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War Stories: Spanish American

War Stories published under this topic are as follows:

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Spanish American U.S.S. "Oregon" San Francisco Cal. March 19th 1898 Weighed anchor at 4.45 .m. and got under way passing between Angel island and Alcatraz. Almost every whistle in the city and every ship on the bay saluted us as we headed for the Golden Gate at a 14 knot clip, even the little government tug "Gen McDowell" added her mite from the wharf at Alcatraz while the military prisoners on the "Rock" waved their hats and we could feel that they were cheering although too far off to be heard.
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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  18357 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American New London, Conn., September 12, 1898 The ADJUTANT GENERAL, U. S. ARMY, Washington D. C. Sir: I have the honor to submit the following report upon the service of my battery (F, Second Artillery) during the months of June and July, covering the expedition to, and operations about, Santiago de Cuba: I. The horses, men, personal baggage, and camp equipment of the battery were loaded upon the transport Berkshire, in connection with Battery A, Second Artillery, prior to June 13, 1898, and the transport hauled out into the stream; but the ship came into the slip again and the horses were unloaded and sent up to camp, awaiting the final departure of the expedition. On June 13 the horses were reloaded, and the transport hauled out and proceeded to the lower bay to await the assembling of the fleet. The guns, carriages, caissons, harness, and general battery equipment had all been previously loaded and stowed, in connection with Battery A, Second Artillery, upon the lower afterdeck of the transport Iroquois, it being possible to load and stow without dismounting any of the battery. The ammunition, and also that of Battery A, Second Artillery, was all stowed, under personal supervision, in the forward lower hold of the same transport. It is to be regretted that it was impossible to have loaded the complete battery upon any one transport; but owing to the character and arrangements of these transports, taken as they were where they could be found, such an arrangement was impossible. On the Iroquois there was room available for guns and carriages, but none for the horses. On the Berkshire horses and men could be taken, but there was no room for guns, etc. Hence, the separation of the men and horses from the guns etc., appeared unavoidable, even though undesirable. On June 14, at about 3 p. m., the fleet had got into position and proceeded to sea. The trip at sea was without particular incident of interest. Though somewhat crowded, and, from the construction and nature of the transport, without much accommodation in the way of cooking, the men got along very comfortably. They were allowed to occupy nearly the whole ship by day and sleep anywhere at night. The saloon staterooms were allotted to the noncommissioned officers. There was no sickness, and, so far as the men were concerned, nothing better could have been expected under the circumstances. As to the horses, they stood the confinement and heat of the horse deck much better than had been anticipated. It was to be regretted, however, that the horse deck, being of iron, necessitated a temporary wooden covering upon which to fasten the stanchions for the stalls and the cleats to prevent slipping. This wooden covering and the cleats formed a regular open work grill, into which chaff and manure would pack in spite of all efforts to the contrary. The build of the ship, too, was such that no gangways could be provided in rear of the horses, there being barely room for one gangway at their head; hence the manure was difficult to be got at and removed. All of this made it next to impossible to keep the horse deck as clean as it should have been. As there were but two small scuppers - one on each side - on this deck, and as the deck was said not to be tight and the hold beneath was full of cargo, no cleaning by flushing out with hose was permissible. The ventilation was defective, but through the fault of no one, being the best possible from the construction of the ship. Fresh air was admitted through two large wind sails in the forward hatches, and also through the deadlights upon each side of the ship. The side ports, one forward and one aft on each side of the ship, were so constructed that they could not be opened generally with safety; hence there was no proper exit for the foul and heated air, or any chance to cause a strong draft throughout the horse deck. The small side ports, or deadlights, were quite numerous , and could generally be kept open. They were fitted with extemporized hoods of tin, made by the battery blacksmith, and, with these hoods, admitted a good deal of fresh air while the ship was under way. By shifting the horses about continuously in a regular order, so as to bring them all in turn into the cooler and fresher part or the deck, they were kept in fair condition, with but one or two exceptions. One horse became sick and exhausted, and died; another was about gone when we were ready to unload, and died before reaching the shore, and another was overheated, and drowned from spasms while swimming ashore. With these exceptions, the horses were landed in very fair condition.It is to be understood that no criticism or fault-finding is intended by the above report as to the horse deck. It is well known and understood that transports had to be taken as they could be found and the best possible use be made of them. It is not to be supposed that a vessel built for a horse transports were to be had, and it is fully conceded that the best possible arrangements were made to convert the Berkshire into a transport upon which horses could be sent with but small risk of disaster. The same is to be said as to the limited arrangements for cooking and messing for the men. The Berkshire, from her build and previous trade in the merchant service, had simply a forward galley of size commensurate for her limited crew, and aft a small pantry for a limited number of passengers; hence nothing better could have been provided. As the men had travel rations, the main thing was to provide coffee. This was arranged for by the provision of some large barrels with a steam coil within, in which barrels the coffee could be made by steam heat. By amicable arrangements with the ships cook and captain I obtained the use of the cooks galley when not in use for the crew, and by cooking at night was thus enabled to give the men extra food above the travel ration from stores brought along for the purpose. Taken all in all, the trip by sea was by no means a great hardship; the men were cheerful and contented; there was no sickness, and nothing happened to in any way mar the success of the expedition. After arriving at the coast of Cuba the artillery was not landed for a day or two after the infantry had about all landed. Finally the order was received, and the Berkshire moved in and anchored within about 400 to 500 yards of the beach. Contrary to the teachings of the books, the horses would not swim ashore unaided. At first they were sent overboard loosely, expecting that they would swim ashore; but this was at once found to be an impracticable method, for they would swim back to the ship, or to sea - anywhere but ashore. Consequently the ships boats had to be used to tow the horses ashore, or to the edge of the surf, and then to drive them ashore, or keep them from swimming to sea. But two horses could be taken at a time, and this made many trips; especially tiresome because of rough water, and because even then, when turned loose, some of the horses refused to go ashore and had to be caught up and again brought back.The ship's crew was but limited in number, and could not manage the boats all day. They were assisted as best possible by detail of men from the batteries. But soldiers are not necessarily sailors, or, as a general rule, taught a sailorıs duty, even in rowing a boat; hence the men available for boats' crews were but few in number, greatly handicapping us in this work. We did the best we could, everyone working faithfully and zealously to get done with a long , tedious, and hard job. As it was my fortune to be one of the last to unload my horses, I could profit from observation. I therefore sent a trumpeter and a heavy detail of men ashore, some of whom were fearless swimmers. By this means I got my horses ashore without much trouble. After they were turned loose from the boats the trumpeter would sound some familiar call and the men would rush in to catch up some horse about to turn back, frightened by the surf. The trumpet appeared to attract their attention and give them confidence, and, a bunch of horses being purposely kept in sight on the beach, the most of them would come through the surf to the trumpet to join those in sight. Unfortunately , as I began unloading late in the afternoon, darkness prevented its full accomplishment that day, and it had to be finished the next morning; but the last horse was unloaded and all in camp at the picket line before 8 a. m. After the horses were all on shore one-half of the battery was sent on shore under the orders received to care for them, the rest being held on board to be available for unloading the battery whenever this became possible. On June 25 a boat came alongside to take the men to the Iroquois for this purpose. I went in charge of my men and unloading was begun at once. Everything had to be hoisted up through the hatches and lowered onto the barge alongside. This was successfully accomplished by my battery in exactly one hour and three-quarters. On this barge was Battery A, Second Artillery, as well as my own, and everything belonging to the battery equipment, except the ammunition, was unloaded on June 25. There was no room for this ammunition after the two batteries were unloaded, and, furthermore, a tug came along to take the barge to the dock just as the loading of the harness was completed, and would not have waited for any further loading; hence the ammunition was not touched. It is to be remarked that all of this unloading by my battery was with my own men, assisted by the first and second mates of the ship, and wholly unassisted by any stevedores. By daylight on June 26 a detail was sent to the Iroquois to break out and begin loading the ammunition on the barge to send ashore. This barge had been sent back to the Iroquois some time during the night, after the batteries had been unloaded from it to the shore. It was long after dark before I finished unloading my battery to the shore, as I was prevented from working except when the track was clear from its then use in unloading small-arms ammunition from small boats. The officer in charge of this work permitted me to unload so long as such unloading did not stop his work; hence there were times when I had to wait and do nothing, waiting for the one track and only road to be clear to permit me to run a gun or a caisson on shore. This is only mentioned as a sample of the difficulties under which we worked. On June 26, while one detail was at work unloading ammunition from the Iroquois, the rest of the men on the Berkshire were hard at work stowing away and arranging the property to be left back and packing up their own kits and rations preparatory to going ashore. While so engaged, a steam launch came alongside and General Shafter in person ordered everybody and everything on board said launch to go on shore. It is not the place here to mention what transpired before we got on shore; that can be made the subject of a special report if necessary. Suffice it to say that finally the ammunition came on shore, and everyone went zealously to work to load up the battery with ammunition, draw rations and forage, and get in shape to move to the front. The battery was in shape and pulled out by 3 p.m., June 26, and marched to within a short distance of Siboney, and there bivouacked for the night. On June 27 we were again on march shortly after daylight, passed by Siboney, and thence on to the front, camping near General Wheeler’s headquarters beyond Sevilla. June 28, 29, and 30 were passed in this camp. On June 29, in the evening, orders were received to be ready to move at a momentıs notice in the morning. At daylight, July 1, we were therefore harnessed up and ready to move. At about 7 a. m. orders were received to proceed to and report at General Shafter’s headquarters at the front. This order was complied with, and my battery, in company with Battery K, First Artillery (Captain Best’s), was parked just off the road near these headquarters, and were here held in reserve for some hours, the exact time not taken. Finally, about noon, orders were received to move to the front. We then proceeded to and took position upon the hill near El Poso. From this position we could see San Juan Hill, and we were given it as our objective. Captain Best’s battery, on my right, followed by my battery, opened upon the entrenchments and so-called blockhouse upon the extremity of the hill, all clearly to be seen from our position. At this time our line of infantry was clearly to be seen lying down near the foot of San Juan Hill, and the enemy’s fire was plainly seen with field glasses coming from the entrenchments and blockhouse. My first shot was fired with a range of 2,450 yards, and was plainly seen to land in the enemyıs entrenchments; following this with another shot, at 2,475 yards, the shell again landed beyond the first, but in the entrenchments; the next shot, at 2,500 yards range, hit the blockhouse, and my last shot, at the same range, also hit the blockhouse. This firing was slow and deliberate, to be sure of the right range, and every shot was carefully watched to see it land; hence the knowledge as to just what each shot did. In the meantime captain Best’s battery also landed four shell in the entrenchments. I had obtained the range at which he intended to fire and purposely increased it so as to shoot and hit in some place beyond. These eight shots were all that were known to have been fired, as Captain Grimes's battery, on the right of Captain Best’s, was busy in refilling ammunition chests at the time, and was not firing. After my fourth shot I received the order to cease firing, and running out of the smoke again to get a clear view, I saw with my glasses, and also with the unaided eye, that our infantry had rushed upon and captured the position , and were swarming about the blockhouse. As I had stepped back into the smoke to reload after the fourth shot, and was busy reloading, I did not see the enemy abandon the position, nor our infantry when they made the charge up the hill. But it was all apparently done in but the few moments required for me to superintend the loading for the second round, the signal “cease firing” being given within but a moment or two after my last shot. Our infantry having captured the extremity of the hill and the blockhouse, there was no further firing possible at this objective. Orders were at first received to prepare for camp in this position upon El Paso Hill, and they were made accordingly. The guns were put in better position, the caissons parked under the protection of the hill, and a picket line was being prepared for the horses. Before this was finished, however, orders were received to move up to the front and take position with Captain Bestıs battery, which had been previously moved to the front, and had gone into action from the top of San Juan Hill. The battery was at once moved to the front, but before arriving there word was received to take another road, leading us finally to a ridge in rear of San Juan Hill. Here Captain Best’s battery was found upon this ridge, and my battery went into position on his left. The name of this ridge is unknown. It had evidently been the scene of an engagement earlier in the day, as dead bodies and spent shells were found upon it. Upon the crest to the right was a house, and near my position were two large iron cauldrons with a pipe line leading thereto. Under the hill was another house, in which were some of our killed and wounded, and behind it a small clearing in the woods, within which our horses and caissons were located. From this ridge it was impossible for our guns to be of any service. San Juan Hill was higher and but a short distance in our front, and completely hid the enemy. Consequently nothing could be done from this position. The battery remained in this position until shortly after midnight, and was then moved forward to the crest of San Juan Hill at its right-hand end, and there took position in company with Battery A, Second Artillery, on my right, and Battery K, First Artillery, on my left. Infantry rifle pits had been dug upon the crest of this ridge, and we were ordered to dig gun pits and be ready to bombard Santiago by daylight. These gun pits were dug, and the guns were in position according to orders long before daylight. As daylight opened and it was just about light enough to distinguish Santiago in the distance, the enemy opened fire upon us in our front, and the batteries replied with a fire of canister as long as it lasted, and then in my battery with shrapnel cut to zero. It was perfectly evident that the enemy had advanced, during the night or early dawn, under cover of the undergrowth and jungle that covered the Santiago side of San Juan Hill, and from this cover was pouring in a tornado of lead. Within a very short time after the opening of this fire I was twice wounded, and after the second wound, which broke my arm, was taken to a dressing station under the hill. After having my arm dressed, and being unable to go back to the battery, I remained at the dressing station until the firing was over. From my position I could and did watch the burst of shrapnel from the enemyıs guns. This shrapnel fire was all, or nearly all, too high, and with fuses cut too long, as it all burst beyond the crest of the hill where the batteries were placed. The bursts were about on a line with the dressing station; hence the fragments all passed beyond, and no fragments were heard to strike anywhere near us. Their only effect was to make the road from the rear dangerous to those advancing. After the firing was over I proceeded to the rear to the division hospital, had my arm dressed, and from there was sent to Siboney. At Siboney, finding the hospital crowded, I was sent on board the Iroquois with a party of officers and men able to travel, and proceeded to Key West, and from Key West to Port Tampa, and thence home upon leave of absence. Hence, I am unable to give anything further as to the operations of my battery. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, C. D. Parkhurst Captain, Second Artillery, Light Battery F.
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Spanish American "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.  3581 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American U. S. S. POTOMAC,

Caimanera, Cuba, August 23, 1898.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the work done on the wreck of the Maria Teresa since the last inspection made by Lieutenant-Commander Pillsbury, on August 15, 1898.
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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.  7572 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American It was suggested to me that I give a talk or write a paper on my experiences last summer, experiences that to me were the most interesting and exciting I suppose I will ever have. As it was left to me to select the method, I have chosen this as the easier, not that I always choose the easier way when I have an alternative, but only when I think it is the better way.
Note: by Bertram Willard Edwards of Chicago, a member of the Naval Reserve, USS OREGON.  8186 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.  2806 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  6949 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
  3332 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by this ship in the action of yesterday during and following the sortie of Admiral Cervera’s squadron. The ship had started at 8.50 for the army landing at Siboney, the commander in chief having an appointment with the general commanding the army.
Note: account written July 4, 1898.  6323 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American I was just closing a letter to my family when I felt the crash of the explosion. It was a bursting, rending, and crashing sound, or roar of immense volume, largely metallic in character. It was succeeed by a metallic sound - probably of falling debris - a trembling and lurching motion of the vessel, then an impression of subsidence, attended by an eclipse of the electirc lights and intense darkness within the cabin.
Note: recounted by Captain Charles D. Sigsbee, USS MAINE, Commanding Officer.  11458 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American The day first of July, at six o'clock in the morning, the enemy army main force commanded by General Shafter, composed at least of 15,000 men, with plenty of modern artillery, without counting the insurrects groups, attacked the lines of the city towards the East and Northeast, that is, El Caney, defended by General Vara de Rey with 520 men and two Plasencia type guns and the position of San Juan, occupied by two companies of 250 soldiers.
Note: by Spanish Navy Officer José Muller Tejeira, 1898.  7238 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American When we got to the bay's mouth, we saw our squadron, and decided, that if we went to west, we could gain the protection of our squadron. But there was some distance between us and squadron. One shell hit on our hatch, where our boiler's ventilators were located, so our steam pressure reduced considerably, and our speed slowed. At this time we had suffered a great quantity of hits. One shell cut up the boatswain in half and the part of his body fell into the steering control line. As a result of this, the ship lost partial rudder control. We needed to clear the body from the steering control line. Next, a shell destroyed the steam governor. A third exploded on the poop deck magazine and destroyed it. We had torpedoes cleared for action. Fuses were screwed in place, but we were unable to fire because, the distance was too great during the battle. As a result of these circumstances the commander of both destroyers, Capitan de Navio Villamil ordered us to abandon ship. Myself and part of the crew leaped overboard about 3 miles off the coast. In the water I saw one of my comrades was killed by a bullet to the head. At this time our destroyer, after a series of explosions, sank. When we got to the coast, we went on foot east toward Santiago. Shortly afterwards, we met the men of Lt Caballero and together proceeded to Santiago.
Note: by Lt. Bustamente, executive offficer, Spanish Torpedoboat Destroyer FUROR.  2832 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American SIR: At 9 a. m., July 3, I gave orders and arrangements were made for general muster at 9.30 a. m. At 9.30 a. m. the enemy were telegraphed by the Iowa as Coming out. At the same time they were discovered by the quartermaster on watch, N. Anderson, of this ship, and reported to the officer of the deck.
Note: account written July 7, 1898.  7692 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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1756: French commander Louis Montcalm took Fort Oswego, New England, from the British.

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1813: British warship Pelican attacked and captured US war brigantine Argus.

1842: Seminole War ended and the Indians were moved from Florida to Oklahoma.

1862: Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith begins an invasion of Kentucky as part of a Confederate plan to draw the Yankee army of General Don Carlos Buell away from Chattanooga, Tennessee, and to raise support for the Southern cause in Kentucky.

1862: U.S.S. Pocahontas, Lieutenant George B. Balch, and steam tug Treaty, Acting Lieutenant Baxter, on an expedition up the Black River from Georgetown, South Carolina, exchanged fire with Confederate troops at close range along both banks of the river for a distance of 20 miles in an unsuccessful attempt to capture steamer Nina.

1864: Confederate General Joe Wheeler besieged Dalton, Georgia.

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1900: During the Boxer Rebellion, an international force of British, Russian, American, Japanese, French, and German troops relieves the Chinese capital of Peking after fighting its way 80 miles from the port of Tientsin.

1912: The JUSTIN, carrying a US battalion of 354 men and its equipment, arrived at Corinto, Nicaragua, and anchored near the Annapolis. US forces remained until 1925.