tell him to report to me.”

Not wishing to disturb the pleasant relations existing between Mr.  Cutler and myself I thought it would be very tactful for me to comply with his polite request, so reported to him upon reaching the bridge.

In reply to his inquiry as to whether I was “ the baby who had been at the masthead “I did not commit myself by saying “ yes,” but stated that I had been at the masthead.  He said he thought I had been aboard the ship long enough to learn to keep my mouth shut while on duty.  He said that the next time I happened to be at the masthead I should stay there with my mouth shut until I had relief sent to me or fell off.  He then curtly ordered me to “go below,” and our tete a tete ended.

Wednesday, June 8.  Arrived off Santiago during the early morning. Received orders to go to St. Nicolas Mole, Hayti, with dispatches.  Took Colonel Allen of the United States Signal Corps on board. Got under way at 11 p.m.

Thursday, June 9.  At St. Nicolas Mole, Hayti.  During the early morning on our way to St. Nicolas Mole, we overhauled the Norwegian steamer Norse and the English steamer ELY.  Boarded and found their papers correct, and let them go.  Arrived off St. Nicolas Mole at noon, and landed Colonel Allen. Parade of the troops at the fort in our honor. Received dispatches for the Admiral and left for Santiago at 7 p.m.  At 10 p.m., sighted lights off our port bow.  Thought we had run across the Spanish fleet.  Seven ships were seen. Put on full steam and eventually succeeded in avoiding them.  They turned out to be transports with our troops, bound for Santiago.

At the “ Mole “ a number of bum boats and native canoes came alongside and we had a chance to do a little shopping.  All bought “ water monkeys,” the earthen jars for cooling drinking water.

Friday, June 10.  At sea Santiago de Cuba, and Port Antonio, Jamaica.  Arrived off Santiago de Cuba at 6 a.m., and rejoined the blockading fleet. Reported our adventure of the night to the Admiral.  Arrival of the EAGLE, SCORPION, SUPPLY, and other ships. Left at noon for Port Antonio, Jamaica, with dispatches for the Department, and to inquire into the movements of the Purissima Concepcion, a vessel reported to be in Kingston, Jamaica, ready to run the blockade into Cuba.  Arrived at Port Antonio at 8:30 p.m.  Health officer and the American Consul came on board.

The little harbor looked very lovely with the lights of the town reflected in it.  We thought we were in for a little rest but about eleven o’clock one of our boats which had been ashore brought the captain a message to get under way immediately.

Saturday, June 11.  At Montego Bay, Jamaica.  Having re-ceived word from our consul that better information in regard to the Purissima Concepcion would be had at Montego Bay, Jamaica, we got up anchor at 1 a.m.  Arrived at Montego Bay at 8 a.m.  And found H.M.S. INDEFATIGABLE, Captain Primrose, at anchor.  Went to quarters and exchanged the usual courtesies.  Cabled to the Department and waited for answer. Receiving answer to our dispatches and no definite information in regard to the steamer, got up anchor and left for Santiago de Cuba during the evening.

Arrived at Montego Bay during the night. Found the British cruiser Inde-fatigable.  Her commander, Captain Primrose, made a formal call on Captain Brownson in full uniform, cocked hat, epaulettes and all.  We were all sur-prised to find him such a young man.

A small Spanish brig was in the harbor, but soon after our arrival she made a graceful exit, raising the orange and red flag as she passed us.  There is a rule of war forbidding us to follow her for twenty-four hours so we had to let her go.

Sunday, June 12.  Cruising along the Cuban coast.  Arrived off Santiago. Received orders to sail at noon for Cienfuegos, Cuba, and keep a lookout for the Purissima Concepcion or other vessels attempting to enter the harbor.  Also ordered to convey orders to the YOSEMITE, to tell her to proceed to the west end of the island of Jamaica to head her off in case she went in that direction. Left the fleet at noon and spoke the YOSEMITE, Commander Emory, off Cape Cruz during the after-noon.  Delivered message and proceeded towards Cienfuegos.

Monday, June 13.  Off Cienfuegos.  Arrived off Cienfuegos.  At 1:15 p.m., while lying ten miles from shore, southwestward from San Juan Peak, a steamer was seen close in shore to the eastward of the entrance to Cienfuegos, heading to the east-ward.  At 1.20 cleared ship for action.  When off Colorado Point, the steamer turned to the westward and made towards us.  As we approached the stranger she was made out to be the Spanish gunboat DIEGO VELAZQUEZ, Lieutenant Juan de Carranza y Reguera.  At the time the Spaniard turned towards us we were running at full speed directly towards the mouth of the harbor [click here for more on this action]

When about 3,000 yards off the battery at Light-house Point and the Sabanilla point battery, and 1,500 yards off the steamer, we hoisted our colors for the first time and put the helm to port and opened fire with the port forecastle five -inch gun, followed at once by all the port battery; this at 1.30 p.m.  As soon as our helm was put to port the Spaniard made the same move but turned towards the harbor at full speed and at the same time opened fire upon this ship.  We followed her, keeping our port battery bearing upon her until she was well under the protection of the Sabanilla Battery.  When about 4,000 yards from the battery on Lighthouse Point, it opened fire.  At this time the Spanish gunboat LINCE, Lieutenant Gomez Aguado, came out of the harbor and joined the DIEGO VELAZQUEZ.  As the steamer had drawn too far abaft the beam to use our port guns we put the helm hard a port and brought our starboard battery to bear upon the steamers.  The forts and gunboats kept up an incessant fire but our fire was so rapid that the steamers withdrew into the harbor, where they were joined by the gunboats COMETA, Lieutenant Rivero, and VASCO, Lieutenant Enriquez, which had come down from the city.  After the steamers had disappeared up the harbor we directed our fire upon Sabanilla Battery.  At 3 p.m.  Ceased firing and withdrew.  During the engagement landsman Kennedy was seriously wounded by a piece of an eight-inch shell.  The DIEGO VELAZQUEZ was a ship of 180 tons and carried two 57 mm Nordenfelt rapid-fire guns and two 37 M.M. Maxim automatic guns.  The damage to the Spaniards not known.

A busy day. Reached the entrance to Cienfuegos in the morning. In the early afternoon a gun boat, which we afterwards heard was the DIEGO VELAZQUEZ came out of the harbor and steamed directly toward us evidently thinking we were a merchantman.  We drew her out of range of the shore batteries and then turned and made for her at full speed firing our Bow guns as we did so.  The VELAZQUEZ turned and beat it for the harbor.  We soon swung to starboard and gave our broadside guns a chance.  The smoke was so thick that we could not see any-thing.  Shells were dropping all about us and whistling about Our heads and we Soon got in range of the shore batteries.  Word came up through the hatch that three men had been killed at No. 5 gun.  The VELAZQUEZ ran into the harbor and as our Captain was forbidden to engage shore batteries we could not follow, much to our regret.  We found that the rumors of No. 5 gun were a mistake.  The only casualties were Kennedy, the top of his right shoulder, and Burgoyne, a slight wound in the face.  A number of shells struck the VELAZQUEZ but we could not entice her out again.  A very exciting little scrape while it lasted.

Tuesday, June 14.  Off Cienfuegos.  While lying off San Juan Point during the morning a large man-of-war was seen coming out of Cienfuegos harbor.  Cleared ship for action and stood in towards her until she was made out to be the German cruiser, GEIER.

The officer on the bridge returned a very surly answer to our skipper’s hail, but as it was in German our feelings were not hurt.

Wednesday, June 15.  Off Cienfuegos.  Waiting for the Spanish merchantman to arrive, and as she did not arrive by noon, and as we were under orders to be with the blockading fleet off Santiago by the 16th, we left at 1 p.m.  To join the fleet. Fire drill and abandon ship during the afternoon.

We are sleeping at our guns every night now. It is all very nice for the men below, but we on the secondary batteries “have our troubles.” The surgeon has forbidden us to sleep on deck except tinder awnings and there are none near the two stern guns. Mr.  Cutler goes on the war-path if we enter his little private heaven, the after wheel-house. Mr.  Hubbard raises Cain if we climb on the wheel-house, and the Captain says we must not leave our guns. Fairchild and I have worked out a scheme by which one blanket is used as an awning and the other as a covering.

Thursday, June 16.  At sea.  Arrived off Cape Cruz, Cuba.  At 7 a.m. fire was reported in the starboard coal bunkers; went to fire quarters, no damage.  Arrived off Santiago and resumed station.

Heard that the “Morro” at Santiago, had been bombarded in the morning -that the “VESUVIUS” had done great damage with her dynamite guns.  Am awfully sorry that we missed the fun.

Friday, June 17.  Off Santiago, and at anchor in Guantanamo.  Left Sanitago bound for Guantanamo.  Arrived at Guantanamo at 2:30 p.m.  And found the following ships at anchor: OREGON, MARBLEHEAD, DOLPHIN, ST. PAUL, SOLACE, SUWANEE, PANTHER, and three colliers.  On the hill formerly occupied by the blockhouse, was an encampment from which the American flag was flying, and occupied by the United States Marine Corps under Lieutenant-Colonel Huntington, and named Camp McCalla.  The Cuban flag was flying over the village at the foot of the hill, which was occupied as a Cuban camp.  Coaled ship all night from the collier Sterling. Kennedy, Whitman, and Bogert transferred to the hospital ship SOLACE.  The OREGON fired a few shots into the fort and city of Caimanera, during the after-noon.  The NEW YORK and the IOWA arrived during the evening.

We coaled ship all day and all night. It was quite the hardest work that we have done yet.  The starboard watch coaled from 4 to 6, 8 to 12 and 4 to 8.  When we came off at 12 midnight few of the men swung hammocks as we knew that the rest was for but four hours.  Some did not even take time to wash off the coal dust which was encrusted all over our bodies, but threw themselves on the deck with their shoes and cap for a pillow to snatch the short rest allowed us.  One seemed but to doze off when “all the starboard watch” would be piped and tired “Heroes” would stagger to their feet, stiff and sore, to tackle again the shovel or basket.

Click here to continue on to part 2 of the Log of the YANKEE


Dunning, William B, Chairman, The USS Yankee Book Committee, "The U.S.S. Yankee on the Cuban Blockade 1898." (New York: Williams Press, Inc., 1928)

The indented notes are from the diaries of George Yardley and S. H. P. Pell.

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