Battle Of Manila Bay Essay, Research Paper
Battle of Manila Bay
Dewey had his squadron concentrated in the British harbor of Hong Kong when the war message arrived on April 24, 1898. He had four steel cruisers Olympia,Baltimore,Boston, and Raleigh and two seagoing gunboats Concord and Petrel. The Spanish commander at Manila, Admiral Patricio Montojo y Pasaron, was as unprepared as the unfortunate Cervera in Cuba. He had a total of seven ships. His flagship Reina Cristina could be described as a cruiser. The other ships, except for a small, wooden corvette, were steel or iron gunboats, mostly in poor repair.
Dewey left Hong Kong on April 25. When he arrived at Manila Bay he faced several difficulties. He knew that the narrow entrance to the bay was defended by heavy guns mounted on the islands of Corregidor and El Fraile. He also had reason to believe that the channel was mined. Furthermore, if any of his ships were to be severely damaged, he would have no means of making repairs he was 7000 miles from the nearest home port, and Hong Kong and other neutral ports were now being closed to him.
None of these difficulties deterred Dewey, however, and he led his darkened squadron into the harbor entrance. No mines exploded and there was only scattered gunfire. As day broke on May 1, Dewey’s squadron was well within Manila Bay. The city of Manila lay dead ahead, defended by batteries that began long-range and ineffective firing at the U.S ships. Montojo’s squadron, not Manila, was Dewey’s immediate objective. He bore away southward toward the Spanish naval station at Cavite. Increasing daylight revealed the Spanish warships at anchor there.
At 5:40 AM, Dewey gave the order to fire. As in the Caribbean, the battle was over in just a few hours, resulting in the destruction of the Spanish squadron. Spanish casualties included at least 160 dead and 210 wounded. The U.S. forces had no fatal casualties. Only two officers and six men were wounded, none seriously. None of the U.S. ships were badly damaged.