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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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World War I January 21, 1917: Dear Sister: Just a few lines in answer to your letter of Dec. 5th which I received a short time ago & was glad to hear from you & that you are all well. I was in hospital & rest camp here from December 28th to January 7th with a touch of Grippe but am feeling fine again now, that is as well as can be expected under the circumstances. The weather is a little bad on the front where we are, quite a bit of snow & rain so it makes the trenches bad. But I guess we must expect that this time of year. I was lucky last Tuesday, they sent me away on a machine gun course & expect to be away till a week from tomorrow, so I will miss a trip into the trenches. It is fine here at the school. We have a Y.M. & a church Hut, both fine places. Also a good canteen where we can buy anything we want. We sleep in tents but have plenty of blankets & sleep close together so we are quite comfortable. Of course the weather is not so very cold here. It freezes at nights but is not too bad in the days. Do you know a man in Stratford, Mr. Lowe. I think he used to run a drug store. He is a Lieut. in the 46th--was in command of the Co. that I am in. He is certainly a fine man & all the boys think a lot of him. He is away from us now, though. He was operated on for appendicitis, & I think went back to England. I may have his name spelled wrong, but it is something like that. I had a letter from Selina a short time ago. Things seem about the same as ever in Brantford. I hear from Herb & Lottie regular. Also from Cranstons whom I used to live with in Edmonton. I expect a bunch of mail when I get back to the battalion after this course. How is Wayman getting along, still punching the dough? I would like to be back there for a few weeks to help him. It would be a rest for me, but I don't think it will be so very long before we will be able to beat it back. Only a few months I think, but we are liable to have some hard work before the finish. Well, I must close, be sure & write soon & I will try to drop you a letter or field card often. It is sometimes hard for us to get mail written especially when we are in the line. So long. Alex #437536 I Co 46 Can. BEF Army PO London.
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World War I September 13, 1916 Dear Wife:- Just a line in answer to your most welcome letter. I should have liked to have written before but I have not had the time. We have been on the go night and day, and you can't write letters under a hell a of fire like we have had this last two weeks,but we are resting for a couple of days now so I am writing to you the first chance that I have had. Well dear how are you going on, alright I hope. And how are the little ones? I can't say I am too well myself. I am getting stiffened up like an old man, and no wonder as it is very wet here now and we have to sleep in it night and day, so you can bet what it's like. So you have got a new sidewalk. Well I wish I was walking on it now for this is some place. I got a parcel from you yesterday, but it was broken up pretty badly so if I were you I would not send very much cake. I have not told you before but all the cakes you have sent have been smashed up so I would not send much of it if I were you. I have not received the plums yet that you sent but I hope to. Are you getting any letters from my people? I have had letters from them and they all say they have written to you. It's funny you don't get them. Well old mate, I have some very bad news for poor Mrs. Richardson. Poor Charlie was killed on the 9th of Sept. I was by his side when he was killed and I don't know yet how I escaped the same fate, but one thing, he didn't suffer as he was killed instantly. A big shell called a nine point, weighing over one hundred pounds hit him so you can see he didn't stand any chance. But it's a great blow for me, for we were always together ever since he came out here, and I can tell you I miss him very much. There are no St. Mary's men in my Platoon now, and I am all on my own again. But never mind, don't you worry over me. I am alright up till now, but if anything happens to me, keep your little house together for I don't think you would like England. It's not much of a place now, but this place, is a thousand times worse. There is some talk out her of the war not lasting any longer than Xmas. Let's hope it is true, for I think everybody has had enough of it. The Germans are beaten and they know it, but we have got to get to Germany before they will give in, and that means some rough fighting. I suppose you know where I am now, I saw in the Canadian papers where we are an we are in the thick of it too. There isn't a day passes without us taking prisoners and trenches. The French do the same so I don't think it will last much longer, but at any rate keep on living and believing. I don't think I can say anymore now so will conclude this short letter. Wishing you and the children the very best of health. I remain, Your Loving Husband, FRANK France September 13, 1916
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Spanish American When we got to the bay's mouth, we saw our squadron, and decided, that if we went to west, we could gain the protection of our squadron. But there was some distance between us and squadron. One shell hit on our hatch, where our boiler's ventilators were located, so our steam pressure reduced considerably, and our speed slowed. At this time we had suffered a great quantity of hits. One shell cut up the boatswain in half and the part of his body fell into the steering control line. As a result of this, the ship lost partial rudder control. We needed to clear the body from the steering control line. Next, a shell destroyed the steam governor. A third exploded on the poop deck magazine and destroyed it. We had torpedoes cleared for action. Fuses were screwed in place, but we were unable to fire because, the distance was too great during the battle. As a result of these circumstances the commander of both destroyers, Capitan de Navio Villamil ordered us to abandon ship. Myself and part of the crew leaped overboard about 3 miles off the coast. In the water I saw one of my comrades was killed by a bullet to the head. At this time our destroyer, after a series of explosions, sank. When we got to the coast, we went on foot east toward Santiago. Shortly afterwards, we met the men of Lt Caballero and together proceeded to Santiago.
Note: by Lt. Bustamente, executive offficer, Spanish Torpedoboat Destroyer FUROR.  2698 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American “Naturally the destination of the expedition had not been made known to the command. So, as we sat in groups under the ship’s awning, or strolled around deck, gazing at the ships ahead and to the rear of us, we were free to suggest ports we might be headed for and to discuss the advantages and defects of each. There were three of these ports that had their champions in this irresponsible discussion; namely, Havana, San Juan, or some other port on Porto Rico, and Santiago. As the fleet only moved from five to seven knots an hour there was ample time for these and endless other discussions concerning our great adventure. For the first day or two there were only four or five gun boats to guard the fleet, and we wondered what would be the result should a daring Spanish torpedo boat charge in on us; but in a day or two other naval crafts joined the convoy and we concluded that an attempt on the fleet might give us some relief from the monotony that was beginning to pall on us. We trusted our convoy. The ALAMO, on which we were billeted, had a number of pontoon boats on deck; therefore we reasoned that we would be among the first to disembark and have a go at the Spaniards. I little dreamed the that these same pontoons were to be used to keep the bare feet of Garcia’s ragged soldiers from getting wet embarking for the battlefield, and that they would be instrumental in my being among the very last to get ashore. On the 15th we turned east through the Nicholas Channel and we knew we were not going to Havana. On the 19th we rounded Cape Maysi, ending all uncertainty as to our destination. On the 20th we arrived in front of Santiago, just two months from the day we left our station. (Fort Reno, Oklahoma) From one of my letters, dated June 20, 8 o’clock, P.M. I take the following: “We are lying in front of Santiago. The Headquarters ship Sehuranca, with General Shafter aboard, visited the American fleet in front of Santiago Bay about 10 o’clock, A.M. to consult with Admiral Sampson, and has not yet returned. In the meantime, the transports have been lying off shore all day rolling about in the heavy swell of the Caribbean sea.” Again on June 21st, “We have done nothing all day but float about in front of Santiago, just within sight of land. You can imagine the growling and complaining and restlessness on board.” Then June 23rd, “Still floundering on the Caribbean swells; never the less, it has been a day of exciting incidents. I went on deck about 5 o’clock A.M. and found we were near land. Between us and the coast were several gunboats and cruisers. We soon reached the general rendezvous and all ships began to move shore – ward toward a small mining village with no harbor, but with a steel dock leading out to ore chutes for loading iron ore into steamers. The name of the village is Daiquiri (pronounced Di – ki – ree).” The disembarkation commenced at once; the men being discharged into ship’s boats, to be towed in strings of half a dozen or so by steam launches. We hoped to be among the first to land, but were disappointed.”
Note: by Lt. Eli Al. Helmick.  2680 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.  4064 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Jan. 26, 1917 My Dear Friends: Am taking the first opportunity of thanking you for the parcel you were so thoughtful to send me. It arrived in good condition about a week ago, having had the misfortune to be delayed in the mail, as have been a lot of the Xmas goods, but whether received on time or a month late, are always appreciated. I had several surprises in the way of parcels about Xmas time, as you know, folks in Canada as a rule have so many relatives to send things to, that it keeps them busy, and all I figured on was a couple from home, and instead of a couple, I got seven all told and had quite a busy time getting through them. Luckily they arrived when things were and I was thus able to do justice, and you know when eats are concerned, I certainly like to see justice done. Pleasant memories. The socks just hit me at the right time, as the next day I got in with wet feet and had to have a change, so you see your work was well rewarded as I didn't have to look around to get a dry pair. I suppose the winter has been fairly quiet as far as pleasure is concerned, owing to the cold weather, as I read in the papers that they were serving out the real thing in the weather line at times here, it felt like real winter. I remember about 3 weeks ago when out on a little trip we started home facing a blinding snow storm, and after facing about a mile in the open we all looked like snow men. The snow was very wet and stuck with us. I know it took sometime to get it off and dried out again. But the weather now is fine and excepting for the mud, not too bad for getting around. Well, news is scarce, (In the permissable zone) so of necessity can't say much, as I don't wish to look for trouble. I am doing a little correspondence tonight as it will likely be sometime before I can tear off much in the letter line; until then, whiz-bangs or "not dead yet" cards will be the style. If you have the time, would be pleased to hear from you with all the news. Give my best regards to all I used to know. Will have to close up now & get ready for the hay (minus hay). Yours Pte.R.P
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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 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.  3250 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.
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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.  3563 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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World War I September, 18, 1916 Dear Mother:- I suppose you have received my card by now saying I was wounded, I just got a piece of shrapnel in the chest, am doing fine. Expect to be out of the Hospital soon. We were all in the reserve trench when a shell burst and hit ten of us. There was only one badly hurt and he will be in the Hospital for a couple of months. I will send the piece that hit me home so as you can see it. Well Mother, this is all for now so will close. With love to all I remain Your Loving son, Bill
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Civil War Sunday morning August
the .3. 1862
Dear Cousin
after long neglect I in deavor to answer your kind letter which came to hand in due time I hope you will excuse me for not writing sooner, as I was verry unwell for several days after I got your letter,
Note: Company D of the 38th Virginia Infantry in Whitmell.   2962 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I September 22, 1916 Dear Mrs. Evans:- I am writing to offer you my sympathy over the loss of your son. I was his Colonel for six months and I think he mentioned me in one of his letters to home. As you know, he became our Medical Officer in January and I had grown very fond of him. He was excellent company and always kept us amused with his wit. In fact, we all liked him. I was ill once or twice while he was with us and I cannot tell you how kind he was and how well he looked after me and made me feel comfortable. I would have written before but it was only today that I became acquainted with you address for I was invalided home sick on the 5th of August, a few days before your son was killed. As soon as I heard I wrote out to France for your address but as the battalion as been so much in action lately, no one had time to write. He came to see me off in the ambulance and his last promise to me was that he would come and see me at my home when next on leave, but alas that cannot be. My thoughts have often been with his people, so far away, and please convey my sincerest sympathy to all those he loved and by whom he was loved. Yours Sincerely EUSTACE HARRISON Denhall, Ness, Cheshire, England September 22, 1916
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