As first lieutenant commanding revenue cutter Hudson on blockade off Cuba early in the Spanish-American War, he engaged Spanish gunboats in the harbor at Cárdenas 11 May 1898 and towed Winslow, Torpedo Boat No. 5 (see also Bagley), to safety after she had been disabled. For this action, Newcomb was awarded the first Cardenas Medal of Honor and the Congressional Gold Medal.
Newcomb subsequently served in the Coast Guard, successor to the Revenue Cutter Service, rising to Captain.
He died in Los Angeles, 20 February 1934.
Source: DANFS, Dallas Library
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the participation of this vessel in the engagement with the Spanish forces at Cárdenas on the 11th instant:
At 11.30 a.m., while off the main entrance to Cárdenas Bay, the Hudson was ordered by the senior officer present to accompany the U.S.S. Wilmington and the U.S. torpedo boat Winslow inside. All three vessels started immediately, and, after some preliminary soundings to determine the best water, passed through Blanco Channel into the bay and headed for Cardenas.
About 1 p.m., when abreast of Corogal Point, the Hudson was ordered by the commanding officer of the U.S.S. Wilmington to “go out and look at small craft.” Steamed over toward Diana Cay and skirted the western shore of the bay. Discovered no vessels, and observing that the Wilmington and Winslow were nearing Cárdenas, at 1.35 p.m. steamed toward them at full speed. At 1.45, when a little over a mile distant from our vessels, saw firing commence from the shore, which was immediately returned by our ships. At 1.50, when within range of the shore guns, the Hudson opened fire upon them with her two 6-pounders. Observing that the Winslow was quite inshore and exposed to the full strength of the enemy’s guns, ran up alongside of the Wilmington and asked if we should go to her assistance (Winslow). Received the answer, “Yes,” and at once steamed into the immediate vicinity of the Winslow, keeping up a constant and rapid fire from the Hudson’s battery upon the enemy's guns on shore. At 2.20, commanding officer of the Winslow reported his vessel totally disabled, and requested to be towed out of range. Owing to the shoal water and the rapid drift toward shore of the Winslow (the wind was on shore), it was fully thirty minutes before the Hudson succeeded in making a line fast from the Winslow and started ahead with her. The enemy kept up a constant fire during this time, which appeared to be especially directed toward the Winslow, and which was returned at every opportunity by the Winslow and Hudson.
The Winslow was towed alongside the Wilmington, from which vessel a boat was sent with a medical officer, who transferred the dead and wounded from the Winslow to the Wilmington. Finally, at about 3.30 p.m., all three vessels steamed out of the bay, the Winslow in tow of the Hudson. At about dark joined the U.S.S. Machias outside where the Winslow was anchored. At 9.15 p.m., the Hudson started for Key West with dispatches for the senior officer commanding that station, and carrying the dead and wounded from the Winslow. Reported to the senior officer commanding at Key West, at 7.10 on the morning of the 12th instant. The only damage resulting to the Hudson during the engagement was a few slight marks from small projectiles upon two of the fire-room ventilators, and a few bullet marks upon the outside of the pilot-house plating. One hundred and thirty-five shells were fired from the two 6-pounders during the action.