Spanish pilot Miguel Lopez Reports on the Last Minutes of the Cruiser Maria Teresa

Contributed by Nick Mitiuckov


This is an account by Spanish harbor pilot Miguel Lopez of the last moments of the Spanish Cruiser MARIA TERESA as the Naval Battle of Santiago was just beginning. He helped to guide the vessels out of Santiago harbor, and into the guns of the American Squadron.

The Account:

I was at the bow turret, near Admiral Cervera. Things looked so calm as if at anchor. Watching the channel and the enemy squadron with great attention, he turned for me and said:

"Pilot, when we can to change the course?"  He wanted turn to right, but this maneuver we could only do after the Diamante sandbank. Some seconds after, he said again:

"Pilot, tell me, when we can to turn!"

"Yes, I will tell, my admiral, I answered."

Some time later, I said "Admiral, we can to turn now!"

At this moment, the admiral without any nervousness and without raising his voice, very calmly, ordered: "Turn right", and a minute later: "Fire!". Instantly the turret guns and the left battery's guns fired against an enemy battleship, that was, I think, INDIANA. I think, that we had already begun to sink by this time.

In general, Don Jose, who I can tell you nothing about, was at the board. We had many killed and wounded in our battery, because the enemy kept up a deadly fire for a long time. I think, that the main fire directed at the TEREZA began at the one time, and soon the began to fill with water. Soon after, the admiral turned to me with these words:

Goodbye, pilot. Now you leave your post now. I will be sure that you are paid well for your efforts as you are deserve it!

After that, he continued on.

Excerpted  from:

Tejeira, José Muller, Combates y Capitulacion de Santiago. Madrid: 1898, (Tejeira was a Spanish Navy Officer and personal witness of the campaign).

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