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Rough Riders by Theodore Roosevelt

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of bastion consisting of a deep, semi-circular trench with sand-bags
arranged along the edge so as to constitute a wall with loop-holes. Of
course, when I came to dig this trench, I kept both Greenway and
Goodrich supervising the work all night, and equally of course I got
Parker and Stevens to help me. By employing as many men as we did we
were able to get the work so far advanced as to provide against
interruption before the moon rose, which was about midnight. Our
pickets were thrown far out in the jungle, to keep back the Spanish
pickets and prevent any interference with the diggers. The men seemed
to think the work rather good fun than otherwise, the possibility of a
brush with the Spaniards lending a zest that prevented its growing

Parker had taken two of his Gatlings, removed the wheels, and mounted
them in the trenches; also mounting the two automatic Colts where he
deemed they could do best service. With the completion of the
trenches, bomb-proofs, and traverses, and the mounting of these guns,
the fortifications of the hill assumed quite a respectable character,
and the Gatling men christened it Fort Roosevelt, by which name it
afterward went.*

* Note: See Parker's "With the Gatlings at Santiago."

During the truce various military attaches and foreign officers came
out to visit us. Two or three of the newspaper men, including Richard
Harding Davis, Caspar Whitney, and John Fox, had already been out to
see us, and had been in the trenches during the firing. Among the
others were Captains Lee and Paget of the British army and navy, fine
fellows, who really seemed to take as much pride in the feats of our
men as if we had been bound together by the ties of a common
nationality instead of the ties of race and speech kinship. Another
English visitor was Sir Bryan Leighton, a thrice-welcome guest, for he
most thoughtfully brought to me half a dozen little jars of devilled
ham and potted fruit, which enabled me to summon various officers down
to my tent and hold a feast. Count von Gotzen, and a Norwegian
attache, Gedde, very good fellows both, were also out. One day we were
visited by a travelling Russian, Prince X., a large, blond man, smooth
and impenetrable. I introduced him to one of the regular army
officers, a capital fighter and excellent fellow, who, however, viewed
foreign international politics from a strictly trans-Mississippi
stand-point. He hailed the Russian with frank kindness and took him
off to show him around the trenches, chatting volubly, and calling him
"Prince," much as Kentuckians call one another "Colonel." As I
returned I heard him remarking: "You see, Prince, the great result of
this war is that it has united the two branches of the Anglo-Saxon
people; and now that they are together they can whip the world,
Prince! they can whip the world!"--being evidently filled with the
pleasing belief that the Russian would cordially sympathize with this

The foreign attaches did not always get on well with our generals.
The two English representatives never had any trouble, were heartily
admired by everybody, and, indeed, were generally treated as if they
were of our own number; and seemingly so regarded themselves. But this
was not always true of the representatives from Continental Europe.
One of the latter--a very good fellow, by the way--had not altogether
approved of the way he was treated, and the climax came when he said
good-by to the General who had special charge of him. The General in
question was not accustomed to nice ethnic distinctions, and grouped
all of the representatives from Continental Europe under the
comprehensive title of "Dutchmen." When the attache in question came
to say farewell, the General responded with a bluff heartiness, in
which perhaps the note of sincerity was more conspicuous than that of
entire good breeding: "Well, good-by; sorry you're going; which are
you anyhow--the German or the Russian?"

Shortly after midday on the 10th fighting began again, but it soon
became evident that the Spaniards did not have much heart in it. The
American field artillery was now under the command of General
Randolph, and he fought it effectively. A mortar battery had also been
established, though with an utterly inadequate supply of ammunition,
and this rendered some service. Almost the only Rough Riders who had a
chance to do much firing were the men with the Colt automatic guns,
and the twenty picked sharp-shooters, who were placed in the newly dug
little fort out at the extreme front. Parker had a splendid time with
the Gatlings and the Colts. With these machine guns he completely
silenced the battery in front of us. This battery had caused us a good
deal of trouble at first, as we could not place it. It was immediately
in front of the hospital, from which many Red Cross flags were flying,
one of them floating just above this battery, from where we looked at
it. In consequence, for some time, we did not know it was a hostile
battery at all, as, like all the other Spanish batteries, it was using
smokeless powder. It was only by the aid of powerful glasses that we
finally discovered its real nature. The Gatlings and Colts then
actually put it out of action, silencing the big guns and the two
field-pieces. Furthermore, the machine guns and our sharp-shooters
together did good work in supplementing the effects of the dynamite
gun; for when a shell from the latter struck near a Spanish trench, or
a building in which there were Spanish troops, the shock was seemingly
so great that the Spaniards almost always showed themselves, and gave
our men a chance to do some execution.

As the evening of the 10th came on, the men began to make their coffee
in sheltered places. By this time they knew how to take care of
themselves so well that not a man was touched by the Spaniards during
the second bombardment. While I was lying with the officers just
outside one of the bomb-proofs I saw a New Mexican trooper named
Morrison making his coffee under the protection of a traverse high up
on the hill. Morrison was originally a Baptist preacher who had joined
the regiment purely from a sense of duty, leaving his wife and
children, and had shown himself to be an excellent soldier. He had
evidently exactly calculated the danger zone, and found that by
getting close to the traverse he could sit up erect and make ready his
supper without being cramped. I watched him solemnly pounding the
coffee with the butt end of his revolver, and then boiling the water
and frying his bacon, just as if he had been in the lee of the roundup
wagon somewhere out on the plains.

By noon of next day, the 11th, my regiment with one of the Gatlings
was shifted over to the right to guard the Caney road. We did no
fighting in our new position, for the last straggling shot had been
fired by the time we got there. That evening there came up the worst
storm we had had, and by midnight my tent blew over. I had for the
first time in a fortnight undressed myself completely, and I felt
fully punished for my love of luxury when I jumped out into the
driving downpour of tropic rain, and groped blindly in the darkness
for my clothes as they lay in the liquid mud. It was Kane's night on
guard, and I knew the wretched Woody would be out along the line and
taking care of the pickets, no matter what the storm might be; and so
I basely made my way to the kitchen tent, where good Holderman, the
Cherokee, wrapped me in dry blankets, and put me to sleep on a table
which he had just procured from an abandoned Spanish house.

On the 17th the city formally surrendered and our regiment, like the
rest of the army, was drawn up on the trenches. When the American flag
was hoisted the trumpets blared and the men cheered, and we knew that
the fighting part of our work was over.

Shortly after we took our new position the First Illinois Volunteers
came up on our right. The next day, as a result of the storm and of
further rain, the rivers were up and the roads quagmires, so that
hardly any food reached the front. My regiment was all right, as we
had provided for just such an emergency; but the Illinois newcomers
had of course not done so, and they were literally without anything to
eat. They were fine fellows and we could not see them suffer. I
furnished them some beans and coffee for the elder officers and two or
three cases of hardtack for the men, and then mounted my horse and
rode down to head-quarters, half fording, half swimming the streams;
and late in the evening I succeeded in getting half a mule-train of
provisions for them.

On the morning of the 3rd the Spaniards had sent out of Santiago many
thousands of women, children, and other non-combatants, most of them
belonging to the poorer classes, but among them not a few of the best
families. These wretched creatures took very little with them. They
came through our lines and for the most part went to El Caney in our
rear, where we had to feed them and protect them from the Cubans. As
we had barely enough food for our own men the rations of the refugees
were scanty indeed and their sufferings great. Long before the
surrender they had begun to come to our lines to ask for provisions,
and my men gave them a good deal out of their own scanty stores, until
I had positively to forbid it and to insist that the refugees should
go to head-quarters; as, however hard and merciless it seemed, I was
in duty bound to keep my own regiment at the highest pitch of fighting

As soon as the surrender was assured the refugees came streaming back
in an endless squalid procession down the Caney road to Santiago. My
troopers, for all their roughness and their ferocity in fight, were
rather tender-hearted than otherwise, and they helped the poor
creatures, especially the women and children, in every way, giving
them food and even carrying the children and the burdens borne by the
women. I saw one man, Happy Jack, spend the entire day in walking to
and fro for about a quarter of a mile on both sides of our lines along
the road, carrying the bundles for a series of poor old women, or else
carrying young children. Finally the doctor warned us that we must not
touch the bundles of the refugees for fear of infection, as disease
had broken out and was rife among them. Accordingly I had to put a
stop to these acts of kindness on the part of my men; against which
action Happy Jack respectfully but strongly protested upon the
unexpected ground that "The Almighty would never let a man catch a
disease while he was doing a good action." I did not venture to take
so advanced a theological stand.



Two or three days after the surrender the cavalry division was marched
back to the foothills west of El Caney, and there went into camp,
together with the artillery. It was a most beautiful spot beside a
stream of clear water, but it was not healthy. In fact no ground in
the neighborhood was healthy. For the tropics the climate was not bad,
and I have no question but that a man who was able to take good care
of himself could live there all the year round with comparative
impunity; but the case was entirely different with an army which was
obliged to suffer great exposure, and to live under conditions which
almost insured being attacked by the severe malarial fever of the
country. My own men were already suffering badly from fever, and they
got worse rather than better in the new camp. The same was true of the
other regiments in the cavalry division. A curious feature was that
the colored troops seemed to suffer as heavily as the white. From week
to week there were slight relative changes, but on the average all the
six cavalry regiments, the Rough Riders, the white regulars, and the
colored regulars seemed to suffer about alike, and we were all very
much weakened; about as much as the regular infantry, although
naturally not as much as the volunteer infantry.

Yet even under such circumstances adventurous spirits managed to make
their way out to us. In the fortnight following the last bombardment
of the city I enlisted no less than nine such recruits, six being
from Harvard, Yale, or Princeton; and Bull, the former Harvard oar,
who had been back to the States crippled after the first fight,
actually got back to us as a stowaway on one of the transports,
bound to share the luck of the regiment, even if it meant yellow

There were but twelve ambulances with the army, and these were quite
inadequate for their work; but the conditions in the large field
hospitals were so bad, that as long as possible we kept all of our
sick men in the regimental hospital at the front. Dr. Church did
splendid work, although he himself was suffering much more than half
the time from fever. Several of the men from the ranks did equally
well, especially a young doctor from New York, Harry Thorpe, who had
enlisted as a trooper, but who was now made acting assistant-surgeon.
It was with the greatest difficulty that Church and Thorpe were able
to get proper medicine for the sick, and it was almost the last day of
our stay before we were able to get cots for them. Up to that time
they lay on the ground. No food was issued suitable for them, or for
the half-sick men who were not on the doctor's list; the two classes
by this time included the bulk of the command. Occasionally we got
hold of a wagon or of some Cuban carts, and at other times I used my
improvised pack-train (the animals of which, however, were continually
being taken away from us by our superiors) and went or sent back to
the sea-coast at Siboney or into Santiago itself to get rice, flour,
cornmeal, oatmeal, condensed milk, potatoes, and canned vegetables.
The rice I bought in Santiago; the best of the other stuff I got from
the Red Cross through Mr. George Kennan and Miss Clara Barton and Dr.
Lesser; but some of it I got from our own transports. Colonel Weston,
the Commissary-General, as always, rendered us every service in his
power. This additional and varied food was of the utmost service, not
merely to the sick but in preventing the well from becoming sick.
Throughout the campaign the Division Inspector-General,
Lieutenant-Colonel Garlington, and Lieutenants West and Dickman, the
acting division quartermaster and commissary, had done everything in
their power to keep us supplied with food; but where there were so few
mules and wagons even such able and zealous officers could not do the

We had the camp policed thoroughly, and I made the men build little
bunks of poles to sleep on. By July 23rd, when we had been ashore a
month, we were able to get fresh meat, and from that time on we fared
well; but the men were already sickening. The chief trouble was the
malarial fever, which was recurrent. For a few days the man would be
very sick indeed; then he would partially recover, and be able to go
back to work; but after a little time he would be again struck down.
Every officer other than myself except one was down with sickness at
one time or another. Even Greenway and Goodrich succumbed to the fever
and were knocked out for a few days. Very few of the men indeed
retained their strength and energy, and though the percentage actually
on the sick list never got over twenty, there were less than fifty per
cent who were fit for any kind of work. All the clothes were in rags;
even the officers had neither socks nor underwear. The lithe college
athletes had lost their spring; the tall, gaunt hunters and
cow-punchers lounged listlessly in their dog-tents, which were
steaming morasses during the torrential rains, and then ovens when the
sun blazed down; but there were no complaints.

Through some blunder our march from the intrenchments to the camp on
the foothills, after the surrender, was made during the heat of the
day; and though it was only some five miles or thereabouts, very
nearly half the men of the cavalry division dropped out. Captain
Llewellen had come back, and led his troop on the march. He carried a
pick and shovel for one of his sick men, and after we reached camp
walked back with a mule to get another trooper who had fallen out from
heat exhaustion. The result was that the captain himself went down and
became exceedingly sick. We at last succeeded in sending him to the
States. I never thought he would live, but he did, and when I met him
again at Montauk Point he had practically entirely recovered. My
orderly, Henry Bardshar, was struck down, and though he ultimately
recovered, he was a mere skeleton, having lost over eighty pounds.

Yellow fever also broke out in the rear, chiefly among the Cubans. It
never became epidemic, but it caused a perfect panic among some of
our own doctors, and especially in the minds of one or two generals
and of the home authorities. We found that whenever we sent a man to
the rear he was decreed to have yellow fever, whereas, if we kept him
at the front, it always turned out that he had malarial fever, and
after a few days he was back at work again. I doubt if there were ever
more than a dozen genuine cases of yellow fever in the whole cavalry
division; but the authorities at Washington, misled by the reports
they received from one or two of their military and medical advisers
at the front, became panic-struck, and under the influence of their
fears hesitated to bring the army home, lest it might import yellow
fever into the United States. Their panic was absolutely groundless,
as shown by the fact that when brought home not a single case of
yellow fever developed upon American soil. Our real foe was not the
yellow fever at all, but malarial fever, which was not infectious, but
which was certain, if the troops were left throughout the summer in
Cuba, to destroy them, either killing them outright, or weakening them
so that they would have fallen victims to any disease that attacked

However, for a time our prospects were gloomy, as the Washington
authorities seemed determined that we should stay in Cuba. They
unfortunately knew nothing of the country nor of the circumstances of
the army, and the plans that were from time to time formulated in the
Department (and even by an occasional general or surgeon at the front)
for the management of the army would have been comic if they had not
possessed such tragic possibilities. Thus, at one period it was
proposed that we should shift camp every two or three days. Now, our
transportation, as I have pointed out before, was utterly inadequate.
In theory, under the regulations of the War Department, each regiment
should have had at least twenty-five wagons. As a matter of fact our
regiment often had none, sometimes one, rarely two, and never three;
yet it was better off than any other in the cavalry division. In
consequence it was impossible to carry much of anything save what the
men had on their backs, and half of the men were too weak to walk
three miles with their packs. Whenever we shifted camp the exertion
among the half-sick caused our sick-roll to double next morning, and
it took at least three days, even when the shift was for but a short
distance, before we were able to bring up the officers' luggage, the
hospital spare food, the ammunition, etc. Meanwhile the officers slept
wherever they could, and those men who had not been able to carry
their own bedding, slept as the officers did. In the weak condition of
the men the labor of pitching camp was severe and told heavily upon
them. In short, the scheme of continually shifting camp was impossible
of fulfilment. It would merely have resulted in the early destruction
of the army.

Again, it was proposed that we should go up the mountains and make our
camps there. The palm and the bamboo grew to the summits of the
mountains, and the soil along their sides was deep and soft, while the
rains were very heavy, much more so than immediately on the coast
--every mile or two inland bringing with it a great increase in the
rainfall. We could, with much difficulty, have got our regiments up
the mountains, but not half the men could have got up with their
belongings; and once there it would have been an impossibility to feed
them. It was all that could be done, with the limited number of wagons
and mule-trains on hand, to feed the men in the existing camps, for
the travel and the rain gradually rendered each road in succession
wholly impassable. To have gone up the mountains would have meant
early starvation.

The third plan of the Department was even more objectionable than
either of the others. There was, some twenty-five miles in the
interior, what was called a high interior plateau, and at one period
we were informed that we were to be marched thither. As a matter of
fact, this so-called high plateau was the sugar-cane country, where,
during the summer, the rainfall was prodigious. It was a rich, deep
soil, covered with a rank tropic growth, the guinea-grass being higher
than the head of a man on horseback. It was a perfect hotbed of
malaria, and there was no dry ground whatever in which to camp. To
have sent the troops there would have been simple butchery.

Under these circumstances the alternative to leaving the country
altogether was to stay where we were, with the hope that half the men
would live through to the cool season. We did everything possible to
keep up the spirits of the men, but it was exceedingly difficult
because there was nothing for them to do. They were weak and languid,
and in the wet heat they had lost energy, so that it was not possible
for them to indulge in sports or pastimes. There were exceptions; but
the average man who went off to shoot guinea-hens or tried some
vigorous game always felt much the worse for his exertions. Once or
twice I took some of my comrades with me, and climbed up one or
another of the surrounding mountains, but the result generally was
that half of the party were down with some kind of sickness next day.
It was impossible to take heavy exercise in the heat of the day; the
evening usually saw a rain-storm which made the country a quagmire;
and in the early morning the drenching dew and wet, slimy soil made
walking but little pleasure. Chaplain Brown held service every Sunday
under a low tree outside my tent; and we always had a congregation of
a few score troopers, lying or sitting round, their strong hard faces
turned toward the preacher. I let a few of the men visit Santiago, but
the long walk in and out was very tiring, and, moreover, wise
restrictions had been put as to either officers or men coming in.

In any event there was very little to do in the quaint, dirty old
Spanish city, though it was interesting to go in once or twice, and
wander through the narrow streets with their curious little shops and
low houses of stained stucco, with elaborately wrought iron trellises
to the windows, and curiously carved balconies; or to sit in the
central plaza where the cathedral was, and the clubs, and the Cafe
Venus, and the low, bare, rambling building which was called the
Governor's Palace. In this palace Wood had now been established as
military governor, and Luna, and two or three of my other officers
from the Mexican border, who knew Spanish, were sent in to do duty
under him. A great many of my men knew Spanish, and some of the New
Mexicans were of Spanish origin, although they behaved precisely like
the other members of the regiment.

We should probably have spent the summer in our sick camps, losing
half the men and hopelessly shattering the health of the remainder, if
General Shafter had not summoned a council of officers, hoping by
united action of a more or less public character to wake up the
Washington authorities to the actual condition of things. As all the
Spanish forces in the province of Santiago had surrendered, and as
so-called immune regiments were coming to garrison the conquered
territory, there was literally not one thing of any kind whatsoever
for the army to do, and no purpose to serve by keeping it at Santiago.
We did not suppose that peace was at hand, being ignorant of the
negotiations. We were anxious to take part in the Porto Rico campaign,
and would have been more than willing to suffer any amount of
sickness, if by so doing we could get into action. But if we were not
to take part in the Porto Rico campaign, then we knew it was
absolutely indispensable to get our commands north immediately, if
they were to be in trim for the great campaign against Havana, which
would surely be the main event of the winter if peace were not
declared in advance.

Our army included the great majority of the regulars, and was,
therefore, the flower of the American force. It was on every account
imperative to keep it in good trim; and to keep it in Santiago meant
its entirely purposeless destruction. As soon as the surrender was an
accomplished fact, the taking away of the army to the north should
have begun.

Every officer, from the highest to the lowest, especially among the
regulars, realized all of this, and about the last day of July,
General Shafter called a conference, in the palace, of all the
division and brigade commanders. By this time, owing to Wood's having
been made Governor-General, I was in command of my brigade, so I went
to the conference too, riding in with Generals Sumner and Wheeler, who
were the other representatives of the cavalry division. Besides the
line officers all the chief medical officers were present at the
conference. The telegrams from the Secretary stating the position of
himself and the Surgeon-General were read, and then almost every line
and medical officer present expressed his views in turn. They were
almost all regulars and had been brought up to life-long habits of
obedience without protest. They were ready to obey still, but they
felt, quite rightly, that it was their duty to protest rather than to
see the flower of the United States forces destroyed as the
culminating act of a campaign in which the blunders that had been
committed had been retrieved only by the valor and splendid soldierly
qualities of the officers and enlisted men of the infantry and
dismounted cavalry. There was not a dissenting voice; for there could
not be. There was but one side to the question. To talk of continually
shifting camp or of moving up the mountains or of moving into the
interior was idle, for not one of the plans could be carried out with
our utterly insufficient transportation, and at that season and in
that climate they would merely have resulted in aggravating the
sickliness of the soldiers. It was deemed best to make some record of
our opinion, in the shape of a letter or report, which would show that
to keep the army in Santiago meant its absolute and objectless ruin,
and that it should at once be recalled. At first there was naturally
some hesitation on the part of the regular officers to take the
initiative, for their entire future career might be sacrificed. So I
wrote a letter to General Shafter, reading over the rough draft to the
various Generals and adopting their corrections. Before I had finished
making these corrections it was determined that we should send a
circular letter on behalf of all of us to General Shafter, and when I
returned from presenting him mine, I found this circular letter
already prepared and we all of us signed it. Both letters were made
public. The result was immediate. Within three days the army was
ordered to be ready to sail for home.

As soon as it was known that we were to sail for home the spirits of
the men changed for the better. In my regiment the officers began to
plan methods of drilling the men on horseback, so as to fit them for
use against the Spanish cavalry, if we should go against Havana in
December. We had, all of us, eyed the captured Spanish cavalry with
particular interest. The men were small, and the horses, though well
trained and well built, were diminutive ponies, very much smaller than
cow ponies. We were certain that if we ever got a chance to try shock
tactics against them they would go down like nine-pins, provided only
that our men could be trained to charge in any kind of line, and we
made up our minds to devote our time to this. Dismounted work with the
rifle we already felt thoroughly competent to perform.

My time was still much occupied with looking after the health of my
brigade, but the fact that we were going home, where I knew that their
health would improve, lightened my mind, and I was able thoroughly to
enjoy the beauty of the country, and even of the storms, which
hitherto I had regarded purely as enemies.

The surroundings of the city of Santiago are very grand. The
circling mountains rise sheer and high. The plains are threaded by
rapid winding brooks and are dotted here and there with quaint
villages, curiously picturesque from their combining traces of an
outworn old-world civilization with new and raw barbarism. The tall,
graceful, feathery bamboos rise by the water's edge, and elsewhere,
even on the mountain-crests, where the soil is wet and rank enough;
and the splendid royal palms and cocoanut palms tower high above the
matted green jungle.

Generally the thunder-storms came in the afternoon, but once I saw
one at sunrise, driving down the high mountain valleys toward us. It
was a very beautiful and almost terrible sight; for the sun rose
behind the storm, and shone through the gusty rifts, lighting the
mountain-crests here and there, while the plain below lay shrouded in
the lingering night. The angry, level rays edged the dark clouds with
crimson, and turned the downpour into sheets of golden rain; in the
valleys the glimmering mists were tinted every wild hue; and the
remotest heavens were lit with flaming glory.

One day General Lawton, General Wood and I, with Ferguson and poor
Tiffany, went down the bay to visit Morro Castle. The shores were
beautiful, especially where there were groves of palms and of the
scarlet-flower tree, and the castle itself, on a jutting headland,
overlooking the sea and guarding the deep, narrow entrance to the bay,
showed just what it was, the splendid relic of a vanished power and a
vanished age. We wandered all through it, among the castellated
battlements, and in the dungeons, where we found hideous rusty
implements of torture; and looked at the guns, some modern and some
very old. It had been little hurt by the bombardment of the ships.
Afterward I had a swim, not trusting much to the shark stories. We
passed by the sunken hulks of the Merrimac and the Reina Mercedes,
lying just outside the main channel. Our own people had tried to sink
the first and the Spaniards had tried to sink the second, so as to
block the entrance. Neither attempt was successful.

On August 6th we were ordered to embark, and next morning we sailed
on the transport Miami. General Wheeler was with us and a squadron of
the Third Cavalry under Major Jackson. The General put the policing
and management of the ship into my hands, and I had great aid from
Captain McCormick, who had been acting with me as adjutant-general of
the brigade. I had profited by my experience coming down, and as Dr.
Church knew his work well, although he was very sick, we kept the ship
in such good sanitary condition, that we were one of the very few
organizations allowed to land at Montauk immediately upon our arrival.

Soon after leaving port the captain of the ship notified me that his
stokers and engineers were insubordinate and drunken, due, he thought,
to liquor which my men had given them. I at once started a search of
the ship, explaining to the men that they could not keep the liquor;
that if they surrendered whatever they had to me I should return it to
them when we went ashore; and that meanwhile I would allow the sick to
drink when they really needed it; but that if they did not give the
liquor to me of their own accord I would throw it overboard. About
seventy flasks and bottles were handed to me, and I found and threw
overboard about twenty. This at once put a stop to all drunkenness.
The stokers and engineers were sullen and half mutinous, so I sent a
detail of my men down to watch them and see that they did their work
under the orders of the chief engineer; and we reduced them to
obedience in short order. I could easily have drawn from the regiment
sufficient skilled men to fill every position in the entire ship's
crew, from captain to stoker.

We were very much crowded on board the ship, but rather better off
than on the Yucatan, so far as the men were concerned, which was the
important point. All the officers except General Wheeler slept in a
kind of improvised shed, not unlike a chicken coop with bunks, on the
aftermost part of the upper deck. The water was bad--some of it very
bad. There was no ice. The canned beef proved practically uneatable,
as we knew would be the case. There were not enough vegetables. We did
not have enough disinfectants, and there was no provision whatever for
a hospital or for isolating the sick; we simply put them on one
portion of one deck. If, as so many of the high authorities had
insisted, there had really been a yellow-fever epidemic, and if it had
broken out on shipboard, the condition would have been frightful; but
there was no yellow-fever epidemic. Three of our men had been kept
behind as suspects, all three suffering simply from malarial fever.
One of them, Lutz, a particularly good soldier, died; another, who was
simply a malingerer and had nothing the matter with him whatever, of
course recovered; the third was Tiffany, who, I believe, would have
lived had we been allowed to take him with us, but who was sent home
later and died soon after landing.

I was very anxious to keep the men amused, and as the quarters were
so crowded that it was out of the question for them to have any
physical exercise, I did not interfere with their playing games of
chance so long as no disorder followed. On shore this was not allowed;
but in the particular emergency which we were meeting, the loss of a
month's salary was as nothing compared to keeping the men thoroughly
interested and diverted.

By care and diligence we succeeded in preventing any serious
sickness. One man died, however. He had been suffering from dysentery
ever since we landed, owing purely to his own fault, for on the very
first night ashore he obtained a lot of fiery liquor from some of the
Cubans, got very drunk, and had to march next day through the hot sun
before he was entirely sober. He never recovered, and was useless from
that time on. On board ship he died, and we gave him sea burial.
Wrapped in a hammock, he was placed opposite a port, and the American
flag thrown over him. The engine was stilled, and the great ship
rocked on the waves unshaken by the screw, while the war-worn troopers
clustered around with bare heads, to listen to Chaplain Brown read the
funeral service, and to the band of the Third Cavalry as it played the
funeral dirge. Then the port was knocked free, the flag withdrawn, and
the shotted hammock plunged heavily over the side, rushing down
through the dark water to lie, till the Judgment Day, in the ooze that
holds the timbers of so many gallant ships, and the bones of so many
fearless adventurers.

We were favored by good weather during our nine days' voyage, and
much of the time when there was little to do we simply sat together
and talked, each man contributing from the fund of his own
experiences. Voyages around Cape Horn, yacht races for the America's
cup, experiences on foot-ball teams which are famous in the annals of
college sport; more serious feats of desperate prowess in Indian
fighting and in breaking up gangs of white outlaws; adventures in
hunting big game, in breaking wild horses, in tending great herds of
cattle, and in wandering winter and summer among the mountains and
across the lonely plains--the men who told the tales could draw upon
countless memories such as these of the things they had done and the
things they had seen others do. Sometimes General Wheeler joined us
and told us about the great war, compared with which ours was such a
small war--far-reaching in their importance though its effects were
destined to be. When we had become convinced that we would escape an
epidemic of sickness the homeward voyage became very pleasant.

On the eve of leaving Santiago I had received from Mr. Laffan of the
Sun, a cable with the single word "Peace," and we speculated much on
this, as the clumsy transport steamed slowly northward across the
trade wind and then into the Gulf Stream. At last we sighted the low,
sandy bluffs of the Long Island coast, and late on the afternoon of
the 14th we steamed through the still waters of the Sound and cast
anchor off Montauk. A gun-boat of the Mosquito fleet came out to greet
us and to inform us that peace negotiations had begun.

Next morning we were marched on shore. Many of the men were very sick
indeed. Of the three or four who had been closest to me among the
enlisted men, Color-Sergeant Wright was the only one in good health.
Henry Bardshar was a wreck, literally at death's door. I was myself in
first-class health, all the better for having lost twenty pounds.
Faithful Marshall, my colored body-servant, was so sick as to be
nearly helpless.

Bob Wrenn nearly died. He had joined us very late and we could not
get him a Krag carbine; so I had given him my Winchester, which
carried the government cartridge; and when he was mustered out he
carried it home in triumph, to the envy of his fellows, who themselves
had to surrender their beloved rifles.

For the first few days there was great confusion and some want even
after we got to Montauk. The men in hospitals suffered from lack of
almost everything, even cots. But after these few days we were very
well cared for and had abundance of all we needed, except that on
several occasions there was a shortage of food for the horses, which I
should have regarded as even more serious than a shortage for the men,
had it not been that we were about to be disbanded. The men lived
high, with milk, eggs, oranges, and any amount of tobacco, the lack of
which during portions of the Cuban campaign had been felt as seriously
as any lack of food. One of the distressing features of the malarial
fever which had been ravaging the troops was that it was recurrent and
persistent. Some of my men died after reaching home, and many were
very sick. We owed much to the kindness not only of the New York
hospitals and the Red Cross and kindred societies, but of individuals,
notably Mr. Bayard Cutting and Mrs. Armitage, who took many of our men
to their beautiful Long Island homes.

On the whole, however, the month we spent at Montauk before we
disbanded was very pleasant. It was good to meet the rest of the
regiment. They all felt dreadfully at not having been in Cuba. It was
a sore trial to men who had given up much to go to the war, and who
rebelled at nothing in the way of hardship or suffering, but who did
bitterly feel the fact that their sacrifices seemed to have been
useless. Of course those who stayed had done their duty precisely as
did those who went, for the question of glory was not to be considered
in comparison to the faithful performance of whatever was ordered; and
no distinction of any kind was allowed in the regiment between those
whose good fortune it had been to go and those whose harder fate it
had been to remain. Nevertheless the latter could not be entirely

The regiment had three mascots; the two most characteristic--a young
mountain lion brought by the Arizona troops, and a war eagle brought
by the New Mexicans--we had been forced to leave behind in Tampa. The
third, a rather disreputable but exceedingly knowing little dog named
Cuba, had accompanied us through all the vicissitudes of the campaign.
The mountain lion, Josephine, possessed an infernal temper; whereas
both Cuba and the eagle, which have been named in my honor, were
extremely good-humored. Josephine was kept tied up. She sometimes
escaped. One cool night in early September she wandered off and,
entering the tent of a Third Cavalry man, got into bed with him;
whereupon he fled into the darkness with yells, much more unnerved
than he would have been by the arrival of any number of Spaniards. The
eagle was let loose and not only walked at will up and down the
company streets, but also at times flew wherever he wished. He was a
young bird, having been taken out of his nest when a fledgling.
Josephine hated him and was always trying to make a meal of him,
especially when we endeavored to take their photographs together. The
eagle, though good-natured, was an entirely competent individual and
ready at any moment to beat Josephine off. Cuba was also oppressed at
times by Josephine, and was of course no match for her, but was
frequently able to overawe by simple decision of character.

In addition to the animal mascots, we had two or three small boys who
had also been adopted by the regiment. One, from Tennessee, was named
Dabney Royster. When we embarked at Tampa he smuggled himself on
board the transport with a 22-calibre rifle and three boxes of
cartridges, and wept bitterly when sent ashore. The squadron which
remained behind adopted him, got him a little Rough Rider's uniform,
and made him practically one of the regiment.

The men who had remained at Tampa, like ourselves, had suffered much
from fever, and the horses were in bad shape. So many of the men were
sick that none of the regiments began to drill for some time after
reaching Montauk. There was a great deal of paper-work to be done; but
as I still had charge of the brigade only a little of it fell on my
shoulders. Of this I was sincerely glad, for I knew as little of the
paper-work as my men had originally known of drill. We had all of us
learned how to fight and march; but the exact limits of our rights and
duties in other respects were not very clearly defined in our minds;
and as for myself, as I had not had the time to learn exactly what
they were, I had assumed a large authority in giving rewards and
punishments. In particular I had looked on court-martials much as
Peter Bell looked on primroses--they were court-martials and nothing
more, whether resting on the authority of a lieutenant-colonel or of a
major-general. The mustering-out officer, a thorough soldier, found to
his horror that I had used the widest discretion both in imposing
heavy sentences which I had no power to impose on men who shirked
their duties, and, where men atoned for misconduct by marked
gallantry, in blandly remitting sentences approved by my chief of
division. However, I had done substantial, even though somewhat rude
and irregular, justice--and no harm could result, as we were just about
to be mustered out.

My chief duties were to see that the camps of the three regiments
were thoroughly policed and kept in first-class sanitary condition.
This took up some time, of course, and there were other matters in
connection with the mustering out which had to be attended to; but I
could always get two or three hours a day free from work. Then I would
summon a number of the officers, Kane, Greenway, Goodrich, Church,
Ferguson, McIlhenny, Frantz, Ballard and others, and we would gallop
down to the beach and bathe in the surf, or else go for long rides
over the beautiful rolling plains, thickly studded with pools which
were white with water-lilies. Sometimes I went off alone with my
orderly, young Gordon Johnston, one of the best men in the regiment;
he was a nephew of the Governor of Alabama, and when at Princeton had
played on the eleven. We had plenty of horses, and these rides were
most enjoyable. Galloping over the open, rolling country, through the
cool fall evenings, made us feel as if we were out on the great
Western plains and might at any moment start deer from the brush, or
see antelope stand and gaze, far away, or rouse a band of mighty elk
and hear their horns clatter as they fled.

An old friend, Baron von Sternberg, of the German Embassy, spent a
week in camp with me. He had served, when only seventeen, in the
Franco-Prussian War as a hussar, and was a noted sharp-shooter--being
"the little baron" who is the hero of Archibald Forbes's true story of
"The Pig-dog." He and I had for years talked over the possibilities of
just such a regiment as the one I was commanding, and he was greatly
interested in it. Indeed I had vainly sought permission from the
German ambassador to take him with the regiment to Santiago.

One Sunday before the regiment disbanded I supplemented Chaplain
Brown's address to the men by a short sermon of a rather hortatory
character. I told them how proud I was of them, but warned them not to
think that they could now go back and rest on their laurels, bidding
them remember that though for ten days or so the world would be
willing to treat them as heroes, yet after that time they would find
they had to get down to hard work just like everyone else, unless they
were willing to be regarded as worthless do-nothings. They took the
sermon in good part, and I hope that some of them profited by it. At
any rate, they repaid me by a very much more tangible expression of
affection. One afternoon, to my genuine surprise, I was asked out of
my tent by Lieutenant-Colonel Brodie (the gallant old boy had rejoined
us), and found the whole regiment formed in hollow square, with the
officers and color-sergeant in the middle. When I went in, one of the
troopers came forward and on behalf of the regiment presented me with
Remington's fine bronze, "The Bronco-buster." There could have been no
more appropriate gift from such a regiment, and I was not only pleased
with it, but very deeply touched with the feeling which made them join
in giving it. Afterward they all filed past and I shook the hands of
each to say good-by.

Most of them looked upon the bronze with the critical eyes of
professionals. I doubt if there was any regiment in the world which
contained so large a number of men able to ride the wildest and most
dangerous horses. One day while at Montauk Point some of the troopers
of the Third Cavalry were getting ready for mounted drill when one of
their horses escaped, having thrown his rider. This attracted the
attention of some of our men and they strolled around to see the
trooper remount. He was instantly thrown again, the horse, a huge,
vicious sorrel, being one of the worst buckers I ever saw; and none of
his comrades were willing to ride the animal. Our men, of course,
jeered and mocked at them, and in response were dared to ride the
horse themselves. The challenge was instantly accepted, the only
question being as to which of a dozen noted bronco-busters who were in
the ranks should undertake the task. They finally settled on a man
named Darnell. It was agreed that the experiment should take place
next day when the horse would be fresh, and accordingly next day the
majority of both regiments turned out on a big open flat in front of
my tent--brigade head-quarters. The result was that, after as fine a
bit of rough riding as one would care to see, in which one scarcely
knew whether most to wonder at the extraordinary viciousness and agile
strength of the horse or at the horsemanship and courage of the rider,
Darnell came off victorious, his seat never having been shaken. After
this almost every day we had exhibitions of bronco-busting, in which
all the crack riders of the regiment vied with one another, riding not
only all of our own bad horses but any horse which was deemed bad in
any of the other regiments.

Darnell, McGinty, Wood, Smoky Moore, and a score of others took part
in these exhibitions, which included not merely feats in mastering
vicious horses, but also feats of broken horses which the riders had
trained to lie down at command, and upon which they could mount while
at full speed.

Toward the end of the time we also had mounted drill on two or three
occasions; and when the President visited the camp we turned out
mounted to receive him as did the rest of the cavalry. The last night
before we were mustered out was spent in noisy, but entirely harmless
hilarity, which I ignored. Every form of celebration took place in the
ranks. A former Populist candidate for Attorney-General in Colorado
delivered a fervent oration in favor of free silver; a number of the
college boys sang; but most of the men gave vent to their feelings by
improvised dances. In these the Indians took the lead, pure bloods and
half-breeds alike, the cowboys and miners cheerfully joining in and
forming part of the howling, grunting rings, that went bounding around
the great fires they had kindled.

Next morning Sergeant Wright took down the colors, and Sergeant
Guitilias the standard, for the last time; the horses, the rifles, and
the rest of the regimental property had been turned in; officers and
men shook hands and said good-by to one another, and then they
scattered to their homes in the North and the South, the few going
back to the great cities of the East, the many turning again toward
the plains, the mountains, and the deserts of the West and the strange
Southwest. This was on September 15th, the day which marked the close
of the four months' life of a regiment of as gallant fighters as ever
wore the United States uniform.

The regiment was a wholly exceptional volunteer organization, and its
career cannot be taken as in any way a justification for the belief
that the average volunteer regiment approaches the average regular
regiment in point of efficiency until it has had many months of
active service. In the first place, though the regular regiments may
differ markedly among themselves, yet the range of variation among
them is nothing like so wide as that among volunteer regiments, where
at first there is no common standard at all; the very best being,
perhaps, up to the level of the regulars (as has recently been shown
at Manila), while the very worst are no better than mobs, and the
great bulk come in between.* The average regular regiment is superior
to the average volunteer regiment in the physique of the enlisted men,
who have been very carefully selected, who have been trained to life
in the open, and who know how to cook and take care of themselves

* Note: For sound common-sense about the volunteers see Parker's
excellent little book, "The Gatlings at Santiago."

Now, in all these respects, and in others like them, the Rough Riders
were the equals of the regulars. They were hardy, self-reliant,
accustomed to shift for themselves in the open under very adverse
circumstances. The two all-important qualifications for a cavalryman,
are riding and shooting--the modern cavalryman being so often used
dismounted, as an infantryman. The average recruit requires a couple
of years before he becomes proficient in horsemanship and
marksmanship; but my men were already good shots and first-class
riders when they came into the regiment. The difference as regards
officers and non-commissioned officers, between regulars and
volunteers, is usually very great; but in my regiment (keeping in view
the material we had to handle), it was easy to develop
non-commissioned officers out of men who had been round-up foremen,
ranch foremen, mining bosses, and the like. These men were intelligent
and resolute; they knew they had a great deal to learn, and they set
to work to learn it; while they were already accustomed to managing
considerable interests, to obeying orders, and to taking care of
others as well as themselves.

As for the officers, the great point in our favor was the anxiety
they showed to learn from those among their number who, like Capron,
had already served in the regular army; and the fact that we had
chosen a regular army man as Colonel. If a volunteer organization
consists of good material, and is eager to learn, it can readily do so
if it has one or two first-class regular officers to teach it.
Moreover, most of our captains and lieutenants were men who had seen
much of wild life, who were accustomed to handling and commanding
other men, and who had usually already been under fire as sheriffs,
marshals, and the like. As for the second in command, myself, I had
served three years as captain in the National Guard; I had been deputy
sheriff in the cow country, where the position was not a sinecure; I
was accustomed to big game hunting and to work on a cow ranch, so that
I was thoroughly familiar with the use both of horse and rifle, and
knew how to handle cowboys, hunters, and miners; finally, I had
studied much in the literature of war, and especially the literature
of the great modern wars, like our own Civil War, the Franco-German
War, the Turco-Russian War; and I was especially familiar with the
deeds, the successes and failures alike, of the frontier horse
riflemen who had fought at King's Mountain and the Thames, and on the
Mexican border. Finally, and most important of all, officers and men
alike were eager for fighting, and resolute to do well and behave
properly, to encounter hardship and privation, and the irksome
monotony of camp routine, without grumbling or complaining; they had
counted the cost before they went in, and were delighted to pay the
penalties inevitably attendant upon the career of a fighting regiment;
and from the moment when the regiment began to gather, the higher
officers kept instilling into those under them the spirit of eagerness
for action and of stern determination to grasp at death rather than
forfeit honor.

The self-reliant spirit of the men was well shown after they left
the regiment. Of course, there were a few weaklings among them; and
there were others, entirely brave and normally self-sufficient, who,
from wounds or fevers, were so reduced that they had to apply for
aid--or at least, who deserved aid, even though they often could only
be persuaded with the greatest difficulty to accept it. The widows and
orphans had to be taken care of. There were a few light-hearted
individuals, who were entirely ready to fight in time of war, but in
time of peace felt that somebody ought to take care of them; and there
were others who, never having seen any aggregation of buildings larger
than an ordinary cow-town, fell a victim to the fascinations of New
York. But, as a whole, they scattered out to their homes on the
disbandment of the regiment; gaunter than when they had enlisted,
sometimes weakened by fever or wounds, but just as full as ever of
sullen, sturdy capacity for self-help; scorning to ask for aid, save
what was entirely legitimate in the way of one comrade giving help to
another. A number of the examining surgeons, at the muster-out, spoke
to me with admiration of the contrast offered by our regiment to so
many others, in the fact that our men always belittled their own
bodily injuries and sufferings; so that whereas the surgeons
ordinarily had to be on the look-out lest a man who was not really
disabled should claim to be so, in our case they had to adopt exactly
the opposite attitude and guard the future interests of the men, by
insisting upon putting upon their certificates of discharge whatever
disease they had contracted or wound they had received in line of
duty. Major J. H. Calef, who had more than any other one man to do
with seeing to the proper discharge papers of our men, and who took a
most generous interest in them, wrote me as follows: "I also wish to
bring to your notice the fortitude displayed by the men of your
regiment, who have come before me to be mustered out of service, in
making their personal declarations as to their physical conditions.
Men who bore on their faces and in their forms the traces of long days
of illness, indicating wrecked constitutions, declared that nothing
was the matter with them, at the same time disclaiming any intention
of applying for a pension. It was exceptionally heroic."

When we were mustered out, many of the men had lost their jobs, and
were too weak to go to work at once, while there were helpless
dependents of the dead to care for. Certain of my friends, August
Belmont, Stanley and Richard Mortimer, Major Austin Wadsworth--himself
fresh from the Manila campaign--Belmont Tiffany, and others, gave me
sums of money to be used for helping these men. In some instances, by
the exercise of a good deal of tact and by treating the gift as a
memorial of poor young Lieutenant Tiffany, we got the men to accept
something; and, of course, there were a number who, quite rightly,
made no difficulty about accepting. But most of the men would accept
no help whatever. In the first chapter, I spoke of a lady, a teacher
in an academy in the Indian Territory, three or four of whose pupils
had come into my regiment, and who had sent with them a letter of
introduction to me. When the regiment disbanded, I wrote to her to ask
if she could not use a little money among the Rough Riders, white,
Indian, and half-breed, that she might personally know. I did not hear
from her for some time, and then she wrote as follows:

"December 19, 1898.

"MY DEAR COLONEL ROOSEVELT: I did not at once reply to your letter
of September 23rd, because I waited for a time to see if there should
be need among any of our Rough Riders of the money you so kindly
offered. Some of the boys are poor, and in one or two cases they
seemed to me really needy, but they all said no. More than once I saw
the tears come to their eyes, at thought of your care for them, as I
told them of your letter. Did you hear any echoes of our Indian
war-whoops over your election? They were pretty loud. I was
particularly exultant, because my father was a New Yorker and I was
educated in New York, even if I was born here. So far as I can learn,
the boys are taking up the dropped threads of their lives, as though
they had never been away. Our two Rough Rider students, Meagher and
Gilmore, are doing well in their college work.

"I am sorry to tell you of the death of one of your most devoted
troopers, Bert Holderman, who was here serving on the Grand Jury. He
was stricken with meningitis in the jury-room, and died after three
days of delirium. His father, who was twice wounded, four times
taken prisoner, and fought in thirty-two battles of the civil war,
now old and feeble, survives him, and it was indeed pathetic to see
his grief. Bert's mother, who is a Cherokee, was raised in my
grandfather's family. The words of commendation which you wrote upon
Bert's discharge are the greatest comfort to his friends. They wanted
you to know of his death, because he loved you so.

"I am planning to entertain all the Rough Riders in this vicinity
some evening during my holiday vacation. I mean to have no other
guests, but only give them an opportunity for reminiscences. I regret
that Bert's death makes one less. I had hoped to have them sooner,
but our struggling young college salaries are necessarily small and
duties arduous. I make a home for my widowed mother and an adopted
Indian daughter, who is in school; and as I do the cooking for a
family of five, I have found it impossible to do many things I would
like to.

"Pardon me for burdening you with these details, but I suppose I am
like your boys, who say, 'The Colonel was always as ready to listen
to a private as to a major-general.'

"Wishing you and yours the very best gifts the season can bring, I am,

"Very truly yours,

Is it any wonder that I loved my regiment?



[Owing to the circumstances of the regiment's service, the paperwork
was very difficult to perform. This muster-out roll is very defective
in certain points, notably in the enumeration of the wounded who had
been able to return to duty. Some of the dead are also undoubtedly
passed over. Thus I have put in Race Smith, Sanders, and Tiffany as
dead, correcting the rolls; but there are doubtless a number of
similar corrections which should be made but have not been, as the
regiment is now scattered far and wide. I have also corrected the
record for the wounded men in one or two places where I happen to
remember it; but there are a number of the wounded, especially the
slightly wounded, who are not down at all.]


As said above, this is not a complete list of the wounded, or even of
the dead, among the troopers. Moreover, a number of officers and men
died from fever soon after the regiment was mustered out. Twenty-eight
field and line officers landed in Cuba on June 22nd; ten of them were
killed or wounded during the nine days following. Of the five
regiments of regular cavalry in the division, one, the Tenth, lost
eleven officers; none of the others lost more than six. The loss of
the Rough Riders in enlisted men was heavier than that of any other
regiment in the cavalry division. Of the nine infantry regiments in
Kent's division, one, the Sixth, lost eleven officers; none of the
others as many as we did. None of the nine suffered as heavy a loss in
enlisted men, as they were not engaged at Las Guasimas.

No other regiment in the Spanish-American War suffered as heavy a loss
As the First United States Volunteer Cavalry.



[Before it was sent, this letter was read to and approved by every
officer of the regiment who had served through the Santiago campaign.]


CAMP WIKOFF, September 10, 1898.


SIR: In answer to the circular issued by command of Major-General
Shafter under date of September 8, 1898, containing a request for
information by the Adjutant-General of September 7th, I have the
honor to report as follows:

I am a little in doubt whether the fact that on certain occasions my
regiment suffered for food, etc., should be put down to an actual
shortage of supplies or to general defects in the system of
administration. Thus, when the regiment arrived in Tampa after a four
days' journey by cars from its camp at San Antonio, it received no
food whatever for twenty-four hours, and as the travel rations had
been completely exhausted, food for several of the troops was
purchased by their officers, who, of course, have not been reimbursed
by the Government. In the same way we were short one or two meals at
the time of embarking at Port Tampa on the transport; but this I think
was due, not to a failure in the quantity of supplies, but to the lack
of system in embarkation.

As with the other regiments, no information was given in advance what
transports we should take, or how we should proceed to get aboard, nor
did anyone exercise any supervision over the embarkation. Each
regimental commander, so far as I know, was left to find out as best
he could, after he was down at the dock, what transport had not been
taken, and then to get his regiment aboard it, if he was able, before
some other regiment got it. Our regiment was told to go to a certain
switch, and take a train for Port Tampa at twelve o'clock, midnight.
The train never came. After three hours of waiting we were sent to
another switch, and finally at six o'clock in the morning got
possession of some coal-cars and came down in them. When we reached
the quay where the embarkation was proceeding, everything was in utter
confusion. The quay was piled with stores and swarming with thousands
of men of different regiments, besides onlookers, etc. The commanding
General, when we at last found him, told Colonel Wood and myself that
he did not know what ship we were to embark on, and that we must find
Colonel Humphrey, the Quartermaster-General. Colonel Humphrey was not
in his office, and nobody knew where he was. The commanders of the
different regiments were busy trying to find him, while their troops
waited in the trains, so as to discover the ships to which they were
allotted--some of these ships being at the dock and some in mid-stream.
After a couple of hours' search, Colonel Wood found Colonel Humphrey
and was allotted a ship. Immediately afterward I found that it had
already been allotted to two other regiments. It was then coming to
the dock. Colonel Wood boarded it in mid-stream to keep possession,
while I double-quicked the men down from the cars and got there just
ahead of the other two regiments. One of these regiments, I was
afterward informed, spent the next thirty-six hours in cars in
consequence. We suffered nothing beyond the loss of a couple of meals,
which, it seems to me, can hardly be put down to any failure in the
quantity of supplies furnished to the troops.

We were two weeks on the troop-ship Yucatan, and as we were given
twelve days' travel rations, we of course fell short toward the end of
the trip, but eked things out with some of our field rations and troop
stuff. The quality of the travel rations given to us was good, except
in the important item of meat. The canned roast beef is worse than a
failure as part of the rations, for in effect it amounts to reducing
the rations by just so much, as a great majority of the men find it
uneatable. It was coarse, stringy, tasteless, and very disagreeable in
appearance, and so unpalatable that the effort to eat it made some of
the men sick. Most of the men preferred to be hungry rather than eat
it. If cooked in a stew with plenty of onions and potatoes--i.e., if
only one ingredient in a dish with other more savory ingredients--it
could be eaten, especially if well salted and peppered; but, as usual
(what I regard as a great mistake), no salt was issued with the travel
rations, and of course no potatoes and onions. There were no cooking
facilities on the transport. When the men obtained any, it was by
bribing the cook. Toward the last, when they began to draw on the
field rations, they had to eat the bacon raw. On the return trip the
same difficulty in rations obtained.--i.e., the rations were short
because the men could not eat the canned roast beef, and had no salt.
We purchased of the ship's supplies some flour and pork and a little
rice for the men, so as to relieve the shortage as much as possible,
and individual sick men were helped from private sources by officers,
who themselves ate what they had purchased in Santiago. As nine-tenths
of the men were more or less sick, the unattractiveness of the travel
rations was doubly unfortunate. It would have been an excellent thing
for their health if we could have had onions and potatoes, and means
for cooking them. Moreover, the water was very bad, and sometimes a
cask was struck that was positively undrinkable. The lack of ice for
the weak and sickly men was very much felt. Fortunately there was no
epidemic, for there was not a place on the ship where patients could
have been isolated.

During the month following the landing of the army in Cuba the
food-supplies were generally short in quantity, and in quality were
never such as were best suited to men undergoing severe hardships and
great exposure in an unhealthy tropical climate. The rations were, I
understand, the same as those used in the Klondike. In this
connection, I call especial attention to the report of Captain Brown,
made by my orders when I was Brigade-Commander, and herewith appended.
I also call attention to the report of my own Quartermaster. Usually
we received full rations of bacon and hardtack. The hardtack, however,
was often mouldy, so that parts of cases, and even whole cases, could
not be used. The bacon was usually good. But bacon and hardtack make
poor food for men toiling and fighting in trenches under the midsummer
sun of the tropics. The ration of coffee was often short, and that of
sugar generally so; we rarely got any vegetables. Under these
circumstances the men lost strength steadily, and as the fever
speedily attacked them, they suffered from being reduced to a bacon
and hardtack diet. So much did the shortage of proper food tell upon
their health that again and again officers were compelled to draw upon
their private purses, or upon the Red Cross Society, to make good the
deficiency of the Government supply. Again and again we sent down
improvised pack-trains composed of officers' horses, of captured
Spanish cavalry ponies, or of mules which had been shot or abandoned
but were cured by our men. These expeditions--sometimes under the
Chaplain, sometimes under the Quartermaster, sometimes under myself,
and occasionally under a trooper--would go to the sea-coast or to the
Red Cross head-quarters, or, after the surrender, into the city of
Santiago, to get food both for the well and the sick. The Red Cross
Society rendered invaluable aid. For example, on one of these
expeditions I personally brought up 600 pounds of beans; on another
occasion I personally brought up 500 pounds of rice, 800 pounds of
cornmeal, 200 pounds of sugar, 100 pounds of tea, 100 pounds of
oatmeal, 5 barrels of potatoes, and two of onions, with cases of
canned soup and condensed milk for the sick in hospitals. Every scrap
of the food thus brought up was eaten with avidity by the soldiers,
and put new heart and strength into them. It was only our constant
care of the men in this way that enabled us to keep them in any trim
at all. As for the sick in the hospital, unless we were able from
outside sources to get them such simple delicacies as rice and
condensed milk, they usually had the alternative of eating salt pork
and hardtack or going without. After each fight we got a good deal of
food from the Spanish camps in the way of beans, peas, and rice,
together with green coffee, all of which the men used and relished
greatly. In some respects the Spanish rations were preferable to ours,
notably in the use of rice. After we had been ashore a month the
supplies began to come in in abundance, and we then fared very well.
Up to that time the men were under-fed, during the very weeks when the
heaviest drain was being made upon their vitality, and the deficiency
was only partially supplied through the aid of the Red Cross, and out
of the officers' pockets and the pockets of various New York friends
who sent us money. Before, during, and immediately after the fights of
June 24th and July 1st, we were very short of even the bacon and
hardtack. About July 14th, when the heavy rains interrupted
communication, we were threatened with famine, as we were informed
that there was not a day's supply of provisions in advance nearer than
the sea-coast; and another twenty-four hours' rain would have resulted
in a complete break-down of communications, so that for several days
we should have been reduced to a diet of mule-meat and mangos. At this
time, in anticipation of such a contingency, by foraging and hoarding
we got a little ahead, so that when our supplies were cut down for a
day or two we did not suffer much, and were even able to furnish a
little aid to the less fortunate First Illinois Regiment, which was
camped next to us. Members of the Illinois Regiment were offering our
men $1 apiece for hardtacks.

I wish to bear testimony to the energy and capacity of Colonel
Weston, the Commissary-General with the expedition. If it had not been
for his active aid, we should have fared worse than we did. All that
he could do for us, he most cheerfully did.

As regards the clothing, I have to say: As to the first issue, the
blue shirts were excellent of their kind, but altogether too hot for
Cuba. They are just what I used to wear in Montana. The leggings were
good; the shoes were very good; the undershirts not very good, and the
drawers bad--being of heavy, thick canton flannel, difficult to wash,
and entirely unfit for a tropical climate. The trousers were poor,
wearing badly. We did not get any other clothing until we were just
about to leave Cuba, by which time most of the men were in tatters;
some being actually barefooted, while others were in rags, or dressed
partly in clothes captured from the Spaniards, who were much more
suitably clothed for the climate and place than we were. The ponchos
were poor, being inferior to the Spanish rain-coats which we captured.

As to the medical matters, I invite your attention, not only to the
report of Dr. Church accompanying this letter, but to the letters of
Captain Llewellen, Captain Day, and Lieutenant McIlhenny. I could
readily produce a hundred letters on the lines of the last three. In
actual medical supplies, we had plenty of quinine and cathartics. We
were apt to be short on other medicines, and we had nothing whatever
in the way of proper nourishing food for our sick and wounded men
during most of the time, except what we were able to get from the Red
Cross or purchase with our own money. We had no hospital tent at all
until I was able to get a couple of tarpaulins. During much of the
time my own fly was used for the purpose. We had no cots until by
individual effort we obtained a few, only three or four days before we
left Cuba. During most of the time the sick men lay on the muddy
ground in blankets, if they had any; if not, they lay without them
until some of the well men cut their own blankets in half. Our
regimental surgeon very soon left us, and Dr. Church, who was
repeatedly taken down with the fever, was left alone--save as he was
helped by men detailed from among the troopers. Both he and the men
thus detailed, together with the regular hospital attendants, did work
of incalculable service. We had no ambulance with the regiment. On the
battle-field our wounded were generally sent to the rear in
mule-wagons, or on litters which were improvised. At other times we
would hire the little springless Cuban carts. But of course the
wounded suffered greatly in such conveyances, and moreover, often we
could not get a wheeled vehicle of any kind to transport even the most
serious cases. On the day of the big fight, July 1st, as far as we
could find out, there were but two ambulances with the army in
condition to work--neither of which did we ever see. Later there were,
as we were informed, thirteen all told; and occasionally after the
surrender, by vigorous representations and requests, we would get one
assigned to take some peculiarly bad cases to the hospital.
Ordinarily, however, we had to do with one of the makeshifts
enumerated above. On several occasions I visited the big hospitals in
the rear. Their condition was frightful beyond description from lack
of supplies, lack of medicine, lack of doctors, nurses, and
attendants, and especially from lack of transportation. The wounded
and sick who were sent back suffered so much that, whenever possible,
they returned to the front. Finally my brigade commander, General
Wood, ordered, with my hearty acquiescence, that only in the direst
need should any men be sent to the rear--no matter what our hospital
accommodations at the front might be. The men themselves preferred to
suffer almost anything lying alone in their little shelter-tents,
rather than go back to the hospitals in the rear. I invite attention
to the accompanying letter of Captain Llewellen in relation to the
dreadful condition of the wounded on some of the transports taking
them North.

The greatest trouble we had was with the lack of transportation.
Under the order issued by direction of General Miles through the
Adjutant-General on or about May 8th, a regiment serving as infantry
in the field was entitled to twenty-five wagons. We often had one,
often none, sometimes two, and never as many as three. We had a
regimental pack-train, but it was left behind at Tampa. During most of
the time our means of transportation were chiefly the improvised
pack-trains spoken of above; but as the mules got well they were taken
away from us, and so were the captured Spanish cavalry horses.
Whenever we shifted camp, we had to leave most of our things behind,
so that the night before each fight was marked by our sleeping without
tentage and with very little food, so far as officers were concerned,
as everything had to be sacrificed to getting up what ammunition and
medical supplies we had. Colonel Wood seized some mules, and in this
manner got up the medical supplies before the fight of June 24th, when
for three days the officers had nothing but what they wore. There was
a repetition of this, only in worse form, before and after the fight
of July 1st. Of course much of this was simply a natural incident of
war, but a great deal could readily have been avoided if we had had
enough transportation; and I was sorry not to let my men be as
comfortable as possible and rest as much as possible just before going
into a fight when, as on July 1st and 2nd, they might have to be
forty-eight hours with the minimum quantity of food and sleep. The
fever began to make heavy ravages among our men just before the
surrender, and from that time on it became a most serious matter to
shift camp, with sick and ailing soldiers, hardly able to walk--not to
speak of carrying heavy burdens--when we had no transportation. Not
more than half of the men could carry their rolls, and yet these, with
the officers' baggage and provisions, the entire hospital and its
appurtenances, etc., had to be transported somehow. It was usually
about three days after we reached a new camp before the necessaries
which had been left behind could be brought up, and during these three
days we had to get along as best we could. The entire lack of
transportation at first resulted in leaving most of the troop
mess-kits on the beach, and we were never able to get them. The men
cooked in the few utensils they could themselves carry. This rendered
it impossible to boil the drinking-water. Closely allied to the lack
of transportation was the lack of means to land supplies from the

In my opinion, the deficiency in transportation was the worst evil
with which we had to contend, serious though some of the others were.
I have never served before, so have no means of comparing this with
previous campaigns. I was often told by officers who had seen service
against the Indians that, relatively to the size of the army, and the
character of the country, we had only a small fraction of the
transportation always used in the Indian campaigns. As far as my
regiment was concerned, we certainly did not have one-third of the
amount absolutely necessary, if it was to be kept in fair condition,
and we had to partially make good the deficiency by the most energetic
resort to all kinds of makeshifts and expedients.

Yours respectfully,


First United States Cavalry.

Forwarded through military channels.

(5 enclosures.)

First Endorsement.
September 18, 1898.

Respectfully forwarded to the Adjutant-General of the Army.


WILLIAM R. SHAFTER, Major-General Commanding.



[The following is the report of the Associated Press correspondent of
the "round-robin" incident. It is literally true in every detail. I
was present when he was handed both letters; he was present while they
were being written.]

SANTIAGO DE CUBA, August 3rd (delayed in transmission).--Summoned by
Major-General Shafter, a meeting was held here this morning at
head-quarters, and in the presence of every commanding and medical
officer of the Fifth Army Corps, General Shafter read a cable message
from Secretary Alger, ordering him, on the recommendation of
Surgeon-General Sternberg, to move the army into the interior, to San
Luis, where it is healthier.

As a result of the conference General Shafter will insist upon the
immediate withdrawal of the army North.

As an explanation of the situation the following letter from Colonel
Theodore Roosevelt, commanding the First Cavalry, to General Shafter,
was handed by the latter to the correspondent of the Associated Press
for publication:


SIR: In a meeting of the general and medical officers called
by you at the Palace this morning we were all, as you know,
unanimous in our views of what should be done with the army.
To keep us here, in the opinion of every officer commanding
a division or a brigade, will simply involve the destruction
of thousands. There is no possible reason for not shipping
practically the entire command North at once. Yellow-fever
cases are very few in the cavalry division, where I command
one of the two brigades, and not one true case of yellow
fever has occurred in this division, except among the men
sent to the hospital at Siboney, where they have, I believe,
contracted it.

But in this division there have been 1,500 cases of malarial
fever. Hardly a man has yet died from it, but the whole
command is so weakened and shattered as to be ripe for dying
like rotten sheep, when a real yellow-fever epidemic instead
of a fake epidemic, like the present one, strikes us, as it
is bound to do if we stay here at the height of the sickness
season, August and the beginning of September. Quarantine
against malarial fever is much like quarantining against the

All of us are certain that as soon as the authorities at
Washington fully appreciate the condition of the army, we
shall be sent home. If we are kept here it will in all human
possibility mean an appalling disaster, for the surgeons here
estimate that over half the army, if kept here during the
sickly season, will die.

This is not only terrible from the stand-point of the
individual lives lost, but it means ruin from the stand-point
of military efficiency of the flower of the American army,
for the great bulk of the regulars are here with you. The
sick list, large though it is, exceeding four thousand,
affords but a faint index of the debilitation of the army.
Not twenty per cent are fit for active work.

Six weeks on the North Maine coast, for instance, or
elsewhere where the yellow-fever germ cannot possibly
propagate, would make us all as fit as fighting-cocks, as
able as we are eager to take a leading part in the great
campaign against Havana in the fall, even if we are not
allowed to try Porto Rico.

We can be moved North, if moved at once, with absolute
safety to the country, although, of course, it would have
been infinitely better if we had been moved North or to
Porto Rico two weeks ago. If there were any object in
keeping us here, we would face yellow fever with as much
indifference as we faced bullets. But there is no object.

The four immune regiments ordered here are sufficient to
garrison the city and surrounding towns, and there is
absolutely nothing for us to do here, and there has not
been since the city surrendered. It is impossible to move
into the interior. Every shifting of camp doubles the
sick-rate in our present weakened condition, and, anyhow,
the interior is rather worse than the coast, as I have
found by actual reconnaissance. Our present camps are as
healthy as any camps at this end of the island can be.

I write only because I cannot see our men, who have fought
so bravely and who have endured extreme hardship and danger
so uncomplainingly, go to destruction without striving so
far as lies in me to avert a doom as fearful as it is
unnecessary and undeserved.

Yours respectfully,

Colonel Commanding Second Cavalry Brigade.

After Colonel Roosevelt had taken the initiative, all the American
general officers united in a "round robin" addressed to General
Shafter. It reads:

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

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

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

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

Major-General Volunteers Commanding First Division, Fifth Corps.

Major-General Volunteers Commanding Provisional Division.

Major-General Commanding Third Brigade, Second Division.

Brigadier-General Volunteers Commanding First Brigade, Cavalry.

Brigadier-General Volunteers Commanding First Brigade, Second

Brigadier-General Volunteers Commanding Third Brigade, First

Brigadier-General Volunteers Commanding the City of Santiago.

Colonel Commanding Second Cavalry Brigade.

Major M. W. Wood, the chief Surgeon of the First Division, said:
"The army must be moved North," adding, with emphasis, "or it will be
unable to move itself."

General Ames has sent the following cable message to Washington:

Assistant Secretary of the Navy:

This army is incapable, because of sickness, of marching
anywhere except to the transports. If it is ever to return
to the United States it must do so at once.



It has been suggested to me that when Bucky O'Neill spoke of the
vultures tearing our dead, he was thinking of no modern poet, but of
the words of the prophet Ezekiel: "Speak unto every feathered fowl
. . . . . ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty and drink the blood
of the princes of the earth."

At San Juan the Sixth Cavalry was under Major Lebo, a tried and
gallant officer. I learn from a letter of Lieutenant McNamee that it
was he, and not Lieutenant Hartwick, by whose orders the troopers of
the Ninth cast down the fence to enable me to ride my horse into the
lane. But one of the two lieutenants of B troop was overcome by the
heat that day; Lieutenant Rynning was with his troop until dark.

One night during the siege, when we were digging trenches, a curious
stampede occurred (not in my own regiment) which it may be necessary
some time to relate.

Lieutenants W. E. Shipp and W. H. Smith were killed, not far from
each other, while gallantly leading their troops on the slope of
Kettle Hill. Each left a widow and young children.

Captain (now Colonel) A. L. Mills, the Brigade Adjutant-General, has
written me some comments on my account of the fight on July 1st. It
was he himself who first brought me word to advance. I then met
Colonel Dorst--who bore the same message--as I was getting the
regiment forward. Captain Mills was one of the officers I had sent
back to get orders that would permit me to advance; he met General
Sumner, who gave him the orders, and he then returned to me. In a
letter to me Colonel Mills says in part:

I reached the head of the regiment as you came out of the
lane and gave you the orders to enter the action. These were
that you were to move, with your right resting along the
wire fence of the lane, to the support of the regular
cavalry then attacking the hill we were facing. "The
red-roofed house yonder is your objective," I said to you.
You moved out at once and quickly forged to the front of
your regiment. I rode in rear, keeping the soldiers and
troops closed and in line as well as the circumstances and
conditions permitted. We had covered, I judge, from one-half
to two-thirds the distance to Kettle Hill when
Lieutenant-Colonel Garlington, from our left flank called
to me that troops were needed in the meadow across the lane.
I put one troop (not three, as stated in your account*)
across the lane and went with it. Advancing with the troop,
I began immediately to pick up troopers of the Ninth Cavalry
who had drifted from their commands, and soon had so many
they demanded nearly all my attention. With a line thus made
up, the colored troopers on the left and yours on the right,
the portion of Kettle Hill on the right of the red-roofed
house was first carried. I very shortly thereafter had a
strong firing-line established on the crest nearest the
enemy, from the corner of the fence around the house to the
low ground on the right of the hill, which fired into the
strong line of conical straw hats, whose brims showed just
above the edge of the Spanish trench directly west of that
part of the hill.** These hats made a fine target! I had
placed a young officer of your regiment in charge of the
portion of the line on top of the hill, and was about to go
to the left to keep the connection of the brigade--Captain
McBlain, Ninth Cavalry, just then came up on the hill from
the left and rear--when the shot struck that put me out of
the fight.

* Note: The other two must have followed on their own initiative.

** Note: These were the Spaniards in the trenches we carried when
we charged from Kettle Hill, after the infantry had taken the San
Juan block-house.

There were many wholly erroneous accounts of the Guasimas fight
published at the time, for the most part written by newspaper-men who
were in the rear and utterly ignorant of what really occurred. Most of
these accounts possess a value so purely ephemeral as to need no
notice. Mr. Stephen Bonsal, however, in his book, "The Fight for
Santiago," has cast one of them in a more permanent form; and I shall
discuss one or two of his statements.

Mr. Bonsal was not present at the fight, and, indeed, so far as I
know, he never at any time was with the cavalry in action. He puts in
his book a map of the supposed skirmish ground; but it bears to the
actual scene of the fight only the well-known likeness borne by
Monmouth to Macedon. There was a brook on the battle-ground, and there
is a brook in Mr. Bonsal's map. The real brook, flowing down from the
mountains, crossed the valley road and ran down between it and the
hill-trail, going nowhere near the latter. The Bonsal brook flows at
right angles to the course of the real brook and crosses both
trails--that is, it runs up hill. It is difficult to believe that the
Bonsal map could have been made by any man who had gone over the
hill-trail followed by the Rough Riders and who knew where the
fighting had taken place. The position of the Spanish line on the
Bonsal map is inverted compared to what it really was.

On page 90 Mr. Bonsal says that in making the "precipitate advance"
there was a rivalry between the regulars and Rough Riders, which
resulted in each hurrying recklessly forward to strike the Spaniards
first. On the contrary. The official reports show that General Young's
column waited for some time after it got to the Spanish position, so
as to allow the Rough Riders (who had the more difficult trail) to
come up. Colonel Wood kept his column walking at a smart pace, merely
so that the regulars might not be left unsupported when the fight
began; and as a matter of fact, it began almost simultaneously on both

On page 91 Mr. Bonsal speaks of "The foolhardy formation of a solid
column along a narrow trail, which brought them (the Rough Riders)
within point-blank range of the Spanish rifles and within the
unobstructed sweep of their machine-guns." He also speaks as if the
advance should have been made with the regiment deployed through the
jungle. Of course, the only possible way by which the Rough Riders
could have been brought into action in time to support the regulars
was by advancing in column along the trail at a good smart gait. As
soon as our advance-guard came into contact with the enemy's outpost
we deployed. No firing began for at least five minutes after Captain
Capron sent back word that he had come upon the Spanish outpost. At
the particular point where this occurred there was a dip in the road,
which probably rendered it, in Capron's opinion, better to keep part
of his men in it. In any event, Captain Capron, who was as skilful as
he was gallant, had ample time between discovering the Spanish outpost
and the outbreak of the firing to arrange his troop in the formation
he deemed best. His troop was not in solid formation; his men were
about ten yards apart. Of course, to have walked forward deployed
through the jungle, prior to reaching the ground where we were to
fight, would have been a course of procedure so foolish as to warrant
the summary court-martial of any man directing it. We could not have
made half a mile an hour in such a formation, and would have been at
least four hours too late for the fighting.

On page 92 Mr. Bonsal says that Captain Capron's troop was ambushed,
and that it received the enemy's fire a quarter of an hour before it
was expected. This is simply not so. Before the column stopped we had
passed a dead Cuban, killed in the preceding day's skirmish, and
General Wood had notified me on information he had received from
Capron that we might come into contact with the Spaniards at any
moment, and, as I have already said, Captain Capron discovered the
Spanish outpost, and we halted and partially deployed the column
before the firing began. We were at the time exactly where we had
expected to come across the Spaniards. Mr. Bonsal, after speaking of L
Troop, adds: "The remaining troops of the regiment had travelled more
leisurely, and more than half an hour elapsed before they came up to
Capron's support." As a matter of fact, all the troops travelled at
exactly the same rate of speed, although there were stragglers from
each, and when Capron halted and sent back word that he had come upon
the Spanish outpost, the entire regiment closed up, halted, and most
of the men sat down. We then, some minutes after the first word had
been received, and before any firing had begun, received instructions
to deploy. I had my right wing partially deployed before the first
shots between the outposts took place. Within less than three minutes
I had G Troop, with Llewellen, Greenway, and Leahy, and one platoon of
K Troop under Kane, on the firing-line, and it was not until after we
reached the firing-line that the heavy volley-firing from the
Spaniards began.

On page 94 Mr. Bonsal says: "A vexatious delay occurred before the two
independent columns could communicate and advance with concerted action.
. . . When the two columns were brought into communication it was
immediately decided to make a general attack upon the Spanish
position. . . . With this purpose in view, the following disposition of
the troops was made before the advance of the brigade all along the
line was ordered." There was no communication between the two columns
prior to the general attack, nor was any order issued for the advance
of the brigade all along the line. The attacks were made wholly
independently, and the first communication between the columns was
when the right wing of the Rough Riders in the course of their advance
by their firing dislodged the Spaniards from the hill across the
ravine to the right, and then saw the regulars come up that hill.

Mr. Bonsal's account of what occurred among the regulars parallels
his account of what occurred among the Rough Riders. He states that
the squadron of the Tenth Cavalry delivered the main attack upon the
hill, which was the strongest point of the Spanish position; and he
says of the troopers of the Tenth Cavalry that "their better training
enabled them to render more valuable service than the other troops
engaged." In reality, the Tenth Cavalrymen were deployed in support of
the First, though they mingled with them in the assault proper; and so
far as there was any difference at all in the amount of work done, it
was in favor of the First. The statement that the Tenth Cavalry was
better trained than the First, and rendered more valuable service, has
not the slightest basis whatsoever of any kind, sort, or description,
in fact. The Tenth Cavalry did well what it was required to do; as an
organization, in this fight, it was rather less heavily engaged, and
suffered less loss, actually and relatively, than either the First
Cavalry or the Rough Riders. It took about the same part that was
taken by the left wing of the Rough Riders, which wing was similarly
rather less heavily engaged than the right and centre of the regiment.
Of course, this is a reflection neither on the Tenth Cavalry nor on
the left wing of the Rough Riders. Each body simply did what it was
ordered to do, and did it well. But to claim that the Tenth Cavalry
did better than the First, or bore the most prominent part in the
fight, is like making the same claim for the left wing of the Rough
Riders. All the troops engaged did well, and all alike are entitled to
share in the honor of the day.

Mr. Bonsal out-Spaniards the Spaniards themselves as regards both
their numbers and their loss. These points are discussed elsewhere. He
develops for the Spanish side, to account for their retreat, a wholly
new explanation--viz., that they retreated because they saw
reinforcements arriving for the Americans. The Spaniards themselves
make no such claim. Lieutenant Tejeiro asserts that they retreated
because news had come of a (wholly mythical) American advance on Morro
Castle. The Spanish official report simply says that the Americans
were repulsed; which is about as accurate a statement as the other
two. All three explanations, those by General Rubin, by Lieutenant
Tejeiro, and by Mr. Bonsal alike, are precisely on a par with the
first Spanish official report of the battle of Manila Bay, in which
Admiral Dewey was described as having been repulsed and forced to

There are one or two minor mistakes made by Mr. Bonsal. He states
that on the roster of the officers of the Rough Riders there were ten
West Pointers. There were three, one of whom resigned. Only two were
in the fighting. He also states that after Las Guasimas
Brigadier-General Young was made a Major-General and Colonel Wood a
Brigadier-General, while the commanding officers of the First and
Tenth Cavalry were ignored in this "shower of promotions." In the
first place, the commanding officers of the First and Tenth Cavalry
were not in the fight--only one squadron of each having been present.
In the next place, there was no "shower of promotions" at all. Nobody
was promoted except General Young, save to fill the vacancies caused
by death or by the promotion of General Young. Wood was not promoted
because of this fight. General Young most deservedly was promoted.
Soon after the fight he fell sick. The command of the brigade then
fell upon Wood, simply because he had higher rank than the other two
regimental commanders of the brigade; and I then took command of the
regiment exactly as Lieutenant-Colonels Veile and Baldwin had already
taken command of the First and Tenth Cavalry when their superior
officers were put in charge of brigades. After the San Juan fighting,
in which Wood commanded a brigade, he was made a Brigadier-General and
I was then promoted to the nominal command of the regiment, which I
was already commanding in reality.

Mr. Bonsal's claim of superior efficiency for the colored regular
regiments as compared with the white regular regiments does not merit
discussion. He asserts that General Wheeler brought on the Guasimas
fight in defiance of orders. Lieutenant Miley, in his book, "In Cuba
with Shafter," on page 83, shows that General Wheeler made his fight
before receiving the order which it is claimed he disobeyed. General
Wheeler was in command ashore; he was told to get in touch with the
enemy, and, being a man with the "fighting edge," this meant that he
was certain to fight. No general who was worth his salt would have
failed to fight under such conditions; the only question would be as
to how the fight was to be made. War means fighting; and the soldier's
cardinal sin is timidity.

General Wheeler remained throughout steadfast against any retreat
from before Santiago. But the merit of keeping the army before
Santiago, without withdrawal, until the city fell, belongs to the
authorities at Washington, who at this all-important stage of the
operations showed to marked advantage in overruling the proposals made
by the highest generals in the field looking toward partial retreat or
toward the abandonment of the effort to take the city.

The following note, written by Sergeant E. G. Norton, of B Troop,
refers to the death of his brother, Oliver B. Norton, one of the most
gallant and soldierly men in the regiment:

On July 1st I, together with Sergeant Campbell and Troopers
Bardshar and Dudley Dean and my brother who was killed and
some others, was at the front of the column right behind
you. We moved forward, following you as you rode, to where
we came upon the troopers of the Ninth Cavalry and a part
of the First lying down. I heard the conversation between
you and one or two of the officers of the Ninth Cavalry.
You ordered a charge, and the regular officers answered that
they had no orders to move ahead; whereupon you said: "Then
let us through," and marched forward through the lines, our
regiment following. The men of the Ninth and First Cavalry
then jumped up and came forward with us. Then you waved your
hat and gave the command to charge and we went up the hill.
On the top of Kettle Hill my brother, Oliver B. Norton, was
shot through the head and in the right wrist. It was just
as you started to lead the charge on the San Juan hills
ahead of us; we saw that the regiment did not know you had
gone and were not following, and my brother said, "For
God's sake follow the Colonel," and as he rose the bullet
went through his head.

In reference to Mr. Bonsal's account of the Guasimas fight, Mr.
Richard Harding Davis writes me as follows:

We had already halted several times to give the men a
chance to rest, and when we halted for the last time I
thought it was for this same purpose, and began taking
photographs of the men of L Troop, who were so near that
they asked me to be sure and save them a photograph. Wood
had twice disappeared down the trail beyond them and
returned. As he came back for the second time I remember
that you walked up to him (we were all dismounted then), and
saluted and said: "Colonel, Doctor La Motte reports that the
pace is too fast for the men, and that over fifty have
fallen out from exhaustion." Wood replied sharply: "I have
no time to bother with sick men now." You replied, more in
answer, I suppose, to his tone than to his words: "I merely
repeated what the Surgeon reported to me." Wood then turned
and said in explanation: "I have no time for them now; I
mean that we are in sight of the enemy."

This was the only information we received that the men of L
Troop had been ambushed by the Spaniards, and, if they were,
they were very calm about it, and I certainly was taking
photographs of them at the time, and the rest of the
regiment, instead of being half an hour's march away, was
seated comfortably along the trail not twenty feet distant
from the men of L Troop. You deployed G Troop under Captain
Llewellen into the jungle at the right and sent K Troop
after it, and Wood ordered Troops E and F into the field on
our left. It must have been from ten to fifteen minutes
after Capron and Wood had located the Spaniards before
either side fired a shot. When the firing did come I went
over to you and joined G Troop and a detachment of K Troop
under Woodbury Kane, and we located more of the enemy on a

If it is to be ambushed when you find the enemy exactly
where you went to find him, and your scouts see him soon
enough to give you sufficient time to spread five troops
in skirmish order to attack him, and you then drive him
back out of three positions for a mile and a half, then
most certainly, as Bonsal says, "L Troop of the Rough
Riders was ambushed by the Spaniards on the morning of
June 24th."

General Wood also writes me at length about Mr. Bonsal's book,
stating that his account of the Guasimas fight is without foundation
in fact. He says: "We had five troops completely deployed before the
first shot was fired. Captain Capron was not wounded until the fight
had been going on fully thirty-five minutes. The statement that
Captain Capron's troop was ambushed is absolutely untrue. We had been
informed, as you know, by Castillo's people that we should find the
dead guerilla a few hundred yards on the Siboney side of the Spanish

He then alludes to the waving of the guidon by K Troop as "the only
means of communication with the regulars." He mentions that his orders
did not come from General Wheeler, and that he had no instructions
from General Wheeler directly or indirectly at any time previous to
the fight.

General Wood does not think that I give quite enough credit to the
Rough Riders as compared to the regulars in this Guasimas fight, and
believes that I greatly underestimate the Spanish force and loss, and
that Lieutenant Tejeiro is not to be trusted at all on these points.
He states that we began the fight ten minutes before the regulars, and
that the main attack was made and decided by us. This was the view
that I and all the rest of us in the regiment took at the time; but as
I had found since that the members of the First and Tenth Regular
Regiments held with equal sincerity the view that the main part was
taken by their own commands, I have come to the conclusion that the
way I have described the action is substantially correct. Owing to the
fact that the Tenth Cavalry, which was originally in support, moved
forward until it got mixed with the First, it is very difficult to get
the exact relative position of the different troops of the First and
Tenth in making the advance. Beck and Galbraith were on the left;
apparently Wainwright was farthest over on the right. General Wood
states that Leonardo Ros, the Civil Governor of Santiago at the time
of the surrender, told him that the Spanish force at Guasimas
consisted of not less than 2,600 men, and that there were nearly 300
of them killed and wounded. I do not myself see how it was possible
for us, as we were the attacking party and were advancing against
superior numbers well sheltered, to inflict five times as much damage
as we received; but as we buried eleven dead Spaniards, and as they
carried off some of their dead, I believe the loss to have been very
much heavier than Lieutenant Tejeiro reports.

General Wood believes that in following Lieutenant Tejeiro I have
greatly underestimated the number of Spanish troops who were defending
Santiago on July 1st, and here I think he completely makes out his
case, he taking the view that Lieutenant Tejeiro's statements were
made for the purpose of saving Spanish honor. On this point his letter
runs as follows:

A word in regard to the number of troops in Santiago. I
have had, during my long association here, a good many
opportunities to get information which you have not got and
probably never will get; that is, information from parties
who were actually in the fight, who are now residents of the
city; also information which came to me as commanding
officer of the city directly after the surrender.

To sum up briefly as follows: The Spanish surrendered in
Santiago 12,000 men. We shipped from Santiago something over
14,000 men. The 2,000 additional were troops that came in
from San Luis, Songo, and small up-country posts. The 12,000
in the city, minus the force of General Iscario, 3,300
infantry and 680 cavalry, or in round numbers 4,000 men (who
entered the city just after the battles of San Juan and El
Caney), leaves 8,000 regulars, plus the dead, plus Cervera's
marines and blue-jackets, which he himself admits landing in
the neighborhood of 1,200 (and reports here are that he landed
1,380), and plus the Spanish Volunteer Battalion, which was
between 800 and 900 men (this statement I have from the
lieutenant-colonel of this very battalion), gives us in
round numbers, present for duty on the morning of July 1st,
not less than 10,500 men. These men were distributed 890 at
Caney, two companies of artillery at Morro, one at Socapa,
and half a company at Puenta Gorda; in all, not over 500 or
600 men, but for the sake of argument we can say a thousand.
In round numbers, then, we had immediately about the city
8,500 troops. These were scattered from the cemetery around
to Aguadores. In front of us, actually in the trenches,
there could not by any possible method of figuring have been
less than 6,000 men. You can twist it any way you want to;
the figures I have given you are absolutely correct, at
least they are absolutely on the side of safety.

It is difficult for me to withstand the temptation to tell what has
befallen some of my men since the regiment disbanded; how McGinty,
after spending some weeks in Roosevelt Hospital in New York with an
attack of fever, determined to call upon his captain, Woodbury Kane,
when he got out, and procuring a horse rode until he found Kane's
house, when he hitched the horse to a lamp-post and strolled in; how
Cherokee Bill married a wife in Hoboken, and as that pleasant city
ultimately proved an uncongenial field for his activities, how I had
to send both himself and his wife out to the Territory; how Happy
Jack, haunted by visions of the social methods obtaining in the best
saloons of Arizona, applied for the position of "bouncer out" at the
Executive Chamber when I was elected Governor, and how I got him a job
at railroading instead, and finally had to ship him back to his own
Territory also; how a valued friend from a cow ranch in the remote
West accepted a pressing invitation to spend a few days at the home of
another ex-trooper, a New Yorker of fastidious instincts, and arrived
with an umbrella as his only baggage; how poor Holderman and Pollock
both died and were buried with military honors, all of Pollock's
tribesmen coming to the burial; how Tom Isbell joined Buffalo Bill's
Wild West Show, and how, on the other hand, George Rowland scornfully
refused to remain in the East at all, writing to a gallant young New
Yorker who had been his bunkie: "Well, old boy, I am glad I didn't go
home with you for them people to look at, because I ain't a Buffalo or
a rhinoceros or a giraffe, and I don't like to be stared at, and you
know we didn't do no hard fighting down there. I have been in closer
places than that right here in United States, that is better men to
fight than them dam Spaniards." In another letter Rowland tells of the
fate of Tom Darnell, the rider, he who rode the sorrel horse of the
Third Cavalry: "There ain't much news to write of except poor old Tom
Darnell got killed about a month ago. Tom and another fellow had a
fight and he shot Tom through the heart and Tom was dead when he hit
the floor. Tom was sure a good old boy, and I sure hated to hear of
him going, and he had plenty of grit too. No man ever called on him
for a fight that he didn't get it."

My men were children of the dragon's blood, and if they had no
outland foe to fight and no outlet for their vigorous and daring
energy, there was always the chance of their fighting one another: but
the great majority, if given the chance to do hard or dangerous work,
availed themselves of it with the utmost eagerness, and though fever
sickened and weakened them so that many died from it during the few
months following their return, yet, as a whole, they are now doing
fairly well. A few have shot other men or been shot themselves; a few
ran for office and got elected, like Llewellen and Luna in New Mexico,
or defeated, like Brodie and Wilcox in Arizona; some have been trying
hard to get to the Philippines; some have returned to college, or to
the law, or the factory, or the counting-room; most of them have gone
back to the mine, the ranch, and the hunting camp; and the great
majority have taken up the threads of their lives where they dropped
them when the Maine was blown up and the country called to arms.

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