Admiral Cervera's report of the Battle of Santiago [1]

Posted by : berben2 on Oct 27, 2001 - 09:17 PM
Spanish American [2]
The first ship that went out was the flagship MARIA TERESA, followed by the VIZCAYA, COLON, OQUENDO, and finally the destroyers, all under full steam.
When, the ships went out the engines were under such high pressure that the enemy was surprised, and has subsequently expressed great admiration on that account.
At 9.35 a. m. the MARIA TERESA attacked and opened fire on a hostile battle ship of the type of the INDIANA, and on the IOWA, then rushing upon the BROOKLYN, which, on account of her greater speed, offered for us the greatest danger.

Our fleet followed the course prescribed beforehand, and, the American ships coming alongside, the battle soon became general. There could be no doubt as to the outcome, but I should never have believed that our ships would be destroyed so rapidly.

When the American officer invited me to go to the GLOUCESTER I gave instructions to the third commander of the TERESA, Mr. Aznar, for the reembarkation; and I have heard nothing further from him.

On board the GLOUCESTER were 20 wounded from the destroyers, the commanders and 3 officers of the TERESA and the purser of the OQUENDO, and about 93 men of the crews of the ships. We were the object of the greatest solicitation, all being anxious to administer to our needs, nearly all of us having arrived there naked.

The commander of the GLOUCESTER said: "The vessel is small to receive so many people. I will try to find a larger one."

The insurgents had about 200 men of the fleet, among them five or six wounded. I spoke with some of them, and they said if we would go with the rebels they would assist us. I thanked them and added: "We have surrendered to the Americans. If you have surgeons I should be grateful if they would attend the wounded on the shore, some of whom are in a serious condition."

We proceeded westward until we met the nucleus of the fleet; some of us were transferred to the IOWA, others to the hospital ship.

On board the GLOUCESTER I asked the commanders of the destroyers for news and learned the disastrous fate of these two ships.

Villaamil found a glorious death in the battle, and the best proof of how the FUROR fought is found in the great number of casualties she bad. The commander of the FUROR was wounded in one foot.

On the gangway, I saw the commander of the VIZCAYA wearing his sword, which the commander of the IOWA did not wish to take from him on account of the valor the former had displayed in the battle.

The 3d day of July has been one of terrible disaster, as I had foreseen. Nevertheless the number of dead is less than I had feared.

The country has been defended with honor, and we have the consciousness of duty well done, but with the bitterness of knowing the losses suffered and our country's misfortunes.
Note: written for the Spanish newspaper La Corresponcia, August 22, 1898.

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