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World of 1898: International Perspectives on the Spanish American War

William T. Sampson

Cannon and camera; sea and land battles of the Spanish-American war in Cuba, p. 73. Download an uncompressed TIFF (.tif) version of this image.

William T. Sampson was the Commander of the U.S. blockading and North Atlantic squadrons during the Spanish-American War of 1898. Prior to the war, he served in a variety of assignments and rose to rank of Captain by 1890 and later became a Rear Admiral. He was appointed President of the U.S.S. Maine Court of Inquiry, the group that was responsible for the investigation of the incident in Havana harbor. During the war with Spain, Sampson was in charge of the North Atlantic and conducted the blockade of Cuba. Sampson himself was not present at the battle when the ships under his command destroyed the Spanish vessels of Admiral Cervera as they attempted to escape from the harbor of Santiago. In nearby Puerto Rico, Sampson commanded the blockade and bombardment of the San Juan harbor.