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Title: The Colored Regulars in the United States Army
Author: Steward, T. G.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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With a Sketch of the History of the Colored American, and an Account of
His Services in the Wars of the Country, from the
Period of the Revolutionary War to 1899.


Lieutenant-General Nelson A. Miles
Commanding the Army of the United States.

       *       *       *       *       *

Twenty-fifth U.S. Infantry.

A.M.E. Book Concern,
631 Pine Street.


[Illustration: Chaplain T.G. Steward, D.D.]




The Importation of the Africans. Character of the Colored Population
in 1860. Colored Population in British West Indian Possessions. Free
Colored People of the South. Free Colored People of the North. Notes.


Early Literature of Negro Soldiers. Negro Soldiers in the War of the
Revolution. The War of 1812. Negro Insurrections. Negro Troops in the
Civil War. Notes.                                                    57


Organization of Negro Regiments in the Regular Army. First Movement in
the War. Chickamauga and Tampa. Notes.                               84



The Tenth Cavalry at Guasimas. The "Rescue of the Rough Riders." Was
there an Ambush? Notes.                                             116


The Capture of the Stone Fort by the Twenty-fifth Infantry.         150


Cavalry Division: The Ninth and Tenth Regiments. Kent's Division: The
Twenty-fourth Infantry. Forming under fire. A Gallant Charge.       191


Kent's Division. The Twenty-fourth Infantry. Forming Under Fire. A
Gallant Charge.                                                     208


In the Trenches. The Twenty-fourth in the Fever Camp. Are Negro
Soldiers Immune? Camp Wikoff.                                       220


Gallantry of the Black Regulars. Diary of Sergeant Major E.L. Baker,
Tenth Cavalry.                                                      236


The Ninth Ohio Battalion. Eighth Illinois. Twenty-third Kansas. Third
North Carolina. Sixth Virginia. Third Alabama. The Immunes.         282


By Captain Frank R. Steward, A.B., LL.B., Harvard, 49th U. S.
Volunteer Infantry.                                                 299

APPENDIX.                                                           328


The material out of which the story of the COLORED REGULARS has been
constructed has been collected with great pains, and upon it has been
expended a serious amount of labor and care. All the movements of the
Cuban campaign, and particularly of the battles, have been carefully
studied by the aid of official reports, and conversations and
correspondence with those who participated in them. The work has been
performed with an earnest desire to obtain and present the truth,
hoping that the reader will be inspired by it to a more profound
respect for the brave and skilled black men who passed through that
severe baptism of fire and suffering, contributing their full share to
their country's honor.

It is also becoming in this place to mention with gratitude the
encouragement given by the War Department both in granting me the time
in which to do the work, and also in supplying me with documents and
furnishing other facilities. By this enlightened course on the part of
the Department great aid has been given to historical science, and,
incidentally, very important service rendered to the cause of freedom
and humanity. A struggling people has been helped and further glory
reflected upon the Government. The President, himself, has manifested
a kindly interest in the work, and has wished that the story of the
black soldiers should be told to the world. The interest of the
Commanding General of the Army is shown in his letter.

Thus encouraged from official sources and receiving the most hearty
words of cheer from friends, of whom none has been more potent or more
earnest than Bishop B.W. Arnett, D.D., of the African M.E. Church, I
have, after five months of severe labor, about completed my task, so
far as I find it in my power to complete it; and trusting that the
majesty and interest of the story itself will atone for any defects in
the style of the narration, the volume is now offered to a sympathetic
public, affectionately dedicated to the men whose heroic services have
furnished the theme for my pen.

Wilberforce, Ohio, September, 1899.


Headquarters of the Army, Washington, August 5, 1899.

Rev. T.G. Steward, Chaplain 25th Infantry, Wilberforce, Ohio.

Dear Sir:--Your letter of the 20th ultimo was duly received, but my
time has been so much engrossed with official duties, requiring my
presence part of the time out of the city, that it has not been
practicable to comply with your request earlier; and even now I can
only reply very briefly.

You will remember that my acquaintance with negro character commenced
during the Civil War. The colored race then presented itself to me in
the character of numerous contrabands of war, and as a people who,
individually, yearned for the light and life of liberty. Ages of
slavery had reduced them to the lowest ebb of manhood. From that
degree of degradation I have been an interested spectator of the
marvelously rapid evolution of the down-trodden race. From the
commencement of this evolution to the present time I have been more or
less in a position to closely observe their progress. At the close of
the war I was in command of one of the very important military
districts of the South, and my concern for the welfare of all the
people of that district, not excluding the people of color, you will
find evidenced in the measures taken by me, more especially in regard
to educational matters, at that time. The first regiment which I
commanded on entering the Regular Army of the United States at the
close of the war was made up of colored troops. That regiment--the
40th Infantry--achieved a reputation for military conduct which forms
a record that may be favorably compared with the best regiments in the
service. Then, again, refer to my General Order No. 1, issued after
the fall of Santiago, and you will see that recognition is not
grudgingly given to the troops who heroically fought there, whether of
American, of African, or of Latin descent. If so early in the second
generation of the existence of the race in the glorious light of
liberty it produces such orators as Douglas, such educators as Booker
T. Washington, such divines as the Afro-American Bishops, what may we
not expect of the race when it shall have experienced as many
generations of growth and development as the Anglo-Saxons who now
dominate the thought, the inventive genius, the military prowess, and
the commercial enterprise of the world! Very truly yours,


[Illustration: Lieutenant-General Nelson A. Miles.]

Headquarters of the Army,
Siboney, Cuba, July 16, 1898.

General Field Orders No. 1.

The gratifying success of the American arms at Santiago de Cuba and
some features of a professional character both important and
instructive, are hereby announced to the army.

The declaration of war found our country with a small army scattered
over a vast territory. The troops composing this army were speedily
mobilized at Tampa, Fla. Before it was possible to properly equip a
volunteer force, strong appeals for aid came from the navy, which had
inclosed in the harbor of Santiago de Cuba an important part of the
Spanish fleet. At that time the only efficient fighting force
available was the United States Army, and in order to organize a
command of sufficient strength, the cavalry had to be sent dismounted
to Santiago de Cuba with the infantry and artillery.

The expedition thus formed was placed under command of Major-General
Shafter. Notwithstanding the limited time to equip and organize an
expedition of this character, there was never displayed a nobler
spirit of patriotism and fortitude on the part of officers and men
going forth to mantain the honor of their country. After encountering
the vicissitudes of an ocean voyage, they were obliged to disembark on
a foreign shore and immediately engage in an aggressive campaign.
Under drenching storms, intense and prostrating heat, within a
fever-afflicted district, with little comfort or rest, either by day
or night, they pursued their purpose of finding and conquering the
enemy. Many of them, trained in the severe experience of the great
war, and in frequent campaigns on the Western plains, officers and men
alike exhibited a great skill, fortitude, and tenacity, with results
which have added a new chapter of glory to their country's history.
Even when their own generals in several cases were temporarily
disabled, the troops fought on with the same heroic spirit until
success was finally achieved. In many instances the officers placed
themselves in front of their commands, and under their direct and
skillful leadership the trained troops of a brave army were driven
from the thickets and jungles of an almost inaccessible country. In
the open field the troops stormed intrenched infantry, and carried and
captured fortified works with an unsurpassed daring and disregard of
death. By gaining commanding ground they made the harbor of Santiago
untenable for the Spanish fleet, and practically drove it out to a
speedy destruction by the American Navy.

While enduring the hardships and privations of such campaign, the
troops generously shared their scanty food with the 5,000 Cuban
patriots in arms, and the suffering people who had fled from the
besieged city. With the twenty-four regiments and four batteries, the
flower of the United States Army, were also three volunteer regiments.
These though unskilled in warfare, yet, inspired with the same spirit,
contributed to the victory, suffered hardships, and made sacrifices
with the rest. Where all did so well, it is impossible, by special
mention, to do justice to those who bore conspicuous part. But of
certain unusual features mention cannot be omitted, namely, the
cavalry dismounted, fighting and storming works as infantry, and a
regiment of colored troops, who, having shared equally in the heroism
as well as the sacrifices, is now voluntarily engaged in nursing
yellow-fever patients and burying the dead. The gallantry, patriotism
and sacrifices of the American Army, as illustrated in this brief
campaign, will be fully appreciated by a grateful country, and the
heroic deeds of those who have fought and fallen in the cause of
freedom will ever be cherished in sacred memory and be an inspiration
to the living.

By command of Major-General Miles:

Brigadier-General, United States Volunteers.


To write the history of the Negro race within that part of the western
world known as the United States of America would be a task to which
one might devote a life time and still fail in its satisfactory
accomplishment. The difficulties lying in the way of collecting and
unifying the material are very great; and that of detecting the inner
life of the people much greater. Facts and dates are to history what
color and proportion are to the painting. Employed by genius, color
and form combine in a language that speaks to the soul, giving
pleasure and instruction to the beholder; so the facts and dates
occurring along the pathway of a people, when gathered and arranged by
labor and care, assume a voice and a power which they have not
otherwise. As these facts express the thoughts and feelings, and the
growth, of a people, they become the language in which that people
writes its history, and the work of the historian is to read and
interpret this history for the benefit of his fellow men.

Borrowing a second illustration from the work of the artist, it may be
said, that as nature reveals her secrets only to him whose soul is in
deepest sympathy with her moods and movements, so a people's history
can be discovered only by one whose heart throbs in unison with those
who have made the history. To write the history of any people
successfully one must read it by the heart; and the best part of
history, like the best part of the picture, must ever remain
unexpressed. The artist sees more, and feels more than he is able to
transfer to his canvas, however entrancing his presentation; and the
historian sees and feels more than his brightest pages convey to his
readers. Nothing less than a profound respect and love for humankind
and a special attraction toward a particular people and age, can fit
one to engage in so sublime a task as that of translating the history
of a people into the language of common men.

The history of the American Negro differs very widely from that of any
people whose life-story has been told; and when it shall come to be
known and studied will open an entirely new view of experience. In it
we shall be able to see what has never before been discovered in
history; to wit: the absolute beginning of a people. Brought to these
shores by the ship-load as freight, and sold as merchandise; entirely
broken away from the tribes, races, or nations of their native land;
recognized only, as African slaves, and forbidden all movement looking
toward organic life; deprived of even the right of family or of
marriage, and corrupted in the most shameless manner by their powerful
and licentious oppressors--it is from this heterogeneous protoplasm
that the American Negro has been developed. The foundation from which
he sprang had been laid by piecemeal as the slave ships made their
annual deposits of cargoes brought from different points on the West
Coast, and basely corrupted as is only too well known; yet out of it
has grown, within less than three hundred years, an organic people.
Grandfathers, and great-grandfathers are among them; and personal
acquaintance is exceedingly wide. In the face of slavery and against
its teaching and its power, overcoming the seduction of the master
class, and the coarse and brutal corruptions of the baser overseer
class, the African slave persistently strove to clothe himself with
the habiliments of civilization, and so prepared himself for social
organization that as soon as the hindrances were removed, this vast
people almost immediately set themselves in families; and for over
thirty years they have been busily engaged hunting up the lost roots
of their family trees. We know the pit whence the Afro-American race
was dug, the rock whence he was hewn; he was born here on this soil,
from a people who in the classic language of the Hebrew prophet, could
be described as, No People.

That there has been a majestic evolution quietly but rapidly going on
in this mass, growing as it was both by natural development and by
accretion, is plainly evident. Heterogeneous as were the fragments, by
the aid of a common language and a common lot, and cruel yet partially
civilizing control, the whole people were forced into a common outward
form, and to a remarkable extent, into the same ways of thinking. The
affinities within were really aided by the repulsions without, and
when finally freed from slavery, for an ignorant and inexperienced
people, they presented an astonishing spectacle of unity. Socially,
politically and religiously, their power to work together showed
itself little less than marvellous. The Afro-American, developing from
this slave base, now directs great organizations of a religious
character, and in comprehensive sweep invites to his co-operation the
inhabitants of the isles of the sea and of far-off Africa. He is
joining with the primitive, strong, hopeful and expanding races of
Southern Africa, and is evidently preparing for a day that has not yet

The progress made thus far by the people is somewhat like that made by
the young, man who hires himself to a farmer and takes his pay in
farming stock and utensils. He is thus acquiring the means to stock a
farm, and the skill and experience necessary to its successful
management at the same time. His career will not appear important,
however, until the day shall arrive when he will set up for himself.
The time spent on the farm of another was passed in comparative
obscurity; but without it the more conspicuous period could never have
followed. So, now, the American colored people are making history, but
it is not of that kind that gains the attention of writers. Having no
political organizations, governments or armies they are not performing
those deeds of splendor in statesmanship and war over which the pen of
the historian usually delights to linger. The people, living, growing,
reading, thinking, working, suffering, advancing and dying--these are
all common-place occurrences, neither warming the heart of the
observer, nor capable of brightening the page of the chronicler. This,
however, is, with the insignificant exception of Liberia, all that is
yet to be found in the brief history of the Afro-American race.

The period for him to set up for himself has not yet come, and he is
still acquiring means and training within a realm controlled in all
respects by a people who maintain toward him an attitude of absolute
social exclusion. His is the history of a people marching from nowhere
to somewhere, but with no well-defined Canaan before them and no Moses
to lead. It is indeed, on their part, a walk by faith, for as yet the
wisest among the race cannot tell even the direction of the journey.
Before us lie surely three possible destinies, if not four; yet it is
not clear toward which one of these we are marching. Are we destined
to see the African element of America's population blend with the
Euro-American element and be lost in a common people? Will the colored
American leave this home in which as a race he has been born and
reared to manhood, and find his stage of action somewhere else on
God's earth? Will he remain here as a separate and subordinate people
perpetuating the conditions of to-day only that they may become more
humiliating and exasperating? Or is there to arise a war of races in
which the blacks are to be exterminated? Who knows? Fortunately the
historian is not called upon to perform the duties of prophet. His
work is to tell what has been; and if others, building upon his
presentation of facts can deduce what is to be, it is no small tribute
to the correctness of his interpretations; for all events are parts of
one vast system ever moving toward some great end. One remark only
need be made. It is reasonable to presume that this new Afro-American
will somehow and somewhere be given an opportunity to express that
particular modification of material life which his spiritual nature
will demand. Whether that expression will be made here or elsewhere;
whether it will be higher or lower than what now surrounds us, are
questions which we may well leave to the future.

No people can win and hold a place, either as a nation among other
nations, or as an elementary component of a nation, merely by its own
goodness or by the goodness of others. The struggle for national
existence is a familiar one, and is always initiated by a display of
physical force. Those who have the power seize territory and
government, and those who CAN, keep possession and control. It is in
some instances the backing up of right by might, and in others the
substituting of right by might. Too often the greatest of all national
crimes is to be weak. When the struggle is a quiet one, going on
within a nation, and is that of an element seeking a place in the
common social life of the country, much the same principles are
involved. It is still a question to be settled by force, no matter how
highly the claim of the weaker may be favored by reason and justice.

The powers by which a special people may emerge from an unhappy
condition and secure improved social relations, using the word social
in its broadest sense, are physical, intellectual and material. There
must be developed manly strength and courage and a power of intellect
which will manifest itself in organization and attractiveness, and in
the aptitude of employing appropriate methods for ends in view. To
these must be added the power that comes through wealth; and thus,
with the real advancement of condition and character will come,
tardily and grudgingly perhaps, but nevertheless surely, improved
social standing. Once filled with the common national spirit,
partaking of its thoughts, entering heartily into the common
movements, having the same dress, language and manners as others, and
being as able and as willing to help as to be helped, and withal being
in fact the most intensely American element on the continent because
constructed on this soil, we may hope that the Afro-American will
ultimately win and hold his proper place.

The history made by the American Negro has been so filled with
suffering that we have overlooked the active side. The world has heard
so much of the horrors of the "Middle Passage"; the awful sufferings
of the slave; the barbarous outrages that have been perpetrated upon
ex-slaves; the inhuman and senseless prejudices that meet colored
Americans almost everywhere on their native soil; that it has come to
look upon this recital as the whole of the story. It needs to be told
that these records constitute the dark side of the picture, dark and
horrible enough, to be sure, but this is by no means the whole
picture. If there are scenes whose representations would serve to
ornament the infernal regions, pictures over which fiends might gloat,
there are also others which angels might delight to gaze upon. There
has been much of worthy action among the colored people of this
country, wherever the bonds of oppression have been slackened enough
to allow of free movement. There have been resistance to wrong by way
of remonstrance and petition, sometimes even by force; laudable
efforts toward self-education; benevolent and philanthropic movements;
reform organizations, and commendable business enterprise both in
individuals and associations. These show a toughness of fibre and
steadiness of purpose sufficient to make the backbone of a real

The present work deals with these elements of character as they are
exhibited in the garb of the soldier. When men are willing to fight
and die for what they hold dear, they have become a moving force,
capable of disturbing the currents of history and of making a channel
for the stream of their own actions. The American Negro has evolved an
active, aggressive element in the scientific fighting men he has
produced. Individual pugilists of that race have entered all classes,
from featherweight to heavyweight, and have remained there; receiving
blows and dealing blows; showing a sturdy, positive force; mastering
and employing all the methods of attack and defence allowed in such
encounters, and supporting themselves with that fortitude and courage
so necessary to the ring. Such combats are not to be commended, as
they are usually mere tests of skill and endurance, entered into on
the principles of the gambler, and they are introduced here for the
sole purpose of showing the colored man as a positive force, yielding
only to a superior degree of force of the same kind. The soldier
stands for something far higher than the pugilist represents, although
he has need of the same qualities of physical hardihood--contempt for
suffering and coolness in the presence of danger, united with skill in
the use of his weapons. The pugilist is his own general and never
learns the high lessons of obedience; the soldier learns to
subordinate himself to his commander, and to fight bravely and
effectively under the direction of another.

The evolution of the Afro-American soldier was the work of a short
period and suffered many interruptions. When the War of the Revolution
broke out the colored man was a slave, knowing nothing of the spirit
or the training of the soldier; before it closed several thousand
colored men had entered the army and some had won distinction for
gallantry. Less than forty years later, in the war of 1812, the black
man again appeared to take his stand under the flag of independence.
The War of Secession again witnessed the coming forth of the black
soldier, this time in important numbers and performing heroic services
on a grand scale, and under most discouraging circumstances, but with
such success that he won a place in arms for all time. When the Civil
War closed, the American black man had secured his standing as a
soldier--the evolution was complete. Henceforth he was to be found an
integral part of the Army of the United States.

The black man passed through the trying baptism of fire in the Sixties
and came out of it a full-fledged soldier. His was worse than an
impartial trial; it was a trial before a jury strongly biased against
him; in the service of a government willing to allow him but half pay;
and in the face of a foe denying him the rights belonging to civilized
warfare. Yet against these odds, denied the dearest right of a
soldier--the hope of promotion--scorned by his companions in arms, the
Negro on more than two hundred and fifty battle-fields, demonstrated
his courage and skill, and wrung from the American nation the right to
bear arms. The barons were no more successful in their struggle with
King John when they obtained Magna Charta than were the American
Negroes with Prejudice, when they secured the national recognition of
their right and fitness to hold a place in the Standing Army of the
United States. The Afro-American soldier now takes his rank with
America's best, and in appearance, skill, physique, manners, conduct
and courage proves himself worthy of the position he holds. Combining
in his person the harvested influences of three great continents,
Europe, Africa and America, he stands up as the typical soldier of the
Western World, the latest comer in the field of arms, but yielding his
place in the line to none, and ever ready to defend his country and
his flag against any and all foes.

The mission of this book is to make clear this evolution, giving the
historical facts with as much detail as possible, and setting forth
finally the portrait of this new soldier. That this is a prodigious
task is too evident to need assertion--a task worthy the most lofty
talents; and in essaying it I humbly confess to a sense of unfitness;
yet the work lies before me and duty orders me to enter upon it. A
Major General writes: "I wish you every success in producing a work
important both historically and for the credit of a race far more
deserving than the world has acknowledged." A Brigadier General who
commanded a colored regiment in Cuba says to me most encouragingly:
"You must allow me--for our intimate associations justify it--to write
frankly. Your education, habits of thought, fairness of judgment and
comprehension of the work you are to undertake, better fit you for
writing such a history than any person within my acquaintance. Those
noble men made the history at El Caney and San Juan; I believe you are
the man to record it. May God help you to so set forth the deeds of
that memorable first of July in front of Santiago that the world may
see in its true light what those brave, intelligent colored men did."

Both these men fought through the Civil War and won distinction on
fields of blood. To the devout prayer offered by one of them I
heartily echo an Amen, and can only wish that in it all my friends
might join, and that God would answer it in granting me power to do
the work in such a way as to bring great good to the race and reflect
some glory to Himself, in whose name the work is undertaken.



     The Importation of the Africans--Character of the Colored
     Population in 1860--Colored Population in British West
     Indian Possessions--Free Colored People of the South--Free
     Colored People of the North--Notes.

Professor DuBois, in his exhaustive work upon the "Suppression of the
African Slave-Trade," has brought within comparatively narrow limits
the great mass of facts bearing upon his subject, and in synopses and
indices has presented all of the more important literature it has
induced. In his Monograph, published as Volume II of the Harvard
Historical Series, he has traced the rise of this nefarious traffic,
especially with reference to the American colonies, exhibited the
proportions to which it expanded, and the tenacity with which it held
on to its purpose until it met its death in the fate of the
ill-starred Southern Confederacy. Every step in his narrative is
supported by references to unimpeachable authorities; and the
scholarly Monograph bears high testimony to the author's earnest
labor, painstaking research and unswerving fidelity. Should the
present work stimulate inquiry beyond the scope herein set before the
reader, he is most confidently referred to Professor Du Bois' book as
containing a complete exposition of the development and overthrow of
that awful crime.

It is from this work, however, that we shall obtain a nearer and
clearer view of the African planted upon our shores. Negro slavery
began at an early day in the North American Colonies; but up until the
Revolution of 1688 the demand for slaves was mainly supplied from
England, the slaves being white.[1] "It is probable," says Professor
DuBois, "that about 25,000 slaves were brought to America each year
between 1698 and 1707, and after 1713 it rose to perhaps 30,000
annually. "Before the Revolution the total exportation to America is
variously estimated as between 40,000 and 100,000 each year."
Something of the horrors of the "Middle Passage" may be shown by the
records that out of 60,783 slaves shipped from Africa during the years
1680-88, 14,387, or nearly one-fourth of the entire number, perished
at sea. In 1790 there were in the country nearly seven hundred
thousand Africans, these having been introduced by installments from
various heathen tribes. The importation of slaves continued with more
or less success up until 1858, when the "Wanderer" landed her cargo of
500 in Georgia.

During the period from 1790 to the breaking out of the Civil War,
shortly after the landing of the last cargo of slaves, the colored
population, both slave and free, had arisen to about four million, and
had undergone great modifications. The cargo of the "Wanderer" found
themselves among strangers, even when trying to associate with those
who in color and hair were like themselves. The slaves of 1860
differed greatly from the slaves of a hundred years earlier. They had
lost the relics of that stern warlike spirit which prompted the Stono
insurrection, the Denmark Vesey insurrection, and the Nat Turner
insurrection, and had accepted their lot as slaves, hoping that
through God, freedom would come to them some time in the happy future.
Large numbers of them had become Christians through the teaching of
godly white women, and at length through the evangelistic efforts of
men and women of their own race. Independent religious organizations
had been formed in the North, and large local churches with Negro
pastors were in existence in the South when the "Wanderer" landed her
cargo. There had been a steady increase in numbers, indicating that
the physical well-being of the slave was not overlooked, and the
slaves had greatly improved in character. Sales made in South Carolina
between 1850 and 1860 show "boys," from 16 to 25 years of age,
bringing from $900 to $1000; and "large sales" are reported showing an
"average of $620 each," "Negro men bringing from $800 to $1000," and a
"blacksmith" bringing $1425. The averages generally obtained were
above $600. A sale of 109 Negroes in families is reported in the
"Charleston Courier" in which the writer says: "Two or three families
averaged from $1000 to $1100 for each individual." The same item
states also that "C.G. Whitney sold two likely female house servants,
one for $1000, the other for $1190." These cases are presented to
illustrate the financial value of the American slave, and
inferentially the progress he had made in acquiring the arts of modern
civilization. Slaves had become blacksmiths, wheelwrights,
carriage-makers, carpenters, bricklayers, tailors, bootmakers,
founders and moulders, not to mention all the common labor performed
by them. Slave women had become dressmakers, hairdressers, nurses and
the best cooks to be found in the world. The slave-holders regarded
themselves as the favored of mankind because of the competence and
faithfulness of their slaves. The African spirit and character had
disappeared, and in their place were coming into being the elements of
a new character, existing in 1860 purely in a negative form. The slave
had become an American. He was now a civilized slave, and had received
his civilization from his masters. He had separated himself very far
from his brother slave in St. Domingo. The Haytian Negro fought and
won his freedom before he had been civilized in slavery, and hence has
never passed over the same ground that his American fellow-servant has
been compelled to traverse.

Beside the slaves in the South, there were also several thousand "free
persons of color," as they were called, dwelling in such cities as
Richmond, Va., Charleston, S.C., and New Orleans, La. Some of these
had become quite wealthy and well-educated, forming a distinct class
of the population. They were called Creoles in Louisiana, and were
accorded certain privileges, although laws were carefully enacted to
keep alive the distinction between them and the whites. In Charleston
the so-called colored people set themselves up as a class, prided
themselves much upon their color and hair and in their sympathies
joined almost wholly with the master class. Representatives of their
class became slave-holders and were in full accord with the social
policy of the country. Nevertheless their presence was an
encouragement to the slave, and consequently was objected to by the
slave-holder. The free colored man became more and more disliked in
the South as the slave became more civilized. He was supposed by his
example to contribute to the discontent of the slave, and laws were
passed restricting his priveleges so as to induce him to leave.
Between 1850 and 1860 this question reached a crisis and free colored
people from the South were to be seen taking up their homes in the
Northern States and in Canada. (Many of the people, especially from
Charleston, carried with them all their belittling prejudices, and
after years of sojourn under the sway of enlightened and liberal
ideas, proved themselves still incapable of learning the new way or
forgetting the old.)

There were, then, three very distinct classes of colored people in the
country, to wit: The slave in the South, the free colored people of
the South, and the free colored people of the North. These were also
sub-divided into several smaller classes. Slaves were divided into
field hands, house servants and city slaves. The free colored people
of the South had their classes based usually on color; the free
colored people of the North had their divisions caused by differences
in religion, differences as to place of birth, and numerous family
conceits. So that surveyed as a whole, it is extremely difficult to
get anything like a complete social map of these four millions as they
existed at the outbreak of the Civil War.

For a quarter of a century there had been a steady concentration of
the slave population within the cotton and cane-growing region, the
grain-growing States of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia having become
to a considerable extent breeding farms. Particularly was this the
case with the more intelligent and higher developed individual slaves
who appeared near the border line. The master felt that such persons
would soon make their escape by way of the "Underground Railroad" or
otherwise, and hence in order to prevent a total loss, would follow
the dictates of business prudence and sell his bright slave man to
Georgia. The Maryland or Virginia slave who showed suspicious
aspirations was usually checked by the threat, "I'll sell you to
Georgia;" and if the threat did not produce the desired reformation it
was not long before the ambitious slave found himself in the gang of
that most despised and most despicable of all creatures, the Georgia
slave-trader. Georgia and Canada were the two extremes of the slave's
anticipation during the last decade of his experience. These stood as
his earthly Heaven and Hell, the "Underground Railroad," with its
agents, conducting to one, and the odious slave-trader, driving men,
women and children, to the other. No Netherlander ever hated and
feared the devil more thoroughly than did the slaves of the border
States hate and fear these outrages on mankind, the kidnapping
slave-traders of the cotton and cane regions. I say kidnapping, for I
have myself seen persons in Georgia who had been kidnapped in
Maryland. If the devil was ever incarnate, I think it safe to look for
him among those who engaged in the slave-trade, whether in a foreign
or domestic form.

Nothing is more striking in connection with the history of American
Slavery than the conduct of Great Britain on the same subject. So
inconsistent has this conduct been that it can be explained only by
regarding England as a conglomerate of two elements nearly equal in
strength, of directly opposite character, ruling alternately the
affairs of the nation. As a slave-trader and slave-holder England was
perhaps even worse than the United States. Under her rule the slave
decreased in numbers, and remained a savage. In Jamaica, in St.
Vincent, in British Guiana, in Barbadoes, in Trinidad and in Grenada,
British slavery was far worse than American slavery. In these colonies
"the slave was generally a barbarian, speaking an unknown tongue, and
working with men like himself, in gangs with scarcely a chance for
improvement." An economist says, had the slaves of the British
colonies been as well fed, clothed, lodged, and otherwise cared for as
were those of the United States, their number at emancipation would
have reached from seventeen to twenty millions, whereas the actual
number emancipated was only 660,000. Had the blacks of the United
States experienced the same treatment as did those of the British
colonies, 1860 would have found among us less than 150,000 colored
persons. In the United States were found ten colored persons for every
slave imported, while in the British colonies only one was found for
every three imported. Hence the claim that the American Negro is a new
race, built up on this soil, rests upon an ample supply of facts. The
American slave was born in our civilization, fed upon good American
food, housed and clothed on a civilized plan, taught the arts and
language of civilization, acquired necessarily ideas of law and
liberty, and by 1860 was well on the road toward fitness for freedom.
No lessons therefore drawn from the emancipation of British slaves in
the West Indies are of any direct value to us, inasmuch as British
slavery was not like American slavery, the British freedman was in no
sense the equal of the American freedman, and the circumstances
surrounding the emancipation of the British slave had nothing of the
inspiring and ennobling character with those connected with the
breaking of the American Negro's chains. Yet, superior as the American
Negro was as a slave, he was very far below the standard of American
citizenship as subsequent events conclusively proved. The best form of
slavery, even though it may lead toward fitness for freedom, can never
be regarded as a fit school in which to graduate citizens of so
magnificent an empire as the United States.

The slave of 1860 was perhaps, all things considered, the best slave
the world had ever seen, if we except those who served the Hebrews
under the Mosaic statutes. While there was no such thing among them as
legal marriage or legitimate childhood, yet slave "families" were
recognized even on the auction block, and after emancipation legal
family life was erected generally upon relationships which had been
formed in slavery. Bishop Gaines, himself born a slave of slave
parents, says: "The Negro had no civil rights under the codes of the
Southern States. It was often the case, it is true, that the marriage
ceremony was performed, and thousands of couples regarded it, and
observed it as of binding force, and were as true to each other as if
they had been lawfully married." * * * "The colored people
generally," he says, "held their marriage (if such unauthorized union
may be called marriage) sacred, even while they were slaves. Many
instances will be recalled by the older people of the life-long
fidelity which existed between the slave and his concubine" (Wife,
T.G.S.)" ... the mother of his children. My own father and mother
lived together over sixty years. I am the fourteenth child of that
union, and I can truthfully affirm that no marriage, however made
sacred by the sanction of law, was ever more congenial and beautiful.
Thousands of like instances might be cited to the same effect. It will
always be to the credit of the colored people that almost without
exception, they adhered to their relations, illegal though they had
been, and accepted gladly the new law which put the stamp of
legitimacy upon their union and removed the brand of bastardy from the
brows of their children."

Let us now sum up the qualifications that these people possessed in
large degree, in order to determine their fitness for freedom, then so
near at hand. They had acquired the English language, and the
Christian religion, including the Christian idea of marriage, so
entirely different in spirit and form from the African marriage. They
had acquired the civilized methods of cooking their food, making and
wearing clothes, sleeping in beds, and observing Sunday. They had
acquired many of the useful arts and trades of civilization and had
imbibed the tastes and feelings, to some extent, at least, of the
country in which they lived. Becoming keen observers, shut out from
books and newspapers, they listened attentively, learned more of law
and politics than was generally supposed. They knew what the election
of 1860 meant and were on tiptoe with expectation. Although the days
of insurrection had passed and the slave of '59 was not ready to rise
with the immortal John Brown, he had not lost his desire for freedom.
The steady march of escaping slaves guided by the North star, with the

    "I'm on my way to Canada,
      That cold but happy land;
    The dire effects of slavery
      I can no longer stand,"

proved that the desire to be free was becoming more extensive and
absorbing as the slave advanced in intelligence.

It is necessary again to emphasize the fact that the American slaves
were well formed and well developed physically, capable of enduring
hard labor and of subsisting upon the plainest food. Their diet for
years had been of the simplest sort, and they had been subjected to a
system of regulations very much like those which are employed in the
management of armies. They had an hour to go to bed and an hour to
rise; left their homes only upon written "passes," and when abroad at
night were often halted by the wandering patrol. "Run, nigger, run,
the patrol get you," was a song of the slave children of South

Strangers who saw for the first time these people as they came out of
slavery in 1865 were usually impressed with their robust appearance,
and a conference of ex-slaves, assembled soon after the war,
introduced a resolution with the following declaration: "Whereas,
Slavery has left us in possession of strong and healthy bodies." It is
probable that at least a half-million of men of proper age could then
have been found among the newly liberated capable of bearing arms.
They were inured to the plain ration, to labor and fatigue, and to
subordination, and had long been accustomed to working together under
the immediate direction of foremen.

Two questions of importance naturally arose at this period: First, did
the American slave understand the issue that had been before the
country for more than a half-century and that was now dividing the
nation in twain and marshalling for deadly strife these two opposing
armies? Second, had he the courage necessary to take part in the
struggle and help save the Union? It would be a strange thing to say,
but nevertheless a thing entirely true, that many of the Negro slaves
had a clearer perception of the real question at issue than did some
of our most far-seeing statesmen, and a clearer vision of what would
be the outcome of the war. While the great men of the North were
striving to establish the doctrine that the coming war was merely to
settle the question of Secession, the slave knew better. God had hid
certain things from the wise and prudent and had revealed them unto
babes. Lincoln, the wisest of all, was slow to see that the issue he
himself had predicted was really at hand. As President, he declared
for the preservation of the Union, with or without slavery, or even
upon the terms which he had previously declared irreconcilable, "half
slave and half free." The Negro slave saw in the outbreak of the war
the death struggle of slavery. He knew that the real issue was

The masters were careful to keep from the knowledge of the slave the
events as well as the causes of the war, but in spite of these efforts
the slave's keen perception enabled him to read defeat in the dejected
mien of his master, and victory in his exultation. To prevent the
master's knowing what was going on in their thoughts, the slaves
constructed curious codes among themselves. In one neighborhood
freedom was always spoken of as "New Rice"; and many a poor slave
woman sighed for the coming of New Rice in the hearing of those who
imagined they knew the inmost thoughts of their bondwomen. Gleefully
at times they would talk of the jollification they would make when the
New Rice came. It was this clear vision, this strong hope, that
sustained them during the trying days of the war and kept them back
from insurrection. Bishop Gaines says: "Their prayers ascended for
their deliverance, and their hearts yearned for the success of their
friends. They fondly hoped for the hour of victory, when the night of
slavery would end and the dawn of freedom appear. They often talked to
each other of the progress of the war and conferred in secret as to
what they might do to aid in the struggle. Worn out with long bondage,
yearning for the boon of freedom, longing for the sun of liberty to
rise, they kept their peace and left the result to God." Mr. Douglass,
whom this same Bishop Gaines speaks of very inappropriately as a
"half-breed," seemed able to grasp the feelings both of the slave and
the freeman and said: "From the first, I for one, saw in this war the
end of slavery, and truth requires me to say that my interest in the
success of the North was largely due to this belief." Mr. Seward, the
wise Secretary of State, had thought that the war would come and go
without producing any change in the relation of master and slave; but
the humble slave on the Georgia cotton plantation, or in the Carolina
rice fields, knew that the booming of the guns of rebellion in
Charleston was the opening note of the death knell of slavery. The
slave undoubtedly understood the issue, and knew on which side liberty
dwelt. Although thoroughly bred to slavery, and as contented and happy
as he could be in his lot, he acted according to the injunction of the
Apostle: "Art thou called being a servant, care not for it; but if
thou mayest be made free, use it rather." The slaves tried to be
contented, but they preferred freedom and knew which side to take when
the time came for them to act.

Enough has been said to show that out of the African slave had been
developed a thoroughly American slave, so well imbued with modern
civilization and so well versed in American politics, as to be
partially ready for citizenship. He had become law-abiding and
order-loving, and possessed of an intelligent desire to be free.
Whether he had within him the necessary moral elements to become a
soldier the pages following will attempt to make known. He had the
numbers, the physical strength and the intelligence. He could enter
the strife with a sufficient comprehension of the issues involved to
enable him to give to his own heart a reason for his action. Fitness
for the soldier does not necessarily involve fitness for citizenship,
but the actual discharge of the duties of the soldier in defence of
the nation, entitles one to all common rights, to the nation's
gratitude, and to the highest honors for which he is qualified.

In concluding this chapter I shall briefly return to the free colored
people of the South that the reader may be able to properly estimate
their importance as a separate element. Their influence upon the slave
population was very slight, inasmuch as law and custom forbade the
intercourse of these two classes.

According to the Census of 1860 there were in the slave-holding States
altogether 261,918 free colored persons, 106,770 being mulattoes. In
Charleston there were 887 free blacks and 2,554 mulattoes; in Mobile,
98 free blacks and 617 mulattoes; in New Orleans, 1,727 blacks and
7,357 mulattoes. As will be seen, nearly one-half of the entire number
of free colored persons were mulattoes, while in the leading Southern
cities seventy-five per cent. of the free colored people were put in
this class. The percentage of mulatto slaves to the total slave
population at that time was 10.41, and in the same cities which showed
seventy-five per cent, of all the free colored persons mulattoes, the
percentage of mulatto slaves was but 16.84. Mulatto in this
classification includes all colored persons who are not put down as

In New Orleans the free mulattoes were generally French, having come
into the Union with the Louisiana purchase, and among them were to be
found wealthy slave-holders. They much resembled the class of
mulattoes which obtained in St. Domingo at the beginning of the
century, and had but little sympathy with the blacks, although they
were the first to acquiesce in emancipation, some of them actually
leading their own slaves into the army of liberation. It is possible,
however, that they had not fully realized the trend of the war,
inasmuch as New Orleans was excepted from the effects of the
Proclamation. It is certain that the free colored people of that city
made a tender of support to the Confederacy, although they were among
the first to welcome the conquering "Yankees," and afterward fought
with marked gallantry in the Union cause. The free mulattoes, or
_browns_, as they called themselves, of Charleston, followed much the
same course as their fellow classmen of New Orleans. Here, too, they
had been exclusive and to some extent slave-holders, had tendered
their services to the Confederacy, and had hastily come forward to
welcome the conquerors. They were foremost among the colored people in
wealth and intelligence, but their field of social operations had been
so circumscribed that they had exerted but little influence in the
work of Americanizing the slave. Separated from the slave by law and
custom they did all in their power to separate themselves from him in
thought and feeling. They drew the line against all blacks as
mercilessly and senselessly as the most prejudiced of the whites and
were duplicates of the whites placed on an intermediate plane. It was
not unusual to find a Charleston brown filled with more prejudice
toward the blacks than were the whites.

     [Transcriber's Note: This footnote appeared in the text
     without a footnote anchor: "Census of 1860."]

The colored people of the North in 1860 numbered 237,283,
Pennsylvania having the largest number, 56,849; then came New York
with 49,005; Ohio, 36,673; New Jersey, 25,318; Indiana, 11,428;
Massachusetts, 9,602; Connecticut, 8,627; Illinois, 7,628; Michigan,
6,799; Rhode Island, 3,952; Maine, 1,327; Wisconsin, 1,171; Iowa,
1,069; Vermont, 709; Kansas, 625; New Hampshire, 494; Minnesota, 259;
Oregon, 128.

Considerably more than one-half of this population was located within
the States along the Atlantic Coast, viz.; Maine, New Hampshire,
Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York,
Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Here were to be found 154,883 free
colored people. Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey took the lead in
this population, with Massachusetts and Connecticut coming next, while
Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont had but few. The cities, Boston, New
York and Philadelphia, were the largest cities of free colored people
then in the North. In Boston there were 2,261; New York City, 12,574,
while in Philadelphia there were 22,185

As early as 1787 the free colored people of Philadelphia, through two
distinguished representatives, Absalom Jones and Richard Allen, "two
men of the African race," as the chroniclers say, "saw the irreligious
and uncivilized state" of the "people of their complexion," and
finally concluded "that a society should be formed without regard to
religious tenets, provided the persons lived an orderly and sober
life," the purpose of the society being "to support one another in
sickness and for the benefit of their widows and fatherless children."
Accordingly a society was established, known as the Free African
Society of Philadelphia, and on the 17th, 5th-mo., 1787, articles were
published, including the following, which is inserted to show the
breadth of the society's purpose:

"And we apprehend it to be necessary that the children of our
deceased members be under the care of the Society, so far as to pay
for the education of their children, if they cannot attend free
school; also to put them out apprentices to suitable trades or places,
if required."[2]

Shortly after this we read of "the African School for the free
instruction of the black people," and in 1796, "The Evening Free
School, held at the African Methodist Meeting House in Philadelphia"
was reported as being "kept very orderly, the scholars behaving in a
becoming manner, and their improvement beyond the teachers'
expectations, their intellects appearing in every branch of learning
to be equal to those of the fairest complexion." The name African, as
the reader will notice, is used with reference to school, church, and
individuals; although not to the complete exclusion of "colored
people" and "people of color." These phrases seem to have been coined
in the West Indies, and were there applied only to persons of mixed
European and African descent. In the United States they never obtained
such restricted use except in a very few localities. The practice of
using African as a descriptive title of the free colored people of the
North became very extensive and so continued up to the middle of the
century. There were African societies, churches and schools in all the
prominent centres of this population.

In 1843 one, Mr. P. Loveridge, Agent for Colored Schools of New York,
wrote the editor of the African Methodist Magazine as follows:[3] "As
to the name of your periodical, act as we did with the name of our
schools--away with Africa. There are no Africans in your connection.
Substitute colored for African and it will be, in my opinion, as it
should be." The earnestness of the writer shows that the matter of
parting with African was then a live question. The cool reply of the
editor indicates how strong was the conservative element among the
African people of '43. He says: "We are unable to see the
reasonableness of the remarks. It is true we are not Africans, or
natives born upon the soil of Africa, yet, as the descendants of that
race, how can we better manifest that respect due to our fathers who
begat us, than by the adoption of the term in our institutions, and
inscribing it upon our public places of resort?" To this Mr. Loveridge
rejoins in the following explanatory paragraph: "We who are engaged in
the Public Schools in this city found upon examination of about 1500
children who attend our schools from year to year, not one African
child among them. A suggestion was made that we petition the Public
School Society to change the name African to Colored Schools. The
gentlemen of that honorable body, perceiving our petition to be a
logical one, acquiesced with us. Hence the adjective African (which
does not apply to us) was blotted out and Colored substituted in its
place. It is 'Public Schools for Colored Children.' We are Americans
and expect American sympathies."

In 1816 the colored Methodists conceived the idea of organizing and
evangelizing their race, and to this end a convention was called and
assembled in Philadelphia of that year, composed of sixteen delegates,
coming from Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. The
convention adopted a resolution that the people of Philadelphia,
Baltimore and all other places who should unite with them, should
become one body under the name and style of the African Methodist
Episcopal Church. Similar action was taken by two other bodies of
colored Methodists, one in New York, the other in Wilmington,
Delaware, about the same time. The people were coming together and
beginning to understand the value of organization. This was manifested
in their religious, beneficial and educational associations that were
springing up among them. In 1841 the African Methodist Magazine
appeared, the first organ of religious communication and thought
issued by the American colored people. It was published in Brooklyn,
N.Y., Rev. George Hogarth being its editor.

There were papers published by the colored people prior to the
appearance of the African Methodist Magazine, but these were
individual enterprises. They were, however, indices of the thought of
the race, and looking back upon them now, we may regard them as
mile-stones set up along the line of march over which the people have
come. New York, city and State, appears to have been the home of these
early harbingers, and it was there that the earliest literary centre
was established, corresponding to that centre of religious life and
thought which had been earlier founded in Philadelphia. In 1827 the
first newspaper published on this continent by colored men issued from
its office in New York. It was called "Freedom's Journal," and had for
its motto "Righteousness exalteth a nation." Its editors and
proprietors were Messrs. Cornish & Russwurm. Its name was subsequently
changed to the "Rights of All," Mr. Cornish probably retiring, and in
1830 it suspended, Mr. Russwurm going to Africa. Then followed "The
Weekly Advocate," "The American," "The Colored American," "The
Elevator," "The National Watchman," "The Clarion," "The Ram's Horn,"
"The North Star," "Frederick Douglass' Paper," and finally that
crowning literary work of the race, "The Anglo-African."

"The Anglo-African" appeared in 1859, under the management of the
strongest and most brilliant purely literary families the American
Negro up to that time had produced. It was edited and published by
Thomas Hamilton, and like all the important literary ventures of the
race in those days, had its birth in New York. It came out in 1859 and
continued through the war, and in 1865 went out of existence
honorably, having its work well done. Its first volume, that of 1859,
contains the ablest papers ever given to the public by the American
Negro; and taken as a whole this volume is the proudest literary
monument the race has as yet erected.

Reviewing the progress of the race in the North, we may say, the
period of organized benevolence and united religious effort began
before the close of the past century, Philadelphia being its place of
origin; that the religious movement reached much broader and clearer
standing about 1816, and in consequence there sprang up organizations
comprehending the people of the whole country; that the religious
movement advanced to a more intellectual stage when in 1841 the
African Methodist Magazine appeared, since which time the organized
religion of the American Negro has never been for any considerable
time without its organs of communication. The journalistic period
began in 1827, its centre being New York and the work of the journals
almost wholly directed to two ends: the abolition of slavery, and the
enfranchisement and political elevation of the free blacks. This work
had reached its highest form in the Anglo-African, as that epoch of
our national history came to its close in the slave-holders' war.

The titles of the newspapers indicate the opening and continuance of a
period of anti-slavery agitation. Their columns were filled with
arguments and appeals furnished by men who gave their whole souls to
the work. It was a period of great mental activity on the part of the
free colored people. They were discussing all probable methods of
bettering their condition. It was the period that produced both
writers and orators. In 1830 the first convention called by colored
men to consider the general condition of the race and devise means to
improve that condition, met in the city of Philadelphia. The history
of this convention is so important that I append a full account of it
as published in the Anglo-African nearly thirty years after the
convention met. It was called through the efforts of Hezekiah Grice,
of Baltimore, who afterwards emigrated to Hayti, and for many years
followed there the occupation of carver and gilder and finally became
Director of Public Works of the city of Port-au-Prince. While visiting
that city years ago, I met a descendant of Mr. Grice, a lady of great
personal beauty, charming manners, accomplished in the French
language, but incapable of conversing at all in English.

The conventions, begun in 1830, continued to be held annually for a
brief period, and then dropped into occasional and special gatherings.
They did much good in the way of giving prominence to the colored
orators and in stemming the tide of hostile sentiment by appealing to
the country at large in language that reached many hearts.

The physical condition, so far as the health and strength of the free
colored people were concerned, was good. Their mean age was the
greatest of any element of our population, and their increase was
about normal, or 1.50 per cent. annually. In the twenty years from
1840 to 1860 it had kept up this rate with hardly the slightest
variation, while the increase of the free colored people of the South
during the same period had been 1 per cent, annually.[4] The increase
of persons of mixed blood in the North did not necessarily imply
laxity of morals, as the census compilers always delighted to say, but
could be easily accounted for by the marriages occurring between
persons of this class. I have seen more than fifty persons, all of
mixed blood, descend from one couple, and these with the persons
joined to them by marriages as they have come to marriageable age,
amounted to over seventy souls--all in about a half century. That the
slaves had, despite their fearful death rate, the manumissions and the
escapes, increased twice as fast as the free colored people of the
North, three times as fast as the free colored people of the South,
and faster than the white people with all the immigration of that
period, can be accounted for only by the enormous birth rate of that
people consequent upon their sad condition. Their increase was
abnormal, and when properly viewed, proves too much.

There is no way of determining the general wealth of the colored
people of the North at the period we are describing; but some light
may be thrown upon their material condition from the consideration
that they were supporting a few publications and building and
supporting churches, and were holders of considerable real estate. In
New York city, the thirteen thousand colored people paid taxes on
nearly a million and a half in real estate, and had over a quarter
million of dollars in the savings banks. It is probable that the
twenty-five thousand in Philadelphia owned more in proportion than
their brethren in New York, for they were then well represented in
business in that city. There were the Fortens, Bowers, Casseys,
Gordons, and later Stephen Smith, William Whipper and Videl, all of
whom were men of wealth and business. There were nineteen churches
owned and supported by colored people of Philadelphia, with a seating
capacity of about 10,000 and valued at about $250,000.

[5]The schools set apart for colored children were very inferior and
were often kept alive by great sacrifices on the part of the colored
people themselves. Prior to the war and in many cases for some time
afterward, the colored public schools were a disgrace to the country.
A correspondent writing from Hollidaysburg, Pa., says, speaking of the
school there: "The result of my inquiries here is that here, as in the
majority of other places, the interest manifested for the colored man
is more for political effect, and that those who prate the loudest
about the moral elevation and political advancement of the colored man
are the first to turn against him when he wants a friend." The
correspondent then goes on to say that the school directors persist in
employing teachers "totally incompetent." What the schools were in New
York the report made by the New York Society for the promotion of
Education among Colored Children to the Honorable Commissioners for
examining into the condition of Common Schools in the City and County
of New York, will show. Reverend Charles B. Ray, who was President of
this Society, and Philip A. White, its Secretary, both continued to
labor in the interest of education unto the close of their lives, Mr.
White dying as a member of the School Board of the city of Brooklyn,
and Mr. Ray bequeathing his library to Wilberforce University at his

In summing up the conditions which they have detailed in their report
they say: "From a comparison of the school houses occupied by the
colored children with the splendid, almost palatial edifices, with
manifold comforts, conveniences and elegancies which make up the
school houses for white children in the city of New York, it is
clearly evident that the colored children are painfully neglected and
positively degraded. Pent up in filthy neighborhoods, in old
dilapidated buildings, they are held down to low associations and
gloomy surroundings. * * * The undersigned enter their solemn protest
against this unjust treatment of colored children. They believe with
the experience of Massachusetts, and especially the recent experience
of Boston before them, there is no sound reason why colored children
shall be excluded from any of the common schools supported by taxes
levied alike on whites and blacks, and governed by officers elected by
the vote of colored as well as white voters."

This petition and remonstrance had its effect, for mainly through its
influence within two years very great improvements were made in the
condition of the New York colored schools.

For the especial benefit of those who erroneously think that the
purpose of giving industrial education is a new thing in our land, as
well as for general historical purposes, I call attention to the
establishment of the Institute for Colored Youth in Philadelphia in
1842. This Institute was founded by the Society of Friends, and was
supported in its early days and presumably still "by bequests and
donations made by members of that Society." The objects of the
Institute as set forth by its founders, fifty-seven years ago, are:
"The education and improvement of colored youth of both sexes, to
qualify them to act as teachers and instructors to their own people,
either in the various branches of school learning or the mechanic
arts and agriculture." Two years later the African Methodists
purchased one hundred and eighty acres of land in eastern Ohio and
established what was called the Union Seminary, on the manual labor
plan. It did not succeed, but it lingered along, keeping alive the
idea, until it was eclipsed by Wilberforce University, into which it
was finally merged.

The anti-slavery fight carried on in the North, into which the colored
men entered and became powerful leaders, aroused the race to a deep
study of the whole subject of liberty and brought them in sympathy
with all people who had either gained or were struggling for their
liberties, and prompted them to investigate all countries offering to
them freedom. No country was so well studied by them as Hayti, and
from 1824 to 1860 there had been considerable emigration thither.
Liberia, Central and South America and Canada were all considered
under the thought of emigration. Thousands went to Hayti and to
Canada, but the bulk preferred to remain here. They liked America, and
had become so thoroughly in love with the doctrines of the Republic,
so imbued with the pride of the nation's history, so inspired with
hope in the nation's future, that they resolved to live and die on her
soil. When the troublous times of 1860 came and white men were fleeing
to Canada, colored men remained at their posts. They were ready to
stand by the old flag and to take up arms for the Union, trusting that
before the close of the strife the flag might have to them a new
meaning. An impassioned colored orator had said of the flag: "Its
stars were for the white man, and its stripes for the Negro, and it
was very appropriate that the stripes should be red." The free Negro
of the North was prepared in 1861 to support Abraham Lincoln with
40,000 as good American-born champions for universal liberty as the
country could present.


[1] Slave Trade--Carey.

[2] Outlines--Tanner.

[3] A.M.E. Magazine, 1843.

[4] It is to be noted that in Maryland and Virginia an important
number of white serving women married Negro slave men in the early
days of these colonies.

[5] In 1835 there were six high schools, or schools for higher
education, in the United States that admitted colored students on
equal footing with others. These were: Oneida Institute, New York;
Mount Pleasant, Amherst, Mass.; Canaan, N.H.; Western Reserve, Ohio;
Gettysburg, Pa.; and "one in the city of Philadelphia of which Miss
Buffam" was "principal." There was also one manual labor school in
Madison County, N.Y., capable of accommodating eighteen students. It
was founded by Gerrit Smith.




On the fifteenth day of September, 1830, there was held at Bethel
Church, in the city of Philadelphia, the first convention of the
colored people of these United States. It was an event of historical
importance; and, whether we regard the times or the men of whom this
assemblage was composed, we find matter for interesting and profitable

Emancipation had just taken place in New York, and had just been
arrested in Virginia by the Nat Turner rebellion and Walker's
pamphlet. Secret sessions of the legislatures of the several Southern
States had been held to deliberate upon the production of a colored
man who had coolly recommended to his fellow blacks the only solution
to the slave question, which, after twenty-five years of arduous labor
of the most hopeful and noble-hearted of the abolitionists, seems the
forlorn hope of freedom to-day--insurrection and bloodshed. Great
Britain was in the midst of that bloodless revolution which, two years
afterwards, culminated in the passage of the Reform Bill, and thus
prepared the joyous and generous state of the British heart which
dictated the West India Emancipation Act. France was rejoicing in the
not bloodless _trois jours de Juliet_. Indeed, the whole world seemed
stirred up with a universal excitement, which, when contrasted with
the universal panics of 1837 and 1857, leads one to regard as more
than a philosophical speculation the doctrine of those who hold the
life of mankind from the creation as but one life, beating with one
heart, animated with one soul, tending to one destiny, although made
up of millions upon millions of molecular lives, gifted with their
infinite variety of attractions and repulsions, which regulate or
crystallize them into evanescent substructures or organizations, which
we call nationalities and empires and peoples and tribes, whose minute
actions and reactions on each other are the histories which absorb our
attention, whilst the grand universal life moves on beyond our ken,
or only guessed at, as the astronomers shadow out movements of our
solar system around or towards some distant unknown centre of

If the times of 1830 were eventful, there were among our people, as
well as among other peoples, men equal to the occasion. We had giants
in those days! There were Bishop Allen, the founder of the great
Bethel connection of Methodists, combining in his person the fiery
zeal of St. Francis Xavier with the skill and power of organizing of a
Richelieu; the meek but equally efficient Rush (who yet remains with
us in fulfilment of the Scripture), the father of the Zion Methodists;
Paul, whose splendid presence and stately eloquence in the pulpit, and
whose grand baptisms in the waters of Boston harbor are a living
tradition in all New England; the saintly and sainted Peter Williams,
whose views of the best means of our elevation are in triumphant
activity to-day; William Hamilton, the thinker and actor, whose sparse
specimens of eloquence we will one day place in gilded frames as rare
and beautiful specimens of Etruscan art--William Hamilton, who, four
years afterwards, during the New York riots, when met in the street,
loaded down with iron missiles, and asked where he was going, replied,
"To die on my threshold"; Watkins, of Baltimore; Frederick Hinton,
with his polished eloquence; James Forten, the merchant prince;
William Whipper, just essaying his youthful powers; Lewis Woodson and
John Peck, of Pittsburg; Austin Steward, then of Rochester; Samuel E.
Cornish, who had the distinguished honor of reasoning Gerrit Smith out
of colonization, and of telling Henry Clay that he would never be
president of anything higher than the American Colonization Society;
Philip A. Bell, the born sabreur, who never feared the face of clay,
and a hundred others, were the worthily leading spirits among the
colored people.

And yet the idea of the first colored convention did not originate
with any of these distinguished men; it came from a young man of
Baltimore; then, and still, unknown to fame. Born in that city in
1801, he was in 1817 apprenticed to a man some two hundred miles off
in the Southeast. Arriving at his field of labor, he worked hard
nearly a week and received poor fare in return. One day, while at work
near the house, the mistress came out and gave him a furious scolding,
so furious, indeed, that her husband mildly interfered; she drove the
latter away, and threatened to take the Baltimore out of the lad with
cowhide, etc., etc. At this moment, to use his own expression, the
lad became converted, that is, he determined to be his own master as
long as he lived. Early nightfall found him on his way to Baltimore
which he reached after a severe journey which tested his energy and
ingenuity to the utmost. At the age of twenty-three he was engaged in
the summer time in supplying Baltimore with ice from his cart, and in
winter in cutting up pork for Ellicotts' establishment. He must have
been strong and swift with knife and cleaver, for in one day he cut up
and dressed some four hundred and fifteen porkers.

In 1824 our young friend fell in with Benjamin Lundy, and in 1828-9,
with William Lloyd Garrison, editors and publishers of the "Genius of
Universal Emancipation," a radical anti-slavery paper, whose boldness
would put the "National Era" to shame, printed and published in the
slave State of Maryland. In 1829-30 the colored people of the free
States were much excited on the subject of emigration; there had been
an emigration to Hayti, and also to Canada, and some had been driven
to Liberia by the severe laws and brutal conduct of the fermenters of
colonization in Virginia and Maryland. In some districts of these
States the disguised whites would enter the houses of free colored men
at night, and take them out and give them from thirty to fifty lashes,
to get them to consent to go to Liberia.

It was in the spring of 1830 that the young man we have sketched,
Hezekiah Grice, conceived the plan of calling together a meeting or
convention of colored men in some place north of the Potomac, for the
purpose of comparing views and of adopting a harmonious movement
either of emigration or of determination to remain in the United
States; convinced of the hopelessness of contending against the
oppressions in the United States, living in the very depth of that
oppression and wrong, his own views looked to Canada; but he held them
subject to the decision of the majority of the convention which might

On the 2d of April, 1830, he addressed a written circular to prominent
colored men in the free States, requesting their opinions on the
necessity and propriety of holding such convention, and stated that if
the opinions of a sufficient number warranted it, he would give time
and place at which duly elected delegates might assemble. Four months
passed away, and his spirit almost died within him, for he had not
received a line from any one in reply. When he visited Mr. Garrison
in his office, and stated his project, Mr. Garrison took up a copy of
Walker's Appeal, and said, although it might be right, yet it was too
early to have published such a book.

On the 11th of August, however, he received a sudden and peremptory
order from Bishop Allen to come instantly to Philadelphia, about the
emigration matter. He went, and found a meeting assembled to consider
the conflicting reports on Canada of Messrs. Lewis and Dutton; at a
subsequent meeting, held the next night, and near the adjournment, the
Bishop called Mr. Grice aside and gave to him to read a printed
circular, issued from New York City, strongly approving of Mr. Grice's
plan of a convention, and signed by Peter Williams, Peter Vogelsang
and Thomas L. Jinnings. The Bishop added, "My dear child, we must take
some action immediately, or else these New Yorkers will get ahead of
us." The Bishop left the meeting to attend a lecture on chemistry by
Dr. Wells, of Baltimore. Mr. Grice introduced the subject of the
convention; and a committee consisting of Bishop Allen, Benjamin
Pascal, Cyrus Black, James Cornish and Junius C. Morel, were appointed
to lay the matter before the colored people of Philadelphia. This
committee, led, doubtless, by Bishop Allen, at once issued a call for
a convention of the colored men of the United States, to be held in
the city of Philadelphia on the 15th of September, 1830.

Mr. Grice returned to Baltimore rejoicing at the success of his
project; but, in the same boat which bore him down the Chesapeake, he
was accosted by Mr. Zollickoffer, a member of the Society of Friends,
a Philadelphian, and a warm and tried friend of the blacks. Mr.
Zollickoffer used arguments, and even entreaties, to dissuade Mr.
Grice from holding the convention, pointing out the dangers and
difficulties of the same should it succeed, and the deep injury it
would do the cause in case of failure. Of course, it was reason and
entreaty thrown away.

On the fifteenth of September, Mr. Grice again landed in Philadelphia,
and in the fulness of his expectation asked every colored man he met
about the convention; no one knew anything about it; the first man did
not know the meaning of the word, and another man said, "Who ever
heard of colored people holding a convention--convention, indeed!"
Finally, reaching the place of meeting, he found, in solemn conclave,
the five gentlemen who had constituted themselves delegates: with a
warm welcome from Bishop Allen, Mr. Grice, who came with credentials
from the people of Baltimore, was admitted as delegate. A little while
after, Dr. Burton, of Philadelphia, dropped in, and demanded by what
right the six gentlemen held their seats as members of the convention.
On a hint from Bishop Allen, Mr. Pascal moved that Dr. Burton be
elected an honorary member of the convention, which softened the
Doctor. In half an hour, five or six grave, stern-looking men, members
of the Zion Methodist body in Philadelphia, entered, and demanded to
know by what right the members present held their seats and undertook
to represent the colored people. Another hint from the Bishop, and it
was moved that these gentlemen be elected honorary members. But the
gentlemen would submit to no such thing, and would accept nothing
short of full membership, which was granted them.

Among the delegates were Abraham Shadd, of Delaware; J.W.C.
Pennington, of Brooklyn; Austin Steward, of Rochester; Horace Easton,
of Boston, and ---- Adams, of Utica.

The main subject of discussion was emigration to Canada; Junius C.
Morel, chairman of a committee on that subject presented a report, on
which there was a two days' discussion; the point discussed was that
the report stated that "the lands in Canada were synonymous with those
of the Northern States." The word synonymous was objected to, and the
word similar proposed in its stead. Mr. Morel, with great vigor and
ingenuity, defended the report, but was finally voted down, and the
word similar adopted. The convention recommended emigration to Canada,
passed strong resolutions against the American Colonization Society,
and at its adjournment appointed the next annual convention of the
people of color to be held in Philadelphia, on the first Monday in
June, 1831.

At the present day, when colored conventions are almost as frequent as
church meetings, it is difficult to estimate the bold and daring
spirit which inaugurated the Colored Convention of 1830. It was the
right move, originating in the right quarter and at the right time.
Glorious old Maryland, or, as one speaking in the view that climate
grows the men, would say,--Maryland-Virginia region,--which has
produced Benjamin Banneker, Nat. Turner, Frederick Douglass, the
parents of Ira Aldridge, Henry Highland Garnett and Sam. Ringold Ward,
also produced the founder of colored conventions, Hezekiah Grice! At
that time, in the prime of his young manhood, he must have presented
the front of one equal to any fortune, able to achieve any
undertaking. Standing six feet high, well-proportioned, of a dark
bronze complexion, broad brow, and that stamp of features out of which
the Greek sculptor would have delighted to mould the face of
Vulcan--he was, to the fullest extent, a working man of such sort and
magnetism as would lead his fellows where he listed.

In looking to the important results that grew out of this convention,
the independence of thought and self-assertion of the black man are
the most remarkable. Then, the union of purpose and union of strength
which grew out of the acquaintanceship and mutual pledges of colored
men from different States. Then, the subsequent conventions, where the
great men we have already named, and others, appeared and took part in
the discussions with manifestations of zeal, talent and ability, which
attracted Garrison, the Tappans, Jocelyn and others of that noble
host, who, drawing no small portion of their inspiration from their
black brethren in bonds, did manfully fight in the days of
anti-slavery which tried men's souls, and when, to be an abolitionist,
was, to a large extent, to be a martyr.

We cannot help adding the thought that had these conventions of the
colored people of the United States continued their annual sittings
from 1830 until the present time, the result would doubtless have been
greater general progress among our people themselves, a more united
front to meet past and coming exigencies, and a profounder hold upon
the public attention, and a deeper respect on the part of our enemies,
than we now can boast of. Looking at public opinion as it is, the
living law of the land, and yet a malleable, ductile entity, which can
be moulded, or at least affected, by the thoughts of any masses
vigorously expressed, we should have become a power on earth, of
greater strength and influence than in our present scattered and
dwindled state we dare even dream of. The very announcement,
"Thirtieth Annual Convention of the Colored People of the United
States," would bear a majestic front. Our great gathering at Rochester
in 1853, commanded not only public attention, but respect and
admiration. Should we have such a gathering even now, once a year, not
encumbered with elaborate plans of action, with too many wheels within
wheels, we can yet regain much of the ground lost. The partial
gathering at Boston, the other day, has already assumed its place in
the public mind, and won its way into the calculations of the

Our readers will doubtless be glad to learn the subsequent history of
Mr. Grice. He did not attend the second convention, but in the
interval between the second and third he formed, in the city of
Baltimore, a "Legal Rights Association," for the purpose of
ascertaining the legal status of the colored man in the United States.
It was entirely composed of colored men, among whom were Mr. Watkins
(the colored Baltimorean), Mr. Deaver, and others. Mr. Grice called on
William Wirt, and asked him "what he charged for his opinion on a
given subject." "Fifty dollars." "Then, sir, I will give you fifty
dollars if you will give me your opinion on the legal condition of a
free colored man in these United States."

Mr. Wirt required the questions to be written out in proper form
before he could answer them. Mr. Grice employed Tyson, who drew up a
series of questions, based upon the Constitution of the United States,
and relating to the rights and citizenship of the free black. He
carried the questions to Mr. Wirt, who, glancing over them, said,
"Really, sir, my position as an officer under the government renders
it a delicate matter for me to answer these questions as they should
be answered, but I'll tell you what to do: they should be answered,
and by the best legal talent in the land; do you go to Philadelphia,
and present my name to Horace Binney, and he will give you an answer
satisfactory to you, and which will command the greatest respect
throughout the land." Mr. Grice went to Philadelphia, and presented
the questions and request to Horace Binney. This gentleman pleaded age
and poor eyesight, but told Mr. Grice that if he would call on John
Sargent he would get answers of requisite character and weight. He
called on John Sargent, who promptly agreed to answer the questions if
Mr. Binney would allow his name to be associated as an authority in
the replies. Mr. Binney again declined, and so the matter fell
through. This is what Mr. Grice terms his "Dred Scott case" and so it

He attended the convention of 1832, but by some informality, or a want
of credentials, was not permitted to sit as full member!--Saul ejected
from among the prophets!--Yet he was heard on the subject of rights,
and the doctrine of "our rights," as well as the first colored
convention, are due to the same man.

In 1832, chagrined at the colored people of the United States, he
migrated to Hayti, where, until 1843, he pursued the business of
carver and gilder. In the latter year he was appointed Director of
Public Works in Port-au-Prince, which office he held until two years
ago. He is also engaged in, and has wide knowledge of machinery and
engineering. Every two or three years he visits New York, and is
welcomed to the arcana of such men as James J. Mapes, the Bensons,
Dunhams, and at the various works where steam and iron obey human
ingenuity in our city. He is at present in this city, lodging at the
house of the widow of his old friend and coadjutor, Thomas L.
Jinnings, 133 Reade street. We have availed ourselves of his presence
among us to glean from him the statements which we have imperfectly
put together in this article.

We cannot dismiss this subject without the remark, of peculiar
pertinence at this moment, that it would have been better for our
people had Mr. Grice never left these United States. The twenty-seven
years he has passed in Hayti, although not without their mark on the
fortunes of that island, are yet with out such mark as he would have
made in the land and upon the institutions among which he was born. So
early as his thirty-second year, before he had reached his
intellectual prime, he had inaugurated two of the leading ideas on
which our people have since acted, conventions to consider and
alleviate their grievances, and the struggle for legal rights. If he
did such things in early youth, what might he not have done with the
full force and bent of his matured intellect? And where, in the wide
world, in what region, or under what sun, could he so effectually have
labored to elevate the black man as on this soil and under American

So profoundly are we opposed to the favorite doctrine of the Puritans
and their co-workers, the colonizationists--Ubi Libertas, ibi
Patria--that we could almost beseech Divine Providence to reverse some
past events and to fling back into the heart of Virginia and Maryland
their Sam Wards, Highland Garnets, J.W. Penningtons, Frederick
Douglasses, and the twenty thousand who now shout hosannas in
Canada--and we would soon see some stirring in the direction of Ubi
Patria, ibi Libertas.--Anglo-African Magazine, October, 1859.



To the Honorable the Commissioners for examining into the condition of
Common Schools in the City and County of New York.

The following statement in relation to the colored schools in said
city and county is respectfully presented by the New York Society for
the Promotion of Education among Colored Children:

  1. The number of colored children in the city and county of
    New York (estimated in 1855, from the census of 1850), between
    the ages of 4 and 17 years                                   3,000

    a. Average attendance of colored children at public
    schools in 1855                                         913

    Average attendance of colored children in
    corporate schools supported by school funds
    (Colored Orphan Asylum)                                 240
                                                           ----  1,153

    b. Proportion of average attendance in public
    schools of colored children to whole number
    of same is as 1 to 2.60.

  2. The number of white children in the city of New
    York in 1855 (estimated as above), between the ages of
    4 and 17 years                                             159,000

    a. Average attendance of white children in public
    schools in 1855                                      43,858

    Average attendance of white children in
    corporate schools supported by public
    funds                                                 2,826
                                                         ------ 46,684

    b. Proportion of average attendance of white children
    in public schools to whole number of same
    is as 1 to 3.40.

  3. From these facts it appears that colored children attend
    the public schools (and schools supported by public funds in
    the city of New York) in the proportion of 1 to 2.60, and that
    the white children attend similar schools in said city in the
    proportion of 1 to 3.40; that is to say, nearly 25 per cent. more of
    colored children than of white children attend the public schools,
    and schools supported by public funds in the city of New York.

  4. The number of colored children attending private schools
    in the city of New York, 125.

    a. The number of white children attending private
    schools in 1850, census gave 10,560, which number has since
    been increased by the establishment of Catholic parochial
    schools, estimated in 1856, 17,560.

    b. The proportion of colored children attending private
    schools to white children attending same, is as 1 to 140.

    c. But the average attendance of colored children in all
    schools is about the same as that of the white in proportion,
    that is to say, as many colored children attend the
    public schools as do whites attend both public and private
    schools, in proportion to the whole number of each class
    of children.

  Locality, capability, etc., of colored schools.

  1. The Board of Education, since its organization, has
    expended in sites and buildings for white schools $1,600,000.

    b. The Board of Education has expended for sites and
    buildings for colored schools (addition to building leased
    19 Thomas), $1,000.

    c. The two schoolhouses in possession of the Board
    now used for colored children were assigned to same by
    the Old Public School Society.

  2. The proportion of colored children to white children
    attending public schools is as 1 to 40.

    a. The sum expended on school buildings and sites of
    colored and white schools by the Board of Education is as
    1 to 1,600.

  3. a. Schoolhouse No. 1, for colored children, is an old
    building, erected in 1820 by the New York Manumission Society
    as a school for colored children, in Mulberry street, in a poor
    but decent locality. It has two departments, one male and one
    female; it consists of two stories only, and has two small
    recitation rooms on each floor, but as primary as well as grammar
    children attend each department, much difficulty and confusion
    arises from the want of class room for the respective studies.
    The building covers only part of the lot, and as it is, the best
    attended and among the best taught of the colored schools, a
    new and ample school building, erected in this place, would
    prove a great attraction, and could be amply filled by children.

    b. Schoolhouse No. 2, erected in Laurens street more
    than twenty years ago for colored children by the Public
    School Society, is in one of the lowest and filthiest
    neighborhoods, and hence, although it has competent teachers
    in the male and female departments, and a separate primary
    department, the attendance has always been slender,
    and will be until the school is removed to a neighborhood
    where children may be sent without danger to their morals.

    c. School No. 3, for colored children, in Yorkville, is
    an old building, is well attended, and deserves, in connection
    with Schoolhouse No. 4, in Harlem, a new building midway
    between the present localities.

    d. Schoolhouse No. 5, for colored children, is an old
    building, leased at No. 19 Thomas street, a most degraded
    neighborhood, full of filth and vice; yet the attendance on
    this school, and the excellence of its teachers, earn for it the
    need of a new site and new building.

    e. Schoolhouse No. 6, for colored children, is in Broadway,
    near 37th street, in a dwelling house leased and fitted
    up for a school, in which there is always four feet of water
    in the cellar. The attendance good. Some of the school
    officers have repeatedly promised a new building.

    f. Primary school for colored children, No. 1, is in the
    basement of a church on 15th street, near 7th avenue,
    in a good location, but premises too small for the attendance;
    no recitation rooms, and is perforce both primary
    and grammar school, to the injury of the progress of all.

    g. Primary schools for colored children, No. 2 and 3,
    are in the rear of church, in 2d street, near 6th avenue; the
    rooms are dark and cheerless, and without the needful
    facilities of sufficient recitation rooms, etc.

From a comparison of the schoolhouses with the splendid, almost
palatial edifices, with manifold comforts, conveniences and elegancies
which make up the schoolhouses for white children in the city of New
York, it is evident that the colored children are painfully neglected
and positively degraded. Pent up in filthy neighborhoods, in old and
dilapidated buildings, they are held down to low associations and
gloomy surroundings.

Yet Mr. Superintendent Kiddle, at a general examination of colored
schools held in July last (for silver medals awarded by the society
now addressing your honorable body) declared the reading and spelling
equal to that of any schools in the city.

The undersigned enter their solemn protest against this unjust
treatment of colored children. They believe with the experience of
Massachusetts, and especially the recent experience of Boston before
them, there is no sound reason why colored children shall be excluded
from any of the common schools supported by taxes levied alike on
whites and blacks, and governed by officers elected by the vote of
colored as well as white voters.

But if in the judgment of your honorable body common schools are not
thus common to all, then we earnestly pray you to recommend to the
Legislature such action as shall cause the Board of Education of this
city to erect at least two well-appointed modern grammar schools for
colored children on suitable sites, in respectable localities, so that
the attendance of colored children may be increased and their minds be
elevated in like manner as the happy experience of the honorable Board
of Education has been in the matter of white children.

In addition to the excellent impulse to colored youth which these new
grammar schools would give, they will have the additional argument of
actual economy; the children will be taught with far less expense in
two such schoolhouses than in the half dozen hovels into which they
are now driven. It is a costly piece of injustice which educates the
white scholar in a palace at $10 per year and the colored pupil in a
hovel at $17 or $18 per annum.

Taxes, etc., of colored population of the city.

No proposition can be more reasonable than that they who pay taxes for
schools and schoolhouses should be provided with schools and
schoolhouses. The colored population of this city, in proportion to
their numbers, pay their full share of the general and therefore of
the school taxes. There are about nine thousand adults of both sexes;
of these over three thousand are householders, rent-payers, and
therefore tax-payers, in that sense of the word in which owners make
tax-payers of their poor tenants. The colored laboring man, with an
income of $200 a year, who pays $72 per year for a room and bedroom,
is really in proportion to his means a larger tax-payer than the
millionaire whose tax rate is thousands of dollars. But directly,
also, do the colored people pay taxes. From examinations carefully
made, the undersigned affirm that there are in the city at least
1,000 colored persons who own and pay taxes on real estate.

     Taxed real estate in the city of New York owned
       by colored persons                            $1,400,000
     Untaxed by colored persons (churches)              250,000
     Personal estate                                    710,000
     Money in savings banks                           1,121,000

These figures indicate that in proportion to their numbers, the
colored population of this city pay a fair share of the school taxes,
and that they have been most unjustly dealt with. Their money has been
used to purchase sites and erect and fit up schoolhouses for white
children, whilst their own children are driven into miserable edifices
in disgraceful localities. Surely, the white population of the city
are too able, too generous, too just, any longer to suffer this
miserable robbing of their colored fellow-citizens for the benefit of
white children.

Praying that your honorable commission will take due notice of these
facts, and recommend such remedy as shall seem to you best,

We have the honor to be, in behalf of the New York Society for the
Promotion of Education among Colored Citizens,

Most respectfully yours,

CHARLES B. RAY, President.
PHILIP A. WHITE, Secretary.
New York City, December 28, 1857.



     Early Literature of Negro Soldiers--Negro Soldiers in the
     War of the Revolution--The War of 1812--Negro
     Insurrections--Negro Troops in the Civil War--Notes.

"Do you think I'll make a soldier?" is the opening line of one of
those delightful spirituals, originating among the slaves in the far
South. I first heard it sung in the Saint James Methodist Church,
corner of Spring and Coming Streets, Charleston, South Carolina,
immediately after the close of the war. It was sung by a vast
congregation to a gentle, swinging air, with nothing of the martial
about it, and was accompanied by a swaying of the body to the time of
the music. Occasionally there would be the "curtesys" peculiar to the
South Carolina slave of the low country, which consists in a stooping
of the body by bending the knees only, the head remaining erect, a
movement which takes the place of the bow among equals. The older
ladies, with heads adorned with the ever-present Madras kerchief,
often tied in the most becoming and tasteful manner, and faces aglow
with an enthusiasm that bespoke a life within sustained by visions of
spiritual things, would often be seen to shake hands and add a word of
greeting and hope which would impart a charm and meaning to the
singing far above what the humble words of the song without these
accessories could convey. As the rich chorus of matchless voices
poured out in perfect time and tune, "Rise, shine, and give God the
glory," the thoughts of earthly freedom, of freedom from sin, and
finally of freedom from the toils, cares and sorrows of earth to be
baptized into the joys of heaven, all seemed to blend into the many
colored but harmonious strain. The singing of the simple hearted
trustful, emancipated slave! Shall we ever hear the like again on
earth? Alas, that the high hopes and glowing prophecies of that
auspicious hour have been so deferred that the hearts of millions have
been made sick!

Of the songs that came out of slavery with these long suffering
people, Colonel Higginson, who perhaps got nearer to them in sentiment
than any other literary man not really, of them, says: "Almost all
their songs were thoroughly religious in their tone, however quaint
their expression, and were in a minor key both as to words and music.
The attitude is always the same, and, as a commentary on the life of
the race, is infinitely pathetic. Nothing but patience for this
life--nothing but triumph in the next. Sometimes the present
predominates, sometimes the future; but the combination is always

I do not know when this "soldier" song had its birth, but it may have
sprung out of the perplexity of the slave's mind as he contemplated
the raging conflict and saw himself drawn nearer and nearer to the
field of strife. Whether in this song the "present predominates," and
the query, therefore, has a strong primary reference to carnal weapons
and to garments dyed in blood; whether the singer invites an opinion
as to his fitness to engage in the war for Freedom--it may not be
possible to determine. The "year of Jubilee," coming in the same song
in connection with the purpose for which the singer is to be made a
soldier, gives clearer illustration of that combination of the present
and future which Mr. Higginson says was always present in the
spirituals of that period, if it shows no more. When it is remembered
that at that time Charleston was literally trodden under foot by black
soldiers in bright uniforms, whose coming seemed to the colored people
of that city like a dream too good to be true, it is not hard to
believe that this song had much of the present in it, and owed its
birth to the circumstances of war.

Singularly enough the song makes the Negro ask the exact question
which had been asked about him from the earliest days of our history
as a nation, a question which in some form confronts him still. The
question, as the song has it, is not one of fact, but one of opinion.
It is not: Will I make a soldier? but: Do you think I will make a
soldier? It is one thing to "make a soldier," another thing to have
men think so. The question of fact was settled a century ago; the
question of opinion is still unsettled. The Negro soldier, hero of
five hundred battlefields, with medals and honors resting upon his
breast, with the endorsement of the highest military authority of the
nation, with Port Hudson, El Caney and San Juan behind him, is still
expected by too many to stand and await the verdict of thought, from
persons who never did "think" he would make a soldier, and who never
will think so. As well expect the excited animal of the ring to
_think_ in the presence of the red rag of the toreador as to expect
_them_ to think on the subject of the Negro soldier. They can curse,
and rant, when they see the stalwart Negro in uniform, but it is too
much to ask them to think. To them the Negro can be a fiend, a brute,
but never a soldier.

To John G. Whittier and to William C. Nell are we indebted for the
earliest recital of the heroic deeds of the colored American in the
Wars of the Revolution and 1812. Whittier contributed an article on
this subject to the "National Era" in 1847, and five or six years
later Nell published his pamphlet on "Colored Patriots," a booklet
recently reprinted by the African Methodist Episcopal Church. It is a
useful contribution, showing as it does the rising and spreading
abroad of that spirit which appreciates military effort and valor; and
while recognizing the glory that came to American arms in the period
described, honestly seeks to place some of that glory upon the
deserving brow of a race then enslaved and despised. The book is
unpretentious and aims to relate the facts in a straight-forward way,
unaccompanied by any of the charms of tasteful presentation. Its
author, however, is deserving our thanks, and the book marks an
important stage in the development of the colored American. His mind
was turning toward the creation of the soldier--the formation of

There are other evidences that the mind of the colored man was at this
time turning towards arms. In 1852 Doctor Pennington, one of the most
learned colored men of his times, having received his Degree in
Divinity from Heidelberg, delivered an address before a mass
convention of colored citizens of Ohio, held in Cleveland, in which he
spoke principally of the colored soldier. During the convention the
"Cleveland Light Artillery" fired a salute, and on the platform were
seated several veteran colored men, some of them, particularly Mr.
John Julius, of Pittsburg, Pa., taking part in the speech-making. Mr.
Nell says: "Within recent period several companies of colored men in
New York city have enrolled themselves a la militaire," and quotes
from the New York Tribune of August, 1852, as follows:

     "COLORED SOLDIERS.--Among the many parades within a few days
     we noticed yesterday a soldierly-looking company of colored
     men, on their way homeward from a target or parade drill.
     They looked like men, handled their arms like men, and
     should occasion demand, we presume they would fight like

In Boston, New Haven, New Bedford and other places efforts were made
during the decade from 1850 to 1860 to manifest this rising military
spirit by appropriate organization, but the efforts were not always
successful. In some cases the prejudices of the whites put every
possible obstacle in the way of the colored young men who attempted to
array themselves as soldiers.

The martial spirit is not foreign to the Negro character, as has been
abundantly proved in both ancient and modern times. Williams, in his
admirable history of the Negro as well as in his "Negro Troops in the
Rebellion," has shown at considerable length that the Negro has been a
soldier from earliest times, serving in large numbers in the Egyptian
army long before the beginning of the Christian era. We know that
without any great modification in character, runaway slaves developed
excellent fighting qualities as Maroons, in Trinidad, British Guiana,
St. Domingo and in Florida. But it was in Hayti that the unmixed Negro
rose to the full dignity of a modern soldier, creating and leading
armies, conducting and carrying on war, treating with enemies and
receiving surrenders, complying fully with the rules of civilized
warfare, and evolving finally a Toussaint, whose military genius his
most bitter enemies were compelled to recognize--Toussaint, who to the
high qualities of the soldier added also the higher qualities of
statesmanship. With Napoleon, Cromwell and Washington, the three great
commanders of modern times who have joined to high military talent
eminent ability in the art of civil government, we must also class
Toussaint L'Ouverteur, the black soldier of the Antilles. Thiers, the
prejudiced attorney of Napoleon, declares nevertheless that Toussaint
possessed wonderful talent for government, and the fact ever remains
that under his benign rule all classes were pacified and San Domingo
was made to blossom as the rose. In the armies of Menelek, in the
armies of France, in the armies of England, as well as in the
organization of the Zulu and Kaffir tribes the Negro has shown himself
a soldier. If the Afro-American should fail in this particular it will
not be because of any lack of the military element in the African side
of his character, or for any lack of "remorseless military audacity"
in the original Negro, as the historian, Williams, expresses it.

In our own Revolutionary War, the Negro, then but partially civilized,
and classed with "vagabonds," held everywhere as a slave, and
everywhere distrusted, against protest and enactment, made his way
into the patriot army, fighting side by side with his white
compatriots from Lexington to Yorktown. On the morning of April 19th,
1775, when the British re-enforcements were preparing to leave Boston
for Lexington, a Negro soldier who had served in the French war,
commanded a small body of West Cambridge "exempts" and captured Lord
Percy's supply train with its military escort and the officer in
command. As a rule the Negro soldiers were distributed among the
regiments, thirty or forty to a regiment, and did not serve in
separate organizations. Bishop J.P. Campbell, of the African Methodist
Church, was accustomed to say "both of my grandfathers served in the
Revolutionary War." In Varnum's Brigade, however, there was a Negro
regiment and of it Scribner's history, 1897, says, speaking of the
battle of Rhode Island: "None behaved better than Greene's colored
regiment, which three times repulsed the furious charges of veteran
Hessians." Williams says: "The black regiment was one of three that
prevented the enemy from turning the flank of the American army. These
black troops were doubtless regarded as the weak spot of the line, but
they were not."

The colony of Massachusetts alone furnished 67,907 men for the
Revolutionary War, while all the colonies together south of
Pennsylvania furnished but 50,493, hence the sentiment prevailing in
Massachusetts would naturally be very powerful in determining any
question pertaining to the army. When the country sprang to arms in
response to that shot fired at Lexington, the echoes of which,
poetically speaking, were heard around the world, the free Negroes of
every Northern colony rallied with their white neighbors. They were in
the fight at Lexington and at Bunker Hill, but when Washington came to
take command of the army he soon gave orders that no Negroes should be
enlisted. He was sustained in this position by a council of war and by
a committee of conference in which were representatives from Rhode
Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts, and it was agreed that Negroes
be rejected altogether. The American Negro's persistency in pressing
himself where he is not _wanted_ but where he is _eminently needed_
began right there. Within six weeks so many colored men applied for
enlistment, and those that had been put out of the army raised such a
clamor that Washington changed his policy, and the Negro, who of all
America's population contended for the privilege of shouldering a gun
to fight for American liberty, was allowed a place in the Continental
Army, the first national army organized on this soil, ante-dating the
national flag. The Negro soldier helped to evolve the national
standard and was in the ranks of the fighting men over whom it first
unfolded its broad stripes and glittering stars.

     [Transcriber's Note: This footnote appeared in the text
     without a footnote anchor:

     "To the Honorable General Court of the Massachusetts Bay:

     "The subscribers beg leave to report to your Honorable
     House, which we do in justice to the character of so brave a
     man, that, under our own observation, we declare that a
     Negro man called Salem Poor, of Col. Frye's regiment, Capt.
     Ames' company, in the late battle at Charlestown, behaved
     like an experienced officer, as well as an excellent
     soldier. We would only beg leave to say, in the person of
     this said Negro centres a brave and gallant soldier. The
     reward due to so great and distinguished a character we
     submit to the Congress.

     "Cambridge, Dec. 5, 1775."

     These black soldiers, fresh from heathen lands, not out of
     slavery, proved themselves as worthy as the best. In the
     battle of Bunker Hill, where all were brave, two Negro
     soldiers so distinguished themselves that their names have
     come down to us garlanded with the tributes of their
     contemporaries. Peter Salem, until then a slave, a private
     in Colonel Nixon's regiment of Continentals, without orders
     fired deliberately upon Major Pitcairn as he was leading the
     assault of the British to what appeared certain victory.
     Everet in speaking "of Prescott, Putnam and Warren, the
     chiefs of the day," mentions in immediate connection "the
     colored man, Salem, who is reported to have shot the gallant
     Pitcairn as he mounted the parapet." What Salem Poor did is
     not set forth, but the following is the wreath of praise
     that surrounds his name:

     Jona. Brewer, Col.             Eliphalet Bodwell, Sgt.
     Thomas Nixon, Lt.-Col.         Josiah Foster, Lieut.
     Wm. Precott, Col.              Ebenr. Varnum, 2d Lieut.
     Ephm. Corey, Lieut.            Wm. Hudson Ballard, Capt.
     Joseph Baker, Lieut.           William Smith, Capt.
     Joshua Row, Lieut.             John Morton, Sergt. (?)
     Jonas Richardson, Capt.        Richard Welsh, Lieut.]

It is in place here to mention a legion of free mulattoes and blacks
from the Island of St. Domingo, a full account of whose services is
appended to this section, who fought under D'Estaing with great
distinction in the siege of Savannah, their bravery at that time
saving the patriot army from annihilation.

When the Revolutionary War had closed the brave black soldier who had
fought to give to the world a new flag whose every star should be a
star of hope to the oppressed, and whose trinity of colors should
symbolize Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, found his race, and in
some instances himself personally, encased in a cruel and stubborn
slavery. For the soldier himself special provision had been made in
both Northern and Southern colonies, but it was not always hearty or
effective. In October, 1783, the Virginia Legislature passed an act
for the relief of certain slaves who had served in the army whose
"former owners were trying to force to return to a state of servitude,
contrary to the principles of justice and their solemn promise." The
act provided that each and every slave who had enlisted "by the
appointment and direction of his owner" and had "been received as a
substitute for any free person whose duty or lot it was to serve" and
who had served faithfully during the term of such enlistment, unless
lawfully discharged earlier, should be fully and completely
emancipated and should be held and deemed free in as full and ample
manner as if each and every one of them were specially named in the
act. The act, though apparently so fair on its face, and interlarded
as it is with patriotic and moral phrases, is nevertheless very narrow
and technical, liberating only those who enlisted by the appointment
and direction of their owners, and who were accepted as substitutes,
and who came out of the army with good discharges. It is not hard to
see that even under this act many an ex-soldier might end his days in
slavery. The Negro had joined in the fight for freedom and when
victory is won finds himself a slave. He was both a slave and a
soldier, too often, during the war; and now at its close may be both a
veteran and a slave.

The second war with Great Britain broke out with an incident in which
the Negro in the navy was especially conspicuous. The Chesapeake, an
American war vessel was hailed, fired upon and forced to strike her
colors, by the British. She was then boarded and searched and four
persons taken from her decks, claimed as deserters from the English
navy. Three of these were Negroes and one white. The Negroes were
finally dismissed with a reprimand and the white man hanged. Five
years later hostilities began on land and no opposition was manifested
toward the employment of Negro soldiers. Laws were passed, especially
in New York, authorizing the formation of regiments of blacks with
white officers. It is remarkable that although the successful
insurrection of St. Domingo was so recent, and many refugees from that
country at that time were in the United States, and our country had
also but lately come into possession of a large French element by the
Louisiana purchase, there was no fear of a servile insurrection in
this country. The free colored men of New Orleans, under the
proclamation of the narrow-minded Jackson, rallied to the defence of
that city and bore themselves with commendable valor in that useless
battle. The war closed, however, and the glory of the Negro soldier
who fought in it soon expired in the dismal gloom of a race-slavery
becoming daily more wide-spread and hopeless.

John Brown's movement was military in character and contemplated the
creation of an army of liberated slaves; but its early suppression
prevented any display of Negro valor or genius. Its leader must ever
receive the homage due those who are so moved by the woes of others as
to overlook all considerations of policy and personal risk. As a plot
for the destruction of life it fell far short of the Nat Turner
insurrection which swept off fifty-seven persons within a few hours.
In purpose the two episodes agree. They both aim at the liberation of
the slave; both were led by fanatics, the reflex production of the
cruelty of slavery, and both ended in the melancholy death of their
heroic leaders. Turner's was the insurrection of the slave and was not
free from the mad violence of revenge; Brown's was the insurrection of
the friend of the slave, and was governed by the high and noble
purpose of freedom. The insurrections of Denmark Vesey in South
Carolina, in 1822, and of Nat Turner, in Virginia, in 1831, show
conclusively that the Negro slave possessed the courage, the cunning,
the secretiveness and the intelligence to fight for his freedom.
These two attempts were sufficiently broad and intelligent, when taken
into consideration with the enforced ignorance of the slave, to prove
the Negro even in his forlorn condition capable of daring great
things. Of the probable thousands who were engaged in the Denmark
Vesey insurrection, only fifteen were convicted, and these died
heroically without revealing anything connected with the plot.
Forty-three years later I met the son of Denmark Vesey, who rejoiced
in the efforts of his noble father, and regarded his death on the
gallows as a holy sacrifice to the cause of freedom. Turner describes
his fight as follows: "The white men, eighteen in number, approached
us to about one hundred yards, when one of them fired, and I
discovered about half of them retreating. I then ordered my men to
fire and rush on them. The few remaining stood their ground until we
approached within fifty yards, when they fired and retreated. We
pursued and overtook some of them whom we thought we left dead. After
pursuing them about two hundred yards, and rising a little hill, I
discovered they were met by another party, and had halted and were
reloading their guns. Thinking that those who retreated first and the
party who fired on us at fifty or sixty yards distant had all only
fallen back to meet others with ammunition, as I saw them reloading
their guns, and more coming up than I saw at first, and several of my
bravest men being wounded, the others became panic struck and
scattered over the field. The white men pursued and fired on us
several times. Hark had his horse shot under him, and I caught another
for him that was running by me; five or six of my men were wounded,
but none left on the field. Finding myself defeated here, I instantly
determined to go through a private way and cross the Nottoway River at
Cypress Bridge, three miles below Jerusalem, and attack that place in
the rear, as I expected they would look for me on the other road, and
I had a great desire to get there to procure arms and ammunition.
After going a short distance in this private way, accompanied by about
twenty men, I overtook two or three who told me the others were
dispersed in every direction. After trying in vain to collect a
sufficient force to proceed to Jerusalem, I determined to return, as I
was sure they would make back to their old neighborhood, where they
would rejoin me, make new recruits, and come down again. On my way
back I called on Mrs. Thomas', Mrs. Spencer's and several other
places. We stopped at Major Ridley's quarters for the night, and being
joined by four of his men, with the recruits made since my defeat, we
mustered now about forty strong.

After placing out sentinels, I lay down to sleep, but was quickly
aroused by a great racket. Starting up I found some mounted and others
in great confusion, one of the sentinels having given the alarm that
we were about to be attacked. I ordered some to ride around and
reconnoitre, and on their return the others being more alarmed, not
knowing who they were, fled in different ways, so that I was reduced
to about twenty again. With this I determined to attempt to recruit,
and proceed on to rally in the neighborhood I had left."[6]

No one can read this account, which is thoroughly supported by
contemporary testimony, without seeing in this poor misguided slave
the elements of a vigorous captain. Failing in his efforts he made his
escape and remained for two months in hiding in the vicinity of his
pursuers. One concerned in his prosecution says: "It has been said
that he was ignorant and cowardly and that his object was to murder
and rob for the purpose of obtaining money to make his escape. It is
notorious that he was never known to have a dollar in his life, to
swear an oath, or drink a drop of spirits. As to his ignorance, he
certainly never had the advantages of education, but he can read and
write (it was taught him by his parents) and for natural intelligence
and quickness of apprehension, is surpassed by few men I have ever
seen. As to his being a coward, his reason as given for not resisting
Mr. Phipps shows the decision of his character."[7]

The War of the Rebellion, now called the Civil War, effected the last
and tremendous step in the transition of the American Negro from the
position of a slave under the Republic to that of a soldier in its
armies. Both under officers of his own race at Port Hudson and under
white officers on a hundred battlefields, the Negro in arms proved
himself a worthy foeman against the bravest and sternest enemies that
ever assailed our nation's flag, and a worthy comrade of the Union's
best defenders. Thirty-six thousand eight hundred and forty-seven of
them gave their lives in that awful conflict. The entire race on this
continent and those of allied blood throughout the world are indebted
to the soldier-historian, Honorable George W. Williams, for the
eloquent story of their service in the Union Army, and for the
presentation of the high testimonials to the valor and worthiness of
the colored soldier as given by the highest military authority of the
century. From Chapter XVI of his book, "Negro Troops in the
Rebellion," the paragraphs appended at the close of this chapter are



The siege and attempted reduction of Savannah by the combined French
and American forces is one of the events of our revolutionary war,
upon which our historians care little to dwell. Because it reflects
but little glory upon the American arms, and resulted so disastrously
to the American cause, its important historic character and
connections have been allowed to fade from general sight; and it
stands in the ordinary school text-books, much as an affair of shame.
The following, quoted from Barnes' History, is a fair sample of the
way in which it is treated:

"French-American Attack on Savannah.--In September, D'Estaing joined
Lincoln in besieging that city. After a severe bombardment, an
unsuccessful assault was made, in which a thousand lives were lost.
Count Pulaski was mortally wounded. The simple-hearted Sergeant Jasper
died grasping the banner presented to his regiment at Fort Moultrie.
D'Estaing refused to give further aid; thus again deserting the
Americans when help was most needed."

From this brief sketch the reader is at liberty to infer that the
attack was unwise if not fool-hardy; that the battle was unimportant;
and that the conduct of Count D'Estaing immediately after the battle
was unkind, if not unjust, to the Americans. While the paragraph does
not pretend to tell the whole truth, what it does tell ought to be the
truth; and this ought to be told in such a way as to give correct
impressions. The attack upon Savannah was well-planned and thoroughly
well considered; and it failed only because the works were so ably
defended, chiefly by British regulars, under brave and skillful
officers. In a remote way, which it is the purpose of this paper to
trace, that sanguinary struggle had a wider bearing upon the progress
of liberty in the Western World than any other one battle fought
during the Revolution.

But first let us listen to the story of the battle itself. Colonel
Campbell with a force of three thousand men, captured Savannah in
December, 1778; and in the January following, General Prevost arrived,
and by March had established a sort of civil government in Georgia,
Savannah being the capital. In April, the American general, Lincoln,
feeble in more senses than one, perhaps, began a movement against
Savannah by way of Augusta; but Prevost, aware of his purpose, crossed
into South Carolina and attempted an attack upon Charleston. Finding
the city too well defended, he contented himself with ravaging the
plantations over a wide extent of adjacent country, and returned to
Savannah laden with rich spoils, among which were included three
thousand slaves, of whose labor he made good use later.

The patriots of the South now awaited in hope the coming of the French
fleet; and on the first of September, Count D'Estaing appeared
suddenly on the coast of Georgia with thirty-three sail, surprised and
captured four British warships, and announced to the government of
South Carolina his readiness to assist in the recapture of Savannah.
He urged as a condition, however, that his ships should not be
detained long off so dangerous a coast, as is was now the hurricane
season, and there was neither harbor, road, nor offing for their

By means of small vessels sent from Charleston he effected a landing
in ten days, and four days thereafter, on the 16th, he summoned the
garrison to surrender to the arms of France. Although this demand was
made in the name of France for the plain reason that the American army
was not yet upon the spot, the loyalists did not fail to make it a
pretext for the accusation that the French were desirous of making
conquests in the war on their own account. In the meantime Lincoln
with the regular troops, was hurrying toward Savannah, and had issued
orders for the militia to rendezvous at the same place; and the
militia full of hope of a speedy, if not of a bloodless conquest, were
entering upon this campaign with more than ordinary enthusiasm.

During the time that the fleet had been off the coast, and especially
since the landing, the British had been very busy in putting the city
in a high state of defence, and in making efforts to strengthen the
garrison. Lieutenant-colonel Cruger, who had a small force at Sunbury,
the last place in Georgia that had been captured by the British, and
Lieutenant-colonel Maitland who was commanding a considerable force at
Beaufort, were ordered to report in haste with their commands at
Savannah. On the 16th, when the summons to surrender was received by
Prevost, Maitland had not arrived, but was hourly expected. Prevost
asked for a delay of twenty-four hours to consider the proposal, which
delay was granted; and on that very evening, Maitland with his force
arrived at Dawfuskie. Finding the river in the possession of the
French, his course for a time seemed effectually cut off. By the
merest chance he fell in with some Negro fishermen who informed him of
a passage known as Wall's cut, through Scull's creek, navigable for
small boats. A favoring tide and a dense fog enabled him to conduct
his command unperceived by the French, through this route, and thus
arrive in Savannah on the afternoon of the 17th, before the expiration
of the twenty-four hours. General Prevost had gained his point; and
now believing himself able to resist an assault, declined the summons
to surrender. Two armed ships and four transports were sunk in the
channel of the river below the city, and a boom in the same place laid
entirely across the river; while several small boats were sunk above
the town, thus rendering it impossible for the city to be approached
by water.

On the day of the summons to surrender, although the works were
otherwise well advanced, there were not ten cannon mounted in the
lines of Savannah; but from that time until the day of assault, the
men of the garrison, with the slaves they had captured, worked day and
night to get the defences of the city in the highest state of
excellence. Major Moncrief, chief of the engineers, is credited with
placing in position more than eighty cannons in a short time after the
call to surrender had been received.

The city itself at this time was but a mere village of frame buildings
and unpaved streets. Viewed as facing its assailants, it was protected
in its rear, or upon its north side, by the Savannah river; and on its
west side by a thick swamp or morass, which communicated with the
river above the city. The exposed sides were those of the east and
south. These faced an open country which for several miles was
entirely clear of woods. This exposed portion of the city was well
protected by an unbroken line of defences extending from the river
back to the swamp, the right and left extremes of the line consisting
of strong redoubts, while the centre was made up of seamen's batteries
in front, with impalements and traverses thrown up to protect the
troops from the fire of the besiegers. The whole extent of the works
was faced with an ample abattis.

[Illustration: Savannah River.]

To be still more particular: there were three redoubts on the right of
the line, and on the right of them quite near the swamp, was a
sailor's battery of nine pounders, covered by a company of the British
legion. The left redoubt of these three, was known as the Springhill
redoubt; and proved to be the objective of the final assault. Between
it and the centre, was another sailor's battery behind which were
posted the grenadiers of the 60th regiment, with the marines which had
been landed from the warships. On the left of the line near the river
were two redoubts, strongly constructed, with a massy frame of green
spongy wood, filled in with sand, and mounted with heavy cannon. The
centre, or space between these groups of redoubts, was composed, as
has been said, of lighter but nevertheless very effective works, and
was strongly garrisoned.

Having thus scanned the works, let us now take a glance at the men who
are to defend them. As all of the assaulting forces are not made up of
Americans, so all of the defenders are not foreigners. The centre
redoubt of the triplet on the right, was garrisoned by two companies
of militia, with the North Carolina regiment to support them; Captains
Roworth and Wylie, with the provincial corps of King's Rangers, were
posted in the redoubt on the right; and Captain Tawse with his corps
of provincial dragons, dismounted, in the left or Springhill redoubt,
supported by the South Caroline regiment. The whole of this force on
the right of the line, was under the command of the gallant
Lieutenant-colonel Maitland; and it was this force that made the
charge that barely failed of annihilating the American army. On the
left of the line, the Georgia loyalists garrisoned one of those massy
wooden sand-filled redoubts; while in the centre, cheek by jowl so to
speak, with two battalions of the seventy-first regiment, and two
regiments of Hessians, stood the New York Volunteers. All of these
corps were ready to act as circumstances should require and to support
any part of the line that might be attacked. The Negroes who worked on
these defences were under the direction of Major Moncrief.

The French troops had landed below the city and were formed facing the
British lines, with the river on their right. On their left, later,
assembled the American troops. The final dispositions were concluded
by September 22nd, and were as follows: The American troops under
Lincoln formed the left of the line, their left resting upon the swamp
and the entire division facing the Springhill redoubt and her two
sister defences; then came the division of M. de Noailles, composed of
nine hundred men. D'Estaing's division of one thousand men beside the
artillery, came next, and formed the centre of the French army. On
D'Estaing's right was Count Dillon's division of nine hundred men; on
the right of Dillon were the powder magazine, cattle depot, and a
small field hospital; on the right of the depot and a little in
advance, were Dejean's dragoons, numbering fifty men; upon the same
alignment and to the right of the dragoons were Rouvrais' Volunteer
Chasseurs, numbering seven hundred and fifty men; still further on to
the right and two hundred yards in advance of Rouvrais, was Framais,
comanding the Grenadier Volunteers, and two hundred men besides, his
right resting upon the swampy wood that bordered the river, thus
completely closing in the city on the land side. The frigate, La
Truite, and two galleys, lay within cannon shot of the town, and with
the aid of the armed store ship, La Bricole, and the frigate, La
Chimere, effectually cut off all communication by water.

On the 23rd, both the French and the Americans opened their trenches;
and on the 24th, a small detachment of the besieged made a sortie
against the French. The attack was easily repulsed, but the French
pursuing, approached so near the entrenchments of the enemy that they
were fired upon and several were killed. On the night of the 27th
another sortie was made which threw the besiegers into some confusion
and caused the French and Americans to fire upon each other.
Cannonading continued with but little result until October 8th.

The engineers were now of the opinion that a speedy reduction of the
city could not be accomplished by regular approaches; and the naval
officers were very anxious about the fleet, both because of the
dangers to which it was exposed from the sea, and also because with so
many men ashore it was in especial danger of being attacked and
captured by British men-of-war. These representations agreeing
altogether with D'Estaing's previously expressed wishes to leave the
coast as soon as possible, induced that officer and General Lincoln
to decide upon an attempt to storm the British works at once. It is
quite probable that this had been the purpose as a last resort from
the first. The preservation of the fleet was, however, the powerful
factor in determining the time and character of the assault upon

On the night of the eighth, Major L'Enfant, with a detachment
attempted to set fire to the abattis in order to clear the way for the
assault, but failed to through the dampness of the wood. The plan of
the assault may be quite accurately obtained from the orders given to
the American troops on the evening of the 8th by General Lincoln and
from the inferences to be drawn from the events of the morning of the
9th as they are recorded in history. At least two of the historians
who have left us accounts of the seige, Ramsey and McCall, were
present at the time, and their accounts may be regarded as original
authority. General Lincoln's orders were as follows:

     "Evening Orders. By General Lincoln.

     "The soldiers will be immediately supplied with 40 rounds of
     cartridges, a spare flint, and have their arms in good
     order. The infantry destined for the attack of Savannah will
     be divided into two bodies; first composed of the light
     troops under the command of Colonel Laurens; the second, of
     the continental battalions and the first battalion of the
     Charleston militia, except the grenadiers, who are to join
     the light troops. The whole will parade at 1 o'clock, near
     the left of the line, and march by platoons. The guards of
     the camp will be formed of the invalids, and be charged to
     keep the fires as usual in camp.

     "The cavalry under the command of Count Pulaski, will parade
     at the same time with the infantry and follow the left
     column of the French troops, precede the column of the
     American light troops; they will endeavor to penetrate the
     enemy's lines between the battery on the left of Springhill
     redoubt, and the next towards the river; having effected
     this, will pass to the left towards Yamacraw and secure such
     parties of the enemy as may be lodged in that quarter.

     "The artillery will parade at the same time, follow the
     French artillery, and remain with the corps de reserve until
     they receive further orders.

     "The whole will be ready by the time appointed, with the
     utmost silence and punctuality; and be ready to march the
     instant Count Dillon and General Lincoln shall order.

     "The light troops who are to follow the cavalry, will
     attempt to enter the redoubt on the left of the Springhill,
     by escalade if possible; if not by entrance into it, they
     are to be supported if necessary by the first South Carolina
     regiment; in the meantime the column will proceed with the
     lines to the left of the Springhill battery.

     "The light troops having succeeded against the redoubt will
     proceed to the left and attempt the several works between
     that and the river.

     "The column will move to the left of the French troops,
     taking care not to interfere with them.

     "The light troops having carried the work towards the river
     will form on the left of the column.

     "It is especially forbidden to fire a single gun before the
     redoubts are carried; or for any soldier to quit his rank to
     plunder without an order for that purpose; any who shall
     presume to transgress in either of these respects shall be
     reputed a disobeyer of military orders which is punishable
     with death.

     "The militia of the first and second brigades, General
     Williamson's and the second battalion of the Charleston
     militia will parade immediately under the command of General
     Huger; after draughting five hundred of them the remander of
     them will go into the trenches and put themselves under the
     commanding officer there; with the 500 he will march to the
     left of the enemy's line, remain as near them as he possibly
     can without being seen, until four o'clock in the morning,
     at which time the troops in the trenches will begin an
     attack upon the enemy; he will then advance and make his
     attack as near the river as possible; though this is only
     meant as a feint, yet should a favorable opportunity offer,
     he will improve it and push into the town.

     "In case of a repulse after taking Springhill redoubt, the
     troops will retreat and rally in the rear of redoubt; if it
     cannot be effected that way, it must be attempted by the
     same route at which they entered.

     "The second place of rallying (or the first if the redoubt
     should not be carried) will be at the Jews' burying-ground,
     where the reserve will be placed; if these two halts should
     not be effected, they will retire towards camp.

     "The troops will carry in their hats a piece of white paper
     by which they will be distinguished."

General Huger with his five hundred militia, covered by the river
swamp, crept quite close to the enemy's lines and delivered his attack
as directed. Its purpose was to draw attention to that quarter and if
possible cause a weakening of the strength in the left centre of the
line. What its real effect was, there is now no means of knowing.

Count Dillon, who during the siege had been on D'Estaing's right, and
who appears to have been second in command in the French army, in this
assault was placed in command of a second attacking column. His
purpose was to move to the right of General Huger, and keeping in the
edge of the swamps along the river, steal past the enemy's batteries
on the left, and attack him in the rear. Bancroft describes the
results of his efforts as follows: "The column under Count Dillon,
which was to have attacked the rear of the British lines, became
entangled in a swamp of which it should only have skirted the edge was
helplessly exposed to the British batteries and could not even be
formed." Here were the two strong sand-filled redoubts, mounted with
heavy cannon, and these may have been the batteries that stopped
Dillon's column.

Count Pulaski with his two hundred brave cavalrymen, undertook his
part in the deadly drama with ardor, and began that perilous ride
which had for its object: "to penetrate the enemy's lines, between the
battery on the left of the Springhill redoubt, and the next towards
the river." Balch describes it as an attempt to "penetrate into the
city by galloping between the redoubts." It was the anticipation of
the Crimean "Charge of the Light Brigade;" only in this case, no one
blundered; it was simply a desperate chance. Cannon were to the right,
left, and front, and the heroic charge proved in vain; the noble Pole
fell, banner[8] in hand, pierced with a mortal wound--another foreign
martyr to our dearly bought freedom.

The cavalry dash having failed, that much of the general plan was
blotted out. The feints may have been understood; it is said a
sergeant of the Charleston Grenadiers deserted during the night of the
8th and gave the whole plan of the attack to General Prevost, so that
he knew just where to strengthen his lines. The feints were
effectually checked by the garrison on the left, twenty-eight of the
Americans being killed: while Dillon's column was stopped by the
batteries near the river. This state of affairs allowed the whole of
Maitland's force to protect the Springhill redoubt and that part of
the line which was most threatened. The Springhill redoubt, as has
been stated, was occupied by the South Carolina regiment and a corps
of dragoons. This circumstance may account for the fact, that while
the three hundred and fifty Charleston militia occupied a most exposed
position in the attacking column, only one man among them was killed
and but six wounded. The battery on the left of this redoubt was
garrisoned by grenadiers and marines.

The attacking column now advanced boldly, under the command of
D'Estaing and Lincoln, the Americans consisting of six hundred
continental troops and three hundred and fifty Charleston militia,
being on the left, while the centre and right were made up of the
French forces. They were met with so severe and steady a fire that the
head of the column was soon thrown into confusion. They endured this
fire for fifty-five minutes, returning it as best they could, although
many of the men had no opportunity to fire at all. Two American
standards and one French standard, were placed on the British works,
but their bearers were instantly killed. It being found impossible to
carry any part of the works, a general retreat was ordered. Of the six
hundred continental troops, more than one-third had fallen, and about
one-fifth of the French. The Charleston militia had not suffered,
although they had bravely borne their part in the assault, and it had
certainly been no fault of theirs if their brethren behind the
embankments had not fired upon them. Count D'Estaing had received two
wounds, one in the thigh, and being unable to move, was saved by the
young naval lieutenant Truguet. Ramsey gives the losses of the battle
as follows: French soldiers 760; officers 61; Americans 312; total

As the army began its retreat, Lieutenant-colonel Maitland with the
grenadiers and marines, who were incorporated with the grenadiers,
charged its rear with the purpose of accomplishing its annihilation.
It was then that there occurred the most brilliant feat of the day,
and one of the bravest ever performed by foreign troops in the
American cause. In the army of D'Estaing was a legion of black and
mulatto freedmen, known as Fontages Legion, commanded by Vicount de
Fontages, a brave and experienced officer. The strength of this legion
is given variously from six hundred to over eight hundred men. This
legion met the fierce charge of Maitland and saved the retreating

In an official record prepared in Paris, now before me, are these
words: "This legion saved the army at Savannah by bravely covering its
retreat. Among the blacks who rendered signal services at that time
were: Andre, Beauvais, Rigaud, Villatte, Beauregard, Lambert, who
latterly became generals under the convention, including Henri
Christophe, the future king of Haiti." This quotation is taken from a
paper secured by the Honorable Richard Rush, our minister to Paris in
1849, and is preserved in the Pennsylvania Historical Society. Henri
Christophe received a dangerous gunshot wound in Savannah. Balch says
in speaking of Fontages at Savannah: "He commanded there a legion of
mulattoes, according to my manuscript, of more than eight hundred men,
and saved the army after the useless assault on the fortifications, by
bravely covering the retreat."

It was this legion that formed the connecting link between the siege
of Savannah and the wide development of republican liberty on the
Western continent, which followed early in the present century. In
order to show this connection and the sequences, it will be necessary
to sketch in brief the history of this remarkable body of men,
especially that of the prominent individuals who distinguished
themselves at Savannah.

In 1779 the French colony of Saint Domingo was in a state of peace,
the population then consisting of white slave-holders, mulatto and
black freedmen (affranchis), and slaves. Count D'Estaing received
orders to recruit men from Saint Domingo for the auxiliary army; and
there being no question of color raised, received into the service a
legion of colored freedmen. There had been for years a colored militia
in Saint Domingo, and as early as 1716, the Marquis de Chateau Morant,
then governor of the colony, made one Vincent the Captain-general of
all the colored militia in the vicinity of the Cape. This Captain
Vincent died in 1780 at the reputed age of 120 years. He was certainly
of great age, for he had been in the siege of Carthegenia in 1697, was
taken prisoner, afterwards liberated by exchange and presented to
Louis XIV, and fought in the German war under Villars. Moreau de St.
Mery, in his description of Vincent, incidentally mentions the
Savannah expedition. He says: "I saw him (Vincent) the year preceding
his death, recalling his ancient prowess to the men of color who were
enrolling themselves for the expedition to Savannah; and showing in
his descendants who were among the first to offer themselves, that he
had transmitted his valor. Vincent, the good Captain Vincent, had a
most pleasing countenance; and the contrast of his black skin with his
white hair produced an effect that always commanded respect."

[Illustration: Hutchinson Island.]

The Haytian historian, Enclus Robin, says when the call for volunteers
reached Saint Domingo: "eight hundred young freedmen, blacks and
mulattoes, offered themselves to take part in the expedition;" that
they went and "fought valiantly; and returned to Saint Domingo covered
with glory." Madiou, another Haytian historian of the highest
respectability says: "A crowd of young men, black and colored,
enlisted with the French troops and left for the continent. They
covered themselves with glory in the siege of Savannah, under the
orders of Count D'Estaing."

What effect this experience had upon these volunteers may be inferred
from their subsequent history. Robin says: "These men who contributed
their mite toward American independence, had still their mothers and
sisters in slavery; and they themselves were subject to humiliating
discriminations. Should not France have expected from that very
moment, that they would soon use in their own cause, those very arms
which they had learned so well to use in the interests of others?"
Madiou says: "On their return to Saint Domingo they demanded for their
brothers the enjoyment of political rights." Beauvais went to Europe
and served in the army of France; but returned to fight for liberty in
Hayti, and was Captain-general in 1791; Rigaud, Lambert and Christophe
wrote their names--not in the sand. These are the men who dared to
stir Saint Domingo, under whose influence Hayti became the first
country of the New World, after the United States, to throw off
European rule. The connection between the siege of Savannah and the
independence of Hayti is traced, both as to its spirit, and
physically, through the black legion that on that occasion saved the
American army. How this connection is traced to the republics of South
America, I will allow a Haytian statesman and man of letters, honored
both at home and abroad, to relate. I translate from a work published
in Paris in 1885:

"The illustrious Bolivar, liberator and founder of five republics in
South America, undertook in 1811 his great work of shaking off the
yoke of Spain, and of securing the independence of those immense
countries which swelled the pride of the catholic crown--but failed.
Stripped of all resources he took flight and repaired to Jamaica,
where he implored in vain of the governor of that island, the help of
England. Almost in despair, and without means, he resolved to visit
Hayti, and appeal to the generosity of the black Republic for the
help necessary to again undertake that work of liberation which had
gone to pieces in his hands. Never was there a more solemn hour for
any man--and that man the representative of the destiny of South
America! Could he hope for success? After the English, who had every
interest in the destruction of Spanish colonial power, had treated him
with so much indifference, could he hope that a new-born nation, weak,
with microscopic territory, and still guarding anxiously its own
ill-recognized independence, would risk itself in an enterprise
hazardous as the one he represented? Full of doubt he came; but Petion
gave him a most cordial welcome.

"Taking the precautions that a legitimate sentiment of prudence
dictated at that delicate moment of our national existence, the
government of Port-au-Prince put to the disposition of the hero of
Boyaca and Carabobo, all the elements of which he had need--and
Bolivar needed everything. Men, arms and money were generously given
him. Petion did not wish to act openly for fear of compromising
himself with the Spanish government; it was arranged that the men
should embark secretly as volunteers; and that no mention of Hayti
should ever be made in any official act of Venezuela."

Bolivar's first expedition with his Haytian volunteers was a failure;
returning to the island he procured reinforcements and made a second
descent which was brilliantly successful. Haytian arms, money and men
turned Bolivar's disasters to victory; and the spirit of Western
liberty marched on to the redemption of South America. The liberation
of Mexico and all Central America, followed as a matter of course; and
the ground was thus cleared for the practical application of that
Continentalism enunciated in the Monroe doctrine.

The black men of the Antilles who fought in the siege of Savannah,
enjoy unquestionably the proud historical distinction of being the
physical conductors that bore away from our altars the sacred fire of
liberty to rekindle it in their own land; and also of becoming the
humble but important link that served to unite the Two Americas in the
bond of enlightened independence.


Note:--In the preparation of the above paper I have been greatly
assisted by the Honorable L.J. Janvier, Charge d'affairs d' Haiti, in
London; by Right Reverend James Theodore Holly, bishop of Hayti, and
by Messrs. Charles and Frank Rudolph Steward of Harvard University. To
all of these gentlemen my thanks are here expressed. T.G.S.

Paper read at the session of the Negro Academy, Washington, D.C.,



Adjutant-General Thomas in a letter to Senator Wilson, May 30, 1864,
says: "Experience proves that they manage heavy guns very well. Their
fighting qualities have also been fully tested a number of times, and
I am yet to hear of the first case where they did not fully stand up
to their work."

Major-General James G. Blunt writing of the battle of Honey Springs,
Arkansas, said of Negro troops: "The Negroes (First Colored Regiment)
were too much for the enemy, and let me here say that I never saw such
fighting as was done by that Negro regiment. They fought like
veterans, with a coolness and valor that is unsurpassed. They
preserved their line perfect throughout the whole engagement, and
although in the hottest of the fight, they never once faltered. Too
much praise cannot be awarded them for their gallantry. The question
that Negroes will fight is settled; besides, they make better soldiers
in every respect than any troops I have ever had under my command."

General Thomas J. Morgan, speaking of the courage of Negro troops in
the battle of Nashville, and its effect upon Major-General George H.
Thomas, says: "Those who fell nearest the enemy's works were colored.
General Thomas spoke very feelingly of the sight which met his eye as
he rode over the field, and he confessed that the Negro had fully
vindicated his bravery, and wiped from his mind the last vestige of
prejudice and doubt."


[6] Confession of Nat Turner, Anglo-African Magazine, Vol. 1, p. 338,

[7] Ibid.

[8] The presentation of this banner by the Moravian Nuns of Bethlehem
forms the text of the poem by Longfellow beginning--

    When the dying flame of day
    Through the chancel shot its ray,
    Far the glimmering tapers shed
    Faint light on the cowled head;
    And the censer burning swung
    Where, before the altar, hung
    The crimson banner, that with prayer
    Had been consecrated there.
    And the nuns' sweet hymn was heard the while,
    Sung low in the dint, mysterious aisle,
      "Take thy banner! may it wave
      Proudly o'er the good and brave;
      When the battle's distant wail
      Breaks the Sabbath of our vale,
      When the cannon's music thrills
      To the hearts of those lone hills.
      When the spear in conflict shakes,
      And the strong lance shivering breaks.

           *       *       *       *       *

      "Take thy banner! and if e'er
      Thou should'st press the soldier's bier
      And the muffled drum shall beat
      To the tread of mournful feet,
      Then the crimson flag shall be
      Martial cloak and shroud for thee."
    The warrior took that banner proud,
    And it was his martial cloak and shroud.



     Organization of Negro Regiments in the Regular Army--First
     Move in the War--Chickamauga and Tampa--Note.

Altogether the colored soldiers in the Civil War took part and
sustained casualties in two hundred and fifty-one different
engagements and came out of the prolonged conflict with their
character so well established that up to the present hour they have
been able to hold an important place in the Regular Army of the United
States. No regiment of colored troops in the service was more renowned
at the close of the war or has secured a more advantageous position in
the history of that period than the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts
Regiment of Infantry. Recruited among the free colored people of the
North, many of them coming from Ohio, it was remarkable for the
intelligence and character of its men, and for the high purpose and
noble bearing of its officers. Being granted but half the pay per
month given to white soldiers, the regiment to a man, for eighteen
months refused to receive one cent from the Government. This was a
spectacle that the country could not longer stand. One thousand
volunteers fighting the country's battles without any compensation
rather than submit to a discrimination fatal to their manhood, aroused
such a sentiment that Congress was compelled to put them on the
pay-roll on equal footing with all other soldiers. By them the
question of the black soldier's pay and rations was settled in the
Army of the United States for all time. Every soldier, indeed every
man in the army, except the chaplain, now draws the pay of his grade
without regard to color, hair or race. By the time these lines reach
the public eye it is to be hoped that even the chaplain will be lifted
from his exceptional position and given the pay belonging to his rank
as captain.

(February 2, 1901, the bill became a law giving chaplains the full pay
of their grade.)

More than 185,000 blacks, all told, served in the army of the Union
during the War of the Rebellion, and the losses from their ranks of
men killed in battle were as heavy as from the white troops. Their
bravery was everywhere recognized, and in the short time in which they
were employed, several rose to commissions.

Perhaps the most notable act performed by a colored American during
the war was the capture and delivery to the United States forces of
the rebel steamer Planter, by Robert Smalls, of Charleston. Smalls was
employed as pilot on the Planter, a rebel transport, and was entirely
familiar with the harbors and inlets, of which there are many, on the
South Atlantic coast. On May 13, 1862, the Planter came to her wharf
in Charleston, and at night all the white officers went ashore,
leaving a colored crew of eight men on board in charge of Smalls.
Smalls hastily got his wife and three children on board, and at 2
o'clock on the morning of the 14th steamed out into the harbor,
passing the Confederate forts by giving the proper signals, and when
fairly out of reach, as daylight came, he ran up the Stars and Stripes
and headed his course directly toward the Union fleet, into whose
hands he soon surrendered himself and his ship. The act caused much
favorable comment and Robert Smalls became quite a hero. His
subsequent career has been in keeping with the high promise indicated
by this bold dash for liberty, and his name has received additional
lustre from gallant services performed in the war after, and in
positions of distinguished honor and responsibility in civil life. The
Planter, after being accepted by the United States, became a despatch
boat, and Smalls demonstrating by skill and bravery his fitness for
the position, was finally, as an act of imperative justice, made her

With the close of the Revolutionary War the prejudice against a
standing army was so great that the army was reduced to scarce six
hundred men, and the Negro as a soldier dropped out of existence. When
the War of 1812 closed sentiment with regard to the army had made but
little advancement, and consequently no place in the service was left
for Negro soldiers. In the navy the Negro still lingered, doing
service in the lower grades, and keeping up the succession from the
black heroes of '76 and 1812. When the War of the Rebellion closed the
country had advanced so far as to see both the necessity of a standing
army, and the fitness of the Negro to form a part of the army; and
from this position it has never receded, and if the lessons of the
Cuban campaign are rightly heeded, it is not likely to recede
therefrom. The value of the Regular Army and of the Black Regular were
both proven to an absolute demonstration in that thin line of blue
that compelled the surrender of Santiago.

In July, 1866, Congress passed an act adding eight new regiments of
infantry and four of calvary to the nineteen regiments of infantry and
six of calvary of which those arms of the Regular Army were at that
time composed, thus making the permanent establishment to consist of
five regiments of artillery, twenty-seven of infantry, and ten of
cavalry. Of the eight new infantry regiments to be formed, four were
to be composed of colored men; and of the four proposed for the
calvary arm, two were to be of colored men. The President was
empowered by the act also to appoint a chaplain for each of the six
regiments of colored troops. Under this law the Ninth and Tenth
Cavalry Regiments were organized.

In 1869 the infantry suffered further reduction, and the four colored
regiments organized under the law of 1866, numbered respectively the
38th, 39th, 40th and 41st, were consolidated into two regiments, and
numbered the 24th and 25th--the 38th and 41st becoming the former, and
the 39th and 40th the latter. Previous to this consolidation the
numbers between the old 19th and the 38th, which was the lowest number
borne by the new colored regiments, were filled in by dividing the old
three batallion regiments in the service, and making of the second and
third batallions of these regiments new regiments. The whole infantry
arm, by the law of 1869, was compressed into twenty-five regiments,
and in that condition the army remains to the present, to wit:[9] Ten
regiments of cavalry, five of artillery and twenty-five of infantry.

The number of men in a company and the number of companies in a
regiment have varied greatly within the past few months. Just previous
to the breaking out of the war a regiment of infantry consisted of
eight companies of about sixty men each, and two skeletonized
companies and the band--the whole organization carrying about five
hundred men; now a regiment of infantry consists of twelve companies
of 106 men each and with the non-commissioned staff numbers twelve
hundred and seventy-four men.

Since 1869, or for a period of thirty years, the colored American has
been represented in the Regular Army by these four regiments and
during this time these regiments have borne more than their
proportionate share in hard frontier service, including all sorts of
Indian campaigning and much severe guard and fatigue duty. The men
have conducted themselves so worthily as to receive from the highest
military authority the credit of being among our best troops. General
Miles and General Merritt,[10] with others who were active leaders in
the Indian wars of the West, have been unstinting in their praise of
the valor and skill of colored soldiers. They proved themselves not
only good individual fighters, but in some instances non-commissioned
officers exhibited marked coolness and ability in command.[11]

From 1869 to the beginning of the Hispano-American War there were in
the Regular Army at some time, as commissioned officers, the following
colored men, all from West Point, all serving with the cavalry, and
none rising higher than first-lieutenant, viz: John H. Alexander, H.O.
Flipper and Charles Young. H.O. Flipper was dismissed; Alexander died,
and Young became major in the volunteer service, and was placed in
command of the Ninth Battalion of Ohio Volunteers, discharging the
duties of his position in such a manner as to command general
satisfaction from his superior officers.[12]

These colored men while cadets at West Point endured hardships
disgraceful to their country, and when entering the army were not
given that cordial welcome by their brother officers, becoming an
"officer and gentleman," both to give and to receive. Of course there
were some noble exceptions, and this class of officers seems to be
steadily increasing, so that now it is no longer necessary, even on
the ground of expediency, to strive to adhere to the rule of only
white men for army officers. Of Alexander and Young it can be said
they have acquitted themselves well, the former enjoying the
confidence and esteem of his associates up to the time of his early
death--an event which caused deep regret--and the latter so impressing
the Governor of his State and the President as to secure for himself
the responsible position which he, at the time of this writing, so
worthily fills. Besides these line officers, five colored chaplains
have been appointed, all of whom have served successfully, one,
however, being dismissed by court-martial after many years of really
meritorious service, an event to be regretted, but by no means without

Brief sketches of the history of these four colored regiments, as well
as of the others, have been recently made by members of them and
published in the Journal of the Military Service Institution and
subsequently in a large and beautiful volume edited by
Brigadier-General Theo. F. Rodenbough and Major William L. Haskin,
published by the Institution and designated "The Army of the United
States," a most valuable book of reference. From the sketches
contained therein the following summary is given.

The Twenty-fourth Infantry was organized, as we have seen, from the
38th and 41st Regiments, these two regiments being at the time
distributed in New Mexico, Louisiana and Texas, and the regiment
remained in Texas from the time of its organization in 1869 until
1880. Its first Lieutenant-Colonel was William R. Shafter. It was
from this regiment and the Tenth Cavalry that the escort of Paymaster
Wham was selected which made so brave a stand against a band of
robbers that attacked the paymaster that several of them were given
medals for distinguished gallantry, and others certificates of merit.
The Twenty-fifth Infantry was organized in New Orleans out of the
39th, that was brought from North Carolina for that purpose, and the
40th, that was then in Louisiana. It was organized during the month of
April, 1869, and early in 1870 moved to Texas, where it remained ten
years. In 1880 it moved to the Department of Dakota and remained in
the Northwest until it took the road for the Cuban war.

The Ninth Cavalry was organized in New Orleans during the winter of
1866-67. Its first Colonel was Edward Hatch and its first
Lieutenant-Colonel Wesley Merritt. From 1867 to 1890 it was in almost
constant Indian warfare, distinguishing itself by daring and
hardihood. From 1890 to the opening of the Cuban war it remained in
Utah and Nebraska, engaging in but one important campaign, that
against hostile Sioux during the winter of 1890-91, in which, says the
historian: "The regiment was the first in the field, in November, and
the last to leave, late in the following March, after spending the
winter, the latter part of which was terrible in its severity, under

The Tenth Calvary was organized under the same law as was the Ninth,
and at the same time. Its place of rendezvous was Fort Leavenworth,
Kansas, and its first Colonel, Benjamin H. Grierson. This regiment was
the backbone of the Geronimo campaign force, and it finally succeeded
in the capture of that wily warrior. The regiment remained in the
Southwest until 1893, when it moved to Montana, and remained there
until ordered to Chickamauga for the war.

These four regiments were finely officered, well drilled and well
experienced in camp and field, particularly the cavalry regiments, and
it was of them that General Merritt said: "I have always found them
brave in battle." With such training and experience they were well
fitted to take their place in that selected host of fighting men which
afterwards became the Fifth Army Corps, placed under command of
Major-General William R. Shafter, the first Lieutenant-Colonel of the
Twenty-fourth Infantry.

When the news of the blowing up of our great battleship Maine, in the
harbor of Havana, with the almost total loss of her crew, flashed over
the country, carrying sadness to hundreds of homes, and arousing
feelings of deepest indignation whether justly or unjustly, it was
easy to predict that we should soon be involved in war with Spain. The
Cuban question, already chronic, had by speeches of Senators Thurston
and Proctor been brought to such a stage of aggravation that it needed
only an incident to set the war element in motion. That incident was
furnished by the destruction of the Maine. Thenceforth there was no
power in the land sufficient to curb the rapidly swelling tide of
popular hate, which manifested itself in the un-Christian but truly
significant mottoes: "Remember the Maine," "Avenge the Maine," and "To
hell with Spain." These were the outbreathings of popular fury, and
they represented a spirit quite like that of the mob, which was not to
be yielded to implicitly, but which could not be directly opposed.

The President did all in his power to stay this element of our
population and to lead the country to a more befitting attitude. He
and his advisers argued that Spain was to be resisted, and fought if
necessary, not on account of the Maine, not in the spirit of revenge,
but in the interest of humanity, and upon principles sanctioned even
by our holy religion. On behalf of the starving reconcentrados, and in
aid of the noble Cuban patriot, we might justly arm and equip
ourselves for the purpose of driving Spanish rule from the Western

This view appealed to all lovers of freedom, to all true patriots, and
to the Christian and philanthropist. It also afforded a superb
opportunity for the old leaders in the South, who were not entirely
relieved from the taint of secession, to come out and reconsecrate
themselves to the country and her flag. Hence, Southern statesmen, who
were utterly opposed to Negroes or colored men having any share in
ruling at home, became very enthusiastic over the aspirations of the
colored Cuban patriots and soldiers. The supporters, followers, and in
a sense, devotees of Maceo and Gomez, were worthy of our aid. The same
men, actuated by the same principles, in the Carolinas, in Louisiana
or in Mississippi, would have been pronounced by the same authorities
worthy of death.

The nation was, however, led into war simply to liberate Cuba from the
iniquitous and cruel yoke of Spain, and to save thousands of
impoverished Cubans from death by starvation. Great care was taken not
to recognize the Cuban government in any form, and it seemed to be
understood that we were to do the fighting both with our navy and our
army, the Cubans being invited to co-operate with us, rather than that
we should co-operate with them. We were to be the liberators and
saviors of a people crushed to the very gates of death. Such was the
platform upon which our nation stood before the world when the first
orders went forth for the mobilization of its forces for war. It was a
position worthy our history and character and gave to our national
flag a prouder meaning than ever. Its character as the emblem of
freedom shone out with awe-inspiring brilliancy amid the concourse of

While there was such a clamor for war in the newspapers and in the
public speeches of statesmen, both in and out of Congress, it is
remarkable that the utmost serenity prevailed in the army. Officers
and men were ready to fight if the stern necessity came, but they were
not so eager for the death-game as were the numerous editors' whose
papers were getting out extras every half-hour. It was argued by the
officers of rank that the Maine incident added nothing whatever to the
Cuban question; that it did not involve the Spanish Government; that
the whole subject might well be left to arbitration, and full respect
should be given to Spain's disclaimer. It was also held that to rush
into a war in order to prevent a few people from starving, might not
relieve them, and at the same time would certainly cost the lives of
many innocent men. Spain was revising her policy, and the benevolence
of the United States would soon bring bread to the door of every needy
Cuban. Such remarks and arguments as these were used by men who had
fought through one war and were ready to fight, through another if
they must; but who were willing to go to any reasonable length to
prevent it; and yet the men who used such arguments beforehand and
manifested such a shrinking from carnage, are among those to whom the
short Spanish War brought distinction and promotion. To their honor be
it said that the war which gave them fresh laurels was in no sense
brought about through their instigation.

As chaplain of the Twenty-fifth Infantry, stationed with the
headquarters of the regiment at Fort Missoula, where we had been for
ten years, the call for the war met me in the midst of my preparations
for Easter service. One young man, then Private Thomas C. Butler, who
was practicing a difficult solo for the occasion, before the year
closed became a Second Lieutenant, having distinguished himself in
battle; the janitor, who cared for my singing books, and who was my
chief school teacher, Private French Payne, always polite and
everywhere efficient, met his death from a Spanish bullet while on the
reserve before bloody El Caney.

It was on a bright day during the latter part of March and near the
close of the day as I was looking out of the front window of my
quarters that I saw the trumpeter of the guard come out of the
Adjutant's office with a dispatch in his hand and start on a brisk run
toward the quarters of the Commanding Officer. I immediately divined
what was in the wind, but kept quiet. In a few minutes "officers'
call" was sounded, and all the officers of the post hastened to the
administration building to learn the news.

When all were assembled the Commanding Officer desired to know of each
company officer how much time he would need to have his company ready
to move from the post to go to a permanent station elsewhere, and from
all officers how much time they would require to have their families
ready to quit the station. The answers generally were that all could
be ready within a week. It was finally agreed, however, to ask for ten

Immediately the work of preparation began, although none knew where
the regiment was to go. At this time the order, so far as it was
understood at the garrison, was, that two companies were to go to Key
West, Florida, and the other companies of the regiment to Dry
Tortugas. One officer, Lieutenant V.A. Caldell, early saw through the
haze and said: "It means that we will all eventually land in Cuba."
While we were packing, rumors flew through the garrison, as indeed
through the country, thick and fast, and our destination was changed
three or four times a day. One hour we would be going to Key West, the
next to St. Augustine, the next to Tortugas. In this confusion I asked
an old frontier officer where he thought we would really go.
Regarding himself as an indicator and always capable of seeing the
amusing side of a subject, he replied: "I p'int toward Texas." Such
was the state of uncertainty as to destination, and yet all the time
the greatest activity prevailed in making ready for departure. Finally
definite orders came that we were to store our furniture in the large
gymnasium hall at the post and prepare to go in camp at Chickamauga
Park, Georgia.

Our regiment was at the time stationed as follows: Headquarters, four
companies and the band at Fort Missoula; two companies at Fort
Harrison, near Helena, and two companies at Fort Assinniboine, all in
Montana. The arrangements contemplated moving the regiment in two
sections, one composed of the Missoula troops to go over the Northern
Pacific Railroad, the other of the Fort Harrison and Fort Assinniboine
troops to go over the Great Northern Railroad, all to arrive in St.
Paul about the same time.

On the 10th of April, Easter Sunday, the battalion at Fort Missoula
marched out of post quite early in the morning, and at Bitter Root
Station took the cars for their long journey. Officers and men were
all furnished sleeping accommodations on the train. Arriving in the
city of Missoula, for the gratification of the citizens and perhaps to
avoid strain on the bridge crossing the Missoula River, the men were
disembarked from the train and marched through the principal streets
to the depot, the citizens generally turning out to see them off. Many
were the compliments paid officers and men by the good people of
Missoula, none perhaps more pleasing than that furnished by a written
testimonial to the regret experienced at the departure of the
regiment, signed by all the ministers of the city.

As the Twenty-fifth was the first regiment to move in the preparation
for war, its progress from Montana to Chickamauga was a marked event,
attracting the attention of both the daily and illustrated press. All
along the route they were greeted with enthusiastic crowds, who fully
believed the war with Spain had begun. In St. Paul, in Chicago, in
Terre Haute, in Nashville, and in Chattanooga the crowds assembled to
greet the black regulars who were first to bear forward the Starry
Banner of Union and Freedom against a foreign foe. What could be more
significant, or more fitting, than that these black soldiers, drilled
up to the highest standard of modern warfare, cool, brave and
confident, themselves a proof of American liberty, should be called
first to the front in a war against oppression? Their martial tread
and fearless bearing proclaimed what the better genius of our great
government meant for all men dwelling beneath the protection of its
honored flag.

As the Twenty-fifth Infantry was the first regiment to leave its
station, so six companies of it were first to go into camp on the
historic grounds of Chickamauga. Two companies were separated from the
regiment at Chattanooga and forwarded to Key West where they took
station under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel A.S. Daggett. The
remaining six companies, under command of Colonel A.S. Burt, were
conducted by General Boynton to a choice spot on the grounds, where
they pitched camp, their tents being the first erected in that
mobilization of troops which preceded the Cuban invasion, and theirs
being really the first camp of the war.

Soon came the Ninth Cavalry, the Tenth Cavalry and the Twenty-fourth
Infantry. While these were assembling there arrived on the ground also
many white regiments, cavalry, artillery and infantry, and it was
pleasing to see the fraternity that prevailed among black and white
regulars. This was especially noticeable between the Twenty-fifth and
Twelfth. In brigading the regiments no attention whatever was paid to
the race or color of the men. The black infantry regiments were placed
in two brigades, and the black cavalry likewise, and they can be
followed through the fortunes of the war in the official records by
their regimental numbers. During their stay in Chickamauga, and at Key
West and Tampa, the Southern newspapers indulged in considerable
malicious abuse of colored soldiers, and some people of this section
made complaints of their conduct, but the previous good character of
the regiments and the violent tone of the accusations, taken together
with the well-known prejudices of the Southern people, prevented their
complaints from having very great weight. The black soldiers held
their place in the army chosen for the invasion of Cuba, and for that
purpose were soon ordered to assemble in Tampa.

From the 10th of April, when the war movement began with the march of
the Twenty-fifth Infantry out of its Montana stations, until June
14th, when the Army of Invasion cleared Tampa for Cuba--not quite two
months--the whole energy of the War Department had been employed in
preparing the army for the work before it. The beginning of the war is
officially given as April 21st, from which time onward it was declared
a state of war existed between Spain and the United States, but
warlike movements on our side were begun fully ten days earlier, and
begun with a grim definiteness that presaged much more than a practice
march or spring manoeuver.

After arriving at Chickamauga all heavy baggage was shipped away for
storage, and all officers and men were required to reduce their field
equipage to the minimum; the object being to have the least possible
amount of luggage, in order that the greatest possible amount of
fighting material might be carried. Even with all this preparation
going on some officers were indulging the hope that the troops might
remain in camps, perfecting themselves in drill, until September, or
October, before they should be called upon to embark for Cuba. This,
however, was not to be, and it is perhaps well that it was not, as the
suffering and mortality in the home camps were almost equal to that
endured by the troops in Cuba. The suffering at home, also, seemed
more disheartening, because it appeared to be useless, and could not
be charged to any important changes in conditions or climate. It was
perhaps in the interest of humanity that this war, waged for
humanity's sake, should have been pushed forward from its first step
to its last, with the greatest possible dispatch, and that just enough
men on our side were sent to the front, and no more. It is still a
good saying that all is well that ends well.

The Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, the place
where our troops assembled on their march to Cuba, beautiful by
nature, especially in the full season of spring when the black
soldiers arrived there, and adorned also by art, has, next to
Gettysburg, the most prominent place among the historic battle-fields
of the Civil War. As a park it was established by an act of Congress
approved August 19, 1890, and contains seven thousand acres of rolling
land, partly cleared and partly covered with oak and pine timber.
Beautiful broad roads wind their way to all parts of the ground, along
which are placed large tablets recording the events of those dreadful
days in the autumn of 1863, when Americans faced Americans in bloody,
determined strife. Monuments, judiciously placed, speak with a mute
eloquence to the passer-by and tell of the valor displayed by some
regiment or battery, or point to the spot where some lofty hero gave
up his life. The whole park is a monument, however, and its definite
purpose is to preserve and suitably mark "for historical and
professional military study the fields of some of the most remarkable
manoeuvres and most brilliant fighting in the War of the Rebellion."
The battles commemorated by this great park are those of Chickamauga,
fought on September 19-20, and the battles around Chattanooga,
November 23-25, 1863. The battle of Chickamauga was fought by the Army
of the Cumberland, commanded by Major-General W.S. Rosecrans, on the
Union side, and the Army of Tennessee, commanded by General Braxton
Bragg, on the side of the Confederates. The total effective strength
of the Union forces in this battle was little less than 60,000 men,
that of the Confederates about 70,000. The total Union loss was 16,179
men, a number about equal to the army led by Shatter against Santiago.
Of the number reported as lost, 1,656 were killed, or as many as were
lost in killed, wounded and missing in the Cuban campaign. The
Confederate losses were 17,804, 2,389 being killed, making on both
sides a total killed of 4,045, equivalent to the entire voting
population of a city of over twenty thousand inhabitants. General
Grant, who commanded the Union forces in the battles around
Chattanooga, thus sums up the results: "In this battle the Union army
numbered in round figures about 60,000 men; we lost 752 killed, 4,713
wounded and 350 captured or missing. The rebel loss was much greater
in the aggregate, as we captured and sent North to be rationed there
over 6,100 prisoners. Forty pieces of artillery, over seven thousand
stand of small arms, many caissons, artillery wagons and baggage
wagons fell into our hands. The probabilities are that our loss in
killed was the heavier as we were the attacking party. The enemy
reported his loss in killed at 361, but as he reported his missing at
4,146, while we held over 6,000 of them as prisoners, and there must
have been hundreds, if not thousands, who deserted, but little
reliance can be placed upon this report."

In the battle of Chickamauga, when "four-fifths of the Union Army had
crumbled into wild confusion," and Rosecrans was intent only on saving
the fragments, General Thomas, who had commanded the Federal left
during the two days' conflict, and had borne the brunt of the fight,
still held his position. To him General James A. Garfield reported.
General Gordon Granger, without orders, brought up the reserves, and
Thomas, replacing his lines, held the ground until nightfall, when he
was joined by Sheridan. Bragg won and held the field, but Thomas
effectually blocked his way to Chattanooga, securing to himself
immediately the title of the "Rock of Chickamauga." His wonderful
resolution stayed the tide of a victory dearly bought and actually
won, and prevented the victors from grasping the object for which they
had fought. In honor of this stubborn valor, and in recognition of
this high expression of American tenacity, the camp established in
Chickamauga Park by the assembling army was called Camp George H.

The stay of the colored regulars at Camp George H. Thomas was short,
but it was long enough for certain newspapers of Chattanooga to give
expression to their dislike to negro troops in general and to those in
their proximity especially. The Washington Post, also, ever faithful
to its unsavory trust, lent its influence to this work of defamation.
The leading papers, however, both of Chattanooga and the South
generally, spoke out in rather conciliatory and patronizing tones, and
"sought to restrain the people of their section from compromising
their brilliant display of patriotism by contemptuous flings at the
nation's true and tried soldiers.

The 24th Infantry and the 9th Cavalry soon left for Tampa, Florida,
whither they were followed by the 10th Cavalry and the 25th Infantry,
thus bringing the entire colored element of the army together to
prepare for embarkation. The work done at Tampa is thus described
officially by Lieutenant-Colonel Daggett in general orders addressed
to the 25th Infantry, which he at that time commanded. On August 11th,
with headquarters near Santiago, after the great battles had been
fought and won, he thus reviewed the work of the regiment: "Gathered
from three different stations, many of you strangers to each other,
you assembled as a regiment for the first time in more than
twenty-eight years, on May 7, 1898, at Tampa, Florida. There you
endeavored to solidify and prepare yourselves, as far as the
oppressive weather would permit, for the work that appeared to be
before you." What is here said of the 25th might have been said with
equal propriety of all the regular troops assembled at Tampa.

In the meantime events were ripening with great rapidity. The historic
"first gun" had been fired, and the United States made the first naval
capture of the war on April 22, the coast trader Buena Ventura having
surrendered to the American gunboat Nashville. On the same day the
blockade of Cuban ports was declared and on the day following a call
was issued for 125,000 volunteers. On May 20th the news that a Spanish
fleet under command of Admiral Cervera had arrived at Santiago was
officially confirmed, and a speedy movement to Cuba was determined

Almost the entire Regular Army with several volunteer regiments were
organized into an Army of Invasion and placed under the command of
Major-General W.R. Shafter with orders to prepare immediately for
embarkation, and on the 7th and 10th of June this army went on board
the transports. For seven days the troops lay cooped up on the vessels
awaiting orders to sail, a rumor having gained circulation that
certain Spanish gunboats were hovering around in Cuban waters awaiting
to swoop down upon the crowded transports. While the Army of Invasion
was sweltering in the ships lying at anchor off Port Tampa, a small
body of American marines made a landing at Guantanamo, and on June
12th fought the first battle between Americans and Spaniards on Cuban
soil. In this first battle four Americans were killed. The next day,
June 13th, General Shafter's army containing the four colored
regiments, excepting those left behind to guard property, sailed for

The whole number of men and officers in the expedition, including
those that came on transports from Mobile, amounted to about seventeen
thousand men, loaded on twenty-seven transports. The colored regiments
were assigned to brigades as follows: The Ninth Cavalry was joined
with the Third and Sixth Cavalry and placed under command of Colonel
Carrol; the Tenth Cavalry was joined with the Rough Riders and First
Regular Cavalry and fell under the command of General Young; the
Twenty-fourth Infantry was joined with the Ninth and Thirteenth
Infantry and the brigade placed under command of Colonel Worth and
assigned to the division commanded by General Kent, who, until his
promotion as Brigadier-General of Volunteers, had been Colonel of the
Twenty-fourth; the Twenty-fifth Infantry was joined with the First and
Fourth Infantry and the brigade placed under command of Colonel Evans
Miles, who had formerly been Major of the Twenty-fifth. All of the
colored regiments were thus happily placed so that they should be in
pleasant soldierly competition with the very best troops the country
ever put in the field, and this arrangement at the start proves how
strongly the black regular had entrenched himself in the confidence of
our great commanders.

Thus sailed from Port Tampa the major part of our little army of
trained and seasoned soldiers, representative of the skill and daring
of the nation.[14] In physique, almost every man was an athlete, and
while but few had seen actual war beyond an occasional skirmish with
Indians, all excepting the few volunteers, had passed through a long
process of training in the various details of marching, camping and
fighting in their annual exercises in minor tactics. For the first
time in history the nation is going abroad, by its army, to occupy the
territory of a foreign foe, in a contest with a trans-Atlantic power.
The unsuccessful invasions of Canada during the Revolutionary War and
the War of 1812 can hardly be brought in comparison with this movement
over sea. The departure of Decatur with his nine ships of war to the
Barbary States had in view only the establishment of proper civil
relations between those petty, half-civilized countries and the United
States. The sailing of General Shafter's army was only one movement in
a comprehensive war against the Kingdom of Spain. More than a month
earlier Commodore Dewey, acting under orders, had destroyed a fleet of
eleven war ships in the Philippines. The purpose of the war was to
relieve the Cubans from an inhumane warfare with their mother country,
and to restore to that unhappy island a stable government in harmony
with the ideas of liberty and justice.

Up to the breaking out of the Spanish War the American policy with
respect to Europe had been one of isolation. Some efforts had been
made to consolidate the sentiment of the Western world, but it had
never been successful. The fraternity of the American Republics and
the attempted construction of a Pan-American policy had been thus far
unfulfilled dreams. Canada was much nearer to the United States,
geographically and socially, than even Mexico, although the latter is
a republic. England, in Europe, was nearer than Brazil. The day came
in 1898, when the United States could no longer remain in political
seclusion nor bury herself in an impossible federation. Washington's
advice against becoming involved in European affairs, as well as the
direct corrollary of the Monroe Doctrine, were to be laid aside and
the United States was to speak out to the world. The business of a
European nation had become our business; in the face of all the world
we resolved to invade her territory in the interest of humanity; to
face about upon our own traditions and dare the opinions and arms of
the trans-Atlantic world by openly launching upon the new policy of
armed intervention in another's quarrel.

While the troops were mobilizing at Tampa preparatory to embarking for
Cuba the question came up as to why there were no colored men in the
artillery arm of the service, and the answer given by a Regular Army
officer was, that the Negro had not brains enough for the management
of heavy guns. It was a trifling assertion, of course, but at this
period of the Negro's history it must not be allowed to pass
unnoticed. We know that white men of all races and nationalities can
serve big guns, and if the Negro cannot, it must be because of some
marked difference between him and them. The officer said it was a
difference in "brains," i.e., a mental difference. Just how the
problem of aiming and firing a big gun differs from that of aiming and
firing small arms is not so easily explained. In both, the questions
of velocity, gravitation, wind and resistance are to be considered and
these are largely settled by mechanism, the adjustment of which is
readily learned; hence the assumption that a Negro cannot learn it is
purely gratuitous. Several of the best rifle shots known on this
continent are Negroes; and it was a Negro who summerized the whole
philosophy of rifle shooting in the statement that it all consists in
knowing _where_ to aim, and _how_ to pull--in knowing just what value
to assign to gravitation, drift of the bullet and force of the wind,
and then in being able to pull the trigger of the piece without
disturbing the aim thus judiciously determined. This includes all
there is in the final science and art of firing a rifle. If the Negro
can thus master the revolver, the carbine and the rifle, why may he
not master the field piece or siege gun?

But an ounce of fact in such things is worth more than many volumes of
idle speculation, and it is remarkable that facts so recent, so
numerous, and so near at hand, should escape the notice of those who
question the Negro's ability to serve the artillery organizations.
Negro artillery, both light and heavy, fought in fifteen battles in
the Civil War with average effectiveness; and some of those who fought
against them must either admit the value of the Negro artilleryman or
acknowledge their own inefficiency. General Fitz-Hugh Lee failed to
capture a Negro battery after making most vigorous attempts to that
end. This attempt to raise a doubt as to the Negro's ability to serve
in the artillery arm is akin to, and less excusable, than that other
groundless assertion, that Negro officers cannot command troops, an
assertion which in this country amounts to saying that the United
States cannot command its army. Both of these assertions have been
emphatically answered in fact, the former as shown above, and the
latter as will be shown later in this volume. These assertions are
only temporary covers, behind which discomfitted and retreating
prejudice is able to make a brief stand, while the black hero of five
hundred battle-fields, marches proudly by, disdaining to lower his gun
to fire a shot on a foe so unworthy. When the Second Massachusetts
Volunteers sent up their hearty cheers of welcome to the gallant old
Twenty-fifth, as that solid column fresh from El Caney swung past its
camp, I remarked to Sergeant Harris, of the Twenty-fifth: "Those men
think you are soldiers." "They know we are soldiers," was his reply.
When the people of this country, like the members of that
Massachusetts regiment, come to know that its black men in uniform are
soldiers, plain soldiers, with the same interests and feelings as
other soldiers, of as much value to the government and entitled from
it to the same attention and rewards, then a great step toward the
solution of the prodigious problem now confronting us will have been

       *       *       *       *       *

     Note.--"I had often heard that the physique of the men of
     our regular army was very remarkable, but the first time I
     saw any large body of them, which was at Tampa, they
     surpassed my highest expectations. It is not, however, to be
     wondered at that, for every recruit who is accepted, on the
     average thirty-four are rejected, and that, of course, the
     men who present themselves to the recruiting officer already
     represent a physical 'elite'; but it was very pleasant to
     see and be assured, as I was at Tampa, by the evidences of
     my own eyes and the tape measure, that there is not a guard
     regiment of either the Russian, German or English army, of
     whose remarkable physique we have heard so much, that can
     compare physically, not with the best of our men, but simply
     with the average of the men of our regular army."--Bonsal.


[9] The army has been reorganized since. See Register.

[10] "My experience in this direction since the war is beyond that of
any officer of my rank in the army. For ten years I had the honor of
being lieutenant-colonel of the Ninth Cavalry, and during most of that
service I commanded garrisons composed in part of the Ninth Cavalry
and other organizations of cavalry and infantry. I have always found
the colored race represented in the army obedient, intelligent and
zealous in the discharge of duty, brave in battle, easily disciplined,
and most efficient in the care of their horses, arms and equipments.
The non-commissioned officers have habitually shown the qualities for
control in their position which marked them as faithful and sensible
in the discharge of their duties. I take pleasure in bearing witness
as above in the interest of the race you represent." WESLEY MERRITT.

[11] See chapter on Colored Officers.

[12] Young is now captain in the Ninth Cavalry.--T.G.S.

[13] The colored regulars were embarked on the following named ships:
The 9th Cavalry on the Miami, in company with the 6th Infantry; the
10th Cavalry on the Leona, in company with the 1st Cavalry; the 24th
Infantry on the City of Washington, in company with one battalion of
the 21st Infantry; the 25th infantry on board the Concho, in company
with the 4th Infantry.

[14] See Note, at the close of this chapter.



The following brief sketch of Spain, its era of greatness, the causes
leading thereto, and the reasons for its rapid decline, will be of
interest to the reader at this point in the narrative, as it will
bring into view the other side of the impending conflict:

Spain, the first in rank among the second-rate powers of Europe, by
reason of her possessions in the West Indies, especially Cuba, may be
regarded as quite a near neighbor, and because of her connection with
the discovery and settlement of the continent, as well as the
commanding part she at one time played in the world's politics, her
history cannot but awaken within the breasts of Americans a most
lively interest.

As a geographical and political fact, Spain dates from the earliest
times, and the Spanish people gather within themselves the blood and
the traditions of the three great continents of the Old World--Europe,
Asia and Africa--united to produce the mighty Spaniard of the 15th and
16th centuries. It would be an interesting subject for the
anthropologist to trace the construction of that people who are so
often spoken of as possessing the pure blood of Castile, and as the
facts should be brought to view, another proud fiction would dissipate
in thin air, as we should see the Spaniard arising to take his place
among the most mixed of mankind.

The Spain that we are considering now is the Spain that gradually
emerged from a chaos of conflicting elements into the unity of a
Christian nation. The dismal war between creeds gave way to the
greater conflict between religions, when Cross and Crescent contended
for supremacy, and this too had passed. The four stalwart Christian
provinces of Leon, Castile, Aragon and Navarre had become the four
pillars of support to a national throne and Ferdinand and Isabella
were reigning. Spain has now apparently passed the narrows and is
crossing the bar with prow set toward the open sea. She ends her war
with the Moors at the same time that England ends her wars of the
Roses, and the battle of Bosworth's field may be classed with the
capitulation of Granada. Both nations confront a future of about equal
promise and may be rated as on equal footing, as this new era of the
world opens to view.

What was this new era? Printing had been invented, commerce had
arisen, gunpowder had come into use, the feudal system was passing,
royal authority had become paramount, and Spain was giving to the
world its first lessons in what was early stigmatized as the "knavish
calling of diplomacy."

Now began the halcyon days of Spain, and what a breed of men she
produced! Read the story of their conquests in Mexico and Peru, as
told with so much skill and taste by our own Prescott; or read of the
grandeur of her national character, and the wonderful valor of her
troops, and the almost marvelous skill of her Alexander of Parma, and
her Spinola, as described by our great Motley, and you will see
something of the moral and national glory of that Spain which under
Charles V and Philip II awed the world into respectful silence.

Who but men of iron, under a commander of steel, could have conducted
to a successful issue the awful siege of Antwerp, and by a discipline
more dreadful than death, kept for so many years, armed control of the
country of the brave Netherlanders? A Farnese was there, who could
support and command an army, carry Philip and his puerile
idiosyncrasies upon his back and meet the fury of an outraged people
who were fighting on their own soil for all that man holds dear. Never
was wretched cause so ably led, never were such splendid talents so
unworthily employed.

Alexander of Parma, Cortez, the Pizarros, were representatives of that
form of human character that Spain especially developed. Skill and
daring were brought out in dazzling splendor, and success followed
their movements. Take a brief survey of the Empire under Charles V:
Himself Emperor of Germany; his son married to the Queen of England;
Turkey repulsed; France humbled, and all Europe practically within his
grasp. And what was Spain outside of Europe? In America she possessed
territory covering sixty degrees of latitude, owning Mexico, Central
America, Venezuela, New Granada, Peru and Chili, with vast parts of
North America, and the islands of Cuba, Jamaica and St. Domingo. In
Africa and Asia she had large possessions--in a word, the energies of
the world were at her feet. The silver and gold of America, the
manufactures and commerce of the Netherlands, combined to make her the
richest of nations.

The limits of the present purpose do not permit an exhaustive
presentation of her material strength in detail, nor are the means at
hand for making such an exhibit. We must be content with a general
picture, quoted directly from Motley. He says:

"Look at the broad magnificent Spanish Peninsula, stretching across
eight degrees of latitude and ten of longtitude, commanding the
Atlantic and the Mediterranean, with a genial climate, warmed in
winter by the vast furnace of Africa, and protected from the scorching
heats of summer by shady mountain and forest, and temperate breezes
from either ocean. A generous southern territory, flowing with oil and
wine, and all the richest gifts of a bountiful nature--splendid
cities--the new and daily expanding Madrid, rich in the trophies of
the most artistic period of the modern world; Cadiz, as populous at
that day as London, seated by the straits where the ancient and modern
systems of traffic were blending like the mingling of the two oceans;
Granada, the ancient, wealthy seat of the fallen Moors; Toledo,
Valladolid, and Lisbon, chief city of the recently conquered kingdom
of Portugal, counting with its suburbs a larger population than any
city excepting Paris, in Europe, the mother of distant colonies, and
the capital of the rapidly-developing traffic with both the
Indies--these were some of the treasures of Spain herself. But she
possessed Sicily also, the better portion of Italy, and important
dependencies in Africa, while the famous maritime discoveries of the
age had all enured to her aggrandizement. The world seemed suddenly to
have expanded its wings from East to West, only to bear the fortunate
Spanish Empire to the most dizzy heights of wealth and power. The most
accomplished generals, the most disciplined and daring infantry the
world has ever known, the best equipped and most extensive navy, royal
and mercantile, of the age, were at the absolute command of the
sovereign. Such was Spain."

Such is not Spain to-day. A quite recent writer, speaking of Spain
before the war, said, that although Spain in extent holds the sixth
place in the European states, "it really now subsists merely by the
sufferance of stronger nations." Thus has that nation, which three
centuries ago dominated the world, lost both its position and its

Without attempting to sketch chronologically, either this rise or this
decline, let us rather direct our efforts to an inquiry into the
causes of both the one and the other.

In attempting to explain the greatness of Spain we must give first
place to the vigor of the Spanish race. The great Spaniard was a
mighty compound. He had the blood of Rome mingled with the awful
torrent that gave birth to the soulless Goths and Vandals. In him also
flowed the hot blood of the Moors. He was both sturdy and fiery; he
had the fervor of the South with the tenacity of the North; the pride
of the Roman with the passion of the Moor. The Spanish race was
emphatically a rich race.

And then we must remember that this race had been forged in war.
Century after century, from the earliest times, they had lived with
their arms in their hands. First came the long war between the Arian
Vandals, and the Trinitarian natives; then the seven-hundred-year war
with the followers of Mahomed. The whole mission of life to them was
to fight.

Naturally there was developed in the people at large the most complete
unification and subjection. Individualism gave place almost entirely
to the common weal, and the spectacle was presented of a nation with
no political questions. Maccaulay maintains that human nature is such
that aggregations of men will always show the two principles of
radicalism and conservatism, and that two parties will exist in
consequence, one composed of those who are ever looking to a brighter
future, the other of those who are ever seeking to restore a
delightful past; but no such phenomena appear in the ascending period
of Spain's history. The whole nation moved as an organized army,
steadily forward, until its zenith was reached. This solidity was a
marked element of its strength.

Mr. Buckle recognizes this, and accounts for the harmonious movements
of the nation by the influence of two leading principles, which he is
pleased to call superstition and loyalty. The Arab invasion had
pressed upon the Christians with such force that it was only by the
strictest discipline that the latter had managed to survive. To secure
such discipline, and at the same time supply the people with the
steady enthusiasm necessary to support a war from century to century,
all the terrors and all the glories that could be derived from
religion were employed. The church and the state, the prince and the
priest, became as one, and loyalty and religion, devotion to the
standard and to the cross, were but different names for the same
principles and actions. Hence Spain emerged to greatness without the
least dream of liberty of either person, conscience or thought. Her
rallying cry was: For the Prince and the Church; not, For God and
Liberty. She went up to greatness the most loyal and the most
religious of nations; but Liberty, Justice and Truth were not upon her

Look over the territory settled and conquered by her, and what do we
see? Columbus, sailing under Spain, names the first land he discovers
San Salvador; the first settlement made in this country is St.
Augustine; the second, Sante Fe. Look down over the southern half of
our continent and such names as Espirito Santo, Corpus Christi, San
Diego, San Juan, San Jose, San Domingo attest the religious zeal of
the conquerors. They were missionaries of the Cross, robbing the
people of their gold and paying them off with religion.

Steadfast in the faith and sturdy in her loyalty, Spain resisted all
innovations with respect to her religious beliefs, and all
insurrections against her government. Her Alva and her Torquemada but
illustrated how strong was her conservatism, while her Isabella and
her Philip II show how grand and comprehensive and how persistent was
her aggressiveness, under the idea of spreading and upholding the true
faith. She not only meant to hold all she had of wealth and power, but
she aspired to universal dominion; already chief, she desired to be
sole, and this in the interest and name of the Holy Church.

The Reformation did not disturb Spain; it was crushed out within
twenty years. The spirit of liberty that had been growing in England
since Bosworth's Field, and that was manifesting itself in Germany and
the Netherlands, and that had begun to quiver even in France, did not
dare stir itself in Spain. Spain was united, or rather, was solidity
itself, and this solidity was both its strength and its death. England
was not so united, and England went steadily onward and upward; but
Spain's unity destroyed her, because it practically destroyed
individualism and presented the strange paradox of a strong nation of
weak men.

As a machine Spain in the sixteenth century was a marvel of power; as
an aggregation of thinking men, it was even then contemptible.
Ferdinand, Charles V and Philip II were able and illustrious rulers,
and they appeared at a time when their several characters could tell
on the immediate fortunes of Spain. They were warriors, and the nation
was entirely warlike. During this period the Spaniard overran the
earth, not that he might till the soil, but that he might rob the man
who did. With one hand he was raking in the gold and silver of Mexico
and Peru; with the other confiscating the profits of the trade and
manufactures of the Low Countries--and all in the name of the Great
God and Saints!

How was Spain overthrown? The answer is a short one. Spain, under
Philip II staked her all upon a religious war against the awakening
age. She met the Reformation within her own borders and extinguished
it; but thought had broken loose from its chains and was abroad in the
earth. England had turned Protestant, and Elizabeth was on the throne;
Denmark, Norway and Sweden, indeed all countries except Spain and
Italy had heard the echoes from Luther's trumpet blast. Italy
furnished the religion, and Spain the powder, in this unequal fight
between the Old and the New. Spain was not merely the representative
of the old, she WAS the old, and she armed her whole strength in its

Here was a religion separated from all moral principle and devoid of
all softening sentiment--its most appropriate formula being, death to
all heretics. Death--not to tyrants, not to oppressors, not to robbers
and men-stealers--but death to _heretics_. It was this that equipped
her Armada.

The people were too loyal and too pious to THINK, and so were hurled
in a solid mass against the armed thought of the coming age, and a
mighty nation crumbled as in a day. With the destruction of her Armada
her warlike ascendancy passed and she had nothing to put in its place.
She had not tillers of the soil, mechanics or skilled merchants.
Business was taking the place of war all over the world, but Spain
knew only religion and war, hence worsted in her only field, she was

From the days of Philip II her decline was rapid. Her territory
slipped from her as rapidly as it had been acquired. Her great domains
on our soil are now the seat of thriving communities of
English-speaking people. The whole continent of South America has
thrown off her yoke, though still retaining her language, and our
troops now embarked from Port Tampa are destined to wrest from her the
two only remaining colonies subject to her sway in the Western
World,--Cuba and Porto Rico. With all her losses hitherto, Spain has
not learned wisdom. Antagonistic to truth and liberty, she seems to
sit in the shadow of death, hugging the delusions that have betrayed
her, while all other people of earth are pressing onward toward light
and liberty.

The struggle in Cuba had been going on for years, and in that colony
of less than two millions of inhabitants, many of whom were Spaniards,
there was now an army four times as large as the standing army of the
United States. Against this army and against the Government of Spain a
revolt had been carried on previous to the present outbreak for a
period of ten years, and which had been settled by concessions on the
part of the home government. The present revolt was of two years'
standing when our government decided to interfere. The Cubans had
maintained disorder, if they had not carried on war; and they had
declined to be pacified. In their army they experienced no color
difficulties. Gomez, Maceo and Quintin Banderas were generals honored
and loved, Maceo especially coming to be the hero and idol of the
insurgents of all classes. And it can truthfully be said that no man
in either the Cuban or Spanish army, in all the Cuban struggle
previous to our intervention, has earned a loftier fame as patriot,
soldier and man of noble mould than ANTONIO MACEO.

Cuba, by far the most advanced of all the West Indian colonies; Cuba,
essentially Spanish, was destined to be the battle ground between our
troops and the veterans of Spain. The question to be settled was that
of Spain's sovereignty. Spain's right to rule over the colonies of
Cuba and Porto Rico was disputed by the United States, and this
question, and this alone, is to be settled by force of arms. Further
than this, the issue does not go. The dictum of America is: Spain
shall not rule. The questions of Annexation, Expansion and Imperialism
were not before us as we launched our forces to drive Spain out of the
West Indies. The Cuban flag was closely associated with our own
standard popularly, and "Cuba Libre" was a wide-spread sentiment in
June, 1898. "We are ready to help the Cubans gain their liberty" was
the honest expression of thousands who felt they were going forward in
a war for others.



     The Tenth Cavalry at Guasimas--The "Rescue of the Rough
     Riders"--Was There an Ambush?--Notes.

"The passage to Santiago was generally smooth and uneventful," says
General Shafter in his official report. But when the fact is called to
mind that the men had been on board a week before sailing, and were a
week more on the passage, and that "the conveniences on many of the
transports in the nature of sleeping accommodations, space for
exercise, closet accommodations, etc., were not all that could have
been desired," and that the opinion was general throughout the army
that the travel ration was faulty, it cannot be doubted that the trip
was a sore trial to the enlisted men at least. The monotonous days
passed in the harbor at Port Tampa, while waiting for orders to sail,
were unusually trying to the men. They were relieved somewhat by
bathing, swimming, gaming and chatting on the coming events. A soldier
who was in one of the colored regiments describes the inside life of
one of the transports as follows: "After some miles of railroad travel
and much hustling we were put on board the transport. I say _on
board_, but it is simply because we cannot use the terms _under
board_. We were huddled together below two other regiments and under
the water line, in the dirtiest, closest, most sickening place
imaginable. For about fifteen days we were on the water in this dirty
hole, but being soldiers we were compelled to accept this without a
murmur. We ate corn beef and canned tomatoes with our hard bread
until we were anything but half way pleased. In the fifth or sixth day
out to sea the water furnished us became muddy or dirty and well
flavored with salt, and remained so during the rest of the journey.
Then, the ship's cooks, knowing well our condition made it convenient
to themselves to sell us a glass of clean ice water and a small piece
of bread and tainted meat for the sum of seventy-five cents, or one
dollar, as the case might be."

A passage from Port Tampa, around the eastern end of Cuba, through the
Windward Passage, even in June, is ordinarily pleasant. On the deck of
a clean steamer, protected from the sun's rays by a friendly awning,
it may be put down as nearly an ideal pleasure trip; but crowded into
freight ships as these men were, many of them clad in thick and
uncomfortable clothing, reduced to the uninviting travel ration,
compelled to spend most of the time below decks, occupied with
thoughts of home and friends, and beset with forebodings of coming
events, it was very far from being to them a pastime. Of the thousands
who are going to Cuba to magnify the American flag, not all will
return. Occasionally the gay music of the bands would relieve the dull
routine and cause the spirits to rise under the effects of some
enlivening waltz or stirring patriotic air; or entering a school of
flying fish the men would be entertained to see these broad-finned
creatures dart from the waves like arrows from the bow, and after a
graceful flight of perhaps near two hundred yards drop again into the
sea; but taken altogether it was a voyage that furnishes little for
the historian.

The transports were so arranged as to present an interesting and
picturesque spectacle as they departed from our shores on their ocean
march. Forming in three columns, with a distance of about 1,000 yards
between the columns, and the vessels in the columns being distanced
from one another about 400 yards, the fleet was convoyed from Port
Tampa by small naval vessels until it reached a point between the Dry
Tortugas and Key West. Here it was met by the noble battleship Indiana
and nine other war vessels, thus making a convoy altogether of fifteen
fighting craft. Transports and convoy now made an armada of more than
forty ships, armed and manned by the audacious modern republic whose
flag waved from every masthead. Thus spreading out over miles of
smooth sea, moving quietly along by steam, carrying in its arms the
flower of the American army, every man of which was an athlete, this
fleet announced to the world the grim purpose of a nation aroused.

The weather from the time of leaving Port Tampa continued fine until
the fleet entered the passage between the western coast of Hayti and
the eastern end of Cuba, known as the Windward Passage, when the
breeze freshened and a rough sea began, continuing more or less up to
the time of landing. Rounding this eastern coast of Cuba the fleet
headed its course westerly and on the morning of the 20th was able to
determine its position as being off Guantanamo Bay, about fifty miles
east of Santiago. Here, eight days before, the first battle on Cuban
soil, in which four American marines were killed, had been fought.
About noon on the same day, the fleet came to a halt off Santiago
harbor, or a little to the west of the entrance to it, and Admiral
Sampson came on board. He and General Shafter soon after went ashore
to consult the Cuban General, Garcia, who was known to be in that
vicinity with about 4,000 well armed troops.

The voyage over, and the men having been crowded together on
shipboard for nearly two weeks, it was now expedient to get them on
shore as soon as possible. But it was necessary to find out beforehand
what defences were along the coast, and what forces of the enemy were
likely to be encountered in landing. The fleet lay off from the shore
about a mile, and it was no small undertaking to convey the 17,000 men
on board with all their arms and equipments to the shore in small
boats over a rough sea, especially should the landing be disputed. It
was to arrange for the landing and also to map out a general plan of
campaign that the three great leaders, Shafter, Sampson and Garcia met
at Aserradores on the afternoon of June 20th as the American fleet
stood guard over the harbor of Santiago.

General Garcia was already aware of the coming of the fleet, having
received a message from Major-General Miles two weeks previous. The
letter of General Miles ran as follows:

     Headquarters of the Army,
     In the Field, Tampa, Fla., June 2, 1898.

     Dear General:--I am very glad to have received your
     officers, General Enrique Collazo and Lieut.-Col. Carlos
     Hernandez, the latter of whom returns to-night with our best
     wishes for your success.

     It would be a very great assistance if you could have as
     large a force as possible in the vicinity of the harbor of
     Santiago de Cuba, and communicate any information by signals
     which Colonel Hernandez will explain to you either to our
     navy or to our army on its arrival, which we hope will be
     before many days.

     It would also assist us very much if you could drive in and
     harass any Spanish troops near or in Santiago de Cuba,
     threatening or attacking them at all points, and preventing,
     by every means, any possible re-enforcement coming to that
     garrison. While this is being done, and before the arrival
     of our army, if you can seize and hold any commanding
     position to the east or west of Santiago de Cuba, or both,
     that would be advantageous for the use of our artillery, it
     will be exceedingly gratifying to us."

To this General Garcia replied that he would "take measures at once to
carry out your (Miles') recommendation, but concentration of forces
will require some time. Roads bad and Cubans scattered. Will march
without delay." Admiral Sampson also cabled the Secretary of the Navy
that Garcia "regards his (Miles') wishes and suggestions as orders,
and immediately will take measures to concentrate forces at the points
indicated, but he is unable to do so as early as desired on account of
his expedition at Banes Port, Cuba, but will march without delay. All
of his subordinates are ordered to assist to disembark the United
States troops and to place themselves under orders." It was in
compliance with these requests that General Garcia had the five
thousand troops so near Santiago at the time he welcomed Shafter and
Sampson to his camp, as mentioned above, and there is every necessary
evidence that these Cuban troops took part in the fight about
Santiago. Says General Miles of Garcia: "He had troops in the rear as
well as on both sides of the garrison at Santiago before the arrival
of our troops."

It was agreed that the force of five hundred men under General
Castillo, posted near Daiquiri, should be increased to 1,000, and
should be prepared to make an attack upon the rear of the Spanish
garrison at Daiquiri on the morning of the 22nd, at which time the
debarkation would begin. General Rabi with about 500 men was also to
attack Cabanas at the same time, in the same manner, the transports
and war vessels so manoeuvring as to give the impression that a
landing was to be made at that place. While these attacks in the rear
were distracting the garrisons, the navy, by order of Admiral Sampson,
was to start up a vigorous bombardment of all the villages along the
coast, thus clearing the shore for the landing of the army. Thus did
the conference unite the hands of Americans and Cubans in the fight
against Spain on Cuban soil, and each was pledged to the other by the
expressions of good will. Having accomplished its work the important
conference closed, Admiral Sampson and General Shafter to return to
their ships, and General Garcia to carry out the part of the work
assigned to him, which he did with fidelity and success.[15]

According to orders published on the 20th, General Lawton's Division,
known as the Second Division, Fifth Army Corps, was to disembark
first. This Division contained the three following Brigades: The
First, General Ludlow's, composed of the Eighth and Twenty-second
Infantry (regulars) and the Second Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry;
the Second Brigade, General Miles', composed of the Fourth and
Twenty-fifth Infantry (regulars); the Third Brigade, General
Chaffee's, containing the Seventh, Twelfth and Seventeenth Infantry
(regulars). Next to follow was General Bates' Brigade, which was to
act as reserve to Lawton's Division. This Brigade consisted of the
Third and Twentieth Infantry (regulars) and one squadron of the Second
Cavalry, the only mounted troops in Shafter's army. The cavalry,
however, were not to disembark with the Brigade, but were to be the
last troops to leave the transports. After Bates' Brigade, was to
follow Wheeler's Dismounted Cavalry Division, containing the two
following Brigades: The First, composed of the Third, Sixth and Ninth
Cavalry (regulars); the Second, composed of the First and Tenth
Cavalry (regulars) and the First Volunteer Cavalry (Rough Riders). To
follow the Cavalry Division was to come the First Division, General
Kent's, containing the following troops: The First Brigade, General
Hawkins', consisting of the Sixth and Sixteenth Infantry (regulars)
and the Seventy-first New York Volunteer Infantry; the Second Brigade,
General Pearson's, consisting of the Second, Tenth and Twenty-first
Infantry (regulars); the Third Brigade, Colonel Wikoffs, made up of
the Ninth, Thirteenth and Twenty-fourth Infantry (regulars). Then,
lastly, was to depart the squadron of mounted cavalry.

Thus prepared, both on board the ships and on shore, the morning of
the 22nd dawned to witness the beginning of mighty operations. The war
vessels, drawn up in proper order, early began to hurl shot and shell
upon the towns, forts, blockhouses and clumps of trees that could be
discovered along the shore. The cannonading lasted between two and
three hours and was furious throughout. Meanwhile General Lawton's
Division began the work of going ashore. The sea was rough and the
passage to the shore was made in small boats furnished from the
transports and from the naval vessels, towed by steam launches
belonging to the navy. The larger of the boats were capable of
carrying ten or twelve men each, while the smaller ones could carry
but six or seven. During the passage to the shore several of the men
who had escaped thus far, were taken with seasickness, greatly to the
amusement of their more hardy companions. The landing was made at a
pier which had been used formerly as a railroad pier, but was now
abandoned and somewhat dilapidated. To get from the boats to the pier
in this rough sea was the most perilous part of the whole trip from
Tampa to Cuba. As the boats would rise on the waves almost level with
the landing place it was necessary to leap quickly from the boat to
the shore. In this way two cavalrymen of the Tenth lost their lives,
falling into the sea with their equipments on and sinking before help
could reach them. Some of the boats were rowed ashore and made a
landing on the beach some distance from the pier. By this method some
men of the Twenty-fifth tried to be the first to land, but failed,
that regiment landing, however, in the first body of troops to go
ashore, and being the second in order, in the invasion of the island.
By night of the 22nd more than one-third of the troops were on shore,
and by the evening of the 24th the whole army was disembarked
according to the program announced at the beginning, the squadron of
cavalry coming in at the close of the march to the shore.

The only national movement on our part deserving to be brought into
comparison with the expedition against the Spanish power in Cuba, is
that of fifty years earlier, when General Scott sailed at the head of
the army of invasion against Mexico. Some of the occurrences of that
expedition, especially connected with its landing, should be carefully
studied, and if the reports which have reached the public concerning
it are truthful, we would do well to consider how far the methods then
in use could be applied now. Scribner's recent history, published just
before the outbreak of the Spanish War, tells the story of that
expedition, so far as it tells it at all, in the following sentence:
"On the 7th of March, the fleet with Scott's army came to anchor a few
miles south of Vera Cruz, and two days later he landed his whole
force--nearly twelve thousand men--by means of surf-boats." A writer
in a recent number of _The Army and Navy Journal_ says General Worth's
Division of 4,500 men were landed in one hour, and the whole force was
landed in six hours, without accident or confusion. In the prosecution
of that unholy war, which lasted about a year, nearly three thousand
men were lost in battle and about as many more by disease, peace being
finally made by the cession of territory on the part of Mexico, the
United States paying in return much more than the territory was
worth. The twenty millions paid to Texas probably in great part went
into the coffers of the patriots who occupied that region, some of
whom had not been known as desirable citizens in the parts from which
they came, and had manifested their patriotism by leaving their
country for their country's good. The fifteen millions handed over to
Mexico looks like a contribution to a conscience fund, and an
atonement offered for an assault without provocation. The country
gained Arizona, New Mexico, California and finally Texas, but it lost
six thousand good men, the cost of the war, and all told, in
negotiations, about thirty million dollars, besides. However, it is
not always profitable to look up the harvests of war. There are always
two--the harvest of gain, and the harvest of loss. Death and debt are
reapers, as well as are honor and extent of territory.

The feelings of the six thousand American troops who landed on Cuban
soil on June 22nd, 1898, may well be imagined. Although they felt the
effects of the confinement to which they had been subjected while on
shipboard, there was very little sickness among them. Again possessed
of the free use of their limbs they swarmed the beach and open space
near the landing, making themselves at home, and confronting the
difficulties and perils that lay before them with a courage born of
national pride. Before them were the mountains with their almost
impassable roads, the jungles filled with poisonous plants and the
terrible prickly underbrush and pointed grass, in which skulked the
land crab and various reptiles whose bite or sting was dangerous;
twenty miles of this inhospitable country lay between them and
Santiago, their true objective. And somewhere on the road to that city
they knew they were destined to meet a well-trained foe, skilled in
all the arts of modern warfare, who would contest their advance. The
prospect, however, did not unnerve them, although they could well
conjecture that all who landed would not re-embark. Some in that six
thousand were destined never again to set foot on shipboard. Out of
the Twenty-fifth Infantry and the Tenth Cavalry men were to fall both
before Spanish bullets and disease ere these organizations should
assemble to return to their native shores. These thoughts did not
prevent the men from taking advantage of what nature had to offer

"We landed in rowboats, amid, and after the cessation of the
bombardment of the little hamlet and coast by the men-of-war and
battle-ships," writes a brave soldier of the Twenty-fifth Infantry,
and adds immediately: "We then helped ourselves to cocoanuts which we
found in abundance near the landing." Ordinarily this statement, so
trivial and apparently unimportant, would not merit repetition, but in
its connection here it is significant as showing the immediate
tendency of the men to resort to the fruits of the country, despite
all warnings to the contrary. The two weeks' experience on board the
transports had made the finding of cocoanuts an event to be noted, and
the dry pulp and strongly flavored milk of this tropical fruit became
extremely grateful to the palate, even if not altogether safe for the
stomach. If ripe, however, the cocoanut could scarcely be more
ungenial to many, than the raw, canned tomatoes upon which they had in
part subsisted during the voyage. It is to be added that this report
of the finding of the cocoanuts is not the report of an old soldier,
but of a young and intelligent, first enlistment man.

Lawton's Division soon after landing, was ordered to move forward in
the direction of Santiago, on the road leading past Siboney. A staff
officer, writing of that movement, says: "General Lawton, with his
Division, in obedience to this order, pushed forward from Daiquiri
about five miles, when night overtook him and he bivouacked on the
road." An old soldier of the Twenty-fifth, writing me from the
hospital in Tampa, Florida, July 22nd, says of the same event: "After
the regiment landed we marched about four and a half miles through the
mountains; then we made camp." The old soldier says nothing of
cocoanuts, but makes his statement with as much accuracy as possible,
and with no waste of words. The novice describing the same thing says:
"A short distance ahead (from the shore) we bivouacked for the night.
We were soon lying in dreamland, so far from friends and home, indeed,
on a distant, distant shore." These two extracts show at once the
difference between the soldier produced by years of trial and training
on our plains, and the soldier who but yesterday was a civilian. With
the one the march is a short distance; with the other it is about four
and a half miles; one reports that they "made camp," the other talks
of dreamland, friend, home and distant shore; one expresses his
feelings, the other shows control of feeling and reserve in

That first night on Cuban soil, the night following June 22nd, was one
without events, but one of great concern to the commanders on shore
and on the fleet. The work of disembarking had gone on successfully,
and already about six thousand men were on shore. Nearly the whole of
Lawton's Division, with Bates' independent brigade, were bivouacked,
as we have seen, about five miles from Daiquiri, exactly where the
railroad crosses the wagon road leading to Siboney. General Wheeler's
troops--one brigade--were encamped on the open ground near the
landing, the remainder of his division being still on the transports.
The Twenty-fifth Infantry was with Lawton; the Tenth Cavalry was
ashore with Wheeler's troops. A detachment of the Twenty-fifth was put
on outpost duty on that night of their landing, and five miles within
Cuban territory they tramped their solitary beats, establishing and
guarding the majestic authority of the United States.

Lawton's orders were to seize and hold the town of Siboney at which
place Kent's Division, containing the Twenty-fourth, was to land. It
was then intended that the whole army should advance as rapidly as
would be consistent with supplying the men with rations toward
Santiago. Siboney was to be the base of supplies, and from this point
ammunition and food were to be conveyed to the front by wagons and
pack trains. General Shafter also intended that Lawton with his
division should lead the advance upon Santiago, but circumstances
beyond his control brought about a different result. On the morning of
the 23rd Lawton's division was in motion early, and before half-past
ten o'clock he was able to report that the Spaniards had evacuated
Siboney and were in full retreat, pursued by a body of Cubans under
direction of General Castillo; that the town was in his hands, and he
had also captured one locomotive and nearly one hundred cars loaded
with coal.

General Young's brigade of General Wheeler's cavalry division, got on
shore on the afternoon of the 23rd and after landing received verbal
orders to move out with three days' rations "to a good camping place
between Juraguacito and Siboney, on the road leading to Santiago de
Cuba." In obedience to these orders, at 4.30 in the afternoon Young
with the Rough Riders and a squadron from each of the First and Tenth
Regular Cavalry moved from the bivouack near the landing and arrived
at Siboney at about 7 o'clock. When General Young arrived at Siboney
he had with him the Rough Riders, the other troops having been delayed
by the crowded condition of the trail and the difficulty of following
after nightfall. Although these troops are always spoken of as
cavalry, the reader must not forget that they were dismounted and in
marching and fighting were the same as infantry.

General Young on arriving at Siboney reported to General Wheeler, who
had preceded him to the same place. The statements of the several
commanders here appear somewhat conflicting, although not
inexplicable. General Lawton says: "Yesterday afternoon, late, General
Wheeler and staff arrived and established his headquarters within the
limits of my command. Saw him after dark. Late last night Colonel
Wood's regiment of dismounted cavalry (Rough Riders) passed through my
camp at Division Headquarters, and later General Young, with some of
the dismounted Cavalry, and early this morning others of the
dismounted cavalry." Wheeler says that "in obedience to instructions
from the Major-General Commanding," given to him in person, he
proceeded, on June 23rd, to Siboney, but does not say at what hour. He
says he "rode out to the front and found that the enemy had halted and
established themselves at a point about three miles from Siboney." He
then informs us that "at 8 o'clock on that evening of the 23rd General
Young reached Siboney with eight troops of Colonel Wood's regiment (A,
B, D, E, F, G, K and L), 500 strong; Troops A, B, G and K, of the
First Cavalry, in all 244, and Troops A, B, E and I, of the Tenth
Cavalry, in all 220 men, making a total force of 964 men, which
included nearly all of my command which had disembarked. These troops
had marched from Daiquiri, 11 miles. With the assistance of General
Castillo a rough map of the country was prepared and the position of
the enemy fully explained, and I determined to make an attack."
Lieutenant Miley says that the whole brigade of Wheeler's troops
arrived in Siboney about dark and were occupying the same ground as
General Lawton ("In Cuba With Shafter," p. 76.) General Young says
that after reporting to General Wheeler he "asked and obtained from
General Wheeler authority to make a reconnoisance in force" for the
purpose of obtaining "positive information * * * as to the position
and movements of the enemy in front."

The distance from Daiquiri to Siboney was but eleven miles, and as the
troops left the former place at 4.30 it is probable that they were all
bivouacked near Siboney before 9 o'clock, as they were all together,
according to General Wheeler's report, at 5.45 on the morning of the
24th. General Young having discovered that there were two roads or
trails leading from Siboney northward toward the town of Sevilla
determined to make his reconnoisance by both these trails. He directed
Colonel Wood to move by the western trail and to keep a careful
lookout and to attack any Spaniards he might encounter, being careful
to join his right in the event of an engagement, with the left of the
column advancing by the eastern trail. Colonel Wood's column was the
left column and was composed of the Rough Riders only. The column
marching by the eastern trail was composed of the First and Tenth
Cavalry (regulars) and was under the command of General Young. It was
the intention of General Young by this column to gain the enemy's
left, and thus attack in front and left. As early as 7.20 a.m. Captain
Mills discovered the enemy exactly as had been described by General
Castillo. When this was done word was sent to Colonel Wood, who was
making his way to the front over a more difficult route than the one
by which General Young's column had marched. A delay was therefore
made on the part of General Young in order that the attack should
begin on both flanks at the same time. During this delay General
Wheeler arrived and was informed of the plans and dispositions for the
attack, and after examining the position gave his approval of what
had been done, whereupon General Young ordered the attack. General
Wheeler in speaking of the same event says: "General Young and myself
examined the position of the enemy. The lines were deployed and I
directed him to open fire with the Hotchkiss gun. The enemy replied
and the firing immediately became general." There can be no question
as to the planning of this fight nor as to the direction of the
American force in the fight so far as any general direction was
possible. Colonel Wood directed one column and General Young another,
while the plan of the attack undoubtedly originated with General
Young. General Wheeler conveys as much when he says: "General Young
deserves special commendation for his cool deliberate and skillful
management." General Young, if only the commander of the right column
consisting of two squadrons of regular cavalry, had not as large a
command, nor as difficult and important a one as had Colonel Wood, and
hence is not deserving of special commendation except upon the general
ground that he had supervision over the whole battle. This position is
taken by General Shafter in his report, who though admitting the
presence of the Division Commander, credits the battle to General
Young, the commander of the brigade. The reconnoissance in force for
which Young had obtained authority from General Wheeler on the night
of the 23rd had developed into a battle, and the plan had evolved
itself from the facts discovered. This plan General Wheeler approved,
but in no such way as to take the credit from its originator; and it
is doubtless with reference both to the plan and the execution that he
bestows on General Young the mead of praise. This statement of fact
does not in the least detract from either the importance or the
praiseworthiness of the part played by Colonel Wood. Both he and the
officers and men commanded by him received both from General Young
and from the division commander the most generous praise. The advance
of Wood's column was made with great difficulty owing to the nature of
the ground, and according to General Young's belief, he was in the
rear when at 7.20 in the morning Captain Mills discovered the enemy,
and a Cuban guide was dispatched to warn Wood, and a delay made to
allow time for him to come up. Colonel Wood, on the other hand, claims
to have discovered the enemy at 7.10 and to have begun action almost
immediately, so that it turned out as Young had planned, and "the
attack of both wings was simultaneous." The Spaniards were posted on a
range of high hills in the form of a "V," the opening being toward
Siboney, from which direction the attack came.

From Colonel Wood's report it appears that soon after the firing began
he found it necessary to deploy five troops to the right, and left,
leaving three troops in reserve. The enemy's lines being still beyond
his, both on the right and on the left, he hastily deployed two more
troops, which made the lines now about equal in length. The firing was
now "exceedingly heavy," and much of it at short range, but on account
of the thick underbrush it was not very effective; "comparatively few
of our men were injured." Captain Capron at this time received his
mortal wound and the firing became so terrific that the last remaining
troop of the reserve was absorbed by the firing line, and the whole
regiment ordered to advance very slowly. The Spanish line yielded and
the advance soon showed that in falling back the enemy had taken a new
position, about three hundred yards in front of the advancing
regiment. Their lines extended from 800 to 1,000 yards, and the firing
from their front was "exceedingly heavy" and effective. A "good many
men" were wounded, "and several officers," says Colonel Wood's
report. Still the advance was kept up, and the Spanish line was
steadily forced back. "We now began," says Colonel Wood, "to get a
heavy fire from a ridge on our right, which enfiladed our line." The
reader can at once see that although the Rough Riders were advancing
heroically, they were now in a very serious situation, with an
exceedingly heavy and effective fire striking them in front, and a
heavy, enfilading fire raking them from the right. Their whole
strength was on the line, and these two fires must have reduced their
effectiveness with great rapidity had it kept up, the Spaniards having
their range and firing by well-directed volleys. It was for the
regiment a moment of the utmost peril. Had they been alone they must
have perished.

It was from this perilous situation of Colonel Wood's command that one
of the most popular stories of the war originated, a story that
contained some truth, but which was often told in such a way as to
cause irritation, and in some instances it was so exaggerated or
mutilated in the telling as to be simply ridiculous. On the day after
the battle the story was told in Lawton's camp according to the
testimony of an intelligent soldier of the Twenty-fifth Infantry. His
words are: "The next day about noon we heard that the Tenth Cavalry
had met the enemy and that the Tenth Cavalry had rescued the Rough
Riders. We congratulated ourselves that although not of the same
branch of service, we were of the same color, and that to the eye of
the enemy we, troopers and footmen, all looked alike." According to
artists and cheap newspaper stories this rescuing occurred again and
again. A picture is extensively advertized as "an actual and
authoritative presentation of this regiment (the Tenth Cavalry) as it
participated in that great struggle, and their heroic rescue of the
Rough Riders on that memorable _July_ day." This especial rescuing
took place on _San Juan Hill_. The editor of a religious paper
declares that it was the _Twenty-fifth Infantry_ that rescued the
Rough Riders and that it was done at _El Caney_![16]

Before we go any farther let us see just what the Tenth Cavalry did do
in this fight. That their action was highly meritorious admits of no
doubt, and the laurels they won were never allowed to fade during the
whole campaign. General Wheeler speaks of them with the First Cavalry.
He says: "I was immediately with the troops of the First and Tenth
Regular Cavalry, dismounted, and personally noticed their brave and
good conduct." There were four troops of the Tenth engaged, composing
the First Squadron of that regiment, under command of Major Norval.
Troop A was commanded by Captain W.H. Beck, who was specially
commended by General Wheeler for good conduct. Second Lieutenant F.R.
McCoy was Captain Beck's assistant. This troop moved over to the left,
receiving the fire of the enemy, but making no response, the distance
being too great for effective carbine firing. This troop reached
Colonel Wood's right and made the line continuous so that there was
now a force in front of that ridge where the Spaniards were securely
entrenched and from which they were pouring their enfilading fire upon
Colonel Wood's line. Troop A, although coming into the line, did not
fire. Their presence, however, gave the Rough Riders the assurance
that their flank was saved. Troop E was commanded by Captain C.G.
Ayres with Second Lieutenant George Vidmar. This troop was placed by
General Young in support of Captain Watson's two Hotchkiss guns, and
also of the troops in their front. The troop was under fire one hour
and a quarter, during which they were in plain view of the Spaniards,
who also had their exact range. One man was killed and one wounded.
Their courage, coolness and discipline in this trying hour and a
quarter were of the very highest order. The troop commander says:
"Their coolness and fine discipline were superb." This troop did not
fire a shot. Thus one-half of the squadron moved to its positions and
held them without being able to do any damage to the enemy, as they
were carrying out to the letter their instructions, which were to fire
only when they could see the enemy. Troop B was commanded by Captain
J.W. Watson with H.O. Willard as Second Lieutenant. A detachment of
this troop was placed in charge of four Hotchkiss mountain guns. This
detachment opened fire upon the enemy, using the ammunition sparingly,
as they had but fifty rounds with them. Twenty-two shots were fired,
apparently with effect. The remainder of the troop under Lieutenant
Williard was ordered to move out to the extreme right, which would
place it beyond the line of the First Cavalry, thus bringing that
regiment between Troop A of the Tenth, which connected it with the
Rough Riders and Troop B, which was to be on its extreme right.
Lieutenant Williard's report of this movement is as follows:

     "I ordered the troop forward at once, telling them to take
     advantage of all cover available. In the meantime the
     volleys from the Spanish were coming in quite frequently and
     striking the ground on all sides near where we were. I found
     it very difficult to move the men forward after having found
     cover, and ran back to a portion of the troop near an old
     brick wall, and ordered them forward at once. They then made
     a dash forward, and in doing so three or four men were
     wounded, Private Russell severely. Who the others were I do
     not know. We encountered a severe fire directly after this
     move forward; and Private Wheeler was wounded in the left
     leg. There was a wire fence on our right, and such thick
     underbrush that we were unable to get through right there,
     so had to follow along the fence for some distance before
     being able to penetrate. Finally, was able to get the
     greater proportion of my men through, and about this time I
     met Lieutenants Fleming and Miller, Tenth Cavalry, moving
     through the thicket at my left. I there heard the order
     passed on 'not to fire ahead,' as there was danger of firing
     into our own forces. In the meantime there was shouting from
     the First Cavalry in our front, 'Don't fire on us in rear.'
     My troop had not fired a shot to my knowledge, nor the
     knowledge of any non-commissioned officers in the troop.
     About this time I found I was unable to keep the troop
     deployed, as they would huddle up behind one rock or tree,
     so I gave all sergeants orders to move out on the extreme
     right and to keep in touch with those on their left. Then,
     with a squad of about five men, I moved to the right front,
     and was unfortunate enough to lose the troop, i.e., I could
     see nothing of them except the men with me.

     "But as I had given explicit instructions to my sergeant, in
     case I was lost from them, to continue to advance until
     halted by some one in authority, I moved ahead myself,
     hoping to find them later on. In making a rush forward three
     men of my squad were lost from me in some way. I still had
     two men with me, Privates Combs and Jackson, and in the next
     advance made I picked up a First Cavalry sergeant who had
     fallen out from exhaustion. After a terrific climb up the
     ridge in front of me, and a very regular though ineffective
     fire from the enemy kept up until we were about sixty yards
     from the summit of hill, we reached the advance line of the
     First United States Cavalry, under command of Captain
     Wainwright. I then reported to him for orders, and moved
     forward when he next advanced. The firing had ceased, and no
     more shots were fired, to my knowledge, after this time.
     With the First Cavalry, Troop G, we followed along the right
     of the ridge and came down to the right front, encountering
     no opposition or fire from the enemy, but finding the
     enemy's breastworks in confusion, ammunition and articles of
     clothing scattered around; also one dead Spaniard and two
     Mauser rifles. At the foot of the ridge we met some of the
     First Volunteer Cavalry, and being utterly exhausted, I was
     obliged to lie down. Soon after, Captain Mills,
     adjutant-general of Second Brigade, Cavalry Division, came
     up to where I was and placed me in command of Troop K, First
     United States Cavalry, whose officers were wounded. I then
     marched them forward on the road to where General Wheeler
     was sitting, and received orders from Colonel Wood, First
     Volunteer Cavalry, to remain until further orders and make
     no further advance. Directly afterwards, learning the action
     was over, I reported back to General Young, and received
     orders to remain camped with the First Cavalry Squadron,
     where the action had closed. In the meantime, I should have
     stated that I found the principal part of my troop and
     collected them and left them under the first sergeant, when
     I went back to receive orders. So far as I know, and to the
     best of my knowledge, the men of my troop acted with the
     greatest bravery, advancing on an enemy who could not be
     seen, and subjected to a severe and heavy fire at each step,
     which was only rendered ineffective to a great degree by the
     poor marksmanship of the enemy, as many times we were in
     sight of them (I discovered this by observation after the
     engagement) while we could see nothing. We were also
     subjected to a severe reverse fire from the hills in our
     right rear, several men being wounded by this fire.
     Throughout the fight the men acted with exceptional
     coolness, in my judgment. The casualties were: Privates
     Russell, Braxton and Morris, severely wounded; Privates F.A.
     Miller, Grice, Wheeler and Gaines, slightly wounded, i.e.,
     less severely. None killed.

     Very respectfully,

     June 24, 1898.
     Troop B, Tenth Cavalry, during action near La Guasima,
     Second Lieutenant, Tenth United States Cavalry, Commanding.

Troop I of the Tenth Cavalry was commanded by First Lieutenant R.J.
Fleming with Second Lieutenant A.M. Miller. This troop moved to the
right and wedged in between B Troop and the right of the First
Cavalry. Lieutenant Fleming discovered the enemy posted on the high
ridge immediately in front of his troop, and also extending to his
right, in front of B Troop. Moving his troop a little to the right so
as to secure room to advance without coming in contact with the First
Cavalry, he then directed his course straight toward the hill on which
he had located the enemy. The advance was made with great caution, the
men seeking cover wherever possible, and dashing across the open
spaces at full run. Thus they moved until the base of the steep part
of the hill was reached. This was found very difficult of ascent, not
only because of the rugged steepness, but also on account of the
underbrush, and the sharp-leaved grass, the cacti and Spanish bayonet,
that grow on all these hillsides. Paths had to be cut through these
prickly obstructions with knives and sabres. Consequently the advance
up that hill, though free from peril, was very slow and trying. Twice
during the advance the men obtained a view of their enemies and were
permitted to fire. The instructions were rigidly adhered to: No firing
only at the visible foe. Lieutenant Fleming says: "Owing to the
underbrush it was impossible for me to see but a very few men at a
time, but as they all arrived on the crest about the time I did, or
shortly after, they certainly advanced steadily." He says: "The entire
troop behaved with great coolness and obeyed every order." Farrier
Sherman Harris, Wagoner John Boland and Private Elsie Jones especially
distinguished themselves for coolness and gallantry. The aggressive
work of the Tenth Cavalry, therefore, appears to have been done by
Troops B and I, a detachment of the former troop serving the Hotchkiss
gun battery. Troop I was commanded by Lieutenant Fleming and by him
conducted to the front, although he admits that in their advance up
the slope of the hill he could see but very few of the men at a time,
and declares that their advance was certainly steady, because all
arrived at the crest of the hill simultaneously or nearly so.

Lieutenant Fleming does not show that his troop of excellent men were
in any sense _peculiarly_ dependent upon their white officers as some
have asserted. They advanced steadily, just as the regulars always do,
advanced noiselessly and without any reckless firing, and reached the
crest of the hill in order, although he could not see them as they
were making their advance. They kept their line despite all the
obstructions. Lieutenant Fleming also says that in moving to his
position he passed Troop B, which then "inclined to the right, and
during the remainder of the action was on my right." Troop B,
therefore, went through about the same experience as Troop I, and
being on the extreme right of the line may have been more directly in
front of that foe which Fleming says was in his front and to the
right. Why did not the officer who directed or led B Troop in its
advance upon the enemy report the action of his troop as vividly and
generously as did Lieutenant Fleming the men of Troop I? With not the
slightest reflection upon the gallant officer, he himself has the
manliness to say he was so unfortunate as to lose the troop. The
troop, however, did not become demoralized, but went into action under
command of its First Sergeant, _John Buck,[17] and remained on
Lieutenant Fleming's right during the action_. It has been proven more
than once that should the commissioned officers of a company or troop
of colored regulars be killed or incapacitated, the non-commissioned
officers can carry on the fight. Speaking of this same regiment it is
equally true that at San Juan the officers of Troops D and G were all
shot and the commands of these troops fell to their First Sergeants,
the first to Sergeant William H. Given, the second to Sergeant Saint
Foster, and it is generally understood that these two men were
appointed Lieutenants of Volunteers because of their success in
handling their troops in battle.

The entire attacking force at this end of the line, if we count only
those engaged in actual firing, consisted of two troops of the Tenth
Cavalry and two of the First Cavalry--four troops--while to the left
the entire eight troops were on the firing line. The action of the
troops of the First Cavalry was quite similar to that of the troops of
the Tenth Cavalry, and equally deserving of commendation. Of them all
General Young says:

     "The ground over which the right column advanced was a mass
     of jungle growth, with wire fences, not to be seen until
     encountered, and precipitous heights as the ridge was
     approached. It was impossible for the troops to keep in
     touch along the front, and they could only judge of the
     enemy from the sound and direction of his fire. However, had
     it not been for this dense jungle, the attack would not have
     been made against an overwhelming force in such a position.
     Headway was so difficult that advance and support became
     merged and moved forward under a continuous volley firing,
     supplemented by that of two rapid-fire guns. Return firing
     by my force was only made as here and there a small clear
     spot gave a sight of the enemy. The fire discipline of these
     particular troops was almost perfect. The ammunition
     expended by the two squadrons engaged in an incessant
     advance for one hour and fifteen minutes averaged less than
     ten rounds per man. The fine quality of these troops is also
     shown by the fact that there was not a single straggler, and
     in not one instance was an attempt made by any soldier to
     fall out in the advance to assist the wounded or carry back
     the dead. The fighting on the left flank was equally
     creditable and was remarkable, and I believe unprecedented,
     in volunter troops so quickly raised, armed and equipped."

The five hundred men of Colonel Wood's regiment were stretched over a
space of 800 to 1,000 yards, and were entirely without support or
reserve, and appear to have advanced to a point where this very strong
force on the right swept a good part of their line both with rifle
fire and the fire of their two machine guns. Men and officers were
falling under both the front and flank fire of the enemy, and had not
the squadrons of the First and Tenth made their successful assault
upon that ridge, which, according to General Wood's report, was "very
strongly held," the situation of the Rough Riders would have been
extreme. Because this successful assault was participated in by the
Tenth Cavalry the story arose that the Rough Riders were rescued by
that regiment. The fair statement would be: That the Regular Cavalry,
consisting of a squadron of the First and a squadron of the Tenth,
made their advance on the right at the precise moment to deliver the
Rough Riders from a fire that threatened their annihilation. The
marksmanship and coolness of the men of the Tenth have been specially
commented upon and their fire was described as very effective, but the
same remarks could be made of the men of the First, who fought side by
side with them. It is probable that the volunteers advanced more
rapidly than did the regulars, using more ammunition, and manifesting
a very high degree of courage and enthusiasm as well as deliberation;
but the regulars reached their objective at the proper time to turn
the battle's tide. Each advancing column was worthy to be companion to
the other.

General Wheeler said the fire was very hot for about an hour, and "at
8.30 sent a courier to General Lawton informing him that he was
engaged with a larger force of the enemy than was anticipated, and
asked that his force be sent forward on the Sevilla road as quickly as
possible." ("In Cuba With Shafter," p. 83.) General Lawton, however,
with the true instinct of a soldier had already sent orders to General
Chaffee to move forward with the First Brigade. The Second Brigade was
also in readiness to move and the men of the Twenty-fifth were
expecting to go forward to take a position on the right and if
possible a little to the rear of the Spanish entrenchments in order to
cut off their retreat. The rapid movements of the cavalry division,
however, rendered this unnecessary, and the routing of the foe gave to
the Americans an open country and cleared the field for the advance on
Santiago. The first battle had been fought, and the Americans had been
victorious, but not without cost. Sixteen men had been killed and
fifty-two wounded. In Colonel Wood's regiment eight had been killed
and thirty-four wounded; in the First Cavalry, seven killed and eight
wounded; in the Tenth Cavalry, one killed and ten wounded. The
percentage of losses to the whole strength of the several
organizations engaged was as follows: Rough Riders, over 8 per cent.;
First Cavalry, over 6 per cent.; Tenth Cavalry, 5 per cent. But if we
take those on the firing line as the base the rate per cent. of losses
among the regulars would be doubled, while that of the volunteers
would remain the same.

The strength of the enemy in this battle is given in the Spanish
official reports, according to Lieutenant Miley, at about five
hundred, and their losses are put at nine killed and twenty-seven
wounded. At the time of the fight it was supposed to be much larger.
General Young's report places the estimates at 2,000, and adds "that
it has since been learned from Spanish sources to have been 2,500. The
Cuban military authorities claim the Spanish strength was 4,000."
These figures are doubtless too high. The force overtaken at Las
Guasimas was the same force that evacuated Siboney at the approach of
Lawton and the force with which the Cubans had fought on the morning
of the 23rd. It may have consisted solely of the garrison from
Siboney, although it is more probable that it included also those from
Daiquiri and Jutici, as it is quite certain that all these troops
proceeded toward Santiago over the same road. The force at Siboney had
been given by the Cubans at 600, at Daiquiri at 300, and at Jutici at
150. If these had concentrated and the figures were correct, the
Spanish force at Guasimas was upwards of 1,000. If, however, it was
the force from Siboney alone, it was about as the Spanish official
report gives it. On this latter basis, however, the losses are out of
proportion, for while the attacking party lost a little less than 7
per cent. of its entire strength in killed and wounded, the losses of
the entrenched, defending party, were even a little greater, or over 7
per cent. of its strength. It is, therefore, probable that the Spanish
force was greater than officially reported and included the troops
from the other posts as well as those from Siboney. The engagement was
classed by General Shafter as unimportant, although its effect upon
our army was inspiring. It did not cut off the retreat of the Spanish
force, and the men who faced our army at Guasimas met them again in
the trenches before Santiago. General Shafter desired to advance with
his whole force, and cautioned strongly against any further forward
movement until the troops were well in hand. The two battles between
the Cubans and Spaniards, fought on the 23rd, in which the Cubans had
sixteen men wounded and two killed, were engagements of some
consequence, although we have no reports of them. There is no evidence
that the Cubans took part in the battle of Guasimas, although they
arrived on the grounds immediately after the firing ceased.

The story thus far told is, as the reader cannot fail to see,
directly from official records, and the conclusions arrived at are
those which result naturally from the facts as therein detailed. Not
one word is quoted from any but military men--actors in the affair. We
may now go briefly over the same ground, giving the views and
conclusions of able civilian correspondents who followed the army to
see what was done, and who were trained observers and skilled writers.
How have these able war journalists told the story of Las Guasimas?

To quote from Stephen Bonsal in substance, not in words, is to
contradict what General Shafter says officially in one particular, but
in no such way as to discredit the General, or to weaken Bonsal. It is
not a case of bringing two universal, antagonistic propositions face
to face, but a case where two men of different training look upon an
action from different standpoints and through different field-glasses.
General Shafter says of the collision of the Rough Riders with the
Spanish force: "There was no ambush as reported." As a military man,
he says there was no more concealment on the part of the Spanish force
than what an attacking party should expect, no more than what is usual
in modern warfare, hence he does not regard it as an ambush, and does
not officially take notice of any surprise or unexpected encounter on
the part of his force. To do so would be to reflect, however slightly,
upon the professional skill of the commander of the left column.
General Shafter thus says officially in a manly way: "There was no
ambush." Beyond this his duty does not call him to go, and he halts
his expressions exactly at this line, maintaining in his attitude all
the attributes of the true soldier, placing himself beyond criticism
by thus securing from attack the character of his subordinate.

Mr. Bonsal is a writer and author, accustomed to view actions in the
broader light of popular judgment, entirely free from professional
bias, and having no class-feeling or obligations to serve. His pen is
not official; his statements are not from the military standpoint; not
influenced in any way by considerations of personal weal or woe with
respect to others or himself. He says that one troop of the Rough
Riders, Troop L, commanded by Captain Capron, was leading the advance
of the regiment, and was in solid formation and within twenty-five
yards of its scouting line when it received the enemy's fire. This
troop was so far in the advance that it took the other troops of the
regiment more than a half hour to get up to it. The writer speaks of
the advance of that troop as having been made "in the fool-hardy
formation of a solid column along a narrow trail, which brought them,
in the way I have described, within point-blank range of the Spanish
rifles, and within the unobstructed sweep of their machine guns." He
sums up as follows: "And if it is to be ambushed when you receive the
enemy's fire perhaps a quarter of an hour before it was expected, and
when the troop was in a formation, and the only one in which, in view
of the nature of the ground it was possible to advance quickly, then
most certainly L Troop of the Rough Riders was ambushed by the
Spaniards on the morning of June 24th."

Mr. Bonsal also brings into clear view the part taken in this battle
by Lawton's Infantry. He shows by means of a simple map the trail by
which Miles' brigade, in which was the Twenty-fifth Infantry, moved in
order to flank the Spanish position, while Chaffee's brigade was
hurrying forward on the Royal Road to reinforce the line in front. A
letter from a soldier of the Twenty-fifth written soon after these
events fully confirms Mr. Bonsal in what he says concerning the
movement of Miles' brigade. The soldier says: "On the morning of the
24th the Rough Riders, Tenth and First Cavalry were to make an attack
on a little place where the Spanish were fortified. The Second Brigade
was to come on the right flank of these troops and a little in rear of
the fortifications; but by some misunderstanding, the former troops,
led by the Rough Riders, made an attack before we got our position,
and the result was a great many lives lost in the First Cavalry and
Rough Riders--only one in Tenth Cavalry, but many wounded. They
captured the fortification." This letter by a humble soldier, written
with no thought of its importance, shows how gallantly Lawton had
sprung to the rescue of Wheeler's division. According to Bonsal, who
says he obtained his information from Spanish officers who were
present in this fight, it was the information of the approach of this
brigade and of Chaffee's up the main road that caused the Spaniards to
withdraw rapidly from the position. The whole force was in imminent
danger of being captured. Another soldier of the Twenty-fifth wrote:
"The report came that the Twenty-fifth Infantry was to cut off the
Spanish retreat from a stronghold, toward Santiago." These glimpses
from soldiers' letters illustrate how clearly they comprehended the
work upon which they were sent, and show also how hearty and cordial
was the support which the infantry at that time was hurrying forward
to the advancing cavalry.

The official reports show that the strength of the Spanish position
was before the right of our line. Mr. Bonsal says: "Directly in front
of the Tenth Cavalry rose undoubtedly the strongest point in the
Spanish position--two lines of shallow trenches, strengthened by heavy
stone parapets." We must remember that so far as we can get the
disposition of these troops from official records, Troop A connected
the Rough Riders with the First Cavalry, and Troops I and B were on
the right of the First Cavalry. Troop A did not fire a shot; the
fighting, therefore, was done by Troops I and B on the extreme right
of the line, and it was on their front that "undoubtedly the strongest
point in the Spanish position" lay--nor should the reader forget that
at this very important moment Troop B was commanded by its First
Sergeant, Buck, Lieutenant Williard having by his own report been
"unfortunate enough to lose the troop." This is said with no
disparagement to Lieutenant Williard. It was merely one of the
accidents of battle.

Says Mr. Bonsal: "The moment the advance was ordered the black
troopers of the Tenth Cavalry forged ahead. They were no braver
certainly than any other men in the line, but their better training
enabled them to render more valuable services than the other troops
engaged. They had with them and ready for action their machine guns,
and shoved them right up to the front on the firing line, from where
they poured very effective fire into the Spanish trenches, which not
only did considerable execution, but was particularly effective in
keeping down the return fire of the Spaniards. The machine guns of the
Rough Riders were mislaid, or the mules upon which they had been
loaded could not be found at this juncture. It was said they had
bolted. It is certain, however, that the guns were not brought into
action, and consequently the Spaniards suffered less, and the Rough
Riders more, in the gallant charge they made up the hill in front of
them, after the Tenth Cavalry had advanced and driven the Spaniards
from their position on the right."

Corporal W.F. Johnson, B Troop, was the non-commissioned officer in
charge of the machine guns during the brief fight at Las Guasimas, and
his action was such as to call forth from the troop commander special
mention "for his efficiency and perfect coolness under fire." Here I
may be pardoned for calling attention to a notion too prevalent
concerning the Negro soldier in time of battle. He is too often
represented as going into action singing like a zany or yelling like a
demon, rather than as a man calculating the chances for life and
victory. The official reports from the Black Regulars in Cuba ought to
correct this notion. Every troop and company commander, who has
reported upon colored soldiers in that war, speaks of the coolness of
the men of his command. Captain Beck, of Troop A, Tenth Cavalry, in
the Guasimas fight, says: "I will add that the enlisted men of Troop
A, Tenth Cavalry, behaved well, silently and alertly obeying orders,
and without becoming excited when the fire of the enemy reached them."
The yell, in the charge of the regulars, is a part of the action, and
is no more peculiar to Negro troops than to the whites, only as they
may differ in the general timbre of voice. Black American soldiers
when not on duty may sing more than white troops, but in quite a long
experience among them I have not found the difference so very
noticeable. In all garrisons one will find some men more musically
inclined than others; some who love to sing and some who do not; some
who have voices adapted to the production of musical tones, and some
who have not, and it is doubtless owing to these constitutional
differences that we find differences in habits and expressions.

Lieutenant Miley, of General Shafter's staff, in his description of
the departure of General Shatter from General Garcia's tent, gives us
a glimpse of the character of the men that composed the Cuban army in
that vicinity.

     "While the interview was going on, the troops were being
     assembled to do honor to the General on his departure.
     Several companies were drawn up in front of the tent to
     present arms as he came out, and a regiment escorted him to
     the beach down the winding path, which was now lined on both
     sides by Cuban soldiers standing about a yard apart and
     presenting arms. The scene made a strong impression on all
     in the party, there seemed to be such an earnestness and
     fixedness of purpose displayed that all felt these soldiers
     to be a power. About fifty per cent. were blacks, and the
     rest mulattoes, with a small number of whites. They were
     very poorly clad, many without shirts or shoes, but every
     man had his gun and a belt full of ammunition."



     "... The platoon which escaped this ditch got on the right
     of the 1st Cavalry on the firing line, and pushed steadily
     forward under First Sergeant Buck, being then in two
     squads--one under Sergeant Thompson. On account of the
     nature of the ground and other natural obstacles, there were
     men not connected with any squads, but who advanced with the

     Both squads fired by volley and at will, at the command of
     the sergeants named; and their shots reached the enemy and
     were effective, as it is generally believed.

     Private W.M. Bunn, of Sergeant Thompson's squad, is reported
     to have shot a sharpshooter from a tree just in front of the
     enemy's work. Private Wheeler was shot twice in the advance.
     Sergeant Thompson's squad was once stopped from firing by
     General Wheeler's adjutant-general for fear of hitting the
     Rough Riders.

     It seems that two distinct battles were fought that day.
     Colonel Wood's command struck the enemy at about the tame
     time, or probably a Little before, ours did, and all unknown
     to the men in our ranks; and got themselves into a pretty
     tight squeeze. About the same time our force engaged the
     enemy and drew part of the attention they were giving the
     Rough Riders. This, the latter claimed, enabled them to
     continue the movement on the enemy's works.

     But as our command had an equal number of 1st and 10th
     Cavalrymen, I am of the opinion that the story of our saving
     the Rough Riders arose from the fact that as soon as the
     fight was over, the 1st Regular Cavalry was opening its arms
     to us, declaring that we, especially B Troop, had saved
     them; for the 1st Regular Cavalry was first in the attack in
     General Young's command; and when the enemy began to make it
     pretty warm, he ordered B and I Troops of the 10th forward
     on the right. Troop B was in the lead; and the alacrity
     with which these two troops moved to the front has always
     been praised by the 1st Cavalry; and they declare that that
     movement helped them wonderfully. In making this movement my
     troop had three or four men wounded; and later, when
     Sergeant Thompson's squad was fighting far to the front, it
     had in it several members of the 1st Cavalry, who are always
     glad to praise him.

     So, I think that by the Rough Riders first attributing their
     success, or their rescue from inevitable defeat, to the
     attack made by our command; and by the 1st Regular Cavalry's
     very generously, in the heat of success, bestowing upon us
     the honors of the day, it finally became a settled thing
     that we saved the whole battle.

     That evening, after the battle, I was met by Lieutenant
     Shipp, later killed at San Juan Hill, who, on inquiring and
     being told that I belonged to Troop B, congratulated me on
     its conduct, and said it had made a name for the regiment.
     Lieutenant Shipp was not in that fight, but had come up
     after it was over and had heard of us through the 1st


     Sergeant John Buck was born September 10th, 1861, at Chapel
     Hill, Texas; enlisted in 10th Cavalry, November 6, 1880, and
     passed over ten years in active Indian service. He is a man
     of strong character, an experienced horseman and packer, and
     so commanded a portion of the firing line in the battle of
     June 24 as to elicit remarks of praise from officers of
     other troops "for his gallantry, coolness and good judgment
     under fire." Sergeant Thompson's good conduct in the same
     battle was noticeable also. Sergeant Buck was made second
     lieutenant in the 7th U.S. Volunteer Infantry and
     subsequently captain in the 48th United States Volunteers.


[15] See Note A at the end of this chapter.


American valor never shone with greater luster than when the
Twenty-fifth Infantry swept up the sizzling hill of El-Caney to the
rescue of the rough riders. Two other regiments came into view of the
rough riders. But the bullets were flying like driving hail; the enemy
were in trees and ambushes with smokeless powder, and the rough riders
were biting the dust and were threatened with annihilation.

A rough rider described the feelings of his brigade when they saw the
other regiments appear and retreat. Finally this rough rider, a
Southerner, heard a well-known yell. And out of the distance moved a
regiment as if on dress parade, faces set like steel, keeping step
like a machine, their comrades falling here, there, everywhere, moving
into the storm of invisible death without one faltering step, passing
the rough riders, conquering up the hill, and never stopping until
with the rough riders El-Caney was won. This was the Twenty-fifth
Regiment (colored), United States Infantry, now quartered at Fort
Logan, Denver. We have asked the chaplain, T.G. Steward, to recite the
events at El-Caney. His modesty confines him to the barest recital of
"semi-official" records. But the charge of the Twenty-fifth is
deserving of comparison with that of "the Light Brigade" in the
Crimean War, or of Custer at the massacre of the Big Horn.

(Editorial in religious paper.)

[17] See Note C at the end of this chapter.



     The Capture of the Stone Fort by the Twenty-fifth Infantry.

While the battle of Guasimas was going on, in which the Tenth Cavalry
took so conspicuous a part, the Twenty-fourth Infantry still remained
on board the City of Washington awaiting orders to land. During the
night of the 24th such orders were received by the authorities of the
transport, and they were directed to land their troops, but the
General Commanding, Brigadier-General Kent, did not hear of the matter
until some time the next morning. He relates the following
circumstances in his official report of the debarkation:

"At 9 a.m. of the 25th Lieutenant Cardin, of the Revenue Marine, came
aboard with orders for me to proceed to and disembark at Altares
(Siboney). This officer also handed me a letter from the corps
commander expressing his astonishment that I had remained away three

General Kent also states in his report that his travel rations had
been exhausted seven days before and that but one meal of field
rations remained, and that the ship's supply both of water and
provisions was running low, and that in consequence of these facts as
well as for higher considerations he was very anxious to get on shore.
The debarkation followed as rapidly as possible, and that afternoon
General Kent reported in person to Major-General Wheeler, the troops
bivouacking for the night near the landing. The next day Colonel
Pearson, who commanded the Second Brigade of Kent's division, took
the Second Infantry and reconnoitred along the railroad toward the
Morro, going a distance of about six miles and returning in the
evening, having found no enemy in that vicinity, although evidences
were found that a force had recently retreated from a blockhouse
situated on the railroad about two miles from Aguadores.

On the day following, June 27th, the entire division moved out on the
road toward Santiago and encamped on the same ground that Lawton had
occupied the night previous. The Second Brigade took its place near
Savilla, while the Third Brigade, which included the Twenty-fourth
Infantry, went into camp at Las Guasimas, where the affair of the 24th
had occurred. The order of march had now partially fallen back to the
original plan: Lawton in advance, with whom was the Twenty-Fifth
Infantry; Wheeler next, with whom was the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry, and
Kent in the rear, who had, as we have just related, the Twenty-fourth
Infantry in his Third Brigade. In this order the army moved, so far as
it moved at all, until the morning of the 30th, when dispositions for
the general attack began.

The story of the great battle, or as it turned out, of the two great
battles, begins on this day, and the careers of the four colored
regiments are to be followed through the divisions of Lawton, Kent and
Wheeler. Let us begin, however, with General Shafter's official report
and his "Story of Santiago," as told in the "Century" of February,

From these sources it is learned that on June 30th General Shafter
reconnoitered the country about Santiago and determined upon a plan of
attack. Ascending a hill from which he could obtain a good view of the
city, and could also see San Juan Hill and the country about El Caney,
he observed afresh what had impressed itself upon all immediately
upon landing, to wit: That in all this country there were no good
roads along which to move troops or transport supplies. The General
says: "I had never seen a good road in a Spanish country, and Santiago
did not disappoint my expectations." The roads as he saw them from the
summit of the hill on June 30th were very poor, and indeed, little
better than bridle paths, except between El Caney and San Juan River
and the city. Within this region, a distance of from four to four and
a half miles, the roads were passable. El Caney lay about four miles
northeast of Santiago, and was strongly fortified, and, as events
proved, strongly garrisoned. This position was of great importance to
the enemy, because from it a force might come to attack the right
flank and rear of the American Army as it should make its attempt on
San Juan Hill. El Caney held the road from Guantanamo, at which point
an important Spanish force was posted. While General Shafter was
surveying the country from the hill at El Pozo and making what special
examination he could of the country toward San Juan Hills, Generals
Lawton and Chaffee were making a reconnoisance around El Caney. From
General Lawton's report it would appear that the work of
reconnoitering around El Caney was done chiefly by General Chaffee. He
says: "To General Adna R. Chaffee I am indebted for a thorough and
intelligent reconnoissance of the town of El Caney and vicinity prior
to the battle and the submission of a plan of attack which was
adopted. I consider General Chaffee one of the best practical soldiers
in the army and recommend him for special distinction for successfully
charging the stone fort mentioned in this report, the capture of which
practically closed the battle."

The general plan of attack as explained by General Shafter himself in
his "Century" article was "to put a brigade on the road between
Santiago and El Caney, to keep the Spaniards at the latter place from
retreating on the city, and then with the rest of Lawton's division
and the divisions of Wheeler and Kent, and Bates' brigade to attack
the Spanish position in front of Santiago." Before that he had said
that he wished to put a division in on the right of El Caney and
assault the town on that road. To Admiral Sampson on June 26th he
said: "I shall, if I can, put a large force in Caney, and one perhaps
still farther west, near the pipe-line conveying water to the city,
making my main attack from the northeast and east." His desire at this
time was to "get the enemy in my front and the city at my back." On
June 30th he had modified this plan so as to decide to place one
brigade on the road between El Caney and Santiago, with a view merely
to keeping the El Caney garrison from retreating into Santiago.

As he was explaining his plan to the division officers and others on
the afternoon of the 30th at his own headquarters, Lawton and Chaffee
were of the opinion that they could dispose of the Spaniards at El
Caney in two hours time. "Therefore," says the General, "I modified my
plan, assigning Lawton's whole division for the attack of El Caney and
directed Bates' independent brigade to his support." This last
modification of General Shafter's plan was made in deference to the
opinion of subordinates, and was based upon observations made
especially by General Chaffee.

The force assigned for the reduction of El Caney was to begin its work
early in the morning, and by ten or eleven o'clock at the outside it
was expected that the task would be accomplished and Lawton would join
Kent and Sumner in the assault upon San Juan. Early on the morning of
July 1st Capron's battery was got into position on a line running
directly north from Marianage on a hill about five hundred yards east
of Las Guasimas Creek. Lawton's division began its move on the
afternoon of the 30th, as did in fact the whole army, and bivouacked
that night near El Pozo. The Twenty-fifth Infantry, which belonged to
the Second Brigade, commanded by Colonel Miles, a former Major of the
Twenty-fifth, left El Pozo at daylight by way of the road leading
almost due north, and marched about one mile to the little town of
Marianage. Here a halt was made for an hour, from 6.30 to 7.30, during
which time reconnoitering parties were sent out to examine the ground
toward the Ducoureau House, which lay about one mile to the northward
of Marianage, and which had been designated by General Lawton as a
general rendezvous after the engagement should terminate.
Reconnoissance was made also to the front for the purpose of
discovering the enemy, and to ascertain the left of Ludlow's brigade.
This was the first brigade of Lawton's division and consisted of the
Eighth and Twenty-second Infantry and the Second Massachusetts, the
last named regiment being on the right. The Second Brigade was to
connect with this on its right and succeeded in finding the position
of the Second Massachusetts during this halt. At 11.30 Miles' brigade
was ordered to take position on the right of Ludlow's brigade, which
it did in the following order: The Fourth Infantry on the left,
joining with the Second Massachusetts on Ludlow's right; the
Twenty-fifth on the right, with its left joining on the Fourth

We must now review the progress of the battle so far as it is possible
to do so, from the firing of the first shot by Capron's battery up to
11.30, an hour long after the time at which it had been supposed that
El Caney would fall. Capron's reports are very brief. He says: "July
1--Fired shell and shrappnel into El Caney (ranged 2,400) 6.15 a.m. to
11.30 a.m." In another report he says: "Opened fire July 1, with shell
and shrappnel at 6.15 on Caney; range, 2,400 yards; continued until
11.30 a.m." He says that the battery "continued its fire against
specified objectives intermittently throughout the day under the
personal direction of the division commander." The forces we have so
far considered, consisting of Ludlow's and Miles' brigades, and of
Capron's battery, lay to the south of Caney, between it and Santiago,
Ludlow's brigade having been placed there to "cut off the retreat of
the garrison should it attempt to escape." Up to 11.30 there had been
no call for employing it for that purpose. The garrison had made no
attempt to escape. We must now go around to the east and north of
Caney. Here the Third Brigade, consisting of the Seventh, Twelfth and
Seventeenth Infantry, was posted, and early in the morning joined in
the attack, the brigade getting under fire before eight o'clock.
Colonel Carpenter, of the Seventh Regiment, says that one company of
his regiment, by General Chaffee's direction, was detached and sent
forward to reduce a blockhouse, well up on the hill, which commanded
the approach of his regiment to the field of action. After several
ineffectual attempts by the company, the Captain (Van Orsdale) was
directed to abandon the undertaking and rejoin the regiment, which
then took up a position on the crest of a hill running nearly parallel
with the Spanish lines. From this position the men crawled forward
about fifty yards and opened a deliberate fire upon the enemy, keeping
it up for about an hour, but as the losses of the regiment at this
time were considerable and the fire seemed to be without material
effect, the command was withdrawn to its position on the hill where
it found protection in a sunken road. In this condition this regiment
lay when Capron's battery made its lull at 11.30. The fearful fire
this regiment met can be estimated by the losses it sustained, which
during the day were as follows: Killed, 1 officer and 33 enlisted men;
wounded, 4 officers and 95 enlisted men; missing, 3 enlisted men. The
Seventeenth Regiment went into action on the right of the Seventh,
doing but little firing, as their orders were not to open fire unless
they could make the fire effective. Companies C and G fired a few
volleys; the remainder of the regiment did not fire at all. Four
enlisted men were killed and two officers severely wounded, one,
Lieutenant Dickinson, dying from his wounds within a few hours.
Several enlisted men were also wounded. At 11.30 this regiment was
lying on the right of the Seventh. The Twelfth Regiment began firing
between 6 and 7 in the morning and advanced to take its position on
the left of the Seventh Infantry. This regiment early reached a
position within 350 yards of the enemy, in which it found shelter in
the sunken road, "free from the enemy's fire." The regiment remained
in this position until about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and, hence,
was there at 11.30 a.m. The losses of this regiment during the day
were, killed, 7 enlisted men; wounded, 2 officers and 31 enlisted men.
From these brief sketches the reader will now be able to grasp the
position of Lawton's entire division. Beginning on the south, from the
west, with Ludlow's brigade, consisting of the Twenty-second, Eighth
and Second Massachusetts, the line was continued by Miles' brigade of
the Fourth and Twenty-fifth Infantry; then passing over a considerable
space, we strike Chaffee's brigade, posted as has just been described.
General Bates' brigade probably arrived upon the field about noon.
This brigade consisted of the Third and Twentieth Infantry, and is
known as "Bates' Independent Brigade." The brigade is reported as
going into action about 1 o'clock and continuing in action until 4
o'clock. It took a position on the right, partially filling up the gap
between Miles and Chaffee. The first battalion of the Twentieth
Infantry went into action on the left of the Twenty-fifth Infantry's
firing line, and one company, A, took part in the latter part of the
charge by which the stone house was taken. Between 11.30, when
Capron's firing stopped, and when Miles' brigade was moved forward to
join the right of Ludlow's, and 12.20, when the battery recommenced,
the troops, including Bates' brigade, were either in the positions
described above or were moving to them. Noon had arrived and El Caney
is not taken; the garrison has not attempted to escape, but is sending
out upon its assailants a continuous and deadly fire. "Throughout the
heaviest din of our fire," says Colonel Carpenter, "could be heard the
peculiar high-keyed ring of the defiant enemy's shots."

Twelve o'clock on July 1st, 1898, was a most anxious hour for our army
in Cuba. The battle at El Caney was at a standstill and the divisions
of Kent and Sumner were in a most perilous situation. Bonsal's
description of the state of the battle at that time is pathetic.
Speaking of the artillery at El Caney--Capron's battery--he says it
was now apparent that this artillery, firing from its position of
twenty-four hundred yards, could do very little damage to the great
stone fort and earthworks north of the village. The shots were too few
and the metal used too light to be effectual. Three hours of the
morning had worn away and the advance of our men had been slowly made
and at great cost; all the approaches were commanded by Spanish
entrenchments and the fighting was very unequal. A soldier of the
Twenty-fifth says that when he came in sight of the battle at El
Caney, "the Americans were gaining no ground, and the flashes of the
Spanish mausers told us that the forces engaged were unequally
matched, the difference of position favoring the Spaniards." This view
was had about noon, or soon after. At that time "a succession of aides
and staff officers came galloping from headquarters with messages
which plainly showed that confusion, if not disaster, had befallen the
two divisions which, by the heavy firing, we had learned to our great
surprise, had become warmly engaged in the centre. The orders to
General Lawton from headquarters were at first peremptory in
character--he was to pull out of his fight and to move his division to
the support of the centre" (Bonsal). This call for Lawton arose from
the fact that about noon General Shafter received several dispatches
from Sumner, of the Cavalry Division, requiring assistance. General
Sumner felt the need of the assistance of every available man in the
centre of the line where he was carrying on his fight with the
Spaniards on Blue House Hill. This situation so impressed the General,
Shafter, that he finally wrote to Lawton, "You must proceed with the
remainder of your force and join on immediately upon Sumner's right.
If you do not the battle is lost." Shafter's idea then was to fall
back to his original plan of just leaving enough troops at El Caney to
prevent the garrison from going to the assistance of any other part of
the line. Shafter himself says: "As the fight progressed I was
impressed with the fact that we were meeting with a very stubborn
resistance at El Caney and I began to fear that I had made a mistake
in making two fights in one day, and sent Major Noble with orders to
Lawton to hasten with his troops along the Caney road, placing himself
on the right of Wheeler" (Sumner). Lawton now made a general advance,
and it is important to see just what troops did advance. The Seventh
Infantry did not move, for Lieutenant-Colonel Carpenter says that
after withdrawing "to the partial cover furnished by the road, the
regiment occupied this position from 8 o'clock a.m. until about 4.30
p.m." The Seventeenth did not move, for Captain O'Brien, commanding,
says the regiment took a position joining "its left with the right of
the Seventh Infantry" and that the regiment "remained in this position
until the battle was over." The Twelfth Infantry remained in its
shelter within 350 yards of the stone fort until about 4 p.m. Then we
have Chaffee's brigade on the north of the fort remaining stationary
and by their own reports doing but little firing. The Seventeenth
fired "for about fifty minutes" about noon, with remarkable precision,
but "it seemingly had no effect upon reducing the Spanish fire
delivered in our (their) front." The Seventh did not fire to any
extent. The Twelfth Infantry lay in its refuge "free from the enemy's
fire" and may have kept up an irregular fire.

About this time Bates' brigade entered the field and one battalion of
the Twentieth Infantry is reported to have joined the left of the
firing line of the Twenty-fifth. General Ludlow says there was a lull
from 12 to 1 p.m., "when the action again became violent, and at 3
p.m. the Third Brigade captured the stone fort with a rush and hoisted
the American flag." From Ludlow's brigade, Captain Van Horne,
commanding the Twenty-second Infantry, after the wounding of
Lieutenant-Colonel Patterson, says that the First Battalion of his
regiment took a position about 800 yards from the town and kept up
firing until the place surrendered. He does not say positively that
the firing was upon the town, but he had said just before that the
Second Battalion slowly moved forward, firing into the town from the
left, so that we may readily conclude from the context as well as from
the position that the First Battalion fired into the town also. Hence
it seems fair to exclude from the fort all of Ludlow's brigade, and it
is observable that Ludlow himself claims no part in the capture of
that stronghold.

General Bates says his brigade took position to the right of Colonel
Miles' brigade and pushed rapidly to the front. He then says that
after remaining sometime in the crossroad to the right of Miles'
brigade, under a heavy fire from the enemy, the brigade moved farther
"to the right to the assault of a small hill, occupied upon the top by
a stone fort and well protected by rifle pits. General Chaffee's
brigade charged them from the right, and the two brigades joining upon
the crest, opened fire from this point of vantage, lately occupied by
the Spanish, upon the village of El Caney." General Chaffee says it
was in consequence of the fire of General Bates' troops upon the fort
that the assault by the Twelfth Infantry was postponed.

In General Chaffee's report this statement occurs: "The action lasted
nearly throughout the day, terminating at about 4.30 p.m., at which
time the stone blockhouse was assaulted by Captain Haskell's battalion
of the Twelfth Infantry, under the personal direction of
Lieutenant-Colonel Comba, commanding the regiment. The resistance at
this point had been greatly affected by the fire of Capron's battery.
A few moments after the seizure of this point--the key to the
situation--my left was joined by General Bates with a portion of his
command." It is to be noted in connection with all of the above
statements that Major McCaskey, who commanded the Twentieth Infantry
(Bates brigade), says: "The First Battalion was moved to the right and
put into action on the left of the Twenty-fifth Infantry's firing
line, and one company, A, took part in the latter part of the charge
by which the stone house was taken." The two points to be noted here
are (1) that this battalion was on the left of the Twenty-fifth's
firing line, and (2) that one company took part in the charge upon the
stone house. When Chaffee's brigade charged the stone house from the
right some of Bates' troops, at least this Company A, from the
battalion near the firing line of the Twenty-fifth Infantry, took part
in the latter part of the charge. The two brigades, Bates' and
Chaffee's, joined immediately after the capture of the stone fort and
opened fire upon the town.

We have now traced the actions and the fortunes of the three following
brigades: Ludlow's Chaffee's and Bates'. But what has become of Miles'
brigade? Unfortunately, the Second Brigade has not been so well
reported as were the others engaged in the action at El Caney. We have
seen that it was ordered to take position on the right of Ludlow's
brigade at 11.30, when Capron's battery ceased its firing for the
fifty minutes. "We were detained in reaching our position by troops in
our front blocking the road," says the brigade commander. "We came
into action directly in front of the stone blockhouse at 12.30, and
from that hour until about 4.30, when the command 'cease firing' was
given, the blockhouse having been captured, my command was
continuously under fire." The reader will note in this report that the
brigade went into action at 12.30, several hours before the charge was
ordered by General Chaffee, and at least an hour and a half before,
according to the report of the commander of the Third Brigade, "this
fort was practically in the possession of the Twelfth Infantry." Major
Baker, who commanded the Fourth Infantry, says: "About 12 m. we
received orders directing us to take our place in the line of battle,
and arriving at the proper point the regiment was placed in line in
the following order: The First Battalion in the fighting line; the
Second Battalion in support and regimental reserve. In this order the
First Battalion, under my command, took up the advance toward the
blockhouse, to our right, south east of Caney." This battalion
advanced until it reached a position about 200 yards from the village,
where it remained, assisted by the Second Battalion until the capture
of the fort. Two companies of this First Battalion "fired into the
town and also into the blockhouse until its fall." A good part of the
fire of this regiment was directed upon the fort.

Colonel Miles says: "The brigade advanced steadily, with such scanty
cover as the ground afforded, maintaining a heavy fire on the stone
fort from the time the fight began until it ended." The reader is
asked to note particularly that this fire was continuous throughout
the fight; that it was characterized by the brigade commander as
"heavy," and that it was "on the stone fort". He says: "As the brigade
advanced across a plowed field in front of the enemy's position the
latter's sharpshooters in the houses in Caney enfiladed the left of
our line with a murderous fire. To silence it Major Baker, Fourth
Infantry, in command of the battalion of that regiment on the left of
our line of battle, directed it to turn its fire upon the town. In so
doing this battalion lost heavily, but its steady front and accurate
volleys greatly assisted the advance of the remainder of the brigade
upon the stone fort."

We have now these facts clearly brought out or suggested: That the
brigade took its place in line of battle soon after 12 o'clock; that
the Fourth Infantry was on the left; that the advance of the First
Battalion of the Fourth Infantry was "toward the blockhouse;" that
aside from the companies of the Fourth Infantry that fired into town,
"the remainder of the brigade advanced upon the stone fort." The
Fourth Infantry, holding the left of the line, however, reached a
position from which it could not advance, its commander having
"quickly perceived that an advance meant annihilation, as it would
involve not only a frontal, but also a flank fire from the town." Here
the Fourth Infantry remained, but continued to maintain a fire upon
both the blockhouse and the town.

There is but one more regiment in all of Lawton's division to be
accounted for, and that is the Twenty-fifth Infantry, holding the
right of Miles' brigade in this advance. This regiment was in place
in the line under its gallant and experienced commander,
Lieutenant-Colonel A.S. Daggett, and contributed its full share of
that "heavy fire on the stone fort from the time the fight began until
it ended." Major McCaskey says the First Battalion of his regiment
took a position on the left of the Twenty-fifth's firing line. The
statement seems erroneous, and one is inclined to believe that it was
originally written "on the right," instead of "on the left"; but it is
enough for our purpose now, that the firing line of the Twenty-fifth
is recognized well in advance. Major Baker, who commanded on the left
of the brigade line, and whose advance was stopped by the flank fire
from the village and a frontal fire from the fort, says: "as a matter
of fact the village of El Caney was not charged by any troops. Those
of Bates' brigade and the Twenty-fifth Infantry, after having carried
the stone fort (on a hill some 75 feet higher, and to the east of the
town,) fired into the village, and the Fourth Infantry continued its
fire. Nor was it charged by any of the troops to our left. Such a
charge would necessarily have been seen by us." Major Baker, who was
on the field and had the blockhouse in clear view, declares that some
of Bates' brigade and the Twenty-fifth Infantry carried the stone
fort. Major McCaskey says that one battalion of the Twentieth Infantry
(Bates' brigade) was on the left of the Twenty-fifth's firing line,
and that one company (A) took part in the latter part of the charge by
which the fort was taken. This battalion may be referred to by Major
Baker when he says: "Those of Bates' brigade and the Twenty-fifth
Infantry, after having carried, etc."

As there are some matters of dispute concerning the events which I am
now going to relate, I will present a soldier's statement before I go
to the official records. The soldier in writing to me after the battle
says: "I was left-guide of Company G (25th Infantry), and I received
orders from Lieutenant McCorkle to guide on Fourth Infantry, which
held the left flank. 'Forward, march! Guide left. Don't fire until you
see somebody; then fire to hit!' came the orders. Tramp! tramp! Crash!
crash! On we walked and stopped. We fired into the underbrush for
safety; then in another moment we were under Spanish fire. Balls flew
like bees, humming as they went. Soon we found ourselves up against a
network of Spanish trickery. Barbed-wire fences, ditches and creeks,
too numerous to think of. The only thing left was to go ahead or die;
or else retreat like cowards. We preferred to go ahead. At this first
fence Lieutenant McCorkle was taken to earth by a Spanish bullet.
Lieutenant Moss spoke out, 'Come ahead! Let's get at these Spaniards!'
A few moments more and he, too, was almost dead with exertion, loud
speaking, running and jumping, as onward we swept toward the Spanish
stronghold. The sun was exceedingly hot, as on the slope of a little
mound we rested for a few moments. We lay here about five minutes,
looking into the Spanish fort or blockhouse; we measured the distance
by our eyesight, then with our rifles; we began to cheer and storm,
and in a moment more, up the hill like a bevy of blue birds did the
Twenty-fifth fly. G and H Companies were the first to reach the summit
and to make the Spaniards fly into the city of El Caney, which lay
just behind the hill. When we reached the summit others soon began to
_mount our ladder_. We fired down into the city until nearly dusk."

The brigade made its advance under fire almost from the beginning. The
commander says it was continuously under fire from 12.30 to 4.30 p.m.
"The attack was begun by two companies in each regiment on the firing
line, strengthened by supports and reserves from the remaining
companies until the brigade had but two companies in reserve. At one
time in this hotly engaged contest the commanding officer of the
Twenty-Fifth Infantry sent me word that he needed troops on his right.
I then sent forward 40 Cubans, under command of Captains Jose' Varges
and Avelens Bravo, with Lieutenants Nicholas Franco and Tomas Repelao,
to form on the right of the Twenty-fifth, which was also the right of
the brigade. With these Cubans I ordered Private Henry Downey, Company
H, First Infantry, on duty as interpreter at the headquarters. These
men advanced on the stone fort with our line, fighting gallantly,
during which Lieutenant Nicholas Franco was mortally wounded and died
soon afterwards." (Col. Miles' report.)

From the soldier's story, as well as from the official report of the
brigade commander, it is conclusive that the real objective of the
Second Brigade was the stone fort, and that the Twenty-fifth Infantry,
which occupied the right of the line, had no other objective
whatever.* [Transcriber's Note: No footnote text present for this
footnote anchor.] It also appears that Bates' brigade, although
somewhere on the right, was not so near but that the commanding
officer of the Twenty-fifth could see the need of troops at his right;
and to meet this need the brigade commander "sent forward 40 Cubans,
who advanced on the stone fort with our lines." The fire from this
fort continued severe during the whole of the advance, and until the
last halt made by the Twenty-fifth. At the first fence met by the
Twenty-fifth Lieutenant McCorkle was killed; and, to use the words of
a soldier, "as the regiment swept toward the Spanish stronghold" to
reach the slope of a little mound for cover, many more fell. Behind
this little mound, after resting about five minutes, they began their
last fire upon the enemy. This must have been as late as 3 o'clock,
and perhaps considerably later, and the fire from the stone fort was
vigorous up until their last halt, as their casualties prove. The
battery had begun to fire on the fort again at 12.30 and continued
from the same position until 2.10, the range being as has been already
stated, 2,400 yards. Hence the artillery firing at long range had
ceased, and it is generally conceded that this long range firing had
been ineffective. Captain Capron says he moved his battery at 2.10
p.m. to 1,000 yards from Caney and opened fire on two blockhouses. He
does not say at what hour he opened fire on these two blockhouses, or
how long he continued to fire, or what was the effect of his fire upon
the two block houses. Lieutenant-Colonel Bisbee, who was acting as
support of Capron's battery, says of himself that he "moved with the
battery at 3.30 p.m. by the Dubroix (Ducureaux) road." General Lawton
says the battery was moved to a new position about 2.30, "about 1,000
yards from certain blockhouses in the town, where a few shots, all
taking effect, were fired." From these reports it would appear that
after moving to the second station the battery fired upon two
blockhouses in the town, and not upon the stone fort. General Ludlow,
speaking of the battle, says: "In the present case, the artillery fire
was too distant to reduce the blockhouses or destroy the
entrenchments, so that the attack was practically by infantry alone."
On the other hand, General Chaffee says: "The resistance at this
point," meaning the stone fort at the time of assault, "had been
greatly affected by the fire of Capron's battery." Colonel Comba, of
the Twelfth Infantry, says: "The artillery made the breach through
which our men entered the stone work." Bonsal says that Captain
Capron, "under the concentrated fire of his four guns at a point blank
range of a thousand yards, had converted the fort into a shapeless
ruin," when the infantry charged it.

It is probable that in this case, as in most cases of similar nature,
the truth divides equally between the apparently opposing views. Of
General Ludlow, who is the authority for this statement, that the
stone fort at El Caney was taken by infantry alone, General Lawton
says: "General Ludlow's professional accomplishments are well known
and his assignment to command a brigade in my division I consider a
high compliment to myself." "The fighting was all done with small
arms" were the words written me by an infantryman soon after the
battle. The question, whether Capron fired upon the stone fort after
taking his new position, or fired on two blockhouses, entirely
distinct from the fort, remains undetermined. The author of this work
inclines to the conclusion that the fire of Capron after moving to his
new position was directed for a brief period, at least, upon the stone

Inasmuch as we are now to trace the career of the Twenty-fifth
Infantry through an unfortunate dispute, on both sides of which are
officers of high rank and unimpeachable honor, it is important to
note, first, to what extent the several statements, both unofficial
and official, can be harmonized and made to corroborate one another.
Major Baker says: "Those of Bates' brigade and the Twenty-fifth
Infantry, after having carried the stone fort," which he explains was
some 75 feet higher than the town, then fired _down_ into the village.
The soldier who acted as left-guide of Company G, Twenty-fifth
Infantry, says, after getting up on the hill, "we fired _down_ into
the city until near dusk." The experience of the soldier agrees
exactly with the report of the officer. The fact that the Twenty-fifth
went up the hill cannot be questioned, and that up to their last halt,
they went under fire, no one will deny. Bonsal, in speaking of
Chaffee's brigade, which was "more immediately charged with the
reduction of Caney" (Ludlow's report), says: "And it was nearly five
o'clock when his most advanced regiment, the gallant Twelfth Infantry,
deployed into the valley and charged up the steep hillside, which was
lined with Spanish trenches, rising in irregular tiers and crowned
with a great stone fort." The stone fort at this time, however, was,
as he says, "a shapeless ruin." Where was the Twenty-fifth Infantry at
this time? Mr. Bonsal continues: "Almost at the same moment the
Twenty-fifth Colored Infantry, the leading regiment of Miles' brigade,
which had been advancing in the centre, started up the hill also."
General Lawton says that after moving the battery to its new position,
1,000 yards from certain blockhouses in the town, Capron fired a few
shots, all of which took effect, and he adds: "This firing terminated
the action, as the Spanish garrison were attempting to escape."
Colonel Comba says there was a breach in the stonework large enough
for his men to enter, and that this had been made by the artillery;
General Chaffee says resistance had been greatly affected by the
artillery, and Bonsal adds, the garrison resisted the last advance
made by the infantry but for a moment.

General Chaffee declares: "The troops arriving at the fort were there
in the following order: Twelfth Infantry, which took the place; the
command of General Bates some moments later; the Twenty-fifth

The facts therefore stand, that the Twenty-fifth Infantry was on the
ground with the first troops that reached the fort and that there was
a captain of that regiment who then and there claimed the capture of
the place, even against the claims of a Major-General. He was told
that his proposition was absurd, and so it may have been from one
standpoint; and yet there may be a ground upon which the captain's
claim was fair and just.

That the Twelfth Infantry arrived on the ground first is not disputed;
but it is questioned whether the fort was belligerent at that time.
General Chaffee says the resistance had been greatly reduced by the
artillery; General Lawton says the action had been finished by
Capron's shots and the garrison was trying to escape; a soldier from
the Twenty-fifth says the Spaniards flew out of the fort to the town;
Bonsal says, they stoutly resisted "for a moment and then fled
precipitately down the ravine and up the other side, and into the
town." If first occupancy is the only ground upon which the capture of
a place can be claimed, then the title to the honor of capturing the
stone fort lies, according to official report as so far presented,
with the Twelfth Infantry. But even upon this ground it will be shown
that the Twenty-fifth's action will relieve the claim of its captain
from absurdity. We are now prepared to read the official report of the
commanding officer of the Twenty-fifth Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel
Daggett, who was with the regiment all through the fight, and who bore
himself so well that the division commander said: "Lieutenant-Colonel
Daggett deserves special mention for skillful handling of his
regiment, and would have received it before had the fact been reported
by his brigade commander."

     July 5, 1898.

     Intrenchments Twenty-fifth United States Infantry,
     Adjutant-General, Second Brigade, Second Division, Fifth

     Sir:--I have the honor to submit the following report of the
     part taken by the Twenty-fifth Infantry in the battle of the
     1st instant. The regiment formed firing line on the right of
     the Fourth Infantry, facing a Spanish fort or blockhouse
     about half a mile distant. On moving forward, the battalion,
     composed of Companies C, D, E, G and H, and commanded by
     Capt. W.S. Scott, received the fire of the enemy, and after
     advancing about 400 yards was subjected to a galling fire on
     their left. Finding cover, the battalion prepared for an
     advance up the hill to the fort. This advance was made
     rapidly and conducted with great skill by company officers.

     "On arriving within a short distance of the fort the white
     flag was waved to our companies, but a cross fire prevented
     the enemy from advancing with it or our officers from
     receiving it. About twenty minutes later a battalion of some
     other regiment advanced to the rear of the fort, completely
     covered from fire, and received the flag; but the men of the
     Twenty-fifth Infantry entered the fort at the same time. All
     officers and men behaved gallantly. One officer was killed
     and three wounded; eight men were killed and twenty wounded.

     "About 200 men and ten officers were in the firing line. I
     attribute the comparatively small losses to the skill and
     bravery of the company officers, viz.: First Lieutenant
     Caldwell and Second Lieutenants Moss and Hunt. Second
     Lieutenant French, adjutant of the battalion, was among
     those who gallantly entered the fort.

     "The battle lasted about two hours and was a hotly contested
     combat. Very respectfully,

     "A.S. DAGGETT,
     "Lieutenant-Colonel, Twenty-fifth Infantry, Commanding."

Here it is shown by the testimony of the regimental commander, that a
battalion of the Twenty-fifth ascended the hill and arrived at a short
distance from the fort about twenty minutes before any other troops
are mentioned as coming in sight; and that a white flag was waved to
the companies of the Twenty-fifth. It was doubtless upon this ground
that a captain of the Twenty-fifth had the temerity to claim the
capture of the place, even from a Major-General. I do not know who the
captain was, but it is evident that he had what he believed ample
grounds for his claim. Colonel Daggett says, also, that when the men
of the other regiment advanced to this fort after it had waved the
white flag to the companies of the Twenty-fifth, the men of the
Twenty-fifth advanced and entered the fort at the same time. Bonsal
says: "Almost at the same moment that the Twelfth started up the hill
the Twenty-fifth started up the hill also;" while according to Colonel
Daggett's testimony the Twenty-fifth was well up the hill already and
the fort had waved to it the white flag.

Colonel Daggett makes this further report:

     Headquarters Twenty-fifth Infantry,
     Near Santiago, Cuba, July 16, 1898.

     The Adjutant-General, Second Division, Fifth Corps, near Santiago,

     Sir:--Feeling that the Twenty-fifth Infantry has not
     received credit for the part it took in the battle of El
     Caney on the first instant, I have the honor to submit the
     following facts:

     I was ordered by the brigade commander to put two companies
     (H, Lieutenant Caldwell, and G, Lieutenant McCorkle) on the
     firing line in extended order. The right being uncovered and
     exposed to the enemy, I ordered D Company (Captain Edwards)
     to deploy as flankers. The battalion was commanded by Capt.
     W.S. Scott. The battalion advanced about 300 yards under
     fire, the Fourth Infantry on its left, where the line found
     cover, halted, and opened fire on the blockhouse and
     intrenchments in front of it. After the line had been
     steadied and had delivered an effective fire, I ordered a
     further advance, which was promptly made. As the Fourth
     Infantry did not advance, my left was exposed to a very
     severe fire from the village on the left. I immediately
     ordered Company C (Lieutenant Murdock), which was in
     support, to the front, and E. Company (Lieutenant Kinnison)
     from regimental reserve to take its place. Thus
     strengthened, the four companies moved up the hill rapidly,
     being skilfully handled by company officers. On arriving
     near the fort the white flag was waved toward our men, but
     the fire from the village on our left was so severe that
     neither our officers nor Spanish could pass over the
     intervening ground. After about twenty minutes some of the
     Twelfth Infantry arrived in rear of the fort, completely
     sheltered from the fire from the village, and received the
     white flag; but Privates J.H. Jones, of Company D, and T.C.
     Butler, H. Company, Twenty-fifth Infantry, entered the fort
     at the same time and took possession of the Spanish flag.
     They were ordered to give it up by an officer of the Twelfth
     United States Infantry, but before doing so they each tore a
     piece from it, which they now have. So much for the facts.

     I attribute the success attained by our line largely to the
     bravery and skill of the company officers who conducted the
     line to the fort. These officers are: First Lieutenants V.A.
     Caldwell and J.A. Moss, and Second Lieutenant J.E. Hunt. It
     is my opinion that the two companies first deployed could
     not have reached the fort alone, and that it was the two
     companies I ordered to their support that gave them the
     power to reach it. I further believe that had we failed to
     move beyond the Fourth Infantry the fort would not have been
     taken that night.

     The Twenty-fifth Infantry lost one officer killed[18] and
     three wounded, and seven men killed and twenty-eight

     Second Lieutenant H.W. French, adjutant of Captain Scott's
     battalion, arrived at the fort near the same time as the
     other officers.

     I request that this report be forwarded to corps

     Very respectfully,

     A.S. DAGGETT,
     Lieutenant-Colonel, Twenty-fifth Infantry, Commanding.

General Chaffee's statement is not to be questioned for a moment.
There is not the least doubt that the troops, as organizations arrived
at the fort in the order he describes. General Lawton says: "General
Chaffee's brigade was especially charged with the duty of assaulting
the stone fort, and successfully executed that duty, after which a
portion of the Twenty-fifth, and a portion of Bates' brigade, assisted
in the work, all of which is commendable." He says also, that the
"Twenty-fifth Infantry did excellent service, as reported, though
not better than the others engaged.' This seems to confirm
Lieutenant-Colonel Daggett's report, for he says he is sure the
regiment did excellent work, "as reported;" and at that time he is
commenting on Lieutenant-Colonel Daggett's report, the report printed
above. The broad statements of General Lawton do not touch the exact
question at issue between the reports of the subordinate commanders;
nor do they throw any light on the circumstances of the final charge.
Miles' brigade had been advancing on the stone fort for some hours,
and the Twenty-fifth was so near when the charge of the Twelfth was
made that portions of it were on the hill and near the fort at the
same time. The commander of the Third Brigade saw the fight from one
side and reported events as he learned them. His official statement
requires no support. The commanding officer of the Twenty-fifth
Infantry saw the fight from another standpoint, and his official
reports are entitled to equal respect. Both the General's and the
Lieutenant-Colonel's must be accepted as recitals of facts, made with
all the accuracy that high personal integrity armed with thorough
military training can command. Happily the statements, which at first
appear so widely at variance, are entirely reconcilable. The following
supplementary report of the regimental commander, when taken in
connection with the final complimentary orders published in the
regiment before leaving Cuba, will place the whole subject before the
reader and put the question at rest, and at the same time leave
undisturbed all the reports of superior officers.

     Headquarters Twenty-fifth Infantry,
     Montauk Point, Long Island, August 22, 1898.

     The Adjutant-General, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C.

     Sir:--I have the honor to submit a supplementary report to
     the original one made on the 19th (16th) of July, 1898, of
     the battle of El Caney de Cuba, so far as relates to the
     part taken therein by the Twenty-fifth Infantry:

     1. I stated in the original report that the Twenty-fifth
     Infantry, in advancing, broke away from and left the Fourth
     Infantry behind. This may inferentially reflect on the
     latter regiment. It was not so intended, and a subsequent
     visit to the battle-field convinces me that it would have
     been impossible for the regiment to advance to the fort,
     and, although it might have advanced a short distance
     farther, it would have resulted in a useless slaughter, and
     that the battalion commander exercised excellent judgment in
     remaining where he did and by his fire aiding the
     Twenty-fifth Infantry in its advance.

     2. Colonel Miles, the then brigade commander, informed me
     that his first report of the battle would be brief and that
     a later and full report would be made. In his former report
     I think he failed to give credit to myself and regiment. As
     he was soon after relieved of the command of the brigade I
     assume that no further report will be made.

     I have reported what the regiment did, but said nothing
     about my own action. I must, therefore, report it myself or
     let it go unrecorded. Distasteful as it is to me, I deem it
     duty to my children to state the facts and my claims based
     thereon, as follows:

     1. I was ordered to put two companies in the firing line.
     Before this line advanced the brigade commander informed me,
     and personal examination verified, that my right was in the
     air and exposed. On my own judgment I ordered a company, as
     flankers, to that part of the line.

     2. As soon as the line had rested and become steadied at its
     first halt I ordered it to advance, and it continued to
     advance, although it broke away from the rest of the

     3. As this exposed the left to a galling and dangerous fire,
     I ordered, on my own judgment, a company to re-enforce that
     part of the line and a company from the regimental reserve
     also to the fighting line.

     These are the facts, and as my orders were to keep my left
     joined to the right of the Fourth Infantry, and received no
     further orders, my claims are as follows:

     1. That it was necessary to place a company on the right as

     2. That the conditions offered an opportunity to advance
     after the first halt, and I took advantage of it.

     3. That the left being exposed by this advance of the line
     beyond the rest of the brigade, it was proper and necessary
     to re-enforce it by two companies.

     4. That the two companies first deployed could not have
     reached the stone fort.

     5. That the three companies added to the firing line gave it
     the power to reach the fort.

     6. That the advance beyond the rest of the brigade was a
     bold and, without support, dangerous movement, but that the
     result justified the act. Had it failed I would have been
     held responsible.

     7. That I saw at each stage of the battle what ought to be
     done, and did it. Results show that it was done at the right

     8. That the Twenty-fifth Infantry caused the surrender of
     the stone fort.

     I desire to repeat that it is with great reluctance that I
     make so much of this report as relates to myself, and
     nothing but a sense of duty would impel me to do it.

     Very respectfully,

     A.S. DAGGETT,
     Lieutenant-Colonel, Twenty-fifth Infantry, Commanding.


     Killed.--Lieutenant H.L. McCorkle, Company G; Private Albert
     Strother, H; Private John W. Steele, D; Corporal Benj.
     Cousins, H; Private John B. Phelps, D; Private French Payne,
     B; Private Aaron Leftwich, G; Private Tom Howe, D.

     Wounded.--Company A: Private William H. Clarke, Sergeant
     Stephen A. Browne. Company B: Private Tom Brown. Company C:
     Lieutenant John S. Murdock, Private Joseph L. Johnson,
     Private Samuel W. Harley, Private John A. Boyd. Company D;
     Captain Eaton A. Edwards, Sergeant Hayden Richards, Private
     Robert Goodwin. Company E: Lieutenant H.L. Kinnison, Private
     James Howard, Private John Saddler, Private David C. Gillam,
     Private Hugh Swann. Company F: First Sergeant Frank Coleman.
     Company G: Corporal James O. Hunter, Private Henry
     Brightwell, Private David Buckner, Private Alvin Daniels,
     Private Boney Douglas, Private George P. Cooper, Private
     John Thomas, Corporal Gov. Staton, Private Eugene Jones.
     Company H: Private James Bevill, Private Henry Gilbert.

     Wounded July 2.--Private Elwood A. Forman, H; Private Smith,
     D; Private William Lafayette, F.


     Headquarters 25th Infantry,

     Near Santiago de Cuba, August 11, 1898.
     General Orders No. 19.

     The regimental commander congratulates the regiment on the
     prospect of its speedy return to the United States.

     Gathered from three different stations, many of you
     strangers to each other, you assembled as a regiment for the
     first time in more than twenty-eight years on May 7, 1898,
     at Tampa, Florida. There you endeavored to solidify and
     prepare yourselves, as far as the oppressive weather would
     permit, for the work that appeared to be before you; but,
     who could have fortold the severity of that work?

     You endured the severe hardships of a long sea voyage, which
     no one who has not experienced it can appreciate. You then
     disembarked, amidst dangerous surroundings; and on landing
     were for the first time on hostile ground. You marched,
     under a tropical sun, carrying blanket-roll, three days'
     rations, and one hundred rounds of ammunition, through rain
     and mud, part of the time at night, sleeping on the wet
     ground without shelter, living part of the time on scant
     rations, even, of bacon, hard bread and coffee, until on
     July 1 you arrived at El Caney. Here you took the battle
     formation and advanced to the stone fort, more like veterans
     than troops who had never been under fire. You again
     marched, day and night, halting only to dig four lines of
     intrenchments, the last being the nearest point to the enemy
     reached by any organization, when, still holding your
     rifles, within these intrenchments, notice was received that
     Santiago and the Spanish army had surrendered.

     But commendable as the record cited may be, the brightest
     hours of your lives were on the afternoon of July 1. Formed
     in battle array, you advanced to the stone fort against
     volleys therefrom, and rifle-pits in front, and against a
     galling fire from blockhouses, the church tower and the
     village on your left. You continued to advance, skilfully
     and bravely directed by the officers in immediate command,
     halting and delivering such a cool and well-directed fire
     that the enemy was compelled to wave the white flag in token
     of surrender.

     Seldom have troops been called upon to face a severer fire,
     and never have they acquitted themselves better.

     The regimental reserve was called upon to try its nerve, by
     lying quiet under a galling fire, without the privilege of
     returning it, where men were killed and wounded. This is a
     test of nerve which the firing line cannot realize, and
     requires the highest qualities of bravery and endurance.

     You may well return to the United States proud of your
     accomplishments; and if any one asks you what you have done,
     point him to El Caney.

     But in the midst of the joy of going home, we mourn the loss
     of those we leave behind. The genial, generous-hearted
     McCorkle fell at his post of duty, bravely directing his men
     in the advance on the stone fort. He died as the soldier
     dies, and received a soldier's burial. He was beloved by all
     who knew him, and his name will always be fondly remembered
     by his regiment--especially by those who participated in the
     Santiago campaign. The officers of the regiment will wear
     the prescribed badge of mourning for Lieutenant McCorkle for
     thirty days. And Corporal Benjamin Cousins, Privates Payne,
     Lewis, Strother, Taliaferro, Phelps, Howell, Steel and
     Leftwitch, sacrificed their lives on their country's altar.
     Being of a race which only thirty-five years ago emerged
     through a long and bloody war, from a condition of
     servitude, they in turn engaged in a war which was
     officially announced to be in the interest of humanity and
     gave all they had--their lives--that the oppressed might be
     free, and enjoy the blessings of liberty guaranteed by a
     stable government. They also died like true soldiers and
     received a soldier's burial.

     By order of Lieutenant-Colonel Daggett.

     M.D. CRONIN,
     First Lieutenant and Adjutant, 25th Infantry.


General Aaron S. Daggett is a native of Maine, born at Greene Corner,
in that State, June 14, 1837. He is descended from a paternal ancestry
which can be traced, with an honorable record, as far back as 1100
A.D. His mother was Dorcas C., daughter of Simon Dearborn, a
collateral descendant of General Henry Dearborn. His more immediate
ancestors came from Old to New England about 1630, and both his
grandparents served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary
War. He was educated in his native town, at Monmouth Academy, Maine
Wesleyan Seminary and Bates College. At the outbreak of the Civil War
he enlisted as a private, April 27th, 1861, in the 5th Maine Infantry;
was appointed second lieutenant May 1, and promoted first lieutenant
May 24, 1861. He commanded his company at the first Bull Run battle,
and was promoted captain August 14, 1861.

[Illustration: Lieutenant-Colonel A.S. Daggett]

From the first engagement of the regiment to the end of its three
years' memorable service, Captain Daggett proved a faithful and
gallant soldier. He was promoted major, January 8th, 1863; on January
18th, 1865, was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of the 5th Regiment,
United States Veteran Volunteers, Hancock Corps, and was brevetted
colonel and brigadier-general of volunteers, March 13, 1865, for
"gallant and meritorious services during the war." He also received
the brevets of major in the United States Army for "gallant and
meritorious services at the battle of Rappahannock Station, Va.,"
November 7, 1863, and lieutenant-colonel for "gallant and meritorious
services in the battle of the Wilderness, Va." Immediately after the
battle of Rappahannock Station, the captured trophies, flags, cannons,
etc., were escorted, by those who had been most conspicuous in the
action, to General Meade's headquarters, Colonel Daggett being in
command of the battalion of his brigade. General Upton to whom he owed
this distinction, wrote of him as follows:

     "In the assault at Rappahannock Station, Colonel Daggett's
     regiment captured over five hundred prisoners. In the
     assault at Spottsylvania Court House, May 10, his regiment
     lost six out of seven captains, the seventh being killed on
     the 12th of May, at the "angle," or the point where the tree
     was shot down by musketry, on which ground the regiment
     fought from 9.30 A.M. to 5.30 P.M., when it was relieved. On
     all these occasions Colonel Daggett was under my immediate
     command, and fought with distinguished bravery.

     "Throughout his military career in the Army of the Potomac,
     he maintained the character of a good soldier and an upright
     man, and his promotion would be commended by all those who
     desire to see courage rewarded."

General Upton also wrote to the Governor of Maine as follows:

     "I would respectfully recommend to Your Excellency, Major
     A.S. Daggett, formerly 5th Maine Volunteers, as an officer
     highly qualified to command a regiment. Major Daggett served
     his full term in this brigade with honor both to himself and
     State, and won for himself the reputation of being a brave,
     reliable and efficient officer. His promotion to a colonelcy
     would be a great benefit to the service, while the honor of
     his State could scarcely be entrusted to safer hands."

He was subsequently recommended for promotion by Generals Meade,
Hancock, Wright and D.A. Russell. He was in every battle and campaign
in which the Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac, was engaged, from the
first Bull Run to Petersburg, and was twice slightly wounded. On July
28, 1866, without his knowledge or solicitation, he was appointed a
captain in the U.S. Regular Army, on recommendation of General Grant,
and has since been promoted colonel in this service. During his
subsequent career he has won the reputation of being a fine tactician
and of being thoroughly versed in military law, as is indicated by
Major Hancock's commendatory words in 1878:

     "I look upon him as by far the best tactician in the
     regiment, and as for a thorough, clear knowledge of tactics
     his superior is not in the army. As regards military and
     civil law, I know of no one so well informed."

His ability and soldierly qualities have also been highly commended by
General Crook, Colonel Hughes--Inspector-General in 1891--and Colonel
----, Inspector-General in 1892.

Not only as a soldier, but in many other ways, has General Daggett
distinguished himself. As a public speaker the following was said of
him by the Rev. S.S. Cummings, of Boston:

     "It was my privilege and pleasure to listen to an address
     delivered by General A.S. Daggett on Memorial Day of 1891. I
     had anticipated something able and instructive, but it far
     exceeded my fondest expectations. The address was dignified,
     yet affable, delivered in choice language without
     manuscript, instructive and impressive, and highly
     appreciated by an intelligent audience."

General Daggett is noted for his courteous and genial manner, and his
sterling integrity of character. He is a member of the Presbyterian

     War Department, Inspector-General's Office,
     Washington, Jan. 6th, 1899.

     To the Adjutant-General, U.S.A., Washington, D.C.

     Sir:--I desire to recommend to your favorable consideration
     and for advancement in case of the reorganization of the
     Regular Army, Lieutenant-Colonel A.S. Daggett, 25th U.S.

     I have known Colonel Daggett for a long time; he served in
     the War of the Rebellion with the 5th Maine Volunteers and
     acquitted himself with much honor; he served in Cuba in the
     war with Spain, commanding the 25th U.S. Infantry, and was
     conspicuous for gallantry at the battle of El Caney. He is
     an officer of the highest character, intelligent, courageous
     and energetic.

     I sincerely trust that he may receive all the consideration
     he deserves.

     Very respectfully,

     (Sd) H.W. LAWTON,
     Major-General, U.S.V.

     A true copy:

     M.D. CRONIN,
     First Lieutenant and Adjutant 25th Infantry.
     Headquarters Department of the East,
     Governor's Island, New York City,
     December 29, 1898.

     Honorable R.A. Alger, Secretary of War, Washington, D.C.

     Sir:--I recommend to the favorable consideration of the
     Secretary of War for promotion to Brigadier-General, Colonel
     A.S. Daggett, 25th Infantry. This officer has an excellent
     war record; his service has been faithful since then, and in
     the recent Spanish-American war he distinguished himself by
     his good judgment and faithful attention to duty, as well as
     for gallant service in action. An appointment of this
     character will be very highly appreciated throughout the
     army as a recognition of faithful, meritorious and gallant
     service. From my observation of Colonel Daggett he is well
     qualified for the position.

     Very respectfully,

     (Sd) WM. R. SHAFTER,
     Major-General, U.S. Volunteers.

     M.D. CRONIN,

     A true copy:

     First Lieutenant and Adjutant 25th Infantry.

To this very brilliant official record it is necessary to add but a
word personal. Colonel Daggett is a typical New Englander; tall,
well-formed, nervous and sinewy, a centre of energy, making himself
felt wherever he may be. Precise and forceful of speech, correct and
sincere in manners, a safe counsellor and a loyal friend, his
character approaches the ideal. Stern and commanding as an officer he
is nevertheless tender and sympathetic. His very sensitiveness
concerning the feelings of others embarrasses him in giving expression
to his own feelings on seeing suffering, unless it should be urgent,
but those who know him best know him to be just, humane and tender. No
man could have taken more care than he did for his regiment in Cuba.
Hating oppression and wrong with a vehemency suited to his intense
nature, he nevertheless deplores war and bloodshed. The President of
the United States never did a more worthy act than when he gave to
Lieutenant-Colonel A.S. Daggett of the Twenty-fifth Infantry his
commission as Brigadier-General of Volunteers in recognition of his
valor and skill at El Caney and of his general efficiency as an
officer in our army.


     Headquarters First District, Southern Luzon,
     El Deposito, P.I., April 20, 1900.

     My Dear General Daggett:--Some time ago I received a letter
     from you asking me to make an official statement as to where
     and at what objective the energies and fire of the 25th
     Infantry were directed during the battle of El Caney, Cuba,
     July 1, 1898.

     In reply I have the honor to officially state that about
     noon July 1, 1898, the regiment moved from the mango grove,
     near the Ducro House, toward a stone fort located on a hill,
     near the town of El Caney.

     It arrived at about one of the afternoon at a point about
     eight hundred yards to the south and east of the fort;
     immediately deployed, and the First Battalion, under command
     of Captain Walter S. Scott, and of which I was adjutant,
     designated as the attacking line. Presently, after advancing
     a few yards, we were subjected to a galling fire from the
     stone fort, the trenches in its front and from a blockhouse
     on its right. The line steadily moved forward, directing its
     fire at the stone fort and the trenches surrounding it. When
     within about one hundred and fifty yards from the fort the
     line was halted, and several sharpshooters, directed by
     their company officers to fire at the loopholes. Finally,
     when the men had regained their wind, a rush was made, part
     of the line going through a cornfield. At the foot the line
     was again halted, and after a few moments' rest charged up
     the hill, and the fort surrendered.

     I went to the fort and found a Spanish lieutenant and seven
     enlisted men whom I passed out and were taken charge of by
     an officer of the 12th Infantry. This was about 3.50 P.M.

       *       *       *       *       *

          Note.--Since the above was written, General Daggett
          served with great distinction in the Philippines and in
          China, and was retired as a brigadier-general--a hero
          of four wars. A bill is now before Congress to make him
          a major-general, an honor to which he is most justly

       *       *       *       *       *

     As soon as the line reached the top of the hill it was
     fired on from the town, which had before been masked by the
     hill; the fire was of course returned, and this was the
     first fire from the battalion directed at the town. About
     five o'clock firing had ceased, the battalion was assembled
     and marched away.

     (Sd) H.W. FRENCH,
     First Lieutenant, 17th Infantry (late Second Lieutenant 25th

     A true copy:

     Capt. and Adj. 14th Infantry.
     Manila, P.I., March 30, 1900.

     I certify that in the action of El Caney, Cuba, July 1,
     1898, the company I commanded, i.e., H, 25th Infantry,
     directed its fire almost exclusively on the stone fort and
     the trench a few yards from its base. That very little of
     this company's fire was directed on the town and none before
     the fort was carried.

     First Lieutenant, 25th Infantry.

     A true copy:

     Capt. and Adj. 14th Infantry.
     Tayug, Luzon, Philippine Islands,
     April 17th, 1900.

     To Those in Military Authority.

     Regarding the battle of El Caney, Cuba, July 1, 1898, I
     hereby certify:

     1. From about 1.20 o'clock P.M. to the time of the capture
     of the town of El Caney, I was in command of two
     companies--C and G--forming part of the 25th U.S. Infantry
     firing line.

     2. From about 2.55 o'clock P.M. to the time of the capture
     of the town, very nearly the entire 25th Infantry firing
     line was under my observation.

     3. From about 2.55 o'clock P. M. to about 3.20, the time of
     the surrender of the stone fort to the east of the town, the
     fire of the entire 25th Infantry firing line within my sight
     was directed against the fort.

     4. During this period of the battle the 25th Infantry firing
     line was about 150 yards from the stone fort.

     5. From the time the firing line began firing--about 1
     o'clock P.M.--to the time of the surrender of the stone
     fort--about 3.20 P.M.--the companies under my command and
     all others under my observation concentrated their fire on
     the fort.

     6. About 3.20 P.M., I was standing about 150 yards from the
     stone fort, and I plainly and distinctly saw a Spaniard
     appear in the door of the fort, and, for two or three
     seconds, wave a white flag at the 25th Infantry firing line,
     and upon being shot down, another Spaniard picked up the
     flag and likewise waved it at the 25th Infantry firing line.

     7. After the white flag had twice been presented to the 25th
     Infantry firing line, and after all fire from the stone fort
     had ceased, the firing line rushed forward, took up a
     position facing to their left--that is, facing the town--and
     began a vigorous fire on a small blockhouse and on the town.


     First Lieutenant, 24th U.S. Infantry.


     The 25th U.S. Infantry left its stations in Montana on the
     10th of April, 1898; six companies (B, C, D, E, F and H)
     went in camp at Chickamauga National Park; the other two
     companies (A and G) went to Key West, Fla.

     On May 6th the six companies at the Chickamauga National
     Park moved by rail to Tampa, Fla., arriving the night of the
     7th, where they were joined by the two companies from Key
     West. With the exception of three days in 1870, the regiment
     had never been together since its organization in 1869. It
     necessarily followed that many of the officers, as well as
     men, were strangers to each other.

     Our camp at Tampa was fair; the ground is sandy and flat,
     but as the rainy season had not set in, it was dry and the
     health was good. Drills and parades were held daily (Sundays
     excepted), but on account of the intense heat the hours for
     it were limited to the early mornings and after sunset. The
     clothing of the men was the same they had worn in Montana,
     and did not add to their comfort. Supplies of all kinds
     (except rations) came by piecemeal, and we finally sailed
     for the tropics with the same clothing used in the

     At 6 o'clock P.M. June 6th the regiment received orders to
     strike tents and be ready to move within an hour; the order
     was immediately complied with, though the necessary
     transportation to move the baggage did not report until the
     forenoon of the following day; it was not far from noon when
     the last of it left the camp for the railroad station, en
     route to Port Tampa, where we were to embark on transports
     for the seat of war.

     As soon as the camp equipage was started, the regiment was
     formed and marched to West Tampa (about three miles), where
     we took a train for Port Tampa, distant nine miles. On
     arrival, the regiment boarded the steamer "Concho," one of
     the vessels to carry the expedition to its destination. The
     4th U.S. Infantry had preceded us, and the next day a
     battalion of the 2d Massachusetts Volunteers was put on, but
     owing to the crowded condition of the ship, a few days later
     they were transferred to another vessel.

     The "Concho" is a large ship, but without the comforts I
     have seen since then on the U.S. Army transports plying
     between San Francisco and Manila. The ships used were
     hastily fitted up for the occasion, and it could not be
     expected that they would be all that was required, but some
     of the appointments could and should have been better. After
     a tedious wait until June 14th, we sailed down Tampa Bay and
     out on the Gulf of Mexico, still in ignorance of our
     destination. The evening of the 15th the light at Dry
     Tortugas was seen to our right. June 16th, 17th and 18th our
     course was a little south of east, and part of the time the
     north coast of Cuba was visible. The weather (except the
     intense heat) was fine. On Sunday morning, June 18th, we
     entered the Windward Passage, and it seemed certain, from
     our course, that Santiago was our objective. Early the next
     morning the high mountains of Santiago de Cuba were in plain
     sight to our north. June 20th and 21st, remained off the
     coast; the sea was rough and the vessel rolled considerably,
     adding to the discomfort of every one, especially those
     subject to seasickness. During the evening of the 21st,
     orders were received to be ready to disembark the following
     morning. About 8 A.M. on the 22d our warships began shelling
     the coast, and two hours later the troops started in small
     boats from the transports to the shore. By evening most of
     the Second Division and part of the Cavalry Division were on
     Cuban soil. There was no opposition to our landing; I
     believe that a small force well handled could have made it
     very difficult, if, indeed, it could not have prevented it.

     As soon as the regiment had landed it was marched out about
     four miles and bivouacked for the night. The country is
     rugged and covered with a dense tropical vegetation. A few
     "Cuban Patriots" had joined us and formed the extreme
     advance, saving us some disagreeable outpost duty. This was
     the only service that I know of them doing throughout the
     campaign, though they were always on hand ration day. Later
     developments showed that the service rendered was not so
     important, as any Spanish force had retired to a safe place,
     something our friends looked out for whenever there was any

     June 23d, the regiment started shortly after daylight
     towards the city of Santiago. About 9 o'clock there was a
     report that the enemy were in our front. The regiment was
     immediately formed for battle, and reconnoitering parties
     sent forward; after about thirty minutes' delay the supposed
     enemy proved to be the large leaves of some tropical trees
     being moved by the wind, giving them the appearance of
     persons in motion. Our route was over a narrow trail,
     through a dense wilderness; water was scarce and the heat
     was intense. About noon we arrived at Siboney, where we
     bivouacked for the night. Before daylight next morning the
     troops in our rear were heard passing on the trail by our
     camp. Shortly after daylight Captain Capron's battery of
     four guns passed, and the men lined up along the road and
     cheered lustily. About an hour later, musketry fire and the
     occasional discharge of a Hotchkiss gun could be plainly
     heard towards Santiago. About three-quarters of an hour
     later we received orders to march. By mistake, the wrong
     trail was taken, and after marching fourteen hours we
     returned to our camp of the previous night, all fagged out.
     A great many men of the brigade were overcome with heat
     during this long, tiresome and fruitless ramble. I cannot
     say how many of these were of the 25th Infantry, but in my
     own company (B) there was not a man out of the ranks when
     the camp was reached. (I have called the above-mentioned
     place "Siboney." There is probably some other name for it,
     as the Cubans have one for every hamlet. It is not far from
     Siboney, and not knowing the name, have called it Siboney.)

     On the morning of the 25th we got rations from the transport
     and all enjoyed a hearty breakfast. At 1 P.M. we broke camp
     and marched to Sevilla, about six miles. Here we remained
     until the morning of the 27th, part of the regiment being
     out on picket duty. June 27th, the regiment marched three
     miles towards Santiago and bivouacked on the banks of a
     small creek. Bathing was forbidden, as the creek was the
     only water supply for the army. The troops remained at this
     place until the afternoon of June 30th. The camp was in the
     valley of the creek, the ground is low and flat, and with
     the heavy rainfall every one was uncomfortable. Rations had
     to be brought from Siboney over a trail and did not arrive

     About 1 o'clock in the afternoon on the 30th, the officers
     of the regiment were assembled at headquarters and were
     notified that there would be an attack on the Spanish
     position the next morning. About 4 o'clock the regiment
     started for its position, arriving after 10 o'clock, having
     covered a distance of less than three miles. The route was
     over an excuse for a road, but was crowded with some of the
     troops of almost every organization of the army, causing
     numberless halts, but worse than all, breaking the
     much-needed rest of the troops. On one part of this route I
     heard men asking, "What regiment is this?" and heard various
     responses, as follows: "The W.W.W.'s, the 1st Cavalry, the
     4th Infantry, the 10th Cavalry," etc. Some one asked, "What
     are the W.W.W.'s?" and some one replied, "Wood's Weary
     Walkers." I do not know who is responsible for that
     condition of affairs. Had we had an enterprising enemy in
     our front, disaster certainly would have followed. Here were
     a number of organizations scattered along a narrow, muddy
     trail, at the mercy of an active foe. All this was only
     three or four miles from the Spanish works. The men were
     cheerful, and few if any realized that there might be

     Most of the men were up and moving about before daylight the
     next morning. Shortly after, the regiment started in the
     direction of El Caney. At 9 A.M. we halted in a mango grove
     near the Ducureau mansion. Shortly before noon a mounted
     orderly appeared with a message for the brigade commander. A
     few minutes later the march towards El Caney was taken up.
     Heavy musketry fire had been heard in that direction since
     shortly before 7 o'clock. A march of little more than a mile
     and the regiment was formed for battle, Companies G and H in
     the firing line, C and D in support, the remaining four
     companies in reserve.

     For two hours or perhaps more the firing was very heavy,
     especially during the second hour. Attention is called to
     report of Colonel A.S. Daggett, pages 387 and 388, "Report
     of the War Department, 1898, Vol. I," and endorsement on
     same by Major-General A.R. Chaffee. He says: "This stone
     fort was practically in the possession of the 12th Infantry
     at about 2 P.M. July 1." I cannot reconcile this statement
     with the fact that between the hours named some of the
     heaviest firing was going on, which does not indicate that
     its defenders were ready to give up. Lord Wellington once
     said, "At the end of every campaign truth lies at the bottom
     of a deep well, and it often takes twenty years to get her
     out." This may not be an exception. About half-past 4
     o'clock the firing ceased and El Caney was ours.

     The dead were collected near a hedge and the regiment was
     formed in column of masses to pay a silent tribute of
     respect to our departed comrades.

     The regiment then started for the mango grove where we had
     left our blanket rolls and haversacks. Just as we were
     starting, some men with canteens started for water (about a
     mile away), when orders were received to be ready to march
     in twenty minutes. A few rods took us back to the road
     leading to Santiago. We moved down the road about
     three-quarters of a mile and halted. Two hours later, the
     pack train arrived with ammunition and then another with
     rations. Before the latter were issued orders were issued to
     move at once to the rear. The regiment marched over the
     trail it had come on the day before, arriving at El Poso
     about 8 o'clock A.M. Here we took the road leading to
     Santiago. About 9 A.M. we passed under San Juan Hill and
     moved to our right. Our forces held the crest of the hill.
     In passing along the hill we were sheltered from the fire
     except a short space, where one or two men were slightly
     wounded. Arriving at the La Cruz house near the road leading
     from El Caney to Santiago about 3.30 P.M. and bivouacked for
     the night. About 10 o'clock the troops on our left were
     attacked by the Spanish. The firing was very heavy for an
     hour, when it suddenly ceased, and we retired for the night.
     During this time we were under the hill and protected from
     the fire.

     Next morning (Sunday, July 3d) desultory firing began at
     daylight. About 7 A.M. the regiment left the La Cruz house
     and moved across the Caney-Santiago road and formed line to
     the left and moved forward to a ridge overlooking the city.
     A number of shots fell about us, but no one was struck.
     Shortly after, we were in possession of the ridge and began
     intrenching. The firing was kept up and two men were
     wounded. About noon we were informed that a truce had been
     established and all work was stopped. This gave all a
     much-needed rest, though it proved to be of short duration,
     caused by a false alarm by Major Webb, the inspector of the
     division staff.

     During the afternoon the regiment was moved to the foot of
     the ridge, leaving only the pickets on the crest. About 8.30
     P.M. we were ordered to the picket line and began
     intrenching. The tall grass was wet from a drenching rain a
     few hours before. The ground, though wet, was hard, and slow
     progress was made, having only their bayonets for picks and
     their bare hands for shovels. All night this work went on.
     The men were tired, and hungry (as rations had not come up
     that day), but worked faithfully. During this, and I will
     add, throughout the campaign, I never heard a murmur nor a
     complaint; even when almost all the men of the regiment were
     down with fever and bowel trouble they were cheerful and
     ready to do any duty they were called on for.

     The morning of July 3d Cervera's fleet sailed down the bay.
     An officer rode by our part of the line about half-past 9
     and informed us of it. A few minutes later we heard the roar
     of the big guns, though at the time I little thought of what
     was going on. In the afternoon we heard cheering on our line
     way to the left, and as the good news came along it was
     taken up, and soon the whole line was shouting.

     On the morning of July 5th the non-combatants left Santiago
     by two roads, one passing through our line. It was a pitiful
     sight. During the forenoon of the 5th we moved about a mile
     to the right and began intrenching. This position was very
     near the Spanish line, and quite elaborate works were
     constructed. We remained in this position until the morning
     of the 11th, when the regiment was ordered to the right of
     the line, about three miles. Here we intrenched. About 1
     P.M. a truce was announced.

     At 9.15 P.M. a staff officer came to the regimental
     commander's tent and informed him that the regiment was to
     be on the line at 12 o'clock midnight, and as soon as the
     moon rose to advance through the jungle until fired on, when
     the line was to halt and intrench. The night was stormy and
     any moon there might have been was obscured by the clouds.
     We were up, however, standing until daylight in a drenching
     rain, for it was so dark that any movement was impossible.
     Our rest was broken, without accomplishing anything that I
     know or heard of.

     However, the rain and storm were providential, for I will
     always believe if the movement had been started we should
     have met with disaster. The ground was broken, deep ravines
     and underbrush with wire fences running through it. I have
     never learned who was "the father" of this order, and
     possibly never will. He must be ashamed of it.

     The afternoon of the 12th the regiment advanced several
     hundred yards to the front and dug more intrenchments. They
     were still on this work the afternoon of the 14th when it
     was announced that the Spanish army had agreed to surrender.
     This came none too soon, for our men were coming down with
     malarial fever. A few days later nearly half the regiment
     were on the sick list, and the balance could not have done

     The regiment was moved the same afternoon to higher ground
     in rear of the trenches. Strong guards were kept to look out
     for our prisoners and to prevent "our allies," the Cubans,
     from going into the city.

     On the morning of the 17th the formal surrender of the city
     and Spanish army took place. We were some distance away and
     did not see anything of the ceremony.

     On July 25th the regiment was moved about a mile further
     back in the hills and made camp, our tents, etc., having
     been brought up from the transport. Medicines appeared very
     scarce, resulting in much suffering. The food supplied was
     totally unfit for our new surroundings, and I believe not a
     little of the sickness can be traced to this. Our last camp
     was as good as any to be found in that vicinity.

     The regiment remained in camp until August 13th, when it
     embarked on the transport "Camanche" for Montauk Point,
     arriving on the 18th, and landed on the 23d.

     Captain, 25th Infantry.


[18] First Lieutenant McCorkle killed; Captain Edwards and First
Lieutenants Kinnison and Murdock wounded.



     Cavalry Division: The Ninth and Tenth Regiments.

When Lawton's division swung off to the right to engage the enemy at
El Caney, with the results described in the preceeding chapter, the
divisions of Wheeler and Kent were ordered to proceed directly along
the Santiago road toward San Juan. Within a mile from El Pozo, the
point where they had bivouacked for the night of the 30th, the troops
arrived at the Aguadores River, which crosses the road here within
less than a mile from San Juan Heights. Wheeler's division headed the
column, although that general was not commanding. He had been relieved
on the afternoon of the 30th and did not resume command until about 4
o'clock on July 1,[19] long after the heights had been carried,
although he was on the field shortly after 1 o'clock of that day.

The Dismounted Cavalry Division on the morning of July 1 presented
2,663 fighting men, including officers. The First Brigade, commanded
by Colonel Carrol, had 50 officers and 1,054 men, in regiments as
follows: Third Cavalry, 22 officers, 420 men; Sixth Cavalry, 16
officers, 427 men; Ninth Cavalry, 12 officers, 207 men, the Ninth
having hardly one-half the strength of either of the other regiments
of the brigade. The Second Brigade, commanded by General Wood,
contained 1,559 persons, distributed as follows: Brigade staff, 9
officers, 14 men; First Cavalry, 21 officers, 501 men: Tenth Cavalry,
22 officers, 507 men; First Volunteer Cavalry (Rough Riders), 25
officers, 517 men.

Before the troops left El Poso, Grimes' battery had been put in
position and had fired a few shots at a blockhouse on San Juan Hill,
distance 2,600 yards. Using black powder, which created a cloud of
smoke with every shot, the battery was readily located by the foe, and
the shrapnel from their guns was soon bursting among our forces. The
second shot from the Spaniards wounded four of the Rough Riders and
two or three of the regulars, while a third killed and wounded several
Cubans. As a matter of course there was a rapid movements of the
troops from that immediate vicinity. The firing soon ceased, and the
troops took up that general advance movement already noted.

It is no easy task to follow the movements of the Cavalry Division
from the time it left El Poso that July morning until it finally
entrenched itself for the night on San Juan Hills. As heretofore we
will take the official reports first, and from them make up the
itinerary and the movements of the battle that followed, as far as
they will enable us to do so. General Sumner says the division
proceeded toward Santiago, and when about three-fourths of a mile from
El Poso was halted in a narrow road to await orders and remained there
for nearly an hour, subject to the effects of heavy artillery fire
from the enemy's battery. Major Wessells, of the Third Cavalry, says,
while following the road toward Santiago that morn, "much delay ensued
from some reason unknown to the undersigned," and that the First
Brigade of the division arrived at San Juan ford about 10 o'clock.
This creek was about five hundred yards farther toward Santiago than
Aguadores River, and ran about parallel with San Juan Heights, from
which it was about three-fourths of a mile distant.

The orders for which General Sumner had waited nearly an hour under
fire had come and were "verbal instructions to move to the San Juan
Creek and hold it." Reaching this creek his advance guard was met by
the Spaniards who fired one volley and retreated to a position on a
hill on Sumner's right front, about 1,200 yards distant. Crossing this
creek with sufficient strength to hold it, Sumner was now ordered to
move by the right flank and connect with Lawton's left. While his
troops were in this massed condition prior to deploying to the right
through a thick jungle, the balloon that was in use for purposes of
reconnoitering, came up the road and exposed itself to the full view
of the Spaniards upon the heights. They needed no further invitation
to direct toward our forces their artillery, for which the balloon
became a flying target. Many officers and men were wounded here by
exploding shells and small arms' fire of the enemy (Sumner). Under
this fire, however, the troops were deployed as ordered.

Colonel Wood, who had charge of the Second Brigade, of which the Rough
Riders were the leading regiment, says this "regiment was directed to
change direction to the right, and by moving up the creek to effect a
junction with General Lawton's division, which was engaged at Caney,
about one and a-half miles toward the right, but was supposed to be
working toward our right flank. After proceeding in this direction
about half a mile the effort to connect with General Lawton was given
up." This movement to the right took place between ten and eleven
o'clock, at which time Lawton's forces had made no impression upon El
Caney, and he was far from making any movement which might be
described as working toward the right flank of the Cavalry Division.
Lawton was not found by that half-hour's search to the right; and it
was evident that something must be done by these troops in front, and
done quickly. The whole division was under fire, and the battle on the
Spanish side was in actual progress. True our men were hidden away in
the jungle that bordered the creek, but their position was known to
the Spaniards, and leaves and boughs are no cover from shot and shell.
They were receiving the fire of the enemy and making no reply
whatever, save by the few ineffective shots from the far away battery
on El Poso Hill.

Directly in front of the cavalry division was a little hill occupied
by a Spanish force. This hill is called in General Wood's report East
Hill, but in the literature of the battle it is usually mentioned as
Kettle Hill. The fire in part was coming from here. Colonel Wood gives
another report of the morning's experience in which he says: "The
brigade moved down the road toward Santiago in rear of the First
Brigade, with instructions to deploy to the right after crossing the
San Juan, and continue to extend to the right, reaching out toward
General Lawton's left and holding ourselves in rear of the First
Brigade as a support. On reaching the stream the First Volunteer
Cavalry, which was in the lead, crossed the stream with comparatively
slight loss and deployed to the right in good order, but at this time
a captive balloon was led down the road in which the troops were
massed, and finally anchored at the crossing of the stream. The
approach and anchoring of this balloon served to indicate the line of
approach of the troops and to locate the ford, and the result was a
terrific converging of artillery and rifle fire on the ford, which
resulted in severe loss of men. Under this fire the First United
States Cavalry and the Tenth United States Cavalry crossed the stream
and deployed to the right where they were placed in position in rear
of the First Brigade. Two regiments of the Second Brigade, to wit.,
the First and the Tenth Regular Cavalry, were located in the rear of
the First Brigade. The First Regular Cavalry had begun its day's work
as support of Grimes' battery, but had later come forward and taken
its place in the brigade time enough to join in the action that

"After completing the deployment," says Sumner, "the command was so
much committed to battle that it became necessary either to advance or
else retreat under fire." The troops were already in battle, but were
not fighting, and could not do so in their present position, simply
because they could not see the enemy. "Lieutenant Miley, representing
General Shafter, authorized an advance, which was ordered, Carroll's
brigade taking the advance, reinforced on the right by Roosevelt's
regiment, and supported by the First and Tenth Cavalry." (Sumner.)
Colonel Wood says: "After remaining in this position for about an hour
(meaning the position held by his brigade previous to the coming of
the order to advance) the order to advance was given, and the brigade
advanced in good order as possible, but more or less broken up by the
masses of brush and heavy grass and cactus; passing through the line
of the First Brigade, mingling with them and charging the hill in
conjunction with these troops, as well as some few infantry who had
extended to the right." It must be remembered that the First Brigade
consisted wholly of regulars, the Third, Sixth and Ninth Cavalry,
while the Second Brigade had that remarkable regiment, the Rough
Riders. This fact may account for their breaking through the lines of
the First Brigade. Major Wessells, who commanded the Third Cavalry in
that fight, and was himself wounded at the close of the first charge,
says his regiment became entangled with other regiments, but,
nevertheless, was to the crest as soon as any. Of the advance of the
whole division, General Sumner says: "The advance was made under heavy
infantry fire, through open flat ground, cut up by wire fences, to the
creek, distant about 600 yards. The advance was made in good order,
the enemy's fire being returned only under favorable opportunities. In
crossing the flat one officer and several men were killed and several
officers and men wounded. Both sides of the creek were heavily wooded
for about 200 yards. The creek was swollen, and the crossing through
this space and the creek was made with great difficulty.

"After passing through the thick woods the ground was entirely open
and fenced by wire. From this line it was necessary to storm the hill,
upon the top of which is a house, loop-holed for defense. The slope of
the hill is very difficult, but the assault was made with great
gallantry and with much loss to the enemy. In this assault Colonel
Hamilton, Lieutenants Smith and Shipp were killed; Colonel Carroll,
Lieutenants Thayer and Myer were wounded. A number of casualties
occurred among the enlisted men." The heights were carried by the
whole division.

Lieutenant-Colonel Baldwin's account of the part his regiment took in
the assault upon San Juan is told about as follows: After the search
for Lawton had been given up, the First and Tenth Cavalry were formed
for attack on East Hill. "I was directed," he says, "to take a
position to the right, behind the river bank, for protection. While
moving to this position, and while there, the regiment suffered
considerable loss. After an interval of twenty or thirty minutes I was
directed to form line of battle in a partially open field facing
toward the blockhouses and strong intrenchments to the north occupied
by the enemy. Much difficulty was found on account of the dense
undergrowth, crossed in several directions by wire fences. As a part
of the cavalry division under General Sumner, the regiment was formed
in two lines, the First Squadron under Major S.T. Norvell, consisting
of Troops A, B, E and I, leading; the second line, under Major T.J.
Wint, consisting of Troops C, F and G. Troop D having crossed farther
down the river, attached itself to a command of infantry and moved
with that command on the second blockhouse. The regiment advanced in
this formation in a heavy converging fire from the enemy's position,
proceeding but a short distance when the two lines were united into
one. The advance was rapidly continued in an irregular line toward the
blockhouses and intrenchments to the right front. During this advance
the line passed some troops of the First Cavalry, which I think had
previously been formed on our right. Several losses occurred before
reaching the top of the hill, First Lieutenant William H. Smith being
killed as he arrived on its crest. The enemy having retreated toward
the northwest to the second and third blockhouses, new lines were
formed and a rapid advance was made upon these new positions. The
regiment assisted in capturing these works from the enemy, and with
the exception of Troops C and I, which in the meantime had joined the
First Volunteer Cavalry, then took up a position to the north of the
second blockhouse, remaining there all night."

Major Norvell, who commanded the First Squadron of the Tenth Cavalry,
which consisted of Troops A, B, E and I, gives the following account
of the experiences of July 1st:

"The regiment took position in a wood, and here suffered considerable
loss, due to the fact that the whole of the enemy's fire appeared to
be directed to this point. In a short time we moved out of the wood by
the right flank and then deployed to the left, being then directly in
front of the enemy and one mile distant from his works, marked by
three houses about half a mile from one another. The enemy was
strongly entrenched in front of these houses. The line, consisting of
the cavalry division, under direction of Brigadier-General Sumner,
moved forward in double time, under a terrific fire of the enemy. We
had a very heavy jungle to march through, beside the river (San Juan)
to cross, and during our progress many men were killed and wounded.
The troops became separated from one another, though the general line
was pretty well preserved. The works of the enemy were carried in
succession by the troops; and the Spaniards were steadily driven back
toward the town to their last ditches. We now found ourselves about
half a mile from the city, but the troops being by this time nearly
exhausted, here intrenched themselves for the night under a heavy
fire. By dark this line was occupied by all the troops engaged during
the day."

The official reports of the troop commanders of the Tenth Cavalry
bring out a few more particulars which serve to give us a more vivid
conception of this moving line. The entire cavalry division advanced
together, and notwithstanding the roughness of the ground, Major
Norvell assures us the line was pretty well preserved. Troops A, B, E
and I were in the First Squadron, which was in the lead; Troops C, F
and G were in the second line; Troop D made its advance with the
infantry off to the left. We have now a fair knowledge of the general
movement of the whole regiment. Let us follow the fortunes of some of
the Troops, and by that means get nearer to the work done by the
individual soldier.

Troop A was on the right of the leading squadron as the regiment took
its place in line on the left of the First Cavalry and moved against
the Spanish blockhouses in the face of a heavy fire, making a rush
forward without intermission. A portion of the right platoon, under
Lieutenant Livermore, became separated in one of the thickets, and
under instructions received personally from the brigade commander, who
seems to have been everywhere where he was needed, continued up the
slope toward his right and toward the first blockhouse. The remainder
of the troop, commanded by Captain Beck and Lieutenant McCoy, moved in
the same direction at first, but observing that on account of the
shorter distance to the slope from that end of the line, a large
number of troops were arriving there, Captain Beck swung his troop to
the left and reached the summit of the hill between the second and
third blockhouses, and on arriving received a message by an aid of the
brigade commander to hold the ridge. Just then Lieut. Livermore
arrived, having come by way of Blockhouse No. 1. The troop now being
together, held the crest for an hour. At times the fire of the enemy
was so severe and Captain Beck's force so small that there was great
danger that he would be compelled to abandon the position, but
fortunately at the most critical juncture Lieutenant Lyon of the
Twenty-fourth Infantry came up with a few reinforcements, and
Lieutenant Hughes of the Tenth Cavalry with a Hotchkiss gun.
Lieutenant Lyon formed his troops to the left of the gun, Troop A of
the Tenth Cavalry being on the right. With this force the position was
held until other troops arrived. Soon after, the squadron was reformed
and the men entrenched themselves under fire. Troop B was next to
Troop A and advanced as skirmishers by rushes and double time, but
soon found its front blocked by other troops. Troop I advanced in two
sections, the left being commanded by Lieutenant Miller, joined in the
attack on the right of the enemy's position; the right commanded by
Lieutenant Fleming, advanced on trenches between two blockhouses, and
in so doing caught up with the rest of the troop. The first half of
the troop, after attacking the blockhouse on right of the enemy's
position then crossed the valley and attacked the blockhouse on the
left of enemy's position, and then moved forward with the First
Regular Cavalry and First Volunteer Cavalry, until the troop assembled
as a whole. When it reached the place of intrenchment there were
altogether about one hundred men at that point of the ridge,
consisting of men from the Tenth Cavalry and of the Rough Riders. It
is claimed by Lieutenant Anderson, who commanded Troop C, and who made
his way to the front on the right of the line, that after coming up on
the second hill and joining his troop to the left of Troop I, Colonel
Roosevelt and part of his regiment joined on the right of the Tenth,
and that he reported to him, placing C Troop in his command. Before
this time Lieutenant Anderson had reported to Captain Jones, of Troop
F, while they were on Kettle Hill, and the Two troops, F and C, had
been formed in skirmish line and moved against the second blockhouse.
In this movement Troop C got separated from Captain Jones, and
Anderson, with 18 men of his own troop and several from other
organizations, moved forward until he connected with Troop I, as
previously narrated. These troops, C and I, were reported by their
Colonel as having joined the First Volunteer Cavalry. All of the troop
commanders who were immediately with the men bear hearty testimony to
their good conduct. Captain Jones, commanding Troop F, says: "I could
only do justice to the troop by mentioning by name all who were
engaged, not only for their bravery, but for their splendid discipline
under the most demoralizing fire." Lieutenant Fleming, commanding
Troop I, says: "The entire troop behaved with great gallantry. Private
Elsie Jones particularly distinguished himself." Captain Beck,
commanding Troop A, says: "The behaviour of the enlisted men was
magnificent, paying studious attention to orders while on the firing
line, and generally exhibiting an intrepidity which marks the
first-class soldier." Lieutenant Hughes, who commanded the Hotchkiss
gun detachment, mentions four men for conspicuous bravery and commends
his entire detachment for "spirit, enterprise and good behavior."

The official story is that the entire cavalry division advanced under
orders from General Sumner and that the heft of its first blow fell
upon Kettle Hill, which was soon captured, and on the crest of this
hill the troops which had ascended it made a temporary halt, reformed
their lines somewhat and immediately advanced upon the second hill to
the help of that part of the cavalry division which had swung to the
left in the advance, and also to the help of the infantry who were
coming against Fort San Juan at the same time. Meanwhile there was
left upon Kettle Hill a sufficient garrison or force to prevent its
being recaptured by the enemy. In the assault on Kettle Hill the
brigade commander, Colonel Carroll, had been wounded, and
Lieutenant-Colonel Hamilton of the Ninth Cavalry killed. Many troop
officers also had been either killed or wounded and also in the rush
forward through the jungle and high grass some troops had been
separated from their officers, and yet it is remarkable that all were
ready to move forward to the next assault.

The words of praise to the whole cavalry division contained in the
following order, published at Camp Wikoff immediately after the
arrival there of the troops, are claimed by both black and white
cavalrymen alike:

     Headquarters, Cavalry Division,
     Camp Wikoff, L.I., September 7th, 1898.

     To the Officers and Soldiers of the Cavalry Division, Army
     of Santiago.

     The duties for which the troops comprising the Cavalry
     Division were brought together have been accomplished.

     On June 14th we sailed from Tampa, Fla., to encounter in the
     sickly season the diseases of the tropical island of Cuba,
     and to face and attack the historic legions of Spain in
     positions chosen by them and which for years they had been
     strengthening by every contrivance and art known to the
     skillful military engineers of Europe.

     On the 23d, one squadron each of the 1st and 10th Regular
     Cavalry and two squadrons of the 1st Volunteer Cavalry, in
     all 964 officers and men, landed on Cuban soil. These troops
     marched on foot fourteen miles, and, early on the morning of
     the 24th, attacked and defeated double their number of
     regular Spanish soldiers under the command of
     Lieutenant-General Linares. Eagerly and cheerfully you
     pushed onward, and on July 1st forded San Juan River and
     gallantly swept over San Juan Hill, driving the enemy from
     its crest. Without a moment's halt you formed, aligning the
     division upon the 1st Infantry Division under General Kent,
     and, together with these troops, you bravely charged and
     carried the formidable intrenchments of Fort San Juan. The
     entire force which fought and won this great victory was
     less than seven thousand men.

     The astonished enemy, though still protected by the strong
     works to which he had made his retreat, was so stunned by
     your determined valor that his only thought was to devise
     the quickest means of saving himself from further battle.
     The great Spanish fleet hastily sought escape from the
     harbor and was destroyed by our matchless navy.

     After seizing the fortifications of San Juan Ridge, you, in
     the darkness of night, strongly intrenched the position
     your valor had won. Reinforced by Bates' Brigade on your
     left and Lawton's Division on your right, you continued the
     combat until the Spanish army of Santiago Province succumbed
     to the superb prowess and courage of American arms. Peace
     promptly followed, and you return to receive the plaudits of
     seventy millions of people.

     The valor displayed by you was not without sacrifice.
     Eighteen per cent., or nearly one in five, of the Cavalry
     Division fell on the field either killed or wounded. We
     mourn the loss of these heroic dead, and a grateful country
     will always revere their memory.

     Whatever may be my fate, wherever my steps may lead, my
     heart will always burn with increasing admiration for your
     courage in action, your fortitude under privation and your
     constant devotion to duty in its highest sense, whether in
     battle, in bivouac or upon the march.

     Major-General U.S.V., Commanding.

Aside from that part of the Tenth Cavalry who fought under General
Wheeler and who are consequently included among those congratulated by
the General Order just quoted, Troop M of that regiment, under command
of Lieutenant C.P. Johnson, performed an important part in the war.
The troop consisted of 50 men and left Port Tampa June 21 on board the
steamship Florida, the steamship Fanita also making a part of the
expedition. The troop was mounted and was accompanied by a pack train
of 65 animals. Both ships were heavily loaded with clothing,
ammunition and provision, and had on board besides Lieutenant
Johnson's command, General Nunez and staff and 375 armed Cubans. The
expedition sailed around the west end of the island and attempted a
landing at a point chosen by General Nunez on June 29, but failed
owing to the fact that the place chosen was well guarded by Spaniards,
who fired upon the landing party. The expedition had with it a small
gunboat, the Peoria, commanded by Captain Ryan, and on the afternoon
of June 30th an attack was made upon a blockhouse on the shore by the
gunboat, and a small force of Cuban and American volunteers landed,
but were repulsed with the loss of one killed, General Nunez's
brother, and seven wounded. Two days later Lieutenant Johnson was able
to land and immediately made connection with General Gomez, unloading
his stores for the Cuban Army.

Lieutenant G.P. Ahearn, of the Twenty-fifth Infantry, who went on this
expedition as a volunteer, rendered important service on the night
after the attack on the blockhouse at Tayabacoa. As the attacking
party met with repulse and escaped to the ship in the darkness,
several of their wounded were left on shore. Several boats sent out to
recover them had returned without the men, their crews fearing to go
on shore after them. Lieutenant Ahearn volunteered to attempt the
rescue of the men, and taking a water-logged boat, approached the
shore noiselessly and succeeded in his undertaking. The crew
accompanying Lieutenant Ahearn was made up of men from Troop M, Tenth
Cavalry, and behaved so well that the four were given Medals of Honor
for their marked gallantry. The action of Lieutenant Ahearn in this
case was in keeping with his whole military career. He has ever
manifested a fondness for exceptional service, and has never failed
when opportunity occurred to display a noble gallantry on the side of
humanity. Nothing appeals to him so commandingly as an individual
needing rescue, and in such a cause he immediately rises to the hero's
plane. The noble colored soldiers who won medals on that occasion were
all privates and became heroes for humanity's sake. Their names
deserve a place in this history outside the mere official table. They
were Dennis Bell, George H. Wanton, Fitz Lee and William H. Tompkins,
and were the only colored soldiers who, at the time of this writing,
have won Medals of Honor in the Spanish War. Others, however, may yet
be given, as doubtless others are deserved. The heroic service
performed by whole regiments, as in the case of the Twenty-fourth
Infantry, should entitle every man in it to a medal of some form as a
souvenir for his posterity.

Losses of the Ninth Cavalry in the battles of San Juan:

OFFICERS--Killed, Lieutenant-Colonel John M. Hamilton.

MEN--Killed, Trumpeter Lewis Fort, Private James Johnson.

OFFICERS--Wounded, Adjutant Winthrop S. Wood, Captain Charles
W. Taylor.

MEN--Wounded. First Sergeant Charles W. Jefferson, Sergeant
Adam Moore, Sergeant Henry F. Wall, Sergeant Thomas B. Craig, Corporal
James W. Ervine, Corporal Horace T. Henry, Corporal John Mason,
Burwell Bullock, Elijah Crippen, Edward Davis, Hoyle Ervin, James
Gandy, Edward D. Nelson, Noah Prince, Thomas Sinclair, James R. Spear,
Jr., Jacob Tull, William H. Turner, George Warren, Alfred Wilson.

Losses of the Tenth Cavalry during the battle of San Juan:

OFFICERS--Killed, First Lieutenant W.E. Shipp, First
Lieutenant W.H. Smith.

MEN--Killed, John H. Smoot, Corporal W.F. Johnson, John H.
Dodson, George Stroal, William H. Slaughter.

OFFICERS--Wounded, Major T.J. Wint Captain John Bigelow, Jr.,
Adjutant and First Lieutenant M.H. Barnum, First Lieutenant R.L.
Livermore, First Lieutenant E.D. Anderson, Second Lieutenant F.R.
McCoy, Second Lieutenant H.C. Whitehead, Second Lieutenant T.A.
Roberts, Second Lieutenant H.O. Willard.

MEN--Wounded, First Sergeant A. Houston, First Sergeant
Robert Milbrown, Q.M. Sergeant William Payne, Sergeant Smith Johnson,
Sergeant Ed. Lane, Sergeant Walker Johnson, Sergeant George Dyers,
Sergeant Willis Hatcher, Sergeant John L. Taylor, Sergeant Amos
Elliston, Sergeant Frank Rankin, Sergeant E.S. Washington, Sergeant
U.G. Gunter, Corporal J.G. Mitchell, Corporal Allen Jones, Corporal
Marcellus Wright, Privates Lewis L. Anderson, John Arnold, Charles
Arthur, John Brown, Frank D. Bennett, Wade Bledsoe, Hillary Brown,
Thornton Burkley, John Brooks, W.H. Brown, Wm. A. Cooper, John Chinn,
J.H. Campbell, Henry Fearn, Benjamin Franklin, Gilmore Givens, B.F.
Gaskins, William Gregory, Luther D. Gould, Wiley, Hipsher, Thomas
Hardy, Charles Hopkins, Richard James, Wesley Jones, Robert E. Lee,
Sprague Lewis, Henry McCormack, Samuel T. Minor, Lewis Marshall,
William Matthews, Houston Riddill, Charles Robinson, Frank Ridgeley,
Fred. Shackley, Harry D. Sturgis, Peter Saunderson, John T. Taylor,
William Tyler, Isom Taylor, John Watson, Benjamin West, Joseph
Williams, Allen E. White, Nathan Wyatt.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Note.--"While we talked, and the soldiers filled their
     canteens and drank deep and long, like camels who, after
     days of travel through the land of 'thirst and emptiness,'
     have reached the green oasis and the desert spring, a black
     corporal of the 24th Infantry walked wearily up to the
     'water hole.' He was muddy and bedraggled. He carried no cup
     or canteen, and stretched himself out over the
     stepping-stones in the stream, sipping up the water and the
     mud together out of the shallow pool. A white cavalryman ran
     toward him shouting, 'Hold on, bunkie; here's my cup!' The
     negro looked dazed a moment, and not a few of the spectators
     showed amazement, for such a thing had rarely if ever
     happened in the army before. 'Thank you,' said the black
     corporal. 'Well, we are all fighting under the same flag
     now.' And so he drank out of the white man's cup. I was glad
     to see that I was not the only man who had come to recognize
     the justice of certain Constitutional amendments, in the
     light of the gallant behaviour of the colored troops
     throughout the battle, and, indeed, the campaign. The
     fortune of war had, of course, something to do with it in
     presenting to the colored troops the opportunities for
     distinguished service, of which they invariably availed
     themselves to the fullest extent; but the confidence of the
     general officers in their superb gallantry, which the event
     proved to be not misplaced, added still more, and it is a
     fact that the services of no four white regiments can be
     compared with those rendered by the four colored
     regiments--the 9th and 10th Cavalry, and the 24th and 25th
     Infantry. They were to the front at La Guasima, at Caney,
     and at San Juan, and what was the severest test of all, that
     came later, in the yellow-fever hospitals."--Bonsal.


[19] Official Report of General Sumner.


SAN JUAN (Continued).

     Kent's Division: The Twenty-fourth Infantry; Forming Under
     Fire--A Gallant Charge.

Turning now to the centre and left of the American line we follow the
advance of that division of infantry commanded by General Kent, and
which met the brunt of Spanish resistance at San Juan. This division,
known as the First Division, Fifth Army Corps, consisted of three
brigades, composed as follows:

First Brigade, Brigadier-General Hawkins commanding, made up of the
Sixth Infantry, the Sixteenth Infantry, and the Seventy-first New York

The Second Brigade, Colonel Pearson commanding, made up of the Second
Infantry, the Tenth Infantry and the Twenty-first Infantry.

The Third Brigade, commanded by Colonel Wikoff, in which were the
Ninth Infantry, the Thirteenth Infantry and the Twenty-fourth
Infantry; in all 262 officers and 5,095 men. Thus, in the whole
division there were eight regiments of regular infantry and one
volunteer regiment, the Seventy-first New York.

Although our present purpose is to bring into view the special work of
the Twenty-fourth Infantry, it will be necessary to embrace in our
scope the work of the entire division, in order to lay before the
reader the field upon which that particular regiment won such lasting
credit. General Kent, who commanded the division, a most accomplished
soldier, gives a lucid account of the whole assault as seen from his
position, and of the work performed by his division, in his report,
dated July 8, 1898.

When General Kent's division arrived in the neighborhood of the San
Juan ford and found itself under fire and the trail so blocked by
troops of the cavalry division, which had not yet deployed to the
right, that direct progress toward the front was next to impossible,
the welcome information was given by the balloon managers that a trail
branched off to the left from the main trail, only a short distance
back from the ford. This trail led to a ford some distance lower down
the stream and nearly facing the works on the enemy's right. General
Kent on learning of this outlet immediately hastened back to the forks
and meeting the Seventy-first New York Regiment, the rear regiment of
the First Brigade, he directed that regiment into this trail toward
the ford. The regiment was to lead the way through this new trail and
would consequently arrive at the front first on the left; but meeting
the fire of the enemy, the First Battalion of the regiment apparently
became panic stricken and recoiled upon the rest of the regiment; the
regiment then lay down on the sides of the trail and in the bushes,
thoroughly demoralized.

Wikoff's brigade was now coming up and it was directed upon the same
trail. This brigade consisted of the Ninth, Thirteenth and
Twenty-fourth. Colonel Wikoff was directed by General Kent to move his
brigade across the creek by the trail (the left fork) and when
reaching the opposite side, of the creek to put the brigade in line on
the left of the trail and begin the attack at once. In executing this
order the entire brigade stumbled through and over hundreds of men of
the Seventy-first New York Regiment. When a volunteer regiment broke
through the lines of the Ninth Cavalry from the rear, that regiment
was in its place on the field in line of battle, with its morale
perfect. It was under discipline and delivering its fire with
regularity. It had an absolute right to its place. The Seventy-first
was in no such attitude, and General Kent directed the advance through
it in these words: "Tell the brigade to pay no attention to this sort
of thing; it is highly irregular." The Ninth Cavalry's position was
exactly _regular_; the position of the Seventh-first was to the eyes
of General Kent "highly irregular."

The three regiments of this brigade were to take their positions on
the left of the ford after crossing the stream, in the following
order: On the extreme left the Twenty-fourth, next to it in the centre
of the brigade, the Ninth, and on the right of the brigade the
Thirteenth. In approaching the ford the Ninth and Twenty-fourth became
mixed and crossed in the following order: First one battalion of the
Ninth; then a battalion of the Twenty-fourth; then the second
battalion of the Ninth, followed by the second battalion of the
Twenty-fourth. The line was formed under fire, and while
superintending its formation the brigade commander, Colonel Wikoff,
came under observation and was killed; Lieutenant-Colonel Worth, who
succeeded him, was seriously wounded within five minutes after having
taking command, and Lieutenant-Colonel Liscum, who next assumed charge
of the brigade, had hardly learned that he was in command before he,
too, was disabled by a Spanish shot By this time, however, the
formation was about complete and the brigade ready to begin the

Leaving Wikoff's brigade in line ready to begin the advance we must
now return in our narrative to the main ford, where the major portions
of Hawkins' and Pearson's brigades are massed and follow the various
regiments as they come to their places in the battle line preparing
for the onslaught. After crossing the ford with the Sixth Infantry,
pursuant to the orders given by Lieutenant Miley in the name of
General Shafter, General Hawkins attempted to flank the enemy by a
movement to the left, the Sixth Infantry leading and the Sixteenth
intending to pass beyond it in its rear and join to its left. The
Sixth in passing to its intended position passed to the left of the
Sixth Cavalry, which held the left of the line of the cavalry
division, which had crossed the ford and deployed to the right,
reaching beyond the Spanish lines in that direction, or at least it
was able to reach the extreme right of the enemy. The Sixth Infantry
continued this line southward and it was to be farther extended by the
Sixteenth. Before this disposition could be effected the fire of the
enemy became so severe that an advance movement was started and the
Sixth lined up facing the fort on the hill, with only one company and
a half of the Sixteenth on its left.

While Hawkins' and Wikoff's brigades were preparing for the advance
upon the enemy's works, Pearson's brigade was approaching the ford,
hurrying to the support. The Twenty-first Regiment of this brigade was
detached from the brigade and sent directly forward on the main trail
with orders to re-enforce the firing line. This regiment crossed the
San Juan River to the left of the main ford and rushed forward to
support Hawkins' left. In the meantime the two other regiments of the
brigade, the Second and Tenth, which had preceded the Twenty-first in
their march from El Poso, had been deflected to the left by order of
the division commander and were passing to the front over the trail
previously taken by Wikoff's brigade, crossing the San Juan at the
lower ford. The Tenth crossed in advance and formed in close order on
the opposite side of the stream, its line facing northwest. It was
soon after, however, put in battle formation and moved to the right
until it connected with the Twenty-first. The Second Regiment crossed
the ford in the rear of the Tenth, having been delayed considerably by
the Seventh-first New York Volunteers, who still blocked the way
between the forks and the lower ford. After crossing the ford the
Second put itself in line on the left of the Tenth, the whole brigade
being now in position to support the First and Third Brigades in their

This movement of Colonel Pearson's brigade had not been made without
hardship and loss. All of the regiments came under the enemy's fire
before reaching the San Juan River and many men were killed or wounded
while the regiments were gaining their positions. The movement was so
well executed as to call forth from the division commander the
following enconium: "I observed this movement from the Fort San Juan
Hill. Colonel E.P. Pearson, Tenth Infantry, commanding the Second
Brigade, and the officers and troops under his command deserve great
credit for the soldierly manner in which this movement was executed."

Although we left Wikoff's brigade standing in line on the left of the
lower ford, we must not imagine that it remained in that position
until the above movement on the part of the Second Brigade had been
accomplished. There was no standing still in the fierce fire to which
the men of that brigade were at that time subjected--a fire which had
already cut down in rapid succession three brigade commanders. The
formation was no sooner completed than the rapid advance began. The
Thirteenth Infantry holding the right of the brigade moved to the
right and front, while the Ninth and Twenty-fourth moved almost
directly to the front at first, thus partially gaining the flank of
the enemy's position. The whole line moved with great rapidity across
the open field and up the hill, so that when the Second and Tenth
Infantry came to their position as support, the heroic Third Brigade
was well up the heights. To the right of the Third Brigade the First
Brigade, containing the gallant Sixth, under Colonel Egbert, and the
Sixteenth, was advancing also, and the two brigades arrived at the
fort almost simultaneously; so that the division commander in speaking
of the capture says: "Credit is almost equally due the Sixth, Ninth,
Thirteenth, Sixteenth and Twenty-fourth Regiments of Infantry." To the
Third Brigade he gives the credit of turning the enemy's right.

Let us now examine more closely that sweep of the Third Brigade from
the left of the lower ford to San Juan Hill, in order to trace more
distinctly the pathway of honor made for itself by the Twenty-fourth.
This regiment formed left front into line under fire and advanced over
the flat in good order, and then reformed under shelter of the hill
preparatory to the final charge upon the enemy's intrenchments. The
experience of the companies in crossing the flat is told by the
company commanders. One company under the orders of its captain formed
line of skirmishers and advanced in good order at rapid gait, reaching
the foot of the hill almost exhausted. This was about the experience
of all, but this company is mentioned because it was the first company
of the regiment to reach the top of the hill. In crossing the flat
there was necessarily some mixing of companies and in some instances
men were separated from their officers, but those who escaped the
enemy's bullets made their way across that plain of fire and were
ready to join in the charge up the hill where only brave men could go.

There was but a moment's pause for breath at the foot of the hill and
the general charge all along the line began, the Sixth Infantry
probably taking the initiative, although the gallant Colonel Egbert,
of that regiment (since killed in the Philippines), makes no such
claim. In his farewell official report of the Sixth he thus describes
the final act:

     "We were now unexpectedly re-enforced. Lieutenant Parker,
     made aware by the heavy fire from the hill that a conflict
     was going on in his front, opened fire with his Gatlings
     most effectively on the intrenchments, while from far down
     on my left I heard cheering and shouts, and saw coming up
     the slope towards us a multitude of skirmishers. As they
     drew nearer we distinguished the tall figure of General
     Hawkins, with his aide, Lieutenant Ord, Sixth Infantry,
     charging at the head of the skirmishers and waving their
     hats. When the charge came up nearly abreast of where the
     Sixth stood in the road I ordered the companies out through
     the gaps in the wire fence to join it, and they complied
     with the same alacrity and enthusiasm that they had
     displayed in entering this bloody field. The Gatlings
     redoubled their fierce grinding of bullets on the Spanish,
     despite which there still came a savage fire from the
     blockhouse and trenches. Here the gallant Captain Wetherell,
     Sixth Infantry, fell, shot through the forehead, at the head
     of his company, and I received a Mauser bullet through the
     left lung, which disabled me. But the blood of the troops
     was now up, and no loss of officers or men could stop them.
     They charged up the incline until, coming to a steep ridge
     near the top, they were brought to a stand by the hail of
     bullets from the Gatlings against the summit. As soon as
     this could be stopped by a signal, the mingled troops of the
     Sixth, Sixteenth, Thirteenth and Twenty-fourth swept up and
     over the hill and it was won."

From testimony gathered on the evening of the fight it was concluded
that there were more men of the Twenty-fourth Infantry on the ridge in
this first occupation than of any other regiment, but all of the
regiments of the division had done admirably and the brave blacks of
the Twenty-fourth won on that day a standing in arms with the bravest
of the brave.

The Spaniards although driven from their first line, by no means gave
up the fight; but retreating to a line of intrenchments about eight
hundred yards in the rear they opened upon the new-comers a fire
almost as hot as before, and the troops found it difficult to hold
what they had gained. The supporting regiments were coming up and
strengthening the line, the men meanwhile entrenching themselves under
fire as rapidly as possible. The Thirteenth Infantry was immediately
ordered off to the right to assist the cavalry division, especially
the Rough Riders, who were said to be in danger of having their flank
turned. Here it remained under fire all night.

The advance and charge of the Twenty-fourth made up only a part of the
advance and charge of the Third Brigade; and this in turn was part of
the attack and assault made by the whole infantry division; a movement
also participated in at the same hour by the cavalry division; so that
regarded as a whole, it was a mighty blow delivered on the enemy's
right and centre by two-thirds of the American Army, and its effect
was stunning, although its full weight had not been realized by the
foe. The part sustained in the assault by each regiment may be
estimated by the losses experienced by each in killed and wounded.
Judged by this standard the brunt fell upon the Sixth, Sixteenth,
Thirteenth, and Twenty-fourth, all of which regiments lost heavily,
considering the short time of the action.

The movement by which the Twenty-fourth reached its position on that
memorable 1st of July has called forth especial mention by the
regimental commander and by the acting Assistant Adjutant-General of
the brigade; it was also noted immediately after the battle by all the
newspaper writers as one of the striking occurrences of the day. The
regiment on coming under fire marched about one mile by the left
flank, and then formed left front into line on its leading company,
Company G, commanded by Captain Brereton. The first man of the
regiment to take position in the line was the First Sergeant of G
Company, R.G. Woods. This company when reaching its position formed on
left into line, under a severe fire in front and a fire in the rear;
the other companies forming in the same manner, with more or less
regularity, to its left. As soon as the line was formed the order was
given to charge. The advance was made across an open meadow, during
which several officers were wounded, among them the officers of
Company F, the command of that company devolving upon its First
Sergeant, William Rainey, who conducted the company successfully to
the crest of the hill.

The description of the movement of Company D as given by Lieutenant
Kerwin, who was placed in command of that company after its officers
had been shot, is a very interesting document. Lieutenant Kerwin
claims to have made his report from "close inquiries and from personal
observation." According to this report the company was led across the
San Juan Creek by its Captain (Ducat), the Second Lieutenant of the
company (Gurney) following it, and keeping the men well closed up.
While crossing, the company encountered a terrific fire, and after
advancing about ten yards beyond the stream went through a wire fence
to the right, and advanced to an embankment about twenty yards from
the right bank of the stream. Here Captain Ducat gave the order to
advance to the attack and the whole company opened out in good order
in line of skirmishers and moved rapidly across the open plain to the
foot of San Juan Hill. In making this movement across the plain the
line was under fire and the brave Lieutenant Gurney was killed, and
First Sergeant Ellis, Corporal Keys and Privates Robinson and Johnson
wounded. It was a race with death, but the company arrived at the base
of the hill in good form, though well-nigh exhausted. After breathing
a moment the men were ready to follow their intrepid commander,
Captain Ducat, up the hill, and at twelve o'clock they gained the
summit, being the first company of the regiment to reach the top of
the hill. Just as they reached the crest the brave Ducat fell, shot
through the hip, probably by a Spanish sharpshooter, thus depriving
the company of its last commissioned officer, and leaving its first
sergeant also disabled.

The commander of the regiment speaks of its doings in a very modest
manner, but in a tone to give the reader confidence in what he says.
He became temporarily separated from the regiment, but made his way to
the crest of the hill in company with the Adjutant and there found a
part of his command. He says a creditable number of the men of his
regiment reached the top of the hill among the first to arrive there.
The commander of the Second Battalion, Captain Wygant, crossed the
meadow, or flat, some distance ahead of the battalion, but as the men
subsequently charged up the hill, he was unable to keep up with them,
so rapid was their gait It was from this battalion that Captain
Ducat's company broke away and charged on the right of the battalion,
arriving, as has been said, first on the top of the hill. As the
regiment arrived Captain Wygant, finding himself the ranking officer
on the ground, assembled it and assigned each company its place.
Captain Dodge, who commanded Company C in this assault, and who
subsequently died in the yellow fever hospital at Siboney, mentions
the fact that Captain Wygant led the advance in person, and says that
in the charge across the open field the three companies, C, B and H,
became so intermixed that it was impossible for the company commanders
to distinguish their own men from those of the other companies, yet he
says he had the names of twenty men of his own company who reached the
trenches at Fort San Juan in that perilous rush on that fiery mid-day.
The testimony of all the officers of the regiment is to the effect
that the men behaved splendidly, and eight of them have been given
Certificates of Merit for gallantry in the action of July 1.

The losses of the regiment in that advance were numerous, the killed,
wounded and missing amounted to 96, which number was swelled to 104
during the next two days. So many men falling in so short a time while
advancing in open order tells how severe was the fire they were facing
and serves to modify the opinion which was so often expressed about
the time the war broke out, to the effect that the Spanish soldiers
were wanting both in skill and bravery. They contradicted this both at
El Caney and at San Juan. In the latter conflict they held their
ground until the last moment and inflicted a loss upon their
assailants equal to the number engaged in the defence of the heights.
Since July 1, 1898, expatiation on the cowardice and lack of skill of
the Spanish soldier has ceased to be a profitable literary occupation.
Too many journalists and correspondents were permitted to witness the
work of Spanish sharpshooters, and to see their obstinate resistance
to the advance of our troops, to allow comments upon the inefficiency
of the Spanish Army to pass unnoticed. Our army from the beginning was
well impressed with the character of the foe and nerved itself
accordingly. The bravery of our own soldiers was fully recognized by
the men who surrendered to our army and who were capable of
appreciating it, because they themselves were not wanting in the same

     [Transcriber's Note: This footnote appeared in the text
     without a footnote anchor:

     "The intrenchments of San Juan were defended by two
     companies of Spanish infantry, numbering about two hundred
     and fifty to three hundred men. At about 11 o'clock in the
     morning reinforcements were sent to them, bringing the
     number up to about seven hundred and fifty men. There were
     two pieces of mountain artillery on these hills, the rest of
     the artillery fire against our troops on that day being from
     batteries close to the city."--In Cuba with Shafter (Miley),
     page 117.]



     In the Trenches--The Twenty-fourth in the Fever Camp--Are
     Negro Soldiers Immune?--Camp Wikoff.

After the battle of El Caney the Twenty-fifth Infantry started for the
mango grove, where the blanket rolls and haversacks had been left in
the morning, and on its way passed the Second Massachusetts Volunteers
standing by the roadside. This regiment had seen the charge of the
Twenty-fifth up the hillside, and they now manifested their
appreciation of the gallantry of the black regulars in an ovation of
applause and cheers. This was the foundation for Sergeant Harris'
reply when on another occasion seeing the manifest kind feelings of
this regiment to the Twenty-fifth, I remarked: "Those men think you
are soldiers." "They know we are soldiers," replied the sergeant. The
regiment bivouacked in the main road leading from El Caney to
Santiago, but sleep was out of the question. What with the passing of
packtrains and artillery, and the issuing of rations and ammunition,
the first half of the night gave no time for rest; and shortly after
12 o'clock, apprehensions of a Spanish attack put every one on the
alert. At 3.30 the march to the rear was commenced and the entire
division passed around by El Poso and advanced to the front by the
Aguadores road, finally reaching a position on Wheeler's right about
noon, July 2.

Subsequently the line of investment was extended to the right, the
Cuban forces under General Garcia holding the extreme right
connecting with the water front on that side of the city. Next to them
came Ludlow's McKibben's and Chaffee's forces. In McKibben's brigade
was the Twenty-fifth, which dug its last trench on Cuban soil on July
14th, on the railroad running out from Santiago to the northwest. This
intrenchment was the nearest to the city made by any American
organization, and in this the regiment remained until the surrender.

The Twenty-fourth remained entrenched over to the left, in General
Kent's division, lying to the right of the 21st. This regiment (24th)
had won great credit in its advance upon the enemy, but it was to win
still greater in the field of humanity. Capt. Leavel, who commanded
Company A, said: "It would be hard to particularize in reporting upon
the men of the company. All--non-commissioned officers, privates, even
newly joined recruits--showed a desire to do their duty, yea, more
than their duty, which would have done credit to seasoned veterans.
Too much cannot be said of their courage, willingness and endurance."
Captain Wygant, who commanded the Second Battalion of the regiment,
says: "The gallantry and bearing shown by the officers and soldiers of
the regiment under this trying ordeal was such that it has every
reason to be proud of its record. The losses of the regiment, which
are shown by the official records, show the fire they were subjected
to. The casualties were greater among the officers than the men, which
is accounted for by the fact that the enemy had posted in the trees
sharpshooters, whose principal business was to pick them off." There
is no countenance given in official literature to the absurd notion
maintained by some, that it was necessary for the officers of black
troops to expose themselves unusually in order to lead their troops,
and that this fact accounts for excessive losses among them. The fact
is that the regular officer's code is such that he is compelled to
occupy the place in battle assigned him in the tactics, and no matter
how great his cowardice of heart may be, he must go forward until
ordered to halt. The penalty of cowardice is something to be dreaded
above wounds or even death by some natures. "Colored troops are brave
men when led by white officers."(?) As a matter of fact there is very
little leading of any sort by officers in battle. The officer's place
is in the rear of the firing line, directing, not leading, and it is
his right and duty to save his own life if possible, and that of every
man in his command, even while seeking to destroy the enemy, in
obedience to orders. The record of the Twenty-fourth for bravery was
established beyond question when it swept across that open flat and up
San Juan Hill on that hot mid-day of July 1st, 1898.

After lying in the trenches until July 15th, the news reached the camp
of the Twenty-fourth that yellow fever had broken out in the army, and
that a large hospital and pest-house had been established at Siboney.
About 4 o'clock that day an order came to the commanding officer of
the regiment directing him to proceed with his regiment to Siboney and
report to the medical officer there. The regiment started on its march
at 5.30, numbering at that time 8 companies, containing 15 officers
and 456 men. Marching on in the night, going through thickets and
across streams, the men were heard singing a fine old hymn:

    When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
    The rivers of woe shall not thee o'erflow;
    For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
    And sanctify to thee they deepest distress.

In view of what was before them, the words were very appropriate. They
arrived on the hill at Siboney at 3.30 on the morning of July 16th.

Without discussing the graphic story told by correspondents of the
highest respectability describing the regiment as volunteering, to a
man, to nurse the sick and dying at Siboney, we will rather follow the
official records of their doings in that fever-stricken place. On
arriving at Siboney on the morning of July 16, Sunday, Major Markely,
then in command of the regiment, met Colonel Greenleaf of the Medical
Department, and informed him that the Twenty-fourth Infantry was on
the ground. Colonel Greenleaf was just leaving the post, but Major La
Garde, his successor, manifested his great pleasure in seeing this
form of assistance arrive. Such a scene of misery presented itself to
Major Markely's eyes that he, soldier as he was, was greatly affected,
and assured Major La Garde that he was prepared personally to sink
every other consideration and devote himself to giving what assistance
he could in caring for the sick, and that he believed his whole
regiment would feel as he did when they came to see the situation. In
this he was not mistaken. The officers and men of the Twenty-fourth
Infantry did give themselves up to the care of the sick and dying,
furnishing all help in their power until their own health and strength
gave way, in some instances laying down even their lives in this noble

On the day of arrival seventy men were called for to nurse yellow
fever patients and do other work about the hospital. More than this
number immediately volunteered to enter upon a service which they
could well believe meant death to some of them. The camp was so
crowded and filthy that the work of cleaning it was begun at once by
the men of the Twenty-fourth, and day by day they labored as their
strength would permit, in policing the camp, cooking the food for
themselves and for the hospital, unloading supplies, taking down and
removing tents, and numberless other details of necessary labor.
Despite all the care that could be taken under such conditions as were
found at Siboney, the yellow fever soon overran the entire camp, and
of the 16 officers of the regiment, 1 had died, 2 more were expected
to die; 3 were dangerously ill, and 5 more or less so. Out of the
whole sixteen there were but three really fit for duty, and often out
of the whole regiment it would be impossible to get 12 men who could
go on fatigue duty. Out of the 456 men who marched to Siboney only 24
escaped sickness, and on one day 241 were down. Those who would
recover remained weak and unfit for labor. Silently, without
murmuring, did these noble heroes, officers and men, stand at their
post ministering to the necessities of their fellowman until the
welcome news came that the regiment would be sent north and the
hospital closed as soon as possible. On August 8 Major La Garde, more
entitled to the honor of being classed among the heroes of Santiago
than some whose opportunities of brilliant display were vastly
superior, succumbed to the disease. The fact should be borne in mind
that all of these men, officers, soldiers and surgeons, went upon this
pest-house duty after the severe labors of assault of July 1-2, and
the two weeks of terrible strain and exposure in the trenches before
Santiago, and with the sick and wounded consequent upon these battles
and labors--none were strong.

On July 16th, the day after the Twenty-fourth left the trenches, the
surrender was made and on the next morning the final ceremonies of
turning over Santiago to the American forces took place, and the
soldiers were allowed to come out of their ditches and enter into
more comfortable camps. The hardships of the period after the
surrender were not much less than those experienced while in the

On the 26th of August the Twenty-fourth Infantry, having obtained an
honorable release from its perilous duty, marched out of Siboney with
band playing and colors flying to go on board the transport for
Montauk; but of the 456 men who marched into Siboney, only 198 were
able to march out, directed by 9 out of the 15 officers that marched
in with them. Altogether there were 11 officers and 289 men who went
on board the transport, but all except the number first given were
unable to take their places in the ranks. They went on board the
steamer Nueces, and coming from an infected camp, no doubt great care
was taken that the transport should arrive at its destination in a
good condition. Although there was sickness on board, there were no
deaths on the passage, and the Nueces arrived in port "one of the
cleanest ships that came to that place." The official report states
that the Nueces arrived at Montauk Point September 2, with 385 troops
on board; 28 sick, no deaths on the voyage, and not infected. Worn out
by the hard service the regiment remained a short time at Montauk and
then returned to its former station, Fort Douglass, Utah, leaving its
camp at Montauk in such a thoroughly creditable condition as to elicit
official remark.

While the Twenty-fourth Infantry had without doubt the hardest
service, after the surrender, of any of the colored regiments, the
others were not slumbering at ease. Lying in the trenches almost
constantly for two weeks, drenched with rains, scorched by the burning
sun at times, and chilled by cool nights, subsisting on food not of
the best and poorly cooked, cut off from news and kept in suspense,
when the surrender finally came it found our army generally very
greatly reduced in vital force. During the period following, from July
16th to about the same date in August the re-action fell with all its
weight upon the troops, rendering them an easy prey to the climatic
influences by which they were surrounded.[20] Pernicious malarial
fever, bowel troubles and yellow fever were appearing in all the
regiments; and the colored troops appeared as susceptible as their
white comrades. The theory had been advanced that they were less
susceptible to malarial fever, and in a certain sense this appears to
be true; but the experience of our army in Cuba, as well as army
statistics published before the Cuban War, do not bear out the popular
view of the theory. The best that can be said from the experience of
Cuba is to the effect that the blacks may be less liable to yellow
fever and may more quickly rally from the effects of malarial fever.
These conclusions are, however, by no means well established. The
Twenty-fourth suffered excessively from fevers of both kinds, and in
the judgment of the commanding officer of the regiment "effectually
showed that colored soldiers were not more immune from Cuban fever
than white," but we must remember that the service of the
Twenty-fourth was exceptional. The Twenty-fifth Infantry lost but one
man during the whole campaign from climatic disease, John A. Lewis,
and it is believed that could he have received proper medical care his
life would have been saved. Yet this regiment suffered severely from
fever as did also the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry.

Arriving at Montauk[21] early the author had the opportunity to see
the whole of the Fifth Army Corps disembark on its return from Cuba,
and was so impressed with its forlorn appearance that he then wrote of
it as coming home on stretchers. Pale, emaciated, weak and halting,
they came, with 3,252 sick, and reporting 87 deaths on the voyage.
But, as General Wheeler said in his report, "the great bulk of the
troops that were at Santiago were by no means well." Never before had
the people seen an army of stalwart men so suddenly transformed into
an army of invalids. And yet while all the regiments arriving showed
the effects of the hardships they had endured, the black regulars,
excepting the Twenty-fourth Infantry, appeared to have slightly the
advantage. The arrival of the Tenth Cavalry in "good condition" was an
early cheering item in the stream of suffering and debility landing
from the transports. Seeing all of the troops land and remaining at
Camp Wikoff until its days were nearly numbered, the writer feels sure
that the colored troops arrived from the front in as good condition as
the best, and that they recuperated with marked comparative rapidity.

The chaplain of the Twenty-fifth Infantry, while en route to join his
regiment at Montauk, thinking seriously over the condition of the men
returning from such a hard experience, concluded that nothing would be
more grateful to them than a reasonable supply of ripe fruit, fresh
from the orchards and fields. He therefore sent a dispatch to the
Daily Evening News, published in Bridgeton, N.J., asking the citizens
of that community to contribute a carload of melons and fruits for the
men of the Twenty-fifth, or for the whole camp, if they so wished.
Subsequently mentioning the fact to the commanding officer of the
regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Daggett, he heartily commended the idea,
believing that the fruit would be very beneficial. The good people of
Bridgeton took hold of the matter heartily, and in a short time
forwarded to the regiment more than four hundred of Jersey's finest
watermelons, fresh from the vines. These were distributed judiciously
and the health of the men began to improve forthwith. Soon five
hundred more arrived, sent by a patriotic citizen of Philadelphia.
These were also distributed. Ladies of Brooklyn forwarded peaches and
vegetables, and supplies of all sorts now were coming in abundance.
Our men improved so rapidly as to be the occasion of remark by
correspondents of the press. They were spoken of as being apparently
in good condition. While engaged in the work of supplying their
physical wants the chaplain was taken to task by a correspondent of
Leslie's for being too much concerned in getting a carload of
watermelons for his regiment, to go over to a graveyard and pray over
the dead. The next day the chaplain made haste to go over to that
particular graveyard to relieve the country from the crying shame that
the correspondent had pointed out, only to find two men already there
armed with prayer-books and one of them especially so fearful that he
would not get a chance to read a prayer over a dead soldier, that the
chaplain found it necessary to assure him that the opportunity to pray
should not be taken from him; and thus another popular horror was
found to be without reality.

The colored ladies of Brooklyn organized a Soldiers' Aid Society, and
besides contributing in a general way, as already mentioned, also made
and presented to the soldiers about four hundred home-made pies, which
were most highly appreciated. They also prepared a tasty souvenir
commemorative of the heroic work performed by the troops in Cuba, and
expressive of high appreciation of the gallantry of the colored
regiments. A beautiful stand of colors was also procured for the
Twenty-fourth Infantry, which were subsequently presented to the
regiment with appropriate ceremonies.

At the camp were three colored chaplains and one colored surgeon,
serving with the Regular Army, and their presence was of great value
in the way of accustoming the people at large to beholding colored men
as commissioned officers. To none were more attention shown than to
these colored men, and there was apparently no desire to infringe upon
their rights. Occasionally a very petty social movement might be made
by an insignificant, with a view of humiliating a Negro chaplain, but
such efforts usually died without harm to those aimed at and
apparently without special comfort to those who engineered them.

The following paragraphs, written while in camp at the time indicated
in them, may serve a good purpose by their insertion here, showing as
they do the reflections of the writer as well as in outlining the more
important facts associated with that remarkable encampment:

       *       *       *       *       *


Now that the days of this camp are drawing to a close it is profitable
to recall its unique history and gather up some of the lessons it has
taught us. Despite all the sensationalism, investigations, testings,
experimentation, and general condemnation, the camp at Montauk
accomplished what was intended, and was itself a humane and patriotic
establishment. It is not for me to say whether a better site might not
have been selected, or whether the camp might not have been better
managed. I will take it for granted that improvement might have been
made in both respects, but our concern is rather with what was, than
with what "might have been."

To appreciate Camp Wikoff we must consider two things specially;
first, its purpose, and secondly, the short time allowed to prepare
it; and then go over the whole subject and properly estimate its
extent and the amount of labor involved.

The intention of the camp was to afford a place where our troops,
returning from Cuba, prostrated with climatic fever, and probably
infected with yellow fever, might receive proper medical treatment and
care, until the diseases were subdued. The site was selected with this
in view, and the conditions were admirably suited to such a purpose.
Completely isolated, on dry soil, with dry pure air, cool climate,
away from mosquitoes, the camp seemed all that was desired for a great
field hospital.

Here the sick could come and receive the best that nature had to
bestow in the way of respite from the heat, and pure ocean breezes,
and, taken altogether, the experiences of August and a good part of
September, have justified the selection of Montauk. While prostrations
were occurring elsewhere, the camp was cool and delightful most of the

As to the preparations, it must be remembered that the recall of the
whole Army of Invasion from Cuba was made in response to a popular
demand, and as a measure of humanity. Bring the army home! was the
call, and, Bring it at once!


Such urgency naturally leaps ahead of minor preparations. The soldiers
wanted to come; the people wanted them to come; hence the crowding of
transports and the lack of comforts on the voyages; hence the lack of
hospital accommodations when the troops began to arrive. Haste almost
always brings about such things; but sometimes haste is imperative.
This was the case in getting the army out of Cuba and into Camp at
Montauk in August, '98. Haste was pushed to that point when omissions
had to occur, and inconvenience and suffering resulted.

We must also remember the condition of the men who came to Montauk.
About 4,000 were reported as sick before they left Cuba; but, roughly
speaking, there were 10,000 sick men landing in Montauk. Those who
were classed as well were, with rare exceptions, both mentally and
physically incapable of high effort. It was an invalid army, with
nearly one-half of its number seriously sick and suffering.

Ten thousand sick soldiers were never on our hands before, and the
mighty problem was not realized until the transports began to emit
their streams of weakness and walking death at Montauk. The
preparation was altogether inadequate for such a mass of misery, and
for a time all appeared confusion.

Then came severe, cruel, merciless criticisms; deserved in some cases
no doubt, but certainly not everywhere. The faults, gaps, failures,
were everywhere to be seen, and it was easy to see and to say what
ought to have been done. But the situation at Camp Wikoff from August
15th to Sep. 15th needed more than censure; it needed help. The men
who were working for the Government in both the medical and commissary
departments needed assistance; the former in the way of nurses, and
the latter in the way of appropriate food. The censure and exposure
indulged in by the press may have contributed to direct the attention
of the benevolently disposed to the conditions in the camp.

Then came the era of ample help; from Massachusetts; from New York, in
a word, from all over the country. The Merchants' Relief Association
poured in its thousands of dollars worth of supplies, bringing them to
the camp and distributing them generously and wisely. The Women's
Patriotic Relief, the Women's War Relief, the International
Brotherhood League, and the powerful Red Cross Society, all poured in
food and comforts for the sick thousands. Besides these great
organizations there were also the spontaneous offerings of the people,
many of them generously distributed by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle's
active representatives. The tent of that journal was an excellent
way-mark and a veritable house of the good shepherd for many a lost
wanderer, as well as a place of comfort, cheer and rest. The work done
was very valuable and highly appreciated.

To the medical department came the trained hand of the female nurse.
No one who saw these calm-faced, white-hooded sisters, or the cheery
cheeked, white capped nurses from the schools, could fail to see that
they were in the right place. The sick soldier's lot was brightened
greatly when the gentle female nurse came to his cot. Woman can never
be robbed of her right to nurse. This is one of the lessons taught by
the Hispano-American War.

This vast army has been handled. No yellow fever has been spread. The
general health has been restored. The disabled are mostly housed in
hospitals, and many of them are on the road to recovery. Some have
died; some are on furlough, and many have gone to their homes.

The regulars are repairing to their stations quite invigorated, and
greatly helped in many ways by the kind treatment they have received.
Camp Wikoff was not a failure; but a great and successful object
lesson, as well as a great summer school in nationalism. Here black,
white and Indian soldiers fraternized; here Northerners and
Southerners served under the same orders. Ten thousand soldiers and as
many civilians daily attended the best school of its kind ever held in
this country, striving to take home to their hearts the lessons that
God is teaching the nations.

The Rev. Sylvester Malone thus sums up the message of the war to us in
his letter to the committee to welcome Brooklyn's soldiers:

     "This short war has done so much for America at home and
     abroad that we must take every soldier to our warmest
     affection and send him back to peaceful pursuits on the
     conviction that there is nothing higher in our American life
     than to have the privilege to cheer and gladden the marine
     and the soldier that have left to America her brightest and
     best page of a great history. This past war must kindle in
     our souls a love of all the brethren, black as well as
     white, Catholic as well as Protestant, having but one
     language, one nationality, and it is to be hoped, yet one

These are true words, as full of patriotism as they are of fraternity,
and these are the two special lessons taught at Montauk--a broad,
earnest, practical fraternity, and a love of country before which the
petty prejudices of race and section were compelled to yield ground.


The Young Men's Christian Association has done an excellent work in
Camp Wikoff. Their tents have afforded facilities for profitable
amusements, in the way of quiet games, thus bringing out the use of
these games distinct from their abuse--gambling.

Their reading tables have also been well supplied with papers and
magazines, religious and secular, generally very acceptable to the
soldiers, as attested by the numbers that read them. But perhaps best
of all, has been the provision made for the soldiers to write. Tables,
pens, ink, paper and envelopes have been supplied in abundance. These
were of great advantage to soldiers living in tents, and the work of
the Association in this respect cannot be too highly commended.

The specially religious work of the Association as I have seen it,
consists of three divisions: First, the meetings in their tents, held
nightly and on Sundays. These have been vigorously carried on and well
attended, the chaplains of the camp often rendering assistance.
Secondly, I have noticed the Y.M.C.A. men visiting the sick in the
hospitals and camps, giving the word of exhortation and help to the
sick. Perhaps, however, in their work of private conversation with the
well men, they have done as much real service for God as in either of
the other two fields. They have made the acquaintance of many men and
have won the respect of the camp. This I have numbered as the third
division of their work--personal contact with the soldiers of the
camp, at the same time keeping themselves "unspotted from the world."


     The 24th Infantry was ordered down to Siboney to do guard
     duty. When the regiment reached the yellow-fever hospital it
     was found to be in a deplorable condition. Men were dying
     there every hour for the lack of proper nursing. Major
     Markley, who had commanded the regiment since July 1st, when
     Colonel Liscum was wounded, drew his regiment up in line,
     and Dr. La Garde, in charge of the hospital, explained the
     needs of the suffering, at the same time clearly setting
     forth the danger to men who were not immune, of nursing and
     attending yellow-fever patients. Major Markley then said
     that any man who wished to volunteer to nurse in the
     yellow-fever hospital could step forward. The whole regiment
     stepped forward. Sixty men were selected from the volunteers
     to nurse, and within forty-eight hours forty-two of these
     brave fellows were down seriously ill with yellow or
     pernicious malarial fever. Again the regiment was drawn up
     in line, and again Major Markley said that nurses were
     needed, and that any man who wished to do so could
     volunteer. After the object lesson which the men had
     received in the last few days of the danger from contagion
     to which they would be exposed, it was now unnecessary for
     Dr. La Garde to again warn the brave blacks of the terrible
     contagion. When the request for volunteers to replace those
     who had already fallen in the performance of their dangerous
     and perfectly optional duty was made again, the regiment
     stepped forward as one man. When sent down from the trenches
     the regiment consisted of eight companies, averaging about
     forty men each. Of the officers and men who remained on duty
     the forty days spent in Siboney, only twenty-four escaped
     without serious illness, and of this handful not a few
     succumbed to fevers on the voyage home and after their
     arrival at Montauk.

     As a result, thirty-six died and about forty were discharged
     from the regiment owing to disabilities resulting from
     sickness which began in the yellow-fever hospital.--Bonsal's
     Fight for Santiago.


[20] "After the surrender, dear Chaplain, the real trouble and
difficulties began. Such a period, from July 14, 1898 to August 14,
1898, was never before known to human beings, I hope. The starving
time was nothing to the fever time, where scores died per day. We were
not permitted to starve; but had fever, and had it bad; semi-decayed
beef, both from refrigerators and from cans. We had plenty of fever,
but no clothing until very late; no medicine save a little quinine
which was forced into you all the time, intermittent only with bad
meat."--Extract from a soldier's letter.

[21] While the Twenty-fifth Infantry was in camp at Chickamauga Park I
was ordered to Xenia, Ohio, on recruiting duty, and on July 5. on
seeing the reports of the wounded I asked officially to be ordered to
my regiment. An order to that effect came about a month later,
directing me to join my regiment by way of Tampa, Florida. Arriving in
Tampa, my destination was changed by telegraph to Montauk Point, N.Y.,
whither I arrived a few days before the regiment did.



     Gallantry of the Black Regulars--Diary of Sergeant-Major
     E.L. Baker, Tenth Cavalry.

It is time now to sum up the work of the four regiments whose careers
we have thus far followed, and to examine the grounds upon which the
golden opinions they won in battle and siege are based. We have seen
that in the first fight, that of Las Guasimas, on June 24th, the Tenth
Cavalry, especially Troops I and B, both with their small arms and
with the machine guns belonging to Troop B, did most effective work
against the Spanish right, joining with the First Cavalry in
overcoming that force which was rapidly destroying Roosevelt's Rough
Riders. Nor should it be forgotten that in this first fight, Troop B,
which did its full share, was commanded on the firing line by
Sergeants John Buck and James Thompson. In the squad commanded by
Sergeant Thompson several men of the First Regular Cavalry fought and
it is claimed were highly pleased with him as squad commander.

While this was the first fight of the men of the Tenth Cavalry with
the Spaniards, it was by no means their first experience under fire.
From the time of the organization of the regiment in 1866 up to within
a year of the war, the men had been engaged frequently in conflicts
with Indians and marauders, often having men killed and wounded in
their ranks. The fights were participated in by small numbers, and the
casualties were not numerous, but there were opportunities for the
acquirement of skill and the display of gallantry. Altogether the men
of the regiment during their experience on the plains engaged in
sixty-two battles and skirmishes. This training had transformed the
older men of the regiment into veterans and enabled them to be cool
and efficient in their first fight in Cuba.

Sergeant Buck, upon whom the command of Troop B chiefly fell after
becoming separated from his Lieutenant in the battle at Guasimas,
joined the regiment in 1880, and had already passed through eighteen
years of the kind of service above described. He was at the time of
the Cuban War in the prime of life, a magnificent horseman, an
experienced scout, and a skilled packer. In 1880, when he joined the
regiment, the troops were almost constantly in motion, marching that
one year nearly seventy-seven thousand miles, his own troop covering
twelve hundred and forty-two miles in one month. This troop with four
others made a ride of sixty-five miles in less than twenty-one hours,
arriving at their destination without the loss of a single horse. In
1893 he was mentioned by the commanding officer of Fort Missoula,
Montana, for highly meritorious service, skill and energy displayed
while in charge of pack train of an expedition across the Bitter Root
Mountains, Idaho, during the most inclement weather, in quest of a
party of gentlemen lost. (Letter of commanding officer, Fort Missoula,
Montana, February 12, 1894.) Sergeant Buck has also won the silver
medal for revolver shooting.

Sergeant James Thompson joined the regiment in 1888, and has passed
the ten years in the one troop, and proved himself at Las Guasimas a
soldier worthy his regiment.

The first battle gave the Tenth a reputation in a new field,
corresponding to that which it had gained in the West, and this was
not allowed to fade during its stay in Cuba. The fame of this first
action spread rapidly through the army and inspired the other
regiments of colored men with a desire to distinguish themselves on
this new field of honor, and their readiness to be to the front and to
take prominent part in all service was so marked that opportunity
could not be withheld from them. As the army advanced toward Santiago
these regiments became more and more the mark of observation by
foreign military men who were present, and by the great throng of
correspondents who were the eyes for the people of the civilized
world. And hence, when the lines of assault were finally determined
and the infantry and cavalry of our army deployed for its perilous
attack upon the Spanish fortifications the black regiments were in
their places, conspicuous by their vigor and enthusiasm. In them were
enlisted men whose time of service had expired a few days before, but
who had promptly re-enlisted. In at least two cases were men who
served their full thirty years and could have retired with honor at
the breaking out of the war. They preferred to share the fortunes of
their comrades in arms, and it is a comfort to be able to record that
the two spoken of came home from the fight without a wound and with
health unimpaired. How many others there were in the same case in the
army is not reported, but the supposition is that there were several
such in both the white and colored regiments.

Recalling the scenes of that memorable first of July, 1898, we can see
the Twenty-fifth Infantry advancing steadily on the stone fort at El
Caney at one time entirely alone, meeting the fire of the fort even up
to their last rush forward. Captain Loughborough, who commanded
Company B, of that regiment, and although his company was in the
reserve, was nevertheless under fire, says: "The hardest fighting of
the Twenty-fifth was between two and four o'clock," at which time all
the other troops of the attacking force, except Bates' brigade, were
under cover and remaining stationary, the Twenty-fifth being the only
organization that was advancing. The official reports give the
positions of General Chaffee's brigade during the two hours between
two o'clock and four of that afternoon as follows:

The Seventh was under partial cover and remained in its position
"until about 4.30 p.m." The Seventeenth remained with its left joined
to the right of the Seventh "until the battle was over." The Twelfth
Infantry was in its shelter within 350 yards of the fort "until about
4 p.m." Ludlow's brigade was engaged with the town, hence only Miles'
brigade, consisting of the Fourth and Twenty-fifth Infantry, was
advancing upon the fort. The Fourth Infantry was soon checked in its
advance, as General Daggett especially notes in his report, and the
Twenty-fifth was thus thrust forward alone, excepting Bates' brigade,
which was making its way up the right.

This conspicuous advance of the Twenty-fifth brought that regiment
into the view of the world, and established for it a brilliant
reputation for skill and courage. Arriving in the very jaws of the
fort the sharpshooters and marksmen of that regiment poured such a
deadly fire into the loopholes of the fort that they actually silenced
it with their rifles. These men with the sternness of iron and the
skill acquired by long and careful training, impressed their
characteristics on the minds of all their beholders. Of the four
hundred men who went on the field that morning very few were recruits,
and many had passed over ten years in the service. When they "took the
battle formation and advanced to the stone fort more like veterans
than troops who had never been under fire," as their commander
reports, they gave to the world a striking exhibition of the effect of
military training. In each breast a spirit of bravery had been
developed and their skill in the use of their arms did not for a
moment forsake them. They advanced against volleys from the fort and
rifle pits in front, and a galling fire from blockhouses, the church
tower and the village on their left. Before a less severe fire than
this, on that very day, a regiment of white volunteers had succumbed
and was lying utterly demoralized by the roadside; before this same
fire the Second Massachusetts Volunteers were forced to retire--in the
face of it the Twenty-fifth advanced steadily to its goal.

Lieutenant Moss, who commanded Company H on the firing line on that
day, has published an account in which he says: "The town was
protected on the north by three blockhouses and the church; on the
west by three blockhouses (and partially by the church); on the east
by the stone fort, one blockhouse, the church, and three rifle pits;
on the south and southeast by the stone fort, three blockhouses, one
loop-holed house, the church and eight rifle pits. However, the Second
Brigade was sent forward against the southeast of the town, thus being
exposed to fire from fourteen sources, nearly all of which were in
different planes, forming so many tiers of fire. The cover on the
south and southeast of the town was no better than, if as good, as
that on the other sides."

The cavalry regiments were no less conspicuous in their gallantry at
San Juan than was the Twenty-fifth Infantry at El Caney. The
brilliancy of that remarkable regiment, the Rough Riders, commanded on
July 1st by Colonel Roosevelt, was so dazzling that it drew attention
away from the ordinary regulars, yet the five regiments of regular
cavalry did their duty as thoroughly on that day as did the regiment
of volunteers.[22] In this body of cavalry troops, where courage was
elevated to a degree infringing upon the romantic, the two black
regiments took their places, and were fit to be associated in valor
with that highly representative regiment. The Inspector-General turns
aside from mere routine in his report long enough to say "the courage
and conduct of the colored troops and First United States Volunteers
seemed always up to the best." That these black troopers held no
second place in valor is proven by their deeds, and from the testimony
of all who observed their conduct, and that they with the other
regulars were decidedly superior in skill was recognized by the
volunteer Colonel himself. The Ninth Cavalry, although suffering
considerably in that advance on East Hill, involved as it was, more or
less, with Roosevelt's regiment, did not receive so large a share of
public notice as its sister regiment. The strength of the Ninth was
but little over one-half that of the Tenth, and its movements were so
involved with those of the volunteers as to be somewhat obscured by
them; the loss also of its commander just as the first position of the
enemy fell into our hands, was a great misfortune to the regiment. The
Ninth, however, was with the first that mounted the heights, and
whatever praise is to be bestowed upon the Rough Riders in that
assault is to be distributed in equal degree to the men of that
regiment. Being in the leading brigade of the division this regiment
had been firing steadily upon the Spanish works before the charge was
ordered, and when the movement began the men of the Ninth advanced so
rapidly that they were among the first to reach the crest.

The Tenth Regiment, with its Hotchkiss guns, and its trained men, took
its place in the line that morning to add if possible further lustre
to the distinction already won. In crossing the flat, in climbing the
heights, and in holding the ridge these brave men did all that could
be expected of them. Roosevelt said: "The colored troops did as well
as any soldiers could possibly do," meaning the colored men of the
Ninth and Tenth Cavalry. To their officers he bestows a meed of praise
well deserved, but not on the peculiar ground which he brings forward.
He would have the reader believe that it has required special ability
and effort to bring these colored men up to the condition of good
soldiers and to induce them to do so well in battle; while the
testimony of the officers themselves and the experience of more than a
quarter of a century with colored professional troops give no
countenance to any such theory. The voice of experience is that the
colored man is specially apt as a soldier, and General Merritt
declares him always brave in battle. The officers commanding colored
troops at Santiago honored themselves in their reports of the battles
by giving full credit to the men in the ranks, who by their resolute
advance and their cool and accurate firing dislodged an intrenched foe
and planted the flag of our Union where had floated the ensign of

That rushing line of dismounted cavalry, so ably directed by Sumner,
did not get to its goal without loss. As it swept across the open to
reach the heights, it faced a well-directed fire from the Spanish
works, and men dropped from the ranks, wounded and dying. Of the
officers directing that advance 35 fell either killed or wounded and
328 men. These numbers appear small when hastily scanned or when
brought into comparison with the losses in battle during the Civil
War, but if we take time to imagine 35 officers lying on the ground
either killed or wounded and 328 men in the same condition, the
carnage will not appear insignificant. Woe enough followed even that
one short conflict. It must be observed also that the whole strength
of this division was less than 3000 men, so that about one out of
every eight had been struck by shot or shell.

Several enlisted men among the colored cavalry displayed high
soldierly qualities in this assault, evidencing a willingness to
assume the responsibility of command and the ability to lead.
Color-Sergeant George Berry became conspicuous at once by his
brilliant achievement of carrying the colors of two regiments, those
of his own and of the Third Cavalry. The Color-Sergeant of the latter
regiment had fallen and Berry seized the colors and bore them up the
hill with his own. The illustrated press gave some attention to this
exploit at the time, but no proper recognition of it has as yet been
made. Sergeant Berry's character as a soldier had been formed long
before this event, and his reputation for daring was already well
established. He entered the service in 1867 and when he carried that
flag up San Juan was filling out his thirty-first year in the service.
All this time he had passed in the cavalry and had engaged in many
conflicts with hostile Indians and ruffians on our frontiers.

Perhaps the most important parts taken by any enlisted men in the
cavalry division were those taken by Sergeants Foster and Givens. The
former was First Sergeant of Troop G and as the troop was making its
way to the hill by some means the Spaniards were able not only to
discover them but also the direction in which they were moving and to
determine their exact range. Sergeant Foster ventured to tell the
Lieutenant in charge that the course of advance should be changed as
they were marching directly into the enemy's guns.

"Silence," shouted the Lieutenant. "Come on, men; follow me." "All
right, sir," said the Sergeant; "we'll go as far as you will." The
next instant the Lieutenant was shot through the head, leaving
Sergeant Foster in command. Immediately the troop was deployed out of
the dangerous range and the Sergeant by the exercise of good judgment
brought his men to the crest of the hill without losing one from his
ranks. At the time of this action Sergeant Foster was a man who would
readily command attention. Born in Texas and a soldier almost
continuously since 1875, part of which time had been passed in an
infantry regiment, he had acquired valuable experience. In 1888, while
serving in the cavalry, he had been complimented in General Orders for
skill in trailing raiding parties in Arizona. He was a resolute and
stalwart soldier, an excellent horseman and possessed of superior
judgment, and with a reputation for valor which none who knew him
would question. The return of Troop G, Tenth Cavalry, for July, 1898,
contains the following note: "Lieutenant Roberts was wounded early in
the engagement; Lieutenant Smith was killed about 10.30 a.m. while
gallantly leading the troop in the advance line. After Lieutenant
Smith fell the command of the troop devolved upon First Sergeant Saint
Foster, who displayed remarkable intelligence and ability in handling
the troop during the remainder of the day. Sergeant Foster's conduct
was such as cannot be excelled for valor during the operations around
Santiago. He commanded the troop up the hills of San Juan."

Sergeant William H. Givens, of Troop D, Tenth Cavalry, also commanded
in the action against San Juan. His Captain, who was wounded three
times in the fight, being finally disabled before reaching the hill,
makes the following report: "Sergeant William H. Givens was with the
platoon which I commanded; whenever I observed him he was at his post
exercising a steadying or encouraging influence on the men, and
conducting himself like the thorough soldier that I have long known
him to be. I understand to my great satisfaction that he has been
rewarded by an appointment to a lieutenancy in an immune regiment."

The Descriptive list of Sergeant Givens, made on August 4th, 1898,
contains these remarks:

     "Commanded his troop with excellent judgment after his
     captain fell at the battle of San Juan, July 1, 1898,
     leading it up the hill to the attack of the blockhouse.

     "Character: A most excellent soldier."[23]

Sergeant Givens may also be called an "old-timer." He had enlisted in
'69, and had passed all that time in hard frontier service. The troop
in which he enlisted during the years 1876-78 was almost constantly
engaged with hostile Indians along the Mexican border, and Sergeant
Givens was called upon to take part in numerous scouts in which there
were many striking adventures. He was also in that memorable campaign
against Victoria, conducted by General Grierson. Sergeant Givens was
an ideal soldier and worthy the commendations bestowed upon him by his
troop commander and others. Captain Bigelow received his disabling
wound about seventy-five yards from the blockhouse and was taken to
the rear under heavy fire by two soldiers of the troop by the name of
Henderson and Boardman.

Lieutenant Kennington, reporting the work of the troop on that morning
says that Corporal J. Walker was probably the first soldier to reach
the top of the hill and is believed to have shot the Spaniard who
killed Lieutenant Ord. The report containing the above statement is
dated July 5, 1898. Since that time the matter has been fully
investigated by Captain Bigelow and the fact ascertained that Corporal
Walker did arrive first on the hill and did shoot the Spaniard
referred to and he has been recommended for a Medal of Honor in

The Sergeant-Major of the Tenth Cavalry, Mr. E.L. Baker, who served
with great credit during the Santiago campaign, is a soldier with an
excellent record. He was born of French and American parentage in
Wyoming and enlisted in the Ninth Cavalry as trumpeter in 1882,
serving five years in that regiment. He then enlisted in the Tenth
Cavalry, and in 1892 became Sergeant-Major. Being desirous of
perfecting himself in the cavalry service he applied for an extended
furlough with permission to leave the country, intending to enter a
cavalry school in France. In this desire he was heartily endorsed by
the officers of his regiment, and was specially commended by General
Miles, who knew him as a soldier and who highly appreciated him as
such. The breaking out of the Spanish war soon after he had made
application prevented a full consideration of his case. In 1897
Sergeant-Major Baker published a specially valuable "Roster of the
Non-Commissioned Officers of the Tenth U.S. Cavalry, with Some
Regimental Reminiscences, etc.," which has been of marked service in
the preparation of the sketches of the enlisted men of his regiment.
He contributes the interesting sketch of his experiences in Cuba with
his regiment, which follows this chapter, and which will prove to many
perhaps the most interesting portion of my book.

The Twenty-fourth Infantry advanced in that line of attack on the
extreme left and reached the crest of the San Juan Hills in such
numbers as to lead the press correspondents and others to conclude
that there were more men of this regiment promptly on the ground than
of any other one regiment. It is certain they made a record for
heroism in that assault as bright as any won on the field that day;
and this record they raised to a magnificent climax by their
subsequent work in the fever hospital at Siboney. For their
distinguished service both in the field and in the hospital, the
colored ladies of New York honored themselves in presenting the
regiment the beautiful stand of colors already mentioned. As these
fever-worn veterans arrived at Montauk they presented a spectacle well
fitted to move strong men to tears. In solemn silence they marched
from on board the transport Nueces, which had brought them from Cuba,
and noiselessly they dragged their weary forms over the sandy roads
and up the hill to the distant "detention camp." Twenty-eight of their
number were reported sick, but the whole regiment was in ill-health.

These were the men who had risked their lives and wrecked their health
in service for others. Forty days they had stood face to face with
death. In their soiled, worn and faded clothing, with arms uncleaned,
emaciated, and with scarce strength enough to make the march before
them, as they moved on that hot 2nd of September from the transport to
the camp, they appeared more like a funeral procession than heroes
returning from the war; and to the credit of our common humanity it
may be recorded that they were greeted, not with plaudits and cheers,
but with expressions of real sympathy. Many handkerchiefs were brought
into view, not to wave joyous welcome, but to wipe away the tears that
came from overflowing hearts. At no time did human nature at Montauk
appear to better advantage than in its silent, sympathetic reception
of the Twenty-fourth Infantry.

Of these shattered heroes General Miles had but recently spoken in
words well worthy his lofty position and noble manhood as "a regiment
of colored troops, who, having shared equally in the heroism, as well
as the sacrifices, is now voluntarily engaged in nursing yellow fever
patients and burying the dead." These men came up to Montauk from
great tribulations which should have washed their robes to a
resplendent whiteness in the eyes of the whole people. Great
Twenty-fourth, we thank thee for the glory thou hast given to American
soldiery, and to the character of the American Negro!

Thus these four colored regiments took their place on the march, in
camp, in assault and in siege with the flower of the American Army,
the choice and pick of the American nation, and came off acknowledged
as having shared equally in heroism and sacrifices with the other
regular regiments so engaged, and deserving of special mention for the
exhibition of regard for the welfare of their fellow man. The query
is now pertinent as to the return which has been made to these brave
men. The question of Ahasuerus when told of the valuable services of
the Jew, Mordecai, is the question which the better nature of the
whole American people should ask on hearing the general report of the
valuable services of the Negro Regular in the Spanish War. When
Ahasuerus asked: "What honor and dignity hath been done to Mordecai
for this?" his servants that ministered unto him were compelled to
answer: "There is nothing done for him." Looking over these four
regiments at the time of this writing an answer somewhat similar in
force must be returned. That the colored soldier is entitled to honor
and dignity must be admitted by all who admire brave deeds, or regard
the welfare of the state. The colored soldier, however, was compelled
to stand by and see a hundred lieutenancies filled in the Regular
Army, many in his own regiments, only to find himself overlooked and
to be forced to feel that his services however valuable, could not
outweigh the demerit of his complexion.

The sum total of permanent advantage secured to the colored regular as
such, in that bloody ordeal where brave men gave up their lives for
their country's honor, consists of a few certificates of merit
entitling the holders to two dollars per month additional pay as long
as they remain in the service. Nor is this all, or even the worst of
the matter. Men who served in the war as First Sergeants, and who
distinguished themselves in that capacity, have been allowed to go
back to their old companies to serve in inferior positions. Notably is
this the case with Sergeant William H. Givens, whose history has been
detailed as commanding Troop D, Tenth Cavalry, after Captain Bigelow
fell, and who heroically led the troop up the hill. He is now serving
in his old troop as Corporal, his distinction having actually worked
his reduction rather than substantial promotion.

It must not be inferred from the foregoing, however, that nothing
whatever was done in recognition of the gallantry of the colored
regulars. Something was done. Cases of individual heroism were so
marked, and so numerous, that they could not be ignored. The men who
had so distinguished themselves could not be disposed of by special
mention and compliments in orders. Something more substantial was
required. Fortunately for such purpose four regiments of colored
United States Volunteer Infantry were then in course of organization,
in which the policy had been established that colored men should be
accepted as officers below the grade of captain. Into these regiments
the colored men who had won distinction at Santiago were placed, many
as Second Lieutenants, although some were given First Lieutenancies.
This action of the Government was hailed with great delight on the
part of the colored Americans generally, and the honors were accepted
very gratefully by the soldiers who had won them on the field.
Fortunately as this opening seemed, it turned out very disappointing.
It soon became evident that these regiments would be mustered out of
the service, as they had proven themselves no more immune, so far as
it could be determined from the facts, than other troops. The
Lieutenants who had been most fortunate in getting their commissions
early got about six or seven months' service, and then the dream of
their glory departed and they fell back to the ranks to stand
"attention" to any white man who could muster political influence
sufficient to secure a commission. Their day was short, and when they
were discharged from the volunteer service, there appeared no future
for them as commissioned officers. Their occupation was indeed gone.
It was for them a most disappointing and exasperating promotion,
resulting in some cases in loss of standing and in financial injury.
Their honors were too short-lived, and too circumscribed, to be much
more than a lively tantalization, to be remembered with disgust by
those who had worn them. Cruel, indeed, was the prejudice that could
dictate such a policy to the brave black men of San Juan. The black
heroes, however, were not without sympathy in their misfortune. The
good people of the country had still a warm place in their hearts for
the colored soldier, despite the sayings of his maligners.

The people of Washington, D.C., had an opportunity to testify their
appreciation of the Tenth Cavalry as that regiment passed through
their city on its way to its station in Alabama, and later a portion
of it was called to Philadelphia to take part in the Peace Jubilee,
and no troops received more generous attention. To express in some
lasting form their regard for the regiment and its officers, some
patriotic citizens of Philadelphia presented a handsome saber to
Captain Charles G. Ayres, who had charge of the detachment which took
part in the Peace Jubilee, "as a token of their appreciation of the
splendid conduct of the regiment in the campaign of Santiago, and of
its superb soldierly appearance and good conduct during its attendance
at the Jubilee Parade in Philadelphia."

Likewise when the Twenty-fifth Infantry arrived at its station at Fort
Logan, Colorado, the people of Denver gave to both officers and men a
most cordial reception, and invited them at once to take part in their
fall carnival. All over the country there was at that time an unusual
degree of good feeling toward the colored soldier who had fought so
well, and no one seemed to begrudge him the rest which came to him or
the honors bestowed upon him.

This state of feeling did not last. Before the year closed assiduous
efforts were made to poison the public mind toward the black soldier,
and history can but record that these efforts were too successful. The
three hundred colored officers became an object at which both
prejudice and jealousy could strike; but to reach them the reputation
of the entire colored contingent must be assailed. This was done with
such vehemence and persistency that by the opening of 1899 the good
name of the black regular was hidden under the rubbish of reports of
misconduct. So much had been said and done, even in Denver, which had
poured out its welcome words to the heroes of El Caney, that the
Ministerial Alliance of that city, on February 6, 1899, found it
necessary to take up the subject, and that body expressed itself in
the unanimous adoption of the following resolutions:

     OF DENVER, FEBRUARY 6, 1899.

     _Resolved_, By the Ministerial Alliance of the City of
     Denver, that the attempt made in certain quarters to have
     the Twenty-fifth Regiment, United States Infantry, removed
     from Fort Logan, appears to this body to rest on no just
     grounds, to be animated on the contrary by motives unworthy
     and discreditable to Denver and the State, and that
     especially in view of the heroic record of the Twenty-fifth
     Regiment, its presence here is an honor to Denver and
     Colorado, which this Alliance would regret to have

The mustering out of the volunteers about the time this opposition was
approaching what appeared to be a climax, causing the removal from the
service of the colored officers, appeased the wrath of the demon, and
the waves of the storm gradually sank to a peace, gratifying, indeed,
to those who shuddered to see a black man with shoulder-straps. As the
last Negro officer descended from the platform and honorably laid
aside his sword to take his place as a citizen of the Republic, or a
private in her armies, that class of our citizenship breathed a sigh
of relief. What mattered it to them whether justice were done; whether
the army were weakened; whether individuals were wronged; they were
relieved from seeing Negroes in officers' uniforms, and that to them
is a most gracious portion. The discharge of the volunteers was to
them the triumph of their prejudices, and in it they took great
comfort, although as a matter of fact it was a plain national movement
coming about as a logical sequence, entirely independent of their
whims or wishes. The injustice to the Negro officer does not lie in
his being mustered out of the volunteer service, but in the failure to
provide for a recognition of his valor in the nation's permanent
military establishment.

The departure of the colored man from the volunteer service was the
consequent disappearance of the colored military officer, with the
single exception of Lieutenant Charles Young of the Regular Cavalry,
had a very depressing effect upon the colored people at large, and
called forth from their press and their associations most earnest
protests. With a few exceptions, these protests were encouched in
respectful language toward the President and his advisers, but the
grounds upon which they were based were so fair and just, that
right-thinking men could not avoid their force. The following
resolution, passed by the National Afro-American Council, may be taken
as representative of the best form of such remonstrance:

     "_Resolved_, That we are heartily grieved that the President
     of the United States and those in authority have not from
     time to time used their high station to voice the best
     conscience of the nation in regard to mob violence and fair
     treatment of justly deserving men. It is not right that
     American citizens should be despoiled of life and liberty
     while the nation looks silently on; or that soldiers who,
     with conspicuous bravery, offer their lives for the country,
     should have their promotion result in practical dismissal
     from the army."

The nation graciously heeded the call of justice and in the
re-organization of the volunteer army provided for two colored
regiments, of which all the company officers should be colored men.
Under this arrangement many of the black heroes of Santiago were
recalled from the ranks and again restored to the positions they had
won. Thus did the nation in part remedy the evil which came in
consequence of the discharge of the volunteers, and prove its
willingness to do right. Triumphantly did the Administration vindicate
itself in the eyes of good people, and again did it place its
withering disapproval upon the conduct of those who were ready to
shout their applause over the worthy black officer's accidental
humiliation. The Negro officer disappeared from the United States'
Regiments as a Lieutenant only; but he returns to the same, or rather,
to a higher grade of the same form of regiments, both as Lieutenant
and Captain. How rapid and pronounced has been the evolution! It is
true the Negro officer is still a volunteer, but his standing is
measurably improved, both because of the fact of his recall, and also
because the regiments which he is now entering have some prospect of
being incorporated into the Regular Army. It does not seem probable
that the nation can much longer postpone the increase of the standing
army, and in this increase it is to be hoped the American Negro, both
as soldier and officer, will receive that full measure of justice of
which the formation of the present two colored regiments is so
conspicuous a part.

       *       *       *       *       *


     Appointed First Lieutenant Ninth U.S. Volunteer Infantry,
     and later Captain of the Forty-ninth Volunteer Infantry--Now
     Lieutenant in Philippine Scouts.


April 16, 1898, at 10.45 p.m., telegram was received from Department
Headquarters, St. Paul, Minnesota, ordering the regiment to the
Department of the Gulf.

As every click of the telegraph instrument was expected to announce a
rupture in the diplomatic relations between the United States and the
Kingdom of Spain, all knew that the mobilization of the army South
meant preparing it for the serious work for which it is maintained.

On April 19 we were off for Chickamauga Park. En route we were
heartily greeted. Patriotism was at its height. Every little hamlet,
even, had its offerings. To compare the journey with Cæsar's march of
triumph would be putting it mildly.

We arrived at the historic point April 25. Every moment of our stay
there was assiduously devoted to organizing, refitting and otherwise
preparing for the inevitable. Officers were sent to many parts of the
country to secure recruits. Many also gave up details and relinquished
their leaves of absence to take part in the impending crisis.

May 14. We were moved a little nearer the probable theatre of
operations. On account of some deficiency in water for troops at
Tampa, the regiment was stopped at Lakeland, 30 miles this side, where
many recruits were received; Troops increased to war strength, and new
Troops established. Drills and instructions were also constantly
followed up.

June 6. Orders were received to prepare headquarters, band and eight
Troops dismounted, with trained men only, for service in Cuba.
Recruits to be left in camp with horses and property.

June 7. We were off for Port Tampa, where the regiment embarked on the
steamship Leona that afternoon.

June 8. She steamed from the dock. When the expedition seemed to be
forming, news was received that the dreaded Spanish fleet was being
sighted, evidently lying in wait for army transports. So we steamed
back to the pier. Many of the men appeared disappointed at the move,
probably not realizing that there was too much water in the Atlantic
Ocean for the 5th Army Corps to drink.

To my mind, the Divine Providence surely directed the move, as the
delay enabled the force to be swelled several thousand, every one of
whom was needed before Santiago.

June 14. We steamed out of Tampa Bay, amid cheers and music from the
thirty odd transports, heavily escorted by naval vessels. Among them
were the much talked-of dynamiter, Vesuvius, and the beautiful little
cruiser, Helena. Off Dry Tortugas that formidable warship, Indiana,
joined the fleet.

Splendid weather; nothing unusual transpiring, though our transport,
which also contained the First U.S. Cavalry, had a seemingly close
call from being sent to the bottom of the sea, or else being taken in
as a prisoner, which the enemy could have done with impunity.

Whilst going down the Saint Nicholas Chanel, in Cuban waters, the
vessel was deliberately stopped about midnight, June 16, and left to
roll in the trough of the sea until the morning of the 17th, in
consequence of which we were put 20 hours behind the fleet and without
escort, almost in sight of the Cuban shores.

Men were indignant at having been placed in such a helpless position,
and would have thrown the captain of the ship, whom they accused of
being a Spanish sympathizer and otherwise disloyal, overboard without
ceremony, but for the strong arm of military discipline. We were
picked up by the U.S. Cruiser Bancroft, late in the afternoon, she
having been sent in quest of the Jonah of the fleet. Upon approach of
the ship there were prolonged cheers from all of Uncle Sam's
defenders. The only explanation that I have ever heard for this
unpardonable blunder on the part of the ship's crew was that they
mistook a signal of a leading vessel.

June 20. Land was sighted.

June 21. Dispatch boats active; transports circling; Morro Castle
pointed out; three days' rations issued to each man; no extra
impedimenta to be taken ashore; crew preparing for landing.

June 22. As we neared Daiquiri, the designated place for disembarking,
flames could be seen reaching almost to the heavens, the town having
been fired by the fleeing Spaniards upon the approach of war vessels
of Sampson's fleet, who were assembling to bombard the shore and cover
our landing. After a fierce fire from these ships, the landing was
effected with loss of two men of our regiment, who were doubtless
crushed to death between the lighters. They were buried near the place
of recovery the next morning.

The few half-clothed and hungry-looking natives on shore seemed
pleased to see us. Daiquiri, a shipping point of the Spanish-American
Iron Company, was mostly deserted. The board houses seemed to have
been spared, while the sun-burned huts thatched with palm were still
smoking, also the roundhouse in which there were two railroad
locomotives, warped and twisted from the heat. The Spanish evidently
fired everything they could before evacuating.

June 23. At 6.00 p.m. Troops A, B, E and I, left with four Troops of
the First U.S. Cavalry and Rough Riders (First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry)
as advance guard of the Army of Invasion on the main road to Santiago
de Cuba; about 800 men all told, three Hotchkiss guns, manned by ten
cavalrymen, accompanied also by the Brigadier Commander, General
S.M.B. Young and staff.

NOTE.--These troops marched about 13 miles through a
drenching rain from 7 to 10 p.m.; bivouacked one hour later. Oh the
24th, after breakfast, took the trail about 5.15 a.m. The vapor from
wet clothing rose with the sun, so that you could scarcely recognize a
man ten feet away. About three and one-half miles above Siboney the
command was halted; the first U.S. Volunteer Cavalry (Rough Riders)
sent to the left; proceeding farther about one mile, the main column
was split, First U.S. Cavalry going to the right, the Tenth Cavalry
remaining in the center. General Wheeler joined at this point,
accompanied by his orderly, Private Queene, Troop A, Tenth Cavalry.
Disposition of the troops was explained by General Young, who had
located his headquarters with the Tenth U.S. Cavalry; General Wheeler
made his the same. Hotchkiss guns were ordered closed up; magazines
filled. The column had proceeded but a short way when the engagement
opened in all its fury; troops were deployed and advanced in the
direction from which the bullets were coming the thickest, as rapidly
as the formation of the ground would permit, the left of the line
touching the right of the Rough Riders.

June 24. Headquarters, band and the remainder of the First and Tenth
U.S. Cavalry were off at 6 A.M. The road was alive with troops (C, D,
F, G,) colonels and privates alike lugging their rations and bedding
beneath that ever watchful tropical sun, feeling as though they would
wilt at every step, the undergrowth being so thick and tall that
scarcely any breeze could get to you.

On emerging from this thicket, through which we had been marching for
several hours, the Sampson fleet could be heard firing on the Spanish
batteries on shore. Marines and other troops could be seen crossing
the mountains above Altares; this revived the men very much. As we
approached Verni Jarabo (Altares?), we were met by General Lawton, who
informed our Colonel that the advance guard was engaged with the
Spanish at La Guasima, and that it was hard pressed. Our pace was
quickened; the news appeared to lighten our heavy packs as we toiled
to the front to assist our comrades. The roar of the artillery became
plainer; wounded men along the road as well as those played-out from
the intense heat. Women and children were fleeing to places of safety.
Our forces were repairing a railroad engine and track; also tearing up
a piece leading to a Spanish blockhouse. In fact, everything seemed to
have on an exceedingly warlike tint, but our advance continued as
swifty as our weary feet would allow, which soon brought us to a
number of our own comrades conveyed on litters from La Guasima, where
our advance guard was tussling hard with the Dons for the honors of
the day.

Upon arrival of reinforcements, victory had been wrested from the Dons
fairly by the advance guard without assistance. Every one greeted each
other, as though it had been a year instead of a few hours since
parting. The First U.S. Cavalry and Rough Riders were unstinted in
extolling the fighting qualities of their brothers in arms, the Tenth
U.S. Cavalry.

The enemy was struck early June 24, entrenched on the heights of La
Guasima, near Sevilla, on the main road from Daiquiri to the city of
Santiago de Cuba. The advance guard was soon hotly engaged with them;
after a very desperate fight of over one hour, the enemy was driven in
confusion from their intrenchments. Our men were too exhausted to
follow them. The Tenth Cavalry lost 13 killed and wounded. For a while
it was a terrific fight, as the enemy was strongly intrenched on the
heights and our men had to climb them subjected to their fire, which
was very accurate, and much of it doubtless from machine guns in hands
of experienced men. Our men had also to contend with the thickest
underbrush, wire fences (the famous military trochas) and Spanish
daggers jabbing them in side at every step. For a while the situation
was serious. The decisive blow of the attack seems to have been struck
at an opportune moment, and the enemy withdrew in confusion.

It has been estimated that about 4,000 Spanish were engaged.
Everything indicated that they lost heavily; a Santiago paper put it
at 240. The writer and the Sergeant-Major of the First U.S. Cavalry
superintended the digging of one large grave where all the dead of the
two regiments were interred according to the Episcopal service. The
Rough Riders, being farther to our left, buried their own. If
advantage of position goes for anything, the Spanish should have
annihilated the Americans as they approached the stronghold.

The command remained on the battlefield until June 26, when it
proceeded to Sevilla, an old coffee and sugar plantation, to await the
assembling of the army and placing of the artillery.

Our camp at Sevilla was an interesting one in many ways. It was
pitched between the main road and a stream of excellent water. From
the hill beyond, the Spanish works could be viewed. From the roadside
many acquaintances were seen, also generals, foreign military
attaches, troops, artillery and pack trains. Wheeled transportation
seemed entirely out of its place in Cuba; one piece of artillery was
noticed with 24 horses tugging away at it.

The Cuban Army, cavalry and infantry, passed us at this point, which
seemed to consist of every male capable of swelling the crowd. Those
unable to carry or secure guns had an old knife or machete strapped to

On June 30, about 4 P.M., shortly after our daily shower, which was a
little more severe and much longer than usual, the regiment was put in
motion for the front. We had marched about 1600 yards when the war
balloon was seen ascending some distance to our right. As the balloon
question was new, every one almost was stumbling on the man's heels in
front, trying to get a peep at this wonderful war machine.

After much vexatious delay, narrow road crowded with troops, a pack
train came along and added its mite to the congestion, as some of the
mules turned their heels on the advancing column when pushed too much.

We finally merged into a beautiful lawn, site of the Division
Hospital, where all were as busy as beavers in placing this
indispensable adjunct in order. Here the work of July 1 was clearly
suggested. Proceeding, wading and rewading streams, we bivouacked
beyond the artillery on the heights of El Poso, an old sugar
plantation, about four miles off, in plain view of the city of
Santiago. The lights of the city showed so brightly, the enemy
offering no resistance to our advance, I could not help feeling
apprehensive of being in a trap. I thought so seriously over the
matter that I did not unroll my pack, so as to be ready at an instant.
Simply released my slicker, put it on, and lay down where I halted.

Early July 1 all the brigade was up, getting breakfast and making as
much noise as if on a practice march. The Tenth Cavalry did not make
any fire until orders were received to that effect. I remarked to my
bunky that we were not going to fight evidently, as the smoke would
surely disclose our presence and enable the enemy's artillery to get
our range. The whole of Santiago seemed to be decorated with hospital

At 6.30 a shell from Capron's battery, U.S. Artillery, directed at a
blockhouse in El Caney, announced that the battle was on. Then the
musketry became general. All stood and watched the doomed village
quite a while as the battle progressed. Soon Grices' battery of the
U.S. Artillery, which was in support, belched forth destruction at the
Spanish works of the city, using black powder. The fire was almost
immediately returned by the enemy's batteries, who had smokeless.
They were shortly located when a fierce duel took place. The Dons were
silenced, but not until we had suffered loss. During this fire
an aide--Lieut. Wm. E. Shipp, Tenth Cavalry, Brigade
Quartermaster--brought orders for us to take position on the left of
the First U.S. Cavalry. The line extended nearly north and south on a
ridge some three or four miles from the city, where the regiment was
exposed to much of the return fire from the enemy's batteries. The men
exhibited no special concern and watched the flight of the death
messenger as eagerly as if at a horse race. Adjutant Barnum here
divided the band and turned it over to the surgeons to assist in
caring for the wounded, and directed Saddler Sergeant Smith and myself
to accompany the Colonel in advance. When Lieut. Shipp delivered his
orders, some of the officers remarked, "You are having a good time
riding around here." He replied that it was no picnic riding among
bullets, and that he would prefer being with his troops.

After the artillery had ceased firing, the regiment moved to the
right, passed El Poso, where there were additional signs of the
enemy's havoc among our troops, proceeded down the road leading to
Santiago. The movement of the regiment was delayed as it approached
the San Juan River, by an infantry brigade which had halted.

The regiment came within range of musket fire about three-quarters or
one-half mile from the crossing. Upon reaching the ford the Colonel
(Baldwin) rode nearly across the stream (closely followed by his
regiment) when we were greeted by the Dons with a terrific volley of
musketry, soon followed by artillery, which caused us to realize more
fully than ever, that "things were coming our way." Orders were given
to throw off packs and get cover. In removing his, Sergeant Smith,
on, my immediate left, was assisted by a Spanish bullet, and an
infantry soldier fell as my pack was thrown off to the right. In
seeking cover men simply dropped to the right and left of the road in
a prone position.

The regiment was here subjected to a terrific converging fire from the
blockhouse and intrenchments in front and the works further to the
left and nearer the city. The atmosphere seemed perfectly alive with
flying missiles from bursting shells over head, and rifle bullets
which seemed to have an explosive effect. Much fire was probably drawn
by the war balloon, which preceded the regiment to a point on the edge
of the river, near the ford, where it was held. This balloon
undoubtedly rendered excellent service in locating positions of the
Spanish works and developing an ambush which had been laid for us, but
the poor, ill-fated balloon certainly received many uncomplimentary
remarks during our stay in its vicinity.

It seemed as though the Spanish regarded the balloon as an evil agent
of some kind, and as though every gun, both great and small, was
playing on it. I made several trips under it following the Colonel,
who repeatedly rode up and down the stream, and I would have been
fully satisfied to have allowed my mind even to wander back to the
gaily lighted ball rooms and festivals left behind only a few months

While on the last trip under the balloon a large naval shell exploded,
knocking the Colonel's hat off, crippling his horse, and injuring the
rider slightly in the arm and side, all of course, in addition to a
good sand bath. I then joined the regiment, some rods beyond, then
under cover. In crouching down behind a clump of brush, heard some one
groan; on looking around, saw Private Marshall struggling in the river
wounded. Immediately rushing to his assistance another of those
troublesome shells passed so close as to cause me to feel the heat. It
did not stop the effort, however, and the wounded man was placed in

The regiment remained in the road only a few moments when it was
ordered to take position behind the river bank some yards above the
balloon for protection; while moving to that position, and while
there, suffered much loss. Why we did not lose heavier may be
attributed to the fact that the enemy's musket fire was a trifle high,
and their shells timed from one-half to one second too long, caused
them to explode beyond, instead of in front, where the shells would
have certainly secured the Dons' maximum results, as, after the
balloon was cut down, you could scarcely hold your hand up without
getting it hit. During the battle, one trooper fell upon a good-sized
snake and crushed it to death, and another trooper allowed one of
these poisonous reptiles to crawl over him while dodging a volley from
the Spanish Mausers.

The shrapnel and canister shells, with their exceedingly mournful and
groaning sound, seemed to have a more terrifying effect than the swift
Mauser bullet, which always rendered the same salutation, "Bi-Yi." The
midern shrapnel shell is better known as the man-killing projectile,
and may be regarded as the most dangerous of all projectiles designed
for taking human life. It is a shell filled with 200 or 300 bullets,
and having a bursting charge, which is ignited by a time fuse, only
sufficient to break the base and release the bullets, which then move
forward with the velocity it had the time of bursting. Each piece is
capable of dealing death to any living thing in its path. In practice
firing, it is known where, by one shot, 152 hits were made by a single
shrapnel. In another, 215 hits are recorded. Imagine then, the havoc
of a well-directed shrapnel upon a group of men such as is here
represented. Capron's battery at El Caney cut down 16 cavalrymen with
one shell.

After a delay of about 30 minutes, during part of the time, the
writer, assisted by Sergeant Smith and Mr. T.A. Baldwin, cut all the
wire fences possible. Mr. Baldwin was dangerously wounded while so
engaged just before the general advance.

The regiment merged into open space in plain view of and under the
fire of the enemy; and formed line of battle facing toward the
blockhouses and strong intrenchments to the north, occupied by the
Spanish, and advanced rapidly in this formation, under a galling,
converging fire from the enemy's artillery and infantry, on the
blockhouses and heavy intrenchments to the right front. Many losses
occurred before reaching the top of the hill, Lieut. W.H. Smith being
killed while gallantly conducting his troop as it arrived on the
crest. Lieut. W.E. Shipp was killed about the same instant, shortly
after leaving Lieutenant Smith, further to the left and near the pond
on the sunken road leading to Santiago. Lieutenant Smith was struck in
the head and perished with a single groan. Lieutenant Shipp was hit
near the heart; death must have been almost instantaneous, though it
appears he made an effort to make use of his first aid package. Thus
the careers of two gallant and efficient officers whose lives had been
so closely associated were ended.

Private Slaughter, who was left in charge of Lieutenant Smith's body,
was picked off by the Spanish sharpshooters, and Private Jackson,
Lieutenant Shipp's orderly, was left as deaf as a post from a bursting

The enemy having been driven back, northwest, to the second and third
blockhouses, new lines were formed and a rapid advance made upon them
to the new positions. The regiment assisted in capturing these works
from the enemy, and planted two sets of colors on them, then took up a
position to the north of the second blockhouse. With some changes in
position of troops, this line, one of the most advanced, about three
hundred yards of the enemy, was held and intrenchments dug under a
very heavy and continuous fire from the Spanish intrenchments in
front, July 2 and 3.

In their retreat from the ridge, the enemy stood not on the order of
their going, but fled in disorder like so many sheep from the scene,
abandoning a quantity of ammunition, which was fired at them
subsequently from our rapid-fire guns. Our men were too exhausted to
pursue them, footwear and clothing being soaked by wading rivers, they
had become drenched with rain, and when they reached the crest they
were about played-out; having fought about 12 hours, most of which was
under that ever-relentless tropical sun.

Throughout the night, work on the intrenchments was pushed, details
buried the dead, improvised litters, and conveyed the wounded to
hospitals, all of which was prosecuted with that vim for which the
regular soldier is characterized, notwithstanding their water-logged

The regiment acted with extraordinary coolness and bravery. It held
its position at the ford and moved forward unflinchingly after
deployment, through the dense underbrush, crossed and recrossed by
barbed wire, under heavy and almost plunging fire from the Spanish
works, while attacking with small arms an enemy strongly posted in
intrenchments and blockhouses, supported by artillery, and who
stubbornly contested every inch of ground gained by the American

Officers were exceedingly active and tireless in their efforts to
inspire and encourage the men. You could hear them call out, "Move
right along; the Spaniards can't shoot; they are using blanks." One
officer deliberately stopped and lit his pipe amid a shower of
bullets, and then moved on as unconcerned as if on target practice.

The rifle pits occupied by the enemy were intrenchments in reality,
dug almost shoulder deep, and faced with stone, being constructed
without approaches, leaving the only avenue for escape over the
parapet, which was equivalent to committing suicide, in face of the
unerring marksmanship of the United States troops.

We were afterward told by a Spanish soldier how they were held in
these trenches by an officer stationed at each end with a club; also
how they depended on their officers for everything. This may account
for the large percentage of our officers picked off by the Dons. I
observed during the battle that when spotted by the enemy, delivering
orders or busying about such duties as usually indicated some one in
authority, the Spanish would fire whole volleys at an individual, this
evidently with a view to demoralizing the rank and file by knocking
off the officers.

The Spanish also tried an old Indian trick to draw our fire, or induce
the men to expose themselves, by raising their hats on sticks or
rifles, or placing them upon parapets, so when we went to fire they
would aim to catch us as we rose with a terrific volley. The Dons
were, however, soon convinced of their folly in this respect, as we
always had a volley for the hats and a much stouter one for the enemy
as he raised to reply to the volley at the hats. The Tenth Cavalry had
fought Indians too long in the West to be foiled in that manner.

We were annoyed much by the Spanish sharpshooters stationed in tops of
the beautiful palms and other trees of dense foliage. A number of
these guerillas were found provided with seats, water and other
necessaries, and I am told some of them had evidently robbed our dead
to secure themselves an American uniform, that they might still carry
on their nefarious work undetected.

Many of the disabled received their second and some their mortal
wound, while being conveyed from the field by litter-bearers.

Though it was the tendency for a time to give the sharpshooter story
little or no credence, but to lay the matter to "spent bullets"; it
seemed almost out of the question that "spent bullets" should annoy
our Division Hospital, some four or five miles from the Spanish works.
It would also seem equally as absurd that a bullet could be trained to
turn angles, as several of our men were hit while assembled for
transfer to general hospital and receiving temporary treatment at the
dressing station located in an elbow of the San Juan River.

The Division Hospital was so harassed that it was necessary to order
four Troops of the 9th U.S. Cavalry there for guard. While en route to
the hospital on the morning of July 2 with wounded, I saw a squad of
the 2nd U.S. Cavalry after one of these annoying angels, not 20 feet
from the road. On arrival at the hospital I was told by a comrade that
several had been knocked from their stage of action. On July 1, our
Color-Sergeant was shot from a tree after our line had passed beneath
the tree where he was located. July 3, three more fell in response to
a volley through tree tops, and on July 14, while waiting the hand to
reach the hour for the bombardment of the city, one of the scoundrels
deliberately ascended a tree in plain view of, and within two hundred
yards of, our line. It was a good thing that the white flag for
surrender appeared before the hour to commence firing, otherwise Spain
would have had at least one less to haggle with on account of back

To locate a sharpshooter using smokeless powder among the dense
tropical growth may be compared with "looking for a needle in a

The killed and wounded in battle present a scene well calculated to
move the most callous. Men shot and lacerated in every conceivable
manner; some are expressionless; some just as they appeared in life;
while others are pinched and drawn and otherwise distorted, portraying
agony in her most distressful state. Of the wounded, in their anguish,
some are perfectly quiet; others are heard praying; some are calling
for their mothers, while others are giving out patriotic utterances,
urging their comrades on to victory, or bidding them farewell as they
pass on to the front. July 1, in passing a wounded comrade, he told me
that he could whip the cowardly Spaniard who shot him, in a fair fist

During the first day's battle many interesting sights were witnessed.
The new calibre 30 Gatling guns were in action. These cruel machines
were peppering away several hundred shots each per minute and sweeping
their front from right to left, cutting down shrubbery and Spaniards
like grain before the reaper. I observed the excellent service of the
Hotchkiss Mountain gun; they certainly do their work to perfection and
well did the Dons know it. Many shots fired into the "blind ditches
and blockhouses" of the enemy caused them to scatter like rats. These
guns use a percussion shell nearly two inches, and can be packed on
mules. They were designed for light service with cavalry on the
frontier. Four of these little beauties were manned by men of the
Tenth Cavalry. The Spanish made it so hot for the boys that they would
have to roll the gun under cover to load, and then steal it back to

I saw one of our light batteries of artillery go in position under
fire at the foot of San Juan Hill. The movement was swiftly and
skillfully executed. A most interesting feature of this was to see the
Caissons, drawn by six magnificent horses, off for ammunition. Three
drivers to each outfit, one to each pair of horses; all plying the
whip at every jump, would remind you of a Roman chariot race coming
around on their last heat.

Wheeled vehicles of war suffer more than other troops, on account of
their stationary positions. It is here that the dreaded sharpshooter
comes in for glory, by picking off the gunners and other individuals.

Pack trains were seen dashing along the line with that always
absolutely essential--ammunition--thereby gladdening the hearts of the
boys who were doing their utmost to expend every round in their belts
to gain another foot of Spanish territory.

During all these stirring events the stomachs of the real heroes were
not neglected, and most certainly not along our part of the line. Pack
mules were brought right up to the line under a hot fire, loaded with
sugar, coffee, bacon and hardtack, all of which was in plenty. Some of
the mules were killed and wounded, but this did not retard the advance
of the train. When near the firing line some one called, "Whose
rations?" A prompt reply, "Hungry soldiers."

The daring horseman was all that was needed to make the situation
complete. Without participation of cavalry, the ideal warrior
disappears from the scene, and the battle and-picture of war is robbed
of its most attractive feature.

Late in the afternoon, July 1, I was directed to take Saddler Sergeant
Smith and bring to the firing line all the men I could find of the
regiment. Going to the dressing station, collected those who had
brought or assisted wounded there, thence across a portion of the
field passed over a few hours previous. Men were found almost
exhausted, soaking wet, or a solid mass of mud, resting as comfortably
as if in the finest of beds; many of them had been on picket duty all
night before, to which was added the hard day's work not then
completed. After locating all I could, we went to the crest of the San
Juan Hill, to the left of the sunken road, where the First U.S.
Cavalry was reforming, and there picked up a few more who had joined
that regiment.

The Tenth Cavalry having in the meantime taken another position, I set
out to find it, going in front, telling Smith to bring up the rear. We
were detained a short time near Sunken Roads by shells from Cervera's
fleet, which were falling in it at a lively rate. Barbed wire
prevented us from "running the gauntlet." Shortly after crossing the
road an officer passed us, his horse pushed to his utmost, telling us
to take all the ammunition that we possibly could on the firing line.
About that instant, the pack train came thundering by, which we
relieved of a few thousand rounds in short order. I was much amused at
one of the men who innocently asked, "Where are we to get axes to
burst these strong boxes?" The job was speedily accomplished before
the boxes were on the ground good, and most certainly in less time
than it would have taken to explain matters to the inexperienced. We
were soon off again, tramping all over the country, through darkness,
running into wire entanglements, outposts and pickets, and within
fifty yards of the enemy (subsequently ascertained).

About 11.00 P.M. found Colonel Roosevelt a few hundred yards from the
Spanish lines with some of my regiment, the First Cavalry, and Rough
Riders, at work on trenches, where we reported. All seemed glad to
have my little reinforcement, about 65 men, and ammunition. I never
felt so relieved at anything as I did to get that herculean task off
my hands, a job as hard as working a problem in the third book of
Euclid. The men were so tired that they would lie down at every stop
to find the right road or the way out of the wire entanglements
constantly encountered. I have never seen in a book anything to equal
the Spanish wire entanglements. Barbed wire was stretched in every
nook and corner, through streams, grass, and from two inches to six
feet in height, and from a corkscrew to a cable in design. It takes
the nerve of a circus man to get men along when they are so exhausted
that every place feels alike to them, and that they would gladly give
away Mr. Jim Hill's fortune if they possessed it, for a few hours'

On arrival at the front, lunch was about over or just ready.
Lieutenant E.D. Anderson (10th Cavalry) gave me two and one-half
hardtacks from his supply, which he carried in his bosom. I was soon
down for a little rest; all desultory firing had ceased; the pick and
the shovel were the only things to disturb the quietude of that
anxious night. Had been down but a short time when aroused by one of
the Rough Riders, who had some rice and meat in an ammunition box
which he brought from the captured blockhouse. The meat was
undoubtedly mule, as the longer I chewed it the larger and more spongy
it got, and were it not for the fact that I had had some experience
in the same line many years before in Mexico while in pursuit of
hostile Indians, I would certainly have accused our best friends
(Rough Riders) of feeding us rubber. I made another effort for a
little sleep, and was again aroused by some one passing around
hardtack, raw bacon, etc., with instructions as to where to go to cook
it. I thanked him and carefully laid it aside to resume my nap. At
2.40 A.M. the pickets were having such a lively set to, that I thought
the general engagement was on. It was at this time I discovered that I
was shivering cold, and that my teeth were rattling equal to a
telegraph sounder; so under the circumstances, I concluded not to try
for any more sleep. The dew was falling thick and heavy; no coat, no
blanket, top shirt torn in strips from the brush, and undershirt wet
and in my pack, thrown off on coming into battle.

Early July 22nd the artillery took position on our left. Pickets kept
up firing from 2.40 A.M. until 5.25, when the engagement became
general. Shortly after 6.00 A.M. our artillery opened on the Spanish
works, who promptly returned the compliment. During the firing the
Dons exploded a shell in the muzzle of one of our pieces. Adjutant
Barnum fell at 6.30 A.M.; his wound was promptly dressed, when I
started to the Division Hospital with him. Though seriously hurt, I
have never seen a better natured man. While en route, we laid him down
to eat a can of salmon _found in the road_. In response to his query,
"What's up, Sergeant?" the salmon was passed him; he helped himself,
no further questions were asked, and the journey was resumed. On
arrival at the hospital he was quickly examined and placed on a
comfortable cot. Many of the attendants were completely played-out
from overwork.

A visit to a field hospital will have a lasting place in your memory.
Every way you turn, amid the cries and groans, you get a beck or call
to ease this, or hand me that, and one feels badly because of his
inability to extend them material aid in their sufferings.

On returning to the front, I found the regiment as hotly engaged as
when I left it some hours before. As the fighting was from trenches,
many of our men were wounded by shells. Sharpshooters were on hand as
usual. I was sent to the Captain of Troop E, under the crest of the
hill, with orders to dig an approach to one of the enemy's trenches,
evacuated the day before; also to bury some of their dead. While
delivering the order, it being necessary to get very close on account
of the noise, one of those ever vigilant sharpshooters put a bullet
between our faces. The Captain asked me to cut the wire fence so his
troops could get through more rapidly; while telling me, another
bullet passed so close as to disturb the Captain's mustache. He took
it good-naturedly, only remarking as he smiled, "Pretty close,

Firing ceased about 8 P.M. After all had had supper we changed
position further to the right, where work on trenches was resumed.
About 10.30 P.M. the Spaniards made an attack upon our lines, and I
have never before or since seen such terrific firing; the whole
American line, which almost encircled the city, was a solid flame of
fire. The enemy's artillery replied, also their much-praised
"Mausers," but to no avail; they had opened the ball, but Uncle Sam's
boys did not feel like yielding one inch of the territory so dearly

About midnight all hands were aroused by the dynamite cruiser Vesuvius
"coughing" for the Dons. The roar was so great that it seemed to shake
the whole island. To the uninitiated it would appear that some one
had taken a few mountains several miles up in a balloon and thrown
them down.

July 3. Firing by pickets commenced very early, and quite heavy, at
5.40 A.M. Terrific cannonading to the seaward was heard between 9 and
10 A.M. As there was some talk of the enemy making a sortie, all eyes
were open. Dirt began falling in the pits from the jar, bells could be
heard tolling in the city, and steam whistles in the harbor. There was
much speculation as to what was in progress. I'll say that there were
many glad hearts when the news reached us that _Sampson's fleet was
King of the Seas_. At 12 M. all firing was ordered off, for flag of
truce to enter the Spanish lines. When the order for cease firing was
given, one of the troopers laid his gun upon the parapet and remarked
that he "would not take $2000 for his experience, but did not want a
cent's worth more." Work on bomb-proofs and breast works was continued
incessantly until news of the surrender reached us.

July 4. Flag of truce all day; national and regimental colors placed
on parapets. At noon the regiment paraded, and all hearts cheered by
the patriotic telegram of the Commander-in-Chief--His Excellency,
President McKinley. Refugees, in droves, could be seen leaving for
several days, notice of bombardment having been served on the city.

July 5. There was much excitement when Lieutenant Hobson and party
crossed our lines.

During truce, the monotony was broken occasionally by the presence of
Spanish soldiers in quest of something to eat or desiring to

Truce was off July 10 at 4 P.M. Bombardment of the city commenced by
the army and navy combined, which continued until 2 P.M. 11th.
Gatling, dynamite, rapid-firing and Hotchkiss guns were so well
trained that the Dons scarcely dared to raise their heads, and their
firing was soon silenced. During the attack our part of the line
suffered no loss. While occupying these works, it was discovered that
the gun of the enemy that _annoyed us most was quite near a large
building covered with Red Cross flags_.

During the truce all of our dead were located and buried. It was sad,
indeed, to see the vultures swarming like flies, when we knew so well
their prey.

Though prepared to, several times, no shots were exchanged after July
11, and all was quiet until date of capitulation. The hardest rain
ever witnessed, accompanied by terrific thunder and lightning, was on
the last day of the engagement. Trenches were flooded and everything
appeared as a sea.

July 17, at 9 A.M., the regiment, with the remainder of the army, was
assembled over the trenches to witness the formal surrender of General
Toral, with the Spanish forces. Owing to the dense tropical growth,
and its similarity in color to their clothing, little or nothing could
be seen, beyond the straw hats of the Dons, as they marched through
the jungles. At 12 M., we were again placed in the same position, to
salute "Old Glory" as she ascended over the Governor's palace in the
city, which was told by Capron's battery U.S. Artillery. At the first
shot, every individual tested his lungs to their fullest capacity,
bands of music playing national airs.

Spanish soldiers were soon over our lines, trading off swords, wine,
cigarettes and trinkets for hard tack and bacon. This soon ended, as
there were positive orders against our fraternizing. The Spaniards
were a fine looking lot of young men; though generally small in
stature, and were very neat and clean, considering. The officers were
an intelligent and dignified looking set. The Dons were away ahead on
ammunition, and away behind on eatables. A few musty, hard tack,
thrown in our trenches, were devoured like so much fresh beef, by so
many hungry wolves.

Campaigning in the tropics entails many hardships, though unavoidable
and only to be expected, in war. War is horrible in any aspect in
which it may be viewed. Even those features of it intended to be
merciful, are full of harshness and rigor; and after all, fighting is
the easiest part.

As the capitulation was complete, and Santiago was our's, we were
ordered to change camp to a more healthful locality, with a view to
allowing the men to recuperate. While en route many refugees were met
returning to the city, men and women, with the scantiest clothing
imaginable; large children even worse--in a nude state--all were
making signs for something to eat.

In passing through El Caney, filth of all descriptions was piled up in
the streets; stock was seen standing inside dwellings with occupants;
young and old were emaciated--walking skeletons; children with
stomachs bloated to thrice their natural size--due to the unsanitary
condition of the huts, so I was informed.

The bare facts are, that "half has never been told" regarding the true
condition of the Cubans, and it is truly a Godsend that "Uncle Sam"
was not delayed another day in letting the Don's breathe a little of
nature's sweetest fragrance of the nineteenth century--Civilization.

The portion of the island I saw appears to be a beautiful park
deserted and laid waste by the lavish application of the torch for
many years. Magnificent mansions, or dwellings, in ruins; habitation
scant, except near towns.

There were no domestic animals, except a few for saddle purposes, nor
were there crops to be seen. No use whatever appears to be made of the
luxuriant pasturage and rich fields. Sugar houses and sheds on
plantations are in a state of decay, and the huge kettles for boiling
deeply coated with rust.

The climate of Cuba offers all the essentials, heat, moisture and
organic matter, for the development of germ life in its most active

The great heat and moisture, so excellent for the development of
infected wounds, and for the rapid decomposing of the heavy
undergrowth cannot, I believe, be exceeded anywhere.

The frequent tropical showers, invariably followed by a hot steam,
along with which germs seem to float; the consequent exposure of the
men to that glaring heat and moisture, lowered the general tone of the
system so that they were especially liable to attacks of miasmatic
diseases (malarial and typhoid fevers and dysentery.)

Owing to the dense humidity, clothing does not dry so long as it
remains on the person, but must be removed, a condition that was
absolutely impossible for many days on the field before Santiago. To
this alone, much of our sickness may be attributed.

Our new camp, pitched on the eminence of El Caney, about one and
one-half miles from the village, overlooking the city and bay of
Santiago, with its excellent water, shade, grass, and increased
comforts, which were daily shipped from our transports, presented a
scene far more conciliatory than had been witnessed about the Tenth
Horse for many days.



                            MEDALS OF HONOR.
     Name.       |  Rank  |  Regiment. |  Troop or Co.| Remarks.
Bell, Dennis     |  Pvt.  |  10th Cav. |  Troop H.    |For gallantry
Lee, Fitz        |  Pvt.  |  10th Cav. |  Troop M.    |in action at
Tompkins, Wm. H. |  Pvt.  |  10th Cav. |  Troop M.    |Tayabacoa, Cuba,
Wanton, Geo. H.  |  Pvt.  |  10th Cav. |  Troop M.    |June 30, 1898.
                       CERTIFICATES OF MERIT.
    Name.        |Rank.     | Regiment. | Troop or Co.| Remarks.
Bates, James     |Pvt.      |  9th Cav. | Troop H.    |
Crosby, Scott    |Pvt.      | 24th Inf. | Comp. A.    |
Davis, Edward    |Pvt.      |  9th Cav. | Troop H.    |
Elliott, J.      |Sergt.    | 10th Cav. | Troop D.    |
Fasit, Benjamin  |Sergt.    | 10th Cav. | Troop E.    |
Gaither, O.      |Q.M.Sergt | 10th Cav. | Troop B.    |
Goff, G.W.       |Sergt.    |  9th Cav. | Troop B.    |
Graham, J.       |Sergt.    | 10th Cav. | Troop E.    |
Hagen, Abram     |Corp.     | 24th Inf. | Comp. G.    |
Herbert, H.T.    |Corp.     | 10th Cav. | Troop E.    |
Houston, Adam    |1st Sergt.| 10th Cav. | Troop C.    |
Jackson, J.      |1st Sergt.|  9th Cav. | Troop C.    |
Jackson, Elisha  |Sergt.    |  9th Cav. | Troop H.    |
Jackson, Peter   |Corp.     | 24th Inf. | Comp. G.    |
Jefferson, C.W.  |1st Sergt.|  9th Cav. | Troop B.    |
McCoun, P.       |1st Sergt.| 10th Cav. | Troop E.    |
Moore, Loney     |Pvt.      | 24th Inf. | Comp. A.    |
Oden, Oscar      |Musician  | 10th Cav. | ........    |
Payne, William   |Sergt.    | 10th Cav. | Troop E.    |
Pumphrey, Geo. W |Corp.     |  9th Cav. | Troop H.    |
Satchell, James  |Sergt.    | 24th Inf. | Comp. A.    |
Smith, L.        |Pvt.      | 10th Cav. | Troop D.    |
Thornton, William|Corp.     | 24th Inf. | Comp. G.    |
Walker, J.       |Corp.     | 10th Cav. | Troop D.    |
Williams, John T.|Sergt.    | 24th Inf. | Comp. G.    |
Williams, R.     |Corp.     | 24th Inf. | Comp. B.    |

Besides the Certificates of Merit and Medals of Honor, mentioned
above, and the promotions to commissions in the volunteer services,
there were some instances of promotion to non-commissioned officers'
positions of men in the ranks or junior grade for conspicuous
gallantry. Notably among such were Benjamin F. Sayre, of the
Twenty-fourth, promoted to Sergeant-Major for gallantry at San Juan,
and Private James W. Peniston, of the Tenth Cavalry, promoted to
Squadron Sergeant-Major for conspicuous bravery at Las Guasimas.
Others there may be whose names are not available at this time.


[22] "The Ninth and Tenth Cavalry regiments fought one on either side
of mine at Santiago, and I wish no better men beside me in battle than
these colored troops showed themselves to be. Later on, when I come to
write of the campaign, I shall have much to say about them."--T.

[23] The major commanding the squadron in which Sergeant Givens'
troops served, writes to the sergeant the following letter:

     Sergeant William H. Givens, Troop D, 10th Cavalry, Fort
     Clark, Texas.

     Sergeant:--When making my report as commander of the Second
     Squadron, 10th U. S. Cavalry, for action of July 1, 1898, at
     San Juan Hills, I did not mention any enlisted men by name,
     as I was absent from the regiment at the time of making the
     report and without access to records, so that I could not
     positively identify and name certain men who were
     conspicuous during the fight; but I recollect finding a
     detachment of Troop D under your command on the firing line
     during the afternoon of July 1st. Your service and that of
     your men at that time was most creditable, and you deserve
     special credit for having brought your detachment promptly
     to the firing line when left without a commissioned officer.

     THEO. J. WINT,
     Lieutenant-Colonel, 6th U.S. Cavalry.
     Second Lieutenant, 10th Cavalry.

     True copy:

[24] Extract from _The Statesman_, Denver, after the departure of the
25th Infantry, and the arrival of the 34th:

     Two policemen killed, the murderer at large and his comrades
     of the 34th Regiment busy boasting of their sympathy for
     him, and extolling his deed to the skies, yet not a single
     petition has been prepared to have the regiment removed. The
     25th Infantry, with its honor undimmed by any such wanton
     crime, with a record unexcelled by any regiment in the
     service, was the target for all sorts of criticism and
     persecution as soon as it arrived. The one is a white
     regiment, composed of the scum of the earth, the other a
     black regiment composed of men who have yet to do one thing
     of which they should be ashamed. Yet Denver welcomes the one
     with open arms and salutes with marked favor, while she
     barely suffered the other to remain.

     Had it been a negro soldier who committed the dastardly deed
     of Saturday night the War Department would have been deluged
     with complaints and requests for removal, but not a word has
     been said against the 34th. Prejudice and hatred blacker
     than the wings of night has so envenomed the breasts of the
     people that fairness is out of the question. Be he black, no
     matter how noble and good, a man must be despised. Be he
     white, he may commit the foulest of crimes and yet have his
     crimes condoned.


The Colored Volunteers.

     The Ninth Ohio Battalion--Eighth Illinois--Twenty-third
     Kansas-Third North Carolina--Sixth Virginia--Third
     Alabama--The Immunes.

The return of the army and the repatriation of the Spanish army from
Cuba, brought before the country for immediate solution the problem of
garrisoning that island; and in a very short time the question of
similar nature regarding Porto Rico. Ten regiments of immunes had been
organized in the volunteer service partly in anticipation of such a
situation. Four of these regiments were composed of colored enlisted
men. The regiments were classed as United States Volunteer Infantry,
and were numbered from one to ten, the Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and
Tenth being colored.

Of these four colored regiments the officers above first lieutenants
were white men, except the chaplains, and in some cases the surgeons.
Very little care had been taken in enlisting the men, as it was
important to get the regiments in the field as soon as possible; yet
of them as a whole General Breckinridge, Inspector-General, speaks as
follows: "The colored regiments of immunes, so called, raised for this
war, have turned out, so far as can be judged from their camp life (as
none of them have been in any actual campaign), very satisfactory. The
regular colored regiments won golden opinions in battle. The
experiment of having so many colored officers has not yet shown its
full results. Certainly we should have the best obtainable officers
for our volunteers, and therefore some such men as Colonel Young, who
is a graduate of the Military Academy at West Point, whether white or
black, must be sought for."

Besides these four colored regiments of immunes, so-called, there were
other State organizations composed entirely of colored men, mustered
into the United States service, as for example the Ninth Battalion of
the Ohio National Guard. This organization was composed of four
companies, with colored captains and lieutenants, the staff officers
also being colored, the commanding officer of the battalion being
Major Young, who was a first lieutenant in the Regular Army, a
graduate from the Military Academy, and an officer of experience. He
is the person referred to as _Colonel_ Young by General Breckinridge,
cited just above. This battalion, although not permitted to do any
active campaigning, maintained itself well in that most trying of all
duties for raw troops--camp duty--winning a good record in the South
as well as in the North, having been stationed in Virginia,
Pennsylvania and lastly in South Carolina; from which latter place it
was mustered out, and the men proceeded to their homes in an orderly
manner, reflecting credit upon themselves and the officers under whom
they had served. This organization is mentioned first, because it was
the only one of its kind commanded by a Regular Army officer, and a
man who had received scientific military training.[25]

Two of these volunteer regiments, the Eighth Illinois and the
Twenty-third Kansas, reached Cuba and made history there, in garrison
service, coming in direct contact with the Ninth Immunes, and in no
sense suffering in comparison thereto. The Eighth Illinois being the
first to go to the front, in a sense deserves to be noticed here
first. This remarkable regiment was developed out of the Ninth
Battalion, Illinois National Guard, and owes its origin to the
persistent efforts of Messrs. John R. Marshall, Robert R. Jackson,
Franklin Dennison, E.H. Wright, Rev. R.C. Ransom, Rev. J.W. Thomas,
S.B. Turner and doubtless many others whose names do not appear. These
gentlemen named called upon the Governor of their State the next day
after the President had issued his call for 175,000 volunteers, and
received from that official the assurance that if another call should
be made they should have the opportunity to recruit their battalion to
a regiment, and that he would "call that regiment first into the
service," and "that every officer in that regiment will be a colored

After receiving this encouragement, the leaders began at once the work
of organizing and recruiting, and when the second call came, May 25th,
the regiment was well under way, and soon ready to go into camp to
prepare for service. On June 30th it assembled in Springfield from the
following places: Seven hundred men from Chicago; one hundred and
twenty from Cairo; a full company from Quincy, and smaller numbers
from Mound City, Metropolis and Litchfield, and nearly a company from
Springfield. The regiment was sworn in during the latter half of July,
the muster roll showing 1,195 men and 46 officers, every one of whom
was of African descent except one private in a Chicago company.

Of these forty-six officers, ten had received college education, six
were lawyers, and the others were educated in the public schools, or
had served in the Regular Army as non-commissioned officers. Many of
them were directly from Illinois, that is in the sense of having been
born and reared in the State, and were fully accustomed to the full
exercise of their rights as men and citizens. In character and
intelligence the official element of the Eighth was about up to the
standard of the volunteer army, as events subsequently proved.

Going into camp with the Ninth, white, this latter regiment, early in
August, received an order to move to a Southern camp en route for
Cuba, leaving the Eighth behind, greatly to the chagrin of both
officers and men. Governor Tanner was evidently disturbed by this
move, and expressed himself in the following language: "Even from the
very doors of the White House have I received letters asking and
advising me not to officer this regiment with colored men, but I
promised to do so, and I have done it. I shall never rest until I see
this regiment--my regiment--on the soil of Cuba, battling for the
right and for its kinsmen."

Later the misfortunes of the First Illinois proved the opportunity of
the Eighth. This regiment was in Cuba, suffering terribly with the
fever, the men going down under its effects so rapidly that the
Colonel in command implored Governor Tanner "to use all influence at
Washington to secure the immediate recall of the First Illinois." When
the Governor received this message he sent for Colonel Marshall, of
the Eighth, and asked him to ascertain the sentiments of the officers
and men of his regiment in regard to being sent to relieve the First.
On the 4th day of August Colonel Marshall was able to send to
Washington the following dispatch:

     "H. C. Corbin, Adjutant-General:--

     "I called the officers of the Eighth Illinois, colored, in
     conference and they are unanimously and enthusiastically in
     favor of being sent to relieve the First Illinois at

To this hearty dispatch came the following reply:

     "The Secretary of War appreciates very much the offer of the
     Eighth Illinois Volunteer Infantry for duty in Santiago,
     and has directed that the regiment be sent there by steamer
     Yale, leaving New York next Tuesday. The main trouble with
     our troops now in Cuba is that they are suffering from
     exhaustion and exposure incident to one of the most trying
     campaigns to which soldiers have ever been subjected."

     "H.C. Corbin,

This action on the part of the regiment is said to have so pleased the
President that on hearing it he declared it was the proudest moment of
his life.

On the 9th of August the regiment left Springfield, and in passing
through Illinois and Ohio was greeted with the most generous
enthusiasm, the people supplying the men with free lunches at every
station. This was the period when the sympathy of the whole country
was turned toward the colored soldier in consequence of the reports of
valor and heroism that had been circulated concerning the black
regulars. On the afternoon of the 11th the Yale cast off her lines,
and with the first American Negro regiment that the world has ever
seen, steamed out of New York harbor amid the ringing of bells and
shrieks of steam whistles, and four days later, August 15, landed in
Cuba. The regiment remained in Cuba until March 10, performing
garrison duty so well that General Breckenridge said it was "as fine a
volunteer regiment as was ever mustered into the service," and that it
was "a shame to muster out of service such an excellent regiment."

The Twenty-third Kansas, made up in that State and officered as was
the Eighth Illinois, by men of the same race, with the enlisted men,
arrived in Cuba August 30, and in company with the Eighth Illinois
Regiment, was stationed in the country about San Luis, with
headquarters at that place, Colonel Marshall, of the Illinois
Regiment, serving as commander of the post, and also as Governor of
the Province of San Luis. A detachment of the Illinois Regiment,
under command of Major Jackson, was sent to Palma Soriana, and did
excellent work there in the preservation of order between the Cubans
and Spaniards, who were living together in that place in outward peace
but in secret resentful hostility. Major Jackson managed affairs so
well that both parties came to admire him, and when he was called away
expressed their regret. Captain Roots, who commanded the post after
the departure of Major Jackson, was equally fortunate, especially with
the Cubans, and when it was thought his command was to be removed, the
citizens generally united in a petition to the General commanding,
asking that both the Captain and his command might remain in the city.
The fact is also noted by the chroniclers of the regiment that several
marriages took place in Palma Soriana between soldiers of the Eighth
Illinois and Cuban maidens.

The Eighth Regiment was finally settled in San Luis, occupying the old
Spanish barracks and arsenal, and under Colonel Marshall's supervision
the city was put in fine sanitary condition, streets and yards being
carefully policed; meanwhile under the reign of order and peace which
the Colonel's just methods established, confidence prevailed, business
revived and the stagnation which had so long hung like a fog over the
little city, departed, and in its stead came an era of bustling

All was peaceful and prosperous, both with the citizens and the
garrison, until the Ninth United States Volunteers came in the
vicinity. Then a difficulty sprang up in which both regiments became
involved, although it was in no sense serious, but it afforded a
pretext for the removal of the Eighth Illinois from the city. The
event turned out all the better for the Eighth, as it enabled them to
establish Camp Marshall, about three miles from the city, in a healthy
neighborhood, where they remained until ordered home to be mustered
out. The regiment came back to Chicago in fine condition and was
tendered an enthusiastic welcome by that great city. Thus two entire
regiments represented the country abroad in this, its first, foreign
war with a European power.

It should also be recorded that although the Ninth United States
Volunteers was composed of persons who were classed as immune, and had
come chiefly from Louisiana, and notwithstanding that the officers of
the regiment above lieutenants were white men, and the colonel an
officer of the Regular Army of long experience, and was specially
praised by so good a sanitarian as General Wood for having been,
constant and untiring in his efforts to look after the welfare of his
men, and that the surgeons of the regiment were white men, that deaths
among the colored men numbered one officer and seventy-three enlisted
men. In striking contrast with this record of the immune regiment is
that of the Eighth Illinois, which was made up entirely of residents
of that State and officered throughout by colored men. Its medical
officers were men of high character, and its losses by death were just
twenty, or but little over one-fourth the number that occurred in the
immune regiment. An efficient auxiliary society to this regiment was
formed of colored ladies of Chicago who forwarded to the sick in Cuba
more than six hundred dollars worth of well chosen supplies, which did
much for the comfort of those in the hospital; but this would not
account for the great difference in the death rate of the two
regiments. Though not immune, the Eighth Illinois fared very much
better than the so-called immune regiment, although the latter had
the benefit of white officers. The experience of the Twenty-third
Kansas did not differ in any important respect from that of the Eighth
Illinois. Both regiments returned to their homes in March, 1899, and
were mustered out of the service, leaving behind them good records for

The Sixth Virginia Regiment consisted of eight companies and was under
command of Lieutenant-Colonel Richard C. Croxton, of the Regular Army,
white, with Majors J.B. Johnson and W.H. Johnson, colored. It was
mustered into service during the latter part of the summer and went
into camp near Knoxville, Tennessee. Here an order came from Corps
Headquarters, at Lexington, Kentucky, directing that nine of the
officers, including one major, should appear before a board of
examiners in order to give evidence of their fitness to command. The
officers named, regarding this as uncalled for, immediately tendered
their resignations. The vacancies thus created were filled by the
Governor of the State, the appointees being white men. These white
officers on arriving at the camp and finding themselves unwelcome,
immediately followed in the wake of their colored predecessors, and
tendered their resignations.

The difficulties arising from this friction were somehow adjusted, but
in what manner the reports available at this time do not show. Moving
to Macon, Georgia, the regiment remained in the service until some
time in the winter, when it was mustered out. Much was said by the
local papers to the detriment of the men composing this regiment, but
viewing their action from the standpoint of the civilian and citizen,
it does not appear reprehensible. They had volunteered with the
understanding that their own officers, officers with whom they were
well acquainted, and in whose friendship they held a place, should
command them, and when they saw these officers displaced and white
strangers put in their stead, they felt a pardonable indignation, and
took their own way of expressing it. As soldiers, their conduct in
resisting authority, cannot be commended.

The Third North Carolina Volunteer Infantry was organized as were the
regiments of Illinois and Kansas, above described. The officers of the
North Carolina Regiment were all colored men of that State and were
men of character and note. Its commanding officer, Colonel Young, had
held responsible positions under both State and National Governments,
had been editor of a paper and member of the State Legislature and
Major in the State militia. In character, he was above reproach, being
a strict teetotaler and not even using tobacco. The regiment made a
good record, but did not see any active service.

A peculiar regiment was organized in Alabama, known as the Third
Alabama Volunteer Infantry, in which the enlisted men were all colored
and the officers all white. The regiment saw no service and attracted
no attention outside of its immediate locality.

Two companies of colored men with colored captains were also mustered
into the United States service from Indiana, and finally attached to
Colonel Huggins' command, although not becoming a part of his
regiment, the Eighth Immunes. They were stationed at Fort Thomas, Ky.,
and at Chickamauga, and were mustered out early. Their officers were
men of intelligence who had acquired experience by several years'
service in the militia, and the companies were exceptionally well
drilled. They were designated Companies A and B and were commanded by
Captains Porter and Buckner, with Lieutenant Thomas as Quartermaster.

The organization of the four immune regiments, already mentioned, gave
opportunity for ninety-six colored men to obtain commissions as
lieutenants. A few of these positions were seized upon by influential
young white men, who held them, but with no intention of ever serving
in the regiments, as they found staff positions much more congenial to
their tastes. The colored men who were appointed lieutenants in these
regiments were generally either young men of ability and influence who
had assisted in getting up their companies, and who in many cases had
received some elementary military instruction as cadets, in school, or
men who had distinguished themselves by efficiency or gallantry in the
Regular Army. Some exceptions there were, of course, and a few
received commissions in consequence of personal friendship and
political considerations. Before these regiments were mustered out of
the service about one-half of the lieutenants were men from the
Regular Army.

I am sure the reader will be pleased to learn that Sergeants Foster,
Buck and Givens, whose deeds in Cuba have already been related, were
rewarded with commissions, and that the gallant Thomas C. Butler, who
rushed forward from his company's line and seized the Spanish standard
at El Caney, was afterward permitted to serve in Cuba with the rank of
a commissioned officer. Besides those named above, there were others
also of marked ability and very respectable attainments who received
commissions on general merit, as well as for gallantry. Chief among
the class promoted for efficiency was First Lieutenant James R.
Gillespie, formerly Post Quartermaster-Sergeant. Gillespie had served
several years in the Tenth Cavalry and had proved himself an excellent
soldier. Both in horsemanship and as marksman he was up to the
standard, while his character and business qualifications were such
as to secure for him a staff position of responsibility. As
Quartermaster-Sergeant he held positions of important posts and filled
them with great satisfaction. Because of his efficiency as a soldier
he was given a commission as First Lieutenant and executed the duties
of his office with the same ability that had marked his career as an
enlisted man. From the Tenth Cavalry also came First Lieutenant Baker,
whose commission was a tribute to his fidelity and efficiency. A
soldier of high type he bore his commission and its honors as worthily
as any son of our Republic. In the same category must be placed First
Lieutenant Wm. McBryer, formerly Sergeant in the Twenty-fifth
Infantry. McBryer had served in the Tenth Cavalry and had won a Medal
of Honor in conflict with the Indians. He was a soldier distinguished
by strength of character, prompt executiveness, quick decision and
courage. He was also possessed of considerable literary skill, was a
good speaker and attractive writer, and a man of fine parts. He was a
valuable acquisition to the volunteer service and would have made a
fine captain.

Of the colored sergeants from the Regular Army who were given
commissions in the volunteer service it would not be extravagant to
say that all were men of worth, well-tried in the service, and there
was scarcely one of them but could have successfully commanded a
company. Lieutenant A.J. Smith, formerly First Sergeant in the
Twenty-fifth Infantry, was so well informed in the paper work of the
army and in company administration particularly that he was regarded
as an authority, and he was so well experienced in the whole life of a
soldier, in camp, field, garrison and in battle, that it would have
been difficult to find his superior in the army. To the credit of all
of the enlisted men of the Regular Army referred to, who received
commissions in the volunteer service, all served honorably and were
mustered out without bringing any scandal of any sort upon the

The colored volunteers in the service acquitted themselves as well as
the average volunteer, and when mustered out proceeded to their homes
about as others did. The treatment accorded them in some of the
Southern cities, especially in Nashville, Tennessee, did not speak
well for the loyalty of that section, nor was it such as might
reasonably be expected from a people who had fared so well in the
offices and honors of the short war. From the best sources available,
it seems incumbent to say that the many charges alleged against the
colored volunteers for excessive rioting and disorder were without
proper foundation, and the assaults made upon them unjustifiable and
cruel. The spirit of the assailants is best seen from a description of
the attack made upon the unarmed discharged soldiers of the Eighth
Immuners in Nashville, already alluded to. This description was made
by the sheriff who participated in the brutality. An officer who was
on the train, and who was asleep at the time, when aroused went into
the car where the men were and found that they had been beaten and
robbed, and in some instances their discharges taken from them and
torn up, and their weapons and money taken from them by citizens. It
was about one o'clock A.M. and the men were generally asleep when
attacked. The sheriff gloats over it in language which ought not be
allowed to disappear:

     "It was the best piece of work I ever witnessed. The police
     went to the depot, not armed with the regulation 'billy,'
     but carrying stout hickory clubs about two and one-half feet

Their idea was that a mahogany or lignum vitae billy was too costly a
weapon to be broken over a Negro's head. The police were on board the
train before it stopped even, and the way they went for the Negroes
was inspiring. The police tolerated no impudence, much less rowdyism,
from the Negroes, and if a darky even looked mad, it was enough for
some policeman to bend his club double over his head. In fact after
the police finished with them they were the meekest, mildest, most
polite set of colored men I ever saw." This language is respectfully
dedicated to the memory of the proud city of Nashville, and presents
to the readers the portrait of her police.

Despite this vile treatment, the colored soldier went on to his home,
ready again to respond to his country's call, and to rally to the
defence of his country's flag, and, incidentally, to the preservation
of the lives and homes of the misguided, heartless beings who can
delight in his sufferings. The hickory club belongs to one sort of
warrior; the rifle to quite another. The club and rifle represent
different grades of civilization. The Negro has left the club; the
language from Nashville does honor to the club. Billy and bully are
the theme of this officer of the law, and for a "darkey even to look
mad" is ample justification for "some policeman to bend his club
double over his head." Were these policemen rioters? Or were they
conservaters of the peace? Judge ye!


_By the Battalion Adjutant, Lieutenant Wilson Ballard._

The Ninth Battalion, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, the only colored
organization from Ohio in the Volunteer Army during the war with
Spain, was, previous to the date of its muster into the United States
service, known as the Ninth Battalion, Ohio National Guard. April
25th, 1898, the battalion, consisting of three companies, A from
Springfield, under Captain R.R. Rudd; B from Columbus, under Captain
James Hopkins, and C from Xenia, under Captain Harry H. Robinson, was
ordered into camp at Columbus, Ohio. The battalion was under the
command of Major Charles Fillmore.

May 14, 1898, the battalion was mustered into the volunteer service by
Captain Rockefeller, U.S.A. Lieutenant Charles Young, U.S.A., then on
duty at Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, Ohio, as professor of
military science and tactics, was commissioned by Governor Bushnell as
Major commanding the Ninth Battalion, O.V.I., relieving Major
Fillmore. In order to enable Lieutenant Young to accept his volunteer
commission, he was granted an indefinite leave of absence by the War

May 19, 1898, the command having been ordered to join the Second Army
Corps at Camp Russell A. Alger, near Falls Church, Va., left Camp
Bushnell and arrived at Camp Alger May 21, 1898.

When Major-General Graham assumed command of the Second Army Corps and
organized it into divisions, the battalion was placed in the
provisional division. In June (exact date not remembered) the
battalion was placed in the Second Brigade, Second Division, being
brigaded with the Twelfth Pennsylvania and Seventh Illinois Regiments.
The battalion was relieved from the Second Brigade, Second Division
and placed in the Second Brigade, First Division, being brigaded with
the Eighth Ohio and Sixth Massachusetts.

A New Jersey regiment was relieved from duty as corps headquarters'
guard late in June and the Ninth Battalion assigned to that duty. The
battalion performed this duty until it was ordered South from Camp
Meade, Penn., when it became separated from corps headquarters.
Important outposts, such as the entrance to Falls Church and the
guarding of the citizens' gardens and property, were under the charge
of the command.

When General Garretson's brigade (Second Brigade, First Division,
consisting of the Eighth Ohio, Ninth Battalion and Sixth
Massachusetts) was ordered to Cuba, General Graham, thinking that his
entire Army Corps would soon be ordered to active service, requested
the War Department, as the battalion was his headquarters guard, to
let the battalion remain with him. (See telegrams Gen. Graham's report
to the Secretary of War.) General Graham's request being honored by
the department, the battalion was deprived of this chance of seeing
active service in foreign fields. The battalion was then attached to
the Second Brigade, Second Division, under Brigadier-General Plummer,
being brigaded with the First New Jersey, Sixty-fifth New York and
Seventh Ohio.

In July the battalion was relieved from this brigade and attached
directly to corps headquarters. When the Second Army Corps was ordered
to Camp Meade, Penna., the battalion was one of the first to break
camp, going with corps headquarters. The battalion left Camp R.A.
Alger August 15, 1898, and arrived in camp at Camp George G. Meade,
near Middletown, Penna., August 16, 1898. In camp the battalion
occupied a position with the signal and engineer corps and hospital,
near corps headquarters.

When the Peace Jubilee was held in Philadelphia, the battalion was one
of the representative commands from the Second Army Corps, being given
the place of honor in the corps in the parade, following immediately
General Graham and staff. When the corps was ordered South the
battalion was assigned to the Second Brigade under Brigadier-General
Ames. The battalion left Camp Meade November 17. Up to this time it
had done the guard duty of corps headquarters and was complimented for
its efficient work by the commanding general. The battalion arrived
in Summerville, S.C., November 21, 1898. It was brigaded with the
Fourteenth Pennsylvania and Third Connecticut.

When the battalion arrived in the South the white citizens were not at
all favorably disposed toward colored soldiers, and it must be said
that the reception was not cordial. But by their orderly conduct and
soldierly behavior the men soon won the respect of all, and the
battalion was well treated before it left. November 28-29 Major Philip
Reade, Inspector General First Division, Second Army Corps, inspected
the Ninth Battalion, beginning his duties in that brigade with this
inspection. He complimented the battalion for its work both from a
practical and theoretical standpoint. Coming to the Fourteenth
Pennsylvania he required them to go through certain movements in the
extended order drill which not being done entirely to his
satisfaction, he sent his orderly to the commanding officer of the
Ninth Battalion, requesting him to have his command on the drill
ground at once. The battalion fell in and marched to the ground and
when presented to the Inspector orders were given for it to go through
with certain movements in the extended order drill in the presence of
the Pennsylvania regiment. This done, the Inspector dismissed the
battalion, highly complimenting Major Young on the efficiency of his
command. Just after the visit of the Inspector General, General S.B.M.
Young, commanding the Second Army Corps, visited Camp Marion. Orders
were sent to Major Young one morning to have his battalion fall in at
once, as the General desired to have them drill. By his command the
battalion went through the setting-up exercises and battalion drill in
close and extended order. The General was so well pleased with the
drill that the battalion was exempted from all work during the
remainder of the day.

The battalion was ordered to be mustered out January 29, 1899.
Lieutenant Geo. W. Van Deusen, First Artillery, who was detailed to
muster out the command, hardly spent fifteen minutes in the camp.
Major Young had been detailed Assistant Commissary of Musters and
signed all discharges for the Ninth Battalion, except for the field
and staff, which were signed by Lieutenant Van Deusen. The companies
left for their respective cities the same night they were paid. Major
Bullis was the paymaster.


[25] See "Outline History of the Ninth (Separate) Battalion Ohio
Volunteer Infantry," by the Battalion Adjutant, Lieutenant Nelson
Ballard, following the close of this chapter.



     By Captain Frank R. Steward, A.B., LL.B., Harvard,
     Forty-ninth U.S. Volunteer Infantry--Appendix.

Of all the avenues open to American citizenship the commissioned ranks
of the army and navy have been the stubbornest to yield to the newly
enfranchised. Colored men have filled almost every kind of public
office or trust save the Chief Magistracy. They have been members of
both Houses of Congress, and are employed in all the executive
branches of the Government, but no Negro has as yet succeeded in
invading the commissioned force of the navy, and his advance in the
army has been exceedingly slight. Since the war, as has been related,
but three Negroes have been graduated from the National Military
Academy at West Point; of these one was speedily crowded out of the
service; another reached the grade of First Lieutenant and died
untimely; the third, First Lieutenant Charles Young, late Major of the
9th Ohio Battalion, U.S. Volunteers, together with four colored
Chaplains, constitute the sole colored commissioned force of our
Regular Army.

Although Negroes fought in large numbers in both the Revolution and
the War of 1812, there is no instance of any Negro attaining or
exercising the rank of commissioned officer. It is a curious bit of
history, however, that in the Civil War those who were fighting to
keep colored men enslaved were the first to commission colored
officers. In Louisiana but a few days after the outbreak of the war,
the free colored population of New Orleans organized a military
organization, called the "Native Guard," which was accepted into the
service of the State and its officers were duly commissioned by the

These Negro soldiers were the first to welcome General Butler when he
entered New Orleans, and the fact of the organization of the "Native
Guard" by the Confederates was used by General Butler as the basis for
the organization of three colored regiments of "Native Guards," all
the line officers of which were colored men. Governor Pinchback, who
was a captain in one of these regiments, tells the fate of these early
colored officers.

"There were," he writes, "in New Orleans some colored soldiers known
as 'Native Guards' before the arrival of the Federal soldiers, but I
do not know much about them. It was a knowledge of this fact that
induced General Butler, then in command of the Department of the Gulf,
to organize three regiments of colored soldiers, viz: The First,
Second and Third Regiments of Native Guards.

"The First Regiment of Louisiana Native Guards, Colonel Stafford
commanding, with all the field officers white, and a full complement
of line officers (30) colored, was mustered into service at New
Orleans September 27, 1862, for three years. Soon after General Banks
took command of the department and changed the designation of the
regiment to First Infantry, Corps d'Afrique. April 4th, 1864, it was
changed again to Seventy-third United States Colored Infantry.

     [Transcriber's Note: This footnote appeared in the text
     without a footnote anchor:

     "On the 23d of November, 1861, there was a grand review of
     the Confederate troops stationed at New Orleans. An
     Associated Press despatch announced that the line was seven
     miles long. The feature of the review, however, was one
     regiment of fourteen hundred free colored men. Another grand
     review followed the next spring, and on the appearance of
     rebel negroes a local paper made the following comment:

     "'We must also pay a deserved compliment to the companies of
     free colored men, all very well drilled and comfortably
     uniformed. Most of these companies, quite unaided by the
     administration, have supplied themselves with arms without
     regard to cost or trouble. On the same day one of these
     negro companies was presented with a flag, and every
     evidence of public approbation was manifest.'"

     (Williams's Negro Troops in the Rebellion, pp. 83-4)]

"The Second Louisiana Native Guards, with Colonel N.W. Daniels and
Lieutenant-Colonel Hall, white, and Major Francis E. Dumas, colored,
and all the line officers colored except one Second Lieutenant, was
mustered into service for three years, October 12, 1862. General Banks
changed its designation to Second Infantry Corps d'Afrique, June 6,
1863, and April 6, 1864, it was changed to Second United States
Colored Troops. Finally it was consolidated with the Ninety-first as
the Seventy-fourth Colored Infantry, and mustered out October 11,

"The Third Regiment of Louisiana Native Guards, with Colonel Nelson
and all field officers white, and all line officers (30) colored, was
mustered into service at New Orleans for three years, November 24,
1862. Its designation went through the same changes as the others at
the same dates, and it was mustered out November 25, 1865, as the
Seventy-fifth Colored Infantry.

"Soon after the organization of the Third Regiment, trouble for the
colored officers began, and the department began a systematic effort
to get rid of them. A board of examiners was appointed and all COLORED
officers of the Third Regiment were ordered before it. They refused to
obey the order and tendered their resignations in a body. The
resignations were accepted and that was the beginning of the end. Like
action with the same results followed in the First and Second
Regiments, and colored officers were soon seen no more. All were
driven out of the service except three or four who were never ordered
to appear before the examining board. Among these was your humble
servant. I was then Captain of Company A, Second Regiment, but I soon
tired of my isolation and resigned."

Later on in the war, with the general enlistment of colored soldiers,
a number of colored chaplains and some surgeons were commissioned.
Towards the close of the war several colored line officers and a field
officer or two were appointed. The State of Massachusetts was foremost
in according this recognition to colored soldiers. But these later
appointments came, in most cases, after the fighting was all over, and
gave few opportunities to command. At the close of the war, with the
muster out of troops the colored officers disappeared and upon the
reorganization of the army, despite the brilliant record of the
colored soldiers, no Negro was given a commission of any sort.

The outbreak of the Spanish War brought the question of colored
officers prominently to the front. The colored people began at once to
demand that officers of their own race be commissioned to command
colored volunteers. They were not to be deluded by any extravagant
praise of their past heroic services, which veiled a determination to
ignore their just claims. So firmly did they adhere to their demands
that but one volunteer regiment of colored troops, the Third Alabama,
could be induced to enter the service with none of its officers
colored. But the concessions obtained were always at the expense of
continuous and persistent effort, and in the teeth of a very active
and at times extremely violent opposition. We know already the kind of
opposition the Eighth Illinois, the Twenty-third Kansas, and the Third
North Carolina Regiments, officered entirely by colored men,
encountered. It was this opposition, as we have seen, which confined
colored officers to positions below the grade of captain in the four
immune regiments. From a like cause, we know also, distinguished
non-commissioned officers of the four regular regiments of colored
troops were allowed promotion only to Lieutenantcies in the immune
regiments, and upon the muster out of those organizations, were
compelled, if they desired to continue soldiering, to resume their
places as enlisted men.

There is some explanation for this opposition in the nature of the
distinction which military rank confers. Military rank and naval rank
constitute the only real distinction among us. Our officers of the
army and navy, and of the army more than of the navy, because the
former officers are more constantly within the country, make up the
sole separate class of our population. We have no established
nobility. Wealth confers no privilege which men are bound to observe.
The respect paid to men who attain eminence in science and learning
goes only as far as they are known. The titles of the professions are
matters of courtesy and customs only. Our judges and legislators, our
governors and mayors, are still our "fellow citizens," and the dignity
they enjoy is but an honorary one. The highest office within our gift
offers no exception. At the close of his term, even an ex-President,
"that melancholy product of our system," must resume his place among
his fellow citizens, to sink, not infrequently, into obscurity. But
fifty thousand soldiers must stand attention to the merest second
lieutenant! His rank is a _fact_. The life tenure, the necessities of
military discipline and administration, weld army officers into a
distinct class and make our military system the sole but necessary
relic of personal government. Any class with special privileges is
necessarily conservative.

The intimate association of "officer" and "gentleman," a legacy of
feudal days, is not without significance. An officer must also be a
gentleman, and "conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman" is
erected into an offence punishable by dismissal from the service. The
word "gentleman" has got far away from the strict significance of its
French parent. De Tocqueville has made us see the process of this
development. Passing over to England, with the changing conditions,
"gentleman" was used to describe persons lower and lower in the social
scale, until, when it crossed to this country, its significance became
lost in an indiscriminate application to all citizens[27]. A flavor of
its caste significance still remains in the traditional "high sense of
honor" characteristic of our military service. It was a distant step
for a slave and freedman to become an officer and gentleman.

While the above reflections may be some explanations _in fact_ for the
opposition to the commissioning of Negroes, there was no one with
hardihood enough to bring them forward. Such notions might form the
groundwork of a prejudice, but they could not become the reason of a
policy. It is an instinctive tribute to the good sense of the American
people that the opponents of colored officers were compelled to find
reasons of another kind for their antagonism.

The one formula heard always in the campaign against colored officers
was: Negroes cannot command. This formula was sent forth with every
kind of variation, from the fierce fulminations of the hostile
Southern press, to the more apologetic and philosophical discussions
of our Northern secular and religious journals. To be sure, every now
and then, there were exhibitions of impatience against the doctrine.
Not a few newspapers had little tolerance for the nonsense. Some
former commanders of Negro soldiers in the Civil War, notably, General
T.J. Morgan, spoke out in their behalf. The brilliant career of the
black regulars in Cuba broke the spell for a time, but the re-action
speedily set in. In short it became fastened pretty completely in the
popular mind as a bit of demonstrated truth that Negroes could not
make officers; that colored soldiers would neither follow nor obey
officers of their own race.

This formula had of course to ignore an entire epoch of history. It
could take no account of that lurid program wrought in the Antilles a
century ago--a rising mob of rebel slaves, transformed into an
invincible army of tumultuous blacks, under the guidance of the
immortal Toussaint, overcoming the trained armies of three Continental
powers, Spain, England and France, and audaciously projecting a black
republic into the family of nations, a program at once a marvel and a
terror to the civilized world.

Not alone in Hayti, but throughout the States of Central and South
America have Negroes exercised military command, both in the struggles
of these states for independence, and in their national armies
established after independence. At least one soldier of Negro blood,
General Dumas, father of the great novelist, arose to the rank of
General of Division in the French Army and served under Napoleon. In
our day we have seen General Dodds, another soldier of Negro blood,
returning from a successful campaign in Africa, acclaimed throughout
France, his immense popularity threatening Paris with a renewal of the
hysterical days of Boulanger. Finally, we need not be told that at the
very head and front of the Cuban Rebellion were Negroes of every hue,
exercising every kind of command up to the very highest. We need but
recall the lamented Maceo, the Negro chieftain, whose tragic end
brought sorrow and dismay to all of Cuba. With an army thronging with
blacks and mulattoes, these Cuban chieftains, black, mulatto and
white, prolonged such an harassing warfare as to compel the
intervention of the United States. At the end of this recital, which
could well have been extended with greater particularity, if it were
thought needful, we are bound to conclude that the arbitrary formula
relied upon by the opponents of colored officers was never constructed
to fit such an obstinate set of facts.

The prolonged struggle which culminated in permitting the Negro's
general enlistment in our Civil War had only to be repeated to secure
for him the full pay of a soldier, the right to be treated as a
prisoner of war, and to relieve him of the monopoly of fatigue and
garrison duty. He was too overjoyed with the boon of fighting for the
liberation of his race to make much contention about who was to lead
him. With meagre exception, his exclusive business in that war was to
carry a gun. Yet repeatedly Negro soldiers evinced high capacity for
command. Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginson draws a glowing portrait
of Sergeant Prince Rivers, Color-Sergeant of the First South Carolina
Volunteers, a regiment of slaves, organized late in 1862. The
Color-Sergeant was provost-Sergeant also, and had entire charge of the
prisoners and of the daily policing of the camp.

"He is a man of distinguished appearance and in old times was the
crack coachman of Beaufort. * * * They tell me that he was once
allowed to present a petition to the Governor of South Carolina in
behalf of slaves, for the redress of certain grievances, and that a
placard, offering two thousand dollars for his re-capture is still to
be seen by the wayside between here and Charleston. He was a sergeant
in the old 'Hunter Regiment,' and was taken by General Hunter to New
York last spring, where the chevrons on his arm brought a mob upon him
in Broadway, whom he kept off till the police interfered. There is not
a white officer in this regiment who has more administrative ability,
or more absolute authority over the men; they do not love him, but his
mere presence has controlling power over them. He writes well enough
to prepare for me a daily report of his duties in the camp; if his
education reached a higher point I see no reason why he should not
command the Army of the Potomac. He is jet-black, or rather, I should
say, wine-black, his complexion, like that of others of my darkest
men, having a sort of rich, clear depth, without a trace of sootiness,
and to my eye very handsome. His features are tolerably regular, and
full of command, and his figure superior to that of any of our white
officers, being six feet high, perfectly proportioned, and of
apparently inexhaustable strength and activity. His gait is like a
panther's; I never saw such a tread. No anti-slavery novel has
described a man of such marked ability. He makes Toussaint perfectly
intelligible, and if there should ever be a black monarchy in South
Carolina he will be its king."[28]

Excepting the Louisiana Native Guards, the First South Carolina
Volunteers was the first regiment of colored troops to be mustered
into the service in the Civil War. The regiment was made up entirely
of slaves, with scarcely a mulatto among them. The first day of
freedom for these men was passed in uniform and with a gun. Among
these Negroes, just wrested from slavery, their scholarly commander,
Colonel Higginson, could find many whom he judged well fitted by
nature to command.

"Afterwards I had excellent battalion drills," he writes, "without a
single white officer, by way of experiment, putting each company under
a sergeant, and going through the most difficult movements, such as
division columns and oblique squares. And as to actual discipline, it
is doing no injustice to the line-officers of the regiment to say that
none of them received from the men more implicit obedience than
Color-Sergeant Rivers. * * * It always seemed to me an insult to those
brave men to have novices put over their heads, on the ground of color
alone, and the men felt it the more keenly as they remained longer in
the service. There were more than seven hundred enlisted men in the
regiment, when mustered out after more than three years' service. The
ranks had been kept full by enlistment, but there were only fourteen
line-officers instead of the full thirty. The men who should have
filled these vacancies were doing duty as sergeants in the ranks."[29]

Numerous expeditions were constantly on foot in the Department of the
South, having for their object the liberation of slaves still held to
service in neighborhoods remote from the Union camps, or to capture
supplies and munitions of war. Frequently these expeditions came in
conflict with armed bodies of rebels and hot engagements would ensue,
resulting in considerable loss of life. Colored soldiers were
particularly serviceable for this work because of their intimate
knowledge of the country and their zeal for the rescue of their
enslaved brethren.

One of these expeditions, composed of thirty colored soldiers and
scouts, commanded by Sergeant-Major Henry James, Third United States
Colored Troops, left Jacksonville, Florida, early in March, 1865, to
penetrate into the interior through Marion county. They destroyed
considerable property in the use of the rebel government, burned the
bridge across the Oclawaha River, and started on their return with
ninety-one Negroes whom they had rescued from slavery, four white
prisoners, some wagons and a large number of horses and mules. They
were attacked by a rebel band of more than fifty cavalry. The colored
soldiers commanded by one of their own number, defeated and drove off
the rebels, inflicting upon them the heavy loss of thirty men. After a
long and rapid march they arrived at St. Augustine, Florida, with a
loss of but two killed and four wounded, the expedition covering in
all five days. These colored soldiers and their colored commander were
thanked in orders by Major-General Q.A. Gilmore, commanding the
department, who was moved to declare that "this expedition, planned
and executed by colored men, under the command of a colored
non-commissioned officer, reflects credit upon the brave participants
and their leader," and "he holds up their conduct to their comrades in
arms as an example worthy of emulation."[30]

It was no uncommon occurrence throughout the Civil War for colored
non-commissioned officers to be thrown into command of their companies
by the killing or wounding of their superior officers. On many a field
of battle this happened and these colored non-commissioned officers
showed the same ability to take the initiative and accept the
responsibility, and conducted their commands just as bravely and
unfalteringly as did their successors on the firing line at La Guasima
and El Caney, or in the charge up San Juan Hill.

In the battle of New Market Heights, fought on the 29th of September,
1864, as part of a comprehensive effort to turn Lee's left flank, the
great heroism of the black soldiers, and the terrible slaughter among
them, impressed their commander, the late Major-General Butler, to his
dying day, and made him the stout champion of their rights for the
rest of his life. In that battle, to quote from the orders putting on
record the "gallant deeds of the officers and soldiers of the Army of
the James":--

     "Milton M. Holland, Sergeant-Major Fifth United States
     Colored Troops, commanding Company C; James H. Bronson,
     First Sergeant, commanding Company D; Robert Pinn, First
     Sergeant, commanding Company I, wounded; Powhatan Beaty,
     First Sergeant, commanding Company G, Fifth United States
     Colored Troops--all these gallant colored soldiers were left
     in command, all their company officers being killed or
     wounded, and led them gallantly and meritoriously through
     the day. For these services they have most honorable
     mention, and the commanding general will cause a special
     medal to be struck in honor of these gallant soldiers."

     "First Sergeant Edward Ratcliff, Company C, Thirty-eighth
     United States Colored Troops, thrown into command of his
     company by the death of the officer commanding, was the
     first enlisted man in the enemy's works, leading his company
     with great gallantry for which he has a medal."

     "Sergeant Samuel Gilchrist, Company K, Thirty-sixth United
     States Colored Troops, showed great bravery and gallantry in
     commanding his company after his officers were killed. He
     has a medal for gallantry."[31]

"Honorable mention" and "medals" were the sole reward open to the
brave Negro soldiers of that day.

Not alone in camp and garrison, in charge of expeditions, or as
non-commissioned officers thrown into command of their companies on
the field of battle have Negro soldiers displayed unquestioned
capacity for command, but as commissioned officers they commanded in
camp and in battle, showing marked efficiency and conspicuous
gallantry. The colored officers of the First and Second Regiments of
Louisiana Native Guards, whose history has been detailed earlier in
this chapter,[32] were retained in the service long enough to command
their troops in bloody combat with the enemy. It will be remembered
that of the Second Regiment of Louisiana Native Guards only the
Colonel and Lieutenant-Colonel were white, the Major, F.E. Dumas, and
all the line officers, as in the case of the First Regiment of
Louisiana Native Guards, being colored. On April 9, 1863, Colonel N.U.
Daniels, who commanded the Second Regiment of Louisiana Native Guards,
with a detachment of two hundred men of his regiment, under their
colored officers, engaged and repulsed a considerable body of rebel
infantry and cavalry at Pascagoula, Mississippi. The engagement lasted
from 10 A.M. until 2 P.M. and was remarkable for the steadiness,
tenacity and bravery of these black troops in this, their first
battle, where they succeeded in defeating and beating off an enemy
five times their number. The official report by the Colonel commanding
declared: "Great credit is due to the troops engaged for their
unflinching bravery and steadiness under this, their first fire,
exchanging volley after volley with the coolness of veterans, and for
their determined tenacity in maintaining their position, and taking
advantage of every success that their courage and valor gave them; and
also to their officers, who were cool and determined throughout the
action, fighting their commands against five times their number, and
confident throughout of success. * * *

"I would particularly call the attention of the department to Major
F.E. Dumas, Capt. Villeverd and Lieuts. Jones and Martin, who were
constantly in the thickest of the fight, and by their unflinching
bravery and admirable handling of their commands, contributed to the
success of the attack, and reflected great honor upon the flag for
which they so nobly struggled."[33]

The battle which settled for all time the bravery of black troops, and
ought as well to silence all question about the capacity of colored
officers, was the storming of Port Hudson, May 27, 1863. For months
the Confederates had had uninterrupted opportunity to strengthen their
works at Port Hudson at a time when an abundance of slave labor was at
their disposal. They had constructed defenses of remarkable strength.
On a bluff, eighty feet above the river, was a series of batteries
mounting in all twenty siege guns. For land defenses they had a
continuous line of parapet of strong profile, beginning at a point on
the river a mile from Port Hudson and extending in a semi-circle for
three or four miles over a country for the most part rough and broken,
and ending again at the river, a half mile north of Port Hudson. At
appropriate positions along this line four bastion works were
constructed and thirty pieces of field artillery were posted. The
average thickness of the parapet was twenty feet, and the depth of the
ditch below the top of the parapet was fifteen feet. The ground behind
the parapet was well adapted for the prompt movement of troops.[34]

On the 24th of May General Banks reached the immediate vicinity of
Port Hudson, and proceeded at once to invest the place.

On the 27th the assault was ordered. Two colored regiments of
Louisiana Native Guards, the First Regiment with all line officers
colored, and the Third with white officers throughout, were put under
command of Colonel John A. Nelson, of the Third Regiment, and assigned
to position on the right of the line, where the assault was begun. The
right began the assault in the morning; for some reason the left did
not assault until late in the afternoon. Six companies of the First
Louisiana and nine companies of the Third, in all 1080 men, were
formed in column of attack. Even now, one cannot contemplate unmoved
the desperate valor of these black troops and the terrible slaughter
among them as they were sent to their impossible task that day in May.
Moving forward in double quick time the column emerged from the woods,
and passing over the plain strewn with felled trees and entangled
brushwood, plunged into a fury of shot and shell as they charged for
the batteries on the rebel left. Again and again that unsupported
column of black troops held to their hopeless mission by the
unrelenting order of the brigade commander, hurled itself literally
into the jaws of death, many meeting horrible destruction actually at
the cannon's mouth.

It was a day prodigal with deeds of fanatical bravery. The colors of
the First Louisiana, torn and shivered in that fearful hail of fire,
were still borne forward in front of the works by the color-sergeant,
until a shell from the enemy cut the flag in two and gave the sergeant
his mortal wound. He fell spattering the flag with blood and brains
and hugged it to his bosom as he lay in the grasp of death. Two
corporals sprang forward to seize the colors, contending in generous
rivalry until a rebel sharpshooter felled one of them across the
sergeant's lifeless body. The other dashed proudly forward with the
flag. Sixteen men fell that day defending the colors.

Black officers and white officers commanded side by side, moving among
the men to prompt their valor by word and example, revealing no
difference in their equal contempt of death. Captain Quinn, of the
Third Regiment, with forty reckless followers, bearing their rifles
and cartridge boxes above their heads, swam the ditch and leaped among
the guns, when they were ordered back to escape a regiment of rebels
hastening for their rear. Six of them re-crossed alive, and of these
only two were unhurt, the brave Quinn and a Lieutenant. The gallant
Captain Andre Cailloux, who commanded the color company of the First
Louisiana, a man black as night, but a leader by birth and education,
moved in eager zeal among his men, cheering them on by words and his
own noble example, with his left arm already shattered, proudly
refusing to leave the field. In a last effort of heroism, he sprang to
the front of his company, commanded his men to follow him, and in the
face of that murderous fire, gallantly led them forward until a shell
smote him to death but fifty yards from the works.

Cailloux, a pure Negro in blood, was born a freeman and numbered
generations of freemen among his ancestry. He had fine presence, was a
man of culture and possessed wealth. He had raised his company by his
own efforts, and attached them to him, not only by his ardent pride of
race, which made him boast his blackness, but also by his undoubted
talents for command. His heroic death was mourned by thousands of his
race who had known him. His body, recovered after the surrender, was
given a soldier's burial in his own native city of New Orleans.

When the day was spent, the bleeding and shattered column was at
length recalled. The black troops did not take the guns, but the day's
work had won for them a fame that cannot die. The nation, which had
received them into the service half-heartedly, and out of necessity,
was that day made to witness a monotony of gallantry and heroism that
compelled everywhere awe and admiration. Black soldiers, and led by
black officers as well as white, assigned a task hopeless and
impossible at the start, had plunged into that withering storm of shot
and shell, poured fourth by artillery and infantry, charging over a
field strewn with obstacles, and in madness of bravery had more than
once thrown the thin head of their column to the very edge of the
guns. They recoiled only to reform their broken lines and to start
again their desperate work. When the day was gone, and they were
called back, the shattered remnant of the column which had gone forth
in the morning still burned with passion. With that day's work of
black soldiers under black officers, a part forever of the military
glory of the Republic, there are those who yet dare to declare that
Negroes cannot command.

The assault on Port Hudson had been unsuccessful all along the line. A
second assault was ordered June 13. It, too, was unsuccessful. The
fall of Vicksburg brought the garrison to terms. The surrender took
place July 9, 1863. In the report of the general commanding, the
colored soldiers were given unstinted praise. General Banks declared
that "no troops could be more determined or more daring."[35] The
Northern press described glowingly their part in the fight. The
prowess of the black soldiers had conquered military prejudice, and
won for them a place in the army of the Union. And the brave black
officers who led these black soldiers, they were, all of them, ordered
forthwith before an examining board with the purpose of driving them
from the service, and every one of them in self-respect was made to
resign. In such manner was their bravery rewarded.

In the four regiments of colored troops made a part of the Regular
Army since the Civil War, colored soldiers, to say nothing of the
three colored graduates from West Point, referred to earlier in this
chapter, have repeatedly given evidence of their capacity to command.
An earlier chapter has already set forth the gallant manner in which
colored non-commissioned officers, left in command by the killing or
wounding of their officers, commanded their companies at La Guasima,
El Caney and in the charge at San Juan. On numerous occasions, with
none of the heroic setting of the Santiago campaign, have colored
soldiers time and again command detachments and companies on dangerous
scouting expeditions, and in skirmishes and fights with hostile
Indians and marauders. The entire Western country is a witness of
their prowess. This meritorious work, done in remote regions, has
seldom come to public notice; the medal which the soldier wears, and
the official entry in company and regimental record are in most cases
the sole chronicle. A typical instance is furnished in the career of
Sergeant Richard Anderson, late of the Ninth Cavalry. The sergeant has
long ago completed his thirty years of service. He passed through all
non-commissioned grades in his troop and regiment, and was retired as
Post Commissary-Sergeant. The story of the engagements in which he
commanded give ample proof of his ability and bravery. It would be no
service to the sergeant to disturb his own frank and formal narrative.

The Sergeant's story:--

     "While in sub-camp at Fort Cumming, New Mexico, awaiting
     orders for campaign duty against hostile Indians (old
     Naney's band), on the evening of June 5, 1880, my troop
     commander being absent at Fort Bayard, which left me in
     command of my troop, there being no other commissioned
     officer available, a report having come in to the commanding
     officer about 1 o'clock that a band of Apache Indians were
     marching toward Cook's Canon, Troops B and L, under general
     command of Captain Francis, 9th Cavalry, and myself
     commanding Troop B, were ordered out.

     We came upon the Indians in Cook's Canon and had an
     engagement which lasted two or three hours. Three or four
     Indians were killed and several wounded. We had no men
     killed, but a few wounded in both L and B Troops. We
     followed the Indians many miles that evening, but having no
     rations, returned to Fort Cumming late that evening, and
     went into camp until the following morning, when the two
     troops took the trail and followed it many days, but being
     unable to overtake the Indians, returned to Fort Cumming.

     In August, 1881, while my troop was in camp at Fort Cumming,
     New Mexico, awaiting orders for another campaign against
     these same Apache Indians, my troop commander having been
     ordered to Fort Bayard, New Mexico, on general court-martial
     duty, and during his absence having no commissioned officer
     available, I was in command of my troop subject to the
     orders of the post commander. At 12 o'clock at night, August
     17, 1881, while in my tent asleep, the commanding officer's
     orderly knocked on my tent and informed me that the
     commanding officer wanted me to report to him at once. I
     asked the orderly what was up. He informed me that he
     supposed a scout was going out, as the commanding officer
     had sent for Lieutenant Smith, then in command of Troop H,
     9th Cavalry.

     I dressed myself promptly and reported, and found Lieutenant
     Smith and the commanding officer at the office on my

     The commanding officer asked me about how many men I could
     mount for thirty days' detached duty, leaving so many men
     to take care of property and horses. I told him about how
     many. He ordered me to make a ration return for that number
     of men, and send a sergeant to draw rations for thirty days'
     scout; and for me to hurry up, and when ready to report to
     Lieutenant Smith. By 12.45 my troop was ready and mounted,
     and reported as ordered, and at 1 o'clock Troop's B and H
     pulled out from Fort Cumming for Lake Valley, New Mexico;
     and when the sun showed himself over the tops of the
     mountains we marched down the mountains into Lake Valley,
     thirty-five miles from Fort Cumming. We went into camp
     hoping to spend a few hours and take a rest, and feed our
     horses and men.

     About 9 o'clock a small boy came running through camp crying
     as if to break his heart, saying that the Indians had killed
     his mother and their baby. Some of the men said the boy must
     be crazy; but many of them made for their horses without
     orders. Soon Lieutenant Smith ordered "Saddle up." In less
     than five minutes all the command was saddled up and ready
     to mount. We mounted and pulled out at a gallop, and
     continued at that gait until we came to a high mountain,
     when we came down to a walk. And when over the mountain we
     took up the gallop, and from that time on, nothing but a
     gallop and a trot, when the country was favorable for such.
     When we had marched about two miles from Lake Valley we met
     the father of the boy, with his leg bleeding where the
     Indians had shot him. We marched about half a mile farther,
     when we could see the Indians leaving this man's ranch. We
     had a running fight with them from that time until about 5
     o'clock that evening, August 18th, 1881. Having no rations,
     we returned to Lake Valley with the intention of resting
     that night and taking the trail the next morning; but about
     9 o'clock that night a ranchman came into camp and reported
     that the Indians had marched into a milk ranch and burned up
     the ranch, and had gone into camp near by.

     Lieutenant Smith ordered me to have the command in readiness
     to march at 12 o'clock sharp, and said we could surprise
     those Indians and capture many of them and kill a few also.
     I went and made my detail as ordered, with five days'
     rations in haversacks, and at 12 o'clock reported as

     About half-past 12 o'clock the command pulled out and
     marched within about a mile and a half of the milk ranch and
     went into camp; and at daylight in the morning saddled up
     and marched to the ranch. The Indians had pulled out a few
     minutes before our arrival. We took their trail and came up
     with them about 10 o'clock, finding the Indians in ambush.
     Lieutenant Smith was the first man killed, and when I heard
     his last command, which was "Dismount," then the whole
     command fell upon your humble servant. We fell back, up a
     canon and on a hill, and held them until 4 o'clock, when a
     reinforcement came up of about twenty men from Lake Valey
     and the Indians pulled off over the mountains. The
     following-named men were killed in the engagement:

     Lieutenant G.W. Smith; Mr. Daily, a miner; Saddler Thomas
     Golding; Privates James Brown and Monroe Overstreet.
     Wounded--Privates Wesley Harris, John W. Williams and
     William A. Hallins.

     After the Indians ceased firing and fell back over the
     mountains I cared for the wounded and sent Lieutenant
     Smith's body to Fort Bayard, New Mexico, where his wife was,
     which was about sixty miles from the battle-ground, and Mr.
     Daily's body to Lake Valley, all under a strong detachment
     of men under a non-commissioned officer; when I marched with
     the remainder of the command with the dead and wounded for
     Rodman Mill, where I arrived about 5 o'clock on the morning
     of August 20 and buried the dead and sent the wounded to
     Fort Bayard.

     One thing that attracted my attention more than anything
     else was the suffering of Private John W. Williams, Troop H,
     who was shot through the kneecap and had to ride all that
     night from the battle-ground to Brookman's Mill. Poor

     I buried all my dead, and then marched for Fort Cumming,
     where we arrived about sunset and reported to General Edward
     Hatch, then commanding the regiment and also the district of
     New Mexico, giving him all the details pertaining to the

     General Hatch asked me about how many men I could mount the
     next morning, the 21st. I informed him about how many. He
     ordered me to have my troop in readiness by daylight and
     report to Lieutenant Demmick, then commanding Troop L, and
     follow that Indian trail.

     My troop was ready as ordered, and marched. We followed
     those Indians to the line of Old Mexico, but were unable to
     overtake them. Such was my last engagement with hostile

The formula that Negroes cannot command, with the further assertion
that colored soldiers will neither follow nor obey officers of their
own race, we have now taken out of the heads of its upholders, and
away from its secure setting of type on the printed page, and applied
it to the facts. Negro soldiers have shown their ability to command by
commanding, not always with shoulder-straps, to be sure, but
nevertheless commanding. With wearying succession, instance after
instance, where Negroes have exercised all manner of military command
and always creditably, have extended for us a recital to the border of
monotony, and made formidable test of our patience. In France and the
West Indies, in Central and South America, Negroes have commanded
armies, in one instance fighting under Napoleon, at other times to
free themselves from slavery and their countries from the yoke of
oppression. In our own country, from the days of the Revolution, when
fourteen American officers declared in a memorial to the Congress,
that a "Negro man called Salem Poor, of Colonel Frye's regiment,
Captain Ames' company, in the late battle at Charlestown, behaved like
an _experienced officer_, as well as an excellent soldier;"[36] from
the first war of the nation down to its last, Negro soldiers have been
evincing their capacity to command. In the Civil War, where thousands
of colored soldiers fought for the Union, their ability to command has
been evidenced in a hundred ways, on scouts and expeditions, in camp
and in battle; on two notable occasions, Negro officers gallantly
fought their commands side by side with white officers, and added
lustre to the military glory of the nation. Upon the re-organization
of the Regular Army at the close of the war the theatre shifted to
our Western frontier, where the Negro soldier continued to display his
ability to command. Finally, in the Spanish War, just closed, the
Negro soldier made the nation again bear witness not alone to his
undaunted bravery, but also to his conspicuous capacity to command.
Out of this abundant and conclusive array of incontestable facts,
frankly, is there anything left to the arbitrary formula that Negroes
cannot command, but a string of ipse dixits hung on a very old, but
still decidedly robust prejudice? There is no escape from the
conclusion that as a matter of fact, with opportunity, Negroes differ
in no wise from other men in capacity to exercise military command.

Undoubtedly substantial progress has been made respecting colored
officers since 1863, when colored soldiers were first admitted in
considerable numbers into the army of the Union. At the period of the
Civil War colored officers for colored soldiers was little more than
thought of; the sole instance comprised the short-lived colored
officers of the three regiments of Louisiana Native Guards, and the
sporadic appointments made near the close of the war, when the
fighting was over.

More than three hundred colored officers served in the volunteer army
in the war with Spain. Two Northern States, Illinois and Kansas, and
one Southern State, North Carolina, put each in the field as part of
its quota a regiment of colored troops officered throughout by colored
men. Ohio and Indiana contributed each a separate battalion of colored
soldiers entirely under colored officers.

In 1863 a regiment of colored troops with colored officers was
practically impossible. In 1898 a regiment of colored volunteers
without some colored officers was almost equally impossible. In 1863
a regiment of colored soldiers commanded by colored officers would
have been a violation of the sentiment of the period and an outrage
upon popular feelings, the appearance of which in almost any Northern
city would hardly fail to provoke an angry and resentful mob. At that
period, even black recruits in uniforms were frequently assaulted in
the streets of Northern cities. We have seen already how Sergeant
Rivers, of the First South Carolina Volunteers, had to beat off a mob
on Broadway in New York city. In 1898 regiments and battalions of
colored troops, with colored colonels and majors in command, came out
of States where the most stringent black laws were formerly in force,
and were greeted with applause as they passed on their way to their
camps or to embark for Cuba.

In Baltimore, in 1863, the appearance of a Negro in the uniform of an
army surgeon started a riot, and the irate mob was not appeased until
it had stripped the patriotic colored doctor of his shoulder-straps.
In 1898, when the Sixth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers passed
through the same city, the colored officers of Company L of that
regiment were welcomed with the same courtesies as their white
colleagues--courtesies extended as a memorial of the fateful progress
of the regiment through the city of Baltimore in 1861. One State which
went to war in 1861 to keep the Negro a slave, put in the field a
regiment of colored soldiers, officered by colored men from the
colonel down. To this extent has prejudice been made to yield either
to political necessity, or a generous change in sentiment. Thus were
found States both North and South willing to give the Negro the full
military recognition to which he is entitled.

With this wider recognition of colored officers the general
government has not kept pace. In the four regiments of colored
volunteers recruited by the general government for service in the war
with Spain, only the lieutenants were colored. Through the extreme
conservatism of the War Department, in these regiments no colored
officers, no matter how meritorious, could be appointed or advanced to
the grade of captain. Such was the announced policy of the department,
and it was strictly carried out. The commissioning of this large
number of colored men even to lieutenancies was, without doubt, a
distinct step in advance; it was an entering wedge. But it was also an
advance singularly inadequate and embarrassing. In one of these
colored volunteer, commonly called "immune" regiments, of the twelve
captains, but five had previous military training, while of the
twenty-four colored lieutenants, eighteen had previous military
experience, and three of the remaining six were promoted from the
ranks, so that at the time of their appointment twenty-one lieutenants
had previous military training. Of the five captains with previous
military experience, one, years ago, had been a lieutenant in the
Regular Army; another was promoted from Post Quartermaster-Sergeant; a
third at one time had been First Sergeant of Artillery; the remaining
two had more or less experience in the militia. Of the eighteen
lieutenants with previous military experience, twelve had served in
the Regular Army; eight of these, not one with a service less than
fifteen years, were promoted directly from the ranks of the regulars
for efficiency and gallantry. At the time of their promotion two were
Sergeants, five First Sergeants and one a Post Quartermaster-Sergeant.
The four others from the Regular Army had served five years each. Of
the six remaining Lieutenants with previous military experience, four
had received military training in high schools, three of whom were
subsequently officers in the militia; fifth graduated from a state
college with a military department; the sixth had been for years an
officer in the militia. With this advantage at the start, it is no
extravagance to say that the colored officers practically made the
companies. To them was due the greater part of the credit for whatever
efficiency the companies showed. Moreover, these colored officers were
not behind in intelligence. Among them were four graduates of
universities and colleges, two lawyers, two teachers, one journalist,
five graduates of high schools and academies, and the men from the
Regular Army, as their previous non-commissioned rank indicates, were
of good average intelligence. There is no reason to believe that this
one of the four colored volunteer regiments was in any degree

These are the officers for whom the War Department had erected their
arbitrary bar at captaincy, and declared that no show of efficiency
could secure for them the titular rank which they more than once
actually exercised. For they were repeatedly in command of their
companies through sickness or absence of their captains. They served
as officers without the incentive which comes from hope of promotion.
They were forced to see the credit of their labors go to others, and
to share more than once in discredit for which they were not
responsible. They were, and in this lay their chief embarrassment,
without the security and protection which higher rank would have
accorded them. In case of trial by court-martial, captains and other
higher officers filled the court to the exclusion of almost all
others. These were white men. It is gratifying to record that the War
Department recognized this special injustice to colored officers, and
in the two regiments of colored volunteers recruited for service in
the Philippines all the line-officers are colored men, the field
officers being white, and appointed from the Regular Army in pursuance
of a general policy. Thus far has the general government advanced in
recognition of the military capacity of the Negro. In the swing of the
pendulum the nation is now at the place where the hardy General Butler
was thirty-seven years ago, when he organized the three regiments of
Louisiana Native Guards with all line-officers colored.

The way in which modern armies are organized and perfected leaves
little necessity for an equipment of exceptional personal gifts in
order to exercise ordinary military command. The whole thing is
subordinate, and the field for personal initiative is contracted to
the minimum. In our own army the President is Commander-in-Chief, and
the command descends through a multitude of subordinate grades down to
the lowest commissioned officer in the service. We have "Articles of
War" and "Regulations," and the entire discipline and government of
the army is committed to writing. There is no chance to enshroud in
mystery the ability to command. For ordinary military command, with
intelligence the chief requisite, little is required beyond courage,
firmness and good judgment. These qualities are in no respect natural
barriers for colored men.

This last story of the Negro soldier's efficiency and gallantry, told
in the pages of this book, teaches its own very simple conclusion. The
Cuban campaign has forced the nation to recognize the completion of
the Negro's evolution as a soldier in the Army of the United States.
The colored American soldier, by his own prowess, has won an
acknowledged place by the side of the best trained fighters with arms.
In the fullness of his manhood he has no rejoicing in the patronizing
paean, "the colored troops fought nobly," nor does he glow at all
when told of his "faithfulness" and "devotion" to his white officers,
qualities accentuated to the point where they might well fit an
affectionate dog. He lays claim to no prerogative other than that of a
plain citizen of the Republic, trained to the profession of arms. The
measure of his demand--and it is the demand of ten millions of his
fellow-citizens allied to him by race--is that the full manhood
privileges of a soldier be accorded him. On his record in arms, not
excluding his manifest capacity to command, the colored soldier,
speaking for the entire body of colored citizens in this country, only
demands that the door of the nation's military training school be
freely open to the capable of his race, and the avenue of promotion
from the ranks be accessible to his tried efficiency; that no
hindrance prevent competent colored men from taking their places as
officers as well as soldiers in the nation's permanent military


[26] Headquarters Department of the Gulf,
     New Orleans, August 22, 1862.
     General Orders No. 63.

     "Whereas, on the 23d day of April, in the year eighteen
     hundred and sixty-one, at a public meeting of the free
     colored population of the city of New Orleans, a military
     organization, known as the 'Native Guards' (colored), had
     its existence, which military organization was duly and
     legally enrolled as a part of the militia of the State, its
     officers being commissioned by Thomas O. Moore, Governor and
     Commander-in-Chief of the militia of the State of Louisiana,
     in the form following, that is to say:

     The State of Louisiana.
     (Seal of the State.)

     By Thomas Overton Moore, Governor of the State of Louisiana,
     and commander-in-chief of the militia thereof.

     "'In the name and by the authority of the State of
     Louisiana: Know ye that ---- ----, having been duly and
     legally elected captain of the "Native Guards" (colored),
     first division of the Militia of Louisiana, to serve for the
     term of the war,

     "'I do hereby appoint and commission him captain as
     aforesaid, to take rank as such, from the 2d day of May,
     eighteen hundred and sixty-one.

     "'He is, therefore, carefully and diligently to discharge
     the duties of his office by doing and performing all manner
     of things thereto belonging. And I do strictly charge and
     require all officers, non-commissioned officers and privates
     under his command to be obedient to his orders as captain;
     and he is to observe and follow such orders and directions,
     from time to time, as he shall receive from me, or the
     future Governor of the State of Louisiana, or other superior
     officers, according to the Rules and Articles of War, and in
     conformity to law.

     "'In testimony whereof, I have caused these letters to be
     made patent, and the seal of the State to be hereunto

     "'Given under my hand, at the city of Baton Rouge, on the
     second day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand
     eight hundred and sixty-one.

     (L.S.)                  (Signed) THOS. O. MOORE.
     "'By the Governor:
                             (Signed) P.D. HARDY,
                                      Secretary of State.

     (Wilson: Black Phalanx, p. 194.)

[27] De Tocqueville: L'Ancien Régime et La Revolution, p. 125-6.

[28] Thomas Westworth Higginson: Army Life in a Black Regiment, pp.

[29] Thomas Wentworth Higginson: Army Life in a Black Regiment, p.

[30] Williams's Negro Troops in the Rebellion, pp. 339-40, quoting the

[31] Williams's Negro Troops in the Rebellion, pp. 334-6, original
order quoted.

[32] See pp. 351-6 MS.

[33] Wilson: Black Phalanx, p. 211, original order quoted.

[34] Campaigns of the Civil War. F.V. Greene. The Mississippi, p. 226
et seq.

[35] Williams's Negro Troops in the Rebellion, p. 221, original order

[36] MS. Archives of Massachusetts, Vol. 180, p. 241, quoted in
Williams's Negro Troops in the Rebellion, p. 13.


The correspondence following shows the progress of the negotiations
for the surrender of the city of Santiago and the Spanish Army, from
the morning of July 3d until the final convention was signed on the
sixteenth of the same month. This surrender virtually closed the war,
but did not restore the contending nations to a status of peace.
Twenty-three thousand Spanish soldiers had laid down their arms and
had been transformed from enemies to friends. On the tenth of August
following, a protocol was submitted by the President of the United
States, which was accepted by the Spanish cabinet on the eleventh, and
on the twelfth the President announced the cessation of hostilities,
thus closing a war which had lasted one hundred and ten days. On the
tenth of December a Treaty of Peace between the United States and
Spain was signed at Paris, which was subsequently ratified by both
nations, and diplomatic relations fully restored. The war, though
short, had been costly. One hundred and fifty million dollars had been
spent in its prosecution, and there were left on our hands the
unsolved problem of Cuba and the Philippines, which promised much
future trouble.

Within a month from the signing of the convention, the Army of
Invasion, known as the Fifth Army Corps, was on its homeward voyage,
and by the latter part of August the whole command was well out of
Cuba. Well did the soldiers themselves, as well as their friends,
realize, as the former returned from that campaign of a hundred days,
that war in the tropics was neither a pastime nor a practice march.
The campaign had tested the powers of endurance of the men to its
utmost limit. The horrors of war were brought directly to the face of
the people, as the ten thousand invalids dragged their debilitated
forms from the transports to their detention camps, or to the
hospitals, some too helpless to walk, and many to die soon after
greeting their native shores. Those who had been so enthusiastic for
the war were now quiet, and were eagerly laying the blame for the
sorrow and suffering before them upon the shoulders of those who had
conducted the war. Few stopped to think that a good part of this woe
might be justly charged to those who had constantly resisted the
establishment of an adequate standing army, and who, with inconsistent
vehemence, had urged the nation into a war, regardless of its military
equipment. The emaciated veterans arriving at Montauk were spoken of
as the evidences of "military incompetency;" they were also evidence
of that narrow statesmanship which ignores the constant suggestions of
military experience.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Headquarters United States Forces,
     Near San Juan River, July 3, 1898--8.30 A.M.

     To the Commanding General of the Spanish Forces, Santiago de Cuba.

     Sir:--I shall be obliged, unless you surrender, to shell
     Santiago de Cuba. Please inform the citizens of foreign
     countries, and all the women and children, that they should
     leave the city before 10 o'clock to-morrow morning.

     Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

     Major-General U.S.V.


     Santiago de Cuba, July 3, 1898.

     His Excellency the General Commanding Forces of United States,
     near San Juan River.

     Sir:--I have the honor to reply to your communication of
     to-day, written at 8.30 A.M., and received at 1 P.M.,
     demanding the surrender of this city, or, in contrary case,
     announcing to me that you will bombard this city, and that I
     advise the foreigners, women and children that they must
     leave the city before 10 o'clock to-morrow morning. It is my
     duty to say to you that this city will not surrender, and
     that I will inform the foreign consuls and inhabitants of
     the contents of your message.

     Very respectfully,

     Commander-in-Chief, Fourth Corps,

     Headquarters Fifth Army Corps,
     Camp near San Juan River, Cuba, July 4, 1898.

     The Commanding General, Spanish Forces, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.

     Sir:--I was officially informed last night that Admiral
     Cervera is now a captive on board the U.S.S. Gloucester, and
     is unharmed. He was then in the harbor of Siboney. I regret
     also to have to announce to you the death of General Vara
     del Rey at El Caney, who, with two of his sons, was killed
     in the battle of July 1st. His body will be buried this
     morning with military honors. His brother,
     Lieutenant-Colonel Vara del Rey, is wounded and a prisoner
     in my hands, together with the following officers: Captain
     Don Antonio Vara del Rey, Captain Isidor Arias, Captain
     Antonio Mansas, and Captain Manuel Romero, who, though
     severely wounded, will all probably survive.

     I also have to announce to you that the Spanish fleet, with
     the exception of one vessel, was destroyed, and this one is
     being so vigorously pursued that it will be impossible for
     it to escape. General Pando is opposed by forces sufficient
     to hold him in check.

     In view of the above, I would suggest that, to save needless
     effusion of blood and the distress of many people, you may
     reconsider your determination of yesterday. Your men have
     certainly shown the gallantry which was expected of them.

     I am, sir, with great respect,

     Your obedient servant,

     Major-General, Commanding United States Forces.

     Headquarters Fifth Army Corps,
     Camp near San Juan River, Cuba, July 4, 1898.

     To the Commanding General, Spanish Forces, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.

     Sir:--The fortune of war has thrown into my hands quite a
     number of officers and private soldiers, whom I am now
     holding as prisoners of war, and I have the honor to propose
     to you that a cartel of exchange be arranged to-day, by
     which the prisoners taken by the forces of Spain from on
     board the Merrimac, and any officers and men of the army who
     may have fallen into our hands within the past few days, may
     be returned to their respective governments on the terms
     usual in such cases, of rank for rank. Trusting that this
     will meet with your favorable consideration, I remain,

     Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

     Major-General, Commanding United States Forces.

     Headquarters Fifth Army Corps,
     Camp near San Juan River, Cuba, July 4, 1898.

     To the Commanding Officer, Spanish Forces, Santiago.

     Sir:--It will give me great pleasure to return to the city
     of Santiago at an early hour to-morrow morning all the
     wounded Spanish officers now at El Caney who are able to be
     carried and who will give their parole not to serve against
     the United States until regularly exchanged. I make this
     proposition, as I am not so situated as to give these
     officers the care and attention that they can receive at the
     hands of their military associates and from their own
     surgeons; though I shall, of course, give them every kind
     treatment that it is possible to do under such adverse
     circumstances. Trusting that this will meet with your
     approbation, and that you will permit me to return to you
     these persons, I am,

     Your very obedient servant,

     Major-General, Commanding United States Forces.

     Army of the Island of Cuba,
     Fifth Corps, General Staff.

     To His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief of the American Forces.

     Excellency:--I have the honor to reply to the three
     communications of your Excellency, dated to-day, and I am
     very grateful for the news you give in regard to the
     generals, chiefs, officers and troops that are your
     prisoners, and of the good care that you give to the wounded
     in your possession. With respect to the wounded, I have no
     objection to receiving in this place those that your
     Excellency may willingly deliver me, but I am not authorized
     by the General-in-Chief to make any exchange, as he has
     reserved to himself that authority. Yet I have given him
     notice of the proposition of your Excellency.

     It is useless for me to tell you how grateful I am for the
     interest that your Excellency has shown for the prisoners
     and corpse of General Vara del Rey, giving you many thanks
     for the chivalrous treatment.

     The same reasons that I explained to you yesterday, I have
     to give again to-day--that this place will not be

     I am, yours with great respect and consideration,

     (Signed) JOSE TORAL.

     In Santiago de Cuba, July 4, 1898.

     Headquarters Fifth Army Corps,
     Camp near San Juan River, Cuba, July 6, 1898.

     To the Commander-in-Chief, Spanish Forces, Santiago de Cuba.

     Sir:--In view of the events of the 3d instant, I have the
     honor to lay before your Excellency certain propositions to
     which, I trust, your Excellency, will give the consideration
     which, in my judgment, they deserve.

     I inclose a bulletin of the engagement of Sunday morning
     which resulted in the complete destruction of Admiral
     Cervera's fleet, the loss of six hundred of his officers and
     men, and the capture of the remainder. The Admiral, General
     Paredes and all others who escaped alive are now prisoners
     on board the Harvard and St. Louis, and the latter ship, in
     which are the Admiral, General Paredes and the surviving
     captains (all except the captain of the Almirante Oquendo,
     who was slain) has already sailed for the United States. If
     desired by you, this may be confirmed by your Excellency
     sending an officer under a flag of truce to Admiral Sampson,
     and he can arrange to visit the Harvard, which will not sail
     until to-morrow, and obtain the details from Spanish
     officers and men on board that ship.

     Our fleet is now perfectly free to act, and I have the honor
     to state that unless a surrender be arranged by noon of the
     9th instant, a bombardment will be begun and continued by
     the heavy guns of our ships. The city is within easy range
     of these guns, the eight-inch being capable of firing 9,500
     yards, the thirteen-inch, of course, much farther. The ships
     can so lie that with a range of 8,000 yards they can reach
     the centre of the city.

     I make this suggestion of a surrender purely in a
     humanitarian spirit. I do not wish to cause the slaughter of
     any more men, either of your Excellency's forces or my own,
     the final result, under circumstances so disadvantageous to
     your Excellency being a foregone conclusion.

     As your Excellency may wish to make reference of so
     momentous a question to your Excellency's home government,
     it is for this purpose that I have placed the time of the
     resumption of hostilities sufficiently far in the future to
     allow a reply being received.

     I beg an early answer from your Excellency.

     I have the honor to be,

     Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

     W. R. SHAFTER,
     Major-General, Commanding.

     Headquarters Fifth Army Corps,
     Camp near Santiago, July 9, 1898.

     Hon. Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.

     I forwarded General Toral's proposition to evacuate the town
     this morning without consulting any one. Since then I have
     seen the general officers commanding divisions, who agree
     with me in that it should be accepted.

     1st. It releases at once the harbor.

     2d. It permits the return of thousands of women, children
     and old men, who have left the town, fearing bombardment,
     and are now suffering fearfully where they are, though I am
     doing my best to supply them with food.

     3d. It saves the great destruction of property which a
     bombardment would entail, most of which belongs to Cubans
     and foreign residents.

     4th. It at once releases this command while it is in good
     health for operations elsewhere. There are now three cases
     of yellow fever at Siboney in a Michigan regiment, and if it
     gets started, no one knows where it will stop.

     We lose by this, simply some prisoners we do not want and
     the arms they carry. I believe many of them will desert and
     return to our lines. I was told by a sentinel who deserted
     last night that two hundred men wanted to come, but were
     afraid our men would fire upon them.

     W.R. SHAFTER,
     Major-General, United States Volunteers.


     Washington, D.C., July 9, 1898.

     Major-General Shafter, Playa, Cuba.

     In reply to your telegram recommending terms of evacuation
     as proposed by the Spanish commander, after careful
     consideration by the President and Secretary of War, I am
     directed to say that you have repeatedly been advised that
     you would not be expected to make an assault upon the enemy
     at Santiago until you were prepared to do the work
     thoroughly. When you are ready this will be done. Your
     telegram of this morning said your position was impregnable
     and that you believed the enemy would yet surrender
     unconditionally. You have also assured us that you could
     force their surrender by cutting off their supplies. Under
     these circumstances, your message recommending that Spanish
     troops be permitted to evacuate and proceed without
     molestation to Holguin is a great surprise and is not
     approved. The responsibility for the destruction and
     distress to the inhabitants rests entirely with the Spanish
     commander. The Secretary of War orders that when you are
     strong enough to destroy the enemy and take Santiago, you do
     it. If you have not force enough, it will be despatched to
     you at the earliest moment possible. Reinforcements are on
     the way of which you have already been apprised. In the
     meantime, nothing is lost by holding the position you now
     have, and which you regard as impregnable.

     Acknowledge receipt. By order of the Secretary of War.
     (Signed) H.C. CORBIN, Adjutant-General.

     Headquarters United States Forces,
     Camp near San Juan River, Cuba, July 11, 1898.

     To His Excellency, the Commander-in-Chief of the Spanish Forces,
     Santiago de Cuba.

     Sir:--With the largely increased forces which have come to
     me, and the fact that I have your line of retreat securely
     within my hands, the time seems fitting that I should again
     demand of your Excellency the surrender of Santiago and your
     Excellency's army. I am authorized to state that should your
     Excellency so desire, the Government of the United States
     will transport your entire command to Spain. I have the
     honor to be,

     Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

     Major-General, Commanding.


     Army of the Island of Cuba, Fourth Corps,
     July 11, 1898.

     To His Excellency, the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces of
     the United States, in the Camp of the San Juan.

     Esteemed Sir:--I have the honor to advise your Eminence that
     your communication of this date is received, and in reply
     desire to confirm that which I said in my former
     communication, and also to advise you that I have
     communicated your proposition to the General-in-Chief.
     Reiterating my sentiments, I am,

     Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

     (Signed) JOSE TORAL,
     Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Corps and Military Governor
     of Santiago.

     Headquarters Fifth Army Corps,
     Camp near Santiago de Cuba, July 12, 1898.

     To His Excellency, Commander-in-Chief of Spanish Forces,
     Santiago de Cuba.

     Sir:--I have the honor to inform your Excellency that I have
     already ordered a suspension of hostilities, and I will
     repeat that order, granting in this manner a reasonable
     time within which you may receive an answer to the message
     sent to the Government of Spain, which time will end
     to-morrow at 12 o'clock noon.

     I think it my duty to inform your Excellency that during
     this armistice I will not move any of my troops that occupy
     the advanced line, but the forces that arrived to-day and
     which are debarking at Siboney require moving to this camp.

     I wish that your Excellency would honor me with a personal
     interview to-morrow morning at 9 o'clock. I will come
     accompanied by the Commanding General of the American army,
     and by an interpreter, which will permit you to be
     accompanied by two or three persons of your staff who speak
     English. Hoping for a favorable answer, I have the honor to

     Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

     Major-General, Commanding.

     Army of the Island of Cuba, Fourth Corps,
     Santiago de cuba, July 12, 1898--9 P. M.

     To His Excellency, the General of the American Troops.

     Esteemed Sir:--I have the honor to answer your favor of this
     date, inform your Excellency that in deference to your
     desires I will be much honored by a conference with his
     Excellency, the Commanding General of your army, and your
     Excellency, to-morrow morning at the hour you have seen fit
     to appoint.

     Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

     (Signed) JOSE TORAL,
     Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army Corps.

     Preliminary agreement for the capitulation of the Spanish
     forces which constitute the division of Santiago de Cuba,
     occupying the territory herein set forth, said capitulation
     authorized by the Commander-in-Chief of the Island of Cuba,
     agreed to by General Toral and awaiting the approbation of
     the Government at Madrid, and subject to the following

     Submitted by the undersigned Commissioners--

     Brigadier-General Don Frederick Escario, Lieutenant-Colonel
     of Staff Don Ventura Fontan and Mr. Robert Mason, of the
     city of Santiago de Cuba, representing General Toral,
     commanding Spanish forces, to Major-General Joseph Wheeler,
     U.S.V., Major-General H.W. Lawton, U.S.V., and First
     Lieutenant J.D. Miley, Second Artillery, A.D.C, representing
     General Shafter, commanding American forces, for the
     capitulation of the Spanish forces comprised in that portion
     of the Island of Cuba east of a line passing through
     Aserradero, Dos Palmas, Palma Soriano, Cauto Abajo,
     Escondida, Tanamo and Aguilera, said territory being known
     as the Eastern District of Santiago, commanded by General
     Jose Toral.

     1. That pending arrangements for capitulation all
     hostilities between American and Spanish forces in this
     district shall absolutely and unequivocally cease.

     2. That this capitulation includes all the forces and war
     material in said territory.

     3. That after the signing of the final capitulation the
     United States agrees, with as little delay as possible, to
     transport all the Spanish troops in said district to the
     Kingdom of Spain, the troops, as near as possible, to embark
     at the port nearest the garrison they now occupy.

     4. That the officers of the Spanish Army be permitted to
     retain their side arms, and both officers and enlisted men
     their personal property.

     5. That after final capitulation the Spanish authorities
     agree without delay to remove, or assist the American Navy
     in removing, all mines or other obstructions to navigation
     now in the harbor of Santiago and its mouth.

     6. That after final capitulation the commander of the
     Spanish forces deliver without delay a complete inventory of
     all arms and munitions of war of the Spanish forces and a
     roster of the said forces now in the above-described
     district, to the commander of the American forces.

     7. That the commander of the Spanish forces, in leaving said
     district, is authorized to carry with him all military
     archives and records pertaining to the Spanish Army now in
     said district.

     8. That all of that portion of the Spanish forces known as
     Volunteers, Movilizados and Guerillas, who wish to remain in
     the Island of Cuba are permitted to do so under parole not
     to take up arms against the United States during the
     continuance of the war between Spain and the United States,
     delivering up their arms.

     9. That the Spanish forces will march out of Santiago de
     Cuba with honors of war, depositing their arms thereafter at
     a point mutually agreed upon, to await their disposition by
     the United States Government, it being understood that the
     United States Commissioners will recommend that the Spanish
     soldier return to Spain with the arms he so bravely

     Entered into this fifteenth day of July, eighteen hundred
     and ninety-eight, by the undersigned Commissioners, acting
     under instructions from their respecting commanding

     _Major-General U.S. Vols._;

     H.W. LAWTON,
     _Major-General U.S. Vols._;

     J.D. MILEY,
     _1st Lieut. 2d Art., A.D.C. to General Shafter._


     Army of the Island of Cuba, Fourth Corps,
     Santiago de Cuba, July 12, 1898--9 P.M.

     To His Excellency, the General-in-Chief of the American Forces,

     Esteemed Sir:--As I am now authorized by my Government to
     capitulate, I have the honor to so advise you, requesting
     you to designate the hour and place where my representatives
     should appear, to concur with those of your Excellency to
     edit the articles of capitulation on the basis of what has
     been agreed upon to this date.

     In due time I wish to manifest to your Excellency my desire
     to know the resolution of the United States Government
     respecting the return of the arms, so as to note it in the
     capitulation; also for their great courtesy and gentlemanly
     deportment I wish to thank your Grace's representatives, and
     in return for their generous and noble efforts for the
     Spanish soldiers, I hope your Government will allow them to
     return to the Peninsula with the arms that the American army
     do them the honor to acknowledge as having dutifully

     Reiterating my former sentiments, I remain,

     Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

     Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army Corps.

     At Neutral Camp, near Santiago, Under a Flag of Truce,
     July 14, 1898.

     Recognizing the chivalry, courage and gallantry of Generals
     Linares and Toral, and of the soldiers of Spain who were
     engaged in the battles recently fought in the vicinity of
     Santiago de Cuba, as displayed in said battles, we, the
     undersigned officers of the United States army, who had the
     honor to be engaged in said battle, and are now a duly
     organized commission, treating with a like commission of
     officers of the Spanish army, for the capitulation of
     Santiago de Cuba, unanimously join in earnestly soliciting
     the proper authority to accord to these brave and chivalrous
     soldiers the privilege of returning to their country bearing
     the arms they have so bravely defended.

     Major-General, U.S. Vols.

     H. W. LAWTON,
     Major-General, U.S. Vols.

     First Lieut., 2d Art., A.D.C.
     J. D. MILEY.

     Army of the Island of Cuba, Fourth Corps,
     Santiago de Cuba, July 16, 1898.

     To His Excellency, the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces of
     the United States.

     Esteemed Sir:--At half-past 11 I received your communication
     of this date, and I am sorry to advise you that it is
     impossible for my representatives to come to the appointed
     place at midday, as you wish, as I must meet them and give
     them their instructions.

     If agreeable to you, will you defer the visit until 4 P.M.
     to-day or until 7 to-morrow morning, and in the meanwhile
     the obstacles to the entrance of the Red Cross will be
     removed from the harbor.

     I beg your Honor will make clear what force you wish me to
     retire from the railroad, as, if it is that in Aguadores, I
     would authorize the repair of the bridge at once by your
     engineers; and if it is that on the heights to the left of
     your lines, I beg you will specify with more precision.

     I have ordered those in charge of the aqueduct to proceed at
     once to repair it with the means at their command.

     Awaiting your reply, I remain,

     Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

     Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army Corps.

     Headquarters Fifth Army Corps,
     Camp, July 16, 1898.

     To His Excellency, General Jose Toral, Commanding Spanish Forces
     in Eastern Cuba.

     Sir:--I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your
     Excellency's letter of this date, notifying me that the
     Government at Madrid approves your action, and requesting
     that I designate officers to arrange for and receive the
     surrender of the forces of your Excellency. This I do,
     nominating Major-General Wheeler, Major-General Lawton, and
     my aide, Lieutenant Miley. I have to request that your
     Excellency at once withdraw your troops from along the
     railway to Aguadores, and from the bluff in rear of my left;
     also that you at once direct the removal of the obstructions
     at the entrance to the harbor or assist the navy in doing
     so, as it is of the utmost importance that I at once get
     vessels loaded with food into the harbor.

     The repair of the railroad will, I am told, require a week's
     time. I shall, as I have said to your Excellency, urge my
     Government that the gallant men your Excellency has so ably
     commanded have returned to Spain with them the arms they
     have wielded. With great respect, I remain,

     Your obedient servant and friend,

     General, Commanding.

     Terms of the Military Convention for the capitulation of the
     Spanish forces occupying the territory which constitutes the
     Division of Santiago de Cuba and described as follows: All
     that portion of the Island of Cuba east of a line passing
     through Aserradero, Dos Palmas, Cauto Abajo, Escondida,
     Tanamo and Aguilara, said troops being in command of General
     Jose Toral; agreed upon by the undersigned Commissioners:
     Brigadier-General Don Federico Escario, Lieutenant-Colonel
     of Staff Don Ventura Fontan, and as Interpreter, Mr. Robert
     Mason, of the city of Santiago de Cuba, appointed by General
     Toral, commanding the Spanish forces, on behalf of the
     Kingdom of Spain, and Major-General Joseph Wheeler, U.S.V.,
     Major-General H.W. Lawton, U.S.V., and First Lieutenant J.D.
     Miley, Second Artillery, A.D.C., appointed by General
     Shafter, commanding the American forces on behalf of the
     United States:

     1. That all hostilities between the American and Spanish
     forces in this district absolutely and unequivocally cease.

     2. That this capitulation includes all the forces and war
     material in said territory.

     3. That the United States agrees, with as little delay as
     possible, to transport all the Spanish troops in said
     district to the Kingdom of Spain, the troops being embarked,
     as far as possible at the port nearest the garrison they now

     4. That the officers of the Spanish Army be permitted to
     retain their side arms, and both officers and private
     soldiers their personal property.

     5. That the Spanish authorities agree to remove, or assist
     the American Navy in removing, all mines or other
     obstructions to navigation now in the harbor of Santiago and
     its mouth.

     6. That the commander of the Spanish forces deliver without
     delay a complete inventory of all arms and munitions of war
     of the Spanish forces in above described district to the
     commander of the American forces; also a roster of said
     forces now in said district.

     7. That the commander of the Spanish forces, in leaving said
     district, is authorized to carry with him all military
     archives and records pertaining to the Spanish Army now in
     said district.

     8. That all that portion of the Spanish forces known as
     Volunteers, Movilizados and Guerillas, who wish to remain in
     the Island of Cuba, are permitted to do so upon the
     condition of delivering up their arms and taking a parole
     not to bear arms against the United States during the
     continuance of the present war between Spain and the United

     9. That the Spanish forces will march out of Santiago de
     Cuba with the honors of war, depositing their arms
     thereafter at a point mutually agreed upon, to await their
     disposition by the United States Government, it being
     understood that the United States Commissioners will
     recommend that the Spanish soldier return to Spain with the
     arms he so bravely defended.

     10. That the provisions of the foregoing instrument become
     operative immediately upon its being signed.

     Entered into this sixteenth day of July, eighteen hundred
     and ninety-eight, by the undersigned Commissioners, acting
     under instructions from their respective commanding generals
     and with the approbation of their respective governments.

       _Major-General U.S. Vols._;

     H.W. LAWTON,
       _Major-General U.S. Vols._;

     J.D. MILEY,
       _1st Lieut. 2d Art., A.D.C. to General Shafter._


The following dispatch, sent by General Linares, will show how
desperate were the straits into which he had been driven and how
earnestly he desired to be granted authority to avoid further fighting
by the surrender of his forces at Santiago:

     Santiago de Cuba, July 12, 1898.

     The General-in-Chief to the Secretary of War.

     Although prostrated in bed from weakness and pain, my mind
     is troubled by the situation of our suffering troops, and
     therefore I think it my duty to address myself to you, Mr.
     Secretary, and describe the true situation.

     The enemy's forces very near city; ours extended fourteen
     kilometres (14,000 yards). Our troops exhausted and sickly
     in an alarming proportion. Cannot be brought to the
     hospital--needing them in trenches. Cattle without fodder or
     hay. Fearful storm of rain, which has been pouring
     continuously for past twenty-four hours. Soldiers without
     permanent shelter. Their only food rice, and not much of
     that. They have no way of changing or drying their clothing.
     Our losses were very heavy--many chiefs and officers among
     the dead, wounded and sick. Their absence deprives the
     forces of their leaders in this very critical moment. Under
     these conditions it is impossible to open a breach on the
     enemy, because it would take a third of our men who cannot
     go out, and whom the enemy would decimate. The result would
     be a terrible disaster, without obtaining, as you desire,
     the salvation of eleven maimed battalions. To make a sortie
     protected by the division at Holguin, it is necessary to
     attack the enemy's lines simultaneously, and the forces of
     Holguin cannot come here except after many long days'
     marching. Impossible for them to transport rations.
     Unfortunately, the situation is desperate. The surrender is
     imminent, otherwise we will only gain time to prolong our
     agony. The sacrifice would be sterile, and the men
     understand this. With his lines so near us, the enemy will
     annihilate us without exposing his own, as he did yesterday,
     bombarding by land elevations without our being able to
     discover their batteries, and by sea the fleet has a perfect
     knowledge of the place, and bombards with a mathematical
     accuracy. Santiago is no Gerona, a walled city, part of the
     mother country, and defended inch by inch by her own people
     without distinction--old men and women who helped with their
     lives, moved by the holy idea of freedom, and with the hope
     of help, which they received. Here I am alone. All the
     people have fled, even those holding public offices, almost
     without exception. Only the priests remain, and they wish to
     leave the city to-day, headed by their archbishop. These
     defenders do not start now a campaign full of enthusiasm and
     energy, but for three years they have been fighting the
     climate, privations and fatigue, and now they have to
     confront this critical situation when they have no
     enthusiasm or physical strength. They have no ideals,
     because they defend the property of people who have deserted
     them and those who are the allies of the American forces.

     The honor of arms has its limit, and I appeal to the
     judgment of the Government and of the entire nation whether
     these patient troops have not repeatedly saved it since May
     18th--date of first bombardment. If it is necessary that I
     sacrifice them for reasons unknown to me, or if it is
     necessary for some one to take responsibility for the issue
     foreseen and announced by me in several telegrams, I
     willingly offer myself as a sacrifice to my country, and I
     will take charge of the command for the act of surrender, as
     my modest reputation is of small value when the reputation
     of the nation is at stake.

     (Signed) LINARES.

Thus surrendered to our forces about 23,500 Spanish troops, of whom
about 11,000 had been in the garrison of Santiago, the others having
been stationed in garrisons outside of the city, but belonging to the
Division of Santiago. With them were also surrendered 100 cannon, 18
machine guns and over 25,000 rifles. The troops were all sent back to
Spain in vessels of their own nation and flying their own flag. We had
lost in battles with them before the surrender 23 officers killed and
237 men; and 100 officers and 1,332 men wounded.

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