Captain Charles S. Sigsbee, Commander of the USS Maine
Sigsbee sent this telegram to the Secretary of the Navy on February 15, 1898.
Secretary of the Navy, John D. Long
To inform the secretary that the USS Maine had been sunk
Sigsbee's initial telegram to the Secretary of the Navy provides an early account of the explosion and its immediate aftermath. Surprisingly, it details the courtesy and aid provided by the Spanish in the wake of the deadly explosion.
Maine blown up in Havana Harbor at 9:40 tonight and destroyed. Many wounded and doubtless more killed or drowned.
Wounded and others aboard Spanish Man of War Ward Line Streamer
Send Light House Tenders from Key West for crew and the few pieces of equipment above water. No one has clothing other than that upon him.
Public opinion should be suspended until further report. All officers believed to be saved. Jenkins and Merritt not yet accounted for.
Many Spanish officers including representative of General Blane now with me to express sympathy.