Historical Dictionary of the Spanish American War

By Donald H. Dyal; Brian B. Carpenter et al. | Go to book overview

V

VAMOOSE (ship)

Vamoose was a speedy yet delicate steam-powered yacht* chartered by William Randolph Hearst* and fitted out as a press boat to carry dispatches from Cuba to the United States for his New York Journal. On 24 November 1896 the Journal prominently announced the acquisition of the boat; its departure for Key West* with correspondent Charles Michaelson was proclaimed on 6 December. Government officials were suspicious about Hearst's using the ship as a filibuster* and searched it several times on its journey. No arms were found, thus supporting Hearst's claims that it was to be used solely as a press boat to bring back news uncensored by the Spanish. Hearst declared that "the first time she steams out of the harbor of Havana she will carry a cargo more fatal to Spain's hopes than all the dynamite ever made."

Writer Richard Harding Davis* and illustrator Frederic Remington* were hired by Hearst to travel from Key West to Cuba aboard Vamoose to join the rebels in Santa Clara Province. After joining the insurgents,* the correspondents were to send weekly dispatches to the Cuban coast, to be picked up by Michaelson aboard Vamoose and taken back to Key West. The vessel was delayed from leaving Key West first when the crew went on strike due to fear of arrest by Spanish authorities and later when the captain turned back due to heavy weather. Growing impatient with the repeated delays, on 9 January 1897 the pair of reporters sailed to Havana on Olivette,* a regular passenger vessel. Rather than sneaking behind the insurgents' lines, they had to settle for an official pass from the Spanish.

Hearst was the first publisher to see the need for press boats; the Journal eventually had ten such vessels, which it referred to as its "fleet." Other news organizations had smaller numbers of boats, but the total number was substantial and the cost of acquiring and operating them was a major expense for the newspapers. Although it was the first of many dispatch boats used by the press

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Historical Dictionary of the Spanish American War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Chronology of the Spanish American War xi
  • A 1
  • B 31
  • C 53
  • D 98
  • E 116
  • F 126
  • G 136
  • H 150
  • I 165
  • J 174
  • K 176
  • L 183
  • M 194
  • N 231
  • O 242
  • P 252
  • Q 272
  • R 273
  • S 286
  • T 316
  • U 331
  • V 334
  • W 341
  • Y 355
  • Z 360
  • Bibliographical Essay 363
  • Index 365
  • About the Editor and Contributors 377
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