SAMPSON-SCHLEY CONTROVERSY. The Sampson-Schley controversy arose during the Spanish- American War, at the start of the the Battle of Santiago on 3 July 1898. At that time Adm. William T. Sampson, in his flagship New York, was seven miles to the east and unable to participate effectively in the battle. Sampson had signaled that the other ships should disregard the movement of the flagship, but he did not turn over command to Comdr. Winfield S. Schley. Nevertheless, Schley received popular credit for the victory. The resulting controversy raged bitterly. Upon final appeal, President Theodore Roosevelt declared Santiago "a captains' battle," in which "technically Sampson commanded" and movements followed standing orders.