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War Stories: Spanish American

War Stories published under this topic are as follows:

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Spanish American April 19th 4th Inf. left Fort Sheridan for Tampa April 22nd arrived at Tampa June 7th Troops left Tampa for Port Tampa and went aboard the Transports June 14th Transports left for Cuba June 22nd After the Navy had bombarded the coast for some time the troops began disembarking at Daiquiri. After landing we found about 50 Cubans who said when the bombardment took place there was about two or three hundred Spanish soldiers behind the hills but as soon as the bombardment commenced they ran some of them lieving their rifles and ammunition behind them. The Cubans had been lying hiding behind the hills and as soon as the Spaniards ran they ran in and picked up the Spanish rifles and ammunition. They had a stack of coconuts and they were kept busy cuting them open for the men to drink the milk. Part of the troops climbed up the mountain and raised Old Glory on the top of a block house while the men cheered and the Transports blew their whistles and the gun boats fired a salute. June 23rd Found a family of Cubans consisting of Father, mother and three children the oldest about 5 years old starving to death. We carried the mother out on a strecher and the children in our arms and led the father out and the hospital took care of them. The land here is very mountainous. We marched about two or three miles through a coconut forest and went into camp. June 24th About nine oclock after hearing firing in the mountains for some time an orderly rode into camp with the news that the first Regular Cav. And the rough riders were being cut to pieces and asking for re-inforcements. We broke camp immediately and set out to reinforce the 1st Cav. and rough riders. We got lost in the mountains and did not reach the place untill about six oclock P.M. when we found the rough riders and the 1st and 10th Cav. burying their dead. It only took us about an hour and a half to get back to camp. June 25th We marched eight nearer Santiago June 26th Laid in Camp all day June 27th We marched to within six miles of Santiago and took our place on the line June 28 & 29 Laid in Camp all day June 30th About four oclock P.M. we started toward El Caney to get on the fighting line while the Milatary balloon was sent up over our heads with the engineers July 1st The ball opened at six oclock with the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Division of which I was a member held as the reserve. About nine oclock the Division commander ordered our brigade on the fighting line. The first battalion of the 4th Inf of which I was a member was ordered as the fighting line and the 2nd the reserve. We advanced and the men with wire cutters cut down a wire fence. We then advanced towards the stone block house at El Caney. Whenever we would be crossing over high ground the men would begin falling all round. The first man of the 4th Inf. to fall shot through th head was the man on my right not more than two yards from me. We would advance ten or fifteen yards at double time and lay down and fire. About 5.31 P.M. the 25th Inf. (Colored) and part of the 4th made a final charge and captured the stone block house and the earth works around it. Half an hour later all the Spanish soldiers in the town came out and surrendered. We then turned over the town to the Cubans who came marching in after the truble was all over – from God knows where and started towards San Juan hill to aid the division fighting there. We marched about two or three miles and laid down on the road going to Santiago and sleep untill about two oclock when we were awoke by the cuban pickets who reported that we were sleeping within two hundred yards of the Spanish pickets. We were ordered to fall in and as we were ready to march the pack mules came up with rations. The men were given all the rations they wanted to carry and started back over the road they had come the night before and went to San Juan hill by another road. July 2nd Arrived at San Juan hill about three o clock P.M. A detachment of ten men of which I was one was sent back for our equipments and blankets. By some mistake we started out between the lines and we had not gone far before we were greeted by a volley and the bullets came over our heads the same as if a gatlin gun was turned on us. A bluff was close to us and we laid down behind it and the bullets were whistling over our heads. After laying there for about five minutes we jumped up and ran. One man (Nichols of F Co.) was shot through the thigh. After runing some distance we stoped and found that the men had ran different roads and that there was only three of us together. When we reached the place where the equipments had been left we found all the rest of the men there. We shouldered all the equipments and blankets and started back this time going along our lines and having no truble in getting back. We arrived at our camp (which was along a little crick among a lot of underbrush and after cooking and eating supper laid to rest. About nine oclock we were awoke by a heavy fire through the underbrush. We jumped up and one man of H Co was shot through the heart while he was getting up. We ran up a small ravine road and were stationed along the head of the ravine untill the firing ceased. Then we found that the spaniards had tried to supprise us and retake San Juan hill. Our brigade although not on San Juan hill was still in a line with it. and that was the reason there was such a fire going through the underbrush. July 3rd Broke camp in the morning and started toward Santiago. About ten oclock was fired upon by the enemy. We deployed and marched about half a mile through under brush but did not see any thing. Went into camp and started to dig entrenchments. July 4th We were told there was a truce untill July 10th. Digging entrenchments all day. July 5th Turned over our entrenchments to the 7th Inf. and went farther to the right. July 6th Started diging entrenchments again July 7th, 8th and 9th Diging entrenchment and bomb proofs. July 10th Truce up at four P.M. We take our places in the entrenchment a little before four. The Spaniards at four oclock take down the flag of truce put up the spanish flag fire a volley into the air as a salute to the flag and then a volley at us. We opened fire and there was a hot fire on both sides till dark. During the battle Capt. Capron had been droping shells into the Spanish pits and drove the bigger part of them out. They started toward Santiago on a run but our gatlin guns mowed them down. We had one officer and one man killed. July 11th We opened fire on the Spanish works at daylight but after firing about two hours and received no answer from the Spaniards. The officers saw we were wasting ammunition and the order was given to cease firing. About noon the 1st D.C. marched up behind the 25th and the 71st N.Y. behind us and we were ordered farther to the right. We chased out a lot of Cubans and took their camp. The stink the Cubans left behind was enough to give us all the yellow fevor. We policed the place as good as possible and started diging entrenchments again. July 12th We had orders for the first battalion of each regament to open fire while the second advanced and dug new intrenchments. About dusk we were in our entrenchment ready to open fire when an orderly came up with an order that Gen. Shafter had given the Spaniards untill the 14th at twelve oclock to serrender. So few rations were now coming that at night when they came in the men did not have enough for supper out of what was given them for twenty four hours. July 13th Laid in camp all day July 14th At 11.45 A.M. we were ordered into our pits to be ready to open fire at 12.00. We stayed in the pits untill 12.20 P.M. wondering why they did not open fire when our Comd’g officer told the Captains to let all the men but a small guard go back down to the camp and for them to be ready to come up again at the first shot. About half an hour later an aid de Camp rode onto camp and raised both hands siad men no hollowing. The Spanish general has surrendered twenty thousand troops to Gen Shafter turning over the whole province of Santiago. July 17th All the troops were ordered infront of their entrenchmints to witness the formal surrender of Santiago about 9 a.m. After standing in front of our pits for about fifteen minutes we were marched back down the hill to camp. At 11.50 we were again marched up the hill to witness the raising of Old Glory on the Consul General’s house. As soon as the flag was raised Capt. Capron fired a salute of Twenty one guns. At the first gun all the Captains hollowed three cheers for the American flag and the American people. We yelled ourselves hoarse after which a message of thanks was read from the President of the U.S. to the 5th Army Corps July 21st Government Transports came into Santiago harbor July 23rd My time having expired I received my discharge and went to Santiago to take a transport for the U.S. July 24th Left Santiago on Transport Santiago for U.S. Foreign Service Cuba June 22nd to July 23 – 98 Arrived in Porto Rico Nov 20
Note: by Robert Turley  3583 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American During the year preceding the outbreak of the Spanish War I was Assistant Secretary of the Navy. While my party was in opposition, I had preached, with all the fervor and zeal I possessed, our duty to intervene in Cuba, and to take this opportunity of driving the Spaniard from the Western World.
Note: by Lt. Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, 1st Volunteer Cavalry  20811 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American "The WINSLOW arrived off Cardenas from Matanza at 9 a.m. on the 11th, having left her station on the blockade to obtain an additional supply of coal, the amount of fuel in her bunkers being reduced to 5 tons. I was directed to apply to Captain Todd, commanding the U.S.S. WILMINGTON, for necessary supplies. On boarding the U.S.S. WILMINGTON I was informed by her commanding officer of his intention to enter Cardenas Harbor on the afternoon of that day. I was directed to receive on board a Cuban pilot, Santos, to take with me the revenue cutter HUDSON to sound this channel, and, in company with the HUDSON, to sweep the channel for torpedoes. This work I completed by noon, except for sweeping the channel which could not be done on account of the grounding of the HUDSON. That vessel touched lightly but managed to work off without injury. The WINSLOW, therefore, dragged the channel with grapnels and returned to the WILMINGTON, reporting to captain Todd upon the practicality of the entrance. The entrance was begun at 12.30, high tide, the HUDSON on the starboard side and the WINSLOW on the port side of the WILMINGTON. As it was thought possible that gunboats might attempt to escape, the HUDSON was sent along the western side and the WINSLOW along the eastern side of the bay to intercept them in event of such movement. Not finding them the three vessels met off the town at a distance of about 3,500 yards. When in this position the WINSLOW was signaled to approach the WILMINGTON within hail and I was directed by Captain Todd to go in and investigate a small gunboat then observed for the first time, painted gray with black smokestack, apparently not under steam and moored to a wharf, to the left of which arose a compact mass of buildings close to the water front. Torpedoes were set for surface runs, the fans upon the war-noses were run up so as to provide for explosion at short range for use alongside the gunboat, and all preparations were made for immediate action. At a distance of about 1,500 yards, at which time the WINSLOW was advancing at about 12 knots, which seems her maximum speed in quiet shoal water, the first gun of the engagement was fired from the bow of the Spanish gunboat, marked by a clear puff of white smoke. This shot, which passed over the WINSLOW, was at once replied to by that ship and was the signal for the commencement from the beach of a rapidly sustained fire, characterized primarily by a total absence of smoke. At the commencement of this firing I received a flesh wound in the left thigh. As the action advanced a cloud of haze collected on shore at the location of this battery and when closer I detected one or two gun flashes from among the buildings but at no time could I detect the exact position of the guns. My uncertainty as to the position of the enemy was attested to by the commanding officer of the HUDSON and by officers commanding gun divisions on the WILMINGTON who inquired of me shortly after the action what I made out to be the enemy's exact position. At this time the wind was blowing from the ships toward the shore. The first shot that pierced the WINSLOW rendered her steam and hand-steering gear inoperative and damaged them beyond repair. Efforts to work the hand-steering gear from aft were frustrated by the wrecking of that mechanism and the rupture of both wheel ropes; relieving tackles failed to operate the rudder. For a short time the vessel was held on her bows in position by use of her propellers. She then swung broadside to the enemy. A shell now pierced her engine room rendering one engine inoperative. I directed my attention to maintaining fire from her 1-pounder guns, to keep the vessel constantly in movement, so as to reduce the chances of her being hit, to endeavoring to withdraw from short range, and to keeping clear of the line of fire of the WILMINGTON and HUDSON. The use of the remaining engine, had the effect of throwing her stern toward the enemy upon backing, while going ahead, threw her bow in the same direction. Under the heavy fire of the WILMINGTON, the fire of the enemy slackened. The Spanish gunboat was silenced and put out of action early in the engagement. The WINSLOW now being practically disabled, I signaled to the HUDSON to tow us out of action. She very gallantly approached us, and we succeeded in getting a line to her. Previous to this, the alternate rapid backing and steaming ahead of the WINSLOW had had the effect of working her out from under the enemy's batteries, and in this way a distance of about 300 yards was gained. Finding that we were working our way out in this manner, I directed Ensign Bagley to concentrate his attention upon the movement of the ship, watching the vessel so as to keep her out of the WILMINGTON's way, and to direct the movements of the man at the reversing gear, mechanical communication from deck to engine room being impracticable. This necessitated Mr. Bagley making repeated short trips from the deck to the foot of the engine room ladder while directing the vessel's course, and at the moment of being on deck he stood abreast the starboard gun close to a group of men who had been stationed below, but who had been sent on deck from the disabled machinery. A shell hitting, I believe, a hose reel, exploded instantly, killing Ensign Bagley and two others and mortally wounding two. This accident, which occurred at the close of the action, was virtually its end; the enemy fired a few more shots, but was soon completely silenced by the heavy fire of the WILMINGTON. The conduct of Ensign Bagley and the men with him, as well as that of the crew who survived the fight, is beyond commendation. After seeing the dead and wounded removed from the WINSLOW and conveyed on board the WILMINGTON, I turned over the command of the ship to Gunner's Mate G. P. Brady, my own injury preventing me from performing active duty for the time being."
Note: by Lt. J. B. Bernadou, Commander, USS WINSLOW.  4167 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American New London, Conn., September 12, 1898 The ADJUTANT GENERAL, U. S. ARMY, Washington D. C. Sir: I have the honor to submit the following report upon the service of my battery (F, Second Artillery) during the months of June and July, covering the expedition to, and operations about, Santiago de Cuba: I. The horses, men, personal baggage, and camp equipment of the battery were loaded upon the transport Berkshire, in connection with Battery A, Second Artillery, prior to June 13, 1898, and the transport hauled out into the stream; but the ship came into the slip again and the horses were unloaded and sent up to camp, awaiting the final departure of the expedition. On June 13 the horses were reloaded, and the transport hauled out and proceeded to the lower bay to await the assembling of the fleet. The guns, carriages, caissons, harness, and general battery equipment had all been previously loaded and stowed, in connection with Battery A, Second Artillery, upon the lower afterdeck of the transport Iroquois, it being possible to load and stow without dismounting any of the battery. The ammunition, and also that of Battery A, Second Artillery, was all stowed, under personal supervision, in the forward lower hold of the same transport. It is to be regretted that it was impossible to have loaded the complete battery upon any one transport; but owing to the character and arrangements of these transports, taken as they were where they could be found, such an arrangement was impossible. On the Iroquois there was room available for guns and carriages, but none for the horses. On the Berkshire horses and men could be taken, but there was no room for guns, etc. Hence, the separation of the men and horses from the guns etc., appeared unavoidable, even though undesirable. On June 14, at about 3 p. m., the fleet had got into position and proceeded to sea. The trip at sea was without particular incident of interest. Though somewhat crowded, and, from the construction and nature of the transport, without much accommodation in the way of cooking, the men got along very comfortably. They were allowed to occupy nearly the whole ship by day and sleep anywhere at night. The saloon staterooms were allotted to the noncommissioned officers. There was no sickness, and, so far as the men were concerned, nothing better could have been expected under the circumstances. As to the horses, they stood the confinement and heat of the horse deck much better than had been anticipated. It was to be regretted, however, that the horse deck, being of iron, necessitated a temporary wooden covering upon which to fasten the stanchions for the stalls and the cleats to prevent slipping. This wooden covering and the cleats formed a regular open work grill, into which chaff and manure would pack in spite of all efforts to the contrary. The build of the ship, too, was such that no gangways could be provided in rear of the horses, there being barely room for one gangway at their head; hence the manure was difficult to be got at and removed. All of this made it next to impossible to keep the horse deck as clean as it should have been. As there were but two small scuppers - one on each side - on this deck, and as the deck was said not to be tight and the hold beneath was full of cargo, no cleaning by flushing out with hose was permissible. The ventilation was defective, but through the fault of no one, being the best possible from the construction of the ship. Fresh air was admitted through two large wind sails in the forward hatches, and also through the deadlights upon each side of the ship. The side ports, one forward and one aft on each side of the ship, were so constructed that they could not be opened generally with safety; hence there was no proper exit for the foul and heated air, or any chance to cause a strong draft throughout the horse deck. The small side ports, or deadlights, were quite numerous , and could generally be kept open. They were fitted with extemporized hoods of tin, made by the battery blacksmith, and, with these hoods, admitted a good deal of fresh air while the ship was under way. By shifting the horses about continuously in a regular order, so as to bring them all in turn into the cooler and fresher part or the deck, they were kept in fair condition, with but one or two exceptions. One horse became sick and exhausted, and died; another was about gone when we were ready to unload, and died before reaching the shore, and another was overheated, and drowned from spasms while swimming ashore. With these exceptions, the horses were landed in very fair condition.It is to be understood that no criticism or fault-finding is intended by the above report as to the horse deck. It is well known and understood that transports had to be taken as they could be found and the best possible use be made of them. It is not to be supposed that a vessel built for a horse transports were to be had, and it is fully conceded that the best possible arrangements were made to convert the Berkshire into a transport upon which horses could be sent with but small risk of disaster. The same is to be said as to the limited arrangements for cooking and messing for the men. The Berkshire, from her build and previous trade in the merchant service, had simply a forward galley of size commensurate for her limited crew, and aft a small pantry for a limited number of passengers; hence nothing better could have been provided. As the men had travel rations, the main thing was to provide coffee. This was arranged for by the provision of some large barrels with a steam coil within, in which barrels the coffee could be made by steam heat. By amicable arrangements with the ships cook and captain I obtained the use of the cooks galley when not in use for the crew, and by cooking at night was thus enabled to give the men extra food above the travel ration from stores brought along for the purpose. Taken all in all, the trip by sea was by no means a great hardship; the men were cheerful and contented; there was no sickness, and nothing happened to in any way mar the success of the expedition. After arriving at the coast of Cuba the artillery was not landed for a day or two after the infantry had about all landed. Finally the order was received, and the Berkshire moved in and anchored within about 400 to 500 yards of the beach. Contrary to the teachings of the books, the horses would not swim ashore unaided. At first they were sent overboard loosely, expecting that they would swim ashore; but this was at once found to be an impracticable method, for they would swim back to the ship, or to sea - anywhere but ashore. Consequently the ships boats had to be used to tow the horses ashore, or to the edge of the surf, and then to drive them ashore, or keep them from swimming to sea. But two horses could be taken at a time, and this made many trips; especially tiresome because of rough water, and because even then, when turned loose, some of the horses refused to go ashore and had to be caught up and again brought back.The ship's crew was but limited in number, and could not manage the boats all day. They were assisted as best possible by detail of men from the batteries. But soldiers are not necessarily sailors, or, as a general rule, taught a sailorıs duty, even in rowing a boat; hence the men available for boats' crews were but few in number, greatly handicapping us in this work. We did the best we could, everyone working faithfully and zealously to get done with a long , tedious, and hard job. As it was my fortune to be one of the last to unload my horses, I could profit from observation. I therefore sent a trumpeter and a heavy detail of men ashore, some of whom were fearless swimmers. By this means I got my horses ashore without much trouble. After they were turned loose from the boats the trumpeter would sound some familiar call and the men would rush in to catch up some horse about to turn back, frightened by the surf. The trumpet appeared to attract their attention and give them confidence, and, a bunch of horses being purposely kept in sight on the beach, the most of them would come through the surf to the trumpet to join those in sight. Unfortunately , as I began unloading late in the afternoon, darkness prevented its full accomplishment that day, and it had to be finished the next morning; but the last horse was unloaded and all in camp at the picket line before 8 a. m. After the horses were all on shore one-half of the battery was sent on shore under the orders received to care for them, the rest being held on board to be available for unloading the battery whenever this became possible. On June 25 a boat came alongside to take the men to the Iroquois for this purpose. I went in charge of my men and unloading was begun at once. Everything had to be hoisted up through the hatches and lowered onto the barge alongside. This was successfully accomplished by my battery in exactly one hour and three-quarters. On this barge was Battery A, Second Artillery, as well as my own, and everything belonging to the battery equipment, except the ammunition, was unloaded on June 25. There was no room for this ammunition after the two batteries were unloaded, and, furthermore, a tug came along to take the barge to the dock just as the loading of the harness was completed, and would not have waited for any further loading; hence the ammunition was not touched. It is to be remarked that all of this unloading by my battery was with my own men, assisted by the first and second mates of the ship, and wholly unassisted by any stevedores. By daylight on June 26 a detail was sent to the Iroquois to break out and begin loading the ammunition on the barge to send ashore. This barge had been sent back to the Iroquois some time during the night, after the batteries had been unloaded from it to the shore. It was long after dark before I finished unloading my battery to the shore, as I was prevented from working except when the track was clear from its then use in unloading small-arms ammunition from small boats. The officer in charge of this work permitted me to unload so long as such unloading did not stop his work; hence there were times when I had to wait and do nothing, waiting for the one track and only road to be clear to permit me to run a gun or a caisson on shore. This is only mentioned as a sample of the difficulties under which we worked. On June 26, while one detail was at work unloading ammunition from the Iroquois, the rest of the men on the Berkshire were hard at work stowing away and arranging the property to be left back and packing up their own kits and rations preparatory to going ashore. While so engaged, a steam launch came alongside and General Shafter in person ordered everybody and everything on board said launch to go on shore. It is not the place here to mention what transpired before we got on shore; that can be made the subject of a special report if necessary. Suffice it to say that finally the ammunition came on shore, and everyone went zealously to work to load up the battery with ammunition, draw rations and forage, and get in shape to move to the front. The battery was in shape and pulled out by 3 p.m., June 26, and marched to within a short distance of Siboney, and there bivouacked for the night. On June 27 we were again on march shortly after daylight, passed by Siboney, and thence on to the front, camping near General Wheeler’s headquarters beyond Sevilla. June 28, 29, and 30 were passed in this camp. On June 29, in the evening, orders were received to be ready to move at a momentıs notice in the morning. At daylight, July 1, we were therefore harnessed up and ready to move. At about 7 a. m. orders were received to proceed to and report at General Shafter’s headquarters at the front. This order was complied with, and my battery, in company with Battery K, First Artillery (Captain Best’s), was parked just off the road near these headquarters, and were here held in reserve for some hours, the exact time not taken. Finally, about noon, orders were received to move to the front. We then proceeded to and took position upon the hill near El Poso. From this position we could see San Juan Hill, and we were given it as our objective. Captain Best’s battery, on my right, followed by my battery, opened upon the entrenchments and so-called blockhouse upon the extremity of the hill, all clearly to be seen from our position. At this time our line of infantry was clearly to be seen lying down near the foot of San Juan Hill, and the enemy’s fire was plainly seen with field glasses coming from the entrenchments and blockhouse. My first shot was fired with a range of 2,450 yards, and was plainly seen to land in the enemyıs entrenchments; following this with another shot, at 2,475 yards, the shell again landed beyond the first, but in the entrenchments; the next shot, at 2,500 yards range, hit the blockhouse, and my last shot, at the same range, also hit the blockhouse. This firing was slow and deliberate, to be sure of the right range, and every shot was carefully watched to see it land; hence the knowledge as to just what each shot did. In the meantime captain Best’s battery also landed four shell in the entrenchments. I had obtained the range at which he intended to fire and purposely increased it so as to shoot and hit in some place beyond. These eight shots were all that were known to have been fired, as Captain Grimes's battery, on the right of Captain Best’s, was busy in refilling ammunition chests at the time, and was not firing. After my fourth shot I received the order to cease firing, and running out of the smoke again to get a clear view, I saw with my glasses, and also with the unaided eye, that our infantry had rushed upon and captured the position , and were swarming about the blockhouse. As I had stepped back into the smoke to reload after the fourth shot, and was busy reloading, I did not see the enemy abandon the position, nor our infantry when they made the charge up the hill. But it was all apparently done in but the few moments required for me to superintend the loading for the second round, the signal “cease firing” being given within but a moment or two after my last shot. Our infantry having captured the extremity of the hill and the blockhouse, there was no further firing possible at this objective. Orders were at first received to prepare for camp in this position upon El Paso Hill, and they were made accordingly. The guns were put in better position, the caissons parked under the protection of the hill, and a picket line was being prepared for the horses. Before this was finished, however, orders were received to move up to the front and take position with Captain Bestıs battery, which had been previously moved to the front, and had gone into action from the top of San Juan Hill. The battery was at once moved to the front, but before arriving there word was received to take another road, leading us finally to a ridge in rear of San Juan Hill. Here Captain Best’s battery was found upon this ridge, and my battery went into position on his left. The name of this ridge is unknown. It had evidently been the scene of an engagement earlier in the day, as dead bodies and spent shells were found upon it. Upon the crest to the right was a house, and near my position were two large iron cauldrons with a pipe line leading thereto. Under the hill was another house, in which were some of our killed and wounded, and behind it a small clearing in the woods, within which our horses and caissons were located. From this ridge it was impossible for our guns to be of any service. San Juan Hill was higher and but a short distance in our front, and completely hid the enemy. Consequently nothing could be done from this position. The battery remained in this position until shortly after midnight, and was then moved forward to the crest of San Juan Hill at its right-hand end, and there took position in company with Battery A, Second Artillery, on my right, and Battery K, First Artillery, on my left. Infantry rifle pits had been dug upon the crest of this ridge, and we were ordered to dig gun pits and be ready to bombard Santiago by daylight. These gun pits were dug, and the guns were in position according to orders long before daylight. As daylight opened and it was just about light enough to distinguish Santiago in the distance, the enemy opened fire upon us in our front, and the batteries replied with a fire of canister as long as it lasted, and then in my battery with shrapnel cut to zero. It was perfectly evident that the enemy had advanced, during the night or early dawn, under cover of the undergrowth and jungle that covered the Santiago side of San Juan Hill, and from this cover was pouring in a tornado of lead. Within a very short time after the opening of this fire I was twice wounded, and after the second wound, which broke my arm, was taken to a dressing station under the hill. After having my arm dressed, and being unable to go back to the battery, I remained at the dressing station until the firing was over. From my position I could and did watch the burst of shrapnel from the enemyıs guns. This shrapnel fire was all, or nearly all, too high, and with fuses cut too long, as it all burst beyond the crest of the hill where the batteries were placed. The bursts were about on a line with the dressing station; hence the fragments all passed beyond, and no fragments were heard to strike anywhere near us. Their only effect was to make the road from the rear dangerous to those advancing. After the firing was over I proceeded to the rear to the division hospital, had my arm dressed, and from there was sent to Siboney. At Siboney, finding the hospital crowded, I was sent on board the Iroquois with a party of officers and men able to travel, and proceeded to Key West, and from Key West to Port Tampa, and thence home upon leave of absence. Hence, I am unable to give anything further as to the operations of my battery. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, C. D. Parkhurst Captain, Second Artillery, Light Battery F.
  3649 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American "A regiment of the Second Brigade was jamming itself through the trail, and then came some of the Sixteenth Infantry's bandsmen. In battle, bandsmen followed a regiment and carried off the wounded. The band leader and the drum major were swearing earnestly. A soldier stumbled and dropped. His rifle fell from his hand. On the instant a bandsman darted forward, throwing his tenor horn into the brush. He grabbed the rifle and unbuckled the dead man's cartridge belt. It was this sort of thing that the drum major was swearing about - half the bandsmen had discarded their instruments and picked up rifles and cartridge belts. 'You hear me, pick up that goddamn horn! You hear me!' The bandsman paid no attention. 'You pick up that goddamn horn!' shrilled the drum major. ' An' that's an order!' The bandsman looked at him. 'Not by a goodamsite, Dan' he said. 'You think I'm agoin to get shot at an' not shoot back!' 'Goddam!' ejaculated the drum major. He darted at another bandsman, who was unbuckling a cartridge belt from a soldier who had been wounded - and who was helping him do it. The band had few instrumens left; but for every missing horn or fife there was a Krag rifle and a belt of cartridges. A fortnight later I saw some of those instruments; they had bullet holes in them, they were dented and battered and roughly straightened out."
Note: by Private Charles Johnson Post.  3256 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American IN THE TRENCHES IN FRONT OF SANTIAGO DE CUBA. July 8, 1898 To the REGIMENTAL ADJUTANT TWELFTH UNITED STATES INFANTRY. SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of operations of Company F in the combat at Caney, near this place, July 1 last: Company arrived in vicinity of stone blockhouse as part of Second Battalion (Haskell's). After some maneuvering it reached a position behind a hedge, about 450 yards east of blockhouse about 11 a. in. It remained there firing on blockhouse during the right. Between 3 and 4 p.m. the company, one by one, sneaked into the dead space in a ravine immediately in front of its position behind the hedge. About 4 p.m., at the suggestion of General Chaffee, brigade commander, the company advanced up the southeast slope to the blockhouse supported by Company A, Twelfth Infantry. No resistance was met during the advance. Three armed Spaniards were found in the trench in front of blockhouse. They surrendered. Nine men and one officer (Second Lieutenant Canalda) were captured inside the blockhouse. Soon after other troops followed and a vigorous fire was received from the town, which was duly returned. The firing finally ceased about 4.30, I judge, and the battle was ended. Casualties in Company F: Behind the hedge - First Sergeant Miller and Private Scott, killed; Corporal Schendelmeyer, wounded. At the blockhouse – Sergeant Wilson and Private Gering, killed. In the ravine (fire from town) – Private Moore, wounded. I Respectfully submitted. WALLIS O. CLARK, Captain, Twelfth Infantry, Commanding Company F.
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Spanish American "On June 15, 1898, the dynamite cruiser VESUVIUS, of which so much had been expected, was at last tested, with what result it remained for the Spaniards cooped up in Santiago harbor to report. The swift craft crept unobserved to within 600 yards of the mouth of the harbor, and, after discharging 1,500 pounds of ammunition at the Spanish ships and the fortification within, escaped unharmed. A Cuban pilot and Ensign L. C. Palmer, who had made the trip ashore and were acquainted with the location of the ships of Admiral Cervera's squadron and the batteries, went aboard the vessel, and she was ordered to the mouth of the harbor. The last order issued to her from the flagship was to be very deliberate. The VESUVIUS took up her position and fired three shots in as many minutes, one from each of her aerial dynamite tubes. The report was a peculiar one, sounding like a cough. There was no recoil perceptible. The first shot struck near the ridge of the hills, and exploded with a tremendous roar, not unlike the thunder of a shell. There was, however, very little flame. The light emitted was rather in the nature of a glow. An immense volume of red earth was blown straight up into the air to a height of 200 feet. The effect of the second shot, which struck higher up on the cliff, was similar to that of the first. The third shot went over the hill, and probably reached the supposed location of the torpedo boats in the harbor. Only two shots were fired in answer by the forts, and these were apparently delivered at random. The VESUVIUS backed out at a high rate of speed, although she was moving with her engines reversed. She swept by the lighthouse tender that was lying to seaward, which was getting away from the fire of the forts, passing her as though she was lying at anchor. The men on the VESUVIUS were delighted with their work and anxious to try their guns again. They expected and were eager to go straight into the harbor, but the effect of the shots were not such as justified an attempt to pass the lower batteries, and VESUVIUS did not repeat her attack."
Note: by General Marcus J. Wright.  4238 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American FROM OUR OWN SOLDIER BOYS. Tampa, Florida, June 5th, 1898 Capt. T.W.Collier, Raton, New Mexico. My Dear Captain: To-day being Sunday and the ‘rough riders’ being religiously inclined, divine services were well attended. As a matter of course the officers were all present and a goodly number of the troopers. Promptly at nine o’clock Chaplain Brown ascended the pulpit, (a bale of hay in the shade of a large pine tree), and opened the service by singing that familiar hymn, “My Country ‘tis of Thee.” Taking for his text, “Put ye in the sickle for the harvest is ripe” the chaplain delivered an able and instructive sermon, after which the services were closed by singing the hymn, “God be with you ‘till we meet again.” Monday, June 6th This morning we had regimental drill, lasting over two hours. Many and difficult movements were successfully executed after which the Colonel complimented the boys on their rapid improvement. At two o’clock this afternoon, Colonel Wood announced that the seventy men out of each eight troops (there are eighty men in each troop) should break camp and pack up immediately and prepare to embark for Cuba. This news was received with great rejoicing by the troops that were ordered to go. The troops that were to be left behind could not help showing a feeling of sadness, but they cordially congratulated the lucky ones. Troop G, being made up of good material is, of course, one of the eight troops above mentioned. Our captain, (Captain Llewellen) selected the seventy men who are to go with us, and I am proud to say that not one of the Raton boys in the troop is to be left behind. All are to go. They have behaved remarkably well, have been obedient and attentive to their duties. They are indeed a credit to the “Gate City.” Tuesday, June 7th. Everything is quiet in camp this morning. We are patiently awaiting the order to march. We expect to go aboard the transports this afternoon. Wednesday, June 8th. We are on board the transport “Yucatan.” It is a beautiful day with a good breeze blowing. There are several vessels loaded with troops. In all there are about 25,000 soldiers. It is indeed a grand sight. As each vessel is loaded she is drawn out of the channel by a steam tug, amid the waving of flags, the blowing of whistles and the cheers of several thousands of people. The most hearty good will prevails. The men are wild with glee at the prospect of going to Cuba. I don’t know whether we will sail to-night or not. I hope we will, as all are very anxious to go. Thursday, June 9th. We are still in the bay, all of the transports are loaded and anchored here in the bay. It was reported that some Spanish war ships were seen last evening off the coast of Florida, within six hours sail of us. We will not sail until it is found whether or not the report is true. If the report is true it must be that only a small portion of the Spanish fleet is shut up in the harbor of Santiago. I will write you as often as possible and keep you posted as to our where-abouts. So long as we remain here mail can be sent ashore on dispatch boats. The boat is about to go now so I will have to quit. I am feeling fine. The boys all join me in sending kindest regards to the people of Ratonin general. P.S. Please mention in THE RANGE that mail for the regiment may be sent to Tampa. It will be forwarded from here to whatever place the regiment may be stationed. Mail for our boys should be sent to Troop G, 1st U.S.V. Cavalry. D.J.Leahy The Raton Range, July 21, 1898: San Juan Heights A Description of the Fight by One of Raton’s Soldiers who was There! By Lieut. DAVID J. LEAHY. To CAPTAIN T. W. COLLIER: At 3:30 o’clock, p.m., June 30th, the order to break camp was given. At about 4:30 the march was commenced toward Santiago with “G” Troop in the lead. After traversing many rough roads and crossing two streams, we went into camp at 9:30 p.m. Our camp was on the eastern slope of a ridge thickly overgrown with high grass and Spanish bayonets. The battery consisting of four field pieces being placed in our front about 70 yards distant. Coffee was made and supper eaten and the boys quietly turned in being somewhat tired after their long and tedious march. At 4:30 in the morning we were quietly awakened by Lieut. Woodbury Kane, who was officer of the guard, no reveille being sounded on account of our close proximity to the Spanish lines. Breakfast, consisting of coffee and hard tack was quickly prepared and eaten, after which the order was issued to roll up bedding preparatory to commencing the march. Just before sunrise the Grimes battery (the same that opened the fight at the Battle of Gettysburg at the same hour on the same day thirty five years ago) fired the first shot into the Spanish lines. After six shells had been fired by our batteries, suddenly, and without any warning, we heard the whirl of a Spanish shell. Their aim was true and the fuse had been well timed, for the shell burst immediately over us, and we began discussing the advisability of moving. Our time for consideration was brief, for in less than two minutes another shell landed among us, wounding several of our men, among whom were Ash and McSparron of Troop “G.” We were then ordered to march to the left a distance of 200 yards. This took us out of range of the artillery fire of the Spaniards and we quietly watched the battle between the big guns. After a few hours firing the Spanish batteries ceased replying and the supposition was that they were silenced. Almost simultaneously with the beginning of the battle by the Grimes battery, Gen. Lawton’s division on El Caney two and one half miles to our right. In a short time information came to us that Gen. Lawton was heavily engaged and we were ordered to march to his assistance. While marching toward the left to El Caney, we found that the Spaniards had taken up a strong position on San Juan Heights, two parallel ridges, one about 250 yards in the rear of and nearer Santiago than the other. We were about 400 yards distant from the first ridge and partially concealed by underbrush when we were fired upon by the Spaniards from the ridge. Orders were given to be down but not to return the Spanish fire, as their exact position was not yet known. Here we were compelled to remain for a period of three hours, the bullets whistling over our heads amongst the trees and some of them cutting the grass close beside us. It was indeed a trying position, but none of the boys murmured. It was while in this position that Capt. O’Neil of Troop “A” was killed and Lieut. Haskell of “F” Troop was mortally wounded. Finally the order to move forward was given and was indeed readily obeyed. Our next position was on the road leading to the left of the ridge. Here a halt was called while the field officers surveyed the ground and decided upon the movement to be made by each troop. In front of the Spanish works and between us and them was an open field 300 yards in width. Having but four pieces of artillery, it was decided that the ridges could be captured only by making a charge. The order to charge was given and with loud cheers the men leaped forward. We had no shelter and were in plain sight of the Spaniards, yet the men pressed eagerly forward, the main work of the officers being to keep the fastest runners back in the line. They ran forward, cheering wildly, and when within 80 yards of the trenches the Spaniards broke and ran. It was then the sharp reports of the Krag-Jorgesen Rifles could be heard and many a Spaniard fell backward and found his last resting-place in the trench he had so lately occupied. The coolness of our men was remarkable, and that their aim was true, the number of Spaniards that lie in close proximity to the trenches is the best evidence. After being driven from the first ridge, the Spaniards fled to the second ridge, there taking up a similar position to that occupied on the first one. On reaching the top of the ridge a halt was called to re-form our ranks which were somewhat broken during the charge. Some of our men were killed and many wounded, but we had gained the ridge and as soon as the Stars and Stripes were planted on the works on which the Spanish flag was flying a few minutes before a ringing cheer went up from thousands of throats. Our ranks having been re-formed, it was decided to drive the Spaniards from the second ridge. We started forward on double time. It was at this juncture that a Mauser bullet pierced my right arm, breaking the bone and turning me completely around. Serj. (Rol) Fullenwider, who was near me seeing that I was wounded, helped me over the crest of the hill and beyond the reach of the Spanish bullets. He then cut away my sleeve and helped to bind up the wound, then returning to the troop while I was taken to the hospital by one of the hospital stewards. About five minutes after being wounded, an exultant cheer reached my ears and I knew the second ridge had been taken and the Battle of San Juan Heights was ended. The Americans had again won and the Spaniards were again defeated. D. J. LEAHY
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Spanish American I was just closing a letter to my family when I felt the crash of the explosion. It was a bursting, rending, and crashing sound, or roar of immense volume, largely metallic in character. It was succeeed by a metallic sound - probably of falling debris - a trembling and lurching motion of the vessel, then an impression of subsidence, attended by an eclipse of the electirc lights and intense darkness within the cabin.
Note: recounted by Captain Charles D. Sigsbee, USS MAINE, Commanding Officer.  13486 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American USS New York, 3 July 1898 Sir-I have the honor to make the following report upon the battle with and the destruction of the Spanish squadron, commanded by Admiral Cervera, off Santiago de Cuba, on Sunday, July 3, 1898. The enemy's vessels came out of the harbor between 9.35 and 10 AM, the head of the column appearing around Cay Smith at 9.31, and emerging from the channel five or six minutes later.
Note: by Admiral Sampson, USN  9128 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American On board the steamer Orizaba June 14th 1898 Today at 9 o’clock, our boat left her moorings at the dock (at Tampa) and cast anchor at the mouth of the bay till 3:30, when she weighed anchor as our fleet of 32 transports carrying 2,300 men were ready to start on our long and perilous journey of 900 miles to Santiago de Cuba. It was a magnificent sight to see the fleet as it put to sea. The transports were arranged in columns of fours at 400 yards interval flanked on either side with the small gunboats and the deadly torpedo boats while the heavy gunboats took up the advance guard. Our boat is one of the largest and fastest in the fleet. Being six hundred tons lading it carries immense stores of dynamite and gun cotton for Sampsons’ fleet. The evening of the 15th we sighted a lighthouse of Dry Tortugas Island. Half an hour later, we are joined by the battleship, Indiania and the firing of the necessary salutes at this hour of the night brings everybody on deck expecting to see a naval engagement. It was also rumored on board that it was a Spanish man o war and the dispatch boat Hornet passed us giving the Captain orders to go full speed for 8 knots then await orders. It was generally believed the the rumor was true and much excitement prevailed for the next hour. When all retired for the night in the hold when some fellow had an attack of the night mare. He jumped from his bunk yelling at the top of his voice "We are lost, lost, lost!" Men jumped from their bunks with rifle in hand and a general stampede for the hatchway followed, but it was soon learned that it was a false alarm and the men again retired after much growling at the poor fellow. The time has passed until now without any incident worth notice. The sea has been very calm. It is amusing to see so many strange fish. Among them are the flying fish, which rise at the boat’s bow like birds on land. At the approach of an intruder we have also seen several man-eating sharks. Our course is south through the Gulf of Mexico to Dry Tortugas, east from there through the Florida straights to the great Bahama Channel, thence south through the windward passage east of Cuba in the Atlantic Ocean then westward through the Carribean Sea to Santiago. Today June 17 we sight land for the first time since we left the U.S. It being a small island on the north of Cuba, we are now between the Isle of Cuba and the Bahama Islands. Friday the 18th, we are now in the windward passage, the sea is very rough and many a poor fellow is hanging his head over the rail looking seaward. At 2 o’clock the Indiania sighted two Spanish boats headed for us and a race for life ensued but as they were light boats they pulled into shallow water and our vessels were unable to follow. Struck through: Sunday 19th nothing of any importance. Monday 20th our boat is now headed westward on the south of Cuba and we are nearing our journeys end. We are now possibly 5 miles from the Island and a great mountain system is to be seen rising majestically above the water with peaks pointing heavenward. It has been a marvelous trip throughout. Could we realize the danger we are in, any wave could conceal a torpedo boat which would shoot a deadly torpedo under us and hurl us into eternity without a moments notice, but no one gives it a single thought. We are crowded very closely in the boat not unlike sardines and some of our officers treat us very mean, especially those who joined the regiment lately from West Point and have never seen service before. One in particular mentioning that enlisted men were like a pack of curs and any place was good enough for them. We occupy less than half of the vessel and the few officers occupy the rest We also feed very poorly and it is wonderful that men can keep up asthey do on such poor diet and crowed so closely in the hold of the vessel, but there is very little sickness except sea sickness. Today the 22nd and we land in an hour. On the evening of the 20th we saw our first sea action. It was our batteries along the shore. It was a magnificent sight to see. The cannon belching forth long streams of fire every tick of the watch. Struck through: Yesterday 21st there was a battle The mouth of the bay is not more than 100 feet wide and just back of it is very large mountains with peaks towering high above the clouds and 14 miles away up this bay is Santiago. Just back of these mountains a fierce fight took place yesterday, 150 Spaniards were killed, 18 captured and 6 of our Marines were lost. Many of our men cried when they learned of the fight that they could not take part. Our boat is the second to land. Well, we ready to Disembark and I will mail this on the boat. Good bye and Regards to all Your son and Brother, Morg
Note: by Morgan James Lewis.  4716 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American When we left our anchorage at Hong Kong for Mirs Bay we passed close to an English army hospital-ship lying in the stream. The patients gathered on the port-side, and, with the doctors and nurses, gave three hearty cheers as we steamed slowly by. It did our hearts good, and from all our ships ringing Yankee voices answered them in kind.
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Spanish American SIR: At 9 a. m., July 3, I gave orders and arrangements were made for general muster at 9.30 a. m. At 9.30 a. m. the enemy were telegraphed by the Iowa as Coming out. At the same time they were discovered by the quartermaster on watch, N. Anderson, of this ship, and reported to the officer of the deck.
Note: account written July 7, 1898.  9344 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American U.S.S. Maine Havana, Cuba Dear Father, I received your loving letter a few days ago and was pleased to hear from you. I would have written sooner but owing to us having to been ordered to sea so soon. I didn't have any chance. We are now in Havana Cuba. We arrived here yesterday after a five hour run around a place called Dry Tartogos a small Florida reef. We were out to sea when the orders came for us to proceed to proceed at once to Havana. We are the first American ship that has been here in six years. We are now cleared for action with every gun in the ship loaded and men stationed around the ship all night. We are also ready to land a battalion at any moment. By the looks of things now I think we will have some trouble before we leave. We steamed the whole length of Cuba and about every mile you can see puffs of smoke and the Spainards firing on the rebels. There are three German ships (?) loading. here was Old Moro Castle stands at the entrance of the harbor, there are thousands of Spanish inside you can see them all sitting on the walls at any time of the day. This is a landlocked harbor but I think we could get out of it all right although we are in a pretty dangerous position at the present time and we hardly know when we are safe. Well dear Father I will now have to close sending my best love and wishes to all and hoping that I may be alive to see you all again. I remain you loving son. Charles U.S.S. Maine in the charge of Council General of the United States Havana, Cuba
Note: by Charles Hamilton, Apprentice, 1st Class, Battleship Maine.  4429 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American It was suggested to me that I give a talk or write a paper on my experiences last summer, experiences that to me were the most interesting and exciting I suppose I will ever have. As it was left to me to select the method, I have chosen this as the easier, not that I always choose the easier way when I have an alternative, but only when I think it is the better way.
Note: by Bertram Willard Edwards of Chicago, a member of the Naval Reserve, USS OREGON.  9888 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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