We left Trinidad in the U. S. S. Bancroft on July 10, 1903, for Ciudad Bolivar and other points on the Orinoco river to protect American citizens and interests in Eastern Venezuela. At that time very little was known about the conditions existing there, as President Castro had closed the river to trade in May; the telegraph wires were down, and the whole Orinoco valley cut off from the outside world.
The revolutionists held Ciudad Bolivar and the country for six hundred miles up the river, while Castro's forces occupied the fort of Los Castillos and the villages below it. Three gunboats, one transport and six thousand soldiers had been sent by Castro for a combined attack on Ciudad Bolivar to take place on July 14. The American citizens in that country had not been heard from for over six weeks; three American steamers had been seized by the revolutionists and one by the government.
A trip up the Orinoco appeals to most people, and the excitement of a real live South American war with the chance of recapturing the steamers and rescuing some of our citizens added zest to this one.