No. 546.
Captain Whiting to Rear-Admiral Scott.

Sir: I take pleasure in informing you of my arrival at this anchorage, accompanied by the steamer Virginius, which I am now preparing for [Page 1145] sea with all dispatch. Leaving Key West at 10 p.m. of the 14th instant, we arrived off the harbor of Bahia Honda, Cuba, at 1 p.m. of the 15th instant. No pilot appearing, the vessel was run in by Lieu tenant-Commander Rodgers to a safe anchorage near the Virginias, lying off Fort Difuntos, midway in the bay. Two miles farther in, at the southern end of the bay, lay a Spanish gunboat, from which a boat put off and boarded the Virginias, till then without colors, and at — p.m. the United States ensign was hoisted at her peak. Shortly after Commander Cámara paid a visit of ceremony to this vessel, informing me that he had instructions to turn over to the accredited official of our Government the Virginius, then in his charge, asking me at what hour it would be convenient on the 16th to turn her over. Assured by me that a time most convenient to him would be agreeable to me, the, hour of 9 a.m. was fixed, at which time, with the American flag flying at the flag-staff, Commander Manuel de la Cámara, of the Spanish navy, turned over the Virgiuius to the authorities of the United States, receiving my receipt for her.

I found her to have about fifty tons of soft coal on board, and immediately transferred the officers and crew brought over for her.

After examination of the engine and boilers, the fires were started. Provisions and the necessary stores were rapidly placed on board. At 1 p.m. both vessels hove up their anchors and started, but the Virginius was obliged to anchor again, before getting out of the harbor, on account of a derangement of her engines. Ascertaining that she could not be put in running-order for several hours, she was taken in tow by this vessel, and at 3 p.m. left the bay of Bahia Honda.

I close this dispatch to send it by the Fortune; deeming it best, as we need no assistance, to communicate with you at once.

The Virginius has steam up now, and we will drop the tow.

I desire to state that, in carrying out my orders, 1 met with extreme courtesy from Commander Cámara, who tendered any assistance in his power.


Captain and Chief of Staff.

Rear-Admiral G. H. Scott,
Commanding North Atlantic Station.