The Columbian. (Bloomsburg, Pa.) 1866-1910, April 28, 1898, Image 1

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VOL. 33
Fighting Begins in Grim Earnest.
Pennsylvania to Furnish Ten Thousand Men to Assist in Driving the Spaniards
From the Island of Cuba.
The spell has broken at last, and it
will now be seen whether or not the
Spanish Government can retain her
hold on the island of Cuba. Before
Minister Woodford had delivered the
ultimatum of the United States the
Spanish Government handed hup his
passports. This action on the part of
Spain was accepted by the United
States as a declaration of war.
President McKinley has exerted
every possible effort to bring about a
peaceful settlement, but to no avail,
and henceforth it is to be war. But
we believe we are in the right. We
take up arms against the Spaniards in
a just cause, —to battle for the free
dom of a down-trodden people, and
also to protect our own interests on
the Island.
After a Cabinet meeting this after
noon the ships of war were ordered on
their mission of blood and force.
It is understood that their destina-1
tion is Havana. Before many days
have passed it is believed that their
guns will be belching fiery defiance in
the shape of shot and shell at Morro
As has been heretofore stated the
first step will be to proclaim a block
ade of the port of Havana. It is not
intended, howevet, to have a long
drawn out blockade. According to
the best advices President McKinley
believes that the war should be short,
sharp and decisive. He favors a policy
of aggression quite at vaiiance with
that which would contemplate a pro
tracted and inactive blockade. Efforts
will be made, therefore, to make the
blockade brief but effectual.
In order to do this troops will be
sent down from Key West to form a
junction with the Cuban insurgents
and march to Havana. They will pro
bably be landed at Guanabacoa or
As soon as the troops have opened
fire on Havana from the land side,
Captain Sampson will give the inhabi
tants of Havana the usual twenty-four
hours' notice of a bombardment.
Harassed by the American and in
surgent soldiers from the land and
Captain Sampson's strong fleet from
the water, it is thought that the Span
iards will be compelled to surrender
Havana in short order.
This it is believed would virtually
end the war.
While Captain Sampson's North
Atlantic squadron is operating out
side Havana Harbor to silence the
batteries of Morro Castle, Commo
dore Schley's flying squadron will
cruise around in the vicinity of Porto
Rico. He will intercept the Spanish
flotilla if it attempts to steam towards
Cuba for the purpose of raising the
Havana blockade. It is likely, there
fore, that in the vicinity of Porto
Rico, the greatest naval engagement
in the history of the world will take
President McKmley's proclamation
notifying all nations of the blockade
of Havana Harbor, the capture of the
lumber laden Spanish ship Buena
Ventura by tne American cruiser
-Nashville and the passage by Congress
of the Volunteer Army bill were the
three great events in connection with
the Spanish—American war'to day.
The capture of the Spanish mer
chant vessel Buena Ventura by the
gunboat Nashville, constitutes the
real beginning of hostilities. The
Nashville, it is stated here, fired two
shots at the vessel, and is therefore
er titled to the honor of having fired
the first shot in the Spanish—Ameri
can war.
The Spanish steamer Buena Ven
tura, is a vessel of about roco tons
which sailed recently from Pascagoula
Miss., for Rotterdam loaded with
lumber. A gun was fired from the
port battery of the Nashville but the
enemy's ship held her way having
given the shot. For two minutes the
Nashville kept up the chase and then
tried another shot that passed appar
ently within a rod of the Spaniard's
bow and splashed the spray from the
crest of the waves for a mile beyond.
The officer on the Spaniard's bridge
at once reversed her engines, while
a man ran aft and hastily lowered her
The Buena Ventura's officers and
men appeared to accept their situation
as gracefully as possible.
Another great event, which, how
ever, lacks official confirmation, is
contained in the report that Minister
Sewell and Admiral Miller took for
mal possession of the Hawaiian Is
lands in the name of the United
States as a coaling station on April
Owing to the secrecy which must
naturally attend acts of war, it is im
possible to gain any information re
garding this report at the War and
Navy Departments. It is generally
believed, however, among members
of Congress, most of whom look upon
such an action as a good strategical
move. Hawaii would form an excell
ent base of operations for a Spanish
fleet which might attempt havoc on
the Pacific coast, where the fortifica
tions arc by no means as modern or
numerous as on the Atlantic coast.
While there is no knowledge that
Spain contemplates any naval opera
lions in Pacific waters, still it is the
unexpected that must be looked for
and guarded against in time of war,
so the seizure of Hawaii is regarded
as a timely precautionary measure.
The notice of the blockade of
Havana is not expected to precipitate
naval hostilities. The American war
vessels will remain well out of tange
of the guns of Morro Castle and the
shore batteries'so that there is no
likelihood of a gun being fired for an
indefinite period.
Three more Spanish vessels were
taken to-day. The newly captured
prizes are the Spanish steam ship
Miguel Tover, valued $400,000. She
belonged to the Pinillo Line Barce
lona. She was captured by the United
States gun boat Helena.
The Helena did not start with the
fleet yesterday morning but remained
at Key West, until today, when she
steamed out to sea. She was cruising
about 150 miles in a southwesterly
direction when the Jover hove in sight.
The Helena fired a blank shot and
the Jover instantly hove to. The
Jover was bound from New Orleans
for Barcelona, via Havana.
The United States cruiser Detroit
fired on and captured the Spanish
steamer Catalina, 3491 tons which
left Cadig March 7, and was bound
from New Orleans for Barcelona via
Havana, for which latter port she was
making when taken. When the first
shot was fired her captain made a
desperate effort to escape, and the
chase was prolonged for eight miles.
Finally a solid shot brought her to.
She was carrying a cargo of 6000
bundles of staves. The other Span
ish vessel captured was the Saturnina
at Ship Island, Miss. She was taken
by the United States revenue cutter
War against Spain was formally de
! clared to day by the Congress of the
, United States, the joint resolution to
| that effect adopted by Congress was
' signed by the President. As set forth
in the President's message requesting
Congress to act at once, the President
was desirous that official recognition
should be given hostilities so that the
definition of the international states
of the United States as a belligerent
power may be made known and our
international rights maintained.
The formal declaration of war by
Congress is as follows :
Be it enacted, etc.
First—That war be and the same
is hereby declared to exist and that
war has existed since the 21st day of
April, A. D., 1898, including said day
between the United States of America
and the Kingdom of Spain.
Second—That the President of the
United States be and he hereby is
directed and empowered to use the
entire land and naval forces of the
United States and to call into the
actual service of the United States
the militia of the several states as
may be necessary to carry this act
into effect.
j President McKinley to-day issued
a requisition upon the Governors of
the States for 125,000 volunteers.
These volunteers are to serve two
years unless mustered out of the ser
vice before the expiration of that time,
and are alloted to the different States
according to their population under
the census of 1890. The Governors
are requested to designate the organi
zations of the National Guard to be
called out, and tc recruit from their
States volunteers to fill out their
quotas. They are to be assembled
at the points of rendezvous in the
several States within a week's time,
MI here they will be turned over to the
War Department and be rapidly hur-'
ried to tiie front.
In every case the Governors are
notified that the National Guard
where they now exist as efficient and
well officered bodies, are to be given
the preference over ununiformed and
uninstructed companies organized up
on the spur of the emergency. In
most States the National Guards so
mustered into service will take with
them their company and regimental
officers. It will, however, be neces
sary for them to be reappointed by
the Governors before they can be
commissioned as officers of the na
tional volunteer establishment.
The entire forces to be called into
the service sum up to ninety regi
ments of infan'ry, five regiments of
cavalry, thirteen batteries of light ar
tillery, and twenty-two batteries of
foot artillery. This force will He or
ganized into three army corps ot
twenty-seven regiments of infantry,
one regiment of cavalry and three
battalions of artillery each. The
part of the provisional force not in
cluded in these corps will be the
Texas quota to be used in guarding
the Mexican frontier and the troops
which will be needed to garrison the
coast left vacant in the West by the
concentration of the regular forces on
the Gulf.
The following is a copy of the tele
gram sent to each of the Governors
of the States and Territories inform
ing them what will be expected under
the President's call for troops :
"The number of troops from your
State under the call of the President,
dated April 23, 1896, will be
"It is the wish of the President
that the regiments of the National
Guard or State militia shall be used
as far as their number wiil permit,
for the reason that they are armed,
equipped and drilled. Please wire as
early as possible, what equipments,
ammunition, arms, blankets, tents,
etc., you have and what additional
you will require. Please also state
when troops will be ready for muster
to the United States service. Details
to follow by mail.
"Secretary of War."
The President has issued a procla
mation containing the declaration
of war and setting forth the regula
tions that will be observed by this
Government wilh regard to Spanish
boats in American ports, to neutral
flags and so on.
Secretary Sherman took his fare
well of the Cabinet to-day and Assist
ant Secretary of State William R.
Day was confirmed by the Senate as
Secretary, and John B. Moore was
confirmed as First Assistant. Senator
Sherman's host of friends express great
regret over his retirement from public
life though they generally agree that
after his extraordinarily long service
it would have been asking too much
of him to expect him to continue in
The army reorganization bill was
agreed to in Congress to-day and
finally passed both houses and was
signed by the President. The House
conferrees agreed to the Senate
Saturday Next
We put on sale several dozen styles of
every one of which has sold for $lO.OO,
worth every penny of it, will be sold SaturV
day at
$7.90 O.
The backward season has not moved them, hence ™
the price.
SATURDAY NEXT we place on sale entire lines of
$7.00 and $7.50 all wool suits in all the new and hand
some spring weaves at
SATURDAY, Men's and Boys' cambric colored shirts, 19 cts.
Boys' wash pants, small sizes, 10 cts. .
" Men'e balbriggan underwear, 19 cts. E
Toung Men's pearl fedora liats, regular $1.50 grade, 98 cts.
Boys' blue, green or mixed golt caps, leather or
cloth visors, 19 cts.
Gidding & Co.
amendments tequiring that the quota
of militia from the various States aid
Territories shall be in companies,
trc ops and batteries, in order to be
accepted by the President. That will
satisfy to some extent the complaint
coming from all parts of the country
that only parts of regiments or com
panies will be taken.
No very important news was re
ceived at the Navy Department to
day as far as can be learned. The
American fleet at Hong Kong has
been obliged to leave that port under
the neutrality proclamation of the
British Government, and it is believed
that it has gone to Manila, which
port, it is expected, will fall into
American hands.
Spanish rule in the Philippines is
more of a shell, if possible, than in
Cuba, and the population in the
Philippines is so much greater than in
Cuba that it will not take lo.ig to turn
the Spanish out of their possessions
there. That is expected to be one of
the early developments of the war.
The President is being besieged
just now with applications for ap
pointment as generals, colonels, etc.,
in the army. It is generally under
stood that Consul General Lee, in the
very fitness of things, will be given a
Postmaster General Smith issued a
notice to-day stopping all letters in
tended for Spain or her colonies.
Now that war exists, there will be'no
mail communications between the
two countries, and letters intended
for Spain will be returned to the
senders whenever that is possible.
There was no apparent change in
the situation to day. The blockading
squadron remains passive before
Havana with no present purpose of
bombarding, or of drawing the fire of
the shore batteries.
As to the reports of the imminence
of a naval battle off the Philippine
Islands, the naval authorities at Wash
ington seriously doubt whethe- the
Spanish fleet will m-':e a stand against
the American ships. Their reason .'or
this belief is that the Si. aish fleet is
very inferior in number and quality
to the American force under Dewey.
The department, therefore, is satis
fied that the Spanish fleet will not go
to do battle on the high seas with
Admiral Dewey, but will remain in
port to secure the protection of the
batteries of Manila. An engagement
is not expecteu for at least two days.
Without giv : ng any explanation for
setting this time, the department
allows it to be surmised that the es
timate is based on its knowledge of
Admiral Dewey's whereabouts.
There is no certainty that there will
be an engagement at all in the im
mediate future, the main purpose of
the expedition being to seize and hold
some suitable Spanish territory in the
Philippines as a base of operations in
Asiatic waters. It is possible that this
can be done without attacking the
other at all, by seizing a suitable port
on some adjacent island, without forti
fica ons, the sympathy of whose in
habitants is towards the insurgents.
In the War Department there is a
growing belief that the campaign pro
per in Cuba will not be in full swing
before next fall, when the rainy season
h„s ended. That belief, however,
has not prevented the officers whose
duty it is to get the troops together
from pushing their work with the
greatest energy.
Thus within twelve hours after the
Hull bill became a law, the depart
ment was able to begin to send out
circulars prescribing the methods to
be followed in recruiting the regular
army up to its full war strength of 6t,-
000 men. The enormous amount of
work involved in thus increasing the
army, regular and volunteer, has
caused General Miles to abandon his
Southern trip for the present.
The officials of the department were
overwhelmed to-day with all sorts of
protests and appeals against their
action in making the assignments of
troops among the volunteer forces and
many changes may be looked for.
Several of the United States Con
suls who were located at different
points in the island of Cuba, among
them James N. Springer, Joseph
L. Hance and Mr. Brice, are at
Washington and have been in con
ference with State Department offi
cials, and have communicated a
large amount of important informa
tion concerning the situation of
affairs at Havana, Cardenas and
Matanzas These Consuls took
their departure at the time Consul-
General Lee left Havana, they hav
ing been ordered to turn over their
affairs to the British Consuls at
those points.
Consul Springer, who has been
NO. 17
many years on the island, and thor-i
oughly understands the conditio*
of affairs and the character of the
Spanish people who control the is
land, saj's the Spaniards will not
surrender without a stubborn resist
ance. He admits that the Spanish
army is not very efficient, and in
most part ill-provisioned and poorly
equipped. The soldiers have re
ceived no pay for many months,
and the officers have only received
half-pay. The supplies for many
months past,
been shortcut latterly th< \
been receiving several shiploads'
The capture of the Panama, whicty
was taken by the United States war'
ship Mangrove yesterday, with its
large cargo of supplies of various
kinds for the army and the Span
iards on the island, will, the Con
sul says, be a serious loss. He
thinks that General Blanco, the
Cuban commander, will be able to
raise quite a large army of Span
iards tor defensive purposes, and if
they could secure supplies, would
be able to hold out for many
months. He thinks that the insur
gent forces are greatly exaggerated,
and that they cannot muster, all
told, more than 35,000 or 40,000
men. The insurgents, he says, are
also poorly fed and equipped. If
they could be supplied with arms
and munitions, together with food
and clothing, by the United States,
they might be able to give Blanco
and his Spanish army a good deal
of trouble.
Consul Hance, who has been a
resident at Cardenas, and is fami
liar with the situation of affairs at
that point, does not believe that the
occupation of Cuba by our forces
will be a difficult task. As to
whether the Cubans would
petent to establish 'a stable govern
ment once the Spaniards have been
forced from the island, the Consul
is not disposed to give a decided
There is much diversity of opin
ion at Washington among military
and naval authorities concerning
the proposed landing in Cuba, at a
port to be opened by our fleet, of a
brigade of regular infantry, cavalry
and artillery, containing in all
5000 or 6000 men, to establish and
guard a base of supplies.