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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.  3291 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I September 20, 1916 Dear-, In answer to your kind letter dated Aug. 27th. I was very pleased to hear you are keeping well through these war times. I came to this Hospital about a month ago and it is a far better place than Camberwell. It seems to take a long time for my wound to heal up and as I still have to walk around with a tube in it. I won't be sorry when it does. The doctor here thinks there is still a piece of something in there yet. Very deep down, and as they can't trace it he won't take a chance of operating. When it does get better I expect to be sent back to France, by the way they are sending some of the poor fellows back. Some are not really better yet. I had a letter from Harry a few days ago and he says he is quite well. Yes, I am very much alive and I sure did think my time had come when I was buried for twenty minutes or more, for it seemed like hours. I am pleased the boys are keeping well and I hope they have good luck too. It must make your mother feel a lot better when she hears from them often. I hope she is well, also the rest of the family. We are getting some cold, windy weather here now. I hope you are getting it good out in St. Marys. How are things there now? They are not very good in London at present-everything is so dear. It is over two years since I was in St. Marys. My! how the time flies. I go home two or three times a week as it takes half an hour to get there. My Brother George is still out in France and was quite well the last I heard. I think this is all, so will close with best wishes to all. Your Friend Billy Serg't W. Hobson, Military Hospital, Brondesbury, N. W., England September 20, 1916
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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.  4050 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American "The WINSLOW arrived off Cardenas from Matanza at 9 a.m. on the 11th, having left her station on the blockade to obtain an additional supply of coal, the amount of fuel in her bunkers being reduced to 5 tons. I was directed to apply to Captain Todd, commanding the U.S.S. WILMINGTON, for necessary supplies. On boarding the U.S.S. WILMINGTON I was informed by her commanding officer of his intention to enter Cardenas Harbor on the afternoon of that day. I was directed to receive on board a Cuban pilot, Santos, to take with me the revenue cutter HUDSON to sound this channel, and, in company with the HUDSON, to sweep the channel for torpedoes. This work I completed by noon, except for sweeping the channel which could not be done on account of the grounding of the HUDSON. That vessel touched lightly but managed to work off without injury. The WINSLOW, therefore, dragged the channel with grapnels and returned to the WILMINGTON, reporting to captain Todd upon the practicality of the entrance. The entrance was begun at 12.30, high tide, the HUDSON on the starboard side and the WINSLOW on the port side of the WILMINGTON. As it was thought possible that gunboats might attempt to escape, the HUDSON was sent along the western side and the WINSLOW along the eastern side of the bay to intercept them in event of such movement. Not finding them the three vessels met off the town at a distance of about 3,500 yards. When in this position the WINSLOW was signaled to approach the WILMINGTON within hail and I was directed by Captain Todd to go in and investigate a small gunboat then observed for the first time, painted gray with black smokestack, apparently not under steam and moored to a wharf, to the left of which arose a compact mass of buildings close to the water front. Torpedoes were set for surface runs, the fans upon the war-noses were run up so as to provide for explosion at short range for use alongside the gunboat, and all preparations were made for immediate action. At a distance of about 1,500 yards, at which time the WINSLOW was advancing at about 12 knots, which seems her maximum speed in quiet shoal water, the first gun of the engagement was fired from the bow of the Spanish gunboat, marked by a clear puff of white smoke. This shot, which passed over the WINSLOW, was at once replied to by that ship and was the signal for the commencement from the beach of a rapidly sustained fire, characterized primarily by a total absence of smoke. At the commencement of this firing I received a flesh wound in the left thigh. As the action advanced a cloud of haze collected on shore at the location of this battery and when closer I detected one or two gun flashes from among the buildings but at no time could I detect the exact position of the guns. My uncertainty as to the position of the enemy was attested to by the commanding officer of the HUDSON and by officers commanding gun divisions on the WILMINGTON who inquired of me shortly after the action what I made out to be the enemy's exact position. At this time the wind was blowing from the ships toward the shore. The first shot that pierced the WINSLOW rendered her steam and hand-steering gear inoperative and damaged them beyond repair. Efforts to work the hand-steering gear from aft were frustrated by the wrecking of that mechanism and the rupture of both wheel ropes; relieving tackles failed to operate the rudder. For a short time the vessel was held on her bows in position by use of her propellers. She then swung broadside to the enemy. A shell now pierced her engine room rendering one engine inoperative. I directed my attention to maintaining fire from her 1-pounder guns, to keep the vessel constantly in movement, so as to reduce the chances of her being hit, to endeavoring to withdraw from short range, and to keeping clear of the line of fire of the WILMINGTON and HUDSON. The use of the remaining engine, had the effect of throwing her stern toward the enemy upon backing, while going ahead, threw her bow in the same direction. Under the heavy fire of the WILMINGTON, the fire of the enemy slackened. The Spanish gunboat was silenced and put out of action early in the engagement. The WINSLOW now being practically disabled, I signaled to the HUDSON to tow us out of action. She very gallantly approached us, and we succeeded in getting a line to her. Previous to this, the alternate rapid backing and steaming ahead of the WINSLOW had had the effect of working her out from under the enemy's batteries, and in this way a distance of about 300 yards was gained. Finding that we were working our way out in this manner, I directed Ensign Bagley to concentrate his attention upon the movement of the ship, watching the vessel so as to keep her out of the WILMINGTON's way, and to direct the movements of the man at the reversing gear, mechanical communication from deck to engine room being impracticable. This necessitated Mr. Bagley making repeated short trips from the deck to the foot of the engine room ladder while directing the vessel's course, and at the moment of being on deck he stood abreast the starboard gun close to a group of men who had been stationed below, but who had been sent on deck from the disabled machinery. A shell hitting, I believe, a hose reel, exploded instantly, killing Ensign Bagley and two others and mortally wounding two. This accident, which occurred at the close of the action, was virtually its end; the enemy fired a few more shots, but was soon completely silenced by the heavy fire of the WILMINGTON. The conduct of Ensign Bagley and the men with him, as well as that of the crew who survived the fight, is beyond commendation. After seeing the dead and wounded removed from the WINSLOW and conveyed on board the WILMINGTON, I turned over the command of the ship to Gunner's Mate G. P. Brady, my own injury preventing me from performing active duty for the time being."
Note: by Lt. J. B. Bernadou, Commander, USS WINSLOW.  4127 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Marines You dragged your ass all the way. With our training using rope and pulling up hills and all that, it sure came in handy there. Christ, it was raining, of course. When didn't it rain in the hills? We climbed up on this hill; well, you couldn't walk up it, it was almost perpendicular. We'd tie the rope to a small tree, boost the guys -- we got over. You can imagine the time involved.
Note: by Ray Bauml, 2nd Raider Battalion  5101 Reads  Printer-friendly page



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.   2896 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American IN THE TRENCHES IN FRONT OF SANTIAGO DE CUBA. July 8, 1898 To the REGIMENTAL ADJUTANT TWELFTH UNITED STATES INFANTRY. SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of operations of Company F in the combat at Caney, near this place, July 1 last: Company arrived in vicinity of stone blockhouse as part of Second Battalion (Haskell's). After some maneuvering it reached a position behind a hedge, about 450 yards east of blockhouse about 11 a. in. It remained there firing on blockhouse during the right. Between 3 and 4 p.m. the company, one by one, sneaked into the dead space in a ravine immediately in front of its position behind the hedge. About 4 p.m., at the suggestion of General Chaffee, brigade commander, the company advanced up the southeast slope to the blockhouse supported by Company A, Twelfth Infantry. No resistance was met during the advance. Three armed Spaniards were found in the trench in front of blockhouse. They surrendered. Nine men and one officer (Second Lieutenant Canalda) were captured inside the blockhouse. Soon after other troops followed and a vigorous fire was received from the town, which was duly returned. The firing finally ceased about 4.30, I judge, and the battle was ended. Casualties in Company F: Behind the hedge - First Sergeant Miller and Private Scott, killed; Corporal Schendelmeyer, wounded. At the blockhouse – Sergeant Wilson and Private Gering, killed. In the ravine (fire from town) – Private Moore, wounded. I Respectfully submitted. WALLIS O. CLARK, Captain, Twelfth Infantry, Commanding Company F.
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Spanish American "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.  3221 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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World War I Somewhere in France Dear Mother; Just a line to let you know that I am still alive and well, hoping that this will find you in good health. Well mother, I told you last time about wining the Military Medal. Since then I have been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Not so bad for a Foxbrook lad, what do you think? Why don't you write oftener? I must have written five letters and no answer. Well, I must close, hoping to hear from you soon, love to all George.
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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.  4685 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Hut 11, Frensham Military Hosp., Nr. Farnham, Surrey, England September 15, 1916 Dear Lallie:- You will see by the above address that I am back again in England and in hospital. But am thankful to say I have no open wounds. Just a severely sprained back and my nerves are badly shaken up. I was buried in the trenches, and you may be sure I thought my last moment had come. My chum next to me was killed - instantly killed. Something seemed to tell me the day before that I was going to get it. I have been in the hospital two weeks now, counting the time I was in the Australian Hospital before I came to England. Yesterday was the first time I was out of bed for an hour or two. I am to shaky to walk yet, but am getting along nicely. On Wednesday who should visit me but Johnnie. I was so pleased to see him. He is near us at Whitley. We are 31 miles past London-rather a long way from home. I told dear Ettie not to come so far, as I may soon be moved to a Canadian hospital. The doctor in France also saw my toe, and he said I should not have been passed. One overlaps the other, the same as Johnnie got his discharge for. The doctor there was going to operate on them, but they won't allow him to. So I do not think I will have to go back to France. We were in the same place as Harold got his arm off. It was awful. Perhaps you read the report in the paper-the bombardment of Sunday the 3rd. I thank God he spared me to dear Ettie. This morning I had a letter from Harold, also one from Johnnie. Harold writes very good indeed with his left hand, and he is getting along fine, waiting for his new arm. Now Lallie, I hope you are quite well, and I think you had better come back to England and be with us all here. You know there is always a home waiting here for you with dear Ettie and I. Well, I have no news. When you write to me send it to Ettie and she will forward it on to me, unless I am home by then. Remember me to Mrs. Booty, also, Mrs. Northgraves when you see them. Take every care of your dear self. Heaps of love. God bless you. Your Loving Brother Fred
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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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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.  4401 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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This Day in History
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