Battle of Nipe Bay

The Battle of Nipe Bay on July 21, 1898 was an engagement of the Spanish–American War. The battle was fought in Nipe Bay, Cuba, by four United States Navy warships against the Spanish sloop-of-war Jorge Juan and three gunboats which were supported by forts guarding the harbor.

Battle of Nipe Bay
Part of the Spanish–American War
USS Annapolis (PG-10).jpg
USS Annapolis circa 1898
DateJuly 21, 1898
Result American victory
 United States Spain
Commanders and leaders
John Hunker Unknown
1 auxiliary cruiser
2 gunboats
1 tug
1 sloop
3 gunboats
Casualties and losses
None 1 sloop sunk
1 gunboat scuttled
Jorge Juan sinking on 21 July 1898, photographed from USS Leyden.


Nipe Bay had been designated as a rendezvous point for American naval forces delegated to attack Puerto Rico. Upon finding the harbor still occupied by Spanish forces, the American squadron, consisting of the gunboats USS Annapolis and USS Topeka, the armed tug USS Leyden and the armed yacht USS Wasp, maneuvered through a minefield to engage the Spanish forces. Jorge Juan opened fire on Wasp and Leyden, but they quickly sank her with help from Annapolis. While the other three ships were engaging Jorge Juan, Topeka silenced the harbor forts and fired on other Spanish works in the harbor.


Seeing the hopelessness of the situation, the Spanish sailed the small gunboat Baracoa upriver and scuttled her to prevent her capture by the superior American force. Just as the fighting came to an end, U.S. Navy personnel boarded Jorge Juan's sinking hulk, stripping several items from it as trophies. One such trophy was the Jorge Juan's battle-flag, which was taken by one of the sailors from Annapolis and now resides in the United States Navy Trophy Flag Collection. The Americans suffered few, if any, casualties and a few days after the battle the small squadron received orders to depart. The United STates later decided that the bay was not necessary for operations U.S. operations in Puerto Rico, but the battle did cause significant damage to the Spanish Navy and denied the Spanish the use of the port for the remainder of the war.


Coordinates: 20°46′N 75°41′W / 20.767°N 75.683°W / 20.767; -75.683