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knots. She had an armored belt extending sage to General Lee, and he answered it. 180 feet at the water-line on each side, over Some of these messages were rather absurd. which was a flat, armored deck. Joining In one I inquired of General Lee the state the two forward ends of the belt was a of the weather on the south side of Cuba. heavy steel bulkhead, at the bottom of which He promptly replied that he did not knowwas an armored deck that continued to the which was quite as gratifying as if he had stem. The flat, steel deck above armor been fully informed. At another time I dipped down abaft the belt, and was con- cabled, “What is the price of bull-fight tinued to the stern, one deck below, with a fans?” to which he replied, giving me quotaslightly diminished thickness. Her barbettes tions. Afterward I bought some of the fans and turrets were of heavy steel. The bar- commonly used as souvenirs of a Havana bettes rested on the armored deck below. visit, and they were lost with the Maine.
From Norfolk the Maine was ordered to One night, about six or seven o'clock, I got Key West, where we arrived on December the preliminary message. The Maine was 15, and moored in the harbor off
immediately prepared for sea. the city. My orders there were
Knowing that Key West would confidential, but they were
be alert as to any sign of of such a nature that they
movement, I gave orders might at any time have
that all hands should been made public with
repair on board impropriety, had the
mediately upon the government so de
firing of a gun from sired. They were,
the Maine; then, in in brief, that the
company with Maine was to pro
number of the ofceed to Havana in
ficers, I went on case of grave
shore toa dance at local disturbances
the hotel, my parin that city, to give
ticular object beasylum to Amer
ing to divert susican citizens, and
picion. I was asked to afford them the
a number of questions usual protection. The
as to the departure of immediate judgment as
the Maine; but we had to the necessity for the GENERAL FITZHUGH LEE, UNITED STATES managed so well that some services of the Maine was
of the crew had already to come from General Fitz- From a photograph made on the deck of given out that we were go
. hugh Lee, United States
ing to New York. consul-general at Havana.
I promptly The final message to the Maine from Genopened communication with General Lee, eral Lee never came. During the whole visit both by letter and by telegraph. My letters I was kept fully informed as to the state of were sent in such a way as to be entirely affairs at Havana. The riot that occurred secret. There was no impropriety in the about that time in the streets, in which cermeasures that were taken. True or false, tain newspaper offices were the chief object the Havana post-office was not free from of attack, most naturally led us to fear that the suspicion of delaying letters. It was there might be danger to American citizens. arranged between General Lee and myself While at Key West I was directed by the that on the receipt from him, by telegraph Navy Department to assist the collector of or otherwise, of the words “Two dollars," the that port in operating against filibustering Maine was to make preparations to start for expeditions. At that time the Spanish press Havana two hours after further notice. The was indignant because it assumed that the actual start was to be made on the receipt United States was doing nothing to put a of a second preconcerted message.
stop to filibustering. Certainly the American The form of our correspondence was a public had far more ground for indignation; matter between General Lee and myself. it was almost impossible to put a complete Toward the last it was deemed necessary to stop to filibustering where there were so make occasional tests to ascertain if tele- many bases of operation as existed along graphic communication continued open. the Florida reefs and on the coasts north of Therefore nearly every day I sent a mes- them. It was generally the case that when
an expedition was able to leave the United I appealed against this rule as being merely States, it landed in Cuba according to one of local convenience or comfort, out of schedule. At one time five vessels en- all proportion to the value of the Maine and gaged in watching for filibusters were in the important public interests involved. The touch with the Maine by telegraph ; and board of pilot commissioners weakened not the Maine's steam-launches, as well as the - neither did I. The Maine went out withMarblehead's launches, were out at night, out a pilot; so somebody lost nearly one hunbringing-to vessels moving out of Key West dred and fifty dollars, which remained in the harbor. We did our work conscientiously. coffers of the United States. After the
On Christmas Eve and again on Christ- departure of the Maine, the torpedo-boat mas night, the Maine was illuminated with Cushing, Lieutenant Albert Gleaves, was hundreds of electric lights, to the great de- charged with the maintenance of communilight of the people of Key West, very few of cation with General Lee. whom had ever seen such a display. The On Sunday night, the squadron, including following is quoted from one of the local the Maine, eight vessels altogether, annewspapers:
chored outside the reefs, off Sand Key “The beautiful illumination of the battle- light. The next day it got under way and ship Maine, on Christmas Eve and night, steamed west. It anchored that night on was one of the finest displays of electricity the bank about ten miles to the southever witnessed in the city, or perhaps in the ward of the southeastern entrance to TorSouth. Hundreds of incandescent lights tugas Roads. After anchoring, the vessels from the bow to the stern, up the masts and were directed by signal to bank fires. Later, funnel, and around the ship's sides, made while the squadron was receiving nighther one mass of lights. It was a picture signals from the flagship, a vessel's running not often seen in the tropical regions.” lights were sighted to the eastward. From
It became known after a time that the the disposition of the lights it was evident other large vessels of the North Atlantic that the vessel was of very low free-board Squadron, under command of Rear-Admiral and of very narrow beam. I assumed, thereSicard, were to come to the waters about fore, that it was a torpedo-boat coming from Key West for fleet drills and evolutions. At Key West with despatches for the comthat time of year it was impracticable to mander-in-chief. It occurred to me also have the drills elsewhere. The United States that she was bearing despatches for the could not afford to abandon its best winter Maine to go to Havana. It was an intuition, drill-ground for no other reason than its nothing more; but without waiting for proximity to Cuba. The squadron came and orders, I directed that fires be spread and had its drills, as intended, but until war was preparations made for getting under way. opened never went nearer to Cuba than Key The torpedo-boat, which proved to be the West and Tortugas, nor, so far as my know- Dupont, communicated with the flagship. ledge goes, was it ever intended that it should. After some delay the flagship made signal
During our visit to Key West I had in- for the commanding officer of the Maine quired as to the best pilot for the reefs. to repair on board, and for the Maine to There was a general concurrence of opinion prepare to get under way. The Maine rethat Captain Smith was the best man. He plied that she was all ready. My gig had held himself subject to my call during our already been lowered, and I was soon off whole stay at Key West, when I might
have for the flagship, some distance away. been obliged to go out at night with the There was a fairly rough sea and a strong search-lights. The squadron was duly re- tidal current. The night was dark. Presported off Jupiter Inlet, on its passage ently the bow of the Dupont was seen south. We knew, therefore, at Key West, looming up over the gig. She had seen us, very nearly the hour when it would arrive but the gig had not made out the Dupont off the reefs. The Maine had received orders clearly until close under her bow. I was to join the squadron when it appeared. The taken aboard, and the gig was sent back to squadron arrived off the reefs on Sunday, the Maine. The Dupont then steamed January 23, 1898. I sent ashore for our pilot, nearer the flagship, a boat was sent for me, who in response was obliged to report that and I presented myself to the commanderthe pilot commissioners refused to let him in-chief. take the Maine out, because their local rule Admiral Sicard announced that he had of precedence required that the pilot who received instructions from the Navy Departbrought us in should by right take us out. ment to send the Maine to Havana. I do not
MINSTREL GROUP WHO PERFORMED AT THE ENTERTAINMENT GIVEN BY THE CREW OF
THE “MAINE” TO THE CREW OF THE “COLUMBIA.”
was saved, and is now Captain Sigsbee's orderly on board the Texas.
know personally the precise reason which Stream. I did not desire to reach Havana induced the United States government to at early daylight, but rather to steam in act at that particular time. My orders were when the town was alive and on its feet; to proceed to Havana and make a friendly therefore a landfall was made at daylight the visit. I was left to act according to my own next morning, well to the westward. That judgment, in the usual way; that is to say, it was on Tuesday, January 25. The vessel was undoubtedly assumed that I would know was then slowed down and the decks were how to act on my arrival in Havana, and it straightened up, so that she might present was intended to hold me responsible for my the usual orderly appearance for port. The action. The situation seemed to call for crew was required to dress with exceptional nothing more than a strictly careful adher- neatness in blue; the officers were in frock ence to the well-known forms of naval pro- coats. When all was ready, the Maine was cedure and courtesy. It was to be expected headed to the eastward, nearly parallel to the that the Spanish people in Havana would pre- shore-line of the city, and toward the enfer that the Maine should stay away; but with trance. She was sent ahead at full speed as a lingering insurrection, the end of which was she passed the city, and the United States not in sight, with American interests in Cuba national ensign was hoisted at the peak, and affected adversely, and American citizens in the "jack” at the foremast-head. This disCuba alarmed for their safety, the United closed at once the nationality and purpose States had decided to show its flag from a of the vessel; that is to say, the Maine was public vessel in Cuban waters. It is quite a United States man-of-war that desired a certain that I gave myself no concern over pilot to enter Havana harbor. All pilotage the peculiarities of the situation. My vessel in and out of Havana, or within the harbor, was selected to go to Havana, and I was is under the direction of the captain of the gratified at the choice, just as any other port, who is a naval officer. The pilot service commanding officer would have been. I is entirely official. volunteered the remark to Admiral Sicard A pilot put off promptly to the Maine, and that I should try to make no mistakes. boarded her to seaward of the Morro quite
The Maine got under way about 11 P. M., in the normal way, without objection or and stood to the southward into the Gulf unusual inquiry. He took her in through
the narrow entrance slowly, and with such rigged German training-steamer Charlotte care and excellent skill that I complimented entered the harbor. Other vessels were him for it after we were made fast to the anchored or moored in localities more or less buoy. I also commended him to the cap- remote from the Maine-two hundred yards tain of the port, later. There were then in and upward. the harbor, moored to permanent mooring Probably no forms of etiquette are more buoys, two other men-of-war: the Spanish stable than those observed among navies in cruiser Alfonso XII, which never changed her reciprocating courtesies. They are laid down position from the time the Maine arrived in the navy regulations and are established until the Maine was sunk; and the square- by rigid international convention. Those rigged German training-steamer Gniesenau. relating to reciprocal courtesies between The Maine moved slowly in, passing between naval ships and military and civil authorithe two men-of-war, and was moored to a ties are quite as well established; they are mooring-buoy chosen by the pilot, about four known in all ports much frequented by naval hundred yards south of the German vessel vessels. On the arrival of a foreign vessel in the man-of-war anchorage off the Ma- in port, the chief naval officer present of the china or Naval “Shears." She never left nation to which the port belongs sends an this buoy, but carried it down with her when officer of the rank of lieutenant, or below, she sank. It was approximately in the po- to the commanding officer of the arriving sition of buoy No. 4, as shown on chart No. vessel with an offer of civilities, or to express 307, published by the United States Hydro- the wish of the naval authorities to give any graphic Office At the time of the explo- assistance in their power. On the departure sion of the Maine the Spanish despatch-boat of the officer who makes this “visit of cereLegazpi occupied the berth which had been mony," an officer of the arriving vessel is held formerly by the Gniesenau. A day or promptly despatched to acknowledge the two after the arrival of the Maine, the square- visit and to express the thanks of his com
THE "MAINE'S” BASEBALL NINE AS ORGANIZED AT THE TIME OF THE EXPLOSION.
just before the explosion. The goat was left behind at Key West.