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Rough Riders by Theodore Roosevelt

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forward. L Troop was from the Indian Territory. The whites, Indians,
and half-breeds in it, all fought with equal courage. Captain
McClintock was hurried forward to its relief with his Troop B of
Arizona men. In a few minutes he was shot through the leg and his
place was taken by his First Lieutenant, Wilcox, who handled his men
in the same soldierly manner that Day did.

Among the men who showed marked courage and coolness was the tall
color-sergeant, Wright; the colors were shot through three times.

When I had led G Troop back to the trail I ran ahead of them,
passing the dead and wounded men of L Troop, passing young Fish as he
lay with glazed eyes under the rank tropic growth to one side of the
trail. When I came to the front I found the men spread out in a very
thin skirmish line, advancing through comparatively open ground, each
man taking advantage of what cover he could, while Wood strolled about
leading his horse, Brodie being close at hand. How Wood escaped being
hit, I do not see, and still less how his horse escaped. I had left
mine at the beginning of the action, and was only regretting that I
had not left my sword with it, as it kept getting between my legs when
I was tearing my way through the jungle. I never wore it again in
action. Lieutenant Rivers was with Wood, also leading his horse.
Smedburg had been sent off on the by no means pleasant task of
establishing communications with Young.

Very soon after I reached the front, Brodie was hit, the bullet
shattering one arm and whirling him around as he stood. He had kept on
the extreme front all through, his presence and example keeping his
men entirely steady, and he at first refused to go to the rear; but
the wound was very painful, and he became so faint that he had to be
sent. Thereupon, Wood directed me to take charge of the left wing in
Brodie's place, and to bring it forward; so over I went.

I now had under me Captains Luna, Muller, and Houston, and I began
to take them forward, well spread out, through the high grass of a
rather open forest. I noticed Goodrich, of Houston's troop, tramping
along behind his men, absorbed in making them keep at good intervals
from one another and fire slowly with careful aim. As I came close up
to the edge of the troop, he caught a glimpse of me, mistook me for
one of his own skirmishers who was crowding in too closely, and called
out, "Keep your interval, sir; keep your interval, and go forward."

A perfect hail of bullets was sweeping over us as we advanced. Once
I got a glimpse of some Spaniards, apparently retreating, far in the
front, and to our right, and we fired a couple of rounds after them.
Then I became convinced, after much anxious study, that we were being
fired at from some large red-tiled buildings, part of a ranch on our
front. Smokeless powder, and the thick cover in our front, continued
to puzzle us, and I more than once consulted anxiously the officers as
to the exact whereabouts of our opponents. I took a rifle from a
wounded man and began to try shots with it myself. It was very hot and
the men were getting exhausted, though at this particular time we were
not suffering heavily from bullets, the Spanish fire going high. As we
advanced, the cover became a little thicker and I lost touch of the
main body under Wood; so I halted and we fired industriously at the
ranch buildings ahead of us, some five hundred yards off. Then we
heard cheering on the right, and I supposed that this meant a charge
on the part of Wood's men, so I sprang up and ordered the men to rush
the buildings ahead of us. They came forward with a will. There was a
moment's heavy firing from the Spaniards, which all went over our
heads, and then it ceased entirely. When we arrived at the buildings,
panting and out of breath, they contained nothing but heaps of empty
cartridge-shells and two dead Spaniards, shot through the head.

The country all around us was thickly forested, so that it was very
difficult to see any distance in any direction. The firing had now
died out, but I was still entirely uncertain as to exactly what had
happened. I did not know whether the enemy had been driven back or
whether it was merely a lull in the fight, and we might be attacked
again; nor did I know what had happened in any other part of the line,
while as I occupied the extreme left, I was not sure whether or not my
flank was in danger. At this moment one of our men who had dropped
out, arrived with the information (fortunately false) that Wood was
dead. Of course, this meant that the command devolved upon me, and I
hastily set about taking charge of the regiment. I had been
particularly struck by the coolness and courage shown by Sergeants
Dame and McIlhenny, and sent them out with small pickets to keep watch
in front and to the left of the left wing. I sent other men to fill
the canteens with water, and threw the rest out in a long line in a
disused sunken road, which gave them cover, putting two or three
wounded men, who had hitherto kept up with the fighting-line, and a
dozen men who were suffering from heat exhaustion--for the fighting and
running under that blazing sun through the thick dry jungle was
heart-breaking--into the ranch buildings. Then I started over toward
the main body, but to my delight encountered Wood himself, who told me
the fight was over and the Spaniards had retreated. He also informed
me that other troops were just coming up. The first to appear was a
squadron of the Ninth Cavalry, under Major Dimick, which had hurried
up to get into the fight, and was greatly disappointed to find it
over. They took post in front of our lines, so that our tired men were
able to get a rest, Captain McBlain, of the Ninth, good-naturedly
giving us some points as to the best way to station our outposts. Then
General Chaffee, rather glum at not having been in the fight himself,
rode up at the head of some of his infantry, and I marched my squadron
back to where the rest of the regiment was going into camp, just where
the two trails came together, and beyond--that is, on the Santiago side
of--the original Spanish lines.

The Rough Riders had lost eight men killed and thirty-four wounded,
aside from two or three who were merely scratched and whose wounds
were not reported. The First Cavalry, white, lost seven men killed and
eight wounded; the Tenth Cavalry, colored, one man killed and ten
wounded; so, out of 964 men engaged on our side, 16 were killed and 52
wounded. The Spaniards were under General Rubin, with, as second in
command, Colonel Alcarez. They had two guns, and eleven companies of
about a hundred men each: three belonging to the Porto Rico regiment,
three to the San Fernandino, two to the Talavero, two being so-called
mobilized companies from the mineral districts, and one a company of
engineers; over twelve hundred men in all, together with two guns.*

* Note: See Lieutenant Muller y Tejeiro, "Combates y Capitulacion
de Santiago de Cuba," page 136. The Lieutenant speaks as if only one
echelon, of seven companies and two guns, was engaged on the 24th.
The official report says distinctly, "General Rubin's column," which
consisted of the companies detailed. By turning to page 146, where
Lieutenant Tejeiro enumerates the strength of the various companies,
it will be seen that they averaged over 110 men apiece; this
probably does not include officers, and is probably an
under-statement anyhow. On page 261 he makes the Spanish loss at Las
Guasimas, which he calls Sevilla, 9 killed and 27 wounded. Very
possibly he includes only the Spanish regulars; two of the Spaniards
we slew, over on the left, were in brown, instead of the light blue
of the regulars, and were doubtless guerillas.

General Rubin reported that he had repulsed the American attack, and
Lieutenant Tejeiro states in his book that General Rubin forced the
Americans to retreat, and enumerates the attacking force as consisting
of three regular regiments of infantry, the Second Massachusetts and
the Seventy-first New York (not one of which fired a gun or were
anywhere near the battle), in addition to the sixteen dismounted
troops of cavalry. In other words, as the five infantry regiments each
included twelve companies, he makes the attacking force consist of
just five times the actual amount. As for the "repulse," our line
never went back ten yards in any place, and the advance was
practically steady; while an hour and a half after the fight began we
were in complete possession of the entire Spanish position, and their
troops were fleeing in masses down the road, our men being too
exhausted to follow them.

General Rubin also reports that he lost but seven men killed. This
is certainly incorrect, for Captain O'Neill and I went over the ground
very carefully and counted eleven dead Spaniards, all of whom were
actually buried by our burying squads. There were probably two or
three men whom we missed, but I think that our official reports are
incorrect in stating that forty-two dead Spaniards were found; this
being based upon reports in which I think some of the Spanish dead
were counted two or three times. Indeed, I should doubt whether their
loss was as heavy as ours, for they were under cover, while we
advanced, often in the open, and their main lines fled long before we
could get to close quarters. It was a very difficult country, and a
force of good soldiers resolutely handled could have held the pass
with ease against two or three times their number. As it was, with a
force half of regulars and half of volunteers, we drove out a superior
number of Spanish regular troops, strongly posted, without suffering a
very heavy loss. Although the Spanish fire was very heavy, it does not
seem to me it was very well directed; and though they fired with great
spirit while we merely stood at a distance and fired at them, they did
not show much resolution, and when we advanced, always went back long
before there was any chance of our coming into contact with them. Our
men behaved very well indeed--white regulars, colored regulars, and
Rough Riders alike. The newspaper press failed to do full justice to
the white regulars, in my opinion, from the simple reason that
everybody knew that they would fight, whereas there had been a good
deal of question as to how the Rough Riders, who were volunteer
troops, and the Tenth Cavalry, who were colored, would behave; so
there was a tendency to exalt our deeds at the expense of those of the
First Regulars, whose courage and good conduct were taken for granted.
It was a trying fight beyond what the losses show, for it is hard upon
raw soldiers to be pitted against an unseen foe, and to advance
steadily when their comrades are falling around them, and when they
can only occasionally see a chance to retaliate. Wood's experience in
fighting Apaches stood him in good stead. An entirely raw man at the
head of the regiment, conducting, as Wood was, what was practically an
independent fight, would have been in a very trying position. The
fight cleared the way toward Santiago, and we experienced no further

That afternoon we made camp and dined, subsisting chiefly on a load
of beans which we found on one of the Spanish mules which had been
shot. We also looked after the wounded. Dr. Church had himself gone
out to the firing-line during the fight, and carried to the rear some
of the worst wounded on his back or in his arms. Those who could walk
had walked in to where the little field-hospital of the regiment was
established on the trail. We found all our dead and all the badly
wounded. Around one of the latter the big, hideous land-crabs had
gathered in a gruesome ring, waiting for life to be extinct. One of
our own men and most of the Spanish dead had been found by the
vultures before we got to them; and their bodies were mangled, the
eyes and wounds being torn.

The Rough Rider who had been thus treated was in Bucky O'Neill's
troop; and as we looked at the body, O'Neill turned to me and asked,
"Colonel, isn't it Whitman who says of the vultures that 'they pluck
the eyes of princes and tear the flesh of kings'?" I answered that I
could not place the quotation. Just a week afterward we were shielding
his own body from the birds of prey.

One of the men who fired first, and who displayed conspicuous
gallantry was a Cherokee half-breed, who was hit seven times, and of
course had to go back to the States. Before he rejoined us at Montauk
Point he had gone through a little private war of his own; for on his
return he found that a cowboy had gone off with his sweetheart, and
in the fight that ensued he shot his rival. Another man of L Troop who
also showed marked gallantry was Elliot Cowdin. The men of the plains
and mountains were trained by life-long habit to look on life and
death with iron philosophy. As I passed by a couple of tall, lank,
Oklahoma cow-punchers, I heard one say, "Well, some of the boys got it
in the neck!" to which the other answered with the grim plains proverb
of the South: "Many a good horse dies."

Thomas Isbell, a half-breed Cherokee in the squad under Hamilton
Fish, was among the first to shoot and be shot at. He was wounded no
less than seven times. The first wound was received by him two minutes
after he had fired his first shot, the bullet going through his neck.
The second hit him in the left thumb. The third struck near his right
hip, passing entirely through the body. The fourth bullet (which was
apparently from a Remington and not from a Mauser) went into his neck
and lodged against the bone, being afterward cut out. The fifth bullet
again hit his left hand. The sixth scraped his head and the seventh
his neck. He did not receive all of the wounds at the same time, over
half an hour elapsing between the first and the last. Up to receiving
the last wound he had declined to leave the firing-line, but by that
time he had lost so much blood that he had to be sent to the rear. The
man's wiry toughness was as notable as his courage.

We improvised litters, and carried the more sorely wounded back to
Siboney that afternoon and the next morning; the others walked. One of
the men who had been most severely wounded was Edward Marshall, the
correspondent, and he showed as much heroism as any soldier in the
whole army. He was shot through the spine, a terrible and very painful
wound, which we supposed meant that he would surely die; but he made
no complaint of any kind, and while he retained consciousness
persisted in dictating the story of the fight. A very touching
incident happened in the improvised open-air hospital after the fight,
where the wounded were lying. They did not groan, and made no
complaint, trying to help one another. One of them suddenly began to
hum, "My Country 'tis of Thee," and one by one the others joined in
the chorus, which swelled out through the tropic woods, where the
victors lay in camp beside their dead. I did not see any sign among
the fighting men, whether wounded or unwounded, of the very
complicated emotions assigned to their kind by some of the realistic
modern novelists who have written about battles. At the front everyone
behaved quite simply and took things as they came, in a
matter-of-course way; but there was doubtless, as is always the case,
a good deal of panic and confusion in the rear where the wounded, the
stragglers, a few of the packers, and two or three newspaper
correspondents were, and in consequence the first reports sent back to
the coast were of a most alarming character, describing, with minute
inaccuracy, how we had run into ambush, etc. The packers with the
mules which carried the rapid-fire guns were among those who ran, and
they let the mules go in the jungle; in consequence the guns were
never even brought to the firing-line, and only Fred Herrig's skill as
a trailer enabled us to recover them. By patient work he followed up
the mules' tracks in the forest until he found the animals.

Among the wounded who walked to the temporary hospital at Siboney
was the trooper, Rowland, of whom I spoke before. There the doctors
examined him, and decreed that his wound was so serious that he must
go back to the States. This was enough for Rowland, who waited until
nightfall and then escaped, slipping out of the window and making his
way back to camp with his rifle and pack, though his wound must have
made all movement very painful to him. After this, we felt that he was
entitled to stay, and he never left us for a day, distinguishing
himself again in the fight at San Juan.

Next morning we buried seven dead Rough Riders in a grave on the
summit of the trail, Chaplain Brown reading the solemn burial service
of the Episcopalians, while the men stood around with bared heads and
joined in singing, "Rock of Ages." Vast numbers of vultures were
wheeling round and round in great circles through the blue sky
overhead. There could be no more honorable burial than that of these
men in a common grave--Indian and cowboy, miner, packer, and college
athlete--the man of unknown ancestry from the lonely Western plains,
and the man who carried on his watch the crests of the Stuyvesants and
the Fishes, one in the way they had met death, just as during life
they had been one in their daring and their loyalty.

On the afternoon of the 25th we moved on a couple of miles, and
camped in a marshy open spot close to a beautiful stream. Here we lay
for several days. Captain Lee, the British attache, spent some time
with us; we had begun to regard him as almost a member of the
regiment. Count von Gotzen, the German attache, another good fellow,
also visited us. General Young was struck down with the fever, and
Wood took charge of the brigade. This left me in command of the
regiment, of which I was very glad, for such experience as we had had
is a quick teacher. By this time the men and I knew one another, and I
felt able to make them do themselves justice in march or battle. They
understood that I paid no heed to where they came from; no heed to
their creed, politics, or social standing; that I would care for them
to the utmost of my power, but that I demanded the highest performance
of duty; while in return I had seen them tested, and knew I could
depend absolutely on their courage, hardihood, obedience, and
individual initiative.

There was nothing like enough transportation with the army, whether
in the way of wagons or mule-trains; exactly as there had been no
sufficient number of landing-boats with the transports. The officers'
baggage had come up, but none of us had much, and the shelter-tents
proved only a partial protection against the terrific downpours of
rain. These occurred almost every afternoon, and turned the camp into
a tarn, and the trails into torrents and quagmires. We were not given
quite the proper amount of food, and what we did get, like most of the
clothing issued us, was fitter for the Klondyke than for Cuba. We got
enough salt pork and hardtack for the men, but not the full ration of
coffee and sugar, and nothing else. I organized a couple of
expeditions back to the seacoast, taking the strongest and best
walkers and also some of the officers' horses and a stray mule or two,
and brought back beans and canned tomatoes. These I got partly by
great exertions on my part, and partly by the aid of Colonel Weston of
the Commissary Department, a particularly energetic man whose services
were of great value. A silly regulation forbade my purchasing canned
vegetables, etc., except for the officers; and I had no little
difficulty in getting round this regulation, and purchasing (with my
own money, of course) what I needed for the men.

One of the men I took with me on one of these trips was Sherman
Bell, the former Deputy Marshal of Cripple Creek, and Wells-Fargo
Express rider. In coming home with his load, through a blinding storm,
he slipped and opened the old rupture. The agony was very great and
one of his comrades took his load. He himself, sometimes walking, and
sometimes crawling, got back to camp, where Dr. Church fixed him up
with a spike bandage, but informed him that he would have to be sent
back to the States when an ambulance came along. The ambulance did not
come until the next day, which was the day before we marched to San
Juan. It arrived after nightfall, and as soon as Bell heard it coming,
he crawled out of the hospital tent into the jungle, where he lay all
night; and the ambulance went off without him. The men shielded him
just as school-boys would shield a companion, carrying his gun, belt,
and bedding; while Bell kept out of sight until the column started,
and then staggered along behind it. I found him the morning of the San
Juan fight. He told me that he wanted to die fighting, if die he must,
and I hadn't the heart to send him back. He did splendid service that
day, and afterward in the trenches, and though the rupture opened
twice again, and on each occasion he was within a hair's breadth of
death, he escaped, and came back with us to the United States.

The army was camped along the valley, ahead of and behind us, our
outposts being established on either side. From the generals to the
privates all were eager to march against Santiago. At daybreak, when
the tall palms began to show dimly through the rising mist, the scream
of the cavalry trumpets tore the tropic dawn; and in the evening, as
the bands of regiment after regiment played the "Star-Spangled
Banner," all, officers and men alike, stood with heads uncovered,
wherever they were, until the last strains of the anthem died away in
the hot sunset air.



On June 30th we received orders to hold ourselves in readiness to
march against Santiago, and all the men were greatly overjoyed, for
the inaction was trying. The one narrow road, a mere muddy track along
which the army was encamped, was choked with the marching columns. As
always happened when we had to change camp, everything that the men
could not carry, including, of course, the officers' baggage, was left

About noon the Rough Riders struck camp and drew up in column beside
the road in the rear of the First Cavalry. Then we sat down and waited
for hours before the order came to march, while regiment after
regiment passed by, varied by bands of tatterdemalion Cuban
insurgents, and by mule-trains with ammunition. Every man carried
three days' provisions. We had succeeded in borrowing mules sufficient
to carry along the dynamite gun and the automatic Colts.

At last, toward mid-afternoon, the First and Tenth Cavalry, ahead of
us, marched, and we followed. The First was under the command of
Lieutenant-Colonel Veile, the Tenth under Lieutenant-Colonel Baldwin.
Every few minutes there would be a stoppage in front, and at the halt
I would make the men sit or lie down beside the track, loosening their
packs. The heat was intense as we passed through the still, close
jungle, which formed a wall on either hand. Occasionally we came to
gaps or open spaces, where some regiment was camped, and now and then
one of these regiments, which apparently had been left out of its
proper place, would file into the road, breaking up our line of march.
As a result, we finally found ourselves following merely the tail of
the regiment ahead of us, an infantry regiment being thrust into the
interval. Once or twice we had to wade streams. Darkness came on, but
we still continued to march. It was about eight o'clock when we turned
to the left and climbed El Poso hill, on whose summit there was a
ruined ranch and sugar factory, now, of course, deserted. Here I found
General Wood, who was arranging for the camping of the brigade. Our
own arrangements for the night were simple. I extended each troop
across the road into the jungle, and then the men threw down their
belongings where they stood and slept on their arms. Fortunately,
there was no rain. Wood and I curled up under our rain-coats on the
saddle-blankets, while his two aides, Captain A. L. Mills and
Lieutenant W. N. Ship, slept near us. We were up before dawn and
getting breakfast. Mills and Ship had nothing to eat, and they
breakfasted with Wood and myself, as we had been able to get some
handfuls of beans, and some coffee and sugar, as well as the ordinary
bacon and hardtack.

We did not talk much, for though we were in ignorance as to
precisely what the day would bring forth, we knew that we should see
fighting. We had slept soundly enough, although, of course, both Wood
and I during the night had made a round of the sentries, he of the
brigade, and I of the regiment; and I suppose that, excepting among
hardened veterans, there is always a certain feeling of uneasy
excitement the night before the battle.

Mills and Ship were both tall, fine-looking men, of tried courage,
and thoroughly trained in every detail of their profession; I remember
being struck by the quiet, soldierly way they were going about their
work early that morning. Before noon one was killed and the other
dangerously wounded.

General Wheeler was sick, but with his usual indomitable pluck and
entire indifference to his own personal comfort, he kept to the front.
He was unable to retain command of the cavalry division, which
accordingly devolved upon General Samuel Sumner, who commanded it
until mid-afternoon, when the bulk of the fighting was over. General
Sumner's own brigade fell to Colonel Henry Carroll. General Sumner led
the advance with the cavalry, and the battle was fought by him and by
General Kent, who commanded the infantry division, and whose foremost
brigade was led by General Hawkins.

As the sun rose the men fell in, and at the same time a battery of
field-guns was brought up on the hill-crest just beyond, between us
and toward Santiago. It was a fine sight to see the great horses
straining under the lash as they whirled the guns up the hill and into

Our brigade was drawn up on the hither side of a kind of half basin,
a big band of Cubans being off to the left. As yet we had received no
orders, except that we were told that the main fighting was to be done
by Lawton's infantry division, which was to take El Caney, several
miles to our right, while we were simply to make a diversion. This
diversion was to be made mainly with the artillery, and the battery
which had taken position immediately in front of us was to begin when
Lawton began.

It was about six o'clock that the first report of the cannon from El
Caney came booming to us across the miles of still jungle. It was a
very lovely morning, the sky of cloudless blue, while the level,
shimmering rays from the just-risen sun brought into fine relief the
splendid palms which here and there towered above the lower growth.
The lofty and beautiful mountains hemmed in the Santiago plain, making
it an amphitheatre for the battle.

Immediately our guns opened, and at the report great clouds of white
smoke hung on the ridge crest. For a minute or two there was no
response. Wood and I were sitting together, and Wood remarked to me
that he wished our brigade could be moved somewhere else, for we were
directly in line of any return fire aimed by the Spaniards at the
battery. Hardly had he spoken when there was a peculiar whistling,
singing sound in the air, and immediately afterward the noise of
something exploding over our heads. It was shrapnel from the Spanish
batteries. We sprung to our feet and leaped on our horses. Immediately
afterward a second shot came which burst directly above us; and then a
third. From the second shell one of the shrapnel bullets dropped on my
wrist, hardly breaking the skin, but raising a bump about as big as a
hickory-nut. The same shell wounded four of my regiment, one of them
being Mason Mitchell, and two or three of the regulars were also hit,
one losing his leg by a great fragment of shell. Another shell
exploded right in the middle of the Cubans, killing and wounding a
good many, while the remainder scattered like guinea-hens. Wood's lead
horse was also shot through the lungs. I at once hustled my regiment
over the crest of the hill into the thick underbrush, where I had no
little difficulty in getting them together again into column.

Meanwhile the firing continued for fifteen or twenty minutes, until
it gradually died away. As the Spaniards used smokeless powder, their
artillery had an enormous advantage over ours, and, moreover, we did
not have the best type of modern guns, our fire being slow.

As soon as the firing ceased, Wood formed his brigade, with my
regiment in front, and gave me orders to follow behind the First
Brigade, which was just moving off the ground. In column of fours we
marched down the trail toward the ford of the San Juan River. We
passed two or three regiments of infantry, and were several times
halted before we came to the ford. The First Brigade, which was under
Colonel Carroll--Lieutenant-Colonel Hamilton commanding the Ninth
Regiment, Major Wessels the Third, and Captain Kerr the Sixth--had
already crossed and was marching to the right, parallel to, but a
little distance from, the river. The Spaniards in the trenches and
block-houses on top of the hills in front were already firing at the
brigade in desultory fashion. The extreme advance of the Ninth Cavalry
was under Lieutenants McNamee and Hartwick. They were joined by
General Hawkins, with his staff, who was looking over the ground and
deciding on the route he should take his infantry brigade.

Our orders had been of the vaguest kind, being simply to march to
the right and connect with Lawton--with whom, of course, there was no
chance of our connecting. No reconnaissance had been made, and the
exact position and strength of the Spaniards was not known. A captive
balloon was up in the air at this moment, but it was worse than
useless. A previous proper reconnaissance and proper look-out from the
hills would have given us exact information. As it was, Generals Kent,
Sumner, and Hawkins had to be their own reconnaissance, and they
fought their troops so well that we won anyhow.

I was now ordered to cross the ford, march half a mile or so to the
right, and then halt and await further orders; and I promptly hurried
my men across, for the fire was getting hot, and the captive balloon,
to the horror of everybody, was coming down to the ford. Of course, it
was a special target for the enemy's fire. I got my men across before
it reached the ford. There it partly collapsed and remained, causing
severe loss of life, as it indicated the exact position where the
Tenth and the First Cavalry, and the infantry, were crossing.

As I led my column slowly along, under the intense heat, through the
high grass of the open jungle, the First Brigade was to our left, and
the firing between it and the Spaniards on the hills grew steadily
hotter and hotter. After awhile I came to a sunken lane, and as by
this time the First Brigade had stopped and was engaged in a stand-up
fight, I halted my men and sent back word for orders. As we faced
toward the Spanish hills my regiment was on the right with next to it
and a little in advance the First Cavalry, and behind them the Tenth.
In our front the Ninth held the right, the Sixth the centre, and the
Third the left; but in the jungle the lines were already overlapping
in places. Kent's infantry were coming up, farther to the left.

Captain Mills was with me. The sunken lane, which had a wire fence
on either side, led straight up toward, and between, the two hills in
our front, the hill on the left, which contained heavy block-houses,
being farther away from us than the hill on our right, which we
afterward grew to call Kettle Hill, and which was surmounted merely by
some large ranch buildings or haciendas, with sunken brick-lined walls
and cellars. I got the men as well-sheltered as I could. Many of them
lay close under the bank of the lane, others slipped into the San Juan
River and crouched under its hither bank, while the rest lay down
behind the patches of bushy jungle in the tall grass. The heat was
intense, and many of the men were already showing signs of exhaustion.
The sides of the hills in front were bare; but the country up to them
was, for the most part, covered with such dense jungle that in
charging through it no accuracy of formation could possibly be

The fight was now on in good earnest, and the Spaniards on the hills
were engaged in heavy volley firing. The Mauser bullets drove in
sheets through the trees and the tall jungle grass, making a peculiar
whirring or rustling sound; some of the bullets seemed to pop in the
air, so that we thought they were explosive; and, indeed, many of
those which were coated with brass did explode, in the sense that the
brass coat was ripped off, making a thin plate of hard metal with a
jagged edge, which inflicted a ghastly wound. These bullets were shot
from a .45-calibre rifle carrying smokeless powder, which was much
used by the guerillas and irregular Spanish troops. The Mauser bullets
themselves made a small clean hole, with the result that the wound
healed in a most astonishing manner. One or two of our men who were
shot in the head had the skull blown open, but elsewhere the wounds
from the minute steel-coated bullet, with its very high velocity, were
certainly nothing like as serious as those made by the old
large-calibre, low-power rifle. If a man was shot through the heart,
spine, or brain he was, of course, killed instantly; but very few of
the wounded died--even under the appalling conditions which prevailed,
owing to the lack of attendance and supplies in the field-hospitals
with the army.

While we were lying in reserve we were suffering nearly as much as
afterward when we charged. I think that the bulk of the Spanish fire
was practically unaimed, or at least not aimed at any particular man,
and only occasionally at a particular body of men; but they swept the
whole field of battle up to the edge of the river, and man after man
in our ranks fell dead or wounded, although I had the troopers
scattered out far apart, taking advantage of every scrap of cover.

Devereux was dangerously shot while he lay with his men on the edge
of the river. A young West Point cadet, Ernest Haskell, who had taken
his holiday with us as an acting second lieutenant, was shot through
the stomach. He had shown great coolness and gallantry, which he
displayed to an even more marked degree after being wounded, shaking
my hand and saying: "All right, Colonel, I'm going to get well. Don't
bother about me, and don't let any man come away with me." When I
shook hands with him, I thought he would surely die; yet he recovered.

The most serious loss that I and the regiment could have suffered
befell just before we charged. Bucky O'Neill was strolling up and down
in front of his men, smoking his cigarette, for he was inveterately
addicted to the habit. He had a theory that an officer ought never to
take cover--a theory which was, of course, wrong, though in a volunteer
organization the officers should certainly expose themselves very
fully, simply for the effect on the men; our regimental toast on the
transport running, "The officers; may the war last until each is
killed, wounded, or promoted." As O'Neill moved to and fro, his men
begged him to lie down, and one of the sergeants said, "Captain, a
bullet is sure to hit you." O'Neill took his cigarette out of his
mouth, and blowing out a cloud of smoke laughed and said, "Sergeant,
the Spanish bullet isn't made that will kill me." A little later he
discussed for a moment with one of the regular officers the direction
from which the Spanish fire was coming. As he turned on his heel a
bullet struck him in the mouth and came out at the back of his head;
so that even before he fell his wild and gallant soul had gone out
into the darkness.

My orderly was a brave young Harvard boy, Sanders, from the quaint
old Massachusetts town of Salem. The work of an orderly on foot, under
the blazing sun, through the hot and matted jungle, was very severe,
and finally the heat overcame him. He dropped; nor did he ever recover
fully, and later he died from fever. In his place I summoned a trooper
whose name I did not know. Shortly afterward, while sitting beside the
bank, I directed him to go back and ask whatever general he came
across if I could not advance, as my men were being much cut up. He
stood up to salute and then pitched forward across my knees, a bullet
having gone through his throat, cutting the carotid.

When O'Neill was shot, his troop, who were devoted to him, were for
the moment at a loss whom to follow. One of their number, Henry
Bardshar, a huge Arizona miner, immediately attached himself to me as
my orderly, and from that moment he was closer to me, not only in the
fight, but throughout the rest of the campaign, than any other man,
not even excepting the color-sergeant, Wright.

Captain Mills was with me; gallant Ship had already been killed.
Mills was an invaluable aide, absolutely cool, absolutely unmoved or
flurried in any way.

I sent messenger after messenger to try to find General Sumner or
General Wood and get permission to advance, and was just about making
up my mind that in the absence of orders I had better "march toward
the guns," when Lieutenant-Colonel Dorst came riding up through the
storm of bullets with the welcome command "to move forward and support
the regulars in the assault on the hills in front." General Sumner had
obtained authority to advance from Lieutenant Miley, who was
representing General Shafter at the front, and was in the thick of the
fire. The General at once ordered the first brigade to advance on the
hills, and the second to support it. He himself was riding his horse
along the lines, superintending the fight. Later I overheard a couple
of my men talking together about him. What they said illustrates the
value of a display of courage among the officers in hardening their
soldiers; for their theme was how, as they were lying down under a
fire which they could not return, and were in consequence feeling
rather nervous, General Sumner suddenly appeared on horseback,
sauntering by quite unmoved; and, said one of the men, "That made us
feel all right. If the General could stand it, we could."

The instant I received the order I sprang on my horse and then my
"crowded hour" began. The guerillas had been shooting at us from the
edges of the jungle and from their perches in the leafy trees, and as
they used smokeless powder, it was almost impossible to see them,
though a few of my men had from time to time responded. We had also
suffered from the hill on our right front, which was held chiefly by
guerillas, although there were also some Spanish regulars with them,
for we found their dead. I formed my men in column of troops, each
troop extended in open skirmishing order, the right resting on the
wire fences which bordered the sunken lane. Captain Jenkins led the
first squadron, his eyes literally dancing with joyous excitement.

I started in the rear of the regiment, the position in which the
colonel should theoretically stay. Captain Mills and Captain McCormick
were both with me as aides; but I speedily had to send them off on
special duty in getting the different bodies of men forward. I had
intended to go into action on foot as at Las Guasimas, but the heat
was so oppressive that I found I should be quite unable to run up and
down the line and superintend matters unless I was mounted; and,
moreover, when on horseback, I could see the men better and they could
see me better.

A curious incident happened as I was getting the men started forward.
Always when men have been lying down under cover for some time, and
are required to advance, there is a little hesitation, each looking
to see whether the others are going forward. As I rode down the line,
calling to the troopers to go forward, and rasping brief directions
to the captains and lieutenants, I came upon a man lying behind a
little bush, and I ordered him to jump up. I do not think he
understood that we were making a forward move, and he looked up at me
for a moment with hesitation, and I again bade him rise, jeering him
and saying: "Are you afraid to stand up when I am on horseback?" As I
spoke, he suddenly fell forward on his face, a bullet having struck
him and gone through him lengthwise. I suppose the bullet had been
aimed at me; at any rate, I, who was on horseback in the open, was
unhurt, and the man lying flat on the ground in the cover beside me
was killed. There were several pairs of brothers with us; of the two
Nortons one was killed; of the two McCurdys one was wounded.

I soon found that I could get that line, behind which I personally
was, faster forward than the one immediately in front of it, with the
result that the two rearmost lines of the regiment began to crowd
together; so I rode through them both, the better to move on the one
in front. This happened with every line in succession, until I found
myself at the head of the regiment.

Both lieutenants of B Troop from Arizona had been exerting
themselves greatly, and both were overcome by the heat; but Sergeants
Campbell and Davidson took it forward in splendid shape. Some of the
men from this troop and from the other Arizona troop (Bucky O'Neill's)
joined me as a kind of fighting tail.

The Ninth Regiment was immediately in front of me, and the First on
my left, and these went up Kettle Hill with my regiment. The Third,
Sixth, and Tenth went partly up Kettle Hill (following the Rough
Riders and the Ninth and First), and partly between that and the
block-house hill, which the infantry were assailing. General Sumner in
person gave the Tenth the order to charge the hills; and it went
forward at a rapid gait. The three regiments went forward more or less
intermingled, advancing steadily and keeping up a heavy fire. Up
Kettle Hill Sergeant George Berry, of the Tenth, bore not only his own
regimental colors but those of the Third, the color-sergeant of the
Third having been shot down; he kept shouting, "Dress on the colors,
boys, dress on the colors!" as he followed Captain Ayres, who was
running in advance of his men, shouting and waving his hat. The Tenth
Cavalry lost a greater proportion of its officers than any other
regiment in the battle--eleven out of twenty-two.

By the time I had come to the head of the regiment we ran into the
left wing of the Ninth Regulars, and some of the First Regulars, who
were lying down; that is, the troopers were lying down, while the
officers were walking to and fro. The officers of the white and
colored regiments alike took the greatest pride in seeing that the men
more than did their duty; and the mortality among them was great.

I spoke to the captain in command of the rear platoons, saying that
I had been ordered to support the regulars in the attack upon the
hills, and that in my judgment we could not take these hills by firing
at them, and that we must rush them. He answered that his orders were
to keep his men lying where they were, and that he could not charge
without orders. I asked where the Colonel was, and as he was not in
sight, said, "Then I am the ranking officer here and I give the order
to charge"--for I did not want to keep the men longer in the open
suffering under a fire which they could not effectively return.
Naturally the captain hesitated to obey this order when no word had
been received from his own Colonel. So I said, "Then let my men
through, sir," and rode on through the lines, followed by the grinning
Rough Riders, whose attention had been completely taken off the
Spanish bullets, partly by my dialogue with the regulars, and partly
by the language I had been using to themselves as I got the lines
forward, for I had been joking with some and swearing at others, as
the exigencies of the case seemed to demand. When we started to go
through, however, it proved too much for the regulars, and they jumped
up and came along, their officers and troops mingling with mine, all
being delighted at the chance. When I got to where the head of the
left wing of the Ninth was lying, through the courtesy of Lieutenant
Hartwick, two of whose colored troopers threw down the fence, I was
enabled to get back into the lane, at the same time waving my hat, and
giving the order to charge the hill on our right front. Out of my
sight, over on the right, Captains McBlain and Taylor, of the Ninth,
made up their minds independently to charge at just about this time;
and at almost the same moment Colonels Carroll and Hamilton, who were
off, I believe, to my left, where we could see neither them nor their
men, gave the order to advance. But of all this I knew nothing at the
time. The whole line, tired of waiting, and eager to close with the
enemy, was straining to go forward; and it seems that different parts
slipped the leash at almost the same moment. The First Cavalry came up
the hill just behind, and partly mixed with my regiment and the Ninth.
As already said, portions of the Third, Sixth, and Tenth followed,
while the rest of the members of these three regiments kept more in
touch with the infantry on our left.

By this time we were all in the spirit of the thing and greatly
excited by the charge, the men cheering and running forward between
shots, while the delighted faces of the foremost officers, like
Captain C. J. Stevens, of the Ninth, as they ran at the head of their
troops, will always stay in my mind. As soon as I was in the line I
galloped forward a few yards until I saw that the men were well
started, and then galloped back to help Goodrich, who was in command
of his troop, get his men across the road so as to attack the hill
from that side. Captain Mills had already thrown three of the other
troops of the regiment across this road for the same purpose. Wheeling
around, I then again galloped toward the hill, passing the shouting,
cheering, firing men, and went up the lane, splashing through a small
stream; when I got abreast of the ranch buildings on the top of Kettle
Hill, I turned and went up the slope. Being on horseback I was, of
course, able to get ahead of the men on foot, excepting my orderly,
Henry Bardshar, who had run ahead very fast in order to get better
shots at the Spaniards, who were now running out of the ranch
buildings. Sergeant Campbell and a number of the Arizona men, and
Dudley Dean, among others, were very close behind. Stevens, with his
platoon of the Ninth, was abreast of us; so were McNamee and Hartwick.
Some forty yards from the top I ran into a wire fence and jumped off
Little Texas, turning him loose. He had been scraped by a couple of
bullets, one of which nicked my elbow, and I never expected to see him
again. As I ran up to the hill, Bardshar stopped to shoot, and two
Spaniards fell as he emptied his magazine. These were the only
Spaniards I actually saw fall to aimed shots by any one of my men,
with the exception of two guerillas in trees.

Almost immediately afterward the hill was covered by the troops,
both Rough Riders and the colored troopers of the Ninth, and some men
of the First. There was the usual confusion, and afterward there was
much discussion as to exactly who had been on the hill first. The
first guidons planted there were those of the three New Mexican
troops, G, E, and F, of my regiment, under their Captains, Llewellen,
Luna, and Muller, but on the extreme right of the hill, at the
opposite end from where we struck it, Captains Taylor and McBlain and
their men of the Ninth were first up. Each of the five captains was
firm in the belief that his troop was first up. As for the individual
men, each of whom honestly thought he was first on the summit, their
name was legion. One Spaniard was captured in the buildings, another
was shot as he tried to hide himself, and a few others were killed as
they ran.

Among the many deeds of conspicuous gallantry here performed, two,
both to the credit of the First Cavalry, may be mentioned as examples
of the others, not as exceptions. Sergeant Charles Karsten, while
close beside Captain Tutherly, the squadron commander, was hit by a
shrapnel bullet. He continued on the line, firing until his arm grew
numb; and he then refused to go to the rear, and devoted himself to
taking care of the wounded, utterly unmoved by the heavy fire. Trooper
Hugo Brittain, when wounded, brought the regimental standard forward,
waving it to and fro, to cheer the men.

No sooner were we on the crest than the Spaniards from the line of
hills in our front, where they were strongly intrenched, opened a very
heavy fire upon us with their rifles. They also opened upon us with
one or two pieces of artillery, using time fuses which burned very
accurately, the shells exploding right over our heads.

On the top of the hill was a huge iron kettle, or something of the
kind, probably used for sugar refining. Several of our men took
shelter behind this. We had a splendid view of the charge on the San
Juan block-house to our left, where the infantry of Kent, led by
Hawkins, were climbing the hill. Obviously the proper thing to do was
to help them, and I got the men together and started them
volley-firing against the Spaniards in the San Juan block-house and in
the trenches around it. We could only see their heads; of course this
was all we ever could see when we were firing at them in their
trenches. Stevens was directing not only his own colored troopers, but
a number of Rough Riders; for in a melee good soldiers are always
prompt to recognize a good officer, and are eager to follow him.

We kept up a brisk fire for some five or ten minutes; meanwhile we
were much cut up ourselves. Gallant Colonel Hamilton, than whom there
was never a braver man, was killed, and equally gallant Colonel
Carroll wounded. When near the summit Captain Mills had been shot
through the head, the bullet destroying the sight of one eye
permanently and of the other temporarily. He would not go back or let
any man assist him, sitting down where he was and waiting until one of
the men brought him word that the hill was stormed. Colonel Veile
planted the standard of the First Cavalry on the hill, and General
Sumner rode up. He was fighting his division in great form, and was
always himself in the thick of the fire. As the men were much excited
by the firing, they seemed to pay very little heed to their own

Suddenly, above the cracking of the carbines, rose a peculiar
drumming sound, and some of the men cried, "The Spanish machine-guns!"
Listening, I made out that it came from the flat ground to the left,
and jumped to my feet, smiting my hand on my thigh, and shouting aloud
with exultation, "It's the Gatlings, men, our Gatlings!" Lieutenant
Parker was bringing his four gatlings into action, and shoving them
nearer and nearer the front. Now and then the drumming ceased for a
moment; then it would resound again, always closer to San Juan hill,
which Parker, like ourselves, was hammering to assist the infantry
attack. Our men cheered lustily. We saw much of Parker after that, and
there was never a more welcome sound than his Gatlings as they opened.
It was the only sound which I ever heard my men cheer in battle.

The infantry got nearer and nearer the crest of the hill. At last we
could see the Spaniards running from the rifle-pits as the Americans
came on in their final rush. Then I stopped my men for fear they
should injure their comrades, and called to them to charge the next
line of trenches, on the hills in our front, from which we had been
undergoing a good deal of punishment. Thinking that the men would all
come, I jumped over the wire fence in front of us and started at the
double; but, as a matter of fact, the troopers were so excited, what
with shooting and being shot, and shouting and cheering, that they did
not hear, or did not heed me; and after running about a hundred yards
I found I had only five men along with me. Bullets were ripping the
grass all around us, and one of the men, Clay Green, was mortally
wounded; another, Winslow Clark, a Harvard man, was shot first in the
leg and then through the body. He made not the slightest murmur, only
asking me to put his water canteen where he could get at it, which I
did; he ultimately recovered. There was no use going on with the
remaining three men, and I bade them stay where they were while I went
back and brought up the rest of the brigade. This was a decidedly cool
request, for there was really no possible point in letting them stay
there while I went back; but at the moment it seemed perfectly natural
to me, and apparently so to them, for they cheerfully nodded, and sat
down in the grass, firing back at the line of trenches from which the
Spaniards were shooting at them. Meanwhile, I ran back, jumped over
the wire fence, and went over the crest of the hill, filled with anger
against the troopers, and especially those of my own regiment, for not
having accompanied me. They, of course, were quite innocent of
wrong-doing; and even while I taunted them bitterly for not having
followed me, it was all I could do not to smile at the look of injury
and surprise that came over their faces, while they cried out, "We
didn't hear you, we didn't see you go, Colonel; lead on now, we'll
sure follow you." I wanted the other regiments to come too, so I ran
down to where General Sumner was and asked him if I might make the
charge; and he told me to go and that he would see that the men
followed. By this time everybody had his attention attracted, and when
I leaped over the fence again, with Major Jenkins beside me, the men
of the various regiments which were already on the hill came with a
rush, and we started across the wide valley which lay between us and
the Spanish intrenchments. Captain Dimmick, now in command of the
Ninth, was bringing it forward; Captain McBlain had a number of Rough
Riders mixed in with his troop, and led them all together; Captain
Taylor had been severely wounded. The long-legged men like Greenway,
Goodrich, sharp-shooter Proffit, and others, outstripped the rest of
us, as we had a considerable distance to go. Long before we got near
them the Spaniards ran, save a few here and there, who either
surrendered or were shot down. When we reached the trenches we found
them filled with dead bodies in the light blue and white uniform of
the Spanish regular army. There were very few wounded. Most of the
fallen had little holes in their heads from which their brains were
oozing; for they were covered from the neck down by the trenches.

It was at this place that Major Wessels, of the Third Cavalry, was
shot in the back of the head. It was a severe wound, but after having
it bound up he again came to the front in command of his regiment.
Among the men who were foremost was Lieutenant Milton F. Davis, of the
First Cavalry. He had been joined by three men of the Seventy-first
New York, who ran up, and, saluting, said, "Lieutenant, we want to go
with you, our officers won't lead us." One of the brave fellows was
soon afterward shot in the face. Lieutenant Davis's first sergeant,
Clarence Gould, killed a Spanish soldier with his revolver, just as
the Spaniard was aiming at one of my Rough Riders. At about the same
time I also shot one. I was with Henry Bardshar, running up at the
double, and two Spaniards leaped from the trenches and fired at us,
not ten yards away. As they turned to run I closed in and fired twice,
missing the first and killing the second. My revolver was from the
sunken battle-ship Maine, and had been given me by my brother-in-law,
Captain W. S. Cowles, of the Navy. At the time I did not know of
Gould's exploit, and supposed my feat to be unique; and although Gould
had killed his Spaniard in the trenches, not very far from me, I never
learned of it until weeks after. It is astonishing what a limited area
of vision and experience one has in the hurly-burly of a battle.

There was very great confusion at this time, the different regiments
being completely intermingled--white regulars, colored regulars, and
Rough Riders. General Sumner had kept a considerable force in reserve
on Kettle Hill, under Major Jackson, of the Third Cavalry. We were
still under a heavy fire and I got together a mixed lot of men and
pushed on from the trenches and ranch-houses which we had just taken,
driving the Spaniards through a line of palm-trees, and over the crest
of a chain of hills. When we reached these crests we found ourselves
overlooking Santiago. Some of the men, including Jenkins, Greenway,
and Goodrich, pushed on almost by themselves far ahead. Lieutenant
Hugh Berkely, of the First, with a sergeant and two troopers, reached
the extreme front. He was, at the time, ahead of everyone; the
sergeant was killed and one trooper wounded; but the lieutenant and
the remaining trooper stuck to their post for the rest of the
afternoon until our line was gradually extended to include them.

While I was re-forming the troops on the chain of hills, one of
General Sumner's aides, Captain Robert Howze--as dashing and gallant
an officer as there was in the whole gallant cavalry division, by the
way--came up with orders to me to halt where I was, not advancing
farther, but to hold the hill at all hazards. Howze had his horse, and
I had some difficulty in making him take proper shelter; he stayed
with us for quite a time, unable to make up his mind to leave the
extreme front, and meanwhile jumping at the chance to render any
service, of risk or otherwise, which the moment developed.

I now had under me all the fragments of the six cavalry regiments
which were at the extreme front, being the highest officer left there,
and I was in immediate command of them for the remainder of the
afternoon and that night. The Ninth was over to the right, and the
Thirteenth Infantry afterward came up beside it. The rest of Kent's
infantry was to our left. Of the Tenth, Lieutenants Anderson, Muller,
and Fleming reported to me; Anderson was slightly wounded, but he paid
no heed to this. All three, like every other officer, had troopers of
various regiments under them; such mixing was inevitable in making
repeated charges through thick jungle; it was essentially a troop
commanders', indeed, almost a squad leaders', fight. The Spaniards who
had been holding the trenches and the line of hills, had fallen back
upon their supports and we were under a very heavy fire both from
rifles and great guns. At the point where we were, the grass-covered
hill-crest was gently rounded, giving poor cover, and I made my men
lie down on the hither slope.

On the extreme left Captain Beck, of the Tenth, with his own troop,
and small bodies of the men of other regiments, was exercising a
practically independent command, driving back the Spaniards whenever
they showed any symptoms of advancing. He had received his orders to
hold the line at all hazards from Lieutenant Andrews, one of General
Sumner's aides, just as I had received mine from Captain Howze.
Finally, he was relieved by some infantry, and then rejoined the rest
of the Tenth, which was engaged heavily until dark, Major Wint being
among the severely wounded. Lieutenant W. N. Smith was killed. Captain
Bigelow had been wounded three times.

Our artillery made one or two efforts to come into action on the
firing-line of the infantry, but the black powder rendered each
attempt fruitless. The Spanish guns used smokeless powder, so that it
was difficult to place them. In this respect they were on a par with
their own infantry and with our regular infantry and dismounted
cavalry; but our only two volunteer infantry regiments, the Second
Massachusetts and the Seventy-first New York, and our artillery, all
had black powder. This rendered the two volunteer regiments, which
were armed with the antiquated Springfield, almost useless in the
battle, and did practically the same thing for the artillery wherever
it was formed within rifle range. When one of the guns was discharged
a thick cloud of smoke shot out and hung over the place, making an
ideal target, and in a half minute every Spanish gun and rifle within
range was directed at the particular spot thus indicated; the
consequence was that after a more or less lengthy stand the gun was
silenced or driven off. We got no appreciable help from our guns on
July 1st. Our men were quick to realize the defects of our artillery,
but they were entirely philosophic about it, not showing the least
concern at its failure. On the contrary, whenever they heard our
artillery open they would grin as they looked at one another and
remark, "There go the guns again; wonder how soon they'll be shut up,"
and shut up they were sure to be. The light battery of Hotchkiss
one-pounders, under Lieutenant J. B. Hughes, of the Tenth Cavalry, was
handled with conspicuous gallantry.

On the hill-slope immediately around me I had a mixed force composed
of members of most of the cavalry regiments, and a few infantrymen.
There were about fifty of my Rough Riders with Lieutenants Goodrich
and Carr. Among the rest were perhaps a score of colored infantrymen,
but, as it happened, at this particular point without any of their
officers. No troops could have behaved better than the colored
soldiers had behaved so far; but they are, of course, peculiarly
dependent upon their white officers. Occasionally they produce
non-commissioned officers who can take the initiative and accept
responsibility precisely like the best class of whites; but this
cannot be expected normally, nor is it fair to expect it. With the
colored troops there should always be some of their own officers;
whereas, with the white regulars, as with my own Rough Riders,
experience showed that the non-commissioned officers could usually
carry on the fight by themselves if they were once started, no matter
whether their officers were killed or not.

At this particular time it was trying for the men, as they were
lying flat on their faces, very rarely responding to the bullets,
shells, and shrapnel which swept over the hill-top, and which
occasionally killed or wounded one of their number. Major Albert G.
Forse, of the First Cavalry, a noted Indian fighter, was killed about
this time. One of my best men, Sergeant Greenly, of Arizona, who was
lying beside me, suddenly said, "Beg pardon, Colonel; but I've been
hit in the leg." I asked, "Badly?" He said, "Yes, Colonel; quite
badly." After one of his comrades had helped him fix up his leg with a
first-aid-to-the-injured bandage, he limped off to the rear.

None of the white regulars or Rough Riders showed the slightest sign
of weakening; but under the strain the colored infantrymen (who had
none of their officers) began to get a little uneasy and to drift to
the rear, either helping wounded men, or saying that they wished to
find their own regiments. This I could not allow, as it was depleting
my line, so I jumped up, and walking a few yards to the rear, drew my
revolver, halted the retreating soldiers, and called out to them that
I appreciated the gallantry with which they had fought and would be
sorry to hurt them, but that I should shoot the first man who, on any
pretence whatever, went to the rear. My own men had all sat up and
were watching my movements with utmost interest; so was Captain Howze.
I ended my statement to the colored soldiers by saying: "Now, I shall
be very sorry to hurt you, and you don't know whether or not I will
keep my word, but my men can tell you that I always do;" whereupon my
cow-punchers, hunters, and miners solemnly nodded their heads and
commented in chorus, exactly as if in a comic opera, "He always does;
he always does!"

This was the end of the trouble, for the "smoked Yankees"--as the
Spaniards called the colored soldiers--flashed their white teeth at
one another, as they broke into broad grins, and I had no more
trouble with them, they seeming to accept me as one of their own
officers. The colored cavalry-men had already so accepted me; in
return, the Rough Riders, although for the most part Southwesterners,
who have a strong color prejudice, grew to accept them with hearty
good-will as comrades, and were entirely willing, in their own
phrase, "to drink out of the same canteen." Where all the regular
officers did so well, it is hard to draw any distinction; but in the
cavalry division a peculiar meed of praise should be given to the
officers of the Ninth and Tenth for their work, and under their
leadership the colored troops did as well as any soldiers could
possibly do.

In the course of the afternoon the Spaniards in our front made the
only offensive movement which I saw them make during the entire
campaign; for what were ordinarily called "attacks" upon our lines
consisted merely of heavy firing from their trenches and from their
skirmishers. In this case they did actually begin to make a forward
movement, their cavalry coming up as well as the marines and reserve
infantry,* while their skirmishers, who were always bold, redoubled
their activity. It could not be called a charge, and not only was it
not pushed home, but it was stopped almost as soon as it began, our
men immediately running forward to the crest of the hill with shouts
of delight at seeing their enemies at last come into the open. A few
seconds' firing stopped their advance and drove them into the cover of
the trenches.

* Note: Lieutenant Tejeiro, p. 154, speaks of this attempt to
retake San Juan and its failure.

They kept up a very heavy fire for some time longer, and our men
again lay down, only replying occasionally. Suddenly we heard on our
right the peculiar drumming sound which had been so welcome in the
morning, when the infantry were assailing the San Juan block-house.
The Gatlings were up again! I started over to inquire, and found that
Lieutenant Parker, not content with using his guns in support of the
attacking forces, had thrust them forward to the extreme front of the
fighting-line, where he was handling them with great effect. From this
time on, throughout the fighting, Parker's Gatlings were on the right
of my regiment, and his men and mine fraternized in every way. He kept
his pieces at the extreme front, using them on every occasion until
the last Spanish shot was fired. Indeed, the dash and efficiency with
which the Gatlings were handled by Parker was one of the most striking
features of the campaign; he showed that a first-rate officer could
use machine-guns, on wheels, in battle and skirmish, in attacking and
defending trenches, alongside of the best troops, and to their great

As night came on, the firing gradually died away. Before this
happened, however, Captains Morton and Boughton, of the Third Cavalry,
came over to tell me that a rumor had reached them to the effect that
there had been some talk of retiring and that they wished to protest
in the strongest manner. I had been watching them both, as they
handled their troops with the cool confidence of the veteran regular
officer, and had been congratulating myself that they were off toward
the right flank, for as long as they were there, I knew I was
perfectly safe in that direction. I had heard no rumor about retiring,
and I cordially agreed with them that it would be far worse than a
blunder to abandon our position.

To attack the Spaniards by rushing across open ground, or through
wire entanglements and low, almost impassable jungle, without the help
of artillery, and to force unbroken infantry, fighting behind
earthworks and armed with the best repeating weapons, supported by
cannon, was one thing; to repel such an attack ourselves, or to fight
our foes on anything like even terms in the open, was quite another
thing. No possible number of Spaniards coming at us from in front
could have driven us from our position, and there was not a man on the
crest who did not eagerly and devoutly hope that our opponents would
make the attempt, for it would surely have been followed, not merely
by a repulse, but by our immediately taking the city. There was not an
officer or a man on the firing-line, so far as I saw them, who did not
feel this way.

As night fell, some of my men went back to the buildings in our rear
and foraged through them, for we had now been fourteen hours charging
and fighting without food. They came across what was evidently the
Spanish officers' mess, where their dinner was still cooking, and they
brought it to the front in high glee. It was evident that the Spanish
officers were living well, however the Spanish rank and file were
faring. There were three big iron pots, one filled with beef-stew, one
with boiled rice, and one with boiled peas; there was a big demijohn
of rum (all along the trenches which the Spaniards held were empty
wine and liquor bottles); there were a number of loaves of rice-bread;
and there were even some small cans of preserves and a few salt fish.
Of course, among so many men, the food, which was equally divided, did
not give very much to each, but it freshened us all.

Soon after dark, General Wheeler, who in the afternoon had resumed
command of the cavalry division, came to the front. A very few words
with General Wheeler reassured us about retiring. He had been through
too much heavy fighting in the Civil War to regard the present fight
as very serious, and he told us not to be under any apprehension, for
he had sent word that there was no need whatever of retiring, and was
sure we would stay where we were until the chance came to advance. He
was second in command; and to him more than to any other one man was
due the prompt abandonment of the proposal to fall back--a proposal
which, if adopted, would have meant shame and disaster.

Shortly afterward General Wheeler sent us orders to intrench. The
men of the different regiments were now getting in place again and
sifting themselves out. All of our troops who had been kept at Kettle
Hill came forward and rejoined us after nightfall. During the
afternoon Greenway, apparently not having enough to do in the
fighting, had taken advantage of a lull to explore the buildings
himself, and had found a number of Spanish intrenching tools, picks,
and shovels, and these we used in digging trenches along our line. The
men were very tired indeed, but they went cheerfully to work, all the
officers doing their part.

Crockett, the ex-Revenue officer from Georgia, was a slight man, not
physically very strong. He came to me and told me he didn't think he
would be much use in digging, but that he had found a lot of Spanish
coffee and would spend his time making coffee for the men, if I
approved. I did approve very heartily, and Crockett officiated as cook
for the next three or four hours until the trench was dug, his coffee
being much appreciated by all of us.

So many acts of gallantry were performed during the day that it is
quite impossible to notice them all, and it seems unjust to single out
any; yet I shall mention a few, which it must always be remembered are
to stand, not as exceptions, but as instances of what very many men
did. It happened that I saw these myself. There were innumerable
others, which either were not seen at all, or were seen only by
officers who happened not to mention them; and, of course, I know
chiefly those that happened in my own regiment.

Captain Llewellen was a large, heavy man, who had a grown-up son in
the ranks. On the march he had frequently carried the load of some man
who weakened, and he was not feeling well on the morning of the fight.
Nevertheless, he kept at the head of his troop all day. In the
charging and rushing, he not only became very much exhausted, but
finally fell, wrenching himself terribly, and though he remained with
us all night, he was so sick by morning that we had to take him behind
the hill into an improvised hospital. Lieutenant Day, after handling
his troop with equal gallantry and efficiency, was shot, on the summit
of Kettle Hill. He was hit in the arm and was forced to go to the
rear, but he would not return to the States, and rejoined us at the
front long before his wound was healed. Lieutenant Leahy was also
wounded, not far from him. Thirteen of the men were wounded and yet
kept on fighting until the end of the day, and in some cases never
went to the rear at all, even to have their wounds dressed. They were
Corporals Waller and Fortescue and Trooper McKinley of Troop E;
Corporal Roades of Troop D; Troopers Albertson, Winter, McGregor, and
Ray Clark of Troop F; Troopers Bugbee, Jackson, and Waller of Troop A;
Trumpeter McDonald of Troop L; Sergeant Hughes of Troop B; and Trooper
Gievers of Troop G. One of the Wallers was a cow-puncher from New
Mexico, the other the champion Yale high-jumper. The first was shot
through the left arm so as to paralyze the fingers, but he continued
in battle, pointing his rifle over the wounded arm as though it had
been a rest. The other Waller, and Bugbee, were hit in the head, the
bullets merely inflicting scalp wounds. Neither of them paid any heed
to the wounds except that after nightfall each had his head done up in
a bandage. Fortescue I was at times using as an extra orderly. I
noticed he limped, but supposed that his foot was skinned. It proved,
however, that he had been struck in the foot, though not very
seriously, by a bullet, and I never knew what was the matter until the
next day I saw him making wry faces as he drew off his bloody boot,
which was stuck fast to the foot. Trooper Rowland again distinguished
himself by his fearlessness.

For gallantry on the field of action Sergeants Dame, Ferguson,
Tiffany, Greenwald, and, later on, McIlhenny, were promoted to second
lieutenancies, as Sergeant Hayes had already been. Lieutenant Carr,
who commanded his troop, and behaved with great gallantry throughout
the day, was shot and severely wounded at nightfall. He was the son of
a Confederate officer; his was the fifth generation which, from father
to son, had fought in every war of the United States. Among the men
whom I noticed as leading in the charges and always being nearest the
enemy, were the Pawnee, Pollock, Simpson of Texas, and Dudley Dean.
Jenkins was made major, Woodbury Kane, Day, and Frantz captains, and
Greenway and Goodrich first lieutenants, for gallantry in action, and
for the efficiency with which the first had handled his squadron, and
the other five their troops--for each of them, owing to some accident
to his superior, found himself in command of his troop.

Dr. Church had worked quite as hard as any man at the front in
caring for the wounded; as had Chaplain Brown. Lieutenant Keyes, who
acted as adjutant, did so well that he was given the position
permanently. Lieutenant Coleman similarly won the position of

We finished digging the trench soon after midnight, and then the
worn-out men laid down in rows on their rifles and dropped heavily to
sleep. About one in ten of them had blankets taken from the Spaniards.
Henry Bardshar, my orderly, had procured one for me. He, Goodrich, and
I slept together. If the men without blankets had not been so tired
that they fell asleep anyhow, they would have been very cold, for, of
course, we were all drenched with sweat, and above the waist had on
nothing but our flannel shirts, while the night was cool, with a heavy
dew. Before anyone had time to wake from the cold, however, we were
all awakened by the Spaniards, whose skirmishers suddenly opened fire
on us. Of course, we could not tell whether or not this was the
forerunner of a heavy attack, for our Cossack posts were responding
briskly. It was about three o'clock in the morning, at which time
men's courage is said to be at the lowest ebb; but the cavalry
division was certainly free from any weakness in that direction. At
the alarm everybody jumped to his feet and the stiff, shivering,
haggard men, their eyes only half-opened, all clutched their rifles
and ran forward to the trench on the crest of the hill.

The sputtering shots died away and we went to sleep again. But in
another hour dawn broke and the Spaniards opened fire in good earnest.
There was a little tree only a few feet away, under which I made my
head-quarters, and while I was lying there, with Goodrich and Keyes, a
shrapnel burst among us, not hurting us in the least, but with the
sweep of its bullets killing or wounding five men in our rear, one of
whom was a singularly gallant young Harvard fellow, Stanley Hollister.
An equally gallant young fellow from Yale, Theodore Miller, had
already been mortally wounded. Hollister also died.

The Second Brigade lost more heavily than the First; but neither its
brigade commander nor any of its regimental commanders were touched,
while the commander of the First Brigade and two of its three
regimental commanders had been killed or wounded.

In this fight our regiment had numbered 490 men, as, in addition to
the killed and wounded of the first fight, some had had to go to the
hospital for sickness and some had been left behind with the baggage,
or were detailed on other duty. Eighty-nine were killed and wounded:
the heaviest loss suffered by any regiment in the cavalry division.
The Spaniards made a stiff fight, standing firm until we charged home.
They fought much more stubbornly than at Las Guasimas. We ought to
have expected this, for they have always done well in holding
intrenchments. On this day they showed themselves to be brave foes,
worthy of honor for their gallantry.

In the attack on the San Juan hills our forces numbered about 6,600.*
There were about 4,500 Spaniards against us.** Our total loss in
killed and wounded was 1,071. Of the cavalry division there were, all
told, some 2,300 officers and men, of whom 375 were killed and
wounded. In the division over a fourth of the officers were killed or
wounded, their loss being relatively half as great again as that of
the enlisted men--which was as it should be.

* Note: According to the official reports, 5,104 officers and men
of Kent's infantry, and 2,649 of the cavalry had been landed. My
regiment is put down as 542 strong, instead of the real figure, 490,
the difference being due to men who were in hospital and on guard at
the seashore, etc. In other words, the total represents the total
landed; the details, etc., are included. General Wheeler, in his
report of July 7th, puts these details as about fifteen per cent of
the whole of the force which was on the transports; about
eighty-five per cent got forward and was in the fight.

** Note: The total Spanish force in Santiago under General Linares
was 6,000: 4,000 regulars, 1,000 volunteers, and 1,000 marines and
sailors from the ships. (Diary of the British Consul, Frederick W.
Ramsden, entry of July 1st.) Four thousand more troops entered next
day. Of the 6,000 troops, 600 or thereabouts were at El Caney, and
900 in the forts at the mouth of the harbor. Lieutenant Tejeiro
states that there were 520 men at El Caney, 970 in the forts at the
mouth of the harbor, and 3,000 in the lines, not counting the
cavalry and civil guard which were in reserve. He certainly very
much understates the Spanish force; thus he nowhere accounts for the
engineers mentioned on p. 135; and his figures would make the total
number of Spanish artillerymen but 32. He excludes the cavalry, the
civil guard, and the marines which had been stationed at the Plaza
del Toros; yet he later mentions that these marines were brought up,
and their commander, Bustamente, severely wounded; he states that
the cavalry advanced to cover the retreat of the infantry, and I
myself saw the cavalry come forward, for the most part dismounted,
when the Spaniards attempted a forward movement late in the
afternoon, and we shot many of their horses; while later I saw and
conversed with officers and men of the civil guard who had been
wounded at the same time--this in connection with returning them
their wives and children, after the latter had fled from the city.
Although the engineers are excluded, Lieutenant Tejeiro mentions
that their colonel, as well as the colonel of the artillery, was
wounded. Four thousand five hundred is surely an understatement of
the forces which resisted the attack of the forces under Wheeler.
Lieutenant Tejeiro is very careless in his figures. Thus in one
place he states that the position of San Juan was held by two
companies comprising 250 soldiers. Later he says it was held by
three companies, whose strength he puts at 300--thus making them
average 100 instead of 125 men apiece. He then mentions another
echelon of two companies, so situated as to cross their fire with
the others. Doubtless the block-house and trenches at Fort San Juan
proper were only held by three or four hundred men; they were taken
by the Sixth and Sixteenth Infantry under Hawkins's immediate
command; and they formed but one point in the line of hills,
trenches, ranch-houses, and block-houses which the Spaniards held,
and from which we drove them. When the city capitulated later, over
8,000 unwounded troops and over 16,000 rifles and carbines were
surrendered; by that time the marines and sailors had of course
gone, and the volunteers had disbanded.

In all these figures I have taken merely the statements from the
Spanish side. I am inclined to think the actual numbers were much
greater than those here given. Lieutenant Wiley, in his book _In Cuba
with Shafter_, which is practically an official statement, states
that nearly 11,000 Spanish troops were surrendered; and this is the
number given by the Spaniards themselves in the remarkable letter
the captured soldiers addressed to General Shafter, which Wiley
quotes in full. Lieutenant Tejeiro, in his chap. xiv., explains that
the volunteers had disbanded before the end came, and the marines
and sailors had of course gone, while nearly a thousand men had been
killed or captured or had died of wounds and disease, so that there
must have been at least 14,000 all told. Subtracting the
reinforcements who arrived on the 2nd, this would mean about 10,000
Spaniards present on the 1st; in which case Kent and Wheeler were
opposed by at least equal numbers.

In dealing with the Spanish losses, Lieutenant Tejeiro contradicts
himself. He puts their total loss on this day at 593, including 94
killed, 121 missing, and 2 prisoners--217 in all. Yet he states that
of the 520 men at Caney but 80 got back, the remaining 440 being
killed, captured, or missing. When we captured the city we found in
the hospitals over 2,000 seriously wounded and sick Spaniards; on
making inquiries, I found that over a third were wounded. From these
facts I feel that it is safe to put down the total Spanish loss in
battle as at least 1,200, of whom over a thousand were killed and

Lieutenant Tejeiro, while rightly claiming credit for the courage
shown by the Spaniards, also praises the courage and resolution of
the Americans, saying that they fought, "con un arrojo y una
decision verdaderamente admirables." He dwells repeatedly upon the
determination with which our troops kept charging though themselves
unprotected by cover. As for the Spanish troops, all who fought them
that day will most freely admit the courage they showed. At El
Caney, where they were nearly hemmed in, they made a most desperate
defence; at San Juan the way to retreat was open, and so, though
they were seven times as numerous, they fought with less
desperation, but still very gallantly.

I think we suffered more heavily than the Spaniards did in killed
and wounded (though we also captured some scores of prisoners). It
would have been very extraordinary if the reverse was the case, for we
did the charging; and to carry earthworks on foot with dismounted
cavalry, when these earthworks are held by unbroken infantry armed
with the best modern rifles, is a serious task.



When the shrapnel burst among us on the hill-side we made up our minds
that we had better settle down to solid siege work. All of the men who
were not in the trenches I took off to the right, back of the Gatling
guns, where there was a valley, and dispersed them by troops in
sheltered parts. It took us an hour or two's experimenting to find out
exactly what spots were free from danger, because some of the Spanish
sharp-shooters were in trees in our front, where we could not possibly
place them from the trenches; and these were able to reach little
hollows and depressions where the men were entirely safe from the
Spanish artillery and from their trench-fire. Moreover, in one hollow,
which we thought safe, the Spaniards succeeded in dropping a shell, a
fragment of which went through the head of one of my men, who,
astonishing to say, lived, although unconscious, for two hours
afterward. Finally, I got all eight troops settled, and the men
promptly proceeded to make themselves as much at home as possible. For
the next twenty-four hours, however, the amount of comfort was small,
as in the way of protection and covering we only had what blankets,
rain-coats, and hammocks we took from the dead Spaniards. Ammunition,
which was, of course, the most vital need, was brought up in
abundance; but very little food reached us. That afternoon we had just
enough to allow each man for his supper two hardtacks, and one
hardtack extra for every four men.

During the first night we had dug trenches sufficient in length and
depth to shelter our men and insure safety against attack, but we had
not put in any traverses or approaches, nor had we arranged the
trenches at all points in the best places for offensive work; for we
were working at night on ground which we had but partially explored.
Later on an engineer officer stated that he did not think our work had
been scientific; and I assured him that I did not doubt that he was
right, for I had never before seen a trench, excepting those we
captured from the Spaniards, or heard of a traverse, save as I vaguely
remembered reading about them in books. For such work as we were
engaged in, however, the problem of intrenchment was comparatively
simple, and the work we did proved entirely adequate. No man in my
regiment was ever hit in the trenches or going in or out of them.

But on the first day there was plenty of excitement connected with
relieving the firing line. Under the intense heat, crowded down in
cramped attitudes in the rank, newly dug, poisonous soil of the
trenches, the men needed to be relieved every six hours or so.
Accordingly, in the late morning, and again in the afternoon, I
arranged for their release. On each occasion I waited until there was
a lull in the firing and then started a sudden rush by the relieving
party, who tumbled into the trenches every which way. The movement
resulted on each occasion in a terrific outburst of fire from the
Spanish lines, which proved quite harmless; and as it gradually died
away the men who had been relieved got out as best they could.
Fortunately, by the next day I was able to abandon this primitive,
though thrilling and wholly novel, military method of relief.

When the hardtack came up that afternoon I felt much sympathy for
the hungry unfortunates in the trenches and hated to condemn them to
six hours more without food; but I did not know how to get food into
them. Little McGinty, the bronco buster, volunteered to make the
attempt, and I gave him permission. He simply took a case of hardtack
in his arms and darted toward the trenches. The distance was but
short, and though there was an outburst of fire, he was actually
missed. One bullet, however, passed through the case of hardtack just
before he disappeared with it into the trench. A trooper named
Shanafelt repeated the feat, later, with a pail of coffee. Another
trooper, George King, spent a leisure hour in the rear making soup out
of some rice and other stuff he found in a Spanish house; he brought
some of it to General Wood, Jack Greenway, and myself, and nothing
could have tasted more delicious.

At this time our army in the trenches numbered about 11,000 men; and
the Spaniards in Santiago about 9,000,* their reinforcements having
just arrived. Nobody on the firing line, whatever was the case in the
rear, felt the slightest uneasiness as to the Spaniards being able to
break out; but there were plenty who doubted the advisability of
trying to rush the heavy earthworks and wire defenses in our front.

* Note: This is probably an understatement. Lieutenant Muller, in
chap. xxxviii. of his book, says that there were "eight or nine
thousand;" this is exclusive of the men from the fleet, and
apparently also of many of the volunteers (see chap. xiv.), all of
whom were present on July 2nd. I am inclined to think that on the
evening of that day there were more Spanish troops inside Santiago
than there were American troops outside.

All day long the firing continued--musketry and cannon. Our artillery
gave up the attempt to fight on the firing line, and was withdrawn
well to the rear out of range of the Spanish rifles; so far as we
could see, it accomplished very little. The dynamite gun was brought
up to the right of the regimental line. It was more effective than the
regular artillery because it was fired with smokeless powder, and as
it was used like a mortar from behind the hill, it did not betray its
presence, and those firing it suffered no loss. Every few shots it got
out of order, and the Rough Rider machinists and those furnished by
Lieutenant Parker--whom we by this time began to consider as an
exceedingly valuable member of our own regiment--would spend an hour or
two in setting it right. Sergeant Borrowe had charge of it and handled
it well. With him was Sergeant Guitilias, a gallant old fellow, a
veteran of the Civil War, whose duties were properly those of
standard-bearer, he having charge of the yellow cavalry standard of
the regiment; but in the Cuban campaign he was given the more active
work of helping run the dynamite gun. The shots from the dynamite gun
made a terrific explosion, but they did not seem to go accurately.
Once one of them struck a Spanish trench and wrecked part of it. On
another occasion one struck a big building, from which there promptly
swarmed both Spanish cavalry and infantry, on whom the Colt automatic
guns played with good effect, during the minute that elapsed before
they could get other cover.

These Colt automatic guns were not, on the whole, very successful.
The gun detail was under the charge of Sergeant (afterward Lieutenant)
Tiffany, assisted by some of our best men, like Stevens,
Crowninshield, Bradley, Smith, and Herrig. The guns were mounted on
tripods. They were too heavy for men to carry any distance and we
could not always get mules. They would have been more effective if
mounted on wheels, as the Gatlings were. Moreover, they proved more
delicate than the Gatlings, and very readily got out of order. A
further and serious disadvantage was that they did not use the Krag
ammunition, as the Gatlings did, but the Mauser ammunition. The
Spanish cartridges which we captured came in quite handily for this
reason. Parker took the same fatherly interest in these two Colts that
he did in the dynamite gun, and finally I put all three and their men
under his immediate care, so that he had a battery of seven guns.

In fact, I think Parker deserved rather more credit than any other
one man in the entire campaign. I do not allude especially to his
courage and energy, great though they were, for there were hundreds of
his fellow-officers of the cavalry and infantry who possessed as much
of the former quality, and scores who possessed as much of the latter;
but he had the rare good judgment and foresight to see the
possibilities of the machine-guns, and, thanks to the aid of General
Shafter, he was able to organize his battery. He then, by his own
exertions, got it to the front and proved that it could do invaluable
work on the field of battle, as much in attack as in defence. Parker's
Gatlings were our inseparable companions throughout the siege. After
our trenches were put in final shape, he took off the wheels of a
couple and placed them with our own two Colts in the trenches. His
gunners slept beside the Rough Riders in the bomb-proofs, and the men
shared with one another when either side got a supply of beans or of
coffee and sugar; for Parker was as wide-awake and energetic in
getting food for his men as we prided ourselves upon being in getting
food for ours. Besides, he got oil, and let our men have plenty for
their rifles. 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 I was ordered
to send a troop of Rough Riders to guard some road or some break in
the lines, we usually got Parker to send a Gatling along, and whether
the change was made by day or by night, the Gatling went, over any
ground and in any weather. He never exposed the Gatlings needlessly or
unless there was some object to be gained, but if serious fighting
broke out, he always took a hand. Sometimes this fighting would be the
result of an effort on our part to quell the fire from the Spanish
trenches; sometimes the Spaniards took the initiative; but at whatever
hour of the twenty-four serious fighting began, the drumming of the
Gatlings was soon heard through the cracking of our own carbines.

I have spoken thus of Parker's Gatling detachment. How can I speak
highly enough of the regular cavalry with whom it was our good fortune
to serve? I do not believe that in any army of the world could be
found a more gallant and soldierly body of fighters than the officers
and men of the First, Third, Sixth, Ninth, and Tenth United States
Cavalry, beside whom we marched to blood-bought victory under the
tropic skies of Santiago. The American regular sets the standard of
excellence. When we wish to give the utmost possible praise to a
volunteer organization, we say that it is as good as the regulars. I
was exceedingly proud of the fact that the regulars treated my
regiment as on a complete equality with themselves, and were as ready
to see it in a post of danger and responsibility as to see any of
their own battalions. Lieutenant Colonel Dorst, a man from whom praise
meant a good deal, christened us "the Eleventh United States Horse,"
and we endeavored, I think I may say successfully, to show that we
deserved the title by our conduct, not only in fighting and in
marching, but in guarding the trenches and in policing camp. In less
than sixty days the regiment had been raised, organized, armed,
equipped, drilled, mounted, dismounted, kept for a fortnight on
transports, and put through two victorious aggressive fights in very
difficult country, the loss in killed and wounded amounting to a
quarter of those engaged. This is a record which it is not easy to
match in the history of volunteer organizations. The loss was but
small compared to that which befell hundreds of regiments in some of
the great battles of the later years of the Civil War; but it may be
doubted whether there was any regiment which made such a record during
the first months of any of our wars.

After the battle of San Juan my men had really become veterans; they
and I understood each other perfectly, and trusted each other
implicitly; they knew I would share every hardship and danger with
them, would do everything in my power to see that they were fed, and
so far as might be, sheltered and spared; and in return I knew that
they would endure every kind of hardship and fatigue without a murmur
and face every danger with entire fearlessness. I felt utter
confidence in them, and would have been more than willing to put them
to any task which any crack regiment of the world, at home or abroad,
could perform. They were natural fighters, men of great intelligence,
great courage, great hardihood, and physical prowess; and I could draw
on these qualities and upon their spirit of ready, soldierly obedience
to make up for any deficiencies in the technique of the trade which
they had temporarily adopted. It must be remembered that they were
already good individual fighters, skilled in the use of the horse and
the rifle, so that there was no need of putting them through the kind
of training in which the ordinary raw recruit must spend his first
year or two.

On July 2nd, as the day wore on, the fight, though raging fitfully at
intervals, gradually died away. The Spanish guerillas were causing us
much trouble. They showed great courage, exactly as did their soldiers
who were defending the trenches. In fact, the Spaniards throughout
showed precisely the qualities they did early in the century, when, as
every student will remember, their fleets were a helpless prey to the
English war-ships, and their armies utterly unable to stand in the
open against those of Napoleon's marshals, while on the other hand
their guerillas performed marvellous feats, and their defence of
intrenchments and walled towns, as at Saragossa and Gerona, were the
wonder of the civilized world.

In our front their sharp-shooters crept up before dawn and either
lay in the thick jungle or climbed into some tree with dense foliage.
In these places it proved almost impossible to place them, as they
kept cover very carefully, and their smokeless powder betrayed not the
slightest sign of their whereabouts. They caused us a great deal of
annoyance and some little loss, and though our own sharp-shooters were
continually taking shots at the places where they supposed them to be,
and though occasionally we would play a Gatling or a Colt all through
the top of a suspicious tree, I but twice saw Spaniards brought down
out of their perches from in front of our lines--on each occasion the
fall of the Spaniard being hailed with loud cheers by our men.

These sharp-shooters in our front did perfectly legitimate work, and
were entitled to all credit for their courage and skill. It was
different with the guerillas in our rear. Quite a number of these had
been posted in trees at the time of the San Juan fight. They were
using, not Mausers, but Remingtons, which shot smokeless powder and a
brass-coated bullet. It was one of these bullets which had hit Winslow
Clark by my side on Kettle Hill; and though for long-range fighting
the Remingtons were, of course, nothing like as good as the Mausers,
they were equally serviceable for short-range bush work, as they used
smokeless powder. When our troops advanced and the Spaniards in the
trenches and in reserve behind the hill fled, the guerillas in the
trees had no time to get away and in consequence were left in the rear
of our lines. As we found out from the prisoners we took, the Spanish
officers had been careful to instil into the minds of their soldiers
the belief that the Americans never granted quarter, and I suppose it
was in consequence of this that the guerillas did not surrender; for
we found that the Spaniards were anxious enough to surrender as soon
as they became convinced that we would treat them mercifully. At any
rate, these guerillas kept up in their trees and showed not only
courage but wanton cruelty and barbarity. At times they fired upon
armed men in bodies, but they much preferred for their victims the
unarmed attendants, the doctors, the chaplains, the hospital stewards.
They fired at the men who were bearing off the wounded in litters;
they fired at the doctors who came to the front, and at the chaplains
who started to hold burial service; the conspicuous Red Cross brassard
worn by all of these non-combatants, instead of serving as a
protection, seemed to make them the special objects of the guerilla
fire. So annoying did they become that I sent out that afternoon and
next morning a detail of picked sharp-shooters to hunt them out,
choosing, of course, first-class woodsmen and mountain men who were
also good shots. My sharp-shooters felt very vindictively toward these
guerillas and showed them no quarter. They started systematically to
hunt them, and showed themselves much superior at the guerillas' own
game, killing eleven, while not one of my men was scratched. Two of
the men who did conspicuously good service in this work were Troopers
Goodwin and Proffit, both of Arizona, but one by birth a Californian
and the other a North Carolinian. Goodwin was a natural shot, not only
with the rifle and revolver, but with the sling. Proffit might have
stood as a type of the mountaineers described by John Fox and Miss
Murfree. He was a tall, sinewy, handsome man of remarkable strength,
an excellent shot and a thoroughly good soldier. His father had been a
Confederate officer, rising from the ranks, and if the war had lasted
long enough the son would have risen in the same manner. As it was, I
should have been glad to have given him a commission, exactly as I
should have been glad to have given a number of others in the regiment
commissions, if I had only had them. Proffit was a saturnine, reserved
man, who afterward fell very sick with the fever, and who, as a reward
for his soldierly good conduct, was often granted unusual privileges;
but he took the fever and the privileges with the same iron
indifference, never grumbling, and never expressing satisfaction.

The sharp-shooters returned by nightfall. Soon afterward I
established my pickets and outposts well to the front in the jungle,
so as to prevent all possibility of surprise. After dark, fires
suddenly shot up on the mountain passes far to our right. They all
rose together and we could make nothing of them. After a good deal of
consultation, we decided they must be some signals to the Spaniards in
Santiago, from the troops marching to reinforce them from without--for
we were ignorant that the reinforcements had already reached the city,
the Cubans being quite unable to prevent the Spanish regulars from
marching wherever they wished. While we were thus pondering over the
watch-fires and attributing them to Spanish machinations of some sort,
it appears that the Spaniards, equally puzzled, were setting them down
as an attempt at communication between the insurgents and our army.
Both sides were accordingly on the alert, and the Spaniards must have
strengthened their outlying parties in the jungle ahead of us, for
they suddenly attacked one of our pickets, wounding Crockett
seriously. He was brought in by the other troopers. Evidently the
Spanish lines felt a little nervous, for this sputter of shooting was
immediately followed by a tremendous fire of great guns and rifles
from their trenches and batteries. Our men in the trenches responded
heavily, and word was sent back, not only to me, but to the commanders
in the rear of the regiments along our line, that the Spaniards were
attacking. It was imperative to see what was really going on, so I ran
up to the trenches and looked out. At night it was far easier to place
the Spanish lines than by day, because the flame-spurts shone in the
darkness. I could soon tell that there were bodies of Spanish pickets
or skirmishers in the jungle-covered valley, between their lines and
ours, but that the bulk of the fire came from their trenches and
showed not the slightest symptom of advancing; moreover, as is
generally the case at night, the fire was almost all high, passing
well overhead, with an occasional bullet near by.

I came to the conclusion that there was no use in our firing back
under such circumstances; and I could tell that the same conclusion
had been reached by Captain Ayres of the Tenth Cavalry on the right of
my line, for even above the cracking of the carbines rose the
Captain's voice as with varied and picturesque language he bade his
black troopers cease firing. The Captain was as absolutely fearless as
a man can be. He had command of his regimental trenches that night,
and, having run up at the first alarm, had speedily satisfied himself
that no particular purpose was served by blazing away in the dark,
when the enormous majority of the Spaniards were simply shooting at
random from their own trenches, and, if they ever had thought of
advancing, had certainly given up the idea. His troopers were devoted
to him, would follow him anywhere, and would do anything he said; but
when men get firing at night it is rather difficult to stop them,
especially when the fire of the enemy in front continues unabated.
When he first reached the trenches it was impossible to say whether or
not there was an actual night attack impending, and he had been
instructing his men, as I instructed mine, to fire low, cutting the
grass in front. As soon as he became convinced that there was no night
attack, he ran up and down the line adjuring and commanding the
troopers to cease shooting, with words and phrases which were
doubtless not wholly unlike those which the Old Guard really did use
at Waterloo. As I ran down my own line, I could see him coming up his,
and he saved me all trouble in stopping the fire at the right, where
the lines met, for my men there all dropped everything to listen to
him and cheer and laugh. Soon we got the troopers in hand, and made
them cease firing; then, after awhile, the Spanish fire died down. At
the time we spoke of this as a night attack by the Spaniards, but it
really was not an attack at all. Ever after my men had a great regard
for Ayres, and would have followed him anywhere. I shall never forget
the way in which he scolded his huge, devoted black troopers,
generally ending with "I'm ashamed of you, ashamed of you! I wouldn't
have believed it! Firing; when I told you to stop! I'm ashamed of

That night we spent in perfecting the trenches and arranging
entrances to them, doing about as much work as we had the preceding
night. Greenway and Goodrich, from their energy, eagerness to do every
duty, and great physical strength, were peculiarly useful in this
work; as, indeed, they were in all work. They had been up practically
the entire preceding night, but they were too good men for me to spare
them, nor did they wish to be spared; and I kept them up all this
night too. Goodrich had also been on guard as officer of the day the
night we were at El Poso, so that it turned out that he spent nearly
four days and three nights with practically hardly any sleep at all.

Next morning, at daybreak, the firing began again. This day, the 3rd,
we suffered nothing, save having one man wounded by a sharp-shooter,
and, thanks to the approaches to the trenches, we were able to relieve
the guards without any difficulty. The Spanish sharp-shooters in the
trees and jungle nearby, however, annoyed us very much, and I made
preparations to fix them next day. With this end in view I chose out
some twenty first-class men, in many instances the same that I had
sent after the guerillas, and arranged that each should take his
canteen and a little food. They were to slip into the jungle between
us and the Spanish lines before dawn next morning, and there to spend
the day, getting as close to the Spanish lines as possible, moving
about with great stealth, and picking off any hostile sharp-shooter,
as well as any soldier who exposed himself in the trenches. I had
plenty of men who possessed a training in woodcraft that fitted them
for this work; and as soon as the rumor got abroad what I was
planning, volunteers thronged to me. Daniels and Love were two of the
men always to the front in any enterprise of this nature; so were
Wadsworth, the two Bulls, Fortescue, and Cowdin. But I could not begin
to name all the troopers who so eagerly craved the chance to win honor
out of hazard and danger.

Among them was good, solemn Fred Herrig, the Alsatian. I knew Fred's
patience and skill as a hunter from the trips we had taken together
after deer and mountain sheep through the Bad Lands of the Little
Missouri. He still spoke English with what might be called Alsatian
variations--he always spoke of the gun detail as the "gondetle," with
the accent on the first syllable--and he expressed a wish to be allowed
"a holiday from the gondetle to go after dem gorrillas." I told him he
could have the holiday, but to his great disappointment the truce came
first, and then Fred asked that, inasmuch as the "gorrillas" were now
forbidden game, he might be allowed to go after guinea-hens instead.

Even after the truce, however, some of my sharp-shooters had
occupation, for two guerillas in our rear took occasional shots at the
men who were bathing in a pond, until one of our men spied them, when
they were both speedily brought down. One of my riflemen who did best
at this kind of work, by the way, got into trouble because of it. He
was much inflated by my commendation of him, and when he went back to
his troop he declined to obey the first Sergeant's orders on the
ground that he was "the Colonel's sharp-shooter." The Lieutenant in
command, being somewhat puzzled, brought him to me, and I had to
explain that if the offence, disobedience of orders in face of the
enemy, was repeated he might incur the death penalty; whereat he
looked very crestfallen. That afternoon he got permission, like Fred
Herrig, to go after guinea-hens, which were found wild in some numbers
round about; and he sent me the only one he got as a peace offering.
The few guinea-hens thus procured were all used for the sick.

Dr. Church had established a little field hospital under the
shoulder of the hill in our rear. He was himself very sick and had
almost nothing in the way of medicine or supplies or apparatus of any
kind, but the condition of the wounded in the big field hospitals in
the rear was so horrible, from the lack of attendants as well as of
medicines, that we kept all the men we possibly could at the front.
Some of them had now begun to come down with fever. They were all very
patient, but it was pitiful to see the sick and wounded soldiers lying
on their blankets, if they had any, and if not then simply in the mud,
with nothing to eat but hardtack and pork, which of course they could
not touch when their fever got high, and with no chance to get more
than the rudest attention. Among the very sick here was gallant
Captain Llewellen. I feared he was going to die. We finally had to
send him to one of the big hospitals in the rear. Doctors Brewer and
Fuller of the Tenth had been unwearying in attending to the wounded,
including many of those of my regiment.

At twelve o'clock we were notified to stop firing and a flag of
truce was sent in to demand the surrender of the city. The
negotiations gave us a breathing spell.

That afternoon I arranged to get our baggage up, sending back strong
details of men to carry up their own goods, and, as usual, impressing
into the service a kind of improvised pack-train consisting of the
officers' horses, of two or three captured Spanish cavalry horses, two
or three mules which had been shot and abandoned and which our men had
taken and cured, and two or three Cuban ponies. Hitherto we had simply
been sleeping by the trenches or immediately in their rear, with
nothing in the way of shelter and only one blanket to every three or
four men. Fortunately there had been little rain. We now got up the
shelter tents of the men and some flies for the hospital and for the
officers; and my personal baggage appeared. I celebrated its advent by
a thorough wash and shave.

Later, I twice snatched a few hours to go to the rear and visit such
of my men as I could find in the hospitals. Their patience was
extraordinary. Kenneth Robinson, a gallant young trooper, though
himself severely (I supposed at the time mortally) wounded, was
noteworthy for the way in which he tended those among the wounded who
were even more helpless, and the cheery courage with which he kept up
their spirits. Gievers, who was shot through the hips, rejoined us at
the front in a fortnight. Captain Day was hardly longer away. Jack
Hammer, who, with poor Race Smith, a gallant Texas lad who was
mortally hurt beside me on the summit of the hill, had been on kitchen
detail, was wounded and sent to the rear; he was ordered to go to the
United States, but he heard that we were to assault Santiago, so he
struggled out to rejoin us, and thereafter stayed at the front. Cosby,
badly wounded, made his way down to the sea-coast in three days,

With all volunteer troops, and I am inclined to think with regulars,
too, in time of trial, the best work can be got out of the men only if
the officers endure the same hardships and face the same risks. In my
regiment, as in the whole cavalry division, the proportion of loss in
killed and wounded was considerably greater among the officers than
among the troopers, and this was exactly as it should be. Moreover,
when we got down to hard pan, we all, officers and men, fared exactly
alike as regards both shelter and food. This prevented any grumbling.
When the troopers saw that the officers had nothing but hardtack,
there was not a man in the regiment who would not have been ashamed to
grumble at faring no worse, and when all alike slept out in the open,
in the rear of the trenches, and when the men always saw the field
officers up at night, during the digging of the trenches, and going
the rounds of the outposts, they would not tolerate, in any of their
number, either complaint or shirking work. When things got easier I
put up my tent and lived a little apart, for it is a mistake for an
officer ever to grow too familiar with his men, no matter how good
they are; and it is of course the greatest possible mistake to seek
popularity either by showing weakness or by mollycoddling the men.
They will never respect a commander who does not enforce discipline,
who does not know his duty, and who is not willing both himself to
encounter and to make them encounter every species of danger and
hardship when necessary. The soldiers who do not feel this way are not
worthy of the name and should be handled with iron severity until they
become fighting men and not shams. In return the officer should
carefully look after his men, should see that they are well fed and
well sheltered, and that, no matter how much they may grumble, they
keep the camp thoroughly policed.

After the cessation of the three days' fighting we began to get our
rations regularly and had plenty of hardtack and salt pork, and
usually about half the ordinary amount of sugar and coffee. It was not
a very good ration for the tropics, however, and was of very little
use indeed to the sick and half-sick. On two or three occasions during
the siege I got my improvised pack-train together and either took or
sent it down to the sea-coast for beans, canned tomatoes, and the
like. We got these either from the transports which were still landing
stores on the beach or from the Red Cross. If I did not go myself I
sent some man who had shown that he was a driving, energetic, tactful
fellow, who would somehow get what we wanted. Chaplain Brown developed
great capacity in this line, and so did one of the troopers named
Knoblauch, he who had dived after the rifles that had sunk off the
pier at Daiquiri. The supplies of food we got in this way had a very
beneficial effect, not only upon the men's health, but upon their
spirits. To the Red Cross and similar charitable organizations we owe
a great deal. We also owed much to Colonel Weston of the Commissary
Department, who always helped us and never let himself be hindered by
red tape; thus he always let me violate the absurd regulation which
forbade me, even in war time, to purchase food for my men from the
stores, although letting me purchase for the officers. I, of course,
paid no heed to the regulation when by violating it I could get beans,
canned tomatoes, or tobacco. Sometimes I used my own money, sometimes
what was given me by Woody Kane, or what was sent me by my
brother-in-law, Douglas Robinson, or by the other Red Cross people in
New York. My regiment did not fare very well; but I think it fared
better than any other. Of course no one would have minded in the least
such hardships as we endured had there been any need of enduring them;
but there was none. System and sufficiency of transportation were all
that were needed.

On one occasion a foreign military attache visited my head-quarters
together with a foreign correspondent who had been through the
Turco-Greek war. They were both most friendly critics, and as they
knew I was aware of this, the correspondent finally ventured the
remark, that he thought our soldiers fought even better than the
Turks, but that on the whole our system of military administration
seemed rather worse than that of the Greeks. As a nation we had prided
ourselves on our business ability and adroitness in the arts of peace,
while outsiders, at any rate, did not credit us with any especial
warlike prowess; and it was curious that when war came we should have
broken down precisely on the business and administrative side, while
the fighting edge of the troops certainly left little to be desired.

I was very much touched by the devotion my men showed to me. After
they had once become convinced that I would share their hardships,
they made it a point that I should not suffer any hardships at all;
and I really had an extremely easy time. Whether I had any food or not
myself made no difference, as there were sure to be certain troopers,
and, indeed, certain troop messes, on the lookout for me. If they had
any beans they would send me over a cupful, or I would suddenly
receive a present of doughnuts from some ex-roundup cook who had
succeeded in obtaining a little flour and sugar, and if a man shot a
guinea-hen it was all I could do to make him keep half of it for
himself. Wright, the color sergeant, and Henry Bardshar, my orderly,
always pitched and struck my tent and built me a bunk of bamboo poles,
whenever we changed camp. So I personally endured very little
discomfort; for, of course, no one minded the two or three days
preceding or following each fight, when we all had to get along as
best we could. Indeed, as long as we were under fire or in the
immediate presence of the enemy, and I had plenty to do, there was
nothing of which I could legitimately complain; and what I really did
regard as hardships, my men did not object to--for later on, when we
had some leisure, I would have given much for complete solitude and
some good books.

Whether there was a truce, or whether, as sometimes happened, we
were notified that there was no truce but merely a further cessation
of hostilities by tacit agreement, or whether the fight was on, we
kept equally vigilant watch, especially at night. In the trenches
every fourth man kept awake, the others sleeping beside or behind him
on their rifles; and the Cossack posts and pickets were pushed out in
advance beyond the edge of the jungle. At least once a night at some
irregular hour I tried to visit every part of our line, especially if
it was dark and rainy, although sometimes, when the lines were in
charge of some officer like Wilcox or Kane, Greenway or Goodrich, I
became lazy, took off my boots, and slept all night through. Sometimes
at night I went not only along the lines of our own brigade, but of
the brigades adjoining. It was a matter of pride, not only with me,
but with all our men, that the lines occupied by the Rough Riders
should be at least as vigilantly guarded as the lines of any regular

Sometimes at night, when I met other officers inspecting their
lines, we would sit and talk over matters, and wonder what shape the
outcome of the siege would take. We knew we would capture Santiago,
but exactly how we would do it we could not tell. The failure to
establish any depot for provisions on the fighting-line, where there
was hardly ever more than twenty-four hours' food ahead, made the risk
very serious. If a hurricane had struck the transports, scattering
them to the four winds, or if three days of heavy rain had completely
broken up our communication, as they assuredly would have done, we
would have been at starvation point on the front; and while, of
course, we would have lived through it somehow and would have taken
the city, it would only have been after very disagreeable experiences.
As soon as I was able I accumulated for my own regiment about
forty-eight hours' hardtack and salt pork, which I kept so far as
possible intact to provide against any emergency.

If the city could be taken without direct assault on the intrenchments
and wire entanglements, we earnestly hoped it would be, for such an
assault meant, as we knew by past experience, the loss of a quarter
of the attacking regiments (and we were bound that the Rough Riders
should be one of these attacking regiments, if the attack had to be
made). There was, of course, nobody who would not rather have
assaulted than have run the risk of failure; but we hoped the city
would fall without need arising for us to suffer the great loss of
life which a further assault would have entailed.

Naturally, the colonels and captains had nothing to say in the peace
negotiations which dragged along for the week following the sending in
the flag of truce. Each day we expected either to see the city
surrender, or to be told to begin fighting again, and toward the end
it grew so irksome that we would have welcomed even an assault in
preference to further inaction. I used to discuss matters with the
officers of my own regiment now and then, and with a few of the
officers of the neighboring regiments with whom I had struck up a
friendship--Parker, Stevens, Beck, Ayres, Morton, and Boughton. I also
saw a good deal of the excellent officers on the staffs of Generals
Wheeler and Sumner, especially Colonel Dorst, Colonel Garlington,
Captain Howze, Captain Steele, Lieutenant Andrews, and Captain Astor
Chanler, who, like myself, was a volunteer. Chanler was an old friend
and a fellow big-game hunter, who had done some good exploring work in
Africa. I always wished I could have had him in my regiment. As for
Dorst, he was peculiarly fitted to command a regiment. Although Howze
and Andrews were not in my brigade, I saw a great deal of them,
especially of Howze, who would have made a nearly ideal regimental
commander. They were both natural cavalry-men and of most enterprising
natures, ever desirous of pushing to the front and of taking the
boldest course. The view Howze always took of every emergency (a view
which found prompt expression in his actions when the opportunity
offered) made me feel like an elderly conservative.

The week of non-fighting was not all a period of truce; part of the
time was passed under a kind of nondescript arrangement, when we were
told not to attack ourselves, but to be ready at any moment to repulse
an attack and to make preparations for meeting it. During these times
I busied myself in putting our trenches into first-rate shape and in
building bomb-proofs and traverses. One night I got a detail of sixty
men from the First, Ninth, and Tenth, whose officers always helped us
in every way, and with these, and with sixty of my own men, I dug a
long, zigzag trench in advance of the salient of my line out to a
knoll well in front, from which we could command the Spanish trenches
and block-houses immediately ahead of us. On this knoll we made a kind

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