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World War I Dear Captain Gunyon: Replying to your first series of questions, concerning the 76th. Brigade of Royal Field Artillery: The 76th Brigade was supporting the Canadian Infantry which was holding the line in front of Vimy. The brigade consisted of four batteries of 18 pounders (field guns) and one battery of 4.5 inch Howitzers. The cover of the guns, while poor was, I suppose, as good as that usually occupied by field guns in position only a few days, and the quarters of the gun crews were in cellars near the guns, but the shells thrown at us were eight inch, and armour piercing. At least the artillery men said that they were armour piercing, and after viewing the effects of their explosions I was in no position to argue with them. After several dugouts had been blown in, some of the uninjured personnel set to work digging out the injured while the bombardment was in progress and it was this rescue work which was carried out under scanty or no cover. The bombardment lasted from 1 p.m. until 10 p.m., with a few periods of lull, and was apparently counter battery work on the part of the enemy. Our guns were not in action. As you surmise, the gun crews had taken refuge in cellars, not anticipating a bombardment of such intensity with heavy stuff. Gas shells and high explosion were intermingled. My work consisted in dressing the wounded, checking hemorrhage, giving a hypo of morphine when necessary and seeing that the injured were evacuated to the rear. The gas used that day was the deadly sweetish smelling phosgene. It was my first experience with gas in warfare and I wore a mask part of the time and instructed the men to do so whenever there was a dangerous concentration. You ask about my own reaction: It was of course very disconcerting to endeavor to dress wounded while shells were showering debris about[,] and the possibility of being in the next few seconds in the same plight as the terribly wounded men I was dressing, occurred to me every now and then. The whole thing seemed rather unreal, particularly when it occurred to me, busy as I was, that the killing was being done deliberately and systematically. I felt particularly sorry for the young artillery men, (and many of them were about 19) who were being subjected to the ordeal. I remember one man who had a ghastly wound which would obviously prove fatal in a short time, pleading with me, amidst the turmoil of the explosions, to shoot him. I heard that same request several times later while serving with the infantry. Every soldier who has seen action since knows that it requires the highest type of stamina and bravery for troops to lie in a trench and take a heavy shelling without being demoralized and panic stricken, therefore I shall always remember the orderly rescue work carried on by the officers and men of the artillery in the face of the concentrated shelling that occurred that afternoon. You ask about the work of the artillery officers. They very bravely and ably directed the men in the work of rescue and tried to keep gun crews intact as nearly as possible, in order to fire at any time, should orders to do so, be received. During the trench tours in front of Lens, I usually had a deserted gun pit or cellar communicating with the support trench as a dressing station. The actions about the G[um] Crossin and La Coulotte, though attended by heavy casualties, were more in the nature of raids or diverting attacks, than holding attacks, therefore, I did not accompany the attacking parties. During a trench tour I stuck close to the dressing station if the enemy was active, in order to look after the injured, if things were quiet I visited the different headquarters of the platoons and companies holding the line. Going into the line was sometimes the most disagreeable part of the tour, because of the darkness, danger of getting lost, the mud, and the shelling of the roads just behind the line. The Passchendaele Campaign was carried on in a sea of mud. I have never seen a drearier sight than the salient in front of Ypres--churned up mud with mucky shell holes and never a tree as far as the eye could reach. It was necessary to march single file on duck walk because of the mud for a distance of five or six miles when going in for a tour. We were machine- gunned and bombed from the air and subjected to a terrific shelling on the way in and nothing like a real trench system was possible, the line being held by a series of posts in shell holes. My dressing station was located beside a concrete "pill box", an old German strong point. Captain Dunlap, medical officer of the 102nd Battalion, who was later killed, shared the dressing station with me. I had never met Dunlap before and when he appeared at our rendevous, with four days growth of black beard on his face, a torn tunic and string like remnants of puttees, he looked so much like a stage hobo that I burst out laughing in his face. He was a fine chap and we became good friends. The stretcher bearers had a very difficult time. The whole area was subjected to continuous shelling by the enemy. The pill box afforded shelter on one side for the dressing station and sheets of camouflage and canvas formed the roof. When no wounded were coming in Dunlap and I would crawl into the pill box for greater security. We kept no enlisted personnel with us as there was literally no place where they could stand without sinking to their knees in mud and the number of wounded men was not so great but that the two medical officers could do all that could be done. When we were relieved by the medical officer of the English unit that took over[;] Dunlap, and I, with Captain A.A. Gray, adjutant of the 75th, started back towards Ypres, over the duckwalk. The different platoons of our battalion had trickled back as they were relieved. The two way duckwalk was, as usual, shelled heavily. We were passing the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders coming when a shell got a direct hit among them about 200 feet ahead of us. Their dead and wounded, lying in grotesque attitudes, were being cleared away by their comrades with feverish haste as we dog trotted past the smoking shell hole. We did not stop because their own medical unit was on the job, they had plenty of help and each unit was supposed to take care of its own casualties. Regarding the citation for the Military Cross: "The open ground" mentioned consisted of the wheat fields and other flat unwooded ground through which we passed between Beaucourt and Le Quesnel on the immediate left of the Amiens-Roye road. As we advanced we were frequently under direct observation by enemy balloons directing artillery fire. When one shell landed half a dozen others were pretty sure to land in a very short time within a radius of 50 yards or so of where the first one did, consequently when the first few caused casualties they had to be attended in a shower of debris caused by the explosion of succeeding shells. It was necessary to pass through the streets of Le Quesnel several times during the barrage in order to find the wounded who were scattered throughout the town. I supervised their collection, during lulls in the shelling in a cellar I used as a dressing station. The platoons furnished stretcher bearers. My medical section, consisting of a sergeant, corporal and two privates were with me part of the time, or were in the dressing station when I was out, or they themselves were engaged in looking for wounded. As the 4th C.M.R. and tanks pushed through the village the shelling again became intense. The Germans were about 240 yds. outside the village. As Corporal Adnitt, and Private Marigold and myself were attending to some wounded in a d[inur]y near a street corner that was being heavily shelled, a company of the 4th C.M.R. went by. As the hind of the company reached the street corner about a hundred feet away a shell landed in their midst. About six men went down. As they were going into an attack they could not stop to take care of their wounded. Adnitt, Marigold and I ran to them. The Company Commander lay on his face with the back of his head sheared off. I recall that he had the rank and name of "Captain MacDonald" written on some of his equipment. Three other men were killed and lay beside him. The Company Sergeant Major had his leg blown off just above the knee and several men had less severe injuries. We put hurried dressings on the wounded and got them off the corner, which was a very hot spot, into shelter as quickly as possible. One of the men who had been killed was evidently carrying phosphorous smoke bombs. These set his clothing on fire. We tried to extinguish the fire, but his clothing and body seemed shot through with the phosphorous and it was impossible to put it out. The nature of his wound made it evident that he had been instantly killed and as shells were falling about at a lively rate, we left him. Later in the day when the enemy had been pushed back and things had quieted down I saw his body again. He was almost incinerated. I dressed very few enemy wounded in Le Quesnel, as they had evidently been able to evacuate them before we took the village. A day or so later we came across a temporary tent hospital of the Germans full of wounded. These my men and I dressed until they could be evacuated as a matter of ordinary humanity. I might add that they were very grateful. I am attaching a very rough sketch of the Sept. 2nd attack. The Germans did not use very much gas that day in our sector. I do not think they used the bayonet much either, though I was not in a position to know. I kept no copy of the notes that I sent you and do not know what details concerning Sept 2nd. I gave to you. My medical detail and I worked along the crest attending to the wounded when the battalion was held up short of its objective. The rifle, machine gun and artillery fire was intense. We got to the wounded by crawling or running in a stooping position and when the fire became too hot flattened out on the ground like limpets on a rock. My Sergeant, Harry Munnell received the D.C.M. and my Corporal, George Adnitt received the M.S.M. for work done that day. I cannot speak too highly of their gallantry and devotion to duty. Concerning Capt. Dunlop (who by the way, is to be distinguished from Capt. Dunlap the M.O. of the 102nd Battalion previously mentioned): He was first hit in the abdomen by a rifle bullet, as he led his company over the crest. He had advanced in the face of a [wither]ing fire, swinging his walk- ing stick nonchalantly. There wasn't much chance for conversation as I dressed him but he did ask if we were having many casualties. Twenty or thirty minutes later when I was near him again he told me that he had been hit in the thigh as he lay there. We put him in a shell hole. His first wound being in the abdomen it was advisable to get him back to the C.C.S. for opera- tion as soon as possible, so Sergeant Munnell and I stopped three or four German prisoners to press them into service as stretcher bearers. An enemy field gun about a mile away, ahead and to our right, began firing at us and the first or second shell landed among us, or so it seemed to me, I was knocked into the shell hole with one of the Germans on top of me; Munnell was knocked to the ground, a wounded man who was lying near had his ear nearly taken off and the other two Germans, wounded and shrieking, ran toward our lines. As I struggled out from under the German, he was groaning and crying, and I spoke to him sharply to get him to remove his weight from me. Dunlop said "He's badly hit Doc. Look at his face." I looked, and the face was gray. At the same time I saw a wound in his thigh with the blood spurting from a severed femoral. As I put a tourniquet above the wound he moved a little and I saw that the whole side of his chest was torn out. He expired in less than a minute. Meanwhile the field gun continued to fire at us, about every 10 or 15 seconds, I should say, landing its shells usually within 15 or 30 yards. As the four of us, Munnell, Dunlop, another wounded man and myself lay in the shell hole the din was terrific, with machine gun and rifle fire ahead, our low flying planes swooping to within 50 feet of the ground and firing at the enemy and shell explosions all about. Someone remarked that it was no place to sit and read the paper and another observed that there would be an awful mess if Fritz ever got a direct hit on our shell hole. In a short time the enemy fell back and the fire abated, and we were able to get Dunlop and the other casualties scattered along the crest, back a couple of hundred yards or so, to a trench in which we were collecting our wounded. You ask regarding the circumstances under which aid was rendered to the Sergeant mentioned in the V.C. citation: He was Sergeant McCullogh of the bat- talion scouts. As I recall it, at the time mentioned I was lying on the ground near our colonel, who was of course directing the attack, the adjutant, McCullogh and several others. The firing just ahead had subsided to desultory machine gun and rifle fire and McCullogh was dispatched by the Colonel, to find out I believe, what progress was being made by the right flank. Things were quieter and it seemed that the enemy was falling back. He stooped and ran forward and to the right about 200 feet, when there was a single shot fol- lowed by a burst of machine gun fire, and he fell. The enemy was, I estimate 100 to 300 yards ahead in the sunken road. I ran to him and dressed his wound, which was a dangerous one through the pelvis. I do not recall our con- versation and do not remember if he was placed in a shell hole. With slight undulations in the terrain one was sometime fairly well [protected] if one lay very flat on the ground. I lay beside him for 5 or 10 minutes, then crawled away and went about my other duties. We got him back a short time later. I am attaching an extract from "a History of the 75th Battalion", which describes briefly the battalion movements from Sept. 2 till the Armistice. As there stated, I was on leave during the action of September 27th to October 4th when our casualties were terrific. I did not want to go on leave at this time as I was endeavoring to get my leave postponed until I could get off at the same time as my brother, who was a lieutenant in the infantry of the American Rainbow Division. It was just as well, probably, that my leave came through when it did. In compiling these notes I have dwelt rather lightly upon my experiences from a purely medical standpoint. You have a copy of an address which I delivered dealing to some extent with this phase of my service. Like most regimental medical officers I was at great pains in endeavoring to be just to the men in assigning them duty or in sending [them] into the line if they professed to be sick or disabled. I was never wounded. On Sept 2 1918 I was knocked to my knees when a machine gun, or rifle bullet, deeply scored my steel helmet. In November 1917 as we were going up to Passchendaele a fragment of shell from a high velocity gun knocked me down as we were marching past the Cloth Hall in Ypres and the back of my rain coat and tunic were torn out, but I sustained no injury other than a severe contusion. You ask concerning my motives for joining the Canadian army: They were rather mixed. In the first place, I was in great sympathy with the Allied cause, secondly I am chiefly of English descent: my great grandfather served under Lord Nelson and lost an eye in the battle of Trafalgar and my paternal grandfather came to the U.S. from England in the 1840's and was Captain and adjutant on a New York regiment during the Civil War. The third factor was the desire for surgical experience and adventure which I felt war service would afford. Please do not quote me in your narrative. I feel sure that I can rely upon you to give no highly colored version of events I have related. Concerning my reference to the Encyclopedia Brittanica which you state that you were unable to trace: The reference is to pages 952 to 959 in Volume III of "The Three New Supplementary Volumes, Constituting with the Volumes of the Latest Standard Edition the Thirteenth Edition". Copyright 1926. You will find in those pages a very accurate and detailed account of the actions of Aug 8th and Sept. 2 1918. There are also two very good maps.
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World War I September 20, 1916 Dear Friend:- I sincerely hope these few lines find Mrs. Stanley and yourself in the best of health. I am feeling fine and fit at present. Since arriving in England I have been taken from the band and sent to school, taking machine gun and rifle courses as an Armourer. I have succeeded in passing the examinations on both. (This is a list; Savage Lewis; Colt and Maxim machine guns; Ross and Lee Enfield Rifles; Colt Automatic Pistol; Webley and Smith & Wesson Revolvers.) So you see it has taken a great deal of my time in studying, that's why I haven't written very many letters to anyone. I am at present working in Greenwich quite close to Woolwich Arsenal. We are reparing rifles and machine guns which have been sent back from France. I haven't been across yet, but don't know any day but what I may be sent. Most of our Batt. have been in action and we have lost several officers and men. I had the pleasure of seeing that Zepp. destroyed. It was a beautiful sight to see it falling in flames. It fell 20 miles from here, but you could have read the small print in The Journal 25 or 30 miles away, because of the light it cast. I am sending you an actual photograph, taken while it was falling and almost at the moment Lieut. Robinson signalled to the Aircraft guns to cease firing. I shall be able to tell you more about it when I come back to St. Mary's, which I hope won't be very long now. I have given you address of my home in South Wales as I don't know where I am likely to be a month from now. Mrs. Palmer arrived quite safely, but was a long time on the water. She is staying at my home at present. The weather here is very damp and cold. (In London only.) I shiver with my overcoat on. In other parts of England and Wales they have beautiful weather. Our workshop is situated alongside the river Thames, which is quite a sight at all times of the day and night now, to see the enormous amount of shipping which is going on. One thing more before I close. We used to read in the newspapers that the people of London were quite used to the Zepps. I didn't seem to be disturbed by them but I can assure you, Mr. Stanley, that it's a horrible feeling that comes over anyone, as we are helpless. Sometimes they reach a height of 3 miles and the humming of the propellor is like the sound of a big mosquito. They are expected anytime now as the weather is suitable for them and the reptile murderer in Berlin has made a threat that he will destroy London before the end of October. Now I must draw to a close this time. With kindest regards to Mrs. Stanley and yourself, from Yours Sincerely, CORP. A. E. Palmer No. 124444, P. S. Please remember me to all the boys of St. James' and St. Marys Lodge, also the Oddfellows when you see them, Mr. Stanley. 25 Hirvain St., Barry Dock, Nr. Cardiff, South Wales September 20, 1916
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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.  3450 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American June 1898. 6. We broke camp at Island Lake and left at 11 o’clock A.M. for Camp Alger, Va. At noon we got coffee at Toledo Ohio. During the afternoon we passed through the oil fields in the northern part of the state. 7. I awoke just as the train came to the bridge which crosses the Ohio river at Port Pleasant, it was just breaking day. The river was a pleasant sight. During the day we crossed West Va. passing through 24 tunnels and crossing several streams. I was much pleased with the scenery while crossing the mountains. We got off the train at Hinton for setting up exercises. We arrived at Charlottesville just after dark. We were much amused with the negroes while there. I have seen more of them to-day than I ever saw in my life. 8. We passed by the suburbs of Washington at daybreak and reached Dun Loring at five o’clock A.M. We marched from Dun Loring to Camp Alger in the forenoon and after taking dinner with the 33rd Mich. we proceeded to clear a place to put up our tents. The trees and stumps were very thick but we succeeded in getting up our tents before dark. 9. We put up the mess tents and got material to sleep on. In the afternoon I went to the creek for a bath. 10. I helped clear up the batallion street in the forenoon. Went swimming in the afternoon and went out on dress parade in the evening. 11. Did police duty in the morning and washed my clothes in the afternoon, went on dress parade in the evening. 12. Worked in the mess tent today, got through with the morning work in time to go to church. 13. Went out for drill in the morning. Was vaccinated in the afternoon. 14. Worked in the mess tent today. Signed the payroll in the afternoon. 15. Drilled in the forenoon went to the creek in the afternoon, had dress parade. 16. Drilled in the forenoon, had signal drill in the forenoon and went on dress parade at night. 17. Did nothing to-day as our arms are sore and the 9 Mass. were celebrating the 123rd anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill. They had very nice fireworks in the evening. 18. Worked in the mess tent in the forenoon and was sick in the afternoon. 19. The regiment goes on a forced march to the Potomac river. I am not able to go. I remained at the camp and did nothing. 20. I was awakened by Lieut. Broadhead at 1 o’clock A.M. to take Johnson’s place as he had neglected his duty. I was relieved at 10 o’clock A.M. The regiment got back at 1 o’clock. The boys were very tired and much covered with dust. 21. We were paid this afternoon and have received orders to move. We were very much excited as we are glad to move from this miserable camp. We were issued the rest of our outfit. 22. The first batallion went with the 33 Mich. The rest of us laid around all day somewhat disappointed. 23. We have lain around all day waiting for further orders. I bought an identification check this morning. 24. I went out on guard mount for Pete Winchimski. We received orders to move just as it was over. We broke camp and started for Dun Loring at 6 o’clock P.M. We took the train for Newport News at 10 o’clock. 25. The train broke down and we stopped half an hour for repairs. The sun was just rising as we started again. We passed through Richmond Va. at 9 A.M. and landed at Newport News at 11 o’clock. I went to the Post Office and wrote three letters putting $10 in the one I sent to my stepmother. We were loaded on the Harvard at 6 o’clock. 26. They are loading a supply of coal this forenoon. Got through with the coal and we pulled out at 2 o’clock. The boats in the bay did a great deal of whistling as we pulled out. We passed Fortress Monroe at 5 o’clock and was out of in the ocean at dark. The Harvard is escorting a repair boat (The Vulcan) and has to travel slow. The Harvard has in all about 2500 people on board. 27. We are out of sight of land and have seen but two boats to-day. The ocean is a little rough from the storm we had last night, and at times I am a little dizzy. We saw a number of shark to-day. 28. No land to be seen to-day. We saw one vessel. Some of the boys become uneasy as we have to travel slow in order that the repair boat may keep up and some of the boys have been feeding the little fish. 29. We passed San Salvador Island to-day. A few of the boys are still feeding the little fish. 30. We passed Injuan Island this forenoon and have seen one boat today. it was the Alexandria she lay off the east shore of Cuba. The Island of Cuba hove in sight about 2 o’clock this afternoon. She seems very rough and mountainous. We are not making much headway to-night as we are waiting untill daylight before we approach the fleet. July 1898 1. We struck Sampson’s fleet about 7 o’clock and received orders to land at Sibony a few miles east of the harbor. We landed at 10 A.M. and went into quarters with our first batallion once more. In the forenoon we were issued three days rations and 120 rounds of ammunition. At 3 o’clock a train came with several wounded men from the 33 Mich and later the train brought in the whole regiment. We got orders to move at 1 o’clock P.M. and so started for the front where a fierce battle had been fought. We were with the 9 Mass. 2. We have been marching all night and are nearly worn out. We have stopped for breakfast. Our road lay in a ravine and it was very muddy and it was very warm so many of us have thrown away part of our stuff. I threw away my pup tent and woolen blanket. We met a great many wounded men from the front. They were going to the coast. As we are eating breakfast we can hear the roar of musketry and the boom of cannon. We marched from the division hospital (where we ate breakfast) to the front. It was something horrible to meet the wounded fresh from the fight and see the dead from the day before as we marched to the front. We were marched to the foot of a hill behind the firing line and allowed to rest an hour or two. We were then marched into a ravine to the left and allowed to rest again but the Spaniards learned our position and the shot and shell came so thick that we were compelled to take refuge behind the hill. Five or six of the boys were wounded. 3. I felt very stiff when I got up this morning as I had to sleep on the wet grass without any blanket to keep the dew which is very heavy besides we had to get up and march up the hill as the Spaniards made a charge on the hill at 10 o’clock, but the regulars had driven them back with a loss of 500 so we did not have to do any fighting. About 5 o’clock we heard a great cannonading in the harbor. It was the two fleets coming together. With the exception of a shot now and then from or at a sharp-shooter all has been quiet to-day. The battlefield was visited by a number of foreign officers to-day and the Spaniards will have to change their ways in some respects. I was put on a detail and sent to the division hospital after our blankets. I got my roll by so doing. I had a coat, shirt, towel and 2 pairs socks in the rubber blanket. 4. This has been a dreary fourth indeed. I have had nothing to eat for two days except two hardtack which they issued to-day. Things have been quiet all day as the flag of truce has been flying. We leveled a place and put up what pup tents we had. The sharpshooters have all been cleaned out and the dead have all been buried. Things are very disagreeable as it rains every day. 5. We were issued rations to-day and that seemed to mend things a great deal. The flag of truce is still floating and all is quiet. We dug a bomb proof to-night, they think the enemy may try to shell us out of our position but as we have about 16 batteries around the city I think we will try and keep even. Our works are in the form of a horseshoe around the town with the opening in the bay. 6. We finished our bomb proof this morning and have been idle since. Lieut. Hobson and his men were exchanged to-day. Our boys gave them a great cheer as they rode past our lines. The flag of truce has been down for six hours and we expect to see the fun begin at any moment. 7. The flag of truce is up again and the Spaniards have till Saturday noon. I am not feeling well at present. I am unable to eat much. I think it is the water we are drinking. 8. We broke camp this morning and marched back to a blockhouse to do outpost duty. I am still feeling mean. I came near being overcome by the heat. 9. I did guard duty at our camp last night. The women and children have been marching out of the city for a day or two. Some of them are in a pitiful condition. They seem to have neither clothes or food. We expect they will begin firing on the town soon if the Spaniards do not surrender. I went down to the creek and had a bath and washed my clothes. 10. We broke camp this morning and marched around to the top of a hill overlooking Santiago to support battery A. Captain Grimes in command. I had to drop out and rest and eat something but got here half an hour after the company. We are just behind the battery and have a fine view of the city as we are four or five hundred feet above it. The batteries opened fire on the town at 5 o’clock this afternoon and kept it up untill dark. The gatling guns were turned on the enemy as fast as the shells and the dynamite gun could drive them from the trenches and blockhouses. 11. We lay in the bomb proof all day as firing began early this morning and has continued all day untill near night. I got a letter from home, one from aunt maggie and one from cousin Bell. it did my heart good to get them. I have written to them all this afternoon. 12. Orders came this morning to cease firing untill further orders are given and the flag of truce is again floating. I am feeling mean tonight. last night there was a dreadful thunderstorm (the worst I have ever experienced) and our shelter fell down compelling us to stand in the rain with a blanket around our shoulders. During the storm we could look up and see some of the brightest stars. we were among the clouds. It has rained all day and I have had to do guard duty so I am a little damp as I go to bed. 13. I have been feeling like myself to-day. I went to the creek and washed up my clothes. There has been nothing of importance to-day. 14. The Spaniards have agreed to surrender the city and the Battery we are supporting has orders to move. I do not know where they are going. 15. The Battery moved this morning and we followed them as far as regimental headquarters. The battery is just a little distance below us. I did guard duty untill the company moved. There are six companies camped here now. The other six are down near the city. They have been making roads since we left the firing lines. 16. Things have been very quiet around camp to-day. Some of the boys have been taken sick with malaria fever. I gave a quarter towards sending a bell home which company B took off the blockhouse where we did outpost duty. I took a trip to the spring today. it is about two miles to it. 17. They signed the articles of surrender to-day and the Spaniards have laid down their arms. They were glad to quit the fight as well as we. The stars and stripes now float over the city. 18. A large number of the boys are sick with the fever. I am well at present. I think I never felt better in my life. I have been to the spring twice to-day once before breakfast, it is good exercise I must say. I am ordered to go out on outpost duty for 24 hours. The post is on the hill where the battery stood. 19. I have just come in from outpost duty and got my supper and now for bed. 20. Things have been dull around camp. I and my friend Whitlow had to build up our bunk to-day as Snyder and Linke are not felling well. It has been very warm. I was wet with sweat when I got through with the bed. 21. More of the boys are sick today. I went to the spring this forenoon and worked on a hospital detail this afternoon. My tentmates are still sick. 22. I have not been doing much to-day and things seem to be dull around camp. I made one trip to the spring. 23. I was on guard last night and went to the spring before breakfast. I made a trip to the spring this afternoon and while there had a chill which was followed by quite a high fever. I went and got 18 grains of quinine and I think that will fix me up all right by morning. We got our first issue of fresh meat and I helped to unload it regardless of the fever. The sergeant was able to cook our supper to-night. 24. 22 of the boys in our company answered the sick call this morning. Things seem to be getting worse all the time. Still I can’t complain. I am all right again and went after water as usual this afternoon. 25. I and Whitlow went for water the first thing this morning, we took the mule and brought water for the whole company. Nothing of importance happened to-day. Only 19 of the boys reported at sick call this morning but some of the boys are getting worse. 26. Things were dull today around camp. I stood guard at camp last night, guard duty comes pretty often now as many of the boys are sick. 27. We lay in camp which seems dull as usual. One half of the boys are taking care of the other half. I was at the creek a good part of the day. 28. Nothing of any account has happened in camp to-day. The boys were cheered a little by a rumor that we start for the states in a very few days. 29. Mail came into camp to-day. I got two from home and one (from) Paul Mart also one from Cousin Bell. There are not so many sick now but those who are seem to be getting worse all the while. We got our first issue of fresh bread to-night. it seemed the best we ever ate although it was poor bread. 30. Things are the same as usual about one half of the company are fit for duty. It rained very heavy this forenoon. That is something new as it always rains in the afternoon. Our duck suits came in to-night. 31. We were issued our new clothes this morning. They are good ones. They make the boys look like officers. We are patiently waiting for a chance to move as the camp grounds are getting very dirty and the oder from it is anything but pleasing to the nose. I wrote two letters to-day. one home and one to Robert D. McGregor. August 1889 1. Good news have come with the new month. We have been ordered to move tomorrow morning. We are going to join the rest of the regiment near the city and there prepare for the trip homeward. We are all very much pleased with the prospects nowbefore us. 2. I was on guard last night for the last time at that camp. We moved down within a mile of the outskirts of the city. We are camped on quite a pleasant hill as we have a fine view of the town and can see troops on all sides. The boys seem to be improving in health as all but 3 or 4 of our company were able to march over this morning. It is about three miles. 3. We have got settled in our new quarters. This morning a detail of fifty men was sent after the other two companies of the second batallion. They are in a very bad condition and the camp where they were is not fit to put pigs in. 4. We moved our first batallion this morning. They are nearly all sick. I think they will pick up now as this is a much better place to camp. it has been very hot the last two or three days. 5. Nothing worthy of note has happened in the camp to-day. The first Illinois regiment moved up and are camped just on our right. I went to the commissary to-day to get some canned goods as it is almost impossible to live on what we get from the government. 6. Everything is quiet around camp. The boys are all uneasy they expect to move any day as the troops are leaving as fast as they can get transportation. I was on guard last night. They have sent in about 2500 immunes to do police and guard duty in the town. 7. We are still lying around and doing nothing. The boys are buying about two thirds of the stuff they eat. It seems as though the U.S. ought to be able to feed the boys better than they do. There must be something wrong somewhere. 8. Camp has been dull as usual. There seems to be an improvement in the condition of the reg’t as only about half as many report at sick call as reported two weeks ago. Many of the boys who are sick are dying. We have lost none in our company yet. 9. We were issued underwear, sock and blankets this morning. Uncle Sam makes a better hand at handling clothing than he does at handling provisions. We are still at our same old job. We are patiently waiting for transports. I got a piece of wood from the tree, under which Lieut. Hobson was exchanged and the conditions of surrender were agreed to. 10. Nothing worthy of note happened to-day. The death rate seems to be increasing every day. We have lost 3 men from our reg’t in the last 24 hours. They say that every time there are 3 men (who) go to the division hospital there are 2 who are carried to the burial places. 11. Matters are getting worse if anything as the camp is beginning to get very foul and unhealthy and money is getting scarce so we cannot buy any more canned goods. 12. I am stuck to find out what we did to-day as it has been the same old song (Lay around and wonder when we will move). The camp is getting dirtier all the while. I stood guard last night and I hope it will be the last time on the Island. 13. Things went the same as usual this forenoon but it rained about twice as hard as usual this afternoon and nearly drowned our whole tent crew as we have been sleeping on the ground. There was a young river running through in under our blankets. 14. We went and got a large tent to-day and built up our bunk as we are afraid of another flood. Things are going as usual around camp. 15. Two of our Co’s were paid and sent to finish out a load for the U.S. It is reported that the rest of the reg’t get paid tomorrow. 16. We got our money to-day. We privates drew $31.20. It was quite a busy time among the boys for a while. They were paying back the quarters they borrowed to buy tobbacco. 17. Three more Co’s of the 34 left for home to-day and details from the rest of the companies were sent to guard prisoners that looks as if we are going to stay here a while longer. 18. The camp is lively tonight as we have got orders to move in the morning. Most of the boys in Co. B are able to walk. the sick will be moved in wagons. 19. We broke camp at eight o’clock and marched to the wharf going through the central part of the city. we stopped twice to rest. The last time was in the park. At ten o’clock we went on board the Santiago which is to take us to the best country on earth. The ship lay at the wharf all afternoon loading on supplies. 20. We pulled out at 10 o’clock this morning and passed out of the harbor. On the way we saw the Merrimac and one of the Spanish warships. The warship was lying partly on her side and looked as though she had gotten in Sampson’s way. Just after we passed the boats we came to Morro Castle, it looked as though it might have been a formidable structure one day, but amounts to but little since Uncle Sam’s boats paid her a visit. We travelled along the southern coast of Cuba all afternoon and expect to round the point tonight. I stood guard last night and to-day. Just after I was relieved from my post this afternoon I became a little sick at the stomach and succeeded in throwing up all the good things I got to eat in Cuba. I was sick only about fifteen minutes and to-night I am feeling first class. Many of the boys were sick when they came on board and a great many more are sea sick. 21. When we woke up this morning Cuba had disappeared and we were all glad of it. but many of us were feeling mean as a soldier does not have the best accomodations on board a transport. We passed several islands to-day, among them was Castle Island. Only one or two ships came in view to-day. 22. The ocean has been very calm so far and to-day has almost like glass. Nothing has come into view except one large vessel which was bound towards the East. We passed San Salvador last night and I think it is nearly the last on the trip. The boys have a great time buying handouts from the cook. I have been able to get a few myself. It is almost impossible to eat what we are issued. 23. We have seen nothing to-day but a boat or two. This has been a sad day for Co B as we have lost Albert Gilhooley and had to bury him at sea. It is the first death that has occured in the Company since started for Cuba and the first to occur on board the ship. I took care of Albert last night. It was an awful task as he was delerious nearly all night and to be watched like a cat would a mouse. 24. We have seen nothing but the sea and the sky to-day, still it seems a pleasure to breathe pure air and watch the calm ocean. I am very sleepy to-night as I helped to take care of Charley Lahr and Varney Merritt last night. they are both quite sick and need good care in order to pull them through. There are four of Co B’s boys who need to be well taken care of. The captain is also very sick. There was another burial at sea today. The deceased was a member of Co. L (Scott, nicknamed Scotty). 25. We can still see nothing but the sky and the peaceful ocean and once in a while a passing ship. We had to leave two more of the 34th boys behind us to-day. I did not learn what company they belonged to. It does seem too bad to lose them on the way back to their home and friends. I have been taking care of Charley Lahr again to-day. he is getting stronger quite fast. We must be getting back near America at least the breeze says so. it seems quite cool. 26. When we woke up this morning we thought winter was coming on at once the wind was so cold. We saw nothng in the forenoon but about 2o’clock we saw a great many boats and in less than an hour we sighted land. We rounded the point about 5 o’clock and then the campgrounds could be plainly seen. we arrived at our destination about seven and tonight we are anchored with the other transports just outside the landing. 27. We were examined at 7 o’clock this morning and the sick were taken off this afternoon. We expected to land this afternoon but were disappointed. 28. We landed this morning and our first greeting was a ham sandwich and beef, tea followed by cold fresh milk. We thought we were in America for certain. We were then marched to the detention camp where we are to remain for three days. Our tents were all up and everything seemed like a paradise compared with what we have had. 29. We got our new class of rations to-day. They consisted of: eggs, butter, milk, bread, beef and green corn, potatoes, etc. Quite a change from our usual diet. We signed the payroll to-night. I have been on guard all day and expect to be all night. 30. Things were somewhat quiet in camp to-day. We were issued new clothes all through and were ordered to burn our old ones. I had a slight headache today. 31. We were paid to-day and we expect to start for home tomorrow. September 1898 1. We have been getting ready and waiting for orders to start for home but I guess we will not get away before morning. I have worked in the mess tent since yesterday afternoon and will be until we leave. 2. We broke camp at seven o’clock this morning and marched to the train. At 1 o’clock the train pulled out for New York. We were on a train which had to turn out for everything. We got all the peaches and watermelons we could eat at Duogue. We arrived in New York at 1:30 P.M. and were marched to the ferry which pulled out about 12 o’clock and carried us across and down the river passing under the main span of Brooklyn bridge. it was a beautiful sight as it was all lighted up and there were 21 street cars passing over. 3. We boarded the train which pulled out at 9 o’clock A.M.. Just after we started we passed through a tunnel which took the train at least 3 minutes to pass through. It is 3 o’clock A.M. and we have passed through another tunnel in which we met and passed another train and now we are going through a town. We have a fine view of the Hudson River as the moon is bright. We stopped at Syracuse about 3 o’clock this afternoon and got coffee and rations. We are travelling along the Erie canal and a railway system having four tracks. Ours is a double track. 4. 8 o’clock P.M. we have stopped at Newark and the people have treated us so well that I am afraid we will be sick. Wine, champagne, celery, tomatoes, melons, coffee, apples, sandwiches and milk are among the things on the bill of fare. We reached Buffalo at 7:30 P.M. and were loaded down with good things untill we hadn’t car room for them. The good things were furnished by Mr Blacker of Manistee. 4. We stopped at Toledo at six o’clock and received coffee and other delicacies. We landed in Detroit at 8 o’clock and were escorted by the citizens to the Cadillac Hotel where we partook of a hearty breakfast after which I left my company and joined Co. F of the 33 and travelled as far as Port Huron with them. At Pt. Huron there was another grand reception and we were escorted to the St Clair where dinner was served and I took up quarters untill the morrow. 5. I left Pt. Huron for Marlette at eight o’clock accompanied by Mr. Decker and several other Sanilac Co. gentlemen and arrived in Marlette at 10 o’clock where they had prepared a surprise for me by having the whole town turn out to give me a reception. After having a talk with the people I took dinner with an old soldier. After dinner an old soldier had me enter his photograph gallery and have my picture taken then after having a chat with about a hundred more people messrs. Decker and Dougherty Decker’s Mill where I stopped with Mr. Decker for the night in the meantime meeting many nice people in the vicinity all of whom were anxious to hear news from Cuba. 6. After having a beautiful night’s rest I lay around in the forenoon talking with the people as they were unable to work on account of the rain. After dinner, -the rain having ceased- Mr. Dougherty hitched up and took me home. I reached home about 5 o’clock safe and sound having never met with the least sickness or accident on my trip to Cuba.
Note: by George Edgar Cripps.  5774 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I From somewhere in Belgium December 25th, 1915 Dear Sister & All: I now write you a few lines to let you know I am well and hope you all are this small. Well Mable this is Christmas Day and it is nearly over now and I have been thinking of you all to-day so I though I would drop you a line on my new pad. We were given a wallett yesterday with a pencial and this little pad and several post cards we were allso given a box of tobacco and a box of candy so I think they used us pretty well. I have not received any of the parcels that was sent me for Christmas only the box of candies Jeff sent me. I do not know what has become of them I suppose I will get them all at once now after Christmas is all over. We all got a present from Mrs. Capt Eve of Montreal I got a book and it is a good one to we allso had a can of plum pudding given to each one from Mrs. Major Gualt instead of having turkey as I had a year ago. I had Irish Stew and plum duff for dinner. I had the pleasure of attending church this morning they took us down in motor Lorries it was the English church and we had sacrement we have made it as bright a Christmas as possible but it is much different then last year. Last night Xmas Eve I was out on a working party and the bullets were falling around us and I was just thinking what I was doing last year I remember we done our delivering on sleighs and Xmas Eve I was in the store, never thought I would be over here now, but you never can tell. We have been out on working party three times now and each time have been under fire. The first time was the worst we were going through a town which has been shelled to pieces and we have not marched through this town very long when the huns dropped a shell and tore the corner out of a building and we had a lively time for a while. You can hear them big shells leave the guns and then you hear them come through the air and then there is a big bang and you get under cover for the pieces of sharpnel drop all over however you can hear them coming but a rifle bullet you can't hear it until it drops beside you. We were in tents first but changed to dugout yesterday. The camp we left were like Salisbury for mud it was kneedeep some places. I was certainly glad when this is ended and we can get home again. The soldiers that are in Canada this winter are lucky. I met several boys from home here this week and had a good talk with them they were out of the trenches on there six days rest. They do six days in and six out. They are looking well. I hope you have all had a good and enjoyable Christmas this year and I was surely thinking of you. I guess you are about having your dinner now and I have just had my tea and am putting in the time writing. I hope all the children are well and that Santa Claus was good to them. Well dear sister I wil close with love to all and remember me to anybody I know and the children I send my best love. As ever your brother Archie PS Tell Miss Taylor I am well and I send my best regards to her.
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Civil War Camp Near Wellhope Church
September, the, 30, 1862
Dear Cousin

After long silance I write you afew lines which will inform you that we are boath well, I have had very good health since I left Richmond John has bin a little sick several times tho he is very well at this time,
Note: Company D of the 38th Virginia Infantry in Whitmell.   3062 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I July 19th, 1916 Dear Mr. Lofft:- I have been notified that "The Men of South Perth," through you, have contributed $1000 dollars towards a Lewis Machine Gun for the use of this Battalion. This is a splendid and useful gift, and on behalf of the Officers, N. C. O's and men of the 71st Overseas Battalion I desire to heartily thank the Men of South Perth for thus helping to make this Battalion as efficient as possible for it's work at the Front. J. C. MASSIE, Lt.-Col., O. C. 71st Res. B'n., Can. Inf. Oxney Camp, Bordon, Hants, England July 19th, 1916
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Spanish American Friday Jan. 1st 1897 Dear Sir, Some time ago, about Dec. 20th I wrote a letter to a friend of mind, Dr. Guitierez at Key West, in which I described our passage of the Trocha and Maceo's death, which I requested him, after reading, to forward to the "World", for publication, but I am afraid, the Spaniards have the letter, as I intrusted it to Lieut. Col. Pacio to forward, and his fate just now is unknown. I will therefore write about it once more. On December. 4th at 2 p.m. Gen. A. Maceo, accompanied by about 30 persons on his staff, assistants and a few cavalrymen commanded by Comandante Varios, left San Felipe at the foot of the Gobernador (a large conspicuous hill); and as my clothes had not come, although I had dispatched 2 messengers, the General told me to come without them. About 6 p.m. we got to the beach, between Cabanas and Mariel, where the boat was hidden in the woods; but there was a very strong northerly wind and very heavy sea, so as to make it very dangerous, if not impossible to launch the boat. We therefore picked the boat up on our shoulders, even the General taking hold several times, and carried it about a mile and a half across a neck of land, launching it inside the harbor of Mariel, not more than 2 miles outside the town, about 10 p.m. Gen. A. Maceo, Gen. Pedro Diaz, Panchito Gomez [son of major General Maximo Gomez (Daley)] and I were the first 4 to cross, with one guide and two boatmen. We landed after a passage of about 20-25 minutes at a little wharf near what I took to be some bathhouses, and all of us picking up a load, started a march of about 2 miles, when we stopped at a deserted house. The guide went back, and shortly returned with the 2nd group, namely Brigadier General Miro, Col. Nordarse, Dr. Zertoucha, Com. Justis and Ramon Umaha. By 2 a.m. the rest, namely, Com. Piedra and Beaberes [don't know the correct spelling (Daley)], one captain and 5 assistants had joined us and we went about mile further, to a safer point, where we waited for daylight. About 6 a.m. on the 5th we started on the march and about 7 a.m near La Merced, met Lieut. Vazquez and some of his men, who took us to a house, where we camped all day. Next day Dec. 6th we left about noon, mounted on the horses of Vazquez's men, as our horses had not come yet; met Lieut. Col. Baldomero Acosta with men and horses 2 p.m. and camped at Gara 4 p.m.-9 p.m. Then resumed the march and camped at Baracoa [Havana province (Daley)] at midnight. At 4 a.m. Dec. 7th resumed the march and met Brigadier Silverio Sanchez, encamped with about 300 men, at 8 a.m. at San Pedro. As we had not had much sleep and there was nothing to eat, most of us (the Grl. Staff) went to sleep and the General had his hammock put up as well. We naturally had all confidence in Brig. Sanchez, but he did not have any exploradores and when suddenly about 2 p.m. without any warning, heavy firing commenced at our advance guard, all was for a moment confusion. Not enough, to be without exploration, but the advance guard was so near the camp, that when the fire opened, the bullets entered and passed beyond the camp. Naturally we all mounted as quick as possible, and the General, Miro, Diaz, Nodarse, I and 3-4 more were riding in a group, when immediately outside the little wood, in which was the camp, we met our retreating and, at no great distance, saw the enemy advancing and firing en guerilla. The General gave his horse the spurs and drawing his machete, shouted to the retreating men "Atras! al machete!". The men and others who were all the time coming from the camp to the front, seemed electrified, and with enthusiastic shouts wheeled their horses and charged, while the enemy precipitately retreated about 200 yards where he took position behind a strong stonewall about 4 feet high and, even dismounting his cavalry, opened a terrific fire by volleys. The General at this moment told me to collect what men I could, and charge the enemy's right flank (on our left) while he himself charged on the left. I collected about 35-40 men, and seeing the stonewall not extended very far, also knowing it to be impossible for a small cavalry to take a wall like that from infantry by a direct charge, I went about 500 yards further to our left and then charged around the end of the wall. I broke their first line of fire, but was losing men fast, and when I fell wounded with 3 bullets, my men put me on another horse and retreated. As I went back, I saw the General [Antonio Maceo (Daley)], with small group, not more than 6-8, charging, away on our right, and it seemed but a moment, when all but 2 or 3 where on the ground. Commander Manuel Sanchez, was charging at the General's side, when a bullet entered the chin of Maceo, coming out at the back of the neck. The General fell forward on his horse's neck and Sanchez catching his arm exclaimed: "General, no soy cobarde!" Maceo could not speak, but gave him a terrible look and at this moment Sanchez received a bullet through his right leg which after traversing his horse also entered the stomach of the General. Maceo fell but a short distance from the stonewall and it seems it was impossible for our people to advance and get his body. Some of the Spaniards advanced and robbed both him and Panchito Gomez, but they never got their bodies as the fire of our men drove then back. Near dark about 5 p.m. the enemy retreated and our people then got the bodies. And I here wish to protest against the horrible custom of the Spanish to kill the wounded. They say Panchito Gomez committed suicide and I saw a picture in one of the Spanish papers, where he puts the revolver to his brain. But that are all lies. First and foremost he had no revolver; on Dec. 2nd before we crossed, we have a nice little fight near San Felipe, and Panchito was wounded in the left shoulder and also lost his revolver. Second he had no bullet wound in the head. He had besides his old wound in the shoulder, only one bullet wound in the left side of the stomach; but they found him alive with that by the side of the General and gave him a pinch (thrust) with the point of a sword in the right breast, a cut in the hollow of the left arm, and a horrible machetazo, that laid open the whole back of his head and left side of the neck. All of us who crossed with the General were wounded except Gen. Diaz and Zertucha and Com. Justis who was killed. I received a bullet in the right knee, one through the right arm and another in the left side, but the last 2 light wounds that are about well. The bullet in the knee is one of those confounded copper bullets that make a hole size of your thumb, and besides it hurts the bone. I believe you want to know also about some of the atrocities of the soldiers towards Pacificos, and I could write lots, that I have personally witnessed, but I refer you to Mr. George Bronson Rhea, who has a host of well authenticated instances at your disposal. Still if you wish for some more, let me know, and I will supply them. As for the talk of the papers and Grl. Weyler about his speedy pacification of the island do no believe a word of it. In Pinar del Rio are at least 6000 armed Cubans, besides 4-6000 more with machetes. They have a splendid General (Rius Rivera) there and at present plenty to eat. I was there sometime and never went hungry, besides had the satisfaction there, to see Weyler with 25,000 men unable to force our position for 5 days, when we had not more that 80 men. Of course everyone deplores the loss of Maceo, but I find nobody discouraged; on the contrary everybody, soldiers as well as leaders are strong in the determination, to fight till their island is free. They all have still great hopes of American intervention, but even without that, they will fight on, trusting to tire out Spain, and especially Spaniard finances. Let me know if you wish to know more. Yours, El Coronel Carlos Gordon
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We arrived in Montreal, a large, populous and well-built town, pleasantly situated on the north bank of the St. Lawrence, near the foot of a mountain from which it derives its name. ....
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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.  4382 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.  4646 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Dear Mr. Hunter:- I write these few lines to you in answer to your letter. I received it on July 11th, so it was 36 days in coming over. I am very thankful for the trouble you are taking in looking after my wife, and glad to hear she is some better, but I think she will improve when the warm weather comes. Well, Mr. Hunter, we are in the thick of it now. I am lying in the dugout with the shells and shrapnel flying all around. You can hardly hear one another speakfor the noise is something awful. At night, to put it in strong language it looks like hell up on earth. Some of my pals are wounded and are in England again. You should see the boys when they mount the parapet to go have a look at Fritz. The machine gun is the worst we have to put up with. I think all the boys will be glad when it is over. They are never so happy as when they are running after Fritz. I can tell you one thing, it is different soldiering out here to what it is in Canada and if they could just see the ruins about here which are most shameful, there be a lot more enlist than what there is at the present. But thank God, I am glad I came to do my little bit. The sights sometimes are awful-enough to send one crazy, but I have pulled through safe so far. You should have seen the advance the boys made awhile back. It was something grand. But I am sorry to say there are lots who will never come back to Canada, but they died for a just cause. We will never give in. The Germans call the Canadians the "White Gurghkas." That is, they don't show them any mercy at all with the bayonet, which they don't like to see in the hands of our boys. I have seen some sights which I hope never to see again but you never think about that when you are in the thick of it, for you are simply crazy with excitement. The only thing you want to keep is a cool head, a clear mind and a quick hand, for if you don't get Fritz he is going to get you, so the best one still lives. I have had some near shaves but pulled through somehow which I am hoping to do till the end of the war. Just remember me to the boys and give my kind regards to them and tell them I am hoping to be back with them by Christmas, that is, if I am spared to see it through. France is a fine country in the summer--the most beautiful scenery. The main roads have a beautiful avenue of trees along them. The crops look fairly good in the country. Most of the work is done by women for you hardly see a man about out of uniform. I have been transferred to the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles. I left England in less than 36 hours notice. That was quick work but we got over safe. Remember me to Gordon when you write to him. I guess he will soon be coming over to England. I have not heard from Bill Near at all. Don't know whether he is over here or not for the 33rd were all broken up, too. I think this is all this time so give my kind regards to all enquiring friends and to Mrs. Hunter and Hally, also Mrs. Richardson. So I conclude with best wishes to all. So Good-bye, From Your Friend, ED. E. PERRELL No. 126608, A. Company, 1st C. M. R. Batt., 8th Inf. Brig. 3rd Can. Div., B. E. F., France
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Spanish American Before Santiago July 14, 1898 Brigadier-General Wood Commanding Second Brigade, Second Division Sir: Pursuant to your order, I have the honor to submit the following report on the Sims-Dudley pneumatic gun. The gun has now been in action three times, namely, at the Battle of Santiago, on July 1, and at the subsequent bombardment of that city on July 10 and 11. In all 20 shots have been fired, resulting in the destruction of three Spanish guns, the extensive demolition of trenches, and presumably a considerable loss of life to the enemy. It may therefore be asserted that as a destructive agent the gun is a success, and justifies the claims made for it by its makers in this respect. The test, however, to which the gun has been put has been equally serviceable in laying bare certain faults in material and construction, which not only mar the efficiency of the gun, but add greatly to the danger attending its operation. Briefly summarized, these faults are as follows: First, the extreme fragility of the breech mechanism, due to the lightness of construction and character of metal used. This was demonstrated after the first shot, when the extractor failed to work and has since proved useless. This alone has been an effectual bar to rapid fire, and has greatly reduced the efficiency of the piece. Subsequently, the brass handle on the firing pin broke off, owing to a flaw in the metal composing the pin, and finally the lower end of the trigger broke, owing to the crystallized condition of the steel of which it was made. I have further noted a tendency on the part of the firing tube to slip back through the bands designed to hold it in its position relative to the pressure chamber, and while I have retarded this by tightening the bands, still it is a serious fault, inasmuch as if allowed to go unnoticed it would eventually cause a break at the breech, which could not result otherwise than in serious loss of life to those in the vicinity. All of these defects can easily be remedied by the makers, as can also the defect in the powder cartridge, the shell of which is so light that it expands and jams on explosion, and ma be said to have been the initial cause of many of the difficulties to which the gun has been subject. These shells must be given more weight and rigidity. As to the equipment of the gun for field service, I would suggest that it be rigged as nearly as possible like our light artillery pieces, with such modifications as are necessitated by the difference in construction of the pieces. The small trial wheels as at present arranged are quite useless. I am, sir, your obedient servant, HALLETT ALSOP BORROWE Sergeant, First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Dynamite Gun Detachment
Note: by Sergeant Hallett Alsop Borrowe, USV.  4270 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Navy It was now the year 1755, when a dispute arising between this country and France (actually war was not declared until 17 May 1756) I felt anxious to return to my duty as a Seaman. The late Sir James Douglas, who died an Admiral, was a school-fellow of my Father`s; and then commanded the Bedford, fitting out at Chatham.
Note: by Lieut. William Hunter. Born in 1731, he served in Merchant Ships and East Indiamen before joining the Royal Navy in 1755.   7609 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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1939: The Red Army crosses the Soviet-Finnish border with 465,000 men and 1,000 aircraft. Helsinki was bombed, and 61 Finns were killed in an air raid that steeled the Finns for resistance, not capitulation.

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1945: Russian forces take Danzig in Poland and invade Austria.

1950: President Truman declares that the United States will use the A-bomb to get peace in Korea.

1950: Lieutenant General Edward Almond, X Corps commander, ordered X Corps to withdraw south to Hungnam.

1965: Following a visit to South Vietnam, Defense Secretary McNamara reports in a memorandum to President Lyndon B. Johnson that the South Vietnamese government of Nguyen Cao Ky "is surviving, but not acquiring wide support or generating actions."

1972: Defense Department sources say there will not be a full withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam until a final truce agreement is signed, and that such an agreement would not affect the 54,000 U.S. servicemen in Thailand or the 60,000 aboard 7th Fleet ships off the Vietnamese coast.