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´╗┐Title: History of the Gatling Gun Detachment, Fifth Army Corps, at Santiago
 - With a Few Unvarnished Truths Concerning that Expedition
Author: Parker, John H. (John Henry)
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the Gatling Gun Detachment, Fifth Army Corps, at Santiago
 - With a Few Unvarnished Truths Concerning that Expedition" ***

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With a Few Unvarnished Truths Concerning that Expedition.

(Short Title: The Gatlings at Santiago)

1st Lieut. 13th Inf.

(Late) Commanding Gatling Gun Detachment,
Fifth Army Corps, at Santiago.


To the Enlisted Members of the Detachment, Who, by Their Devotion,
Courage and Endurance, Made Its Success Possible, this Volume is
Dedicated as a Token of Esteem by the Author.


I. L'envoi.
II. Inception Of The Scheme.
III. The Ordnance Depot.
IV. The Voyage And Disembarkation.
V. The March.
VI. The Battery In Camp Wheeler.
VII. The Battle.
VIII. Tactical Analysis Of The Battles At Santiago.
IX. The Volunteers.
X. The Sufferings Of The Fifth Army Corps.
XI. Home Again.
Appendix I
Appendix II
Appendix III

The photographic illustrations in this work are due to the courage and
kindness of Mr. John N. Weigle, of Gettysburg, Pa. This young man was
first sergeant of the Gatling Gun Detachment, and took with him a
large supply of material. It was his delight to photograph everything
that occurred, and his pleasure to furnish a set of photographs for
the use of the author. Mr. Weigle was recommended for a commission in
the Regular Army of the United States, for his extreme gallantry in
action, and is a magnificent type of the American youth. The thanks of
the author are tendered to him for the photographic illustrations so
generously supplied.


Lieut. John H. Parker, 13th US Infantry, Late Commanding Gatling Guns
    at Santiago. (_Frontispiece_)
Map--Santiago and Surrounding Area.
Skirmish Drill at Tampa.
Skirmish Drill at Tampa.
Field Bakery.
Awaiting Turn to Embark.
The "Hornet."
Wrecked Locomotives and Machine Shops at Baiquiri.
The Landing.
Pack Train.
Calvary Picket Line.
San Juan Hill.
Cuban Soldiers as They Were.
Wagon Train.
Gatling Battery under Artillery Fire at El Poso.
Gatling Gun on Firing-Line July 1st. (Taken under fire by Sergeant
Fort Roosevelt.
Sergeant Greene's Gun at Fort Roosevelt.
Skirmish Line in Battle.
Fort Roosevelt.
A Fighting Cuban, and Where He Fought.
Map--Siege Lines at Santiago.
Gatling Camp and Bomb-Proofs at Fort Roosevelt.
Tree Between Lines Showing Bullet Holes. This Tree Grew on Low Ground.
Spanish Block-House.
Spanish Fort of Three-Inch Guns.
Tentage in Cuba.
After the Rain.
Native Industry.
Charge on San Juan Hill.
Gatlings at Baiquiri Just Before Starting For the Front.
Cuban Cart used by Gatling Gun Detachment, Priv. J. Shiffer Driving.
Tiffany at his Gun in the Trench.
Relics of the Battle. 1. Range Table of 16-cm. Gun in Spanish Fort,
    Silenced by Gatlings July 1, '98. 2. Rear Sight of same Gun.
    3. Fuse picked up by J. Shiffer July 1. 4. Remington Cartridge used
    by the Spanish Volunteers, the so-called "Explosive" Brass-covered
    Bullet. 5. Piece of Coral dug up in the Trenches. 6. Spanish
Cieba Tree, under Which General Toral Surrendered.
Undergrowth in Cuba.
Cuban Residence.
"Reina Mercedes" Sunk by the "Iowa" near Mouth of Harbor of Santiago.


On the morning of July 1st, the dismounted cavalry, including my
regiment, stormed Kettle Hill, driving the Spaniards from their
trenches. After taking the crest, I made the men under me turn and
begin volley-firing at the San Juan Blockhouse and intrenchments
against which Hawkins' and Kent's Infantry were advancing. While thus
firing, there suddenly smote on our ears a peculiar drumming sound.
One or two of the men cried out, "The Spanish machine guns!" but,
after listening a moment, I leaped to my feet and called, "It's the
Gatlings, men! It's our Gatlings!" Immediately the troopers began to
cheer lustily, for the sound was most inspiring. Whenever the drumming
stopped, it was only to open again a little nearer the front. Our
artillery, using black powder, had not been able to stand within range
of the Spanish rifles, but it was perfectly evident that the Gatlings
were troubled by no such consideration, for they were advancing all
the while.

Soon the infantry took San Juan Hill, and, after one false start, we
in turn rushed the next line of block-houses and intrenchments, and
then swung to the left and took the chain of hills immediately
fronting Santiago. Here I found myself on the extreme front, in
command of the fragments of all six regiments of the cavalry division.
I received orders to halt where I was, but to hold the hill at all
hazards. The Spaniards were heavily reinforced and they opened a
tremendous fire upon us from their batteries and trenches. We laid
down just behind the gentle crest of the hill, firing as we got the
chance, but, for the most part, taking the fire without responding. As
the afternoon wore on, however, the Spaniards became bolder, and made
an attack upon the position. They did not push it home, but they did
advance, their firing being redoubled. We at once ran forward to the
crest and opened on them, and, as we did so, the unmistakable drumming
of the Gatlings opened abreast of us, to our right, and the men
cheered again. As soon as the attack was definitely repulsed, I
strolled over to find out about the Gatlings, and there I found Lieut.
Parker with two of his guns right on our left, abreast of our men, who
at that time were closer to the Spaniards than any others.

From thence on, Parker's Gatlings were our inseparable companions
throughout the siege. They were right up at the front. When we dug our
trenches, he took off the wheels of his guns and put them in the
trenches. His men and ours slept in the same bomb-proofs and shared
with one another whenever either side got a supply of beans or coffee
and sugar. At no hour of the day or night was Parker anywhere but
where we wished him to be, in the event of an attack. If a troop of my
regiment was sent off to guard some road or some break in the lines,
we were almost certain to get Parker to send a Gatling along, and,
whether the change was made by day or by night, the Gatling went.
Sometimes we took the initiative and started to quell the fire of the
Spanish trenches; sometimes they opened upon us; but, at whatever hour
of the twenty-four the fighting began, the drumming of the Gatlings
was soon heard through the cracking of our own carbines.

[Illustration: Map--Santiago and Surrounding Area.]

I have had too little experience to make my judgment final; but
certainly, if I were to command either a regiment or a brigade,
whether of cavalry or infantry, I would try to get a Gatling
battery--under a good man--with me. I feel sure that the greatest
possible assistance would be rendered, under almost all circumstances,
by such a Gatling battery, if well handled; for I believe that it
could be pushed fairly to the front of the firing-line. At any rate,
this is the way that Lieut. Parker used his battery when he went into
action at San Juan, and when he kept it in the trenches beside the
Rough Riders before Santiago.

Theodore Roosevelt.



The history of the Gatling Gun Detachment, Fifth Army Corps, is to a
certain extent the history of the Santiago campaign. The detachment
was organized on the spur of the moment, to utilize material which
would otherwise have been useless, and was with the Fifth Corps in all
the campaign. It participated in all the fighting of that campaign,
except the fight at La Guasimas, and was disbanded upon the return of
the Fifth Corps to Montauk. Whatever hardships were endured by the
Fifth Corps were shared by this detachment; whatever dangers were
faced by the Fifth Corps were faced by it also; where the hottest
fighting occurred this detachment went in and stayed; and at the
surrender it was paraded, to use the words of General Shafter, "Upon
that portion of the line which it occupied so promptly and defended so

But this memoir is not intended as a history of that campaign nor of
the Fifth Corps. The author has not the data available to cover so
large a field, nor the ability to do justice to the courage,
fortitude, and endurance so heroically displayed by that gallant army.
That story will be written by abler pens, and will be the wonder of
the world when it is told.

This story is that of an experiment. It is told to lay before the
general public, as well as the military critic, the work of a little
detachment of thirty-seven men, armed with an untried weapon,
organized in the short space of four days preceding July 1, 1898, and
which without proper equipment, adequate instruction, or previous
training, in the face of discouragements and sneers, and in spite of
obstacles enough to make the mere retrospect sickening, still achieved
for itself a warm place in the hearts of all true soldiers, and
covered itself with glory upon the hardest fought battle-field of the
Hispano-American War.

This story is to commemorate the gallantry of the enlisted men who
helped to make history and revolutionize tactics at Santiago. It will
tell of the heroism of the plain American Regular, who, without hope
of preferment or possibility of reward, boldly undertook to confute
the erroneous theories of military compilers, who, without originality
or reason, have unblushingly cribbed the labored efforts of foreign
officers, and foisted these compilations of second-hand opinions upon
the American Army as military text-books of authority and weight.
These literary soldiers declared, following the lead of their foreign
guides, that "The value of machine guns on the battle-field is
doubtful," and that "Their offensive value is probably very small."
They also agreed, with most touching unanimity, that "A direct assault
upon a fortified position, occupied by good, unshaken infantry, armed
with the modern rifle and plentifully supplied with ammunition is sure
to fail, unless made by overwhelming numbers and prepared by strong
and accurate fire by artillery."

These servile imitators of foreign pen soldiers were destined to see
all their pet theories exploded by the grim old mountain puma from
California and his brave Fifth Corps. They were to learn, so far as
they are capable of learning, that the American Regular makes tactics
as he needs them; that the rules of war established by pen soldiers do
not form the basis of actual operations in the field; that theories
must go to the wall before the stern logic of irrefutable facts; and
that deductions based on the drill-made automatons of European armies
are not applicable to an army composed of American Volunteer Regulars,
led by our trained officers.

We shall see that an army destitute of cavalry, and hence without
"eyes"; not supported by artillery; in the most difficult country over
which soldiers ever operated, and without maps or reconnaissance--in
twenty days shut up and captured an army of twice its own effective
strength, in a strongly fortified city, with better served and more
numerous artillery.

We shall find that when the "sledge" was not at hand, American
ingenuity was able to use the "mallet" instead, making light machine
guns perform all the function of artillery, and dispensing altogether,
so far as any practical results were concerned, with that expensive
and much overrated arm; that the Regular private is capable of meeting
all demands upon his intelligence, and that the American non. com. is
the superior of foreign officers.

It is also hoped to place before the intelligent American public some
correct ideas of the new arm which was tried thoroughly at Santiago
for the first time in the history of the world. The machine gun is the
latest practical product of American inventive genius applied to war.
The first form of this weapon tried, the mitrailleuse, was not very
successful. It failed, not on account of faults of construction, or
imperfect mechanism, but because its proper tactical employment had
not been thought out by the French army. Since that time machine guns
have been greatly improved, but no one has succeeded in making their
great value appreciated by military authorities. The failures of the
French brought the gun into disfavor, and created a prejudice against
its employment.

The Artillery of the world, which poses in every country as an
elite body of scientific fighters, and is often found on the
battle-field to be an aggregation of abstruse theorists, were jealous
and contemptuous. They said, "See how easily the artillery knocked out
machine guns at Gravelotte." The Cavalry of the world, famous
everywhere for an _esprit-du-corps_ which looks haughtily down on
all other arms of the service, were too deeply absorbed in the merits
of saber vs. revolver, and in the proper length of their
spectacular plumes, to give a second thought to this new, untried, and
therefore worthless weapon. The world's Infantry, resting upon the
assumption that it is the backbone of all armies, and the only real,
reliable fighting body under all conditions, left the consideration of
these vague dreams of mechanical destructiveness to lunatics, cranks,
and philanthropists.

In our own country the Ordnance Department, which is the trial court
before which all military inventions must appear, scouted the idea of
usefulness of machine guns even after war was declared, and adhered to
the view that machine guns, in the very nature of things, could never
be useful except in the defense of fortified positions; that they
never could be brought up on the battlefield, nor used if they were
brought up. This view was that of a prominent young officer of that
department who wrote a report on the subject, and it seemed to express
the views of the department.

This view must have been that of our War Department, for it did not
even acknowledge the receipt of drawings and specifications for a
machine gun carriage, offered freely to the Government as a gift by
the inventor six months before the war, together with the first
correct tactical outline of the proper use of machine guns ever filed
in any War Office in the world. This invention was designed to
facilitate the use of the machine gun by making its advance with the
skirmish line possible on the offensive, and was recommended by the
whole staff of the Infantry and Cavalry School as a meritorious
device, worthy of trial. The discussion filed with the invention
pointed out, for the first time, the correct tactical employment of
the weapon, and staked the military reputation and ability of the
author and inventor on the correctness of his views.

From these facts it may be gathered that there was required a certain
degree of originality and energy to get together and organize a
machine gun battery for the Santiago campaign.

The project was conceived and executed. The service rendered by this
battery has forever set at rest the question of the proper tactical
use of the machine gun arm, both on the offensive and defensive. These
things are now beyond the realm of theory. They are a demonstrated
problem. The solution is universally acknowledged to be correct.

This is the history of that detachment.



From the 26th of April until the 6th of June, Tampa and Port Tampa
were the military centers of greatest interest in the United States.
Troops were rushed into these places on special trains and camped on
available sites, pending the organization of a proposed expedition
to--somewhere. Supplies of every description came pouring in on long
trains of express and freight cars; mounted officers and orderlies
ploughed their rushing way through great heaps and dunes of
ever-shifting sand, leaving behind them stifling clouds of
scintillating particles, which filtered through every conceivable
crevice and made the effort to breathe a suffocating nightmare. Over
all the tumultuous scene a torrid sun beat down from a cloudless sky,
while its scorching rays, reflected from the fierce sand under foot,
produced a heat so intolerable that even the tropical vegetation
looked withered and dying. In this climate officers and men, gathered
mostly from Northern posts, were to "acclimate" themselves for a
tropical campaign--somewhere.

[Illustration: Skirmish Drill at Tampa.]

They never encountered as deadly a heat, nor a more pernicious
climate, in Cuba nor in Porto Rico, than that of southern Florida. Its
first effect upon men just emerging from a bracing Northern winter was
akin to prostration. Then began to follow a decided tendency to
languor; after this one was liable to sudden attacks of bowel
troubles. The deadly malaria began to insidiously prepare the way for
a hospital cot; the patient lost flesh, relish of food became a
reminiscence, and an hour's exertion in the sun was enough to put a
man on his back for the rest of the day. Exposure to the direct action
of the sun's rays was frequently followed by nausea, a slight chill,
and then a high fever. The doctors subsequently called this "thermal
fever," which is suspected to be a high-sounding name calculated to
cover up a very dense ignorance of the nature of the disease, because
no one ever obtained any relief from it from them. Recurrence of the
exposure brought recurrence of the fever, and, if persisted in,
finally produced a severe illness.

One reason for this was that the troops continued to wear the winter
clothing they had worn on their arrival. The promised "khaki" did not
materialize. Some regiments drew the brown canvas fatigue uniform, but
the only use made of it was to put the white blanket-roll through the
legs of the trousers, thereby adding to the weight of the roll,
without perceptible benefit to the soldier.

Such a climate, under such surroundings, was not conducive to original
thought, prolonged exertion, or sustained study. Everybody felt "mean"
and was eager for a change. Nobody wanted to listen to any new
schemes. The highest ambition seemed to be to get out of it to
somewhere with just as little delay and exertion as possible. It was
at this juncture that the plan of organizing a Gatling gun battery was
conceived, and the attempt to obtain authority began.

The Gatling gun is one of the two machine guns adopted in the land
service of the United States. Not to enter into a technical
description, but merely to convey a general idea of its working and
uses, it may be described as follows:

The gun is a cluster of rifle barrels, without stocks, arranged around
a rod, and parallel to it. Each barrel has its own lock or bolt, and
the whole cluster can be made to revolve by turning a crank. The bolts
are all covered in a brass case at the breech, and the machine is
loaded by means of a vertical groove in which cartridges are placed,
twenty at a time, and from which they fall into the receivers one at a
time. As the cluster of barrels revolves each one is fired at the
lowest point, and reloaded as it completes the revolution. The gun is
mounted on a wye-shaped trunnion; the lower end of the wye passes down
into a socket in the axle. The gun is pointed by a lever just as one
points a garden hose or sprinkler, with the advantage that the gun can
be clamped at any instant, and will then continue to sprinkle its
drops of death over the same row of plants until the clamps are
released. The axle is hollow and will hold about a thousand
cartridges. It is horizontal, and on its ends are heavy Archibald
wheels. There is also a heavy hollow trail, in which tools and
additional ammunition can be stored. The limber resembles that used by
the Artillery, and is capable of carrying about 9600 rounds of
cartridges. The whole gun, thus mounted, can be drawn by two mules,
and worked to good advantage by from six to eight men. It is built of
various calibers, and can fire from 300 to 900 shots per minute. The
guns used by the Gatling Gun Detachment, Fifth Army Corps, were built
by the Colt's Arms Co., were the latest improved model, long
ten-barrel gun, and fired the Krag-Jorgenson ammunition used by the
Regular Army.

The attempt to obtain authority to organize a machine gun battery met
with many discouragements and repeated failures. No one seemed to have
thought anything about the subject, and Tampa was not a good place nor
climate in which to indulge in that form of exercise, apparently.
Perhaps the climate was one reason why so little thinking was done,
and everything went "at sixes and sevens."

[Illustration: Skirmish Drill at Tampa.]

The officer who had conceived the scheme was a young man, too. He was
only a second lieutenant ("Second lieutenants are fit for nothing
except to take reveille"), and had never, so far as his military
superiors knew, heard the whistle of a hostile bullet. He had made no
brilliant record at the Academy, had never distinguished himself in
the service, and was not anybody's "pet." He was, apparently, a safe
man to ignore or snub if occasion or bad temper made it desirable to
ignore or snub somebody, and, above all, had no political friends who
would be offended thereby.

"Politics" cut quite a figure in Tampa in some respects. An officer
who was known to be a personal friend of Senator Somebody, or protege
of this or that great man, was regarded with considerable awe and
reverence by the common herd. It was ludicrous to see the weight
attached to the crumbs of wisdom that fell from the friends of the
friends of somebody. They shone only by a reflected light, it is true;
but nobody there at Tampa had a lamp of his own, except the few who
had won renown in the Civil War, and reflected light was better than
none at all. A very young and green second lieutenant who was able to
boast that he had declined to be a major in a certain State was at
once an oracle to other lieutenants--and to some who were not
lieutenants. The policy which governed these appointments was not so
well understood at that date in the campaign as it is now.

When the court of a reigning favorite was established at the Tampa Bay
Hotel as a brigadier, and people began to get themselves a little
settled into the idea that they knew who was in command, they were
suddenly disillusioned by the appointment of another and senior
brigadier to the command. They settled down to get acquainted with the
new authority, and were just beginning to find out who was who, when
the telegraph flashed the news that the deposed potentate had been
made a major-general, and, of course, was now in command. The thing
was becoming interesting. Bets began to be made as to which would come
in ahead under the wire. The other also became a major-general. Then
came a period of uncertainty, because the question of rank hinged upon
some obscure and musty record of forgotten service some thirty-four
years before. From these facts will be apparent the difficulty under
which a subordinate labored in trying to create anything.

It is hardly worth while in any case of that sort to waste time with
subordinates. The projector of an enterprise had better go straight to
the one who has the necessary authority to order what is wanted; if
access to him can be had, and he can be brought to recognize the
merits of the plan--that settles it; if not--that also settles it. In
either case the matter becomes a settled thing, and one knows what to
depend upon.

But who was the man to see there at Tampa? Nobody knew.

The first officer approached was the one in direct line of
superiority, Col. A. T. Smith, 13th Infantry. The idea was to
ascertain his views and try to obtain from him a favorable endorsement
upon a written plan to be submitted through military channels to the
commanding general at Tampa. Perhaps it was the deadly climate; for
the reply to a request for a few minutes' audience on the subject of
machine guns was very gruff and curt: "I don't want to hear anything
about it. I don't believe in it, and I don't feel like hearing it. If
you want to see me about this subject, come to me in office hours."
That settled it. Any effort to get a written plan through would have
to carry the weight of official disapproval from the start, and even a
"shavey" knows that disapproval at the start is enough to kill a paper
in the official routine.

The next officers approached were Major William Auman and Capt. H.
Cavanaugh, of the 13th Infantry, who were asked for advice. These two
officers, both of whom rendered very distinguished services on the
battle-field, listened with interest and were convinced. Their advice
was: "Get your plan in tangible shape, typewritten, showing just what
you propose; then go straight to the commanding general himself. If he
listens to you, he will be the responsible party, and will have waived
the informality; if he will not receive you, no harm is done."

This advice was followed and the following plan prepared:

_Scheme for Organization of Division Galling Gun Detachment._


"Three guns with limbers and caissons; 28 horses and 16 saddles; 6
sets double harness, wheel, and 6 lead; 1 escort wagon, team and
driver; and 100,000 rounds, .30 cal.


"One first lieutenant, 3 sergeants, 3 corporals, 1 clerk, 1 cook, and
35 enlisted men selected for their intelligence, activity, and daring;
volunteers, if possible to be obtained, as the service will be


"Officer: Revolver, saber, or machete, and field-glass.

"Enlisted men: Revolver and knife.

"Fifty rounds to be carried on person for revolver, and 50 in ordnance

"Camp Equipage:

"Four conical wall-tents, 2 'A' wall-tents, and the ordinary cooking
outfit for a company of 41 men.


"In the discretion of the detachment commander, subject to approval of
division commander; probably as follows, subject to modifications by

"Three detachments under a sergeant. A detachment to be composed of 1
gunner and 7 men. The gunner should be a corporal.


"The Division Gatling Gun Detachment to be subject only to the orders
of the division commander, or higher authority. Its members are
carried on 'd. s.' in their respective organizations. Its commander
exercises over it the same authority as a company commander, and keeps
the same records. Returns, reports, and other business are transacted
as in company, except that the detachment commander reports directly
to and receives orders directly from Division Headquarters. The
detachment is not subject to ordinary guard or fatigue. When used as
part of a guard, whole detachments go with their pieces.


"The organization is purely experimental; hence the greatest possible
latitude must be allowed the detachment commander, and he should be
held accountable for the results. He should not be subjected to the
orders or interference of any subordinates, however able, who have
made no special study of the tactical use or instruction for machine
guns, and who may not have faith in the experiment. It will be useless
to expect efficiency of the proposed organization unless this liberty
be accorded its organizer. The field is a new one, not yet well
discussed by even the text-writers. Organization and instruction must
be largely experimental, subject to change as the result of
experience; but no change from the plans of the organizer should be
made except for good and sufficient reasons.

"Tactical Employment:

"This organization is expected to develop:

  "(a) The fire-action of good infantry.

  "(b) The mobility of cavalry.

"Its qualities, therefore, must be rapidity and accuracy, both of fire
and movement.

"Its employment on the defensive is obvious. On the offensive it is
expected to be useful with advance guards, rear guards, outposts,
raids, and in battle. The last use, novel as it is, will be most
important of all. The flanks of the division can be secured by this
organization, relieving reserves of this duty; it will give a
stiffening to the line of support, and at every opportune occasion
will be pushed into action on the firing line. The _moral effect_
of its presence will be very great; it will be able to render valuable
assistance by its fire (over the charging line) in many cases. Last,
but very important, the occupation of a captured line by this
organization at once will supply a powerful, concentrated, and
controlled fire, either to repulse a counter-charge or to fire on a
discomfited, retiring enemy. Being a horsed organization, it can
arrive at the critical point at the vital moment when, the defender's
first line having been thrust out, our line being disorganized, a
counter-charge by the enemy would be most effective, or controlled
fire by our own troops on him would be most useful.

"It is urged that this last use of machine guns is one of the most
important functions, and one which has been overlooked by writers and

"There is one vital limitation upon the proposed organization; viz.,
it must not be pitted against artillery.

"It is urgently suggested that this organization can be perfected here
and now without difficulty, while it will be very difficult to perfect
after the forward movement has begun. Horses and harness can be easily
procured at Tampa; there will be no difficulty if some energetic
officer be authorized to proceed with the work, and directed to attend
to the details.

"Believing earnestly in the utility of the proposed organization,
which will convert useless impedimenta into a fourth arm, and
realizing the dangerous nature of the proposed service, I respectfully
offer my services to carry these plans into effect.

"John H. Parker,
"2d Lieut. 13th Infty."

With this plan well digested and with many a plausible argument in its
favor all thought out, Col. Arthur McArthur, assistant adjutant-general
to Gen. Wade, who was at that moment in command, was approached.

[Illustration: Field Bakery.]

Col. McArthur was a very busy man. He was also a very business-like
man, and one of handsome appearance, easy access, and pleasant
address. He sandwiched in a fifteen-minute interview between two
pressing engagements, and manifested both interest and approval. But
nothing could be done at that time. "Come again a week from to-day,"
said he, "and I will try to obtain you a hearing before one who can do
what you wish by a single word. I believe in your scheme and will help
you if I can." The week rolled by and a change of commanding generals
occurred. Gen. Wade was ordered away, taking McArthur with him, and no
progress had been made. It was discouraging.

The next step in the plan was by lucky accident. Lieutenant (now
Lieut.-Col.) John T. Thompson, Ordnance Department, who was in charge
of the Ordnance Depot at Tampa, accidentally met the would-be
machine-gun man, and was promptly buttonholed over a dish of ice
cream. Thompson was himself a young man and a student. His department
placed an insuperable obstacle in the way of himself carrying out a
plan which he, also, had conceived, and he was keen to see the idea,
which he fully believed in, demonstrated on the battle-field. He had,
moreover, as ordnance officer, just received an invoice of fifteen
Gatling guns, complete, of the latest model, and he had access to the
commanding general by virtue of being a member of his staff. By reason
of the terrible rush of overwork, he needed an assistant, and it
seemed practicable to try to kill two birds with one stone. But all he
said was, "I believe in the idea; I have long advocated it. It may be
possible for me to get you your opportunity, and it may not. If so,
you will hear from the matter."

The attempt to get the thing going had been apparently abandoned,
when, utterly without notice, the regimental commander received orders
per letter, from Headquarters Fifth Army Corps, which resulted in the
following orders:

"Headquarters 13th Infantry, in the Field,
"Tampa, Fla., May 27, 1898.

"Special Orders No. 22:

"Pursuant to instructions contained in letter from Headquarters 5th
Army Corps, May 26, 1898,

2d Lieut. John H. Parker, 13th Infantry.
Sergeant Alois Weischaar, Company A,
Sergeant William Eyder, Company G,
Private Lewis Kastner, Company A.
Private Joe Seman, Company B,
Private Abram Greenberg, Company C.
Private Joseph Hoft, Company D,
Private O'Connor L. Jones, Company D,
Private Louis Misiak, Company E,
Private George C. Murray, Company F,
Private John Bremer, Company G,
Private Fred H. Chase, Company H,
Private Martin Pyne, Company H,

will report to Lieut. J. T. Thompson, ordnance officer, for duty in
connection with the Gatling Gun Battery.

"These men will be fully equipped, with the exception of rifle,
bayonet, scabbard, and blanket-bag, and will be rationed to include
May 31, 1898.

"By order of Colonel Smith.

"M. McFarland,
"1st Lieut. 13th Infty., Adjutant."

These men were selected by their company commanders. It is not known
whether the selections were made with a view to special fitness or
not. They had no notice that the detail was to be anything but a
transient character; in fact, one company commander actually detailed
the cook of his private mess, and was intensely disgusted when he
found that the detail was to be permanent or semi-permanent. The men
were sent fully armed and equipped; carrying rifles, knapsacks, etc.,
and marched down to the Ordnance Depot for instructions. These
instructions were to return to camp, turn in their rifles, bayonets,
cartridges, belts, and knapsacks, and return early the following
morning equipped with blanket-roll complete, haversack, and canteen.
Each man, after full explanation of the hazardous duty, was given a
chance to withdraw, but all volunteered to stay.

The instructions were obeyed, and the Gatling Gun Detachment was
born--a pigmy.

[Illustration: Awaiting Turn to Embark.]



The Ordnance Depot at Tampa was located on Lafayette Street, at the
end of the bridge over the river, next to the Tampa Bay Hotel. The
river washed the sides of the building, which was occupied by the
Tampa Athletic Club, and had formerly been used as a club-house. There
were two stories and a basement. The basement was nearly on a level
with the river, the main floor on a level with the bridge, and there
was also a spacious upper floor. The main floor was used for storage
of light articles of ordnance; the basement for heavy articles and
ammunition. Hundreds of thousands of rounds of rifle and revolver ball
cartridges, thousands of rounds of Hotchkiss fixed ammunition, and
many hundreds of pounds of powder charges for field artillery and
mortars were here stored. Miscellaneous assortments were daily coming
in, generally without any mark on the box by which to learn what were
the contents. The name of the arsenal, if from an arsenal, was usually
stamped on the seal; generally there was no mark whatever to designate
the origin or contents of the many boxes which came from ordinary
posts. The invoices came from a week to ten days behind or in advance
of the arrival of the boxes, and there was not the slightest clue to
be gained from them. Consequently those who had to check up invoices
and prepare for issues were at their wits' end to keep things
straight. A requisition for so many articles would come in, duly
approved; unless the boxes containing these articles happened to have
been unpacked, it was uncertain whether they were on hand or not. No
wholesale merchant of any sense would ship out boxes of goods without
some indication of their contents; but that was exactly what was done
from all over the country to the Ordnance Depot at Tampa.

The upper floor consisted of one large room. A rope railing was placed
around it to preserve clear space around the desks. There were several
of these for the ordnance officer and the various clerks. A chief
clerk, an assistant clerk, a stenographer, and two ordnance sergeants
looked after the red tape. An overseer with four subordinates and a
gang of negro stevedores attended to loading and unloading boxes,
storing them, counting out articles for issue or receipt, and such
other duties as they were called on to perform. There was an old
janitor named McGee, a veteran of the Civil War, whose business it was
to look after the sweeping and keep the floors clean.

Four guns in their original boxes were issued to the detachment on the
27th of May. They were new, and apparently had never been assembled.
On assembling them it was found that the parts had been constructed
with such "scientific" accuracy that the use of a mallet was
necessary. The binder-box on the pointing lever was so tight that in
attempting to depress the muzzle of the gun it was possible to lift
the trail off the ground before the binder-box would slide on the
lever. The axis-pin had to be driven in and out with an axe, using a
block of wood, of course, to prevent battering. A truly pretty state
of affairs for a gun the value of which depends on the ease with which
it can be pointed in any direction.

Inquiry after the war at the factory where the guns are made disclosed
the fact that these parts are rigidly tested by a gauge by the
Government inspectors, and that looseness is regarded as a fatal
defect. Even play of half a hundredth of an inch is enough to insure
the rejection of a piece. The very first thing done by the Gatling Gun
Detachment, upon assembling these guns, was to obtain a set of
armorers' tools and to file away these parts by hand until the aim of
the piece could be changed by the touch of a feather. The detachment
was ordered to rely upon the friction clutches for steadiness of aim,
when necessary, and not upon the tight fit of the parts. It was
ordered that there must be no doubt whatever of easy, perfectly free
manipulation at any and all times, even if the pointing lever should
become rusted. This precaution proved on July 1st to have been of
great value.

[Illustration: Baiquiri.]

The instruction of the detachment began immediately, and consisted, at
first, of unpacking, mounting, dismounting, and repacking the guns.
The four guns were mounted and a drill held each time in the loading
and firing of the piece. This system of instruction was continued
until the detachment was ordered on board ship on the 6th of June.
During this instruction members of the detachment were designated by
name to fall out, and the remainder of the detachment required to
execute all the maneuvers of the piece as before. In fact, this
instruction was carried to such a point that one man alone was
required to load, aim, and fire the gun at designated objects without
any assistance.

The detachment at once assumed the position of an independent command.
It reported directly to Maj.-Gen. W. R. Shafter, commanding the 5th
Corps, in everything so far as its duties with Gatling guns were
concerned, was regarded as an independent command, kept its own
records in the same manner as a company, obtained cooking utensils
from the quartermaster and ran its own mess, and furnished its own
guard. This status, that of a separate command, continued until the
detachment was finally disbanded at Montauk.

On the 27th of May the detachment commander was summoned to Gen.
Wheeler's headquarters and there requested to explain to the general
in person his plans for organizing a Gatling gun detachment. Gen.
Wheeler had just assumed command of all the Cavalry belonging to the
5th Army Corps. His headquarters, instead of being in a suite of rooms
in the palatial Tampa Bay Hotel, where all the other general officers
had their headquarters, were located about half a mile from the hotel
in a treeless pasture. The cavalry guidon floating from a lance-head
was the only indication of headquarters, and the half-dozen "A" tents
in an irregular line gave no sign that one of the most distinguished
generals in the world had here his headquarters in the field.

The general was easily accessible. The first thing that impressed one
of him was his extraordinary quickness. His eye seemed to take in
everything within sight of him at a single glance, and to read one's
thoughts before the tongue could give expression to them. He grasped
ideas when they were only half uttered and immediately drew deductions
from mere statements of simple facts, the result of years of careful
study. These deductions, which Gen. Wheeler drew instantly, were in
every case correct, and showed a keener and more correct appreciation
of the proper tactical employment of machine guns than was shown by
any other officer of the 5th Corps. The result of the interview with
the general was that a scheme for the organization of a tactical unit
to be composed of three Gatling guns and to be employed with the
cavalry division, was drawn up on the spot, under Gen. Wheeler's
personal direction, and was submitted by him to Gen. Shafter, with the
request that authority be granted for the organization of this command
for the purpose indicated.

In the application Gen. Wheeler stated that he believed that such a
battery of machine guns, if properly handled, could go anywhere that
cavalry could go, could take the place of infantry supports, could
dash up and hold any ground or advantageous position that a body of
cavalry might seize, could be thrown out to one flank of the enemy and
assist in his demoralization in preparation for the cavalry charge,
and would be of particular service in case the enemy attempted to form
infantry squares, which were at that time supposed to be the main part
of the Spanish tactics of battle. This application was disapproved.

On the 30th of May, Gen. Lee sent for the detachment commander for an
interview on the subject of Gatling guns. Gen. Lee was at this time
quartered at the Tampa Bay Hotel, and was engaged in the organization
of the 7th Army Corps. It was supposed that the 7th Corps was designed
for the Havana campaign, and it was believed that the attack upon
Havana would begin at a very early date. The result of the interview
with Gen. Lee was that he directed a scheme for the organization of a
tactical unit to be composed of 9 guns, 3 batteries of 3 guns each, to
be prepared for service with the 7th Army Corps.

It was desired that this organization be a volunteer organization, and
the application was therefore made for authority from the President,
under that law of Congress authorizing the employment of special
troops. Col. Guild, well and favorably known from his connection with
the Massachusetts National Guard, was prepared to furnish a volunteer
organization already in existence, well drilled and already officered,
composed of the flower of the youth of Massachusetts, very largely of
college graduates, who had already been communicated with on the
subject, and who were even at that time expecting momentarily a
telegram calling them to this duty. Nothing resulted from this effort.

Meantime the drill instruction of the little detachment continued. Its
members had acquired a considerable degree of proficiency in the
mechanical handling of their guns, and were beginning to appreciate
the destructive possibilities of their weapon. They were enjoying a
degree of liberty which they had not found in their regimental camp,
because when not on duty they were free to come and go at will, when
and where they pleased. The hours for instruction were designated in
the morning and in the cool of the afternoon, leaving the middle of
the day and the evening for the men's own recreation. The result of
this system of treatment was that _esprit-du-corps_ began to be
developed in the detachment. They began to feel that they were a
special organization, expected to do special work, and that they were
receiving very special treatment. They began to be proud of being
members of the Gatling Gun Detachment, to take greater interest in the
work, and when on the first of June they received their monthly pay
not a single member of the detachment committed any excesses in
consequence of this unusual degree of freedom. No one was intoxicated.
No one was absent without permission.

The detachment had not been at the Ordnance Depot very long before an
opportunity occurred for some of its members to exhibit those
qualities which made the success of the battery so conspicuous on the
battle-field afterward. The detachment commander had been detailed by
verbal orders on the first of June in charge of the issues of ordnance
property to the Santiago expedition. This was in addition to his
duties with the Gatling guns. The work would commence about 6 o'clock
in the morning, and from that time until dark there was a continual
stream of wagons carrying away stores such as rifles, haversacks, meat
ration cans, tin cups, and all the articles needed by troops in the
field during a campaign. The ammunition which was issued to the troops
at this time was drawn at the same place.

When wagons arrived to receive issues, stevedores were directed to
count out the different articles under the direction of an overseer,
and these piles of articles were verified by the officer in charge of
the issues. The stevedores then loaded them on the wagons which were
to haul them to the different camps. Receipts in duplicate were always
taken and invoices in duplicate were always given, in the name, of
course, of Lieut. John T. Thompson, who was responsible for the

On the 4th of June issues were being made of rifle-ball cartridges.
These cartridges came packed in boxes of 1000 rounds each, and each
box weighed 78 pounds. A great quantity of it was stored in the
basement, where there was also a considerable quantity of fixed
Hotchkiss ammunition, as well as several thousand rounds of powder
charges in boxes. The Hotchkiss ammunition, which comes with
projectile and powder both set in a brass case, is bad ammunition to
pack; for, no matter how carefully it is handled, there is almost
always some leakage of powder from the cartridge case, thus causing a
certain amount of loose powder to sift into the box in which it is

About half past 11 o'clock on this morning a negro stevedore
accidentally dropped a box of rifle ammunition near a pile of
Hotchkiss fixed, and the next instant the laborers saw smoke ascending
toward the ceiling of the basement. They yelled "Fire! fire!" at the
top of their voices, and everybody in the basement at once made a rush
for the two doors. It was a panic. The danger was imminent. The smoke
curled up to the ceiling and then curled down again, and the excited,
panic-stricken faces of the negroes as they rushed through the door
made an awful picture of human terror. People on the outside of the
building began to shout "Fire!"

At this juncture McGee, the old janitor, who had just reached the
door, cried out, "Lieutenant, there is a box in here on fire!"
speaking to Lieut. Parker, who was verifying issues just outside the
door. The lieutenant replied, "Let's throw it into the river," and
dashed toward the box through the door, pushing the excited negroes to
each side in order to assist McGee, who had instantly started for the
box. When Lieut. Parker reached the box, he found that McGee had
already taken it up, and was staggering under its weight. He placed
one arm around McGee's shoulder and with the other assisted him to
support the box, from which the smoke was still ascending, and the two
rushed for the door, throwing the whole momentum of their weight and
speed against the crowd of frightened negroes, who were falling over
each other in their panic-stricken efforts to escape. Priv. Greenberg,
of the 13th Infantry, a member of the Gatling Gun Detachment, who was
the sentinel on post at the time, saw the two men coming with the box,
and with great presence of mind added his own weight with a rapid rush
to the shock they had produced, thus enabling them to break their way
through the dense throng at the door. It was only the work of an
instant to then throw the box in the river, where it sank in the water
and for a moment the blue smoke continued to bubble up from the box,
which lay clearly visible on the bed of the river, the water being
only about two feet deep at this point, which was, however, enough to
entirely cover the box and thus extinguish the fire. At the outcry of
"Fire!" Lieut. H. L. Kinnison, of the 25th Infantry, who was waiting
outside of the basement with a wagon, started in at the other door,
and Serg. Weischaar, acting first sergeant of the Gatling Gun
Detachment, started for water. Just as the two men emerged from the
door carrying the box, Lieut. Kinnison reached the spot where the fire
had originated, and Serg. Weischaar appeared with two buckets of
water. He and Lieut. Kinnison at once flooded the floor, seized a
woolen cloth which happened to be near, and wetted down the boxes of
Hotchkiss ammunition as a measure of precaution.

[Illustration: The "Hornet."]

McGee, the hero of this episode, is an old veteran of the Civil War,
having served three years in the Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry
during the war, and five years in the Regular Army after the war. He
has never drawn a pension nor applied for one, although he suffers
considerably from disease and wounds contracted and received during
the war, and certainly should be rewarded by a grateful government for
his conspicuous heroism. The explosion of this magazine would have
brought the whole expedition to a standstill, besides inflicting
tremendous destruction of property and frightful loss of life.

The same day the Artillery of the army began to draw its material for
the campaign, and for a period of thirty-nine hours there was no rest
for anybody connected with the issue of ordnance stores. It was at
this time that the lack of intelligent marking and packing of the
boxes was keenly felt. The greatest difficulty was experienced in
selecting, from the mass of stores in the depot, the stores that were
required by the Artillery. It was especially difficult during the work
by night, when the only light that could possibly be allowed was a
single lantern, on account of the danger of fire.

At the close of this thirty-nine hours of arduous duty, the officer in
command of the Gatling Gun Detachment learned that orders had been
issued for the embarkation of the 5th Army Corps at Port Tampa, and
that no reference had been made to the Gatling Gun Detachment in these
orders. He at once sought Lieut. Thompson, who could offer no light on
the omission, but said, "I have orders to send at once to the
Cherokee 521,000 rounds of rifle-ball cartridges and all the
revolver ammunition on hand. This is the reserve ammunition of the 5th
Army Corps. I will send you in charge of this ammunition and you will
see it to its destination. You may take an escort or not, as you
please. The ammunition is to go on the 4 o'clock train and you must
make all the arrangements in regard to it. Get box-cars, haul the
ammunition over there and put it in the cars, see that it goes on that
train, and as soon as it arrives at Port Tampa, see that it is
properly put on board the Cherokee."

In order to fully understand the situation of the Gatling Gun
Detachment at this juncture, the following correspondence on the
subject is necessary:

"Office of Ordnance Officer,
"Lafayette Street, West of Bridge,
"Tampa, Fla., June 3, 1898.

"The Assistant Adjutant-General, 5th Army Corps, Tampa,

"Sir,--Replying to your letter of June 1,1898, in reference to Gatling
Gun Detachment, I have the honor to submit the following report:

Guns, men, and equipment required for a 4-gun detachment:

                   Guns. Serg. Corp. Priv.
  Total required:      4     5     4    28
  On hand:             4     2     0    10
  Required:                  3     4    18

The gun crews thus organized will give most effective service for the

Ammunition: Each limber carries 9,840 rounds cal. .30. Four limbers,
27,360; necessary reserve, 32,640; total, 60,000.

Tentage: Two conical wall-tents for enlisted men; one 'A' wall-tent
for officer.

Camp equipage, in addition to that on hand in Gatling Gun Detachment:
one buzzacot, small; four mess-pans, one dish-pan, one coffee-mill.

Blanket-roll complete; revolver with 50 rounds per man; waist-belts
and entrenching-knives.

"It is recommended that Priv. Butz, 'G' Co., 13th Infantry, Corp.
Robert S. Smith, 'C' Co., 13th Infantry, and Serg. Weigle, 9th
Infantry, be members of the detachment; and that detachment be taken
from 9th Infantry, which has some well-instructed men.

"It is further recommended that the detachment be fully horsed as soon
as practicable, and that the whole be placed under the command of
Lieut. John H. Parker, 13th Infantry, as acting captain.

"I recommend that I be authorized to issue the 4 Gatling guns and
parts to him.

"The details should carry the rations prescribed in General Orders
5th, May 31, 1898, 5th Army Corps. Very respectfully,

(Signed) "Jno. T. Thompson,
"1st Lieut., Ord. Dept, U. S. A."

This letter, prepared by Lieut. Parker and signed by Lieut. Thompson,
was endorsed as follows:

First Endorsement.

"Headquarters 5th Army Corps,
"Tampa, Fla., June 5, 1898.

"Respectfully returned to Lieut. J. T. Thompson, Ordnance Officer.

"If Lieut. Parker, in charge of the detachment as at present
constituted, can make the arrangements suggested within, he may take
action; but, in view of the limited time remaining, it is thought the
detachment already organized will answer.

"By command of Maj.-Gen. Shafter.

"E. J. McClernand,
"Assistant Adjutant-General."

Second Endorsement.

"Office of the Ordnance Officer,
"Lafayette Street Bridge,
"Tampa, Fla., June 5, 1898.

"Respectfully referred to Lieut. John H. Parker for his information.

"Jno. T. Thompson,
"1st Lieut., Ordnance Dept, U. S. A."

It will be seen from the first endorsement that a certain amount of
discretion was left to the detachment commander. He was authorized to
take action if he could make the arrangements suggested within. Lieut.
Thompson had authorized an escort for the reserve ammunition, if it
was considered necessary. The detachment commander resolved to take
action by using his whole detachment as an escort, putting it on board
the Cherokee, with the reserve ammunition, and accompanying it to its
destination--in Cuba, trusting to the future to enable him to complete
the detachment according to the first endorsement.

It was now 11 o'clock in the forenoon. Between that time and 4 o'clock
it was necessary to obtain two freight cars, have them placed upon the
siding at a convenient point, have more than twenty wagon-loads of
ammunition, camp equipage, etc., placed in these cars, have the four
guns with their limbers placed on board, and, more difficult than all
the rest, go through the necessary red tape at the quartermaster's
office in order to get the two cars moved to Port Tampa. It was all

The general freight agent was bluffed into believing that unless the
two cars were instantly set where they were wanted his whole railroad
would be tied up. The quartermaster was hypnotized and dropped
formality, putting all the clerks to work upon papers and making out
the necessary bill of lading, invoices, etc., in time to catch the 4
o'clock train. He also issued the necessary transportation for the
officer and men of the detachment from Tampa to Port Tampa, accepting
the first endorsement above as sufficient orders for that purpose.

One member of the detachment, Priv. Murray, had been very ill with
what we afterward learned to call the Cuban fever, and, while
apparently convalescent, was entirely too weak to accompany the
detachment. He was a splendid fellow, and the tears rolled down his
emaciated face when he was told he must remain behind. He was
furnished with a descriptive list and a letter was written to the
chief surgeon of the Division Hospital, requesting him to send an
ambulance immediately for the sick man. One member of the detachment
carried this letter to Tampa Heights, and so sharp was the work of
getting away that this man had to board a moving train as it was
pulling out to keep from getting left; but Priv. Murray was taken to
the hospital and cared for, and Priv. Bremer did not get left.

The detachment reached Port Tampa about sundown, and Maj. Cushing, who
had charge of the loading of the transports, at once authorized the
cars to be set alongside the Cherokee. The ammunition, guns, camp
equipage, men, and all were promptly put aboard. The training in
packing and unpacking the guns was the only thing which enabled the
work to be done in the limited time allotted. Not so much as a
ten-penny nail belonging to the detachment was left behind.

During the night the troops that were to occupy the Cherokee came on
board, and it was found the next morning that five or six tons of
regimental baggage had been piled on top of the guns, making it
practically impossible to disembark, even if such a movement should be

[Illustration: Wrecked Locomotives and Machine Shops at Baiquiri.]



It seemed that the work had been accomplished none too soon, for on
the morning of June 7th orders came to the Cherokee to leave the slip
and proceed down the bay. There were on board at this time, beside the
little Gatling Gun Detachment, the 17th Infantry, under command of
Col. Haskell, and a battalion of the 12th Infantry, under command of
Col. Comba, who was the senior officer on board. The ship was
frightfully crowded. The berth deck and lower deck had been arranged
for the accommodation of the men by nailing rows of two 2x4 scantlings
just far enough apart to leave room for a man to lie down, and
fastening three tiers of bunks to these scantlings. The men were
packed in these bunks like sardines in a box. The ventilation was
conspicuous by its absence, the heat below deck was frightful and the
misery entailed by such accommodations was beyond description. But the
men were very cheerful, and, being allowed the privilege of the upper
deck, very little in the way of complaint was heard. Everybody was
anxious to be off. The hope most frequently expressed was for a quick
passage and a sharp, swift campaign. It was easily foreseen by the
officers on board the ship that a long sojourn on shipboard under such
conditions would have a very bad effect on the men.

The ship dropped down the bay to the quarantine station, starting
about noon, and there lay to, waiting, as was supposed, for the
remainder of the fleet. Suddenly, about 8 p. m., one of the torpedo
cruisers came tearing down the bay under full steam, and we heard the
message sounded through the megaphone: "Return to port. Three Spanish
cruisers within three hours' sail of the offing." It was a thrilling
moment. Officers and men were lounging, taking, as they supposed,
their last view of the American shores, without a suspicion of present
danger, when they were rapidly brought to a realizing sense that "war
is hell," by a notice that the enemy was upon them. Whether they were
in danger or not, the danger was deadly real and imminent to them at
the time.

The Cherokee had been anchored pretty well inside. She immediately got
up steam and went out to warn other vessels farther out in the offing,
and then made safely for the harbor. Officers and men behaved with
perfect coolness. It was hopeless to attempt to escape by concealment,
so Col. Comba ordered out the band of the 17th Infantry and the good
ship fled up the bay, in momentary expectation of a smashing shot from
the enemy, to the strains of "There'll be a hot time." What little
excitement there was displayed itself in a feverish searching of the
bay with field-glasses for signs of the enemy. The older officers,
upon whom the responsibility was resting, sat upon the quarter-deck,
smoking their pipes and discussing the situation. The captains quietly
moved about, assigning stations to their companies, in case of attack,
with the view of trying the effect of the modern rifle upon the
armored sides of a Spanish man-of-war, and two of the younger officers
took advantage of the catchy air which the band was playing to dance a
two-step on the quarter-deck. So the evening wore away. The moon went
down. The myriad little stars came out, twinkling in the deep blue
sky, and at last both officers and men, tired of looking for an enemy
who was never to appear, turned in for such sleep as they could get,
leaving a small guard on deck to keep a lookout. When they awoke next
morning, the ship was in the deepest part of the nearest slip, moored
fast by her guy-ropes to the dock. Thus ended the first engagement
with the enemy.

From the 8th until the 13th, the Cherokee lay at anchor in the slip.
She was relieved on the 10th of about 200 men, thus slightly
lightening her overcrowded condition. In the meantime, this
overcrowded condition of the ship had led to some discussion as to who
could best be moved on board some other ship, with some prospect that
the Gatling Gun Detachment might be disturbed. The situation was not
at all satisfactory. With four guns, no mules, no harness, no
authority, and only twelve men, the Gatling Gun Detachment did not
appear to be in a very fair way toward inflicting much damage upon the
enemy. So on the 11th of June the detachment commander visited Gen.
Shafter at his headquarters, determined to bring the matter to an
issue, definitely, one way or the other. This was the first time he
had met the general, and, under the circumstances, the manner of his
reception appeared to be doubtful.

Gen. Shafter is a big man. This is not noticed at first glance. He is
above the average height, but his corpulent figure does not indicate
that he is full five feet nine inches in height, because his girth is
of like proportion. His hands are big; his arm is big; his head is
big. The occiput is especially full, and the width of head just over
the ears is noticeable. There is plenty of room for the organs of
combativeness. One would think he is probably a lover of children;
during this interview he patted the head of an inquisitive dog, which
evidently belonged somewhere on board the flag-ship, and which strayed
into the room. His eyes are big, very full and very keen. As you enter
he says curtly, "Take a seat." He waits, looking down, for you to
state your business, then suddenly fixes you with a piercing glance,
and goes to the heart of the subject by one incisive sentence, which
leaves no more to be said. This description is a general type of
several interviews with him. On this occasion the general inquired
concerning the facts, looking keenly, searchingly, and meditatively at
the detachment commander. The machine gun man was "on trial." Then the
general broke the silence by one short question, "What do you want?"
and the reply was in kind, "Twenty men, general, with the privilege of
selecting them." The general suggested the advisability of taking a
complete organization; to which was replied, "That at this late hour
in the expedition it is imperative to have selected men in order to
perform the required duty; that men taken at random, as would be the
case in a complete organization such as a company, would not be likely
to have the required characteristics." The general tersely remarked,
"You may have them. Make out your list, name any man in the corps that
you want, and hand the list to me. I will send the men to you." The
trial was over, and the Machine Gun Detachment was a settled fact.

Accordingly on the following day Special Orders No. 16 were issued, as


"Headquarters 5th Army Corps,
"On Board S. S. Seguransa,
"Tampa Bay, Fla., June 11, 1898.

"Special Orders, No. 16:

       *       *       *       *       *

"4. The following named enlisted men are detailed for duty with the
Gatling Gun Detachment, 5th Army Corps, and will report at once to 2d
Lieut. John H. Parker, 13th Infantry, commanding the detachment for

"9th Infantry: Sergeant Weigle.

"12th Infantry: Privates Voelker, Company A; Anderson, Lauer, and
Timberly, Company C; Prazak, Company E.

"13th Infantry: Sergeant Green, Company H; Corporals Stiegerwald,
Company A; Doyle, Smith, and Rose, Company C; Privates Corey and
Power, Company A; Barts, Company E; and Schmadt, Company G.

"17th Infantry: Privates Merryman and Schulze, Company A; McDonald,
Company B; Elkins, Dellett, and McGoin, Company D; Click, Needle,
Shiffer, and Sine, Company E.

"Each of the soldiers will report equipped as follows: Blanket-roll
complete, haversack and contents, canteen, waist-belt of leather,
hunting-knife, and revolver, and they will be rationed with ten days'
travel rations. Descriptive lists of these men will be sent to the
commanding officer of the detachment.

       *       *       *       *       *

"By command of Maj.-Gen. Shafter.

"Official. J. D. Miley, E. J. McClernand,
                 "Aide.    Asst. Adj.-Gen."

"Headquarters 5th Army Corps,
"On Board S. S. Seguransa,
"Tampa Bay, June 11, 1898.

"Special Orders, No. 16:


       *       *       *       *       *

"5. 2d Lieut. John H. Parker, 13th Infantry, commanding the Gatling
Gun Detachment, 5th Army Corps, is authorized to make the usual
requisitions for supplies.

       *       *       *       *       *

"By command of Maj.-Gen. Shafter.

"Official. J. D. Miley, E. J. McClernand,
                 "Aide.    Asst. Adj.-Gen."

The organization was thus perfected by a single stroke of the
general's pen on the 11th of June, theoretically; practically it was
the 14th of June before the details from the 12th and 17th Infantry
reported, and when they did, instead of being equipped as directed,
they carried rifles with 100 rounds of ammunition.

[Illustration: The Landing.]

Serg. Weigle, of the 9th Infantry, who reported at the same time,
carried a revolver. On the 14th a wigwag message was received from the
13th Infantry, inquiring whether the detail was desired to report at
once or not, to which the reply was sent that it was desired to report
at the earliest possible moment. It did not report.

The detachment was at once organized as well as possible for the trip
on board the transport, and the guns brought up from the hold of the
ship and mounted in such a way that they would be ready for instant
use. It was not known but that the detachment might have to
participate in a naval engagement, and the value of machine guns in
the navy has long been demonstrated. At any rate, it was determined to
be ready to give a warm reception to any torpedo vessel which might
attempt to attack the Cherokee. One object of getting the guns up was
to give instruction to the new men who reported on the 14th. Sergt.
Weigle was well instructed in the use of Gatling guns, but none of the
other members of the detachment had ever received any instruction, and
had been selected rather on the ground of their superior intelligence
and courage than on any special knowledge of machine guns. They were
given a drill each day in loading and firing the piece, during the
time they remained on board the transport, when the weather permitted.

The condition of the troops on board the transport was miserable. The
following extract from a letter written at that time will convey some
idea of the crowded, ill-ventilated condition of the vessel:

"We have now been on board the transport a week, and are getting into
a frame of mind suitable for desperate work. If you can imagine 1000
men crowded into space needed for 500, and then kept there without
room to stand or move or sit for seven days, under a tropical sun, in
foul holds utterly without ventilation (just imagine it!), endured
without a single murmur or complaint, not stoically, but patiently and
intelligently, while every officer on board is kicking as hard and as
often as possible for the relief of his men, then you will have some
idea of the situation. The men are very patient, but they know someone
has blundered. Talk about the heroism of the Light Brigade! It is
nothing to the heroism that goes cheerfully and uncomplainingly into
the Black Hole of Calcutta (there is nothing else that will compare
with these transports), all because it is duty. When will the people
appreciate the heroism of the Regular Army?"

This was the actual condition of affairs on board the Cherokee
up to the time of leaving port on the 14th of June, and it was
modified only by the hoisting of wind-sails, after we got under way.
These were not very efficient and there were only two of them, so very
little relief was given to the overcrowded berth-deck. Most of the men
spent their time on the upper deck, and one whole company was
quartered there. At night, after 8 o'clock, Col. Comba authorized the
men to sleep on deck, and there was always a rush, when the ship's
bell struck the hour, for good places on the quarter-deck. The only
thing that made the voyage endurable was the good weather which
prevailed. This prevented seasickness, to a certain extent.

The squadron reached Santiago de Cuba, and after tacking about for
several days, either for the purpose of deceiving the enemy, or of
waiting a decision as to the landing-place, finally approached
Baiquiri, which had been selected for the landing. The troops on the
Cherokee began to land on the 23d of June, the battalion of the
12th Infantry going first. This was followed by the 17th Infantry, and
upon its departure the captain of the Cherokee put to sea. The
reason for this maneuver is not known. The orders issued by Gen.
Shafter in regard to the landing were that the Gatling Gun Detachment
should accompany Gen. Lawton's Division. This movement of the
Cherokee completely blocked the landing of the Gatling guns. The
ship's captain was finally induced to put back into the bay and speak
to the Seguransa, and Gen. Shafter directed that the detachment should
be taken off the next morning.

An effort was made, therefore, to obtain the use of a lighter which
was not at that time in use, but the Commissary Department refused to
yield the boat, and it remained until 11 o'clock the next morning tied
up to the wharf with half a load of commissaries on board before it
became available, and then was seized by the Quartermaster's
Department. An effort was then made to obtain the use of three
pontoons, belonging to the Engineer Department, which had been drawn
up to the shore and were of no use to anybody. The young engineer
officer in charge of these boats, a premature graduate of the class of
'98, was "afraid the boats might get smashed in the surf," and could
not consent without seeing Col. Derby. Col. Derby could not be found.

[Illustration: Pack Train.]

A wigwag came from Gen. Shafter, asking whether the Gatling guns had
been landed. The reply, "No; may I use pontoons?" was answered at
once, "Use pontoons, and get off immediately." On returning to shore
with a party to work the pontoons, the party was stopped in the act of
launching the first boat by Gen. Sumner, and ordered to proceed to the
Cherokee, take her out into the offing, and order another to take her
place to unload. Protesting against this action, and informing Gen.
Sumner of the urgent orders for the Gatling guns to disembark at once,
that officer inquired the opinion of the prematurely graduated
engineer as to the practicability of using the pontoons, and this
experienced young man again expressed the fear that the boats might be
injured in the surf. To the detachment commander's indignant
exclamation, "What the h-- were these boats made for, if they are not
to be used and smashed?" Gen. Sumner responded by a peremptory order
to warp the Cherokee out from the pier and send the other vessels in.
The order was obeyed, and all the circumstances reported to Gen.
Shafter the same evening, with the expression of the opinion that if
the general wanted the Gatling guns landed, he would have to attend to
it personally, because the Gatling gun commander did not have
sufficient rank to accomplish it in the face of all these obstacles.
Early on the morning of June 25th, therefore, Gen. Shafter sent
peremptory orders to the lighter to lay alongside the Cherokee, take
the Gatling guns and detachment on board, and land them on the dock.
The transfer began at 8 o'clock in the morning, Gen. Shafter coming
out in person in his steam launch to see that his order was executed.
By 11 o'clock the guns, carriages, 30,000 rounds of ammunition, four
sets of double harness, and the detachment were on board the lighter.
This had been accomplished a mile outside in the offing, with the
vessel rolling and pitching in the trough of the sea and on the crest
of the gigantic rollers in so violent a manner that it was almost
impossible for men to stand on their feet, much less handle such heavy
material as guns and ammunition. The lighter was warped to the pier at
11 o'clock, and the general tied his steam launch alongside to see
that it was not disturbed until the debarkation was completed. At 1
o'clock everything was ashore, and, in compliance with the general's
instructions, the best mules in the corral were taken, and as they
were led away from the corral-gate, a fat, sleek, black streaked,
long-eared specimen, which had been selected for a saddle-mule, set up
a cheerful "Aw! hee haw! haw!" which produced a burst of laughter and
cheering from the members of the detachment and the soldiers in the
vicinity. It was a cheerful omen. These Missouri mules were capable of
pulling anything loose at both ends, and four experienced drivers had
been selected from the detachment who were capable of riding anything
that walked on four feet, or driving anything from an Arab courser to
a pair of Shetland ponies.

Priv. J. Shiffer had been selected as corral boss of the detachment.
The most picturesque figure, the most boyish member, and as brave a
soldier as ever shouldered a musket; broad of shoulder, stout of limb,
full of joke, as cheerful as a ray of sunlight, this man was the
incarnation of courage and devotion. He loved a mule. He was proud of
the job. With the instinct of a true teamster, he had snapped up the
best pair of mules in the whole corral and was out before the
detachment commander had selected a single mule. This team was as
black as Shiffer's shoes and as strong as a pair of elephants. They
were worked harder than any other team in the 5th Army Corps, and when
they were turned in to the quartermaster in August, they were as fat,
as sleek, as strong, and as hardy as on the day they were taken from
the corral in Baiquiri. The other three teamsters were like unto the
first. They were all handy men. They were as capable of fighting or
aiming a gun as of driving a team. Any one of the four could take a
team of mules up a mountain-side or down a vertical precipice in
perfect safety. They could do the impossible with a team of mules, and
they had to do it before the detachment reached the firing-line. The
success of the battery was to depend to a very large degree upon the
coolness, good judgment, and perfect bravery of these four teamsters.

[Illustration: Calvary Picket Line.]

It should be noted that the use of mules was an experiment. The
"scientific" branch of service has always held that the proper animal
to draw a field-piece is the horse. They expatiate with great delight
upon the almost human intelligence and sagacity of that noble animal;
upon his courage "when he snuffeth the battle afar," and upon the
undaunted spirit with which he rushes upon the enemy, and assists his
master to work the destruction of his foes. The Artillery claims that
mules are entirely too stubborn, too cowardly, and too hard to manage
for the purpose of their arm of the service. It was also an experiment
to use two mules per gun. The Engineer Department had reported that
the road to the front was impassable for wheeled vehicles, and even
the general had apparently thought that four mules per gun would be
necessary. The necessity of economizing mules, and the opinion of the
detachment commander that two mules per gun would be sufficient, had
led to the issue of that number. Those who despise the army mule for
the purposes of field artillery know very little of the capacity of
this equine product of Missouri when properly handled. It was
demonstrated that two mules can pull a Gatling gun with 10,000 rounds
of ammunition, loaded down with rations and forage, where eight horses
are required to draw a field-piece; and that mules are equally as easy
to manage under fire as horses.

The landing was completed and the detachment organized at 3 p. m.,
having rations, forage, and ammunition complete. There was no tentage,
except the shelter-halves which some of the men had brought with them.
Capt. Henry Marcotte, retired, the correspondent of the Army and Navy
Journal, requested permission to accompany the detachment, which was
granted, and soon all were _en route_ for the front, entrusted with
the task of opening the way for wheeled transportation and of
demonstrating the practicability of the road for army wagons and field

For the first mile the road was excellent. It lay through one of the
most fertile parts of the most fertile island in the world. A little
stream trickling along the side of the road furnished plenty of water
for both men and animals. At the end of the mile the detachment found
a steep hill to descend. The Ordnance Department, which designed and
built the carriage for the Gatling guns, had never foreseen the
necessity for a brake, and it was therefore necessary to cut down
bushes from the roadside and fasten the rear wheels by placing a stout
pole between the spokes and over the trail of the piece. This locked
the wheels, and the guns were thus enabled to slide down the steep
hill without danger of a runaway. From this point the road became a
narrow defile. The rank jungle closed in upon the trail, the long
barbed leaves of the Spanish bayonet hung across and lacerated the
legs of the mules until the blood trickled down to the hoofs; the
boughs of the trees hung down over it so that even the men on foot had
to stoop to pass under them, and the tortuous path winding in and out
amid the dense tropical undergrowth made it impossible to see in
places more than twenty-five or thirty yards ahead at a time.

The advance guard, consisting of all the members of one gun crew, had
been organized at once upon starting, and this guard moved along the
road about two hundred and fifty yards in advance of the detachment,
scouting every path vigilantly to the right and left, and keeping a
constant, careful lookout to the front. Their orders were, in case of
encountering the enemy, to scatter in the underbrush, open fire with
magazines, so as to produce the impression upon the enemy that there
was a large force, and then slowly fall back upon the battery. The
plan was, upon the first alarm, to bring the two leading guns into
battery upon the road, with the fourth gun ready to be opened to
either flank, while the gun crew of the third gun, which formed the
advance guard, were to act as infantry support to the battery. It was
hoped that the enemy would follow the advance guard as it retreated,
and it was believed that the Gatling gun battery could take care of
two or three regiments of Spaniards without help if necessary.

This form for the march had been adopted as the result of mature
reflection. The general had offered a cavalry escort of two troops,
and Gen. Sumner had rather urged the use of an escort, but it was
desired to demonstrate that a battery of machine guns, properly manned
and equipped, is capable of independent action, and does not need the
assistance of either arm of the service. In fact, the Gatling gun men
would have been rather pleased than not to have had a brush with the
enemy without the assistance of either infantry or cavalry. But it was
not to be.

The march was continued until darkness fell over the landscape, and
the battery arrived at a beautiful camping-place about one mile east
of Siboney, where a break in the water-pipe near the railroad track
gave an ample supply of excellent water, and a ruined plantation, now
overgrown with luxuriant sugar-cane, provided ample forage for the
mules. The two troops of cavalry, which had been offered and refused
as an escort, had reached this camping-place some time before, so that
the wearied members of the detachment found pleasant camp-fires
already throwing their weird lights and shadows over the drooping
branches of the royal palm.

Here, in the midst of the jungle, they pitched their first camp in
Cuba. The condition of the mules was duly looked to, their shoulders
washed down with strong salty water, their feet carefully examined,
and the animals then tethered to graze their fill on the succulent
sugar-cane, after having had a bountiful supply of oats. Meantime the
camp cooks had a kettle full of coffee simmering, and canned roast
beef warming over the fire, and after a hearty meal the tired men
stretched themselves upon the ground, with no canopy except the stars
and only one sentinel over the camp, and slept more soundly than they
had on board the tossing Cherokee.



At early dawn the battery arose, and, after a quick breakfast, resumed
the march. Some half-mile farther on they passed a battery of light
artillery which had preceded them on the road by some nine hours, and
which had camped at this point awaiting forage. At Siboney the
detachment stopped to look after the detail from the 13th Infantry,
which had not yet reported. The detachment commander sought out the
regimental adjutant, who referred him to the regimental commander,
Col. Worth. This colonel was at first reluctant to allow the men to
go, but, on being informed of the necessity for them, and after
inquiring about the orders on the subject, he directed the detail to
report immediately. All the members of this detail reported at once,
except Corp. Rose, who had been left by his company commander on board

The road from Siboney to the front was not known. There was no one in
camp who even knew its general direction. Application was therefore
made to Gen. Castillo, who was in command of a body of Cubans at
Siboney, for a guide. After a great deal of gesticulation, much
excited talk between the general and members of his staff, and
numerous messengers had been dispatched hither and thither upon this
important and very difficult business, a Cuban officer was sent with
instructions to furnish a guide who could conduct the detachment to
Gen. Wheeler's headquarters at the front. In the course of some twenty
minutes, a dirty slouchy, swarthy, lousy-looking vagabond was pointed
out as the desired guide, and was said to know every by-path and trail
between Siboney and Santiago. He was told to go with the detachment to
Gen. Wheeler's headquarters and then return, and the detachment
commander started for his command followed by his sable guide. Passing
through a group of these brave Cuban heroes, he lost sight of his
redoubtable guide for an instant, and has never since found that

It would be just as well to add a description of the patriotic Cuban
as he was found by the Gatling Gun Detachment during their campaign in
behalf of Cuban independence, in the name of humanity; and this
description, it is thought, tallies with the experience of all
officers in the expedition.

The valiant Cuban! He strikes you first by his color. It ranges from
chocolate yellow through all the shades to deepest black with kinky
hair; but you never by any chance see a white Cuban, except the fat,
sleek, well-groomed, superbly mounted ones in "khaki," who loaf around
headquarters with high-ranking shoulder-straps. These are all imported
from the United States. They comprise the few wealthy ones of Spanish
descent, who are renegade to their own nativity, and are appealing to
the good people of the United States to establish them in their status
of master of peons without any overlord who can exact his tithes for
the privilege.

[Illustration: San Juan Hill.]

The next thing you notice is the furtive look of the thief. No one has
ever yet had a chance to look one of these chocolate-colored Cubans
straight in the eye. They sneak along. Their gait has in it something
of that of the Apache, the same soft moccasined tread, noiseless and
always stealthy. Your impressions as to their honesty can be instantly
confirmed. Leave anything loose, from a heavy winter overcoat, which
no one could possibly use in Cuba, to--oh well, anything--and any
Cuban in sight will take great pleasure in dispelling any false
impressions that honesty is a native virtue.

Next you notice that he is dirty. His wife does sometimes make a faint
attempt at personal cleanliness; this is evident, because in one
bright instance a white dress was seen on a native woman, that had
been washed sometime in her history. But as to his lordship, the proud
male citizen of Cuba libre, you would utterly and bitterly insult him
by the intimation that a man of his dignity ought ever to bathe, put
on clean clothes, or even wash his hands. He is not merely dirty, he
is filthy. He is infested with things that crawl and creep, often
visibly, over his half-naked body, and he is so accustomed to it that
he does not even scratch.

Next you observe the intense pride of this Cuban libre. It is
manifested the very first time you suggest anything like manual
labor--he is incapable of any other--even for such purposes as camp
sanitation, carrying rations, or for any other purpose. His manly
chest swells with pride and he exclaims in accents of wounded dignity,
"Yo soy soldado!" Still his pride does not by any chance get him
knowingly under fire. At El Poso some of him did get under fire from
artillery, accidentally, and it took a strong provost guard to keep
him there. If he ever got under fire again there was no officer on the
firing-line who knew it.

He is a treacherous, lying cowardly, thieving, worthless, half-breed
mongrel; born of a mongrel spawn of Europe, crossed upon the fetiches
of darkest Africa and aboriginal America. He is no more capable of
self-government than the Hottentots that roam the wilds of Africa or
the Bushmen of Australia. He can not be trusted like the Indian, will
not work like a negro, and will not fight like a Spaniard; but he will
lie like a Castilian with polished suavity, and he will stab you in
the dark or in the back with all the dexterity of a renegade graduate
of Carlisle.

Providence has reserved a fairer future for this noble country than to
be possessed by this horde of tatterdemalions. Under the impetus of
American energy and capital, governed by a firm military hand with
even justice, it will blossom as the rose; and, in the course of three
or four generations, even the Cuban may be brought to appreciate the
virtues of cleanliness, temperance, industry, and honesty.

Our good roads ended at Siboney, and from there on to Gen. Wheeler's
headquarters was some of the worst road ever traveled. Part of it lay
through deep valleys, where the sun was visible scarcely more than an
hour at noontime, and the wet, fetid soil was tramped into a muck of
malarial slime under foot of the mules and men. The jungle became
ranker, the Spanish bayonets longer and their barbs sharper in these
low bottom jangles. The larger undergrowth closed in more sharply on
the trail, and its boughs overhung so much in some places that it
became necessary to cut them away with axes in order to pass.

These guns were the first wheeled vehicles that had ever disturbed the
solitude of this portion of Cuba. The chocolate-colored natives of
Cuba sneak; the white native of Cuba, when he travels at all, goes on
horseback. He very seldom travels in Cuba at all, because he is not
often there. Consequently the roads in Cuba, as a rule, are merely
small paths sufficient for the native to walk along, and they carry
the machete in order to open a path if necessary. These low places in
the valleys were full of miasmatic odors, yellow fever, agues, and all
the ills that usually pertain to the West Indian climate.

At other places the road ran along the tops of the foot-hills from one
to two hundred feet higher than the bottom of these valleys. Here the
country was much more open. The path was usually wide enough for the
guns to move with comparative ease. Sometimes one wagon could pass
another easily. These parts of the road were usually more or less
strewn with boulders. The road was rarely level and frequently the
upland parts were washed out. Sometimes it was only the boulder-clad
bottom of a ravine; again the water would have washed out the gully on
one side so deep as to threaten overturning the guns. The portions of
the road between the valleys and the top of these foot-hills were the
worst places the detachment had to pass. These ascents and descents
were nearly always steep. While not at all difficult for the man upon
horseback or for the man on foot, they were frequently almost too
steep for draft, and they were always washed out. In places it was
necessary to stop and fill up these washouts by shoveling earth and
stone into the places before the detachment could pass.

[Illustration: Cuban Soldiers as They Were.]

On one of these occasions, while heaving rock to fill up a bad
washout, Priv. Jones was stung by a scorpion. Jones did not know what
had bitten him, and described it as a little black thing about as long
as his finger. Fortunately there was a small supply of whisky with the
detachment, and this remedy was applied to Jones internally. Some
soldier in the detachment suggested that a quid of tobacco externally
would be beneficial, so this also was done. It was not a dressing
favorable to an aseptic condition of the wound, perhaps, nor was there
anything in the quid of tobacco calculated to withdraw the poison or
neutralize its effects, so the doctors may characterize this as a very
foolish proceeding; but country people skilled in simples and herb
remedies might tell some of these ultra scientific surgeons that the
application of a quid of tobacco or of a leaf of tobacco to the sting
of a wasp or the bite of a spider, or even the sting of a scorpion, is
nearly always attended by beneficial results. In fact, when Jones was
stung there was a surgeon, a medical officer, who turned up even
before Jones was treated with the whisky cure, and, upon receiving
Jones' explanation that he had been heaving rock and had been bitten
on the end of the finger by a little black thing, and after hearing
the remarks of the men that it was very probably a scorpion sting,
this medical officer very sagely diagnosed the accident to that
effect, but was unable to prescribe any remedy because he had not
brought along his emergency case. This medical officer, with his two
attendant hospital satellites, had left both litter and emergency case
upon the transport.

The ordinary line officer or soldier who is somewhat accustomed to
carrying weights and does not require a hospital drill to teach him to
carry a wounded comrade a few yards, looks with a certain degree of
envy upon the possession of a hospital litter with its convenient
straps for weight-carrying, and would consider this a very convenient
means for carrying a pack. This litter is designed to enable two men,
hospital attendants or band men, to pick up a wounded soldier weighing
some 160 or 180 pounds and carry him from fifty yards to a mile if
necessary, to a dressing-station or hospital shack. The medical
field-case No. 1 weighs about sixty pounds filled, and field-case No.
2 weighs about forty pounds. These two cases contain all the medicines
necessary to run a division hospital; the case of emergency
instruments does not weigh above ten or twelve pounds, and would not
be a burden for a child to carry. It is therefore difficult for the
small-minded officer of the line to see why the Medical Department was
unable to have these medicines up at the front. They had the same
means of locomotion provided for the other soldiers, by Nature, and
they had, moreover, no particular necessity for all rushing to the
extreme front. On the contrary, they had from the 23d of June, when
the landing began, at Baiquiri, until the 1st of July, to accomplish a
distance of less than twenty miles; and it would seem reasonable that
they might have had their medicine-cases up where they were needed by
that time.

These gentlemen pose as the most learned, expert, scientific, highly
trained body of medical men in the world. They are undoubtedly as well
trained, as highly educated, and as thoroughly proficient as the
medical officers of any army in the world. A summons of an ordinary
practitioner would bring with him his saddle-bags of medicines; no
physician in the city would pretend to answer even an ambulance call
without having a few simple remedies--in other words, an emergency
case; but it was an exception, and a very rare exception at that, to
find a medical officer who took the trouble to carry anything upon his
aristocratic back on that march to the front.

A conversation overheard between two medical officers on board a
transport just before landing may serve to partially explain the state
of affairs. Said surgeon No. 1 to surgeon No. 2, "We are going to land
this morning; are you going to carry your field-case?" To which
surgeon No. 2 indignantly replied, "No, I'm not a pack-mule!" Surgeon
No. 1 again inquired, "Are you going to make your hospital men carry
it?" To which surgeon No. 2 replied, "No; my men are not beasts of
burden." Both of these medical officers went ashore; one of them had
his field case carried; the other did not. Both of them were up at the
firing-line, both did good service in rendering first aid. Both of
them worked heroically, both seemed deeply touched by the suffering
they were compelled to witness, and both contracted the climatic
fever. But in the absence of medicines the role of the surgeon can be
taken by the private soldier who has been instructed in first aid to
the injured; for in the absence of medical cases and surgical
instruments the first-aid packet is the only available source of
relief, and these first-aid packets were carried by the private
soldier, not by the Medical Department.

[Illustration: Wagon Train.]

A little less "theory," a little less "science," a little less
tendency to dwell on the "officer" part of the business, with a little
more devotion to the duty of relieving suffering humanity--in short, a
little less insistence upon "rank," would have vastly improved the
medical service of the United States Army in the field at this time.

These remarks do not apply to the heroes like Ebert, Thorpe, Brewer,
Kennedy, Warren, and a few others, who fearlessly exposed their lives
upon the very firing-line. These men are the very "salt of the earth."
The escape of even a "frazzle" of the 5th Corps was due to their
superhuman energy and exertions. They did much to redeem the good name
of their corps and to alleviate suffering.

But Priv. Jones recovered from the sting of the scorpion. In fact,
soldiers were heard to exclaim that they would be glad to find a
scorpion when they saw the character of the remedy applied in Jones'

The detachment left Siboney about 10 o'clock in the morning and
tramped steadily along the road up hill and down until 12; then, upon
finding a convenient place, it halted for dinner. The mules were
unharnessed, coffee prepared, and, just as the detachment was about to
begin this noonday meal, two of the peripatetic newspaper fraternity
joined, _en route_ to the rear. The ubiquitous correspondent had
for the first time discovered the Gatling Gun Detachment, and they
thought it was Artillery.

One of these gentlemen was a long, slim, frayed-out specimen of
humanity, with a wearied and expressive droop of the shoulders; the
other was a short, stout, florid, rotund individual, and his "too, too
solid flesh" was in the very visible act of melting. The newspaper
gentlemen were invited to participate in the noonday meal, and, with
some gentle urging, consented. It was only after the meal was over
that it was learned that this was the first square meal these men had
had in over forty-eight hours. They had been with Gen. Wheeler at La
Guasimas, had rejoined Wheeler after reporting that fight, in hopes of
making another "scoop," and were now on their way to Siboney, hoping
to buy some provisions. Poor devils! They had worked for a "scoop" at
La Guasimas; they had gone up on the firing-line and had sent back
authentic accounts of that little skirmish; but they did not make the
"scoop." The "scoop" was made by newspaper men who had remained on
board the transports, and who took the excited account of a member of
the command who had come back delirious with excitement, crazed with
fear, trembling as though he had a congestive chill--who, in fact, had
come back faster than he had gone to the front, and in his excited
condition had told the story of an ambuscade; that Wheeler, Wood, and
Roosevelt were all dead; that the enemy was as thick as the barbs on
the Spanish bayonet; and that he, only he, had escaped to tell the
tale. This was the account of the battle that got back to the
newspapers in the form of a "scoop," and it was nothing more nor less
than the excited imagination of the only coward who at that time or
ever afterwards was a member of the famous Rough Riders. He was
consequently returned to civil life prematurely.

The newspaper correspondent in Cuba was of a distinguished type. You
recognized him immediately. He was utterly fearless; he delighted in
getting up on the firing-line--that is, a few of him did. Among these
few might be mentioned Marshall, and Davis, and Remington, and
Marcotte, and King, and some half-dozen others; but there was another
type of newspaper correspondent in Cuba, who hung around from two
miles and a half to three miles in rear of the firing-line, and never
by any possibility got closer to the enemy than that. The members of
this guild of the newspaper fraternity were necessarily nearer the
cable office than their more daring comrades; in fact, there were a
few who were known to have been eight or nine miles nearer to the
cable office during battles, and those correspondents were the ones
who made the great "scoop" in the New York papers, by which a regiment
that laid down and skulked in the woods, or ran wildly to the rear,
was made to do all the fighting on the first day of July. This latter
class of journalists were a menace to the army, a disgrace to their
profession, and a blot upon humanity. Even the Cubans were ashamed of

The detachment resumed the march at half past 1, and encountered some
very difficult road, difficult because it needed repairs. The most
difficult places were the ascents and descents of the hills, and in
nearly every case fifteen or twenty minutes' careful investigation was
able to discover a means of getting around the worst places in the
road. When it was not practicable to go around, J. Shiffer and his
three fellow-teamsters would take a twist of their hands in the manes
of their long-eared chargers, and apparently lift them down, or up, as
the case might be, always landing on their feet and always safely. It
was merely a question of good driving and will to go through. The
worst places were repaired by the detachment before these reckless
attempts at precipice-scaling were made. At one place there was a
detachment of the 24th Infantry engaged in an alleged effort to repair
the road. They did not seem to work with much vim. Chaplain Springer,
having in the morning exhorted them to repentance and a better life
and to doing good works unto their brethren, the enemy, was engaged at
this point in the afternoon, it being Sunday, in a practical
demonstration of what he considered good works. In other words, the
chaplain, whose religious enthusiasm no one doubts, was engaged in
heaving rocks with his own hands to show these colored soldiers how
they ought to make good road, and he was doing "good works."

It is but a just tribute to Chaplains Springer and Swift, of the
Regulars, to say that they were conspicuous in the hour of danger at
the point of greatest peril. In the fearless discharge of their holy
office, they faced all the dangers of battle; nor did they neglect the
care of the body while ministering to the spiritual needs of the
soldiers. Springer, for example, collected wood and made coffee for
all on the firing-line, within 400 yards of the block-house at El
Caney; and Swift was equally conspicuous in relieving suffering,
binding up wounds, and caring for the sick. There were probably others
equally as daring; but the author knows of the deeds of these men, and
desires to pay a tribute of respect to them. Chaplains of this stamp
are always listened to with respectful attention when they express
their views of the true course of life to obtain a blessed hereafter.
They were in very sharp contrast to the long-visaged clerical
gentlemen who were so much in evidence at Tampa, and who never got
within 500 miles of danger.

The detachment safely passed all the bad places and obstacles in the
road, arriving at Gen. Wheeler's headquarters about half past 4
o'clock, and reported. It was assigned a position between the advance
outposts and directed to dispose of its guns in such a manner as to
sweep the hills on which these outposts were placed. High hills to the
right at a distance of about 2000 yards were supposed to be infested
by the enemy, and a blockhouse which stood out against the sky-line
was thought to contain a Spanish detachment. A high hill to the left
at a distance of about 1000 yards had not yet been explored, and it
was thought probable that some of the enemy was concealed on this hill
also. The detachment commander was directed to report, after posting
his battery, in which duty he was assisted by Col. Dorst, to Gen.
Chaffee, who had charge of the outposts. The General inquired what the
battery consisted of, and upon being informed that "It consists of
four Gatling guns, posted so as to command the neighboring hills,"
remarked in a very contemptuous manner, "You can't command anything."
Gen. Chaffee subsequently had reason to revise his opinion, if not to
regret the expression of it.



At this point in the history of the detachment, it would be well to
give some account of the reasoning which led to its formation and the
personnel of the detachment.

Since the days of '65 the armies of the civilized world have adopted a
rifle whose effective range is more than twice as great as that used
in the Civil War. Very able discussions have been made upon the
theoretical changes of the battle-field thus brought about, but no
proper conclusion had been reached. It was acknowledged by all
text-book writers that the artillery arm of the service would find
much greater difficulty in operating at short ranges, and that
assaults upon fortified positions would be much more difficult in the
future. But only Gen. Williston, of the United States Artillery, had
ever taken the advanced ground that in a machine gun arm would be
found a valuable auxiliary as a result of these changed conditions.
This theory of Gen. Williston's was published in the Journal of the
Military Service Institute in the spring of '86, but never went,
so far as Gen. Williston was concerned, beyond a mere theory; nor had
the detachment commander ever heard of Gen. Williston's article until
after the battle of Santiago.

[Illustration: Gatling Battery under Artillery Fire at El Poso.]

A study of the science of tactics--not merely drill regulations, but
tactics in the broader sense of maneuvering bodies of troops upon the
battle-field--had led Lieut. Parker to the conclusion that the
artillery arm of the service had been moved back upon the battle-field
to ranges not less than 1500 yards. This not because of lack of
courage on the part of the Artillery, but as an inherent defect in any
arm of the service which depends upon draft to reach an effective
position. It was not believed that animals could live at a shorter
range in anything like open country. The problem of supporting an
infantry charge by some sort of fire immediately became the great
tactical problem of the battle-field. Admitting that the assault of a
fortified position has become much more difficult than formerly, the
necessity of artillery support, or its equivalent in some kind of
fire, became correspondingly more important, while under the
conditions it became doubly more difficult to bring up this support in
the form of artillery fire.

The solution of this problem, then, was the principal difficulty of
the modern battle-field; and yet, strange to say, the curtailed
usefulness of artillery does not seem to have suggested itself to
anybody else in the service previous to the first day of July. This
problem had been made the subject of special study by him for several
years, and had led to the conclusion that some form of machine gun
must be adopted to take the place of artillery from 1500 yards down.
This in turn led to the study of machine guns. The different forms in
use in the different armies of the world had been considered, and it
was found that there was none in any service properly mounted for the
particular use desired. All of them required the service of animals as
pack-mules, or for draft, while the very conditions of the problem
required a gun to be so mounted that the use of animals could be
dispensed with.

The Maxim gun has been reduced in weight to about 60 pounds, and is
furnished with a tripod weighing about the same; but this is too
heavy, and the supply of ammunition at once becomes a critical
question. The Colt's automatic rapid-fire gun has been reduced to 40
pounds, with a tripod of equal weight, but here again the same
difficulty presents itself. The soldier is capable of carrying only a
limited amount of weight; and with his already too heavy pack, his
three days' rations, together with the heat, fatigue and excitement of
battle, it did not appear possible for any tripod-mounted gun to be
effectively used.

The problem therefore resolved itself into the question of carriages:
A carriage capable of carrying any form of machine gun using
small-caliber ammunition, capable of being moved anywhere by draft,
capable of being dismantled and carried on a pack-mule, and, above,
all, capable of being moved by hand; required also some device for
getting the requisite amount of ammunition up to the firing-line. A
carriage and ammunition cart was invented fulfilling all these
conditions and the invention was presented to the adjutant-general of
the army for consideration, accompanied by a discussion of the proper
tactical use of the gun so mounted. This discussion, in part, was as

"It is claimed for this carriage that a machine gun mounted on it can
be carried with a firing-line of infantry on the offensive, over
almost any kind of ground, into the decisive zone of rifle fire and to
the lodgment in the enemy's line, if one is made.

"On broken ground the piece can be moved forward by draft under cover
of sheltering features of the terrain to a position so near the enemy
that, under cover of its fire, an infantry line can effect a lodgment,
after which the piece can be rushed forward by a sudden dash.

"The machine gun, mounted on this carriage, is especially adapted for
service with the reserve of a battalion on the offensive, acting
either alone or in regiment. Its use will enable the commander to
reduce the reserve, thereby increasing the strength of the
fighting-line, and yet his flanks will be better protected than
formerly, while he will still have a more powerful reserve. If the
fighting-line be driven back, the machine guns will establish a point
of resistance on which the line can rally, and from which it can not
be driven, unless the machine guns be annihilated by artillery fire.

"In case of counter-charge by the enemy, the superior weight and
intensity of its fire will shake the enemy and so demoralize him that,
in all probability, a return counter-charge will result in his
complete discomfiture.

[Illustration: Gatling Gun on Firing-Line July 1st. (Taken under fire
by Sergeant Weigle.)]

"Retiring troops as rear guards have in this weapon _par excellence_
the weapon for a swift and sharp return with the power of rapidly
withdrawing. If the enemy can by any means be enticed within its
range, he will certainly suffer great losses. If he cannot be brought
in range, his distance will be rather respectful."

This discussion as presented was entirely and absolutely original with
the author and the result of his own unaided researches on the
subject. It will be seen in the account of the battle how accurately
the conditions there laid down were fulfilled.

But the carriage in use by the Gatling Gun Detachment was not the one
proposed to the War Department. That carriage has not, as yet, been
built, nor has the War Department in any way recognized the invention
or even acknowledged the receipt of the communication and drawings.

The problem, therefore, confronting the Gatling Gun Detachment was to
demonstrate the above uses of the machine gun, taking the obsolete
artillery carriage drawn by mules, and endeavor to get the guns into
action by draft. The personnel of the detachment alone accounts
for their success. They got the guns up on the firing-line, not
because of any superiority of the carriage over that in use by the
artillery, for there was none; not because of aid rendered by other
arms of the service, for they actually went into battle as far as 100
yards in advance of the infantry skirmishers; but because the Gatling
Gun Detachment was there for the purpose of getting into the fight and
was determined to give the guns a trial.

In the first place, all the members of the Gatling Gun Detachment were
members of the Regular Army. All but three of them were natives of the
United States, and those three were American citizens. Every man in
the detachment had been selected by the detachment commander, or had
voluntarily undertaken to perform this duty, realizing and believing
that it was an extremely hazardous duty. Every member of the
detachment possessed a common-school education, and some of them were
well educated. All of them were men of exceptionally good character
and sober habits. The drivers were Privs. Shiffer, Correll, Merryman,
and Chase. The description formerly given of Shiffer applies, with
slight modifications, to all the four. The first sergeant, Weigle, a
native of Gettysburg, a soldier of eight years' experience in the
Regular Army, a man of fine natural ability and good educational
attainments, was worthy to command any company in the United States
Army. Thoroughly well instructed in the mechanism of Gatling guns, of
exceptionally cheerful and buoyant disposition, he was an ideal first
sergeant for any organization. Steigerwald, acting chief of gun No. 1,
was of German birth, well educated. He had chosen the military
profession for the love of it; he was a man of wonderfully fine
physique, a "dead sure" shot, and one who hardly understood the
meaning of the word "fatigue." He was ambitious, he was an ardent
believer in the Gatling gun, and he was determined to win a commission
on the battle-field.

Corporal Doyle was a magnificent type of the old-time Regular--one of
the kind that composed the army before Proctorism tried to convert it
into a Sunday-school. In former days Doyle had been a drinking man;
but the common opinion as expressed by his company officers even in
those days was, "I would rather have Doyle, drunk, than any other
non-commissioned officer, sober; because Doyle never gets too drunk to
attend to duty." Two years before this Doyle had quit drinking, and
the only drawback to this most excellent noncommissioned officer had
been removed. He was a thorough disciplinarian; one of the kind that
takes no back talk; one who is prone to using the butt end of a musket
as a persuader, if necessary; and Doyle was thoroughly devoted to the
detachment commander. Corp. Smith was another of the same stamp. Corp.
Smith loved poker. In fact, his _sobriquet_ was "Poker Smith." He
was one of the kind of poker-players who would "see" a $5 bet on a
pair of deuces, raise it to $25, and generally rake in the "pot." It
was Corp. Smith who thought in this Gatling gun deal he was holding a
pair of deuces, because he didn't take much stock in Gatling guns, but
he was a firm believer in his commanding officer and was prepared to
"bluff" the Dons to the limit of the game.

[Illustration: Fort Roosevelt.]

Sergeants Ryder and Weischaar were splendid types of the American
Regular non-commissioned officer, alert, respectful, attentive to
duty, resolute, unflinching, determined, magnificent soldiers. Serg.
Green was a young man, only twenty-three, the idolized son of his
parents, in the army because he loved it; enthusiastic over his gun,
and fully determined to "pot" every Spaniard in sight. Corp. Rose was
like unto him. They were eager for nothing so much as a chance to get
into action, and equally determined to stay there. The privates of the
detachment were like unto the noncommissioned officers. They had
volunteered for this duty from a love of adventure, a desire to win
recognition, or from their personal attachment to the commanding
officer; and there was not a man who was not willing to follow him
into the "mouth of hell" if necessary. The gunners were expert shots
with the rifle. Numbers 1 and 2, who turned the crank and fed the gun,
respectively, were selected for their dexterity and coolness; the
drivers, for their skill in handling mules; and each of the other
members of the detachment was placed on that duty which he seemed best
fitted to perform.

The roll of the detachment and its organization as it went into battle
on the first day of July are subjoined:

Gatling Gun Detachment, Fifth Army Corps.

Commanding Officer, John H. Parker, first lieutenant, 13th Infantry.
Acting First Sergeant, Alois Weischaar, sergeant, Co. A, 13th Infantry.
Acting Quartermaster Sergeant, William Eyder, Co. G, 13th Infantry.

Gun No. 1:
Acting Chief and Gunner, Charles C. Steigerwald, corporal, Co. A,
  13th Infantry.
No. 1, Private Voelker, Co. A, 12th Infantry.
No. 2, Private Elkins, Co. D, 17th Infantry.
No. 3, Private Schmandt, Co. G, 13th Infantry.
No. 4, Private Needles, Co. E, 17th Infantry.
No. 5, Private Click, Co. E, 17th Infantry.
No. 6, Private Jones, Co. D, 13th Infantry.
Driver, Private Shiffer, Co. E, 17th Infantry.

Gun No. 2:
Chief, Sergeant William Ryder, Co. G, 13th Infantry.
Gunner, Corporal Geo. N. Rose, Co. C, 13th Infantry.
No. 1, Private Seaman, Co. B, 13th Infantry.
No. 2, Private Kastner, Co. A, 13th Infantry.
No. 3, Private Pyne, Co. H, 13th Infantry.
No. 4, Private Schulze, Co. A, 17th Infantry.
No. 5, Private Barts, Co. E, 13th Infantry.
Driver, Private Correll, Co. C, 12th Infantry.

Gun No. 3:
Chief, Sergeant Newton A. Green, Co. H, 13th Infantry.
Gunner, Corporal Matthew Doyle, Co. C, 13th Infantry.
No. 1, Private Anderson, Co. C, 12th Infantry.
No. 2, Private Sine, Co. E, 17th Infantry.
No. 3, Private Lauer, Co. C, 12th Infantry.
No. 4, Private Dellett, Co. D, 17th Infantry.
No. 5, Private Cory, Co. A, 13th Infantry.
No. 6, Private Greenberg, Co. G, 13th Infantry.
Driver, Private Merryman, Co. A, 17th Infantry.

Gun No. 4:
Chief, Sergeant John N. Weigle, Co. L, 9th Infantry.
Gunner, Corporal Robert S. Smith, Co. C, 13th Infantry.
No. 1, Private McGoin, Co. D, 17th Infantry.
No. 2, Private Misiak, Co. E, 13th Infantry.
No. 3, Private Power, Co. A, 13th Infantry.
No. 4, Private McDonald, Co. B, 17th Infantry.
No. 5, Private Prazak, Co. E, 12th Infantry.
Driver, Private Chase, Co. H, 13th Infantry.
Cook, Private Hoft, Co. D, 13th Infantry.
Assistant cook, Private Bremer, Co. G, 13th Infantry.
Absent, sick, Private Murray, Co. F, 13th Infantry, at Tampa.

Sergeant Weigle was subsequently appointed first sergeant of Co. L.,
9th Infantry, and of the Gatling Gun Detachment, vice Weischaar,
relieved at his own request.

Another element which contributed much to the success of the
detachment was the presence with it of Captain Marcotte. This
excellent officer had served with great distinction in the Civil War,
having been promoted from a private in the ranks through all of the
grades up to a captaincy, for meritorious conduct in battle, and
having failed of higher grades only because he was too badly shot to
pieces to continue with the Army. He joined the detachment on the 25th
of June, and his valuable advice was always at the disposal not merely
of the commander, but of any member of the detachment who wished to
consult him. He had spent seventeen years in the Cuban climate and was
thoroughly familiar with all the conditions under which we were
laboring. He contributed not a little, by his presence, his example,
and his precept, to the final success of the organization. When the
battery went under fire, Marcotte was with it. It was the first time
most of the members had passed through this ordeal, but who could run,
or even feel nervous, with this gray-haired man skipping about from
point to point and taking notes of the engagement as coolly as though
he were sitting in the shade of a tree sipping lime-juice cocktails, a
mile from danger.

Such was the personnel of the detachment. It lay in Camp Wheeler,
which was only about a mile and a half from El Poso, where the first
engagement occurred on the first of July, until that morning. The
mules were daily harnessed up and drilled in maneuvering the pieces,
and the members of the detachment experimentally posted in different
positions in order to get the most effective service.

On the 27th, Serg. Green was sent back to Siboney with orders to bring
Corp. Rose or his body. He brought Corp. Rose, and the corporal was
very glad to be brought.

The mules were fed with oats and on the juicy sugar-cane. It is worthy
of mention that no other organization at the front had oats. A feed or
two of oats was given to Gen. Wheeler and Col. Dorst for their horses;
it was the first time their horses had tasted oats since leaving the
transports, and was probably the last time until after the surrender.
Furthermore, the Gatling Gun Detachment had "grub." Of course, it was
"short" on potatoes, onions, and vegetables generally; these luxuries
were not to be well known again until it returned to the United
States; but it did have hardtack, bacon, canned roast beef, sugar, and
coffee, having drawn all the rations it could carry before leaving
Baiquiri, and was the only organization which had as much as
twenty-four hours' rations. Gen. Hawkins and his whole brigade were
living from hand to mouth, one meal at a time. The same was true of
Gen. Wheeler and the whole cavalry division, and they were depending
for that one meal upon the pack-mule train. On the 30th of June a
complete set of muster- and pay-rolls, was prepared for the
detachment, and it was duly mustered in the usual form and manner. It
was the only organization at the front of which a formal muster was
made, and was the only one there which had muster- and pay-rolls.

It rained on the 29th and 30th of June. Not such rains as the people
of the United States are familiar with, but Cuban rains. It was like
standing under a barrel full of water and having the bottom knocked
out. These rains caused the rifles and carbines of the army to rust,
and some quickwitted captain bethought himself to beg oil from the
Gatling Gun Detachment. He got it. Another, and another, and still
another begged for oil; then regiments began to beg for oil; and
finally application was made for oil for a whole brigade. This led to
the following correspondence:

"Camp Six Miles from Santiago,
"29th June, 1898.

"The Adjutant-General, Cavalry Division, Present:

"Sir,--I have the honor to inform you that I have learned that some of
the rifles in this command are badly in need of oil, and that in some
companies there is no oil to use on them. These facts I learned
through requests to me for oil.

"I therefore report to you that my men found at Altares (the second
landing-place) and reported to me four (4) barrels of lard oil and
three (3) barrels of cylinder oil, in an old oil-house near the
machine shops.

"If this be procured and issued, it will save the rifles and carbines
from rust.

"Very respectfully,

"John H. Parker,
"Lt. Comdg. G. G. Detachment, 5th Corps."

First Endorsement.

"Headquarters Cavalry Division,
"Camp 6 miles east of Santiago de Cuba,
"June 29, 1898.

"Respectfully referred to the adjutant-general, 6th Army Corps.

"Jos. Wheeler,
"Major-General U. S. Vols., Comdg."

Second Endorsement.

"Headquarters 5th Corps,
"June 29, 1898.

"Return. Lt. Parker will send a man back tomorrow to obtain the
necessary oil.

"By command of Gen. Shafter.

"E. J. McClernand,
"A. A. G."

Third Endorsement.

"Headquarters Cavalry Division,
"June 29, 1898.

"Return Lt. Parker. Attention invited to the foregoing endorsement.

"J. H. Dorst,

Fourth Endorsement.

"June 30, 1898.

"The Quartermaster, Altares, Cuba:

"Please furnish to Sergeant Green of my detachment transportation for
two (2) barrels of oil. He will show you an order from Gen. Shafter,
and the matter is urgent. The soldiers must have this oil at once, as
their rifles are rusting badly.

"John H. Parker,
"Lt. Comdg. Gatling Gun Detach."

[Illustration: Sergeant Greene's Gun at Fort Roosevelt.]

The quartermaster furnished the transportation and two barrels of oil
were duly forwarded to the front and placed in charge of brigade
quartermasters at different points, with orders to distribute out one
quart to each company. This oil, perhaps, had some bearing upon the
condition of the rifles in the fight following.

On the 27th of June, Captain Marcotte and the detachment commander
made a reconnaissance of a high hill to the left of Camp Wheeler, and,
having gained the top, reconnoitered the city of Santiago and its
surrounding defenses with a powerful glass, and as a result reported
to Gen. Wheeler that the key of Santiago was the Morro mesa, a
promontory or tableland overlooking the city on the east side at a
distance of about a mile and a half and not at that time occupied by
the enemy, with the proposition that a detail of a half-dozen men from
the detachment should make a rush and capture this plateau, and hold
it until the guns could be brought up. The general could not authorize
the proposed undertaking, as it would have endangered the safety of
his army, perhaps by leading to a premature engagement. By the time a
sufficient reconnaissance had been made and convinced everybody of the
value of this plan, the mesa had been strongly occupied by the enemy.
It is still believed that the occupation of this height was
practicable on the 27th of June, and thought, if it had been
authorized, the Gatlings could have occupied and held this position
against all the Spaniards in the city of Santiago. A glance at the map
will show the extreme tactical importance of this position.



On the 30th day of June, General Shafter pitched his camp about half a
mile in advance of Camp Wheeler in a valley, and about five o'clock in
the afternoon communicated the plan of battle to the division
commanders and to the commander of the Gatling Gun Detachment.

Reconnaissance had developed the fact that the enemy occupied the
village of El Caney, and that their first line of works surrounded the
city of Santiago at a distance of about a mile, crowning a
semicircular ridge. Between the position occupied by the general's
camp and this ridge, a distance of about two and one-half miles,
flowed the Aguadores and San Juan rivers, and about one mile from the
San Juan River, on the east side, was a ruined plantation and mission
house, called El Poso. Midway between El Caney and the Spanish
position was a large handsome mansion, called the Du Cuorot house,
standing in the midst of a large plantation and owned by a Frenchman,
which both sides had agreed to respect as neutral property. The
general plan of the battle as given to these officers on the 30th of
June was for one division of the army (Lawton's), assisted by one
battery of artillery (Capron's), to make an attack at daybreak upon
the village of El Caney, and drive the enemy out of it. Another
division (Kent's) was to make an attack upon the semicircular ridge of
hills south of El Caney as soon as Lawton was well committed to the
fight, both for the purpose of preventing reinforcements from going to
El Caney and to develop the enemy's strength. It was expected that
Lawton would capture El Caney about eight or nine o'clock in the
morning, and pursue the retreating enemy, by the way of the Du Cuorot
house, toward Santiago. This movement would cause Lawton to execute,
roughly, a left wheel, and it was intended that in executing this
maneuver Kent's right should join, or nearly join, Lawton's left,
after which the whole line was to move forward according to the
developments of the fight. Kent's attack was to be supported by
Grimes' Battery from El Poso. The Gatling Gun Detachment was to move
at daylight on the morning of July 1st, take position at El Poso
sheltered by the hill, in support of Grimes' Battery, and there await

[Illustration: Skirmish Line in Battle.]

This outline of the battle, as laid down by Gen. Shafter on the 30th
day of June, was eventually carried out to the letter; its successful
operation shut up a superior force in the city of Santiago, and
compelled the surrender of the city.

Perhaps no better comment can be made upon the generalship of the
corps commander, no higher compliment be paid, than the mere statement
that he was able, fifteen hours before a shot was fired in the battle,
to prescribe the movements of the different organizations of his
command, and to outline the plan of battle as it was finally carried
out, with a degree of precision which can be fully appreciated only by
those to whom the plan was communicated in advance. In spite of slight
changes, made necessary by local failures and unforeseen
circumstances; in spite of the very poor cooperation of the artillery
arm; in spite of the absence of cavalry, which made good
reconnaissance practically impossible; in spite of the fact that he
was operating against a superior force in strong intrenchments--the
plan of battle thus laid down was finally carried out with perfect
success in every detail.

The Gatling Gun Detachment was assembled at six o'clock, and so much
of the plan of battle was explained to them as it was proper to give
out, with orders that breakfast was to be prepared by four o'clock and
the detachment be ready to move at 4:30. The plans were heard with
careful attention by the men, and the wisdom of giving to them some
idea of the work they were expected to do was fully vindicated on the
following day, when they were compelled to lie nearly three hours
under a dropping fire, waiting for "Lawton to become well engaged,"
after which the detachment moved forward, without a man missing, with
the utmost steadiness and coolness, to the attack.

There was no nervousness displayed by the men. They knew their work
was cut out for them, and each man was eager to play his part in the
great drama of the morrow. There was no excited talk indulged in. None
of the buzz of preparation nor the hum of anticipation which to the
civilian mind should precede a desperate battle, but three or four
members of the detachment took out their soldiers' hand-books and
wrote in them their last will and testament, requesting their
commander to witness the same and act as executor. The courage evinced
by these men was not of that brutal order which ignores danger, but of
the moral quality which, fully realizing that somebody must get hurt,
quietly resolves to face whatever may happen in the performance of the
full measure of duty.

At four o'clock the guard aroused the members of the detachment
quietly, and each man found a good hearty breakfast waiting for him,
consisting of hardtack, coffee, condensed milk, sugar, bacon, canned
roast beef, and some canned fruit, which had been obtained somehow and
was opened upon this occasion. It was the last square meal they were
to have for several days. At half past four the camp equipage had all
been packed upon the guns in such a manner as not to interfere with
their instantly getting into action, and the battery started for the

The road to El Poso was very good and the mules trotted merrily along,
preceded and followed by infantry also bound for the front. The
Cubans, too, were in evidence; an irregular, struggling mob of
undisciplined barbarians, vociferous, clamorous, noisy, turbulent,
excited. Presently the Cubans and infantry in front of the battery
halted and it passed beyond them, immediately throwing out the crew of
the third gun in front as an advance guard. It reached El Poso at six
o'clock, at which time there were no other soldiers there. The battery
took position as directed, under cover in rear of the hill and to the
right front of the El Poso house. The camp equipage and blanket-rolls,
were removed and piled neatly upon the ground, and Priv. Hoft was
detailed to guard them, as well as one of the spare mules. About half
past seven o'clock Grimes' Battery arrived, and Col. McClernand, the
assistant adjutant-general of the corps. The battery of artillery
halted upon the hill near the Gatlings, while its commander, the
adjutant-general, the Army and Navy Journal correspondent, and the
Gatling gun man climbed to the top of the hill to reconnoiter the
enemy. They were accompanied by several attaches and a battalion of
newspaper correspondents.

[Illustration: Fort Roosevelt.]

To the southwest, at a distance of about 3,000 yards, the city of
Santiago lay slumbering in the morning sun. The chain of hills which
surrounded the city, lying between it and our position, was crowned
with rank tropical verdure, and gave no indications of military
fortifications. There was no sign of life, a gentle land breeze swayed
the tops of the royal palms, and the little birds flitted from bough
to bough caroling their morning songs as though no such events were
impending as the bombardment of a city and the death of 400 gallant
soldiers. The gentle ripple of the creek, lapping over its pebbly bed
at the foot of the hill, was distinctly audible.

The artillery officers produced their range-finders and made a
scientific guess at the distance from the hill to a red brick building
in the northern edge of Santiago. This guess was 2600 yards. They
signalled to the lead piece of Grimes' Light Battery to ascend the
hill. It was delayed for a moment while picks and shovels were plied
upon the top of the hill to make slight emplacements for the guns, and
at last, at ten minutes before eight o'clock, the first piece started
the difficult ascent. The drivers stood up in their stirrups and
lashed their horses and shouted; the horses plunged and reared and
jumped. The piece stuck half way up the hill. The leaders were turned
slightly to the right to give new direction and another attempt was
made--ten yards gained. The leaders were swung to the left, men and
officers standing near by added their shouts and blows from sticks. A
tall artillery officer, whose red stripes were conspicuous, jumped up
and down and swore; the team gave a few more jumps, then they wheeled
the gun by a left about, with its muzzle pointing toward the city. It
was quickly unlimbered and run to its place.

The second piece started up the hill. The drivers of this piece sat
quietly in their saddles, and, with a cluck, started up the hill at a
walk. The tall artillery officer shouted, and a driver muttered under
his breath, "Damned fool!" Regardless of the orders to rush their
horses, the drivers of this piece continued to walk up the hill. At
the steepest part of the hill, they rose slightly in their stirrups,
as one man, and applied the spur to the lead horses, and, at the same
time, a lash of the quirt to the off horses of the team. The horses
sprang forward, and in an instant the second piece was in battery. The
third and fourth pieces were taken up in the same manner as the

The pieces were loaded; a party of newspaper correspondents produced
their lead pencils and pads, and began to take notes; the little birds
continued to sing. The Gatling Gun man, the Army and Navy Journal man,
and the assistant adjutant-general stepped to the windward a few yards
to be clear of the smoke. The range was given by the battery
commander--2600 yards; the objective was named, a small, almost
indistinguishable redoubt, below the hospital about 300 yards. The
cannoneers braced themselves, No. 3 stretched the lanyard taut on his
piece, and Grimes remarked, in a conversational tone, "Let her go."

The report of the field-piece burst with startling suddenness upon the
quiet summer morning, and a dense cloud of grayish-colored smoke
spurted from the muzzle of the gun. Everybody involuntarily jumped,
the sound was so startling, although expected. The piece recoiled
eight or ten feet, and the gunners jumped to the wheels and ran it
forward again into battery. Field-glasses were glued upon the vicinity
of the brick hospital. There was a puff of white smoke and an
exclamation, "A trifle too long!" The second piece was aimed and
fired. There was no response. The third, and fourth, and fifth, with
like results. It was like firing a salute on the Fourth of July. There
was no indication of any danger whatever; laugh and jest were
beginning to go round.

Suddenly a dull boom was heard from somewhere, the exact direction
could not be located. The next thing was a shrill whistle overhead,
and then a most startling report. The first Spanish shell exploded
about twenty feet above the surface of the ground, and about twenty
yards in rear of the crest of the hill. It exploded in the midst of
our brave Cuban contingents, killed one and wounded several. The
valiant sons of Cuba libre took to their heels, and most of the
newspaper correspondents did likewise. The members of Grimes' Battery,
who were not needed at the guns, were sent back to the caissons, and
another round of shrapnel was sent in reply. Again a hurtling sound
rent the air; again there was the fierce crack of a Spanish shell in
our immediate vicinity, and, on looking around to see where this shell
struck, it was observed that it had burst over the Gatling battery.
Luckily, it had gone six or eight feet beyond the battery before
exploding. A fragment of the shell had struck Priv. Bremer upon the
hand, producing quite a severe contusion. The Missouri mules stamped
the ground impatiently; one of them uttered the characteristic
exclamation of his race, "Aw! hee! aw! hee! aw!" and the members of
the detachment burst into a merry peal of hearty laughter. It was
evident that this detachment was not going to run, and it was equally
evident that the Missouri mules would stand fire.

[Illustration: A Fighting Cuban, and Where He Fought.]

[Illustration: Map--Siege Lines at Santiago.]

A third shell whistled over the hill. This one burst fairly over
Grimes' third piece, killed the cannoneer, and wounded several men.

The members of the detachment were now directed to lie down under
their guns and limbers, except the drivers, who declined to do so, and
still stood at the heads of their mules. Priv. Hoft, disdaining to
take cover, shouldered his rifle and walked up and down, sentry
fashion, over the pile of camp equipage.

Serg. Weigle, who had brought along a small portable camera, with a
large supply of film-rolls, requested permission to photograph the
next shot fired by Grimes' Battery. It was granted. He climbed to the
top of the hill, stepped off to the left of the battery, and calmly
focused his camera. Grimes fired another salute, and Weigle secured a
good picture. A Spanish shell came whistling over the hill; Weigle,
judging where it would burst from previous observations, focused his
camera, and secured a picture of the burst. He then rejoined his
detachment, and photographed it as it stood. He seemed chiefly worried
for fear he would not get a picture of everything that happened.

The artillery duel continued for some twenty minutes. The infantry
began to pass on, to the front. Grimes no longer needed the support of
the Gatling guns, because he now had an infantry support in front of
him, and was firing over their heads. Col. McClernand sent orders to
the detachment to move to the rear, out of range. The order was

Private Hoft, with the instinct of a true soldier, continued to tramp
back and forth guarding the pile of camp equipage. The battery moved
to the rear at a gentle trot, and, as it turned down the hill into the
first ford by the El Poso house, a Spanish shell whistled over the
head of Private Shiffer, who was leading the way, and burst just
beyond his off mule. Shiffer didn't duck and nobody was hurt.
Providence was taking care of this experiment. Corporal Doyle and two
other members of the detachment got lost, and wandered off among the
crowd of Cubans, but soon found the battery and rejoined. Orders were
given that as soon as the battery was out of range, it should halt and
face to the front, at the side of the road.

The battery halted about half a mile to the rear, and the 13th
Infantry passed it here, on their way to the front. The comments
bestowed were not calculated to soothe the ruffled feelings of people
who had been ordered to retreat. "I told you so." "Why don't you go to
the front?" "Going to begin firing here?" "Is this the place where you
shoot?" "Is this all there is of it?" "I knew they would not get into
the fight." "Watch them hang around the rear." "Going to start in
raising bananas back here, John Henry?" "What do you think of machine
guns now?" and similar remarks, of a witty but exasperating nature,
greeted the detachment, from both officers and men, as the regiment
passed on its way to the front. The only thing that could be done was
to endure it, in the hope of getting a chance to make a retort later
in the day.

About nine o'clock, the artillery firing ceased, and the Gatling Gun
Battery returned to El Poso. Grimes' guns were still up on the hill,
but there were no cannoneers; they had ceased to fire, and had left
their guns. Two or three dead men were lying on the side of the hill;
wounded men were limping around with bandages. Cubans were again
passing to the front. These fellows were trying to reach El Caney.
They never got into the fight. They did reach the vicinity of El
Caney, and the Spanish fired one volley at them. The Cubans set up a
great howl, accompanied by vociferous gesticulations--and then

During all this time the sound of firing had been heard toward El
Caney. It had been opened up there about half an hour before Grimes
first spoke at El Poso. The fire in this direction sounded like
ranging fire, a shot every two or three minutes, and it was supposed
that Capron was trying to locate the enemy. The sharp crack of
musketry was heard on our front, it swelled and became continuous. It
was evident that quite a fight was going on at El Caney, which was to
our right about one mile and to our front perhaps half a mile. Kent's
Division kept pushing forward on the El Poso road. Col. McClernand was
asked for instructions for the Gatling Gun Detachment. He replied,
"Find the 71st New York, and go in with them, if you can. If this is
not practicable, find the best place you can, and make the best use of
your guns that you can." These were the only instructions received by
the Gatling Gun Detachment until one o'clock.

[Illustration: Gatling Camp and Bomb-Proofs at Fort Roosevelt.]

The Gatling Gun Detachment moved forward about half a mile. They found
the 71st New York lying down by the side of the road, partially
blocking it. Troops passing them toward the front were compelled to
break into columns of twos, because the road was crowded by the 71st.
The colonel and his adjutant were sought and found, and informed of
the detachment's instructions. Information was requested as to when
and where the 71st was going into the fight. It appeared that they had
a vague idea that they were going in on the left center of the left
wing. Lawton's Division at El Caney will be considered the right wing;
Kent's Division and Wheeler's Division the left wing of the army at
San Juan. The 71st did not seem to know when it was going to move
toward the front, nor just where it was going; and there was no
apparent effort being made to get further down the road to the front.
Wheeler's Division was also pressing forward on the road, dismounted
cavalrymen, with no arms in their hands except their carbines without
bayonets. With these same carbines these men were, a little later, to
storm the intrenchments, manned by picked and veteran soldiers, who
knew how to die at their posts.

With Wheeler's Division were the Rough Riders, the most unique
aggregation of fighting men ever gathered together in any army. There
were cowboys, bankers, brokers, merchants, city clubmen, and society
dudes; commanded by a doctor, second in command a literary politician;
but every man determined to get into the fight. About three-quarters
of a mile in advance was the first ford, the ford of the Aguadores
River; beyond this a quarter of a mile was another ford, the ford of
the San Juan. The road forked about two hundred yards east of the
Aguadores ford, turning sharply to the left. Down the road from El
Poso crept the military balloon, it halted near this fork--"Balloon
Fork." Two officers were in its basket, six or eight hundred feet
above the surface of the ground, observing the movements of the troops
and the disposition of the enemy.

The sharp crackle of the musketry began in front, and still the
Gatling Gun Detachment lay beside the road with the 71st, waiting,
swearing, broiling, stewing in their own perspiration, mad with
thirst, and crazed with the fever of the battle. The colonel of the
71st was again approached, to ascertain whether he was now going to
the front, but still there were no signs of any indication to move
forward. So the long-eared steed was mounted and the ford of the
Aguadores reconnoitered. The bullets were zipping through the rank
tropical jungle. Two or three men were hit. Those who moved forward
were going single file, crouching low, at a dog trot. There was no
evidence of hesitation or fear here. Some of the "Brunettes" passed,
their blue shirts unbuttoned, corded veins protruding as they slightly
raised their heads to look forward, great drops of perspiration
rolling down their sleek, shiny, black skins. There was a level spot,
slightly open, beyond the ford of the Aguadores, which offered a place
for going into battery; from this place the enemy's works on San Juan
were visible, a faint streak along the crest of the hill illumined
from time to time by the flash of Mausers.

On return to the battery, there were no signs of being able to enter
the action with the gallant 71st, and, acting under the second clause
of the instructions, the Gatling battery was moved forward at a
gallop. Major Sharpe, a mounted member of Gen. Shafter's staff, helped
to open a way through this regiment to enable the guns to pass. The
reception of the battery by these valiant men was very different from
that so recently given by the 13th Regulars. "Give 'em hell, boys!"
"Let 'er go, Gallagher!" "Goin' to let the woodpeckers go off?"--and
cheer after cheer went up as the battery passed through. Vain efforts
were made to check this vociferous clamor, which was plainly audible
to the enemy, less than 1500 yards away. The bullets of the enemy
began to drop lower. The cheering had furnished them the clew they
needed. They had located our position, and the 71st atoned for this
thoughtlessness by the loss of nearly eighty men, as it lay cowering
in the underbrush near Balloon Fork.

Just before reaching the Aguadores ford, the battery was met by Col.
Derby, who had been observing the disposition of the troops, from the
balloon, and had afterward ridden to the front on horseback. The
colonel was riding along, to push the infantry forward in position
from the rear, as coolly as if on the parade-ground. A blade of grass
had gotten twisted around a button of his uniform and hung down like a
buttonhole bouquet over his breast. There was a genial smile on his
handsome face as he inquired, "Where are you going?" and, on being
informed of the orders of the detachment and of the intention to put
the battery into action, he replied, "The infantry are not deployed
enough to take advantage of your fire. I would advise that you wait a
short time. I will send you word when the time comes." The advice was
acted upon, the guns were turned out by the side of the road, and the
men directed to lie down.

[Illustration: Tree Between Lines Showing Bullet Holes. This Tree Grew
on Low Ground.]

During the gallop to the front they had been compelled to run to keep
up, there not being sufficient accommodation for them to all go
mounted on the guns. They were panting heavily, and they obeyed the
order and crept under the guns, taking advantage of such little shade
as was offered. Troops continued to pass to the front. The crackle of
musketry gradually extended to the right and to the left, showing that
the deployment was being completed. More men were hit, but no
complaints or groans were heard. A ball struck a limber-chest; a man
lying on his face in the road, during a momentary pause of one of the
companies, was perforated from head to foot: he never moved--just
continued to lie there; the flies began to buzz around the spot and
settle on the clotted blood, that poured out from the fractured skull,
in the dust of the road. Down at the ford, some twenty-five or thirty
yards in advance, men were being hit continually.

Shots came down from the trees around. The sharpshooters of the
Spanish forces, who had been up in the trees during the artillery
duel, and beyond whom our advance had swept, fully believing that they
would be murdered if captured, expecting no quarter, were recklessly
shooting at everything in sight. They made a special target of every
man who wore any indication of rank. Some of our heaviest losses
during the day, especially among commissioned officers, were caused by
these sharpshooters. They shot indiscriminately at wounded, at
hospital nurses, at medical officers wearing the red cross, and at
fighting men going to the front.

The firing became too warm, and the Gatling battery was moved back
about fifty yards, again halted, and faced to the front. It was now
nearly one o'clock. The members of the detachment had picked up their
haversacks on leaving El Poso, and now began to nibble pieces of
hardtack. A bullet broke a piece of hardtack which a man was lifting
to his mouth; without even stopping in the act of lifting it to his
mouth, he ate the piece, with a jest.

Suddenly the clatter of hoofs was heard from the front. Lieut. Miley
dashed up and said, "Gen. Shafter directs that you give one piece to
me, and take the other three beyond the ford, where the dynamite gun
is, find some position, and go into action." Sergeant Weigle's gun was
placed at Miley's disposal, and the other pieces dashed forward at a
dead run, led by the musical mule who uttered his characteristic
exclamation as he dashed through the ford of the Aguadores.

The place formerly selected for going into action had been again twice
reconnoitered during the wait, and a better place had been found about
thirty yards beyond the ford of the San Juan River. The dynamite gun
had stuck in the ford of the Aguadores; a shell had got jammed in it.
The Gatlings were compelled to go around it. They dashed through the
intervening space, across the San Juan ford, and up on the opening
beyond. The position for the battery, partially hidden from the view
of the enemy by a small clump of underbrush, was indicated. The right
piece, Serg. Green's, was compelled to go into action in the middle of
the road, and in plain sight of the enemy. While the pieces were being
unlimbered, which was only the work of an instant, an inquiry was made
of Captain Boughton, of the 3d Cavalry, whose troop had just reached
this point, as to the position of our troops and of the enemy, with
the further remark that the battery had been under fire since eight
o'clock, and had not seen a Spaniard. "I can show you plenty of
Spaniards," replied Boughton, and, raising his hand, pointed toward
the San Juan blockhouse and the ridge in its vicinity, sweeping his
hand toward the right. It was enough. Before his hand had fallen to
his side, the pieces were musically singing.

Corp. Steigerwald turned and asked, "What is the range, sir?" To which
was instantly replied, "Block-house, 600 yards; the ridge to the
right, 800 yards," and Steigerwald's piece was grinding 500 shots a
minute within a quarter of a second, playing upon the San Juan
block-house. Serg. Green took 800 yards, and began to send his
compliments to the ridge beyond the block-house. In an instant Priv.
Sine, at Green's gun, who was feeding, fell backward dead. At the same
instant Priv. Kastner fell out. Sine was shot through the heart,
Kastner through the head and neck. At this time Ryder's gun began to
talk. It spoke very voluble and eloquent orations, which, although not
delivered in the Spanish language, were well understood by our
friends, the enemy, upon the hill.

[Illustration: Spanish Block-House.]

Serg. Green, at the right gun, had run back for ammunition, and Corp.
Doyle, when Sine fell, seized the pointing lever, and was coolly
turning the crank while he sighted the gun at the same time. He was
for the moment the only member of the detachment left at the piece,
but was given assistance, and a moment later Green arrived and began
to feed the gun.

Steigerwald was short-handed. Some of his men had been sun-struck
during the run, and he, too, was compelled to work his gun with only
one assistant. Then some of those who had been unable to keep up
arrived at the battery and began to render assistance. Priv. Van
Vaningham, who had gotten lost from his own command, began to pass
ammunition. Priv. Merryman, who was holding his team back in the
river, was impressed by a doctor to help carry wounded men, and Priv.
Burkley, another man lost from his command, stepped into Merryman's
place. Priv. Chase left his team, seeing the piece short-handed, and
began to pass ammunition. The mules merely wagged their ears backward
and forward and stamped on account of the flies.

All these changes were accomplished, and the pieces had not even
ceased fire. Doyle had fed about 100 rounds, alone. Capt. Landis, of
the 1st Cavalry, arrived just at this time, and volunteered to assist
in observing the effect of the fire. He stood fearlessly out in the
middle of the road, just to the right of Green's piece, in the very
best position for observation, but, at the same time, a most
conspicuous target for the enemy, and observed the effect of the
Gatling fire, as though he were at target practice, reporting the
same, continually, to the battery commander.

For the first two minutes the enemy seemed dazed, then suddenly a
perfect hell of leaden hail swept through the foliage. The only thing
that saved the battery from absolute destruction was that the enemy's
shots were a little high. As it was, many of them struck the ground
between the guns, and several hit the pieces. Three members of the
detachment were slightly hurt. One mule was shot through the ear. He
sang the usual song of the mule, shook his head, and was suddenly hit
again on the fore leg. He plunged a little, but Priv. Shiffer patted
him on the head and he became quiet. A bullet passed by Shiffer's
head, so close that he felt the wind fan his whiskers, and buried
itself in the saddle on the same mule. This sudden concentration of
the enemy's fire lasted about two minutes.

About the same time the detachment heard a wild cheer start on the
left and gradually sweep around to the left and right, until in every
direction, sounding high above the din of battle and the crackling of
the Mausers, even above the rattle of the Gatling guns, was heard the
yell of recognition from our own troops. There was, for an instant, a
furious fusillade on our right and left, and in a few moments the
whole line of our troops had risen and were moving forward to the San
Juan ridge. While moving forward, they necessarily almost ceased to
fire, but the fire of the Gatlings continued, deadly and accurate. A
troop of the 10th Cavalry, from our right and rear, came up, part of
the squadron commanded by Col. Baldwin. Some of this troop did not
understand the Gatling gun drama, and were in the act of firing a
volley into our backs, when Lieut. Smith, who was to so heroically
lose his life within ten minutes afterward, sprang out in front of the
excited troopers, and, with tears in his eyes, implored them not to
fire, that these were "our own Gatlings." They did not fire in our
direction, but they did give a most thrilling and welcome cheer, as
the squadron swept forward by our right. Col. Baldwin ran up, and
shouted that he would place two troops in support of the battery as
long as they were needed. It was the first time the battery had ever
had a support of any kind.

After a couple of minutes, the enemy's fire perceptibly slackened. It
was evident they were seeking cover from our fire in the bottom of
their ditches, and our fire at this time was being made chiefly from
the Gatling battery. This cessation of fire on the part of the enemy
lasted about two minutes, and then the Gatling gunners observed the
Spaniards climbing from their trenches. Until that time the Gatling
battery had been worked with dogged persistency and grim silence, but
from that moment every member of the battery yelled at the top of his
voice until the command "Cease firing" was given. Groups of the enemy,
as they climbed from their trenches, were caught by the fire of the
guns, and were seen to melt away like a lump of salt in a glass of
water. Bodies the size of a company would practically disappear an
instant after a gun had been turned upon them.

This flight of the enemy from their trenches had been caused by the
fact that the charging line had cut through the barb-wire fences at
the foot of the hill, and had started up the slope. The Spaniards were
unable to stay with their heads above the trenches to fire at the
charging-line, because of the missiles of death poured in by the
machine guns; and to remain there awaiting the charge was certain
death. They did not have the nerve to wait for the cold steel. They
were demoralized because they had been compelled to seek the bottom of
their trenches. American troops would have awaited the charge, knowing
that the machine gun fire must cease before contact could occur, but
the Spaniards forgot this in their excitement, and made the fatal
mistake of running.

The Gatlings had the range to perfection. Capt. Boughton, who was one
of the first officers upon the hill, stated, on the 1st of September
at Montauk, that he visited a portion of the Spanish trenches
immediately upon arriving at the crest, and that the trenches which he
inspected were literally filled with writhing, squirming, tangled
masses of dead and wounded Spaniards, and that the edge of the
trenches was covered with wounded and dead Spaniards, who had been
shot in the act of climbing out. This execution was done mainly by the
machine guns, because the infantry and cavalry were not firing much
when it was done; they were running up the hill to the charge.

Colonel Egbert, who commanded the 6th Infantry, states, in his
official report, that when his regiment reached the sharp incline near
the top of the hill they were brought to a standstill because the
Gatling bullets were striking along the crest. The officers of the
13th Infantry state the same thing. It was Lieut. Ferguson, of the
13th, who when the troops had climbed as high as possible under the
leaden canopy which the Gatlings made to cover their charge, waved his
white handkerchief as a signal to cease firing. At the same moment
Landis exclaimed, "Better stop; our men are climbing the hill now." A
shrill whistle gave the signal "Cease firing," and the Gatling Gun
Battery, to a man, rose to their feet and gazed with absorbing
interest as the long, thin, blue line swept forward and crowned the
crest of the hill. An instant later an American flag floated proudly
from the San Juan block-house; then the roar of musketry and the
volley of rifles indicated that the fleeing enemy was receiving warm
messengers as he ran down the hill toward his second line of

The next immediate duty confronting the detachment was to take stock
of losses and to occupy the captured position in case of necessity.

Private Sine had been killed and Private Kastner was supposed to be
mortally wounded. Private Elkins fell exhausted just as the Stars and
Stripes were run up on the block-house. He had been knocked down by
the pole of a limber, which struck him over the kidneys, but had
continued to feed his gun until the very last. He was utterly
exhausted. Sergeant Green had been wounded slightly in the foot, but
not enough to disable him. Private Bremer had been hit early in the
morning by the fragment of a shell on the hand. One or two other
members had been merely touched, grazed by balls. Private Greenberg
had been overcome by the heat. Merryman, one of the teamsters, as
stated before, had been seized to carry wounded. Private Lauer was
missing and Dellett sunstruck. Private Hoft had joined the battery on
hearing it go into action, and it was necessary to send someone back
as guard over the camp equipage. A volunteer was called for, and it
was with the utmost difficulty that a member of the detachment,
Private Pyne, was induced to take this duty. He shot four Spanish
sharpshooters, who were shooting at our wounded and our medical
officers, out of trees near El Poso, during the remainder of the day.
Private Chase had sprained his back so badly as to be unable to ride a
mule; and two places were vacant for drivers. It was necessary to
instantly supply this deficiency. Private Burkley, 16th Infantry, who
had assisted in passing ammunition during the firing, volunteered to
drive one of the teams, and Private Correll the other. Private
Raymond, 6th Cavalry, and Private Van Vaningham, of the same regiment,
also joined the detachment at this point, being separated from their
own commands.

The pieces were limbered up as soon as these dispositions could be
made, except Sergeant Ryder's gun, which had bent the pintle-pin and
consequently could not be limbered quickly. The other two pieces and
the limber belonging to Ryder's gun were moved forward on a run to the
captured position on the San Juan ridge, gun crews riding or following
as best they could. Both pieces went into action on the right of the
road. A limber was then sent back for Ryder's gun, and it was brought
up, Priv. Shiffer performing this duty under a perfect hail of
dropping fire. In advancing from the position at the ford to the
captured position it was necessary to cut three barb-wire fences. The
members of the detachment behaved with the utmost coolness, all
working together to remove these obstructions, and not a man sought
shelter, although a dropping fire was striking around the detachment,
from some source. Where this fire came from it was impossible to tell;
but it did not come from the enemy.

[Illustration: Spanish Fort of Three-Inch Guns.]

The two pieces which first reached the top of the hill were halted
under shelter of the crest, while the ground above was reconnoitered.
It was instantly observed that the enemy was coming back for a
counter-charge. Accordingly the pieces were immediately run to the top
of the hill, the drivers, Shiffer and Correll, riding boldly up and
executing a left-about on the skirmish line, where the skirmishers
were lying down. The pieces were unlimbered and instantly put into
action at point-blank range, the skirmishers giving way to the right
and left to make way for the guns. The enemy was less than 300 yards
away, and apparently bent on recovering the position.

The fire immediately became very hot. A skirmisher, who had thought to
gain a little cover by lying down beside the wheel of the right gun
(Green's), was shot through the arm. "I knowed it," he growled; "I
might have knowed that if I got near that durned gun, I'd get potted."
He rolled down behind the crest; a soldier produced an emergency
packet, staunched the blood, and the wounded soldier, finding no bones
broken, returned to the firing-line and resumed his work. The enemy,
at this part of the line, began to waver and again broke toward his
second line of intrenchments.

Just at this moment, Lieut. Traub came up and shouted, "Gen. Wood
orders you to send one or two of your guns over to help Roosevelt."
The order to move the guns was disregarded, but Traub pointed out the
enemy, which was menacing Col. Roosevelt's position, and insisted.
About 600 yards to the right, oblique from the position of the guns
and perhaps 200 yards, or less, in front of the salient occupied by
Col. Roosevelt and the 3d Cavalry (afterward called Fort Roosevelt),
there was a group of about 400 of the enemy, apparently endeavoring to
charge the position. There was no time to notify the second piece.
Serg. Green's gun was instantly turned upon this group, at point-blank
elevation. The group melted away. Capt. Marcotte states that, after
the surrender, some Spanish officers, whom he met, and who were
members of this group, described this to him, stating that the enemy
seen at this point was a body of about 600 escaping from El Caney;
that they were struck at this point by machine gun fire so effectively
that only forty of them ever got back to Santiago; the rest were

Serg. Green's gun, already heated to a red heat by the continuous
firing of the day, had been worked to its extreme limit of rapidity
while firing at this body of the enemy, and on ceasing to fire,
several cartridges exploded in the gun before they could be withdrawn.
A ball lodged in one barrel from one of these explosions, and this
piece was drawn down out of action just as the piece which had been
left at the ford returned. Subsequently the disabled piece was sent
back to the ford, with the idea that that would be a safer place to
overhaul it than immediately in rear of the firing-line. The piece
remained at the ford until the night of the 3d of July, when it was
brought up to the battery, then at Fort Roosevelt, and on the 4th was
finally overhauled and put into action. This led to the impression, on
the part of some of the command, that one of the Gatlings had been
blown up, which was not true. The gun was not injured, except that one
barrel could not be used during the remainder of the fighting, but the
gun was used on the morning of the 4th, and during the whole of the
engagement on the 10th and 11th, as well as on outpost duty, using
nine barrels instead of ten.

Following this repulse of the enemy, which occurred about 4:30 p. m.,
there was a lull in the firing. Advantage was taken of this to visit
Col. Roosevelt's position and inspect the line of battle. Upon
reaching the salient, Col. Roosevelt was seen walking up and down
behind his line, encouraging his men, while a group of them was held,
just in the rear of the crest, in charge of Maj. Jenkins, to support
the firing-line if necessary. On the right of the Rough Riders, the 3d
Cavalry were in the fight, and Capt. Boughton was again encountered.

The firing suddenly began again, and it was remarkable to observe the
coolness with which these two officers sauntered up and down the line,
utterly regardless of the bullets, which were cutting the grass in
every direction. There were no soft places on this part of the hill.
The enemy's sharpshooters, up in high trees, were able to see every
point of the crest, and were dropping their shots accurately behind it
at all points.

[Illustration: Tentage in Cuba.]

Just at this moment, Serg. Weigle came up with his gun. Serg. Weigle
had had a hard time. His gun had been taken, under direction of Lieut.
Miley, to a point near the San Juan farm-house, and pulled to the top
of the hill. Weigle, whose only idea of a battle, at this time, was a
chance to shoot, had been, to his intense disgust, restrained from
opening fire. Then the piece had been taken down from the hill and
around to the left of the line, where Lieut. Miley's duty as aide had
carried him, to observe the progress of the battle, and Weigle had
been again denied the privilege of "potting" a Spaniard. He was the
most disgusted man in the American Army; he was furious; he was
white-hot; he was so mad that the tears rolled down his cheeks, as he
reported with a soldierly salute, "Sir, Serg. Weigle reports, with his
gun. Lieut. Miley did not allow me to open fire. I would like to have

In spite of the critical condition of the engagement, it was extremely
ludicrous; but the reopening of the fire at this moment presented an
opportunity to accommodate the sergeant to his heart's content. He was
directed to run his piece up on the firing-line, report to the officer
in charge thereof, and go into action as soon as he pleased. Within
thirty seconds he was getting his coveted opportunity. He fired until
his gun became accidentally jammed, pulled it down behind the crest of
the hill and removed the defective cartridge, returned it and repeated
this operation, actually bringing the gun down three times, and
returning it into action, doing very effective work, and all the time
displaying the utmost coolness and good judgment. A sharpshooter began
to make a target of Weigle's gun, and "potted" a couple of men
belonging to the cavalry near it. This made Weigle so mad that he
turned the gun, for a moment, upon the tree in which the sharp-shooter
was concealed. That sharpshooter never shot again. Finally, Weigle's
gun got so hot, and he himself so cool, that he concluded the piece
was too warm for further firing. So he ran it down behind the hill,
and ran his detachment back on the hill with rifles, and, during the
remainder of the evening, the members of this crew practiced with
"long Toms" upon the Spanish soldiers.

On returning to the other two pieces near the road, they were moved to
another position, on the other side of the road. This precaution was
judicious in order to conceal the pieces, or change their position,
because the enemy had pretty thoroughly located them in the previous
brush, and it was rather dangerous to remain at that place. It was now
nearly sundown. Scarcely had the pieces opened at this new position,
when a battery of the enemy's artillery, located near the hospital,
began to fire at them. There was a heavy gun, which made a deep
rumbling sound, and this sound was supplemented by the sharp crack of
a field-piece. A shell came whistling overhead and exploded within
thirty yards of the battery, just beyond it. Another one came, and
this time the enemy's artillery was located. Quick as a flash, the two
Gatlings were turned upon the enemy's guns at the 2000-yard range.
Another shell came whistling along and exploded about ten feet
overhead and twenty feet in rear of the battery. It tore up the grass
in rear of the battery. After this engagement was over, Priv. Shiffer
picked up the still hot fuse of this last shell. It was a large brass
combination fuse, and set at eight seconds, which justified the
estimated range. This third shell was the last one the enemy was able
to fire from these pieces. The powerful field-glasses which were used
in locating the battery revealed the fact that as soon as the Gatling
guns were turned on it, the Spanish gunners ran away from their
pieces. The big gun turned out to be a 16-centimeter converted bronze
piece, mounted on a pintle in barbette, rifled and using smokeless
powder. It was also found that they were firing four 3-inch
field-pieces of a similar character in this battery, as well as two
mountain guns.

It is claimed that this is the first time in the history of land
fighting that a battery of heavy guns was ever put out of action by
machine-gun fire. This battery of the Spanish was never afterward able
to get into action. Their pieces, which had been loaded for the fourth
shot, were found on the 18th of July, still loaded, and a Spanish
officer gave the information that they had lost more than forty men
trying to work that battery, since the 1st of July. This is accounted
for by the fact that this Spanish battery was made the subject of
critical observation by the Gatling Gun Detachment from this time on.

[Illustration: After the Rain.]

During this last engagement it had been necessary to obtain more men
to assist in carrying ammunition, and Capt. Ayers, of the 10th
Cavalry, had furnished a detail, consisting of Serg. Graham and
Privates Smith and Taylor, Troop E, 10th Cavalry. These colored
soldiers proved to be excellent. They remained with the battery until
the end of the fighting on the 17th, and were in every respect the
peers of any soldier in the detachment. Serg. Graham was recommended
for a medal of honor. Privates Smith and Taylor did as good service,
were as willing, as obedient, as prompt, and as energetic in the
discharge of their duties as any commanding officer could wish to
have. It is a great pleasure to be able to give this testimony to the
merits of our colored troopers, and to say, in addition, that no
soldiers ever fought better than the "Brunettes" of the 9th and 10th
Cavalry, who fought from the 3d of July until the 12th, near or with
the Gatlings.

After the firing at the ford had ceased, Capt. Marcotte had returned
to El Poso to investigate the movements of our artillery. These were
then, and have remained, one of those inscrutable and mysterious
phenomena of a battle; incomprehensible to the ordinary layman, and
capable of being understood only by "scientific" soldiers. The charge
upon the San Juan ridge was practically unsupported by artillery. No
American shells had struck the San Juan block-house; none had struck
or burst in its vicinity; not even a moral effect by our artillery had
assisted in the assault. So Marcotte had gone to investigate the
artillery arm. He returned at sundown, and brought the information
that our baggage was safe at El Poso; that Private Pyne, still alive
and unhurt, had been doing good work against the enemy's
sharpshooters; and, better than all this, had brought back with him a
canteen of water from the San Juan River and a pocket full of
hardtack. He poured out his hardtack, and it was equally distributed
among the members of the detachment, each man's share amounting to two
pieces. Each man was also given a sup of water from the canteen, and
this constituted their only supper on that night, as they had been
compelled to throw away everything to keep up with the guns. Having
disposed of that, exhausted Nature could do no more; they lay down in
the mud where they stood, and slept so soundly that even the firing
which occurred that night did not arouse them from their slumbers.
They were not disturbed until Best's Battery began to occupy this hill
about four o'clock in the morning. They were then aroused and the
Gatling guns were drawn down, and the whole battery moved to the
salient occupied by the Rough Riders, because their position was at
that time closest to the enemy, and, as was determined by the previous
day's reconnaissance, offered a chance to enfilade several of the
enemy's trenches with machine gun fire.

To dispose of the subject of artillery, it may be said that Best's
Battery and some other artillery occupied the ground vacated by the
Gatlings on the morning of July 2d, fired four shots, and then
withdrew with more haste than dignity. They remarked, "This is the
hottest fire to which artillery has been subjected in modern times,"
and lit out to find a cooler place. They found it--so far in rear that
their fire was almost equally dangerous to friends and foes on account
of the close proximity of the two firing-lines. The obvious conclusion
is that machine guns can live at close ranges, where artillery can not
stay. There is no better light artillery in the world than that which
had to withdraw from San Juan block-house and its vicinity, on the
morning of July 2d.



The situation of affairs on the night of the 1st of July was rather
critical. The plan which the general had laid down had been delayed in
execution at El Caney, while the impetuousity of the troops had
precipitated an unexpected rapidity of movement at San Juan. Capron's
Battery had opened at El Caney about half past seven o'clock, with
badly aimed and ill-directed fire, which did very little damage to the
enemy. The troops engaged in this part of the battle were pushed
forward until, by about eleven o'clock, they had become pretty
thoroughly deployed around the vicinity of Las Guamas Creek. They had
also extended slightly to the right and to the left toward the Du
Cuorot house. The Spanish forts obstinately held out, and the handful
of Spanish soldiers in El Caney and vicinity stubbornly resisted the
attack made by our troops.

About nine o'clock, Hamilton's right piece, No. 3 of Capron's Battery,
succeeded in planting a shell directly in the old stone fort, which
knocked a hole in the masonry; but, just at this juncture, the battery
was ordered to cease firing at the blockhouse, and to shell the
enemy's trenches. The enemy forthwith utilized the hole made in the
wall by the shell as a loop-hole, and continued to fire through it
until the fort was taken by the infantry assault at about half-past
four o'clock. No worse commentary than this could possibly be made
upon the tactical handling of this battery of artillery, because,
having obtained perfectly the range of the enemy's stronghold, it was
simply asinine not to knock that block-house to pieces immediately.

So Lawton's Division had remained in front of El Caney, held by about
1000 Spaniards, while the shadows crept from the west to the north,
from the north to the northeast, and from the northeast toward the
east. It was coming toward night before the artillery was finally
turned loose. One corner and the roof of this block-house were knocked
off, but even then the artillery was so poorly handled that the enemy
had to be dislodged from this block-house by hand-to-hand fighting, A
single Hotchkiss gun, properly handled, should have converted it into
ruins in thirty minutes.

While these events were transpiring, Kent and Wheeler, constituting
the left wing of the army, had moved forward on the El Poso road,
parallel to the Aguadores River, as far as the San Juan had captured
the San Juan farm-house, and had gradually deployed to the right and
to the left along the San Juan River. About one o'clock their line had
swept forward and had captured the first ridge between the San Juan
and the city of Santiago, the "San Juan ridge," driving the enemy on
this portion of the field into their last trenches. But the right
flank of this wing was entirely unsupported, and the road by the way
of Fort Canosa to San Juan, passing by the portion of the line
subsequently occupied by the dynamite gun, marked the extreme position
of the right of this wing of the army. The enemy was already well
toward its right, and had the excellent El Caney road to move upon. He
was thoroughly familiar with the country, while the troops composing
this wing were exhausted by the charge. This wing had no reserve that
the firing-line knew of, and, as a matter of fact, had none except two
battalions of the 71st New York, which had not got into battle, and
which were scattered along the road from the San Juan River to

The position occupied by the left wing of the army was a strong
natural position, but had no protection for the right flank. In this,
Lawton's Division did not execute the part of the battle assigned to
it. Thus the officers on the San Juan ridge, who knew anything about
the plan of the battle, were constantly directing their gaze, at every
lull in the fighting, toward El Caney, and to the right of Gen. Wood's
position, but there were no indications of the approach of Gen.

Returning now to the right wing: the San Juan block-house and the
ridge in its vicinity having been captured, a glance at the map will
show that the retreat of the Spanish forces at El Caney was in
imminent danger of being cut off. This capture occurred at 1:23-1/2 p.
m. The Spanish commander at El Caney had been killed about noon, his
men had suffered heavily, and the new commanding officer discovered
that his retreat by the El Caney road was threatened. The only other
line of retreat was by way of the San Miguel and Cuabitas roads. The
Spanish forces at El Caney were also running low in their ammunition,
and it was therefore decided to withdraw. Portions of the Spanish
troops did withdraw, some by way of the El Caney road toward Santiago;
the remainder, some 350 or 400, were crushed in the final charge upon
El Caney, between 4 and 4:30 o'clock.

Gen. Lawton's Division then proceeded down the El Caney road to Santa
Cruz, passing by way of the masonry bridge. This was about dusk. The
division marched in columns of fours, with the artillery in front in
column of sections, and without even an advance guard thrown out. The
artillery had passed the masonry bridge and had nearly reached the
Santa Cruz farm-house, when the order was given to halt. The division
halted in the road and began to cook supper. Fires were kindled, and
coffee put on to boil. Suddenly, a few shots came scattering over the
ridge and dropped in among the troops. A messenger was sent back to
Gen. Shafter to inform him that further advance in this direction was
not practicable, as the enemy had been encountered in force. The
position this division was destined, in the beginning, to occupy was
within less than 300 yards of where it halted. There was no large body
of Spanish troops in that portion of the field. The whole valley
between that ridge and Santiago had been swept by machine gun fire
during the afternoon. It is possible that there might hare been a few
Spanish pickets on the ridge, but this is not believed to be probable.
There was some firing about this time from the Spanish trenches near
Fort Canosa, at the 13th Infantry upon the hill where the dynamite gun
was subsequently placed. A glance at the map will show that these
shots, having passed over the hill, would drop in the vicinity of the
masonry bridge and the Santa Cruz farm-house. This was the firing that
alarmed Lawton's Division and caused the report mentioned to be sent
back to General Shafter.

[Illustration: Native Industry.]

This statement of the conditions has been necessary in order to
understand why the counter-march was made by Lawton's Division. The
position at El Caney had ceased to be of any importance as soon as the
San Juan block-house and ridge were taken; any Spanish troops
remaining at El Caney were necessarily victims. But it was vitally
important to hold the position gained by the left wing. The appearance
of a heavy force of the enemy in front of the masonry bridge could
signify only one thing, and that was that the left wing, with its
right flank in the air, was liable to be doubled up at any moment by a
heavy force of the enemy striking it upon that flank. Further, that
Gen. Lawton, with this column advancing on the El Caney road as before
explained, was liable to be struck at the head of his column and
similarly doubled up. The enemy would thus interpose between the two
wings of the army, cutting Lawton off, and probably defeating the army
in detail, unless something be done immediately.

Of course, it is known now that this operation of the enemy was never
probable for an instant; but that was the status of affairs at
midnight on July 1st, as then reported to the commanding general.

Lawton was, therefore, ordered to withdraw, by way of the El Caney
road, back to Gen. Shafter's headquarters in rear of El Poso, from
which position his division was rushed forward on the El Poso road to
San Juan on the 2d of July. His men were marched almost all night,
almost all day the next day, and were well-nigh utterly exhausted when
they reached a position in rear of the right flank of the left wing.
It was supposed, up to this time, at headquarters, that the
information on which this marching was ordered was correct.

During the time that Lawton had been countermarching from Santa Cruz,
back by way of El Poso, there had been, as before stated, no reserve
for the left wing. The independent division of Gen. Bates had been
ordered to the front as rapidly as possible. Part of it had reached
the vicinity of El Poso, and from there one or two of the regiments
had participated in the fight, late on July 1st; but nobody on the
firing line knew anything about Bates' independent division at this
time, and it was too much exhausted to be useful as a reserve. The
morning of the 2d it was used to extend the lines. It is therefore
evident, now that the history of the battle is understood, that the
Gatling guns were the only effective reserve which the left wing of
the army had during the night of July 1st and all day on the 2d.

Acting on this belief, the Gatling Gun Battery was placed in reserve,
in the rear of Fort Roosevelt, on the morning of July 2d, and was held
there in reserve all day on July the 2d and 3d. The pieces were placed
within twenty yards of the firing-line, just below the crest of the
hill. The feed-guides were filled, and the gun crews lay down beside
their pieces. The battery was ready to either support the firing-line
against a charge, or protect its flank against a turning movement. But
it was not considered necessary or desirable to run the pieces up on
the firing-line in the open, and participate in the trench-firing,
which was the only fighting done on July 2d and 3d. It was considered
that the battery was too valuable as a reserve to sacrifice any of its
men uselessly. Some very well-meaning officers urged that the battery
be rushed up on the hill and put into action, but this was stubbornly
refused, under the third clause of the instructions given on the 1st
of July, "to make the best use of the guns possible." Gen. Wood and
Col. Roosevelt were consulted, and they concurred with the above
views, and the battery remained in reserve.

[Illustration: Charge on San Juan Hill.]

On the morning of the 2d of July a handsome young soldier, in the
uniform of a Rough Rider, approached the battery commander, saluted,
and said, "Col. Roosevelt directs me to report to you with my two
guns." Inquiry elicited the fact that the young trooper was Serg.
William Tiffany, that he had command of two Colt's automatic
rapid-fire guns, with a crew consisting of Corp. Stevens and six men,
and that he had 4,000 rounds of 7-millimeter ammunition. Four thousand
was not a very large supply for two guns which could fire at the rate
of 500 shots each per minute. Fortunately, the Gatling Gun Detachment
had found time, on the 1st of July, to collect about 10,000 rounds of
Mauser ammunition in the captured trenches, and a comparison of the
Mauser with the 7-millimeter ammunition at once disclosed the fact
that it was precisely the same ammunition which Tiffany had brought
along for his guns. The problem of ammunition supply for Tiffany's
guns was solved. He now had 14,000 rounds, and his guns became a very
powerful reinforcement at this point.

Serg. Tiff any and his men had carried these guns from Siboney to the
firing-line upon their backs. How they got the four boxes of
ammunition through they themselves could hardly tell. The firing was
too heavy to mount the tripods in the trenches during the daytime, so
placing the guns was deferred until night. For some reason it was not
practicable to place the tripods on the night of the 2d, and they were
finally placed on the night of the 3d; Serg. Tiffany, with two of his
men, aiding in digging the emplacements.

While digging, suddenly a burst of firing broke out, and it was
believed by many that a serious night attack had been made. During the
firing, Capt. Ayers, of the 10th Cavalry, and Col. Roosevelt again
displayed those characteristics of fearless bravery which so endeared
these two gallant officers to their men. Some of the troops in the
trenches had begun to fire wildly. In fact, all the firing was done
wild; there was no sense in any of it; there was no occasion for it.
Intent listening to the enemy's fire made it absolutely certain that
their firing never approached nearer our lines. There may have been
some small body seeking to explore the road, but there was no
indication of any attack in force. At any rate, Roosevelt and Ayers
determined to stop the firing of our line, and suddenly, above the din
of battle, these two officers could be heard, tramping up and down the
trench in front of their men, haranguing, commanding, ridiculing their
men for shooting in the dark. Ayers told his men that they were no
better than the Cubans, upon which the burly black troopers burst into
a loud guffaw, and then stopped firing altogether. Roosevelt told his
men that he was ashamed of them. He was ashamed to see them firing
valuable ammunition into the darkness of the night, aiming at nothing;
that he thought cowboys were men who shot only when they could see the
"whites of the other fellow's eyes." They also stopped firing. The
enemy's bullets continued to whiz by for a few minutes, and they too
ceased firing, and everybody began to laugh at everybody else. Tiffany
had joined the two officers in their walk up and down, exposing
himself with the utmost coolness. He and his men now succeeded in
placing his guns in the trench, and, from that time until the end of
the fight, they could hardly be induced to leave them long enough to
eat; they didn't leave them to sleep--they slept in the trench by the

About one o'clock on the 3d there was a lull in the firing, during
which a flag of truce was sent with a communication to General Toral,
notifying him that a bombardment would follow unless he surrendered.
The firing was resumed and continued until about half past twelve on
the 4th of July, at which time another flag of truce went up, and
there was no more firing until the 10th of July at about three
o'clock. Troops, however, were compelled to lie on their arms; the
relief was constantly in the trenches, and the nervous strain was even
worse than the actual dangers of battle.

Negotiations for capitulation having failed, firing was resumed about
three o'clock on the 10th, and continued until one o'clock on the 11th
of July. In this firing all four of the Gatling guns were used;
Tiffany's guns and the dynamite gun under Serg. Borrowe participated.
Three of the Gatling guns had been placed in the trench on the night
of July 3d. The wheels were taken off and laid on the ground in the
rear of the pieces; sand-bag revetments were built up in front of the
guns, and each crew divided into two reliefs. One relief was required
to be constantly at the gun and always ready for instant action. The
fourth gun, the one that had been temporarily disabled, was repaired
on the 4th, thoroughly cleaned, and placed in reserve behind the crest
of the hill. On the 4th of July, Serg. Borrowe had been directed to
obey any instructions given him by the Gatling gun commander, and the
dynamite gun had been placed in position to cooperate with the battery
of machine guns. There were now, therefore, seven pieces in the
battery. It was the most powerful and unique battery ever used in

[Illustration: Gatlings at Baiquiri Just Before Starting For the

The Sims-Dudley pneumatic dynamite gun throws a Whitehead torpedo,
carrying a charge of four and one-half pounds of explosive gelatine;
the effective force of this charge is equal to that of nine pounds of
dynamite, No. 1. The charge explodes, on striking, by means of a
percussion fuse, and steadiness of flight is secured by means of a
vane. The propelling force is a charge of seven ounces of smokeless
powder. The gun is pointed in the same manner as a mortar, and fired
in the same manner as a field-piece. During the 10th and 11th
considerable attention was devoted to the tactical cooperation of the
guns composing this unique battery.

The plan adopted was for the dynamite gun to throw a shell toward a
designated point. Upon the explosion of this shell the Spanish
soldiers invariably exposed themselves, and were immediately assailed
by machine gun fire. Occasionally a dynamite shell would fall with
sufficient accuracy to do efficient work on its own account. On the
afternoon of the 10th a dynamite shell fell in a long trench near Fort
Canosa, clearing out the trench. The Spanish survivors were cut down
almost to a man by the machine gun fire, and the Spanish troops were
unable to occupy this trench until the following morning, when the
operation was repeated, practically destroying the usefulness of this
trench during the whole fight. Capt. Duncan, of the 21st Infantry,
states that this relieved his battalion of an enfilading fire, and was
a valuable service to them. Another dynamite shell, on the afternoon
of the 10th, fell into a Spanish battery of artillery, near the brick
hospital, and completely destroyed the battery, which consisted of two
3-inch guns. In all, about a dozen dynamite shells were thrown with
some degree of accuracy, and with good effect.

The fourth Gatling gun, which had been held in reserve, was used
during the afternoon of July 10th, and all day on the 11th, to pour a
vertical fire upon the city of Santiago, beyond that portion that was
visible to the American troops. Perhaps 6,000 or 7,000 shots were thus
dropped into the heart of the city, making the streets unsafe,
communication difficult, and striking terror to the hearts of the
Spanish troops who were held there in reserve. Gen. Toral, in his
official statement to his own government, specifically mentions this
fire as one of his principal reasons for surrender.

On the afternoon of the 10th and during the 11th of July a battery of
mortars, under command of Capt. Ennis, posted about half a mile to the
right of the machine gun battery, threw a few shells at the enemy's
intrenchments. There were four of these mortars in action and they
were placed behind the ridge in a perfectly safe position. They threw,
perhaps, twenty-five shells all told. The first eight or ten failed to
explode for the reason that the fuses had not been punched. Finally,
Capt. Ennis discovered that his shells were not exploding, and, on
inquiry, found that there was no fuse-punch in the battery. He
succeeded in finding a brad-awl, which, luckily, some member of the
battery had in his pocket, and showed a sergeant how to punch the fuse
with a brad-awl. After this the mortar shells exploded all right. None
of this fire, however, was directed at the city; it was directed at
the trenches of the enemy, and not over eight or ten of the shells
fell with any precision. The mortar fire was effective in the sense
that it tended to demoralize the enemy, but its material effect was
very small.

There was no firing of field-pieces during all this time of which any
account is necessary. The field-pieces were even less useful during
this time than they were on the 1st of July, if such a thing could be

On the night of the 4th of July the reserve Gatling gun was posted to
command the Fort Canosa road, in support of a picket on that road, and
from that time until the surrender this piece was posted there every
night. The members, therefore, of this detachment did practically
double duty. This was the gun in charge of Sergts. Weischaar and
Ryder, referred to in the official report. Luckily, it was not fired,
but there can be no doubt of the immense value it would have had if
its use had been necessary.

Summing up the use of machine guns from the 2d to the 11th of July,
inclusive, it may be said that they demonstrated the use of the arm as
a tactical reserve and an auxiliary to an outpost, and that, in
combination with a dynamite gun, they demonstrated that a new arm of
the service had been formed which can live at closer range to the
enemy, and do far more effective work, than artillery. Nor is this all
to be considered. It should be remembered that a field-piece throws a
shell which breaks into 273 fragments. The machine gun throws 1000
shots, and each of these shots is aimed with absolute precision.
Therefore, at any effective range, the machine gun is far superior to
a field-piece against anything except material obstacles. Of course
the machine guns will not do to batter down stone walls, nor to
destroy block-houses. It had already been demonstrated on the 1st of
July that "machine guns can go forward with the charging-line to the
lodgment in the enemy's position," and that "their presence on the
field of battle, with a supply of ammunition for ten minutes, is a
decisive factor in the engagement."

These were the principal points claimed for the machine gun in the
discussion of the subject on the 1st of January. The use of the
machine gun for advance and rear guards was not demonstrated at
Santiago, for the reason that no opportunity was presented.



The white flag went up at one o'clock on the 11th, and this was the
end of the fighting at Santiago. The Rough Riders had been moved from
the hill at Fort Roosevelt to a position west of the El Caney road,
and one of the Gatling guns had been sent with them. This gun was
brought back on the 17th after the surrender. Various other movements
of troops occurred before the 17th, which had been decided upon by the
generals as the last day of grace. Gen. Toral had been notified that
one o'clock on the 17th was the time for either the surrender or the
signal for the assault. The hour approached, and still the Spaniard
attempted to delay. The orders for the assault were issued. The troops
lay in the trenches with their fingers on the triggers. Gen. Randolph
had come and pushed the artillery into better positions. The pieces
were loaded and the gunners stood with their lanyards in their hands.
The ammunition-boxes were opened. The nervous tension of the line was
terrific. The troops on the extreme right and left, designated for the
assault, were only waiting the word to dash forward upon the
intrenchments of the enemy. Then suddenly from Gen. Wheeler's
headquarters a mounted officer was seen spurring eastward along the
crest. He was waving his hat over his head. His horse gathered speed,
and the foam began to fly from his flanks and nostrils, and as Capt.
McKittrick passed he called, "No cheering, please; the city and
province of Santiago have surrendered."

The members of the Gatling Gun Detachment walked to the top of the
hill, and, facing toward the gallant enemy who had so valiantly
defended the foredoomed city, silently took off their hats.

All along the line the reception of the glorious news was marked by
comments upon the gallant defense which had been made. There was no
demonstration which could have hurt the feelings of so magnificent a
foe. Five minutes after the surrender the American trench was lined by
American troops on our side and Spanish troops on the other. The
Spanish troops brought bottles of mescal, aguardiente, and wine. Our
troops carried hardtack and canned roast beef. These recent foes began
at once to exchange the necessaries of life and souvenirs of the siege
of Santiago. They fraternized as all brave men do after the battle. A
few Cubans skulked around the rear of our line, despised by both

The next day witnessed the formal surrender of the city. At twelve
o'clock, the preliminary formalities having been complied with, the
9th Infantry and a battalion of the 13th Infantry, the two regiments
which had been adjudged first honors in the assault, were ready as an
escort to raise the flag in the heart of the city. All of the other
regiments were formed upon the ground which they occupied during the
siege. As the second-hands of our watches showed the minute of twelve,
noon, a field-piece burst upon the stillness of the sultry day, and
the band began the strains of "The Star-spangled Banner." Every hat
was taken off, and an instant later, efforts to restrain it being
ineffectual, six miles of solid cheering encompassed the latest
American city.

[Illustration: Cuban Cart used by Gatling Gun Detachment, Priv. J.
Shiffer Driving.]

Grizzled old soldiers, scarred with wounds from Indian wars, and gay
recruits who had arrived too late to join in the fighting, gray-haired
generals and athletic young subalterns, all forgot propriety and the
silence usually enjoined in ranks and joined in that tremendous yell.
From over on the right of the El Caney road we could hear the "Rah!
rah! rah!" of Harvard and the "Rah! rah! rah!" of Yale, mingled with
the cowboy yell of the Indian Territory. From the ranks of the
Regulars came the old Southern yell, mingled with the Northern cheer.
The most thrilling and dramatic moment of the Spanish-American War had
passed into history.

The troops settled themselves down to wait for developments, and while
they waited, opportunities were presented for the first time to make
observations of the personnel of this heterogeneous army.

The American Regular is a type of his own, and no description of him
is necessary. He was the fighting strength of the 5th Corps. Only
three Volunteer regiments participated in the charges of July 1st-the
71st New York, the 2d Massachusetts, and the 1st Volunteer Cavalry.

The Volunteers presented many different types: some good, some
otherwise. There should be no sympathy with that servile truckling to
popular sentiment which speaks of our brave Volunteers indiscriminately,
as if they were all good and all equally well instructed. There were
Volunteers who were the equals of the Regulars in fighting and in
leadership. And there were some who should have been at home pulling
on a nursing-bottle or attending a kindergarten. To praise them
indiscriminately creates a false impression on the public, and works a
rank injustice toward those who were really good and efficient in the
service. It does even worse than that: it fosters the popular idea
that all there is to do to make soldiers is to take so many laborers,
clerks, hod-carriers, or farmers, and put on them uniforms, arm them
with rifles, and call them "gallant Volunteers"! Out upon such an
insane delusion!

Fighting is a scientific trade. It would be no more absurd to give an
idiot a tambourine and call him a musician--he would be an idiot all
the same. So with the clerk, the laborer, the hod-carrier, the
teacher; he remains the same in spite of all the polished arms,
resplendent uniforms, and pompous titles bestowed upon him. He remains
just what he was before, until he learns his new trade and becomes a
soldier by the acquisition of the necessary knowledge and experience
to practice his new calling.

It is one of the duties of trained officers to tell these homely
truths to the people who have not made a study of the matter, in order
that they who foot the bills may understand what they pay for and why
they do it. And it is equally the duty of the citizen who has no
knowledge of the subject to give a fair hearing to such statements,
and, if he finds them correct after due investigation, to translate
the information thus imparted into such laws as will in future supply
an army composed of soldiers who can fight, instead of a herd of
ignorant incompetents who die like rotten sheep within half an hour's
ride by rail of their own homes.

These remarks can be illustrated by observations in Cuba.

For example, the 34th Michigan pitched its camp on the hill at Fort
Roosevelt on the 2d of August. They were in an awful condition. A man
had died in one company the day before, and there had not been enough
able-bodied men in the company to bury him. A detail had to be made
from another company to dig the grave. More than fifty per cent of the
regiment were sick, and the remainder were far from well. At this
time, more than two weeks after the surrender, they were still cooking
individually. Within fifteen minutes after their arrival they were
overrunning the Gatling gun camp, picking up the firewood which had
been gathered by the detachment for cooking purposes. An attempt to
stop this marauding was received with jeers. A green-looking Wolverine
at once began to make catcalls, and was ably seconded by his comrades.
Sentinels were then posted over the Gatling gun camp, with orders to
keep the Michiganders out; they abused the sentinels in the same
manner, and their officers made no effort to restrain them. It became
necessary to make a personal matter of it, which was promptly done,
and one Wolverine was thereafter respectful--so respectful, in fact,
that he jumped to attention and took off his hat to even the privates
of the detachment.

The regiment took a delicate revenge. They had dug neither latrines
nor sinks. Up to this time they used the surface of the camp-ground
over their own camp for this purpose. They now took possession of a
trench within twenty yards of the battery's tents. The nuisance was
intolerable, and was reported to their brigade headquarters. No
attention was paid to the report. Twelve hours later it was again
reported, with the same result. Twelve hours after this it was a third
time reported, with the same result. In the meantime not a single
shovelful of dirt had been thrown on the trench and an odor arose from
it which was not exactly like the perfume of "Araby the blest."

[Illustration: Tiffany at his Gun in the Trench.]

Forty-five hours after the arrival of the regiment notice was served
upon the brigade commander thereof that, unless the nuisance was
abated immediately, a sentinel would be placed over the offending
ditch and notice would be given to General Bates, the division
commander, requesting the action of an inspector; notice was further
served that if any resistance were made, four Gatling guns would be
turned loose upon the 34th Michigan and the regiment swept off the
face of the hill and into Santiago Bay for a much-needed bath. It was
enough. Officers and men ran instantly for spades and proceeded to
fill up the trench. Report was then made to Gen. Bates, the division
commander, of the offense and action had thereon, with the information
that the Gatling gun commander awaited to answer any complaints. An
investigation was immediately made, with the result that such action
was sustained.

There were some ignorant Volunteers at Santiago, but of all the
willful violation of all the laws of sanitation, camp hygiene, and
health ever seen, these particular Volunteers did the most outrageous
things. They threw their kitchen refuse out on the ground anywhere;
half of the time they did not visit the sink at all, but used the
surface of the ground anywhere instead; and they continued these
offenses at Montauk Point. They raked over an abandoned camp of the
Spanish prisoners on their arrival at Fort Roosevelt, and appropriated
all the cast-off articles they could find, using the debris for
bedding. This surgeon, a "family doctor" from the pine woods in
northern Michigan, did not seem to regard these matters as of any
importance. His attention was called to them, but he took no action.
In short, there was no law of health which these people did not
utterly ignore, no excess dangerous to health which they did not
commit. Three-fourths of them were too sick for duty, and the rest
looked like living skeletons. They fairly wallowed in their own filth
--and cursed the climate of Cuba on account of their sickness.

In sharp contrast to the 34th Michigan was the 1st U. S. Volunteer
Cavalry, the Rough Riders. This was an organization the peer of any in
the Regular Army in morale, in fighting, and in every quality that
goes to make up a fine body of soldiers. They were picked men; all
classes were shown in that organization. The tennis champion was a
private, the champion oarsman of Harvard a corporal. On the 2d of July
a stock-broker of Wall Street who can sign his check for $3,000,000
was seen haggling with a cow-puncher from the Indian Territory over a
piece of hardtack. Both were privates and both were fine soldiers. The
whole regiment was just such a medley, but fought like Regulars, and
endured like Spartans. They hung on like bull-dogs, and charged like
demons. They were as strict about the camp police as Regular Army
surgeons, and as punctilious about saluting as a K. O. on "official
relations." Withal, they were a clean-mouthed, clean-clad,
clean-camped lot of gentlemen, each in his way, from the "Hello,
pard!" of the cowboy to the frozen stare of the monocled dude from
Broadway. And they fought--like Regulars; there is no other just
comparison. Roosevelt said: "They are the 11th Cavalry." He found
enthusiastic endorsers of this remark in every Regular who saw them
fight. They were the finest body of Volunteers who ever wore uniform,
and they were stamped indelibly with the personality of Theodore
Roosevelt. Pushing, aggressive, resolute, tenacious, but self-contained,
cool, and restrained, they represented the very best type of what the
Volunteer ought to be--but often was not.

[Illustration: Relics of the Battle. 1. Range Table of 16-cm. Gun in
Spanish Fort, Silenced by Gatlings July 1, '98. 2. Rear Sight of same
Gun. 3. Fuse picked up by J. Shiffer July 1. 4. Remington Cartridge
used by the Spanish Volunteers, the so-called "Explosive" Brass-covered
Bullet. 5. Piece of Coral dug up in the Trenches. 6. Spanish Spurs.]

Above them all, however, shone out three types.

Theodore Roosevelt. He needs no eulogy from my pen. He has done
everything, and in each occupation has been conspicuously successful.
He is, however, a born soldier. His virile frame contains the vigorous
mind, the keen intellect, the cool judgment, and the unswerving,
never-hesitating courage of the natural soldier. He is affable and
courteous, or stern and scathing, as circumstances demand. One instant
genial smiles overspread his expressive countenance, whereon the
faintest emotion writes its legend with instantaneous and responsive
touch; the next, on occasion, a Jove-like sternness settles on his
face, and, with a facility of expression bewildering to less gifted
tongues, scathing invective, cutting sarcasm, or bitter irony impress
upon an offender the gravity of a breach of discipline. Withal, he is
modest. He appreciates his own power, but there is no undue display of
that appreciation, no vainglorious boasting over achievements which
read like a fairy-tale. Fittest to lead or follow, idol of every true
soldier. Who, that knows him as those who fought beside him, does not
wish to see him at the head of that army and that nation of which he
is the brightest ornament in every position, civil, military, or

Woodbury Kane--social leader, Fortune's favorite, aristocratic,
refined, cultured, wealthy, _haut ton de haut ton_, and _sabreur sans
peur et sans reproche_--how shall I paint him to you as I learned to
know him in those dreadful, delightful seventeen days in which we
lived only from instant to instant, and every man unconsciously bared
his soul to his comrades because he could not help it?

A gentleman--he always looked that in the fullest sense of the word.
Well groomed; in those days when our bed was a mud-puddle and our
canopy the stars, when the music which lulled us to sleep was the hum
of the Mauser bullets and the vicious popping of the Remingtons, when
water to drink had to be brought at the peril of life for every
mouthful, Kane turned up every morning clean-shaved and neatly
groomed, shoes duly polished, neat khaki, fitting like a glove and
brushed to perfection, nails polished, and hair parted as nicely as if
he were dressed by his valet in his New York apartments. How did he do
it? We never knew. He kept no servant; he took his regular turn in the
ditches, in the mud, or torrid sun, or smothering rain. No night alarm
came that did not find Kane first to spring to the trench--and yet he
did it, somehow. The courteous phrases of politest speech fell ever
from his ready lips, as easily as they would have done in the
_boudoir_ of any belle in the metropolis. The shrieking of a shell or
tingling hiss of a sharpshooter's close-aimed bullet never came so
near as to interrupt whatever polished expression of thanks, regret,
or comment he might be uttering. And it was the real thing, too. The
gentle heart was there. No man was readier to bind a wound or aid a
sun-struck soldier in the ranks; none more ready to deny himself a
comfort or a luxury to help a more needy comrade. A braver man, a
surer or more reliable officer, never trod in shoe-leather. A grand
example to our pessimistic, socialistic friends and cheap demagogues
of the sterling worth and noble, chivalric character of a "society man
of wealth." He is a living type of _"Bel a faire peur,"_ without the
idiotic sentimentality of that maudlin hero, and with all his other

Greenway and Tiffany. The one a Harvard football-player, just out,
plunging into the great game of war with all the zest he formerly
found in the great college game. The other the petted son of wealthy
parents, also a college graduate, and the idolized fiance of his
childhood's sweetheart. Equally ready for fight or fun, they were the
finest type of youthful manhood to be found. Endowed by Nature with
every gift, educated at the best of colleges, bred in the best of
society, ready to enter upon the most desirable of careers, they threw
all upon the altar of country's love. They entered battle as one might
go to a game or begin a play. All of unbounded zeal, youthful
enthusiasm, restless energy, keen enjoyment--everything seemed to be
equally acceptable to them, and no discomfort ever assumed any guise
other than that of a novel and untried sensation.

They are the type of our young manhood--our representative American
youth--as Roosevelt is of its vigorous manhood. They are the salt of
the earth, and Kane--is both salt and spice. All were comrades in
arms, types of American manhood unspoiled by Fortune's favors, capable
of anything and everything. Such men mould the destiny of this great
nation, and in their hands it is safe.

But neither of these two regiments is a fair type of the Volunteers;
they are the two extremes. For a type, take the 1st Illinois. They
were a Chicago regiment with fifteen years' service, and they enlisted
in a body to a man. They reached the firing line on the 10th and
participated in the fight with two battalions, with distinguished
gallantry. The third battalion was detailed on the necessary but
unpleasant duty of caring for the yellow fever hospital at Siboney.
These city-bred Volunteers peeled off their coats, buried yellow fever
corpses, policed the hospital and hospital grounds, and nursed the
victims of the scourge. They did not utter a complaint nor ask for a
"soft" detail; they did their duty as they found it. Another battalion
was detailed immediately after the surrender to guard the Spanish
prisoners. This most thankless duty was performed by them with
fidelity and care. The commander of the battalion and half his
officers were proficient in the Spanish language as a part of their
preparation for the campaign, and they soon established cordial
relations with the prisoners they were set to guard. It was a trying
duty, but they performed it faithfully. Sickness visited this
battalion, and sometimes guard duty had to be performed with only one
day off, but they never whimpered. The other battalion was detailed
after the surrender to do stevedore work at the commissary depot. The
slender clerks and soft-handed city men slung boxes of hardtack and
sacks of bacon and barrels of coffee, and performed manual labor with
all the faithfulness that would be expected of men accustomed to such
work, and with never a complaint. The sanitary measures of this
regiment were perfect, and they bore themselves like Regulars. It is
now recognized that this is a compliment to any Volunteer



In such a campaign as that of Santiago, a certain amount of suffering
is inevitable. In such a climate as that of southern Cuba, a certain
amount of disease is unavoidable. In the very hot-bed of yellow fever
and malaria, no army could hope to escape without contracting these
diseases; and in a campaign conducted with the marvelous celerity of
the one at Santiago, some difficulty in forwarding supplies must
necessarily be encountered.

The root of all our difficulties lay in the fact that the commanding
general had under him supply departments whose officers reported to
heads of bureaus not under control of the corps commander. This caused
unnecessary delays in obtaining supplies, entailed confusion in their
distribution, and led to suffering beyond what was necessarily the
result of the climate and the campaign.

A brief description of the method of obtaining supplies will make this
point more clear. When a given article was wanted, whether it was
soap, quinine, tentage, or transportation, a requisition upon the
chief of the proper bureau at Washington had to be made, with full
statement of the reasons for the request; this requisition had to be
approved by all intermediate commanders and go through military
channels to the chief of the bureau, who might or might not be
convinced of the necessity for the article wanted. His action being
endorsed thereon, the requisition returned through the same devious
route, and possibly might be followed in course of time, either by
invoices from some distant purchasing agent of the required articles,
or by directions of the bureau chief to make further explanations. The
usual length of time allowed for an official communication through
military channels, in time of peace at home, from any regimental
headquarters to Washington and return, is from ten to thirty days.
Here was the first cause of suffering.

If the heads of the supply departments in the field, beginning at
Tampa, could have acted promptly upon the orders of their respective
commanding officers, without the action of any other authority,
unnecessary delay would have been avoided.

To illustrate this point: The Gatling Gun Detachment was ordered to be
equipped with revolvers upon reporting to the detachment commander,
and this order was issued on the 11th of June, before sailing from
Port Tampa. They did not so report, and it devolved upon the
detachment commander to make requisition for the necessary equipment.
This was done, but no revolvers arrived. The invoices for revolvers
reached the detachment commander on the 15th of September, at Fort
Leavenworth, Kansas, where he was then, on leave of absence, sick, ten
days after the detachment was disbanded.

This is an extreme case, but the same difficulty was experienced in
obtaining supplies of all descriptions. It was, therefore, very
difficult for a quartermaster, a commissary, a medical officer, or any
other officer whose duty it was to obtain supplies, to have the same
when emergency demanded it. The necessity for supplies could not
always be foreseen, the quantity desired could not always be estimated
for with precision, and it followed that sometimes there was a
deficiency when the articles were needed.

[Illustration: Cieba Tree, under Which General Toral Surrendered.]

Again, the transportation of the 5th Army Corps could not be made
available at first to carry supplies up from the landing-place. The
troops had drawn travel rations, which lasted them until they
disembarked. The first supply problem, upon landing, was that of
issuing rations; and, at the moment when every available boat was
engaged in carrying troops ashore, it became necessary to put rations
ashore also. The exigency demanded the speedy disembarkation of the
greatest possible number of men. The fight of La Guasimas emphasized
the necessity of getting men to the front. It was no time to delay the
movement of troops for the purpose of waiting on wagons, tentage, or
rations. The safety of the expedition, the fate of the whole campaign,
depended upon energetic and rapid movement to the front. Consequently
regiments were put forth with only such amounts of rations and tentage
as they could carry upon their backs. It will be readily seen that
this amount was very limited, and the only tentage possible was the
shelter tent.

There were 118 wagons in the hold of the Cherokee, but it was not
practicable to delay the disembarkation of the corps and hazard the
fate of the whole campaign by utilizing the only wharf and all the
boats two or three days to land these wagons. By the time they could
be taken off, the rains had made the roads almost impassable, and they
could not all be used. It was therefore a daily struggle to get enough
rations forward to feed the fighting-line from day to day. Greatly to
the credit of those who performed the duty, it can be said that, with
rare exceptions, all the soldiers of the 5th Army Corps had every day,
when they could possibly cook the same, hardtack and bacon, roast
beef, and coffee. This much was accomplished in the face of
insurmountable obstacles by the heroic exertions of the pack-train.
When the 1st of July arrived, and the battle began, it was ordered
that all soldiers carry three days' rations. The heat was intense, the
fight exceedingly hot, and marching through the jungle extremely
difficult. The consequence was that the soldiers threw aside all
impedimenta in order to fight more effectively, and, of course, the
rations went with the blankets and the overcoats. The man who held on
to a canteen and haversack was fortunate; very many abandoned the
haversack, and a considerable number abandoned everything except rifle
and ammunition. That was what won the fight; but it made hungry men,
and it caused men to sleep on the wet ground under the open sky,
without blankets or tentage. The pack-train continued its magnificent
work. During the fighting it had to bring ammunition. The men were
supposed to have three days' rations. As soon as the deficiency became
known to the higher officials, the pack-train began to bring food.
Commissary depots were established immediately in rear of the
firing-line, and issues of hardtack, bacon, and coffee, which were
about the only components of the ration that could be brought forward
in sufficient quantities, were made without formality or red tape. It
was almost impossible to get a sufficient quantity of even these
components to the front. Sometimes the ration was a little short.
Bacon and hardtack for seventeen consecutive days, after three weeks
of travel ration, do not form the most appetizing diet in the world.
The exposure consequent upon the fighting and lack of tentage had its
inevitable result in sickness.

The same difficulties which had beset the quartermaster and commissary
departments were also encountered by the surgeons. Hospital
accommodations were scanty, the quantity of medicines available was
very limited, the number of wounded men disproportionately large, and,
when sickness was added to the wounds, the small number of surgeons
available at the front were not able to give the individual attention
and scientific treatment which forms a part of our admirable medical
system in time of peace. There were only three or four ambulances
available until after the 11th of July. A considerable number of the
surgeons were on duty at the general hospitals far in the rear; the
number at the front was not sufficient to attend to all the duties
which devolved upon them. This deplorable condition reacted, causing a
greater amount of illness. To add to this difficulty, the Volunteers
began to suffer excessively from the results of their own ignorance
and carelessness; and when the yellow fever scourge was added to all
the other difficulties which beset the 5th Corps, the outlook became

The attempt has been made in the foregoing exposition of the
conditions at Santiago to represent fairly the difficulties under
which all parts of the army labored. The fact remains, nevertheless,
that there was an appalling amount of suffering due to causes which
might have been foreseen and which were easily preventable.

[Illustration: Undergrowth in Cuba.]

On the 18th day of July the transports entered the harbor of Santiago.
From that day forward there was unlimited wharfage at disposal, and
there were excellent macadamized roads leading to all parts of the
command. The fall of Santiago had been foreseen more than a week, and
if there was not a sufficient quantity of wagons present on board the
ships, there had been ample time to make telegraphic requisition for
them to Washington. Up to the surrender, the suffering from sickness
had been exceedingly light. There was something stimulating about the
nervous strain and excitement of the time which kept the men up to
their work; but the inadequacy of the medical supplies on hand had
been amply demonstrated by the 10th. and it had become fully apparent
that the medical corps was unable to handle the number of patients on
hand. The previous remark about the practicability of telegraphing to
headquarters for additional force applies to this department also.

The principal sufferings after the surrender were due to four causes:
first, improper clothes; second, improper food; third, lack of
shelter; fourth, lack of proper medical attention.

In regard to clothing and these other necessaries, it should be borne
in mind that the corps which went to Santiago was virtually the
Regular Army. Every regiment which went to Tampa went there ready for
service. Its equipment was just as complete on the 26th of April as it
was on the 6th of June. There should have been no problems to solve in
regard to them--and yet there were many.


The troops wore the same clothing to Cuba they had brought from
Sheridan, Assinniboine, and Sherman. They wore winter clothing for
their service in the torrid zone, and those who received summer
clothing at all received it late in August, just in time to return to
the bracing breezes of Montauk Point, where, in their enfeebled
condition, winter clothing would have been more suitable. It did not
require a professor of hygiene to foresee that the winter clothing
used in northern Michigan would not be suitable for campaigning in
southern Cuba in July; or that summer clothing suitable for southern
Cuba would be too light for men returning to the northern part of Long
Island. Is it to be concluded that it was impossible to obtain summer
clothing for 18,000 men between the 26th of April and the 6th of June?

Second--Improper Food.

Most of the troops were embarked upon the transports by the 10th of
June. Their food on transport consisted of the travel ration: canned
roast beef, canned baked beans, canned tomatoes, and hardtack, with
coffee, were the components. They subsisted upon this food, imprisoned
in fetid holds of foul transports, unfit for the proper transportation
of convicts, until the 25th day of June, when they disembarked. On
drawing rations for the field it was found that the field ration would
be of the same components, with the addition of bacon and minus the
baked beans and tomatoes. During the emergency, up to include the 18th
day of July, this was the ration. Occasionally a few cans of tomatoes
found their way to camp, but rarely. The ration was always short,
such as it was, but this the soldiers could have endured and did
endure without a murmur.

But on the 18th of July, with unlimited wharfage at a distance of two
miles and a half, with excellent roads, and with abundance of
transportation (see Gen. Shafter's Official Report), and with
surrender foreknown for a sufficient length of time to have brought
any quantity of vegetables from New York City, the ration continued to
be bacon, canned beef, hardtack, and coffee. Finally, about the 25th
of July, small amounts of soft bread began to be doled out, and an
occasional issue of frozen fresh beef was made. It was soon
demonstrated that not sufficient fresh beef could be made available.
The vegetables which had been brought had nearly all spoiled on the
transports. Hundreds of barrels of potatoes and onions were unloaded
upon the docks and were so badly decayed as to make them useless.
These vegetables had been drifting about the Caribbean Sea and upon
the Atlantic Ocean since the 9th and 10th of June. Occasionally it was
practicable to get a quarter or a half ration of potatoes and half of
the usual allowance of canned tomatoes, but that was all.

It did not require a professor of hygienic dietetics to predict that
men fed in the tropics upon a diet suited to the icy shores of
Greenland would become ill, especially when they were clad in a manner
suited to the climate of Labrador. Are we to conclude that it was
impossible to get rice, beans, canned fruits, canned corn, and other
vegetables to take the place of potatoes and onions?

[Illustration: Cuban Residence.]

Third--Lack of Shelter.

The allowance of tentage was prescribed for each regiment. Granted
that it was impossible to get tentage up until after the surrender;
yet it should have been practicable to forward tentage over two and
one-half miles of macadamized roads. Yet whole regiments remained
without tentage until they embarked for the United States. The 13th
Infantry did not get tentage until the 5th of August. The 20th
Infantry and the 3d Infantry obtained a portion of their tentage about
the same time, but a large part of these regiments remained under
shelter tents until they reembarked. The 1st Illinois and the 34th
Michigan remained in shelter tents until the 15th of August, at which
time the author embarked for the United States. These regiments are
fair examples.

The Gatling Gun Detachment was provided with shelter-halves and
remained under them until the 10th of August. Repeated applications
for proper tentage were made, accompanied by medical certificates that
the issue of tentage was imperatively necessary for the health of the
command. Endorsements thereon by the chief quartermaster of the 5th
Corps as late as the 5th of August show that there was no available
tentage for issue. Application was made to the regimental commander,
13th Infantry, for a portion of regimental tentage for the detachment
of the 13th Infantry; but, in spite of the fact that the reduced
regiment had on hand all the canvas prescribed for the full regiment,
none could be obtained for the detachment. The detachment commander
was entirely without tentage from the 25th of June until the 5th of
August--forty-five days in the rainy season in Cuba, exposed to the
torrid sun by day, to chilling dews by night, and the drenching rains
of the afternoon, without shelter from any inclemencies of the
weather, and this in spite of repeated applications to proper
authorities for the suitable allowance of tentage. Is it any wonder
that men grew sick, and that death stalked broadcast through the camp
of the 5th Corps, under these conditions?

Fourth--Lack of Proper Medical Attendance.

The surgeons who were at the front with the firing-line worked
heroically, but were burdened beyond their physical powers. Owing to
the foregoing causes, great numbers of men became ill as soon as the
strain and tension of the battle were relieved. It was not uncommon to
find twenty or twenty-five per cent of a command on the sick-report,
and in some cases the sick-list went as high as fifty per cent. There
were no well men in the 5th Army Corps. Those who refused to go on the
sick-report were, nevertheless, sick. The author has yet to find a
single member of the expedition who did not suffer from the climatic
fever. The surgeons themselves were not exempt, and the very limited
supply of doctors was speedily decreased by sickness. Were there no
doctors in the United States who were willing to come to Cuba?

Up to the 25th of July the supply of medicines was very deficient.
There was never a sufficient supply of ambulances. The accommodations
in the hospitals were even worse than those on the firing-line. A sick
soldier on the firing-line could always find some comrade who would
cut green boughs or gather grass for a bed, but the one who went to
the hospital had to lie on the ground. The supply of hospital cots was
ridiculously inadequate, and this condition did not improve.

The difficulty of obtaining adequate medical attendance may be
illustrated by the case of Priv. Fred C. Elkins, of the 17th Infantry,
member of the Gatling Gun Detachment. Priv. Elkins had been hurt in
the fight on the 1st of July and had been sent to the hospital. He
found the accommodations so wretched that he feigned improvement and
returned to his detachment. He remained with the detachment until the
14th of July, improving so far as his injury was concerned, but
contracted the climatic fever. During this time he was prescribed for
twice by the assistant surgeon with the Rough Riders, Dr. Thorpe,
previous to the time this regiment was moved westward on the
firing-line. His condition became worse, and on the 12th of July Dr.
Brewer, 1st lieutenant and assistant surgeon with the 10th Cavalry,
was called upon to examine him. This surgeon had then under treatment
over 100 cases pertaining to his proper command, and was himself ill,
but he readily came and inspected the patient. He promised to send
medicines for him, but in the rush of overwork forgot to do so, and on
the 13th of July he was again summoned. This time he sent a hospital
attendant to take the patient's temperature, which was 104 degrees. No
medicines were sent. On the 14th of July the patient became delirious.
The detachment commander went in person to request the same surgeon to
attend to the case, he being the only one available at that time. The
hospital attendant was again ordered to take the temperature. At the
end of an hour even this had been neglected. The hospital man was
sick, and had been without sleep for fifty hours. Priv. Elkins was put
upon a board and carried to Brewer's tent, with his descriptive list
in his pocket. The surgeon was told the name of the patient and the
facts that he was related to a distinguished family and had been
recommended for a commission for gallantry upon the field of battle.
Dr. Brewer was himself suffering at the time, with a temperature of
103 degrees, but he rose from his own sick-bed and administered
remedies which relieved the patient. The following day, the third of
his illness, Dr. Brewer was found to be suffering from yellow fever,
and was carried back to the yellow fever hospital at Siboney along
with Priv. Elkins. He had been sick all the time, but had done his
best. Priv. Elkins improved sufficiently to write a letter to his
commanding officer from the hospital at Siboney, on the 25th of July,
which reached that officer at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on the 12th
day of September. In spite of the fact that the patient was furnished
with descriptive list, and was specially commended to the care of the
surgeon as a soldier marked for extreme gallantry, all trace of him
had been lost; and although two private detectives were searching for
him a month, no further clew had been found to his whereabouts or fate
as late as the 1st of October. Even if his descriptive list had not
been furnished with this man, the fact that he was alive and rational
enough on the 25th day of July to write a letter concerning his
approaching discharge should have made it easy for some record of his
case to have been kept.

But this one isolated case sinks into insignificance beside the
condition in which some of the sick were left by commands returning to
the United States. All cases of yellow fever suspects were left
behind, and in the mad scramble to embark for the return voyage many
of these were left without proper attention or supplies.

Gen. Kent's Division had left by the 11th of August. The following
extract from a letter dated Santiago de Cuba, August 12, 1898, will
convey some idea of the condition in which the sick of this division
were left:

"Yesterday Gen. Kent's Division left for Montauk, and they left behind
350 sick, many of them too ill to care for themselves. This humane
country, of course, left ample care for them? There was left one
surgeon, one steward, and one case of medicines. Many of these men are
too ill to rise. They are 'suspected' of having yellow fever. They are
suffering from Cuban malaria, and many of them from diarrhea. There
was not left a single bed-pan for this battalion of bed-ridden,
suffering humanity, nor any well men to nurse the sick. There was not
even left any to cook food for them. Those left by the 9th Infantry
had to bribe marauding, pilfering Cubans, with a part of their
rations, to carry food to the camp of the 13th, where there were a few
less ill, to get it cooked.

"They are too sick to dig sinks; some are delirious. When the poor
emaciated wrecks of manhood have to obey the calls of Nature, they
must either wallow in their own filth or stagger a few paces from
their wet beds on the slimy soil to deposit more germs of disease and
death on the surface already reeking with ghastly, joint-racking

"There were left less than fifty cots for these 350 sick men--men
compelled by sheer weakness to lie on the ground which will soon lie
on them, if enough strong men are left by that time to cover them
mercifully over with the loathsome, reeking vegetable detritus which
passes here for soil, and which is so fairly animate that you can see
every spadeful of it writhe and wriggle as you throw it over the
rotting hour-dead shell of what was a free American citizen and a
Chevalier Bayard.

"When the last man and wagon of the flying division disappeared over
the hill toward health and home, a despairing wail went up from the
doomed 350 left in this condition of indescribable horror. 'We are
abandoned to die!' they cried; 'we are deserted by our own comrades in
the hour of danger and left to helplessly perish!'

"These men are those who fought the climate, hunger, and the enemy on
the battle-field which has shed so much undying glory on the American
arms. They are the men who have accomplished unheard-of feats of
endurance and performed incredible feats of valor on the same
ground--not for Cuba, but at the call of duty. They are citizens. They
are brave soldiers who have done their full duty because it was duty."

The mail facilities were wretched. Cords of mail were stacked up at
Siboney for weeks; and although there was more transportation on hand
than could be used, the officer detailed to attend to the mail
business of the corps, Lieut. Saville, of the 10th Infantry, could not
succeed in securing a wagon to haul this mail to the front. Since the
corps returned to the United States a dozen letters have reached the
author which have chased him by way of Santiago and Montauk, since
dates between the 1st and 20th of July, inclusive. The person to whom
these letters were addressed was well known to every officer and
employee in the corps, and if the mail addressed to one so well known
could go astray in this manner, what could an unknown private expect?
This may seem like a little hardship, but to men in the weakened and
enfeebled condition of the survivors of the 5th Corps a letter from
home was both food and medicine. Scores of men who are to-day rotting
in Cuban graves died of nostalgia, and might have lived if they had
received the letters from home which were sent to them.



The causes of these conditions are not far to seek. The United States
has not had an army since 1866. There has been no such a thing as a
brigade, a division, or a corps. There has been no opportunity to
study and practice on a large scale, in a practical way, the problems
of organization and supply. The Army has been administered as a unit,
and the usual routine of business gradually became such that not a
wheel could be turned nor a nail driven in any of the supply
departments without express permission, previously obtained from the
bureau chief in Washington. The same remarks apply equally to all the
other staff departments. The administration had become a bureaucracy
because the whole Army for thirty years had been administered as one
body, without the subdivisions into organizations which are inevitable
in war-time and in larger bodies.

War became a reality with great suddenness. Those who have grown gray
in the service, and whose capacity, honesty, and industry had never
been and can not be impeached, found themselves confronted with the
problem of handling nearly three hundred thousand men, without
authority to change the system of supply and transportation. The
minutest acts of officers of these departments are regulated by laws
of Congress, enacted with a view of the small regular force in time of
peace, and with no provisions for modifications in war. In authorizing
the formation of large volunteer armies, Congress did not authorize
any change in the system of administration or make any emergency
provision. As before, every detail of supply and transportation had to
be authorized from the central head.

The administrative bureaus were handicapped to some extent by
incompetent and ignorant members. Late in the campaign it was learned
that the way to a "soft snap" was through the Capitol, and some came
in that way who would certainly never have entered the Army in any

There were alleged staff officers who had tried to enter the service
through the regular channels and who had failed, either by lack of
ability or bad conduct, to keep up with the pace set by classmates at
the Academy; there were others who were known as failures in civil
life and as the "black sheep" of eminent families; and there were some
who must have been utterly unknown before the war, as they will be

How these persons ever obtained places high above deserving officers
of capacity and experience is a question which cries aloud for
exposure--but in a good many cases they did. Indeed, it is to be
observed that, for that matter, the next register of the Army will
show a great many more promotions into the Volunteer service, of
officers who never heard a hostile bullet during the war, who never
left the United States at all, than it will of deserving officers who
bore the heat and burden of the march and the battle.

[Illustration: "Reina Mercedes" Sunk by the "Iowa" near Mouth of
Harbor of Santiago.]

The most discouraging thing about it all to a line officer is that
this same register will afford no means of determining who did the
service and who did the "baby act." Lieut. Blank will be borne thereon
as major and subsequently colonel of the Steenth Volunteers (which
never left the State rendezvous, probably) during the war with Spain;
Lieut. Blank No. 2 will be carried on the same book as second
lieutenant, ---- Infantry, during the same war. The gentle reader will
at once "spot" the man who was so highly promoted as a gallant fellow
who distinguished himself upon the bloody field; the other will be set
down as the man who did nothing and deserved nothing.

Yet--the ones who went received no promotion, and those who staid
behind and by their careless incompetence permitted camps amid the
peaceful scenes of homes and plenty to become the hot-beds of fever
and disease--these are the ones borne as field and other officers of
the Volunteers.

To illustrate some of the material with big titles sent to "assist" in
running the staff departments, two incidents will suffice.

On the 11th of June, at a certain headquarters, it was desired to send
a message, demanding reply, to each transport. A gray-haired officer
turned to another and said, "Whom shall we send with this? Will
So-and-so do?" naming one of the before-mentioned civil appointments.
"For heaven's sake, no! He would tie up the whole business. Send an
orderly," was the reply. The orderly, an enlisted man of the Regulars,
was sent. The officer thus adjudged less competent to carry a message
than a private soldier was perhaps actuated by a high sense of duty;
but he filled a place which should have been occupied by an
experienced and able officer--no, he did not fill it, but he prevented
such a man from doing so.

The second incident was related by an officer on a transport bound for
home. Say his name was--oh well, Smith.

Smith went, on the 20th of July, to a certain headquarters in the
field on business. Those who could have attended to it were absent,
but there was one of the recent arrivals, a high-ranking aide, there,
and he, sorry for Smith's worn-out look of hunger, heat, and thirst,
asked if he would have a drink. Smith, expecting at the best a canteen
of San Juan River water, said he was a little dry.

The newly-arrived clapped his hands, and, at the summons, a colored
waiter in spotless white duck appeared. "Waitah, take this gentleman's
ordah," said the host. Smith, greatly astonished, asked what could be
had, and was yet more astonished to learn that he could be served with
Canadian or domestic whisky, claret, champagne, or sherry. Much
bewildered, and utterly forgetting the awful dangers of liquor in the
tropics, he called for Canadian Club. When it came, on a
napkin-covered tray, he looked for water, and was about to use some
from a bucket full of ice which he at that moment espied. "Aw! hold
on," exclaimed the host; "we nevah use that, don't y' know, except to
cool the apollinaris. Waitah, bring the gentleman a bottle of
apollinaris to wash down his liquor."

Within half a mile were soldiers and officers lying sick in hospital
on the ground, eating hardtack and bacon, and drinking San Juan
straight, because hospital supplies and rations could not be got to
the front!

It was this same officer who explained that he approached his
headquarters "by rushes," upon his arrival, for fear the enemy would
see him and consider this reinforcement a violation of the truce.

These are two examples of some of the able assistants from civil life
who were sent to help feed, clothe, and transport the 5th Corps.

With such assistants, is it any wonder that, under such extraordinary
circumstances as those encountered in Cuba, a system designed for
peace and 25,000 men weakened in some respects when the attempt was
made to apply it to 300,000 in time of war?

The great wonder is that it did the work as well as it did. And this
was due to the superhuman exertions of the chief officers of the
supply departments and their experienced assistants. These men knew no
rest. They were untiring and zealous. On their own responsibility they
cut the red tape to the very smallest limit. Instead of the regular
returns and requisitions, the merest form of lead-pencil memorandum
was sufficient to obtain the necessary supplies, whenever they were
available. This much was absolutely necessary, for these officers were
personally responsible for every dollar's worth of supplies and had to
protect themselves in some degree. As it is now, many of them will
find it years before their accounts are finally settled, unless some
provision be made by law for their relief. This disregard of routine
was essential; but how much to be desired is a system suited to the
exigencies of the service, both in peace and war!

There is a lesson to be learned from these experiences, and it is
this: The commanding officer of any army organization should not be
hampered in the matter of supplies by having to obtain the approval or
disapproval of a junior in rank, in a distant bureau, who knows
nothing about the circumstances. In other words, the system which
causes the staff departments of the United States Army to regard a
civilian as their head, and makes them virtually independent of their
line commanders, is an utterly vicious system. If an officer is
competent to command an organization, he should be considered
competent to look after the details of its administration, and should
be held responsible, not only for its serviceable condition at all
times, but for the care of its property and for all the other details
connected with its service.

The quartermaster, or commissary, or other officer of a supply
department should not know any authority on earth higher or other than
the officer in command of the force he is to serve, except those in
the line above such chief, and then only when such orders come through
his chief.

The commanding officer having ordered supplies to be procured, there
should be no question whatever in regard to their being furnished.
They should come at once and without fail. If they were not necessary,
hold him responsible.

This theory of administration eliminates the bureaucracy which has
insidiously crept upon the Army, and relegates to their proper
position the supply departments.

The General Staff proper has a higher field of usefulness than the
mere problems of supply. Its business is to care for the organization,
mobilization, and strategic disposition of all the forces, both naval
and military, of the United States. Its head should be the President,
and the two divisions should be under the general commanding the Army
and the admiral commanding the Navy. The remainder of this staff
should be composed of a small but select personnel, and should limit
its duties exclusively to those set forth above.



The detachment received permission on the 10th of August to use any
standing tentage which it could find, and it was thoroughly under
shelter an hour after this permission was received. The climate of
Cuba was not so disagreeable when one could look at it through the
door of a tent, but we were not destined to enjoy our tentage very
long. On the 15th, at two o'clock, orders were received to go on board
the Leona at Santiago, bound for Montauk Point, and at half-past
five o'clock men, guns, and equipment were duly stowed for the voyage

It was much more agreeable than the one to Cuba, The transport was not
crowded, the men had excellent hammocks, which could be rolled up
during the day, thus leaving the whole berth deck for exercise and
ventilation, and the Leona was a much better vessel than the Cherokee.

The detachment finally disembarked at Montauk Point on the 23d, passed
through the usual detention camp, and was assigned a camping-place. It
was disbanded per instructions from headquarters, Montauk Point, on
the 5th of September, the members of the detachment returning to their
respective regiments, well satisfied with the work they had done and
with each other.

In concluding this memoir the author desires to pay a personal tribute
of admiration and respect to the brave men composing the detachment,
both individually and collectively. Some of them have figured more
prominently in these pages than others, but there was not a man in the
detachment who was not worthy to be called the highest term that can
be applied to any man--a brave American soldier.

The End.


Headquarters U. S. Troops,
Santiago de Cuba, July 19, 1898.

General Orders No. 26.

The successful accomplishment of the campaign against Santiago de
Cuba, resulting in its downfall and surrender of Spanish forces, the
capture of large military stores, together with the destruction of the
entire Spanish fleet in the harbor, which, upon the investment of the
city, was forced to leave, is one of which the Army can well be proud.

This has been accomplished through the heroic deeds of the Army and
its officers and men. The major-general commanding offers his sincere
thanks for their endurance of hardships heretofore unknown in the
American Army.

The work you have accomplished may well appeal to the pride of your
countrymen and has been rivaled upon but few occasions in the world's
history. Landing upon an unknown coast, you faced dangers in
disembarking and overcame obstacles that even in looking back upon
seem insurmountable. Seizing, with the assistance of the Navy, the
towns of Baiquiri and Siboney, you pushed boldly forth, gallantly
driving back the enemy's outposts in the vicinity of La Guasimas, and
completed the concentration of the army near Sevilla, within sight of
the Spanish stronghold at Santiago de Cuba. The outlook from Sevilla
was one that might have appalled the stoutest heart. Behind you ran a
narrow road made well-nigh impassable by rains, while to the front you
looked upon high foot-hills covered with a dense tropical growth,
which could only be traversed by bridle-paths terminating within range
of the enemy's guns. Nothing daunted, you responded eagerly to the
order to close upon the foe, and, attacking at El Caney and San Juan,
drove him from work to work until he took refuge within his last and
strongest entrenchment immediately surrounding the city. Despite the
fierce glare of a Southern sun and rains that fell in torrents, you
valiantly withstood his attempts to drive you from the position your
valor had won, holding in your vise-like grip the army opposed to you.
After seventeen days of battle and siege, you were rewarded by the
surrender of nearly 24,000 prisoners, 12,000 being those in your
immediate front, the others scattered in the various towns of eastern
Cuba, freeing completely the eastern part of the island from Spanish

This was not done without great sacrifices. The death of 230 gallant
soldiers and the wounding of 1,284 others shows but too plainly the
fierce contest in which you were engaged. The few reported missing are
undoubtedly among the dead, as no prisoners were taken. For those who
have fallen in battle, with you the commanding general sorrows, and
with you will ever cherish their memory. Their devotion to duty sets a
high example of courage and patriotism to our fellow-countrymen. All
who have participated in the campaign, battle, and siege of Santiago
de Cuba will recall with pride the grand deeds accomplished, and will
hold one another dear for having shared great suffering, hardships,
and triumphs together.

All may well feel proud to inscribe on their banners the name of
Santiago de Cuba.

By command of Major-General Shafter.

Official: John B. Miley,     E. J. McClernand,
             Aide.              Asst. Adj.-Gen.


The Santiago Campaign.

Report of Major-General Wm. R. Shafter, Commanding.

September 13, 1898.

Sir,--I have the honor to submit the following report of the campaign
which terminated in the fall of Santiago de Cuba and the adjacent
territory, and the establishment of the military government therein.

The expedition was undertaken in compliance with telegraphic
instructions of May 30, 1898, from Headquarters of the Army, in which
it was stated:

"Admiral Schley reports that two cruisers and two torpedo boats have
been seen in the harbor of Santiago. Go with your force to capture
garrison at Santiago and assist in capturing harbor and fleet."

On this date there were a large number of transports in Port Tampa
Bay, which had been collected for the purpose of an expedition which
it had been previously contemplated I should command, and for such
other emergencies as might arise. Orders were immediately given for
loading aboard those transports the necessary subsistence and
quartermaster supplies, and for the embarkation of the authorized
number of troops and their material. General Orders No. 5, from these
headquarters, indicate the organizations it was at first proposed to

The order is as follows:

"Headquarters 5th Army Corps,
"Tampa, Fla., May 31, 1898.

"G. O. 5.

"The following troops will hold themselves in readiness to move
immediately on board transports upon notification from these

"1. The 5th Army Corps.

"2. The Battalion of Engineers.

"3. The detachment of the Signal Corps.

"4. Five squadrons of cavalry, to be selected by the commanding
general of the cavalry division, in accordance with instructions
previously given.

"5. Four batteries of light artillery, to be commanded by a major, to
be selected by the commanding officer of the light artillery brigade.

"6. Two batteries of heavy artillery, to be selected by the commanding
officer of the siege artillery battalion, with eight (8) guns and
eight (8) field mortars.

"7. The Battalion of Engineers, the infantry and cavalry will be
supplied with 500 rounds of ammunition per man.

"8. All troops will carry, in addition to the fourteen (14) days'
field rations now on hand, ten (10) days' travel rations.

"9. The minimum allowance of tentage and baggage as prescribed in
G. O. 54, A. G. O., c. s., will be taken.

"10. In addition to the rations specified in paragraph 8 of this
order, the chief commissary will provide sixty (60) days' field
rations for the entire command.

"11. All recruits and extra baggage, the latter to be stored,
carefully piled and covered, will be left in camp in charge of a
commissioned officer, to be selected by the regimental commander.
Where there are no recruits available, the necessary guard only will
be left.

"12. Travel rations will be drawn at once by the several commands, as
indicated in paragraph 8.

"By command of Maj.-Gen. Shafter.

"E. J. McClernand,
"A. A. G."

This order was afterwards changed to include twelve squadrons of
cavalry, all of which were dismounted because of lack of
transportation for the animals, and because it was believed, from the
best sources of information obtainable, that mounted cavalry could not
operate efficiently in the neighborhood of Santiago. This was found
subsequently to be correct.

The facilities at Tampa and Port Tampa for embarking the troops and
the large amount of supplies required were inadequate, and with the
utmost effort it was not possible to accomplish this work as quickly
as I hoped and desired.

On the evening of June 7th I received orders to sail without delay,
but not with less than 10,000 men.

The orders referred to caused one division, composed of Volunteer
troops, commanded by Brig.-Gen. Snyder, and which it had been intended
to include in my command, to be left behind. I was joined, however, by
Brig.-Gen. Bates, who had already arrived on transports from Mobile,
Ala., with the 3d and 20th Infantry and one squadron of the 2d Cavalry
with their horses, the latter being the only mounted troops in my

After some of them had already reached the lower bay, telegraphic
instructions were received from the honorable Secretary of War,
directing that the sailing of the expedition be delayed, waiting
further orders. This delay was occasioned by the Navy reporting that a
Spanish war vessel had been sighted in the Nicholas Channel. The ships
in the lower bay were immediately recalled. On the next day, in
compliance with instructions from the adjutant-general of the Army,
the necessary steps were taken to increase the command to the full
capacity of the transports, and the expedition sailed on June 14th
with 815 officers and 16,072 enlisted men.

The passage to Santiago was generally smooth and uneventful. The
health of the command remained remarkably good, notwithstanding the
fact that the conveniences on many of the transports, in the nature of
sleeping accommodations, space for exercise, closet accommodations,
etc., were not all that could have been desired. While commenting upon
this subject, it is appropriate to add that the opinion was general
throughout the Army that the travel ration should include tomatoes,
beginning with the first day, and that a small quantity of canned
fruit would prove to be a most welcome addition while traveling at sea
in the tropics. If the future policy of our Government requires much
transportation for the military forces by sea, definite arrangements
should be determined upon to provide the necessary hammock
accommodations for sleeping. Hammocks interfere immeasurably less than
bunks with the proper ventilation of the ships and during the day can
be easily removed, thus greatly increasing space for exercise;
moreover, they greatly diminish the danger of fire.

While passing along the north coast of Cuba one of the two barges we
had in tow broke away during the night, and was not recovered. This
loss proved to be very serious, for it delayed and embarrassed the
disembarkation of the army. On the morning of June 20th we arrived off
Guantanamo Bay, and about noon reached the vicinity of Santiago, where
Admiral Sampson came on board my headquarters transport. It was
arranged between us to visit in the afternoon the Cuban general
(Garcia) at Aserraderos, about eighteen miles to the west of the
Morro. During the interview Gen. Garcia offered the services of his
troops, comprising about 4,000 men in the vicinity of Aserraderos and
about 500, under Gen. Castillo, at the little town of Cujababo, a few
miles east of Baiquiri. I accepted his offer, impressing it upon him
that I could exercise no military control over him except, such as he
would concede, and as long as he served under me I would furnish him
rations and ammunition.


Ever since the receipt of my orders I had made a study of the terrain
surrounding Santiago, gathering information mainly from the former
residents of the city, several of whom were on the transports with me.
At this interview all the possible points of attack were for the last
time carefully weighed, and then, for the information and guidance of
Admiral Sampson and Gen. Garcia, I outlined the plan of campaign,
which was as follows:

With the assistance of the small boats of the Navy, the disembarkation
was to commence on the morning of the 22d at Baiquiri; on the 21st 500
insurgent troops were to be transferred from Aserraderos to Cujababo,
increasing the force already there to 1,000 men. This force, under
Gen. Castillo, was to attack the Spanish force at Baiquiri in the rear
at the time of disembarkation. This movement was successfully made. To
mislead the enemy as to the real point of our intended landing, I
requested Gen. Garcia to send a small force (about 500 men), under
Gen. Rabi, to attack the little town of Cabanas, situated on the coast
a few miles to the west of the entrance to Santiago harbor, and where
it was reported the enemy had several men intrenched, and from which a
trail leads around the west side of the bay to Santiago.

I also requested Admiral Sampson to send several of his warships, with
a number of my transports, opposite this town, for the purpose of
making a show of disembarking there.

In addition, I asked the admiral to cause a bombardment to be made at
Cabanas and also at the forts around the Morro and at the towns of
Aguadores, Siboney, and Baiquiri. The troops under Gen. Garcia
remaining at Aserraderos were to be transferred to Baiquiri or Siboney
on the 24th. This was successfully accomplished at Siboney.

These movements committed me to approaching Santiago from the east
over a narrow road, at first in some places not better than a trail,
running from Baiquiri through Siboney and Sevilla, and making attack
from that quarter. This, in my judgment, was the only feasible plan,
and subsequent information and results confirmed my judgment.

On the morning of the 22d the Army commenced to disembark at Baiquiri.
The following general order indicates the manner in which the troops
left the transports and the amount of supplies carried immediately
with them:

"Headquarters 5th Army Corps,
"On board S. S. Seguransa,
"At Sea, June 20, 1898.

"G. O. 18.


"1. Under instructions to be communicated to the proper commanders,
troops will disembark in the following order:

"First--The 2d Division, 5th Corps (Lawton's). The Gatling Gun
Detachment will accompany this division.

"Second--Gen. Bates' Brigade. This brigade will form as a reserve to
the 2d Division, 5th Corps.

"Third--The dismounted cavalry division (Wheeler's).

"Fourth--The 1st Division, 5th Corps (Kent's).

"Fifth--The squadron of the 2d Cavalry (Rafferty's).

"Sixth--If the enemy in force vigorously resist the landing, the light
artillery, or a part of it, will be disembarked by the battalion
commander, and brought to the assistance of the troops engaged. If no
serious opposition be offered this artillery will be unloaded after
the mounted squadron.

"2. All troops will carry on the person the blanket-roll (with
shelter-tent and poncho), three days' field rations (with coffee,
ground), canteens filled, and 100 rounds of ammunition per man.
Additional ammunition, already issued to the troops, tentage, baggage,
and company cooking utensils will be left under charge of the
regimental quartermaster, with one non-commissioned officer and two
privates from each company.

"3. All persons not immediately on duty with and constituting a part
of the organizations mentioned in the foregoing paragraphs will remain
aboard ship until the landing be accomplished, and until notified they
can land.

"4. The chief quartermaster of the expedition will control all small
boats and will distribute them to the best advantage to disembark the
troops in the order indicated in paragraph 1.

"5. The ordnance officer--2d Lieut. Brooke, 4th Infantry--will put on
shore at once 100 rounds of ammunition per man, and have it ready for
distribution on the firing-line.

"6. The commanding general wishes to impress officers and men with the
crushing effect a well-directed fire will have upon the Spanish
troops. All officers concerned will rigidly enforce fire discipline,
and will caution their men to fire only when they can be see the

       *       *       *       *       *

"By command of Maj.-Gen. Shafter.

"E. J. McClernand,
"A. A. G."

The small boats belonging to the Navy and the transports, together
with a number of steam launches, furnished by the Navy, were brought
alongside and loaded with troops as prescribed in the order just
quoted. When Gen. Lawton's Division was fairly loaded in the small
boats, the latter were towed in long lines by the steam launches
toward the shore. The sea was somewhat rough, but by the exercise of
caution and good judgment the beach was reached and the troops
disembarked satisfactorily. As a precaution against a possible attack
upon the part of any Spaniards who might have been hidden in the
adjacent block-houses and woods, the Navy opened a furious cannonade
on these places while the troops were moving toward the shore. It was
learned afterward that the Spanish garrison had retired in the
direction of Siboney soon after daylight.

By night about 6,000 troops were on shore. Gen. Lawton was ordered to
push down a strong force to seize and hold Siboney.

On the 23d the disembarkation was continued and about 6,000 more men
landed. Early on this date Gen. Lawton's advance reached Siboney, the
Spanish garrison of about 600 men retiring as he came up, and offering
no opposition except a few scattering shots at long range. Some of the
Cuban troops pursued the retreating Spaniards and skirmished with
them. During the afternoon of this date the disembarkation of Kent's
Division was commenced at Siboney, which enabled me to establish a
base eight miles nearer Santiago and to continue the unloading of
troops and supplies at both points.

The disembarkation was continued throughout the night of the 23d and
24th, and by the evening of the 24th the disembarkation of my command
was practically completed.


The orders for June 24th contemplated Gen. Lawton's Division taking a
strong defensive position a short distance from Siboney, on the road
to Santiago; Kent's Division was to be held near Santiago, where he
disembarked; Bates' Brigade was to take position in support of Lawton,
while Wheeler's Division was to be somewhat to the rear on the road
from Siboney to Baiquiri. It was intended to maintain this situation
until the troops and transportation were disembarked and a reasonable
quantity of necessary supplies landed. Gen. Young's Brigade, however,
passed beyond Lawton on the night of the 23d-24th, thus taking the
advance, and on the morning of the latter date became engaged with a
Spanish force intrenched in a strong position at La Guasima, a point
on the Santiago road about three miles from Siboney. Gen. Young's
force consisted of one squadron of the 1st Cavalry, one of the 10th
Cavalry, and two of the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry; in all,
964 officers and men.

The enemy made an obstinate resistance, but were driven from the field
with considerable loss. Our own loss was 1 officer and 15 men killed,
6 officers and 46 men wounded. The reported losses of the Spaniards
were 9 killed and 27 wounded. The engagement had an inspiring effect
upon our men and doubtless correspondingly depressed the enemy, as it
was now plainly demonstrated to them that they had a foe to meet who
would advance upon them under a heavy fire delivered from
intrenchments. Gen. Wheeler, division commander, was present during
the engagement and reports that our troops, officers and men, fought
with the greatest gallantry. His report is attached, marked "A." This
engagement gave us a well-watered country farther to the front on
which to encamp our troops.

My efforts to unload transportation and subsistence stores, so that we
might have several days' rations on shore, were continued during the
remainder of the month. In this work I was ably seconded by
Lieut.-Col. Charles F. Humphrey, deputy Q. M. G., U. S. A., chief
quartermaster, and Col. John F. Weston, A. O. G. S., chief commissary;
hut, notwithstanding the utmost efforts, it was difficult to land
supplies in excess of those required daily to feed the men and
animals, and the loss of the scow, mentioned as having broken away
during the voyage, as well as the loss at sea of lighters sent by
Quartermaster's Department was greatly felt. Indeed, the lack of steam
launches, lighters, scows, and wharves can only be appreciated by
those who were on the ground directing the disembarkation and landing
of supplies. 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 the daily consumption.

After the engagement at La Guasima, and before the end of the month,
the army, including Gen. Garcia's command, which had been brought on
transports to Siboney from Aserraderos, was mostly concentrated at
Sevilla, with the exception of the necessary detachments at Baiquiri
and Siboney.

On June 30th I reconnoitered the country about Santiago and made my
plan of attack. From a high hill, from which the city was in plain
view, I could see the San Juan Hill and the country about El Caney.
The roads were very poor, and, indeed, little better than bridle-paths
until the San Juan River and El Caney were reached.

The position of El Caney, to the northeast of Santiago, was of great
importance to the enemy as holding the Guantanamo road, as well as
furnishing shelter for a strong outpost that might be used to assail
the right flank of any force operating against San Juan Hill.

In view of this, I decided to begin the attack next day at El Caney
with one division, while sending two divisions on the direct road to
Santiago, passing by the El Pozo house, and as a diversion to direct a
small force against Aguadores, from Siboney along the railroad by the
sea, with a view of attracting the attention of the Spaniards in the
latter direction and of preventing them from attacking our left flank.

During the afternoon I assembled the division commanders and explained
to them my general plan of battle. Lawton's Division, assisted by
Capron's Light Battery, was ordered to move out during the afternoon
toward El Caney, to begin the attack there early the next morning.
After carrying El Caney, Lawton was to move by the El Caney road
toward Santiago, and take position on the right of the line. Wheeler's
Division of dismounted cavalry, and Kent's Division of infantry, were
directed on the Santiago road, the head of the column resting near El
Pozo, toward which heights Grimes' Battery moved on the afternoon of
the 30th, with orders to take position thereon early the next morning,
and at the proper time prepare the way for the advance of Wheeler and
Kent, on San Juan Hill. The attack at this point was to be delayed
until Lawton's guns were heard at El Caney and his infantry fire
showed he had become well engaged.

The remainder of the afternoon and night was devoted to cutting out
and repairing the roads, and other necessary preparations for battle.
These preparations were far from what I desired them to be, but we
were in a sickly climate; our supplies had to be brought forward by a
narrow wagon road, which the rains might at any time render
impassable; fear was entertained that a storm might drive the vessels
containing our stores to sea, thus separating us from our base of
supplies; and, lastly, it was reported that Gen. Pando, with 8,000
reinforcements for the enemy, was _en route_ from Manzanillo, and
might be expected in a few days. Under these conditions, I determined
to give battle without delay.


Early on the morning of July 1st, Lawton was in position around El
Caney, Chaffee's Brigade on the right, across the Guantanamo road,
Miles' Brigade in the center, and Ludlow's on the left. The duty of
cutting off the enemy's retreat along the Santiago road was assigned
to the latter brigade. The artillery opened on the town at 6:15 a. m.
The battle here soon became general, and was hotly contested. The
enemy's position was naturally strong, and was rendered more so by
block-houses, a stone fort, and intrenchments cut in solid rock, and
the loop-holing of a solidly built stone church. The opposition
offered by the enemy was greater than had been anticipated, and
prevented Lawton from joining the right of the main line during the
day, as had been intended. After the battle had continued for some
time, Bates' Brigade of two regiments reached my headquarters from
Siboney. I directed him to move near El Caney, to give assistance if
necessary. He did so, and was put in position between Miles and
Chaffee. The battle continued with varying intensity during most of
the day and until the place was carried by assault about 4:30 p. m. As
the Spaniards endeavored to retreat along the Santiago road, Ludlow's
position enabled him to do very effective work, and to practically cut
off all retreat in that direction.

After the battle at El Caney was well opened, and the sound of the
small-arm fire caused us to believe that Lawton was driving the enemy
before him, I directed Grimes' Battery to open fire from the heights
of El Pozo on the San Juan block-house, which could be seen situated
in the enemy's intrenchments extending along the crest of San Juan
Hill. This fire was effective, and the enemy could be seen running
away from the vicinity of the block-house. The artillery fire from El
Pozo was soon returned by the enemy's artillery. They evidently had
the range of this hill, and their first shells killed and wounded
several men. As the Spaniards used smokeless powder, it was very
difficult to locate the position of their pieces, while, on the
contrary, the smoke caused by our black powder plainly indicated the
position of our battery.

At this time the cavalry division, under Gen. Sumner, which was lying
concealed in the general vicinity of the El Pozo house, was ordered
forward with directions to cross the San Juan River and deploy to the
right of the Santiago side, while Kent's Division was to follow
closely in its rear and deploy to the left.

These troops moved forward in compliance with orders, but the road was
so narrow as to render it impracticable to retain the column of fours
formation at all points, while the undergrowth on either side was so
dense as to preclude the possibility of deploying skirmishers. It
naturally resulted that the progress made was slow, and the long-range
rifles of the enemy's infantry killed and wounded a number of our men
while marching along this road, and before there was any opportunity
to return this fire. At this time Generals Kent and Sumner were
ordered to push forward with all possible haste and place their troops
in position to engage the enemy. Gen. Kent, with this end in view,
forced the head of his column alongside of the cavalry column as far
as the narrow trail permitted, and thus hurried his arrival at the San
Juan and the formation beyond that stream. A few hundred yards before
reaching the San Juan the road forks, a fact that was discovered by
Lieut.-Col. Derby of my staff, who had approached well to the front in
a war balloon. This information he furnished to the troops, resulting
in Sumner moving on the right-hand road, while Kent was enabled to
utilize the road to the left.

Gen. Wheeler, the permanent commander of the cavalry division, who had
been ill, came forward during the morning, and later returned to duty
and rendered most gallant and efficient service during the remainder
of the day.

After crossing the stream, the cavalry moved to the right with a view
of connecting with Lawton's left, when he could come up, and with
their left resting near the Santiago road.

In the meantime Kent's Division, with the exception of two regiments
of Hawkins' Brigade, being thus uncovered, moved rapidly to the front
from the forks previously mentioned in the road, utilizing both
trails, but more especially the one to the left, and, crossing the
creek, formed for attack in front of San Juan Hill. During the
formation the 2d Brigade suffered severely. While personally
superintending this movement, its gallant commander, Col. Wikoff, was
killed. The command of the brigade then devolved upon Lieut.-Col.
Worth, 13th Infantry, who was soon severely wounded, and next upon
Lieut.-Col. Liscum, 24th Infantry, who, five minutes later, also fell
under the terrible fire of the enemy, and the command of the brigade
then devolved upon Lieut.-Col. Ewers, 9th Infantry.

While the formation just described was taking place, Gen. Kent took
measures to hurry forward his rear brigade. The 10th and 2d Infantry
were ordered to follow. Wikoff's Brigade, while the 21st was sent on
the right-hand road to support the 1st Brigade, under Gen. Hawkins,
who had crossed the stream and formed on the right of the division.
The 2d and 10th Infantry, Col. E. P. Pearson commanding, moved forward
in good order on the left of the division, passed over a green knoll,
and drove the enemy back toward his trenches.

After completing their formation under a destructive fire, and
advancing a short distance, both divisions found in their front a wide
bottom, in which had been placed a barbed-wire entanglement, and
beyond which there was a high hill, along the crest of which the enemy
was strongly posted. Nothing daunted, these gallant men pushed on to
drive the enemy from his chosen position, both divisions losing
heavily. In this assault Col. Hamilton, Lieuts. Smith and Shipp were
killed, and Col. Carroll, Lieuts. Thayer and Myer, all in the cavalry,
were wounded.

Great credit is due to Brig.-Gen. H. S. Hawkins, who, placing himself
between his regiments, urged them on by voice and bugle calls to the
attack so brilliantly executed.

In this fierce encounter words fail to do justice to the gallant
regimental commanders and their heroic men, for, while the generals
indicated the formations and the points of attack, it was, after all,
the intrepid bravery of the subordinate officers and men that planted
our colors on the crest of San Juan Hill and drove the enemy from his
trenches and block-houses, thus gaining a position which sealed the
fate of Santiago.

_In this action on this part of the field most efficient service was
rendered by Lieut. John H. Parker, 13th Infantry, and the Gatling Gun
Detachment under his command. The fighting continued at intervals
until nightfall, but our men held resolutely to the positions gained
at the cost of so much blood and toil._

I am greatly indebted to Gen. Wheeler, who, as previously stated,
returned from the sick-list to duty during the afternoon. His
cheerfulness and aggressiveness made itself felt on this part of the
battle-field, and the information he furnished to me at various stages
of the battle proved to be most useful.


My own health was impaired by overexertion in the sun and intense heat
of the day before, which prevented me from participating as actively
in the battle as I desired; but from a high hill near my headquarters
I had a general view of the battle-field, extending from El Caney on
the right to the left of our lines on San Juan Hill. His staff
officers were stationed at various points on the field, rendering
frequent reports, and through them, by the means of orderlies and the
telephone, I was enabled to transmit my orders. During the afternoon I
visited the position of Grimes' Battery on the heights of El Pozo, and
saw Sumner and Kent in firm possession of San Juan Hill, which I
directed should be intrenched during the night. My engineer officer,
Lieut.-Col. Derby, collected and sent forward the necessary tools, and
during the night trenches of very considerable strength were

During the afternoon, Maj. Dillenback, by my order, brought forward
the two remaining batteries of his battalion and put them in position
at El Pozo, to the left of Grimes. Later in the afternoon all three
batteries were moved forward to positions near the firing-line, but
the nature of the country and the intensity of the enemy's small-arm
fire was such that no substantial results were gained by our artillery
in the new positions. The batteries were intrenched during the night.
Gen. Duffield, with the 33d Michigan, attacked Aguadores, as ordered,
but was unable to accomplish more than to detain the Spaniards in that

After the brilliant and important victory gained at El Caney, Lawton
started his tried troops, who had been fighting all day and marching
much of the night before, to connect with the right of the cavalry
division. Night came on before this movement could be accomplished. In
the darkness the enemy's pickets were encountered, and the division
commander, being uncertain of the ground and as to what might be in
his front, halted his command and reported the situation to me. This
information was received about 12:30 a. m., and I directed Gen. Lawton
to return by my headquarters and the El Pozo house as the only certain
way of gaining his new position.

This was done, and the division took position on the right of the
cavalry early next morning; Chaffee's Brigade arriving first, about
half-past seven, and the other brigades before noon.

On the night of July 1st, I ordered Gen. Duffield, at Siboney, to send
forward the 34th Michigan and the 9th Massachusetts. Both of which had
just arrived from the United States. These regiments reached the front
the next morning. The 34th was placed in rear of Kent, and the 9th was
assigned to Bates, who placed it on his left.

Soon after daylight on July 2d the enemy opened battle, but because of
the intrenchments made during the night, the approach of Lawton's
Division, and the presence of Bates' Brigade, which had taken position
during the night on Kent's left, little apprehension was felt as to
our ability to repel the Spaniards.

It is proper here to state that Gen. Bates and his brigade had
performed most arduous and efficient service, having marched much of
the night of June 30th-July 1st, and a good part of the latter day,
during which he also participated in the battle of El Caney, after
which he proceeded, by way of El Pozo, to the left of the line at San
Juan, reaching his new position about midnight.

All day on the 2d the battle raged with more or less fury, but such of
our troops as were in position at daylight held their ground, and
Lawton gained a strong and commanding position on the right.

About 10 p. m. the enemy made a vigorous assault to break through my
lines, but he was repulsed at all points.


On the morning of the 3d the battle was renewed, but the enemy seemed
to have expended his energy in the assault of the previous night, and
the firing along the lines was desultory until stopped by my sending
the following letter within the Spanish lines:

"Headquarters U. S. Forces, near San Juan River,
"July 3, 1898--8:30 a. m.

"Sir,--I shall be obliged, unless you surrender, to shell Santiago de
Cuba. Please inform the citizens of foreign countries, and all the
women and children, that they should leave the city before 10 o'clock
to-morrow morning.

"Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

"William R. Shafter,
"Maj.-Gen. U. S. Vols.
"The Commanding General of the Spanish Forces, Santiago de Cuba."

To this letter I received the following reply:

"Santiago de Cuba, July 3, 1898.

"His Excellency the General Commanding Forces of the United States,
near San Juan River:

"Sir,--I have the honor to reply to your communication of to-day,
written at 8:30 a. m. and received at 1 p. m., demanding the surrender
of this city, or, in the contrary case, announcing to me that you will
bombard this city, and that I advise the foreigners, women and
children, that they must leave the city before 10 o'clock to-morrow

"It is my duty to say to you that this city will not surrender, and
that I will inform the foreign consuls and inhabitants of the contents
of your message.

"Very respectfully, Jose Toral,
"Commander-in-Chief 4th Corps."

Several of the foreign consuls came into my lines and asked that the
time given for them--the women and children--to depart from the city
be extended until 10 o'clock on July 5th. This induced me to write a
second letter, as follows:

"Santiago de Cuba, July 3d, 1898.

"Sir,--In consideration of a request of the consular officers in your
city for further delay in carrying out my intentions to fire on the
city, and in the interests of the poor women and children who will
suffer very greatly by their hasty and enforced departure from the
city, I have the honor to announce that I will delay such action,
solely in their interests, until noon of the 5th, provided that during
the interim your forces make no demonstration whatever upon those of
my own.

"I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

"William R Shafter,
"Maj.-Gen. U. S. A.
"The Commanding General, Spanish Forces."

My first message went under a flag of truce at 12:42 p.m. I was of the
opinion that the Spaniards would surrender if given a little time, and
I thought this result would be hastened if the men of their army could
be made to understand they would be well treated as prisoners of war.
Acting upon this presumption, I determined to offer to return all the
wounded Spanish officers at El Caney who were able to bear
transportation, and who were willing to give their paroles not to
serve against the forces of the United States until regularly
exchanged. This offer was made and accepted. These officers, as well
as several of the wounded Spanish privates, twenty-seven in all, were
sent to their lines under the escort of some of our mounted cavalry.
Our troops were received with honors, and I have every reason to
believe the return of the Spanish prisoners produced a good impression
on their comrades.


The cessation of firing about noon on the 3d practically terminated
the battle of Santiago; all that occurred after this time may properly
be treated under the head of the siege which followed. After deducting
the detachments required at Siboney and Baiquiri to render those
depots secure from attack, organizations held to protect our flanks,
others acting as escorts and guards to light batteries, the members of
the Hospital Corps, guards left in charge of blanket-rolls which the
intense heat caused the men to cast aside before entering battle,
orderlies, etc., it is doubtful if we had more than 12,000 men on the
firing-line on July 1, when the battle was fiercest and when the
important and strong positions of El Caney and San Juan were captured.

A few Cubans assisted in the attack at El Caney, and fought valiantly,
but their numbers were too small to materially change the strength, as
indicated above. The enemy confronted us with numbers about equal to
our own; they fought obstinately in strong and intrenched positions,
and the results obtained clearly indicate the intrepid gallantry of
the company officers and men, and the benefits derived from the
careful training and instruction given in the company in the recent
years in rifle practice and other battle exercises. Our losses in
these battles were 22 officers and 208 men killed, and 81 officers and
1,203 men wounded; missing, 79. The missing, with few exceptions,
reported later.

The arrival of Gen. Escario on the night of July 2d, and his entrance
into the city was not anticipated, for although it was known, as
previously stated, that Gen. Pando had left Manzanillo with
reinforcements for the garrison of Santiago, it was not believed his
troops could arrive so soon. Gen. Garcia, with between 4,000 and 5,000
Cubans, was intrusted with the duty of watching for and intercepting
the reinforcement expected. This, however, he failed to do, and
Escario passed into the city along on my extreme right and near the
bay. Up to this time I had been unable to complete investment of the
town with my own men; but to prevent any more reinforcements coming in
or the enemy escaping. I extended my lines as rapidly as possible to
the extreme right, and completed the investment of the place, leaving
Gen. Garcia's forces in the rear of my right flank to scout the
country for any approaching Spanish reinforcements, a duty which his
forces were very competent to perform.

It had been reported that 8,000 Spanish troops had left Holquin for
Santiago. It was also known that there was a considerable force at San
Luis, twenty miles to the north.

In the battle of Santiago the Spanish navy endeavored to shell our
troops on the extreme right, but the latter were concealed by the
inequalities of the ground, and the shells did little, if any, harm.
Their naval forces also assisted in the trenches, having 1,000 on
shore, and I am informed they sustained considerable loss; among
others, Admiral Cervera's chief-of-staff was killed. Being convinced
that the city would fall, Admiral Cervera determined to put to sea,
informing the French consul it was better to die fighting than to sink
his ships. The news of the great naval victory which followed was
enthusiastically received by the Army.

The information of our naval victory was transmitted under flag of
truce to the Spanish commander in Santiago on July 4th, and the
suggestion again made that he surrender to save needless effusion of

On the same date I informed Admiral Sampson that if he would force his
way into the harbor the city would surrender without any further
sacrifice of life. Commodore Watson replied that Admiral Sampson was
temporarily absent, but that in his (Watson's) opinion the Navy should
not enter the harbor.

In the meanwhile letters passing between Gen. Toral and myself caused
the cessation of hostilities to continue. Each army, however,
continued to strengthen its intrenchments. I was still of the opinion
the Spaniards would surrender without much more fighting, and on July
6th called Gen. Toral's attention to the changed conditions, and at
his request gave him time to consult his home government. This he did,
asking that the British consul, with the employees of the cable
company, be permitted to return from El Caney to the city. This I

The strength of the enemy's position was such I did not wish to
assault if it could be avoided.

An examination of the enemy's works, made after the surrender, fully
justifies the wisdom of the course adopted. The intrenchments could
only have been carried with very great loss of life, probably with not
less than 6,000 killed and wounded.


On July 8th Gen. Toral offered to march out of the city with arms and
baggage, provided he would not be molested before reaching Holquin,
and to surrender to the American forces the territory then occupied by
him. I replied that while I would submit his proposition to my home
government. I did not think it would be accepted.

In the meanwhile arrangements were made with Admiral Sampson that when
the Army again engaged the enemy the Navy would assist by shelling the
city from ships stationed off Aguadores, dropping a shell every few

On July 10th the 1st Illinois and the 1st District of Columbia arrived
and were placed on the line to the right of the Cavalry division. This
enabled me to push Lawton farther to the right and to practically
command the Cobre road.

On the afternoon of the date last mentioned the truce was broken off
at 4 p.m., and I determined to open with four batteries of artillery
and went forward in person to the trenches to give the necessary
orders, but the enemy anticipated us by opening fire with his
artillery a few minutes after the hour stated. His batteries were
apparently silenced before night, while ours continued playing upon
his trenches until dark. During this firing the Navy fired from
Aguadores, most of the shells falling in the city. There was also some
small arms firing. On this afternoon and the next morning, we lost
Capt. Charles W. Rowell, 2d Infantry, and one man killed, and Lieut.
Lutz, 2d Infantry, and ten men wounded.

On the morning of July 11th the bombardment by the Navy and my field
guns was renewed, and continued until nearly noon, and on the same day
I reported to the Adjutant General of the Army that the right of
Ludlow's brigade of Lawton's division rested on the bay. Thus our hold
upon the enemy was complete.

At 2 p. m. on this date, the 11th, the surrender of the city was again
demanded. The firing ceased, and was not again renewed. By this date
the sickness in the Army was increasing very rapidly, as a result of
exposure in the trenches to the intense heat of the sun and the heavy
rains. Moreover, the dews in Cuba are almost equal to rains. The
weakness of the troops was becoming so apparent I was anxious to bring
the siege to an end, but in common with most of the officers of the
Army, I did not think an assault would be justifiable, especially as
the enemy seemed to be acting in good faith in their preliminary
propositions to surrender.

On July 11th I wrote to General Toral as follows:

"With the largely increased forces which have come to me and the fact
that I have your line of retreat securely in my hands, the time seems
fitting that I should again demand of your excellency the surrender of
Santiago and of your excellency's army. I am authorized to state that
should your excellency so desire, the Government of the United States
will transport the entire command of your excellency to Spain."

General Toral replied that he had communicated my proposition to his
General-in-Chief, General Blanco.

July 12th I informed the Spanish commander that Major General Miles,
Commander-in-Chief of the American Army, had just arrived in my camp,
and requested him to grant us a personal interview on the following
day. He replied he would be pleased to meet us. The interview took
place on the 13th, and I informed him his surrender only could be
considered, and that as he was without hope of escape he had no right
to continue the fight.

On the 14th another interview took place, during which General Toral
agreed to surrender, upon the basis of his army, the 4th Army Corps,
being returned to Spain, the capitulation embracing all of Eastern
Cuba, east of a line passing from Aserraderos, on the south, to Sagua
de Tanamo, on the north, via Palma, Soriano. It was agreed
Commissioners should meet during the afternoon to definitely arrange
the terms of surrender, and I appointed Major Generals Wheeler and
Lawton and Lieutenant Miley to represent the United States.

The Spanish Commissioners raised many points, and were especially
desirous of retaining their arms. The discussion lasted until late at
night and was renewed at 9:30 o'clock next morning. The terms of
surrender finally agreed upon included about 12,000 Spanish troops in
the city and as many more in the surrendered district.

It was arranged that the formal surrender should take place between
the lines on the morning of July 17th, each army being represented by
100 armed men. At the time appointed, I appeared at the place agreed
upon, with my general officers, staff, and 100 troopers of the 2d
Cavalry, under Captain Brett. General Toral also arrived with a number
of his officers and 100 infantry. We met midway between the
representatives of our two Armies, and the Spanish commander formally
consummated the surrender of the city and the 24,000 troops in
Santiago and the surrendered district.

After this ceremony I entered the city with my staff and escort, and
at 12 o'clock, noon, the American flag was raised over the Governor's
palace with appropriate ceremonies.

The 9th Infantry immediately took possession of the city and perfect
order was maintained. The surrender included a small gunboat and about
200 seamen, together with five merchant ships in the harbor. One of
these vessels, the Mexico, had been used as a war vessel, and had
four guns mounted on it.

In taking charge of the civil government, all officials who were
willing to serve were retained in office, and the established order of
government was preserved as far as consistent with the necessities of
military rule.

I soon found the number of officials was excessive, and I greatly
reduced the list, and some departments were entirely abolished.

A collector of customs, Mr. Donaldson, arrived soon after the
surrender, and, due to his energy and efficiency, this department was
soon working satisfactorily. The total receipts had, up to my
departure, been $102,000.

On August 4th I received orders to begin the embarkation of my command
and ship them to Montauk Point Long Island, New York. The movement
continued without interruption until August 25th, when I sailed for
Montauk with the last troops in my command, turning over the command
of the district to Major General Lawton.


Before closing my report I wish to dwell upon the natural obstacles I
had to encounter and which no foresight could have overcome or
obviated. The rocky and precipitous coast afforded no sheltered
landing places, the roads were mere bridle-paths, the effect of the
tropical sun and rains upon the unacclimated troops was deadly, and a
dread of strange and unknown diseases had its effect on the Army.

At Baiquiri the landing of the troops and stores was made a small
wooden wharf, which the Spaniards tried to burn, but unsuccessfully,
and the animals were pushed into the water and guided to a sandy beach
about 200 yards in extent. At Siboney the landing was made on the
beach and at a small wharf erected by the engineers.

I had neither the time nor the men to spare to construct permanent

In spite of the fact that I had nearly 1,000 men continuously at work
on the roads, they were at times impassable for wagons.

The San Juan and Aguadores rivers would often suddenly rise so as to
prevent the passage of wagons, and then the eight pack trains with the
command had to be depended upon for the victualing of my Army, as well
as the 20,000 refugees, who could not in the interests of humanity be
left to starve while we had rations.

Often for days nothing could be moved except on pack trains.

After the great physical strain and exposure of July 1st and 2d, the
malarial and other fevers began to rapidly advance throughout the
command, and on July 4th the yellow fever appeared at Siboney. Though
efforts were made to keep this fact from the Army, it soon became

The supply of Quartermaster and Commissary stores during the campaign
was abundant, and notwithstanding the difficulties in landing and
transporting the ration, the troops on the firing line were at all
times supplied with its coarser components, namely, of bread, meat,
sugar, and coffee.

There was no lack of transportation, for at no time up to the
surrender could all the wagons I had be used.

In reference to the sick and wounded, I have to say that they received
every attention that was possible to give them. The medical officers,
without exception, worked night and day to alleviate the suffering,
which was no greater than invariably accompanies a campaign. It would
have been better if we had had more ambulances, but as many were taken
as was thought necessary, judging from previous campaigns.

The discipline of the command was superb, and I wish to invite
attention to the fact that not an officer was brought to trial by
court martial, and, as far as I know, no enlisted men. This speaks
volumes for an Army of this size and in a campaign of such duration.

In conclusion, I desire to express to the members of my staff my
thanks for their efficient performance of all the duties required of
them, and the good judgment and bravery displayed on all occasions
when demanded.

I submit the following recommendations for promotion, which I
earnestly desire to see made. It is a very little reward to give them
for their devotion and fearless exposure of their lives in their
country's cause:

E. J. McClernand, Lieutenant Colonel and Adjutant General, U. S. A.,
to be brevetted Colonel for gallantry in the face of the enemy on the
1st and 2d of July, and to be brevetted Brigadier General for faithful
and meritorious service throughout the campaign.

Geo. McC. Derby, Lieutenant Colonel of Engineers, U. S. V., to be
brevetted Colonel for hazardous service on July 1st and 2d in
reconnoitering the enemy's lines, and to be brevetted Brigadier
General for hazardous and meritorious service in ascending, under a
hot fire, in a war balloon on July 1st, thus gaining valuable

J. D. Miley, Lieutenant Colonel and Inspector General, U. S. A., to be
brevetted Colonel for conspicuous gallantry in the battle of San Juan
on July 1st, and to be brevetted Brigadier General for faithful and
meritorious service throughout the campaign.

R. H. Noble, Major and Adjutant General, U. S. V., to be brevetted
Lieutenant Colonel for faithful and meritorious service throughout the

J. J. Astor, Lieutenant Colonel and Inspector General, U. S. V., to be
brevetted Colonel for faithful and meritorious service during the

B. F. Pope, Lieutenant Colonel and Surgeon, U. S. V., to be brevetted
Colonel for faithful and meritorious service during the campaign.

Maj. S. W. Groesbeck, Judge Advocate, U. S. A., to be brevetted
Lieutenant Colonel for faithful and meritorious service throughout the

Charles F. Humphrey, Lieutenant Colonel, Quartermaster's Department,
to be brevetted Brigadier General for faithful and meritorious service
throughout the campaign.

John F. Weston, Colonel and Assistant Commissary General of
Subsistence, Chief Commissary, to be brevetted Brigadier General for
meritorious service throughout the campaign.

C. G. Starr, Major and Inspector General, U. S. V., to be brevetted
Lieutenant Colonel for faithful and meritorious service throughout the

Leon Roudiez, Major and Quartermaster, U. S. V., to be brevetted
Lieutenant Colonel for faithful and meritorious conduct throughout the

H. J. Gallagher, Major and Commissary of Subsistence, U. S. V., to be
brevetted Lieutenant Colonel for faithful and meritorious service
throughout the campaign.

Capt. Brice, Commissary of Subsistence, U. S. V., to be brevetted
Major for faithful and meritorious service throughout the campaign.

E. H. Plummer, Captain, U. S. A., A. D. C., to be brevetted Major for
faithful and meritorious service throughout the campaign.

J. C. Gilmore, Jr., Captain and Assistant Adjutant General, U. S. V.,
to be brevetted Major for faithful and meritorious service during the

W. H. McKittrick, Captain and Assistant Adjutant General, U. S. V., to
be brevetted Major for faithful and meritorious service during the

Capt. Johnson, Assistant Quartermaster, U. S. V., to be brevetted
Major for faithful and meritorious service during the campaign.

I wish to invite special attention to Dr. G. Goodfellow, of New York,
who accompanied me throughout the campaign and performed much
professional service as well as duties as Volunteer aid. I recommend
him for favorable consideration of the War Department.

Mr. G. F. Hawkins, of New York, also accompanied me as Volunteer aid,
and I recommend him for favorable consideration of the War Department
for faithful and important services rendered.

My thanks are due to Admiral Sampson and Captain Goodrich, U. S. N.,
for their efficient aid in disembarking my Army. Without their
assistance it would have been impossible to have landed in the time I

I also express my warmest thanks to division, brigade, and regimental
commanders, without exception, for their earnest efforts in carrying
out my wishes and for the good judgment they invariably displayed in
handling their troops.

The reports of the division commanders are attached hereto, and those
of the brigade and regimental commanders forwarded herewith, and
attention respectfully invited to them. Very respectfully,

Wm. R. Shafter,
Major-General, United States Volunteers,
Commanding United States Forces in Cuba.

Adjutant General of the Army, Washington, D. C.


Bivouac, near Santiago, Cuba,
July 23, 1898.
The Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.

Sir,--In compliance with orders I have the honor to submit the
following report of my command, the Gatling Gun Detachment, 5th Army
Corps, covering its operations down to the present date:

1. Organization.--Pursuant to instructions from Gen. Shafter I was
given a detail of two sergeants and ten men on the 26th of May, 1898,
from the 13th Infantry, then in camp near Tampa, Fla., and directed to
report to 1st Lieut. John T. Thompson, O. D., ordinance officer,
Tampa, "for duty with Gatling guns." I was placed in charge of four
guns, model 1895, cal. 30, and at once began the instruction of the
detachment. On June 1st I received verbal instruction to assist Lieut.
Thompson in his work at the ordinance depot, and performed this duty
in addition to my duties with the guns until June 6, 1898,
superintending issues to the expedition (5th Corps) then fitting out
for Cuba.

On June 6th I took my men and guns aboard the transport Cherokee, and
on June 11th, per special orders No. 16 of that date, my detail was
increased to thirty-seven men, all told, of whom one was left sick in
hospital at Tampa. About twelve of these did not join me, however,
until after debarkation at Baiquiri, Cuba. On June 25th I received
verbal instructions from Gen. Shafter to disembark at once, select the
necessary number of mules (two per gun), and get to the front as soon
as possible, reporting on my arrival there to Gen. Wheeler, then in
command of all the troops at the front. I was unable to obtain any
tentage for myself, and had only shelter-tents for my men.

I was joined on June 25th by Capt. Henry Marcotte, 17th Infantry,
retired, regularly authorized correspondent of the Army and Navy
Journal, who has been with me ever since, enduring all the
vicissitudes of the season with Spartan fortitude, although equally
destitute of cover as myself and 60 years of age. I desire to express
here officially and fully, my sincere gratitude for the kindness which
permitted him to accompany my command, and the great appreciation of
the valuable advice and assistance which he has given continually. His
large experience of war, his clear head and good judgment have always
been at hand to aid, and his cool example to myself and my men under
fire did much to steady us and keep us up to our work when we were
first called on to face that ordeal.

All of the detachments, who had not previously joined me, did so on
June 26th, on which day I reached the extreme front and reported to
Gen. Wheeler. The guns were posted in a position to sweep the
neighboring hills toward the enemy, and I went into camp, remaining
there until the morning of July 1st.

Summing up the organization, it should be stated here that the
detachment was organized at the first, and has ever since remained an
independent command, receiving its orders directly from the corps
commander. It has had its own records, returns, rolls, etc., and has
been rationed separately all the time, and is composed of men selected
by myself from various regiments.

2. The Battery in Action.--On the morning of July 1st, I broke camp at
4:30 a.m., and pursuant to instructions from Gen. Shafter, proceeded
to El Poso, placing my battery, as I shall henceforth call it, in
support behind the position taken by a battery of artillery. I took
this position about 6 a.m., and soon after the artillery arrived, went
on to battery and opened fire at Santiago, the range being 2,600
yards. After some time the enemy replied with a well-directed fire,
the second shell bursting directly over my battery in rear of
artillery. Neither my men nor mules showed any signs of disturbance,
and we remained in our perilous position nearly twenty minutes, the
enemy's shells bursting all around us, until ordered to the rear by
the chief-of-staff. The battery went to the rear under fire quietly
until out of range, and remained there until the artillery fire
ceased, at about 9 a.m. Private Hoft, Company D, 13th Infantry, a
member of the detachment who had been detailed to guard the camp
equipage at El Poso, remained at his post during the whole of the
artillery fight, and deserves great credit therefor, his battery
having been ordered to the rear. At 9 a.m. I returned to El Poso, and
there received the following instructions from Col. McClernand, A. A.
G., 5th Corps: "Find the 71st N. Y. V. and go on with them, if you
can. If this is not practical, find the best position you can, and use
your guns to the best advantage." Pursuant to these instructions, I
went forward about a half-mile and found the 71st N. Y. V. halting to
learn what their instructions were. I could get no clear idea of what
they were going to do, but waited about fifteen minutes in their rear
to find out. Meantime troops continually passed us toward the front.
Then, about 10:15, firing began in front. I rode forward alone along
the rode, which was a narrow defile through the jungle, and found that
about a half-mile in front was a creek, upon the crossing of which the
enemy's fire seemed concentrated. In front of this crossing seemed to
be a level plain of about 400 to 800 yards, beyond which was a
semi-circular ridge crowned with Spanish trenches from which the
Spanish fire seemed to come. Men were being hit continually at this
place (the ford), but it seemed to me to be a good place to work my
battery effectively.

I rode back, finding the Seventy-first still lying beside the road
without any apparent intention of moving. I determined to leave them
and go into action. Taking a gallop I moved the battery forward nearly
to the ford (about 150 yards), where I met Col. Derby of Gen.
Shafter's staff, who informed me that the troops were not yet
sufficiently deployed to take advantage of my fire, and advised me to
wait. The bullets were cutting through all around, and, as we learned
afterward, the enemy's sharpshooters were actually in the woods near
us, up in tall trees, picking off officers and men. It should be
stated here that the sudden increase of the enemy's fire at this time
was caused by a wild cheering set up by the 71st N. Y. V., as the
battery passed them on its way to the front. The cheering located our
position for the enemy and drew his fire. Many a brave soldier who had
gone to the front was put forever beyond the possibility of cheering
by this outburst of ignorant enthusiasm.

I acted on Col. Derby's advice, and he promised to send me word when
the moment for proper action came. This was necessary, as I knew only
part of the plan of battle and might have jeopardized other parts of
prematurely exposing our strength at this point. The gun crews lay
down under their guns and steadily remained at this posts. The fire
finally grew so hot that I moved about 100 yards back. This was about
12, noon. At 1 p. m., or about that time, I received a message sent by
Col. Derby, I think, as follows: "Gen. Shafter directs that you give
one of your guns to Lieut. Miley, take the others forward beyond the
ford where the dynamite gun is, and go into action at the best point
you can find." I obeyed the order, giving Lieut. Miley Sergeant
Weigle's gun and crew and moving the rest forward at a gallop to the
point beyond the ford, which I had already selected as a good place.
The battery opened with three guns simultaneously at ranges of 600 to
800 yards at 1:15 p. m. The enemy at first concentrated his fire upon
us, but soon weakened and in five minutes was clambering from his
trenches and running to the rear. We fired as rapidly as possible upon
the groups thus presented until I saw a white handkerchief waved by
some one of my own regiment, the 13th Infantry, and at the same moment
Capt. Landis, 1st Cavalry, who had voluntarily assisted me throughout,
said: "Better stop; our own men are climbing up the ridge." I ordered
the fire to cease at 1:23 1/2 p.m., and a moment later saw our own
troops occupy the crest of the hill. The firing had been, continued by
the battery until our own troops were within 150 yards of the enemy's
trench, a fact made possible by the steep slope of the hill upon which
the enemy had been.

At the time when my battery went into action I had no support, and the
position I took was at least 100 yards in front of any of our troops
along this part of the line. About the time I ceased firing
Lieut.-Col. Baldwin, 10th Cavalry, put two troops in support of my

I have advanced in a letter to the Adjutant General from Fort
Leavenworth, dated January 1st, 1898, the theory that such guns as
these can be used offensively. The conditions of this assault were
favorable, the morale of my men superb, and the use made of the guns
followed the theory therein set forth with the exactness of a
mathematical demonstration. The infantry and cavalry had been pounding
away for two hours on these positions; in eight and one-half minutes
after the Gatlings opened the works were ours. Inspired by the
friendly rattle of the machine guns, our own troops rose to the
charge; while the enemy amazed by our sudden and tremendous increase
of fire, first diverted his fire to my battery, and then, unable to
withstand the hail of bullets, augmented by the moral effect of our
battery fire and the charging line, broke madly from his safe trenches
and was mercilessly cut by fire from these guns during his flight.

I at once limbered up and took stock of my losses. One man was killed,
one badly wounded, one mule hit twice, but not much injured, and
several men were missing.

Suddenly the fire was resumed at the front. I moved my three pieces
forward again at a gallop, and went into action on the skirmish line
on top of the captured position, with two pieces to the right and one
to the left of the main road from El Poso to Santiago. I was compelled
to make the skirmishers give way to the right and left in order to get
room for my guns on the firing-line, and to impress stragglers to
carry ammunition. Capt. Ayres, 10th Cavalry, gave me a detail of one
sergeant and two privates, all of whom did fine service. It seemed to
me that the enemy was trying to retake the position. About 4 to 4:14
p. m. I saw a body, apparently about 400, of the enemy to the right
front of my position, apparently in front of the position occupied by
Lieut.-Col. Roosevelt with the 1st Volunteer Cavalry. I turned a
Gatling gun on them, using 600-yard range, and they disappeared. Soon
after the firing sensibly slackened.

In the rapid fire on this last body of the enemy I had overheated one
piece, and it went temporarily out of action. I went over to Col.
Roosevelt's position, about a quarter of a mile to the right of a
salient, and reconnoitered. While there Sergeant Weigle reported to me
with his piece, informing me that Lieut. Miley had not put it into
action, and asked for instructions. This was about the hour of 5 p.
m., and the fire became warmer at that moment. I directed Sergeant
Weigle to run his piece up on the firing-line and to report to the
officer in charge thereof. He did so and went into action at once.
Col. Roosevelt, who was and remained present, informs me that the gun
was very effectively used. I rejoined my other two guns and put both
of them on the line at the left of the El Poso road. At sundown the
enemy made a sharp attack, and all three of my guns were effectively
used. During the fight a battery in the city opened on my two guns,
firing 16 cm. shells. I at once turned my guns on it and kept up so
warm a fire that the cannoneers left their battery and did not return.
In all they had fired three shells at us, all of which broke just over
or beyond the battery. I secured the fuse of one, still warm, and
after the surrender visited the battery which had fired at us and
examined the gun. It is a 16 cm. (6.2992 inches) bronze rifle gun in
barbette on a pintle. This is probably the first time in land fighting
that such a piece was ever silenced by machine-gun fire. The range I
used was 2,000 yards (estimated).

The guns were used during the remainder of the fighting in the
trenches. I took off the wheels and put the guns on the carriages in
emplacements, erecting a sandbag parapet in front as cover during the
night of July 4th. The disabled gun was brought up and repaired,
subsequently participating in the fighting. The dynamite gun, under
Sergeant Borrowe, 1st Volunteer Cavalry, cooperated with the battery
thus formed, and the whole battery, including the two Colt automatic
rapid-fire guns under Lieut. Tiffany, 1st United States Volunteer
Cavalry, did good work in all the subsequent fighting. I supplied
about eight thousand rounds of captured Mauser cartridges to Tiffany,
which had been captured by my battery, and which he used effectively
in his Colt's guns. I had a strong fire directed upon a battery of
seven pieces of the enemy's artillery at a distance of 1,500 yards in
front every time any attempt was made to use this battery. The result
was that only three shots were fired from these guns after July 4th. I
visited this battery after the surrender and found every gun in
working order, the 16 cm. gun being actually loaded. As no
organization, except my battery, of which I had general direction, had
such orders, so far as I can learn, the conclusion is that this
battery of machine guns kept out of action seven pieces of the enemy's
artillery by making it too warm for his gunners to stay in their

I have made certain recommendations in hasty reports for gallantry,
which I personally witnessed. They were as follows:

Capt. J. R. F. Landis, 1st Cavalry, medal of honor. Volunteered to
assist observation of fire July 1st, and rendered great service at
imminent peril of his life made necessary in order to render such

Sergeant John N. Weigle, 9th Infantry, 2d Lieutenant U. S. Army
(regulars). For conspicuous daring, intelligence, and coolness in
action, July 1st.

Corporal Charles C. Steigenwald, 13th Infantry, 2d Lieutenant U. S.
Army (regulars). For coolness and judgment in keeping his gun in
action with only one man to help on July 1st.

Private Fred C. Elkins, 17th Infantry, 2d Lieutenant United States
Volunteers. For conspicuous daring and courage in action. Although
wounded, he remained at his post until he fell from exhaustion, July

Corporal Matthew Doyle, 13th Infantry, medal of honor. Conspicuous
gallantry and coolness in action. When, two men had been shot down by
his side he continued to work his gun effectively alone until
assistance arrived, July 1st.

Sergt. Green, Company H, 13th Infantry, medal of honor. Conspicuous
coolness and steadiness in handling his piece under hot fire, July

Sergt. John Graham, 10th Cavalry, medal of honor. Conspicuous coolness
and steadiness under fire, July 1st.

Sergt. Weischaar, Company A, 13th Infantry, certificate of merit.
Particularly meritorious steadiness, night of July 6th. Being put on
outpost duty with a Gatling gun in time of truce, and having been
alarmed by a sentinel, whose duty it was to warn him of the enemy's
approach, he coolly reserved his fire for personal investigation and
prevented a violation of the truce.

Sergt. Ryder, Company G, 13th Infantry, certificate of merit.
Particularly meritorious steadiness, night of July 6th. Being on
outpost duty with a Gatling gun in time of truce, and having been
alarmed by a sentinel, whose duty it was to warn him of the enemy's
approach, he coolly held his fire for personal investigation and
prevented a violation of the truce.

In making these recommendations, I have limited myself to those which
I personally observed. If I recommended for every deserving act, there
is not a man in my whole detachment who has not deserved a certificate
of merit. They were selected in the beginning from an army corps for
what I knew of them, and they have abundantly justified my confidence
in them. With a less efficient personnel it would have been absolutely
impossible to organize, equip and instruct the first battery of
Gatling guns ever used in the history of war, in the short space of
time allotted me, and put it in efficient fighting shape. They fought
their guns on the skirmish line and in advance of it, standing boldly
up to do it when the skirmishers themselves lay down close for cover.
My loss, as footed up on the night of July 1st, was 33 1-3 per cent,
killed, wounded, and missing. The efficiency of the work of my guns
was attested to me by numerous Spanish officers and prisoners. Their
favorite expression was: "It was terrible when your guns opened,
always. They went b-r-r-r-r, like a lawn mower cutting the grass over
our trenches. We could not stick a finger up when you fired without
getting it cut off--so!"

The work of this experimental battery proves that in this weapon we
have a new arm supplementary to infantry and cavalry, independent of
both as one arm is of another, and more nearly capable of independent
action than any other arm of the service. It is equally demonstrated
that this new arm is entirely different from artillery in its
functions, and can live where the latter is compelled to retire.

It should, therefore, be organized as a separate arm. I have, at the
request of General Wheeler, drawn up a scheme of such an organization
and submitted it to him.

Experience shows me that the carriage is too heavy. I can only renew
the representations contained in my letter of January 1, 1898, to the
Adjutant General, accompanying drawing, etc., of my proposed carriage
for machine guns. I would now, based on experience, modify my theory
of organization as then proposed, and would make several changes in
the model of carriage then proposed without departing from the general

If any expression of such views is desired, I shall be very glad to
submit them when called upon by the War Department to do so.

Very respectfully,

John H. Parker,
2d Lieut., 13th Infantry,
Commanding Gatling Gun Detachment, 5th Corps.




  Record of the Detachment
  The New Arm of the Service



  Conditions at Tampa
  Florida Climate and its Effects
  Description of the Gatling Gun
  Difficulties Encountered
  Politics at Tampa
  First Efforts to obtain Authority
  Original Plan of Organization
  Tactical Employment of Machine Guns
  A Lucky Accident
  The First Detail



  Defects in the Guns
  Instruction of the Detachment
  Status of the Detachment
  Interview with General Wheeler
  General Wheeler's Views
  Interview with General Lee
  Issues of Ordnance
  Fire in the Magazine



  A Night Alarm on Transport
  Decisive Interview with General Shafter
  The Official Authority at Last
  Condition of Transports
  Private J. Shiffer--Corral Boss
  The Missouri Mule
  The First March



  The 13th Infantry Detail
  The Cuban Guide
  The Cuban as He Is
  Roads in Cuba
  Private Jones and the Scorpion
  The Medical Department
  The Newspaper Fraternity
  Chaplain Springer
  Arrival at the Front



  Theory and Practice of Artillery and Machine Gun
  The Problem Presented to this Detachment
  Personnel of the Detachment
  Roster on July 1st
  Captain Marcotte
  Oil for an Army
  Futile Plans



  The Plan of Battle by General Shafter
  Did General Shafter Capture Santiago? HE DID
  The Night Before the Battle
  El Poso
  The Final Instructions
  The 71st New York
  Waiting for the Decisive Moment
  In Action at Last
  The Killed and Wounded
  On the Skirmish Line
  Weigle Gets His Opportunity
  The Gatlings Knock out a Heavy Battery
  The Brunettes
  The Artillery



  El Caney
  San Juan
  Movements of Lawton's Division
  The Gatlings as a Tactical Reserve
  Sergeant William Tiffany
  The Night Alarm
  The Dynamite Gun
  The Mortar Battery
  Summary of Tactical Deductions on use of Machine Guns as
    Demonstrated in Battle



  The Surrender
  General Observations upon the Volunteers
  The 34th Michigan
  The Rough Riders
  The 1st Illinois



  The Difficulties of the Campaign
  Unnecessary Sufferings; the Causes
  The Case of Private Elkins
  The Sick Left by Kent's Division
  Some Staff--and Some Others
  The Lesson to be Derived
  The General Staff--Proper



  The Home Voyage
  The End of the Detachment




*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the Gatling Gun Detachment, Fifth Army Corps, at Santiago
 - With a Few Unvarnished Truths Concerning that Expedition" ***

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