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Coward: one who, in a perilous emergency, thinks with his legs

-- Ambrose Bierce

War Stories: Spanish American

War Stories published under this topic are as follows:

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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.
  3174 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American When we left our anchorage at Hong Kong for Mirs Bay we passed close to an English army hospital-ship lying in the stream. The patients gathered on the port-side, and, with the doctors and nurses, gave three hearty cheers as we steamed slowly by. It did our hearts good, and from all our ships ringing Yankee voices answered them in kind.
  6580 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American April 19th 4th Inf. left Fort Sheridan for Tampa April 22nd arrived at Tampa June 7th Troops left Tampa for Port Tampa and went aboard the Transports June 14th Transports left for Cuba June 22nd After the Navy had bombarded the coast for some time the troops began disembarking at Daiquiri. After landing we found about 50 Cubans who said when the bombardment took place there was about two or three hundred Spanish soldiers behind the hills but as soon as the bombardment commenced they ran some of them lieving their rifles and ammunition behind them. The Cubans had been lying hiding behind the hills and as soon as the Spaniards ran they ran in and picked up the Spanish rifles and ammunition. They had a stack of coconuts and they were kept busy cuting them open for the men to drink the milk. Part of the troops climbed up the mountain and raised Old Glory on the top of a block house while the men cheered and the Transports blew their whistles and the gun boats fired a salute. June 23rd Found a family of Cubans consisting of Father, mother and three children the oldest about 5 years old starving to death. We carried the mother out on a strecher and the children in our arms and led the father out and the hospital took care of them. The land here is very mountainous. We marched about two or three miles through a coconut forest and went into camp. June 24th About nine oclock after hearing firing in the mountains for some time an orderly rode into camp with the news that the first Regular Cav. And the rough riders were being cut to pieces and asking for re-inforcements. We broke camp immediately and set out to reinforce the 1st Cav. and rough riders. We got lost in the mountains and did not reach the place untill about six oclock P.M. when we found the rough riders and the 1st and 10th Cav. burying their dead. It only took us about an hour and a half to get back to camp. June 25th We marched eight nearer Santiago June 26th Laid in Camp all day June 27th We marched to within six miles of Santiago and took our place on the line June 28 & 29 Laid in Camp all day June 30th About four oclock P.M. we started toward El Caney to get on the fighting line while the Milatary balloon was sent up over our heads with the engineers July 1st The ball opened at six oclock with the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Division of which I was a member held as the reserve. About nine oclock the Division commander ordered our brigade on the fighting line. The first battalion of the 4th Inf of which I was a member was ordered as the fighting line and the 2nd the reserve. We advanced and the men with wire cutters cut down a wire fence. We then advanced towards the stone block house at El Caney. Whenever we would be crossing over high ground the men would begin falling all round. The first man of the 4th Inf. to fall shot through th head was the man on my right not more than two yards from me. We would advance ten or fifteen yards at double time and lay down and fire. About 5.31 P.M. the 25th Inf. (Colored) and part of the 4th made a final charge and captured the stone block house and the earth works around it. Half an hour later all the Spanish soldiers in the town came out and surrendered. We then turned over the town to the Cubans who came marching in after the truble was all over – from God knows where and started towards San Juan hill to aid the division fighting there. We marched about two or three miles and laid down on the road going to Santiago and sleep untill about two oclock when we were awoke by the cuban pickets who reported that we were sleeping within two hundred yards of the Spanish pickets. We were ordered to fall in and as we were ready to march the pack mules came up with rations. The men were given all the rations they wanted to carry and started back over the road they had come the night before and went to San Juan hill by another road. July 2nd Arrived at San Juan hill about three o clock P.M. A detachment of ten men of which I was one was sent back for our equipments and blankets. By some mistake we started out between the lines and we had not gone far before we were greeted by a volley and the bullets came over our heads the same as if a gatlin gun was turned on us. A bluff was close to us and we laid down behind it and the bullets were whistling over our heads. After laying there for about five minutes we jumped up and ran. One man (Nichols of F Co.) was shot through the thigh. After runing some distance we stoped and found that the men had ran different roads and that there was only three of us together. When we reached the place where the equipments had been left we found all the rest of the men there. We shouldered all the equipments and blankets and started back this time going along our lines and having no truble in getting back. We arrived at our camp (which was along a little crick among a lot of underbrush and after cooking and eating supper laid to rest. About nine oclock we were awoke by a heavy fire through the underbrush. We jumped up and one man of H Co was shot through the heart while he was getting up. We ran up a small ravine road and were stationed along the head of the ravine untill the firing ceased. Then we found that the spaniards had tried to supprise us and retake San Juan hill. Our brigade although not on San Juan hill was still in a line with it. and that was the reason there was such a fire going through the underbrush. July 3rd Broke camp in the morning and started toward Santiago. About ten oclock was fired upon by the enemy. We deployed and marched about half a mile through under brush but did not see any thing. Went into camp and started to dig entrenchments. July 4th We were told there was a truce untill July 10th. Digging entrenchments all day. July 5th Turned over our entrenchments to the 7th Inf. and went farther to the right. July 6th Started diging entrenchments again July 7th, 8th and 9th Diging entrenchment and bomb proofs. July 10th Truce up at four P.M. We take our places in the entrenchment a little before four. The Spaniards at four oclock take down the flag of truce put up the spanish flag fire a volley into the air as a salute to the flag and then a volley at us. We opened fire and there was a hot fire on both sides till dark. During the battle Capt. Capron had been droping shells into the Spanish pits and drove the bigger part of them out. They started toward Santiago on a run but our gatlin guns mowed them down. We had one officer and one man killed. July 11th We opened fire on the Spanish works at daylight but after firing about two hours and received no answer from the Spaniards. The officers saw we were wasting ammunition and the order was given to cease firing. About noon the 1st D.C. marched up behind the 25th and the 71st N.Y. behind us and we were ordered farther to the right. We chased out a lot of Cubans and took their camp. The stink the Cubans left behind was enough to give us all the yellow fevor. We policed the place as good as possible and started diging entrenchments again. July 12th We had orders for the first battalion of each regament to open fire while the second advanced and dug new intrenchments. About dusk we were in our entrenchment ready to open fire when an orderly came up with an order that Gen. Shafter had given the Spaniards untill the 14th at twelve oclock to serrender. So few rations were now coming that at night when they came in the men did not have enough for supper out of what was given them for twenty four hours. July 13th Laid in camp all day July 14th At 11.45 A.M. we were ordered into our pits to be ready to open fire at 12.00. We stayed in the pits untill 12.20 P.M. wondering why they did not open fire when our Comd’g officer told the Captains to let all the men but a small guard go back down to the camp and for them to be ready to come up again at the first shot. About half an hour later an aid de Camp rode onto camp and raised both hands siad men no hollowing. The Spanish general has surrendered twenty thousand troops to Gen Shafter turning over the whole province of Santiago. July 17th All the troops were ordered infront of their entrenchmints to witness the formal surrender of Santiago about 9 a.m. After standing in front of our pits for about fifteen minutes we were marched back down the hill to camp. At 11.50 we were again marched up the hill to witness the raising of Old Glory on the Consul General’s house. As soon as the flag was raised Capt. Capron fired a salute of Twenty one guns. At the first gun all the Captains hollowed three cheers for the American flag and the American people. We yelled ourselves hoarse after which a message of thanks was read from the President of the U.S. to the 5th Army Corps July 21st Government Transports came into Santiago harbor July 23rd My time having expired I received my discharge and went to Santiago to take a transport for the U.S. July 24th Left Santiago on Transport Santiago for U.S. Foreign Service Cuba June 22nd to July 23 – 98 Arrived in Porto Rico Nov 20
Note: by Robert Turley  2940 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American USS Oregon, 4 July 1898
Sir - I have the honor to report that at 9.30 AM yesterday the Spanish fleet was discovered standing out of the harbor of Santiago de Cuba. They turned to the westward and opened fire, to which our ships replied vigorously. For a short time there was almost continuous flight of projectiles over this ship, but when our line was fairly engaged and the Iowa had made a swift advance, as if to ram or close, the enemy's fire became defective in train as well as range. The ship was only struck three times, and at least two of them were by fragments of shells. We had no casualties.
Note: by Captain C.E. Clark, USN  6555 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American U.S.S. Maine Havana, Cuba Dear Father, I received your loving letter a few days ago and was pleased to hear from you. I would have written sooner but owing to us having to been ordered to sea so soon. I didn't have any chance. We are now in Havana Cuba. We arrived here yesterday after a five hour run around a place called Dry Tartogos a small Florida reef. We were out to sea when the orders came for us to proceed to proceed at once to Havana. We are the first American ship that has been here in six years. We are now cleared for action with every gun in the ship loaded and men stationed around the ship all night. We are also ready to land a battalion at any moment. By the looks of things now I think we will have some trouble before we leave. We steamed the whole length of Cuba and about every mile you can see puffs of smoke and the Spainards firing on the rebels. There are three German ships (?) loading. here was Old Moro Castle stands at the entrance of the harbor, there are thousands of Spanish inside you can see them all sitting on the walls at any time of the day. This is a landlocked harbor but I think we could get out of it all right although we are in a pretty dangerous position at the present time and we hardly know when we are safe. Well dear Father I will now have to close sending my best love and wishes to all and hoping that I may be alive to see you all again. I remain you loving son. Charles U.S.S. Maine in the charge of Council General of the United States Havana, Cuba
Note: by Charles Hamilton, Apprentice, 1st Class, Battleship Maine.  3357 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.  3439 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American

Santiago De Cuba

July 18, 1898

Dear Parents,

Received your welcome letter and was so glad to find all well. I am in the best of health, but my God, how the men around me suffer! There are 30 to 40 in the Company sick. It is the fever, and I thank God every day that He has spared me so far. He has heard your prayers, my dear Mama. As I have no paper, I will give you a brief sketch of what has happened on the Island and go into details some other time.

  5799 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American We are out today on the scout on the mountain, about thirty miles from Guantanamo, and probably will not see camp again for about ten days. I have eight men with me, and have made a report of our position and that of the enemy and have sent the same to our captain at Guantanamo.
At present I am under orders of the noted Cuban, General Garcia, and he will give me a guide of ten or twelve Cubans when I return to our camp.
Note: by Marine Sergeant Bloomfield W. Riddle.  7212 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American "A regiment of the Second Brigade was jamming itself through the trail, and then came some of the Sixteenth Infantry's bandsmen. In battle, bandsmen followed a regiment and carried off the wounded. The band leader and the drum major were swearing earnestly. A soldier stumbled and dropped. His rifle fell from his hand. On the instant a bandsman darted forward, throwing his tenor horn into the brush. He grabbed the rifle and unbuckled the dead man's cartridge belt. It was this sort of thing that the drum major was swearing about - half the bandsmen had discarded their instruments and picked up rifles and cartridge belts. 'You hear me, pick up that goddamn horn! You hear me!' The bandsman paid no attention. 'You pick up that goddamn horn!' shrilled the drum major. ' An' that's an order!' The bandsman looked at him. 'Not by a goodamsite, Dan' he said. 'You think I'm agoin to get shot at an' not shoot back!' 'Goddam!' ejaculated the drum major. He darted at another bandsman, who was unbuckling a cartridge belt from a soldier who had been wounded - and who was helping him do it. The band had few instrumens left; but for every missing horn or fife there was a Krag rifle and a belt of cartridges. A fortnight later I saw some of those instruments; they had bullet holes in them, they were dented and battered and roughly straightened out."
Note: by Private Charles Johnson Post.  2702 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American Once through the entrance, as I deemed it wise to keep moving in order not to be taken by surprise when the ships had no headway, and as, at the same time, I did not wish to reach our destination before we had sufficient daylight to show us the position of the Spanish ships, the speed of the squadron was reduced to four knots, while we headed toward the city of Manila.
Note: by Admiral George Dewey  9332 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American Friday Jan. 1st 1897 Dear Sir, Some time ago, about Dec. 20th I wrote a letter to a friend of mind, Dr. Guitierez at Key West, in which I described our passage of the Trocha and Maceo's death, which I requested him, after reading, to forward to the "World", for publication, but I am afraid, the Spaniards have the letter, as I intrusted it to Lieut. Col. Pacio to forward, and his fate just now is unknown. I will therefore write about it once more. On December. 4th at 2 p.m. Gen. A. Maceo, accompanied by about 30 persons on his staff, assistants and a few cavalrymen commanded by Comandante Varios, left San Felipe at the foot of the Gobernador (a large conspicuous hill); and as my clothes had not come, although I had dispatched 2 messengers, the General told me to come without them. About 6 p.m. we got to the beach, between Cabanas and Mariel, where the boat was hidden in the woods; but there was a very strong northerly wind and very heavy sea, so as to make it very dangerous, if not impossible to launch the boat. We therefore picked the boat up on our shoulders, even the General taking hold several times, and carried it about a mile and a half across a neck of land, launching it inside the harbor of Mariel, not more than 2 miles outside the town, about 10 p.m. Gen. A. Maceo, Gen. Pedro Diaz, Panchito Gomez [son of major General Maximo Gomez (Daley)] and I were the first 4 to cross, with one guide and two boatmen. We landed after a passage of about 20-25 minutes at a little wharf near what I took to be some bathhouses, and all of us picking up a load, started a march of about 2 miles, when we stopped at a deserted house. The guide went back, and shortly returned with the 2nd group, namely Brigadier General Miro, Col. Nordarse, Dr. Zertoucha, Com. Justis and Ramon Umaha. By 2 a.m. the rest, namely, Com. Piedra and Beaberes [don't know the correct spelling (Daley)], one captain and 5 assistants had joined us and we went about mile further, to a safer point, where we waited for daylight. About 6 a.m. on the 5th we started on the march and about 7 a.m near La Merced, met Lieut. Vazquez and some of his men, who took us to a house, where we camped all day. Next day Dec. 6th we left about noon, mounted on the horses of Vazquez's men, as our horses had not come yet; met Lieut. Col. Baldomero Acosta with men and horses 2 p.m. and camped at Gara 4 p.m.-9 p.m. Then resumed the march and camped at Baracoa [Havana province (Daley)] at midnight. At 4 a.m. Dec. 7th resumed the march and met Brigadier Silverio Sanchez, encamped with about 300 men, at 8 a.m. at San Pedro. As we had not had much sleep and there was nothing to eat, most of us (the Grl. Staff) went to sleep and the General had his hammock put up as well. We naturally had all confidence in Brig. Sanchez, but he did not have any exploradores and when suddenly about 2 p.m. without any warning, heavy firing commenced at our advance guard, all was for a moment confusion. Not enough, to be without exploration, but the advance guard was so near the camp, that when the fire opened, the bullets entered and passed beyond the camp. Naturally we all mounted as quick as possible, and the General, Miro, Diaz, Nodarse, I and 3-4 more were riding in a group, when immediately outside the little wood, in which was the camp, we met our retreating and, at no great distance, saw the enemy advancing and firing en guerilla. The General gave his horse the spurs and drawing his machete, shouted to the retreating men "Atras! al machete!". The men and others who were all the time coming from the camp to the front, seemed electrified, and with enthusiastic shouts wheeled their horses and charged, while the enemy precipitately retreated about 200 yards where he took position behind a strong stonewall about 4 feet high and, even dismounting his cavalry, opened a terrific fire by volleys. The General at this moment told me to collect what men I could, and charge the enemy's right flank (on our left) while he himself charged on the left. I collected about 35-40 men, and seeing the stonewall not extended very far, also knowing it to be impossible for a small cavalry to take a wall like that from infantry by a direct charge, I went about 500 yards further to our left and then charged around the end of the wall. I broke their first line of fire, but was losing men fast, and when I fell wounded with 3 bullets, my men put me on another horse and retreated. As I went back, I saw the General [Antonio Maceo (Daley)], with small group, not more than 6-8, charging, away on our right, and it seemed but a moment, when all but 2 or 3 where on the ground. Commander Manuel Sanchez, was charging at the General's side, when a bullet entered the chin of Maceo, coming out at the back of the neck. The General fell forward on his horse's neck and Sanchez catching his arm exclaimed: "General, no soy cobarde!" Maceo could not speak, but gave him a terrible look and at this moment Sanchez received a bullet through his right leg which after traversing his horse also entered the stomach of the General. Maceo fell but a short distance from the stonewall and it seems it was impossible for our people to advance and get his body. Some of the Spaniards advanced and robbed both him and Panchito Gomez, but they never got their bodies as the fire of our men drove then back. Near dark about 5 p.m. the enemy retreated and our people then got the bodies. And I here wish to protest against the horrible custom of the Spanish to kill the wounded. They say Panchito Gomez committed suicide and I saw a picture in one of the Spanish papers, where he puts the revolver to his brain. But that are all lies. First and foremost he had no revolver; on Dec. 2nd before we crossed, we have a nice little fight near San Felipe, and Panchito was wounded in the left shoulder and also lost his revolver. Second he had no bullet wound in the head. He had besides his old wound in the shoulder, only one bullet wound in the left side of the stomach; but they found him alive with that by the side of the General and gave him a pinch (thrust) with the point of a sword in the right breast, a cut in the hollow of the left arm, and a horrible machetazo, that laid open the whole back of his head and left side of the neck. All of us who crossed with the General were wounded except Gen. Diaz and Zertucha and Com. Justis who was killed. I received a bullet in the right knee, one through the right arm and another in the left side, but the last 2 light wounds that are about well. The bullet in the knee is one of those confounded copper bullets that make a hole size of your thumb, and besides it hurts the bone. I believe you want to know also about some of the atrocities of the soldiers towards Pacificos, and I could write lots, that I have personally witnessed, but I refer you to Mr. George Bronson Rhea, who has a host of well authenticated instances at your disposal. Still if you wish for some more, let me know, and I will supply them. As for the talk of the papers and Grl. Weyler about his speedy pacification of the island do no believe a word of it. In Pinar del Rio are at least 6000 armed Cubans, besides 4-6000 more with machetes. They have a splendid General (Rius Rivera) there and at present plenty to eat. I was there sometime and never went hungry, besides had the satisfaction there, to see Weyler with 25,000 men unable to force our position for 5 days, when we had not more that 80 men. Of course everyone deplores the loss of Maceo, but I find nobody discouraged; on the contrary everybody, soldiers as well as leaders are strong in the determination, to fight till their island is free. They all have still great hopes of American intervention, but even without that, they will fight on, trusting to tire out Spain, and especially Spaniard finances. Let me know if you wish to know more. Yours, El Coronel Carlos Gordon
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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.  3650 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American FROM OUR OWN SOLDIER BOYS. Tampa, Florida, June 5th, 1898 Capt. T.W.Collier, Raton, New Mexico. My Dear Captain: To-day being Sunday and the ‘rough riders’ being religiously inclined, divine services were well attended. As a matter of course the officers were all present and a goodly number of the troopers. Promptly at nine o’clock Chaplain Brown ascended the pulpit, (a bale of hay in the shade of a large pine tree), and opened the service by singing that familiar hymn, “My Country ‘tis of Thee.” Taking for his text, “Put ye in the sickle for the harvest is ripe” the chaplain delivered an able and instructive sermon, after which the services were closed by singing the hymn, “God be with you ‘till we meet again.” Monday, June 6th This morning we had regimental drill, lasting over two hours. Many and difficult movements were successfully executed after which the Colonel complimented the boys on their rapid improvement. At two o’clock this afternoon, Colonel Wood announced that the seventy men out of each eight troops (there are eighty men in each troop) should break camp and pack up immediately and prepare to embark for Cuba. This news was received with great rejoicing by the troops that were ordered to go. The troops that were to be left behind could not help showing a feeling of sadness, but they cordially congratulated the lucky ones. Troop G, being made up of good material is, of course, one of the eight troops above mentioned. Our captain, (Captain Llewellen) selected the seventy men who are to go with us, and I am proud to say that not one of the Raton boys in the troop is to be left behind. All are to go. They have behaved remarkably well, have been obedient and attentive to their duties. They are indeed a credit to the “Gate City.” Tuesday, June 7th. Everything is quiet in camp this morning. We are patiently awaiting the order to march. We expect to go aboard the transports this afternoon. Wednesday, June 8th. We are on board the transport “Yucatan.” It is a beautiful day with a good breeze blowing. There are several vessels loaded with troops. In all there are about 25,000 soldiers. It is indeed a grand sight. As each vessel is loaded she is drawn out of the channel by a steam tug, amid the waving of flags, the blowing of whistles and the cheers of several thousands of people. The most hearty good will prevails. The men are wild with glee at the prospect of going to Cuba. I don’t know whether we will sail to-night or not. I hope we will, as all are very anxious to go. Thursday, June 9th. We are still in the bay, all of the transports are loaded and anchored here in the bay. It was reported that some Spanish war ships were seen last evening off the coast of Florida, within six hours sail of us. We will not sail until it is found whether or not the report is true. If the report is true it must be that only a small portion of the Spanish fleet is shut up in the harbor of Santiago. I will write you as often as possible and keep you posted as to our where-abouts. So long as we remain here mail can be sent ashore on dispatch boats. The boat is about to go now so I will have to quit. I am feeling fine. The boys all join me in sending kindest regards to the people of Ratonin general. P.S. Please mention in THE RANGE that mail for the regiment may be sent to Tampa. It will be forwarded from here to whatever place the regiment may be stationed. Mail for our boys should be sent to Troop G, 1st U.S.V. Cavalry. D.J.Leahy The Raton Range, July 21, 1898: San Juan Heights A Description of the Fight by One of Raton’s Soldiers who was There! By Lieut. DAVID J. LEAHY. To CAPTAIN T. W. COLLIER: At 3:30 o’clock, p.m., June 30th, the order to break camp was given. At about 4:30 the march was commenced toward Santiago with “G” Troop in the lead. After traversing many rough roads and crossing two streams, we went into camp at 9:30 p.m. Our camp was on the eastern slope of a ridge thickly overgrown with high grass and Spanish bayonets. The battery consisting of four field pieces being placed in our front about 70 yards distant. Coffee was made and supper eaten and the boys quietly turned in being somewhat tired after their long and tedious march. At 4:30 in the morning we were quietly awakened by Lieut. Woodbury Kane, who was officer of the guard, no reveille being sounded on account of our close proximity to the Spanish lines. Breakfast, consisting of coffee and hard tack was quickly prepared and eaten, after which the order was issued to roll up bedding preparatory to commencing the march. Just before sunrise the Grimes battery (the same that opened the fight at the Battle of Gettysburg at the same hour on the same day thirty five years ago) fired the first shot into the Spanish lines. After six shells had been fired by our batteries, suddenly, and without any warning, we heard the whirl of a Spanish shell. Their aim was true and the fuse had been well timed, for the shell burst immediately over us, and we began discussing the advisability of moving. Our time for consideration was brief, for in less than two minutes another shell landed among us, wounding several of our men, among whom were Ash and McSparron of Troop “G.” We were then ordered to march to the left a distance of 200 yards. This took us out of range of the artillery fire of the Spaniards and we quietly watched the battle between the big guns. After a few hours firing the Spanish batteries ceased replying and the supposition was that they were silenced. Almost simultaneously with the beginning of the battle by the Grimes battery, Gen. Lawton’s division on El Caney two and one half miles to our right. In a short time information came to us that Gen. Lawton was heavily engaged and we were ordered to march to his assistance. While marching toward the left to El Caney, we found that the Spaniards had taken up a strong position on San Juan Heights, two parallel ridges, one about 250 yards in the rear of and nearer Santiago than the other. We were about 400 yards distant from the first ridge and partially concealed by underbrush when we were fired upon by the Spaniards from the ridge. Orders were given to be down but not to return the Spanish fire, as their exact position was not yet known. Here we were compelled to remain for a period of three hours, the bullets whistling over our heads amongst the trees and some of them cutting the grass close beside us. It was indeed a trying position, but none of the boys murmured. It was while in this position that Capt. O’Neil of Troop “A” was killed and Lieut. Haskell of “F” Troop was mortally wounded. Finally the order to move forward was given and was indeed readily obeyed. Our next position was on the road leading to the left of the ridge. Here a halt was called while the field officers surveyed the ground and decided upon the movement to be made by each troop. In front of the Spanish works and between us and them was an open field 300 yards in width. Having but four pieces of artillery, it was decided that the ridges could be captured only by making a charge. The order to charge was given and with loud cheers the men leaped forward. We had no shelter and were in plain sight of the Spaniards, yet the men pressed eagerly forward, the main work of the officers being to keep the fastest runners back in the line. They ran forward, cheering wildly, and when within 80 yards of the trenches the Spaniards broke and ran. It was then the sharp reports of the Krag-Jorgesen Rifles could be heard and many a Spaniard fell backward and found his last resting-place in the trench he had so lately occupied. The coolness of our men was remarkable, and that their aim was true, the number of Spaniards that lie in close proximity to the trenches is the best evidence. After being driven from the first ridge, the Spaniards fled to the second ridge, there taking up a similar position to that occupied on the first one. On reaching the top of the ridge a halt was called to re-form our ranks which were somewhat broken during the charge. Some of our men were killed and many wounded, but we had gained the ridge and as soon as the Stars and Stripes were planted on the works on which the Spanish flag was flying a few minutes before a ringing cheer went up from thousands of throats. Our ranks having been re-formed, it was decided to drive the Spaniards from the second ridge. We started forward on double time. It was at this juncture that a Mauser bullet pierced my right arm, breaking the bone and turning me completely around. Serj. (Rol) Fullenwider, who was near me seeing that I was wounded, helped me over the crest of the hill and beyond the reach of the Spanish bullets. He then cut away my sleeve and helped to bind up the wound, then returning to the troop while I was taken to the hospital by one of the hospital stewards. About five minutes after being wounded, an exultant cheer reached my ears and I knew the second ridge had been taken and the Battle of San Juan Heights was ended. The Americans had again won and the Spaniards were again defeated. D. J. LEAHY
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Spanish American During the year preceding the outbreak of the Spanish War I was Assistant Secretary of the Navy. While my party was in opposition, I had preached, with all the fervor and zeal I possessed, our duty to intervene in Cuba, and to take this opportunity of driving the Spaniard from the Western World.
Note: by Lt. Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, 1st Volunteer Cavalry  17351 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.  2720 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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