Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
May 1
Manila Bay
By H. E. W., Jr.
          The Spanish fleet was destroyed in Manila Bay on May 1, 1898, by Admiral Dewey. This may be said to be the first great naval engagement since modern inventions had revolutionized the science of naval warfare.

THE FIRST great fight of the war is fought!
  And who is the victor,—say,—
Is there aught of the lesson now left untaught
  By the fight of Manila Bay?
Two by two were the Spanish ships        5
  Formed in their battle line;
    Their flags at the taffrail, peak and fore,
    And batt’ries ready upon the shore,
  Silently biding their time.
Into their presence sailed our fleet,—        10
  The harbor was fully mined,—
    With shotted guns and open ports
    Up to their ships,—ay,—up to their forts;
  For Dewey is danger-blind.
Signalled the flagship, “Open fire,”        15
  And the guns belched forth their death.
    “At closer range,” was the order shown;
    Then each ship sprang to claim her own,
  And to lick her fiery breath.
Served were our squadron’s heavy guns,        20
  With gunners stripped to the waist,
    And the blinding, swirling, sulph’rous smoke
    Enveloped the ships, as each gun spoke,
  In its furious, fearful haste.
Sunk and destroyed were the Spanish ships,        25
  Hulled by our heavy shot,
    For the Yankee spirit is just the same,
    And the Yankee grit and the Yankee aim,
  And their courage which faileth not.
The first great fight of the war is fought,        30
  And who is victor,—say,—
Is there aught of the lesson now left untaught
  By the fight of Manila Bay?

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