ANTOFAGASTA, 10TH OCTOBER, 1879.
To The Commanding General.—
Sir:—After my arrival in Mexillones de Chile, formerly Mexillones de Bolivia, which I have reported to you in a letter of today, relating the result of my expedition to Arica, I hurried the coaling of the ships of the squadron in order that I might go with them to the south. This latter step was indicated by the repeated telegrams of the supreme government and those of the Minister-of-War at Antofagasta, which informed me that the Peruvian ships were ravaging the coast of Chile.
I ordered the commanders of the ships of the squadron to leave the port of Mexillones at a late hour of the evening, with the squadron in two divisions. One, formed of the slowest vessels, to keep the land in sight, and look into all bays, coves, and shelters, in the coast, where the enemy might lie in wait. The other, of the swiftest vessels, to keep about twenty or twenty-five miles astern of the first squadron, and further off-shore.