previous next

Wainwright, Richard 1849-

Naval officer; born in Washington, D. C., Dec. 17, 1849; graduated at the United States Military Academy in 1868; promoted lieutenantcommander, Sept. 16, 1884, and commander, March 3, 1899; was executive officer on

Richard Wainwright.

the battle-ship Maine when she was destroyed in Havana Harbor in February, 1898; served in the war against Spain as commander of the Gloucester; participated in the destruction of Cervera's fleet, in July, 1898; was appointed superintendent of the United States Naval Academy March 15, 1900. See Santiago, naval battle of.

Destruction of Spanish destroyers.

The following is Commander Wainwright's report on the destruction of the dreaded Spanish torpedo-boat destroyers Furor and Pluton during the naval battle off Santiago:

United States Steamship Gloucester,

Off Santiago De Cuba,

July 6, 1898.

Sir,—I have the honor to report that at the battle of Santiago, on July 3, the officers and crew of the Gloucester were uninjured, and the vessel was not injured in hull or machinery, the battery only requiring some slight overhauling. It is now in excellent condition.

I enclose herewith a copy of the report of the executive officer, made in compliance with paragraph 525, page 110, Naval regulations, which report I believe to be correct in all particulars. I also enclose copies of the reports of the several officers, which may prove valuable for future reference.

It was the plain duty of the Gloucester to look after the destroyers, and she was held back, gaining steam, until they appeared at the entrance. the Indiana poured in a hot fire from all her secondary battery upon the destroyers, but Captain Taylor's signal, “Gunboats, close in,” gave security that we would not be fired upon by our own ships. Until the leading destroyer was injured our course was converging, necessarily, but as soon as she slackened her speed we headed directly for both vessels, firing both port and starboard batteries as the occasion offered.

All the officers and nearly all the men deserved my highest praise during the action. The escape of the Gloucester was due mainly to the accuracy and rapidity of the fire. The efficiency of this fire, as well as that of the ship generally, was largely due to the intelligent and unremitting efforts of the executive officer, Lieut. Harry P. Huse. The result is more to his credit when it is remembered that a large portion of the officers and men were untrained when the Gloucester was commissioned. Throughout the action he was on the bridge, and carried out my orders with great coolness.

That we were able to close in with the destroyers—and until we did so they were [108] not seriously injured—was largely due to the skill and constant attention of passed assistant Engineer George W. McElroy. The blowers were put on, and the speed increased to 17 knots without causing a tube to leak or a brass to heat. Lieut. Thomas C. Wood, Lieut. George H. Norman, Jr., and Ensign John T. Edson not only controlled the fire of the guns in their divisions and prevented waste of ammunition, but they also did some excellent shooting themselves.

Acting assistant Surgeon J. F. Bransford took charge of one of the guns, and fired it himself occasionally. Acting assistant Paymaster Alexander Brown had charge of the two Colt guns, firing one himself, and they did excellent work. Assistant Engineer A. M. Proctor carried my orders from the bridge, and occasionally fired a gun when I found it was not being served quite satisfactorily. All were cool and active at a time when they could have had but little hope of escaping uninjured.

Lieutenants Wood and Norman, Ensign Edson and assistant Engineer Proctor were in charge of the boats engaged in saving life. They all risked their lives repeatedly in boarding and remaining near the two destroyers and the two armored cruisers when their guns were being discharged by the heat and their magazines and boilers were exploding. They also showed great skill in landing and taking off the prisoners through the surf.

Of the men mentioned in the several reports, I would call special attention to John Bond, chief boatswain's mate. He would have been recommended to the department for promotion prior to his gallant conduct during the action of July 3. I would also recommend to your attention Robert P. Jennings, chief machinist, mentioned in the report of Mr. McElroy.

I believe it would have a good effect to recognize the skill of the men and the danger incurred by the engineer's force. I would also recommend that the acting appointments of those men mentioned by the officers in their reports may be made permanent.

The wounded and exhausted prisoners were well and skilfully tended by assistant Surgeon Bransford, assisted by Ensign Edson, who is also a surgeon.

The admiral, his officers and men, were treated with all consideration and care possible. They were fed and clothed as far as our limited means would permit.

Very Respectfully, Richard Wainwright, Lieutenant-Commander, U. S. N. to the Commander-in-Chief, United States Naval Forces, North Atlantic Station.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (2)
Washington (United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: