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ley sent a message to Congress on April 11, 1898, in


which he declared that forcible intervention was neces-
sary and justifiable. The House passed a resolution on
April 13, 1898, by a vote of 324 to 19, directing the Pres-
ident to intervene for the purpose of stopping the war
in Cuba. The Senate and the House differed over the
wording of the resolution, but the Senate yielded and
on April 19, the anniversary of the first battle of the
Revolutionary War, resolutions were adopted, declaring
that Cuba ought to be free, demanding that Spain re-
linquish its authority and government in the island, and
directing the President to use all the land and naval
forces of the United States, and to call the militia into
service to carry these resolutions into effect. A separate
resolution disclaimed any intention to exercise sover-
eignty over the island of Cuba beyond its pacification.

Vermont's National Guard, on April 22, was ordered
recruited to its maximum strength, and placed on a war
footing. The President, on April 23, called for one hun-
dred and twenty-five thousand volunteers. Three days
later, on April 25, Governor Grout, through Adjutant
General Peck, tendered to the War Department the
services of the First Regiment of Infantry and a battery
of six guns.

The Governor conferred with the State officers, and,
having been notified that the State's quota would be six
hundred and fifty- four men, on April 27 issued the fol-
lowing proclamation: "Whereas, a state of war exists
between the United States and the Kingdom of Spain,
and the President has called upon the State to furnish
troops to assist in securing peace; Whereas, also,
patriotic men, at the sacrifice of personal interest and


duty to family and home, with commendable prompt-
ness are responding to this call,

"Therefore, I, Josiah Grout, Governor of the State of
Vermont, do hereby, by virtue of the Constitution in this
behalf, summon the members of the Senate and House
of Representatives to meet at Montpelier, in their re-
spective chambers, in the State House, together with the
officers of the two Houses, on Thursday, the fifth day
of May, 1898, at ten o'clock in the forenoon; that then
and there measures may be considered authorizing and
providing funds for the equipment, subsistence and
transportation of such soldiers as shall be furnished by
Vermont to meet the President's call, and any future
call he may make during said war; and more particu-
larly to provide State compensation additional to the
United States pay such soldiers will receive, and also to
consider matters touching the organization of the
National Guard of the State."

Maj. S. P. Jocelyn, an officer of the Regular Army
and a native of Vermont, was appointed mustering officer
for Vermont Volunteers, and on May 2 the First Regi-
ment was ordered to rendezvous at the State Camp near
Fort Ethan Allen. Civilian volunteers were also en-
listed. Quartermaster General W. H. Gilmore arrived
at the camp on May 3, and on the same day the first
troops arrived, a detachment of twenty men from Com-
pany M at Burlington. The work of pitching camp
began on May 4, with the arrival of Company M of Bur-
lington and Company B of St. Albans. On the same
day Col. Osman D. Clark assumed command at "Camp


Olympia," which was the official name given the Ver-
mont camp, in honor of Dewey's flagship, The Olympia.

The special session of the Legislature assembled
Thursday morning, May 5. Twenty-seven of the thirty
Senators and two hundred and twenty-three out of a
possible two hundred and forty-six Representatives, an-
swered to their names. Speaker W. A. Lord having
resigned to accept the office of National Bank Examiner,
a new presiding officer was chosen, Kittredge Haskins
of Brattleboro being elected. The Governor submitted
a message in which he reviewed the controversy with
Spain, and concluded as follows: "The demand of the
United States in the premises of this case is a govern-
ment for Cuba that shall be a guaranty of permanent
peace to its people. To the justice of this proposition
a united people subscribe, and Vermont heads the list of
all the States in this interesting movement.

"This State tendered fulfilment of the President's call
upon it for troops to assist in the war against Spain the
twenty-third day of last month, and has since been await-
ing the pleasure of the War Department and cooperat-
ing with its officials.

"Vermont's quota for immediate service is one regi-
ment of one thousand and eight enlisted men and officers,
and you are asked to provide equipment for this regi-
ment now offered the service, and also to place the mili-
tary quota of the State at the disposal of the Govern-
ment. Your attention is invited to the status of the
militia when the present regiment of the Guard enters the
United States service and the desirability of a con-
tinuous military organization.

Admiral George Dewev


''At the special session in April, 1861, called to assist
in preparing the troops from this State for the Civil
War, a State compensation of seven dollars a month,
extra to the United States pay, was granted each enlisted
man, and you will be expected to regard the brave men
now entering an unselfish war, waged in behalf of free-
dom and humanity, with at least as patriotic a considera-
tion as favored those who went forth a generation since
to battle for the integrity of the Union and the per-
petuity of the Nation.

"The regiment requested by the Secretary of War is
about five hundred and fifty in excess of our quota under
the President's call, but it is necessary to furnish it or
allow Vermonters to serve in other State organizations ;
and it was taken for granted that the pride of this dis-
tinctive little commonwealth would be correctly antici-
pated by objecting to any such mixed service; besides,
this overplus stands to our credit in case of future calls,
and places Vermont in this respect also at the head.

"Having thus indicated the business for which you
are convened, the deliberations of the session are in
your hands, and may your action be commensurate with
the interest that animated the public heart, and such
as to secure an early adjournment."

An act was passed providing that commissioned offi-
cers who had volunteered or might thereafter volunteer,
should receive the same pay and rations as similar offi-
cers in the United States army between the date of mobil-
ization and mustering into the United States service.
State pay of seven dollars per month was voted non-
commissioned officers and soldiers. The Governor was


authorized to fill any further quota of troops that might
be required.

Some miscellaneous business was done, including the
passage of an act providing that no alien railway com-
pany should be interested directly or indirectly in any
stock of a railroad company hereafter organized under
the laws of Vermont without the permission of the

The following resolution, introduced by Mr. Bates of
St. Johnsbury, was unanimously adopted: "Resolved,
That as representatives of the liberty loving people of
Vermont, we hereby express their and our sincere ap-
proval and commendation of the wisCj patriotic, con-
servative and statesmanlike course of action of Presi-
dent McKinley and his Cabinet in their dealings with the
questions that have arisen between the United States
and the Kingdom of Spain, and have resulted in the
present war, and that we hereby assure him of the un-
swerving loyal support of Vermont to the full extent of
all her resources of men and money in maintaining the
dignity and honor of the United States, and conquering
an honorable peace that shall secure to the oppressed and
suffering people of Cuba, freedom from Spanish tyranny
and misrule."

Hardly had war been declared when the rumor came
of a naval victory in the waters of the Philippine
Islands, won by the American squadron commanded by
Commodore George Dewey, a native of Vermont. Sev-
eral days passed without confirmation or further details
and then two modest dispatches were received announc-
ing one of the most notable victories in the history of


American naval warfare, telling of the destruction of the
Spanish fleet, without the loss of a single American life.
The extent of the victory was so great that it was diffi-
cult for the American people to believe that it could be

George Dewey was born in Montpelier, Vt., December
26, 1837, in a modest house which stands almost in the
shadow of the State Capitol. His father, Dr. Julius Y.
Dewey, was a well known physician, founder and first
president of the National Life Insurance Company, and
one of the prominent citizens of Washington county.
The lad attended the Montpelier schools, Johnson
Academy, and in 1857 he entered Norwich University.
Senator Solomon Foot secured for him an appointment
as a cadet in the United States Naval Academy, which
he entered September 23, 1854. He graduated in 1858,
near the head of his class, and was assigned to the
Wabash, in the Mediterranean squadron. When the
Civil War broke out Dewey was ordered home and was
detailed to the West Gulf squadron as executive officer
of the Mississippi with the rank of Lieutenant. In 1862
he was with Farragut's fleet when New Orleans was
captured. In 1863 he w^as ordered up the James River
with Captain McComb. In 1864 he was attached to the
North Atlantic blockading squadron, and distinguished
himself in the attack on Fort Fisher. For meritorious
conduct in this engagement he was commissioned Lieu-
tenant Commander. In 1866 he was assigned to the
Kearsage, then in European waters. The following
year he married Susan B. Goodwin, daughter of one of
the Civil W^ar Governors of New Hampshire. In 1868


he was detailed as an instructor at the Naval Academy
at Annapolis, Md., where he remained for two years.
He was detailed to the Narragansett in 1870. In 1872
he was made commander of the ship and was sent to
the Pacific coast. He was made Lighthouse Inspector
in 1876 and later became secretary of the Juniata of the
Asiatic squadron, in 1882. Two years later he was pro-
moted to the rank of Captain and was given command
of the Dolphin, one of the four ships of the original
White Squadron. For three years, from 1885 to 1888,
he commanded the Pensacola, the flagship of the squad-
ron in European waters. He was made Chief of the
Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting in 1889, with the
rank of Commodore. He was made a member of the
Lighthouse Board in 1893 and president of the Board of
Inspection and Survey in 1896.

Commodore Dewey was now approaching the retiring
age. His career had been honorable but did not differ
materially from that of scores of other naval officers.
As the year 1897 drew toward its close it became increas-
ingly apparent that the United States might be drawn
into a conflict over the condition of affairs in Cuba. A
vigorous and far sighted man, Theodore Roosevelt, was
Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and he had done much
to put the American warships in fighting trim. The
possibility, not to say the probability, that there might
be fighting in the vicinity of the Spanish possessions in
the Pacific, made the command of the Asiatic station a
position to be coveted by naval officers. Commodore
Dewey desired this position, but the Secretary of the
Navy, John D. Long, was not inclined to appoint him,


although Assistant Secretary of the Navy Roosevelt
favored the Vermont officer. Senator Redfield Proctor
was a shrewd, resourceful and persuasive man, and he
went directly to President McKinley, who promised that
Commodore Dewey should have the position. This set-
tled the matter and on November 30, 1897, orders were
issued at the Navy Department assigning Dewey to the
command of the Asiatic squadron, then stationed at
Hong Kong.

In Dewey's Autobiography he refers to a visit from
Assistant Secretary Roosevelt before the choice of a
commander was made for the Asiatic station. " 'I want
you to go,' Mr. Roosevelt declared. 'You are the man
who will be equal to the emergency if one arises.'
Asked if he knew any Senators, the Admiral replied:
'Senator Proctor is from my State. He is an old friend
of the family, and my father was of service to him when
he was a young man'."

" 'You could not have a better sponsor,' Mr. Roose-
velt exclaimed. 'Lose no time in having him speak a
word for you.'

"I went immediately to see Senator Proctor, who was
delighted that I had mentioned the matter to him. That
very day he called on President McKinley and received
the promise of my appointment before he left the White

At this time the squadron consisted of six steel ships,
the protected cruisers, Olympia, Boston, Raleigh and
Baltimore and the gunboats Concord and Petrel. The
flagship Olympia was one of the best ships in the navy.


Commodore Dewey took command of the squadron at
Nagasaki, Japan, one month after he was assigned to
duty. Early in February he was given an audience by
the Emperor and Empress. Following his visit to
Japan he proceeded to Hong Kong, where he awaited de-
velopments and prepared for battle if war should be
declared. He often asserted that the battle of Manila
was won in Hong Kong harbor. He consulted often
with his officers, and his days and no small portion of
his nights were given to preparation for a possible naval
conflict. He obtained all the information available con-
cerning the Spanish fleet, the fortifications at Manila, the
prevailing winds, the tides, the channels and bays. He
had purchased ships to carry coal and other necessary
supplies. The men of the fleet were trained diligently
in target practice and various manoeuvres. John Bar-
rett has said that "Admiral Dewey's squadron, when
it sailed out of Mirs Bay could have been compared
to a thoroughbred horse trained to the hour by an expert
who knew not only his animal but its competitors and
the conditions of the race."

In a letter written to his sister at Montpelier, just be-
fore he left Hong Kong, Commodore Dewey said: "I
have seven men-of-war all ready for action, and should
war be the word I believe we will make short work
of the Spanish reign in the Philippines. * * * But
after all war is a terrible thing, and I hope some way out
of the dilemma may be found without resorting to the
very last course. * * * I believe I am not over confi-
dent in saying that, with the force under my command,
I could enter the Bay of Manila, capture or destroy the
Spanish squadron, and reduce the defences in one day."


Secretary Long cabled Dewey on April 24, 1898, that
war had begun between Spain and the United States.
His orders read: "Proceed at once to the Philippine
Islands. Commence operations immediately, particu-
larly against the Spanish fleet. You must capture or
destroy vessels. Use utmost endeavors."

The story of the battle of Manila Bay is told in Com-
modore Dewey's official report, which follows: "Flag-
ship Olympia, May 4, 1898. * * * **The squadron
left Mirs Bay on April 27. * * * Arrived off
Bolinao on the morning of April 30, and finding no ves-
sels there, proceeded down the coast and arrived off the
entrance of Manila Bay on the same afternoon. The
Boston and Concord were sent to reconnoitre Port Subic.
A thorough search of the port was made by the Boston
and the Concord, but the Spanish fleet was not found.
* * * "Entered the south channel at 11:30 p. m.,
steaming in column at eight knots. After half the
squadron had passed, a battery on the south side of the
channel opened fire, none of the shots taking effect.
The Boston and McCidloch returned the fire. The
squadron proceeded across the bay at slow speed and
arrived off Manila at daybreak and was fired upon at
5:15 a. m. by three batteries at Manila and two near
Cavite, and by the Spanish fleet anchored in an approxi-
mately east and west line across the mouth of Baker
Bay, with their left in shoal water in Canacao Bay.

"The squadron then proceeded to the attack, the flag-
ship Olympia, under my personal direction, leading, fol-
lowed at a distance by the Baltimore, Raleigh, Petrel,


Concord and Boston, in the order named, which forma-
tion was maintained throughout the action.

"The squadron opened fire at 5 :41 a. m. While ad-
vancing in the attack, two mines were exploded ahead of
the flagship, too far to be effective. The squadron main-
tained a continuous and precise fire at ranges varying
from five thousand to two thousand yards, counter-
marching in a line approximately parallel to that of the
Spanish fljeet. The enemy's fire was vigorous but gen-
erally ineffective.

''Early in the engagement two launches came out
toward the Olympia with the apparent intention of sink-
ing torpedoes. One was sunk and the other disabled
by our fire and beached, before an opportunity occurred
to fire torpedoes.

"At 7 a. m. the Spanish flagship Reina Christina
made a desperate attempt to leave the line and come
out to engage at short range, but was received with
such galling fire, the entire battery of the Olympia
being concentrated upon her, that she was barely able
to return to the shelter of the point.

"The fires started in her by our shells at the time were
not extinguished until she sank. '^^ * * The three
batteries at Manila had kept up a continuous report
from the beginning of the engagement, which fire was
not returned by this squadron. The first of these bat-
teries was situated on the south mole head, at the en-
trance to Pasig River. The second on the south bastion
of the walled city of Manila and the third at Malate,
about one-half mile further south.


"At this point I sent a message to the Governor Gen-
eral to the effect that if the batteries did not cease firing
the city would be shelled. This had the eft'ect of silenc-
ing them.

"At 7 :35 a. m. I ceased firing and withdrew the squad-
ron for breakfast. At 11:16 a. m., returned to the
attack. By this time the Spanish flagship and almost
the entire Spanish fleet were in flames. At 12:30 p. m.
the squadron ceased firing, the batteries being silenced
and the ships sunk, burnt and deserted. At 12 :40 p. m.
the squadron returned and anchored off Manila, the
Petrel being left behind to complete the destruction of the
smaller gunboats, which were behind the point of Cavite.

"This duty was performed by Commander E. P.
Wood, in the most expeditious and complete manner pos-
sible. The Spanish lost the following vessels : Sunk —
Reina Christina Castilla, Don Antonio de Ulloa; burned
— Don Juan de Austria, Isla de Luzon, Isla de Cuba,
General Leso Marques del Duero, Bl Correo, Velasco
and Isla de Mindanao (transport) ; captured — Rapid and
Hercules (tugs) and several small launches.

"I am unable to obtain complete accounts of the
enemy's killed and wounded, but believe their losses to
be very heavy. The Reina Christina alone had one hun-
dred and fifty killed, including the Captain, and ninety
wounded. I am happy to report that the damage done
to the squadron under my command was inconsiderable.
There were none killed and only seven men in the squad-
ron slightly wounded. * * *

"Several of the vessels were struck and even pene-
trated, but the damage was of the lightest, and the squad-
ron is in as good condition now as before the battle.


''I beg to state to the department that I doubt if any
commander-in-chief was ever served by more loyal, effi-
cient, and gallant Captains than those of the squadron
now under my command. * '^ *

"On May 2, the day following the engagement, the
squadron again went to Cavite, where it remains.
* >K * Qj^ j-}^g third, the military forces evacuated
the Cavite arsenal which was taken possession of by a
landing party.

"On the same day the Raleigh and Baltimore secured
the surrender of the batteries on Corregidor Island,
paroling the garrison and destroying the guns. On the
morning of May 4, the transport Manila, which had
been aground in Baker Bay, was towed off and made a

(Signed) "George Dewey.''

Almost over night Dewey became one of the great
national heroes. President McKinley directed that the
following message should be sent:

"Washington, May 7, 1898.
"To Dewey, Manila:

"The President, in the name of the American people,
thanks you and your officers for your splendid achieve-
ment and overwhelming victory. In recognition he has
appointed you Acting Admiral and will recommend a
vote of thanks to you by Congress as foundation for
other promotion.

(Signed) "Long."

The Vermont Legislature in special session unani-
mously adopted the following resolution, introduced by
C. P. Smith of Burlington:


"Whereas, The officers and men of the Asiatic squad-
ron, by their victory over the Spanish fleet at Manila,
have v^on the profound gratitude of their countrymen;
and their Commodore, George Dewey, has made for
himself a place among the world's naval heroes; and

"Whereas, Vermont, as the native State of Commo-
dore Dewey takes special pride in this achievement,

"Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representa-
tives, That the members of the General Assembly, rep-
resenting the people of Vermont, express to Commodore
Dewey and through him to his entire command, their
deep appreciation of their signal and timely success,
their confidence in his ability to so meet the trying situa-
tion at the Philippines as to bring added honor to the
United States and greater distinction to himself, and
their keen gratification that the first great honors of
the war should fall to a son of Vermont.

"Resolved, That the promotion of Commodore Dewey
without delay, would be the spontaneous and grateful
recognition of a great national service by a brave and
great man, and further,

"Resolved, That the Clerk be directed to communicate
these resolutions by cable to Commodore Dewey as soon
as cable communication with Manila is restored, and to
transmit copies to the President of the United States and
to our Representatives in Congress."

The following reply was received, dated May 26 : "I
beg to acknowledge the receipt of your telegram of May
12th, in which you inform me of the action of the Legis-
lature of my native State in connection with the victory


of the squadron under my command over the Spanish
forces in the Bay of Manila on May first last.

"I beg you will convey my thanks and high apprecia-
tion to the Governor and officers of the two Houses.

"George Dewey.''

On May 3 Congressman Grout introduced a bill
authorizing the President to appoint Commodore Dewey
an Admiral.

On May 9 President McKinley sent a special message
to Congress in which, after referring to Dewey's achieve-
ment at Manila, he said: "The magnitude of this vic-
tory can hardly be measured by the ordinary standards
of naval warfare. Outweighing any material advantage
is the moral effect of this initial success. At this unsur-
passed achievement the great heart of our Nation throbs,
not with boasting nor with greed of conquest, but with
deep gratitude that this triumph has come in a just
cause, and that by the grace of God an effective step
has thus been taken toward the attainment of the wished
for peace. To those whose skill, courage and devotion
have won the fight, to the gallant commander and the
brave officers and men who aided him, our country owes
an incalculable debt.

"Feeling as our people feel, and speaking in their
name, I at once sent a message to Commodore Dewey,
thanking him and his officers and men for their splendid
achievement and overwhelming victory, and informing
him that I had appointed him an Acting Rear Admiral.

"I now recommend that, following our national prece-
dents, and expressing the fervent gratitude of every
patriotic heart, the thanks of Congress be given Acting


Rear Admiral George Dewey, of the United States
Navy, for highly distinguished conduct in conflict with
the enemy and to the officers and men under his com-
mand for their gallantry in the destruction of the
enemy's fleet and the capture of the enemy's fortifications
in the Bay of Manila.


A joint resolution was introduced in Congress and

Online LibraryWalter Hill CrockettVermont, the Green mountain state (Volume 4) → online text (page 19 of 43)