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the channels had been mined. Corregidor Island is at the mouth of the bay, and on either side of it are channels named Boca Chica and Boca Grande, two and one-half and six miles wide respectively. It was a beautiful starlight
night. A gentle breeze tempered the intense tropical
heat. A young moon, occase ionally veiled by clouds, was
in the zenith, and the sea was smooth. Silently and in
perfect order the squadron SAN JUAN DE AUSTRIA. Photo by Bishop.
cope entered the Boca Grande, and suddenly a light gleamed from the summit of Corregidor, probably signaling our approach. As we passed a large rock called El Fraile, a rocket was fired, followed by the boom of a gun over the still waters, and a shot hurtled between the main and mizzen masts of the Concord. It was immediately replied to and the Raleigh had the honor of firing the first shot. We had been fired upon by a battery of four seven-inch guns on El Fraile. The squadron continued up the bay, the stillness occasionally broken by the cry of the lookouts announcing a light upon the distant shore.
“At the first break of dawn we could make out the shipping of the city of Manila, apparently consisting only of merchant vessels. At 5:05 A. M. a battery near the city opened on the squadron, and immediately a number of shots were exchanged with it. The Spanish range, however, proved too short. Our transports here left us in order to keep out of fire, and the increasing daylight disclosed the shadowy forms of the Spanish men-of-war at Cavite on the eastern shore of the bay about five miles distant-phantom-like they appeared gliding about in the mist. The smoke was pouring from their stacks and it was evident that they were forming in line of battle. This line extended from behind and beyond a long low sandy spit known as Sangley Point, which partly encloses the little bay of Canacao, in the rear of which is Cavite, where the arsenal is situated. The point was defended by batteries which protected the left flank of the line. The vessels behind it were fairly sheltered from fire, while the right flank was ex• , tended into such shallow water that it could not be turned. The Spanish vessels were in close order, and as the mist lifted, the proud red and yellow banners of Castile and Leon could be seen grandly floating from each masthead. .
“Our fleet in splendid order turned to the right and went for the foe at full speed, the Stars and Stripes fluttering in the breeze, and the signal ‘Commence Action' flying from the yards of the ISLA DE CUBA. Olympia; only one other signal, ‘Close Up,' was made during the first part of the combat. It was a grand moment, and as we advanced the Spaniards opened fire. The zip-zip of their shells increased; soon a reply was given as each of our
Photo by Bishop.
vessels came within range, and the steady booming of the guns became a deafening roar. Everyone was almost deaf, and altogether begrimed with smoke before the action was over.
“A supposed torpedo-boat was seen, making for our leader, but it was obliged to turn back and was beached and abandoned. No torpedo-boat in the world could have passed that shell-swept interval of a mile and a half. Our squadron defiled before the Spanish line, pouring in its shower of death with terrible effect from the port battery; and turning, it continued the same steady shower with the starboard guns. Seven separate times our ships performed this evolution as if on parade, and the Spaniards met our fire with the greatest bravery. They had fully a hundred guns playing upon us from their vessels and batteries; but their aim was poor, and the power of their artillery was inferior to ours, although they had a number of five-inch and six-inch breech-loading rifles. The effect was soon apparent; a large lead-colored cruiser which was taken to be the Reina Christina presented the best target, and suffered terribly. Her ensign was shot away, but it was soon rehoisted, and it was evident that she was on fire, as we could see the firehose playing aloft. A Spanish vessel went to her relief and appeared to be taking men from her. Two gunboats particularly distinguished themselves, steaming up and down behind the point and keeping a steady fire upon us. These vessels were the Isla de Cuba and the Isla de Luzon.
BATTLE OF MANILA BAY. “At 7:40 A. M. firing ceased by signal from the commander-in-chief, and we withdrew from action, the men going to breakfast. They had stood at their guns all night. The commanding officers were ordered to repair on board the flagship and a council was held. Affairs looked grave; the extent of damage done the enemy was not fully known; and the hot cannonade had expended a great quantity of our ammunition. The spirit of men and officers was most admirable. For two hours and a half they had served the guns with unflinching zeal and bravery, and cheered at every telling shot, and now as their captains passed in their gigs, they manned the rails and shout after shout rent the air. Sullenly the Spanish guns joined in the uproar.
“No time was lost, and again our squadron stood in for the enemy and renewed the contest with redoubled animation. The Spanish fire was slack. One of their ships suffered an explosion and was wrapped in flames and smoke. The Baltimore's fire told heavily against the remaining guns of the Sangley battery. The Concord received orders to go inside the Spanish line and destroy a large
steamer that was in shallow water, obstructed by fish weirs, an ideal place for torpedoes and mines. At the first voliey, which was opened at long range, ten boats loaded with men were seen to leave the steamer and land upon the beach. Our position was particularly favorable for enfilading two Spanish men-of-war behind the mole at the arsenal, and this was improved to the best advantage by all the division, whose work was most excellent. Every shot seemed to tell; stones and clouds of dust flew from the walls of houses, and the shells passed through the roofs, bursting beyond.
“At 12:25 not a Spanish flag was seen in the Canacao Bay except from the staff of the sunken cruiser Don Antonio de Ulloa submerged behind Sangley Point. This vessel went down with her colors flying in the most gallant manner. The Reina Christina, that had so bravely borne the brunt of battle, was a mass of fire, sinking near the bastion of Cavite, while the Castilla was burning rapidly in Canacao Bay. The remainder of the Spanish fleet had sought shelter behind the arsenal, and several of them were also on fire. The guns of the batteries at Sangley Point were silent and a white flag appeared on the shee:s of the arsenal.
“ The Concord continued to shell the steamer, and in order to hasten operations, boats were hoisted out and provided with combustibles for the purpose of burning; but before she had got any distance it was seen that our shells had set her on fire.
“At 1:45 we were ordered to join the Petrel at Cavite, where she was destroying the vessels at the arsenal. As we neared her, she signaled, 'Have destroyed eight vessels,' and she had six small vessels, tugs and launches in tow as prizes. When we anchored, white flags were seen flying from various points on shore and there was no longer any resistance. The battle was won, and all the vessels of the Philippine fleet had been destroyed.
“The Boston joined us at five o'clock, and we guarded the approach of Canacao Bay for the night, while the remainder of the squadron anchored near the city. The sun went down upon a wide and woeful sight;' the beautiful cruisers Reina Christina and Castilla were outlined from trucks to water line in flames that burst out in great columns of rose-colored smoke as the fire reached some explosive. The Isla de Mindanao was a mass of fire on the shores of Las Pinas, while behind the arsenal tongues of flames shot high above the walls.
“All night the calm moon looked down upon this scene of devastation, silvering alike the cross upon the quaint old church of Cavite, the grey walls of the fort and the shattered hulks in the bay. Our crew remained at the guns all night, and early in the morning a launch flying a flag of truce came out. In it were an aide-de-camp and his orderly, and they were taken to the flagship. Later in the morning the General commanding at Cavite and his staff passed us in mournful procession. They had been to the flagship to surrender. Our men stood at attention as they neared, and saluted, which the Spanish officers returned with punctiliousness.
“The Spanish force at Cavite was about 2000 men belonging to the navy, with a good many soldiers whose numbers we cannot ascertain. Their loss was estimated from 900 to 1200 killed and wounded. The arsenal was abandoned in
great haste, only a few taking
time to get away their personal Le effects, and large quantities of
stores, provisions and ammuni
tion fell into our hands. The REINA CHRISTINA.
church and hospitals of Cavite were filled to overflowing with dead and wounded, and ten Spanish surgeons and some Sisters of Mercy remained to take care of them. The following is a list of the vessels destroyed or captured : Burned and sunk in action ; Reina Christina, flagship of Admiral Montejo; Castilla, cruiser; Don Antonio de Ulloa, cruiser ; Isla de Mindanao, mail steamer armed. Scuttled and burned after the action: Don Juan de Austria, cruiser; Isla de Cuba, gunboat; Isla de Luzon, gunboat; Gen. Lezo, gunboat; Marquis del Duero, gunboat; Elcano, gunboat; Velasco, gunboat; Argos, hydrographical vessel. Captured since the battle: Manila, armed transport; Callao, gunboat; also several tugs and launches. All the batteries in the bay had been dismantled. Our casualties consisted in four slightly wounded, on board the Baltimore. Some shots struck our vessels, but without doing the least harm.”
A SPANISH VERSION OF THE BATTLE OF MANILA BAY. As General Otis said to one of the writers of this book: “All histories lie. One man sees a battle and describes it; another man sees it and describes it. Their accounts differ entirely." Therefore, it may be interesting to know how this battle seemed to the beaten foe. For this reason we quote from the Diario de Manila of May 4, 1898, the following description of the great sea-fight as seen by a Spaniard. The translation is by the chief officer of the Olympia, G. P. Colvocoresses :
THE NAVAL COMBAT AT CAVITE. As the sun rose above the mists and clouds that overhung our shores on the morning of May 1st., the inhabitants of Manila saw with surprise and dismay the enemy's squadron in well-ordered line of battle on the waters of the bay. Who could have imagined that they would have had the rashness to stealthily approach our shores, provoking our defenders to an unavailing display of skill and valor, in which, alas ! balls could not be propelled by heart throbs, else the result might have been different?
The sound of shots from our batteries and those from the enemy's ships, which awakened the citizens of Manila at five o'clock on that May morning, transformed the character of our usual peaceful and happy surrounding. Frightened at the prospects of dangers that seemed greater than they were, women and children PLACE OF EXECUTION, CAVITE. in carriages, or by whatever means they could, sought refuge in the outskirts of the city, while all the men, from the highest to the lowest, the merchant and the mechanic, the soldier and the peasant, the dwellers of the mainland and those of the coast, repaired to their posts and took up arms, confident that never, except by passing over their dead bodies, should the