Xanthus Russell Smith. "The Destruction of Cervera's Fleet at Santiago de Cuba July 3rd 1898."
Philadelphia, Joseph Hoover and Son, 1898. Chromolithograph. Minor water stains in sea and stains in sky from old slat backings. Bottom left corner chipped and expertly filled. A few small losses of image right hand side. Else, good condition. With an inset of Capt. Schley.
This print is after the renowned maritime painter Xanthus Russell Smith. Born in Philadelphia, the son of painters Williams Russell Smith and Mary Priscilla Wilson, Smith was educated at home and was given drawing lessons as well. He accompanied his family on several trips to Europe. Smith studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and served in the US Navy in the Civil War during the blockade of Charleston Harbor. While there, he sketched many ships. Following the war, he painted large Civil War engagements most notably of the Kearsarge and Alabama, Assault on Fort Fisher, North Carolina and the Monitor and the Merrimac. Smith lived and died in the house his father built, "Edgehill," in Glenside, PA.
The scene shows the USS Brooklyn and other ships destroying the inferior Spanish ships in the battle of Santiago. The Brooklyn was an armored cruiser which served as flagship of the "Flying Squadron" during the Spanish-American War and played a major role in the Battle of Santiago. The Flying Squadron, under the command of Winfield Schley was comprised of the battleships Texas, Massachusetts, armored cruiser Brooklyn, and several other cruisers and support craft.
After 1898, Brooklyn's tours of duty included cruises to European and Asiatic waters, as well as operating closer to home. Inactive from 1908 to 1915, she then returned to service in time for World War I, and thereafter spent most of her time in the Pacific. Decommissioned in March 1921, Brooklyn was sold late in that year.