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edly burst toward the outside; that on the port side, forward, he found an appliance for casting anchor attached to its block on the side, and on the starboard side he found an anchor without stock with its chain. This deposition stopped here, and deponent signed it after having read it and ratified it with his honor, his judge, and with me, the secretary, who certifies.
PEDRO DEL PERAL.
CRISTOBAL ABELLEIRA. [Flourish.]
On folios 160 and 161 of this examination are two plans. On folios 162 and 163 of the same are two statements of expenditures supplied and to be supplied for the account of the examining court in connection with the disaster to the ironclad Maine. The former amount to $180.65 and the second to $74.
Statements of the persons who distinguished themselves most on the night of February 15, 1898, in connection with the disaster to the Maine, they having been the persons who first came to render assistance to the victims:
The Illustrious Marquis of Esteban, municipal alcalde of Havana; Don Enrique Solano, second brig, gen'l. and maj. gen'l. chief of staff of the army of operations in this island.
Don Julio Perez, lieut. in the navy, and
[Here follow the names of about seventy-five soldiers and sailors, with their ranks, and civilians, with their occupations.]
Havana, Mch. 22, 1898.
PEDRO DEL PERAL. [Flourish.]
Judicial act. Havana, Mch. 22, 1898. Three communications have been sent to the superior authorities, one of them stating the impossi bility of the continuation of the work of our divers, who are impeded by the labors which are being performed by the American divers; and another, giving a statement of the expense caused by this business from the 5th instant up to date; and another, containing a list of the persons who most distinguished themselves on the night of the disaster by the promptness and efficiency with which they hastened to the scene of the disaster. I certify.
JAVIER DE SALAS. [Flourish.]
Judicial act, Havana, Mch. 22, 1898.
Copies are subjoined of the statement of expenses and of the list of the persons who most distinguished themselves on the night of the disaster which are referred to in the foregoing judicial act. I certify. JAVIER DE SALAS. [Flourish.] PARAL. [Flourish.]
DEPOSITION OF DON ENRIQUE FREIXAS, NAVAL LIEUTENANT.
In the city of Havana, on the 22d day of March, 1898, appeared, having been duly summoned, the above-named officer, who, having been admonished of the obligation under which he was to be truthful and of the penalties incurred by any person who bears false witness, made oath
that he would tell the truth, and being the usual preliminary questions, he said that his name was Don Enrique Freixas y Ferran; that he was of full age; married; a lieutenant in the navy; employed in the office of the captain of the port of Havana. He declared that he was not interested, either directly or indirectly, in the case before the court.
Being requested to tell all that he knew with regard to the blowing up of the American ironclad Maine, he said that he heard a passenger, the Rev. Father Marizosa, a native of Mexico, who was on board the steamer City of Washington, enroute for Mexico, who witnessed the disaster from the steamer on board of which he was, and which had just anchored-that he heard Father Marizoza say that slight detonations were at first heard, similar to those of fireworks, which kept on increasing, and that he also saw light on board of the vessel greater than would have been afforded by the vessel's ordinary lights. Soon after the great explosion followed by the phenomena already known, which were seen by most of the witnesses.
He further stated that he heard another passenger who was on board of the same vessel, and whose name he does not know, state the fact in the same manner. He added that he asked both of the aforesaid witnesses whether they had observed any motion of the water, any liquid column, or trembling on board of the vessel on which they were, and that they answered No. This deposition stopped here, and after he had read it the deponent signed it, with his honor, the judge, and with me, the clerk of the court, who certifies.
PEDRO DEL PARAL. [Flourish.]
On the night of February 15 last a dreadful and extraordinary event disturbed the usual tranquillity and internal order of this bay. A mournful catastrophe had occurred on board the North American ironclad Maine.
Having been instructed by your excellency, in the letter which gave rise to the present proceedings, to proceed with all possible promptitude and energy to the investigation of the matter in question, I began my preliminary proceedings while the flames produced by the explosion were still rising from the vessel, and while some lesser (explosions), caused, no doubt, by the action of the heat upon the shells and other explosives, were heard at intervals.
The undersigned immediately ordered all persons to be summoned who, owing to their being in the vicinity of the said vessel, could give any explanation or information with regard to the disaster, or any account of its effects, and I requested the attendance of an official interpreter of the Government in order that he might act as such in the taking of such depositions as might necessitate his services, and I wrote to the consul of the United States of America in this capital, requesting the attendance of such of the principal officers and men of the crew of the Maine as might be in a condition to testify. the sec
As Don Francisco Javier de Salas, a lieutenant in the navy, retary of the court of enquiry, was asked by an American officer, a few minutes before the beginning of the proceedings, whether the explosion could have been caused by a torpedo, notwithstanding the emphatic expressions of public opinion, which immediately rejected this supposition as absurd, and which were corroborated by argu ments easily understood by every naval officer, I thought it expedient
'to direct the investigation along this line on account of the facility of obtaining sufficient data to show the external action during the moments following submarine explosions, which are so peculiar in their character, and so well known to all who have witnessed them and studied them in their effects.
The North American man-of-war Maine, of 6,682 tons displacement, made of steel, 318 feet in length, 57 feet beam, and 22 feet in depth, having double engines of 9,293 indicated horsepower, launched in New York in 1890, entered this port on the 24th January of this year, and anchored at buoy No. 4 (see the part of the plan at folio 101).
The undersigned has heard unofficially the reason of the arrival and stay in these waters of the ironclad in question. For this it was sufficient to call to mind the royal order of August 11, 1882, which permits, in ordinary times of peace, the entrance of foreign squadrons and single vessels into our ports without any other restrictions than those prescribed by the Ordinances of the navy, and that of obedience to the police regulations established in those ports.
Taking the said Buoy No. 4 as the centre, the depth of the bay varies, within a radius of a hundred metres, from thirty to thirty-six feet, with a bottom of loose mud. The Maine, when she came in, drew 22 feet, and the depth of the water at the place where she is sunk is 32 feet at the bow and 30 feet at the stern.
On the night of the sad occurrence the Spanish cruiser Alfonso XII was anchored at Buoy No. 3 and the naval steam transport Legaspi at No. 2, distant 140 and 240 metres, respectively, from the said Buoy No.4. At the moment of the explosion there was no wind and the water was very smooth, as it usually is in this bay at that hour.
The rise of the tide in the harbor is one and a half feet, and high tide on that day was at 4 p. m.
Before proceeding to the consideration of other data, I think it well to recall to your excellency's enlightened mind the phenomena which accompany the explosion of a submarine mine, meaning thereby what is known under the generic term of torpedo, and leaving aside all that can apply exclusively to a subterranean mine, on account of the utter impossibility that such a mine could have been prepared without batteries (elementos), or even with batteries, without the knowledge of the authorities and of the public generally.
The ignition of the torpedo must necessarily have been produced either by collision or by an electrical discharge, and as the state of the sea and the wind did not allow of any motion in the vessel the hypothesis of a collision at that moment must be rejected, and we must consider that of an electric current sent by a cable (wire) from a station; but no traces or signs of any wire or station have been discovered.
The phenomena observed in submarine explosions are as follows: When the ignition takes place, the explosive substance is converted into a gaseous one and forms a bubble, which, owing to its ascensional force, tends usually to rise to the surface in a vertical line, producing a detonation more or less loud in proportion to the quantity of explosive material employed and the depth at which it is placed, and accompanied by a column of water, the height of which is likewise in proportion to the two circumstances mentioned.
At the same time a certain quaking (trepidacion) is noticed on the shore, which varies directly in proportion to the amount of explosive matter used, its greater immersion, and its nearness to the bottom; and, besides, a very peculiar shock is observed against the sides of vessels, which varies according to the distance, and which, owing to
the incompressibility of the water, does not, according to experiments, diminish in inverse proportion to the square of the distance.
Another important phenomenon, to which great weight should be attached in this case, on account of the peculiar nature of the harbor, is the presence of dead fish on the surface (of the water), usually caused by the rupture of the natatory bladder.
The action of torpedoes on vessels is very variable, and depends, besides, on the resistance of the hull which it strikes, the quantity of explosive matter, and the distance.
No known case has yet been recorded where the explosion of a torpedo against the side of a vessel has caused the explosion of the magazines. As is seen by the plans (diagrams), there was nothing but powder and shells in the forward magazines of the Maine.
It appears from the examination of witnesses:
Don Julio Peres y Perera, naval lieutenant of the first class, states in his deposition that he was in his shears house (casa de la machina), about four hundred yards from the said vessel, when, at about 9.35 p. m., he saw an enormous blaze of fire rise toward the zenith and to a great height followed by a terrible explosion. He adds that almost the whole of the ironclad was covered by a thick smoke, that the illumination was instantaneously extinguished, and that an infinite number of colored lights passed away into space. The moment after the explosion all was dark until, a little later, the awful scene was illuminated by the brightness of the fire, which was certainly caused by the explosion
The witness says that other explosions, apparently of shells, followed, which continued until two o'clock in the morning, at which hour the fire began to diminish
The witness saw the bow sink a few minutes after the explosion, and he asserts that there was no column of water nor the least movement in the water (mar), and that there was no shaking of the land on the shore
The other depositions of witnesses confirm the description of the explosion given by this officer, and they all agree that they noticed no movement in the water, and that they felt no shock of the water, although some of them were on board vessels as near the Maine as the Alfonso XII.
During the early hours of the morning the undersigned, accompanied by the secretary, made a close examination of the bay without finding any dead fish, or injuries of any kind on the piles of the piers.
Don Francisco Aldao, the head pilot, testifies (page 80 and back) that the harbor of Havana abounds in fish, and that there are persons who devote themselves to this industry with profit, and the technical assistant of the junta of the harbor works, Señor Ardois, who has been engaged upon them for many years, states that, without any exception, whenever small blasts have been made with charges (of powder) varying from five to twenty-five pounds, for the purpose of blowing up hulls of vessels, loose rock, and even shoals in the bay, a great number of dead fish have been found inside the hulls or floating on the surface of the water.
For the purpose of procuring the greatest possible number of data, several experiments were made, to which the diagrams at pages 160 and 161 refer.
In continuation of the investigation, on the 16th February the United States consul was requested, through your excellency, to procure the attendance of some of the surviving officers and sailors of the Maine, in order to receive such testimony as they might see fit to give with
regard to the occurrence. On the same day, through the same medium, permission was requested to examine the bottom of the vessel. On the 18th February I again applied to your excellency to procure from the commander of the Maine, either directly or through his consul, exact information as to the quantity of explosives still existing in that part of the vessel which had not been bunt. On the 21st I went to the American steamer Mungus (?) for the purpose of having an interview with Mr. Sigsbee, the commander of the Maine, who expressed to me his wish that the Spanish investigators might be present at the operations of the American official diver. On the same day I again wrote, asking for permission to proceed to the examination of the ironclad. On the 22nd I repeated my visit to the Mangrove.
On the 19th February the authorities had replied, stating that by agreement with the commander of the Maine and the United States consul-general the examination requested in my letter of the 18th would be made as soon as those gentlemen received the appliances and divers whom they had asked for.
On the 24th I received an important communication, dated February 17, enclosing one from his excellency the Governor-General of this island, stating that the commander of the Maine, upon being consulted as to the steps necessary to the success of this investigation, had replied that he expected to execute all the operations necessary to the examination of the vessel which had been under his command under his own supervision, in accordance with the provisions of the regulations of the American Navy.
It was at last possible to make use of the new mode of investigation offered by the work of the divers, as it was discovered from what they have accomplished up to this date that the hull of the wrecked vessel is apparently buried in the mud, and that the examination of the outside is impracticable, but that it may be possible to examine the inside when the multitude of articles of all kinds which are lying in confusion in it have been removed.
The divers, having been instructed to examine and describe everything that they might notice at the bottom of the bay and nearest to the sunken vessel, reported that they had not found in the mud which forms the bottom any inequalities or fissures-such as the examination of the bottom of the bay at the place occupied by the Maine and the hull (calado) of the vessel would doubtless have brought to light, on the supposition that a torpedo had been the cause of the catastrophe. This imaginary explosive apparatus (artificio) must necessarily, in this case, have been placed at the very bottom of the bay or very near it, and when it exploded would have caused the gases to react upon it, and, at the same time that it produced a greater effect upon the water upward it would have made large fissures (deformaciones) in the mud. It appears from the examination of the wreck of the Maine, part of which is afloat, made by the undersigned, the commandants of artillery, the commandant of engineers, and the commander of the torpedo brigade, the report of which appears at page 24, that whatever may have been the original cause of the disaster, there is no doubt that there was an explosion in the forward magazine, which entirely destroyed the decks and bulkheads, which now display the appearance of a shapeless mass of boards, bars, and pipes of metal, very difficult to describe. In particular, may be noticed a large fragment of the forward deck, which must have been raised in the most violent manner and bent double toward the stern by the forward stack house, like an immense sheet of iron, with a considerable inclination to starboard, which, upon turning over, hurled out of the ship the forward turret containing two guns,