Dear George: The First Letter. (Appendix 2.)
This jumps ahead a bit, but the Germans in 1898 feel cocky and confident. They have just forced a concession from the Chinese and the fool, and there is no other word for the man in this case, Kaiser Wilhelm II, now orders his admiral of his East Asian Fleet, after this "victory" to go poke his ships into Manila Bay, into a free fire zone, look the situation over and see if Germany can cut a deal with Aguinaldo for a piece of the Philippine Islands or something. Meanwhile the German Foreign Office is playing games with Spain to see if Germany can buy pieces of the soon to be defunct Spanish empire which they eventually RTL do as part of the Paris peace settlement. They also offer to share the Philippine Islands in a side deal split with the United States in exchange for a worthless bit of territory they have further south in the Pacific in the RTL. The Americans react badly to this utter imbecility of an offer. This, before it even happens, is all known to the Americans as likely to happen before the Germans even figure it out for themselves, that is how ad hock it is. Anyway, the upshot is that not only is the Kaiser a damned fool to send a whole fleet into a live war zone, instead of single show the flag presence ship as the more prudent British, French and Japanese did in the RTL according to the prevailing rules of the game among the Great Powers, but so is RADM von Diederichs, who commands it, who promptly conducts hostile operations against the Americans short of war, such as if to survey Subic Bay for a German naval station and sending agents to meet with the Filipino illustrados, while Dewey is in the middle of a tense three-sided fight with GEN Merritt of the US Army (They hate each other. McP.), Emilio Aguinaldo and that Spanish double-crosser GEN Fermin Jaudenes, the new governor of Manila after Madrid fires Bustin who wants to surrender and get his people out of there before Aguinaldo's guerreros come into Manila to massacre the Spanish residents and garrison. It would only take one small misstep by the inept Otto von Diederichs and Dewey starts shooting. That would have been the RTL disaster. But for whom? The Germans are not only outmatched by a MUCH better trained navy, though gun-power is about equal, they are in the presence of a recently battle experienced fleet. The Germans frankly do not know what they do. The Americans of 1898 are incredibly dangerous. The Americans of that day, navally, actually know what they do and they do it extremely well.
I quote me.
Hell of an Easter Egg there....
More like a callback.
I'm not the engineering and ordnance scholar that you are, but I'm gathering that the USN is identifying deficiencies and has plans to fix them, but between administrative/legal/budget/diplomatic/ and engineering limitations, the fixes aren't likely to occur as quickly as wanted or needed.
This is correct. The 1898 naval gun crisis was as RTL critical as the 1941 torpedo crisis and for much the same reasons.
I'm also gathering that leaders near the top of the food chain, have identified their less-than-adept counterparts and within the limits of protocol are working to offset the worst of the impacts. As you note with the re-assignment of Adm Sigsbee, the shortage of proven top talent is grave. The trouble there is peace-time command needs and promotions don't always work on the same wavelength as the path that requires war-time skills. (And this navy hasn't fought a real war for 30 years)
The actual top USN leadership was not that bad, politically on the civilian side, (John Long and Teddy Roosevelt) or at the command level, (General Board). With members like Henry C. Taylor and Alfred Thayer Mahan, the problem was not at staff. It was the captains and admirals at sea. Half of them were too old to handle the war stress, and the other half were certifiably insane.
I quote me.

More like a callback.

This is correct. The 1898 naval gun crisis was as RTL critical as the 1941 torpedo crisis and for much the same reasons.

The actual top USN leadership was not that bad, politically on the civilian side, (John Long and Teddy Roosevelt) or at the command level, (General Board). With members like Henry C. Taylor and Alfred Thayer Mahan, the problem was not at staff. It was the captains and admirals at sea. Half of them were too old to handle the war stress, and the other half were certifiably insane.
So in regards to the links for the last two neither offer proof of what you were saying. Gridley wasn't too old to handle the stress, he was suffering dysentery and possible cancer and his health seems to have only really started to fail after he was sent home. Meanwhile Sampson's page just shows an admiral who wants to get all the glory instead of sharing it, not an insane one.
Health and age as performance inhibitors.
So in regards to the links for the last two neither offer proof of what you were saying. Gridley wasn't too old to handle the stress, he was suffering dysentery and possible cancer and his health seems to have only really started to fail after he was sent home. Meanwhile Sampson's page just shows an admiral who wants to get all the glory instead of sharing it, not an insane one.
Captain Charles Gridley.

In March of 1897, "Steve" Gridley was finally promoted to captain. On June 10, he was ordered to take command of the USFS OLYMPIA, relieving J. J. read in Yokohoma, Japan. He embarked on the steamer GAELIC and arrived aboard the OLYMPIA on July 25. He ship’s newspaper noted that he didn’t stay on board long, returning to Yokohoma to visit friends he knew from his cruise on the MARION. The formal transfer of command came four days later. Capt. Read’s voice broke as he read his farewell comments, and he was heartily cheered by the men. Gridley had apparently had some “large shoes to fill.” Apparently he did well. During his brieftenure aboard the OLYMPIA, he appears to have been well-liked and respected bythe ship’s crew. In one instance, at Christmas of 1897, he raised all of the crewmen one class (meaning that he reduced the length of punishment of any crewman on report, and restored "liberty" privileges to many). This was something that had never been done before aboard the OLYMPIA. One crewman recorded that Gridley was "one that loves his fellow-men," an unusual sentiment between a crewmen and his captain.

As the tensions between the United States and Spain increased, the tenuous condition
of the ships of the Asiatic Squadron became clear. A major step forward was made when the command of the squadron was turned over to Gridley's old comrade from the Lighthouse Board, Commodore George Dewey. Efforts were soon underway to prepare for war.

On May 1, 1898, the ships of the Asiatic Squadron, with Gridley's OLYMPIA in the
lead as the flagship, entered Manila Bay. Within a few hours, the Battle of Manila Bay was over, and the Spanish Fleet was defeated. Gridley was at his station, commanding the OLYMPIA from inside the vessel’s armored conning tower. The Philippine sun was beating on the exterior of the very small armored control center, which, combined with the already high temperatures, must have made the conning tower virtually uninhabitable. From this location, the captain directed the ship's fire and controlled the actions of the vessel. At the conclusion of the battle, however Captain Gridley, was not in a condition to celebrate. He was a very sick man, suffering from dysentery and what appears to have been liver cancer. The heat and stress of the conning tower further weakened him. Dewey actually would have relieved him of command had not Gridley protested. Still, as the days past, it became obvious that Capt. "Steve" Gridley couldnot carry out his duties. He was to be sent home.

On May 25, Gridley was to begin his journey home One crewmen recorded the event
as follows:

"He came up out of his cabin dressed in civilian clothes and was met by the rear admiral [Dewey] who extended him a most cordial hand. A look of troubled disappointment flitted across the captain's brow, but vanished when he stepped to the head of the gangway and, looking, over saw, not the launch, but a twelve-oared cutter manned entirely by officers of the Olympia. There were men in the boat who has not pulled a stroke for a quarter of a century. Old Glory was at the stern and a captain's silken coach-whip at the bow; and when Captain Gridley, beloved alike by officers and men, entered the boat, it was up oars, and all that, just as though they were common sailors who were to row him over to the Zafiro. When he sat down upon the handsome boat-cloth that was spread for him, he bowed his head, and his hands hid his face as First-Lieutenant Reese, acting coxswain, ordered, 'Shove off; out oars; give away!'Later in the day the lookout on the bridge reported, 'Zafiro under way sir,' and the deck officer passed on the word until a little twitter from Pat Murray's pipe brought all the other bo's'ns around him, and in concert they sang out, 'Stand by to man the rigging!'Not the Olympia alone, but every other ship in the squadron dressed and manned, and the last we ever saw of our dear captain he was sitting on a chair out on the Zafiro's quarter-deck, apparently listening to the [OLYMPIA's] old band play."
Physically spent, and finally released from the strain of command, Gridley's health began to sink even faster. May 27, when he was transferred from the ZAFIRO to the commercial steamer COPTIC, he had to be taken aboard in a stretcher. He knew his condition was grave and wrote simply, "I think I am done for it, personally."
56 was old for 1898.

Because of his actions at Manila Bay, Commodore Dewey recommended that Gridley be advances ten numbers on the promotion list as a reward for services. The Navy Department advanced him six places, still a strong testament to his ability. The action had little effect on the ailing captain. His next promotion was of an order that mencannot bestow. Aboard the COPTIC on June 5, 1898, Capt. Charles Vernon "Steve" Gridley died, while the vessel was in Kobe, Japan. His body was cremated and sent home. Services were held for the venerable captain in Erie, Pennsylvania's Cathedral of St. Paul. He was buried in Erie's Lakeside Cemetery.

The news of Capt. Gridley’s death was conveyed to the OLYMPIA, and was received with deep regret. The OLYMPIA’s ship’s newspaper, The Bounding Billow ran the following article:

“Captain Charles V. Gridley

It is with indescribable sorrow and regret that we hear of the untimely death of our beloved captain, Charles V. Gridley. He died on board the O. & O. steamer ‘Coptic,’ at Kobe, Japan, June 5th. Owing to a serious illness, he was ordered home on sick-leave, taking with him the sincere respect and esteem of every man in the fleet. He left on the ‘Zafiro,’ escorted to sea by the ‘Concord,’ amid the cheering of the entire fleet. He was taken to the steamer by a boat’s crew of officers with First Lieutenant Reese acting as coxswain. The news of his death came like a thunder-bolt, filling our hearts with grief and pain. We respectfully extend our our sincere sympathy to his relatives and friends.
Gone a-head, to the Heav’nly land
Across the mighty River;
Gone to join the angel band:
Gained peace and joy forever.”

See chart?

Over the past 160 years, life expectancy (from birth) in the United States has risen from 39.4 years in 1860, to 78.9 years in 2020. One of the major reasons for the overall increase of life expectancy in the last two centuries is the fact that the infant and child mortality rates have decreased by so much during this time. Medical advancements, fewer wars and improved living standards also mean that people are living longer than they did in previous centuries.
Despite this overall increase, the life expectancy dropped three times since 1860; from 1865 to 1870 during the American Civil War, from 1915 to 1920 during the First World War and following Spanish Flu epidemic, and it has dropped again between 2015 and now. The reason for the most recent drop in life expectancy is not a result of any specific event, but has been attributed to negative societal trends, such as unbalanced diets and sedentary lifestyles, high medical costs, and increasing rates of suicide and drug use.

Now let us take Admiral Sampson...

Three days later, on 24 March, Sampson replaced Montgomery Sicard, who was afflicted with malaria, as Commander of the United States North Atlantic Squadron, the most prestigious post in the Navy, and acquired the rank of Acting Rear-Admiral. Although there were several officers senior to Sampson (including Winfield Scott Schley), Secretary of the Navy John D. Long concurred in his Assistant’s estimation of Sampson as an “accomplished, efficient, competent, all-around naval officer.”(1) (According to war correspondent Richard Harding Davis, the new commander more closely resembled a “calm and scholarly professor of mathematics” than a combat leader.) Accordingly, Sampson transferred to the flagship of the squadron, the armored cruiser NEW YORK. In later years, some would challenge Sampson’s sudden promotion on the eve of war. James Parker, a federal and state lawyer who had served in the Union Navy during the Civil War, and who would later serve as one of Schley’s legal advisors after the war with Spain, asserted that Sampson’s promotion illegally circumvented Congress’ 1862 “Act for the Reorganization of the Navy,” which had created the ranks of Commodore, Rear-Admiral, Vice-Admiral, and Admiral for the United States Navy, and specified the criteria for elevation to those ranks. (Prior to 1862, the highest official rank in the Navy had been Captain; the rank of Commodore had been largely symbolic.) Contrary to the 1862 Act, Parker claimed, Sampson had not “eminently distinguished himself by courage, skill, and genius in his profession,” had not “been recommended to Congress by the President by name for its thanks,” and had not “received the thanks of Congress for distinguished service.”(2) Moreover, President McKinley had, in effect, appointed Sampson to his new rank and assignment without the advice and consent of the Senate. Finally, Parker contended that, in March 1898, the United States was still technically at peace, and, according to the 1862 Act, “during peace, vacancies in the grade of Rear Admiral (Parker stated that there were no such vacancies in that month) shall be filled by regular promotion from the list of Commodores, subject to examination according to law.” Sampson had thus skipped the rank of Commodore. In contrast, George Dewey held the rank of Commodore at the time of his victory at Manila Bay on 1 May 1898. Parker concluded that “(Sampson’s) promotion was a fundamental wrong that was sure to revenge itself, as it did, by results.”
Notably, Sampson’s health began to falter at this time; according to historian James C. Bradford, he may have been suffering the beginning symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease at the outbreak of hostilities. In the American Army and Navy of 1898, regular medical checkups, results of which could force early retirement, were mandatory only for junior officers. The stresses of the coming months would exacerbate his health problems.

In early April 1898, before the Spanish-American War began, Sampson presented the Navy Department with a plan for the bombardment of the coastal batteries surrounding Havana, Cuba, and capture of the city, to be put into action immediately upon the outbreak of hostilities. Following the Navy’s conquest of Havana, American soldiers could then occupy it. As historian Ivan Musicant notes, “The enormous political and military fallout of so singular a victory early in the conflict could not be overestimated – if it could be done.” Sampson’s replacement in command of the IOWA, Captain Robley Evans, heartily supported this plan, and continued to defend it in later years:

(1) Theodore Roosevelt.
(2) Italics: it is quite evident, that though Parker was technically legally correct, Sampson's services as Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance, was one of those rare instances in which a naval officer had not only performed meritorious service to the United States without the usual noted political incompetencies of someone like George Blandy or a Harold Stark or William Leahy, but the man was a veritable positive genius as a technologist.
(3) Notice the enlarged type?

His health suffering from the stress of command (he had been bedridden prior to his attempt to meet with Shafter on 3 July), Sampson undoubtedly shared his crew’s chagrin at missing the main part of the battle with Cervera’s fleet. Aboard the BROOKLYN, Associated Press correspondent George Edward Graham mused (somewhat inaccurately),

Of course, both officers and men of the NEW YORK were naturally disgruntled. It must have been a terribly hard thing to them to feel that after five weeks of waiting they had been cheated out of a chance to take a shot at the Spanish fleet or to help in the entire destruction that five of their sister ships had accomplished. It was hard, of course, to think that the man who had planned and schemed so successfully as to keep the fleet in all of these five weeks, and who had perhaps spent many a sleepless night plotting methods for their destruction, had only been able to see the wrecked hulks lying along the Cuban shore as he followed up the chase.
Sampson unwittingly sowed additional seeds of discord as he approached Schley’s ship after the battle. After receiving an effusive signal from the bridge of the BROOKLYN (“This is a great day for our country!”), Sampson responded with a terse “Report your casualties.” Nonplussed, Schley reported the small number of American casualties (one dead and two wounded), and continued sending congratulations to the other ships that had contributed to the victory. In a subsequent telegraph to Washington from the base at Siboney, Sampson did allow himself some elevated prose (which conspicuously omitted Schley’s name): “The fleet under my command offers the nation as a Fourth of July present the whole of Cervera’s fleet.” In Sampson’s home town of Palmyra, New York, the local citizens gave him a 100-gun salute on the Fourth of July.
It is suspected that Sampson had a stroke at the time of the Naval Battle of Santiago, Cuba; which sent him to mandated bedrest, as well as suffered diminished mental acuity and sanity from the onset of his age.

I think, therefore, that my statements were factual.

Addenda; perhaps I should have better cited "why" those statements were eminently valid.

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I concede on Sampson but with Gridley even what you posted says he did well and only was forced to leave due to the health issues the Dysentery and possible beginnings of cancer were causing him and those could've happened at any age.
We Need To Rethink Our Plan, George.
I concede on Sampson but with Gridley even what you posted says he did well and only was forced to leave due to the health issues the Dysentery and possible beginnings of cancer were causing him and those could've happened at any age.
Gridley went into the Battle of Manila Bay already knowing he was a dead man.

The REAL Letter that United States Consul At Manila, Oscar F. Williams, Sent To Commodore George Dewey, Commander, Asiatic Station


Of the United States of America

Manila, Philippine Island, Mar. 14- 1898.

Commodore George Dewey.

U.S. Navy, Hong Kong

Honored sir:

Your favor by messenger of Br. Consulate 1 reached me this hour. Tomorrow by an American bound for Hong Kong I can send reply without having it run the gauntlet of the suspicious officials of Spain.

By letters to you- known to my Spanish Clerk- and by others sent without his knowledge. By a letter of length to your Mr. Caldwell 2 and in direct and indirect ways I have striven to inform you.

1- no recent strength has been added to the defenses of either Manila or Cavite.

2d Am informed there are neither torpedoes nor mines protecting Cavite or Manila or her Channels to the sea.

3d I have inspected the forts- the old wall forts are beneath consideration a few old rusty guns of small calibre- brass and about 100 yrs old.- no care taken of anything. Within the walls a large quantity of shell & ball with many large cannon dismounted.

4th The fort at entrance to Pasig river, head of Breakwater, has three or four small guns. I believe it below consideration as defense.

5th Along the Bay front of walled Manila, beyond the walls, and at Mulate3 about two miles from the Entrance to Pasig are a line of forts- guns much larger- and apparently manned ready for action. Those are formidable- none other to be feared.

6th For sometime we have had in Philippine waters four Spanish warships- of the power of which you will know if named as follows, “Don Juan de Austria” “Isla de Cuba” “Reina Christina” and “Castilla”- one has been down to Iloilo- and last week. Wed. I believe, the “Don Juan de Austria” was dispatched north about 300 miles to cooperate with two regiments sent over land to suppress an uprising of rebels.

I cannot tell the period of ships absence, her going confesses a dangerous condition for Spain and one which demands all forces now here- Revolution is rampant and a jubilee would be held if you would capture Manila. Even the Spanish are disgusted as priests rule with inquisitorial hands.

Reports are filling the air. Seven U.S. battle ships are reported, by cable from Spain to be coming here from Hong Kong, Last night I was confidentially informed that three US. battle ships were near Manila, Etc. Etc.

I listen, collect reports and write all to you. I am not an expert, but believe Manila very weak except it be for warships and that you know all about. I believe the Commercial and Church interests would demand and obtain surrender to you if only you throw a few shot and shell into the walled city, the official center of church & state. and into the dock portion of New Manila. where are exclusive warehouses- Yesterday, so as to inform you- I counted 604- craft- steamers, ships [tugs] - Cascoes-4 Etc. in river and slips- You can understand how pressure would be exerted for surrender if your ships [jeopardized] life & property. Especially when all these merchant and shipping interests are disgusted with Spain and her laws and inability to stop the war, Little loyalty- here.

I believe you will get other letters before this. The cable is promised for use tomorrow. Your cipher & my reply excited gravest suspicions and were the talk of the city. three spies reported on my track- one [located] at my table- and I am satisfied my room and consulate have both been entered. Tis difficult to act wisely- but if loyalty to our flag be wisdom I shall eclipse Solomon,

Your obedient servant

O.F. Williams, Consul

The underlined refers to the blaggard, Charles Hollander, our esteemed smuggler, copra merchant, late recruited American patriot under duress and of course the Chinese undocumented worker importer.

Note the footnotes from the US Navy MIl-history site:
Footnote 1: British Consul at Manila was Edward Henry Rawson-Walker.
Footnote 2: Flag Secretary Ens. Harry H. Caldwell.
Footnote 3: Proper spelling is Malate.
Footnote 4: Williams attempted to make plural the Spanish word “Casco.” A Casco was a style of square, flat bottomed boat originating in the Philippines.

There was a sketch map of the "insignificant defenses" sent with this letter which was prepared by "Mister Hollander". That map no longer exists. For this ATL I had to reconstruct it and I used this source article to make the chart. For purposes of the ATL story, I made a few major modifications to reflect a more prepared defense for I believe that with just a little more effort, such as a gun to Fermin Jáudenes' head, ADM Patricio Montojo y Pasarón could have put all of his plans into place.

The Defenses of Manila Bay

By Lieutenant John M. Ellicott, U.S. Navy
June 1900
Vol. 26/2/94

Only a few years before our war with Spain, that country was threatened with another war whose theater would have been chiefly her colonial possessions in the Pacific. War with Germany over the Caroline Islands was so imminent that military plans for the defense of the Philippines were carefully elaborated, and modern high-powered rifled guns were shipped to Manila and emplaced, while ammunition in vast quantities was received and stored. Thus, in the fall of 1897, there stood before the city of Manila four 9 ½-inch breech-loading rifles, nine 8 ¼-inch muzzle-loading rifled mortars, four 5 ½-inch converted breech-loading rifles, and fifteen 6.3-inch muzzle-loading bronze rifled guns of old design all carefully emplaced behind heavy earthworks, fully equipped and superabundantly supplied with ammunition. All batteries were connected by telephone, and plane tables were arranged at the extremities of measured bases, to give accurate ranges. Drills were carried on continually and with enthusiasm.

The old city of Manila lies upon the right bank of the Pasig’s mouth, surrounded by a picturesque Medieval wall, fifty feet thick and twenty feet high, and by a deep moat. The wall along the bay front is practically straight, with a bastion at each end and one in the center. Five of the 6.3-inch muzzle-loading bronze rifles stood in the north bastion and eight in the south while in the center were five muzzle-loading rifled mortars. Many other very old muzzle-loading bronze guns lined this wall, but they were recognized even by the Spaniards, as obsolete. All the artillery on the walls antedated the German scare. The modern formidable guns then emplaced were located in front of the wall and moat, in earthworks well screened by shrubbery and sod. One 9 ½-inch rifle was placed under the north bastion and one under the south, while the four 5 ½-inch converted B. L. R.'s were placed near the center bastion and four 8 ½-inch mortars on the flank of the south wall. The two remaining 9 ½-inch rifles were placed some distance to the southward, on the water front in the suburb of Ermita.

A new battery, to hold six 15-centimeter Ordonez rifled guns was built on Sangley Point for the protection of the naval arsenal at Cavite. This was a casemated earthwork of entirely modern character. The Cavite arsenal had also 6.3-inch three Armstrong M. L. R.'s mounted in a stone redoubt, and on Fort San Felipe, a medieval fortress adjacent.

The old fort of San Antonio Abad which had figured so much in the war history of Manila, was too antiquated for modern artillery emplacement.

Such were the defenses of Manila when the new war cloud gathered in the winter of 1897-8. Much more had been planned and the incentive of renewed danger brought the plans out for revision and execution. One of the larger Spanish ocean liners sent to the Philippines, the Isla de Mindanao, was loaded with guns and munitions of war and started from Spain. Believing, perhaps, that these guns would reach them in time for emplacement at Cavite, the military authorities at Manila sent four of the 15-centimeter rifles belonging to Fort Sangley, about the first week in March, to Isla Grande in Subig Bay. In Manila, however, they added two modern 15-centimeter B. L. R. siege guns to the battery of 5 ½-inch B. L. R's under the west wall, and placed two 12-centimeter B. L. R. siege guns in the circular redoubt on the south mole of the Pasig River mouth, where there were already two 6.3-inch M. L. bronze rifles.

At the same time, the emplacement of batteries for the defense of the entrance of the bay was entrusted to the Navy. This entrance, though very wide, is divided into two channels by a island called Corregidor.

In twenty-four days the following batteries were ready to defend these channels: Covering Boca Chica: On the north shore of Corregidor Island, three 8-inch M. L. Armstrong rifles; at Punta Gorda, north side three 18-cm. Palliser M. L. R.'s, and at Punta Lassisi farther in the bay, two 16-cm. Hontoria B. L. R's.

Covering Boca Grande: On Caballo Island, three 6-inch Armstrong B. L. R.’s on El Fraile Rock, three 12-centimeter B. L. R.'s, and at Punta Restina, three 16-cm. Palliser M. L. R's.

They also reinforced Fort Sangley by one 14-centimeter B. L. R., a few hundred yards up the beach, and were preparing to mount a second beside it when the American squadron arrived. The gun here mounted was taken from the cruiser Ulloa, she being so far dismantled for repairs that they moored her head and stern for battle and retained only her starboard battery.

At all of these batteries were built in the ground with covered galleries or trenches for approach, while in sheltered spots near at hand were roomy bamboo quarters for the guns' crews. An abundance of ammunition was provided and the guns were manned chiefly by sailors from such vessels as were hors de combat because repairing at Cavite Arsenal.

A line of mines was laid northwestward from San Nicholas shoal, in Manila Bay, and others were laid in Boca Grande but firing arrangements for the latter seemed not to have been installed when Commodore Dewey’s squadron arrived.

At Subig Bay some hulks were sunk to block the southeast channel, and mines being were laid in the northwest channel when our ships arrived, but the four 15-centimeter guns, through inexcusable and inexplicable procrastination, remained prostrate on Isla Grande. Had they been mounted there or at Fort Sangley at the end of April 1898, the Battle of Manila Bay might have been quite another story.

The merchant steamer Isla de Mindanao arrived in Manila the last week in April too late to unload all her munitions of war before the arrival of the United States squadron, and her fate is now a matter of history.

Such, then, were the land defenses of Manila Bay which confronted Commodore Dewey when his squadron stole in silence and darkness towards the entrance at midnight, April 30, 1898. The Spaniards had guarded their work well. U. S. Consul Williams, who remained in Manila till one week before that date and who accompanied the American squadron back, could only learn that numerous new batteries were being erected at the entrance to the bay and that the channels were being mined. No knowledge of the relative strength of the defenses of the two channels could guide the American commander's choice. The wider channel, Boca Grande, was the one selected. The squadron thus passed under the muzzles of nine rifled cannon, some of them modern breech-loaders, and through a mined channel. In Boca Chica it would have encountered eight rifles, two of them breech-loading, and no mines, but there were also in this channel a small Spanish gunboat, the Arayat or Leyte, and a picket launch.

Allowing four large guns as a cruiser's broadside, giving double weight to batteries on shore over those afloat, and counting the mines efficient, it might reasonably be claimed that a contest with the defenses of Boca Grande in daylight would have been about an even fight.

By referring to the diagram showing the zones of gun fire at the mouth of the bay, it will be seen that the United States squadron unwittingly took a course which placed it longest under fire and led it through the zone of heaviest concentration. At the speed the squadron moved, eight knots per hour, and granting most liberal times for the service of the Spanish guns, the latter could have hurled about five tons of projectiles against the American vessels before they were out of range. Nevertheless, the route was well chosen. We all know the actual story: the squadron half way through before detected; then a geyser of flame from the McCulloch's overheated smokestack; a single rocket from Corregidor; a signal flare on El Fraile rock, five impotent shrieking shells from it and Punta Restinga; innocuous mines; and the daring squadron safe within the bay!

Had the Spaniards provided for every contingency, a score of idle gun vessels and armed launches could have patrolled the Manila "bocas" at night, so that even a canoe could scarcely have approached undetected. As it was, the absolute silence and the perfect screening of lights on the American vessels made them undetectable at a few hundred yards distance. The moon in its first quarter was setting behind clouds. A single guiding light, shut in on three sides, was necessarily displayed at the stern of each vessel. The course steered prevented these from being seen from the Restinga and Caballo batteries until the squadron had passed nearly out of their sectors of gun fire. Then, too late, they gave each battery in succession a target: Restina fired, but Caballo probably thought the enemy already out of range. The flare up from the McCulloch's smokestack was but a brief accident which the Spaniards could not seize to advantage. One feature of the passage was the close approach of the squadron to El Fraile rock. That the Spaniards would have a battery on this isolated and tiny island was not expected, so, as it made an excellent point of departure for a course up the bay, it was approached within five hundred yards, and its battery promptly opened fire. A few shells in return convinced the gunners that their position was perilously exposed and untenable at such short range, and they desisted.

In the face of all evidence, the existence of mines at the entrance to the bay can scarcely be doubted. A chart was captured at Cavite next morning with lines of torpedoes marked on it in Boca Chica and off San Nicholas Shoal, and with marginal memoranda about the spacing and number of mines. In the articles of articulation signed by the Governor of Corregidor. it was stated that mines existed in Boca Grande. The testimony of nearly every Spanish officer interviewed by the writer after the fall of Manila was to the same effect. If these mines were contact mines, they had become innocuous from barnacles and seaweed or badly adjusted moorings; if they were electro-controlled, the firing devices had not been installed or were defective.

Having run the gauntlet of nine rifled guns and a line of mines unharmed, our squadron stood up the bay in a direction a little north of Manila, thus safely passing around the mines if they existed, off San Nicholas Shoal; and in the morning, as it reconnoitered the roads off the city and then stood down toward the discovered Spanish fleet at Cavite, it came under the muzzles of thirty-six rifled guns, twelve of them breech-loaders, and thirteen of larger caliber than any in the American ships. Situated as these guns were, however, they could not fire upon the enemy without drawing a return fire not only upon themselves but upon their city: their homes, their places of business, their wives and children. Nearly nine tons of projectiles could have been hurled at the passing enemy while within range of those Manila guns, but they were paralyzed by their false emplacement. The three batteries of 9 ½-inch guns, however, being least disadvantageously emplaced, opened, and, through bad marksmanship, kept up an impotent fire throughout the action.

The batteries at Cavite added four hundred and sixty-six pounds of metal to the broadside of the Spanish fleet throughout the first engagement. The duel of the Baltimore with these batteries was a feature of the second engagement. Such a hail of exploding shells plowed into their entrenchments that they resembled volcanic eruptions. Though several times silenced, they as often renewed the fight until their final surrender.

When the work at Cavite was finished, the Olympia steamed alone to Manila, followed soon after by the Baltimore and the Raleigh. These three ships, once more under the muzzles of Manila's thirty-six shotted guns, coolly anchored in the harbor, the bands of the Olympia and, Baltimore playing their evening concerts as usual, while Commodore Dewey sent word to the Governor-General that if a single shot was fired at the American ships he would lay the city in ashes.

The isolated batteries at the mouth of the bay were, by orders from Manila, surrendered to the Raleigh and Baltimore on the evening of the 3rd of May. Their breech-plugs were delivered on board the Raleigh. Each battery was visited by landing parties from the American ships, the guns disabled and the ammunition thrown into the sea. At a later period, when it was found that the Philippine insurgents were endeavoring to remove some of the guns, they were all again visited and thrown into the sea.

The guns on Sangley Point were destroyed with gun-cotton. The ones at Manila fell into the hands of the United States Army when Manila was taken, and still remain monuments to the folly of those who emplaced them in such tactically embarrassing positions.

Defenses of Manila Bay.​

About March 10. A council of war at Manila decides to hasten erection of four Is-cm. Ordonez guns at Subig, block one channel with sunken hulks and mine the other and place the fleet there.

About March 15. The captain of the Leyo submitted a plan for defence of Manila and Cavite, fortifying the mouths of the bay with a line of batteries on points conveniently located and another second line of more moral and material strength, composed of torpedoes protected by two batteries at their extremity, situated between Punta Amos, in the Province of Bataan, and the shoals of San Nicholas. Artillery available:

6 Muzzle-loading Armstrong rifles, 180 lbs., Range: 3600 meters.
7 16-cm. conv. M. L. Palliser M. L. 1, Range: 5600 meters.
12 16-cm. conv. M. L. Palliser M. L. 2, Range: 5000 meters.

3 18-cm. conv. M. L. Palliser, Range: 4400 meters.
2 16-cm. B. L. Hontoria, 1879, Range: 5000 meters.
4 12-cm. B. L. Hontoria, 1883, Range: 10500 meters.
Last four on board Ulloa.
Sites visited by a committee on the Bulusan.

March 29. Fraile, Caballo and Restinga chosen; Carabao rejected.
Captain and crew of Velasco land Caballo battery and named it Velasco.
Captain and crew of Leyo land Le Fraile battery and named it Leyo.
120 workmen from Cavite Arsenal and 30 laborers from Corregidor employed on batteries April 1, Leyte, Bulusan and Hercules used.
Fraile battery had one 12-cm. Hont. B. L. R, 1883, from the Ulloa and two 12-cm. Hont. B. L. R, 1879, from the Leyo.

Caballo battery had three Armsirong 16-cm. B. L. R from the Velasco.
Punta Lassisi battery had two I6-cm. Hont. B. L. R No. 3 modern 1879, which had been stored in the (Cavite) arsenal.
Corregidor (Talisaz): 3 Armstrong M. L. R 6-in. 180-pdr.
Punta Gorda: 3 Palliser 18-cm. M. L. R.
Punta Restinga: 3 Palliser 16-cm. M. L. R, No.1.
It took 22 days to erect the batteries, working Sundays and Saints' days.

Credits: further:
Digital Proceedings content made possible by a gift from CAPT Roger Ekman, USN (Ret.)

The chart.

Source: [TMP] "The Spanish-Cuban-American War Maps of the" Topic (Additional cartography by McPherson.)

As can be seen... Consul Oscar F. Williams did not know what the beginnings of what he was reporting. The coast defense artillery and mine fields that festooned Manila Bay all by themselves were two times the combat power of the US Asiatic Squadron, even with the ATL upgrades I postulated.

The RTL Battle of Manila Bay, on paper, makes Admiral Farragut's charge into Mobile Bay look like a cakewalk. I mean even the Germans thought twice about it when they contemplated it in 1896 and they were completely crazy as we will see in a bit.


When we develop the "surprise attack plan" , which CMMDR Dewey will devise in this ATL, I intend to use
this base article as my RTL planning document for the ATL account.

By Lieutenant John M. Ellicott, U. S. Navy
September 1900
Vol. 26/3/95

It will be the writer's endeavor in the present article to present an accurate narrative of the Battle of Manila from the standpoint of a participant and eyewitness and from details gleaned by unremitting inquiry since the battle. The magnitude of the strategic and political results can scarcely now be predicted.

In February, 1898, the United States squadron in Asiatic waters consisted of the first-rate protected cruiser Olympia, flagship of Commodore George Dewey, the second-rate protected cruisers Raleigh and Boston, the gunboats Concord and Petrel, and the old paddle-wheel gunboat Monocacy. The Olympia, having been on the station three years, was slated to exchange places with the second-rate protected cruiser Baltimore, then flagship of the Pacific station in order that the former might finally reach the Mare Island Navy Yard for overhauling. The Baltimore was at this time in Honolulu.

The strained relations between the United States and Spain over the condition of affairs in Cuba did not seem likely to lead to war, so the vessels of the Asiatic Squadron were in various Japanese and Chinese ports, engaged in the numerous peace missions on a foreign station, when, on the 15th of February the whole world was horrified by the blowing up of the battleship Maine in Havana harbor. Nations stood aghast, and the war cloud formed with the rapidity of a thunderstorm at the close of a sultry day. The Asiatic Squadron was almost immediately mobilized at Hong Kong. The Olympia was directed to remain on the station and the Baltimore was ordered out from Honolulu as a reinforcement. The Monocacy, being too antique and infirm to be of service in battle, was left at Shanghai; one-third of her crew and half of her officers being ordered to join the squadron at Hong Kong.

The revenue cutter Hugh McCulloch, enroute to our Pacific coast by way of the Mediterranean and Asia, was directed to join the squadron at Hong Kong as a dispatch vessel.

At that port every effort was made to put the vessels in fighting trim. Machinery was overhauled, hulls cleaned, bunkers filled and the ships painted a dark slate color. The British freight steamer Nanshan and passenger steamer Zafiro were purchased, the former being loaded with coal and the latter with coal and provisions.

The squadron, however, lacked a war supply of ammunition. To remedy this the old wooden corvette Mohican was loaded with powder and shell at San Francisco and rushed to Honolulu, where her precious cargo was transferred to the Baltimore.

The latter's journey to Asiatic waters was a precarious one, for the situation had become so critical that war might have been declared at any moment, in which event it would have been a telling stroke of strategy for the Spanish squadron in the Philippines to intercept this single cruiser in overwhelming numbers and capture or sink her with her invaluable munitions of war. When she arrived in Yokohama war seemed but a question of hours, and in the remainder of her journey she had to pass close to the Spanish strongholds. Anxiety in the squadron had therefore reached exciting intensity when, on the morning of April 22, she appeared safely in the harbor of Hong Kong still clothed in her peace garb of white. Arrangements had already been made to dock and coal her, so that on the morning of the 24th she took her place in the squadron, cleaned, coaled and in war-paint.

There had not been a moment to spare, for war had been declared on the 23d, but the fact was not generally known till the next day, when Great Britain's proclamation of neutrality was published and the United States squadron requested to leave port in twenty-four hours.

Some repairs to the Raleigh's machinery were incomplete, the needed parts being in a machine shop on shore, but, more important still, the U. S. Consul at Manila was expected to arrive in Hong Kong on an overdue steamer from the Philippines with important information concerning the positions and strength of the enemy. The Boston, Concord and Petrel, with the McCulloch and transports, were therefore sent to a rendezvous in Mirs Bay, an inlet on the China coast some thirty miles above Hong Kong, while the rest of the squadron remained to the limit of their day of grace. This did not avail, however, for the morning of the 25th brought neither consul nor machinery, but it brought Commodore Dewey's instructions to proceed to the Philippines and capture or destroy the enemy's fleet.

At 9 o'clock on the morning of that day the flagship, Baltimore and Raleigh weighed anchor, formed column and stood out of Hong Kong harbor, their bands playing the "Star-Spangled Banner." The sight of that intrepid squadron, seven thousand miles from all support, the ports of the world closed against it in cold neutrality, going forth undaunted to grapple with a remorseless foe in his own stronghold was too much for our Anglo-Saxon kinsmen to look upon unmoved. British sailors clambered into the rigging of their ships; British soldiers crowded to the edge of the cliffs, and cheer after cheer went after the gray, receding ships until they disappeared from sight, and the last door of hospitality was closed behind them. Then all the world waited and wondered. The most intensely peace-loving people on earth had been aroused to deadly combat. A nation which had not struck a blow in anger for a third of a century was about to meet in mortal struggle another inured to continual strife. Great modern engines of destruction were about to be tested for the first time by western races. Around the coasts of Asia, as upon the benches of an amphitheater, all nations of the earth were grouped in expectation, as the first contestant stepped forth into the arena and advanced upon his adversary.

All the squadron was assembled in Mirs Bay by noon. The afternoon was spent distributing the Baltimore's cargo of ammunition among the other ships. That night all lights in the ships were concealed by battle-shutters in the air-ports, darkening the vessels so completely that one could not be seen from another, and a sharp lookout was kept for the enemy's vessels. Next day many spars, chests, hatch-covers and other articles of wood which could be splintered by shells were sent to the transports. Twenty-four hours later a tug arrived from Hong Kong bringing the Raleigh's repaired machinery and U. S. Consul Williams The squadron sailed immediately (27th), shaping a direct course for the Island of Luzon. The order of cruising was in two columns abreast. The Olympia, Baltimore, Raleigh, Petrel, Concord and Boston, in the order named composing the left-hand column, and the McCulloch, Nanshan and Zafiro the right-hand one.
That two column disposition was most unusual for an American fleet of the era. My explanation is that CMMDR Dewey had formed a "fleet train" and given USS McCulloch's captain, Danial B. Hodgson command of that train ( Nanshan and Zafiro). He was not censured for his incompetence, because of the funnel incident. In the ATL, he will be.
These vessels were also well armed with all calibers of secondary battery guns. The McCulloch's boilers and engines were above the water-line and entirely unprotected, so that she was unfit for the fighting line.

Consul Williams brought information that the greater part of the above fleet, some smaller gunboats escepted, was mobilized in Manila Bay; that there were three or more batteries along the water front of the city; two on Sangley Point, protecting the navy yard at Cavite, one or more at Mariveles, two or more on Corregidor and Caballo Islands and one or more on the south shore of the entrance to the bay, all of six- to nine-inch caliber. Mr. Williams had also been credibly informed that the customary entrance to the bay between Corregidor Island and Mariveles, and the waters in the vicinity of Cavite had been extensively mined. He further stated that a large merchant transport, the Isla de Mindanao of the Compania Transatlantica arrived the day before his departure, laden with munitions of war, including coast guns, automobile torpedoes and submarine mines, the latter intended for the larger entrance to the bay south of Corregidor.

Assuming, then, that each shore battery contained at least two guns, which afterwards proved to be an under estimate and that the Spanish Admiral was going to make his stand in Manila Bay, Commodore Dewey had to expect to draw the fire of at least five batteries, of ten 6-inch guns or larger, whichever entrance to the bay he chose and whether he found the Spanish fleet at Manila or Cavite. Since a commander, when entering a theater of operations, must look to the contingency of the whole enemy's force being combined to the best advantage against him, we may now tabulate the elements of the opposing forces as they must have presented themselves to Commodore Dewey when he started for Manila.

We must add to this the probability that the entrances to the bay and the approaches to Manila and Cavite were strewn with submarine mines. Hence, assuming that the Spaniards were fairly good marksmen and that the best disposition would be made of their material, it must be conceded that the apparent odds were not in favor of the United States squadron.

On the afternoon of the first day out from Mirs Bay all hands were called to muster on each ship and the following proclamation of the Governor-General of the Philippines was read:

"SPANIARDS—Between Spain and the United States of North America hostilities have broken out.
"The moment has arrived to prove to the world that we possess the spirit to conquer those who, pretending to be loyal friends, take advantage of our misfortunes and abuse our hospitality, using means which civilized nations count unworthy and disreputable.
"The North American people, constituted of all the social excrescences, have exhausted our patience and provoked war with the perfidious machinations, with their acts of treachery, with their outrages against the law of nations and international conventions.
"The struggle will be short and decisive. The God of Victories will give us one as brilliant and complete as the righteousness and justice of our cause demand. Spain, which counts upon the sympathies of all the nations, will emerge triumphantly from this new test, humiliating and blasting the adventurers from those States that, without cohesion and without a history, offer to humanity only infamous traditions and the ungrateful spectacle of Chambers, in which appear united insolence and defamation, cowardice and cynicism.

"A squadron manned by foreigners possessing neither instruction nor discipline, is preparing to come to this archipelago with the ruffianly intention of robbing us of all that means life, honor, and liberty. Pretending to be inspired by a courage of which they are incapable, the North American seamen undertake as an enterprise capable of realization, the substitution of Protestantism for the Catholic religion you profess to treat you as tribes refractory to civilization, to take possession of your riches as if they were unacquainted with the rights of property, and to kidnap those persons whom they consider useful to man their ships or to be exploited in agricultural or industrial labor.

" Vain designs! Ridiculous boastings!

"Your indomitable bravery will suffice to frustrate the attempt to carry them into realization. You will not allow the faith you profess to be made a mock of; impious hands to be placed on the temple of the true God; the images you adore to be thrown down by unbelief. The aggressors shall not profane the tombs of your fathers, they shall not gratify their lustful passions at the cost of your wives' and daughters’ honor, or appropriate the property your industry has accumulated as a provision for your old age. No, they shall not perpetrate any of the crimes inspired by their wickedness and covetousness, because your valor and patriotism will suffice to punish and abase the people that, to be civilized and cultivated, have exterminated the natives of North America, instead of bringing to them the life of civilization and of progress.

“Philippinos prepare for the struggle and, united under the glorious Spanish which is ever covered with laurels, let us fight with the conviction that victory will crown our efforts, and to the calls of our enemies let us oppose with the decision of the Christian and the patriot, the cry of 'Viva Espana.'

"Your General,


Immediately after the reading of this remarkable document the crews were informed that they were bound for the Philippines to "capture or destroy the Spanish fleet." Probably no such cheers have ever before floated over the China Sea as then went up from each ship of the squadron, assuring each commander that he need not count alone on the skill and obedience but upon the eagerness and enthusiasm of the men behind the guns.

The run across the China Sea was made as directly and with as little attempted concealment as if on a peace mission. Lights were carried at night and electric signals freely exchanged; but gruesome preparations were going on within each ship. Anchor chains were hung about exposed gun positions and wound around ammunition hoists; splinter nets were spread under boats; bulkhead gratings and wooden chests were thrown overboard, furniture was struck below protective decks; surgical instruments were overhauled and hundreds of yards bandaging disinfected. The sea was strewn for fifty leagues with jettisoned woodwork unfit to carry into battle.
Leaving this squadron seeking its adversary with such grim directness, let us see what the Spaniards were doing.

A war board had been in session at Manila for two months devising means for defense. It directed the erection of batteries at the entrances to Manila and Subig Bays, the laying of mines and the mobilization of the fleet, but its members were fatally at variance as to where the fleet should make a stand. The commandant of the land forces at Manila wanted it in front of the city supported by the water-front batteries. The Spanish Admiral wished to go to Subig Bay. The idea of utilizing the tactical advantages of some of the many channels around the other islands, maintaining a "fleet in being,” and causing the American squadron to fritter away its scanty supply of coal and provisions in vain attempts to strike a crushing blow, does not seem to have been entertained.

Manila Bay is a vast pocket in the west side of the island of Luzon, twenty-odd miles deep and nearly as many wide, with an entrance ten miles across, divided by the island of Corregidor into channels known as Boca Chica and Boca Grande two miles and six miles wide respectively. Subig Bay, thirty miles farther north, is almost exactly similar but much smaller.

On the night of the 25th of April, Admiral Montojo took his squadron to Subig Bay with a view to making his stand there. He found four 15 cm. guns (and ammunition) landed on the island at the entrance but which could by no effort possible be emplaced within a month, so remaining there only long enough to repair the Castilla, which had developed a serious leak around her stern tube, he returned to Manila Bay on the evening of April 29 and anchored his squadron off Cavite Arsenal where he prepared for battle. By that date the land defenses of Manila Bay, though not complete, were formidable. Guarding the Boca Chica were three 8-inch Armstrong muzzle-loading rifles on Corregidor Island, three 7-inch muzzle-loading rifles on Punta Gorda and two 16-cm. converted breech-loading rifles on Punta Lasisi.

Guarding the Boca Grande were three 6-inch Armstrong breech-loading rifles on Caballo Island, three 16-cm. muzzle-loading rifles near Punta Restina and three 12-cm. breech-loading rifles on El Fraile Rock. The last-named guns were taken from the gunboat Lezo and those on Caballo from the cruiser Velasco, which were undergoing repairs at Cavite, and so far from ready that all hope of getting them into service for the war had been abandoned.

The Don Antonio de Ulloa was unfit to steam. This vessel was therefore moored head and stern just inside Sangley Point, over which she could readily fire, and her inshore (port) battery was removed and emplaced on shore about a mile and a half westward, at Canacao. One of these two guns was ready for service and used on the first of May.

There was also on Sangley Point a modern fortress of masonry and earth in which were mounted two 15 cm. Ordonez breech-loading rifles. As the batteries at Manila do not enter seriously into this narrative they will not be described.

Mines are said to have been laid in the Boca Grande, off Cavite and to N.Ed. of St. Nicholas shoal. Admiral Montojo anchored his squadron across Bakoor Bay in a N.Ely. and S.Wly. line somewhat curved back toward Bakoor; his left, prolonged by the Ulloa, resting on Sangley Point and having the protection of Sangley and Canacao batteries. Besides being in shoal water, it was further protected from being turned by a line of iron lighters loaded with sand and moored together head and stern, extending in prolongation of Sangley Point, screening the ships on the left wing but in no way masking their fire. From Sangley Point to the N.Ed. the Spanish ships were disposed as follows: Don Antonio de Ulloa, Castilla, Reina Cristina (flagship), Don de Austria, Isla de Cuba, Isla de Luzon. A little inside and abreast the others lay the Marques del Duero, and possibly the Argos, but there are some indications that the latter remained at the arsenal, as did the Velasco, Lezo and transport Manila. A small armed guard was kept on each of these latter vessels and their crews distributed among the other ships, the greater number going to the Reina Cristina. The ships were cleared for action, light spars and boats sent ashore, etc., but many minor items were left to the last moment, so that the squadron went into battle without unshipping awning stanchions, hatch canopies or gangway ladders, and, excepting her gun sponsons, the Castilla was still painted white.

Two 6-inch Armstrong muzzle-loading rifles mounted on the ramparts of Fort San Felipe in Cavite Arsenal could fire over the squadron at the enemy.

By the Spanish disposition for battle, the United States squadron would have to endure the fire of three 16-cm. three 6-inch and three 12-cm. guns, a broadside of 725 pounds of metal in entering the Boca Grande or of five 8-inch, two 7-inch and two 16-cm. (898 pounds) in Boca Chica beside running the risk of submarine mines at three different points in the approach to Cavite, and would then have to fight eight or nine vessels and three shore batteries, mounting in the aggregate 36 guns and throwing a broadside of 1,800 pounds of metal or, more briefly, Commodore Dewey had actually to encounter 45 guns throwing 2,525 pounds of metal. The rapidity with which he got in touch with his adversary prevented the emplacement of several more guns at Sangley and Canacao and the mobilization of the remaining gunboats of the Spanish fleet.

On the morning of April 30, the United States squadron reached the coast of Luzon near Cape Bolinao, stood close in under the green, mountainous bluffs and coasted southward, keeping a sharp lookout for the enemy. The Boston and Concord were sent ahead at full speed as scouts and to search Subig Bay. Later in the day the Baltimore was also sent ahead to Subig, where upon arriving, she found the other two ships coming out, they having skirted all round the bay and seen nothing of the enemy. It is interesting to note that twenty-four hours earlier they would have found there nearly the whole Spanish fleet. The Baltimore stopped a Spanish schooner with a shot across her bow, but her crew professed the densest ignorance of the whereabouts of a single Spanish naval vessel.

It was nearly sunset when the squadron reassembled at the entrance to Subig Bay. Here Commodore Dewey stopped and called his captains on board the flagship to receive what proved to be their final instructions before the battle. It was a deeply impressive scene; these nine ships, dark as the clouds of a gathering storm, resting against a background of bright green hills and graceful waving palms and illumined by the golden radiance of the setting sun; over them sweeping the light land breeze wafting the perfume of fragrant tropical flowers, and from their decks the notes of their bands rising in evening concert as they played by instinctive agreement, "There'll be a hot time in the old town tonight." The stage had been set, the orchestras were playing the overture and the curtain was about to rise upon a new and terrible international tragedy.

The captains soon returned from their conference and once more the squadron was put in motion, but now the McCulloch, Nanshan and Zafiro fell directly astern of the Boston, so that there was formed a single column, flagship leading, transports in the rear. It was quickly known, almost without the telling, that Commodore Dewey was going to run past the forts into Manila Bay that night and engage the enemy as soon as found in the morning. Only a single white light at the stern of each ship was to be shown, screened in all directions but astern, to guide the next ship behind.

The night was ideal for the enterprise. The little light needed to find the entrance to the bay was furnished by a young moon which would set soon after midnight. After it had served its purpose, and the dark outlines of Corregidor Island had been discerned, a screen of passing clouds hid the moon almost constantly from view, giving the benefit of its diffused light but seldom permitting a sheen upon the water.

Early in the evening the crews were called to quarters, guns cast loose and loaded, ready ammunition ranged on deck and every preparation made for battle. Then officers and men not actually on watch were allowed to sleep on their arms till the moment for action. Most of them were still standing about the decks in low-covering groups, however, when at 10:40, the word was quietly passed around to stand to the guns. The squadron was approaching the Boca Grande. The mountainous headlands at the entrance to the bay were looming up on either hand, occasionally thrown out in bold relief by sluggish copper-colored lightning from thunder clouds behind them. A darker, nearer object lay between like a huge ill-moulded grave. This was Corregidor Island, the armed sentinel of the bay, There was a light-house upon this island and also upon its little neighbor, Caballo, but neither was lighted. Straight on the squadron now steamed at the moderate speed of 8 knots as confidently as if through a lighted channel. American officers were guiding it, and no hired pilot. It is probable that few of the navigators who conned those ships into Manila Bay that night had ever been there even in the broad light of day but United States naval officers are educated and trained for such emergencies.

Nearer and nearer loomed Corregidor as these ghost-like ships stole on undiscovered. Even to each other they were scarcely visible; each seemed alone save for a little white light ahead, always leading onward. Guns were silently trained ever toward the dark cliffs, which were constantly searched with night-glasses. At last the island was abeam,. Men held their breath and hearts almost stood still. Where were the Spanish lookouts? Where their picket boats? Where their terrible mines? The flagship ran boldly close up to El Fraile Rock in order to shape from it a good course into the bay, little suspecting that a battery had been erected upon it.

Midnight came and went and the hopes began to form that the squadron would get into Manila Bay undetected, when suddenly a light was displayed, apparently on a vessel in Mariveles Bay, then a bright light flared up on the south shore near Punta Restinga. The flagship in turning at El Fraile Rock, had disclosed her stern light toward Restinga, and at the same moment soot in the McCulloch's smokestack caught fire. The signal at Restinga Point was answered by a bright rocket on Corregidor and a flare-up light on El Fraile. The Restinga battery shot out a tongue of flame, followed by a dull report, and the rising notes of the first screaming shell came nearer and nearer till it passed with a fierce hiss high over the Raleigh and plunged in the water beyond. Another followed quickly, falling just astern of the Baltimore. Restinga battery fired no more but now Fraile opened. The Raleigh and some of the rear vessel; returned the fire; one shell, as afterward discovered, bursting directly in the midst of this battery and silencing it after it had fired but three times. Caballo and Corregidor remained silent. It is probable that at a distance of three miles the passing ships were wholly invisible except when discovered by their stern lights.

It was twelve minutes past midnight when the first gun was fired and in half an hour the whole squadron had passed out of range unscathed into the still waters of Manila Bay. Twenty miles away the sky was illumined by the lights of the city.
Excellent navigation, cool judgment, and daring audacity had foiled three batteries and knocked off 725 pounds from the enemy’s available broadside.

Concealment was no longer necessary. Bright rows of electric signal lights, red and white, were flashed from ship to ship, until the chagrined and astounded Spaniards on Corregidor must have thought the Americans were holding a water carnival. It was only the flagship setting the speed at four knots for the remainder of the night, and calling the McCulloch and transports up on her port beam.
The lights died out, crews were allowed to sleep at their guns and the squadron continued its silent journey towards its slumbering adversaries.

That the Americans would dare to run the batteries, pass over probable mine fields and be able to find their way into Manila Bay, in the dead of night, and that on the first night of their arrival on the coast, without even a casual reconnaissance to take note of these difficulties, seemed never to have entered the Spanish mind. The Spaniards had exact information by cable from Hong Kong of the sailing of the American force from Mirs Bay and were promptly informed from Bolinao and Subig of its arrival on the coast. Nevertheless Admiral Montojo seemed to think he had still a few days' grace, for among his captured effects were found an order for his ships to be ready for a grand inspection on the morning of May 1. Fires were banked on the ships and many officers were sleeping ashore at the Arsenal with their families when the dull boom of the guns at Corregidor gave warning that the enemy was creeping upon them in the darkness.

It was two o'clock in the morning when Admiral Montojo was informed by telegraph that the whole American squadron was in the bay. Steam was ordered at once, officers and men were turned from their slumber and their families and hurried aboard ship, many of them never to return alive, and every preparation was made for battle.

The night was sultry; the light breeze of the evening died out; The sky gradually cleared. In the early dawn Manila Bay was like a sheet of silver. Toward five o'clock a forest of masts became indistinctly visible to the Americans right ahead, and behind them the white houses of Manila. Close scrutiny showed only merchant vessels but almost at the same time, off to the right, was seen a number of white buildings on a low point, and beyond them a line of dark gray objects on the water. The Olympia immediately headed straight for these, followed by the squadron in column. They quickly developed into the Spanish ships off their arsenal at Cavite; one of them, the Castilla being white, showing out with great distinctness. The black merchant transport Isla de Mindanao lay in prolongation of the line to N.Ed.
Only holding his course toward the enemy’s ships long enough to make out their number and disposition, Commodore Dewey headed again toward Manila, and at 5.05 hoisted the signal "prepare for general action."

Everybody was already up, all peering through the mist of the morning. On some ships, a little coffee had been served, but, on all, the men were without breakfast; galley fires remaining extinguished. When that awe-inspiring signal went up to the flag-ship's yardarm the Stars and Stripes broke from every staff and masthead in the squadron. Twenty-six American flags floated in deadly challengebefore the incredulous eyes of awaking Manila. The McCulloch and transports were then left in the middle of the bay and the fighting column turned to starboard, sweeping slowly past the city of Manila as if passing in review, and headed directly for the Spanish fleet. At the same time the Spanish colors were displayed at the gaffs and flagstaffs of the enemy’s ships. As most of these had sent down their topmasts and left them ashore, no flags flew at their mastheads except on the Castilla, and the Admiral's flag on the Cristina. Almost immediately the batteries at Cavite and Manila opened fire, but their shells fell short and were ignored. At 5.20 the Spanish ships opened, but these shells, too, fell short, and the American squadron stood on without replying.

At last, just as the sun of May 1 rose over the hills and meadows of Luzon, the Olympia's eight-inch guns in the forward turret burst forth at 5,000 yards range as the signal that the action should begin, she herself turning to starboard and leading the column past the enemy with port broadsides bearing. About the same time two white columns of water rushed upward in front of the flagships as if from exploded mines.

The smoke from the discharge, as it sagged first away, disclosed a long lead-colored launch coming out from behind Sangley Point and standing rapidly toward the flagship, flying the Spanish flag. The secondary batteries of the flagship and Baltimore turned upon her a hail of shell, under which she stood on for awhile with plucky persistence but finally fled toward Sangley Point, where she was beached and abandoned under the guns of the fort. She was afterward claimed by the owner of the marine railway at Canacao, a Britisher who said she was only going to market at Manila, but as this man's Spanish sympathies and interests were strong, it seems quite probable that she had been impressed by the enemy as a torpedo-boat.

The battle had now commenced in earnest, and both squadrons were enshrouded in dense white billows of smoke, ever increasing in volume and incessantly pierced by red tongues of flame, while the heavy jarring reports of great guns, the bias and scream of projectiles and the sharp bursting of shells added the awful majesty of terrific noise to the vivid grandeur of fire and smoke. It soon became evident that the Spanish Admiral was content to fight in his position, which prevented his maneuvering the squadron as a whole and left each of his ships to independent action in bringing their batteries to bear. In that stubborn combat of two and a half hours the Spanish ships fought like beasts at bay. Every divisional officer in the American squadron had studied the fighting qualities of each of the enemy's vessels and every American ship, as if by common agreement, concentrated on the Reina Cristina, the enemy’s flagship and most formidable vessel. Only when guns would not bear upon her were they turned upon others and then generally upon the Cristina of equal size and armament, though built of wood. The shore batteries were permitted to keep up their incessant fire with only rapid-fire guns replying to them. The failure of these comparatively undisturbed batteries to score a single hit can only be accredited to execrable marksmanship but the poor work of the Spanish ships was undoubtedly largely due to the murderously demoralizing fire which they were compelled endure and to their bunched position.

The American squadron stood past the Spanish ships and batteries in perfect column at six knots speed, making a run of two and a half miles, then returned with starboard guns bearing. The first lap followed the five-fathom curve as marked on the charts, and each succeeding one was made a little nearer, as soundings showed deeper water than the chart indicated. The range was thus gradually reduced. Let the unprofessional reader note the great range of modern ordnance by passing here to realize that with moving guns and moving targets a whole squadron was destroyed and hundreds of people killed a mile to three miles away.

Under the miraculous providence which ordered the events of that day those six American ships steamed serenely back and forth unharmed for nearly three hours. Shells flew over them, between masts and stacks and ventilators; shells fell beside them and flung sheets of water over their guns and gunners; shells falling far short bounded and wobbled over their mastheads; shells incessantly burst above, ahead, astern and around them, but on they went unhurt; their gunners unheeding the din, loading and training and firing with the rapidity, regularity, and accuracy of machinery. Only three ships brought scars out of the fight—the Olympia, Boston and Baltimore. Fragments of a bursting shell ripped across the flagship’s bridge, passing close to the Commodore and his chief-of-staff and other fragments scarred her sides without penetrating. A well-aimed shot struck the Boston near the water on the port side aft. The shell burst in the drawers under an officer's bunk, wrecking and setting fire to the room, but prompt measures extinguished the fire. Another shell passed through this ship's foremast only a few feet from her captain as he stood on the bridge, but it fortunately failed to explode. Another small shell burst in her port hammock netting, starting a slight fire, which was quickly put out.

The Baltimore was less fortunate, being struck five times, not counting a hole in her flag at the main, a main brace (of a signal yard) shot away and a bare shave on the rim of the after ventilator. The first shell, a 6-pounder, entered under the starboard forward six-inch gun and burst harmlessly in a clothes-locker on the berth deck. The second, of the same caliber, struck at the waterline amidships on the port side and burst in a coal bunker. Another 6-pounder quickly followed some feet higher, cutting the exhaust pipe of the port ventilating blower engine on the berth deck, and exploding harmlessly, one piece sticking in the shoe-sole of the man running the blower engine. The fourth hit was perhaps the most remarkable in the annals of naval warfare, for a 12-cm. (nearly 5-inch) armor-piercing shell (weighing 55 pounds) crossed the ship’s deck and returned almost to the point of entry, passing each time through a group of fourteen men without actually hitting a soul. This shell entered the starboard bulwarks abreast the main rigging, a few inches above the spar deck, ploughed up the wooden deck planking and struck a steel beam, cracking it through. The beam deflected the projectile upward so that it passed sideways through both sides of the steel combing of the engine room hatch, after which it was again pointed straight, then struck the left recoil cylinder of the port 6-inch gun and glanced from this to the inside surface or the semicircular gun-shield. This changed its course nearly 180 degrees, and it flew again across the deck, struck an iron ladder on a ventilator, fell to the deck, spun rapidly on its side and rolled into the waterway scarcely twenty feet from where it first entered. On its first trip this shell struck a box of 3-pdr. ammunition, bursting several charges. Fragments of these and splinters from the deck wounded two officers and seven men, all so slightly that many of them continued their duties after surgical attendance on the spot. The officer commanding the division, who received a slight wound in the arm, was standing upon the engine-room hatch (in order to see over the bulwarks) when the shell passed through it. He and several iron gratings over the hatch were thrown upward by the blow. A powderman, near whom the shell passed upon its return trip was rendered instantly unconscious from the windage, falling flat upon his face and not fully recovering consciousness for twenty-four hours. The port gun was disabled, for when fired again it would not run out to battery on account of the deformed cylinder. The last shell to score a hit on the Baltimore struck the water on near her port bow, ricocheted end-aver-end above the heads of an 8-inch gun’s crew and past the captain and navigator on her bridge; then tumbled into the cowl of a ventilator.

In the early part of the action the Baltimore's two quarter-boats were blown to pieces by the blasts of her own guns, and their remnants were cut adrift, making a gruesome wreckage in the squadron's path.

The pall of smoke which hung between the contending vessels prevented the effect of many shots from being seen, but close scrutiny with glasses gave the comforting assurance after the first twenty minutes that the enemy was being hit hard and repeatedly, and as the range grew less so that gun's crews could watch the fall of their shots with the naked eye, many an exultant cheer went up from every ship. Naked to the waist and grimy with the soot of powder, their heads bound up in water-soaked towels, sweat running in rivulets over their glistening bodies, these men who had fasted for sixteen hours now swung shell after shell and charge after charge each weighing a hundred to two hundred and fifty pounds, into their huge guns and trained these monster engines of destruction, fifteen to twenty tons, all under a tropical sun which melted the pitch in the decks, utterly unconscious of fatigue, and oblivious of the fact that each and everyone of them was in momentary danger of being mangled out of all semblance to humanity. Such is the exaltation of battle! Even greater was the endurance of those below, imprisoned beneath huge battle and behind water-tight doors, facing the white heat of furnace fires and breathing an atmosphere at two hundred degrees; knowing not the tide of battle; knowing not if the shocks which continually shook their ships were from their own guns or from the enemy’s shells, but knowing full well that for themselves in case of disaster there was no escape, but death amid the horrors of scalding steam, searing fire and in-rushing water.

Toward the end of the action the Cristina stood out as if unable to endure longer her constricted position, but the concentration of fire upon her was even greater than before and she turned away like a steed bewildered in a storm. It was seen that she was on fire forward. Then a six-inch shell tore a jagged hole under her stern from which the smoke of another fire began to seep out. Right into this gaping wound another huge shell plunged, driving a fierce gust of flame and smoke out through ports and skylights. Then came a jet of white steam from around her after smokestack high into the air, and she swayed onward upon an irregular course toward Cavite until aground under its walls.

The Spanish Admiral's flag was now hoisted upon the Isla de Cuba, and many guns were turned upon it, but the excellent target presented by the white sides of the Castilla held for her a large attention. Shell after shell burst in her hull, and the dark columns of smoke which followed told of deadly fires started.

Then the Duero pointed her long ram out past Sangley Point, either preparing to use a torpedo or endeavoring to escape, but she received the same storm of shells as the' Cristina, and retired on fire.

It was now 7.30. The Cristina was out of action and on fire, the Castilla’s guns were almost silenced, and all the rest of the Spanish fleet except the Ulloa were retiring behind the mole at Cavite Arsenal, whence they could not possibly escape. It was at this time erroneously reported to Commodore Dewey that his ammunition was running short, so at 7.35 the flagship signaled "Withdraw from action," followed by "Let the people go to breakfast." Ten minutes later the American squadron stood out beyond the range of the persistent shore batteries and came to rest. Battle gratings were lifted and grimy men crowded on deck, clambering upon every available projection on the blistered, flame-scorched sides of their ships to cheer each other like demons released from Hades. Commanding officers were then called on board the flagship to discuss plans of final destruction.

Meantime let us look at the Spanish side. Having part of the Velasco’s crew and additional marines from the Arsenal, the Reina Cristina is said to have gone into action with 493 men all told. As soon as the American gunners got her range the carnage was dreadful, but there were plenty to fill the dead men's places at the guns, and they were fought gallantly and without slacking for more than half the action. Admiral Montojo was posted upon the characteristics of all his opponent’s ships except the Baltimore. She was a "Johnny-come-lately" in the squadron, of whom he had received but meager information. Her great, apparent size, her heavy battery and her immunity from injury finally convinced him that she was a battleship. He then directed the Cristina’s battery upon her with armor-piercing shells.
In the early part of the action a shell burst in the Cristina's forecastle, almost annihilating four rapid-fire guns’ crews; a fragment striking the foremast and flinging splinters upon the bridge which disabled the helmsman. Lieut. Don Jose Nunez immediately took the wheel and steered the ship until her steering gear was destroyed. The next heavy shell burst among the crew's lockers on the orlop deck and started a fire which was with difficulty extinguished. Then an eight-inch shell pierced the shield on the port forward 16 cm. gun and burst in the midst of the gun’s crew. This was just in front of the bridge. Under his very feet Admiral Montojo saw in a moment of time a gun disabled and twenty men torn to pieces.

The Spanish Admiral seems at last to have realized that to continue the fight, where he was meant certain annihilation, and with desperation he headed the Cristina toward the American flagship. She could more easily have faced a hurricane. Shells of all calibers from every American ship plunged into her fore castle and swept her upper works. An eight-inch shell, bursting forward started anew the fire on the orlop which its companion shells now prevented from being extinguished, and it was necessary to turn the ship’s bow from the enemy in order to fight the flames. As she swung broadside on a large shell plunged into her super heater and burst, scalding and killing a gunner’s mate and twelve men. Next came a six-inch shell which burst in the ward room, already turned into a bloody hospital, tearing out the after part of the ship, killing the wounded and starting a new fire. Then the mizzen topmast and spanker gaff came down with a crash, bringing the Spanish ensign and Admiral Montojo's flag to the deck, but these were quickly rehoisted on other halyards.
A shell now carried away the steam steering gear on the bridge and an attempt was made to connect the hand-wheel aft, but the ship swung stern to the enemy and was exposed to a raking fire. The next large shell which hit killed nine men. Then came the coup de grace. An eight-inch shell plunged into the stern, annihilating the hand steering gear and the men working upon it, tore its way on a long slant to the engine-room and cut the exhaust pipe-leading to the condenser.

The Cristina drifted aimlessly onward toward Cavite followed by an undiminished hail of projectiles. Her blood-drenched decks were cumbered with redly dripping human fragments and writhing and groaning wounded. Only one gun captain and another petty officer, with a few unwounded sailors, now went from gun to gun in the waist of the ship loading and firing. Flames were licking their way from bow and stern, consuming the wounded as well as the dead. The after magazine was now flooded, orders were given to scuttle the ship, and the Cuba and Luzon were signaled to rescue the crew. The Duero also assisted, and boats from the arsenal, but scores of men were imprisoned beneath a roaring furnace with only the choice between rushing up to die in its devouring flames or remaining below to drown in the rising waters. The captain, Don Luis Cadarso, was killed by a shell while superintending the rescue of the survivors. All who could be gotten out of the doomed ship were landed at Cavite and mustered. One hundred and sixty answered to their names, and of these ninety were wounded. Thus, out of 493 on that ship, 333 brave sailors were dead or missing and go more were hors de combat.
Admiral Montojo estimates that the Cristina was hulled seventy times before he left her. An officer who remained on her to the last moment says she was hit far oftener.

The Castilla remained at anchor during the action, fighting her port guns until her port side was riddled, then by chance her chain was cut and she swung around till her starboard guns bore. Being a wooden vessel she was repeatedly set on fire and her gunners had frequently to leave their guns and subdue flames. About the middle of the action, after her wardroom had become filled with wounded, a large shell burst in it, killing nearly all and starting a fire which could not be subdued. The after magazine was then flooded. A little later another shell of large caliber struck her amidships near the water-line, bursting in the machinery and starting another fire which finally got beyond control. Toward the close of the action a third large shell burst under the forecastle and set fire to her forward. The forward magazine was cut off by flames so that it could not be flooded and the ship's destruction became a certainty. A prearranged distress signal was then hoisted and boats put off from Cavite to rescue her crew. Her captain and 23 men had been killed and 80 wounded. At about ten o'clock the last man who could be found alive was taken out, her flag was hauled down and she was abandoned, burning and sinking.

When the Cristina sagged out of action the next best target was the Austria and many more guns were turned upon her. Her bridge and pilot-house were completely wrecked by heavy shells. The steering gear was demolished and the man at the wheel killed. At this time, too, the gunboat Duero, after her dash, was running for cover with a fire under her forecastle. The Austria, having now to be steered below decks, was scarcely under control. Admiral Montojo realized he was completely beaten and made signal to retire behind the arsenal and scuttle and abandon the remaining ships. The demoralization is indescribable. Ships crowded helter skelter into Bakoor Bay, grounding and anchoring anywhere when out of sight of the enemy. The sea-valves of the Austria, Cuba and Luzon were broken, and officers and men hurried ashore without stopping for personal effects. Photographs of wives and daughters were afterward found upon their bureaus; silver toilet articles and bric-a-brac remained untouched; money lay scattered upon cabin floors. Admiral Montojo had a slight wound in his leg dres5ed in Cavite, then took a carriage and fled to Manila.

At this time the American sailors were at breakfast, the ships drifting idly upon the placid waters of the bay, shells from Manila and Sangley falling harmlessly some cable lengths away. While the captains were with the Commodore a strange steamer was sighted coming up the bay and keeping close to the Cavite side. When the conference broke up the captain of the Baltimore was directed to intercept this vessel while the rest of the squadron stood in to complete their morning’s work. The Baltimore was therefore considerably in advance of the squadron standing directly in toward the beach across the steamer's bow, when the latter was discovered to be a merchantman, and the McCulloch was directed to stop her, while the Baltimore was signaled to lead into action. Sounding as she went, she got safely within 2,500 yards of the beach, then turned to port at 11.05 and steamed slowly, signaling "Permission to attack enemy's earthworks." Then followed for ten minutes a duel with the batteries which is attested by the onlooking squadron (not then within fighting distance) as one of the most magnificent spectacles of the day. The big cruiser, slowing and creeping along at a snail's pace, seemed to be in a vortex of incessant explosions both from her own guns and the enemy’s shells. At times she was completely shrouded in smoke and seemed to be on fire, while every shell she fired was placed in the earthworks as accurately as if she were at target practice. Canacao battery was the first to fall under this deadly fire. Its embankments of sand, backed by boiler iron were torn up and flung into the faces of the gunners until panic took hold of them. Hauling down their flag, they tumbled into an ambulance and drove madly to the protection of Fort Sangley. The whole fire of the squadron was then concentrated upon this fort. Its ramparts seemed to be in an incessant upheaval of earth from which dust and smoke and fire rolled away as from a volcanic crater. Three times its guns seemed silenced and the ships reserved their fire, only to see the plucky Spaniards begin again. At last, when by Spanish accounts, a gun was disabled and six men killed and four wounded the Spanish flag came down and a white flag was raised in its place.

There remained only the cruiser Ulloa, moored just inside Sangley Point. She had received some punishment in the first engagement, but her commander had not obeyed Admiral Montojo’s signal to "scuttle and abandon." We cannot too highly admire the courage of this man, commanding a little cruiser unable to move and already severely crippled by the enemy’s guns, who, with an order from his commander-in-chief to sauve qui peut, stuck to his ship for three hours within a stone's throw of the beach and safety, calmly awaiting the onslaught of the whole American squadron.

The Baltimore, drifting past Sangley Point, received the fire of the Ulloa and at once returned it with a raking rife. The Olympia, passing outside and abreast the Baltimore, also openedon her. The Raleigh, passing beyond both, turned Sangley Point and threw in a deadly cross-fire. The intrepid ship was literally riddled with shells, nearly every gun being dismounted or disabled. At length the crew swarmed over her unengaged side and swam for shore. Then she gave a slow roll toward her executioners and sank beneath the waves. Three masts remained in sight to mark her grave, from one of which still flew the Spanish flag.

Meanwhile the Boston advanced beyond the Raleigh toward the arsenal, past the blazing Castilla, but was stopped by shoal water. The Concord entered Bakoor Bay to destroy the transport Isla de Mindanao which had been run aground. She opened fire with her six-inch guns and the transport was quickly in flames, her crew deserting her and taking to the woods. The little Petrel alone was able by her light draught to steam in to the arsenal, which she did with gallant dash. Those on the less fortunate ships held their breath, expecting to see her draw the fire of all the hidden Spanish gunboats but after she had fired a few shots, which were not returned, the last Spanish flag was hauled down, and at twenty minutes after noon, a white flag was hoisted on the arsenal sheers and the Petrel signaled “The enemy has surrendered."

Sending his chief-of-staff to the Petrel to receive the surrender, Commodore Dewey steamed at once to Manila, followed later by the Baltimore, Raleigh, Concord, McCulloch and transports. The squadron anchored off the city as unmolested as if in time of peace. The sun went down amid the usual evening concert and one could scarcely realize that he had just participated in the most complete naval victory of modern times.

Yet over at Cavite lay ten warships burning, exploding, and sinking; a squadron annihilated; a navy yard captured and nearly four hundred Spanish dead and wounded. On the American side not a ship disabled; not a man killed.

It is impossible in closing to refrain from summing up the results already apparent of this remarkable victory.
It gave a prestige to the American arms at the very outbreak of hostilities which commanded the respect and admiration of nations which might otherwise have been hostile.

It swept all Spanish naval force from Pacific waters, relieving even the most timorous from all fear of a raid upon our Pacific coast or Pacific commerce.

It gave the United States a vast and prolific territory to hold for ransom or retain as indemnity.

It necessitated and brought about the capture of Guam and the annexation of Hawaii.

It diverted the Cadiz fleet from Cuba, thus permitting the whole Atlantic cruising force to concentrate on Santiago and Cervera.

*The writer has endeavored to reconcile many statements of Spanish casualties. Governor General Augustin's official dispatch to Madrid, as published in the New York Herald, states that the total loss was 618. Admiral Montojo's official report, as published in El Imparcial, Madrid, states that 381 were killed and wounded. Statements of surgeons and other officers who were on the ships and in the hospitals add up to very nearly the higher figure, as killed or missing alone.

Credit additional:

Digital Proceedings content made possible by a gift from CAPT Roger Ekman, USN (Ret.)
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The History of Radio Technology

The Invention of Radiotelegraphy

Radiotelegraphy is the sending by radio waves of the same dot-dash message (Morse code) used by telegraphs. Transmitters, at the turn of the century, were known as spark-gap machines. They were developed mainly for ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship communication. This form of radiotelegraphy allowed for simple communication between two points. However, it was not public radio broadcasting as we know it today.

The use of wireless signaling increased after it was proved to be effective in communication for rescue work at sea. Soon a number of ocean liners even installed wireless equipment. In 1899, the United States Army established wireless communications with a lightship off Fire Island, New York. Two years later, the Navy adopted a wireless system. Up until then, the Navy had been using visual signaling and homing pigeons for communication.

In 1901, radiotelegraph service was established between five Hawaiian Islands. In 1903, a Marconi station located in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, carried an exchange between President Theodore Roosevelt and King Edward VII. In 1905, the naval battle of Port Arthur in the Russo-Japanese war was reported by wireless. And in 1906, the U.S. Weather Bureau experimented with radiotelegraphy to speed up notice of weather conditions.

Robert E. Peary, an arctic explorer, radiotelegraphed "I found the Pole" in 1909. A year later, Marconi established regular American-European radiotelegraph service, which several months later enabled an escaped British murderer to be apprehended on the high seas. In 1912, the first transpacific radiotelegraph service was established, linking San Francisco with Hawaii.

Meanwhile, overseas radiotelegraph service developed slowly, primarily because the initial radiotelegraph transmitter was unstable and caused a high amount of interference. The Alexanderson high-frequency alternator and the De Forest tube eventually resolved many of these early technical problems.
1899 the United States deploys radio. That is the RTL. However...
Nikola Tesla

As early as 1892, Nikola Tesla created a basic design for radio. On November 8, 1898 he patented a radio controlled robot-boat. Tesla used this boat which was controlled by radio waves in the Electrical Exhibition in 1898, Madison Square Garden.

Tesla's robot-boat was constructed with an antenna, which transmitted the radio waves coming from the command post where Tesla was standing. Those radio waves were received by a radio sensitive device called coherer, which transmitted the radio waves into mechanical movements of the propellers on the boat.

Tesla changed the boat's direction, with manually operated controls on the command post. Since this was the first application of radio waves, it made front page news, in America, at that time.

Most of us, think of Guglielmo Marconi as the father of radio, and Tesla is unknown for his work in radio. Marconi claimed all the first patents for radio, something originally developed by Tesla. Nikola Tesla tried to prove that he was the creator of radio but it wasn't until 1943, where Marconi's patents were deemed invalid; however, people still have no idea about Tesla's work with radio.

Hmmm. Radio guided boat?

More RTL history...

With his newly created Tesla coils, the inventor soon discovered that he could transmit and receive powerful radio signals when they were tuned to resonate at the same frequency. When a coil is tuned to a signal of a particular frequency, it literally magnifies the incoming electrical energy through resonant action. By early 1895, Tesla was ready to transmit a signal 50 miles to West Point, New York... But in that same year, disaster struck. A building fire consumed Tesla's lab, destroying his work.

The timing could not have been worse. In England, a young Italian experimenter named Guglielmo Marconi had been hard at work building a device for wireless telegraphy. The young Marconi had taken out the first wireless telegraphy patent in England in 1896. His device had only a two-circuit system, which some said could not transmit "across a pond." Later Marconi set up long-distance demonstrations, using a Tesla oscillator to transmit the signals across the English Channel.

Tesla filed his own basic radio patent applications in 1897. They were granted in 1900. Marconi's first patent application in America, filed on November 10, 1900, was turned down. Marconi's revised applications over the next three years were repeatedly rejected because of the priority of Tesla and other inventors.

The Patent Office made the following comment in 1903:

Many of the claims are not patentable over Tesla patent numbers 645,576 and 649,621, of record, the amendment to overcome said references as well as Marconi's pretended ignorance of the nature of a "Tesla oscillator" being little short of absurd... the term "Tesla oscillator" has become a household word on both continents [Europe and North America].
But no patent is truly safe, as Tesla's career demonstrates. In 1900, the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company, Ltd. began thriving in the stock markets—due primarily to Marconi's family connections with English aristocracy. British Marconi stock soared from $3 to $22 per share and the glamorous young Italian nobleman was internationally acclaimed. Both Edison and Andrew Carnegie invested in Marconi and Edison became a consulting engineer of American Marconi. Then, on December 12, 1901, Marconi for the first time transmitted and received signals across the Atlantic Ocean.

Otis Pond, an engineer then working for Tesla, said, "Looks as if Marconi got the jump on you." Tesla replied, "Marconi is a good fellow. Let him continue. He is using seventeen of my patents."

But Tesla's calm confidence was shattered in 1904, when the U.S. Patent Office suddenly and surprisingly reversed its previous decisions and gave Marconi a patent for the invention of radio. The reasons for this have never been fully explained, but the powerful financial backing for Marconi in the United States suggests one possible explanation.

Tesla was embroiled in other problems at the time, but when Marconi won the Nobel Prize in 1911, Tesla was furious. He sued the Marconi Company for infringement in 1915, but was in no financial condition to litigate a case against a major corporation. It wasn't until 1943—a few months after Tesla's death— that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Tesla's radio patent number 645,576. The Court had a selfish reason for doing so. The Marconi Company was suing the United States Government for use of its patents in World War I. The Court simply avoided the action by restoring the priority of Tesla's patent over Marconi.

No lab fire happens and someone pays attention to that radio-controlled boat?

Why was the French 7.5 cm gun Model 1897 so hard to steal? (RTL and ATL)

Short answer: nobody but the Americans were crazy enough to let a sewing machine company try to make it and nobody was witless enough to tackle precision made hydro-pneumatic recoil cylinders besides the French and the Americans. Everyone else settled for hydro-spring recuperators which seemed to work perfectly fine instead.


Model 1876 "Trapdoor" Rifle issued to the 22nd Kansas Volunteer Infantry

Summary: Piece of crap.

Model 1889 "Trapdoor" Rifle

Summary: Piece of crap.

Model 1896 Krag-Jorgensen Rifle

Teddy's summary: Piece of crap.

The Spaniards had the Model 1893 7x57 mm Mauser Rifle. Teddy's summary: "Not a piece of crap. We must copy it immediately!"


1.65 Inch Hotchkiss Mountain Gun 4.2 cm /30

Not too good (RTL). In the ATL; the guns are modernized with a box trail and a hydro-spring recuperator. As is the ATL history, these guns come from the Watertown, Connecticut Hotchkiss Gun Foundry.

Three Inch Hotchkiss Mountain Gun 7.62 cm /25

Not too good (RTL). In the ATL; the guns are modernized with a box trail and a hydro-spring recuperator. As is the ATL history, these guns come from the Watertown, Connecticut Hotchkiss Gun Foundry.

Both of these field guns are outranged by the Krupp 75 mm Mountain Gun which was a thoroughly modern weapon.

Colt 1889 Revolver series (including 1889, 1892, 1894, 1895, and 1896)

Teddy's assessment: "Good for parade, but a Spanish Tercio will take a 0.38 in the chest, and grin at you as he bayonets you."

Sims-Dudley Dynamite Gun

Summary: Good for removing blockhouses full of Spaniards and/or making loud noises to scare fish.

Gatling Gun

Obsolete, but effective.

War Kites

Anybody get the idea where this is going to lead in this ATL?

The following account describes experiments with war kites which were being done over David Island's Fort Slocum and Glen Island, New York.

The Account:

Demonstrations Showing How an
Enemy Could Be Destroyed
by Dynamite.

The value of scientific kite flying in time of war was demonstrated at Glen Island yesterday. Dozens of airships were sent 2000 feet high and dropped packages of rice on the soldiers at Fort Slocum, on Davids Island. Had Glen Island been occupied by the Spanish forces and the rice been dynamite, Fort Slocum would have been completely demolished. For over a week a number of scientific men have devoted a few hours each afternoon to experiments in kite flying, the results of which have opened the eyes of the commandant and soldiers at Fort Slocum.

The first kite sent up from Glen Island was an ordinary Malay. Following this was a box kite. It contained a camera, and on its journey of a couple of miles took negatives of the surrounding country, which were later developed by Prof. L. M. McCormick, curator of the Glen Island Museum of Natural History. Crowds of people and the soldiers at Fort Slocum watched this experiment with interest. Suddenly the Stars and Stripes was unfurled a thousand feet in the air, evoking wild enthusiasm. Cheer after cheer went up as the flag unfurled against a background of sky. Then the United States pennant, some sixty feet long, was unfurled. The streamer was caught by the wind and shaken out to its entire length. Following this came a series of small flags, which read, “Remember the Maine.”

The big box kite was at that moment immediately over Fort Slocum, at a height beyond the range of a bullet. The kite seemed to struggle for an instant, then righted itself. Those who had watched its manoeuvring through glasses observed several small packages dropped which flew through the air at a terrific speed. A moment later they landed on the military fortifications and burst. The soldiers picked grains of rice from their clothing. The experiment showed that dynamite could have taken the place of rice, in which case Davids Island with its fortifications and soldiers would have been removed from the map of Long Island Sound.

The second test was successful, and thoroughly demonstrated how light machinery can be operated a thousand or more feet above the ground. A model of the United States monitor Puritan was carried up. From the revolving turrets rockets were fired, representing the ship in action. The ship was allowed to attain a greater height, and copies of the New York papers were distributed from the clouds. Rolls of tape were dropped next. Each was of a different color, and as they descended they unrolled. The wind carried them in all directions. At one elevation a current of air would carry them eastward, and fifty feet further down another current would endeavor to draw them in another direction. They became intertwined and sank slowly into the water, resembling two aerial creatures, with huge tendrils, fighting for the mastery.

Then Schley’s signals when he discovered Cervera’s fleet attempting to escape were seen. The little flags fluttering in the breeze spelled out the sentence, “The enemy is coming out.” The various signals from the acting flagship to the Texas and other ships before Santiago were displayed, and the experiment was brought to an end.

Some miles away on the Long Island shore observers were placed with glasses. They reported each signal displayed accurately. The tests, as a whole, were thoroughly satisfactory and demonstrated that in time of war kites would prove of great value. It is claimed that the kites can carry life lines to ships in distress, providing the wind is in the proper direction. This week efforts will be made to have them carry a life line to Fort Slocum, just a mile across the water from Glen Island.

Only one comment, Rupert, Put a motor and a man in it.

Read about the Effects of Gunfire from the Various Rifles


Lee Model 1895 US Navy Rifle

Summary: Good rifle, but expensive and wears out rapidly.

Model 1889-1895 Colt Navy Revolver

Summary: One to the head and one to the heart, and the enemy drops quite smart.

Colt 1889 Revolver series (including 1889, 1892, 1894, 1895, and 1896)

Summary: Same as the army revolvers.

Model 1860 Naval Cutlass

Summary: Good for haircuts.

Model 1895 Colt Automatic Machine Gun

Summary: (RTL), Not too good. ATL, Browning puts a decent gas piston in it and it works.

Whitehead Torpedo

Summary: Not as good as a Howell.


This will all kind of bite hard when The Siege of Brussels happens?
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With the Speed of Light...

Alexander Graham Bell and the PhotophoneBy
Mary Bellis

While he's best known as the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell considered the photophone his most important invention... and he may have been right.

On June 3, 1880, Alexander Graham Bell transmitted the first wireless telephone message on his newly invented "photophone," a device that allowed for the transmission of sound on a beam of light. Bell held four patents for the photophone and built it with the help of an assistant, Charles Sumner Tainter. The first wireless voice transmission took place over a distance of 700 feet.

How It Worked

Bell's photophone worked by projecting voice through an instrument toward a mirror. Vibrations in the voice caused oscillations in the shape of the mirror. Bell directed sunlight into the mirror, which captured and projected the mirror's oscillations toward a receiving mirror, where the signals were transformed back into sound at the receiving end of the projection. The photophone functioned similarly to the telephone, except the photophone used light as a means of projecting the information, while the telephone relied on electricity.

The photophone was the first wireless communications device, preceding the invention of the radio by nearly 20 years.

Although the photophone was an extremely important invention, the significance of Bell's work was not fully recognized in its time. This was largely due to practical limitations in the technology of the time: Bell's original photophone failed to protect transmissions from outside interferences, such as clouds, that easily disrupted transport.

That changed nearly a century later when the invention of fiber optics in the 1970s allowed for the secure transport of light. Indeed, Bell's photophone is recognized as the progenitor of the modern fiber optic telecommunications system that is widely used to transmit telephone, cable, and internet signals across large distances.

Bellis, Mary. "Alexander Graham Bell's Photophone Was An Invention Ahead of Its Time." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020,
The device could be used with artificial illumination, that is via infrared lamp which was discovered around 1890. This allowed a receiving mirror setup to detect voice and dot-dash "sound messages" under most conditions at ranges between 1000 to 2,500 meters most of the time around 1895. The system was never used in the RTL because flags and signal lamp was seen as equally effective, less fragile and less expensive, BUT in the ATL, this system allowed night signaling between ships unobserved by third party eavesdroppers or observers.



The device could be used with artificial illumination, that is via infrared lamp which was discovered around 1890. This allowed a receiving mirror setup to detect voice and dot-dash "sound messages" under most conditions at ranges between 1000 to 2,500 meters most of the time around 1895. The system was never used in the RTL because flags and signal lamp was seen as equally effective, less fragile and less expensive, BUT in the ATL, this system allowed night signaling between ships unobserved by third party eavesdroppers or observers.
Such a device would have been useful at Manila Bay. As you noted in earlier posts, Dewey's squadron crept into the Bay in the dark and managed to maintain formation by closely shielded lanterns on the stern. They could have done with a "belt and suspenders" dual guidance framework.

Could something akin to this device have helped Lt Hobson better place his ship in the desperate attempt to block the narrows at Santiago de Cuba with the blockship Merrimac? Or would that be pushing the technology past its reasonable capability for the time?
Effectiveness Of Photophones? New
Such a device would have been useful at Manila Bay. As you noted in earlier posts, Dewey's squadron crept into the Bay in the dark and managed to maintain formation by closely shielded lanterns on the stern. They could have done with a "belt and suspenders" dual guidance framework.

Could something akin to this device have helped Lt Hobson better place his ship in the desperate attempt to block the narrows at Santiago de Cuba with the blockship Merrimac? Or would that be pushing the technology past its reasonable capability for the time?
I have not war-gamed that, yet. Range between the SS Merrimac and the USS Massachusetts would be around 2,200 meters using Sampson's lunatic dispositions of the RTL. Also, let me suggest that ADM Cervera was not as inept or as stupid as Oskar Starck, Yevgeni Alekseyev or Wilgelm Vitgeft. He will have thought about how to sentry the exit channels to keep them open when he needs to sortie.
Otto von Diederichs, Villain Or Stooge? New
Shall We Begin With Some Aspirations?

(The entry is quoted for scholarship and commentary to give some RTL background for the ATL account that will follow the incidents of May to August 1898. McP.)


Posted on February 19, 2021

European nations were holding their breath as relations between Spain and the United States worsened in 1898. While much of the attention centered on Cuba and the Caribbean, the Philippines also gathered some thought. Several of the nations had ongoing commercial relationships within the Philippines. To officially protect their nationals living and working in the Spanish Manila naval ships were sent. One of those nations with more than a casual interest in events in the Philippines included Germany.

Comment: The Germans had just recently joined the Conga Line of nations bullying the Chinese Empire. As Readers will remember earlier, Philo Norton McGiffin, the Feo Lou we last saw strangling the life out of Ito, Watanabe on the USS Raleigh, had participated as a "Chinese Admiral" on the losing side of the First Sino-Japanese War. The British and the French had battered the Qing government in earlier somewhat successful European Colonialist Wars Of Aggression that had seen the Shanghai Enclave established, Hong Kong ripped away as a treaty port, the French establish themselves in suzerains in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, former Chinese tributary kingdoms, and in 1894, the Japanese helped themselves to Korea and Taiwan. As Johnny-Come-Latelies it would appear that the United States and Germany would have to take the table scraps. There was a race ongoing between the two nations to see who would win. One of the flashpoints was the Samoan Islands.

Germany Plays King-Maker

When war broke out between two primitive tribal factions on Samoa in the 1886, Germany saw its chance to play a little ‘divide and conquer.’

Berlin backed a Samoan rebel chief named Tamasese, providing not just weapons and money to his faction, but also military advisers. In exchange, the Kaiser sought trade and territorial concessions once the new monarch was installed.

By 1888, three German warships arrived in Samoa’s Apia Harbour and went so far as to openly lend a hand to Tamasese’s forces in this widening civil war against King Malietoa. The flotilla even put troops ashore to support the rebels. It was a provocation that did not go un-noticed in the United States. After all, the Americans were long-time trade partners of the ruling Malietoa and had no intention of being elbowed out of Samoa by a European power.
So one can see that CMMDR Dewey and the United States Navy were well aware of the kind of stuff, Kaiser Bill and his navy were inclined to pull.

America Takes Notice

With U.S. commercial interests on Samoa suddenly at risk, Washington dispatched three warships of its own to the islands – the screw sloop USS Vandalia, the steamer USS Trenton and the USS Nipsic, a Civil War-era gunboat. Britain, who also had a stake in Samoa, sent HMS Calliope to monitor the situation.

For the next several months, the two opposing fleets would face off in a tense game of brinksmanship. The standoff became known as the Samoan Crisis. For many observers, including the famed Scottish novelist Robert Louis Stevenson who witnessed it first hand, all out war between Germany and the United States was in the offing.

Stevenson, the author of the classic Treasure Island, had become a resident of Samoa in the 1880s after making landfall there during a pleasure cruise across the Pacific. He even adopted a Samoan tribal name: Tusitala, which means “Teller of Tales.” The famed writer recorded details of the crisis in his book A Footnote to History: Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa.
The thing is that these two nations had not reckoned with the weather.
Tensions ‘Blow Over’
In the form of the Great Storm of 1889.
As the weeks passed and the tribal war persisted in the Samoan jungles, the temperature between America and Germany continued to rise. While no shots had been fired between the two fleets, a confrontation seemed likely. Then nature intervened to settle the issue.

On March 16, 1889 a powerful typhoon struck the island. The force of the storm drove the British warship Calliope out to sea and destroyed both the German and American vessels as they tried to ride the tempest out in the harbour. Six ships in all were lost; more than 100 Germans and 53 American sailors were killed in the disaster. The survivors were taken off Samoa by trade vessels and later repatriated.

While the civil war continued, the immediate threat of a clash between Germany and the United States ended with the destruction of the two fleets.

Eventually, the Samoan question was resolved by the Tripartite Convention of 1899 in which one of the two Samoan islands was awarded to Germany, the other to the United States. The locals had no say in the decision.

New Zealand would end up seizing German Samoa in the opening days of the First World War. The island nation would not obtain independence until 1962. American Samoa remains a protectorate of the United States to this day.

(Originally published in on Oct. 8, 2012)
But to return to the situation as it develops in the South China Sea.


Imperial Germany was late to the colonial game in the latter half of the 19th century. Chancellor Otto von Bismarck was a well-known opponent of colonialism. This was not from any altruistic reasoning but for simply the cost involved with little gain he saw in return. He finally assented to German colonies, in 1884, in response to commercial interests inside Germany demanding colonies to give access to new markets while supplying natural resources to the fatherland at the same time.

By 1898, Germany gathered the third largest colonial empire in the World behind the French and British. The bulk of their holdings were scattered around Africa, but an enclave in China had been forced in 1897. The enclave made “official” with the leasing of Tsingtao – Kiautschou Bay – for 99 years – in early 1898.
Comment: That was the direct bullying work of RADM Otto von Diederichs (Italics).


Two sources came to the attention of the State Secretariat for Foreign Service in Berlin, Germany revealing a possible enthusiasm among the local population of the Philippines for either the development of a German protectorate or a German on a possible new throne. To check out how reliable the sources were and see if the winds in the Philippines were blowing in directions leading to Germany, Rear Admiral Otto von Diederichs, commander of Germany’s East Asian Squadron (Ostasiatische Kreuzergeschwader) was dispatched to Manila.
Comments: It looks, to the enraged Americans, like Samoa all over again with the German-backed rebel being Emilio Aguinaldo.


Arriving on 6 May was the SMS Irene, a small cruiser. There were already two British ships on scene, the HMS Immortalité and the gunship HMS Linnet as well as the French cruiser Bruix. Two days later, the small cruiser Cormoran joined the Irene. Diederichs arrived on scene on 12 June with the cruiser Kaiserin Augusta. Two more ships showed up the following week, the Kaiser, a former battleship reconfigured as a heavy cruiser, and the cruiser Prinzess Wilhelm.
Comment: Just to be clear, that was the bulk of the German East Asia Squadron, including its senior commander. The British and French and the Japanese had sent "presence ships" to secure their citizens' safety and to look out for their flag interests in a live-fire zone.

They, France, Great Britain and Japan also sent experienced but still junior officers who performed this gunboat presence all the time as did the Americans (Korea 1894). What they did not do, was send an entire battle fleet and its senior commander into a live war zone to snoop around near another armed and trigger-happy battle fleet that was fresh off a rather tense and still dangerous naval evolution. The Spanish still manned the Manila forts and coast defense batteries. They still had enough firepower to equal Dewey's gunline. Now the Germans show up and start snooping around and poking their noses into the situation.


Admiral Dewey was occupied in the period after his victory over the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay and the arrival of American reinforcements on 30 June, with the potential arrival of a Spanish relief squadron featuring the battleship Pelayo and cruiser Emperador Carlos V. The arrival of these Spanish ships could potentially swing the balance back to the Spanish. With the congregation of naval ships, it was not difficult to question motives Germany might harbor in the Philippines.
Comment: You think that all those Germans and the suspicious timing might not be on Dewey's mind along with Camara's Squadron?

Spanish-American War--Camara Expedition

That was enough Spanish firepower and troops on its way to scuttle the whole American effort if combined with the Germans.
Dewey had already had differences with the Germans during the time his squadron had spent in China. Without permanent Asiatic naval bases, both the Germans and Americans were dependent upon British facilities in Hong Kong. Working in the American favor German relations with the Filipino insurgents took a turn for the worse with the arrival of their East Asian Squadron. Local Spanish, on the other hand, saw the Germans as a gesture of support for them.
Comment: The Germans (SMS Irene) during a Hong Kong layover got into a brawl with sailors from the USS Raleigh. Just as the Germans had screwed up in a British port, they will now proceed to do in an "American anchorage". Otto von Diederichs seems to have had trouble keeping his sailors under positive control.


As July wore on, there were almost a dozen foreign ships off Manila. Only the Germans seemed a nuisance, however, to Dewey with ships constantly coming and going. He saw the constant movement of German ships as a “gigantic game of bluff” according to the English commander, Commander Edward Chichester. German naval vessels arriving at night in the bay ignored American attempts at determining ship identities adding to Dewey thoughts of a potential landing force.
Comments: Ah hell, the Germans were running agents and spying like crazy and the Americans knew it, because they were doing the same thing chasing the Germans around.
On 6 July, the Irene was cruising in Subic Bay to the northwest of Manila Bay. The last Spanish stronghold at Subic was under heavy attack from Filipino insurgents. Spanish ashore requested the Irene take on Spanish women and children to evacuate them. The German commander hesitated, but stories of insurgent atrocities towards Spanish civilians influenced his decision to go ahead and take them on.
Comments: Actually the SMS Irene was using a refugee evacuation as an excuse to take soundings and hydrographic readings of Subic Bay to turn it into another Tsingtao, that is a future lease concession from a pro-German puppet Filipino government that Otto von Diederichs was trying to negotiate with Aguinaldo. Both the author of this article and non-American historians conveniently omit this breach of international law when they blame Dewey for what happened next in the RTL.


The next morning, the American cruisers Raleigh and Concord passed by the Irene to bombard the Spanish fort. The American vessels were barely noted by the Irene as she departed. Dewey, however, read the situation as the German vessel was fleeing after trying to help the Spaniards. He decided to call what he thought was the bluff Germany was attempting in the Philippines.
Comment: Note the underlined. USS Raleigh and USS Concord had orders to reduce the Spanish fort, true, but they were also to find out what was taking the Germans so long to "evacuate refugees". The Filipinos (Illustrados) tipped the Germans off. The SMS Irene was "Getting Out of Dodge one horse ahead of the posse." That is what flank speed means.
Dewey sent his flag lieutenant over to the Kaiser with a note of American complaints that same day. Diederichs replied he had no intentions of interfering with American operations. He further noted many of the complaints he was unaware of. A few days later, he sent his own flag lieutenant to Dewey explaining German infractions. The lieutenant also protested the American revenue cutter McCulloch’s boarding of the Irene on 27 June. Dewey exploded saying, “Why, I shall stop each vessel whatever may be her colors. And if she does not stop, I shall fire at her! … that means war, do you know Sir? … I tell you, if Germany wants war, all right, we are ready.”
Comment: With his hand caught in the cookie jar, Otto von Diederichs promised to behave. Dewey's emissary told the German what the consequences would be; if he did not. Both men bluffed and both men LIED.


Diederichs defused the situation putting down Dewey’s threats to the considerable strain Dewey was under. Chichester also upheld the German view foreign warships could not be boarded during daytime, but only at night for purpose of identification. Dewey clarified a few days later boarding was only for purposes of identification – he wanted to make sure no Spanish ships snuck in under a foreign flag – and not for searching purposes. Thereafter, the Germans allowed their ships to be boarded after dark and the Americans avoided incidents during the day.
Comment: I don't know where the author got his baloney, but what actually happened is that CAPT Chichester moved HMS Immortalite and HMS Levant and sidled up next to the Americans and had his ships' bands play "The Star Spangled Banner". The MNS Bruix moved away to get out of the line of fire and the Japanese kind of followed the French. The Germans "got the message".


Tensions further dissipated 9 July with the departure of the Irene. The German Foreign Office also found no support within the ranks of the other great powers for German moves to obtain part or all of the islands on their own or within the purview of an international condominium. On 2 August, Diederichs informed Berlin he was very skeptical of any favor towards Germany in the Philippines among the Filipinos, either. The Filipinos believed the large German fleet present was to help the Spanish resist.

On 18 August, Diederichs and the Kaiser departed to help celebrate the coronation of the new Dutch queen in Batavia. The balance of naval power also had swung to the side of the Americans with the arrival of the monitors Monterrey and Mondanock. With the fall of Manila 12 August, the Germans kept only one ship on station in the bay.
Comment: The McKinley administration had made the rounds of the European capitals and secured the blessings of the French and Russians. The British already were onboard. When the Ottomans agreed to play ball, the German Foreign Ministry knew the game was over. The orders from Berlin came to leave and the German East Asia Squadron pulled out.

Now we get to some real Shenanigans...


The other incident involving German and the American forces occurred a bit later during the early stages of the Philippine-American War. Prince Ludwig Karl of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg, was a child well down the list of inheritance – eight child and sixth son. As such, he went to London hiring the services of a matchmaker to find him a suitable heiress. He was introduced to Lady Anne Savile, the daughter of the Earl of Mexborough. On 15 May 1897, the two married in London. Ludwig decided to not pay the introducer their fee and leading to legal proceedings. Anne’s father could have paid the sum, but he was not fond of his new son-in-law to begin with. He disliked the German “on general principles, but likewise for his un-English manners.”

Matters took a turn for the worse when Ludwig decamped for the European continent to flee the “disreputable marriage brokers”. Also Ludwig forgot the matter of repaying monies lent forward in his efforts to woo Lady Anne. Suddenly, from Europe, the prince disappeared entirely.
Comment: If you think this buffoon is going to the Philippine Islands just in time to turn German spy...


He turned up eighteen months later in the Philippines involved with other “European adventurers” involved in the Filipino war against the US. Popular thought described Ludwig employed as an agent of the German government, another line of interest Germany pursued in the Philippines. Previous to the fall of Manila, he allegedly was able to cross in and out of Spanish and Filipino lines, both sides regarding him as friendly.

During the battle of Malinta, repeatedly officers of the Second Oregon warned Ludwig to not go up beyond the firing line. “I am speaking to you particularly. You have already given us some trouble by hanging around the firing line, and we will have no more of it.” Ludwig and a companion disregarded the advice. They took up a position inside a house suspected by the Oregonians to have Filipino soldiers inside. The soldiers came up on the house challenging potential occupants. Ludwig answered in Filipino and the soldiers responded by firing upon the house killing him. The soldiers found on his person a pass signed by Aguinaldo which allowed him to pass through Filipino lines as he wished.

The prince was buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Makati. That cemetery came into the hands of the Ayala family who developed the grounds into the housing development Barrio Olympia. The bodies were transferred to the Eternal Lawn section of the Metro Manila Cemetery in the southern suburb of Paranaque. Historic gravestones were originally kept by a local British society but the whereabouts are unknown at present.
Comment: By this time the Americans were not playing nice and cautious anymore. Ludwig got what he deserved.

Shame what happened to Ludwig's wife, though.

Anyway, this is the powder keg in the RTL.

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More Logs On The Fire New
YMMV on this iteration.

There were some minor disagreements between Germany and the US during the late 19th century, but nothing serious or even very unusual. One incident occurred during the Spanish-American War in 1898 when Japan, Great Britain, France and Imperial Germany dispatched fleets to protect their nationals and interests in the area. Germany’s fleet under German Vice Admiral von Diederichs was impressive and the strength of the German squadron aroused the envy and animosity of US Rear Admiral George Dewey. The German officers and sailors were in contrast quite impressed by the performance of Dewey’s fleet at the Battle of Manila Bay over the antiquated Spanish vessels.

After defeating the Spanish fleet on May 1, 1898, Dewey ordered a blockade of Manila. It troubled Dewey that the German squadron of five warships and two auxiliaries outnumbered the Americans. One ship alone, the transport Darmstadt, carried 1,400 men, nearly the number of Dewey’s men. Believing that they were following acceptable international protocol regarding starving civilians, the Germans violated Dewey’s blockade of Manila by supplying flour to trapped Spanish residents and even welcomed them aboard the German vessels.

German officers also visited Spanish and Filipino outposts, and Dewey disliked this. After a few other minor irritations, Dewey reacted with some provocative acts and a threat to start a war with Germany. Tensions increased, and at this point a British squadron sided with Dewey and even ordered its band to play “The Star Spangled Banner.” Finally, the German gunboat Cormoran refused to acknowledge an American attempt to board the ship for inspection since the US had no right under international law to do so, and the ship was finally stopped by the US firing a shot across its bow. Von Diederichs complained about Dewey’s overtly provocative acts, but the Germans expressed no interest in a conflict and it went no further.

Here is a set of diary entries to show what RTL events made impressions on a certain Aime Ernest Motsch.

Friday, May 27, 1898​

What will be the German strategy?

The Spaniards have great hopes in the Germans who have extensive interests in the Philippines. “They will defend us, not out of generosity, but out of the need to defend their interests in the islands. They will lend us their assistance against both the Americans and Aguinaldo.” There they are waiting for the fleet of Admiral von Diederichs! They are counting on the arrival of the Deutschland with Prince Heinrich on board. They have reason to believe that the Germans can change the course of events, basically due to their strength in the Far East; their ships, their traders and their goods are everywhere. Secondly, the German expedition against China, the taking of Kiao-Tcheon, the decisiveness displayed, the brutal raids, and the swiftness of action have had an impact on the Spaniards. Germany’s rationale for its invasion in China is the safeguarding of the former’s interests by establishing a strong base in the Gulf of Pe-Tchi-Li. Why did they not use the same strategy for the Philippines?

Now there is no doubt that the Germans will send their squadron from China. The Americans have made no further moves after their discussions with Aguinaldo, who is setting up his headquarters in Cavite. Both the insurgents and the Spaniards seem to be staying in their respective positions. The Americans have left the way open to the rebels but are not providing any artillery. It is rumored they are not bombarding Manila because the German consul has made representations on the matter. The Spaniards are certainly expecting the German squadron to appear in the bay.

Of course, there will be a few fools in Europe who will appreciate Admiral Dewey’s passive position, just as much as they have exalted him for what he has done. They are so lacking in foresight! In my opinion, Aguinaldo seems more cunning and resolute than all the rest. I hope he will make use of all of them. But can he count on the rebels? Would the Tagals be loyal to him on all fronts?

The only comment I make, here, is that Aime Ernest Motsch, a French naval officer (torpedoes weapon officer) aboard the MNS Bruix, kept an account of what he saw happen between the date of his ship's arrival and its departure during May, June, July and August of 1898 in the city of Manila and in the Bay.

Tuesday, June 14, 1898​

The Germans
The day before yesterday at noon, the German admiral was acknowledged in Corregidor. The Americans saluted him. The Kaiserin-Agusta dropped anchor at 13H30 after a 21-gun salute. Other ships are expected to follow her. Meanwhile, Prince Heinrich is landing in China where he can make his presence felt. During this time, neither the French nor the Russians are successful in diverting the attention of the German vice-admiral from the China Sea, where a great rivalry exists. The Germans are sending their ships here. There is no clear order of hierarchy since anyone can give the necessary orders today or tomorrow, depending on the situation. And if the situation becomes increasingly complicated, someone else takes over as spokesman.

The weather is horrible. A typhoon must be brewing somewhere. Continuous hurricanes and incessant heavy rains. However, the atmospheric depression is supposed to be far away from Manila and there is no danger.

For the past week, the most positive fact is the presence in the bay of ships bearing the insurgents’ flag — blue, red and stars in one corner. These ships continue to and fro between the bay and Cavite to the north of the bay. These small steamships carry Filipino soldiers. If one is to believe an eyewitness, one of these ships accosted the Immortality on Friday. I can swear that none of our helmsmen saw the encounter, but who am I to doubt its credibility? If this is so, and if the insurgents are in touch with both the English and the Americans, how can Spain remain neutral? In the final analysis, I regret the fact that France does not want to initiate the recognition of the flag of the Republic of the Philippines, which the other countries refuse to acknowledge.

The Kaiser dropped anchor in the bay on the 18th. The Cormoran is on a reconnaisance mission in Mariveles and will enter the bay tonight. The Kaiser is using its floodlights to exchange signals with Kaiserin-Agusta. These maneuvers, like most other German ventures, are being carried out with great precision. Evidently they know what they want and are doing what they want.

One could see that Aguinaldo made serious mistakes from the start of these events. One does not preen like a peacock in front of so many enemies; especially the British and the Germans. What Dewey thought cannot be printed here.

Monday, July 11, 1898​

Americans and Germans

A Reuters dispatch states that the English are displeased with the influx of Germans into the Philippines. Early in the game, we see Mr. Chamberlain’s policies in action. The friends of our friends are our friends, goes a saying, but I think we cannot be sure of the German position. Numerous rumors are spreading all over the Far East about the Irene. The following is an account which appears in an English newspaper.

The Germans’ movements in the Manila Bay are causing much anxiety. They have not scrupulously observed the rules of moral courtesy. They have aggravated everyone by constantly dispatching their ships in all directions in the bay, a practice which is completely against all regulations. But the most extraordinary event was the taking of the Rio Grande at the entrance of Subic Bay. The insurgents had succeeded in overrunning the whole countryside, village after village. The Spaniards were finally obliged to take refuge on the island. The rebels, having captured the steamer Filipinas, were preparing to launch an attack on the island. The German cruiser, Irene, intervened, intending to shield the Spaniards if the insurgents opened fire. When the Filipinas returned to Manila, the incident was reported to Aguinaldo, who immediately conveyed the information to Admiral Dewey. The following day, at dawn, Captain Coghlan received orders to head for Subic with the Raleigh and the Concorde, take possession of the island, and to hold the Spaniards as prisoners. As soon as the Americans appeared, the Irene weighed anchor and headed for Manila.

Meanwhile, the Spaniards indicated that they were prepared to surrender if the Americans took them into their charge. Captain Coghlan asked the Concorde to obtain new instructions from Dewey, whose response was as follows: “Execute orders received.” The Spaniards were informed that this was irreversible and that they were expected to surrender. Initially, they refused to comply, but realized they had no other alternative after a few shells were fired at them. Then they raised the white flag. Taken prisoner were 400 armed soldiers, 100 sick, and 100 women, all of whom were handed over to the insurgents.

Aguinaldo later confirmed that both the Spaniards and the Germans had made overtures towards him, but naturally gave no details.In a letter to Consul General Wildmann in Hong Kong, he was alluding to the Spanish fleet en route to the Philippines when he said: “This news of a reinforcement does not frighten me at all. I doubt that these ships will be able to enter Manila Bay. Admiral Dewey is not sleeping!”

It appears, in fact, that the admiral decided to undertake the defense of Corregidor with cannons and torpedoes. The idea seems feasible, bur do they have the necessary weapons to carry it through?

At this point, the English insist on showing their strength beside the Americans, their only sincere friends. According to the English, the American soldiers and marines are indignant over German bravado. “The maneuvers could be doomed to fail because of these Germans. ”Everyone’s attention is focused on Dewey’s diplomatic movements because he, more than anyone else, is constantly informed of the activities taking place in the bay. He uses great tact in his dealings with the German admiral. It is said that Admiral von Diederichs informed Dewey that he never had any intention of offending the Americans and that the increasing movements of his ships were merely a demonstration of their military strength. Admiral Dewey is understood to have replied that it would have been better if he had acted differently.

In other words, this is the incident of the Subic Bay Fiasco which almost led to a full on shoot-ex. Dewey was forced to read the riot act to von Diederrich's flag secretary as a result. "If you want war, sir, then we are prepared." Notice how the American captains made sure of their instructions? This is not indicative of a navy that was unmindful of just how dangerous the situation was, very unlike the Germans whose own actions were most piratical with regard to the Rio Grande.

Sunday, August 14, 1898​


The American and Spanish officers have signed the treaty of surrender. When the Americans took over the government of Manila, they accorded the Spanish prisoners the honors of war.

The terms of the surrender worth noting are as follows:
  1. Only the City of Manila and its environs are included in the terms of surrender.
  2. The sovereignty of the United States is merely provisional with the possible withdrawal of the American army.
  3. This convention is dated August 13.
This last observation is important because Admiral Dewey apparently overlooked his dates, the peace treaty between Spain and the United States having been signed on August 12, the eve of the siege of Manila, while the Spanish flag was still flying.

The French got the news of the Treaty of PARIS first. Wonder why that happened? One guess...

Sunday, August 14, 1898​

Admiral Dewey informs the foreign battleships that they can anchor in their original positions in Manila Bay. The naval officers hastily go on land but the overly cautious Germans, heedless of the dispatches concerning the treaty, go ashore fully armed. On land or at sea, Admiral von Diederich’s presence reaffirms the dominance of a formidable Germany.

It is said the Spaniards lost 400 men in yesterday’s fighting. Even if it were 40 or a hundred, the toll would still be too high since these men, dispersed everywhere on the ramparts, awaited the enemy without fighting and were ordered not to fire a single shot. The Spanish soldiers within the walls hae already relinquished their guns unloaded and discharged, before they are allowed entry. Within the walls, an American officer piles up the confiscated guns in the guardhouse. I have also seen an infantry regiment and a battalion of soldiers disarmed before the city gates.

The Spanish soldiers keep their sabers and clench their teeth, perhaps out of rage or out of sheer humiliation. They undoubtedly harbor these feelings of betrayal in varying degrees, fully aware that there was no battle and that the troops present could have kept the Americans at bay.
Admiral Montojo has bluntly stated that the siege of Manila was a farce played by General Merritt. But he seems to forget that he also played a role similar to that of General Jaudenes and the Spaniards.

Now, Manila definitely looks like a conquered city. There is hardly any Spaniard on the street and all shops are closed. Panic is rising out of fear that the Tagals might pillage this city tonight or possible plan a massacre. Meanwhile, the Americans continue to exercise very strict surveillance.

Within the Walled City, the inhabitants and soldiers move around, and one can see the Spanish military men carrying on friendly conversations with the soldiers of the Union. Some are even drinking together in the cafes. What an encouraging sight! The streets are full of disarmed soldiers, but in the churches and convents, where the entire Spanish garrison is confined, the air is permeated by unbearable stench and dirt.

General Merritt has had a manifesto posted in English, Spanish and Tagalog declaring that Manila is now under American military government. There is no mention whatsoever of the insurgents. The American military is speaking on behalf of the United States in the same way that the Spaniards were speaking yesterday in the name of Spain, the repetition of this twist of fate clearly indicating the stranglehold of another foreign power on Manila.

A considerable number of American troops seen at close range show no signs of order, or discipline. It is obvious why the Germans look down disdainfully on them. They look like an army organized for manhunts, while the English marines remind me of a flotilla of yachtsmen. The Americans involved everywhere, just like their counterparts, the English, remain different from them, like the contrast between the rustic and aristocratic or between the workhand and the lord of the manor. The American army has always been regarded as a school for athletics, a notion that should be expanded to moral gymnastics or a virtual seminary for democracy.

The American soldiers are hefty and tall but appear narrow in the chest in relation to their height. It seems that tuberculosis is their Achilles heel. These men who exude self-confidence are more comfortable wearing cowboy outfits than the military uniform. Their huge felt hats resemble the plumed hats of musketeers in operettas. The color of their sporty brown uniform is very similar to that worn by our marine infantry. Some wear dark-blue tunics, which look too warm for the tropics. They all wear gaiters and belts of cartridges. During the day they are on their best behavior and pay for all their purchases. At night, they rid themselves of their inhibitions, drink excessively and, when quite drunk on whisky, become unbearable savages, killing at the slightest provocation. They do not unleash their brutish behavior on each other but rather on the natives. As soon as they see one, the manhunt begins. This sport enjoyed by these champions of humanity has been inherited from their forefathers, who pursued the Redskins and Negroes. This war has certainly given the Americans the opportunity for magnificent manhunts in the Philippines and Cuba at very little cost.

Rumors about the impropriety of this siege is spreading fast. It is said that when General Jaudenes stated, On the presumption that Manila cannot defend itself, no cannons should be fired, only one general defiantly protested and said, When the hostilities start, we should fight to the bitter end!” Strong words spoken by a man who dared speak his mind at a time like this.

The Spaniards have convinced themselves that they had no other alternative, a convenient excuse for a well deserved defeat. Colonel ___________ now insists that the situation was inevitable, but vehemently denies that the Spanish artillerymen were inferior to their mediocre American counterparts. “In fact, most people are unaware that we used armor-piercing shells to destroy bridges and watchtowers. Let it not be said that our shells were useless. But when asked why the other types of missiles were not used, he had to admit that the Spanish officers had not been instructed on the use of the various projectiles.

We get more details about the mock battle of Manila. Of course the Germans go around armed in groups now. The situation has deteriorated to the observed condition that nobody trusts them, not even the Spaniards or the Filipinos. To be a German and thus be caught alone is to be knifed, robbed and rolled into the Bay. That is how good Otto von Diederichs has been at this diplomacy game. Not even the protecting power (Especially the protecting power, the United States.) is going to help his folks ashore.

Monday, August 15, 1898​

The Germans

The escape of the former Governor, Agustin, on board the Kaiserin-Augusta, the fastest German flagship, was the news of the day. It was a smart trick played on the Americans, who undoubtedly would have taken him prisoner. The flagship left on Saturday before the end of the bombardment and headed for Hongkong. The United States will evidently presume that this flight was made possible only with the complicity of the Germans, in particular, Admiral von Diederichs. A naval battle between these two countries would have been sensational! But a dog does not feed on another dog when there is a third victim that can be devoured. In this case, the prey is worth their while.

The bombardment of Manila has not caused much damage. General Merritt has requisitioned all public services, but refuses to pay the unsettled wages of the Spaniards who are leaving the country, indeed an incredible situation. Even the religious who were responsible for a great part of the problems show their desire to flee. All the Spanish property has been transferred to the Americans, thus leaving the Filipinos in the same miserable state. The shameful absurdities of the Spanish policies are evident. After having occupied this country for 350 years, all their soldiers, priests, monks, and public officials will leave, and not a single Spaniard will remain. According to the consul general, the Spaniards had one bank, but no large-scale rural development, no mining company, nor any form of public works company. The 1897 figures for trade show that the English represent 80 percent, the Chinese 14 percent, and the Spanish a mere 4 percent. The figures speak for themselves, and any further comment would be superfluous.

That this incident did not provoke a battle has been overlooked. It was obvious that Aguinaldo arranged a pass through HIS lines for Agustin. As for the Germans, good old Otto has learned very little since Dewey's flag secretary delivered the last note. Notice how GEN Wesley Merritt high hands the "mock siege of Manila"?

The mock battle that ended the Spanish-American War ...

I always wondered how much Jaudenes and Agustin were paid under the table...

Tuesday, August 30, 1898​

The Germans Again

The Americans are relieved by the departure of both the German and the French admirals. For the past three months, the Germans appeared to br searching clumsily for a pretext to interfere between Spain and the United States, but merely succeeded in provoking overt hostilities between the sailors of the Union and the Germans.

In discussions, the Americans freely demonstrate their disgust and anger. Admiral Dewey himself, unequivocally praising the neutral position of French ships present in Manila, stated: “This is so unlike the Germans. Believe me, I was obliged to ask Admiral von Diederichs if he had any intention to go to war! His movements in the bay were disturbing me.” Meanwhile, the English are bragging about their prediction of the inevitable breakup in relations between the Germans and the Americans. Captain Chichester of the Immortality is very popular with the American fleet, and he is considered to be Admiral Dewey’s confidant. The French may have expressed neutrality and the Germans may have been hostile, but the English certainly took sides. One feels that they are prepared to defend the Americans morally in all circumstances. What ingratitude towards Spain! And one might even add, what a lack of tact. During the Spanish rule, they were the most sought after, the most influential, and the richest commercial leaders of Manila. It will not be long before they realize what they shall have lost by aligning themselves with the United States government in Manila.
Sighs of relief as Berlin recalls their circus. Notice the French point of view about the politics? It is quite evident from the RTL record that Chichester and Dewey rigged the game after the Subic Bay Fiasco to prevent an unwanted war.

Lieutenant X was not privy to that bit of information.

More about Wesley Merritt. He was not a nice guy.

And as always there is racism.

The feudal system of the New Spain​

The Spanish colonialism created a feudal system in the Philippines, wherein social classes were strictly imposed. The Spaniards was the highest race of social stature, and they owned vast estates. Their workers were the Filipinos, and they were treated like slaves.

Only a few classes were permitted to marry and have a family, which led to a mix between races due to alliances. The class hierarchy in the Philippines was based on the purity of a person’s blood, genes, and skin color.

The more Spanish blood in a person’s genes, the more qualified they were for a higher social status rank.


Image was created by the author based on Hierarchy Structure website
Peninsulares: this class possessed the highest rank in the social order. They were the most affluent in society and also held higher posts in government and other authorities. A Spanish person born in Spain was typically measured as a peninsular and was advantaged with tremendous social respect, top official positions, and well-privileged social benefits.

Criollos: second in the social class, these are highly educated rich families. In earlier centuries, the Spanish government provided various benefits to this group and distinguished them from the lower groups. Although they were given privileges and grants, they were not supposed to be posted in specific jobs meant only for Peninsulares.

Insulares: these are the people born in the Philippines but full-blooded Spaniards similar to the Criollos. They occupied lesser distinguished jobs compared to the first two classes and enjoyed less social benefits.

Mestizos: this class occupied a large group in all Spain’s colonies because of the mixed-race population. Such as half-Spanish and half-Chinese, half-American, half-Malay, or half-Indian. This group was the one only allowed to enter and worked in Intramuros to serve the Spanish elites.

Indios: they are 100% full-blooded Filipinos, brown skin, but baptized as Catholics. They were placed in the lowest rank of the social classes. They are generally used to serve the Spanish people. A handful of Indios were allowed to enter Intramuros, only if they were slaves of powerful Spanish families.

Negritos: this class was also 100% Filipinos from the Aeta tribe, commonly distinguished by their black skin. Most of them defied social class because they lived in the mountains. But those who were baptized in the Catholic church ended up being slaves and not allowed to live nor enter Intramuros.

Some Negritos were also black slaves bought from Africa and the Caribbean.
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Let Us Meet The German Navy! *(They call themselves the Kaiserliche Marine) New
Let Us Meet The German Navy! *(They call themselves the Kaiserliche Marine.)

The 1898 starting lineup.

1. SMS Preussen Class (3 Units)
2. SMS Kaiser Class (2 Units)
3. SMS Sachsen Class (4 units)
4. SMS Oldenburg Class (1 Unit)
5. Siegfried Class (6 units)
6. Odin Class (2 Units)

Comments: These local defense ships are part of the German coast defense system and are designed to protect against France or Great Britain, if those nations try to blockade Germany. Their combat power, unit for unit, is on a par with the ATL USS Olympia or USS Baltimore. The problem is that there are 18 of them.

How about the seagoing blue water stuff? There are everybody's favorites, the battleships.

7. Brandenburg Class (4 units)
8. Kaiser Friedrich III class (2 built + 3 building=5 units)

Comments: These ships are somewhat equivalent to the ATL Indiana Class but are outclassed by the ATL Iowas and Virginias, but the scorecard still reads 6 versus 4 with 3 building versus 5.

Then there are the armored cruisers.

9. SMS Fürst Bismarck (1 Unit)

Comments: The odds are better. The Americans in the ATL have 4 units (Well, one will explode due to unique circumstances.), while the Germans have the 1, and it is not a very good one.

Then come the protected and unprotected cruisers.

10. Irene Class (2 Units)
11. Kaiserin Augusta Class (1 Unit)
12. Victoria Louise-Class (5 Units)

Comments: For a colonial power that is supposed to have the fourth biggest by area group of colonies after Great Britain, France and Spain, the Germans have only 8 "colonial" cruisers? Oh, sure, they have about 18 sailing barks, and maybe 20 or so wooden gunboats in their colonies similar to the Isla de Luzon. The Sachsens and the Kaisers (6 units), because of their combined steam and sail propulsion plans, can support the 8 colonial cruisers, but that is not to good for what is coming.

How is the destroyer situation?

10. If the USS Somers (TB22), a German torpedo boat bought by the USN in 1897 in the run-up to the war, is a guide as to the German destroyer arm, the USN has very little to fear from the 48 or so torpedo boats prowling around the German coasts.

It will be the "coast defense ships", which can substitute in for armored cruisers, and the German battleships which will be the problem.
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^^^ I'm sure you will lay out the plan, but what portion of their fleet would the German's reasonably expect to keep at home(and other stations), even if they're puffing up for a run at the Philippines?
Admiral Cervera's Comparison of the Spanish and American Navies

1. ADM Cervera has been pleading ever since February 1897 to the Spanish Ministry of the Marine to fix these issues. That is when he took command of the Spanish First Armored Cruiser Squadron and found these conditions applied.

2. In a dispute that went back two years, the Spanish government and Ansaldo of Italy, who built the Cristobol Colon have hassled over the 25.4 cm main armament of the ship. The guns failed weapon proof. The Spaniards withheld payment. Ansaldo refused to replace the guns.

One can see that this lack of the main armament could be a slight problem? The Spanish government could have gone to Vickers or Elswick or Armstrong or even Murphy help them Driggs and bought the !@# !@#$ guns already weapon proofed, but that would have meant the guns would have been rather expensive compared to the Ansaldo offerings. They could have even substituted Spanish made Ordunuz or Hontoria guns, but more on those "problem guns" in their own right in a bit. The Cristobol Colon showed up with black painted wood logs at the Naval Battle of Santiago de Cuba. But the tale of woe on this ship gets worse.

3. Ah, what about those 5.5 inch 14 cm /45 guns and those shells which form 60% of ADM Cervera's gunpower in his squadron, is the problem? What about the shells specifically is the exact problem? The First Armored Cruiser Squadron is supposed to have about 4,500 of them on hand. ADM Cervera has about 2,700. Some 2,400 of those shells are "practice rounds" for gunnery training. That means they are filled with sawdust or inert powder filler. This would not be a problem for war if the fleet put into Ferrol or Cadiz and the naval arsenal ashore had armorers empty and repack the shells with guncotton and a fusing mechanism. ADM Cervera has 300 war-shots on hand of which he is certain. The rest of the shells, he has his crews emptying and repacking with explosives, but he is in the Canary Islands trying to do that evolution with unstable and overage explosives, with half-trained ship's companies and with unreliable fuses. How is that rather peculiar extremely dangerous evolution going? About as well as one expects. Not too good.

4. What, about those 5.5 inch (14 cm) / 45 Schneider designed guns, is their problem? Those should be excellent guns? The Marine National uses them and swears by *(actually at) them. When one fires a gun, the barrel heats up and expands. So does the breach block. The problem is metallurgy. If the breech block's thermal expansion ratio is faster and greater than the barrel and if the breech block is a de Bange type interrupted screw square head with a doorknob obturator on a three point hinge pivot instead of a Wellin or a Fletcher *(USN design) conehead on a four point pivot, it will pressure weld as it thermally expands into the interrupted screw threads. To unlock the breach, becomes a bit tricky. You see, the same process that wedged the breach block also jammed the firing pistol and there is a "live" shell and charge inside the wedged gun one wants to clear. The way to clear the jam, in that era, is to heat the outside of the barrel and use a French-supplied wrench and the entire gun crew to manually rotate the breach plug by brute strength and then back the cooler plug out of the hot gun barrel. One then might have to use a ramrod at the muzzle end of the gun and have a strong man ride the barrel and hammer the plug out with a BIG mallet. Think about that evolution. This is what the Spanish gun crews were doing to clear jams at the Naval Battle of Santiago de Cuba while the USS Brooklyn was peppering the Oquendo with shellfire and setting her on fire.

5. I wrote that I would return to the Cristobol Colon and her woes? If Schneider screwed up the 5.5 inch (14 cm) / 45s, then what could the British (Elswick) have done with the 6 inch (15.2 cm) / 50s on the Cristobol Colon? Maybe the original guns were okay, but judging by Argentine and British RN reports, I think the Spanish Navy's experience was typical of the first generation British rapid fire guns. The Wellin blocks worked fine. Even the Italian copies of the Elswick guns aboard the Cristobol Colon only had a few breech plug jams. What did not work was the brass charge casings. These were not exactly cartridge or unitary round guns. These were semi-fixed or projectile and cased cased propellant guns, with two load and ram steps needed to load / service the gun. So far, so good. The problem was that the projectile could be rammed into the rifling and stop anywhere along the tube travel (Over-ram). Then in goes the cased propellant in its brass carrier case. If there is a gap between the shell and the cased propellant where the brass carrier case does not meet the chamfer of the combustion chamber then there is something called "throat choke" or an overpressure region of the gun barrel. Bad things happen. Barrel burst is one. Unchecked bypass venting is another. This expands the brass case forward lip and turns the tube shaped brass case into a tulip-shaped brass carrier case. The gun will still throw the shell through normal gun thingy gas expansion and it may not burst, but now it is time for the gun crew to get that special British supplied tool, called a crow-bar, and pry the brass case loose from the jammed breech. The case has to be sent to a naval armory to be re-rounded, recharged and annealed so that the brass case can be reused. The Spaniards and the British are not rich like the Americans who just melt it down and recast the object.

Okay, but with hundreds of charges and hundreds of brass cases, what is the big deal if it, post battle or target practice, has to go through the re-lip-rounding and annealing rigmarole? No two British guns were ever combustion chamber bored dimensionally alike in the era. In the process of ramming, the brass case went out of round for the specific gun it first met. Once spent, that case could NEVER be rounded to fit another British gun without jamming or some trouble seating into the chamfer. Whoops. Cannot be recharged. One time use only. Not too good.

6. What is a Bustamente torpedo?

El torpedo Bustamante. Joaquín Bustamante y Quevedo ... (in Spanish)​

The short version is that Bustamente invented a tadpole shaped moored naval mine that operated on the Hertz Horn principle. That it was a little more efficient than the usual weapons other navies employed is little noticed in history, because in the one war in which it was used, the Americans sabotaged Spanish efforts to get the detonators, the electrolytes, the acids and the insulated copper wire the Spanish navy needed to buy to make them.

7. Servomotors might need a little explanation. It is hard to elevate and rotate a 28 cm/35 (11") Model 1883 gun barrel which weighed 32 tons (long) without mechanical assistance. There is some indication that the motors which operated the rudders on the Infanta Maria Teresa and the Vizcaya might have given trouble as well.
I should mention, that also in the letter, ADM Cervera refers to his own idea that the Spanish Navy should make the Americans cross the ocean and come to Spain or the Canary Islands, where the First Armored Cruiser squadron has home waters advantage.

That is actually not a bad idea. (Map.)

View attachment 657374

The X's mark where ADM Cervera wanted to offer battle to an American fleet after it had crossed the Atlantic. His idea was that he might be able to do a lot of damage. As the defensive naval strategy wrote off Cuba and Puerto Rico, it was of course politically rejected.

As we will see in a bit, ADM Cervera was a wily and clever opponent, who the Americans would underestimate at their peril.

And once again...

Admiral Cervera's Predictiosn about the Fate of his Squadron
*Reads about usage of mallets on guns loaded with shells and wants to run away in horror*
We Have A Little Surprise For You, Mister Tirpitz. New
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We Have A Little Surprise For You, Mister Tirpitz. (Part II) New
In 1892, though, how does this notion work?

Meet the Fenian Ram: The Submarine Meant to Secure Ireland ...

From Wiki:

United States
General characteristics
Name:Holland Boat No. II
Owner:Fenian Brotherhood
Builder:DeLamater Iron Works, New York City
Nickname(s):Fenian Ram
Status:Museum ship
Displacement:19 long tons (19 t)
Length:9.4 m (30 ft 10 in)
Beam:1.8 m (5 ft 11 in)
Height:1.8 m (5 ft 11 in)
Propulsion:1 × 15 hp (11 kW) Brayton piston engine, single screw
Test depth:18 m (59 ft)
Complement:3 (operator, engineer, gunner)
Armament:1 × 9 in (230 mm) pneumatic gun

So what is a Brayton cycle engine?


There are TWO of them.

There is also Mister John Holland.
Answers to Questions I. New
^^^ I'm sure you will lay out the plan, but what portion of their fleet would the German's reasonably expect to keep at home(and other stations), even if they're puffing up for a run at the Philippines?
In the script, the obvious moves are not the ones the adversary is likely to make. Let us just say, that geography and the landlubber Prussian General Staff mindset make for an odd combination.
*Reads about usage of mallets on guns loaded with shells and wants to run away in horror*
The Spaniards, as a military, have never been buffoons. Their political leadership and their governments have often failed them, but they did what they had to do with what they had. They, to my knowledge, never folded up and turned coward. In this regard, their courage is almost Japanese, as is their sense of martial honor. And this characteristic, I note, is a very common human characteristic, not exclusive to any one culture, time or place. I could see ACW Americans sawing off the muzzles of their burst asunder at the mouth Parrott guns to put them back into action in the middle of the Overland Campaign as a similar move of desperation in extremis.
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How useful is the snorkel going to be though? Those early diesel and gas engines gave off just about as much smoke as a steam engine would so staying hidden isn't really going to work that well. That's not taking into account these are still the experimental designs and Holland hasn't fully worked out the kinks yet that'll be worked out when Holland VI is built. So unless they're going after stationary ships or the Germans are trying to for example sail into New York Harbor and get ambushed in the Narrows I don't think submarines will have any real effect.
Where there is a will, there is a way. New
How useful is the snorkel going to be though? Those early diesel and gas engines gave off just about as much smoke as a steam engine would so staying hidden isn't really going to work that well. That's not taking into account these are still the experimental designs and Holland hasn't fully worked out the kinks yet that'll be worked out when Holland VI is built. So unless they're going after stationary ships or the Germans are trying to for example sail into New York Harbor and get ambushed in the Narrows I don't think submarines will have any real effect.

You will have to wait and see, how I solve that problem.


Protector Submarine 1902 | Simon Lake, Father of The Submarine

Because Simon Lake DID.

(In Russian)
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