Just Rambling About Harlem and the Bronx #7 1898



One of the first letters received in the Bronx from any of the participants in the Santiago naval battle has come from Gunner's Mate Charles Spiney of One Hundred and Seventieth street and Franklin avenue. Writing under the date "United States Steamship Oregon, July 4," Spiney says: "The Spanish fleet came out of the harbor yesterday morning at 9:25 and for a while we had a pretty hot fight. Some of our ships were off coaling, so we were seven to seven for a while. Two torpedo boats made for our vessels, as we were nearest the entrance. Our safety lay in disabling them and we fired six and eight inch shells at them and they soon sank. Two of the Spanish cruisers were about this time on fire and they were beached. The other two vessels, the Cristobal Colon and the Vizcaya, started to run away in a westerly direction. We put after them and gave them a running fight.

After firing a number of shells we managed to hit the Vizcaya with a 13 inch and set her on fire; she struck her colors and ran for the beach. We then started for the Cristobal Colon and about 1:30, after a hot chase, succeeded in disabling her. She was leaking so badly that it was necessary to beach her also. We took as prisoners from her about 550 men. I was in the crew who boarded her last night; We tried to stop the leaks, but at 8 o'clock had to give up the job for the evening. The divers are going to plug up the holes today and then the vessel will be towed to Guantanamo for repairs. The Oregon was in the thick of the fight from beginning to end and was not hit once." Writing under the date "July 14," Spiney says: "Day before yesterday a cathedral that the Spaniards were using as a magazine was struck by one of our 13 inch shells and blew up. One would have thought an earthquake had shaken the land. The Spaniards came out with a flag of truce and said "For God's sake stop until we have buried our dead." They have been given twenty-four hours in which to do this, but they are so treacherous that they will, in the meantime, take the chances to strengthen their position. We understand we are going in a flying squadron to the Spanish coast unless the war is ended soon. We have been on the go constantly since we left "Frisco four months ago and during all that time I haven't had one full night's sleep."

Captain Schmittberger's men of the Bathgate avenue police station have succeeded in ridding Crotona Park, in the northern part of the Bronx Borough, of the noisy inhabitants of Hester and Division streets and other downtown Hebrew districts, who visit the park every Sunday and turn it into a Bedlam. There were numerous complaints to the police captain about the matter and the result was a very quiet Sunday in the park yesterday.

The residents in the vicinity of the New York, New Haven and Hartford freight depot, at the foot of Willis avenue and the Harlem River, are protesting against the incessant blowing of whistles in the yard all night long. They say sleep is impossible under the circumstances, especially on warm nights, and that the Board of Health ought to see that lantern signals are used at night instead of locomotive whistles. A petition is now being circulated with the object of formally bringing the matter before the Board of Health. Mr. Wardrup, the freight agent, in speaking of the matter, said: "All the engineers are instructed to make as little noise as possible and they obey the order. It is impossible to start an engine without making some noise. We employ about 1,500 men in the yards and are a decided benefit to the community. I would suggest that people go to bed early and fall asleep before the stillness of the night makes the noise more apparent. Or, they can move away they can do that more easily than the yard can."


Website: The History Box.com
Article Name:  Just Rambling About Harlem and the Bronx #7 1898
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


The Brooklyn Daily Eagle August 1, 1898
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