DescriptionU.S.S. Maine Sinking Eye-Witness Account With Scrapbook. Autograph Document Signed, "Chas. P. Howell Chief Engineer,U.S. Navy. Address and native place Goshen. N.Y.", one page, 8.25" x 10", New York, April 4, 1898. It reads: "The Battle ship Maine had been swinging to a buoy in Havana Harbor for three weeks when the sudden destruction of the ship came without any warning. At 9:40 p.m. on Feb. 15th 1898 I was reading in the officers mess room in company with Lt's Holman, Jungen and Jenkins, when was startled by the shock which gave the impression that the ship had been torpedoed. The first shock transmitted to the after part of the vessel, was immediately followed by sounds of explosions and disruption of the interior of the ship with a final tremendous crash overhead. Then water was heard rushing aft; an unsteady equilibrium underfoot indicated the ship was sinking rapidly. Feeling my way in the darkness I soon reached the poop deck expecting all the time to be received by the shots of the Spanish. The cries of the wounded and drowning, with the smoking ruins dimly lighted by the flickering fires, kindling here and there, formed a tragic scene never to be forgotten. The uppermost deck where the survivors assembled sank to the surface of the water and in a few minutes boats came from the ships in the harbor to our rescue." Even toning, some soiling. The verso carries unrelated inscriptions from 1900 in which five clergymen express thanks for hospitality. Fine condition. Charles P. Howell's manuscript account of the U.S.S Maine sinking must be considered rare since there were only 95 survivors of the incident. 260 Americans were killed as a result of the February 15, 1898 blast that provoked the Spanish-American War. Accompanying Howell's account is a period scrapbook titled "Our Defenders", approximately 100 pp., 9.5" x 12", being inscribed "Picture and newspaper clippings of the Spanish American War. Margurite Goubert July 3, 1898 - 1900." Numerous newspaper and magazine illustrations of the war are pasted onto originally blank pages, some of which are embellished with original patriotic art. Images range from candid combat photographs to formal portraits. Also included are several full-page color lithographs featuring ships of the "Great White Fleet". Although somewhat out of place, there is also a small, hand-decorated envelope housing a "A piece of drapery from Grant's Tomb". Soiling to cover, some chipping to contents. Overall very good condition.
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