Merrimac, Sinking of

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MERRIMAC, SINKING OF (3 June 1898). When the Cuban squadron of Pascual Cervera y Topete was blockaded by Adm. William T. Sampson at Santiago in the Spanish-American War, Assistant Naval Constructor Richmond Pearson Hobson, with seven men, volunteered to sink the collier Merrimac across the narrow entrance, blocking Cervera's escape. Under heavy enemy fire, the Merrimac was anchored in position about 2:00 a.m., but its steering gear was damaged and only two of its sinking charges exploded. The sunken vessel failed to close the channel effectively. Surviving almost miraculously, Hobson and his crew were taken prisoners and treated courteously until their exchange on 7 July.


Hobson, Richard P. The Sinking of the Merrimac. New York: The Century Company, 1899; Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 1988.

Long, John D. The New American Navy. New York: The Outlook Company, 1903; New York: Arno Press, 1979.

AllanWestcott/a. r.

See alsoNavy, United States ; Spanish-American War, Navy in .

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Merrimac, Sinking of

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