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did not hasten to aid the Army. He and General Shafer were about to have a long talk over the problem of helping the Army without hurting the Navy, when Captain General Blanco ordered Cervera to do the very thing that eliminated him. It was to rush out of the harbor into which he fed for coal. So severe was the fixity of our Department that the most fearful thing possible was for the Spanish fleet to get out. It did not seem to occur to the Admiral in Chief Commanding, but gone to hold a conference, that as the torpedoes were up and the Spanish wrecks littering the coast while the New York and Oregon were hard after the last of the shattered fugitives, the thing to do was to go into the harbor of Santiago and himself finish the job. Admiral Sampson was still apprehensive another Spaniard might get out, and so ran up the coast where the wreckage was and made the acquaintance of the Spaniards who survived the catastrophe of doing that which had alarmed our Navy Department so much.
President Roosevelt on the subject of the Sampson-Schley contention, in his speech presenting a sword to Commodore Philip in February, 1889, accepted 9 the Navy Department view of the case as to Sampson's command in the battle. The Governor's address covered the ground as he understood it, so completely we present all he had to say:
"Commodore Philip: It is peculiarly pleasant to me to present you with this sword, for one of my last official acts, as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, was to break through regulations in order to give you the chance to have the turrets of Texas so geared that her great guns could be used to the best possible advantage; and the sequel showed how well it was for the service, that you should be given the opportunity to get the utmost service from the mighty war engine entrusted to your care.
“When a commander-in-chief, afloat or ashore, has done the best possible with his forces, then rightly the chief credit belongs to him, and wise and patriotic students of the Santiago sea-campaign gladly pay their homage first to Admiral Sampson. It was Admiral Sampson who initiated and carried on the extraordinary blockade, letting up even less by night than by day, that will stand as an example for all similar blockades in the near future. It was owing to the closeness and admirable management of the system of night blockades which he introduced, that Cervera's fleet was forced to come out by daylight. In other words, it was the success of his system which ensured to the splendid sea captains under him, the chance to show their prowess to the utmost possible advantage. But the actual fight, although Admiral Sampson was present and in command was a Captain's fight, and in this actual fighting, each captain did his work according to his own best judgment.
“You, sir, by your conduct, alike during and after the fight; by your courage, by your professional skill and by your humanity, reflected honor upon
the service to which you belong, upon the State in which you were born, and upon the mighty Nation on the roll of whose worthies you that day wrote your name with your sword. I give utterance to the sentiment of all New York State—a sentiment from which no man in the commonwealth will dissentwhen I ask you to take this sword as a token of the high esteem in which we hold you, and our grateful acknowledgment of your having done a deed which has added to the long honor roll in which all Americans take a lasting pride.
“You and your comrades at Manila and Santiago, did their part well, and more than well. Sailor and soldier, on sea and on land, have bought with their valor, their judgment, their skill and their blood, a wonderful triumph for America. It now rests with our statesmen to see that the triumph is not made void, in whole or in part. By your sword you won from war a glorious peace. It is for the statesmen at Washington to see that the treaty which concludes the peace is ratified. Cold indeed are the hearts of those Americans who shrink both from war and peace, when the war and peace alike are for the honor and the interest of America."
It has not any time seemed improbable that the views of President Roosevelt might have been considerably modified, but the important testimony taken by Admiral Dewey's court, came at a time when he was absorbed by events of the gravest and most exacting and distressing nature. The question in point at the front was, as to the propriety of Admiral Dewey's delivery of judgment, which was the first matter the people cared to hear about. There is a good deal of evidence on file that Admiral Dewey is a man whom President Roosevelt holds close to his heart.
When the President of the United States was Governor of New York he issued the following message: MESSAGE RELATING TO APPROPRIATION. TO CELEBRATE THE
RETURN OF ADMIRAL DEWEY. State of New York, Executive Chamber, Albany, May 24, 1899. To the Legislature:
I call to your attention the desirability of making an appropriation to provide for the proper celebration of the return of Admiral Dewey, an American whom all Americans worthy of the name delight to honor, the man who at the close of the nineteenth century has added fresh renown to the flag that has already so often been borne to glorious triumph on land and on sea. The thunder of Dewey's guns at Manila Bay raised in a moment's time the prestige of American arms throughout the world, and added new honor to American citizenship at home and abroad; and his services throughout the trying months that followed, though less brilliant, were hardly less useful to his country. It is fitting that we should show in appropriate form the high regard we feel for the great admiral, and for every officer and sailor of his fleet; that we should testify our appreciation of the debt under which this country lies to him and to them, and indeed to all their comrades in our forces afloat and ashore.
THEODORE ROOSEVELT. It will be observed that the President has contended for the necessity of a large margin of discretion. Secretary Long is the author of the dispatch commanding Admiral Sampson to be cautious.
We quote a few of the many happy, strong and gracious things that President Roosevelt has had to say of Admiral Dewey.
“Admiral Dewey has done more than add a glorious page to our history; more even than do a deed the memory of which will always be an inspiration to his countrymen, and especially his countrymen of his own profession. He has also taught us a lesson which should have profound practical effects, if only we were willing to learn it aright. In the first place, he partly grasped and partly made his opportunity.
"One factor in Admiral Dewey's appointment-of which he is very possibly ignorant-was the way in which he had taken responsibility in purchasing coal for the squadron which was to have been used against Chile, if war with Chile had broken out, at the time General Harrison was President. A service will do well or ill at the outbreak of war, very much in proportion to the way it has been prepared to meet the outbreak during the preceding months.
“No small part of the good done by the admirable war college, under Captains Mahan, Taylor and Goddrich, lay in their insistence upon the need of the naval officer's instantly accepting responsibility in any crisis, and doing what was best for the flag, even though it was probable the action might be disavowed by his immediate superiors, and though it might result in his own personal inconvenience and detriment. This was taught not merely as an abstract theory, but with direct reference to concrete cases; for instance, with reference to taking possession of Hawaii, if a revolution should by chance break out there during the presence of an American war-ship, or if the warship of a foreign power attempted to interfere with the affairs of the island.
“For the work which Dewey had to do willingness to accept responsibility was a prime requisite. A man afraid to vary in times of emergency from the regulations laid down in time of peace would never even have got the coal with which to steam to Manila from Hong-Kong the instant the crisis came. We were peculiarly fortunate in our Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Long; but the best Secretary that ever held the Navy portfolio could not successfully direct operations on the other side of the world. All that he could do was to choose a good man, give him the largest possible liberty of action, and back him up in every way; and this Secretary Long did. But if the man had been timid about taking risks, nothing that could be done for him would have availed. Such a
man would not have disobeyed orders. The danger would have been of precisely the opposite character. He would scrupulously have done just whatever he was told to do, and then would have sat down and waited for further instructions, so as to protect himself if something happened to go wrong. An infinity of excuses can always be found for non-action.
“Admiral Dewey was sent to command the feet on the Asiatic station primarily because he had such a record in the past that the best officers in the Navy believe him to be peculiarly a man of the fighting temperament and fit to meet emergencies, and because he had shown his willingness to assume heavy responsibilities. How amply he justified this choice it is not necessary to say. On our roll of Naval heroes his name will stand second to that of Farragut alone, and no man since the Civil War, whether soldier or civilian, has added so much to the honorable renown of the Nation or has deserved so well of it."
There are no more characteristic utterances from President Roosevelt than the above. He especially commends Admiral Dewey because he was a man who would take risks, and this is "an inspiration to his countrymen.” The President points out that if a man in Dewey's place had been “timid about taking risks,” “such a man would not have disobeyed orders” but would have obeyed them however wrong and ruinous. That is to say such a timid man would not have risked an iron clad if ordered not to do so. The President significantly adds: “The danger would have been of precisely the contrary character;" that is to say, there would have been danger in the obsolete orders. Dewey risked all the ironclads he had, and cut the cable on account of the Spaniards at the same time, even though he could not hear from Washington, except by steamboat, running eight hundred and twenty miles from Hong-Kong to Manila Bay.
In his first Message to Congress President Roosevelt says: the iron clads should be worn out in hard work, and he proposes to change the whole character of the Naval service. He is emphatic, peremptory and eminently right about this.
Lieutenant General Miles when on a visit to relatives at Cincinnati was reported to say:
"I am willing to take the judgment of Admiral Dewey in the matter. He has been a commander of a fleet and as such has known the anxieties and responsibilities which rest on a man under these circumstances. He was instrumental in the destruction of one Spanish fleet and knows and realizes the feelings that encompass an officer under such conditions.
"I think Dewey has summed up the matter in a clear and concise manner and I believe his conclusions will be indorsed by the patriotic people of the United States. I have no sympathy with the efforts which have been made to destroy the honor of an officer under such circumstances."
The President directed the Secretary of War to call the attention of General Miles to this interview, to ascertain whether the "observations of a co-ordinate branch of the Government, in a matter now pending, was made as reported,” and “to afford opportunity for explanation in writing.”
To the Secretary's letter General Miles made this reply:
"Headquarters of the Army, Washington, D. C., December 20, 1901. The Honorable, the Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.—Sir: Replying to your note of the 19th inst., I have the honor to state that my observations, as substantially reported, had no reference to the action, pending or otherwise, of a co-ordinate branch of the service. They were merely my personal views based upon matters set forth in various publications which had been given to the world and concerning which I conceive there was no impropriety in expressing an opinion, the same as any other citizen, upon a matter of such public interest. My observations were in no sense intended as a criticism of any action taken by a co-ordinate branch of the service, and the statement that I had no sympathy with any efforts tending to disparage a distinguished and gallant officer likewise had no such reference.
On the following day General Miles wrote this letter and had it handed to the Secretary of War:
"Headquarters of the Army, Washington, D. C., December 21, 1901.—The Honorable, the Secretary of War-Sir: Referring to my note of yesterday, and in order that there may be no misunderstanding, I desire to say that for several years a distinguished and gallant officer has been assailed by parties who have endeavored to write him and other high officials down, until finally he appealed against such assaults to a co-ordinate branch of the Government.
"That co-ordinate branch of the Government granted him a court of inquiry, and, as I understand it, they unanimously exonerated him from such epithets as coward, poltroon, et cetera, and their opinions were given to the public for the information of all citizens. When I said that I had no sympathy with those who had endeavored to destroy the reputation of a high officer, who, like all other officers, regards his honor more sacred than life, I had in mind and referred to those assaults against which the Admiral had appealed for protection and justification, and certainly not to a co-ordinate branch of the Government.
"I request that this note be laid before the President, and have no objection to its being made public.
“NELSON A. MILES, Lieutenant General.”