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United States of America, History, 1860-1920
Previous Page Page 410 of 633 Next Page
His force was a
considerable one; his goal was unknown, although naturally believed to
be some point in the Spanish West Indies. On the assumption that this
hypothesis was a correct one, Sampson patrolled the northern coast of
Cuba, extending his movement as far as Porto Rico, and scouts were
placed out beyond Guadeloupe and Martinique. The entire nation
anxiously awaited the outcome of the impending encounter.

[Illustration:
The Spanish-American War in the West Indies]

On May 19 Cervera slipped into Santiago, a town on the eastern end of
Cuba which had rail connection with Havana, the capital of the island.
Commodore W.S. Schley who was in command of a squadron on the southern
coast soon received information of the enemy's whereabouts and
established a blockade of the city, while Sampson hastened to the scene
and assumed command of operations. The American force now included four
first-class battleships, one second-class battleship and two cruisers.
They were arranged in semi-circular formation facing the harbor, and at
night powerful search-lights were kept directed upon the channel which
Admiral Cervera must take in case of an attempt to escape. The main
part of Santiago Bay is between four and five miles long and is reached
through a narrow entrance channel. Elevated positions at the mouth of
the channel rendered the vigorous defence of the harbor a matter of
some ease. Early in the progress of the blockade the Americans
attempted to sink a collier across the entrance, but fortunately, as it
turned out, this daring project failed, and Admiral Sampson settled
down to await developments.

It was apparent that the capture of Santiago, and the
Previous Page PAGE 410 of 633 Next Page
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United States of America, History, 1860-1920. Family Tree Legends Records Collection (Online Database). Pearl Street Software, 2004-2005. The United States Since The Civil War. Lingley, Charles Ramsdell.