Sampson became commander of the North Atlantic Squadron in March 1898. Promoted to admiral when the Spanish‐American War began (21 April), he immediately blockaded Havana. Transferring to Santiago de Cuba after a Spanish squadron under Adm. Pascual Cervera arrived there, his blockade and plans to foil a sortie by Cervera led to the complete destruction of the Spanish squadron (3 July 1898), forcing Spain to negotiate peace.
Unfortunately, Sampson had left the blockade when Cervera attempted to escape, leaving Commodore William Schley in command. This circumstance engendered a postwar controversy about credit for the victory at Santiago, which divided the navy for many years. Debilitating illness, probably Alzheimer's disease, increasingly compromised Sampson's efficiency between 1897 and his death.
[See also Caribbean and Latin America, U.S. Military Involvement in the.]
David F. Trask , The War with Spain in 1898, 1981.
David F. Trask
"Sampson, William." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/sampson-william
"Sampson, William." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Retrieved October 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/sampson-william
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