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Title: Campaigning in Cuba
Author: Kennan, George, 1845-1924
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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CAMPAIGNING IN
CUBA

BY
GEORGE KENNAN
AUTHOR OF "SIBERIA AND THE EXILE SYSTEM"

NEW YORK
THE CENTURY CO.
1899



CONTENTS

CHAPTER                                                             PAGE

I. STARTING FOR THE FIELD                                              1

II. UNDER THE RED CROSS                                               10

III. ON THE EDGE OF WAR                                               23

IV. WAR CORRESPONDENTS AND DESPATCH-BOATS                             35

V. OFF FOR SANTIAGO                                                   44

VI. THE CUBAN COAST                                                   53

VII. THE FIGHT AT GUANTANAMO                                          65

VIII. THE LANDING AND ADVANCE OF THE ARMY                             76

IX. A WALK TO THE FRONT                                               88

X. SIBONEY ON THE EVE OF BATTLE                                      104

XI. THE BATTLES OF CANEY AND SAN JUAN                                116

XII. THE FIELD-HOSPITAL                                              130

XIII. SIBONEY DURING THE ARMISTICE                                   150

XIV. ENTERING SANTIAGO HARBOR                                        164

XV. THE CAPTURED CITY                                                171

XVI. THE FEEDING OF THE HUNGRY                                       182

XVII. MORRO CASTLE                                                   192

XVIII. FEVER IN THE ARMY                                             213

XIX. THE SANTIAGO CAMPAIGN                                           222

XX. THE SANTIAGO CAMPAIGN (_Continued_)                              237

XXI. THE SANTIAGO CAMPAIGN (_Concluded_)                             256



CAMPAIGNING IN CUBA



CHAPTER I

STARTING FOR THE FIELD


War broke out between the United States and Spain on April 21, 1898. A
week or ten days later I was asked by the editors of the "Outlook" of
New York to go to Cuba with Miss Clara Barton, on the Red Cross steamer
_State of Texas_, and report the war and the work of the Red Cross for
that periodical. After a hasty conference with the editorial and
business staffs of the paper I was to represent, I accepted the
proposition, and on May 5 left Washington for Key West, where the _State
of Texas_ was awaiting orders from the Navy Department. The army of
invasion, under command of General Shafter, was then assembling at
Tampa, and it was expected that a hostile movement to some point on the
Cuban coast would be made before the end of the month.

I reached Tampa on the evening of Friday, May 6. The Pullman cars of the
Florida express, at that time, ran through the city of Tampa and across
the river into the spacious grounds of the beautiful Tampa Bay Hotel,
which, after closing for the regular winter season, had been compelled
to reopen its doors--partly to accommodate the large number of officers
and war correspondents who had assembled there with their wives and
friends, and partly to serve as headquarters for the army of Cuban
invasion.

It was a warm, clear Southern night when we arrived, and the scene
presented by the hotel and its environment, as we stepped out of the
train, was one of unexpected brilliancy and beauty. A nearly full moon
was just rising over the trees on the eastern side of the hotel park,
touching with silver the drifts of white blossoms on dark masses of
oleander-trees in the foreground, and flooding with soft yellow light
the domes, Moorish arches, and long façade of the whole immense
building. Two regimental bands were playing waltzes and patriotic airs
under a long row of incandescent lights on the broad veranda;
fine-looking, sunbrowned men, in all the varied uniforms of army and
navy, were gathered in groups here and there, smoking, talking, or
listening to the music; the rotunda was crowded with officers, war
correspondents, and gaily attired ladies, and the impression made upon a
newcomer, as he alighted from the train, was that of a brilliant
military ball at a fashionable seaside summer resort. Of the serious and
tragic side of war there was hardly a suggestion.

On the morning after our arrival I took a carriage and drove around the
city and out to the camp, which was situated about a mile and a half
from the hotel on the other side of the river. In the city itself I was
unpleasantly disappointed. The showy architecture, beautiful grounds,
semi-tropical foliage, and brilliant flowers of the Tampa Bay Hotel
raise expectations which the town across the river does not fulfil. It
is a huddled collection of generally insignificant buildings standing in
an arid desert of sand, and to me it suggested the city of
Semipalatinsk--a wretched, verdure-less town in southern Siberia,
colloquially known to Russian army officers as "the Devil's Sand-box."
Thriving and prosperous Tampa may be, but attractive or pleasing it
certainly is not.

As soon as I got away, however, from the hotel and into the streets of
the town, I saw at almost every step suggestions of the serious and
practical side, if not the tragic side, of war. Long trains of four-mule
wagons loaded with provisions, camp equipage, and lumber moved slowly
through the soft, deep sand of the unpaved streets in the direction of
the encampment; the sidewalks were thronged with picturesquely dressed
Cuban volunteers from the town, sailors from the troop-ships, soldiers
from the camp, and war correspondents from everywhere; mounted orderlies
went tearing back and forth with despatches to or from the army
headquarters in the Tampa Bay Hotel; Cuban and American flags were
displayed in front of every restaurant, hotel, and Cuban cigar-shop, and
floated from the roofs or windows of many private houses; and now and
then I met, coming out of a drug-store, an army surgeon or hospital
steward whose left arm bore the red cross of the Geneva Convention.

The army that was destined to begin the invasion of Cuba consisted, at
that time, of ten or twelve thousand men, all regulars, and included an
adequate force of cavalry and ten fine batteries of field-artillery. It
was encamped in an extensive forest of large but scattered pine-trees,
about a mile from the town, and seemed already to have made itself very
much at home in its new environment.

The first thing that struck me in going through the camp was its
businesslike aspect. It did not suggest a big picnic, nor an encampment
of militia for annual summer drill. It was manifestly a camp of
veterans; and although its dirty, weather-beaten tents were pitched here
and there without any attempt at regularity of arrangement, and its camp
equipage, cooking-utensils, and weapons were piled or stacked between
the tents in a somewhat disorderly fashion, as if thrown about at
random, I could see that the irregularity and disorder were only
apparent, and were really the irregularity and disorder of knowledge and
experience gained by long and varied service in the field. I did not
need the inscriptions--"Fort Reno" and "Fort Sill"--on the army wagons
to assure me that these were veteran troops from the Plains, to whom
campaigning was not a new thing.

As we drove up to the camp, smoke was rising lazily into the warm summer
air from a dozen fires in different parts of the grounds; company cooks
were putting the knives, forks, and dishes that they had just washed
into improvised cup-boards made by nailing boxes and tomato-crates
against the trees; officers in fatigue-uniform were sitting in
camp-chairs, here and there, reading the latest New York papers; and
thousands of soldiers, both inside and outside the sentry-lines, were
standing in groups discussing the naval fight off Manila, lounging and
smoking on the ground in the shade of the army wagons, playing hand-ball
to pass away the time, or swarming around a big board shanty, just
outside the lines, which called itself "NOAH'S ARK" and announced in big
letters its readiness to dispense cooling drinks to all comers at a
reasonable price.

The troops in all branches of the army at Tampa impressed me very
favorably. The soldiers were generally stalwart, sunburnt,
resolute-looking men, twenty-five to thirty-five years of age, who
seemed to be in perfect physical condition, and who looked as if they
had already seen hard service and were ready and anxious for more. In
field-artillery the force was particularly strong, and our officers in
Tampa based their confident expectation of victory largely upon the
anticipated work of the ten batteries of fine, modern field-guns which
General Shafter then intended to take with him. Owing to lack of
transportation facilities, however, or for some other reason to me
unknown, six of these batteries were left in Tampa when the army sailed
for Santiago, and the need of them was severely felt, a few weeks later,
at Caney and San Juan.

Upon my return from the camp I called upon General Shafter, presented my
letter of introduction from the President, and said I wished to consult
him briefly with regard to the future work of the American National Red
Cross. He received me cordially, said that our organization would soon
have a great and important work to do in Cuba in caring for the
destitute and starving reconcentrados, and that he would gladly afford
us all possible facilities and protection. The Red Cross corps of the
army medical department, he said, would be fully competent to take care
of all the sick and wounded soldiers in the field; but there would be
ample room for our supplementary work in relieving the distress of the
starving Cuban peasants, who would undoubtedly seek refuge within our
lines as soon as we should establish ourselves on the island. He
deprecated and disapproved of any attempt on the part of the Red Cross
to land supplies for the reconcentrados under a flag of truce in advance
of the army of invasion and without its protection. "The Spanish
authorities," he said, "under stress of starvation, would simply seize
your stores and use them for the maintenance of their own army. The best
thing for you to do is to go in with us and under our protection, and
relieve the distress of the reconcentrados as fast as we uncover it." I
said that I thought this was Miss Barton's intention, and that we had
fourteen hundred tons of food-stuffs and medical supplies on the steamer
_State of Texas_ at Key West, and were ready to move at an hour's
notice. With an understanding that Miss Barton should be notified as
soon as the army of invasion embarked, I bade the general good-by and
returned to the hotel.

In an interview that I had on the following day with Colonel Babcock,
General Shafter's adjutant-general, I was informed, confidentially, that
the army was destined for "eastern Cuba." Small parties, Colonel Babcock
said, would be landed at various points on the coast east and west of
Havana, for the purpose of communicating with the insurgents and
supplying them with arms and ammunition; but the main attack would be
made at the eastern end of the island. He did not specifically mention
Santiago by name, because Cervera's fleet, at that time, had not taken
refuge there; but inasmuch as Santiago was the most important place in
eastern Cuba, and had a deep and sheltered harbor, I inferred that it
would be made the objective point of the contemplated attack. The
Secretary of War, in his reply to the questions of the Investigating
Commission, says that the movement against Santiago, as then planned,
was to be a mere "reconnaissance in force, to ascertain the strength of
the enemy in different locations in eastern Cuba"; but Colonel Babcock
certainly gave me to understand that the attack was to be a serious one,
and that it would be made with the whole strength of General Shafter's
command. The matter is of no particular importance now, except in so far
as the information given me by Colonel Babcock indicates the views and
intentions of the War Department two weeks before Admiral Cervera's
fleet took refuge in Santiago harbor.

I left Port Tampa for Key West on the Plant-line steamer _Mascotte_ at
half-past ten o'clock Saturday evening, May 7. The long, narrow, and
rather sinuous channel out of Tampa Bay was marked by a line of buoys
and skeleton wooden frames resting on driven spiles; but there were no
lights for the guidance of the mariner, except one at the outer
entrance, ten or twelve miles from the port; and if the _Mascotte_ had
not been provided with a powerful search-light of her own she would
hardly have been able to find her way to sea, as the night was cloudy
and the buoys were invisible. With the long, slender shaft of her
search-light, however, she probed the darkness ahead, as with a radiant
exploring finger, and picked up the buoys, one after another, with
unfailing certainty and precision. Every two or three minutes a floating
iron balloon, or a skeleton frame covered with sleeping aquatic birds,
would flash into the field of vision ahead, like one of Professor
Pepper's patent ghosts, stand out for a moment in brilliant white relief
against a background of impenetrable darkness, and then vanish with the
swiftness of summer lightning, as the electric beam left it to search
for another buoy farther away.

When I awoke the next morning we were out on the blue, tumbling,
foam-crested water of the Gulf, forty or fifty miles from the Florida
coast. All day Sunday we steamed slowly southward, seeing no vessels
except a Jamaica "fruiter," whose captain shouted to us, as he crossed
our bow, that he had been blown off his course in a recent gale, and
would like to know his position and distance. We should have reached Key
West at half-past two Sunday afternoon; but an accident which disabled
one of the _Mascotte's_ boilers greatly reduced her normal speed, so
that when I went to my state-room at eleven o'clock Sunday evening we
were still twenty or thirty miles from our destination.

Three hours later I was awakened by shouted orders, the tramping of
feet, and the rattling of heavy chain-cable on the forward deck, and,
dressing myself hastily, I went out to ascertain our situation. The moon
was hidden behind a dense bank of clouds, the breeze had fallen to a
nearly perfect calm, and the steamer was rolling and pitching gently on
a sea that appeared to have the color and consistency of greenish-gray
oil. Two hundred yards away, on the port bow, floated a white pyramidal
frame in the fierce glare of the ship's search-light, and from it, at
irregular intervals, came the warning toll of a heavy bell. It was the
bell-buoy at the entrance to Key West harbor, and far away on the
southeastern horizon appeared a faintly luminous nebula which marked the
position of Key West city. Under the war regulations then in force, no
vessels other than those belonging to the United States navy were
permitted to enter or leave the port of Key West between late evening
twilight and early dawn, and we were, therefore, forced to anchor off
the bell-buoy until 5 A. M. Just as day was breaking we got our anchor
on board and steamed in toward the town. The comparatively shallow water
of the bay, in the first gray light of dawn, had the peculiar opaque,
bluish-green color of a stream fed by an Alpine glacier; but as the
light increased it assumed a brilliant but delicate translucent green of
purer quality, contrasting finely with the scarlet flush in the east
which heralded the rising, but still hidden, sun. On our right, as we
entered the wide, spacious harbor, were two or three flat-topped,
table-like islands, or "keys," which, in general outline and appearance,
suggested dark mesas of foliage floating in a tropical ocean of pale
chrysolite-green. Directly ahead was the city of Key West--a long, low,
curving silhouette of roofs, spires, masts, lighthouses, cocoanut-palms,
and Australian pines, delicately outlined in black against the scarlet
arch of the dawn, "like a ragged line of Arabic etched on the blade of a
Turkish simitar." At the extreme western end of this long, ragged
silhouette rose the massive walls of Fort Taylor, with its double tier
of antiquated embrasures; and on the left of it, as the distance
lessened and the light increased, I could distinguish the cream-colored
front of the Marine Hospital, the slender white shaft of the lighthouse,
the red pyramidal roof of the Government Building, and the pale-yellow
walls and cupola of the Key West Hotel--all interspersed with graceful
leaning palms, or thrown into effective relief against dark masses of
feathery Australian pine.

Along the water-front, for a distance of half a mile, extended an almost
unbroken line of steamers, barks, schooners, and brigantines,
discharging or receiving cargo, while out on the pale-green, translucent
surface of the harbor were scattered a dozen or more war-ships of the
North Atlantic Squadron, ranging in size from the huge, double-turreted
monitor _Puritan_ to the diminutive but dangerous-looking torpedo-boat
_Dupont_. All were in their war-paint of dirty leaden gray, which,
although it might add to their effectiveness, certainly did not seem to
me to improve their appearance as component parts of an otherwise
beautiful marine picture. Beyond the war-ships and nearer to the eastern
end of the island lay the captured Spanish prizes, including the big
black liners _Pedro_ and _Miguel Jover_, the snow-white _Argonauta_, the
brigantine _Frascito_, and a dozen or more fishing-schooners intercepted
by the blockading fleet while on their way back to Havana from the
Yucatan banks.

But none of these war-ships or prizes had, for me, the interest that
attached to a large black two-masted steamer of eighteen hundred tons,
which was lying at anchor off the government wharf, flying from her
mainmast-head a white flag emblazoned with the red Greek cross of the
Geneva Convention. It was the steamship _State of Texas_, of the Mallory
line, chartered by the American National Red Cross to carry to Cuba
supplies for the starving reconcentrados, and to serve as headquarters
for its president, Miss Clara Barton, and her staff of trained surgeons,
nurses, and field-officers.



CHAPTER II

UNDER THE RED CROSS


When Miss Barton joined the _State of Texas_ at Key West on April 29
there seemed to be no immediate prospect of an invasion of Cuba by the
United States army, and, consequently, no prospect of an opportunity to
relieve the distress of the starving Cuban people. Knowing that such
distress must necessarily have been greatly intensified by the blockade,
and anxious to do something to mitigate it,--or, at least, to show the
readiness of the Red Cross to undertake its mitigation,--Miss Barton
wrote and sent to Admiral Sampson, commander of the naval forces on the
North Atlantic Station, the following letter:

                         S. S. "STATE OF TEXAS," May 2, 1898.

     _Admiral W. T. Sampson, U. S. N., Commanding Fleet before
     Havana._

     ADMIRAL: But for the introduction kindly proffered by our mutual
     acquaintance Captain Harrington, I should scarcely presume to
     address you. He will have made known to you the subject which I
     desire to bring to your gracious consideration.

     Papers forwarded by direction of our government will have shown the
     charge intrusted to me, viz., to get food to the starving people of
     Cuba. I have with me a cargo of fourteen hundred tons, under the
     flag of the Red Cross, the one international emblem of neutrality
     and humanity known to civilization. Spain knows and regards it.

     Fourteen months ago the entire Spanish government at Madrid cabled
     me permission to take and distribute food to the suffering people
     in Cuba. This official permission was broadly published. If read by
     our people, no response was made and no action taken until two
     months ago, when, under the humane and gracious call of our honored
     President, I did go and distribute food, unmolested anywhere on the
     island, until arrangements were made by our government for all
     American citizens to leave Cuba. Persons must now be dying there by
     hundreds, if not thousands, daily, for want of the food we are
     shutting out. Will not the world hold us accountable? Will history
     write us blameless? Will it not be said of us that we completed the
     scheme of extermination commenced by Weyler?

     Fortunately, I know the Spanish authorities in Cuba,
     Captain-General Blanco and his assistants. We parted with perfect
     friendliness. They do not regard me as an American merely, but as
     the national representative of an international treaty to which
     they themselves are signatory and under which they act. I believe
     they would receive and confer with me if such a thing were made
     possible.

     I should like to ask Spanish permission and protection to land and
     distribute food now on the _State of Texas_. Could I be permitted
     to ask to see them under flag of truce? If we make the effort and
     are refused, the blame rests with them; if we fail to make it, it
     rests with us. I hold it good statesmanship at least to divide the
     responsibility. I am told that some days must elapse before our
     troops can be in position to reach and feed these starving people.
     Our food and our forces are here, ready to commence at once.

                 With assurances of highest regard,

                         I am, Admiral, very respectfully yours,

                                          [Signed]   CLARA BARTON.

At the time when the above letter was written, the American National Red
Cross was acting under the advice and direction of the State and Navy
departments, the War Department having no force in the field.

Admiral Sampson replied as follows:

                         U. S. FLAGSHIP "NEW YORK," FIRST-RATE,
                                KEY WEST, FLORIDA, May 2, 1898.

     _Miss Clara Barton, President American National Red Cross:_

     1. I have received through the senior naval officer present a copy
     of a letter from the State Department to the Secretary of the Navy;
     a copy of a letter from the Secretary of the Navy to the
     commander-in-chief of the naval force on this station; and also a
     copy of a letter from the Secretary of the Navy to the commandant
     of the naval station at Key West.

     2. From these communications it appears that the destination of the
     steamship _State of Texas_, loaded with supplies for the starving
     reconcentrados in Cuba, is left, in a measure, to my judgment.

     3. At present I am acting under instructions from the Navy
     Department to blockade the coast of Cuba for the purpose of
     preventing, among other things, any food-supply from reaching the
     Spanish forces in Cuba. Under these circumstances it seems to me
     unwise to let a ship-load of such supplies be sent to the
     reconcentrados, for, in my opinion, they would be distributed to
     the Spanish army. Until some point be occupied in Cuba by our
     forces, from which such distribution can be made to those for whom
     the supplies are intended, I am unwilling that they should be
     landed on Cuban soil.

                           Yours very respectfully,

                                 [Signed]      W. T. SAMPSON,
                                               Rear-Admiral U. S. N.,

Commander-in-Chief U. S. Naval Force, North Atlantic Station.

After this exchange of letters Miss Barton had a conference with Admiral
Sampson, in the course of which the latter explained more fully his
reasons for declining to allow the _State of Texas_ to enter any Cuban
port until such port had been occupied by American troops.

On May 3 Miss Barton sent the following telegram to Stephen E. Barton,
chairman of the Central Cuban Relief Committee in New York:

                                  KEY WEST, May 3, 1898.
     _Stephen E. Barton, Chairman, etc._:

     Herewith I transmit copies of letters passed between Admiral
     Sampson and myself. I think it important that you should present
     immediately this correspondence personally to the government, as it
     will place before them the exact situation here. The utmost
     cordiality exists between Admiral Sampson and myself. The admiral
     feels it his duty, as chief of the blockading squadron, to keep
     food out of Cuba, but recognizes that, from my standpoint, my duty
     is to try to get food into Cuba. If I insist, Admiral Sampson will
     try to open communication under a flag of truce; but his letter
     expresses his opinion regarding the best method. Advices from the
     government would enable us to reach a decision. Unless there is
     objection at Washington, you are at liberty to publish this
     correspondence if you wish.

                                  [Signed]   CLARA BARTON.

On May 6 the chairman of the Central Cuban Relief Committee replied as
follows:

                            WASHINGTON, D. C., May 6, 1898.

    _Clara Barton, Key West, Florida_:

     Submitted your message to President and cabinet, and it was read
     with moistened eyes. Considered serious and pathetic. Admiral
     Sampson's views regarded as wisest at present. Hope to land you
     soon. President, Long, and Moore send highest regards.

                                     [Signed]   BARTON.

Under these circumstances, of course, there was nothing for the Red
Cross steamer to do but wait patiently in Key West until the army of
invasion should leave Tampa for the Cuban coast.

Meanwhile, however, Miss Barton had discovered a field of beneficent
activity for the Red Cross nearer home. In Tampa, on her way south, she
learned that in that city, and at various other points on the coast of
southern Florida, there were large numbers of destitute Cuban refugees
and escaped reconcentrados, who were in urgent need of help. A local
committee in Tampa, composed of representatives from the various
churches, had been doing everything in its power to relieve the distress
of these unfortunate people, but the burden was getting to be beyond its
strength, and it asked the Red Cross for assistance. The desired aid was
promptly given, and the committee was supplied with provisions enough to
support the Cuban refugees in Tampa until the middle of June.

Upon her arrival at Key West Miss Barton found a similar, but even
worse, state of affairs, inasmuch as the number of destitute refugees
and reconcentrados there exceeded fifteen hundred. A local Cuban relief
society had established a soup-kitchen in which they were feeding about
three hundred, and Mr. G. W. Hyatt, chairman of the Key West Red Cross
Committee, was trying to take care of the rest; but both organizations
were nearly at the end of their resources, and the local committee had
nothing left in the shape of food-stuffs except corn-meal. Miss Barton
at once telegraphed the Central Red Cross Committee in New York to
forward thirty tons of assorted stores by first steamer, and pending the
arrival of these stores she fed the Key West refugees from the _State of
Texas_ and from such local sources of food-supply as were available.

But Cuban refugees and reconcentrados were not the only hungry and
destitute victims of the war to be found in Key West. On May 9 Miss
Barton received the following letter from the United States marshal for
the southern district of Florida:

             DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, OFFICE OF U. S. MARSHAL,
                  SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA,
                       KEY WEST, FLORIDA, May 9, 1898.

     _Miss Clara Barton, President American National Red Cross._

     DEAR MISS BARTON: On board the captured vessels we find quite a
     number of aliens among the crews, mostly Cubans, and some American
     citizens, and their detention here and inability to get away for
     want of funds has exhausted their supply of food, and some of them
     will soon be entirely out. As there is no appropriation available
     from which food could be purchased, would you kindly provide for
     them until I can get definite instructions from the department at
     Washington?

                                Very respectfully yours,
                                 [Signed]   JOHN F. HORR,
                                            U. S. Marshal.

Appended to the above letter was a list of fifteen Spanish vessels whose
crews were believed by the marshal to be in need of food.

In less than three hours after the receipt of this communication two
large ships' boats, loaded with provisions for the sailors on the
Spanish prizes, left the _State of Texas_ in tow of the steam-launch of
the troop-ship _Panther_. Before dark that night, Mr. Cobb and Dr. Egan,
of Miss Barton's staff, who were in charge of the relief-boats, had
visited every captured Spanish vessel in the harbor. Two or three of
them, including the great liners _Miguel Jover_ and _Argonauta_, had
provisions enough, and were not in need of relief, but most of the
others--particularly the fishing-smacks--were in even worse straits than
the marshal supposed. The large transatlantic steamer _Pedro_, of
Bilbao, had no flour, bread, coffee, tea, sugar, beans, rice,
vegetables, or lard for cooking, and her crew had lived for fifteen days
exclusively upon fish. The schooner _Severito_ had wholly exhausted her
supplies, and had on board nothing to eat of any kind. Of the others,
some had no matches or oil for lights, some were nearly out of water,
and all were reduced to an unrelieved fish diet, of which the men were
beginning to sicken. The Red Cross relief-boats made a complete and
accurate list of the Spanish prizes in the harbor,--twenty-two in
all,--with the numerical strength of every crew, the amount of
provisions, if any, on every vessel, and the quantity and kind of food
that each would require.

Finding that one of the prizes had a cargo of plantains and bananas, and
that most of the fishing-smacks were provided with salt-water tanks in
which they had thousands of pounds of living fish, Miss Barton and her
staff determined to purchase from them such quantities of these
perishable commodities as they were willing to sell at a low nominal
price, and use such food to increase and diversify the rations furnished
to the fifteen hundred Cuban refugees and reconcentrados on shore. This
would give the latter a change of diet, and at the same time lessen the
amount of more expensive food-stuffs to be taken from the cargo of the
Red Cross steamer or brought from New York. With the approval of the
United States marshal, this plan was immediately carried into effect,
and it worked admirably. The captains of the Spanish prizes were glad to
give to the Red Cross perishable commodities for which they had no
accessible market, and ten thousand pounds of fish and large quantities
of plantains and bananas were soon obtained for distribution among the
Cuban refugees and reconcentrados in Key West. I refer to this incident
of the relief-work, not because it has, intrinsically, any particular
importance, but because it shows that the means adopted by the Red Cross
to relieve distress in Key West were intelligent and businesslike.

On the day after our arrival Mr. Cobb, of Miss Barton's staff, called at
the hotel to tell us that the Red Cross relief-boats were about to make
another visit to the Spanish prizes in the harbor, and to ask us if we
would like to go with them and see the work.

In half an hour Miss Barton and her staff, Mrs. Kennan and I, started in
the steam-launch of the monitor _Puritan_ to make the round of the
captured Spanish ships, towing behind us two large boats loaded with
assorted stores for the destitute crews. The first vessel we visited was
a small black brigantine from Barcelona, named _Frascito_, which had
been captured eight miles off Havana by the United States cruiser
_Montgomery_. The swarthy, scantily clad Spanish sailors crowded to the
bulwarks with beaming faces as we approached, and the hurried, almost
frenzied eagerness with which they threw us a line, hung a ladder over
the side, and helped us on board, showed that although we were
incidentally Americans, and therefore enemies, we were primarily Red
Cross people, and consequently friends to be greeted and welcomed with
every possible manifestation of respect, gratitude, and affection.

The interior of the little brigantine presented an appearance of
slovenly but picturesque dirt, confusion, and disorder, as if the crew,
overwhelmed by the misfortune that had come upon them, had abandoned the
routine of daily duty and given themselves up to apathy and despair. The
main-deck, between the low after-cabin and the high forecastle, had not
been washed down, apparently, in a week; piles of dirty dishes and
cooking-utensils of strange, unfamiliar shapes lay here and there around
the little galley forward; coils of running rigging were kicking about
under-foot instead of hanging on the belaying-pins; a pig-pen, which had
apparently gone adrift in a gale, blocked up the gangway to the
forecastle on the port side between the high bulwark and a big boat
which had been lashed in V-shaped supports amidships; and a large part
of the space between the cabin and the forecastle on the starboard side
was a chaos of chain-cable, lumber, spare spars, pots, pans, earthen
water-jars, and chicken-coops.

The captain of the little vessel was a round-faced, boyish-looking man,
of an English rather than a Spanish type, with clear gray honest eyes
and a winning expression of friendliness and rustic bonhomie, like that
of an amiable, intelligent young peasant. He greeted us cordially, but
with a slight trace of shy awkwardness, and invited us into the small,
dark cabin, where we drank one another's health in a bottle of sweet,
strong liqueur, and he told us the rather pathetic story of his
misfortune. The brigantine _Frascito_ ("Little Flask"), he said,
belonged in part to him and in part to a company in Barcelona. The
cargo, consisting chiefly of South American jerked beef, was owned by
his father and himself, and ship and cargo represented all that he and
his family had in the world. He left Montevideo for Havana about the
middle of March, and had no intimation whatever that Spain and the
United States were at war, until a round shot was fired across his bow
by the cruiser _Montgomery_, about eight miles off Morro Castle. The
officers of the cruiser treated him very kindly--"I couldn't; and below]
have done it better," he said, with simple sincerity, "if I had done it
myself; but it was very hard to lose everything just because I didn't
know. Of course I shouldn't have tried to get into Havana if I had known
there was war; but I left Montevideo in March, and had no thought of
such a thing." We tried to cheer him up by telling him that the
prize-court would hardly condemn and confiscate his vessel under such
circumstances, but he was still sad and troubled. He thanked us with
simple, unaffected earnestness for the provisions we had put on board
his ship, and said that the unexpected kindness of the Red Cross to him
and his crew had cheered and encouraged them all. He seemed anxious to
do something to show us his gratitude and appreciation, and when a
member of our party manifested interest in a large cage of red-crested
tropical birds which hung beside the cabin door, he promptly took it
down and presented it "to the señorita for the Red Cross steamer, with
the compliments and thanks of the _Frascito_."

After putting on board the little brigantine such supplies, in the shape
of bread, beans, rice, canned meats, etc., as the crew required, we bade
the captain and mate good-by, and left them apparently somewhat cheered
up by our visit.

From the _Frascito_ we went successively to the _Oriente_, the _España_,
the _Santiago Apostol_, the _Poder de Dios_, and fifteen or sixteen
other vessels of the prize-fleet, ascertaining their wants, furnishing
them with such food-supplies as they needed, and listening to the
stories of their captains.

Among the sailors on the fishing-smacks were many unfamiliar and
wild-looking Cuban and Spanish types--men with hard, dark faces, lighted
up by fierce, brilliant black eyes, who looked as if they would have
been in their proper sphere fighting under a black flag, on the Spanish
Main, in the good old days of the bucaneers. But hard and fierce as many
of them looked, they were not wholly insensible to kindness. On the
schooner _Power of God_, where there seemed to be more wild, cruel,
piratical types than on any other vessel except, perhaps, _St. James the
Apostle_, I noticed a sailor with a stern, hard, almost black face and
fierce, dark eyes, who--had such a thing been possible--might have
stepped, just as he stood, out of the pages of "Amyas Leigh." He was
regarding me with an expression in which, if there was no actual
malevolence, there was at least not the slightest indication of
friendliness or good will. Taking from my haversack a box of the
cigarettes with which I had provided myself in anticipation of a tobacco
famine among the Spanish sailors, I sprang over the bulwark, and, with
as cordial a smile of comradeship as I could give him, I placed it in
his hand. For an instant he stared at it as if stupefied with amazement.
Then his hard, set face relaxed a little, and, throwing his head forward
and raising his fierce black eyes to mine, he gave me a long look of
surprise and intense, passionate gratitude, which seemed to say, "I
don't know your language, and I can't _tell_ you how grateful I am, but
I can _look_ it"--and he did. He had evidently been out of tobacco many
days, and in a moment he went below where he could light a match out of
the wind, and presently reappeared, breathing smoke and exhaling it
through his nostrils with infinite satisfaction and pleasure.

Nearly all the sailors on the fishing-smacks were barefooted, many were
bareheaded, and all had been tanned a dark mahogany color by weeks of
exposure to the rays of a tropical sun. Their dress consisted,
generally, of a shirt and a pair of loose trousers of coarse gray
cotton, like the dress worn in summer by Siberian convicts. Dr. Egan
prescribed and furnished medicines for the sick wherever they were
found, and on one vessel performed a rather difficult and delicate
surgical operation for the relief of a man who was suffering from a
badly swollen neck, with necrosis of the lower jawbone.

At half-past six o'clock we returned to the _State of Texas_, having
attended to all the sick that were found, relieved all the distress that
was brought to our attention, and furnished food enough for a week's
consumption to the crews of nineteen vessels.

Two days later, at the suggestion of Miss Barton, Mr. Cobb purchased a
quantity of smoking-and chewing-tobacco for the Spanish sailors, and we
made another double round of the prize-ships, in the steam-launch of the
New York "Sun," which was courteously placed at the disposal of the Red
Cross for the whole afternoon. On our outward trip we left on every
vessel tobacco and matches enough to last the crew for a week, and Mr.
Cobb notified all the captains that if they or their crews wished to
write open letters to their relatives and friends in Cuba or Spain, the
Red Cross would collect them, submit them to the United States
prize-court for approval, and undertake to forward them.

The tobacco and the offer to forward letters seemed to excite more
enthusiastic gratitude in the hearts of the Spanish prisoners than even
the distribution of food. On one schooner my attention was attracted to
a ragged sailor who was saying something very earnestly in Spanish, and
pointing, in a rather dramatic manner, to the sky. "What is he saying?"
I inquired of Mr. Cobb. "He says," replied the latter, with a smile,
"that if they were prisoners up in heaven, they couldn't be better
treated than they have been here."

I was touched and gratified to see the interest and sympathy excited by
the work of the Red Cross in all who came in contact with it, from the
commodore of the fleet to the poorest fisherman. The captains of the
monitor _Puritan_ and the auxiliary cruiser _Panther_ offered us the use
of their swift steam-launches in the work of distributing food; the
representative of the New York "Sun" followed their example; the marines
on the _Panther_ doffed their caps to our boats as we passed, and even a
poor Key West fisherman pulled over to us in his skiff, as we lay
alongside a Spanish vessel, and gave us two large, lobster-like
crawfish, merely to show us, in the only way he could, his affectionate
sympathy and good will. Mr. Cobb offered him some of the tobacco that we
were distributing among the Spanish sailors, but he refused to take it,
saying: "I didn't bring the fish to you to beg tobacco, or for money,
but just because I wanted to help a little. I hoped to get more, but
these were all I could catch."

One touch of kindness makes all the world kin. Even the engineer of the
New York "Sun's" naphtha-launch gave his cherished pipe to a sailor on a
Spanish vessel who had none, and when one of his mates remonstrated with
him, saying, "You're not going to give him your own brier-wood pipe!" he
replied, with a shamefaced smile: "Yes, poor devil! he can't get one
away out here. I can buy another ashore."

Late in the afternoon we made a second round of all the Spanish ships to
collect their letters, and then returned to the _State of Texas_. Mr.
Cobb that same evening submitted the open letters to the United States
prize-court for approval, and I made an arrangement with Mr. E. F.
Knight, war correspondent of the London "Times," who was just starting
for Havana, to take the Cuban letters with him and mail them there. The
letters for Spain were sent to the National Red Cross of Portugal.



CHAPTER III

ON THE EDGE OF WAR


Until the illuminating search-light of war was turned upon the island of
Key West, it was, to the people of the North generally, little more than
a name attached to a small, arid coral reef lying on the verge of the
Gulf Stream off the southern extremity of Florida. Few people knew
anything definitely about it, and to nine readers out of ten its name
suggested nothing more interesting or attractive than Cuban filibusters,
sponges, and cigars. In less than a month, however, after the outbreak
of hostilities, it had become the headquarters, as well as the chief
coaling-station, of two powerful fleets; the news-distributing center
for the whole Cuban coast; the supply-depot to which perhaps a hundred
vessels resorted for water, food, and ammunition; the home station of
all the newspaper despatch-boats cruising in West Indian waters; the
temporary headquarters of more than a hundred newspaper correspondents
and reporters, and the most advanced outpost of the United States on the
edge of war. In view of the importance which the place had at that time,
as well as the importance which it must continue to have, as our naval
base in Cuban waters, a description of it may not be wholly without
interest.

The island on which the city of Key West stands forms one of the links
in a long, curving chain of shoals, reefs, and keys extending in a
southwesterly direction about a hundred miles from the extreme end of
the peninsula of Florida. It is approximately six miles long, has an
average width of one mile, and resembles a little in shape a huge comma,
with the city of Key West for its head and a diminishing curve of low,
swampy chaparral and mangrove-bushes for a tail. The shallow bay of
pale-green water between the head and the tail on the concave side of
the comma is known as "the bight." It is the anchorage of the
sponging-fleet, and is the eastern limit of settlement on that side of
the island. Beyond it are sandy flats and shallow, salt-water lagoons,
shut in by a dense growth of leather-leaved bushes and low, scrubby
China-berry, sea-grape, and Jamaica-apple trees. The highest part of the
Key is occupied by the city, and the highest part of the city is the low
bluff on its western side, where the slender shaft of the lighthouse
stands at a height of fifteen or eighteen feet above the level of
tide-water. Owing to its geographical position in a semi-tropical sea,
just north of the Gulf Stream and within the zone of the northeast
trade-winds, Key West has a climate of remarkable mildness and
equability. Twenty years' observations show that its lowest monthly mean
of temperature is 70° F. in January, and its highest 84° in August--an
annual range of only 14°. Between the years 1886 and 1896 the highest
temperature recorded was 92°, and the lowest 40°--a range of only 52°
between maximum and minimum in a period of ten years. New York and
Chicago often have a greater variation of temperature than this in the
course of ten days.

Equability, however, is not the only noteworthy characteristic of the
Key West climate. It is also remarkable for its sunniness in winter and
its breeziness at all seasons of the year. The average number of cloudy
days there is only sixty-four per annum, and between October and April
the sun often shines, day after day, in a cloudless sky, for weeks at a
time. But even more constant and continuous than the sunshine are the
cool breezes from the foam-crested waters of the Atlantic, which temper
the heat of the almost perpetual summer. From the reports of the Weather
Bureau it appears that the average number of calm days at Key West is
only ten per annum. In 1895 only three days were calm, and in 1894 there
were only twenty-seven hours, of day or night, in which there was not
breeze enough to ripple, at least, the pale-green water of the harbor.
For all practical purposes, therefore, the sea-breeze at Key West may be
regarded as perennial and incessant. It varies in strength, of course,
from day to day and from hour to hour; but in the two weeks that I spent
there it was never strong enough to be unpleasant in the city, nor to
necessitate the reefing of small sail-boats in the comparatively open
and unsheltered bay.

The average annual rainfall on the island is about thirty-nine inches,
and nearly the whole of this precipitation is confined to the so-called
"rainy season," between May and November, when showers fall, now and
then, at irregular intervals of from three to ten days. For their fresh
water the inhabitants depend entirely upon this rainfall, which is
carefully collected and saved in large roof-covered cisterns. There are
a few wells on the island, but the water in them is generally brackish,
or is so impregnated with lime and earthy salts as to be unfit either
for drinking or for irrigation. To sum up briefly, the climate of Key
West may be roughly described as mild and dry in winter, warm but
showery in summer, and breezy and sunny at all seasons.

In this geographical and climatic environment there has grown up on the
island an interesting but rather sleepy and unprogressive city of
twenty-two thousand inhabitants. The most important of the elements that
go to make up its population are, first, whites from the United States,
who are chiefly engaged in shipping or commerce; second, Cubans of mixed
blood, employed, for the most part, in the cigar factories; third,
immigrants from the Bahamas, known as "conchs," who devote themselves
mainly to fishing, sponging, and wrecking; and, fourth, negroes from
America and the West Indian Islands, who turn their hands to anything
they can find to do, from shoveling coal to diving into the clear water
of the bay after the pennies or nickels thrown by Northern tourists from
the deck of the _Mascotte_ or the _Olivette_. Nothing in the shape of
fruit, grain, or vegetables is raised on the island for export, and the
greater part of the city's food-supply comes either from Florida or from
the islands of the West Indies.

The first thing that strikes a newcomer in Key West is the distinctly
and unmistakably foreign aspect of the city. In spite of the English
names on many of the sign-boards over the shops, the American faces on
the streets, and the crowd of American officers and war correspondents
smoking or talking on the spacious piazzas of the Key West Hotel, one
cannot get rid of the impression that he has left the United States and
has landed in some such town as San Juan de Guatemala or Punta Arenas,
on the Pacific coast of Central America. Everything that meets the eye
seems new, unfamiliar, and, in some subtle, indefinable way,
un-American. The vivid but pale and delicate green of the ocean water;
the slender, fern-headed cocoanut-palms which stand in clumps here and
there along the streets; the feathery Australian pines and dark-green
Indian laurels which shade the naval storehouse and the Marine Hospital;
the masses of tamarind, almond, sapodilla, wild-fig, banana, and
cork-tree foliage in the yards of the white, veranda-belted houses; the
Spanish and Cuban types on the piers and in front of the hotels; the
unfamiliar language which strikes the ear at almost every step--all
suggest a tropical environment and Spanish, rather than American,
influences and characteristics.

The two features of Key West scenery that appear, at first glance, to be
most salient, and that contribute most to the impression of strangeness
and remoteness made by the island as a whole, are, unquestionably, the
color of the water and the character of the vegetation. The ocean in
which the little coral key is set has a vividness and a delicacy of
color that I have never seen equaled elsewhere, and that is not even so
much as suggested by the turbid, semi-opaque water of the Atlantic off
the coast of Massachusetts or New Jersey. It is a clear, brilliant,
translucent green, pale rather than deep in tone, and ranging through
all possible gradations, from the color of a rain-wet lawn to the pure,
delicate, ethereal green of an auroral streamer. Sometimes, in heavy
cloud-shadow, it is almost as dark as the green of a Siberian
alexandrite; but just beyond the shadow, in the full sunshine, it
brightens to the color of a greenish turquoise. In the shallow bay known
as "the bight," the yellowish brown of the marine vegetation on the
bottom blends with the pale green of the overlying water so as to
reproduce on a large scale the tints of a Ural Mountain chrysolite,
while two miles away, over a bank of sand or a white coral reef, the
water has the almost opaque but vivid color of a pea-green satin ribbon.
Even in the gloom and obscurity of midnight, the narrow slit cut through
the darkness by the sharp blade of the Fort Taylor search-light reveals
a long line of green, foam-flecked water. Owing to the very limited
extent of the island, the ocean may be seen at the end of every street
and from almost every point of view, and its constantly changing but
always unfamiliar color says to you at every hour of the day: "You are
no longer looking out upon the dull, muddy green water of the Atlantic
coast; you are on a tropical, palm-fringed coral reef in the remote
solitude of the great South Sea."

Next to the color of the ocean, in its power to suggest remoteness and
unfamiliarity, is the character of the vegetation. The flora of Key West
is wholly tropical, and in my first ramble through the city I did not
discover a single plant, shrub, tree, or flower that I had ever seen in
the North except the oleander. Even that had wholly changed its habits
and appearance, and resembled the pot-grown plant of Northern households
only as the gigantic sequoia of California resembles the stunted
Lilliputian pine of the Siberian tundra. The Key West oleander is not a
plant, nor a shrub; it is a tree. In the yard of a private house on
Carolina Street I saw an oleander nearly thirty feet in height, whose
branches shaded an area twenty feet or more in diameter, and whose
mammoth clusters of rosy flowers might have been counted by the hundred.
Such an oleander as this, even though its leaves and blossoms may be
familiar, seems like a stranger and an exotic, and, instead of modifying
the impression of remoteness and alienation made by the other features
of the tropical environment, it deepens and intensifies it. Among the
vines, plants, shrubs, and trees that I noticed and identified in the
streets and private grounds of Key West were jasmine, bergamot,
poinsettia, hibiscus, almond, banana, sapodilla, tamarind, Jamaica
apple, mango, Spanish lime, cotton-tree, royal poinciana, "Geiger
flower" (a local name), alligator-pear, tree-cactus, sand-box,
cork-tree, banian-tree, sea-grape, cocoanut-palm, date-palm, Indian
laurel, Australian pine, and wild fig. Most of these trees and shrubs do
not grow even in southern Florida, and are to be found, within the
limits of the United States, only in southern California and on the
island of Key West.

A mere perusal of this long list of unfamiliar names will enable the
reader to understand why the vegetation of the island reinforces the
impression of strangeness and remoteness already made by the color of
the sea.

Key West, after the outbreak of war, had two chief centers of interest
and excitement: first, the harbor, between Fort Taylor and the
government wharf, where lay all the monitors, cruisers, and gunboats of
the North Atlantic Squadron that were not actually engaged in sea
service; and, second, the Key West Hotel, which was the headquarters of
the war correspondents, as well as of naval officers assigned to shore
duty, and visitors on all sorts of business from the North. I found it
hard to decide which of these two centers would offer better
opportunities and facilities for observation and the acquirement of
knowledge. If I stayed on board a vessel in the harbor, I should miss
the life and activity of the city, the quick delivery of daily papers
from the North, the news bulletins posted every few hours in the hotel,
and all the stories of fight, peril, or adventure told on shady piazzas
by officers and correspondents just back from the Cuban coast; while, on
the other hand, if I established myself at the hotel, I could not see
the bringing in of Spanish prizes from the Florida Strait, the arrival
and departure of despatch-boats with news and orders, the play of the
search-lights, the gun practice of the big war-ships, the signaling, the
saluting, and the movements generally of the fleet.

After having spent a week at the hotel, I decided to go on board the Red
Cross steamer _State of Texas_, which was lying off the government
wharf, nearly opposite the custom-house, and within one hundred yards of
the two big monitors _Puritan_ and _Miantonomoh_. I made the change just
in time to see, from the best possible point of vantage, the great event
of the week--the arrival of the two powerful fleets commanded
respectively by Admiral Sampson and Commodore Schley. Early Wednesday
morning the graceful, black, schooner-rigged despatch-boat of the New
York "Sun" came racing into the harbor under full head of steam,
followed closely by the ocean-going tug of the Associated Press and two
or three fast yachts in the service of New York papers, all blowing
their whistles vigorously to attract attention from the shore.
Something, evidently, had happened, and, looking seaward with a powerful
glass, I had no difficulty in making out on the horizon, at a distance
of eight or ten miles, the cruiser _Brooklyn_, the battle-ships _Texas_
and _Massachusetts_, and two or three smaller cruisers and gunboats of
the United States navy. The Flying Squadron from Hampton Roads had
arrived.

The harbor at once became a scene of rapid movement and intense
activity. Steam-launches darted out from the piers carrying war
correspondents to their respective despatch-boats, and naval officers to
the monitors and the huge four-masted colliers; a long line of
party-colored flags was displayed from the signal-halyards of the
_Miantonomoh_; two or three fast sea-going tugs carrying the naval
commandant and other harbor officers started seaward at full speed, with
long plumes of black smoke trailing to leeward from their lead-colored
stacks; and the eight hundred marines on the auxiliary cruiser _Panther_
swarmed on deck and crowded eagerly aft to gaze at the dim, distant
outlines of the newly arrived vessels.

About the middle of the forenoon the swift, heavily armed gunboat
_Scorpion_ entered the harbor flying the commodore's pennant, and was
received with a salute of eleven guns from the monitor _Miantonomoh_.
The remainder of the day passed without any other unusual or noteworthy
incident, but sometime in the night the fleet of Admiral Sampson joined
the Flying Squadron in the offing, and Thursday morning the people of
Key West saw, in their harbor and at sea off Fort Taylor, the largest
and most powerful fleet of war-vessels that had ever assembled, perhaps,
under the American flag.

All day Thursday the harbor was the center of incessant movement,
activity, and excitement. The lighter vessels of the Flying Squadron,
which had come in to coal, rejoined the heavier cruisers and
battle-ships in the offing, and their places were taken by the big
monitors _Amphitrite_ and _Terror_, the cruisers _Detroit_ and
_Marblehead_, and the gunboats _Wilmington_, _Helena_, _Castine_, and
_Machias_, which steamed in one after another from the fleet of Admiral
Sampson. When all these vessels had anchored off Fort Taylor and the
government wharf, there were in the harbor more than twenty ships of
war, including three torpedo-boats and four monitors; six or eight armed
yachts of the mosquito fleet; twelve or fifteen big transports,
troop-ships, and colliers awaiting orders; twenty-two Spanish prizes of
all sorts, from the big liner _Argonauta_ to the little brigantine
_Frascito_; and, finally, a fleet of newspaper tugs, launches, and
despatch-boats almost equal, numerically, to the fleets of Commodore
Schley and Admiral Sampson taken together. The marine picture presented
by the harbor with all these monitors, cruisers, gunboats, yachts,
transports, troop-ships, torpedo-boats, colliers, despatch-boats, and
Spanish prizes lying at anchor, with flags and signals flying in the
clear sunshine and on the translucent green water of the tropics, was a
picture of more than ordinary interest and beauty, and one that Key
West, perhaps, may never see again.

About two o'clock in the afternoon I was able, through the courtesy of
Mr. Trumbull White in offering me the use of the Chicago "Record's"
despatch-boat, to go off to the flagship _New York_ and present my
letter of introduction from the President to Admiral Sampson. I was
received most cordially and hospitably, and, after conferring with him
for half an hour with regard to the plans and work of the Red Cross, so
far as they depended upon or related to the navy, I returned to the
_State of Texas_. The fleet sailed again at half-past ten o'clock that
night for the coast of Cuba.

After the departure of the blockading fleet and the Flying Squadron on
May 19 and 20, the small army of war correspondents at Key West had
little to do except watch for the arrival of vessels with news from the
Cuban coast. Most of them regarded this work--or rather absence of
work--as tedious and irksome in the extreme; but if they had been living
on board ship instead of at the hotel they would have found a
never-failing source of interest and entertainment in the constantly
changing picture presented by the harbor. Six or eight war-ships,
ranging in size and fighting power from monitors to torpedo-boats, were
still lying at anchor off the custom-house and the Marine Hospital;
transports with stores and munitions of war were discharging their
cargoes at the piers; big four-masted schooners, laden with coal for the
blockading fleet, swung back and forth with the ebbing and flowing tides
as they awaited orders from the naval commandant; graceful steam-yachts,
flying the flag of the Associated Press, were constantly coming in with
news or going out in search of it; swift naphtha-launches carrying naval
officers in white uniforms darted hither and thither from one cruiser to
another, whistling shrill warnings to the slower boats pulled by sailors
from the transports; officers on the monitors were exchanging "wigwag"
flag-signals with other officers on the gunboats or the troop-ships; and
from every direction came shouts, bugle-calls, the shrieks of
steam-whistles, the peculiar jarring rattle of machine-guns at target
practice, and the measured beats of twenty or thirty ships' bells,
striking, at different distances, but almost synchronously, the
half-hours.

Interesting, however, as Key West harbor might seem in the daytime, it
was far more beautiful and impressive at night. One clear, still
evening late in May, when the rosy flush of the short tropical twilight
had faded, and the Sand Key beacon began to glow faintly, like a setting
planet, on the darkening horizon in the west, I went up on the
hurricane-deck alone and looked about the harbor. The city, the
war-ships, and the massive square outlines of Fort Taylor had all
vanished in the gathering darkness and gloom, but in their places were
rows, clusters, and constellations innumerable of steadily burning
lights. A long, slender shaft of bluish radiance streamed out from the
corner of Fort Taylor, widening as it extended seaward, until it struck
and illuminated with a sort of ghostly phosphorescence the whitish hull
of a gunboat stealing noiselessly into the harbor from the direction of
the Cuban coast. The strange craft hung out a perpendicular string of
red and white lights, which winked solemnly once or twice, changed color
two or three times, and then vanished. A second search-light from the
monitor _Miantonomoh_ sent another slender electric ray of inquiry in
the direction of the intruder, as if still doubtful of its character;
but when the straight blue sword of the Fort Taylor search-light rose to
the clouds and fell to the water three times, as if striking a whole
league of ocean three successive and measured blows, the _Miantonomoh_
understood that all was well, and her own search-light left the gunboat
and swept across the starry sky overhead like the tail of a huge blue
comet swinging at its perigee around a darkened sun.

In a moment the monitor itself hung out a string of lights which winked,
changed color, vanished, reappeared, and again vanished, leaving only a
red light at the masthead. In a moment an answering signal-rocket was
thrown up by an invisible war-ship in the direction of Fort Taylor, and
instantly two powerful search-lights were focused upon a pale, whitish
object, far out at sea, which looked in the bluish, ghostly glare like
the mainsail of the _Flying Dutchman_. Before I had time to form a
conjecture as to the significance of these mysterious signals and
apparitions, I was startled by a sudden flash and the thunder of a heavy
gun from the darkness ahead; and away out at sea, in the strip of green
water illuminated by the search-lights, a heavy projectile plunged into
the ocean, near the sail of the _Flying Dutchman_, and sent a column of
white spray thirty feet into the air. Then I understood what it all
meant. The _Wilmington_, was engaged in night gun practice. For half an
hour or more the war-ship threw solid shot and explosive shells into
that illuminated strip of green water, and the thunder of her cannon,
which could be heard all over the island, suggested to the startled
negro and Cuban population that the Spanish fleet had arrived and was
bombarding the city. Then the _Miantonomoh_ hung out another string of
colored lanterns, the uproar ceased, and the pallid, ghostly canvas of
the _Flying Dutchman_ suddenly vanished as the search-lights left it and
resumed their slow, sweeping exploration of the harbor, the channel, and
the open sea.



CHAPTER IV

WAR CORRESPONDENTS AND DESPATCH-BOATS


Few things impressed me more forcibly, in the course of my two weeks'
stay at Key West, than the costly, far-sighted, and far-reaching
preparations made by the great newspapers of the country to report the
war. There were in the city of Tampa, at the time of my arrival, nearly
one hundred war correspondents, who represented papers in all parts of
the United States, from New England to the Pacific coast, and who were
all expecting to go to Cuba with the army of invasion. Nearly every one
of the leading metropolitan journals had in Tampa and Key West a staff
of six or eight of its best men under the direction of a
war-correspondent-in-chief, while the Associated Press was represented
by a dozen or more reporters in Cuban waters, as well as by
correspondents in Havana, Key West, Tampa, Kingston, St. Thomas,
Port-au-Prince, and on the flagships of Admiral Sampson and Commodore
Schley. Every invention and device of applied science was brought into
requisition to facilitate the work of the reporters and to enable them
to get their work quickly to their home offices. The New York "Herald,"
for example, paid fifty dollars an hour for a special leased wire
between New York and Key West, and set up, in the latter place and in
Tampa, newly invented, long-distance phototelegraph instruments, by
means of which its artist in the field could transmit a finished picture
to the home office every twenty minutes.

In their efforts to get full and accurate news of every event at the
earliest possible moment, the war correspondents shrank from neither
hardship nor danger. A week or two before my arrival in Key West, for
example, Mr. Scovel, one of the most daring and enterprising of the war
correspondents, landed from a despatch-boat on the coast of Cuba in the
night, with the intention of making his way to the camp of General
Gomez. As he had not had a previous understanding with the latter, no
arrangements had been made to meet him, he could get no horses, and,
with only two or three companions, he walked eighty miles through
tropical forests and swamps, dodging Spanish sentinels and guerrillas,
living wholly upon plantains and roots, and sleeping most of the time
out of doors in a hammock slung between two trees. He finally succeeded
in obtaining horses, reached the insurgent camp, had an interview with
General Gomez, rode back to the coast at a point previously agreed upon,
signaled to his despatch-boat, was taken on board, and returned safely
to Key West after an absence of two weeks, in the course of which he had
not once tasted bread nor slept in a bed.

Upon the record of such an achievement as this most men would have been
satisfied, for a time, to rest; but Mr. Scovel, with untiring energy,
went from Key West to the coast of Cuba and back three times in the next
seven days. On the last of these expeditions he joined a landing force
carrying arms and ammunition to the insurgents, participated in a hot
skirmish with the Spanish troops, wrote an account of the adventure that
same night while at sea in a small, tossing boat on his way back to Key
West, and filed six thousand words in the Key West cable-station at two
o'clock in the morning.

I speak of this particular case of journalistic enterprise, not because
it is especially noteworthy or exceptional, but because it illustrates
the endurance and the capacity for sustained toil in unfavorable
circumstances, which are quite as characteristic of the modern war
correspondent as are his courage and his alert readiness for any
emergency or any opportunity.

Owing to the distance of the seat of war from the American coast and the
absence of telegraphic communication between Cuba and the mainland,
newspapers that made any serious attempt to get quick and exclusive
information from the front had not only to send correspondents into the
field, but to furnish them with means of moving rapidly from place to
place and of forwarding their despatches promptly to an American
telegraph office or a West Indian cable-station. Every prominent New
York paper, therefore, had at least one despatch-boat for the use of its
correspondents, several of them had two or three, and the Associated
Press employed four. These boats were either powerful sea-going tugs
like the _Hercules_ and the _Premier_, or swift steam-yachts of the
class represented by the _Wanda_, the _Kanapaha_, and the _Bucaneer_.
Exactly how many of them there were in West Indian waters I have been
unable to ascertain; but I should say not less than fifteen or twenty,
with almost an equal number of naphtha-and steam-launches for harbor and
smooth-water work. In these despatch-boats the war correspondents went
back and forth between Key West and Cuba; watched the operations of the
blockading fleet off Havana, Matanzas, or Cardenas; cruised along a
coast-line nearly a thousand miles in extent, and, if necessary, went
with Admiral Sampson's squadron to a point of attack as remote as
Santiago de Cuba or San Juan de Porto Rico. Whenever anything of
importance happened in any part of this wide area, they were expected to
be on the spot to observe it, and then to get the earliest news of it to
the nearest cable-station--whether that station were Kingston, Cape
Haitien, St. Thomas, Port-au-Prince, or Key West. All of the newspaper
despatch-boats were small, many of them had very limited coal-carrying
capacity, and some were nothing but sea-going tugs, with hardly any
comforts or conveniences, and with no suitable accommodations for
passengers. The correspondents who used these boats were, therefore,
compelled to live a rough-and-tumble life, sometimes sleeping in their
clothes on benches or on the floor in a small, stuffy cabin, and always
suffering the hardships and privations necessarily involved in a long
cruise on a small vessel in a tropical climate and on a turbulent sea.
The Florida Strait between Key West and the north Cuban coast is as
uncomfortable a piece of water to cruise on as can be found in the
tropics. It is the place where the swiftly running Gulf Stream meets the
fresh northeast trade-winds; and in the conflict between these opposing
terrestrial forces there is raised a high and at the same time short,
choppy, and irregular sea, on which small vessels toss, roll, and pitch
about like corks in a boiling caldron. I was told by some of the
correspondents who had cruised in these waters that often, for days at a
time, it was almost impossible to get any really refreshing rest or
sleep. The large and heavy war-ships of the blockading fleet rode this
sea, of course, with comparatively little motion; but it is reported
that even Captain Sigsbee was threatened with seasickness while crossing
the strait between Havana and Key West in a small boat.

Discomfort, however, was perhaps the least of the war correspondent's
troubles. He expected discomfort, and accepted it philosophically; but
to it was added constant and harassing anxiety. As he could not predict
or anticipate the movements of the war-ships, and had no clue to the
plans and intentions of their commanding officer, he was compelled to
stay constantly with the fleet, night and day, in order to be on the
scene of action when action should come. This part of his duty was not
only difficult, but often extremely hazardous. As soon as night fell,
every light on the war-ships was extinguished, and they cruised or
drifted about until daybreak in silence and in darkness. Owing to their
color, it was almost impossible to follow them, or even to see them at a
distance of a mile, and the correspondent on the despatch-boat was
liable either to lose them altogether if he kept too far away, or be
fired upon if he came too near.

On my visit to the flagship _New York_ I was accompanied by Mr.
Chamberlain, one of the war correspondents of the Chicago "Record." Just
before we went over the side of the ship on our return to the "Record's"
despatch-boat, Mr. Chamberlain said to Admiral Sampson: "Can you give me
any directions or instructions, admiral, with regard to approaching your
fleet in hostile waters? I don't want to be in your way or to do
anything that would imperil my own vessel or inconvenience yours."

"Where do you propose to go?" inquired the admiral.

"Anywhere," replied the war correspondent, "or rather everywhere, that
you do."

The admiral smiled dryly and said: "I can't give you any definite
instructions except, generally, to keep away from the fleet--especially
at night. You may approach and hail us in the daytime if you have
occasion to do so, but if you come within five miles of the fleet at
night there is likely to be trouble."

This was all that Mr. Chamberlain could get from the admiral; but the
officer of the deck, whose name I did not learn, had no hesitation in
explaining fully to us the nature of the "trouble" that would ensue if,
through design or inadvertence, a newspaper despatch-boat should get
within five miles of the fleet at night. "We can't afford to take any
chances," he said, "of torpedo-boats. If you show up at night in the
neighborhood of this ship, we shall fire on you first and ask questions
afterward."

"But how are we to know where you are?" inquired the correspondent.

"That's your business," replied the officer; "but if you approach us at
night, you do it at your own peril."

When we had returned to the despatch-boat, Mr. Chamberlain said to me:
"Of course that's all right from their point of view. I appreciate their
situation, and if I were in their places I should doubtless act
precisely as they do; but it's my business to watch that fleet, and I
can't do it if I keep five miles away at night. I think I'll go within
two miles and take the chances. Some of us will probably lose the
numbers of our mess down here," he added coolly, "if this thing lasts,
but I don't see how it can be helped."

The difficulty of keeping five miles away, or any specified distance
away, from a blockading fleet of war-ships at night can be fully
realized only by those who have experienced it. Except on Morro Castle
at Havana there were no lights on the northern coast of Cuba; if it was
cloudy and there happened to be no moon, the darkness was impenetrable;
the war-ships did not allow even so much as the glimmer of a binnacle
lamp to escape from their lead-colored, almost invisible hulls, as they
cruised noiselessly back and forth; and the correspondent on the
despatch-boat not only did not know where they were, but had no means
whatever of ascertaining where he himself was. Meanwhile, at any moment,
there might come out of the impenetrable darkness ahead the thunder of a
six-pounder gun, followed by the blinding glare of a search-light.
Unquestionably the correspondents were to be believed when they said
privately to one another that it was nervous, harassing work.

But the list of difficulties and embarrassments which confronted the
correspondent in his quest of news is not yet at an end. If he escaped
the danger of being sunk or disabled by a shell or a solid projectile at
night, and succeeded in following a fleet like that of Admiral Sampson,
he had to take into serious consideration the question of coal. Fuel is
quite as essential to a despatch-boat as to a battle-ship. The commander
of the battle-ship, however, had a great advantage over the
correspondent on the despatch-boat, for the reason that he always knew
exactly where he was going and where he could recoal; while the
unfortunate newspaper man was ignorant of his own destination, was
compelled to follow the fleet blindly, and did not know whether his
limited supply of coal would last to the end of the cruise or not. When
Mr. Chamberlain sailed from Key West at night with the fleet of Admiral
Sampson, he believed that the latter was bound for Santiago, on the
southeastern coast of Cuba. The _Hercules_ could not possibly carry coal
enough for a voyage there and back; in fact, she would reach that port
with only one day's supply of fuel in her bunkers. What should be done
then? The nearest available source of coal-supply would be Kingston,
Jamaica, and whether he could get there from Santiago before his fuel
should be wholly exhausted Mr. Chamberlain did not know. However, he was
ready, like Ladislaw in "Middlemarch," to "place himself in an attitude
of receptivity toward all sublime chances," and away he went. Nothing
can be more exasperating to a war correspondent than to have a fight
take place while he is absent from the scene of action looking for coal;
but many newspaper men in Cuban waters had that unpleasant and
humiliating experience.

The life of the war correspondent who landed, or attempted to land, on
the island of Cuba, in the early weeks of the war, was not so wearing
and harassing, perhaps, as the life of the men on the despatch-boats,
but it was quite as full of risk. After the 1st of May the patrol of the
Cuban coast by the Spanish troops between Havana and Cardenas became so
careful and thorough that a safe landing could hardly be made there even
at night. Jones and Thrall were both captured before they could open
communications with the insurgents; and the English correspondents,
Whigham and Robinson, who followed their example, met the same fate.
Even Mr. Knight, the war correspondent of the London "Times," who landed
from a small boat in the harbor of Havana with the express permission of
the government at Madrid and under a guaranty of protection, was seized
and thrown into Cabanas fortress.

If a war correspondent succeeded in making a safe landing and in joining
the insurgents, he had still to suffer many hardships and run many
risks. Mr. Archibald, the correspondent of a San Francisco paper, was
wounded on the Cuban coast early in May, in a fight resulting from an
attempt to land arms and ammunition for the insurgents; and a
correspondent of the Chicago "Record" was killed after he had actually
succeeded in reaching General Gomez's camp. He was sitting on his horse,
at the summit of a little hill, with Gomez and the latter's chief of
staff, watching a skirmish which was taking place at a distance of a
quarter of a mile or more, between a detachment of insurgents and a
column of Spanish troops. One of the few sharp-shooters in the enemy's
army got the range of the little group on the hill, and almost the first
ball which he sent in that direction struck the "Record" correspondent
in the forehead between and just above the eyes. As he reeled in the
saddle Gomez's chief of staff sprang to catch him and break his fall.
The next Mauser bullet from the hidden marksman pierced the pommel of
the saddle that the staff-officer had just vacated; and the third shot
killed Gomez's horse. The general and his aide then hastily escaped from
the dangerous position, carrying the "Record" correspondent with them;
but he was dead. In the first two months of the war the corps of field
correspondents, in proportion to its numerical strength, lost almost as
many men from death and casualty as did the army and navy of the United
States. The letters and telegrams which they wrote on their knees, in
the saddle, and on the rocking, swaying cabin tables of despatch-boats
while hurrying to West Indian cable-stations were not always models of
English composition, nor were they always precisely accurate; but if the
patrons of their respective papers had been placed in the field and
compelled to write under similar conditions, they would be surprised,
perhaps, not at the occasional imperfection of the correspondents' work,
but at the fact that in so unfavorable and discouraging an environment
good work could be done at all.



CHAPTER V

OFF FOR SANTIAGO


The most important event in the early history of the war, and the event
that controlled the movements of the Red Cross steamer _State of Texas_,
as well as the movements of General Shafter's army, was the arrival of
the Spanish fleet of cruisers and torpedo-boats at Santiago de Cuba on
May 19. There had been skirmishes and bombardments before that time, at
Matanzas, Cardenas, and various other points on the Cuban coast; but
none of them had any strategic importance, or any particular bearing
upon the course or the conduct of the war. It was the appearance of
Admiral Cervera at Santiago which determined the field of action, and,
to some extent, the plan of campaign. The invasion of eastern Cuba had
already been under consideration, and when the Spanish fleet took refuge
in Santiago harbor the President and his counselors decided, definitely
and finally, to begin operations at that end of the island, and to leave
the western provinces unmolested until fall. The regular army, it was
thought, would be strong enough, with the aid and coöperation of Admiral
Sampson's fleet, to reduce the defenses of Santiago, and the volunteers
might be left in camp at Chickamauga, Tampa, and Jacksonville, to get in
training for an attack upon Havana at the end of the rainy season.

The preparations for the invasion of Cuba seemed, at that time, to be
nearly, if not quite, complete. The whole regular army, consisting of
seven regiments of cavalry, twenty-two regiments of infantry, and
fourteen batteries of artillery, had been mobilized and transported to
the Gulf coast; the quartermaster's department had, under charter,
twenty-seven steamers, with a carrying capacity of about twenty thousand
men; immense quantities of food and munitions of war had been bought and
sent to Tampa, and there seemed to be no good reason why General
Shafter's command should not embark for Cuba, if necessary, at
twenty-four hours' notice.

On May 26, just a week after the appearance of Admiral Cervera and his
fleet at Santiago, the President held a consultation at the Executive
Mansion with the Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Navy, and the
members of the Board of Strategy, and decided to begin the invasion of
Cuba at once. Orders were presumably sent to General Shafter to prepare
for an immediate movement, and Secretary Long telegraphed Admiral
Sampson as follows:

                                 WASHINGTON, May 27, 1898.

     _Sampson, Care Naval Base, Key West:_

     If Spanish division is proved to be at Santiago, it is the
     intention of the department to make a descent immediately upon that
     port with ten thousand United States troops, landing about eight
     nautical miles east of the port. You will be expected to convoy
     transports....

                                     [Signed]      LONG.

Three days later General Shafter was directed, in the following order,
to embark his command and proceed at once to Santiago:

                       WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, May 30, 1898.

     _Major-General William R. Shafter, Tampa, Florida:_

     With the approval of the Secretary of War you are directed to take
     your command on transports, proceed under convoy of the navy to the
     vicinity of Santiago de Cuba, land your force at such place east or
     west of that point as your judgment may dictate, under the
     protection of the navy, and move it on to the high ground and
     bluffs overlooking the harbor, or into the interior, as shall best
     enable you to capture or destroy the garrison there and cover the
     navy as it sends its men in small boats to remove torpedoes, or,
     with the aid of the navy, capture or destroy the Spanish fleet now
     reported to be in Santiago harbor.

     You will use the utmost energy to accomplish this enterprise, and
     the government relies upon your good judgment as to the most
     judicious use of your command, but desires to impress upon you the
     importance of accomplishing this object with the least possible
     delay....

                                       [Signed]   H. C. CORBIN,
                                          Adjutant-General.

In view of the fact that General Shafter had been nearly a month at
Tampa, and of the further fact that his command was composed wholly, or
almost wholly, of regular troops, who were completely equipped for
service when they left their stations, he should have been able, it
seems to me, to comply with this order at once; but, apparently, he was
not ready. Day after day passed without any noticeable change in the
situation, and on June 7 the army at Tampa was apparently no nearer an
advance than it had been when Cervera's fleet entered Santiago harbor on
May 19.

Admiral Sampson, who was anxious to strike a decisive blow before the
enemy should have time to concentrate and intrench, then telegraphed
Secretary Long as follows:

                                         MOLE, HAITI, June 7, 1898.

     _Secretary of Navy, Washington_:

     Bombarded forts at Santiago 7:30 A. M. to 10 A. M. to-day, June 6.
     Have silenced works quickly without injury of any kind, though
     stationary within two thousand yards. If ten thousand men were
     here[1] city and fleet would be ours within forty-eight hours.
     Every consideration demands immediate army movement. If delayed
     city will be defended more strongly by guns taken from fleet.

                                        [Signed]   SAMPSON.

When this despatch reached Washington, the Secretary of War sent General
Shafter two peremptory telegrams, as follows:

                                        WAR DEPARTMENT, June 7.

     _Major-General Shafter, Port Tampa, Florida:_

     You will sail immediately, as you are needed at destination at
     once. Answer.

                                       [Signed]      R. A. ALGER,
                                       Secretary of War.

                              EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON,
                                     June 7, 1898, 8:50 P.M.

     _Major-General Shafter, Port Tampa, Florida:_

     Since telegraphing you an hour since, the President directs you to
     sail at once with what force you have ready.

                                      [Signed]      R. A. ALGER,
                                               Secretary of War.

Upon receipt of these "rush" orders, General Shafter hastily embarked
his army, amid great confusion and disorder, and telegraphed the
Secretary of War that he would be ready to sail, with about seventeen
thousand officers and men, on the morning of June 8. Before the
expedition could get away, however, Commodore Remey cabled the Secretary
of the Navy from Key West that two Spanish war-ships--an armored cruiser
and a torpedo-boat destroyer--had been seen in Nicholas Channel, off the
northern coast of Cuba, on the night of June 7, by Lieutenant W. H. H.
Southerland of the United States gunboat _Eagle_. Fearing that these
Spanish vessels would intercept the fleet of transports and perhaps
destroy some of them, Secretary Alger telegraphed General Shafter not to
leave Tampa Bay until he should receive further orders.

Scouting-vessels of the navy, which were promptly sent to Nicholas
Channel in search of the enemy, failed to locate or discover the two
war-ships reported by the commander of the _Eagle_, and on June 14
General Shafter's army, after having been held a week on board the
transports in Tampa Bay, sailed for Santiago by way of Cape Maysi and
the Windward Passage. The Spanish fleet under command of Admiral Cervera
had then been in Santiago harbor almost four weeks.

It is hard to say exactly where the responsibility should lie for the
long delay in the embarkation and despatch of General Shafter's
expedition. When I passed through Tampa on my way south in June, the two
railroad companies there were blaming each other, as well as the
quartermaster's department, for the existing blockade of unloaded cars,
while army officers declared that the railroad companies were unable to
handle promptly and satisfactorily the large quantity of supplies
brought there for the expedition. Naval authorities said that they had
to wait for the army, while army officers maintained that they were all
ready to start, but were stopped and delayed by reports of Spanish
war-ships brought in by scouting-vessels of the navy.

That there was unnecessary delay, as well as great confusion and
disorder, there seems to be no doubt. As one competent army officer said
to me, in terse but slangy English, "The fact of the matter is, they
simply got all balled up, and although they worked hard, they worked
without any definite, well-understood plan of operations."

The principal trouble seemed to be in the commissary and quartermaster's
departments. Many of the officers in these departments were young and
inexperienced; army supplies from the North came down in immense
quantities on two lines of railway and without proper invoices or bills
of lading; it was often utterly impossible to ascertain in which, out of
a hundred cars, certain articles of equipment or subsistence were to be
found; and there was a lack everywhere of cool, trained, experienced
supervision and direction. It was the business of some one somewhere to
see that every car-load of supplies shipped to Tampa was accompanied by
an invoice or bill of lading, so that the chief commissary at the point
of destination might know the exact nature, quantity, and car-location
of supplies brought by every train. Then, if he wanted twenty-five
thousand rations of hard bread or fifty thousand pounds of rice before
the cars had been unloaded, he would know exactly where and in what cars
to look for it. As it was, he could not tell, often, what car contained
it without making or ordering personal examination, and it was almost
impossible to know how much of any given commodity he had on hand in
trains that had not yet been unloaded or inspected. As the result of
this he had to telegraph to Jacksonville at the last moment before the
departure of the expedition for three or four hundred cases of baked
beans and forty or fifty thousand pounds of rice to be bought there in
open market and to be sent him in "rush shipment." It is more than
probable that there were beans and rice enough to meet all his wants in
unloaded trains at Tampa, but he had no clue to their car-location and
could not find them. Such a state of things, of course, is wholly
unnecessary, and it should not occur a second time. To take another
example:

When our army embarked at Port Tampa it was the business of some officer
somewhere to know the exact capacity of every transport and the
numerical strength of every regiment. Then it was some one's business to
prearrange the distribution of troops by assigning one or more
designated regiments to one or more designated steamers and giving
necessary orders to the colonels. As it was, however, according to the
testimony of every witness, a train-load of troops would come to the
docks at Port Tampa, apparently without orders or assignment to any
particular steamer, and while they were waiting to learn what they
should do, and while their train was still blocking the way, another
train-load of soldiers would arrive in a similar state of ignorance and
add to the disorder and confusion. As a natural consequence, men got on
wrong steamers and had to be unloaded, and often, after transports had
moved out into the bay, parts of companies and regiments had to be
transferred in small boats from one vessel to another. These are
examples of what seems to have been bad management. In another class of
cases the trouble was apparently due to mistaken judgment. To the latter
class belongs the loading and treatment of horses and mules. It would
have been much better and safer, I think, to load these animals on
vessels especially prepared for and exclusively devoted to them than to
put them into stifling and unventilated holds of steamers that also
carried troops. If, however, this was impracticable, it was manifestly
best to load the animals last, so as to expose them for as short a time
as possible to such murderous conditions. The mules, however, were
loaded first, and held in the holds of the transports while troops were
embarking. They began to die from heat and suffocation, and then they
were unloaded and reshipped after the troops were on board. This caused
unnecessary delay, as well as the loss of many valuable animals.
Eighteen perished, I am told, on one transport while the troops were
embarking.

These cases of disorder and bad judgment are only a few out of many
which were the subject of common talk among officers and civilians in
Tampa. I could specify many others, but criticism is at best unpleasant
duty, and the only justification for it is the hope that, if mistakes
and disorders are pointed out and frankly recognized, they may be
guarded against in future.

The army of invasion, when it finally left Tampa Bay for the Cuban
coast, consisted of 803 officers and 14,935 enlisted men.[2] With its
animals and equipment it filled thirty-five transports. It comprised (in
addition to regular infantry) four batteries of light field-artillery,
two batteries of heavy siege-guns, a battalion of engineers, a
detachment of the Signal Corps, twelve squadrons of dismounted cavalry,
and one squadron of cavalry with horses. All of the troops were regulars
with the exception of three regiments, namely, the First Cavalry (Rough
Riders, dismounted), the Seventy-first New York, and the Second
Massachusetts. The command was well supplied with food and ammunition,
but its facilities for land transportation were inadequate; its
equipment, in the shape of clothing and tentage, was not adapted to a
tropical climate in the rainy season; it carried no reserve medical
stores, and it had no small boats suitable for use in disembarkation or
in landing supplies on an unsheltered coast. Some of these deficiencies
in equipment were due, apparently, to lack of prevision, others to lack
of experience in tropical campaigning, and the rest to lack of water
transportation from Tampa to the Cuban coast; but all were as
unnecessary as they afterward proved to be unfortunate.

When the army of invasion sailed, the Red Cross steamer _State of
Texas_, laden with fourteen hundred tons of food and medical supplies,
lay at anchor in Tampa Bay, awaiting the return of Miss Barton and a
part of her staff from Washington. As soon as they arrived, the steamer
proceeded to Key West, and on the morning of Monday, June 20, after a
brief consultation with Commodore Remey, we sailed from that port for
Santiago de Cuba. In the group assembled on the pier to bid us good-by
were United States Marshal Horr; Mr. Hyatt, chairman of the local Red
Cross committee; Mr. White, correspondent of the Chicago "Record," whose
wife was going with us as a Red Cross worker; and Mrs. Porter, wife of
the President's secretary, who had come with Miss Barton from Washington
to Key West in order to show her interest in and sympathy with the work
in which the Red Cross is engaged. About ten o'clock the steamer's lines
were cast off, the gang-plank was drawn ashore, the screw began to churn
the green water into boiling foam astern, and, amid shouted good-bys and
the waving of handkerchiefs from the pier, we moved slowly out into the
stream, dipped our ensign to the _Lancaster_, Commodore Remey's
flagship, and proceeded down the bay in the direction of Sand Key
light.



CHAPTER VI

THE CUBAN COAST


The course usually taken by steamers from Key West to Santiago lies
along the northern coast of Cuba, through the Nicholas and Old Bahama
channels, to Cape Maysi, and thence around the eastern end of the island
by the Windward Passage. Inasmuch, however, as we were going without a
convoy, and Commodore Remey had advised us to keep out of sight of land,
in order to avoid possible interception by a Spanish gunboat from some
unblockaded port on the coast, we decided to go around the western end
of the island, doubling Cape San Antonio, and then proceeding eastward
past the Isle of Pines to Cape Cruz and Santiago. Tuesday afternoon we
saw the high mountains in the province of Pinar del Rio looming up
faintly through the haze at a distance of twenty-five or thirty miles,
and late that same evening we passed the flash-light at the extremity of
Cape San Antonio and turned eastward toward Cape Cruz and Santiago.
After rounding the western end of the island we had a succession of
thunder-storms and rain-squalls, with a strong easterly breeze and a
heavy head sea; but Thursday night the weather moderated, and at
half-past six o'clock Friday morning we sighted Cape Cruz rising out of
the dark water ahead in a long, transverse stretch of flat table-land,
backed by mountains and terminating on the sea in a high, steep bluff.

The coast of Cuba between Cape Cruz and Santiago is formed by a striking
and beautiful range of mountains, known to the Spaniards as the "Sierra
Maestra," or "Master Range," which extends eastward and westward for
more than a hundred miles and contains some of the highest peaks to be
found on the island. As seen from the water its furrowed slopes and
flanks are deceptively foreshortened, so that they appear to fall with
extraordinary steepness and abruptness to the sea; its rocky, wave-worn
base is whitened by a long line of snowy breakers; its deep, wild
ravines are filled with soft blue summer haze; and down from the clouds
which shroud its higher peaks tumble in white, tortuous streaks the
foaming waters of unnamed and almost unknown mountain torrents. As one
sails, at a distance of two or three miles, along this wild, beautiful
coast, the picture presented by the fringe of feathery palms over the
white line of surf, the steep slopes of the foot-hills, shaggy with
dark-green tropical vegetation, and the higher peaks broken in places by
cliffs or rocky escarpments and rising into the region of summer clouds,
is one hardly to be surpassed, I think, in the tropics. The average
height of this range is three or four thousand feet; but in many places
it is much greater than this, and the summit of the peak of Turquino,
about midway between Cape Cruz and Santiago, is eighty-four hundred feet
above the level of the sea.

Our captain thought that we should be off the entrance to Santiago
harbor about three o'clock Saturday morning, and at half-past three I
was on the bridge. There was not a sign, as yet, of dawn, and although I
could make out faintly the loom of high land to the northward, it was so
dark on the water that nothing could be distinguished at a distance of
five hundred yards, and in the absence of all lights on the coast it
was almost impossible to determine our exact position. Somewhere ahead
of us,--or perhaps around us,--in the impenetrable gloom, were twelve or
fifteen ships of war; but they were cruising about in silence and
darkness, and the first evidence that we should probably have of their
proximity would be the glare of a search-light and the thunder of a gun.
About four o'clock the lookout forward shouted to the captain, "Vessel
on the port bow, sir," and a large, dark object stole silently out
toward us from under the shadow of the land. I took it, at first, for a
gunboat; but it proved to be the transport _Santiago_, which had not yet
disembarked her troops and was cruising aimlessly back and forth, as we
were, waiting for daylight.

At a quarter past four the sky in the east began to grow lighter, and as
the hidden sun climbed swiftly to the horizon the world about us began
to assume form and color. Almost directly in front of us were two fine
groups of high, forest-clad mountains, separated by an interval of
perhaps ten or fifteen miles. In this gap and nearer the sea was a long
stretch of lower, but still high, table-land, which extended from one
group of mountains to the other and seemed to form the outer rampart of
the coast. About the middle of this rocky, flat-topped rampart there was
a deep, narrow notch, on the eastern side of which I could see with a
glass a huge grayish-stone building, elevated a little above the level
of the table-land on one side and extending down the steep declivity of
the notch in a series of titanic steps on the other. I hardly needed to
be informed that the notch was the entrance to the harbor of Santiago,
and that the grayish-stone building was Morro Castle. Between us and the
land, in a huge, bow-shaped curve, lay the war-ships of the blockading
fleet, with Commodore Schley's flagship, the _Brooklyn_, at one end,
Admiral Sampson's flagship, the _New York_, at the other, and the
battle-ships _Texas_, _Indiana_, _Iowa_, _Massachusetts_, and half a
dozen gunboats and cruisers lying at intervals between. The convex side
of the crescent was nearest to Morro Castle, and in this part of the
curve were the battle-ships _Texas_, _Indiana_, and _Iowa_, with the
small gunboat _Suwanee_ thrown out as scout or skirmisher in the
position that the head of the arrow would occupy if the line of the
blockading vessels were a bent bow eight miles long.

We steamed directly in toward the entrance to the harbor, without being
stopped or questioned, and took a position in front of Morro Castle,
about one thousand yards south of the battle-ship _Indiana_. From this
point of view, with the aid of a good glass, we could make out quite
distinctly the outlines of the castle, and were a little disappointed to
see still floating over it the red-and-yellow banner of Spain. We had
had no news for more than a week, and thought it possible that both the
castle and the city were in the possession of General Shafter's army.

The entrance to the Bay of Santiago appears, from a distance of three or
four miles, to be a narrow cleft or notch in the high, flat-topped
rampart which forms the coast-line. On account of an eastward curve in
the channel just beyond Morro Castle, one cannot look through the notch
into the upper harbor. At a distance of a quarter of a mile from the
entrance, the line of vision strikes against a steep hill, which forms
one side of the curving, fiord-like passage leading to the city. Owing
to the great depth of water off the entrance to the bay, it is
impossible for vessels to anchor there, and the ships of the blockading
fleet simply drifted back and forth with the winds and tides, getting
under way occasionally, when it became necessary to change position.

After breakfast I went off in a boat to the flagship _New York_, called
upon Admiral Sampson, and obtained from him a brief account of all that
had happened off that coast since the 1st of May.

Admiral Cervera, with a fleet of seven Spanish war-ships, left the Cape
Verde Islands for West Indian waters on the 29th of April. On the 13th
of May he was reported at the French port of St. Pierre, Martinique, and
from there he sailed to Curaçao, an island off the coast of Venezuela,
nearly due south of Haiti. From Curaçao it was thought he would be
likely to go either to Cienfuegos or Havana; and on the 19th of May
Commodore Schley, with the Flying Squadron, was sent to watch the former
port, while Admiral Sampson, who had just returned from Porto Rico,
resumed the blockade of Havana. Cervera, however, did not go to either
place. Leaving Curaçao on the 16th, he crossed the Caribbean Sea, and at
daybreak on the morning of Thursday, May 19, he entered the harbor of
Santiago de Cuba for the purpose of obtaining a fresh supply of coal.
His fleet then consisted of the second-class battle-ship _Cristobal
Colon_, the armored cruisers _Vizcaya_, _Almirante Oquendo_, and _Maria
Teresa_, and the torpedo-boat destroyers _Furor_ and _Pluton_. What he
expected to do, after coaling his vessels, does not clearly appear; but
certain of his Spanish friends in the United States have recently
published what seems to be an authorized statement, in which they set
forth his views as follows:

Admiral Cervera did not enter Santiago harbor with any intention of
remaining there, or of seeking refuge from the pursuit of the American
fleets. His object was merely to make some slight repairs to his
vessels, obtain a fresh supply of coal, and then run out to sea. As a
result of interference from Havana, however, he was prevented from
carrying out his plans. No sooner had he reported his arrival in
Santiago than "Captain-General Blanco communicated with Spain and asked
the Minister of Marine to place Admiral Cervera and his fleet under his
(Blanco's) orders. Blanco then ordered Cervera to remain in Santiago
and assist in the defense of the shore batteries. Admiral Cervera
protested strongly against this, and appealed to Spain; but it is
doubtful whether his appeal ever reached the government. He asked to be
allowed to coal up and then leave Santiago, where he might be free to
meet the American fleet, rather than to be bottled up in a blockaded
harbor. He contended that he could not possibly be useful to Spain by
remaining in Santiago harbor, with the certainty of American ships
coming to keep him there, whereas, outside and free, his strong fleet
could be of great value to the Spanish cause. The answer of General
Blanco was that Admiral Cervera was now subject to his orders; that he,
and not Admiral Cervera, was in command of affairs in Cuba, and that the
admiral must obey his command. Cervera could then do nothing."

If this semi-official statement of Admiral Cervera's case is an accurate
one, the Santiago campaign, which ended in the destruction of Cervera's
fleet and the capture of the city, was the direct result of General
Blanco's interference. The Spanish admiral had plenty of time to coal
his vessels and make his escape before either of our fleets reached the
mouth of the harbor, and if he had done so there might have been no
Santiago campaign, and the whole course of the war might have been
changed. But the opportunity soon passed.

On the 20th of May the news of Cervera's appearance at Santiago was
reported to the Navy Department in Washington, and Secretary Long
immediately cabled it to Admiral Sampson by way of Key West. On the
following day, May 21, Sampson sent the _Marblehead_ to the southern
coast of Cuba with an order directing Commodore Schley to proceed at
once to Santiago unless he had good reason to believe that the Spanish
fleet was really in Cienfuegos. When this order reached Schley, on the
23d of May, he felt sure that he had Cervera "bottled up" in Cienfuegos
harbor, and he did not become aware of his error until the 25th. He then
proceeded with his fleet to Santiago, but did not reach there until the
26th. Cervera had then had a whole week in which to coal his vessels and
make his escape. That he fully intended to do this seems to be evident
from the statement of Mr. Frederick W. Ramsden, British consul at
Santiago, whose recently published diary contains the following entry,
under date of May 23: "The Spanish fleet is taking in coal, water, and
provisions in a hurry, and it is evident that it is preparing to go to
sea, probably to-night or in the morning, as I hear the pilots have been
ordered for this evening."

If Cervera had gone to sea on the evening of May 23, or the morning of
the 24th, as was plainly his intention, he would have made his escape
without the slightest difficulty, because Admiral Sampson was then
cruising off Havana, while Schley was still blockading Cienfuegos. What
would have been the course of the war in that event, it is impossible to
say; but General Shafter would certainly have been held at Tampa until
the Spanish fleet had been overtaken and destroyed, and then, very
likely, the army of invasion would have landed at some point nearer to
Havana. Admiral Cervera, however, for some reason not yet positively
known, remained in Santiago a whole week, and at the expiration of that
time it is doubtful whether he could have made his escape, even had he
wished to do so, because Commodore Schley, with the Flying Squadron, was
off the entrance to the harbor. Six days later, when Schley's squadron
was reinforced by the powerful fleet of Admiral Sampson, Cervera's last
chance of escape vanished, and there was nothing left for him to do but
assist the forts and the garrison to defend the city to the last, or
make a desperate and almost hopeless attempt to break through the line
of the blockading fleet.

Late in May, while Admiral Sampson was still cruising off Havana, he
sent an order, by the captain of the _New Orleans_, to Commodore Schley,
directing the latter to "use the collier _Sterling_ to obstruct the
[Santiago] channel at its narrowest part leading into the harbor," so as
to make the escape of the Spanish fleet absolutely impossible. "I
believe," he said, "that it would be perfectly practicable to steam this
vessel into position, drop all her anchors, allow her to swing across
the channel, and then sink her, either by opening the valves, or
whatever means may be best."

Commodore Schley, for some reason, did not obey this order; but as soon
as Admiral Sampson reached the mouth of Santiago harbor, he proceeded to
carry out the plan himself. At three o'clock on the morning of June 3,
Lieutenant R. P. Hobson, with a volunteer crew of seven men, ran the
steam-collier _Merrimac_ into the mouth of the harbor, under a heavy
fire from the Spanish batteries, dropped her anchors in mid-channel
between Churruca Point and Smith Cay, opened her sea connections,
exploded a number of torpedoes hung along her sides at the water-line,
and when she sank, hung on to a raft attached by a rope to the sunken
vessel. They were rescued from this position by the Spaniards and thrown
into Morro Castle, but were treated with the consideration and courtesy
to which their gallantry entitled them. On the afternoon of the same
day, Admiral Cervera, who with his own hand had dragged Hobson from the
water, sent his chief of staff out to the _New York_, under a flag of
truce, with a letter to Admiral Sampson, in which he informed the latter
that the lieutenant and his men were safe, and referred in terms of
admiration and respect to their courage and devotion to duty.

Unfortunately,--or perhaps fortunately,--the object for which
Lieutenant Hobson and his men risked their lives was not attained. The
_Merrimac_ failed to swing around so as to lie transversely across the
channel, but sank in such a way as to place her hull parallel with the
middle of it and near its eastern edge. This left plenty of water and
plenty of room for vessels to pass on the western, or Smith Cay, side.
Egress, however, although still possible, was extremely difficult and
dangerous, on account of the strictness and closeness of the blockade
which was established when Admiral Sampson arrived and took command of
the combined fleets. The battle-ships and larger vessels, which formed
the outer line of the blockade, were disposed in a semicircle around the
mouth of the harbor, at a distance of four or five miles, with the
flagship _New York_ at one end of the line and the _Brooklyn_ at the
other. Inside of this semicircle, and much nearer the entrance, were
stationed two or three small cruisers or gunboats, whose duty it was to
watch the mouth of the harbor incessantly and give instant warning of
the appearance of any hostile vessel. At night, when the danger from the
Spanish torpedo-boats was greatest and when Cervera's fleet was most
likely to escape, a powerful and piercing search-light was held
constantly on the mouth of the narrow cañon between Morro and Socapa;
the battle-ships closed in so as to diminish the radius of their
semicircle by nearly one half; the cruisers and gunboats, under cover of
the blinding radiance of the search-light, moved a mile nearer to the
mouth of the harbor; and three steam-launches patrolled the coast all
night within pistol-shot of the enemy's batteries. In the face of such a
blockade it was virtually impossible for Cervera to escape, and almost
equally impossible for his torpedo-boats to come out of the harbor
unobserved, or to reach any of our larger vessels even if they should
venture out. Long before they could get across the mile and a half or
two miles of water that separated the harbor entrance from the nearest
battleship, they would be riddled with projectiles from perhaps a
hundred rapid-fire guns. Torpedo-boats, however, did not play an
important part on either side. Our own were prevented from entering the
harbor by a strong log boom stretched across the channel just north of
the Estrella battery, and those of the Spaniards never even attempted to
make an aggressive movement in the period covered by the blockade.
Admiral Cervera evidently thought that the chance of accomplishing
anything by means of a torpedo-boat attack was too remote to justify the
risk.

On the 6th of June Admiral Sampson bombarded the shore batteries and the
mouth of the harbor for two hours and a half, destroying a number of
houses on Smith Cay, setting fire to the Spanish cruiser _Reina
Mercedes_, which was moored near the end of the Socapa promontory, and
killing or wounding twenty-five or thirty officers and men on the
cruiser, in the batteries, and in Morro Castle. The earthwork batteries
east and west of the entrance did not prove to be very formidable and
were quickly silenced; but the submarine mines in the narrow channel
leading to the upper harbor, which prevented our fleet from forcing an
entrance, could not be removed without the coöperation of a land force.
All that Admiral Sampson could do, therefore, was to bombard the harbor
fortifications now and then, so as to prevent further work on them;
occupy the lower part of Guantanamo Bay, forty miles east of Santiago,
as a coaling-station; and urge the government in Washington, by
telegraph, to send the army forward as speedily as possible.

The fleet of transports which conveyed General Shafter's command to the
southern coast of Cuba arrived off the entrance to Santiago harbor at
midday on the 20th of June, after a tedious and uneventful voyage of
five days from the Dry Tortugas around the eastern end of the island.
General Shafter at once held a conference with Admiral Sampson and with
the Cuban general Garcia, who had come to the coast to meet the fleet,
and, after considering every possible line of attack, decided to land
his force at two points, within supporting distance of each other, ten
or fifteen miles east of the entrance to Santiago harbor, and then march
toward the city through the interior. The points selected for
debarkation were Siboney, a small village about ten miles east of Morro
Castle, and Daiquiri,[3] another similar village five miles farther
away, which, before the war, was the shipping-port of the
Spanish-American Iron Company. From Daiquiri there was a rough
wagon-road to Siboney, and the latter place was connected with Santiago
by a narrow-gage railroad along the coast and up the Aguadores ravine,
as well as by a trail or wagon-road over the foot-hills and through the
marshy, jungle-skirted valleys of the interior.

When we reached the entrance to Santiago harbor in the Red Cross steamer
_State of Texas_ on the 25th of June, the Fifth Army-Corps--or most of
it--had already landed, and was marching toward Santiago along the
interior road by way of Guasimas and Sevilla. The landing had been made,
Admiral Sampson told me, without the least opposition from the
Spaniards, but there had been a fight, on the day before our arrival,
between General Wheeler's advance and a body of troops supposed to be
the rear-guard of the retiring enemy, at a place called Guasimas, three
or four miles from Siboney, on the Santiago road. Details of the fight,
he said, had not been received, but it was thought to be nothing more
than an unimportant skirmish.

In reply to my question whether he had any orders for us, or any
suggestions to make with regard to our movements, he said that, as
there seemed to be nothing for the Red Cross to do in the vicinity of
Santiago, he should advise us to go to Guantanamo Bay, where Captain
McCalla had opened communications with the insurgents under General
Perez, and where we should probably find Cuban refugees suffering for
food. Acting upon this suggestion, we got under way promptly, steamed
into the little cove of Siboney to take a look at the place and to land
Mr. Louis Kempner of the Post-Office Department, whom we had brought
from Key West, and then proceeded eastward to Guantanamo Bay.



CHAPTER VII

THE FIGHT AT GUANTANAMO


As the southeastern coast of Cuba is high and bold, with deep water
extending close up to the line of surf, vessels going back and forth
between Santiago and Guantanamo run very near to the land; and the
ever-changing panorama of tropical forest and cloud-capped mountain
which presents itself to the eye as the steamer glides swiftly past,
within a mile of the rock-terraced bluffs and headlands, is a constant
source of surprise and delight, even to the most experienced voyager. It
is an extremely beautiful and varied coast. In the foreground, only a
rifle-shot away across the blue undulating floor of the Caribbean, rises
a long terraced mesa, fronting on the sea, with its rocky base in a
white smother of foaming surf, and its level summit half hidden by a
drooping fringe of dark-green chaparral and vines. Over the cyclopean
wall of this mesa appear the rounded tops of higher and more distant
foot-hills, densely clad in robes of perennial verdure, while beyond and
above them all, at a distance of five or six miles, rise the aërial
peaks of the splendid Sierra del Cobre, with a few summer clouds
drifting across their higher slopes and casting soft violet shadows into
the misty blue of their intervening valleys. Here and there the terraced
mesa, which forms the coast-line, is cut into picturesque castle-like
bluffs by a series of wedge-shaped clefts, or notches, and through the
openings thus made in the rocky wall one may catch brief glimpses of
deep, wild ravines down which mountain torrents from the higher peaks
tumble to the sea under the dense concealing shade of mango-and
mimosa-trees, vines, flowering shrubs, and the feathery foliage of
cocoanut and royal palms.

Wild, beautiful, and picturesque, however, as the coast appears to be,
not a sign does it anywhere show of a bay, an inlet, or a safe sheltered
harbor. For miles together the surf breaks almost directly against the
base of the terraced rampart which forms the coast-line, and even where
streams have cut deep V-shaped notches in the rocky wall, the strips of
beach formed at their mouths are wholly unsheltered and afford safe
places of landing only when the sea is smooth and the wind at rest.
Often, for days at a time, they are lashed by a heavy and dangerous
surf, which makes landing upon them in small boats extremely difficult,
if not absolutely impracticable.

About thirty-five miles from Santiago harbor, as one sails eastward, the
wall-like mesa on the left sinks from a height of two or three hundred
feet to a height of only twenty or thirty; the mountains of the Sierra
del Cobre come to an end or recede from the coast, leaving only a few
insignificant hills; and through a blue, tremulous heat-haze one looks
far inland over the broad, shallow valley of the Guantanamo River.

We entered the beautiful Bay of Guantanamo about half-past five o'clock
on Saturday afternoon, and found it full of war-ships and transports.
The white hospital steamer _Solace_ lay at anchor over toward the
western side of the harbor, and between her and the eastern shore were
the _Dolphin_, the _Eagle_, the _Resolute_, the _Marblehead_, and three
or four large black colliers from Key West. As we rounded the long, low
point on the western side of the entrance and steamed slowly into the
spacious bay, a small steam-launch came puffing out to meet us, and, as
soon as she was within hailing distance, an officer in the white uniform
of the navy rose in the stern-sheets, put his hands to his mouth, and
shouted: "Captain McCalla presents his compliments to the captain of the
_State of Texas_, and requests that you follow me and anchor between the
_Marblehead_ and the Haitian cable-steamer."

"All right," replied Captain Young, from the bridge.

"That sounds well," I said to one of the Red Cross men who was standing
near me. "It shows that things are not allowed to go helter-skelter
here."

We followed the little launch into the harbor and dropped anchor in the
place indicated, which was about one hundred yards from shore on the
eastern side of the channel, and just opposite the intrenched camp of
Colonel Huntington's marines. I was impatient to land and see the place
where the American flag had first been raised on Cuban soil; but
darkness came on soon, and it did not seem worth while to leave the ship
that night.

After breakfast on the following morning, I took a small boat and went
off to the _Marblehead_ to call upon Captain McCalla, who was in command
of the station. I had made his acquaintance in Washington, when he was
one of the members of a board appointed to consider means of sending
relief to the Greely arctic expedition; but I had not seen him in many
years, and it is not surprising, perhaps, that I almost failed to
recognize him in his Cuban costume. The morning was hot and oppressive,
and I found him clad in what was, in the strictest sense of the words,
an undress uniform, consisting of undershirt, canvas trousers, and an
old pair of slippers. Like the sensible man I knew him to be, he made no
apology for his dress, but welcomed me heartily and introduced me to
Captain Philip of the battle-ship _Texas_, who had just come into the
harbor after a fresh supply of coal. As I entered, Captain McCalla was
telling Captain Philip, with great glee, the story of his experience off
the Cuban coast between Morro Castle and Aguadores, when his vessel, the
_Marblehead_, was suddenly attacked one night by the whole blockading
fleet.

"They saw a railroad-train," he said, "running along the water's edge
toward Siboney, and in the darkness mistook it for a Spanish
torpedo-boat. The train, of course, soon disappeared; but I happened to
be cruising close inshore, just there, as it passed, and they all turned
their search-lights on me and opened fire."

"All except the _Iowa_," corrected Captain Philip, with a smile.

"Yes, all except the Iowa," assented Captain McCalla, laughing heartily,
as if it were the funniest of jokes. "Even the _Texas_ didn't show me
any mercy; but Bob Evans knew the difference between a railroad-train
and a torpedo-boat, and didn't shoot. I told him, the last time I saw
him, that he was clearly entitled to take a crack at me. Every other
ship in the fleet had had the privilege, and it was his turn. I'm the
only man in the navy," he said, with renewed laughter, "who has ever
sustained the fire of a whole fleet of battle-ships and cruisers and got
away alive."

After Captain Philip had made his call and taken his leave, I explained
to Captain McCalla the object of our coming to Guantanamo Bay, and asked
whether there were any Cuban refugees in the vicinity who needed food
and could be reached. He replied unhesitatingly that there were. He was
in almost daily communication, he said, with General Perez, an insurgent
leader who was then besieging Guantanamo city, and through that officer
he thought he could send food to a large number of people who had taken
refuge in the woods north of the bay and were in a destitute and
starving condition. He had already sent to them all the food he himself
could spare, but it was not half enough to meet their wants. With
characteristic promptness and energy he called his stenographer and
dictated a letter to General Perez, in which he said that Miss Clara
Barton, president of the American National Red Cross, had just reached
Guantanamo Bay in the steamer _State of Texas_, with fourteen hundred
tons of food intended for Cuban reconcentrados, and asked whether he
(Perez) could furnish pack-animals and an escort for, say, five thousand
rations, if they could be landed on the western side of the lower bay.
This letter he sent to General Perez by a special courier from the
detachment of Cubans then serving with the marines, and said that he
should probably receive a reply in the course of two or three days. As
nothing more could be done at that time, I returned to the _State of
Texas_, reported progress to Miss Barton, and then went on shore to send
a telegram to Washington by the Haitian cable, which had just been
recovered and repaired, and to take a look at the camp of the marines.

When, on May 26, Commodore Schley, with the Flying Squadron, arrived off
the entrance to Santiago harbor, and began the blockade of that port,
the great need of his vessels was a safe and sheltered coaling-station.
The heavy swell raised along the southern coast of Cuba by the
prevailing easterly winds makes it often dangerous and always difficult
to lay a collier alongside a battle-ship in the open sea and transfer
coal from one to the other. Understanding and appreciating this
difficulty, Secretary Long telegraphed Admiral Sampson on May 28 to
consider the question whether it would not be possible to "seize
Guantanamo and occupy it as a coaling-station." Sampson replied that he
thought it might be done, and immediately cabled Commodore Schley off
Santiago as follows: "Send a ship to examine Guantanamo with a view to
occupying it as a base, coaling one heavy ship at a time." The official
correspondence thus far published does not show whether Commodore Schley
received this order in time to act upon it before Sampson arrived or
not; but as soon as the latter came he caused a reconnaissance of
Guantanamo Bay to be made, decided that the lower part of it might be
seized by a comparatively small land force if protected by the guns of a
few war-ships, and immediately sent to Key West for the first battalion
of marines, which was the only available landing force at his command.
Meanwhile the auxiliary cruiser _Yankee_ bombarded and burned a Spanish
blockhouse situated on a hill near the entrance to the lower harbor of
Guantanamo, and on June 8 Captain McCalla, in the _Marblehead_, seized
and occupied--as far as he could do so without a landing force--all that
part of the bay which lies between the entrance and the narrow strait
leading to the fortified post of Caimanera.

The marines, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Huntington, arrived on
the steamer _Panther_, Friday, June 10, and proceeded at once to
disembark. The place selected for a landing was a low, rounded,
bush-covered hill on the right, or eastern, side of the bay, about a
quarter of a mile from the entrance. On the summit of this hill the
Spaniards had made a little clearing in the chaparral and erected a
small square blockhouse; but inasmuch as this blockhouse had already
been destroyed and its garrison driven to the woods by the fire of the
_Yankee_, all that the marines had to do was to occupy the abandoned
position and again fortify the hill. In some respects this hill, which
was about one hundred and fifty feet in height, made a strong and easily
defended position; but, unfortunately, it was covered nearly to the
summit with a dense growth of bushes and scrub, and was commanded by a
range of higher hills a little farther to the eastward. The enemy,
therefore, could not only creep close up to the camp under cover of the
dense chaparral, but could fire down upon it from the higher slopes of
the wooded range which runs parallel with the bay on its eastern side.

The landing was made, without opposition, about two o'clock on the
afternoon of Friday, June 10. Under cover of the guns of the war-ships,
the marines disembarked on the strip of beach at the foot of the hill;
burned all the houses and huts left by the Spaniards, so as to guard
against the danger of infection with yellow fever; and then deployed up
the hill, pitched their shelter-tents on its eastern slope, and spent
all the afternoon and a large part of the next day in landing ammunition
and stores, establishing outposts, and making arrangements for a
permanent camp.

The Spaniards, who must have been watching these operations from the
concealment of the bushes and from the slopes of the adjacent hills,
gave no sign, at first, of their presence; but seeing that the marines
were comparatively few in number, they finally plucked up courage, and
about five o'clock Saturday afternoon began a desultory, skirmishing
attack which lasted the greater part of that day and night, and, indeed,
continued, with an occasional intermission, for three or four days and
nights. Major Cochrane, who described the fight to me, said that he
slept only an hour and a half in four days, and that many of his men
became so exhausted that they fell asleep standing on their feet with
their guns in their hands.

The strength of the marine battalion at that time was between five and
six hundred men. They were armed with rifles of the Lee or Lee-Metford
pattern, and had, in addition, two automatic Colt machine-guns and three
rapid-fire Hotchkiss cannon of three-inch caliber. The greatest
disadvantage under which they labored was that due to the tangled,
almost impenetrable nature of the chaparral that surrounded the camp,
and the facilities which it afforded the enemy for concealment and
stealthy approach. The gunboats shelled the woods from time to time,
drove the hidden Spaniards back, and silenced their fire; but as soon as
night fell they would creep silently up through the bushes until they
were so near to the camp that the pickets of the marines could smell the
smoke of their cigarettes, and yet could neither see them nor hear them.
Then the nocturnal skirmishing would begin again. There were six
successive attacks from different directions on the night of the 11th,
and a still greater number on the night of the 12th, with more or less
desultory skirmishing during the day, so that for a period of
forty-eight hours the gallant marines had no rest or sleep at all.

There was some danger, at first, that the enemy, reinforced from
Caimanera or Guantanamo city, would assemble in force on the slopes of
the eastern hills, creep up through the scrub until they were within a
short distance of the camp, and then overwhelm the marines in a sudden
rush-assault. They were known to have six thousand regulars at
Guantanamo city, only about fifteen miles away, and it was quite within
the bounds of possibility that they might detach a large part of this
force for offensive operations on the eastern side of the lower bay. To
provide for this contingency, and to strengthen his defensive position,
Lieutenant-Colonel Huntington withdrew his men from the eastern slope of
the hill, where they had first been stationed, and posted them on the
crest and upper part of the western slope, where they would be nearer
the fleet and better protected by its guns. At the same time our small
force, in the intervals of fighting, dug a trench and erected a
barricade around the crest of the hill on the land side, so as to
enlarge the clearing, give more play to the automatic and rapid-fire
guns, and make it more difficult for the enemy to approach unseen. When
this had been done, there was little probability that a rush-assault
would succeed. The best troops in the world, unless they were in
overwhelming force, could hardly hope to cross a clearing that was swept
by the fire of six hundred rifles, two machine-guns, and three Hotchkiss
cannon hurling canister or shrapnel.

In the course of the first three days' engagement the marines were
joined by eighty or a hundred Cuban insurgents; but opinions differ as
to the value of the latter's coöperation. Some officers with whom I
talked spoke favorably of them, while others said that they became
wildly excited, fired recklessly and at random, and were of little use
except as guides and scouts. Captain Elliott, who saw them under fire,
reported that they were brave enough, but that their efficiency as
fighting men was on a par with that of the enemy; while Captain McCalla
called attention officially to their devotion to freedom, and said that
one of them, who had been shot through the heart, died on the field,
crying with his last breath: "Viva Cuba libre!"

At the end of the third day's fighting, all attacks of the Spaniards
having been repulsed, Lieutenant-Colonel Huntington determined to take
the offensive himself. About six miles southeast of the camp, at a place
called Cuzco, there was a well from which the Spanish troops were said
to obtain all their drinking-water, and a heliograph signal-station by
means of which they maintained communication with Caimanera. On the
morning of June 14 Captain Elliott, with two companies of marines and
about fifty Cuban volunteers, was sent to attack this place, drive the
Spaniards away, and destroy the well and signal-station. The
expeditionary force engaged the enemy, five hundred strong, about eleven
o'clock in the morning, and fought with them until three in the
afternoon, driving them from their position and inflicting upon them a
loss of sixty men killed and one hundred and fifty wounded. Then, after
capturing the heliograph outfit, burning the station, and filling up the
well, the heroic little detachment returned, exhausted but triumphant,
to its camp, with a loss of only two men killed, six wounded, and twenty
or thirty overcome by heat.

On the fourth day of the long struggle for the possession of Guantanamo
Bay, the Spaniards virtually gave up the contest and abandoned the
field. A few guerrillas still remained in the chaparral, firing
occasionally at long range either into the camp or at the vessels of the
fleet; but, finally, even this desultory, long-range target practice
ceased, and the last of the enemy fled, either to the fort at Caimanera
or to Guantanamo city, leaving the plucky marines in undisputed control
of the whole eastern coast of the lower bay. Our total loss in the
series of engagements was only six men killed and twelve or fifteen
wounded; but among the killed was the lamented Dr. Gibbs, acting
assistant surgeon, United States navy, who was shot at one o'clock on
the night of the 11th.

After the four days of fighting were over, Captain McCalla, with the
_Marblehead_, the auxiliary cruiser _St. Louis_, and the battle-ship
_Texas_, steamed up the bay to the little village of Caimanera,
demolished the fort there with a few well-directed shots, and drove the
garrison back into the woods. In the course of this expedition the
_Marblehead_ and the _Texas_ ran into a number of submarine contact
mines, or fouled them with their screws; but, fortunately, none of them
exploded. The firing-pins had become so incrusted with barnacles and
other marine growths during their long immersion that the force of the
blow when the ships struck them did not drive them in far enough to
explode the charges. When we reached Guantanamo in the _State of
Texas_, Captain McCalla's boats and launches had thoroughly explored and
dragged the lower bay, and had taken out safely no less than thirteen
contact mines, each containing about one hundred pounds of guncotton.
The upper bay was still in the possession of the Spaniards; but its
control was not a matter of any particular importance. What Admiral
Sampson wanted was a safe and sheltered coaling-and repairing-station
for the vessels of his fleet, and this he obtained when his war-ships
and marines, after four days of almost incessant fighting, drove the
Spanish troops from the whole eastern coast of the lower bay.



CHAPTER VIII

THE LANDING AND ADVANCE OF THE ARMY


Early Sunday morning, at the little zinc-walled telegraph office under
the camp of the marines at Guantanamo, I happened to meet two war
correspondents--one of them, if I remember rightly, Mr. Howard of the
New York "Journal"--who had just come from the front with a detailed
account of the fight at Guasimas. This fight, they said, was not a mere
insignificant skirmish, as Admiral Sampson supposed when I saw him on
Saturday, but a serious battle, in which a part of General Wheeler's
division was engaged, for several hours, with a force of Spanish
regulars estimated at two or three thousand men. More than one hundred
officers and men on our side had been killed or wounded, among them
Captain Capron and Sergeant Hamilton Fish, both of whom were dead. The
wounded, Mr. Howard said, had been brought back to Siboney and put into
one of the abandoned Spanish houses on the beach, where, only the night
before, he had seen them lying, in their blood-stained clothing, on the
dirty floor, without blankets or pillows, and without anything that
seemed to him like adequate attendance or care. At my request the two
correspondents went on board the _State of Texas_ and repeated their
statement to Miss Barton, who, after consultation with the officers of
her staff, decided to take the steamer back at once to Siboney. We could
do nothing more at Guantanamo until General Perez should furnish
transportation and an escort for the food that we intended to send to
the refugees north of the bay, and, meanwhile, we might, perhaps, render
some service to the wounded soldiers of General Wheeler's command whom
Mr. Howard had seen lying, without blankets or pillows, on the floor. We
had on board the _State of Texas_, at that time, one hundred or more
cots, with plenty of bedding, and if the medical officers of the army
could not get hospital supplies ashore, we thought that we could. At any
rate, we would try. Calling again upon Captain McCalla, I explained to
him the reasons for our sudden change of plan, and told him that,
although we had decided to go to Siboney, we should try to get back in
time to meet the pack-train and escort to be furnished by General Perez.
I then returned to the _State of Texas_, and we sailed for Siboney at
two o'clock.

In order to follow intelligently the course of the Santiago campaign,
and to understand and appreciate the difficulties with which the medical
department of the army had to contend, one must know something of the
coast upon which that army landed and the nature of the environment by
which it was surrounded. The southeastern coast of Cuba, between the
entrance to Santiago harbor and the Bay of Guantanamo, is formed by
three parallel ranges of hills and mountains which may be roughly
characterized as follows: first, what I shall call the rampart--a high,
flat-topped ridge, or narrow table, very steep on the sea side, and
broken into long terraces by outcropping ledges of limestone; second,
the foot-hills, which rise out of a wooded valley or valleys behind the
rampart; and, third, the high mountains of the coast, or Sierra del
Cobre, range, which lie back of the foot-hills, at a distance of five or
six miles from the sea. This is not a strictly accurate topographical
description of the coast, but it is roughly and generally true and will
answer my purpose. In the vicinity of Santiago the rampart, or
mesa-like elevation which borders the sea, has a height of two or three
hundred feet, and stretches eastward and westward, like a stone wall,
for a distance of nearly twenty miles. At three points it is cut down to
the sea-level in narrow, V-shaped clefts, or notches, which have a width
at the bottom of from seventy-five to two hundred yards, and which serve
as outlets for three small streams. The first of these notches, as one
goes eastward from Morro Castle, is that formed by the mouth of the
Aguadores ravine, where the Juragua Railroad, on its way from Siboney to
Santiago, crosses the Aguadores or Guamo River, and where the iron
railroad-bridge and the approach to the city are guarded by a wooden
blockhouse and an old stone fort. In the second notch, about six miles
from Aguadores and ten from Morro Castle, are the hamlet and
railroad-station of Siboney; and in the third, five miles farther to the
eastward, lies the somewhat larger and more important mining village of
Daiquiri, which, before the war, was the shipping-port of the
Spanish-American Iron Company. There is no harbor, shelter for vessels,
or safe anchorage at any of these places; but as the rampart, everywhere
else, presents an almost insurmountable barrier, an invading force must
either disembark in these notches, or go eastward to the Bay of
Guantanamo and march forty miles to Santiago through the foot-hills.
General Shafter, after inspecting the coast, decided to land in the
notches occupied by the villages of Daiquiri and Siboney. He could then
advance on Santiago either along the strip of beach under the rampart,
by way of Aguadores and Morro Castle, or over a rough wagon-road running
through the valleys and across the foot-hills of the interior, three or
four miles back of the rampart.

The first difficulty which confronted him was that due to the lack of
landing facilities. Not anticipating, apparently, that he might be
forced to disembark on an unsheltered coast, he had neglected to provide
himself with suitable surf-boats, and was wholly dependent upon the
small boats of the transports and a single scow, or lighter, which he
had brought with him from Tampa. Seeing that it would be impossible to
land sixteen thousand men safely and expeditiously with such facilities,
he applied for help to Admiral Sampson, and was furnished by the latter
with fifty-two small boats and a number of steam-launches, all manned by
officers and sailors from the fleet. Thus provided, he began the work of
disembarkation on the morning of June 22 at Daiquiri, the vessels of the
fleet, meanwhile, making feigned attacks at several other points along
the coast, and shelling the notches and villages of both Siboney and
Daiquiri, in order to drive the enemy back and cover the advance of the
loaded boats.

Fortunately for General Shafter and for his troops, the Spaniards did
not attempt to oppose the landing. If the sides of the notches and the
foot-hills back of them had been fortified with earthworks and held by a
daring enemy with a battery or two of light guns, it would have been
extremely difficult, if not absolutely impossible, to get the troops
ashore. Even without artillery, ten or fifteen hundred men armed with
Mausers on the heights which command the notches and the approaches to
them might have held off a landing force for days, if not weeks. The
war-ships might have shelled them, or swept the heights with
machine-guns, but it would have been easy for them to find shelter under
the crest of the rampart on the land side, and I doubt whether a force
so sheltered could have been dislodged or silenced by Admiral Sampson's
whole fleet. In order to drive them out it would have been necessary to
land in the surf under fire, and storm the heights by scaling the
precipitous terraced front of the rampart on the sea side. This might,
perhaps, have been done, but it would have involved a great sacrifice of
life. The Spanish officers in Cuba, however, were not skilful
tacticians. Instead of anticipating General Shafter's movements and
occupying, with an adequate force, the only two places in the vicinity
of Santiago where he could possibly land, they overlooked or neglected
the splendid defensive positions that nature herself had provided for
them, and allowed the army of invasion to come ashore without firing a
shot. It was great luck for us, but it was not war.

Before night on the 22d, General Lawton's division, consisting of about
six thousand men with a Gatling-gun battery, had landed at Daiquiri, and
on the morning of the 23d it marched westward along the wagon-road to
Siboney. The Spanish garrison at the latter place retreated in the
direction of Santiago as General Lawton appeared, and the village fell
into our hands without a struggle. Disembarkation continued throughout
the 23d and 24th, at both Daiquiri and Siboney, and before dark on the
afternoon of the 24th nine tenths of the army of invasion had landed,
with no other accident than the loss of two men drowned.

In the meantime, General Linares, the Spanish commander at Santiago, had
marched out of the city, with a force of about three thousand men, to
meet the invaders, and had occupied a strong defensive position on the
crest of a wooded hill at Guasimas, three or four miles northwest of
Siboney, where the two roads from the latter place--one up the valley of
the stream and the other over the end of the mesa--come together. He did
not know certainly which of these two roads the invading force would
take, and therefore posted himself on the hill at their junction, where
he could command both.

On the afternoon of the 23d, Cuban scouts reported the position of the
enemy to General Wheeler, who was then in command of our advance, and,
after a council of war, it was decided to attack simultaneously by both
roads. Early on the morning of Friday, June 24, therefore, General
Young, with the First and Tenth dismounted cavalry, marched out of
Siboney on the main road to Santiago, and proceeded up the valley of the
little stream which empties into the sea through the Siboney notch;
while Colonel Wood, at the head of the Rough Riders, climbed the end of
the rampart, on the western side of the notch, and advanced toward
Guasimas by the mesa trail, which is considerably higher than the main
road and lies half a mile to a mile farther west.

The two columns encountered the enemy at about the same time. The Rough
Riders, under Colonel Wood, began the attack on the mesa trail, and a
few moments later General Young's command, on the Siboney-Santiago road,
opened fire with three Hotchkiss mountain guns and began the ascent of
the hill from the valley. The whole country was so overgrown with trees,
shrubs, and tropical vines that it was almost impossible to see an
object fifty yards away, and as the Spaniards used smokeless powder, it
was extremely difficult to ascertain their position, or even to know
exactly where our own troops were. Colonel Wood deployed his regiment to
the right and left of the trail, and endeavored, as he advanced, to
extend his line so as to form a junction with General Young's command on
the right, and at the same time outflank the enemy on the left; but the
tropical undergrowth was so dense and luxuriant that neither of the
attacking columns could see the other, and all that they could do, in
the way of mutual support and coöperation, was to push ahead toward the
junction of the two roads, firing, almost at random, into the bushes and
vine-tangled thickets from which the Mauser bullets seemed to come.
Colonel Roosevelt told me that once he caught a glimpse of the
Spaniards, drawn up in line of battle; but during the greater part of
the engagement they were concealed in the chaparral, and could be seen
only when they broke from cover and fled, to escape the searching fire
of our steadily advancing line. While Colonel Wood, on the left, was
driving the enemy out of the jungles intersected by the mesa trail,
General Young, with a part of the Tenth Cavalry (colored) supported by
four troops of the First, was engaged in storming the hill up which ran
the valley road; and at the end of an hour and a half, after a stubborn
defense, the Spaniards were forced to abandon their chosen position and
retreat in the direction of Santiago, leaving the junction of the two
roads in our possession. The battle of Guasimas--the first fight of the
Santiago campaign--had been won.

The number of men engaged in this affair, on our side, was nine hundred
and sixty-four, and our loss in killed and wounded was sixty-six,
including Captain Capron and Hamilton Fish, both of whom died on the
field. The Spaniards, according to the statement of Mr. Ramsden, British
consul in Santiago, had a force of nearly three thousand men and
reported a loss of seven killed and fourteen wounded. It seems probable,
however, that their loss was much greater than this. General Linares
would hardly have abandoned a strong position and fallen back on the
city after a loss of only twenty-one men out of three thousand.

Two war correspondents, Mr. Richard Harding Davis and Mr. Edward
Marshall, took an active part in this engagement, and the latter was so
severely wounded by a Mauser bullet, which passed through his body near
the spine, that when he was carried from the field he was supposed to be
dying. He rallied, however, after being taken to Siboney, and has since
partially recovered.

The effect of General Wheeler's victory at Guasimas was to open up the
Santiago road to a point within three or four miles of the city; and
when we returned in the _State of Texas_ from Guantanamo, the Rough
Riders were in camp beyond Sevilla, and a dozen other regiments were
hurrying to the front.

We reached Siboney after dark on Sunday evening, and found the little
cove and the neighboring roadstead filled with transport steamers, whose
twinkling anchor-lights--or rather adrift lights, for there was no
anchorage--swung slowly back and forth in long curves as the vessels
rolled and wallowed in the trough of the sea. As soon as a boat could be
lowered, the medical officers of Miss Barton's staff went on shore to
investigate the state of affairs and to ascertain whether the Red Cross
could render any assistance to the hospital corps of the army. They
returned in the course of an hour and reported that in two of the
abandoned Spanish houses on the beach they had found two hastily
extemporized and wholly unequipped hospitals, one of which was occupied
by the Cuban sick and wounded, and the other by our own. No attempt had
been made to clean or disinfect either of the buildings, both were
extremely dirty, and in both the patients were lying, without blankets
or pillows, on the floor. The state of affairs, from a medical and
sanitary point of view, was precisely as the correspondents had
described it to us, except that some of the wounded of General Wheeler's
command had been taken on board the transports _Saratoga_ and _Olivette_
during the day, so that the American hospital was not so crowded as it
had been when Mr. Howard saw it the night before. The army surgeons and
attendants were doing, apparently, all that they could do to make the
sick and wounded comfortable; but the high surf, the absence of landing
facilities, the neglect or unwillingness of the quartermaster's
department to furnish boats, and the confusion and disorder which
everywhere prevailed, made it almost impossible to get hospital supplies
ashore. All that the surgeons could do, therefore, was to make the best
of the few medicines and appliances that they had taken in their hands
and pockets when they disembarked. The things that seemed to be most
needed were cots, blankets, pillows, brooms, soap, scrubbing-brushes,
and disinfectants. All of these things we had on board the _State of
Texas_, and the officers of Miss Barton's staff spent a large part of
the night in breaking out the cargo and getting the required articles on
deck.

Early the next morning, Dr. Lesser, with four or five trained nurses,
all women, and a boat-load of hospital supplies, landed at the little
pier which had been hastily built by the engineer corps, and walking
along the beach through the deep sand to the American hospital, offered
their services to Dr. Winter, the surgeon in charge. To their great
surprise they were informed that the assistance of the Red Cross--or at
least their assistance--was not desired. What Dr. Winter's reasons were
for declining aid and supplies when both were so urgently needed I do
not know. Possibly he is one of the military surgeons, like Dr. Appel of
the _Olivette_, who think that women, even if they are trained nurses,
have no business with an army, and should be snubbed, if not browbeaten,
until they learn to keep their place. I hope this suggestion does not do
Dr. Winter an injustice; but I can think of no other reason that would
lead him to decline the assistance of trained young women who, although
capable of rendering the highest kind of professional service, were
ready and willing to scrub floors, if necessary, and who asked nothing
more than to help him make a clean, decent hospital out of an empty,
dirty, abandoned Spanish house.

When told by Dr. Winter that they were not wanted, the nurses went to
the Cuban hospital, in a neighboring building, where their services were
accepted not only with eagerness, but with grateful appreciation. Before
night they had swept, disinfected, and scrubbed out that hospital with
soap and water, and had bathed the Cuban patients, fed them, and put
them into clean, fresh cot-beds. Our own soldiers, at the same time,
were lying, without blankets or pillows, on the floor, in a building
which Dr. Winter and his assistants had neither cleaned nor attempted to
clean.

Dr. Appel of the hospital steamer _Olivette_, in an official report to
the surgeon-general of the army, published, in part, in the New York
"Herald" of November 4, 1898, says:

"There was, at that time [the time when we arrived off Siboney], a
number of surgeons on board the _State of Texas_, and four trained
nurses; but, although we were working night and day, taking care of our
sick and wounded, no assistance was given by them until some days
afterward, when our own men were ready to drop from fatigue."

The idea conveyed by this ungenerous and misleading statement is that
the surgeons and Red Cross nurses on the _State of Texas_ neglected or
evaded the very duty that they went to Cuba to perform, and remained,
idle and useless, on their steamer, while Dr. Appel and his associates
worked themselves into a state of complete physical exhaustion. So far
as the statement contains this implication, it is wholly and absolutely
false. _The State of Texas_ arrived off Siboney at eight o'clock on the
evening of Sunday, June 26. In less than an hour the Red Cross surgeons
had offered their services to Major Havard, chief surgeon of the cavalry
division, and as early as possible on the following morning Dr. Lesser
and four or five Red Cross nurses reported at the American hospital,
offered the surgeon in charge the cots, blankets, and hospital supplies
which they had brought, or were ready to bring, on shore, and asked to
be set to work. When, on account of some prejudice or misapprehension,
Dr. Winter declined to let them help him in taking care of our own sick
and wounded soldiers, what more could they do than devote themselves to
the Cubans? Two days later, fortunately, Major Lagarde, chief surgeon at
Siboney, over-ruled the judgment of his subordinate, accepted the
services of the nurses, and set them at work in a branch of the military
hospital, under the direction of Dr. Lesser. There they all worked,
almost without rest or sleep, until Dr. Lesser, Mrs. Lesser, Mrs. White
(a volunteer), and three of the Red Cross nurses were stricken with
fever, and four of them were carried on flat-cars to the yellow-fever
camp in the hills two miles north of the village. The surgeon of the
_Olivette_ would have shown a more generous and more manly spirit if, in
his report to the surgeon-general, he had mentioned these facts, instead
of adroitly insinuating that the Red Cross surgeons and nurses were
loafing on board the _State of Texas_ when they should have been at work
in the hospitals.

But Dr. Appel further says, in the report from which I have quoted, that
at the time when the _State of Texas_ reached Siboney--two days after
the fight at Guasimas--"there was no lack whatever of medical and
surgical supplies."

If Major Lagarde, Dr. Munson, Dr. Donaldson, and other army surgeons who
worked so heroically to bring order out of the chaos at Siboney, are to
be believed, Dr. Appel's statement concerning hospital supplies is as
false as his statement with regard to the Red Cross surgeons and nurses.
In an official report to the surgeon-general, dated July 29 and
published in the New York papers of August 9, Captain Edward L. Munson,
assistant surgeon commanding the reserve ambulance company, says: "After
the fight at Las Guasimas there were absolutely no dressings, hospital
tentage, or supplies of any kind, on shore, within reach of the surgeons
already landed." Dr. Munson was the adjutant of Colonel Pope, chief
surgeon of the Fifth Army-Corps, and he probably knew a good deal more
about the state of affairs at Siboney after the battle of Guasimas than
Dr. Appel did. Be that, however, as it may; I know from my own
observation and experience that there _was_ a lack of medical and
hospital supplies at Siboney, not only when we arrived there, but for
weeks afterward. Dr. Frank Donaldson, surgeon of the Rough Riders, in a
letter from Siboney, published in the Philadelphia "Medical Journal" of
July 23, says: "The condition of the wounded on shore here is beyond
measure wretched, and excites the lively indignation of every one."

The neglect of our soldiers, both at Siboney and at the front, in the
early days of the campaign, was discreditable to the army and to the
country; and there is no reason why military surgeons should not frankly
admit it, because it was not their fault, and they cannot justly be held
accountable for it. The blame should rest, and eventually will rest,
upon the officer or department that sent thirty-five loaded transports
and sixteen thousand men to the Cuban coast without suitable landing
facilities in the shape of surf-boats, steam-launches, and lighters.

In criticizing the condition of our hospitals, I cast no reflection upon
the zeal, ability, and devotion to duty of such men as Colonel Pope,
Major Lagarde, Major Wood, and the surgeons generally of the Fifth
Army-Corps. They made the best of a bad situation for which they were
not primarily responsible; and if the hospitals were in unsatisfactory
condition, it was simply because the supplies furnished in abundance by
the medical department were either left in Tampa for lack of water
transportation, or held on board the transports because no adequate
provision had been made by the commanding general or the quartermaster's
department for landing them on a surf-beaten coast and transporting them
to the places where they were needed.



CHAPTER IX

A WALK TO THE FRONT


When I went on deck, the morning after our return to Siboney, I found
that the _State of Texas_ had drifted, during the night, half-way to the
mouth of the Aguadores ravine, and was lying two or three miles off the
coast, within plain sight of the blockading fleet. The sun was just
rising over the foot-hills beyond Daiquiri, and on the higher slopes of
the Cobre range it was already day; but the deep notch at Siboney was
still in dark-blue shadow, and out of it a faint land-breeze was blowing
a thin, hazy cloud of smoke from the recently kindled camp-fires of the
troops on the beach. There was no wind where we lay, and the sea seemed
to be perfectly smooth; but the languid rolling of the steamer, and a
gleam of white surf here and there along the base of the rampart, showed
that the swell raised by the fresh breeze of the previous afternoon had
not wholly subsided. Fifteen or twenty transport-steamers were lying off
the coast, some close in under the shadow of the cliffs, where the smoke
from the soldiers' camp-fires drifted through their rigging; some five
or six miles out in the open roadstead; and a few hull down beyond the
sharply drawn line of the eastern horizon. Three miles away to the
northwest the red-and-yellow flag of Spain was blowing out fitfully in
the land-breeze over the walls of the stone fort at Aguadores, and four
or five miles farther to the westward, at the end of the long, terraced
rampart, I could make out, with a glass, the lighthouse, the tile-roofed
barracks, and the gray battlements of the old castle at the entrance to
Santiago harbor.

About seven o'clock the _State of Texas_ got under way, steamed back to
Siboney, and succeeded in finding an anchorage, in what looked like a
very dangerous position, close to the rocks, on the eastern side of the
cove. From this point of view the picture presented by the village and
its environment was novel and interesting, if not particularly
beautiful. On the right and left of the slightly curved strip of sand
which formed the landing-place rose two steep bluffs to a height of
perhaps two hundred and fifty feet. The summit of the one on the right,
which was the steeper of the two, seemed, at first glance, to be
inaccessible; but there must have been a hidden path up to it through
the trees, bushes, and vines which clothed its almost precipitous face,
because it was crowned with one of the small, square, unpainted log
blockhouses which are a characteristic feature of almost every
east-Cuban landscape. The western bluff, from which the trees had been
cut away, sloped backward a little more than the other, and about
half-way up it, in a network of yellow intersecting paths, stood another
blockhouse, surrounded by a ditch and a circular "entanglement" of
barbed-wire fencing. At the foot of this bluff, and extending westward
under the precipitous declivity of the rampart, were two lines of
unpainted, one-story wooden houses, which stood gable to gable at
intervals of fifty or sixty feet, and looked, in their architectural
uniformity, like buildings erected by a manufacturing company to shelter
the families of its employees. The boundary of the village, at this end,
was marked by still another small, square blockhouse, which was set, at
a height of twenty feet, on a huge fragment of rock which had caved away
and fallen from the cliff above. Across the bottom of the ravine,
between the two bluffs, extended a thickly planted strip of
cocoanut-palms, whose gray trunks and drooping, feathery foliage served
as a background for half a dozen leaf-thatched Cuban huts, an iron
railway-bridge painted red, and a great encampment of white
shelter-tents through which roamed thousands of blue-shirted soldiers,
Cuban insurgents from the army of Garcia, and dirty, tattered refugees
from all parts of the country, attracted to the beach by the landing of
the army and the prospect of getting food. On the eastern side of the
cove, near the ruins of an old stone fort, the engineer corps had built
a rude pier, thirty or forty feet in length, and on either side of it
scores of naked soldiers, with metallic identification tags hanging
around their necks, were plunging with yells, whoops, and halloos into
the foaming surf, or swimming silently, like so many seals, in the
smoother water outside.

As the sun rose above the foot-hills and began to throw its scorching
rays into the notch, the whooping and yelling ceased as the bathers came
out of the water and put on their clothes; the soldiers of the Second
Infantry struck and shouldered their shelter-tents, seized their rifles,
and formed by companies in marching order; the Cubans of Garcia's
command climbed the western bluff, in a long, ragged, disorderly line,
on their way to the front by the mesa trail; small boats, laden with
food and ammunition from the transports, appeared, one after another,
and made their way slowly under oars to the little pier; and the serious
work of the day began.

In order to ascertain what progress our forces were making in their
march on Santiago, and to get an idea of the difficulties with which
they were contending or would have to contend, I determined, about nine
o'clock, to go to the front. It was impossible to get a horse or mule in
Siboney, for love or money; but if our soldiers could march to the
front under the heavy burden of shelter-tent, blanket roll, rifle,
rations, and ammunition, I thought I could do it with no load at all,
even if the sunshine were hot. Mr. Elwell, who had lived some years in
Santiago and was thoroughly acquainted with the country, agreed to go
with me in the capacity of guide and interpreter, and, just before we
were ready to start, Dr. Lesser, who had returned to the ship after
setting the nurses at work in the Cuban hospital, said that he would
like to go.

"All right," I replied. "Get on your togs."

He went to his state-room, and in ten minutes returned dressed in a neat
black morning suit, with long trousers, low shoes, a fresh white-linen
shirt, and a high, stiffly starched, standing collar.

"Good heavens, doctor!" I exclaimed, as he made his appearance in this
Fifth Avenue costume. "Where do you think you are going? To church?"

"No," replied the doctor, imperturbably; "to the front."

"In that dress?"

"Certainly; what's the matter with it?"

"Oh, nothing in particular. As a dress it is a very good dress, and
reflects credit on your tailor; but for a tramp of ten or fifteen miles
over a muddy trail and through a tropical jungle, wouldn't a neat,
simple undershirt, with canvas trousers and a pair of waterproof
leggings, be better? Your starched collar, in this heat, won't last ten
minutes."

The doctor demurred, and protested that the clothes he was wearing were
the oldest he had; but I finally persuaded him to take off his waistcoat
and collar, tie a handkerchief around his neck, and put on a pair of my
leggings; and in this slightly modified costume he went ashore with us
for a march to the camp of the Rough Riders.

About fifteen hundred Cubans, of General Garcia's command, had been
brought to Siboney the day before on one of our transports; and
although most of them had started for the front, several hundred were
still roaming through the village, or standing here and there in groups
on the beach. They did not, at first sight, impress me very favorably.
Fully four fifths of them were mulattoes or blacks; the number of
half-grown boys was very large; there was hardly a suggestion of a
uniform in the whole command; most of the men were barefooted, and their
coarse, drooping straw hats, cotton shirts, and loose, flapping cotton
trousers had been torn by thorny bushes and stained with Cuban mud until
they looked worse than the clothes that a New England farmer hangs on a
couple of crossed sticks in his corn-field to scare away the crows. If
their rifles and cartridge-belts had been taken away from them they
would have looked like a horde of dirty Cuban beggars and ragamuffins on
the tramp. I do not mean to say, or even to suggest, that these
ragamuffins were not brave men and good soldiers. They may have been
both, in spite of their disreputable appearance. When, for months
together, a man has lived the life of an outlaw in the woods, scrambling
through tropical jungles, wading marshy rivers, and sleeping, without
tent or blankets, on the ground, he cannot be expected to look like a
veteran of the regular army on dress-parade in a garrison town. Many of
our own men, in the later weeks of the Santiago campaign, were almost as
ragged and dirty as the poorest of the soldiers who came with General
Garcia to Siboney. The Cubans disappointed me, I suppose, because I had
pictured them to myself as a better dressed and better disciplined body
of men, and had not made allowance enough for the hardships and
privations of an insurgent's life.

Turning our backs on the cove, the pier, the white tents of the
quartermasters, the tarpaulin-covered piles of provision-boxes, and the
throng of soldiers, insurgents, and refugees on the beach, we climbed a
steep bank, crossed the railroad-track just west of the red-iron bridge,
and joined a company of the Second Infantry on its way to the front.

The Santiago road, after leaving the village of Siboney, runs up a wide
marshy valley, full of stagnant ponds and lagoons, and sparsely set with
clumps of cocoanut and royal palm. Although this valley heads in the
mountains of the Cobre range, and opens on the sea through the Siboney
notch, its atmosphere seems hot and close, and is pervaded by a foul,
rank odor of decaying vegetation, which is unpleasantly suggestive of
malaria and Cuban fever, and makes one wish that one could carry air as
one carries water, and breathe, as well as drink, out of a canteen. But
one soon escapes from it. A mile or two from the village the road leaves
the valley, turns to the left, and begins to ascend a series of densely
wooded ridges, or foot-hills, which rise, one above another, to the
crest of the watershed just beyond Sevilla. From the point where we left
the valley to the summit of the divide, we never had an unobstructed
outlook in any direction. Dense tropical forests, almost impenetrable to
the eye, closed in upon the road, and when the sea-breeze was cut off
and the sun stood vertically overhead, we lost all means of orientation
and could hardly guess in what direction we were going. Now and then, at
the bottom of a valley or on a sloping hillside, we passed a small,
grassy opening, which would be called, in West Virginia, a glade or an
interval; but during most of the time we plodded along in the fierce
heat, between walls of dark-green foliage which rose out of an
impenetrable jungle of vines, piñon-bushes, and Spanish bayonet. I saw
no flowers except the clustered heads of a scarlet-and-orange blossom
which I heard some one call the "Cuban rose," and I did not see a bird
of any kind until we approached the battle-field of Guasimas, where
scores of vultures were soaring and circling above the tree-tops, as if
aware of the fact that in the leafy depths of the jungle below were
still lying the unburied and undiscovered bodies of Spanish dead.

Nothing surprised me more, as I walked from Siboney to the front, than
the feebleness of the resistance offered by the Spaniards to our
advance. The road, after it enters the hills, abounds in strong
defensive positions, and if General Chaffee or General Wood, with five
thousand American regulars, had held it, as General Linares attempted to
hold it at Guasimas, a Spanish army would not have fought its way
through to Santiago in a month. There are at least half a dozen places,
between the Siboney valley and the crest of the divide beyond Sevilla,
where a few simple intrenchments in the shape of rifle-pits and
barricades would have enabled even a small force, fighting as General
Vara del Rey's command afterward fought at Caney, to detain our army for
days, if not to check its advance altogether. The almost impenetrable
nature of the undergrowth on either side would have made flanking
movements extremely difficult, and a direct attack along the narrow
road, in the face of such a fire as might have been delivered from
intrenched positions in front and at the sides, would almost certainly
have been disastrous to the advancing column. Even if the Spaniards had
been driven from their first line of defense, they could have fallen
back a mile or two to a second position, equally strong, and then to a
third, and by thus fighting, falling back, and then fighting again, they
might have inflicted great loss upon the attacking force long before it
got within sight of Santiago.

I can think of only two reasons for their failure to adopt this method
of defense. The first is that they did not know certainly whether
General Shafter would make his main attack by way of Guasimas and
Sevilla, or along the sea-coast by way of Aguadores; and they feared
that if they sent the greater part of their small army to check an
advance by the former route, the city, which would be left almost
undefended, might be attacked suddenly by a column moving rapidly along
the sea-coast and up the Aguadores ravine, or, possibly, by a force
which should land at Cabanas and march around the bay. This reason,
however, seems to me to have little force, because from the
signal-station at Morro Castle they could watch and report all our
movements along the coast, and a march of three or four hours would
bring the army on the Siboney road back to the city, in ample time to
meet an attacking column from either Aguadores or Cabanas.

The second reason is that, for lack of adequate means of transportation,
they were unable to keep a large force supplied with food and ammunition
at a distance from its base. I doubt whether this reason has any greater
force than the other. I saw a large number of native horses and mules in
Santiago after the surrender, and as the distance from the city to the
strong positions on the Siboney road is only six or eight miles, it
would not have required extraordinary transportation facilities to carry
thither food and ammunition for three or four thousand men. But even
half that number, if they fought as the San Luis brigade afterward
fought at Caney, might have held General Shafter's advance in check for
days, and made the capture of Santiago a much more serious and costly
business than it was.

The truth probably is that General Linares was intimidated by the great
show made by our fleet and transports--sixty steam-vessels in all; that
he credited us with a much larger army than we really had; and that it
seemed to him better to make the decisive fight at once on the
commanding hills just east of Santiago than to lose perhaps one third of
his small available force in the woods on the Siboney road, and then be
driven back to the city at last with wearied and discouraged troops. But
it was a mistaken calculation. If he had delayed General Shafter's
column, by obstinately resisting its advance through the woods on the
Siboney road, he would have given Colonel Escarrio time enough to reach
Santiago with the reinforcements from Manzanillo before the decisive
battle, and would also have given the climate and the Cuban fever more
time to sap the strength and depress the spirits of our badly equipped
and improperly fed troops. The final struggle on the hills east of the
city might then have had a very different termination.

The policy that General Linares should have adopted was the Fabian
policy of obstruction, harassment, and delay. Every hour that he could
detain General Shafter's advancing army on the Siboney road increased
his own chances of success and lessened those of his adversary; because
the army of defense, already acclimated, could stand exposure to sun,
rain, and miasma much better than the army of invasion could. Besides
that, a column of five thousand regulars from Manzanillo was hurrying to
his assistance, and it was of the utmost importance that these
reinforcements should reach him before he should be forced into a
decisive battle. Instead of resisting General Shafter's advance,
however, with obstinate pertinacity on the Siboney road, he abandoned
his strong position at Guasimas, after a single sharp but inconclusive
engagement, and retreated almost to Santiago without striking another
blow. As I have already said with regard to the unopposed landing at
Daiquiri and Siboney, it was great luck for General Shafter, but it was
not war.

We passed the battle-field of Guasimas about noon, without stopping to
examine it, and pushed on toward Sevilla with a straggling, disorderly
column of soldiers belonging to the Second and Twenty-first Infantry,
who were following a battery of light artillery to the front. The men
seemed to be suffering intensely from the heat, and every few hundred
yards we would find one of them lying unconscious in the bushes by the
roadside, where he had been carried by his comrades after he had fainted
and fallen under the fierce, scorching rays of the tropical sun. In one
place, where the road was narrow and sunken, we met a pack-train of
mules returning from the front. Frightened at something, just before
they reached the artillery, they suddenly broke into a wild stampede,
and as they could not escape on either side, owing to the height of the
banks and the denseness of the undergrowth, they jumped in among the
guns and caissons and floundered about until the whole battery was
involved in an almost inextricable tangle, which blocked the road for
more than an hour. I tried to get around the jam of mules, horses, and
cannon by climbing the bank and forcing my way through the jungle; but I
was so torn by thorns and pricked by the sharp spines of the Spanish
bayonet that I soon gave up the attempt, and, returning to the road, sat
down, in the shadiest place I could find, to rest, take a drink from my
canteen, and await developments. If General Linares, when he retreated,
had left behind a squad or two of sharp-shooters and bushwhackers to
harass our advance at narrow and difficult places in the road, what a
chance they would have had when the pack-mules jumped into that battery!
With the help given by a detachment of engineers, who were working on
the road a short distance ahead, the mules were finally extricated, and
the procession moved on.

Six or eight miles from Siboney we passed a solitary, and of course
empty, house, standing back a little from the road, in a farm-like
opening, or clearing. This house, Mr. Elwell informed me, was Sevilla. I
had supposed, before I left the ship, that Guasimas and Sevilla were
villages--as, indeed, they are represented to be on all the Spanish maps
of the country. But I soon learned not to put my trust in Spanish maps.
Most of them have not been revised or corrected in half a century, and
they were full of errors in the first place. There is not a village, nor
a hamlet, on this whole road from Siboney to Santiago; and the only two
houses I saw had been abandoned for weeks, if not months. The road runs,
almost everywhere, through a tangled, tropical wilderness; and if there
ever were any villages on it, they have long since disappeared.

The Sevilla house seems to stand on or near the crest of the highest
ridge that the road crosses; and a short distance beyond it, through an
opening in the trees, we caught sight, suddenly and unexpectedly, of the
city of Santiago itself--a long, ragged line of pink barracks, thatched
houses, church steeples, and wide-spreading trees, standing upon a low
hill on the other side of what looked like a green, slightly rolling
meadow, which was five or six hundred feet below the position that we
occupied, and perhaps three miles away. This meadow, as I subsequently
ascertained, was itself made up of hills, among them El Pozo and the
high, bare ridge of San Juan; but from our elevated point of view the
hills and valleys seemed to blend into a gently rolling and slightly
inclined plain, which was diversified, here and there, by patches of
chaparral or clumps of royal palm, but which presented, apparently, no
obstacles at all to the advance of an attacking force. I could not
discover anything that looked like a fort or an extensive earthwork; but
I counted sixteen Red Cross flags flying over large buildings on the
side of the city next to us, and with the aid of a good field-glass I
could just see, in front of the long pink barrack, or hospital, two or
three faint brown lines which might possibly be embankments or lines of
rifle-pits. The houses on the El Pozo and San Juan heights ought to have
been well within the limits of vision from that point of view, but, as I
did not notice them, I presume they were hidden by the forest on one
side or the other of the opening through which we looked.

After studying the city for ten minutes, and wondering a little at its
apparent defenselessness, we pushed on down the western slope of the
ridge to the camp of the Rough Riders, which we found about half a mile
from the Sevilla house, in an open glade, or field, on the right-hand
side of the road. The long grass had been beaten down into such trails
as a bear would make in wandering hither and thither among the dirty
shelter-tents; and following one of these devious paths across the
encampment, we found Lieutenant-Colonel Roosevelt standing with two or
three other officers in front of a white-cotton rain-sheet, or tent-fly,
stretched across a pole so as to protect from rain, or at least from
vertical rain, a little pile of blankets and personal effects. There was
a camp-chair under the tree, and near it, in the shade, had been slung a
hammock; but, with these exceptions, Lieutenant-Colonel Roosevelt's
quarters were no more comfortable than those of his men. He was dressed
in the costume which he wore throughout the Santiago campaign--a coarse
blue-flannel shirt, wide open at the throat; brown-canvas trousers and
leggings; and a broad-brimmed felt hat put on over a blue polka-dot
handkerchief in such a way that the kerchief hung down, like a havelock,
over the nape of his neck. As he cordially shook hands with me there
flashed into the field of my mental vision a picture of him as I had
seen him last--in full evening dress, making a speech at the Fellowcraft
Club in New York, and expressing, in a metaphor almost pictorially
graphic, his extremely unfavorable opinion of the novels of Edgar
Saltus. In outward appearance there was little resemblance between the
Santiago Rough Rider and the orator of the Fellowcraft Club; but the
force, vigor, and strength of the personality were so much more striking
than the dress in which it happened, for the moment, to be clothed, that
there seemed to be really no difference between my latest recollection
and my present impression of the man.

We were presented to Colonel (now General) Wood, who seemed to me to be
a man of quiet manner but great reserve power, and for twenty minutes we
discussed the fight at Guasimas,--which Roosevelt said he would not have
missed for the best year in his life,--the road, the campaign, and the
latest news from the United States. Then, as it was getting late in the
afternoon and we had eight or nine miles to walk before dark, we
refreshed ourselves with a hasty lunch of hard bread and water, took a
number of letters from officers of the Rough Riders to post at the first
opportunity, and started back for the ship.

The Siboney-Santiago road, at that time and for several days thereafter,
was comparatively dry and in fairly good condition. It had to be widened
a little in some places, and a company or two of soldiers from the Tenth
Cavalry were working on it just beyond the Rough Riders' camp; but, as
far as we went, loaded army wagons could get over it without the least
difficulty. Supplies at the front, nevertheless, were very short.
Lieutenant-Colonel Roosevelt told me that his command had only enough
hard bread and bacon for that night's supper, and that if more did not
come before dark there would be no breakfast for them in the morning. I
cannot now remember whether we met a supply-train on our way back to
Siboney, or not; but I think not.

At the intersection of the road with the mesa trail, we stopped for a
few moments to look over the battle-field of Guasimas. Evidences and
traces of the fight, in the shape of cartridge-shells and clips,
bullet-splintered trees, improvised stretchers, and blood-soaked clothes
and bandages, were to be seen almost everywhere, and particularly on the
trail along which the Rough Riders had advanced. At one spot, in a
little hollow or depression of the trail, from which one could see out
into an open field about one hundred yards distant, the ground was
completely covered with cartridge-shells and-clips from both Mauser and
Krag-Jorgensen rifles. A squad of Spaniards had apparently used the
hollow as a place of shelter first, and had fired two or three hundred
shots from it, strewing the ground with the clips and brass shells of
their Mauser cartridges. Then the Rough Riders had evidently driven them
out and occupied the hollow themselves, firing two or three hundred more
shots, and covering the yellow cartridge-shells of the Mauser rifles
with a silvery layer of empty tubes from the Krag-Jorgensens. It looked
as if one might pick up a bushel or two of these shells in an area ten
or fifteen feet square.

A short distance from the intersection of the trail with the road was a
large grave-shaped mound of fresh earth, under which had been buried
together eight of the men killed on our side during the fight. There had
been no time, apparently, to prepare and put up an inscribed headboard
to show who the dead men were, but some of their comrades had carefully
collected two or three hundred stones and pebbles--things not easy to
find in a tropical jungle--and had laid them close together on the
burial-mound in the form of a long cross.

Near this mound, and on the trail leading to it from Siboney, I saw, for
the first time, Cuban land-crabs, and formed the opinion, which
subsequent experience only confirmed, that they, with the bloody-necked
Cuban vultures, are the most disgusting and repellent of all created
things. Tarantulas, rattlesnakes, and some lizards are repulsive to the
eye and unpleasantly suggestive to the imagination; but the ugliest of
them all is not half so uncanny, hideous, and loathsome to me as the
Cuban land-crab. It resembles the common marine crab in form, and varies
in size from the diameter of a small saucer to that of a large
dinner-plate. Instead of being gray or brown, however, like its aquatic
relative, it is highly colored in diversified shades of red, scarlet,
light yellow, orange, and black. Sometimes one tint prevails, sometimes
another, and occasionally all of these colors are fantastically blended
in a single specimen. The creature has two long fore claws, or pincers;
small eyes, mounted like round berries on the ends of short stalks or
pedicels; and a mouth that seems to be formed by two horny, beak-like
mandibles. It walks or runs with considerable rapidity in any
direction,--backward, sidewise, or straight ahead,--and is sure to go in
the direction that you least expect. If you approach one, it throws
itself into what seems to be a defensive attitude, raises aloft its long
fore claws, looks at you intently for a moment, and then backs or sidles
away on its posterior legs, gibbering noiselessly at you with the horny
mandibles of its impish mouth, and waving its arms distractedly in the
air like a frightened and hysterical woman trying to keep off some
blood-chilling apparition.

All of these crabs are scavengers by profession and night-prowlers by
habit, and they do not emerge from their lurking-places in the jungle
and make their appearance on the trails until the sun gets low in the
west. Then they come out by the hundred, if not by the thousand; and as
it begins to grow dark, the still atmosphere of the deep, lonely forest
is filled with the rustling, crackling noise that they make as they
scramble through the bushes or climb over the stiff, dry blades of the
Spanish bayonet. I think it is not an exaggeration to say that at almost
any point on the Cuban trail between Guasimas and Siboney I could stand
still for a moment and count from fifty to one hundred of them, crawling
out of the forest and across the path. Lieutenant-Colonel Roosevelt told
me that nothing interfered so much at first with his sleep in the field
as the noise made by these crabs in the bushes. It is so like the noise
that would be made by a party of guerrillas or bushwhackers, stealing up
to the camp under cover of darkness, that it might well keep awake even
a man who was neither nervous nor imaginative.

Cuban land-crabs, like Cuban vultures, are haunters of battle-fields;
but they seek the dead at night, while the vultures drink the eyes and
tear off the lips of an unburied corpse in the broad light of day. On
the battle-field of Guasimas, however, while the sun was still above the
horizon, I saw, crawling over a little pile of bloody rags, or bandages,
a huge crab whose pale, waxy-yellow body suggested the idea that he had
been feeding on a yellow-fever corpse and had absorbed its color. At my
approach he backed slowly off the rags, opening and shutting his mouth
noiselessly, and waving his fore claws toward me in the air with what
seemed like impish intelligence, as if he were saying: "Go away! What
business have you here? Blood and the dead are mine."

There may be something more repulsive and uncanny than such a
performance by a huge corpse-colored land-crab; but, if so, I have never
happened to see it. It made me feel as if I should like to do as the
Russian peasant does in similar cases--spit and cross myself.

We reached Siboney about half-past five, and happening to find a boat
from the _State of Texas_ waiting at the pier, we got on board in time
for dinner, after a walk of sixteen or eighteen miles.



CHAPTER X

SIBONEY ON THE EVE OF BATTLE


During my absence at the front on Monday, the auxiliary cruiser _Yale_,
with two or three regiments of Michigan troops on board, arrived off
Siboney, and when I went on deck on Tuesday morning these reinforcements
were just beginning to go ashore in a long line of small boats, towed by
a steam-launch from one of the war-ships of the blockading fleet.

The landing of troops and supplies on the Cuban coast was the first
serious difficulty with which General Shafter had to contend. The little
cove at Siboney was wholly unsheltered; there was no wharf or pier at
which a steamer might lie; a gale, or even a fresh breeze, from the
southeast raised a heavy surf on the strip of sand in front of the
village; the water deepened so suddenly and abruptly, at a distance of
fifty yards from the shore, that there was practically no anchorage; and
all men and stores had to be landed by putting them into small boats and
running them up on the beach through the breakers. At Daiquiri, where
General Lawton's division disembarked, the situation was a little
better, for the reason that the Spanish-American Iron Company had built
there a substantial pier, of which the army of invasion could make use.
At that place, therefore, General Shafter disembarked a large part of
his command, and unloaded all his wagons, siege-guns, light artillery,
etc. The mules and horses were put ashore--or rather pitched overboard
with the expectation that they would swim ashore--at Siboney; but, owing
to unskilful management and lack of guidance, twelve per cent. of the
mules--fifty out of four hundred and fifteen--perished. Some, instead of
making for the shore, swam directly out to sea until they became
exhausted and sank; while others attempted to land on the eastern side
of the cove, where there was no beach, and were drowned under the rocks.
Inasmuch as the total number of draft-and pack-animals loaded at Tampa
was wholly inadequate to meet the necessities of such an expedition, the
drowning of twelve per cent. of them, after they had reached their
destination, was a serious and, it seems to me, unnecessary loss.

In the disembarkation of his troops, General Shafter had the assistance
of skilled officers and well-drilled sailors from the blockading fleet,
to say nothing of half a dozen steam-launches and fifty-two good boats;
but when it came to unloading and landing stores, he had to rely on his
own men and his own facilities, and it soon became painfully evident
that they were not equal to the requirements of the situation. I watched
the landing of supplies all day Tuesday, and formed the opinion that it
was disorderly, unskilful, and unintelligent. In the first place, many
of the steamers from which supplies were being taken lay too far from
the beach; and there seemed to be no one who had authority or power
enough to compel them to come nearer. As a result of this, the boats and
lighters were unable to make as quick and frequent trips as they might
have made if the transports had been within one hundred yards of the
beach, instead of half a mile away.

In the second place, most of the boats and lighters seemed to be
directed and handled by men who had had little experience in boating
and no experience whatever in landing through heavy surf. As a result of
this, boats were often stove against the timbers of the little pier
which the engineer corps had hastily built; while the lighters, instead
of being held by an anchor and stern-line as they went into the
breakers, were allowed to swing around into the trough of the sea, where
they either filled and sank, or drifted ashore, broadside to the beach,
in such a position that fifty men could hardly turn them around and get
them off.

Finally, the soldiers and Cubans who acted as stevedores, carrying the
boxes from the boats and piling them on the pier, were not intelligently
directed, and, consequently, labored without method or judgment--getting
in one another's way; allowing the pier to become so blocked up with
stuff that nobody could move on it, much less work; and wasting more
energy in talking, shouting, and bossing one another than they utilized
in doing the thing that was to be done.

If I had ever had any doubt with regard to the expediency of giving to
the navy full and absolute control of the army and its supplies while at
sea, such doubt would have been removed by one day's observation at
Siboney. Army officers, as a rule, know nothing of water transportation,
and cannot reasonably be expected to know anything about it; and to put
them in charge of transports, lighters, and surf-boats is almost as
inconsiderate as to put a sailor in charge of a farm and expect him,
without any previous training, to run reaping-, binding-, and
threshing-machines, take proper care of his live stock, and get as much
out of the soil as an agricultural expert would. Every man to his trade;
and the landing of supplies from thirty or forty transports, in small
boats, on an unsheltered, surf-beaten coast, is not the trade of an army
quartermaster. Lieutenant-Colonel Humphrey and Major Jacobs undoubtedly
did all that they could do, with their knowledge and experience, and
with the limited facilities that General Shafter had provided for them,
to get supplies ashore; but the results were not gratifying, either to
observers at Siboney, or to soldiers at the front. If officers of the
navy had directed the loading of stores on the transports at Tampa, and
the unloading and landing of them at Daiquiri and Siboney, there would
have been a properly equipped hospital at the latter place five days
sooner than there was; there would have been forty or fifty more mules
in the army's pack-train; the beach would not have been strewn with the
wrecks of mismanaged boats and lighters; and the transport-steamers
_Alamo_, _Breakwater_, _Iroquois_, _Vigilancia_, and _La Grande
Duchesse_ would not have brought back to the United States hundreds of
tons of supplies intended for, and urgently needed by, our soldiers at
the front.

On the afternoon of Tuesday, June 28, one of the small vessels of the
mosquito fleet arrived from Guantanamo Bay with a letter from Captain
McCalla in which he said that General Perez had furnished a pack-train
and an escort for the food that the Red Cross had promised to send to
the Guantanamo refugees, and that he would like to have us return there
as soon as possible and land five thousand rations. As our hospital work
on shore was well under way, and Dr. Lesser and the nurses had been
supplied with everything that they would need for a day or two, Miss
Barton decided to fill Captain McCalla's requisition at once. Late
Tuesday evening, therefore, the _State of Texas_ left Siboney, and after
a quiet and peaceful run down the coast entered Guantanamo Bay about six
o'clock Wednesday morning. At half-past six Captain McCalla came on
board to make arrangements for the landing, and in less than two hours
there was a large lighter alongside, with a steam-launch to tow it to
the place where an officer of General Perez's command was waiting for it
with a pack-train and an escort. Before noon ten or fifteen thousand
pounds of supplies, consisting principally of beans, rice, hard bread,
and South American jerked beef, had been safely landed on the western
side of the entrance to the lower harbor; and as we passed the point, on
our return, we saw a large party of Cubans carrying the boxes and
barrels up the bank.

We reached Siboney early that evening, drifted and rolled all night on a
heavy swell, a mile or two off the coast, and at daybreak on the
following morning ran close in to the beach and began landing supplies
for several thousand destitute Cuban refugees who had assembled at the
little village of Firmeza, three miles back of Siboney in the hills. In
getting provisions ashore at Siboney, we encountered precisely the same
difficulties that the army had to meet; but we fortunately had with us,
as chief of transportation, a man who was familiar with boats and who
had had large experience in handling them in circumstances and under
conditions similar to those that prevailed on the Cuban coast. In
proportion to our facilities, therefore, we got more stuff ashore in a
given time than the army quartermasters did, and with fewer accidents.
Mr. Warner, I think, was the first man to use, at Siboney, an anchor and
a stern-line to prevent a boat or a lighter from broaching to in the
surf. It was a simple enough expedient, but nobody, apparently, had
thought of it. By dropping an anchor astern, just before the lighter
reached the outer edge of the breakers, and then slacking off the line
until the boat was near enough so that thirty Cubans could rush into the
water, seize it, and run it up on the beach, a landing was effected
without difficulty or risk. Then, when the supplies had been unloaded,
the stern-anchor line could be used again as a means of pulling the
lighter off through the surf into smooth water and preventing it from
swinging around broadside to the sea while being launched. The best time
for this work was between five and ten o'clock in the morning. After ten
o'clock there was almost always a fresh breeze from the southeast,
which raised such a surf on the beach that unless the landing of
supplies was a matter of extreme urgency it had to be temporarily
suspended. We succeeded in getting ashore on Wednesday food enough to
satisfy the wants of the refugees at Firmeza, and Mr. Elwell was sent
there to superintend its distribution.

Wednesday evening, as there seemed to be no prospect of an immediate
engagement at the front, I decided to go to Port Antonio, Jamaica, with
Mr. Trumbull White, on the Chicago "Record's" despatch-boat _Hercules_,
to post my letters and the letters that had been intrusted to me by
Colonel Wood and Lieutenant-Colonel Roosevelt, and to get some articles
of camp equipment which I had ordered in New York, but which had failed
to reach me before the _State of Texas_ sailed from Key West.

We reached Port Antonio at eight o'clock on Thursday, spent the day
there, and returned the next night to Siboney. Early Friday morning, as
we were approaching the Cuban coast, the captain of the _Hercules_ came
down into the cabin with the astounding news that the blockading fleet
had disappeared. "The jig is up, boys!" he exclaimed excitedly. "They've
taken the city, and the fleet is inside the harbor. I can't see a sign
of a ship anywhere along the coast."

We all rushed on deck and gazed with sinking hearts at the long black
line of the rampart and the high blue mountains beyond it. If Santiago
had been taken in our absence, it would be the cruelest blow that
fortune had ever dealt us! Although the sun was still below the horizon,
the atmosphere was crystal-clear, and we could see without a glass the
step-like outline of Morro Castle, and even the hazy blue smoke rising
from the camp-fires on-the beach at Siboney; but of the war-ships--the
_New York_, the _Brooklyn_, the _Indiana_, and the _Texas_--there was
not a sign. I do not know what Mr. White thought,--he seemed to be as
cool and imperturbable as ever,--but when I fully realized that the
fleet was not there, and drew from that fact the inevitable conclusion
that the city had been captured, I was ready to anathematize the British
West Indies, Port Antonio, the _Hercules_, and the cruel ill luck which
had taken me a hundred miles away at the decisive moment of the Santiago
campaign.

As the sun rose over the level plain of the Caribbean, and the swift
ocean-going tug bore us nearer and nearer to the dark line of the still
distant coast, the captain, who had been sweeping the base of the
rampart with a long marine telescope, suddenly shouted: "Aha! I think I
can see the _Brooklyn_, boys. It may be all right yet." I looked eagerly
toward the position that Commodore Schley's flagship usually occupied on
the western side of the harbor entrance, but could see nothing that even
suggested the _Brooklyn's_ familiar outline. If there were any vessels
of the blockading fleet between us and the land, they certainly were off
their stations and very close in under the shadow of the land. But the
captain's eyesight was better than mine. In five minutes more he
announced that he could see the _Brooklyn_, the _New York_, and the
_Iowa_. "They're all there," he added after another look, "but some of
them seem to be away out of position. The _New York_ is off Aguadores,
and the _Brooklyn_ is half-way down to Aserraderos."

In fifteen minutes more it became apparent to us all that the height of
the rampart and the mountains back of it, together with the crystalline
clearness of the atmosphere, had led us to underestimate the distance,
and that, when we first took alarm at the apparent absence of the
blockading fleet, the war-ships were at least fifteen miles away,
although the coast did not seem to be five. At such a distance the dull
gray hulls of the vessels could hardly be seen, even if they were not
below our horizon. With much lighter hearts, but with a feeling,
nevertheless, that something of importance had occurred or was about to
occur, we ran down alongside the _Iowa_, hailed her through a megaphone,
and asked if there was any news. "It's reported that they are fighting
over there," replied the officer of the deck, waving his hand toward
Santiago, "but we haven't any particulars." There was no smoke rising
above the rampart in the direction of the city, we could hear no sound
of cannonading, and I was more than half inclined to believe that the
report of fighting at the front was premature; but whether this were so
or not, the _Iowa_, the _Texas_, the _New York_, and all the warships
near us were cleared for action; their officers seemed to be eagerly
awaiting orders; Admiral Sampson's flagship was exchanging wigwag
flag-signals with a man on the beach beyond the mouth of the Aguadores
ravine, and it was perfectly evident that something was expected to
happen. Under such circumstances, the thing for us to do was to get
back, as speedily as possible, to Siboney. Turning in a great circle
around the _Iowa_, we steamed swiftly eastward along the coast, passing
the _New York_, the _Suwanee_, and the _Gloucester_, which were lying,
cleared for action, close under the walls of the Aguadores fort;
exchanging greetings with the New York "Sun's" graceful despatch-boat
_Kanapaha_, which came hurrying westward as if bound for some important
field of expected activity; and finally rounding to alongside the _State
of Texas_ in the Siboney cove.

There was nothing in the appearance of the village to indicate that a
battle was in progress, or even in anticipation. Boats were going to and
fro between the transports and the pier as usual; there was the usual
crowd of Cuban ragamuffins and tatterdemalions on the beach, with a
sprinkling of soldiers in the streets; everything seemed to be quiet on
board the _State of Texas_, and I said to Mr. White, as I bade him
good-by, that I did not believe we had missed anything after all.

We soon had evidence, however, that there was an engagement in progress
off the coast, if not at the front. Between nine and ten o'clock in the
morning heavy cannonading could be heard in the direction of Morro
Castle, and great clouds of white smoke began to rise over a projecting
point of the rampart which hid, from our point of view, the mouth of the
Aguadores ravine. Anxious to see what was going on, I persuaded Miss
Barton to let the _State of Texas_ run out of the cove and take some
position from which we might witness the bombardment. Getting under way
at once, we steamed out four or five miles in a west-southwest direction
to a point about three miles off Aguadores, from which we could see the
whole line of the coast. A column of infantry--the Thirty-third
Michigan, I think, under command of General Duffield--had moved westward
along the railroad under the rampart to the mouth of the Aguadores
ravine, and was apparently engaged in attacking the enemy's position
there under cover of Admiral Sampson's guns. We could not clearly follow
the movements of the troops, for the reason that they were hidden, or
partially hidden, by the bushes and trees, but we could see every
movement made and every shot fired by the war-ships. The _Gloucester_,
on the western side of the notch, was knocking to pieces the old stone
fort half-way up the hill; the _New York_, from a position directly in
front of the railroad-bridge, was enfilading the ravine with four-and
eight-inch shells; while the _Suwanee_, completely hidden most of the
time in a great cloud of smoke, was close in to the mouth of the river,
sweeping the whole adjacent region with a storm of projectiles from her
rapid-fire and machine guns. I do not know whether the old Aguadores
fort had any armament or not. Its sea face had been reduced to a heap of
crumbled masonry before we reached the scene of action, and I did not
afterward see a shot fired from it, nor a single soldier in or about it.
Its offensive power--if it ever had any--was so completely destroyed,
that I momentarily expected General Duffield's troops to ford the river
above the railroad-bridge and take undisputed possession of it. But the
Michigan men were apparently prevented from doing so by the fire from
some rifle-pits up the ravine, which the guns of the war-ships could
not, or did not, wholly silence. We were not in a position, perhaps, to
form a trustworthy judgment with regard to the strength of the
Spaniards' defense; but it seemed to me that if the attack had been
vigorously made and persistently followed up, the enemy might have been
driven from the ravine. Admiral Sampson, in his report of the
engagement, says that the Spaniards had no artillery except one small
field-piece, which they fired only four or five times, and that not more
than fifteen or twenty of them could be seen, at any time, in or about
the rifle-pits. General Duffield, on the other hand, reports that they
numbered five hundred, and that their artillery shelled the railroad
track and the woods where his troops were until 3 P.M.--about five
hours. That their fire was not very destructive sufficiently appears
from the fact that, in half a day of more or less continuous
skirmishing, General Duffield lost only two men killed and six wounded.

Between three and four o'clock in the afternoon the Michigan troops
returned by rail to Siboney; the war-ships withdrew to their blockading
stations; and the field, as well as the honors, remained in possession
of the Spaniards. After the engagement the _State of Texas_ ran close in
to the shore, and we saw perhaps a dozen Spanish soldiers standing or
walking on the hillside west of the ravine. There may have been more of
them in the concealment of the woods; but my impression is that their
force was very small, and that General Duffield, with the aid and
support of the war-ships, should have been able to clear the ravine and
take possession not only of the abandoned fort but of the commanding
heights above it.

When we got back to Siboney, late in the afternoon, the village was full
of rumors of heavy fighting in front of Santiago; and, an hour or two
after dark, wounded men, some on foot and some in army wagons, began to
arrive at the Siboney hospital from the distant field of battle. As they
had all been disabled and sent to the rear in the early part of the day,
they could give us no information with regard to the result of the
engagement. Many of them had been wounded before they had seen a Spanish
intrenchment, or even a Spanish soldier; and all they knew about the
fight was that the army had moved forward at daybreak and they
themselves had been shot in the woods by an enemy whom they could
neither locate nor see.

The Siboney hospital, thanks to the devotion and unwearied energy of
Major Lagarde and his assistants, was by this time in fairly good
working order. There was a lack of blankets, pillows, and tentage, and
the operating facilities, perhaps, were not as ample as they might have
been; but in view of the extraordinary difficulties with which the
surgeons had had to contend, the results were highly creditable to them,
even if not wholly satisfactory to an observer. As fast as the wounded
arrived, they walked, or were carried on stretchers, to two or three
large tents, pitched end to end and opening into one another, where
hospital stewards and nurses placed them on the tables, and the
surgeons, some of them stripped naked to the waist, examined their
injuries by candle-light, and performed such operations as were
necessary to give them relief. They were then taken or led away, and, as
far as possible, furnished with blankets and shelter; but as the supply
of blankets was very short, and all the available houses and tents were
soon filled, the wounded who came in after midnight were laid in a row
on the ground and covered with a long strip of canvas. Fortunately, the
night was clear, still, and warm, and a nearly full moon made it almost
as light as day, so that it was not so cheerless and uncomfortable to
lie out on the ground without a blanket as it would have been if the
night had been dark and cold, or rainy; but it was bad enough.

Most of our Red Cross surgeons and nurses were assisting in the
operating-tents, and I remained on shore until after three o'clock in
the morning. There was little that I could do beyond looking up the
wounded, who frequently came into the village on foot, after a painful
march of ten or twelve miles, and were so weak, hungry, and exhausted
that, instead of coming to the hospital, they lay down anywhere in the
street or under the wall of a house. Some of these men I found, with the
assistance of a friendly and sympathetic Cuban, and had them carried on
litters to the operating-tents. All of the wounded who came back from
the front that night ought to have had hot tea or coffee, and some such
easily digested food as malted milk, as most of them had eaten nothing
since the early morning and were worn out with pain and fatigue. But of
course no provision had been made for supplying them even with hard
bread and water, and when taken from the operating-tables they were
simply laid on the ground, to get through the night as best they could
without nourishment or drink. We all understand, of course, that, in the
oft-quoted words of General Sherman, "war is hell"; but it might be made
a little less hellish by adequate preparation for the reception and care
of the wounded.

I went off to the _State of Texas_ between three and four o'clock, and
threw myself into my berth just as day was beginning to break over the
hills east of the cove.



CHAPTER XI

THE BATTLES OF CANEY AND SAN JUAN


General Shafter went to the front to take personal command of the army
on Wednesday, June 29. At that time the divisions of Generals Kent,
Wheeler, and Lawton were encamped on the Siboney-Santiago road, between
the high ridge of Sevilla, from which I had seen the city two days
before, and a half-ruined house and plantation, two or three miles
farther on, known as El Pozo. Most of the troops were in the valley of a
small stream which rises on the western slope of the Sevilla watershed,
runs for a short distance in the direction of Santiago, and then, after
receiving a number of tributaries, turns southward, just beyond the Pozo
farm-house, and falls into the sea through the notch in the rampart at
Aguadores. Although the bottom of this valley, in general, was densely
wooded, there was a series of grassy openings, or glades, on the
northern side of the stream just east of El Pozo, and in one of these
openings General Lawton, who led the advance, had established his
headquarters.

About three miles due north from El Pozo, and between three and four
miles in a northeasterly direction from Santiago, there was a small
village called Caney,[4] which, on account of its geographical
position, was regarded as a place of considerable strategic importance.
It was connected by roads or practicable trails with Santiago on the
west, Guantanamo on the east, and El Pozo on the south; and an enemy
holding it would not only outflank us on that side as soon as we should
pass the Pozo farm-house, but, by means of a rapid cross-march in our
rear, might cut or seriously imperil our only line of communication with
our base of supplies at Siboney. The fact was well known, furthermore,
that there was a strong division of Spanish regulars (about six thousand
men) at Guantanamo; and if this division should undertake to reinforce
the garrison at Santiago, Caney would be directly on its line of march.
In view of these considerations, General Shafter, after a survey of the
country from the summit of the hill at El Pozo, determined to seize
Caney, and, having thus cut off reinforcements from Guantanamo and
protected himself from a flanking movement on the right, advance
directly upon the city. The plan was good enough, as far as it went; but
General Shafter had made no reconnaissance on the Siboney-Santiago road
beyond El Pozo, and was wholly ignorant not only of the strength of the
enemy's position there, but of the nature of the country to be
traversed. It is true that he had superficially looked over the ground,
once, from the top of the Pozo hill; but he could get, in that way, very
little accurate knowledge of the topography of the region, and still
less of the Spaniards' defensive strength.

Our only possible line of advance, in the center, was the
Siboney-Santiago road, which ran, through a dense jungle, down the
valley of the Aguadores River, crossed a small stream flowing into that
river from the north, then crossed the San Juan River, another
tributary of the Aguadores, and finally emerged from the forest directly
in front of the San Juan heights. The enemy, of course, knew exactly
where this road lay, and where it came out of the woods into the open
country; and they had so disposed their batteries and rifle-pits that
they could not only concentrate their fire upon the lower stretches and
the mouth of the road, but sweep with a hail-storm of projectiles the
whole margin of the forest where we should have to deploy and form our
attacking line. General Shafter had not ascertained these facts by means
of a reconnaissance, nor had he, apparently, considered such a state of
affairs as a contingency to be guarded against; but Mr. Richard Harding
Davis asserts that General Chaffee, commander of a brigade in General
Lawton's division, anticipated precisely this situation, and predicted,
five days before the battle, that if our men marched down this trail
into the open country they would be "piled up so high that they would
block the road." He thought that it would be much better to keep away
from the road altogether; cut trails parallel with the entire front of
the forest and hidden by it, with innumerable little trails leading into
the open; and then march the whole army out upon the hills through these
trails at the same moment. Whether this suggestion was ever made to the
commanding general or not, I do not know; but if it was, it failed to
commend itself to his judgment. I refer now--perhaps prematurely--to a
state of affairs in our immediate front which was not fully disclosed
until much later; but I do so because knowledge of it is absolutely
essential to a clear understanding of the way in which the battle of San
Juan was fought.

General Shafter's plan of operations, as outlined by Captain Lee,
British military attaché, was substantially as follows: General Lawton's
division was to attack Caney at daylight, July 1, and was expected to
drive the enemy quickly out of that post, which then menaced our right
flank. Meanwhile the remainder of the Fifth Corps was to advance along
the main trail toward Santiago, pushing back the Spanish outposts, and
occupy the line of the San Juan River. There it was to deploy and await
Lawton, who, having taken Caney, was to wheel to his left and form up on
the right of the main line. All these movements were to be completed by
the evening of the 1st, and then the whole army would combine for the
assault of San Juan on the 2d.

The advance began on the afternoon of Thursday, June 30. General
Lawton's division, accompanied by Capron's battery of four field-guns,
marched out on the Caney road, without meeting any opposition, and
bivouacked for the night behind a ridge, or hill, about a mile southeast
of the village. At the same time the remainder of the corps, consisting
of General Wheeler's cavalry division, the division of General Kent, and
three batteries of light artillery, moved down the Siboney-Santiago
road, and went into camp near the Pozo farm-house. At daybreak on
Friday, July 1, both columns were in position, within striking distance
of the enemy's intrenched line. As the fighting at Caney was wholly
independent of the fighting at San Juan, it will be more convenient to
regard the two engagements as separate battles, although they were
carried on simultaneously. I shall not attempt, however, to do more than
describe the tactics on the two widely separated fields, and briefly
state the results.

The defenses of Caney consisted of a strong stone fort on a steep
conical hill at the southeastern corner of the village, and four or five
substantial log blockhouses, so placed as to command every possible, or
at least every practicable, avenue of approach. The blockhouses were
connected one with another by deep, narrow trenches; the stone fort was
surrounded by a network of outlying rifle-pits; there was a barbed-wire
entanglement along the whole eastern front of the enemy's position; and
the large trees in the village, as well as the houses and the old stone
church, were full of sharp-shooters. The garrison of the place, not
including the inhabitants, who, of course, participated to a greater or
less extent in the fighting, consisted of three companies of infantry
belonging to the San Luis brigade and forty-seven guerrillas--a total
force of five hundred and fourteen men. The regulars were armed with the
Mauser magazine-rifle, while the guerrillas used a .45-caliber
Remington, carrying a large and very destructive brass-jacketed ball.
They had neither artillery nor machine-guns, and relied wholly upon
their small arms, their rifle-pits, and the great natural strength of
their position. The officer in command was Brigadier-General Joaquin
Vara del Rey. The attacking force, under direction of General Lawton,
consisted of four brigades, numbering about forty-five hundred men, and
was made up wholly of regulars with the exception of the Second
Massachusetts.

The battle began at half-past six o'clock in the morning. General
Chaffee's brigade took up a position six or eight hundred yards from the
fort on the eastern side of the village; Ludlow's brigade marched around
on the western side, so as to seize the Caney-Santiago road and thus cut
off the enemy's escape; while the brigade of General Miles closed in on
the south. Capron's battery, from the summit of a hill a little more
than a mile southeast of the fort, fired the first shot at 6:35 A. M.
Our infantry on General Chaffee's side then opened fire; the Spaniards
replied from their fort, blockhouses, and rifle-pits; and the engagement
soon became general. For the next three or four hours the battle was
little more than a rifle duel at about six hundred yards' range.
Capron's battery, from the top of the distant hill, continued to bombard
the fort and the village at intervals, but its fire was slow and not
very effective. Our infantry, meanwhile, were suffering far more loss
than they were able to inflict, for the reason that they could find
little or no shelter, while the Spaniards were protected by loopholed
walls and deep rifle-pits, and were firing at ranges which had been
previously measured and were therefore accurately known. In spite of
their losses, however, our men continued to creep forward, and about
eleven o'clock General Chaffee's brigade reached and occupied the crest
of a low ridge not more than three hundred yards from the northeastern
side of the village. The fire of the Spanish sharp-shooters, at this
short range, was very close and accurate, and before noon more than one
hundred of General Chaffee's men lay dead or wounded in a sunken road
about fifty yards back of the firing line. The losses in the brigades of
Generals Ludlow and Miles, on the western and southern sides of the
village, were almost as great, and at 1:30 P. M. the attacking force
seemed to be barely holding its own. At this critical moment, when the
chances of success or defeat seemed to be almost evenly balanced,
General Lawton received an order from General Shafter to abandon the
attack on Caney and hurry to the relief of Generals Kent and Sumner, who
were hotly engaged in front of the San Juan heights. Believing that a
retreat at this juncture would be disastrous, and that the demoralizing
effect of a repulse at Caney would more than counterbalance the support
that he could give the center of the line in front of San Juan, General
Lawton disregarded this order and pressed the attack with renewed vigor.
Capron's battery, about this time, got the range of the stone fort, shot
away its flagstaff, amid vociferous cheers from our men, and soon began
to make great breaches in its massive walls. General Chaffee, who had
been directed to make a final assault on the fort when, in his judgment,
the proper time had come, then gave the order to charge; and the Twelfth
Infantry, closely followed by several regiments from General Miles's
brigade, and the brigade of General Bates, which had just arrived from
Siboney, swarmed up the steep slope of the hill, drove the Spaniards out
of their rifle-pits, and took the fort by storm. The first man inside
its walls was Mr. James Creelman, a war correspondent, who was shot
through the shoulder while recovering the Spanish flag. Although the
fire from the village and the blockhouses still continued, it gradually
slackened, and in less than half an hour the Spaniards who remained
alive gave up the struggle and retreated by the northern Santiago road,
suffering considerable loss from the fire of General Ludlow's brigade as
they passed. At 4 P. M. village, fort, and blockhouses were all in
undisputed possession of General Lawton's gallant division. The battle
had lasted about nine hours, and in that time seven hundred men had been
killed or wounded. Our own loss was four officers and eighty-four men
killed, and twenty-four officers and three hundred and thirty-two men
wounded; total, four hundred and forty-four. The loss of the Spaniards,
as reported by themselves, was two hundred and forty-eight,--about one
half their entire strength,--not including inhabitants of the village
killed in their houses and in the streets. General Vara del Rey, their
commander, was shot through both legs as he stood in the square opposite
the village church after the storming of the fort, and then, as his men
were placing him on a stretcher, he was instantly killed by a bullet
through the head. Our loss, in this obstinately fought battle, was
numerically much greater than that of the Spaniards; but their
percentage of loss, based on the number of men engaged, was nearly five
times as great as ours. When they retreated, they left forty-eight per
cent. of their whole force dead or wounded in the intrenchments that
they had so gallantly defended, and Lieutenant-Colonel Punet was able to
collect and take back to Santiago that night only one hundred and three
of the five hundred and fourteen officers and men who originally
composed the garrison.

The loss on our side in this engagement was far greater than it probably
would have been if General Lawton had had artillery enough to destroy
the fort and blockhouses and drive the Spaniards out of their rifle-pits
before he pushed forward his infantry; but it was not expected, of
course, that the taking of a small and comparatively insignificant
village would be so serious and difficult a matter; and as General
Shafter had only sixteen light field-guns in all, he doubtless thought
that he could not spare more than four for the attack on Caney.

The moral effect of this battle was to give each of the combatants a
feeling of sincere respect for the bravery of the other. Our men never
doubted, after July 1, that the Spaniards would fight stubbornly--at
least, behind intrenchments; while the Spaniards, in turn, were greatly
impressed by the dash, impetuosity, and unflinching courage of General
Lawton's regulars. A staff-officer of General Vara del Rey said to a
correspondent after the battle: "I have never seen anything to equal the
courage and dash of those Americans, who, stripped to the waist,
offering their naked breasts to our murderous fire, literally threw
themselves on our trenches--on the very muzzles of our guns. We had the
advantage in position, and mowed them down by the hundreds; but they
never retreated or fell back an inch. As one man fell, shot through the
heart, another would take his place, with grim determination and
unflinching devotion to duty in every line of his face. Their gallantry
was heroic." There could hardly be a more generous or a better deserved
encomium.

The battle on the Siboney-Santiago road, in the center of our line,
began nearly two hours later than the battle at Caney. Grimes's battery,
which had taken position on a hill near the Pozo farm-house, opened fire
on the heights of San Juan about eight o'clock. A few moments later the
Spaniards, who evidently had the range of the Pozo hill perfectly from
the beginning, returned the fire with shrapnel, killing two men and
wounding a number of others at the first shot, striking the house at the
third, and driving from the hill in disorder some of the soldiers of the
cavalry division who had been stationed there, as well as a few war
correspondents and non-combatants who had gathered to witness the
bombardment. For three quarters of an hour, or an hour, there was an
artillery duel between Grimes's battery on the Pozo hill and a Spanish
battery situated somewhere on the heights to the westward. In this
interchange of shots the enemy had all the advantage, for the reason
that the smoke from Grimes's black powder revealed the position of his
guns, while the smokeless powder of the Spaniards gave no clue to the
location of theirs.

About nine o'clock the order was given to advance; and the divisions of
Generals Kent and Wheeler began to move down the narrow, jungle-skirted
trail, toward the open country which was supposed to lie beyond the
crossing of the second stream, under the heights of San Juan. General
Kent's orders were to move ahead to a green knoll on the western side of
the San Juan River (the second stream), and there deploy to the left in
what was believed to be the margin of the dense forest which covered the
bottom of the valley. At the same time the cavalry division, which,
owing to the illness of General Wheeler, was temporarily under command
of General Sumner, was directed to advance along the same trail, cross
the San Juan River, deploy to the right in the margin of the woods, and
there await further orders. The attempt of two divisions to march
simultaneously down a forest trail which in places was not more than
twelve feet wide resulted, naturally, in crowding, disorder, and delay;
and when the head of the column, after crossing the first stream, came
within the zone of the enemy's fire, the confusion was greatly
increased. The Spaniards, as General Chaffee predicted, had taken the
bearing and range of the road, between the first stream and the western
edge of the forest, and before the cavalry division reached the ford of
the San Juan, on the other side of which it was to deploy and await
orders, it was receiving a heavy fire, not only from the batteries and
rifle-pits on the San Juan heights, but from hundreds of trees along the
trail, in which the enemy had posted sharp-shooters.

So far as I know, riflemen had never before been posted in trees to
check the advance of an army through a broken and forest-clad country;
but the scheme was a good one, and it was carried out with thoughtful
attention to every detail. The sharp-shooters were generally hidden in
carefully prepared nests of leaves; some of them had tunics of fresh
palm-leaves tied around their bodies from the shoulders down, so that at
a little distance they could not be distinguished from the foliage of
the trees in which they were concealed; and in a few cases that were
reported to me they wore under their leafy tunics double canvas jackets
filled with sand and carefully quilted, as a partial protection from
bullets. This swarm of tree-men formed the Spanish skirmish-line, and a
most dangerous and effective line it was, for the reason that it could
be neither seen, driven in, nor dislodged. The hidden marksmen used
Mauser rifles with smokeless powder, and although our men heard the
reports and were killed or disabled by the projectiles, they had no
guide or clue whatever to the location of their assailants. A
skirmish-line in thickets or clumps of chaparral on the ground might
have been driven back as our army advanced, and thus our rear would have
been all the time secure from attack; but a skirmish-line hidden in
tree-tops was as dangerous to the rear as to the front, and a soldier
pressing forward toward what he supposed to be the enemy's position was
just as likely to get a Mauser bullet in his back as in his breast.
Scores of wounded men who were brought into the First Division
field-hospital on Friday and Saturday had never seen a Spanish
intrenchment, or had even so much as a glimpse of a Spanish soldier.

In spite of the deadly fire to which they were subjected from front,
sides, and rear, our troops pushed on, as rapidly as the congested state
of the trail would permit, toward the ford of the San Juan River. The
loss which our advance sustained at this point was greatly increased by
the sending up of an observation balloon, which hung over the road, just
above the trees, and not only attracted the fire of the Spaniards in
front, but served their artillerymen as a target and a range-finder. It
was an even better firing guide than the sheets of iron or zinc roofing
which they had put up in some of the openings through which the trail
ran; and until it was finally torn by shrapnel so that it slowly sank
into the forest, the men under and behind it were exactly in the focus
of the converging streams of bullets which it attracted from all parts
of the San Juan heights. The only useful discovery made by it was the
fact that there was a second or branch trail leading to a lower ford of
the San Juan River which General Kent's division might take, and thus
relieve the crowding on the main road.

Parts of the divisions of Generals Kent and Sumner crossed the San Juan
shortly after noon, and made an attempt to deploy on its western bank
and form in line of battle; but the jungle was so dense, and the fire
which swept the whole margin of the forest between them and the heights
of San Juan was so destructive, that they could do little more than seek
such cover as could be had and await orders. So far as I have been able
to ascertain, no orders were received at this critical time by either of
the division commanders. The narrow road, for a distance of a mile back
of the firing line, was crowded with troops pressing forward to the San
Juan ford; General Shafter, at his headquarters two miles in the rear,
had little knowledge of the situation, and no adequate means of getting
orders to his subordinates at the front; and meanwhile our advanced
line, almost lost in the jungle, was being decimated by a fire which the
men could not effectively return, and which it was impossible long to
endure. Exactly what happened at this turning-point of the battle, who
took the lead, and what orders were given, I do not certainly know; but
the troops nearest the edge of the forest, including the Rough Riders,
two regiments of General Hawkins's brigade (the Sixth and Sixteenth), a
few men from the Seventy-first New York under Captain Rafferty, and
perhaps squads or fragments of three or four other commands, suddenly
broke from cover, as if moved by a general spontaneous impulse, and,
with Colonel Roosevelt and General Hawkins as their most conspicuous, if
not their foremost, leaders, charged "Kettle Hill" and the heights of
San Juan. The advancing line, at first, looked very weak and thin; but
it was equal to its task. In less than fifteen minutes it had reached
the crest, and was driving the Spaniards along it toward the blockhouse,
and down the slope behind it into the next valley. With the aid of the
Ninth, Thirteenth, and Twenty-fourth Infantry, and the Gatling-gun
battery of Lieutenant Parker, which supported the charging line by
enfilading the enemy's trenches from a position on the left, the summit
of the long ridge was soon cleared, the blockhouse captured, and the
battle won before two o'clock in the afternoon.

Whether General Sumner or General Kent directly and personally ordered
this charge or not, I cannot say; but from statements made to me by
officers and men who participated in it, I am inclined to believe that
it really was--as it has since been called--a "great popular movement,"
the credit for which belongs chiefly to the regimental and company
officers and their men. That General Shafter had nothing to do with it
is evident. He might have ordered it if he had been there; but he was
not there. One of the wounded men in the field-hospital told me a story
of a sergeant in one of the colored regiments, who was lying, with his
comrades, in the woods, under the hot fire from the San Juan heights.
Getting no order to advance, and tiring of the inaction, he finally
sprang to his feet and rushed out into the open, shouting to the men of
his company: "Come on, boys! Let's knock h--l out of the
blankety-blanks!" whereupon the whole regiment rose like a single man,
and started, at a dead run, for the hill. The story is doubtless
apocryphal, but it will serve as an illustration of the way in which the
charge up the slope of San Juan may have originated. Our men in the edge
of the woods, in the bushes, and in the grain-fields had perhaps become
so tired of inaction, and so exasperated by the deadly fire which was
picking them off, one by one, as they lay, that they were ready for any
desperate venture; and when somebody--no matter who--started forward, or
said, "Come on, boys!" they simply rose en masse and charged. I cannot
find, in the official reports of the engagement, any record of a
definite order by any general officer to storm the heights; but the men
were just in the mood for such a movement, and either with orders or
without orders they charged up the hill, in the face of a tremendous
fire from batteries, trenches, and blockhouses, and, in the words of an
English officer, quoted by General Breckenridge in his testimony before
the Investigating Commission, they not only covered themselves with
glory, but extricated their corps commander "from a devil of a fix."

When the divisions of Generals Kent and Wheeler had been distributed
along the crest of the San Juan ridge, the line looked too weak and thin
to hold the position; but Skobeleff once said that a position carried
by attack can be held, even if seventy-five per cent. of the attacking
force have perished; and there was no doubt in the minds of the regulars
and the Rough Riders that there were enough of them left not only to
hold San Juan, but to take the city. Mr. Ramsden, British consul in
Santiago, says, in his diary, that the Spaniards were so disheartened by
their defeat that "if the Americans had followed up their advantage and
rushed the town, they would have carried it." But our men were too much
exhausted by the heat, and by their floundering in the jungle, to fight
another battle that day. When the firing ceased they had to pick up the
wounded and bury the dead, and then they spent a large part of the night
in erecting breastworks, digging trenches, and making preparations for a
counter-attack.



CHAPTER XII

THE FIELD-HOSPITAL


On the morning of Friday, July 1, Dr. Egan and I, with three Cuban
soldiers put at our service by General Castillo, set out on foot for the
front, carrying on our backs or in our hands such medicines and hospital
supplies as we thought would be most needed by the wounded, as well as
hammocks, blankets, cooking-utensils, and four or five days' rations for
ourselves. The march was a long and tiresome one, and it was after noon
before we reached the glade, or opening, near the Pozo house which had
been selected as the site for the first and only field-hospital of the
Fifth Army-Corps. We reported at once to Major Wood, chief surgeon of
the First Division, who gave us a hearty welcome and at once granted our
request to be set at work. The second day's battle was then in progress;
the booming of cannon and the rattle of Krag-Jorgensens could be plainly
heard a short distance in advance, and wounded men by the score were
coming back in army wagons from the firing line.

The First Division hospital of the Fifth Army-Corps was established in
the field, about three miles east of Santiago, Wednesday, June 29. At
that time it was in advance of the whole army, and had no other
protection than a line of pickets thrown out toward the enemy's
intrenchments. The site of the camp was a large, partly open glade, or
field, on the floor of a wooded valley, which was bounded on the
northeast, at a distance of three miles, by a range of mountains, and
which extended to within a mile of Santiago. Through this valley ran the
Siboney-Santiago road, nearly parallel with a brook which had its source
in the mountains to the northward, and after being joined by a number of
other brooks coming from the same direction, fell into the sea through a
notch in the coast rampart three or four miles east of Morro Castle. The
glade, or field, in which the hospital camp stood was one of a series of
similar glades stretching away to the northeast toward the base of the
mountains, and resembling a little in outline and topographical
arrangement the openings known as "barrens" in the forests of Nova
Scotia. In every other direction except the one taken by this line of
glades the camp was bounded by a dense tropical jungle through which the
Siboney-Santiago road had been cut. The opening occupied by the hospital
camp was covered with a dense growth of high wild grass, shaded here and
there by small clumps of piñon-bushes, with a few larger trees of kinds
to me unknown. South and southwest of the camp lay a tropical forest
which I did not undertake to explore, but which our pickets said was so
wild and so tangled with vines and creepers as to be almost
impenetrable. The site of the camp between the road and the brook was
well chosen, and it was, perhaps, as satisfactory a place for a hospital
as could have been found in that vicinity.

The hospital, when I arrived, consisted of three large tents for
operating-tables, pharmacy, dispensary, etc.; another of similar
dimensions for wounded officers; half a dozen small wall-tents for
wounded soldiers; and a lot of "dog-kennels," or low shelter-tents, for
the hospital stewards, litter-bearers, and other attendants. I do not
know how many ambulances the hospital had for the transportation of
wounded from the battle-line, but I saw only two, and was informed by
Dr. Godfrey that only three had been brought from Tampa. Fifty or more
had been sent to that port for the use of the Fifth Army-Corps, but had
been left there, by direct order of General Shafter, when the expedition
sailed.

The hospital staff at the beginning of the first day's battle consisted
of five surgeons: namely, Major M. W. Wood, chief surgeon of the First
Division; Major R. W. Johnson, in command of the First Division
hospital; Dr. Guy C. Godfrey, Dr. H. P. Jones, and Dr. F. J. Combe.

The resources and supplies of the hospital, outside of instruments,
operating-tables, and medicines, were very limited. There was
tent-shelter for only about one hundred wounded men; there were no cots,
hammocks, mattresses, rubber blankets, or pillows for sick or injured
soldiers; the supply of woolen army blankets was very short and was soon
exhausted; and there was no clothing at all except two or three dozen
shirts. In the form of hospital food for sick or wounded men there was
nothing except a few jars of beef extract, malted milk, etc., bought in
the United States by Major Wood, taken to the field in his own private
baggage, and held in reserve for desperate cases.

Such was the equipment of the only field-hospital in Cuba when the
attack on Santiago began. That it was wretchedly incomplete and
inadequate I hardly need say, but the responsibility for the
incompleteness and inadequacy cannot be laid upon the field force. They
took to the hospital camp from the steamers everything that they could
possibly get transportation for. There was only one line of very bad
road from Daiquiri and Siboney to the front, and along that line had to
be carried, with an utterly insufficient train of mules and wagons, all
the food and ammunition needed by an advancing army of more than sixteen
thousand men. In loading the mules and wagons preference was given to
stores and supplies that could be used in killing Spanish soldiers
rather than to stores and supplies that would be needed in caring for
our own, and the result was the dreadful and heartrending state of
affairs in that hospital at the end of the second day's fight. If there
was anything more terrible in our Civil War, I am glad that I was not
there to see it.

The battle before Santiago began very early on Friday morning, July 1,
and the wounded, most of whom had received first aid at
bandaging-stations just back of the firing line, reached the hospital in
small numbers as early as nine o'clock. As the hot tropical day
advanced, the numbers constantly and rapidly increased until, at
nightfall, long rows of wounded were lying on the grass in front of the
operating-tents, without awnings or shelter, awaiting examination and
treatment. The small force of field-surgeons worked heroically and with
a devotion that I have never seen surpassed; but they were completely
overwhelmed by the great bloody wave of human agony that rolled back in
ever-increasing volume from the battle-line. They stood at the
operating-tables, wholly without sleep, and almost without rest or food,
for twenty-one consecutive hours; and yet, in spite of their tremendous
exertions, hundreds of seriously or dangerously wounded men lay on the
ground for hours, many of them half naked, and nearly all without
shelter from the blazing tropical sun in the daytime, or the damp,
chilly dew at night. No organized or systematic provision had been made
for feeding them or giving them drink, and many a poor fellow had not
tasted food or water for twelve hours, and had been exposed during all
that time to the almost intolerable glare of the sun. I saw a soldier of
the Tenth Cavalry, who had been shot through the body, lie on the ground
in front of the operating-tent for at least three hours, naked to the
waist, and exposed to sunshine in which I could hardly hold my hand. I
speak of this particular soldier, not because he was an exception, but
rather because he exhibited such magnificent fortitude and
self-control. Although he must have been suffering terrible agony, he
lay there for three hours without a murmur or a complaint, and, so far
as I could see, without change of countenance, until his turn came and
he was lifted upon the operating-table.

At sunset the five surgeons had operated upon and dressed the wounds of
one hundred and fifty-four men. As night advanced and the wounded came
in more rapidly, no count or record of the operations was made or
attempted. Late in the evening of Friday, division and regimental
surgeons began to come back to the hospital from the front, and the
operating force was increased to ten. More tables were set out in front
of the tents, and the surgeons worked at them all night, partly by
moonlight and partly by the dim light of flaring candles held in the
hands of stewards and attendants. Fortunately, the weather was clear and
still, and the moon nearly full. There were no lanterns, apparently, in
the camp,--at least, I saw none in use outside of the
operating-tent,--and if the night had been dark, windy, or rainy, four
fifths of the wounded would have had no help or surgical treatment
whatever until the next day. All the operations outside of a single tent
were performed by the dim light of one unsheltered and flaring candle,
or at most two. More than once even the candles were extinguished for
fear that they would draw the fire of Spanish sharp-shooters who were
posted in trees south of the camp, and who exchanged shots with our
pickets at intervals throughout the night. These cold-blooded and
merciless guerrillas fired all day Friday at our ambulances and at our
wounded as they were brought back from the battle-line, and killed two
of our Red Cross men. There was good reason to fear, therefore, that
they would fire into the hospital. It required some nerve on the part of
our surgeons to stand beside operating-tables all night with their backs
to a dark tropical jungle out of which came at intervals the sharp
reports of guerrillas' rifles. But there was not a sign of hesitation or
fear. Finding that they could not work satisfactorily by moonlight,
brilliant although it was, they relighted their candles and took the
risk. Before daybreak on Saturday morning they had performed more than
three hundred operations, and then, as the wounded had ceased to come
in, and all cases requiring immediate attention had been disposed of,
they retired to their tents for a little rest. The five men who composed
the original hospital force had worked incessantly for twenty-one hours.

Of course the wounded who had been operated upon, or the greater part of
them, had to lie out all night on the water-soaked ground; and in order
to appreciate the suffering they endured the reader must try to imagine
the conditions and the environment. It rained in torrents there almost
every afternoon for a period of from ten minutes to half an hour, and
the ground, therefore, was usually water-soaked and soft. All the time
that it did not rain the sun shone with a fierceness of heat that I have
seldom seen equaled, and yet at night it grew cool and damp so rapidly
as to necessitate the putting on of thicker clothing or a light
overcoat. Many of the wounded soldiers, who were brought to the hospital
from a distance of three miles in a jolting ambulance or army wagon, had
lost their upper clothing at the bandaging-stations just back of the
battle-line, where the field-surgeons had stripped them in order to
examine or treat their wounds. They arrived there, consequently, half
naked and without either rubber or woolen blankets; and as the very
limited hospital supply of shirts and blankets had been exhausted, there
was nothing to clothe or cover them with. The tents set apart for
wounded soldiers were already full to overflowing, and all that a
litter-squad could do with a man when they lifted him from the
operating-table on Friday night was to carry him away and lay him down,
half naked as he was, on the water-soaked ground under the stars. Weak
and shaken from agony under the surgeon's knife and probe, there he had
to lie in the high, wet grass, with no one to look after him, no one to
give him food and water if he needed them, no blanket over him, and no
pillow under his head. What he suffered in the long hours of the damp,
chilly night I know because I saw him, and scores more like him; but the
reader, who can get an idea of it only through the medium of words, can
hardly imagine it.

When the sun rose Saturday morning, the sufferings of the wounded who
had lain out all night in the grass were intensified rather than
relieved, because with sunshine came intense heat, thirst, and surgical
fever. An attempt was made to protect some of them by making awnings and
thatched roofs of bushes and poles; but about seven o'clock ambulances
and wagons loaded with wounded began again to arrive from the
battle-line, and the whole hospital force turned its attention to them,
leaving the suffering men in the grass to the care of the camp cooks and
a few slightly wounded soldiers, who, although in pain themselves, could
still hobble about carrying hard bread and water to their completely
disabled and gasping comrades.

The scenes of Saturday were like those of the previous day, but with
added details of misery and horror. Many of the wounded, brought in from
the extreme right flank of the army at Caney, had had nothing to eat or
drink in more than twenty-four hours, and were in a state of extreme
exhaustion. Some, who had been shot through the mouth or neck, were
unable to swallow, and we had to push a rubber tube down through the
bloody froth that filled their throats, and pour water into their
stomachs through that; some lay on the ground with swollen bellies,
suffering acutely from stricture of the urinary passage and distention
of the bladder caused by a gunshot wound; some were paralyzed from the
neck down or the waist down as a result of injury to the spine; some
were delirious from thirst, fever, and exposure to the sun; and some
were in a state of unconsciousness, coma, or collapse, and made no reply
or sign of life when I offered them water or bread. They were all placed
on the ground in a long, closely packed row as they came in; a few
pieces of shelter-tenting were stretched over them to protect them a
little from the sun, and there they lay for two, three, and sometimes
four hours before the surgeons could even examine their injuries. A more
splendid exhibition of patient, uncomplaining fortitude and heroic
self-control than that presented by these wounded men the world has
never seen. Many of them, as appeared from their chalky faces, gasping
breath, and bloody vomiting, were in the last extremity of mortal agony;
but I did not hear a groan, a murmur, or a complaint once an hour.
Occasionally a trooper under the knife of the surgeon would swear, or a
beardless Cuban boy would shriek and cry, "Oh, my mother, my mother!" as
the surgeons reduced a compound fracture of the femur and put his leg in
splints; but from the long row of wounded on the ground there came no
sound or sign of weakness. They were suffering,--some of them were
dying,--but they were strong. Many a man whose mouth was so dry and
parched with thirst that he could hardly articulate would insist on my
giving water first, not to him, when it was his turn, but to some
comrade who was more badly hurt or had suffered longer. Intense pain and
the fear of impending death are supposed to bring out the selfish,
animal characteristics of man; but they do not in the higher type of
man. Not a single American soldier, in all my experience in that
hospital, ever asked to be examined or treated out of his regular turn
on account of the severity, painful nature, or critical state of his
wound. On the contrary, they repeatedly gave way to one another,
saying: "Take this one first--he's shot through the body. I've only got
a smashed foot, and I can wait." Even the courtesies of life were not
forgotten or neglected in that valley of the shadow of death. If a man
could speak at all, he always said, "Thank you," or "I thank you very
much," when I gave him hard bread or water. One beardless youth who had
been shot through the throat, and who told me in a husky whisper that he
had had no water in thirty-six hours, tried to take a swallow when I
lifted his head. He strangled, coughed up a little bloody froth, and
then whispered: "It's no use; I can't. Never mind!" Our Dr. Egan
afterward gave him water through a stomach-tube. If there was any
weakness or selfishness, or behavior not up to the highest level of
heroic manhood, among the wounded American soldiers in that hospital
during those three terrible days, I failed to see it. As one of the army
surgeons said to me, with the tears very near his eyes: "When I look at
those fellows and see what they stand, I am proud of being an American,
and I glory in the stock. The world has nothing finer."

It was the splendid courage and fortitude of the men that made their
suffering so hard to see. As the row of prostrate bodies on the ground
grew longer and longer Saturday afternoon and evening, the emotional
strain of the situation became almost unbearable, and I would have
exchanged all the knowledge and ability I possessed for the knowledge
and skill even of a hospital steward, so that I might do something more
than carry around food and water to those suffering, uncomplaining
American soldiers.

Late Saturday afternoon there was a heavy tropical shower, which
drenched not only the wounded who were awaiting examination in front of
the operating-tents, but also the men who had been operated upon and
carried away into the long grass. I doubt, however, whether it made
their condition any worse--at least for a time. Most of them had been
exposed for hours to a tropical sun, and the rain must have given them,
at first, a feeling of coolness and relief.

As the sun set and darkness settled down upon the camp after the short
tropical twilight, candles were again lighted around the
operating-tables, and the surgeons worked on without intermission and
without rest. The rattle of rifles and machine-guns and the booming of
artillery along the line of battle died away into an occasional sputter
after dark; the full moon rose into a cloudless sky, and the stillness
of the jungle south of the camp was broken only by an occasional shot
from a sentry or from a Spanish sharp-shooter hidden in a tree. Around
the operating-tables there was a sound of half-audible conversation as
the surgeons gave directions to their assistants or discussed the
injuries of the men upon whom they were at work, and now and then a
peremptory call for "Litter-squad here!" showed that another man was
about to be brought to the operating-table, or carried from it into the
field and laid on the ground.

At midnight Saturday the number of wounded men that had been brought
into the hospital camp was about eight hundred. All that could walk,
after their wounds had been dressed, and all that could bear
transportation to the sea-coast in an army wagon, were sent to Siboney
to be put on board the hospital steamers and transports. There remained
in the camp several hundred who were so severely injured that they could
not possibly be moved, and these were carried to the eastern end of the
field and laid on the ground in the high, wet grass. I cannot imagine
anything more cruelly barbarous than to bring a severely wounded man
back four or five miles to the hospital in a crowded, jolting army
wagon, let him lie from two to four hours with hardly any protection
from the blazing sunshine in the daytime or the drenching dew at night,
rack him with agony on the operating-table, and then carry him away,
weak and helpless, put him on the water-soaked ground, without shelter,
blanket, pillow, food, or drink, and leave him there to suffer alone all
night. And yet I saw this done with scores, if not hundreds, of men as
brave and heroic as any that ever stood in a battle-line. It might not
have been so,--it ought not to have been so,--but so it was; and in that
hospital there were no means whatever of preventing it. The force of
surgeons and hospital stewards immediately available was altogether too
small to attend properly to the great number of wounded thrown suddenly
upon their hands, and no men could be spared to look after the wretched
and suffering soldiers in the grass whose wounds had been treated, when
there were a hundred more who had not even been looked at in twenty-four
hours, and who were lying in a long, closely packed row on the ground,
awaiting their turns at the operating-tables. When a litter-squad had
carried a man away into the bushes, they had to leave him there and
hurry back to put another sufferer on a table or bring another from an
ambulance or army wagon to the operating-line. Instead of the force of
five surgeons and about twenty stewards and attendants with which the
hospital began work on Friday, there should have been a force of fifty
surgeons and at least two hundred stewards, attendants, and
stretcher-bearers, so that they might have been divided into two
watches, or reliefs, working and resting alternately. As it was on
Friday, five surgeons and twenty attendants had to take care of the
wounded from three whole divisions. They were reinforced by five more
surgeons and perhaps twenty more attendants Friday evening, but even
this force was so insufficient and inadequate that at midnight on
Saturday one of the highest medical officers in the camp said to me:
"This department is in a state of complete collapse."

In nothing were the weakness and imperfect equipment of the hospital
more apparent than in the provision made--or rather the lack of
provision--for the care of wounded after their wounds had been dressed.
It seems to have been expected that, when injured men were brought back
from the battle-line, their blankets, canteens, and rations would be
brought with them; but in seventy-five per cent. of the cases this was
not done, and it was unreasonable under the circumstances to expect that
it would be done. The men did not go into action carrying their blankets
and rations; on the contrary, most of them left all unnecessary
impedimenta in their camps and went into the fight as lightly clad as
possible, often stripped naked to the waist. When they were shot, their
comrades picked them up and carried them to the rear just as they were.
There was no time to inquire for their personal belongings or to send to
their camps for their blankets; and they came back to the hospital not
only without blankets or ponchos, but often hatless, shirtless, and in
trousers ripped up by surgeon's scissors. Some of them had empty
canteens, but I did not see one who had food. Ample provision should
have been made in this hospital for clothing, feeding, and supplying the
wants of wounded men brought back in this destitute condition; but such
provision as was made proved to be wholly inadequate. The few dozen
shirts and blankets that the hospital contained were soon distributed,
and then the wounded men were taken from the operating-tables and laid
on the ground in the outskirts of the camp in the same state, as regards
clothing and bedding, that they were in when picked up on the
battle-field. For feeding them no arrangements whatever had been made,
and, indeed, there was no food in the hospital suited to their
requirements. Our Red Cross surgeon, Dr. Egan, and I brought in a few
bottles of malted milk, maltine, beef extract, limes, etc., but as we
could not get transportation for a single pound of stuff and had to
march in twelve miles over a bad road, we could not bring much, and our
limited supply of invalid food, although administered only in desperate
cases, was exhausted in two or three hours.

Major Wood, who superintended the bringing in and disposition of the
wounded, did everything that was possible to make them comfortable, and
worked day and night with tireless energy and devotion; but there was
very little that could be done with the resources at his command.

The second day's battle in front of Santiago consisted, generally
speaking, of a series of attempts on the part of the Spaniards to drive
our troops from the positions which they had taken by assault on Friday.
The firing continued throughout the day, and at times was very heavy;
but just before sunset it died away to a faint sputter and crackle of
rifles, and at dark ceased altogether. The moon rose in an unclouded sky
over the dark tree-tops east of the camp; the crickets began to chirp in
the thicket across the brook; sounds like the rapid shaking of a
billiard-ball in a resonant wooden box came from nocturnal birds or
tree-toads hidden in the depth of the forest; and the teeming life of
the tropical wilderness, frightened into silence for a time by the
uproar of battle, took courage from the stillness of night, and
manifested its presence by chirps, croaks, and queer, unfamiliar cries
in all parts of the encircling jungle.

About ten o'clock the stillness was broken by the boom of a heavy gun at
the front, followed instantly by the crash and rattle of infantry fire,
which grew heavier and heavier, and extended farther and farther to the
north and south, until it seemed to come from all parts of our
intrenched line on the crest of the San Juan ridge. For nearly half an
hour the rattle and sputter of rifles, the drumming of machine-guns, and
the intermittent thunder of artillery filled the air from the outskirts
of Santiago to the hospital camp, drowning the murmur of the rippling
brook, and silencing again the crickets, birds, and tree-toads in the
jungle beyond it. Then the uproar ceased, almost as suddenly as it had
begun; the stillness of night settled down again upon the lonely
tropical wilderness; and if I had not been able to hear the voices of
the surgeons as they consulted over an operating-table, and an
occasional shot from a picket or a sharpshooter in the forest, I should
not have imagined that there was an army or a battle-field within a
hundred miles. From the wounded who came back from the firing line an
hour or two later we learned that the enemy made an attempt, about ten
o'clock, to recapture the San Juan heights, but were repulsed with heavy
loss.

Saturday's fighting did not materially change the relative positions of
the combatants, but it proved conclusively that we could hold the San
Juan ridge against any attacking force that the Spaniards could muster.
Why, after a demonstration of this fact, General Shafter should have
been so discouraged as to "seriously consider the advisability of
falling back to a position five miles in the rear," I do not know. Our
losses in the fighting at Caney and San Juan were only two hundred and
thirty-nine men killed and thirteen hundred and sixty-three wounded, yet
General Shafter was so disheartened that he not only thought of
retreating to a position five miles in the rear, but seems to have been
upon the point of surrendering the command of the army to General
Breckenridge. Ill health, doubtless, had much to do with this feeling of
discouragement. It certainly was not warranted by anything that one
could see at the end of the second day's fight. We had taken every
position that we had attacked; we had lost only ten per cent of our
available force; and we were strongly intrenched on the crest of a high
hill less than a mile and a half from the eastern boundary of the city.
After General Lawton's division and the brigade of General Bates had
reinforced Generals Kent and Wheeler at San Juan, there was very little
reason to fear that the Spaniards would drive us from our position.

The fighting of all our soldiers, both at Caney and at San Juan, was
daring and gallant in the extreme; but I cannot refrain from calling
particular attention to the splendid behavior of the colored troops. It
is the testimony of all who saw them under fire that they fought with
the utmost courage, coolness, and determination, and Colonel Roosevelt
said to a squad of them in the trenches, in my presence, that he never
expected to have, and could not ask to have, better men beside him in a
hard fight. If soldiers come up to Colonel Roosevelt's standard of
courage, their friends have no reason to feel ashamed of them. His
commendation is equivalent to a medal of honor for conspicuous
gallantry, because, in the slang of the camp, he himself is "a fighter
from 'way back." I can testify, furthermore, from my own personal
observation in the field-hospital of the Fifth Army-Corps Saturday and
Saturday night, that the colored regulars who were brought in there
displayed extraordinary fortitude and self-control. There were a great
many of them, but I cannot remember to have heard a groan or a complaint
from a single man. I asked one of them whether any of his comrades
showed signs of fear when they went into action. "No," he replied, with
a grin, "not egzactly; two or three of 'em looked kindo' squandered just
at first, but they mighty soon braced up."

Among the volunteer regiments that were hotly engaged and lost heavily
in Friday's battle were the Seventy-first New York and the Second
Massachusetts. Both were armed with Springfield rifles, and this put
them at a great disadvantage as compared with the regulars, all of whom
used Krag-Jorgensen rifles or carbines with smokeless powder. In a
wooded and chaparral-covered country like that around Santiago, where it
was so easy to find concealment and so difficult to see troops at a
distance, the use of smokeless powder was of the utmost possible
importance. A body of men might be perfectly hidden in woods or
chaparral within five hundred yards of the enemy's intrenchments, and
if they used smokeless powder they might fire from there for half an
hour without being seen or getting a return shot; but if they were armed
with Springfields, the smoke from their very first volley revealed to
the enemy their exact position, and the chaparral that concealed them
was torn to pieces by a hail-storm of projectiles from Mausers and
machine-guns. It was cruel and unreasonable to ask men to go into
action, in such a field, with rifles that could be used only with common
powder. Our men might as well have been required to hoist above the
bushes and chaparral a big flag emblazoned with the words, "Here we
are!" Dr. Hitchcock, surgeon of the Second Massachusetts, told me that
again and again, when they were lying concealed in dense scrub beside a
regiment of regulars, the latter would fire for twenty minutes without
attracting a single return shot from the enemy's line; but the moment
the men of the Second Massachusetts began to use their Springfields, and
the smoke rose above the bushes, the Spaniards would concentrate their
fire upon the spot, and kill or wound a dozen men in as many minutes. It
is to be hoped that our government will not send any more troops abroad
with these antiquated guns. They were good enough in their day, but they
are peculiarly unsuited to the conditions of warfare in a tropical
field.

Wounded men from the front continued to come into the hospital camp on
Saturday until long after midnight, and the exhausted surgeons worked at
the operating-tables by candlelight until 3 A. M. I noticed, carrying
stretchers and looking after the wounded, two or three volunteer
assistants from civil life, among them Mr. Brewer of Pittsburg, who died
of yellow fever a few days later at Siboney.

Worn out by sleeplessness, fatigue, and the emotional strain of two
nights and a day of field-hospital experience, I stretched my hammock
between two trees, about three o'clock in the morning, crawled into it,
and slept, for two or three hours, the dead, dreamless sleep of complete
exhaustion. Dr. Egan, I think, did not lie down at all. After all the
other surgeons had gone to their tents, he wandered about the camp,
looking after the wounded who lay shivering here and there on the bare,
wet ground, and giving them, with medicines, stomach-tube, and catheter,
such relief as he could. Soon after sunrise I awoke, and after a hasty
breakfast began carrying around food and water. I shall not attempt to
describe fully the terrible and heartrending experience of that morning;
but two or three of the scenes that I was compelled to witness seem,
even now, to be etched on my memory in lines of blood. About nine
o'clock, for example, I went into a small wall-tent which sheltered a
dozen or more dangerously wounded Spaniards and Cuban insurgents.
Everything that I saw there was shocking. On the right-hand side of the
tent, face downward and partly buried in the water-soaked, oozy ground,
lay a half-naked Cuban boy, nineteen or twenty years of age, who had
died in the night. He had been wounded in the head and at some time
during the long hours of darkness between sunset and dawn the bandage
had partly slipped off, and hemorrhage had begun. The blood had run down
on his neck and shoulders, coagulating and stiffening as it flowed,
until it had formed a large, red, spongy mass around his neck and on his
naked back between the shoulder-blades. This, with the coal-black hair,
the chalky face partly buried in mud, and the distorted, agonized
attitude of the half-nude body, made one of the most ghastly pictures I
had ever seen. There was already a stench of decomposition in the hot
air of the tent, and the coagulated blood on the half-naked corpse, as
well as the bloody bandage around its head, was swarming with noisy
flies. Just beyond this terrible object, and looking directly at it, was
another young Cuban who had been shot through the body, and who was
half crouching, half kneeling, on the ground, with his hands pressed to
his loins. He was deadly pale, had evidently been in torment all night,
and was crying, over and over again, in a low, agonized tone, "Oh, my
mother, my mother, my mother!" as he looked with distracted eyes at the
bloody, half-naked body of his dead comrade and saw in it his own
impending fate. The stench, the buzzing flies, the half-dried blood, the
groans, and the cries of "O, mi madre!" "O Jesu!" from the half-naked
wretches lying in two rows on the bare, muddy ground, came as near
making an inferno as anything one is ever likely to see.

In another tent, a short distance away, I found a smooth-faced American
soldier about thirty years of age, who had been shot in the head, and
also wounded by a fragment of a shell in the body. He was naked to the
waist, and his whole right side, from-the armpit to the hip, had turned
a purplish-blue color from the bruising blow of the shell. Blood had run
down from under the bandage around his head, and had then dried,
completely covering his swollen face and closed eyelids with a dull-red
mask. On this had settled a swarm of flies, which he was too weak to
brush away, or in too much pain to notice. I thought, at first, that he
was dead; but when I spoke to him and offered him water, he opened his
bloodshot, fly-encircled eyes, looked at me for a moment in a dull,
agonized way, and then closed them and faintly shook his head. Whether
he lived or died, I do not know. When I next visited the tent he was
gone.

As soon as possible after my arrival at the hospital I had obtained an
order from Lieutenant-Colonel Pope, chief surgeon of the Fifth
Army-Corps, for wagons, and on Saturday afternoon I telephoned Miss
Barton from General Shafter's headquarters to send us blankets,
clothing, malted milk, beef extract, tents, tent-flies, and such other
things as were most urgently needed. Sunday afternoon, less than
twenty-four hours after my message reached her, she rode into the
hospital camp in an army wagon, with Mrs. Gardner, Dr. Gardner, Dr.
Hubbell, and Mr. McDowell. They brought with them a wagon-load of
supplies, including everything necessary for a small Red Cross emergency
station, and in less than two hours they were refreshing all the wounded
men in the camp with corn-meal gruel, hot malted milk, beef extract,
coffee, and a beverage known as "Red Cross cider," made by stewing dried
apples or prunes in a large quantity of water, and then pouring off the
water, adding to it the juice of half a dozen lemons or limes, and
setting it into the brook in closed vessels to cool. After that time no
sick or wounded man in the camp, I think, ever suffered for want of
suitable food and drink.

On Monday Miss Barton and Dr. Hubbell went back to the steamer at
Siboney for additional supplies, and in twenty-four hours more we had
blankets, pillows, and hospital delicacies enough to meet all demands.
We should have had them there before the battle began, if we could have
obtained transportation for them from the sea-coast. As fast as possible
the wounded were taken in army wagons from the field-hospital to
Siboney, where they were put on board the transports, and at eight
o'clock on Tuesday evening Major Johnson was able to report to Major
Wood that every wounded man left in the hospital was in a tent, with a
rubber poncho or tarpaulin under him and a blanket over him.

In spite of unfavorable conditions, the percentage of recoveries among
the wounded treated in this hospital was much greater than in any other
war in which the United States has ever been engaged. This was due
partly to improved antiseptic methods of treatment, and partly to the
nature of the wound made by the Mauser bullet. In most cases this wound
was a small, clean perforation, with very little shattering or
mangling, and required only antiseptic bandaging and care. All abdominal
operations that were attempted in the field resulted in death, and none
were performed after the first day, as the great heat and dampness,
together with the difficulty of giving the patients proper nursing and
care, made recovery next to impossible.



CHAPTER XIII

SIBONEY DURING THE ARMISTICE


On the morning of July 3, General Shafter, who had recovered confidence,
demanded the immediate surrender of Santiago, threatening, in case of
refusal, to bombard the city; and negotiations under a flag of truce
continued thereafter for a period of ten days. Meanwhile, on the evening
of Friday, July 8, Miss Barton, Dr. Egan, Dr. Hubbell, and I returned to
the _State of Texas_ to meet Mrs. J. Addison Porter, wife of the
President's secretary, who had just arrived on the hospital steamer
_Relief_, and to get some ice and other hospital supplies of which we
were in need. We left the field-hospital in an army wagon about seven
o'clock and reached Siboney soon after ten. The surf raised by a strong
south-easterly wind was rolling so high on the strip of beach behind
which the village stood that we could not get off on board the _State of
Texas_, nor even communicate with her. It was extremely tantalizing to
us, tired, hungry, and camp-soiled as we were, to see the lights of our
steamer only a quarter of a mile away, to know that almost within reach
were a cool bath, a good supper, a clean bed, and all the comforts, if
not the luxuries, of life, and yet to feel that, so far as we were
concerned, they were as unattainable as if the ship were in the Bay of
San Francisco.

Siboney at that time was a wretched little hamlet containing only ten or
fifteen abandoned and incredibly dirty Spanish houses, most of which
were in use either as hospitals or for government offices. None of them
contained sleeping accommodations, even of the most primitive kind; all
of them were crowded; and if one arrived in the village, as we did, at a
late hour of the night, there was nothing to be done but bivouac
somewhere on the dirty, flea-infested floor of an open piazza, or lie
out on the ground. One of the largest and most commodious buildings in
the village, a one-story house with a high front stoop or porch, had
been used, apparently, during the Spanish occupation of the place, as a
store or shop. At the time of our return from the front it sheltered the
"United States Post-Office, Military Station No. 1," which had been
transferred from Daiquiri to Siboney two or three days before. In front
of this building our army wagon stopped, and we men went in to inquire
for mail and to see if we could find a decently clean place for Miss
Barton to sleep. She was quite ready to bivouac in the army wagon; but
we hoped to get something better for her. Mr. Brewer, the postmaster,
whom I had met in one of my lecture trips through the West and more
recently in the field, received us cordially, and at once offered Miss
Barton his own cot, in a room that had not yet been cleaned or swept,
back of the general delivery department. By the light of a single candle
it seemed to be a gloomy, dirty, and barn-like apartment; but the cot
was the only thing in the shape of a bed that I had seen in Siboney,
outside of the hospitals, and we accepted it for Miss Barton with
grateful hearts. The employees of the post-office were all sleeping in
camp-chairs or on the counters and floors. Where Mr. Brewer went when he
had given his own bed to Miss Barton, I do not know. I left her writing
orders and telegrams by the light of a flaring, guttering candle at
about eleven o'clock, and went out on the piazza to take a more careful
survey of the premises and make up my mind where I would sleep.

Lying across the high stoop was a long white object, which appeared, in
the darkness, to be a woman in her nightgown, with her head raised a
little on the sill of a disused door. I stepped over her once in going
down-stairs to the street, and wondered what calamity of war had reduced
a woman to the necessity of sleeping in such a place and in
circumstances of such hardship and privation. I was just discussing with
Dr. Hubbell the possibility of getting the United States Signal Corps
man in the telegraph office to signal our steamer for a boat, regardless
of the high surf, when the long white figure on the floor rose, with an
unmistakably masculine grunt, and remarked, with a slight English
accent, that he did not think there was any possibility of getting off
to a ship in a small boat, inasmuch as he had been trying for
twenty-four hours to get on board of his own vessel and had not
succeeded yet. The figure proved to be that of Lord Alfred Paget, naval
observer for the British government, and what I had taken in the
darkness for the white gown of a woman was his white-duck uniform. After
discussing the situation for a few moments, and declaring discontentedly
that our engineer corps had had time enough to build six piers and yet
had not finished one, he lay down on the floor again, without blanket,
pillow, or overcoat, rested his head on the sill of the disused door,
and apparently went to sleep, while I debated in my mind the question
whether I had better sleep with him on the floor of the piazza, and take
the chance of getting yellow fever from a possibly infected building, or
lie out on the ground, where I might be stepped on by prowling Cuban
refugees, or run over by a mule-team coming in from the front. I finally
decided that sleeping accommodations which were good enough for Lord
Alfred were good enough for me, and, just as the moon was rising over
the high, rocky rampart east of the village, I rolled myself up in my
blanket and lay down on the floor against the piazza rail. Dr. Hubbell
slept on the counter of the money-order division of the post-office,
while Dr. Egan, without blanket or pillow, stretched himself out on the
dirty planks below.

We were all up at daybreak, and making my toilet by tightening my belt
and putting on my mud-spattered pith helmet, I went down to the water's
edge to try to find some means of communicating with the ship. During my
absence at the front there had evidently been strong winds and heavy
seas, for the strip of beach was covered with the wrecks of lighters
which had been smashed while trying to land supplies in the surf, and a
large steam lighter-launch, loaded with twenty tons or more of hard
bread, beans, etc., was lying on the bottom, half submerged, about fifty
yards from shore, with the sea breaking over her. The small temporary
pier at which I landed when I went to the front had been completely
demolished and swept away, but another stronger one was in process of
construction.

The most serious embarrassments with which the army of invasion had to
contend after it reached the coast and began its march on Santiago were:
first, the extreme difficulty of landing supplies in a place like
Siboney, where there was neither pier nor shelter, and where the beach
was lashed a large part of the time by a high and dangerous surf; and,
second, the difficulty of getting such supplies to the front over a
single line of very bad road, with an insufficient number of mules and
army wagons. If these two difficulties had been foreseen and provided
for there would not have been so many smashed lighters and launches on
the beach, and the soldiers at the front would not have lived so much of
the time on short rations, nor have been compelled to boil water and
cook their rations in coffee-cups and tomato-cans, as they had to do
throughout the campaign. The difficulty of landing supplies on that
exposed and surf-beaten coast might have been anticipated, it seems to
me, and provided for. The warships of Sampson's and Schley's fleets were
there long before General Shafter's army left Tampa, and their
commanders must have seen, I think, that to get supplies ashore through
the surf at any point between Santiago and Guantanamo Bay would be
extremely difficult and hazardous, and would probably require the use of
special engineering devices and appliances. The prevailing winds there
are from the east and southeast, and from such winds the little
indentations of the coast at Siboney and Daiquiri afforded no protection
whatever. A strong breeze raised a sea which might amount to nothing
outside, but which was very troublesome, if not dangerous, to loaded
boats and lighters as soon as they reached the line where it began to
break in surf. The water was very deep close to shore; it was difficult,
therefore, to construct a pier of any great length; and even if there
had been a long and solid pier, small boats and lighters could not have
discharged cargo upon it with any safety while they were being tossed up
and down and dashed against it by a heavy sea.

I do not pretend to be an expert in such matters, but in watching the
landing of supplies here, both from our own steamer and from the army
transports, it seemed to me that what is known, I believe, as a "cable
hoist" might have been used to advantage if it had been provided in
time. It is a contrivance resembling the cable and car employed by
life-saving crews on our coasts to bring shipwrecked sailors ashore
under similar conditions; or, to use a comparison that is more familiar,
it is a reproduction on a large scale of the traveling cash-boxes on
wires used in large department stores. If a suitable transport had been
anchored outside the line of surf, fifty or seventy-five yards from the
beach, and a steel cable stretched from it to a strong mast on shore, I
do not see any reason why cargo might not have been carried over the
cable in a suspended car or cars with much greater rapidity and safety
than it was carried in lighters. Such devices are used, I think, at
several points on the western coast of South America for putting guano
and phosphates on board of vessels where communication with the shore is
hazardous and uncertain on account of swell or surf.

The second difficulty, namely, that of transportation to the front,
might have been avoided by taking to Cuba a larger number of wagons and
mules. Our army before Santiago suffered for want of a great many things
that the soldiers had with them on the transports, but that were not
landed and carried promptly forward. Among such things were large tents,
rubber blankets, camp-kettles, and large cooking-utensils generally.
"What's the use of telling us to drink only boiled water," said an
officer of the Seventh Infantry to me, "when we haven't anything bigger
than a coffee-cup or an old tomato-can to boil it in, or to keep it in
after it has been boiled? They tell us also that we must sleep in
hammocks, not get wet if we can help it, and change our underclothes
whenever we do get wet. That's all very well, but there isn't a hammock
in my company. I haven't any rubber blanket or spare underclothes
myself, and I don't believe any of my soldiers have. They made us leave
at Tampa everything that we could possibly dispense with, and then, when
we got here, they didn't land and send with us even the indispensable
things that we had on the transports."

The complaint of the officer was a perfectly just one, and I heard many
more like it. The insufficient and inadequate provision for the care and
feeding of the wounded at the field-hospital of the Fifth Army-Corps,
which I have tried to describe in the preceding chapter, was due largely
to the inability of General Shafter's commissaries and quartermasters
to cope successfully with the two great difficulties above indicated,
namely, landing from the steamers and transportation to the front. The
hospital corps had supplies on the vessels at Siboney, but as everything
could not possibly be landed and carried forward at once, preference was
given to ammunition and rations for able-bodied soldiers rather than to
tents, blankets, and invalid food for the wounded. I do not mean to be
understood as saying that the hospital-corps men had even on the
transports everything that they needed in order to enable them to take
proper care of the eight hundred or one thousand wounded who were thrown
on their hands in the course of forty-eight hours. I do not know whether
they had or not. Neither do I mean to say that the commissaries and
quartermasters did not do all that they possibly could to land and
forward supplies of all kinds. I mean only that, as a result of our
inability to surmount difficulties promptly, our army at the front was
not properly equipped and our wounded were not adequately cared for.

The hospital corps and quartermaster's and commissary departments of the
army, however, were not alone in their failure to anticipate and fully
provide for these difficulties. The Red Cross itself was in no better
case. There was perhaps more excuse for us, because when we fitted out
we did not know where the army was going nor what it proposed to do, and
we had been assured by the surgeon-general and by General Shafter that,
so far as the care of sick and wounded soldiers was concerned, our
services would not be required. We expected, however, that they would
be, and could we have known in what field and under what conditions our
army was going to move and fight, we should probably have had, in some
directions, a better, or at least a more suitable, equipment. If we had
had at Siboney on June 26 half a dozen army wagons, an equal number of
saddle-horses, and forty or fifty mules of our own, we should have been
in much better condition than we were to cope with the difficulties of
the situation. But for the assistance of the army, which helped us out
with transportation, notwithstanding its own limited resources, we
should not have been able to establish a Red Cross station at the front
in time to coöperate with the hospital corps after the battle of July
1-2, nor should we have been able to send food to the fifteen thousand
refugees from Santiago who fled, hungry and destitute, to the right wing
of our army at Caney when General Shafter threatened to bombard the
city. For the opportunity to get into the field we were indebted to the
general in command, to his hospital corps, and to the officers of his
army; and we desire most gratefully to acknowledge and thank them for
the helping hand that they extended to us when we had virtually no
transportation whatever of our own.

When we returned to the _State of Texas_ on July 9, the situation, so
far as Red Cross relief-work on the southeastern coast of Cuba is
concerned, was briefly as follows: We had a station in the
field-hospital of the Fifth Army-Corps at the front, and a hospital of
our own in Siboney, with twenty-five beds attended by six trained nurses
under direction of Dr. Lesser. We also had entire charge of one ward of
thirty beds in the general hospital directed by General Lagarde. We were
feeding refugees at several points on a line extending east and west
nearly sixty miles from the right wing of our army at Caney to the naval
station at Guantanamo Bay, and at the latter place we had landed fifteen
thousand rations to be distributed under the general direction of
Captain McCalla, of the cruiser _Marblehead_, and General Perez,
commanding the Cuban forces in the Guantanamo district. To the refugees
from Santiago at Caney--about fifteen thousand in number and mostly
women and children--we had forwarded, chiefly in army wagons furnished
by General Shafter, six or eight tons of food, and were sending more as
fast as we could land it in lighters through the surf. Mr. Elwell, of
Miss Barton's staff, was taking care of two or three thousand refugees
at Firmeza, a small village in the hills back of Siboney, and we hoped
soon to enter the harbor of Santiago, discharge the cargo of the _State
of Texas_ at a pier, assort it in a warehouse, and prosecute the work of
relief upon a more extensive scale. Our sanguine anticipations, however,
were not to be realized as soon as we hoped they would be, and our
relief-work was practically suspended on July 10, as the result of an
outbreak of yellow fever.

The circumstances in which this fever first made its appearance were as
follows: When the army landed at Siboney it found there a dirty little
Cuban village of from twelve to twenty deserted houses, situated at the
bottom of a wedge-shaped cleft in the long, rocky rampart which forms
the coast-line between Siboney and Morro Castle, and at the mouth of a
low, swampy, malarious ravine or valley extending back into the
foot-hills, and opening upon the sea through the notch. The site of the
village, from a sanitary point of view, was a very bad one, not only
because it was low and confined, but because in the valley immediately
back of it there were a number of stagnant, foul-smelling ponds and
pools, half overgrown with rank tropical vegetation, and so full of
decaying organic matter that when I passed them for the first time on my
way to the front I instinctively held my breath as much as possible
because the very air from them seemed poisonous. The houses of the
village, as a result of long neglect, had become as objectionable from a
sanitary point of view as the location in which they stood. They were
rather large, well-built, one-story frame houses with zinc roofs, and
were erected, if I mistake not, by the Spanish-American Iron Company for
the accommodation of its native employees. Originally they must have
been very commodious and comfortable buildings, but through the neglect
and untidiness of their later occupants they had become so dirty that no
self-respecting human being would be willing to live in them.

Such were the village and the houses of Siboney when the army landed
there on June 23. In view of the nature of the Cuban climate during the
rainy season, and the danger of infection from abandoned houses whose
history was entirely unknown, and within whose walls there might have
been yellow fever, it was obviously somebody's duty not only to clean up
the place as far as possible, but to decide whether the houses should be
burned to the ground as probable sources of infection, or, on the other
hand, washed out, fumigated, and used. The surgeons of the blockading
fleet recommended that the buildings be destroyed, for the reason that
if Siboney were to be the army's base of supplies it would be imprudent
to run the risk of infection by allowing them to be used. Instead of
acting upon this advice, however, the army officers in command at
Siboney not only allowed the houses to be occupied from the very first,
but put men into them without either disinfecting them or cleaning their
dirty floors. Chlorid of lime was not used anywhere, and the foul
privies immediately back of and adjoining the houses were permitted to
stand in the condition in which they were found, so that the daily rains
washed the excrement from them down under the floors to saturate further
the already contaminated soil.

When we returned from the front on July 9, we found the condition of the
village worse than ever. No attempt, apparently, had been made to clean
or disinfect it; no sanitary precautions had been taken or health
regulations enforced; hundreds of incredibly dirty and ragged
Cubans--some of them employed in discharging the government transports
and some of them merely loafers, camp-followers, and thieves--thronged
the beach, evacuating their bowels in the bushes and throwing remnants
of food about on the ground to rot in the hot sunshine; there was a dead
and decomposing mule in one of the stagnant pools behind the village,
and the whole place stank. If, under such conditions, an epidemic of
fever had not broken out, it would have been so strange as to border on
the miraculous. Nature alone would probably have brought it about, but
when nature and man coöperated the result was certain. On July 8 the
army surgeons reported three cases of yellow fever among the sick in the
abandoned Spanish houses on shore. On the 10th the number of cases had
increased to thirty, and included Dr. Lesser, chief surgeon of the Red
Cross, and his wife, two Red Cross nurses, and Mrs. Trumbull White, wife
of the correspondent of the Chicago "Record," who had been working as a
nurse in the Red Cross hospital.

On the 11th General Miles arrived from Washington, and on ascertaining
the state of affairs ordered the burning of every house in the village.
I doubt very much whether this step was necessary or judicious, for the
reason that it was taken too late. If there was any reason to believe,
when the army first began to disembark at Siboney, that the houses of
the village were likely to become sources of infection, they should have
been burned or fumigated at once. To burn them after they had set yellow
fever afloat in that malarious and polluted atmosphere was like locking
the stable door after the horse has been stolen. But it is very
questionable whether they should have been burned at any time. In a
country like eastern Cuba, where at intervals of two or three days
throughout the wet season there is a tropical downpour of rain which
deluges the ground and beats through the most closely woven tent, a
house with a tight zinc roof and a dry floor is a most valuable
possession, and it should not be destroyed if there is any way of
disinfecting it and making it a safe place of human habitation. All the
evidence obtainable in Santiago was to the effect that these houses
were not infected with yellow fever; but even if they had been, it was
quite possible, I think, to save them and make them useful. If, when the
army landed, the best of the buildings had been thoroughly cleaned and
then fumigated by shutting them up tightly and burning sulphur and other
suitable chemical substances in them, the disease-germs that they
contained might have been destroyed. Convict barges saturated with the
germs of smallpox, typhus, dysentery, and all sorts of infectious and
contagious diseases are treated in this way in Siberia, and there is no
reason why houses should not be so purified in Cuba. General Miles and
his chief surgeon decided, however, that the whole village should be
burned, and burned it was. The postal, telegraph, and signal-service
officers were turned out of their quarters and put into tents; a
yellow-fever camp was established in the hills about two miles north of
Siboney; more hospital tents and tent-flies were pitched along the
sea-coast west of the notch; and as fast as sick and wounded soldiers
could be removed from the condemned houses and put under canvas or sent
to the yellow-fever camp, the houses were destroyed.

In view of the fact that yellow fever had made its appearance in the
army before Santiago as well as at Siboney, Miss Barton, acting under
the advice and direction of Major Wood, chief surgeon of the First
Division hospital, abandoned the Red Cross station at the front, brought
all its equipment and supplies back to the sea-coast, and put them again
on board the _State of Texas_. She also decided not to allow
fever-stricken employees of the Red Cross to be cared for on board the
steamer, and Dr. and Mrs. Lesser and two nurses were therefore carried
on their cots to a railroad-train and transported to the yellow-fever
camp two miles away. I went through the fever hospital where they lay
just before they were removed, and made up my mind--very ignorantly and
presumptuously, perhaps--that neither they nor any of the patients whom
I saw had yellow fever, either in a mild form or in any form whatever.
They seemed to me to have nothing more than calenture, brought on by
overwork, a malarious atmosphere, and a bad sanitary environment. Mrs.
White, who was also said to have yellow fever, recovered in three days,
just in time to escape being sent to the yellow-fever camp with Dr. and
Mrs. Lesser. I have no doubt that there were some yellow-fever cases
among the sick who were sent to the camp at the time when the village of
Siboney was burned, but I did not happen to see any of them, and it is
the opinion of many persons who are far better qualified to judge than
I, that yellow-fever cases and calenture cases were lumped together
without much discrimination, and that the latter greatly outnumbered the
former.

On July 15 the number of so-called yellow-fever cases exceeded one
hundred, and the most energetic measures were being taken by the medical
authorities on shore to prevent the further spread of the disease.
Everything that could possibly hold or transmit infection was burned,
including my blankets, mackintosh-cape, etc., which I had accidentally
left in the post-office overnight, as well as all the baggage and
personal effects of the postal clerks. Mr. Brewer, the postmaster, died
of the fever, Mr. Kempner, the assistant postmaster, was reduced to
sleeping in a camp-chair out of doors without overcoat or blanket, and
the telegraph and telephone operators worked night and day in a damp,
badly ventilated tent, with their feet literally in pools of mud and
water.

On July 15 we heard at Siboney that Santiago had surrendered, and on the
following day we steamed down to the mouth of Santiago harbor, with a
faint hope that we might be permitted to enter. Admiral Sampson,
however, informed us that the surrender, although agreed upon, had not
yet taken place, and that it would be impossible for us to enter the
harbor until after Morro Castle and the shore batteries had been
evacuated. We then sailed for Guantanamo Bay, with the intention of
landing more supplies for the refugees in that district; but inasmuch as
we had been lying in the fever-infected port of Siboney, Captain
McCalla, who came out to the mouth of the bay in a steam-launch to meet
us, refused to take the supplies, and would not let us communicate with
the shore. On the night of July 16, therefore, we returned to Siboney,
and at noon on the 17th we were again off Morro Castle, waiting for an
opportunity to enter the harbor.



CHAPTER XIV

ENTERING SANTIAGO HARBOR


As soon as possible after our return from Guantanamo, Miss Barton sent a
note to Admiral Sampson, on board the flagship _New York,_ saying that,
as the inhabitants of the city were reported to be in a starving
condition, she hoped that food would be allowed to go in with the
forces. The admiral promptly replied: "The food shall enter in advance
of the forces; you may go in this afternoon." Almost any other naval
commander, after destroying a hostile fleet and reducing all the
batteries that defended a hostile city, would have wished to crown his
victory and enjoy his triumph by entering the harbor in advance of all
other vessels and on one of his own ships of war; but Admiral Sampson,
with the modesty and generosity characteristic of a great and noble
nature, waived his right to be the first to enter the city, and sent in
the _State of Texas_, flying the flag of the Red Cross and carrying food
and relief for the wounded, the starving, and the dying.

An officer from the _New York_ had been at work all day locating and
removing the submarine mines in the narrow part of the channel just
north of Morro Castle; but there were still four that had not been
exploded. As they were electrical mines, however, and as the cables
connecting them with the shore had been cut, they were no longer
dangerous, and there was nothing to prevent the entrance of the _State
of Texas_ except the narrowness of the unobstructed part of the channel.
The collier _Merrimac_, sunk by Lieutenant Hobson and his men, was not
in a position to interfere seriously with navigation. Cervera's fleet
ran out without any serious trouble on the western side of her, and
there was no reason why Admiral Sampson, if he decided to force an
entrance, should not run in, following the same course. In order to
prevent this, the Spaniards, on the night of July 4, attempted to sink
the old war-ship _Reina Mercedes_ in such a position that she would
close the channel at a point where it is very narrow, between the
_Merrimac_ and the entrance to the harbor. The ships of the blockading
fleet, however, saw her coming out about midnight, turned their big guns
upon her, and sank her with six-and eight-inch projectiles before she
could get into position. She drifted around parallel with the shore, and
lay half submerged on the eastern side of the channel, about one hundred
and fifty yards from the entrance and three hundred or three hundred and
fifty yards from the _Merrimac_.

At four o'clock Admiral Sampson sent Lieutenant Capehart on board the
_State of Texas_ to give Captain Young all necessary information with
regard to the channel and the mines, and a few moments later, under the
guidance of a Cuban pilot, we steamed slowly in under the gray, frowning
battlements of Morro Castle. As we approached it I had an opportunity to
see, for the first time, the nature and extent of the damage done to it
by the guns of Admiral Sampson's fleet, and I was glad to find that,
although it had been somewhat battered on its southern or sea face, its
architectural picturesqueness had not been destroyed or even seriously
impaired. To an observer looking at it from the south, it has, in
general outline, the appearance of three huge cubes or rectangular
masses of gray masonry, put together in such a way that the largest
cube occupies the crest of the bold, almost precipitous bluff which
forms the eastern side of the entrance to the harbor, while the other
two descend from it in colossal steps of diminishing size toward an
escarpment in the hillside seventy-five or a hundred feet below, where
appear five or six square, grated doors, leading, apparently, to a row
of subterranean ammunition-vaults. Underneath the escarpment is a zigzag
flight of steps, screened at exposed points by what seem to be
comparatively recent walls, or curtains of masonry, much lighter in
color than the walls of the castle itself. Still lower down, at the base
of the bluff, are two or three huge, dark caves into which the swell of
the Caribbean Sea rolls with a dull, reverberating roar. The height of
the castle above the water appears to be one hundred and fifty or two
hundred feet. There are very few embrasures, or port-holes, in the gray,
lichen-stained walls of the old fortification, and, so far as I could
see, it had no armament whatever except two or three guns mounted en
barbette on the parapet of the uppermost cube, or bastion.

As a defensive work the Morro Castle of Santiago has no importance or
significance whatever, and its complete destruction would not have made
it any easier for Admiral Sampson to force an entrance to the harbor. It
is the oldest Morro, however, in Cuba; and as a relic of the past, and
an interesting and attractive feature in a landscape already
picturesque, it has the highest possible value, and I am more than glad
that it was not destroyed. There was no reason, really, for bombarding
it at all, because it was perfectly harmless. The defenses of Santiago
that were really dangerous and effective were the submarine mines in the
channel and the earthwork batteries east and west of the entrance to the
harbor. Morro was huge, formidable-looking, and impressive to the eye
and the imagination, but the horizontal reddish streaks of freshly
turned earth along the crests of the hills east and west of it had ten
times its offensive power. I saw the last Spanish soldier leave the
castle at noon on Sunday, and when we passed it, soon after four
o'clock, its flag was gone, its walls were deserted, and buzzards were
soaring in circles about its little corner turrets.

About one hundred and fifty yards inside the entrance to the harbor we
passed the wreck of the _Reina Mercedes_, lying close to the shore, on
the right-hand side of the channel, with her port rail under water and
her masts sloping at an angle of forty-five degrees to the westward. Two
brass-bound sea-chests and a pile of signal-flags were lying on her deck
aft, and she had not been touched, apparently, since she was sunk by the
guns of our battle-ships on the night of July 4.

Three hundred or three hundred and fifty yards farther in we passed what
the sailors of the fleet call "Hobson's choice," the steam-collier
_Merrimac_. She lay in deep water, about midway from shore to shore, and
all that could be seen of her were the tops of her masts and about two
feet of her smoke-stack. If the channel were narrow and were in the
middle of the passage, she would have blocked it completely; but
apparently it is wider than her length, and vessels drawing twenty feet
or more of water could go around her without touching bottom. It is a
little remarkable that both combatants should have tried to obstruct
this channel and that neither should have succeeded. The location chosen
by the Spaniards seemed to me to be a better one than that selected by
Hobson; but it is so near the mouth of the harbor that the chance of
reaching it with a vessel in the glare of our search-lights and under
the fire of our guns was a very slight one. The _Reina Mercedes_ reached
it, but was disabled before she could get into position.[5]

Beyond the _Merrimac_ the entrance to the harbor widens a little, but
the shores continue high and steep for a distance of a mile or more. At
intervals of a few hundred yards, however, beautiful deep coves run back
into the high land on either side, and at the head of every one the eye
catches a glimpse of a little settlement of half a dozen houses with
red-tiled roofs, or a country villa shaded by palms and half hidden in
shrubbery and flowers. One does not often see, in the tropics or
elsewhere, a harbor entrance that is more striking and picturesque than
the watery gateway which leads from the ocean to the spacious upper bay
of Santiago. It does not look like an inlet of the sea, but suggests
rather a tranquil, winding river, shut in by high, steep ramparts of
greenery, with here and there an opening to a beautiful lateral cove,
where the dark masses of chaparral are relieved by clumps of graceful,
white-stemmed palms and lighted up by the solid sheets of bright-red
flowers which hide the foliage of the _flamboyam_, or flame-tree.

As ours was the first vessel that had entered the harbor in nearly two
months, and as we were flying the Red Cross flag, our arrival naturally
caused great excitement in all the little settlements and at all the
villas along the shores. Men, women, and children ran down to the
water's edge, waving their hats and handkerchiefs or brandishing their
arms in joyous welcome, and even old, gray-haired, and feeble women, who
could not get as far as the shore, stood in front of their little
houses, now gazing at us in half-incredulous amazement, and then
crossing themselves devoutly with bowed heads, as if thanking God that
siege and starvation were over and help and food at hand.

About half-way between Morro Castle and Santiago there is a high, bare,
flat-topped hill, or mesa, called the Behia, on which there is a
signal-station with a mast for the display of flags. Just before this
hill is reached the channel widens, and, as the steamer rounds a high,
bold promontory, the beautiful upper bay comes into view, like a great
placid lake framed in a magnificent amphitheater of mountains, with a
fringe of cocoanut-palms here and there to break the level shore-line,
and a few splashes of vivid red where flame-trees stand out in brilliant
relief against the varied green of the mountain background. Two miles
away, on the eastern side of the harbor, appeared the city of
Santiago--a sloping expanse of red-tiled roofs, green mango-trees, and
twin-belfried Spanish churches, rising from the water's edge to the
crest of a range of low hills which bound the bay on that side. A week
or ten days earlier I had seen the town from the rifle-pits of the Rough
Riders at the front of our army; but its appearance from the harbor was
so different that I could hardly recognize it as the same place. Seen
from the intrenched hill occupied by General Wheeler's brigade, it
appeared to consist mainly of barracks, hospitals, and shed-like
buildings flying the flag of the Red Cross, and had no beauty or
picturesqueness whatever; but from the water it seemed to be rather an
interesting and attractive Spanish-American town.

As we entered the upper bay and caught sight of the city, some of our
Red Cross nurses who were standing with Miss Barton in a little group at
the bow of the steamer felt impelled to give expression to their
feelings in some way, and, acting upon a sudden impulse and without
premeditation, they began to sing in unison "Praise God, from whom all
blessings flow." Never before, probably, had the doxology been heard on
the waters of Santiago harbor, and it must have been more welcome music
to the crowds assembling on shore than the thunder of Admiral Sampson's
cannon and the jarring rattle of machine-guns from the advance line of
our army. The doxology was followed by "My country, 'tis of thee," in
which the whole ship's company joined with a thrill of patriotic pride;
and to this music the _State of Texas_ glided swiftly up the harbor to
her anchorage. It was then about half-past five. The daily afternoon
thunder-shower had just passed over the city, and its shadow still lay
heavy on the splendid group of peaks west of the bay; but the
light-green slopes of the grassy mountains to the eastward, as well as
the red roofs and gray church steeples of the city, were bathed in the
warm yellow light of the sinking sun.

Before we had fairly come to anchor, a great crowd had assembled on the
pier nearest to us, and in less than five minutes half a dozen small
boats were alongside, filled with people anxious to know whether we had
brought food and when we would begin to distribute it. Many of them said
that they had not tasted bread in weeks, and all agreed that there was
nothing to eat in the city except rice, and very little of that. We told
them that we should begin discharging the cargo of the _State of Texas_
early on the following morning and should be in a position to feed ten
thousand people within the next twenty-four hours. The normal population
of the city at that time was about fifty thousand, but a large part of
it had fled to Caney and other suburban villages to escape the
bombardment, and more than half the houses were closed and deserted.
General Shafter had entered the city with a single regiment--the Ninth
Infantry--at noon, and had raised the American flag over the palace of
the Spanish governor.



CHAPTER XV

THE CAPTURED CITY


We lay at anchor all Sunday night off the foot of the street known as
Calle Baja de la Marina, and early on Monday morning steamed up to the
most spacious and convenient pier in the city, made fast our lines, and
began to discharge cargo. The dock and warehouse facilities of Santiago
are fairly good. They are not so extensive as those of an American
seaport of equal importance, but so far as they go they leave little to
be desired. The pier at which the _State of Texas_ lay was spacious and
well built; an iron tramway ran from it to the customs warehouse, and,
with the help of one hundred stevedores, Mr. Warner, of Miss Barton's
staff, found it possible to unload and store from three hundred and
twenty-five to three hundred and fifty tons of foodstuffs per day. As
soon as the steamer had made fast her lines a great crowd of
forlorn-looking men and children, clothed in the loose, dirty
white-cotton shirts and trousers and battered straw hats which make up
the costume of the lower classes, assembled on the pier to stare at the
newcomers and watch the unloading of the ship. They were of all ages and
complexions, from coal-black, grizzle-headed old negroes leaning on
canes to half-starved and half-naked Cuban children, whose tallowy faces
and distended abdomens were unmistakable evidences of fever and famine.
They were not, as a rule, emaciated, nor did they seem to be in the
last stages of starvation; but the eagerness with which they crowded
about the open ports of the steamer, and watched the bags of beans,
rice, and corn-meal as they were brought out by the stevedores and
placed on the little flat-cars of the tramway, showed that at least they
were desperately hungry. Now and then a few beans, or a few grains of
rice, would escape from one of the bags through a small rip or tear, and
in an instant half a dozen little children would be scrambling for them,
collecting them carefully one by one, and putting them into their hats
or tying them up in their shirt-tails and the hems of their tattered
frocks. In one instance half a bushel or more of corn-meal escaped from
a torn bag and lay in a heap on the dirty pier. One of the prowling
Cuban boys espied it, gathered up a hatful of it, and then looked around
for something in which he could put the remainder. Failing to see
anything that could be utilized as a receptacle, he seemed for a moment
to be in despair; but presently a bright thought flashed into his mind,
and was reflected in his thin, eager, street-Arab face. Taking out of
his pocket two bits of dirty string, he tied his loose cotton trousers
tightly around his ankles, and then, unbuttoning his waist-band, he
began scooping up the corn-meal from the filthy planks and shoveling it
into his baggy breeches. Five minutes later he waddled off the pier in
triumph, looking, so far as his legs were concerned, like a big, badly
stuffed sawdust doll, or a half-starved gamin suffering from
elephantiasis.

As the day advanced, the number of men and children who crowded about
the steamer watching for opportunities to pilfer or pick up food became
so great that it was necessary to clear the pier and put a guard of
soldiers there to exclude the public altogether. Then the hungry people
formed in a dense mass in the street opposite the steamer, and stood
there in the blazing sunshine for hours, watching the little flat-cars
loaded with provisions as they were rolled past to the warehouse. From
an English cable-operator, who came down to the pier, we learned that
for weeks there had been nothing in the city to eat except rice, and
that the supply even of that was limited. Hard-bread crackers had sold
as high as one dollar apiece and canned meat at four dollars a can, and
many well-to-do families had not tasted bread, meat, or milk in more
than a month.

Although there was said to be little or no yellow fever in Santiago, the
captain of the _State of Texas_ decided to quarantine the steamer
against the shore, and gave notice to all on board that if any person
left the ship he could not return to it. This made going ashore a
serious matter, because there was virtually nothing to eat in the city,
and no place for a stranger to stay, and if one cut loose from the
steamer he might find himself without shelter and without any means
whatever of subsistence. We had on board, fortunately, a young American
named Elwell, who had lived several years in Santiago, and was well
acquainted not only with its resources, but with a large number of its
citizens. He said that there was a club there known as the
Anglo-American Club, organized and supported by the foreign merchants of
the city and the English cable-operators. Of this club he was one of the
organizers and charter members, and although it had been closed during
the blockade and siege, it would probably be reopened at once, and with
an introduction from him I could get a room in it. He doubted whether
the steward could give me anything to eat, but I could take food enough
with me to last for a day or two, and as soon as possible arrangements
would be made to supply the club with provisions from the _State of
Texas_. Encouraged by this statement of the possibilities, I decided on
Tuesday morning to abandon the steamer and trust myself to the tender
mercies of the city and the Anglo-American Club. Hastily packing up a
couple of hand-bags, and hiring a ragged, dirty Cuban to carry them and
act in the capacity of guide, I left the ship, elbowed my way through
the crowd of people at the head of the pier, and entered one of the
narrow, ill-paved, and incredibly dirty streets which lead upward from
the water-front to the higher part of the city.

The first impression made by Santiago upon the newcomer in July, 1898,
was one of dirt, disorder, and neglect. It always had the reputation of
being the dirtiest city in Cuba, and at the time of the surrender it was
at its worst. I hardly know how to give an adequate idea of it to one
who is not familiar with Spanish-American cities and architecture, but I
will try. In the first place, the site of the city is the slope of a
hill which falls rather steeply to the water on the eastern side of the
bay. The most important streets, such as Enramadas and Calle Baja de la
Marina, extend up and down the slope at right angles to the water-front,
and are crossed at fairly regular intervals by narrower streets or
alleys running horizontally along the hillside, following its contour
and dipping down here and there into the gullies or ravines which
stretch from the crest of the hill to the shore of the bay. As a result
of the natural configuration of the ground there is hardly a street in
the city that is even approximately level except the wide boulevard
which forms the water-front. The east and west streets climb a rather
steep grade from this boulevard to the crest of the elevation, and the
north and south streets run up and down over the ridges and into the
gullies of the undulating slope, so that wherever one goes one finds
one's self either ascending or descending a hill. The widest streets in
the city--exclusive of the Cristina Boulevard--are hardly more than
thirty feet from curb to curb, and the narrowest do not exceed fifteen.
The pavements at the time of my visit were made of unbroken stones and
rocks from the size of one's fist to the size of a bushel-basket; the
sidewalks averaged from two to three and a half feet in width, and the
gutters were open drains, broken here and there by holes and pockets
filled with decaying garbage and dirty, foul-smelling water. Piles of
mango-skins, ashes, old bones, filthy rags, dung, and kitchen refuse of
all sorts lay here and there on the broken and neglected pavements,
poisoning the air with foul exhalations and affording sustenance to
hundreds of buzzards and myriads of flies; little rills of foul,
discolored water trickled into the open gutters at intervals from the
kitchens and cesspools of the adjoining houses; every hole and crevice
in the uneven pavement was filled with rotting organic matter washed
down from the higher levels by the frequent rains, and when the
sea-breeze died away at night the whole atmosphere of the city seemed to
be pervaded by a sickly, indescribable odor of corruption and decay. I
had expected, as a matter of course, to find Santiago in bad sanitary
condition, but I must confess that I felt a little sinking of the heart
when I first breathed that polluted air and realized that for me there
was no return to the ship and that I must henceforth eat, work, and
sleep in that fever-breeding environment. In a long and tolerably varied
experience in Russia, the Caucasus, Asia Minor, and European Turkey, I
have never seen streets so filthy as in some parts of this Cuban city,
nor have I ever encountered such a variety of abominable stenches as I
met with in the course of my short walk from the steamer to the
Anglo-American Club.

The houses and shops which stood along these narrow, dirty streets were
generally one story in height, with red-tiled roofs, high, blank walls
of stuccoed or plastered brick covered with a calcimine wash of pale
blue or dirty yellow, large, heavy plank doors, and equally large,
unglazed windows protected by prison gratings of iron bars and closed
with tight inner shutters. There were no trees in the streets,--at
least, in the business part of the city,--no yards in front of the
houses, no shop-windows for the display of goods, and no windows of
glass even in the best private houses. I cannot remember to have seen a
pane of window-glass in this part of Cuba. The windows of both shops and
houses were mere rectangular openings in the wall, six feet by ten or
twelve feet in size, filled with heavy iron gratings or protected by
ornamental metal scrollwork embedded all around in the solid masonry.
These barred windows, with the heavy plank doors, thick stuccoed walls,
and complete absence of architectural ornament, made the narrow, muddy
streets look almost as gloomy and forbidding as if they were shut in by
long rows of Russian prisons. The natural gloominess of the city, due to
the narrowness of the streets and the character of the architecture, was
heightened at the time of the surrender by the absence of a large part
of the population and the consequent shutting up of more than half the
houses. Thousands of men, women, and children had fled to Caney and
other suburban villages to escape the bombardment, and the long rows of
closed and empty houses in some of the streets suggested a city stricken
by pestilence and abandoned. At the time when we landed there was not a
shop or a store open in any part of Santiago. Here and there one might
see a colored woman peering out through the grated window of a private
house, or two or three naked children with tallowy complexions and
swollen abdomens playing in the muddy gutter, but as a rule the houses
were shut and barred and the streets deserted.

The first pleasant impression that I received in Santiago was made by
the Anglo-American Club. It was situated on a narrow, dirty street
behind the Spanish theater, in a very low, disreputable part of the
city, and did not impress me, at first sight, as being likely to afford
even the ordinary necessaries and comforts of life, much less the
luxuries and conveniences suggested to the mind of a city man by the
word "club." But external appearance in a Spanish-American city is often
deceptive, and it was so in this case. Opposite the rear or stage
entrance of the theater, where half a dozen soldiers of the Ninth
Infantry were cooking breakfast in the street, my ragged Cuban guide
turned into a dark vaulted passage which looked as if it might be one of
the approaches to a jail. "It can't be possible," I said to myself,
"that this damp, gloomy tunnel is the entrance to a club; the guide must
have misunderstood the directions given him."

But the guide was right. At a distance of thirty-five or forty feet from
the street the vaulted passage opened into a paved patio, or court,--a
sort of large, square well,--in the center of which stood a green,
thrifty, broad-leaved banana-tree, fifteen or twenty feet in height.
From the corners of this court, on the side opposite the street
entrance, two broad flights of steps led up to what seemed to be a
hanging garden of greenery and flowers, shut in on all sides by piazzas
and galleries. Climbing one of these flights of steps, I found myself in
a second and higher patio, shaded by large mango-and mamonilla-trees,
brightened by borders of flowering shrubs and plants, and filled with
the fragrance of roses, geraniums, and pomegranate blossoms. The
transition from the heat, filth, and sickening odors of the narrow
street to the seclusion and shady coolness of this flower-scented patio
was as delightful as it was sudden and unexpected. I could hardly have
been more surprised if I had entered what I supposed to be a Siberian
forwarding prison, and found myself in a conservatory of tropical plants
and flowers. Around three sides of the patio were spacious piazzas in
two tiers, and upon these piazzas opened the living-rooms of the
club,--about twenty in number,--like the boxes or stalls in the
galleries of a European theater. On the southern side of the patio was
a large dining-room, and beyond this, occupying the whole width of the
building and overlooking the street from a projecting balcony, was the
reading-room. This was a high, cool, spacious apartment comfortably
furnished with easy-chairs, pictures, maps, hanging book-cases, a big
library table covered with periodicals, and an American piano. The
periodicals were not of very recent date, and the piano was somewhat out
of tune, but I was so delighted with the shady, flower-bordered
courtyard and the comfort and apparent cleanliness of the club as a
whole that I felt no disposition to be hypercritical. To find such a
haven of refuge at all in a city like Santiago was unexpected good
fortune.

To one who is unfamiliar with the distinctive peculiarities of
Spanish-American architecture, nothing, at first, is more surprising
than the contrast between the gloomy and unpromising exterior of a Cuban
residence and the luxury and architectural beauty which one often finds
hidden behind its grated windows and thick stuccoed walls. It is more
surprising and striking in Santiago, perhaps, than in most
Spanish-American cities, on account of the narrowness and filthiness of
the streets on which the houses even of the wealthiest citizens stand.
In the course of the first week that I spent in the city I had occasion
to enter a number of Spanish houses of the better class, and I never
failed to experience a little shock of surprise when I went from what
looked like a dirty and neglected back alley into what seemed to be a
jail, and found myself suddenly in a beautiful Moorish court, paved with
marble, shaded by graceful, feathery palms, cooled by a fountain set in
an oasis of greenery and flowers, and surrounded by rows of slender
stone columns, and piazzas twenty-five feet in width. The wealthy
Spaniard or Cuban wastes no money in beautifying the outside of his
house, because, standing as it does on a narrow, dirty street, it cannot
be made attractive or imposing by any possible method of architectural
treatment; but upon the ornamentation and embellishment of the patio, or
interior court, he lavishes all his taste and skill. The patio of the
Anglo-American Club was not nearly as large and attractive as the
courtyards of private residences on Heredia Street, to which I gained
access later, but as it was the first house of the kind that I had seen
in Cuba, it made a very pleasant impression upon me.

Upon presentation of my introduction from Mr. Elwell, the steward gave
me one of the best rooms in the club, but said that it would be
impossible to furnish me with food until he could get a cook and
servants. The club had been closed for weeks; all of its employees had
fled from the city, and he had been left entirely alone. I told him that
I would try to forage for myself,--at least, for the present,--and that,
if worst should come to worst, I could live two or three days on the
hard bread and baked beans that I had brought with me from the ship.
Refreshing myself with a bath, a cracker of hard bread, and a drink of
lukewarm tea from my canteen, I left my baggage in the steward's care
and set out to explore the city.

The only part of Santiago which then presented anything like a clean and
civilized appearance is that which adjoins the so-called "palace" of the
Spanish governor, on the crest of the hill at the head of Marina Street.
There, around a small, dusty, bush-planted plaza, or park, stand the
governor's residence, the old twin-belfried cathedral, the San Carlos or
Cuban Club, the "Venus" restaurant, the post-office, and a few other
public or semi-public buildings which make some pretensions to
architectural dignity. With the exception of the massive stone
cathedral, however, they are all low, one-story or two-story brick
houses covered with dirty white stucco, and would be regarded anywhere
except in Santiago as cheap, ugly, and insignificant.

In the course of my walk from the club to the plaza I met a few Cuban
negroes in dirty white-cotton shirts and trousers, and half a dozen or
more pale-faced Spanish soldiers, but the streets in that part of the
city seemed to be almost wholly deserted. Beyond the plaza, however, on
Enramadas Street, I began to meet the stream of destitute refugees
returning to the city from Caney, and a more dirty, hungry, sick, and
dejected-looking horde of people I had never seen. When General Shafter
gave notice to the Spanish military authorities that if Santiago were
not surrendered it would be bombarded, fifteen thousand men, women, and
children abandoned their homes and fled, most of them on foot, to
various suburban villages north of the city. Most of these fugitives
went to Caney, where, for nearly two weeks, they camped out in the
streets, suffering everything that human beings can suffer from hunger,
sickness, and exposure. Both General Shafter and the Red Cross made
every possible effort to relieve them by sending provisions to them from
Siboney; but the distance from that base of supplies was fifteen miles
or more over a terrible road, the number of horses and mules available
for transportation was hardly adequate to supply even our own army with
ammunition and food, and the most that could be done for the refugees at
Caney was to keep them from actually starving to death. Hundreds of them
perished, but they died from exposure, exhaustion, and sickness, rather
than from starvation. As soon as Santiago surrendered, these fugitives
began to stream back into the city, and it was the advance-guard of them
that I met on Enramadas Street on Tuesday morning. They represented both
sexes, all ages, all complexions, and all classes of the population,
from poor Cuban or negro women carrying huge bundles on their heads and
leading three or four half-naked children, to cultivated, delicately
nurtured, English-speaking ladies, wading through the mud in bedraggled
white gowns, carrying nothing, perhaps, except a kitten or a cage of pet
birds. Many of them were so ill and weak from dysentery or malarial
fever that they could hardly limp along, even with the support of a
cane, and all of them looked worn, exhausted, and emaciated to the last
degree. Hundreds of these refugees died, after their return to Santiago,
from diseases contracted in Caney, and if it had not been for the prompt
relief given them by the Red Cross as soon as they reached the city,
they would have perished by the thousand. With the aid and coöperation
of Mr. Ramsden, son of the British consul, Mr. Michelson, a wealthy
resident merchant, and two or three other foreign residents of Santiago,
Miss Barton opened a soup-kitchen on shore, as soon as provisions enough
had been landed from the _State of Texas_ to make a beginning, and
before Tuesday night the representatives of the Red Cross had given
bread and hot soup to more than ten thousand sick and half-starved
people, most of them returned refugees from Caney, who could not get a
mouthful to eat elsewhere in the city, and who were literally perishing
from hunger and exhaustion.



CHAPTER XVI

THE FEEDING OF THE HUNGRY


The problem of supplying myself with food and drink in the half-starved
city of Santiago, after the steamer had been quarantined against me,
proved to be even more serious than I had anticipated. In my walk up
Marina and Enramadas streets and out to the Caney road on Tuesday
forenoon I passed two or three restaurants bearing such seductive and
tantalizing names as "Venus," "Nectar," and "Delicias," etc., but they
were all closed, and in a stroll of two miles through the heart of the
city I failed to discover any food more "delicious" than a few half-ripe
mangoes in the dirty basket of a Cuban fruit-peddler, or any "nectar"
more drinkable than the water which ran into the gutter, here and there,
from the broken or leaky pipes of the city water-works. Hot, tired, and
dispirited, I returned about noon to the Anglo-American Club, took
another drink of lukewarm tea from my canteen, nibbled a piece of hard
bread, and opened a can of baked beans. The beans proved to be flavored
with tomato sauce, which I dislike; the hard bread was stale and tasted
of the haversack in which I had brought it ashore; and the tea was
neither strong enough to inebriate nor yet cool enough to cheer. There
did not seem to be any encouraging probability that I should be fed by
Cuban ravens or nourished by manna from the blazing Cuban skies, and in
the absence of some such miraculous interposition of Providence I
should evidently have either to go with a tin cup to the Red Cross
soup-kitchen and beg for a portion of soup on the ground that I was a
destitute and starving reconcentrado, or else return to the pier where
the _State of Texas_ lay, hail somebody on deck, and ask to have food
lowered to me over the ship's side. I could certainly drink a cup of
coffee and eat a plate of corned-beef hash on the dock without serious
danger of infecting the ship with yellow fever, typhus, cholera, or
smallpox; and if the captain should object to my being fed in that way
on the ground that the ship's dishes might be contaminated by my
feverish touch, I was fully prepared to put my pride in my pocket and
meekly receive my rations in an old tomato-can or a paper bag tied to
the end of a string.

With all due respect for Red Cross soup, and the most implicit
confidence in Red Cross soup-kitchens, I inclined to the belief that I
should fare better if I got my nourishment from the _State of
Texas_--even at the end of a string--than if I went to the Cuban
soup-kitchen and claimed food as a reconcentrado, a refugee, or a
repentant prodigal son. In the greasy, weather-stained suit of brown
canvas and mud-bespattered pith helmet that I had worn at the front, I
might play any one of these roles with success, and my forlorn and
disreputable appearance would doubtless secure for me at least two
tincupfuls of soup; but what I longed for most was coffee, and that
beverage was not to be had in the Cuban soup-kitchen. I resolved,
therefore, to go to the pier, affirm with uplifted hand that I was not
suffering from yellow fever, typhus fever, remittent fever, malarial
fever, pernicious fever, cholera, or smallpox, and beg somebody to lower
to me over the ship's side a cup of coffee in an old tomato-can and a
mutton-chop at the end of a fishing-line. I was ready to promise that I
would immediately fumigate the fishing-line and throw the empty
tomato-can into the bay, so that the _State of Texas_ should not run
the slightest risk of becoming infected with the diseases that I did not
have.

About half-past one, when I thought Miss Barton and her staff would have
finished their luncheon, I walked down Gallo Street to the pier where
the steamer was discharging her cargo, hailed a sailor on deck, and
asked him if he would please tell Mrs. Porter (wife of the Hon. J.
Addison Porter, secretary to the President) that a Cuban refugee in
distress would like to speak to her at the ship's side. In two or three
minutes Mrs. Porter's surprised but sympathetic face appeared over the
steamer's rail twenty-five or thirty feet above my head. Raising my
voice so as to make it audible above the shouting of the stevedores, the
snorting of the donkey-engine, and the rattle of the hoisting-tackle, I
told her that I had not been able to find anything to eat in the city,
and asked her if she would not please get my table-steward "Tommy" to
lower to me over the ship's side a few slices of bread and butter and a
cup of coffee. A half-shocked and half-indignant expression came into
her face as she mentally grasped the situation, and she replied with
emphasis: "Certainly! just wait a minute." She rushed back into the
cabin to call Tommy, while I sat down on a bag of beans with the
comforting assurance that if I did not get something to eat that
afternoon there would be a fracas on the _State of Texas_. Mrs. Porter
evidently regarded it as an extraordinary state of affairs which forced
the vice-president of the Red Cross to go hungry in a starving city
because a ship flying the Red Cross flag refused to allow him on board.

In five minutes more Tommy appeared in the starboard gangway of the
main-deck, and lowered down to me on a tray a most appetizing lunch of
bread and butter, cold meats, fried potatoes, preserved peaches,
ice-water, and coffee. I resumed my seat on the bag of beans, holding
the tray on my knees, and gave myself up to the enjoyment of the first
meal I had had in Santiago, and the best one, it seemed to me, that ever
gladdened the heart of a hungry human being in any city. The temperature
in the fierce sunshine which beat down on my back was at least 130° F.;
the cold meats were immediately warmed up, the butter turned to a
yellowish fluid which could have been applied to bread only with a
paint-brush, and perspiration ran off my nose into my coffee-cup as I
drank; but the coffee and the fried potatoes kept hot without the aid of
artificial appliances, and I emptied the glass of ice-water in two or
three thirsty gulps before it had time to come to a boil. Mrs. Porter
watched me with sympathetic interest, as if she were enjoying my lunch
even more than she had enjoyed her own, and when I had finished she
said: "It is absurd that you should have to take your meals on that hot,
dirty pier; but if you'll come down every day and call for me, I'll see
that you get enough to eat, even if they don't allow you on board."

All the rest of that week I slept in the Anglo-American Club and took my
meals on the pier of the Juragua Iron Company, Mrs. Porter keeping me
abundantly supplied with food, while I tried to make my society an
equivalent for my board by furnishing her, three times a day, with the
news of the city. Getting my meals in a basket or on a tray over the
ship's side and eating them alone on the pier was rather humiliating at
first, and made me feel, for a day or two, like a homeless tramp
subsisting on charity; but when General Wood, the military governor of
the city, and Dr. Van De Water, chaplain of the Seventy-first New York,
came down to the _State of Texas_ one afternoon to see Mrs. Porter and
were not allowed to go on board, even for a drink of water, my
self-respect was measurably restored. Dr. Van De Water had walked into
the city from the camp of his regiment, a distance of two or three
miles, in the fierce tropical sunshine, and was evidently suffering
acutely from fatigue and thirst; but the _State of Texas_, where, under
the Red Cross flag, he naturally expected to find rest and refreshment,
was barred against him, and he had to get his drink of water, as I got
my daily bread, over the ship's side. The quarantine of the steamer
against the shore would perhaps have been a little more consistent, as
well as more effective, if the officers who superintended the unloading
and storing of the cargo had not been permitted to visit every day the
lowest and dirtiest part of the city and then return to the steamer to
eat and sleep, and if the crew had not been allowed to roam about the
streets in search of adventures at night; but I suppose it was found
impracticable to enforce the quarantine against everybody, and the most
serious and threatening source of infection was removed, of course, when
General Wood, Dr. Van De Water, and the vice-president of the Red Cross
were rigidly excluded from the ship.

While I was living at the Anglo-American Club and boarding on the pier
of the Juragua Iron Company the deserted and half-dead city of Santiago
was slowly awakening to life and activity. The empty streets filled
gradually with American soldiers, paroled Spanish prisoners, and
returning fugitives from Caney; shops that had long been shut and barred
were thrown open under the assurance of protection given by the American
flag; kerosene-lamps on brackets fastened to the walls of houses at the
corners of the narrow streets were lighted at night so that pedestrians
could get about without danger of tumbling into holes or falling over
garbage-heaps; government transports suddenly made their appearance in
the bay, and as many of them as could find accommodation at the piers
began to discharge cargo; six-mule army wagons rumbled and rattled over
the rough cobblestone pavements as they came in from the camps after
supplies; hundreds of hungry and destitute Cubans were set at work
cleaning the filthy streets; and in less than a week Santiago had
assumed something like the appearance that it must have presented before
the siege and capture. The thing that it needed most in the first
fortnight after the surrender was a hotel, and a hotel it did not have.
Newspaper correspondents, officers who had come into the city from the
camps, and passengers landed from the steamers had no place to go for
food or shelter, and many of them were forced to bivouac in the streets.
Captain William Astor Chanler, for example, tied his saddle-horse to his
leg one night and lay down to sleep on the pavement of the plaza in
front of the old cathedral.

The urgent need of a hotel finally compelled the steward of the
Anglo-American Club to throw open its twenty or more rooms to army
officers, cable-operators, and newspaper correspondents who had no other
place to stay, and to make an attempt, at least, to supply them with
food. A few cases of canned meat and beans and a barrel of hard bread
were obtained from the storehouse of the Red Cross; a cook and three or
four negro waiters were hired; and before the end of the first week
after the capture of the city the club was furnishing two meals a day to
as many guests as its rooms would accommodate, and had become the most
interesting and attractive place of social and intellectual
entertainment to be found on the island. One might meet there, almost
any night, English war correspondents who had campaigned in India,
Egypt, and the Sudan; Cuban sympathizers from the United States who had
served in the armies of Gomez and Garcia; old Indian fighters and
ranch-men from our Western plains and mountains; wealthy New York
club-men in the brown-linen uniform of Roosevelt's Rough Riders; naval
officers from the fleet of Admiral Sampson; and speculators,
coffee-planters, and merchant adventurers from all parts of the western
hemisphere. One could hardly ask a question with regard to any part of
the habitable globe or any event of modern times that somebody in the
club could not answer with all the fullness of personal knowledge, and
the conversation around the big library table in the evening was more
interesting and entertaining than any talk that I had heard in months.
But the evenings were not always given up wholly to conversation.
Sometimes Mr. Cobleigh of the New York "World," who had a very good
tenor voice, would seat himself at the piano and sing "White Wings,"
"Say au revoir, but not good-by," or "The Banks of the Wabash," and then
Mr. Cox, resident manager of the Spanish-American iron-mines, would take
Cobleigh's place at the instrument and lead the whole assembled company
in "John Brown's Body," "My country, 't is of thee," and "The
Star-Spangled Banner," until the soldiers of the Ninth Infantry,
quartered in the old theater across the way, would join in the chorus,
and a great wave of patriotic melody would roll down Gallo Street to the
bay, and out over the tranquil water to the transports lying at anchor
half a mile away. Sitting in that cheerful, comfortably furnished
club-room under the soft glow of incandescent electric lights, and
listening to the bright, animated conversation, the laughter, and the
old familiar music, I found it almost impossible to realize that I was
in the desperately defended and recently captured city of Santiago,
where the whole population was in a state of semi-starvation, where
thousands of sick or wounded were languishing in crowded hospitals and
barracks, and where, within a few days, I had seen destitute and
homeless Cubans dying of fever in the streets.

Miss Barton began the work of relieving the wide-spread distress and
destitution in Santiago with characteristic promptness and energy. To
feed twenty or thirty thousand people at once, with the limited
facilities and the small working force at her command, and to do it
systematically and economically, without wastefulness and without
confusion, was a herculean task; but it was a task with which
experience and training in many fields had made her familiar, and she
set about it intelligently and met the difficulties of the situation
with admirable tact and judgment. Her first step was to ask the ablest,
most influential, and most respected citizens of Santiago to consult
with her with regard to ways and means and to give her the benefit of
their local knowledge and experience. The object of this was to secure
the coöperation and support of the best elements of the population, and
strengthen the working force of the Red Cross by adding to it a local
contingent of volunteer assistants who were thoroughly acquainted with
the city and its inhabitants and who would be able to detect and prevent
fraud or imposition. There was danger, of course, that people who did
not need food, or were not entitled to it, would seek to obtain it on
false pretenses, and that others, who perhaps were really in distress,
would try to get more food than they actually required in order that
they might make a little money by selling the surplus. In anticipation
of this danger, Miss Barton decided to put the distribution of food
largely under local control. In the first place, a central committee of
three was appointed to exercise general supervision over the whole work.
The members of this committee were Mr. Ramsden, son of the British
consul; Mr. Michelson, a wealthy and philanthropic merchant engaged in
business in Santiago; and a prominent Cuban gentleman whose name I
cannot now recall. This committee divided the city into thirty
districts, and notified the residents of each district that they would
be expected to elect or appoint a commissioner who should represent them
in all dealings with the Red Cross, who should make all applications for
relief in their behalf, and who should personally superintend the
distribution of all food allotted to them on requisitions approved by
the central committee. This scheme of organization and distribution was
intelligently and judiciously devised, and it worked to the satisfaction
of all. Every commissioner was instructed to make a requisition for food
in writing, according to a prescribed form, stating the number and the
names of heads of families needing relief in his district, the number of
persons in each family, and the amount of food required for the district
as a whole and for each family or individual in detail. The commissioner
then appended to the requisition a certificate to the effect that the
petitioners named therein were known to him and that he believed they
were really in need of the quantities of food for which they
respectively made application. The requisition then went to the central
committee, and when approved by it was filled at the Red Cross warehouse
and retained there as a voucher.

I heard it asserted in Santiago more than once that food issued by the
Red Cross to people who were supposed to be starving had afterward been
sold openly on the street by hucksters, and had even been carried on
pack-mules in comparatively large quantities to suburban villages and
sold there; but I doubt very much the truth of this assertion. Miss
Barton caused an investigation to be made of several such cases of
alleged fraud, and found in every instance that the food said to have
been obtained from the Red Cross had really come from some other source,
chiefly from soldiers and government transports, whose provisions, of
course, could not be distinguished from ours after they had been taken
out of the original packages. Be this, however, as it may, the checks
upon fraud and imposition in the Red Cross scheme of distribution were
as efficient as the nature of the circumstances would allow, and I doubt
whether the loss through fraudulent applications or through collusion
between commissioners and applicants amounted to one tenth of one per
cent. The Red Cross furnished food in bulk to thirty-two thousand
half-starved people in the first five days after Santiago surrendered,
and in addition thereto fed ten thousand people every day in the
soup-kitchens managed by Mr. Michelson. I do not wish to make any unjust
or invidious comparisons, but I cannot refrain from saying,
nevertheless, that I did not happen to see any United States
quartermaster in Cuba who, in the short space of five days, had unloaded
and stored fourteen hundred tons of cargo, given hot soup daily to ten
thousand soldiers, and supplied an army of thirty-two thousand men with
ten days' rations. It is a record, I think, of which Miss Barton has
every reason to be proud.

But her beneficent work was not confined to the mere feeding of the
hungry in Santiago. She sent large quantities of cereals, canned goods,
and hospital supplies to our own soldiers in the camps on the adjacent
hills; she furnished medicines and food for sick and wounded to the
Spanish prison camp as well as to the Spanish army hospital, the civil
hospital, and the children's hospital in the city; she directed Dr.
Soyoso of her medical staff to open a clinic and dispensary, where five
surgeons and two nurses gave medical or surgical aid to more than three
thousand sick or sickening people every day; she sent hundreds of tons
of ice from the schooner _Morse_ to the hospitals, the camps, and the
transports going North with sick and wounded soldiers; she put up tents
to shelter fever-stricken Spanish prisoners from the tropical sunshine
while they were waiting to be taken on board the vessels that were to
carry them back to Spain; and in every way possible, and with all the
facilities that she had, she tried to alleviate the suffering caused by
neglect, incompetence, famine, and war.



CHAPTER XVII

MORRO CASTLE


In the course of the first week after I landed in Santiago, I made a
number of interesting excursions to points in the vicinity of the
harbor, for the purpose of ascertaining the real nature and strength of
the Spanish fortifications and intrenchments. From the front of our
army, after the battle of July 1-2, I had carefully examined, with a
strong glass, the blockhouses and rifle-pits which defended the city on
the land side; and from the bridge of the _State of Texas_, two weeks
later, I had obtained a general idea of the appearance of Morro Castle
and the batteries at the mouth of the harbor which protected the city
from an attack by water; but I was not satisfied with this distant and
superficial inspection. External appearances are often deceptive, and
forts or earthworks that look very formidable and threatening from the
front, and at a distance of half a mile, may prove to have little real
strength when seen from the other side and at a distance of only a few
yards. I wished, therefore, to get into these forts and batteries before
any changes had been made in them, and before their guns had been
removed or touched, so that I might see how strong they really were and
how much damage had been done to them by the repeated bombardments to
which they had been subjected.

The first excursion that I made was to Morro Castle and the
fortifications at the entrance to the harbor. It was my intention to
start at 4 A.M., so as to reach the castle before it should get
uncomfortably hot; but as I had no alarm-clock, and as no one in the
club ever thought of getting up before six, I very naturally overslept
myself, and by the time I had dressed, eaten a hasty breakfast of
oatmeal, hard bread, and tea, and filled my canteen with boiled water,
it was after seven. The air ought to have been fresh and cool even then;
but on the southeastern coast of Cuba the change from the damp
chilliness of night to the torrid heat of the tropical day is very
rapid, and if there is no land-breeze, the rays of the unclouded sun,
even as early as seven o'clock in the morning, have a fierce, scorching
intensity that is hardly less trying than the heat of noon. The only
really cool part of the day is from four to six o'clock in the morning.

I put a can of baked beans and a-few crackers of hard bread into my
haversack for lunch, threw the strap of my field-glass over my shoulder,
took my canteen in my hand, and hurried down Gallo Street to the pier of
the Juragua Iron Company, where I had engaged a colored Cuban fisherman
to meet me with a sail-boat at 4 A.M. He had been waiting for me,
patiently or impatiently, more than three hours; but he merely looked at
me reproachfully, and pointed to the sun, as if to say, "You agreed to
be here at daybreak, and now see where the sun is." I laid my head down
sidewise on the palm of my hand, shut my eyes, snored vociferously, and
explained to him in Russian that I had overslept myself. I was gratified
to see that he understood my Russian perfectly. In communicating with
Cubans and Spaniards I have always made it a practice to address them in
Russian, for the obvious reason that, as they are foreigners, and
Russian is a foreign tongue, they must necessarily understand that
language a little better than they could possibly understand English. It
may seem like an absurd idea, but I have no hesitation in saying that a
skilful and judicious combination of Russian with the sign-language is a
good deal more intelligible to a Cuban fisherman than either
Pidgin-English or Volapük. Voltaire once cynically remarked that
"paternosters will shave if said over a good razor." So Russian will
convey a perfectly clear idea to a Cuban fisherman if accompanied by a
sufficiently pictorial pantomime. I tried it repeatedly on my boatman,
and became convinced that if I only spoke Russian a little more
grammatically, and gesticulated the sign-language a little more
fluently, I could explain to him the outlines of cosmic philosophy and
instruct him in the doctrines of esoteric Buddhism. I never should have
got to Morro Castle and back with him if I had not been able to draw
diagrams in the air with both hands and my head simultaneously, and then
explain them to him in colloquial Russian.

The surface of the bay, as we pushed off from the pier, was almost as
smooth and glassy as an expanse of oil; and although my negro boatman
whistled persuasively for a breeze, after the manner of sailors, and
even ejaculated something that sounded suspiciously like "Come up
'leven!" as he bent to his clumsy oars, he could not coax the Cuban
Æolus to unloose the faintest zephyr from the cave of the winds in the
high blue mountains north of the city. He finally suspended his
whistling to save his breath, wiped his sweaty face on his shirt-sleeve,
and made a few cursory remarks in Spanish to relieve his mind and
express his unfavorable opinion of the weather. I shared his feelings,
even if I could not adopt his language, and, pantomimically wringing the
perspiration out of my front hair, I remarked in Russian that it was
_zharko_ (hot). Encouraged by what he took for sympathetic and
responsive profanity on my side, he scowled fiercely and exclaimed,
"Mucha sol--damn!" whereupon we smiled reciprocally and felt much
cooler.

We crept slowly down the eastern side of the bay, past the conical hill
crowned with a cubical blockhouse which marks the southern boundary of
the city, around the end of the long iron trestle of the Juragua Iron
Company, past the flat-topped mesa on which stands the harbor
signal-station, and finally into the narrow neck of the Santiago
water-bottle which Hobson vainly tried to cork with the collier
_Merrimac_. From this point of view we could see, between the steep
bluffs which form the entrance to the bay, a narrow strip of blue,
sunlit ocean, and on its left the massive gray bastions of Morro Castle,
projecting in a series of huge steps, like ledges or terraces of natural
rock, from the crest of the eastern promontory.

All the maps of Santiago harbor that I have seen show another castle,
called Socapa, nearly opposite Morro on the western side of the channel;
but I have never been able to discover it. If it still exists, it must
be in ruins and so overgrown with vegetation as to be completely hidden.
The only fortification I could find on that side of the bay is the
so-called "western battery," a recently constructed earthwork situated
on the crest of the long, flat-topped hill which forms the outer
coast-line. This earthwork could never have been known as a "castle"; it
is at least three hundred yards west of the point indicated on the map
as the site of Socapa, and it cannot be seen at all from the channel, or
even from the highest parapet of Morro. Unless Socapa Castle, therefore,
is so small and inconspicuous as to have escaped my notice, it must have
fallen into ruins or been destroyed. There is no castle on the western
side of the entrance now that can be seen from the water, from the
Estrella battery, or from Morro.

After passing Cayo Smith, the sunken collier _Merrimac_, and the
dismantled wreck of the _Reina Mercedes_, we turned abruptly to the
left, opposite the Estrella battery, and entered a deep, sheltered
cove, directly behind the Morro promontory and almost under the massive
walls of the castle itself. Landing at a little wooden pier on the
northern side of the miniature bay, I walked up to the road leading to
the Estrella battery, and there stopped and looked about me. The cove
was completely shut in by high hills, and the only road or path leading
out of it, so far as I could see, was the one on which I stood. This
began, apparently, at the Estrella battery, ran around the head of the
cove, and then, turning to the right, climbed the almost precipitous
side of the Morro promontory, in a long, steep slant, to a height of one
hundred and fifty feet. There it made another turn which carried it out
of sight behind a buttress of rock under the northwestern corner of the
castle. Near the mouth of the cove, on my right, rose the white,
crenellated, half-ruined wall of the Estrella battery--a dilapidated
open stone fort of the eighteenth century, which contained no guns, and
which, judging from its appearance, had long been abandoned. It
occupied, however, a very strong position, and if the Spaniards had had
any energy or enterprise they would have put it in repair and mounted in
it a modern mortar which lay on a couple of skids near the pier, and two
or three small rapid-fire guns which they might have obtained from one
of Admiral Cervera's cruisers. Antiquated and obsolete as it was, it
might then have been of some use.

Near the head of the cove was an old ordnance storehouse, or magazine,
which proved upon examination to contain nothing more interesting than a
few ancient gun-carriages, a lot of solid six-inch projectiles, an
assortment of rammers and spongers for muzzle-loading cannon, and a few
wooden boxes of brass-jacketed cartridges for Remington rifles. Three
long smooth-bore iron culverins lay on the ground between this magazine
and the pier, but they had not been fired, apparently, in a century, and
were so eaten and pitted by rust that I could not find on them any
trace of inscription or date. There was nothing really useful,
effective, or modern, either in the Estrella battery or in the magazine,
except the Remington rifle-cartridges and the unmounted mortar.

Finding nothing else of interest in the vicinity of the cove, I started
up the road that led to the front or western face of Morro Castle. I
call it a "road" by courtesy, because it did show some signs of labor
and engineering skill; but it was broken every few yards into rude steps
by transverse ledges of tough, intractable rock, and how any wheeled
vehicle could ever have been drawn up it I cannot imagine. The fringe of
plants, bushes, and low trees that bordered this road was bright with
flowers, among which I noticed the white spider-lily (apparently a
variety of _Cleome pungens_), the so-called "Cuban rose" (a flower that
flaunts the scarlet and yellow of the Spanish flag and looks a little
like _Potentilla la Vésuve_), and a beautiful climbing vine with large
violet blossoms which resembled in shape and color the butterfly-pea
(_Centrosema_).

In and out among these plants and bushes ran nimble lizards of at least
half a dozen different kinds: lizards that carried their tails curled up
over their backs like pug-dogs; lizards that amused themselves by
pushing out a whitish, crescent-shaped protuberance from under their
throats and then drawing it in again; lizards that changed color while I
watched them; and big gray iguanas, two or three feet in length, which,
although perfectly harmless, looked ugly and malevolent enough to be
classed with Cuban land-crabs and tarantulas. I saw no animals except
these lizards, and no birds except the soaring vultures, which are never
absent from Cuban skies, and which hang in clouds over every
battle-field, fort, city, and village on the island.

The road from the head, of the Estrella cove to the crest of the Morro
promontory forks at a distance of seventy-five or one hundred yards from
the cable-house, one branch of it turning to the left and climbing a
steep grade to the summit of the ridge east of the castle, where stand
the lighthouse and the barracks, while the other branch goes straight on
in a rising slant to a rocky buttress situated almost perpendicularly
over the point where the southern shore of the cove intersects the
eastern margin of the harbor channel. Turning to the left around this
buttress, it runs horizontally southward along a shelf-like cornice in
the face of the precipice until it reaches a spacious terrace, or
esplanade, cut out of the solid rock, at a height of one hundred and
fifty feet above the water. This terrace, which is on the western face
of the castle and directly under its lower bastions, seems to have been
intended originally for a gun-platform, but there is nothing there now
to indicate that guns were ever mounted on it. It has no parapet, or
battlement, and is merely a wide, empty shelf of rock, overhanging the
narrow entrance to the harbor, and overhung, in turn, by the walls of
the fortress. In the mountain-side back of it are four or five
quadrangular apertures, which look from a distance like square
port-holes, or embrasures, for heavy cannon, but which prove upon closer
examination to be doors leading to huge subterranean chambers, designed,
I presume, for the safekeeping of ammunition and explosives. At the time
when I went through them they contained nothing more dangerous than
condemned shovels and pickaxes, empty bottles, old tin cans, metal
lamps, dirty straw hats, discarded hammocks, and cast-off shoes. I found
nothing in the shape of ammunition except two or three dozen spherical
iron cannon-balls, which lay scattered over the rocky floor of the
esplanade, as if the soldiers of the garrison had been accustomed to
play croquet with them there, just to pass away the time in the
intervals between Admiral Sampson's bombardments.

After looking about the esplanade and exploring the dim recesses of the
gloomy ammunition-vaults, I climbed a crooked flight of disintegrating
stone steps and entered, between two massive quadrangular bastions,[6]
the lower story--if I may so call it--of the castle proper. As seen from
the ocean outside of the harbor, this ancient fortress appears to
consist of three huge cubes of gray masonry, superimposed one upon
another in such a manner as to present in profile the outline of three
rocky terraces; but whether this profile view gives anything like a
correct idea of the real shape of the building I am unable to say. From
the time when I entered the gateway at the head of the flight of stone
steps that led up from the esplanade, I was lost in a jumbled
aggregation of intercommunicating corridors, bastions, grated cells,
stairways, small interior courtyards, and huge, gloomy chambers, which I
could not mentally group or combine so as to reduce them to intelligible
order or bring them into anything like architectural harmony. The almost
complete absence of windows made it impossible to orient one's self by
glancing occasionally at some object of known position outside; the
frequent turns in the passages and changes of level in the floors were
very confusing; the small courtyards which admitted light to the
interior afforded no outlook, and I simply roamed from bastion to
bastion and from corridor to corridor, without knowing where I was, or
what relation the place in which I stood bore to the castle as a whole.
Now and then I would ascend a flight of stone steps at the side of a
courtyard and come out unexpectedly upon what seemed to be a flat roof,
from which I could see the entrance to the harbor and the white walls
of the Estrella battery hundreds of feet below; but as soon as I went
back into the maze of passages, chambers, and bastions on that level, I
lost all sense of direction, and five minutes later I could not tell
whether I was on the northern side of the castle or the southern side,
nor whether I was in the second of the three cubes of masonry or the
third.

The most surprising thing about the castle, to me, was its lack of
offensive power. Its massive stone walls gave it, of course, a certain
capacity for endurance, and even for resistance of a passive kind; but
it was almost as incapable of inflicting injury on an enemy as a Dutch
dike or a hillock of the mound-builders would be. Until I reached what,
for want of a better name, I shall have to call the roof of the
uppermost cube, I did not find anywhere a single round of ammunition,
nor a gun of any caliber, nor a casemate intended for a gun, nor an
embrasure from which a gun could have been fired. So far as
architectural adaptation to the conditions of modern warfare is
concerned, it was as harmless as an old Norman keep, and might have been
planned and built two centuries before guns were used or gunpowder
invented. I have been unable to ascertain the date of its erection; but
the city of Santiago was founded by Diego Velasquez in 1514, and all the
evidence furnished by the castle itself would seem to indicate that it
dates back to the sixteenth, or at latest to the seventeenth, century.
There is certainly nothing in its plan or in its appearance to show that
the engineers who designed it were acquainted even with the art of
fortification as developed in the seventeenth century by Vauban. It is
simply an old feudal castle, with moat, drawbridge, and portcullis,
built after the model of medieval strongholds before heavy
siege-ordnance came into general use. The idea that it could have done
any serious damage to Admiral Sampson's fleet seems absolutely ludicrous
when one has explored the interior of it and taken stock of its
antiquated, not to say obsolete and useless, armament.

After wandering about for half an hour in the two lower stories, I
climbed a crooked flight of stone steps, half blocked up with debris
from a shattered parapet above, and came out on the flat roof of the
highest and largest of the three cubes that together make up the
fortress. It was a spacious battlemented floor, of rectangular but
irregular outline, having an extreme length of perhaps one hundred and
fifty feet, with an average width of seventy-five to one hundred.[7] On
its eastern side it overlooked a deep, wide moat, intended to protect
the wall from an assault made along the crest of the promontory, while
on the other three sides one might look down hundreds of feet to the
wide blue plain of the ocean, the narrow mouth of the harbor, and the
deep sheltered cove of the Estrella battery. The city of Santiago was
hidden behind the flat-topped hill on which the signal-station stands;
but I could see a part of the beautiful bay, with the bare green
mountains behind it, while eastward and westward I could follow the
surf-whitened coast-line to the distant blue capes formed by the
forest-clad slopes of Turquino on one side and the billowy foot-hills of
the Gran Piedra on the other. The fleet of Admiral Sampson had
disappeared; but its place had already been taken by a little fleet of
fishing-smacks from Santiago, whose sun-illumined sails looked no
larger, on the dark-blue expanse of the Caribbean, than the wings of
white Cuban butterflies that had fallen into the sea.

For ten minutes after I reached the aërial platform of the bastion roof
I had no eyes for anything except the magnificent natural cyclorama of
blue water, rolling foot-hills, deep secluded valleys, and palm-fringed
mountains that surrounded me; but, withdrawing my gaze reluctantly at
last from the enchanting scenery, I turned my attention again to the
castle and its armament. Scattered about here and there on the flat roof
of the bastion were five short bronze mortars of various calibers and
two muzzle-loading smooth-bore cannon, mounted, like field-pieces, on
clumsy wooden carriages with long "trails" and big, heavy wheels. It was
evident at a glance that neither of the cannon would be likely to hit a
battle-ship at a distance of five hundred yards without a special
interposition of Providence; and as the mortars had no elevating,
training, or sighting gear, and could be discharged only at a certain
fixed angle, it is doubtful whether they could drop a shell upon a
floating target a mile in diameter--and yet these five mortars and two
eighteen-pounder muzzle-loading guns were all the armament that Morro
Castle had.

After looking the pieces over superficially and forming from mere
inspection a judgment as to their value, I proceeded to examine them
closely for dates. The larger of the two cannon, which was trained over
the northern parapet as if to bombard the city of Santiago, bore the
following inscription:

              MARS
        PLURIBUS NEC IMPAR[8]
            12 Jun 1748
          PAR JEAN MARITZ

        ULTIMO RATIO REGUM[9]

    LOUIS CHARLES DE BOURBON
          COMPTE D'EU
          DUC D'AUMALE

The other cannon, which was trained over the western parapet and aimed
at the place where Socapa Castle ought to have been, was inscribed:

      LE COMPTE DE PROVENCE

        ULTIMO RATIO REGUM

      LOUIS CHARLES DE BOURBON
           COMPTE D'EU
           DUC D'AUMALE
               1755

The mortars, which were embellished with Gorgons' heads and were fine
specimens of bronze casting, bore inscriptions or dates as follows:

    No. 1.          EL MANTICORA
                        1733

                  STRVXITDVCTOREXERC
               ITM REGISBEN[q*]VE (_sic_) [* enlarged small letter q. (note of transcriber)]
                  ------------------
               PHIL II HISPAN REX[10]
               ELISA FAR HIS REGINA

    No. 2.         VO[~I]E ABET FECIT
                    SEVILLE AÑO D
                       1724

    No. 3.          EL COMETA
                       1737

    No. 4.             1780

    No. 5.             1781

From the above inscriptions and dates it appears that the most modern
piece of ordnance in the Morro Castle battery was cast one hundred and
seventeen years ago, and the oldest one hundred and seventy-four years
ago. It would be interesting to know the history of the two French
cannon which, in obedience to the order of Louis XIV, were marked
"ULTIMO RATIO REGUM." Iean Maritz, their founder, doubtless regarded
them, a century ago, with as much pride as Herr Krupp feels now when he
turns out a fifteen-inch steel breech-loader at Essen; but the _ultimo
ratio regum_ does not carry as much weight on this side of the Atlantic
in the nineteenth century as it carried on the other side in the
eighteenth, and the recent discussions between Morro Castle and Admiral
Sampson's fleet proved conclusively that the "last argument of kings" is
much less cogent and convincing than the first argument of battle-ships.
It is doubtful, however, whether these antiquated guns were ever fired
at Admiral Sampson's fleet. They were not pointed toward the sea when
the castle was evacuated; I could not find any ammunition for them,
either on the bastion roof where they stood or in the vaults of the
castle below; there were no rammers or spongers on or about the
gun-platforms, where they would naturally have been left when the guns
were abandoned; and there was nothing whatever to show that they had
been fired in fifty years. But it could have made little difference to
the blockading fleet whether they were fired or not. They were hardly
more formidable than the "crakys of war" used by Edward III against the
French at the battle of Crécy. As for the mortars, they were fit only
for a museum of antiquities, or a collection of obsolete implements of
war like that in the Tower of London. I hope that Secretary Alger or
Secretary Long will have "El Manticora" and "El Cometa" brought to the
United States and placed at the main entrance of the War Department or
the Navy Department as curiosities, as fine specimens of artistic bronze
casting, and as trophies of the Santiago campaign.

When I had finished copying the inscriptions on the cannon and the
mortars, I went down into the interior of the castle to examine some
pictures and inscriptions that I had noticed on the walls of a chamber
in the second story, which had been used, apparently, as a guard-room
or barrack. It was a large, rectangular, windowless apartment, with a
wide door, a vaulted ceiling, and smooth stone walls which had been
covered with plaster and whitewashed. Among the Spanish soldiers who had
occupied this room there was evidently an amateur artist of no mean
ability, who had amused himself in his hours of leisure by drawing
pictures and caricatures on the whitewashed walls. On the left of the
door, at a height of five or six feet, was a life-sized and very
cleverly executed sketch of a Spaniard in a wide sombrero, reading a
Havana newspaper. His eyes and mouth were wide open, as if he were
amazed and shocked beyond measure by the news of some terrible calamity,
and his attitude, as well as the horror-stricken expression of his
elongated face, seemed to indicate that, at the very least, he had just
found in the paper an announcement of the sudden and violent death of
all his family. Below, in quotation-marks, were the words:!!! Que
BARBARIDAD.!!! Han apresado UN VIVERO." ("What BARBARITY!!! They have
captured A FISHING-SMACK!!!")

This is evidently a humorous sneer at the trifling value of the prizes
taken by the vessels of our blockading fleet off Havana in the early
days of the war. But there is more in the Spanish words than can well be
brought out in a translation, for the reason that _vivero_ means a
vessel in which fish are brought from the Yucatan banks _alive_, in
large salt-water tanks. We had been accusing the Spaniards of cruelty
and barbarity in their treatment of the insurgents. The artist "gets
back at us," to use a slang phrase, by exclaiming, in pretended horror,
"What barbarous cruelty! They have captured a boat-load of _living_
fish!"

For a Spanish soldier, that is not bad; and the touch is as delicate in
the sneer of the legend as in the technic of the cartoon.

A little farther along and higher up, on the same wall, was a carefully
executed and beautifully finished life-sized portrait of a tonsured
Roman Catholic monk--a sketch that I should have been glad to frame and
hang in my library, if it had only been possible to get it off the wall
without breaking the plaster upon which it had been drawn. I thought of
trying to photograph it; but the light in the chamber was not strong
enough for a snap shot, and I had no tripod to support my camera during
a time-exposure.

There were several other sketches and caricatures on the left-hand wall;
but none of them was as good as were the two that I have described, and,
after examining them all carefully, I cast my eyes about the room to see
what I could find in the shape of "loot" that would be worth carrying
away as a memento of the place. Apart from old shoes, a modern
kerosene-lamp of glass, a dirty blanket or two, and a cot-bed, there
seemed to be nothing worth confiscating except a couple of Spanish
newspapers hanging against the right-hand wall on a nail. One was "El
Imparcial," a sheet as large as the New York "Sun"; and the other, "La
Saeta," an illustrated comic paper about the size of "Punch." They had
no intrinsic value, of course, and as "relics" they were not
particularly characteristic; but "newspapers from a bastion in Morro
Castle" would be interesting, I thought, to some of my journalistic
friends at home, so I decided to take them. I put up my hand to lift
them off the nail without tearing them, and was amazed to discover that
neither nail nor newspapers had any tangible existence. They had been
drawn on the plaster, by that confounded soldier-artist, with a
lead-pencil I felt worse deceived and more chagrined than the Greek pony
that neighed at the painted horse of Apelles! But I need not have felt
so humiliated. Those newspapers would have deceived the elect; and I am
not sure that the keenest-sighted proof-reader of the "Imparcial" would
not have read and corrected a whole column before he discovered that
the paper was plaster and that the letters had been made with a pencil.
Major Greene of the United States Signal-Service, to whom I described
these counterfeit newspapers, went to the castle a few days later, and,
notwithstanding the fact that he had been forewarned, he tried to take
"La Saeta" off the nail. He trusted me enough to believe that one of the
papers was deceptive; but he felt sure that a real copy of "La Saeta"
had been hung over a counterfeit "Imparcial" in order to make the latter
look more natural. If the soldier who drew the caricatures, portraits,
and newspapers in that guard-room escaped shot, shell, and calenture,
and returned in safety to Spain, I hope that he may sometime find in a
Spanish journal a translation of this chapter, and thus be made aware of
the respectful admiration that I shall always entertain for him and his
artistic talents.

In all the rooms of the castle that had been occupied by soldiers I
found, scratched or penciled on the walls, checker-board calendars on
which the days had been successively crossed off; rude pictures and
caricatures of persons or things; individual names; and brief
reflections or remarks in doggerel rhyme or badly spelled prose, which
had been suggested to the writers, apparently, by their unsatisfactory
environment. One man, for example, has left on record this valuable
piece of advice:

"Unless you have a good, strong 'pull' [_mucha influencia_], don't
complain that your rations are bad. If you do, you may have to come and
live in Morro Castle, where they will be much worse."

Another, addressing a girl named "Petenera," who seems to have gotten
him into trouble, exclaims:

    Petenera, my life! Petenera, my heart!
    It is all your fault.
    That I lie here in Morro
    Suffering pain and writing my name
    On the plastered wall.

                        JOSÉ.

Probably "José" went to see "Petenera" without first obtaining leave of
absence, and was shut up in one of the gloomy guard-rooms of Morro
Castle as a punishment.

Another wall-writer, in a philosophic, reflective, and rather melancholy
mood, says:

      Tu me sobreviviras.
    Que vale el ser del hombres
    Cuando un escrito vale mas!

    You [my writing] will survive me.
    What avails it to be a man, when a scrap of writing is worth more!

It is a fact which, perhaps, may not be wholly unworthy of notice that,
among the sketches I saw and the mural inscriptions I copied in all
parts of Morro Castle, there was not an indecent picture nor an improper
word, sentence, or line. Spanish soldiers may be cruel, but they do not
appear to be vicious or corrupt in the way that soldiers often are.

In wandering through the corridors and gloomy chambers of the castle,
copying inscriptions on walls and cannon, and exploring out-of-the-way
nooks and corners, I spent a large part of the day. I found that the
masonry of the fortress had suffered even less from the guns of Admiral
Sampson's fleet than I had supposed. The eastern and southeastern faces
of the upper cube had been damaged a little; the parapet, or battlement,
of the gun-floor had been shattered in one place, and the debris from it
had fallen over and partly blocked up the steps leading to that floor
from the second story; two or three of the corner turrets had been
injured by small shells; and there was a deep scar, or circular pit, in
the face of the eastern wall, over the moat, where the masonry had been
struck squarely by a heavy projectile; but, with the exception of these
comparatively trifling injuries, the old fortress remained intact.
Newspaper men described it as "in ruins" or "almost destroyed" half a
dozen times in the course of the summer; and the correspondent of a
prominent metropolitan journal, who entered the harbor on his
despatch-boat just behind the _State of Texas_ the day that Santiago
surrendered, did not hesitate to say: "The old fort is a mass of ruins.
The stone foundation has been weakened by the shells from the fleet,
causing a portion of the castle to settle from ten to twenty feet. Only
the walls on the inner side remain. The terraces have been obliterated
and the guns dismounted and buried in the debris. There are great
crevices in the supporting walls, and the fort is in a general state of
collapse."

How any intelligent man, with eyes and a field-glass, could get such an
erroneous impression, or make such wild and reckless statements, I am
utterly unable to imagine. As a matter of fact, the fleet never tried or
intended to injure the castle, and all the damage done to it was
probably accidental. I have no doubt that Admiral Sampson might have
reduced the fortress to the condition that the correspondent so
graphically describes,--I saw him destroy the stone fort of Aguadores in
a few hours, with only three ships,--but he discovered, almost as soon
as he reached Santiago, that the old castle was perfectly harmless, and,
with the cool self-restraint of a thoughtful and level-headed naval
officer, he determined to save it as a picturesque and interesting relic
of the past. Most of the projectiles that struck it were aimed at the
eastern battery, the lighthouse, or the barracks on the crest of the
bluff behind it; and all the damage accidentally done to it by these
shots might easily be repaired in two or three days. If Cuba ever
becomes a part of the United States, the people of this country will owe
a debt of gratitude to Admiral Sampson for resisting the temptation to
show what his guns could do, and for preserving almost intact one of the
most interesting and striking old castles in the world.

Leaving the fortress through the eastern gateway and crossing the dry
moat on a wooden trestle which had taken the place of the drawbridge, I
walked along the crest of the bluff toward the eastern battery. It was
evident, from the appearance of the lighthouse and the one-story,
tile-roofed buildings on the crest of the hill, that if Morro Castle
escaped serious injury it was not because the gunners of our fleet were
unable to hit it. Every other structure in its vicinity had been
shattered, riddled, or smashed. The lighthouse, which was a tapering
cylinder of three-quarter-inch iron twelve feet in diameter at the base
and perhaps thirty feet high, had been struck at least twenty or thirty
times. The western half of it, from top to bottom, had been carried away
bodily; there were eleven shot-holes in the other half; the lantern had
been completely demolished; and the ground everywhere in the vicinity
was strewn with fragments of iron and glass. The flagstaff of the
signal-station had been struck twice, slender and difficult to hit as it
was, and the walls and roofs of the barracks and ammunition storehouses
had been pierced and torn by shot and shell in a dozen different places.
It is not likely, of course, that all this damage was done at any one
time or in any single bombardment. The gunners of our fleet probably
used these buildings as targets, and fired at them, every time they got
a chance, just for amusement and practice. The white cylinder of the
lighthouse made a particularly good mark, and the eleven shot-holes in
the half of it that remained standing showed that Admiral Sampson's
gunners found no difficulty in hitting a target ten feet by thirty at a
distance of more than a mile. The captain of the Spanish cruiser
_Vizcaya_ told Lieutenant Van Duzer of the battle-ship _Iowa_ that, at
the height of the naval engagement off the mouth of the harbor on July
3, his vessel was struck by a shell, on an average, once a second. He
spoke as if he had been greatly surprised by the extraordinary accuracy
of our gunners' fire; but if he had taken one look at that Morro
lighthouse before he ran out of the harbor he would have known what to
expect.

After examining the shattered barracks and the half-demolished
lighthouse, I walked on to the so-called "eastern battery," a strong
earthwork on the crest of the ridge about one hundred and fifty yards
from the castle. Here, in a wide trench behind a rampart of earth
strengthened with barrels of cement, I found four muzzle-loading iron
siege-guns of the last century, two modern mortars like the one that I
had seen on the skids near the head of the Estrella cove, one
smooth-bore cannon dated 1859, and two three-inch breech-loading rifles.
The eighteenth-century guns were no more formidable than those on the
roof of Morro, but the mortars and three-inch rifles were useful and
effective. It was a shell from one of these mortars that killed or
wounded eight sailors on the battle-ship _Texas_. One gun had been
dismounted in this battery, but all other damage to it by the fleet had
been repaired. Owing to the fact that its guns were in a wide trench,
six or eight feet below the level of the hilltop, it was extremely
difficult to hit them; and although Admiral Sampson repeatedly silenced
this battery by shelling the gunners out of it, he was never able to
destroy it.

The only other fortifications that I was able to find in the vicinity of
Morro Castle were two earthworks known respectively as the "western
battery" and the "Punta Gorda battery." The western battery, which was
situated on the crest of the hill opposite Morro, on the other side of
the harbor entrance, contained seven guns of various sizes and dates,
but only two of them were modern. The Punta Gorda battery, which
occupied a strong position on a bluff inside the harbor and behind the
Estrella cove, had only two guns, but both were modern and of high
power. In the three batteries--eastern, western, and Punta Gorda--there
were only eight pieces of artillery that would be regarded as effective
or formidable in modern warfare, and two of these were so small that
their projectiles would have made no impression whatever upon a
battle-ship, and could hardly have done much damage even to a protected
cruiser. Six of these guns were so situated that, although they
commanded the outside approach to the bay, they could not possibly hit
an enemy that had once passed Morro and entered the channel. The neck of
the bottle-shaped harbor, or, in other words, the narrow strait between
Morro Castle and the upper bay, had absolutely no defensive intrenchment
except the Punta Gorda battery, consisting of two guns taken from the
old cruiser _Reina Mercedes_.

"Why," it may be asked, "did not Admiral Sampson fight his way into the
harbor, if its defenses were so weak?"

Simply because the channel was mined. He might have run past the
batteries without serious risk; but in so narrow a strip of water it was
impossible to avoid or escape the submarine mines, four of which were
very powerful and could be exploded by electricity. He offered to force
an entrance if General Shafter would seize the mine-station north of
Morro; but the general could not do this without changing his plan of
campaign. The coöperation of the navy, therefore, was limited to the
destruction of Cervera's fleet and the bombardment of the city from the
mouth of Aguadores ravine.



CHAPTER XVIII

FEVER IN THE ARMY


The most serious and threatening feature of the situation at Santiago
after the capture of the city was the ill health of the army. In less
than a month after it began its Cuban campaign the Fifth Army-Corps was
virtually _hors de combat_. On Friday, July 22, I made a long march
around the right wing from a point near the head of the bay to the
Siboney road, and had an opportunity to see what the condition of the
troops was in that part of our line. I do not think that more than fifty
per cent. of them were fit for any kind of active duty, and if they had
been ordered to march back to Siboney between sunrise and dark, or to
move a distance of ten miles up into the hills, I doubt whether even
forty per cent. of them would have reached their destination. There were
more than a thousand sick in General Kent's division alone, and a
surgeon from the First Division hospital--the only field-hospital of the
Fifth Army-Corps--told me that a conservative estimate of the number of
sick in the army as a whole would be about five thousand. Of course the
greater part of these sick men were not in the hospitals. I saw hundreds
of them dragging themselves about the camps with languid steps, or lying
in their little dog-kennel tents on the ground; but all of them ought to
have been in hospitals, and would have been had our hospital space and
facilities been adequate. Inasmuch, however, as our hospital
accommodations were everywhere deplorably inadequate, and inasmuch as
our surgeons sent to the yellow-fever camps many patients who were
suffering merely from malarial fever, a majority of our sick soldiers
remained in their own tents, from necessity or from choice, and received
only such care as their comrades could give them.

Yellow fever and calenture broke out among the troops in camp around
Santiago about the same time that they appeared in Siboney. Calenture
soon became epidemic, and in less than a fortnight there were thousands
of cases, and nearly one half of the army was unfit for active service,
if not completely disabled.

The questions naturally arise, Was this state of affairs inevitable, or
might it have been foreseen as a possibility and averted? Is the climate
of eastern Cuba in the rainy season so deadly that Northern troops
cannot be subjected to it for a month without losing half their
effective force from sickness, or was the sickness due to other and
preventable causes? In trying to answer these questions I shall say not
what I think, nor what I suppose, nor what I have reason to believe, but
what I actually know, from personal observation and from the testimony
of competent and trustworthy witnesses. I was three different times at
the front, spent a week in the field-hospital of the Fifth Army-Corps,
and saw for myself how our soldiers ate, drank, slept, worked, and
suffered. I shall try not to exaggerate anything, but, on the other
hand, I shall not suppress or conceal anything, or smooth anything over.
Poultney Bigelow was accused of being unpatriotic, disloyal, and even
seditious because he told what I am now convinced was the truth about
the state of affairs at Tampa; but it seems to me that when the lives of
American soldiers are at stake it is a good deal more patriotic and far
more in accordance with the duty of a good citizen to tell a
disagreeable and unwelcome truth that may lead to a reform than it is to
conceal the truth and pretend that everything is all right when it is
not all right.

The truth, briefly stated, is that, owing to bad management, lack of
foresight, and the almost complete breakdown of the commissary and
medical departments of the army, our soldiers in Cuba suffered greater
hardships and privations, in certain ways, than were ever before endured
by an American army in the field. They were not half equipped, nor half
fed, nor half cared for when they were wounded or sick; they had to
sleep in dog-kennel shelter-tents, which afforded little or no
protection from tropical rains; they had to cook in coffee-cups and old
tomato-cans because they had no camp-kettles; they never had a change of
underclothing after they landed; they were forced to drink brook-water
that was full of disease-germs because they had no suitable vessels in
which to boil it or keep it after it had been boiled; they lived a large
part of the time on hard bread and bacon, without beans, rice, or any of
the other articles which go to make up the full army ration; and when
wounded they had to wait hours for surgical aid, and then, half dead
from pain and exhaustion, they lay all night on the water-soaked ground,
without shelter, blanket, pillow, food, or attendance. To suppose that
an army will keep well and maintain its efficiency under such conditions
is as unreasonable and absurd as to suppose that a man will thrive and
grow fat in the stockaded log pen of a Turkish quarantine. It cannot be
fairly urged in explanation of the sickness in the army that it was due
to the deadliness of the Cuban climate and was therefore what policies
of marine insurance call an "act of God." The Cuban climate played its
part, of course, but it was a subordinate part. The chief and primary
cause of the soldiers' ill health was neglect, due, as I said before, to
bad management, lack of foresight, and the almost complete breakdown of
the army's commissary and medical departments. If there be any fact
that should have been well known, and doubtless was well known, to the
higher administrative officers of the Fifth Army-Corps, it is the fact
that if soldiers sleep on the ground in Cuba without proper shelter and
drink unboiled water from the brooks they are almost certain to contract
malarial fever; and yet twelve or fifteen thousand men were sent into
the woods and chaparral between Siboney and Santiago without hammocks or
wall-tents, and without any vessel larger than a coffee-cup in which to
boil water. I can hardly hint at the impurities and the decaying organic
matter that I have seen washed down into the brooks by the almost daily
rains which fall in that part of Cuba in mid-summer, and yet it was the
unboiled water from these polluted brooks that the soldiers had to
drink. One captain whom I know took away the canteens from all the men
in his company, kept them under guard, and tried to force his command to
boil in their tin coffee-cups all the water that they drank; but he was
soon compelled to give up the plan as utterly impracticable. In all the
time that I spent at the front I did not see a single camp-kettle in use
among the soldiers, and there were very few even among officers. Late in
July the men of the Thirty-fourth Michigan were bringing every day in
their canteens, from a distance of two miles, all the water required for
regimental use. They had nothing else to carry it in, nothing else to
keep it in after they got it to camp, and nothing bigger than a tin cup
in which to boil it or make coffee.

In the matter of tents and clothing the equipment of the soldiers was
equally deficient. Dog-kennel shelter-tents will not keep out a tropical
rain, and when the men got wet they had to stay wet for lack of a spare
suit of underclothes. The officers fared little better than the men. A
young lieutenant whom I met in Santiago after the surrender told me
that he had not had a change of underclothing in twenty-seven days. The
baggage of all the officers was left on board of the transports when the
army disembarked, and little, if any, of it was ever carried to the
front.

Nothing, perhaps, is more important, so far as its influence upon health
is concerned, than food, and the rations of General Shafter's army were
deficient in quantity and unsatisfactory in quality from the very first.
With a few exceptions, the soldiers had nothing but hard bread and bacon
after they left the transports at Siboney, and short rations at that. A
general of brigade who has had wide and varied experience in many parts
of the United States, and whose name is well and favorably known in New
York, said to me in the latter part of July: "The whole army is
suffering from malnutrition. The soldiers don't get enough to eat, and
what they do get is not sufficiently varied and is not adapted to this
climate. A soldier can live on hardtack and bacon for a while, even in
the tropics, but he finally sickens of them and craves oatmeal, rice,
hominy, fresh vegetables, and dried fruits. He gets none of these
things; he has come to loathe hard bread and bacon three times a day,
and he consequently eats very little and isn't adequately nourished.
Nothing would do more to promote the health of the men than a change of
diet."

A sufficient proof that the soldiers were often hungry is furnished by
the fact that men detailed from the companies frequently marched from
the front to Siboney and back (from eighteen to twenty-five miles, over
a bad road), in order to get such additional supplies, particularly in
the shape of canned vegetables, as they could carry in their hands and
haversacks or transport on a rude, improvised stretcher. Officers and
men from Colonel Roosevelt's Rough Riders repeatedly came into Siboney
in this way on foot, and once or twice with a mule or a horse, and
begged food from the Red Cross for their sick and sickening comrades in
their camp at the front.

It is not hard to understand why soldiers contracted malarial fever in a
country like Cuba, when they were imperfectly sheltered, inadequately
equipped, insufficiently fed and clothed, forced to sleep on the ground,
and compelled to drink unboiled water from contaminated brooks. But
there was another reason for the epidemic character and wide prevalence
of the calenture from which the army suffered, and that was exposure to
exhalations from the malarious, freshly turned earth of the rifle-pits
and trenches. All pioneers who have broken virgin soil with a plow in a
warm, damp, wooded country will remember that for a considerable time
thereafter they suffered from various forms of remittent and
intermittent fever. Our soldiers around Santiago had a similar
experience. The unexpected strength and fighting capacity shown by the
Spaniards in the first day's battle, and their counter-attack upon our
lines on the night of the following day, led our troops to intrench
themselves by digging rifle-pits and constructing rude bomb-proofs as
places of refuge from shrapnel. During the armistice these intrenchments
were greatly extended and strengthened, and before Santiago surrendered
they stretched along our whole front for a distance of several miles. In
or near these rifle-pits and trenches our men worked, stood guard, or
slept, for a period of more than two weeks, and the exhalations from the
freshly turned earth, acting upon organisms already weakened by
hardships and privations, brought about an epidemic of calenture upon
the most extensive scale.

By August 3 the condition of the army had become so alarming that its
general officers drew up and sent to General Shafter the following
letter:

     We, the undersigned officers, commanding the various brigades,
     divisions, etc., of the army of occupation in Cuba, are of the
     unanimous opinion that this army should be at once taken out of
     the island of Cuba and sent to some point on the northern sea-coast
     of the United States; that it can be done without danger to the
     people of the United States; that yellow fever in the army at
     present is not epidemic; that there are only a few sporadic cases,
     but that the army, is disabled by malarial fever, to the extent
     that its efficiency is destroyed, and that it is in a condition to
     be practically entirely destroyed by an epidemic of yellow fever,
     which is sure to come in the near future.

     We know from the reports of competent officers and from personal
     observation that the army is unable to move into the interior, and
     that there are no facilities for such a move if attempted, and that
     it could not be attempted until too late. Moreover, the best
     medical authorities of the island say that with our present
     equipment we could not live in the interior during the rainy season
     without losses from malarial fever, which is almost as deadly as
     yellow fever.

     This army must be moved at once or perish. As the army can be
     safely moved now, the persons responsible for preventing such a
     move will be responsible for the unnecessary loss of many thousands
     of lives.

     Our opinions are the result of careful personal observation, and
     they are also based on the unanimous opinion of our medical
     officers with the army, and who understand the situation
     absolutely.

This letter was signed by Generals Kent, Bates, Chaffee, Sumner, Ludlow,
Ames, and Wood, and Colonel Roosevelt.

In view of such a state of affairs as that disclosed by this letter
there was, of course, only one thing to be done. The War Department
decided to remove the Fifth Army-Corps at once from Cuba, and before the
middle of August a large part of General Shatter's command was on its
way to Montauk Point.

As a result, I presume, of sleeping without shelter from the heavy dew
in the field-hospital at the front, and over-exerting myself by walking
around the lines of the army in the blazing sunshine of midday, I was
finally prostrated with illness myself. At three o'clock on the night
of Tuesday, July 26, I awoke in a chill, and before morning I had all
the symptoms of calenture, with a temperature of 104.

Calenture, or Cuban malarial fever, comes on rather suddenly with a
chill of greater or less severity and a violent headache. The
temperature frequently rises to 105, and the fever, instead of being
intermittent, runs continuously with little, if any, diurnal variation.
If the attack is not a very severe one the headache gradually subsides;
the temperature falls to 102 or 103, and in the course of three or four
days the disease begins to yield to treatment. In some cases the fever
is interrupted by a second chill, followed by another rise of
temperature; but, as a rule, there is only one chill, and the fever,
after running from four days to a week, gradually abates. The treatment
most favored in Santiago consists of the administration of a large dose
of sulphate of magnesia at the outset, followed up with quinine and
calomel, or perhaps quinine and sulphur. The patient is not allowed to
take any nourishment while the fever lasts, and if he keeps quiet,
avoids sudden changes of temperature, and does not fret, he generally
recovers in a week or ten days. He suffers from languor and prostration,
however, for a fortnight or more, and if he overeats, moves about in the
sunshine, or exposes himself to the night air, he is liable to have
another chill, with a relapse, in which the fever is higher and more
obstinate, perhaps, than at first. Under ordinary circumstances the
fever is not dangerous, and the worst thing about it is the wretched,
half-dead, half-alive condition in which it leaves one. My attack was
not a very severe one, and in the course of ten days I was able to walk
about again; but the first time I went out into the sunshine I had a
relapse, which reduced me to such a state of weakness and helplessness
that I could no longer care for myself, and had either to leave the
country or go into one of the crowded Santiago hospitals and run the
risk of being sent as a "suspect" to the yellow-fever camp near Siboney.
Upon the advice of Dr. Egan, I decided to take the first steamer for New
York, and sailed from Santiago on August 12, after a Cuban campaign of
only seven weeks.



CHAPTER XIX

THE SANTIAGO CAMPAIGN


It is my purpose, in the concluding chapters of this volume, to review
as fully and dispassionately as I can the series of military operations
known collectively as "the Santiago campaign," including, first, the
organization and equipment of the expedition of General Shafter at
Tampa; second, the disembarkation of troops and the landing of supplies
at Daiquiri and Siboney; third, the strategic plan of the campaign and
its execution; and, fourth, the wrecking of the army by disease after
the decisive battle of July 1-2. The point of view from which I shall
regard this campaign is not that of a trained military expert or critic,
but merely that of an attentive and fair-minded civilian observer. I do
not pretend to speak _ex cathedra_, nor do I claim for my judgments any
other value than that given to them by such inherent reasonableness and
fairness as they may seem to have. I went to Cuba without any prejudice
for or against any particular plan of operations; I had very little
acquaintance with or knowledge of the officers of the Fifth Army-Corps;
and the opinions and conclusions that I shall here set forth are based
on personal observations made in the field without conscious bias or
prepossession of any kind.

In reviewing a military campaign, an arctic expedition, a voyage of
discovery, or any other enterprise involving the employment of a
certain force for the accomplishment of a certain purpose, the first
question to be considered is the question of responsibility. Who is to
be held accountable for the management and the results of this
enterprise--the leader who directed and had charge of it, or the
superior power which gave him his orders, furnished him with his
equipment, and sent him into the field? When General Shafter was ordered
to "go and capture the garrison at Santiago and assist in capturing the
harbor and the fleet," did he become personally responsible for the
management and the results of the campaign, or did he share that
responsibility with the War Department? Unless there is some evidence to
the contrary, the presumption in such a case is that the general in
command of the army is told in due time where he is to go and what he is
expected to do, and is then allowed to make his own plan of campaign,
and to call upon the War Department for such supplies and means of
transportation as, in the exercise of his individual judgment, he may
think necessary for the successful execution of that plan. If he is
given time enough to acquaint himself thoroughly with the field in which
he is to operate, if his plan of campaign, in its general outlines, is
approved, and if all his requisitions for vessels, horses, mules,
wagons, ambulances, tents, guns, ammunition, and miscellaneous supplies
are duly honored, there is no reason that I can see why he should not be
held to a strict personal accountability for results, both generally and
in detail. He has made his own plan; he has had everything that he asked
for; and if the campaign does not go as it should, he, and not the War
Department, is to blame. If, however, the department, after selecting
him and approving his plan, does _not_ furnish him with the
transportation and the stores that he needs and has called for, he ought
to protect himself and his own reputation by referring respectfully to
that fact in his report of the campaign, so that, if any of his bricks
are imperfect for lack of straw, the people may know that he was not
supplied with straw and had no means whatever of getting it in the field
to which he was sent. The importance of this point will become apparent
when an attempt is made to ascertain the causes and fix the
responsibility for the wrecking of the Fifth Army-Corps by disease in
the short space of one calendar month.

There is nothing in the official documents thus far published to
indicate that General Shafter was unreasonably hurried, or that he
failed to get from the War Department anything for which he made timely
requisition. The invasion of eastern Cuba was planned as early as the
first week in May--possibly much earlier than that, and, at any rate,
long before Admiral Cervera's fleet took refuge in Santiago harbor.
Colonel Babcock, Shafter's adjutant-general, told me on May 7 that the
government had decided to send the army of invasion to the eastern end
of the island, and to leave Havana and the western provinces unmolested
until later in the season. Before General Shafter sailed from Tampa,
therefore, he had nearly or quite six weeks in which to acquaint himself
with the Santiago field and mature a plan of operations. The question
whether or not he was furnished with all the means of transportation and
all the supplies for which he made requisition is in more doubt; but,
inasmuch as he seems to have made no complaint or protest, and does not
refer in his official reports to deficiencies of any kind, it may be
assumed, for the purposes of this review, that he had been furnished by
the War Department with everything for which he asked. Upon this
assumption he was unquestionably responsible for the whole Santiago
campaign, and must not only be given credit for the success that crowned
it, but be held accountable for the blunders and oversights by which it
was marred. He can relieve himself from such accountability only by
showing that his equipment was inadequate and that the inadequacy was
the result of causes beyond his control.

We are now prepared to consider:

I. The organization and equipment of the Santiago expedition.

When a general is appointed to lead and direct an expedition in a
foreign country, the first questions, I think, that he must ask himself
are: (1) What is the nature of the field in which I am to operate, and
what are the difficulties--especially the unusual and unfamiliar
difficulties--with which I shall have to contend? (2) Can I disembark my
army in a harbor, or shall I have to land it on an open, unprotected
coast, and perhaps through surf? (3) Are there any roads leading back
into the interior, and, if so, what is their nature, and what is likely
to be their condition at this season of the year? (4) Is the climate of
the country to which I am going an unhealthful one, and, if so, how can
I best protect my men from the diseases likely to attack them?

It is not always practicable to obtain satisfactory answers to such
questions as these; but that answers should be had, if possible, and
that the equipment of the force and the plan of campaign should be made
to accord with the information obtained by means of them, is
unquestionable. In the particular case now under consideration there was
no difficulty whatever in getting full and satisfactory replies, not
only to all of the above questions, but to scores of others of a similar
nature that might have been and ought to have been asked. For nearly a
month before General Shafter sailed from Tampa the vessels of Admiral
Sampson's fleet had been patrolling the southeastern coast of Cuba from
Santiago harbor to Guantanamo Bay, and their officers were in a position
to furnish all the information that might be desired with regard to the
nature of the coast, the facilities for landing an army, the strength
and direction of the prevailing winds, the danger to be apprehended from
heavy surf, and a dozen other matters of vital importance to an invading
army. At Daiquiri, Siboney, and Santiago there were stations of an
American iron-mining company, and its officers and employees, who might
easily have been found, were in a position to furnish any amount of
accurate and trustworthy information with regard to climate, topography,
roads, rains, surf, and local conditions generally, in the very field
that General Shafter's army was to occupy.

The sources of information above indicated were not the only sources
accessible at the time when the Santiago campaign was decided upon; but
they were the most important ones, and it is fair to presume that
General Shafter made use of them to the fullest possible extent. If so,
he was able to answer the questions above suggested in some such way as
this:

1. The field to which I am going is a tropical field, and the unusual
and unfamiliar difficulties with which I shall have to contend are
probably those dependent upon climatic conditions.

2. There are no sheltered harbors on the southeastern coast of Cuba
between Cape Cruz and Cape Maysi except the harbor of Santiago and the
Bay of Guantanamo. The former is in possession of the enemy, and cannot,
therefore, be used, while the latter is too far away from the city of
Santiago, which I am ordered to capture. It is probable, therefore, that
I shall have to land my army on an unsheltered part of the coast. The
prevailing winds in the summer are from the east and southeast, and the
swell that rolls in from the Caribbean Sea often breaks on the exposed
coast-line in heavy and dangerous surf.

3. The roads leading back into the interior in the direction of Santiago
are generally narrow and bad; they traverse almost impenetrable
jungles; and they are liable, at this season of the year, to be rendered
impassable for wheeled vehicles by heavy and frequent rains.

4. The climate is unhealthful, and unless men from the North are well
fed, suitably clothed, securely sheltered, and furnished with boiled
water for drinking purposes, they are almost certain to suffer from
calenture, the characteristic fever of the region, as well as from
yellow fever and dysentery.

This, in the briefest possible summary, is the information that General
Shafter had, or might have had, before he sailed from Tampa. What
preparation did he make to meet the difficulties suggested by this
knowledge, and how far is the influence of it to be traced in the
organization and equipment of his command?

Take, first, the problem of disembarking an army of sixteen thousand
men, with the supplies necessary for its maintenance, on an unsheltered
coast.

In 1847, when General Scott had in contemplation the landing of an army
of twelve thousand men on the open beach at Vera Cruz, he caused
sixty-seven surf-boats to be built for that particular service, each of
them capable of holding from seventy to eighty men. Every detail of the
disembarkation had been carefully considered and planned; every
contingency that could be foreseen had been provided for; and the
landing was successfully made in the course of two or three hours,
without a single error or accident.

When General Shafter sailed from Tampa, on June 14, with an army
considerably larger than that of General Scott, his equipment for
disembarkation on an exposed, surf-beaten coast consisted, according to
his own report, of only two scows! One of these went adrift at sea, and
the loss of it, the general says, "proved to be very serious and was
greatly felt." I don't wonder! Two scows, for an army of sixteen
thousand men and ten or fifteen ship-loads of supplies, was a
sufficiently economical allowance; and when that number was reduced by
half, and a whole army-corps became dependent upon one scow, I am not
surprised to learn that "the disembarkation was delayed and
embarrassed." There is a reference in the report to certain "lighters
sent by the quartermaster's department," and intended, apparently, for
use on the Cuban coast; but when and by what route they were "sent" does
not appear, and inasmuch as they were lost at sea before they came into
General Shafter's control, they can hardly be regarded as a part of his
equipment. All that he had with him was this flotilla of two scows. I
heard vague reports of a pontoon-train stowed away under hundreds of
tons of other stuff in the hold of one of the transports; but whether it
was intended to supplement the flotilla of scows, or to be employed in
the bridging of rivers, I am unable to say. I do not think it was ever
unloaded in Cuba, and I am quite sure that it never was used.

The almost complete absence of landing equipment, in the shape of
surf-boats, lighters, and launches, eventually proved, as I shall
hereafter show, to be disastrous in the extreme; and if the navy had not
come to the rescue, at Daiquiri and Siboney, it is not at all certain
that General Shafter could have landed his army. In a telegram to the
War Department dated "Playa del Este, June 25," he frankly admits this,
and says: "Without them [the navy] I could not have landed in ten days,
and perhaps not at all."

Now, it seems to me that the responsibility for this lack of boats,
which came near ruining the expedition at the outset and which hampered
and embarrassed it for three weeks afterward, can be definitely fixed.
The difficulty to be overcome was one that might have been foreseen and
provided for. If General Shafter did not foresee and provide for it, as
General Scott did at Vera Cruz, he, manifestly, is the person to blame;
while, on the other hand, if he did foresee it, but failed to get from
the War Department the necessary boats, the department is to blame. The
committee of investigation which is holding its sessions at the time
this book goes to press ought to have no trouble in putting the
responsibility for this deficiency where it belongs.

Boats, however, were not the only things that were lacking in the
equipment of General Shafter's army. Next in importance to landing
facilities come facilities for moving supplies of all kinds from the
sea-coast to the front, or, in other words, means of land
transportation. In his official report of the campaign General Shafter
says: "There was no lack of transportation, for at no time, up to the
surrender, could all the wagons I had be used." If I were disposed to be
captious, I should say that the reason why the general could not use the
wagons he had was that a large number of them lay untouched in the holds
of the transports. He might have said, with equal cogency, that there
was no lack of food, because at no time could all the hard bread and
bacon in his ships be eaten. The usefulness of food and wagons is
dependent to some extent upon their location. A superfluity of wagons on
board a steamer, five miles at sea, is not necessarily a proof that
there are more than enough wagons on shore.

When the army began its march in the direction of Santiago, without
suitable tents, without hospital supplies, without camp-kettles, without
hammocks, without extra clothing or spare blankets, and with only a
limited supply of food and ammunition, there were one hundred and
eighteen army wagons still on board the transport _Cherokee_. When they
were unloaded, if ever, I do not know, but they were not available in
the first week of the campaign, when the army began its advance and when
the roads were comparatively dry and in fairly good condition. It must
be observed, moreover, that transportation is not wholly a matter of
wagons. Vehicles of any kind are useless without animals to draw them;
and General Shafter does not anywhere say that he had a superfluity of
mules, or that he could not use all the horses he had. It was in
draft-animals that the weakness of the quartermaster's department became
most apparent as the campaign progressed. There were never half enough
mules to equip an adequate supply-train for an army of sixteen thousand
men, even if that army never went more than ten or twelve miles from its
base. If it had been forced to go fifty miles from its base, the
campaign would have collapsed at the outset.

General Shafter seems disposed to attribute the difficulty that he
experienced in supplying his army with food to the condition of the
roads rather than to the lack of mules, packers, teamsters, and wagons.
In an interview with a correspondent of the Boston "Herald" at Santiago
on August 25 he is reported as saying: "There has been some question
concerning the transportation facilities of the army. The facilities
were all there, and the transportation equipment provided was all that
it should have been; but our difficulties were enormous. There was only
one road; to build another would have taken two years. The nature of the
country, the weather, all these things helped to disorganize this
department. The use of wagons was almost impossible. The pack-train, as
a matter of fact, did the real service. I had not, at first, thought the
pack-train would be of service; but if it had not been there, I do not
know what the army would have done for food. The roads were practically
impassable. With the bridges down, the wagons could not be worked. I had
a great deal of concern when we were only able to get up one day's
rations at a time, but as soon as we were able to get a few days'
rations ahead, we knew we were prepared for anything."

It is hardly accurate to say, without qualification and without
limitation as to time, that the "roads were practically impassable."
They were unquestionably very bad, and perhaps impassable, at the last;
but before they became so there was ample time to take over them, with a
suitable supply-train, all the tents, cooking-utensils, clothing,
medical supplies, and provisions that the army so urgently needed but
did not have. The road from Daiquiri and Siboney to the front did not
become impassable for loaded wagons until the end of the second week in
July. For ten days after the army landed it was comparatively dry and
good; and for ten days or two weeks more it was at least passable, and
was constantly traversed, not only by pack-trains, but by wagons with
loads.

Captain Henry L. Marcotte, a retired officer of the Seventeenth
Infantry, who went with General Shafter's army as correspondent for the
"Army and Navy Journal," describes the condition of the road as follows:

"The road from Daiquiri to Siboney, about seven miles, leads over the
foot-hill slopes of the mountain-ranges and crosses a winding stream
several times during that distance. The road-bed, being mostly of rock,
and well shaded by tropical growths, with good water every few hundred
yards, made the journey for the Catling battery a picnic without
obstacles. From Siboney to [a point] near El Pozo the road was as good
as [from Daiquiri] to Siboney, with the exception of one part. This,
with five minutes' work, was made passable for the battery and for the
three army wagons which the quartermaster's department had ventured to
send out. In fact, the road, all the way to Santiago, proved equal to
most country roads, and there was not the slightest excuse for not using
the hundred or more wagons stowed in the hold of the Cherokee to
transport tentage, medical and other supplies close upon the heels of
the slow-moving Fifth Corps.... There is a mystery about the 'condition
of the road' that may remain so unless it is fixed upon as the
scape-goat for the lack of transportation.... The condition of the road
at no time would have prevented a farmer from taking a load of hay to
market.... There was no point from Daiquiri to the trenches which could
not have been as easily reached by wagons as by pack-mules between June
22 and July 18."

Captain Marcotte, as a retired officer of the regular army, is better
qualified than I am to express an opinion with regard to the
availability of a road for military purposes, and he does not hesitate
to say that the road from Daiquiri and Siboney to the front was
practicable for loaded wagons up to July 18, or for a period of nearly a
month subsequent to the landing of the army. During a part of that time,
he says, its condition was not such as to prevent a farmer from taking a
load of hay over it.

I myself went over this road from Siboney to the front four times
between June 26 and July 9,--twice on foot, once in an ambulance, and
once in an army wagon,--and my own judgment is that for ten days after
the disembarkation of the army the road was comparatively dry and good.
After that it became muddy and bad, but was by no means impassable, even
for heavily loaded wagons, when I traversed it for the last time, five
days before the surrender of Santiago. With the fall of that city the
army's base of supplies was transferred from Siboney to Santiago harbor,
and the condition of the Siboney road ceased to be a factor in the
transportation problem. When a dozen steamers, loaded with supplies of
all kinds, anchored off the Santiago piers, on July 15, the bulk of the
army was within two miles of them, and there ought to have been no
difficulty in getting to the troops everything that they needed.

If the road from Siboney to the front was practicable for both
pack-mules and wagons from the time when the army landed to the time
when its base of supplies was transferred to Santiago, and if, as
General Shafter asserts, "the facilities were all there, and the
transportation equipment provided was all that it should have been," why
was the army left for almost a month without suitable tents, without
adequate hospital supplies, without camp-kettles, without
cooking-utensils other than tin plates, coffee-cups, and old
tomato-cans, without hammocks, without extra clothing or spare blankets,
and with only a limited supply of food? That this was the state of the
army is beyond question.

Lieutenant John H. Parker of the Gatling-gun battery reported to
Adjutant-General Corbin, under date of July 23, that he and his men had
been entirely without tents for a period of twenty-eight days.

John Henry of the Twenty-first Infantry wrote to his cousin in Lowell,
Massachusetts, that his regiment had been on the firing line seventeen
days. For two days they had nothing at all to eat, and no shelter, and
lay on the ground in puddles of water.

Ex-Representative F. H. Krebs of the Second Massachusetts Regiment says
that for twenty-six consecutive days he had only hard bread, bacon, and
coffee, and that for three days he lived on one hardtack a day. The
soldiers of his regiment did all their cooking in tin plates and
coffee-cups, and slept for two months on the wet ground, under what are
called "shelter"-tents, for the reason, I suppose,--_lucus a non
lucendo_,--that they do not shelter.

Dr. James S. Kennedy, first assistant surgeon of the Second Division
hospital, wrote from the hospital camp near Santiago: "There is an utter
lack of suitable medicines with which to combat disease. There has been
so much diarrhea, dysentery, and fever, and no medicine at all to combat
them, that men have actually died for want of it. Four days after my
reporting here there was not a single medicine in the entire hospital
for the first two diseases, and nothing but quinine for the fever."

Dr. Edward L. Munson reported to Surgeon-General Sternberg, under date
of July 29, that "at the time of the battle of Las Guasimas there were
absolutely no dressings, hospital tentage, or supplies of any kind on
shore, within reach of the surgeons already landed. The medical
department was compelled to rely upon its own energies and improvise its
own transportation. I feel justified in saying that at the time of my
departure [from Siboney] large quantities of medical supplies, urgently
needed on shore, still remained on the transports, a number of which
were under orders to return to the United States. Had the medical
department carried along double the amount of supplies, it is difficult
to see how, with the totally inadequate land and water transportation
provided by the quartermaster's department, the lamentable conditions on
shore could have been in any way improved. The regimental medical
officers had no means of transportation even for their field-chests."

Lieutenant-Colonel Senn, chief of the surgical operating staff, in a
letter to the "Medical Record," dated "Siboney, August 3," disclaimed
responsibility for the want of medical and surgical supplies in the
field-hospitals, and said: "The lack of proper transportation from the
landing to the front cannot be charged to the medical department."

Finally, General Shafter himself, in a telegram to President McKinley,
dated "Santiago, August 8," reported as follows: "At least seventy-five
per cent. of the command have been down with malarial fever, from which
they recover very slowly.... What put my command in its present
condition was the twenty days of the campaign when they had nothing but
meat, bread, and coffee, without change of clothes, and without any
shelter whatever."

In view of the above statements, made, not by irresponsible "newspaper
correspondents and camp-followers," but by the officers and men of the
Fifth Army-Corps, and in view of the confirmation given to them by the
commanding general himself in a telegram to the President, it is proper,
I think, to press once more the question, Why was the army left for
almost a month without suitable tents, without adequate hospital
supplies, without camp-kettles, without cooking-utensils, without
hammocks, without extra clothing or spare blankets, and with only a
limited supply of food? The answer to the question, it seems to me, is
obvious. The army had not half transportation enough to supply its
wants. General Miles discovered this fact when he reached Siboney on
July 11, and he immediately cabled the War Department for more
draft-animals; but it was then too late to make good the deficiency. The
troops were already breaking down, as General Shafter admitted in his
telegram to the President, from "twenty days of meat, bread, and coffee,
without change of clothes, and without any shelter whatever." I do not
know how many draft-animals General Shafter had; but in four journeys
over the road between Siboney and the front I happened to see only two
pack-trains, one of them going forward with ammunition, and the other
returning without load. But whatever may have been the strength of the
pack-train equipment, it was certainly inadequate, and the common
practice of detailing soldiers to march into Siboney after food and
bring it back to the front on their shoulders or on improvised
hand-litters showed the urgency of the need. Many such details or
deputations came on board the _State of Texas_, obtained small
quantities of hospital supplies or delicacies for the sick, and carried
them back to the camps in their hands.

This inadequacy of transportation facilities was apparent to every one
who had any knowledge of the condition of the army, and it was a
subject of common talk in Siboney, in Daiquiri, on board the fleet, and
in every one of our hospitals and camps. I shall try, in another
chapter, to show how it affected the health and fighting efficiency of
the troops, and how near it came to wrecking not only the Fifth
Army-Corps, but the whole Cuban expedition. Suffice it to say, for the
present, that General Shafter sailed from Tampa without a sufficient
number of mules, teamsters, and packers to supply, equip, and maintain
his army in the field. The responsibility for this deficiency, as well
as the responsibility for the lack of boats, must rest either upon the
War Department or upon the general in command. If the latter did not ask
for adequate means of land and water transportation before he left
Tampa, he is the person to be held accountable. If he asked and failed
to obtain, the War Department must stand in the gap.



CHAPTER XX

THE SANTIAGO CAMPAIGN (_Continued_)


When, on June 14, General Shafter's army sailed for the southeastern
coast of Cuba, without adequate facilities for disembarkation, and
without a sufficient number of mules, packers, teamsters, and army
wagons to insure its proper equipment, subsistence, and maintenance in
the field, it was, _ipso facto_, predestined to serious embarrassment
and difficulty, if not to great suffering and peril. No amount of zeal,
energy, and ability on the part of quartermasters and commissaries,
after the army had reached its destination, could possibly make up for
deficiencies that should have had attention before the army sailed.
Boats, mules, and wagons were not to be had at Siboney, and when the
urgent need of them became apparent it was too late to procure them from
the United States. General Shafter cabled the War Department for
lighters and steam-tugs almost as soon as he reached the Cuban coast,
and General Miles telegraphed for more draft-animals before he had been
in Siboney twenty-four hours; but neither the boats nor the mules came
in time to be of any avail. Cuban fever waits for no man, and before the
boats that should have landed more supplies and the mules that should
have carried them to the front reached Siboney, seventy-five per cent.
of General Shafter's command had been prostrated by disease, due, as he
himself admits, to insufficient food, "without change of clothes, and
without any shelter whatever."[11]

But the lack of adequate land and water transportation was not the only
deficiency in the equipment of the Fifth Army-Corps when it sailed from
Tampa. It was also ill provided with medical stores and the facilities
and appliances needed in caring for sick and wounded soldiers. Dr.
Nicholas Senn, chief of the operating staff of the army, says that
"ambulances in great number had been sent to Tampa, but they were not
unloaded and sent to the front." I myself passed a whole train-load of
ambulances near Tampa in May, but I never saw more than three in use at
the front, and, according to the official report of Dr. Guy C. Godfrey,
commanding officer of the hospital-corps company of the First Division,
Fifth Army-Corps, "the number of ambulances for the entire army was
limited to three, and it was impossible to expect them to convey the
total number of wounded from the collecting-stations to the First
Division hospital."[12]

Lieutenant-Colonel Jacobs of the quartermaster's department, who was
assistant to General Humphreys in Cuba, testified before the
Investigating Commission on November 16 that he had fifty ambulances at
Tampa, and that he was about to load them on one of the transports when
General Shafter appeared and ordered them left behind.

The surgeon-general declared, in a letter to the "Medical Record," dated
August 6, that "General Shafter's army at Tampa was thoroughly well
supplied with the necessary medicines, dressings, etc., for
field-service; but, owing to insufficient transportation, he left behind
at Tampa his reserve medical supplies and ambulance corps."

General Shafter himself admits that he had not enough medical supplies,
but seems to assert, by implication, that he was not to blame for the
deficiency. In a telegram to Adjutant-General Corbin, dated "Santiago,
August 3," he said: "From the day this expedition left Tampa until
to-day there has never been sufficient medical attendance or medicines
for the daily wants of the command, and three times within that time the
command has been almost totally out of medicines. I say this on the word
of the medical directors, who have in each instance reported the matter
to me, the last time yesterday, when the proposition was made to me to
take medicines away from the Spanish hospital.... The surgeons have
worked as well as any men that ever lived, and their complaint has been
universal of lack of means and facilities. I do not complain of this,
for no one could have foreseen all that would be required; but I will
not quietly submit to having the onus laid on me for the lack of these
hospital facilities."

The state of affairs disclosed by these official reports and telegrams
seems to me as melancholy and humiliating as anything of the kind ever
recorded in the history of American wars. Three ambulances for a whole
corps of sixteen thousand men; an army "almost totally out of medicines"
three times in seven weeks; and a proposition to make up our own
deficiencies by seizing and confiscating the medical supplies of a
Spanish hospital! I do not wonder that General Shafter wishes to escape
responsibility for such a manifestation of negligence or incompetence;
but I do not see how he can be allowed to do so. It is just as much the
business of a commanding general to know that he has medicines and
ambulances enough as it is to know that he has food and ammunition
enough. He is the man who plans the campaign, and, to a certain extent,
predetermines the number of sick and wounded; he is the man who makes
requisition upon the War Department for transports, mules, and wagons
enough to carry the army and its equipment to the field where it is to
operate; and he is the man who should consider all contingencies and
emergencies likely to arise as a result of climatic or other local
conditions, and who should see that ample provision is made for them.
General Shafter says that "no one could have foreseen all that would be
required." That is probably true; but any one, it seems to me, could
have foreseen that an army of sixteen thousand men, which was expected
to attack intrenched positions, would need more than three ambulances
for the transportation of the wounded, to say nothing of the sick. The
same remark applies to medicines and medical supplies. Every one knew
that our army was going to a very unhealthful region, and it was not
difficult to foresee that it would require perhaps two or three times
the quantity of medical supplies that would be needed in a temperate
climate and a more healthful environment. The very reason assigned for
General Shafter's hurried advance toward Santiago is that he knew his
army would soon be disabled by disease, and wished to strike a decisive
blow while his men were still able to fight. If he anticipated the
wrecking of his army by sickness that could not be averted nor long
delayed, why did he not make sure, before he left Tampa, that he had
medical supplies and hospital facilities enough to meet the inevitable
emergency? His telegram to Adjutant-General Corbin seems to indicate
that he was not only unprepared for an emergency, but unprepared to meet
even the ordinary demands of an army in the field, inasmuch as he
declares, without limitation or qualification, that from June 14 to
August 3 he never had medicines enough for the daily wants of his
command.

It may be thought that the view here taken of the responsibility of the
commanding general for everything that pertains to the well-being and
the fighting efficiency of his command is too extreme and exacting, and
that he ought not to be held personally accountable for the mistakes or
the incompetence of his staff-officers. Waiving a discussion of this
question on its merits, it need only be said that, inasmuch as General
Shafter has officially recommended all of his staff-officers for
promotion on account of "faithful and meritorious services throughout
the campaign," he is estopped from saying now that they did not do their
duty, or that they made errors of judgment so serious as to imperil the
lives of men, if not the success of the expedition. The responsibility
for the lack of medical supplies and hospital facilities, therefore, as
well as the responsibility for the lack of boats, mules, and wagons,
must rest either upon the War Department or upon the general in command.
If the latter made timely requisition for them, and for transports
enough to carry them to the Cuban coast, and failed to obtain either or
both, the War Department must be held accountable; while, on the other
hand, if General Shafter did not ask for medical supplies enough to meet
the probable wants of his army in a tropical climate and an unhealthful
environment, he must shoulder the responsibility for his own negligence
or want of foresight.

I shall now try to show how this lack of boats, mules, wagons, and
medical supplies affected General Shafter's command in the field.

II. The landing at Daiquiri and Siboney.

The points selected for the disembarkation of the army and the landing
of supplies were the best, perhaps, that could be found between Santiago
harbor and Guantanamo Bay; but they were little more, nevertheless, than
shallow notches in the coast-line, which afforded neither anchorage nor
shelter from the prevailing wind. There was one small pier erected by
the Spanish-American Iron Company at Daiquiri, but at Siboney there were
no landing facilities whatever, and the strip of beach at the bottom of
the wedge-shaped notch in the precipitous wall of the coast was hardly
more than one hundred yards in length. The water deepened so suddenly
and abruptly at a distance of fifty yards from the shore that there was
practically no anchorage, and General Shafter's fleet of more than
thirty transports had to lie in what was virtually an open roadstead and
drift back and forth with the currents and tides. The prevailing winds
were from the east and southeast, and the long swell which rolled in
from the Caribbean Sea broke in heavy and at times dangerous surf upon
the narrow strip of unsheltered beach where the army had to land. All of
these local conditions were known, or might have been known, to General
Shafter before he left Tampa; but when he arrived off the coast they
seemed to take him wholly by surprise. He had brought with him neither
surf-boats, nor steam-launches, nor suitable lighters, nor materials
with which to construct a pier. How he ever would have disembarked his
command without the assistance of the navy, I do not know. I doubt
whether a landing could have been effected at all. Fortunately, the navy
was at hand, and its small boats and steam-launches, manned by officers
and sailors from the fleet, landed the whole army through the surf with
the loss of only two men. The navy then retired from the scene of
action, and General Shafter was left to his own devices--and deplorably
weak and ineffective they proved to be.

The engineer corps found near the railroad at Siboney a few sticks of
heavy timber belonging to the Iron Company, out of which they improvised
a small, narrow pier; but it was soon undermined and knocked to pieces
by the surf. The chief quartermaster discovered on or near the beach
three or four old lighters, also belonging to the Iron Company, which he
used to supplement the service rendered by the single scow attached to
the expedition; but as he put them in charge of soldiers, who had had
no experience in handling boats in broken water, they were soon stove
against the corners of the pier, or swamped in the heavy surf that swept
the beach. All that could be done then was to land supplies as fast as
possible in the small rowboats of the transports. If General Shafter had
had competent and experienced officers to put in command of these boats,
and steam-launches to tow them back and forth in strings or lines of
half a dozen each, and if he had made provision for communication with
the captains of the steamers by means of wigwag flag-signals, so as to
be able to give them orders and control their movements, he might have
landed supplies in this way with some success. But none of the
difficulties of the situation had been foreseen, and no arrangements had
been made to cope with them. The captains of the transports put their
vessels wherever they chose, and when a steamer that lay four or five
miles at sea was wanted closer inshore, there was no means of sending
orders to her except by rowboat. The captains, as a rule, did not put
officers in charge of their boats, and the sailors who manned them,
having no competent direction, acted upon their own judgment. Finally,
boats which could have made a round trip between the transports and the
shore in half an hour if towed by a steam-launch often used up the
greater part of two hours in toiling back and forth through a heavy sea
under oars.

It is not a matter for surprise that, with such facilities and under
such conditions, General Shafter found it almost impossible to land even
food and ammunition enough to keep his army properly supplied. In his
official report of the campaign he says: "It was not until nearly two
weeks after the army landed that it was possible to place on shore three
days' supplies in excess of those required for daily consumption."

In addition to all the unnecessary difficulties and embarrassments
above described, there was another, almost, if not quite, as serious,
arising from the manner in which the transports had been loaded at
Tampa. Stores were put into the steamers apparently without any
reference to the circumstances under which they would be taken out, and
without any regard to the order in which they would be needed at the
point of destination. Medical supplies, for example, instead of being
put all together in a single transport, were scattered among twenty or
more vessels, so that in order to get all of them it was necessary
either to bring twenty steamers close to shore, one after another, and
take a little out of each, or send rowboats around to them all where
they lay at distances ranging from one mile to five.[13] Articles of
equipment that would be required as soon as the army landed were often
buried in the holds of the vessels under hundreds of tons of stuff that
would not be needed in a week, and the army went forward without them,
simply because they could not be quickly got at. Finally, I am inclined
to believe, from what I saw and heard of the landing of supplies at
Siboney, that there was not such a thing as a bill of lading, manifest,
or cargo list in existence, and that the chief quartermaster had no
other guide to the location of a particular article than that furnished
by his own memory or the memory of some first mate. I do not assert this
as a fact; I merely infer it from the difficulty that there seemed to be
in finding and getting ashore quickly a particular kind of stores for
which there happened to be an immediate and urgent demand. After the
fight of the Rough Riders at Guasimas, for example, General Wood found
himself short of ammunition for his Hotchkiss rapid-fire guns. He sent
Lieutenant Kilbourne back to General Shafter at Siboney with a request
that a fresh supply be forwarded at the earliest possible moment.
General Shafter said that he had no idea where that particular kind of
ammunition was to be found, and referred the applicant to Quartermaster
Jacobs at Daiquiri. Lieutenant Kilbourne walked seven miles to Daiquiri,
only to find that the quartermaster had no more idea where that
ammunition was than the commanding general had. He thereupon returned to
Guasimas, after a march of more than twenty miles, and reported to
General Wood that ammunition for the rapid-fire guns could not be had,
because nobody knew where it was. If the commanding general and the
quartermaster could not put their hands on ammunition when it was
needed, they could hardly be expected to find, and forward promptly,
articles of less vital importance, such as camp-kettles, hospital tents,
clothing, and spare blankets.

It would be easy to fill pages with illustrations and proofs of the
statements above made, but I must limit myself to a typical case or two
relating to medical supplies, which seem to have been most neglected.

In a report to Surgeon-General Sternberg dated July 29, Dr. Edward L.
Munson, commander of the reserve ambulance company, says that for two
days after his arrival at Siboney he was unable to get any
transportation whatever for medical supplies from the ships to the
shore. On the third day he was furnished with one rowboat, but even this
was taken away from him, when it had made one trip, by direct order of
General Shafter, who wished to assign it to other duty. Some days later,
with the boats of the _Olivette_, _Cherokee_, and _Breakwater_, he
succeeded in landing medical supplies from perhaps one third of the
transports composing the fleet. "I appealed on several occasions," he
says, "for the use of a lighter or small steamer to collect and land
medical supplies, but I was informed by the quartermaster's department
that they could render no assistance in that way.... At the time of my
departure large quantities of medical supplies, urgently needed on
shore, still remained on the transports, a number of which were under
orders to return to the United States." "In conclusion," he adds, "it is
desired to emphasize the fact that the lamentable conditions prevailing
in the army before Santiago were due (1) to the military necessity which
threw troops on shore and away from the possibility of supply, without
medicines, instruments, or hospital stores of any kind; and (2) to the
lack of foresight on the part of the quartermaster's department in
sending out such an expedition without fully anticipating its needs as
regards temporary wharfage, lighters, tugs, and despatch-boats."

Dr. Frank Donaldson, assistant surgeon attached to Colonel Roosevelt's
Rough Riders, states in a letter to the Philadelphia "Medical Journal,"
dated July 12, that "a desperate effort" was made to secure a few cots
for the sick and wounded in the field-hospitals at the front. There were
hundreds of these cots, he says, on one of the transports off Siboney,
but it proved to be utterly impossible to get any of them landed.
Whether they were all carried back to the United States or not I do not
know; but large quantities of supplies, intended for General Shafter's
army, _were_ carried back on the transports _Alamo_, _Breakwater_,
_Vigilancia_, and _La Grande Duchesse_.

I do not mean to throw any undeserved blame upon the quartermasters and
commissaries at Siboney. Many of them worked day and night with
indefatigable energy to get supplies on shore and forward them to the
army; but they were hampered by conditions over which they had no
control, and for which, perhaps, they were not in any way responsible;
they were often unable to obtain the assistance of steamer captains and
other officers upon whose coöperation the success of their own efforts
depended, and they probably did all that could be done by individuals
acting as separate units rather than as correlated parts of an organized
and intelligently directed whole. The trouble at Siboney was the same
trouble that became apparent at Tampa. There was at the head of affairs
no controlling, directing, and energizing brain, capable of grasping all
the details of a complex situation and making all the parts of a
complicated mechanism work harmoniously together for the accomplishment
of a definite purpose.

III. The strategic plan of campaign and its execution.

As this branch of the subject will be discussed--if it has not already
been discussed--by better-equipped critics than I can pretend to be, I
shall limit myself to a brief review of the campaign in its strategic
aspect as it appears from the standpoint of a civilian.

I understand, from officers who were in a position to know the facts,
that the original plan of attack on the city of Santiago provided for
close and effective coöperation of the army with the navy, and for a
joint assault by way of Aguadores and Morro Castle. General Shafter was
to move along the line of the railroad from Siboney to Aguadores,
keeping close to the coast under cover of the guns of the fleet, and,
with the assistance of the latter, was to capture the old Aguadores fort
and such other intrenchments as should be found at the mouth of the
Aguadores ravine. This, it was thought, might be accomplished with very
little loss, because the fleet could shell the Spaniards out of their
fortifications, and thus make it possible for the army to occupy them
without much fighting. Having taken Aguadores, General Shafter was to
continue his march westward along the coast, still under the protection
of Admiral Sampson's guns, until he reached Morro. Then, without
attempting to storm or reduce the castle, he was to go down through the
ravine that leads to the head of the Estrella cove, and seize the
submarine-mine station at the mouth of Santiago harbor. When electrical
connection between the station and the mines had been destroyed, and the
mines had thus been rendered harmless, Admiral Sampson was to force an
entrance, fighting his way in past the batteries, and the army and fleet
were then to advance northward toward the city along the eastern side of
the bay.

This plan had many obvious advantages, the most important of which was
the aid and protection that would be given to the army, at every stage
of its progress, by the guns of perhaps thirty or forty ships of war. In
the opinion of naval officers, Admiral Sampson's cruisers and
battle-ships could sweep the country ahead of our advance with such a
storm of shot and shell that the Spaniards would not be able to hold any
position within a mile of the coast. All that the army would have to do,
therefore, would be to occupy the country as fast as it was cleared by
the fire of the fleet, and then open the harbor to the latter by cutting
communication with the submarine mines which were the only effective
defense that the city had on the water side. General Shafter's army,
moreover, would be all the time on high, sea-breeze-swept land, and
therefore comparatively safe from malarial fever, and it would not only
have a railroad behind it for the transportation of its supplies, but be
constantly within easy reach of its base by water.

Why this plan was eventually given up I do not know. In abandoning it
General Shafter voluntarily deprived himself of the aid that might have
been rendered by three or four hundred high-powered and rapid-fire guns,
backed by a trained fighting force of six or eight thousand men. I do
not know the exact strength of Sampson's and Schley's combined fleets,
but this seems to me to be a conservative estimate. A prominent officer
of the battle-ship _Iowa_ told me in Santiago, after the surrender, that
the fighting ships under Admiral Sampson's command, including the
auxiliary cruisers and mosquito fleet, could concentrate on any given
field a fire of about one hundred shells a second. This included, of
course, small projectiles from the rapid-fire and one-pound machine
guns. He did not think it possible for Spanish infantry to live, much
less fight, in the field swept by such a fire, and this was his reason
for believing that the fleet could have cleared the way for the army if
the latter had advanced along the coast instead of going back into the
interior. The plan of attack by way of Aguadores and Morro was regarded
by the foreign residents of Santiago as the one most likely to succeed;
and a gentleman who lived eight years at Daiquiri, as manager of the
Spanish-American Iron Company, and who is familiar with the topography
of the whole region, writes me: "I have always thought that the great
mistake of the Santiago campaign was that they assaulted the city at its
most impregnable point, instead of taking possession of the heights at
Aguadores, which would have been tantamount to the fall of Morro, the
possession of the harbor entrance and of the harbor itself. The forces
of the Spaniards were not sufficient to maintain any considerable number
of men there, and it seems to me that, with the help of the fleet
shelling the heights, they could have been reached very easily along the
Juragua Railroad. If General Duffield had pressed on when he was there,
it is probable that he would have met with only a thin skirmish-line,
or, if the fleet had done its work, with no resistance at all."

The reason assigned for General Shafter's advance through the valleys
and over the foot-hills of the interior, instead of along the high land
of the coast, is that he had been ordered to "capture the garrison at
Santiago and assist in capturing the harbor and the fleet." He did not
believe, it is said, that he could "capture the garrison" without
completely investing the city on the east and north. If he attacked it
from the southern or Morro side, he might take the city, but the
garrison would escape by the Cobre or the San Luis road. This seems like
a valid and reasonable objection to the original plan of campaign; but
I doubt very much whether the Spanish army would have tried to escape in
any event, for the reason that the surrounding country was almost wholly
destitute of food, and General Linares, in the hurry and confusion of
defeat, would hardly have been able to organize a provision-train for an
army of eight or ten thousand men, even if he had had provisions to
carry. The only place where he could hope to find food in any quantity
was Manzanillo, and to reach that port he would have had to make a
forced march of from twelve to fifteen days. But the question whether
the interior line of advance or the coastline was the better must be
left to strategists, and I express no opinion with regard to it.

The operations and manoeuvers of our army in front of Santiago have
already been described and commented upon by a number of expert
observers, and the only additional criticisms that I have to make relate
to General Shafter's neglect of reconnaissances, as a means of
ascertaining the enemy's strength and position; his apparent loss of
grip after the battle of July 1-2; and his failure not only to prevent,
but to take any adequate steps to prevent, the reinforcement of the
Santiago garrison by a column of five thousand regulars from Manzanillo
under command of Colonel Escarrio. If I am correctly informed, the only
reconnaissances made from the front of our army, after it came within
striking distance of the enemy's intrenched line, were made by General
Chaffee and a few other commanding officers upon their own
responsibility and for their own information. General Shafter knew
little more about the topography of the country in front of his advance
picket-line than could be ascertained by mere inspection from the top of
a hill. He received information to the effect that General Pando, with a
strong column of Spanish regulars, was approaching Santiago from the
direction of Manzanillo; but he never took any adequate steps to
ascertain where General Pando was, when and by what road he might be
expected to arrive, or how many men he was bringing with him. In the
course of a single day--July 3--General Shafter sent three telegrams to
the War Department with regard to the whereabouts of Pando, in each of
which he located that officer in a different place. In the first he
says: "Pando has arrived at Palma" (a village about twenty-five miles
northwest of Santiago on the Cobre road). In the second he declares that
Pando is "six miles north of Santiago," "near a break in the [San Luis]
railroad," and that he thinks "he will be stopped." In the third he
says: "Pando, I find to-night, is some distance away and will not get
into Santiago."

We know now--and General Shafter should have known then--that the column
of reinforcements from Manzanillo was not led by General Pando, but by
Colonel Escarrio, and that at the very time when Shafter, in successive
telegrams, was placing it "at Palma," "six miles north," "near a break
in the railroad," and "some distance away," it was actually in the
Santiago intrenchments, ready for business.

I take this case as an illustration on account of its extreme
importance. A column of five thousand Spanish regulars is not to be
despised; and when it is within a few days', or perhaps a few hours',
march, knowledge of its exact location may be a matter of life and death
to a thousand men. Was there any reason why General Shafter should not
have informed himself accurately with regard to the strength and the
position of this column of reinforcements? I think not. When Admiral
Sampson arrived off the entrance to Santiago harbor, it was of vital
importance that he should know with certainty the location of Cervera's
fleet. He did not hastily telegraph the War Department that it was
reported at Cienfuegos; that it was said to be in the Windward Passage;
that it was five miles north of Morro, or that it was near a reef in
the Este Channel and would be stopped. He sent Lieutenant Victor Blue
ashore to make a thorough and careful reconnaissance. Lieutenant Blue
made a difficult and dangerous journey of seventy miles, on foot, around
the city of Santiago, saw personally every vessel in the harbor, and
then returned to the flagship, and reported that Cervera's fleet was all
there. I do not know whether this was good strategy on the part of
Admiral Sampson or not, but it was certainly good common sense. Suppose
that General Shafter had asked General Wood to pick out from the Rough
Riders half a dozen experienced scouts and Indian fighters to make a
reconnaissance, with Cuban guides, in the direction of Manzanillo, and
ascertain exactly where that column of reinforcements was, and when it
might be expected to arrive. Would not the men have been forthcoming,
and would not the desired information have been obtained? I have
confidence enough in the Rough Riders to answer this question
emphatically in the affirmative. The capable men are not all in the
navy, and if General Shafter did not have full information with regard
to Colonel Escarrio's movements, it was simply because he did not ask
any of his officers or men to get it for him--and it was information
well worth having. If that column of five thousand Spanish regulars had
reached Santiago two days earlier--the evening before instead of the
morning after the battle of July 1-2--I doubt very much whether we
should have taken either Caney or San Juan Hill, and General Shafter
might have had better reason than he did have to "consider the
advisability of falling back to a position five miles in the rear."[14]

If General Shafter believed that these Spanish reinforcements were "some
distance away" and that they would "not get into Santiago," it is
difficult to understand why he should have so far lost his grip, after
the capture of Caney and San Juan Hill, as to telegraph the War
Department that he was "seriously considering the advisability of
falling back to a position five miles in the rear." His troops had not
been defeated, nor even repulsed; they had been victorious at every
point; and the Spaniards, as we afterward learned in Santiago, were
momentarily expecting them to move another mile to the front, rather
than five miles to the rear. It is the belief of many foreign residents
of Santiago, including the English cable-operators, who had the best
possible means of knowing the views of the Spanish commanders, that if
our army had continued the attack after capturing Caney and San Juan
Hill it might have entered the city before dark. This may or may not be
so; but the chance--if chance there was--vanished when Colonel Escarrio,
on the morning after the battle, marched around the head of the bay and
into the city with a reinforcing column of five thousand regulars.
General Shafter says, in his official report, that "the arrival of
General Escarrio was not anticipated" because "it was not believed that
his troops could arrive so soon." The time when a reinforcing column of
five thousand men will reach the enemy ought not to be a matter of vague
belief--it should be a matter of accurate foreknowledge; and if General
Shafter had sent a couple of officers with a few Rough Riders out on the
roads leading into Santiago from Manzanillo, he might have had
information that would have made the arrival of Colonel Escarrio less
unexpected. But he seems to have taken no steps either to ascertain the
movements of the latter or to prevent his junction with Linares.

General O. O. Howard, in an interview published in the New York
"Tribune" of September 14, 1898, explains the apparent indifference of
General Shafter to the approach of these reinforcements as follows: "In
regard to the Cubans allowing the Spanish reinforcements to enter
Santiago from Manzanillo, I would say that I met General Shafter on
board the _Vixen_, and from my conversation with him I infer that he
intended to allow the Spaniards to enter the city, so as to have them
where he could punish them more."

It is to be hoped that General Howard misunderstood General Shafter,
because such strategy as that indicated would suggest the tactics of the
pugnacious John Phoenix, who, in a fight in the editorial room, put
his nose into the mouth of his adversary in order to hold the latter
more securely.

The explanation of the entrance of the Spanish reinforcements given by
General Shafter in his official report of the campaign is as follows:
"General Garcia, with between four and five thousand Cubans, was
intrusted with the duty of watching for and intercepting the
reinforcements expected. This, however, he failed to do, and Escarrio
passed into the city along my extreme right and near the bay."

General Garcia himself, however, in his report to his own government,
states that he was directed by General Shafter to occupy and hold a
certain position on the right wing of the army, and that, without
disobeying orders and leaving that position, he could not possibly
intercept the Manzanillo troops.

As it happened, Escarrio's column did not become a controlling or
decisive factor in the campaign, and the question why he was allowed to
reinforce the Santiago garrison has therefore only a speculative
interest. If, however, these reinforcements had happened to arrive two
days earlier--in time to take part in the battle of July 1-2--the whole
course of events might have been changed. The Spanish garrison of the
city, according to the English cable-operators and the foreign
residents, consisted of three thousand regulars, one thousand
volunteers, and about one thousand sailors and marines from Cervera's
fleet--a force, all together, of not more than five thousand men. This
comparatively small army, fighting in intrenchments and in almost
impregnable positions, came so near repulsing our attack on July 1 that
General Shafter "seriously considered the advisability of falling back
to a position five miles in the rear." If the five thousand men in the
Spanish blockhouses and rifle-pits had been reinforced July 1 instead of
July 3 by the five thousand regulars from Manzanillo, the Santiago
campaign might have ended in a great disaster. Fortunately for General
Shafter, and unfortunately for General Toral, "Socorro de España ó tarde
ó nunca" ("Spanish reinforcements arrive late or never ").



CHAPTER XXI

THE SANTIAGO CAMPAIGN (_Concluded_)


IV. The wrecking of the army by disease after the decisive battle of
July 1-2.

The army under command of General Shafter left Tampa on the fourteenth
day of June, and arrived off the Cuban coast near Santiago on the 20th
of the same month. Disembarkation began at Daiquiri on the 22d, and
ended at Siboney on the 24th. On the morning of June 25 the whole army
was ashore, and was then in a state of almost perfect health and
efficiency. One week later the soldiers at the front began to sicken
with malarial and other fevers, and two weeks later, according to
General Shafter's report, "sickness was increasing very rapidly, and the
weakness of the troops was becoming so apparent that I was anxious to
bring the siege to an end." On July 21, less than four weeks after the
army landed, Colonel Roosevelt told me that not more than one quarter of
his men were fit for duty, and that when they moved five miles up into
the hills, a few days before, fifty per cent. of the entire command fell
out of the ranks from exhaustion. On July 22 a prominent surgeon
attached to the field-hospital of the First Division stated to me that
at least five thousand men in the Fifth Army-Corps were then ill with
fever, and that there were more than one thousand sick in General Kent's
division alone. On August 3 eight general officers in Shafter's command
signed a round-robin in which they declared that the army had been so
disabled by malarial fevers that it had lost its efficiency; that it was
too weak to move back into the hills; that the epidemic of yellow fever
which was sure to occur would probably destroy it, and that if it were
not moved North at once it "must perish." At that time, according to
General Shafter's telegram of August 8 to the War Department,
"seventy-five per cent. of the command had been ill with a very
weakening malarial fever, which leaves every man too much broken down to
be of any use." In the short space of forty days, therefore, an army of
sixteen thousand men had lost three fourths of its efficiency, and had
been reduced to a condition so low that, in the opinion of eight general
officers, it must inevitably "perish" unless immediately sent back to
the United States. Early in August, after a stay in Cuba of only six
weeks, the Fifth Army-Corps began to move northward, and before
September 1 the whole command was in camp at Montauk Point, Long Island.
Of the eighteen thousand men who composed it, five thousand were very
ill, or soon became very ill, and were sent to the general hospital;
while five thousand more, who were less seriously sick, were treated in
their tents.[15] Eight thousand men out of eighteen thousand were
nominally well, but had been so enfeebled by the hardships and
privations of the campaign that they were no longer fit for active Cuban
service, and, in the opinion of General Miles, hardly one of them was in
sound health.[16] I think it is not an exaggeration to describe this
state of affairs as "the wrecking of the army by disease." It is my
purpose in the present chapter to inquire whether such wrecking of the
army was inevitable, and if not, why it was allowed to happen.

A review of the history of campaigns in tropical countries seems to show
that Northern armies in such regions have always suffered more from
disease than from battle; but it does not by any means show that the
virtual destruction of a Northern army by disease in a tropical country
is inevitable _now_. When the British army under the Earl of Albemarle
landed on the Cuban coast and attacked Havana in 1762, it lost nearly
one half its efficiency, as a result of sickness, in about four weeks;
but at that time the fact that nine tenths of all tropical diseases are
caused by microscopic germs, and are therefore preventable, was not
known. The progress made in sanitary science in the present century
renders unnecessary and inexcusable in 1898 a rate of sickness and
mortality that was perhaps inevitable in 1762. Northern soldiers, if
properly equipped and cared for, can live and maintain their health now
under conditions which would have been absolutely and inevitably fatal
to them a century ago.

In April last there was an interesting and instructive discussion of
this subject, or of a subject very closely connected with this, at a
meeting held in the rooms of the Royal Geographical Society, London, and
attended by many of the best-known authorities on tropical pathology in
Great Britain. Most of the gentlemen who took part in the debate were of
opinion that there is no reason whatever why the white man should not be
able to adapt himself to the new conditions of life in the tropics, and
protect himself against the diseases that prevail in those regions. The
popular belief that the white man cannot successfully colonize the
tropics is disproved by the fact that he has done so. It is undoubtedly
true that many Northerners who go to equatorial regions contract disease
there and die; but in the majority of such cases the man is the victim
of his obstinate unwillingness to change his habits in respect to
eating, drinking, and clothing, and to conform his life to the new
conditions.

The chief diseases, both acute and chronic, of tropical
countries--those which formerly caused such ravages among the white
settlers, and gave rise to the prevalent theory that Europeans can live
only in the temperate zone--are all microbic in origin, and consequently
in great measure preventable. We cannot expect, of course, to see them
absolutely wiped out of existence; but their sting may be extracted by
means of an improved public and private hygiene and other prophylactic
measures. A comparison of the healthfulness of the West India Islands
under enlightened British rule with that of the two under Spanish
misrule shows what can be done by sanitation to convert a pest-hole into
a paradise. Indeed, as Dr. L. Sambon, in opening the discussion, well
said, sanitation within the last few decades has wrought wonderful
changes in all tropical countries as regards health conditions, and the
changes in some places have been so great that regions once considered
most deadly are now even recommended as health resorts.

Dr. Patrick Manson, than whom there is no greater authority on the
pathology of equatorial regions, began his remarks with the confession
that in former years, under the influence of early training, he shared
in the pessimistic opinions then current about tropical colonization by
the white races. In recent years, however, his views on this subject had
undergone a complete revolution--a revolution that began with the
establishment of the germ theory of disease. He now firmly believed in
the possibility of tropical colonization by the white races. Heat and
moisture, he contended, are not, in themselves, the direct cause of any
important tropical disease. The direct causes of ninety-nine per cent,
of these diseases are germs, and to kill the germs is simply a matter of
knowledge and the application of that knowledge--that is to say,
sanitary science and sanitation.[17]

The fact that ninety-nine per cent. or more of the diseases that
prevail in the tropics are caused by germs was known, of course, to the
surgeon-general of our army, and ought to have been known to General
Shafter and the Secretary of War. It was, therefore, their duty,
collectively and individually, to protect our soldiers in Cuba, not only
by informing them of the best means of escaping the dangers threatened
by these micro-organisms, but also by furnishing them with every
safeguard that science and experience could suggest in the shape of
proper food, dress, equipment, and medical supplies. The rules and
precautions which it is necessary to observe in order to escape the
attacks of micro-organisms and maintain health in the tropics were well
known at the time when the invasion of Cuba was planned, and had been
published, long before the army left Tampa, in hundreds of periodicals
throughout the country. Cuban physicians and surgeons, Americans who had
campaigned with Gomez and Garcia, and travelers who, like Hornaday, had
spent many years in tropical forests and jungles, all agreed that if our
soldiers were to keep well in Cuba they should drink boiled water, they
should avoid sleeping on the ground, they should have adequate
protection from rain and dew at night, and they should be able to change
their clothing, or at least their underwear, when wet.[18] By observing
these very simple precautions Dr. Hornaday maintained his health
throughout five years of almost constant travel and exploration in the
woods and jungles of Cuba, South America, India, the Malay Archipelago,
and Borneo. If our soldiers went to Cuba, or marched from Siboney to
Santiago, without the equipment required for the observance of these
precautions, it was not the result of necessary ignorance on the part of
their superiors. As the Philadelphia "Medical Journal" said, ten days
before the army sailed: "The climate and sanitary--or rather
unsanitary--conditions of Cuba have been much discussed, and it is well
known what our troops will have to contend against in that island." The
"Army and Navy Journal," about the same time, pointed out the grave
danger to be apprehended from contaminated drinking-water, and said:
"The government should provide itself with heating and distilling
apparatus on an adequate scale. Sterilized water is cheaper than
hospitals and an army of nurses, to say nothing of the crippling of the
service that sickness brings." In an article entitled "Special Sanitary
Instructions for the Guidance of Troops Serving in Tropical Countries,"
published in the "Journal of the American Medical Association" for May,
Dr. R. S. Woodson described fully the adverse sanitary conditions
peculiar to Cuba, and called especial attention to the danger of
drinking impure water and sleeping on the ground. Finally, the highest
medical officers of our army, including the surgeon-general, the chief
surgeon of the Fifth Army-Corps, and Dr. John Guiteras, published
instructions and suggestions for the maintenance of the health of our
soldiers in the field, in which attention was again called to the danger
of drinking unboiled water and sleeping in wet clothing on the
ground.[19]

In spite of all these orders, instructions, and suggestions, and in
defiance of the advice and warnings of all competent authorities,
General Shafter's army sailed from Tampa without its reserve medical
supplies and ambulance corps, and, having landed on the Cuban coast,
marched into the interior without wall-tents, without hammocks, without
a change of clothing, and without a single utensil larger than a
coffee-cup in which to boil water.

The question naturally arises, Why? If everybody, without exception, who
knows the climate of Cuba warns you that your soldiers must not sleep on
the ground, in wet clothing, why not provide them with hammocks,
rain-sheets, and extra underwear? If your own surgeon-general and the
chief surgeon of your own corps advise you officially that the drinking
of unboiled water will almost certainly cause disease, why not supply
your men with camp-kettles? I can think of only three possible answers
to these questions. Either (1) the War Department did not furnish
General Shafter with these articles, or with adequate transportation for
them; or (2) General Shafter did not believe in microbes and the germ
theory of disease, and regarded the suggestions of medical and other
experts as foolish and nonsensical; or (3) the commanding general
expected to capture Santiago before his troops should be put _hors de
combat_ by disease, and did not care particularly what happened to them
afterward. If there be any other explanation of the officially admitted
facts, it does not at this moment occur to me.

Some of the defenders of the War Department and of General Shafter seek
to convey the idea, by implication at least, that the wrecking of our
army was inevitable--that it was a sort of divine visitation, which
could not have been averted, and for which no one, except the Creator of
microbes and the Cuban climate, was responsible. But this theory accords
neither with the facts nor with General Shafter's explanation of them.
In his telegram of August 8 to President McKinley, he does not say,
"What put my command in its present condition was a visitation of God";
he says: "What put my command in its present condition was the twenty
days of the campaign when they had nothing but meat [fat bacon], bread,
and coffee, without change of clothes, and without any shelter
whatever." From this admission of the commanding general it is clear
that the wrecking of the army was not due primarily to uncontrollable
climatic conditions, but rather to lack of foresight, mismanagement, and
inefficiency. This conclusion is supported and greatly strengthened by
the record of another body of men, in a different branch of the service,
which spent more time in Cuba than the Fifth Army-Corps spent there,
which was subjected to nearly all the local and climatic influences that
are said to have wrecked the latter, but which, nevertheless, escaped
disease and came back to the United States in perfect health. I refer to
the battalion of marines under command of Colonel Huntington. This small
naval contingent landed on the western shore of Guantanamo Bay on June
10--two weeks before the Fifth Army-Corps finished disembarkation at
Daiquiri and Siboney. It was almost immediately attacked by a superior
force of Spanish regulars, and was so harassed, night and day, by the
fire of the latter that some of its officers slept only two hours out of
one hundred and fifteen. As soon as it had obtained a foothold it went
into camp on a slight elevation in the midst of an almost impenetrable
jungle, surrounded itself with defensive trenches, and there lived, for
a period of ten weeks, exposed to the same sun, rain, and malaria that
played havoc with the troops of General Shafter. On the sixth day of
August, after eight weeks on Cuban soil and in a tropical climate, its
condition, as reported by Admiral Sampson, was as follows: "The marine
battalion is in excellent health. Sick-list two and one half per cent.
The fleet surgeon reports that they are in better condition for service
in this climate than they were when they arrived South in June. I do not
think it necessary to send them North."[20] Almost exactly at the same
time when this report was made, General Shafter was telegraphing the War
Department that seventy-five per cent. of his command had been disabled
by fever, and eight general officers of the Fifth Army-Corps were
signing a round-robin in which they declared that if the army were not
immediately moved North it "must perish."

Late in August it was decided that the marines should return to the
United States, notwithstanding their satisfactory state of health, and
on the 26th of that month they reached Portsmouth, New Hampshire, with
only two men sick. They had been gone a little more than eleven weeks,
ten of which they had spent in Cuba, and in that time had not lost a
single man from disease, and had never had a higher sick-rate than two
and one half per cent.

In view of this record, as compared with that of any regiment in General
Shafter's command, we are forced to inquire: What is the reason for the
difference? Why should a battalion of marines be able to live ten weeks
in Cuba, without the loss of a single man from disease, and with a
sick-rate of only two and one half per cent., while so hardy and tough a
body of men as the Rough Riders, under substantially the same climatic
conditions, had become so reduced in four weeks that seventy-five per
cent. of them were unfit for duty, and fifty per cent. of them fell out
of the ranks from exhaustion in a march of five miles?

The only answer I can find to these questions is that the marines had
suitable equipment and intelligent care, while the soldiers of General
Shafter's command had neither. When the marines landed in Guantanamo
Bay, every tent and building that the Spaniards had occupied was
immediately destroyed by fire, to remove any possible danger of
infection with yellow fever. When General Shafter landed at Siboney, he
not only disregarded the recommendation of his chief surgeon to burn the
buildings there, but allowed them to be occupied as offices and
hospitals, without even so much as attempting to clean or disinfect
them. Yellow fever made its appearance in less than two weeks. The
marines at Guantanamo were supplied promptly with light canvas uniforms
suitable for a tropical climate, while the soldiers of General Shafter's
army sweltered through the campaign in the heavy clothing that they had
worn in Idaho or Montana, and then, just before they started North, were
furnished with thin suits to keep them cool at Montauk Point in the
fall. The marines drank only water that had been boiled or sterilized,
while the men of General Shafter's command drank out of brooks into
which the heavy afternoon showers were constantly washing fecal and
other decaying organic matter from the banks. The marines were well
protected from rain and dew, while the regulars of the Fifth Army-Corps
were drenched to the skin almost every day, and slept at night on the
water-soaked ground. The marines received the full navy ration, while
the soldiers had only hardtack and fat bacon, and not always enough of
that. Finally, the marines had surgeons enough to take proper care of
the sick, and medicines enough to give them, while General Shafter,
after leaving his reserve medical supplies and ambulance corps at Tampa,
telegraphs the adjutant-general on August 3 that "there has never been
sufficient medical attendance or medicines for the daily wants of the
command." In short, the marines observed the laws of health, and lived
in Cuba according to the dictates of modern sanitary science, while the
soldiers, through no fault of their own, were forced to violate almost
every known law of health, and to live as if there were no such thing as
sanitary science in existence.

Governor Tanner, General Grosvenor, and Secretary Alger may declare that
the wrecking of the army by disease was inevitable, that Northern
soldiers cannot maintain their health in the tropics, and that "when
troops come home sick and worn, it is a part of war"; but, in view of
the record made at Guantanamo Bay, we may say to them, seriously and
respectfully, rather than flippantly: "Tell that to the marines!"

The record of the marine battalion, taken in connection with General
Shafter's admission that his command was disabled by "twenty days of
bread, meat, and coffee, without change of clothes, and without any
shelter whatever," seems to show conclusively that the epidemic of
disease which wrecked the army was the direct result of improper and
insufficient food, inadequate equipment, and utter neglect of all the
rules prescribed by sanitary science for the maintenance of health in
tropical regions. The questions then recur, Why did not the army have
such food, clothes, and equipment as would have made obedience to the
laws of health possible? Why should they have been directed by their
chief surgeon to boil all drinking-water, to avoid sleeping on the
ground, and to change their clothing when wet, if it was not the
intention to give them camp-kettles in which to boil the water, hammocks
in which to sleep, and clothing enough for a change? The American
people, certainly, are both able and willing to pay for the proper
support and equipment of their army. If it had cost five million
dollars, or ten million dollars, to supply every company in General
Shafter's command with hammocks, waterproof rain-sheets, extra clothing,
and camp-kettles, the money would have been appropriated and paid
without a grumble or a murmur. We are not a stingy people, nor even an
economical people, when the question is one of caring for the men that
we send into the field to fight for us. If, then, the financial
resources of the War Department were unlimited, and if it had supreme
power, why could it not properly equip and feed a comparatively small
invading force of only sixteen or eighteen thousand men? Were the
difficulties insuperable? Certainly not! It is safe, I think, to say
that there were a thousand business firms in the United States which,
for a suitable consideration, would have undertaken to keep General
Shafter's army supplied, at every step of its progress from Siboney to
Santiago, with hammocks, waterproof tents, extra clothing, camp-kettles,
and full rations of food. The trouble was not lack of money or lack of
facilities at home; it was lack of foresight, of system, and of
administrative ability in the field.

Lieutenant Parker of the Thirteenth Infantry has pointed out the fact
that the army was not properly equipped and fed "even after the
surrender [of Santiago] had placed unlimited wharfage at our disposal
within two and a half miles of the camps over excellent roads."[21] A
week or ten days after the surrender, officers were coming into Santiago
on horseback and carrying out to the camps over the pommels of their
saddles heavy hospital tents for which they could get no other
transportation and of which their men were in urgent need. As late as
August 13--nearly a month after the surrender--the soldiers of the Ninth
Massachusetts were still sleeping on the ground in dog-kennel tents,
toasting their bacon on the ends of sticks, and making coffee in old
tomato-cans, although at that very time there were hundreds of large
wall-tents piled up in front of the army storehouse on the Santiago
water-front and hundreds of tons of supplies, of all sorts, in the
storehouses and on the piers.

The state of affairs in the hospitals was not much better than it had
been a month before. In a signed letter dated "Santiago, August 12," Dr.
James S. Kennedy, first assistant surgeon of the Second Division
hospital, declared that there was "an utter lack of suitable medicines
with which to combat disease. There has been so much diarrhea,
dysentery, and fever, and no medicine at all to combat them, that men
have actually died for want of it. Four days after my reporting here
there was not a single medicine in the entire hospital for the first
two diseases, and nothing but quinine for the fever. Yesterday, August
11, a certain regiment left its encampment to go on board ship for the
North, and ten hours afterward a private who had been left behind
started back to his former encampment to sleep, no private soldiers
being allowed in Santiago after dark. On reaching his camp he found ten
men abandoned--no medicines, no food, no nurses or physicians--simply
abandoned to starvation or suicide."

If these statements are not true, Dr. Kennedy should be brought to trial
by court martial for conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline,
if not conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, in publicly making
injurious charges that have no foundation in fact. If they are true,
they furnish another proof that the lack of medical supplies and medical
attention in the army was due to official negligence and inefficiency.
In June and July it might have been urged with some show of plausibility
that a sudden and unexpected emergency, in the shape of a wide-spread
epidemic of fever, had taken the army by surprise and found it
unprepared; but with the coast of the United States only four or five
days distant, with uninterrupted telegraphic communication, and with
good landing facilities in a safe and sheltered harbor, there was no
excuse for a lack of medicines and hospital supplies on August 12--seven
weeks after the army landed and four weeks after it entered the city of
Santiago.

Defenders of General Shafter and the War Department try to excuse the
wrecking of the army by saying that "the invasion of Cuba was not a
pleasure excursion," that "war is not strictly a hygienic business,"
that "the outcry about sickness and neglect is largely sensational and
for the manufacture of political effect," and that the general criticism
of the management of the campaign is "a concerted effort to hide the
glories of our magnificent triumph under alleged faults and shortcomings
in its conduct"; but these excuses and counter-charges do not break the
force of the essential and officially admitted fact that our army landed
on the Cuban coast on June 24 in a high state of health and efficiency,
and in less than six weeks had not only lost seventy-five per cent. of
its effective strength, but had been reduced by disease to a condition
so low that, in the opinion of eight of its general officers, it "must
perish" unless immediately sent back to the United States. Secretary
Alger declares that management which produces these results "is war";
but I should rather describe it as incapacity for war. If we do not
learn a lesson from the Santiago campaign--if we continue to equip,
feed, and manage our armies in the field as we equipped, fed, and
managed the Fifth Army-Corps in Cuba--our newly acquired tropical
possessions will cost us more in pensions than they will ever produce in
revenue.


FOOTNOTES:

[1] Referring to the ten thousand men spoken of in the secretary's
telegram of May 27.

[2] Report of General Miles ("Army and Navy Register," November 12, p.
311). General Shafter reported to the Secretary of War, September 13,
that he sailed from Tampa with 815 officers and 16,072 men. General
Miles is probably right.

[3] I spell this word as it is spelled by the officers of the
Spanish-American Iron Company, who say that "Baiquiri" is erroneous.

[4] I never heard this village called _El_ Caney by any Spaniard or any
resident of Santiago. Mr. Ramsden, British consul for many years at the
latter place, always refers to it in his diary as "Caney," without the
definite article, and this was the name given it by every one in
Santiago with whom I talked. The use of "El" in connection with Pozo
seems to be correct, as Mr. Ramsden invariably calls it, in English,
"_the_ Pozo."

[5]The point where the _Merrimac_ was sunk was not the point selected by
Lieutenant Hobson, who aimed to sink her farther out, and more nearly in
the position reached by the _Reina Mercedes_, but was prevented from
doing so, as described in his article in "The Century" for January,
1899.--EDITOR.

[6] I use the word "bastion" in a very loose, untechnical way to
designate projecting parts or semi-detached wings of the main building.
I doubt whether the castle contains anything that would be called a
bastion by a military engineer; but I cannot think of any other word to
describe the cubical masses of masonry that are joined to the main work
only on one side.

[7] I neglected to ascertain the dimensions of this roof or gun-platform
by pacing it, and the estimates given above are from memory.

[8] "A fair match for numbers."

[9] "The last argument of kings." Words engraved or cast on French
cannon by order of Louis XIV.

[10] Evidently an error; it should be Philip V

[11] Telegram of General Shafter to the President, August 8.

[12] Report to the surgeon-general from Santiago, July 28.

[13] Report of Dr. Edward L. Munson to the surgeon-general, dated July
29.

[14] Statement furnished to the press by General Miles, September 8,
1898.

[15] Statement of General Wheeler, New York "Sun," September 3.

[16] New York "Sun," September 21.

[17] "British Medical Journal" of April 30, 1898, quoted in the "Journal
of the Military Service Institution."

[18] "Health Hints for Cuba," by William T. Hornaday, director of the
New York Zoölogical Society; New York "Sun," May 22, 1898.

[19] Circular of the surgeon-general, dated April 25, 1898; Memorandum
of Instructions to Soldiers, by Lieutenant-Colonel B. F. Pope, chief
surgeon of the Fifth Army-Corps; and General Order No. 8, Fifth
Army-Corps, Tampa, June 2, 1898.

[20] Telegram to Secretary Long, dated "Playa, Cuba, August 6, 1898."

[21] "Some Lessons of the War from an Officer's Standpoint," by
Lieutenant John H. Parker; "Review of Reviews," October, 1898.





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