Battle of Nipe Bay
|Battle of Nipe Bay|
|Part of the Spanish-American War|
|Commanders and leaders|
|unknown||John Jacob Hunker|
|1 auxiliary cruiser
|Casualties and losses|
|1 sloop-of-war sunk
1 gunboat scuttled
3 forts damaged
The Battle of Nipe Bay on July 21, 1898 was an engagement of the Spanish-American War. The battle was fought in Nipe Bay, Cuba, by four United States Navy warships against the Spanish sloop-of-war Jorge Juan and three gunboats which were supported by forts guarding the harbor.
Nipe Bay had been designated as a rendezvous point for American naval forces delegated to attack Puerto Rico. Upon finding the harbor still occupied by Spanish forces, the American squadron, consisted of the gunboats USS Annapolis and USS Topeka, the armed tug USS Leyden and the armed yacht USS Wasp. The squadron maneuvered through a minefield to engage the Spanish forces. Jorge Juan opened fire upon Wasp and Leyden but was quickly sunk by the two with the help from Annapolis. While the other three ships were engaging Jorge Juan, Topeka silenced the harbor forts and fired on other Spanish works in the harbor.
Seeing the hopelessness of the situation, the Spanish sailed the small gunboat Baracoa upriver and scuttled it to prevent its capture by the superior American force. Just as the fighting came to an end, the American crew boarded Jorge Juan's sinking hulk, stripping several items from it as trophies. One such trophy was the Jorge Juan's battle-flag, which was taken by one of the sailors from the Annapolis and now lies in the United States Navy Trophy Flag Collection. The Americans suffered little or no casualties and a few days after the battle the small squadron received orders to depart. It was later decided that the bay was not necessary for operations against Puerto Rico, but the battle did cause significant damage to the Spanish Navy and denied the Spanish the use of the port for the remainder of the war.
- New York Times, July 24, 1898
- The Downfall of Spain: Naval History of the Spanish-American War at Google Books