Part 5 out of 10
_The Vision of Friar Rodriguez._
Comfortably seated in an arm chair one night, satisfied with himself
as well as with his supper, Friar Jose Rodriguez dreamed of the
many pennies that the sale of his little books was drawing from the
pockets of the Filipinos, when suddenly, and as if by enchantment,
the yellow light of the lamp gave a brilliant, white flash, the air
was filled with soft perfume, and without his being able to explain
how or wherefrom, a man appeared.
This was an old man of medium height, dark complected and thin,
whose white beard was a contrast to his glittering vivacious eyes,
which gave his face extreme animation. Over his shoulder he wore a
long cape; a mitre on his head and a crosier in his hand gave him
the aspect of a Bishop.
At sight of him, Friar Rodriguez yawning, murmured:
"Dreams of my fertile imagin--!"
The vision did not permit him to finish the exclamation, but gave
him a whack between the shoulders.
"Eh! This is no joke!" exclaimed Friar Rodriguez, stroking with one
hand the afflicted part while with the other he rubbed his eyes.
"I see! It is no dream! But partner!"
Incensed at such familiarity, the strange personage began poking
Friar Rodriguez severely with his crosier on the stomach. The latter,
satisfied by this time that the thrashing was in earnest, exclaimed:
"Here! Here! Friar Pedro (Peter)--Is that the way you cancel
indulgencies? That was not the agreement."
The strange Bishop, aroused to a high pitch of anger, stopped his
poking and started to knock Friar Rodriguez on the head, believing
it to be a more sensitive part. Unfortunately, Friar Rodriguez's
head was too hard for anything, and the crosier fell, broken in two
pieces. At last! said the poor friar, who, pale and deadly frightened,
had fallen on his knees and was trying to creep away on all fours.
At sight of his pitiful condition, the stranger seeded satisfied,
and, placing on a table the broken crosier, said with contempt:
"Homo sine homine, membra sine spiritu! Et iste appellatur filius
At the sound of that potent voice and language, unknown to him, Friar
Rodriguez appeared confounded. The stranger could not be Friar Pedro
(Peter) nor any brother in disguise! Impossible!
"Et tamen (the stranger continued), tanta est vanita vestra, ut ante
me Patrem vestrum--sed video, loguor et non audis!"
And shaking in disgust his head, the vision continued speaking in
Castillian, but with a foreign accent.
"And are you they who call themselves my sons? Has your haughtiness
reached such a degree that you not only pretend to be feared and
worshiped by governors and governed, but neither recognize nor respect
me, whose name you dishonor, and whose condignity you abuse? How do
I find you? Insolent with the unfortunate and cowardly towards those
who do not fear you! Surge et audi!"
His voice was so imperative and his command so expressive, that Friar
Rodriguez, although shaking with tremor, made every effort to stand
against a corner of the room.
Moved by this proof of obedience, so rarely found amongst those who
make a vow of humility, the stranger, full of contempt, repressed
a sigh and proceeded in a more familiar manner, but without losing
"For you and for your nonsense I have been obliged to leave that
region, and come here! And what trouble I had to distinguish and
find you amongst the others! With but little difference, you are
all alike. 'Empty heads and replete stomachs!' _Up There_, they
did not cease to tease me about you all and most especially on your
account. It was useless to appear unconcerned. It was not only Lopez
de Recalde (Ignatius of Loyole) who with his eternal smile and humble
looks made fun of me; nor Domingo (Dominic) with his aristocratic
pretensions and little stars of false jewelry on his forehead, who
laughed at me; but even the great simpleton of Francisco (Francis),
do you understand? tried to poke fun at me; at me, who has thought,
argued and written more than all of them together!
"Your order is great and powerful," said Ignatius, bending his
head. "It resembles one of the Egyptian pyramids; great at the base
(you are the base), but the higher it goes the smaller it becomes--what
a difference between the base and the apex!" he murmured, while walking
away. "Doctor," said Dominic, "why did you not do with your science
as I did with the nobility I left as inheritance to my sons? We would
all be better off!"
"Mon ami, came and said Francis. If God should order me again to
earth, to preach as before amongst brutes and animals, I would preach
in your convents." And after saying this he roared in such a manner
that although small and thin, it seemed as though he would burst.
"In vain I answered them that their sons were no better than you are,
and that were we to look for skeletons in the closets, we had better
wall every crevice. But of no use. How could I argue against three,
moreover, having you to defend! Three, did I say? Why! Even Peter,
the old fisherman, attracted by the laughter, left his porter's lodge
and came to upbraid me for the trick you have played on his priests,
taking away from them all their parishes, regardless of the fact that
they had been in these islands long before you, and that they were
the first to baptise in Cebu and in Luzon.
"Of course," he said, "as my sons are lazy and in dissension among
themselves, and yours lie and shout louder, they make themselves
believed by the ignorant. But I shall be glad when my descendants
"And so shall I! And I! I wish it was all over with mine!" shouted
at once several voices.
"But old Peter's revenge did not stop at that. Yesterday he played
a hard joke on me. He not only confiscated a package that a Tagalo
 brought with him, but instead of directing him to the imbecile's
department, he took him where we all were. The poor Tagalo carried with
him a large collection of little books written by you, which were given
him by his Priest, who told him they represented so much indulgency
for his next life. As soon as the Indian had arrived everyone _Up
There_ knew he had brought books written by an Augustinian monk,
and they were snatched away. I tried to hide myself, but I could
not. What laughter and what jokes! The little angels came in a body;
the Celestial Father's Orchestra lost its time; the Virgins, instead of
watching their music sheets read the books and sang most discordantly,
and even old Anthony's little pig began grunting and twisting his tail.
"I felt ashamed; I could see every one point their finger at me and
laugh. But, in spite of all this Zarathustra, the grave and serious
Zarathustra, did not laugh. With a humiliating pride he asked me:
"'Is that your son, he who pretends that my religion is paganish,
and that I am a pagan? Have your sons degenerated to such a degree
as to confound my pure religion, root of the most perfect creeds,
with Polytheism and Idolatry? Do they know that paganism is derived
from pagani, which means inhabitant of the fields, who always were
faithful to the Greek and Roman Polytheism? You may answer that they do
not know Latin! If so, make then speak more modestly. Tell them that
paganus comes from pagus, from which the words pages, payes, paien,
paese, pais (country), are derived. Tell those unfortunate that the
Zend-Avesta religion was never professed by the rural inhabitants
of the Roman country. Tell them that my religion is monotheist, even
more so than the Roman Catholic religion, which not only accepted the
dualism of my creed, but has deified several creatures. Tell them
that Paganism in its widest and most corrupted sense, duly meant
Polytheism; that neither my religion nor that of Moses nor Mohammed
were ever Pagan religions. Tell them to read your own works, where
in every page you refer to the Pagans. Repeat to them that which you
said in speaking of the religion of the Manechees (a corruption of my
doctrine by you professed) which influenced your works and prevails
yet in your religion, and which at one time caused the Roman Catholic
Church to vacillate. Yes: I linked the principle of Good and Evil
together--Ahura-Mazda; God! But this is not to admit of two Gods, as
you, yourself said. To speak of health and sickness is not to admit two
healths. And what? Have they not copied my principle of evil in Satan,
prince of darkness? Tell them that if they do not know Latin to at
least study the religions, since they fail to recognize the true one!'
"Thus spoke Zarathustra, or Zoroaster. Then, Voltaire--Voltaire,
who had heard what you were saying about his death, accosted me,
and grasping me by the hand, effusively thanked me.
"'Why so?' I asked him.
"'Your sons, mon cher Docteur de l'Eglise,' he answered, 'have proved
and continue proving by facts, that which I maintained. And what was
it that you maintained? That besides being ignorant, they were liars.'
"To this I could not reply, for he was right. You should know that
he died when 84 years of age, possessed of all his faculties, and
with so lucid a mind that when nearing his end and being importuned
to make confession, he said: 'Let me die in peace'--and died. But the
worst of it all is, that Voltaire has been pleading with God to take
you to Heaven alive and clothed, and when asked why so, he answered
'So that we may have some fun.'
"On learning of all the indulgences that the Archbishop had allowed
on your books, to allure buyers, old Peter, thumping his bald head,
"'Why did I not think of granting indulgencies with the fish I
sold, when a fisherman? We would have been rich, and Judas, instead
of selling the Master, would have sold sardines and tinapa! 
I would not have been obliged to cowardly apostatize, and would not
have suffered martyrdom. Verily, I say, that my friend down _Below_
leaves me behind in the matter of knowing how to make money; and yet
I am a Jew.'
"'Of course, don't you know that your friend _Below_ is a Gallego?' 
Said a little old man who had been _Up There_ but a few years. His
name was Tasio, and, addressing himself to me, he continued:
"'You are a great Doctor, and although you have contradicted yourself
many times, I hold you as a privileged character of vast erudition,
for, having written your books, Retractationum, and Confesiones;
and since you are so different from your sons who try, when defending
themselves, to make black appear white, and white green, I will state
my complaints, so that you, as their Father, may put a stop to it all.
"'There exists on earth an unfortunate, who, amongst many foolish acts,
has committed the following:
"'1st. He holds solidary of all that I have said during my earthly
life, an Indian called Rizal, only because said Indian has quoted
my words in a book that he wrote. As you can see, should we follow
such a system of reasoning, Rizal would also agree with the views
expressed by friars, policemen, etc., and you, yourself, Holy Doctor,
would also be solidary of all that you ascribe to heretics, Pagans,
and above all, to Manichees.
"'2nd. He wants me to think as he himself does, since he quotes me
as saying 'The Bible and the Holy Gospel.' It may be well that he,
as all fanatics, should believe that these are one and the same
thing. But I, having studied the original Hebraic Bible, know,
that it does not contain the Gospel. That the Jewish Bible, being
a history of creation, treasure and patrimony of Jewish people,
the Jews, who do not accept the Gospel, should be authority. That as
the Latin translation is incorrect, the Catholics could not lay down
the Law, notwithstanding their habit of appropriating everything to
themselves, and of misconstruing to their advantage the translation of
the original text. Besides, the Gospels, with the exception of that
written by Saint Mathew, were written in Greek later than the Bible,
and conflict in every respect with the Law of Moses, as proved by the
enemity between Jews and Christians. How, then, could I, knowing all
this, express myself as a fanatic, or as an ignorant monk? I do not
exact from any monk the speech of a free-thinker and therefore, they
should not exact that I express myself as a monk would. Why do they
want me to consolidate under one name two distinct things, which, to
a certain extent contradict each other? Let the Christians do so, but
I must not, and cannot. If I call them separately, it is in accordance
with the thought inspiring two works, two legislations, two religions,
on which they want to found the Catholic Religion. Your son, moreover,
reasons finely, when he says: 'I did not know that the Gospels were
different from the Bible, and not a principal part of it.' Tell him,
Holy Father, that in every country a part, no matter how principal may
it be, is always different from the whole, for instance: The principal
thing in Friar Rodriguez is his habit: but his habit is different from
Friar Rodriguez, as otherwise there would be one dirty Friar Rodriguez,
another shining, another creased, another wide, short, long, greasy,
etc. On the other hand, the habit is different from the monk, because
a piece of cloth, no matter how dirty, could never be presumptuous,
despotic, ignorant or obscurantistic.
"'3d. To prove the existence of a Purgatory, he quotes: 'Saint
Mathew says in Chapter twelfth, thirty-sixth verse----.' But he
quotes wrongly, as from that verse cannot be derived the existence
of a Purgatory, nor anything of its kind. The Hebrew text says:
'Wa 'ebif 'omar lakam kij 'al kal abar reg ashar idabbru 'abaschim
yittbu heschboun biom hammischphat'; the Greek text, 'Lego de hynun
hote pan rema argon, ho ean lalesosin hoi anthropoi, apodosousi peri
auton logon en hemera kriseos.' All these translated into Latin say:
'Dicto autem vobis, quoniam omne verbum otiosum quod locuti fucrint
homines, reddent rationem de co in die judicii,' which, translated
into English means, '_And I say to you, that on the Day of Judgment,
men shall have to account for every idle word_.' From all these texts,
you can see, Holy Doctor, that the only thing to be derived is that
on the Day of Judgment, Friar Rodriguez will have to give such an
account of himself, that very likely it will take him two days to
account for all the nonsense he has said.
"'I imagine that your son, instead of the thirty-sixth verse, meant
to quote the thirty-second, which says: "And all who shall say word
against the son of man will be forgiven; but he who says word against
the Holy Ghost, shall not be pardoned; neither in this life nor in
the next." From this they have tried to derive the existence of a
Purgatory. What a fertile imagination!
"'4th. Because Saint Ireneus, St. Clement of Alexandria, and Origenes,
three in all, although not being the first Christian, had some
remote idea of Purgatory, it does not follow that the Christians of
the first century did believe in it, unless it could be previously
established that three persons represent a totality, even if amongst
such a totality existed, contradictory ideas. But, as a proof that
was it not so, you, yourself, Holy Doctor, being their father, having
flourished in the fourth and fifth century, and supposed to be the
greatest amongst the Fathers of the Church, denied most emphatically,
in various instances, the existence of a Purgatory. In your CCXCV
cermon, beginning by: 'Frecuenter charitatem vestra,' etc., you said
very decidedly: 'Nemo se slecipiat fratres; _Duo_ cuim _loca_ sunt
et _terius_ non est ullus. Qui cum Christo reguare non meruerit, cum
diabolo _absque dubitatione ulla_ perebit.' This translated means,
'Do not deceive yourselves, brethren; there are but two places for
the soul and there is no third place. He who should not deserve to
live with Christ, _undoubtedly_ will perish.'
"'Further on, in de Consolatione mortuorum, you say: 'Sed recedus
anima quoe carnalibus oculis non videtur, ab angelis susciptur et
collocatur, aut in sinu, Abrahae, si fidelis est, aut in carcerio
inferni custodia si peccatrix est.' This means, 'But at the departure
of that soul which the eyes of the flesh cannot see, the angels will
receive and carry it to the Bosom of Abraham, if it has been faithful;
or to Hell, if sinful.' On the other hand, I could quote a large
number of your own texts showing that for you, Purgatory was not an
impossibility. Add to all this what Saint Fulgentius, who flourished
after you during the fifth and sixth century, says in Chapter XIV.,
of his 'de incarnatione et gratia,' etc.: 'Quicumque regnum Dei non
ingreditur, poenis oeternis cruciatur.' That is to say, 'He who could
not enter the Kingdom of God, will suffer eternal punishment.'
"'5th. Your son either cannot read, or else acts in bad faith;
otherwise, how could he, from my estatement, 'The Protestants _do
not believe_ in it; neither do the Greek Fathers, because they miss,'
etc., try to make 'The Greek Fathers DID NOT believe in a Purgatory?'
"'How could he deduct from a present, a past tense and twist the
sentences to make from it 'The Holy Greek Fathers?'
"'I used '_believe_,' the present tense, although in my time the _Holy
Greek Fathers_ did not exist, but simply the fathers belonging to
the Greek Church. Moreover, as I was following an historical order,
how could I refer to the Protestants, first, and to the _Holy Greek
Fathers_ afterwards, who believed what they wished, and who at the
time of my earthly life were a past to me?
"'And enwrapped in such bad faith, he dares to qualify as a slanderer,
imposter and ignoramus, the man who only quoted me!
"'But such proceeding is worthy of Friar Rodriguez, who, following his
system of confusing a part with the whole, tries to condemn another's
book, and mistakes the rays of the sun for the sun itself, all with
the purpose of slandering the author and calling him Freemason.
"'Tell me, Holy Doctor, after what I have told you, who is the real
ignoramus, impostor and slanderer?
"'6th. Instead of accusing others of ignorance, and presuming to know
everything, he should be careful, because he has not even read your
books, notwithstanding you are his father, and that it is his duty to
know what you have said. Should he have done so, he would neither have
written so much nonsense nor would he have shown the shallowness of his
knowledge, which, by the way, he derives from some little books, which,
to propagate and maintain obscurantism, were published in Cataluna,
 by Sarda y Salvany.'
"Thus was old Tasio expressing himself, when the voice of the Almighty
was heard summoning me to His presence.
"Trembling, I approached, and prostrated myself at His feet.'
"'Go to Earth,' said the voice, 'and tell those who call themselves
your sons that I, having created millions of suns, around which,
thousands of worlds, inhabited by millions of millions of beings,
created by my infinite Mercy, gyrate, cannot be an instrument to the
fulfilment of a few ungrateful creatures' passions, simply handfuls
of dust carried away by a gust of wind; insignificant particles of
the inhabitants of one of my smallest worlds!'
"'Tell them that my Name must not be used to extend the misery or
ignorance of their brothers, nor shall they restrain in my Name,
intelligence and thought, which I created free. That they must not
commit abuses in my Name, cause a tear, nor a single drop of blood to
be shed. That they must not represent me as being cruel, revengeful,
subject to their whims and executor of their will. Not to represent me,
The Fountain of Goodness, as a tyrant, or an unkind Father, pretending
that they are the only possessors of Light and Eternal Life. How? I,
who have given to each being air, light, life and love, that he may be
happy, could I deny to one of the most transcendental, true happiness,
for the sake of others? Impious! Absurd! Tell them that I, who am All,
and apart from whom nothing exists, nor could exist, I have not and
cannot have enemies. Nothing equals me, and no one can oppose my will!
"'Tell them that their enemies are not my enemies; that I have
never identified myself with them, and that their maxims are vain,
insensible, blasphemous! Tell them that I pardon error, but punish
iniquity; that I will forgive a sin against me, but will prosecute
those who should torture an unfortunate. That being infinitely
Powerful, all the sins of all the inhabitants of all the worlds,
thousands of times centuplicated, can never dim an atom of my
glory. But the least injury to the poor and oppressed I will punish,
for I have not created man to make him unhappy nor the victim of his
brothers. I am the Father of all existent; I know the destiny of every
atom; let me love all men, whose miseries and needs I know. Let each
one perform his duty, that I, The God of Mercy, know my own will.'
"Thus spoke the Almighty; and I came here to fulfill his command. Now,
I say to you:
"That the miseries of the unhappy Indian whom you have impoverished
and stupefied, have reached the Throne of the Highest. _There_ have
arrived so many intelligences obscured and impaired by you! The cry
of so many exiles, tortured, and killed at your instigation! The tears
of so many mothers and the miseries of so many orphans, combined with
the noise of your orgies! Know that there is a God, (perhaps you doubt
His existence, and only use His name to advance your ends) who will
some day call you to account for all your iniquities. Know that He
needs not the money of the poor, nor is it necessary to worship Him
by burning candles and incense, saying masses or believing blindly
what others say, contrary to common sense.
"No! His luminary is greater than your own sun; His flowers more
fragrant than those on earth. He suffices to Himself. He created
intelligence for no subservient purpose; but that with its use, man
could be happy in raising himself to Him. He needs no one. He created
man, not for His sake, but for man's own. He is happy for all eternity!
"You obstinately uphold the existence of a Purgatory, using even the
most ignoble weapons and means to defend your belief. Why, instead
of wasting your time in affirming the existence of that which you
never saw, do you not preach and practice love and charity amongst
yourselves? Why not preach words of comfort and hope, to somewhat
soothe the miseries of life, instead of frightening your brothers by
tales of future punishment? Why? Because Christ's True Doctrine would
bring you no earthly wealth, and all that you look for is gold, and
gold! And to satisfy your end and bleed the timid souls, of money,
you have invented a Purgatory! Why afflict orphans and widows with
dreadful tales of the next life, only to extort from them a few
cents? Have you forgotten what the Apostle said? 'Nolo vos ignorare,
fratres, de dormientibus, ut non contristenuni, sicut qui spem non
habent,' which means, 'I do not wish you to ignore, brethren, that
which concerns those who sleep, that you may not be saddened, like
those who have lost all hope.' Also, that I, myself, have said? 'Hoec
enim est Christianoe fidei summa: vitam veram expectare post mortem,'
that is 'Here is then the summary of the Christian faith: to hope for
a true life after death.' But you, lacking in charity, and for a vile,
greedy interest, live in opposition to Christ, and pretend to be able
to mould Divine Judgment. All the strength of your philosophy seems
to be derived from your own theory, which denies the existence of
souls sufficiently sinners to be condemned, or pure enough to enter
the Kingdom of God! By whose authority do you pretend to oppose the
judgment of Him who weighs and considers the smallest thought? Who
knows it is impossible to expect perfection from beings made of clay,
subject to the miseries and oppressions of earthly life? Who told you
that He will judge as you, with your narrow, limited intelligence,
do? That the miseries of this life are not expiations of sins?
"Cease in your avaricious hoarding of wealth! You have now enough. Do
not wrench from the poor his last mouthful of bread.
"Remember what Saint Fulgentius said: 'Et si mithetur in stagnum
ignis et sulphuris qui nudum vestimento non tegit, quid passures
est qui vestimento crudelis expoliat? Et si rerum suarem avarus
possessor requiem non habebit, quomodo aliaenarum rerum insatiabilis
raptor?' Meaning, 'And if he who never clothed the naked is sent to
the pond of fire and sulphur, where will he, who cruelly stripped
them, go? And if the greedy possessor of his own wealth may never
rest, how shall it be with the thief, insatiable in his greed for
the wealth of others?'
"Preach then, the religion of Hope and Promises, as you, above
all, are in need of pardon and forgiveness. Do not speak of rigor,
nor condemn others, lest God should hear and judge you according to
the laws by you formulated. Bear always in mind Christ's words, 'Vae
vobis scribae et Pharisae hypocrite qui clauditis regnum coelorum ante
homines; vos non intratis, nec introeunts sinitis intrare!' This means,
'Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, who close to men the Kingdom of
God, and neither enter nor allow others to enter!'
"Now, to you personally, I will say: You are an unfortunate fool,
who speak numberless absurdities, although I could not expect aught
else from you, and would not punish you for them. But you have had the
audacity of not only insulting others, by which you forgot truth and
charity, but praised yourself and called attention to your own praise.
"Referring to yourself, you said. This Father, whom I well know (liar,
you do not even know yourself), although he may appear a little hard
headed (a little hard-headed? Ask my crosier if your head is not harder
than stone), never speaks in vain (this is true; every word you say
causes as much laughter on earth as in Heaven), nor uses words without
first thinking (if such is true, your intelligence is very limited).
"For such foolish vanity I ought to punish you severely, so that you
would stop forever your senseless writings, saving me the trouble of
coming to reprimand you at every instance.
"Were I to judge you according to your own theory, you should at
least go to your Purgatory. But, after all, you are not so bad,
as many learned persons are made to laugh at your writings.
"It would be well for your pride if you allowed the Indians to pass
by you without taking off their hats or kissing your hand. But then,
they would be imprisoned or exiled, and it would not do to increase
the wrong you do them.
"Shall I make you lame and dumb? No! Your brothers would claim it
was a trial of your forbearance, to which God had submitted you. No;
you won't catch me on that!
"What shall I do with you?"
The old Bishop meditated for a few moments, and then, he exclaimed:
"Ah! Now I know! Your own sin shall be your punishment!
"I condemn you to continue saying and writing nonsense for the rest
of your life, so that the world may laugh at you, and also, that on
the Day of Judgment you may be judged according to your deserts!"
"Amen!" replied Friar Rodriguez.
The vision then disappeared; the light of the lamp regained its
yellowish flame, and the soft perfume dispersed.
On the following day Friar Rodriguez started writing greater nonsense,
with renewed energy.
Note.--The foregoing admirable translations from the writings of
Dr. Rizal were made by Mr. F.M. de Rivas, of Chicago.
Events of the Spanish-American War.
No Mystery About the Cause of the War--The Expected and the Inevitable
Has Happened--The Tragedy of the Maine--Vigilant Wisdom of President
McKinley--Dewey's Prompt Triumph--The Battles at Manila and Santiago
Compared--General Shafter Tells of the Battle of Santiago--Report of
Wainwright Board on Movements of Sampson's Fleet in the Destruction of
Cervera's Squadron--Stars and Stripes Raised Over Porto Rico--American
and Spanish Fleets at Manila Compared.--Text of Peace Protocol.
The war between Spain and the United States was a long time coming,
and there is no more mystery about its cause than doubt as to its
decisions. It was foretold in every chapter of the terrible stories
of the conflicts between the Spaniards and their colonists, largely of
their blood, in Central and South America. The causes of war in Cuba,
and the conduct of warfare by Spain in that island were the same that
resulted in revolutionary strife in Mexico and Peru, and, indeed, all
the nations in the Americas that once were swayed by the sovereignty
of Spain. The last of the islands of the Spanish possessions in the
hemisphere introduced to the civilized world by Columbus were lost by
the western peninsula of Europe, symbolized and personified in the
Crown, as the first crumbling fragments of the colonial empires of
Spain fell away from her. Only in the case of Cuba there was the direct
intervention of the United States to establish "a stable government"
in the distracted island, desolated by war, pestilence and famine,
that had evolved conditions, of terrible misery incurable from within,
and of inhumane oppression that should be resented by all enlightened
people. It had long been realized by the thoughtful men of Spain
capable of estimating the currents of events, that the time must come,
and was close at hand, when the arms of the United States would be
directed to the conquest of Cuba. It was not only in the air that
this was to be, it was written in the history of Spanish America,
and more than that, there was not an Atlas that did not proclaim in
the maps of the continents of the Western world, that Cuba would and
in the largest sense of right should, become a part of the United
States, and must do so in order to be redeemed from the disabilities
deeply implanted, and released from having the intolerable burdens
imposed by the rule of Spain. The consciousness of the Spaniards,
that the shadow of the United States lowered over the misgovernment
of Cuba, and that there was a thunder-cloud in the north that must
burst--with more than the force of the hurricanes that spin on their
dizzy way of destruction from the Caribbean Sea--aroused the fury of
passion, of jealous hatred and thirst for revenge, in anticipation of
the inevitable, that caused the catastrophe of the blowing up of the
Maine, and kindled with the flame of the explosion, the conflagration
of warfare in the Indies West and East, that has reddened the seas and
the skies with the blood of Spain and the glow of America's victory
both in the Antilles and the Philippines, wiping from the face of the
earth the last vestiges of the colonial imperialism of Spain that gave
her mediaeval riches and celebrity, for which--as the system always
evil became hideous with malignant growth, so that each colony was
a cancer on the mother country--there has been exacted punishment of
modern poverty, and finally the humiliation of the haughty, with no
consolation for defeat, but the fact that in desperate and forlorn
circumstances there were seen glimpses of the ancient valor in Spanish
soldiers, that was once their high distinction among the legions of
The United States was not ready for war. Our regular army was a 16
to 120 Spanish troops in Cuba, our field guns 1 to 6 of Blanco's
batteries, our siege train nowhere, and fortified cities to assail;
and the ability and industry of the Spaniards as well as their
skill and strength in surveying and fortifying military lines,
and their food resources were dangerously undervalued. The war was
rushed upon the country, contrary to the calm executive judgement of
the President. The army and navy were admirable but faulty in hasty
equipment, the navy a perfect machine in itself, but without docks
and arsenals in the right place for the supply of a fleet in the old
battle field of European navies, the West Indies. The energies of the
Government were put forth as soon as the war was seriously threatened,
and the mighty people arose and swiftly as the aptitudes of Americans
in emergencies could be applied, deficiencies were supplied. The first
stroke of arms came as a dazzling flash from the far southwest, in
the story of the smashing victory of Dewey at Manila. That splendid
officer, gentleman and hero did not signal his fleet as Nelson
at Trafalgar, that every man was expected to do his duty, but he
reported that every man did his duty; and the East Indian fleet of
Spain vanished, smashed, burned and sunken by a thunderbolt! The theory
of war countenanced by the impetuous and demanded by the presumptuous,
was that our aggressive forces must attack Havana. In and around that
city were an enormous garrison, abundant military stores, forty miles
of trenches defended by sixty thousand men; and far more to be dreaded
the deadly climate, the overwhelming rains, the deep rank soil soaked
under the tropical sun and the dense vegetation, and still more the
pestilence--the ghastly Yellow Fever, and scarcely less poisonous and
fatal pernicious malarial fevers, and dysenteries that exhausted as
fast as fever consumed. Fortunately, it was decided that the place
to attack Havana was Santiago, and there the regular army, with the
exception of the regiments sent to the Philippines, was ordered and in
due time reinforced by volunteers, safely embarked and disembarked, to
become the winners on bloody fields and receive the surrender of the
Spanish garrisons of the city and province of Santiago. The vaunted
fleet of Cervera, having attempted flight, perished--the wrecks of
his fine ships strewing the southern coast of Cuba, where they remain
as memorials, like and unlike the distorted iron that was the Maine,
in the harbor of Havana, and as the shattered and charred remnants of
the fleet of Montejo, at Manila, still cumber the waters of the bay off
Cavite, telling the story of the glory of our victorious heroes there.
The responsibility of the Chief Magistrate of the United States in
the late war was remarkable. Everything of moment was referred to
him from the Cabinet officers of the Government, and he gave all the
closest attention, making, after conscientious consideration, the
decisions that determined the course of action taken. This was true
in unusual measure of the Treasury, State, War and Navy Departments.
It is well the President resisted while he could the "rush line"
in Congress, that strove headlong for war, and strenuously urged
in the time gained essential preparations, and that he pressed the
war the day it was declared with a hurry message to Admiral Dewey,
who won his immortal victory on the other side of the world within
a week of his orders by cable to "destroy" the squadron of the enemy
that might be found somewhere on the west coast of Luzon.
Nearer home there was a harder task. The Spanish army in Cuba was
much more formidable on the defensive than in the offensive. There
were greater numbers of soldiers of a better class in the service of
Spain on the island, than had been supposed, and they did not lack,
in the degree believed, discipline, ammunition or provisions. The
Spaniards had an effective field artillery, more than one hundred
guns, and their Mauser rifles were excellent, far-reaching; and,
in field ammunition, they were ahead of us in smokeless powder. Our
regiments would have given way before the Spanish rifles, that told
no tales except with bolts, that flew invisible, fatal arrows, from
the jungles, if the American soldier had not been of stuff that was
like pure steel, and marched unflinchingly through the deadly hail,
regarding the bitter pelting as a summons to "come on" and carry the
trenches and ambuscades by storm. The incapacity of the Spaniards
to put down the Cuban Rebellion caused grave misapprehensions, both
as to the Spanish and Cuban soldiery, for few Americans understand
the conditions of the interminable guerilla warfare, the particular
military accomplishment of the Spanish race, impotent in all save
the destructive effect upon those not engaged in it. In Congress no
impression could be made of the real feebleness of the Cubans, except
in bushwhacking, and it is still a puzzle that the immense masses of
Spanish troops should be so helpless against the insurgents, and yet
so troublesome in harassing invaders. The Cuban army was not a myth,
certainly, but it has been a disappointment to those who were swift
in shouting its praises, upon information given by the Cuban Key
West Bureau of News novelettes. It was well that the attack on Spain
in the West Indies was directed upon Santiago and Porto Rico. The
former manifestly was a point that commanded the central waters of
the West Indies; recently there have been expressions of surprise
that the expedition to Porto Rico, finally and handsomely led by
Major General Miles, commanding the army of the United States, was
so delayed. Investigation from the inside will duly determine that no
harm was done in that case by loss of time. Santiago was pointed out
by many circumstances as the vital spot of Spanish power in America,
where a mortal blow might be delivered. It was in the province where
the insurgents had greater strength than in any other part of the
island. It was so situated that our fleet in that locality was close
to the Windward Passage, east of Cuba, where Columbus was at once
perplexed and triumphant, and to Hayti, Jamaica and Porto Rico; and
there were several landings where it would be possible to disembark
troops, protected by the fire of our ships. More than that, Santiago
is the old capital of Cuba, the place where the head of the Cuban
church abides, and the scene of the Virginius Massacre--altogether
having a place in history almost equal to that of Havana. It was not
doubted the sanitary situation of the east end of Cuba was better than
that of the west end. Experience shows that this easy assumption was
questionable. If we omit the great plague spot, the city of Havana,
it will appear that Santiago is in a region as pestilential as can
be found in the provinces of Havana and Pinar del Rio. More than
all other associations and conspicuities, the attention of the world
was directed to Santiago because Cervera's elusive fleet, short of
coal and provisions, and overmatched by the United States navy, took
refuge in the deep harbor, hoping to clean his ships, get supplies and
escape with coal enough to open a new career. The Spaniards were too
slow, and the only ships of Spain that showed a sign of the spirit
of enterprise and the capacity of adventure, were bottled up by a
relentless blockade. Lieutenant Hobson became famous in a night in his
most hazardous effort to use the Merrimac as a cork for the bottle,
but fortunately left a gap through which the Spaniards made haste to
their doom. When the second fleet of Spain was destroyed, all chance
of disputing our supremacy at sea, or of doing anything to guard
Spanish interests either in the East or West Indies, was extinguished.
There has been no marked features of contention as to the battles of
Manila, except in the case of the gratuitous observations of critical
persons, whose feelings have been disturbed, that the storming of the
town was not bloody enough. The victory, however, was all the greater,
for the casualty lists were not long, owing to the management of the
Commanding General and the heroic Admiral, who won a battle famous as
that at New Orleans, with less bloodshed, but as Jackson's victory
was not belittled because he lost but half a dozen men killed, the
victories at Manila should not be slighted. The Santiago battles,
however, have stirred controversies, and there is a great mass of
literature, official and other, subject to endless examination, and
perhaps so voluminous as to confuse readers for some generations. The
leading and indisputable facts are, that the Spaniards fought well
on land, but were ineffectual afloat, in their attempts to inflict
injuries, though they put to sea in dashing style, and did not flinch
in efforts to evade a superior force, until the fire of the Americans
crushed them. In the incidents of warfare on the hills around and
the waves before Santiago, it is fair to say that the Spaniards
redeemed themselves from imputation of timidity, and fought in a
manner not unworthy of the countrymen of the Garrison of Morro Castle,
Havana, whose gallantry in resisting the army and fleet of England,
in 1762, commanded the respectful regard of their conquerors, and is
a glorious chapter in the story of Spain. The Santiago events were
most honorable to American arms, and it would lessen the splendor of
the reputation of the American soldiers if one failed to do justice
to the sturdy fighters they overcame. It is too early or too late
for participation in the debates whether civil or acrimonious, as
to the merits or faults of those engaged at Santiago, further than
to quote that golden sentence from the report of Commodore Schley,
that there was "glory enough to go around." We, whatever is said,
remember what was done on those hills that have an everlasting place
in history. There forever is to be application of marvelous propriety,
of the mournful and noble lines of Kentucky's poet, Theodore O'Hara:
"On Fame's eternal camping ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead."
There was a speedy realization by the country, and all the intelligent
peoples of the earth, when our troops were embarked for the Santiago
campaign, that the crisis of the war was at hand. No American thought
of failure. The only questions were as to the power of the defense
of Cuba by Spain, and the cost to us in men and money to overcome the
defenders. Those who knew the most about the conditions in Cuba had the
least confidence in the efficiency of the Cuban Army. The only body
of organized Cubans of importance was that under command of Garcia,
and it was the province of which he was in partial occupation that
we invaded in force. The public had been considerably interested and
entertained by the rousing accounts of the various naval bombardments
of Spanish shore fortresses. But the firing from our ships had not
materially shaken the Spanish defenses. The sea power had not shattered
the shore lines, but found abundant occupation in guarding transports
and protecting the troops when landing. It would have been an act of
the most gross imprudence and incompetency to have put an army ashore
unless the supremacy of the navy on the sea was absolute. More than
that, our own cities had to be assured that they were secure from
attack. On the 31st of May orders were issued for the embarkation of
the army of invasion as follows:
1. The Fifth Army Corps.
2. The Battalion of Engineers.
3. The detachment of the Signal Corps.
4. Five squadrons of cavalry, to be selected by the commanding
general of the cavalry division, in accordance with instruction
5. Four batteries of light artillery, to be commanded by a major, to
be selected by the commanding officer of the light artillery brigade.
6. Two batteries of heavy artillery, to be selected by the commanding
officer of the siege artillery battalion, with eight (8) siege guns
and eight (8) field mortars.
7. The Battalion of Engineers, the infantry, and cavalry, will be
supplied, with 500 rounds of ammunition per man.
8. All troops will carry, in addition to the fourteen (14) days'
field rations now on hand, ten (10) days' travel rations.
9. The minimum allowance of tentage and baggage as prescribed in
General Orders 54, A.G.O., current series, will be taken.
10. In addition to the rations specified in paragraph 8 of this order,
the chief commissary will provide sixty (60) days' field rations for
the entire command.
11. All recruits and extra baggage, the latter to be stored, carefully
piled and covered, will be left in camp, in charge of a commissioned
officer, to be selected by the regimental commander. Where there are
no recruits available the necessary guard only will be left.
12. Travel rations will be drawn, at once, by the several commands,
as indicated in paragraph 8.
This was by command of Major-General Shafter. There were delays on
account of inadequate facilities for embarkation at Tampa and Port
Tampa. Orders for General Shafter to move with not less than 10,000 men
were issued on the 7th, and there was delay on account of reports of
Spanish ships of war ready to strike a blow at the transports. Twelve
squadrons of cavalry not mounted were added to the troops designated
in the general order, and June 14th the expedition sailed with 815
officers and 16,072 enlisted men, and had a smooth and uneventful
passage. There were several demonstrations for the deception of the
enemy, in one of which 500 Cubans were employed. General Shafter
was committed by the movements and the ground, as he says in his
"To approach Santiago from the east over a narrow road, at first in
some places not better than a trail, running from Daiquiri through
Siboney and Sevilla, and making attack from that quarter, was, in
my judgment, the only feasible plan, and subsequent information and
results confirmed my judgment."
The disembarkation commenced June 22nd, and all men were ordered
to carry "on the person the blanket roll (with shelter tent and
poncho), three days' field rations (with coffee, ground), canteens
filled, and 100 rounds of ammunition per man. Additional ammunition,
already issued to the troops, tentage, baggage, and company cooking
utensils left under charge of the regimental quartermaster, with one
non-commissioned officer and two privates from each company,"
Two days were occupied in getting the troops ashore, and the first
engagement was on the morning of the 24th, General Young's brigade
taking the advance, and finding a Spanish force strongly intrenched
on the Santiago road three miles from Siboney. Young's force was 964
officers and men. The enemy were driven from the field. Our loss, 1
officer and 15 men killed, and 6 officers and 46 men wounded. Spanish
loss reported 9 killed and 27 wounded. General Shafter says the
engagement had "an inspiring effect" upon the men, and "gave us a
well-watered country further to the front, on which to encamp our
troops," and the rest of the month was occupied in attempting to
land rations enough to have a reserve, and "it was not until nearly
two weeks after the army landed that it was possible to place on
shore three days' supplies in excess of those required for the daily
General Shafter reconnoitered, and formed his plan of battle June
30th, and reports that in the opening of the engagement on July 1st
"the artillery fire from El Pozo was soon returned by the enemy's
artillery. They evidently had the range of this hill, and their first
shells killed and wounded several men. As the Spaniards used smokeless
powder it was very difficult to locate the position of their pieces,
while, on the contrary, the smoke caused by our black powder plainly
indicated the position of our battery."
The advantages the Spaniards had in the use of smokeless powder were
conspicuous throughout the scenes of fighting both at Santiago and
Manila. We had, however, at Santiago a war balloon of the actual
service, of which General Shafter says: "General Kent forced the
head of his column alongside of the cavalry column as far as the
narrow trail permitted, and thus hurried his arrival at the San Juan
and the formation beyond that stream. A few hundred yards before
reaching the San Juan the road forks, a fact that was discovered by
Lieutenant-Colonel Derby of my staff, who had approached well to the
front in a war balloon. This information he furnished to the troops,
resulting in Sumner moving on the right-hand road, while Kent was
enabled to utilize the road to the left."
General Shafter officially makes the following reference to his
illness at the time: "My own health was impaired by overexertion in
the sun and intense heat of the day before, which prevented me from
participating as actively in the battle as I desired; but from a high
hill near my headquarters I had a general view of the battlefield,
extending from El Caney on the right to the left of our lines on San
Juan Hill. My staff officers were stationed at various points on the
field, rendering frequent reports, and through them by the means of
orderlies and the telephone, I was enabled to transmit my orders.
"After the brilliant and important victory gained at El Caney, Lawton
started his tried troops, who had been fighting all day and marching
much of the night before, to connect with the right of the cavalry
division. Night came on before this movement could be accomplished. In
the darkness the enemy's pickets were encountered, and the Division
Commander being uncertain of the ground and as to what might be in
his front halted his command and reported the situation to me. This
information was received about 12:30 a. m., and I directed General
Lawton to return by my headquarters and the El Pozo House as the only
certain way of gaining his new position.
"This was done, and the division took position on the right of the
cavalry early next morning, Chaffee's brigade arriving first, about
half-past 7, and the other brigades before noon."
Of the hottest of the fight on the 1st of July, General Shafter
reports: "Great credit is due to Brigadier-General H. S. Hawkins,
who, placing himself between his regiments, urged them on by voice
and bugle calls to the attack so brilliantly executed.
"In this fierce encounter words fail to do justice to the gallant
regimental commanders and their heroic men, for, while the generals
indicated the formations and the points of attack, it was, after all,
the intrepid bravery of the subordinate officers and men that planted
our colors on the crest of San Juan Hill and drove the enemy from
his trenches and blockhouses, thus gaining a position which sealed
the fate of Santiago.
"In this action on this part of the field most efficient service was
rendered by Lieutenant John H. Parker, Thirteenth Infantry, and the
Gatling gun detachment under his command. The fighting continued
at intervals until nightfall, but our men held resolutely to the
positions gained at the cost of so much blood and toil.
"I am greatly indebted to General Wheeler, who, as previously
stated, returned from the sick list to duty during the afternoon. His
cheerfulness and aggressiveness made itself felt on this part of the
battlefield, and the information he furnished to me at various stages
of the battle proved to be most useful."
The report of the General Commanding of the further fighting is a
model of forcible brevity, in these paragraphs:
"Soon after daylight on July 2 the enemy opened battle, but because
of the intrenchments made during the night, the approach of Lawton's
division, and the presence of Bates' brigade, which had taken position
during the night on Kent's left, little apprehension was felt as to
our ability to repel the Spaniards.
"It is proper here to state that General Bates and his brigade had
performed most arduous and efficient service, having marched much
of the night of June 30-July 1, and a good part of the latter day,
during which he also participated in the battle of El Caney, after
which he proceeded, by way of El Pozo, to the left of the line at
San Juan, reaching his new position about midnight.
"All day on the 2d the battle raged with more or less fury, but such
of our troops as were in position at daylight held their ground,
and Lawton gained a strong and commanding position on the right.
"About 10 p..m., the enemy made a vigorous assault to break through
my lines, but he was repulsed at all points.
"On the morning of the 3d the battle was renewed, but the enemy seemed
to have expended his energy in the assault of the previous night, and
the firing along the lines was desultory;" and this was stopped by a
letter sent by General Shafter, saying he would be obliged to "shell
Santiago," if not surrendered, and non-combatants would be given until
10 o'clock July 4th to leave the city. The reply of the Spanish General
was that he would not surrender. Then foreign consuls came within our
lines asking more time to remove the women and children. The language
of General Shafter reporting the situation at the time and the events
following, is here reproduced as of permanent interest:
"My first message went in under a flag of truce at 12:30 p.m. I was
of the opinion that the Spaniards would surrender if given a little
time, and I thought this result would be hastened if the men of
their army could be made to understand they would be well treated as
prisoners of war. Acting upon this presumption, I determined to offer
to return all the wounded Spanish officers at El Caney who were able
to bear transportation, and who were willing to give their paroles
not to serve against the forces of the United States until regularly
exchanged. This offer was made and accepted. These officers, as well as
several of the wounded Spanish privates, 27 in all, were sent to their
lines under the escort of some of our mounted cavalry. Our troops were
received with honors, and I have every reason to believe the return
of the Spanish prisoners produced a good impression on their comrades.
"The cessation of firing about noon on the 3d practically terminated
the battle of Santiago.
"A few Cubans assisted in the attack at El Caney, and fought valiantly,
but their numbers were too small to materially change the strength,
as indicated above. The enemy confronted us with numbers about equal
to our own; they fought obstinately in strong and intrenched positions,
and the results obtained clearly indicate the intrepid gallantry of the
company, officers and men, and the benefits derived from the careful
training and instruction given in the company in recent years in rifle
practice and other battle exercises. Our losses in these battles were
22 officers and 208 men killed, and 81 officers and 1,203 men wounded;
missing, 79. The missing, with few exceptions, reported later.
"The arrival of General Escario on the night of July 2, and his
entrance into the city was not anticipated, for although it was known,
as previously stated, that General Pando had left Manzanillo with
reinforcements for the garrison of Santiago, it was not believed
his troops could arrive so soon. General Garcia, with between four
and five thousand Cubans, was intrusted with the duty of watching
for and intercepting the reinforcements expected. This, however, he
failed to do, and Escario passed into the city along on my extreme
right and near the bay."
On the 11th, when the firing ceased and was not resumed "the sickness
in the army was increasing very rapidly, as a result of exposure in the
trenches to the intense heat of the sun and the heavy rains. Moreover,
the dews in Cuba are almost equal to rains. The weakness of the troops
was becoming so apparent I was anxious to bring the siege to an end,
but in common with most of the officers of the army I did not think
an assault would be justifiable, especially as the enemy seemed to
be acting in good faith in their preliminary propositions to surrender.
"July 12 I informed the Spanish Commander that Major-General Miles,
Commander-in-Chief of the American army, had just arrived in my camp,
and requested him to grant us a personal interview on the following
day. He replied he would be pleased to meet us. The interview took
place on the 13th."
The Spanish raised many points, as is their habit, and were tenacious
about retaining their arms, but yielded, and "the terms of surrender
finally agreed upon included about 12,000 Spanish troops in the city
and as many more in the surrendered district."
July 17th "we met midway between the representatives of our two armies,
and the Spanish Commander formally consummated the surrender of the
city and the 24,000 troops in Santiago and the surrendered district.
"After this ceremony I entered the city with my staff and escort, and
at 12 o'clock noon the American flag was raised over the Governor's
The men and material surrendered by the Spaniards at Santiago largely
exceeded the two English armies and their equipments at Saratoga
The yellow fever appeared in the American camp at Siboney July 4th,
and the fact was soon known to the army. General Shafter says of
the wounded and sick: "They received every attention that it was
possible to give them. The medical officers without exception worked
night and day to alleviate the suffering, which was no greater than
invariably accompanies a campaign. It would have been better if we
had more ambulances, but as many were taken as was thought necessary,
judging from previous campaigns."
General Joe Wheeler's report of the action of July 1st is a paper
full of striking points. The movement into battle began in wading
the San Juan river under heavy fire, and the General says:
"We were as much under fire in forming the line as we would be by an
advance, and I therefore pressed the command forward from the covering
which it was formed. It merged into open space, in full view of the
enemy, who occupied breastworks and batteries on the crest of the
hill which overlooked Santiago, officers and men falling at every
step. The troops advanced gallanty, soon reached the foot of the hill
and ascended, driving the enemy from their works and occupying them
on the crest of the hill.
"Colonel Carroll and Major Wessels were both wounded during
the charge, but Major Wessels was enabled to return and resume
command. General Wyckoff, commanding Kent's Third Brigade, was killed
at 12:10. Lieutenant-Colonel Worth took command and was wounded at
12:15. Lieutenant-Colonel Liscum then took command and was wounded at
12:20, and the command then devolved upon Lieutenant-Colonel Ewers,
"Upon reaching the crest I ordered breastworks to be constructed,
and sent to the rear for shovels, picks, spades, and axes. The
enemy's retreat from the ridge was precipitate, but our men were so
thoroughly exhausted that it was impossible for them to follow. Their
shoes were soaked with water by wading the San Juan River; they had
become drenched with rain, and when they reached the crest they were
absolutely unable to proceed further. Notwithstanding this condition
these exhausted men labored during the night to erect breastworks,
furnished details to bury the dead and carry the wounded back in
Wheeler's loss was 6 officers and 40 men killed, 29 officers and 288
men wounded, and 10 men missing--total 372, out of a force of 127
officers and 2,536 men.
General Bates says that after his brigade remained for some time in
the first cross road after wading the San Juan river: "We moved to the
right to assault a small hill, occupied upon the top by a stone fort
and well protected by rifle pits. General Chaffee's brigade charged
them from the right, and the two brigades, joining upon the crest,
opened fire from this point of vantage, lately occupied by the Spanish,
upon the village of El Caney.
"From this advantageous position the Spanish were easily driven from
place to place in the village proper, and as fast as they sought
shelter in one building were driven out to seek shelter elsewhere. The
sharpshooters of my command were enabled to do effective work at
this point. The town proper was soon pretty thoroughly cleaned out of
Spanish, though a couple of blockhouses upon the hill to the right of
the town offered shelter to a few, and some could be seen retreating
along a mountain road leading to the northwest. A part of these made
a stand in a field among some bowlders.
General Lawton observes: "The light battery first opened on a column of
Spanish troops, which appeared to be cavalry moving westward from El
Caney, and about 2 miles range, resulting, as was afterwards learned,
in killing 16 in the column."
The General has much to say of a pleasing personal nature.
The report of General Kent is of extraordinary merit for the exact
detail and local color. Colonel McClernand, he says, "pointed out
to me a green hill in the distance which was to be my objective
on my left," and as he moved into action, "I proceeded to join the
head of my division, just coming under heavy fire. Approaching the
First Brigade I directed them to move alongside the cavalry (which
was halted). We were already suffering losses caused by the balloon
near by attracting fire and disclosing our position.
"The enemy's infantry fire, steadily increasing in intensity, now
came from all directions, not only from the front and the dense
tropical thickets on our flanks, but from sharpshooters thickly
posted in trees in our rear, and from shrapnel apparently aimed at
the balloon. Lieutenant-Colonel Derby, of General Shafter's staff,
met me about this time and informed me that a trail or narrow way had
been discovered from the balloon a short distance back leading to the
left to a ford lower down the stream. I hastened to the forks made
by this road, and soon after the Seventy-first New York Regiment of
Hawkins' brigade came up. I turned them into the by path indicated by
Lieutenant-Colonel Derby, leading to the lower ford, sending word to
General Hawkins of this movement. This would have speedily delivered
them in their proper place on the left of their brigade, but under
the galling fire of the enemy the leading battalion of this regiment
was thrown into confusion and recoiled in disorder on the troops in
The Second and Third Battalions "came up in better order," but there
was some delay, and General Kent says:
"I had received orders some time before to keep in rear of the cavalry
division. Their advance was much delayed, resulting in frequent halts,
presumably to drop their blanket rolls and due to the natural delay in
fording a stream. These delays under such a hot fire grew exceedingly
irksome, and I therefore pushed the head of my division as quickly
as I could toward the river in column files of twos parallel in
the narrow way by the cavalry. This quickened the forward movement
and enabled me to get into position as speedily as possible for the
attack. Owing to the congested condition of the road, the progress
of the narrow columns was, however, painfully slow. I again sent a
staff officer at a gallop to urge forward the troops in rear."
The Second Brigade and Third "moved toward Fort San Juan, sweeping
through a zone of most destructive fire, scaling a steep and difficult
hill, and assisting in capturing the enemy's strong position (Fort
San Juan) at 1:30 p.m. This crest was about 125 feet above the general
level, and was defended by deep trenches and a loop-holed brick fort
surrounded by barbed-wire entanglements."
General Hawkins, after General Kent reached the crest, "reported that
the Sixth and Sixteenth Infantry had captured the hill, which I now
consider incorrect. Credit is almost equally due the Sixth, Ninth,
Thirteenth, Sixteenth, and Twenty-fourth regiments of infantry. Owing
to General Hawkins' representations, I forwarded the report sent to
corps headquarters about 3 p.m. that the Sixth and Sixteenth infantry
regiments captured the hill. The Thirteenth Infantry captured the
enemy's colors waving over the fort, but, unfortunately, destroyed
them, distributing the fragments among the men, because, as was
asserted, 'It was a bad omen,' two or three men having been shot
while assisting private Arthur Agnew, Company H, Thirteenth Infantry,
the captor. All fragments which could be recovered are submitted with
"I have already mentioned the circumstances of my Third Brigade's
advance across the ford, where in the brief space of ten minutes it
lost its brave commander (killed) and the next two ranking officers
by disabling wounds. Yet, in spite of these confusing conditions the
formations were effected without hesitation, although under a stinging
fire, companies acting singly in some instances, and by battalion and
regiments in others, rushing through the jungle, across the stream
waist deep, and over the wide bottom thickly set with barbed wire."
General Kent says:
"The bloody fighting of my brave command can not be adequately
described in words. The following list of killed, wounded, and missing
tells the story of their valor:
"July 1st the loss was 12 officers and 77 men killed, 32 officers
and 463 men wounded, 58 men missing. Total loss, 642."
The following day the Spaniards resumed the battle, and the losses
of Kent's command on the 2nd and 3d of July made up a total loss
in three days of 99 killed and 597 wounded, and 62 missing. General
Shafter said that before closing his report he desired to dwell upon
"the natural obstacles I had to encounter, and which no foresight could
have overcome or obviated. The rocky and precipitous coast afforded no
sheltered landing places, the roads were mere bridle paths, the effect
of the tropical sun and rains upon unacclimated troops was deadly,
and a dread of strange and unknown diseases had its effect on the army.
"The San Juan and Aguadores rivers would often suddenly rise so as to
prevent the passage of wagons, and then the eight pack trains with
the command had to be depended upon for the victualing of my army,
as well as the 20,000 refugees, who could not in the interests of
humanity be left to starve while we had rations."
During the Chicago Peace Jubilee, General Shafter made an address at
the Armory of the First Illinois Volunteers, and, released from the
continual forms of official reports, added much of interest to the
story of Santiago. He says of the send-off:
"We were twice embarked and twice taken back to Tampa and
disembarked. On the first occasion the cause was the appearance
of Admiral Cervera's fleet; it requiring the entire navy that was
disposable to go after that fleet, and the second time by a report
that afterwards turned out to be incorrect, that in the St. Nicholas
channel, through which we would have to go, some Spanish cruisers
had been seen."
When ordered to Tampa to command the first Cuban expedition,
"I took the troops that I thought best fitted and prepared for that
service. There were some magnificent regiments of volunteers, but to
part of them I had issued arms only two or three days before. They
were not properly equipped, and lacked experience. As I had the
choice, I took all of the regulars that were there, and with them
three regiments of volunteers. They were magnificent men, as perfect
as men could be, but, as you know who served in '61, poorly prepared
to take care of themselves at first. You recollect it was months
before we were prepared, and we made numerous mistakes that led to
sickness and death. The same things have occurred again, and they
always will continue with troops that are not used to the field, and
in this campaign men were taken directly from their camps immediately
after being mustered in, and put into the most difficult campaign of
modern military history.
"I practically had the entire regular army of the United States, twenty
of the twenty-five regiments of infantry, five of the ten regiments
of cavalry, and five batteries of artillery, with three regiments of
volunteers, the Seventy-first New York, the Second Massachusetts,
and the regiment known as Roosevelt's rough riders. The last were
practically seasoned soldiers. They were men from the frontier, men
who had been accustomed for years to taking a little sack of corn
meal on their saddles, and a blanket, and going out to sleep out of
doors for a week or a month at a time. Of course, they knew how to
care for themselves in camp.
"Early in June I was called to the telephone in Tampa, and told from
the President's mansion in Washington to proceed immediately with
not less than 10,000 men to Santiago; that news had been received
that day that the fleet of Cervera was surely within that harbor,
and that if 10,000 men could be placed there at once the fleet and
the city could be captured in forty-eight hours. The horses and
mules had been taken off from the ships as well as the men, and the
time consumed in reloading the horses and mules allowed me to embark
17,000 men nearly. That was very fortunate for me and our cause."
On arrival off Santiago, he, "with Admiral Sampson, went down the coast
about twenty miles, and saw General Garcia, and asked him his opinion
of the country, what his force was, and whether he was disposed to
assist. I found him very willing and very glad to offer his services
at once, with 3,000 men that he had with him and another thousand
that he had up the country a little further, which were to join us
immediately. In sailing along the coast, looking for a landing place,
I selected two places--Siboney, a little indentation in the coast
about twelve or thirteen miles east of Santiago, and another little
bay about eight miles further east, where small streams entered
into the sea, making a valley and a sandbar about 150 to 200 yards
in extent. All the rest of the coast is abrupt, perpendicular walls
of rock from ten to thirty feet high, against which the waves were
dashing all the time, and where it is utterly impossible to land.
"We had the earnest and able support of the navy and their assistance
in disembarking, and the next morning were bombarding the two little
places and driving the few hundred Spanish soldiers, that were there
away. We began disembarking, and before the end of the day the men
were on shore, with 2,000 horses and mules that we had to throw
overboard to get ashore, and the artillery."
The General noted the loss of 17,000 troops out of 24,000 in the
English army that besieged Havana in 1762, at the same time of year
that he landed at Santiago, and remarked:
"I knew that my entire army would be sick if it stayed long enough;
that it was simply a question of getting that town just as soon as
possible. I knew the strength, the courage, and the will of my men,
or I thought I did, and the result shows that I was not mistaken. It
was a question of starting the moment we landed and not stopping
until we reached the Spanish outposts, and, therefore, as soon as a
division was put on shore it was started on the march.
"On the 24th the first engagement took place, in which we had between
800 and 900 men on the American side and probably 1,000 or 1,200 on
the Spanish. The enemy was strongly intrenched, showing only their
heads, while the American forces had to march exposing their whole
bodies to the fire of the enemy.
"It is announced by military experts as an axiom that trained troops
armed with the present breech-loading and rapid-firing arm cannot
be successfully assailed by any troops who simply assault. Of course
you can make the regular approaches and dig up to them. The fallacy
of that proposition was made very manifest that day when the men
composing the advance marched as deliberately over those breastworks
as they ever did when they fought with arms that you could only load
about twice in a minute and of the range of only 200 or 300 yards.
"This army was an army of marksmen. For fifteen years the greatest
attention has been paid to marksmanship, and I suppose four-fifths
of all the men in that army wore on their breasts the marksman's
badge. I had given orders, knowing that the noise of firing is
harmless and that shots put in the air are harmless--I had given the
strictest orders to all officers that their men should be told not to
fire a shot unless they could see something moving, and the firing
was to be by individuals, what is called file firing, individual
firing. The Spanish troops, not so well drilled in firing as ours,
used volley firing, which is very effective against large bodies
of troops massed and moving over a plain, but utterly inefficient
when used against skirmishers moving over a rough country. In that
battle, which lasted two hours, less than ten rounds of ammunition
per man was fired by my men, and the losses, notwithstanding my men
were exposed, their whole bodies, while the enemy were in trenches,
where only their heads could be seen, were about equal.
"I saw the commander of that force a few days later in Santiago, and
in talking about it he said to me: 'Your men behaved very strange. We
were much surprised. They were whipped, but they didn't seem to know
it; they continued to advance (laughter and applause), and we had to
go away.' He was quite right about it. They did have to go away.
"On the 29th we had reached the immediate vicinity of the peaks in
front of Santiago, about a mile and a half from the city. On the 30th
I carefully reconnoitered the ground as much as one could in the dense
undergrowth, and determined where I would make my attack, which was
simply directed in front, and to make a direct assault. There was
no attempt at strategy, and no attempt at turning their flanks. It
was simply going straight for them. In that I did not misjudge my
men, and that is where I succeeded so well. (Applause.) If we had
attempted to flank them out or dig them out by regular parallels and
get close to them my men would have been sick before it could have
been accomplished, and the losses would have been many times greater
than they were.
"The only misfortune, as I judged it, of the first day's fight,but
which I have since learned was for the best, was that immediately on
our right, and what would be in our rear when we attacked the town,
was a little village called El Caney, four miles and a half from
Santiago, and whence the best road in the country connected with
Santiago. I did not know the exact force there, but it was estimated
to be 1,000, and perhaps a little more, and it would, of course,
have been very hazardous to have left that force so near in our rear.
"Instead of finishing the affair by 9 o'clock, as we expected, it took
until 4:30 o'clock in the afternoon before the last shot was fired,
and then after a loss of nearly a hundred killed and 250 wounded on
our side and the almost total annihilation of the force opposed to
us. They had an idea that they would be killed, and when men believe
that it is hard to capture them. Just at the close of the battle
three or four hundred did attempt to escape, but ran out in front of
a brigade that they did not see, and in the course of about three
or four hundred yards most of them were dead or mortally wounded,
so that probably not more than twenty men on the other side escaped
from that battle. It was a most desperate struggle.
"Men were killed in the trenches by being knocked on the head with
muskets, and one man I was shown two days later with what would be
called a tremendous head on him, and the interpreter asked him how
that had occurred, and he doubled up his fist and spoke of the soldier
that had hit him as a black man, that he had dropped his gun and hit
him in the head with his fist. That was pretty close work.
"Meanwhile the battle in front of Santiago progressed, with
three divisions on our side, one of dismounted cavalry and two of
infantry. It was beautifully fought. Every man knew what he had to do,
and so did every officer. The orders were that Immediately upon being
deployed they were to attack. They did it. Every man kept going, and
when one's comrade dropped the rest kept going. The result was that
in about two hours the line was taken, and practically that afternoon
the battle of Santiago was ended, for those men never advanced beyond
"During the night I brought up the division of General Lawton that had
been on the right at Caney and put them on the extreme right, where I
had intended to have them the day before, and where, had they been,
we should probably have taken the town and have gotten only the men
that were there, and not the 12,000 that were far beyond our reach
who were surrendered a few days later.
"On the morning of the 2d a weak attempt was made upon our lines. In
that the Spaniards had to expose themselves, while my men were
covered. The fight lasted but a little while, and they retreated.
"On the morning of July 3 I thought we had so much of an advantage
that I could notify the enemy, first, that I wanted a surrender, and,
second, if they declined to surrender that they could have twenty-four
hours to get the women and children out of town. Of course, civilized
people do not fire on towns filled with women and children if they
will come out if it can be avoided. The Spanish commander declined
very promptly to surrender, but said he would notify the women and
children and those that desired to go, but he wanted twenty-four
hours more, and said there were a great many people to go out. They
began to stream out at once, and for forty-eight hours old men, women,
and children poured out until it was estimated that at least 20,000
people passed through our lines and out into the woods in the rear. Of
course, there was an immense amount of suffering, and numbers died,
especially of the old. Fortunately we were enabled to give them some
food, enough so that they existed, but at that time, with the Cuban
forces that I had, I was issuing daily 45,000 rations. Forty-five
thousand people are a good many to feed when you have such fearful
roads and food could only be carried on the backs of mules.
"On that morning of the 3d, about an hour after the time for
surrendering, Cervera's fleet left the harbor, and went out, as you
know, to total annihilation. It was not more than twenty or thirty
minutes after they left the mouth of the harbor before, so far as
we could hear, the firing had ceased, and 1,700 men were prisoners,
600 were killed, and three or four battleships and some torpedo boats
were either on the rocks or in the bottom of the sea--a most wonderful
victory, never equaled before in naval history, and due mainly to
the magnificent marksmanship of our men, which covered the Spanish
decks with such a hail of iron that no sailors on earth could stand
"Two days after this I saw General Toral, and I was convinced from
conversation with him that he was going to surrender. I had no one
but myself to take the responsibility, in fact, I did not want anyone
else to do it, but while I was convinced myself it was hard to convince
others. I knew that we could capture the town at any time, that we had
it surrounded so that they could not possibly get away, although on
the night of July 2 2,800 men marched in. I had understood there were
8,000, but when we counted them a few days afterward there were only
2,800. I knew that if we carried that town by force a thousand men at
least would be lost to the American army, and a thousand good American
men are a good many to expend in capturing a Spanish town (applause),
and I did not propose to do it if I could possibly talk them out of it.
"General Toral knew just as well as I did that I knew just what he
had--that he was on his last rations, and that nothing but plain rice,
that we had his retreat cut off, that we had the town surrounded,
that he could not hurt us, while we could bombard him and do some
little damage, perhaps, and that it was only a question of a few days.
"I found out a few days later what the hitch was which caused the
delay, for General Toral had told me that he had been authorized by
Blanco, the Governor-General, to enter into negotiations and make
terms for surrender, and in Cuba you know General Blanco was in
supreme command. His authority was such that he could even set aside
a law of Spain. Knowing that, I felt sure that after very little
delay they would surrender. They desired to get permission from
the Madrid government to return to Spain. It was that that delayed
them. Immediately upon receiving the permission to return to Spain
"I had in line when the fighting was going on, about 13,000 men--not
more than that at any time. Inside the Spanish trenches there were
about 10,000. There were 11,500 surrendered, and I think about 1,500
of them were sick. The disproportion, considering the difference of
situation, is not very great. In fact, I think that 10,000 American
soldiers could have kept 100,000 Spaniards out had they been in the
same position (applause), although I do not wish to disparage the
bravery of the Spanish troops. They are gallant fellows, but they
have not the intelligence and do not take the initiative as do the
American soldiers; and they have not the bull-dog pluck that hangs
on day after day.
"Toral made the first proposition to surrender. He said if I would let
him take his men and such things as they could carry on their persons
and on a few pack mules that they had and guarantee him safe conduct
to Holguin, which was fifty-two miles away to the north and in the
interior, they would march out. I told him, of course, that was out
of the question; that I could not accept any such terms as that, but
I would submit it to the President. I did so, and was very promptly
informed that only unconditional surrender would be received, but I
was at liberty to say to General Toral that if they would surrender
they would be carried, at the expense of the United States government,
back to Spain. When that proposition was made to him I could see his
face lighten up and the faces of his staff, who were there. They were
simply delighted. Those men love their country intensely, they had been
brought to Cuba against their will, and had stayed there three years,
poorly clad, not paid at all, and not well fed, and the prospect of
going back to their homes had as much to do with conforming their
views to our wishes as anything that was done during the campaign.
"Meanwhile ten or twelve days had elapsed and I had received quite a
number of volunteer regiments--two from Michigan, the First District
of Columbia, a Massachusetts regiment, and an Ohio regiment, the
Eighth Ohio--all splendid troops and well equipped, and while they
were not there at the hardest of the fighting they were there during
the suffering, and everything that soldiers were called upon to do
they did like men.
"It is a great deal harder to stand up day after day and see companions
go from sickness and disease than it is to face the perils of battle.
"When I told General Toral that we would carry his men back he said:
'Does that include my entire command?' I said: 'What is your command
and where are they?' He replied the Fourth Army Corps; 11,500 men in
the city, 3,000 twenty miles in the rear of us; 7,500 he said were
up the coast less than sixty miles, and about 1,500 125 to 150 miles
off on the northeastern coast.
"There were 3,440 odd, and at a place less than sixty miles east
there were 7,500 and a few over, because we counted them and took
their arms. The result of that surrender was as unexpected to us as
probably it was to every person in the United States. There was simply
a little army there, which had gone down to assist the navy in getting
the Spanish fleet out and capturing that town, and we expected no other
result from it than victory at the spot at the utmost, but in attacking
the limb we got the whole body. It was expected that, beginning about
the first of October, the objective point of the campaign was to be
Havana, where we knew there were from 125,000 to 150,000 men, and
it was expected that about the first of October a large army would
be sent over there, and the battle that would decide the war would
be fought in the vicinity of Havana. I think that was the universal
feeling. The loss of that city and of those 24,000 men--23,376, to
be accurate--so dispirited them that within a week the proposition
of Spain to close the war was made, and, happily, the war was ended.
"The difficulties of that campaign were not in the fighting. That
was the easiest part of it. The difficulties were in getting food
and medicine to the front. There was but a single road, a muddy and
terrible road, and with five or six wagons going over it the sixth
wagon would be on the axle tree, and in taking up some artillery I
had fourteen horses on one battery that was usually drawn by four,
and even with that number it went out of sight, and we had to leave
it and dig it out after the water had subsided."
Admiral Sampson's report, dated August 3d, was published October
23d, and covers the conduct of the fleet under his command, in
its operations in the West Indies, for about two months prior to
the destruction of Admiral Cervera's ships on July 3. It was made
up largely of official dispatches and the movements of the fleet,
with explanations and comment by the Admiral, and begins with a
statement of the determination reached by the Navy department to send
a squadron to the Windward Passage for the purpose of observation,
because of the information received of the sailing, on April 29,
of Admiral Cervera's squadron from the Cape Verde Islands.
On the voyage eastward from the naval base at Key West, which began
on May 4, Admiral Sampson reports there was experienced endless
trouble and delay because of the inefficiency of the two monitors
accompanying the other ships, and which had to be taken in tow. Their
coal supply was so small that it was at once evident that they must
either frequently coal or be towed. The Admiral says:
"Had the sea been rough, or had the enemy appeared at this juncture,
the squadron would have been in a much better position for an
engagement had the monitors been elsewhere. Subsequently, when engaging
the batteries of San Juan, it was evident that their shooting was bad.
"Owing to the quick rolling of these vessels, even in a moderate sea,
they were unable to fire with any degree of accuracy."
Among the telegrams received by the Admiral from the department at
Washington when off Cape Haytien was the following:
Washington, D.C., May 6.--Do not risk or cripple your vessels against
fortifications as to prevent from soon afterwards successfully
fighting Spanish fleet, composed of Pelayo, Carlos V., Oquendo,
Vizcaya, Maria Teresa, Cristobal Colon, four deep sea torpedo boats,
if they should appear on this side. _Long_.
It was determined to go to Porto Rico, and the squadron arrived off
San Juan on the morning of the 12th and the bombardment of that place
ensued. Regarding his action at this place the Admiral says:
"It was clear to my own mind that the squadron would not have any great
difficulty in forcing the surrender of the place, but the fact that we
should be held several days in completing arrangements for holding it;
that part of our force would have to be left to await the arrival of
troops to garrison it; that the movements of the Spanish squadron,
our main objective, were still unknown; that the flying squadron was
still north and not in a position to render any aid; that Havana,
Cervera's natural objective, was thus open to entry by such force
as his, while we were a thousand miles distant, made our immediate
movement toward Havana imperative.
"I thus reluctantly gave up the project against San Juan and stood
westward for Havana."
Several telegrams are here presented, based on reports that Cervera's
squadron had returned to Cadiz and they had in view "to return and
capture San Juan, the desire to do so and occupy the place being
assured in the event of Admiral Cervera's failure to cross the
Shortly after news was received that the Spanish fleet had appeared
off Curacao, West Indies, and the squadron under orders from the
department proceeded to Key West, to which place the flying squadron
under Commodore (now Admiral) Schley had already been ordered.
Arrangements were then hurriedly made and the flying squadron,
augmented by the other vessels under Commodore Schley, was sent off
Cienfuegos, where it was believed the enemy would go, in which case an
effort was to be made to engage and capture him. Sampson was given the
choice either of the command of the blockading squadron off Havana or
at Cienfuegos, Schley in either case to remain with his own squadron.
From messages received by the Admiral from the department about May
20 it appears that reports had reached the United States that the
Spanish fleet was at Santiago, so the department advised Sampson to
send immediately word to Schley to proceed to that place, leaving
one small vessel off Cienfuegos.
On May 21 instructions were written by Samnson for Commodore Schley
and sent to him via the Marblehead regarding the possibility of the
Spanish fleet being at Santiago. They are in part as follows:
United States Flagship New York, First Rate, Key West, Fla., May
21.--Sir: Spanish squadron is probably at Santiago de Cuba--four ships
and three torpedo boat destroyers. If you are satisfied they are not
at Cienfuegos proceed with all dispatch, but cautiously, to Santiago
de Cuba, and if the enemy is there blockade him in port. You will
probably find it necessary to establish communication with some of
the inhabitants--fishermen or others--to learn definitely that the
ships are in port, it being impossible to see into it from the outside.
The Admiral said he felt much concerned as to the delivery of
these orders and sent a duplicate by the Hawk with an additional
memorandum. The Admiral suggested that if the information did not
reach Commodore Schley before daylight of May 23 to mask the real
direction he should take as much as possible. He adds: "Follow the
Spanish squadron whichever direction they take."
The Admiral off Havana gives copies of orders of battle which were to
be followed in the event that Cervera left Santiago on the approach
of Schley's fleet from Cienfuegos and attempted to cruise around the
coast to Havana, in which case the Havana squadron would attempt to
intercept him by going east about 200 miles beyond the junction of
Santiren and Nicholas Channels. Strict orders were given for screening
lights and to see that none were accidentally shown.
The squadron was to cruise generally to the eastward in the day and
westward during the night.
On May 23, as shown by the report, Commodore Schley expressed the
belief that the Spaniards were at Cienfuegos. On the 27th the Admiral
sent word to Schley, directing him to proceed with all possible speed
to Santiago because of information received that the Spaniards were
there. The same time orders were sent to have the collier Sterling
dispatched to Santiago with an expression of opinion that the Commodore
should use it to obstruct the channel at its narrowest part leading
into the harbor.
The details of the plan were left to the Commodore's judgment, as he
(Sampson) had "the utmost confidence in his ability to carry this
plan to a successful conclusion, and earnestly wished him good luck."
Sampson apparently felt certain of the presence of the Spaniards
at Santiago and urged that the harbor must be blockaded at all
hazards. Schley in the meantime had proceeded to Santiago, although
it appears not the same day Admiral Sampson expected.
At one time Commodore Schley contemplated going to Key West with the
squadron for coal, but this was abandoned, his collier having been
temporarily repaired, and the necessity for a trip to Key West being
avoided Santiago was then blockaded.
Admiral Sampson arrived at Santiago June 1st. June 8 the Admiral
urged upon the department, as he had previously done, to expedite the
arrival of the troops for Santiago, the difficulty of blockading the
Spanish ships daily increasing.
In a memorandum dated June 15, the Admiral says:
"The Commander-in-Chief desires again to call the attention of the
commanding officers to the positions occupied by the blockading fleet,
especially during the daytime, and it is now directed that all ships
keep within a distance of the entrance to Santiago of four miles,
and this distance must not be exceeded.
"If the vessel is coaling or is otherwise restricted in its movements
it must nevertheless keep within this distance. If at any time the
flagship makes signal which is not visible to any vessel, such vessel
must at once approach the flagship or retreating vessel to a point
where it can read the signal.
"Disregard of the directions which have already been given on this
head has led to endless confusion. Many times during the day the fleet
is so scattered that it would be perfectly possible for the enemy to
come out of the harbor and meet with little opposition.
"The Commander-in-Chief hopes that strict attention will be given
In the order of battle incidental to the landing of Shafter's army
corps June 22, when ships were sent to shell the beach and cover the
landing of the men" the following occurs:
"The attention of commanding officers of all vessels engaged in
blockading Santiago de Cuba is earnestly called to the necessity of
the utmost vigilance from this time forward, both as to maintaining
stations and readiness for action and as to keeping a close watch upon
the harbor mouth. If the Spanish Admiral ever intends to attempt to
escape that attempt will be made soon."
The Admiral says trouble was experienced in the landing of Shafter's
army on account of the wandering proclivities of some of the
transports. The progress of the disembarkation was rendered somewhat
difficult by a heavy sea, the heaviest during the three weeks the
fleet had been stationed there, owing to a stiff blow off the coast
According to a dispatch to Secretary Long, dated June 26, the
channel at Santiago not having been obstructed by the sinking of the
Merrimac, Admiral Sampson was preparing a torpedo attack to hasten the
destruction of the Spanish vessels, although he regretted resorting to
this method because of its difficulties and small chance of success. He
would not do this, he says, were the present force to be kept there; as
it then insured a capture, which he believed would terminate the war.
There was contemplated at this time sending a fleet to the Spanish
coast; and this expedition was to consist of the Iowa, Oregon, Newark,
Yosemite, Yankee, and Dixie, and they were to go to the Azores for
orders, en route to Tangier, Morocco. The colliers were to join the
fleet at the Azores.
On June 30 the Admiral received a communication from Major-General
Shafter announcing that he expected to attack Santiago the following
morning, and asking that he (Sampson) bombard the forts at Aguadores
in support of a regiment of infantry, and make such demonstrations
as he thought proper at the harbor's mouth, so as to keep as many of
the enemy there as possible.
This request was complied with, and on July 1 General Shafter asked
that the Admiral keep up his fight on the Santiago water front. On
July 2 the following was received from General Shafter.
"Terrible fight yesterday, but my line is now strongly intrenched
about three-fourths of a mile from town. I urge that you make effort
immediately to force the entrance to avoid future losses among my men,
which are already heavy. You can now operate with less loss of life
than I can. Please telephone answer."
A reply was telephoned General Shafter from Admiral Sampson, through
Lieutenant Stanton, which said the Admiral had bombarded the forts
at the entrance of Santiago and also Punta Gorda battery inside,
silencing their fire, and asked whether he (Shafter) wanted further
firing on the Admiral's part. The explanation was made that it was
impossible to force an entrance until the channel was cleared of
mines--a work of some time after the forts were taken possession of
by the troops. To this General Shafter replied:
"It is impossible for me to say when I can take batteries at entrance
of harbor. If they are as difficult to take as those which we have been
pitted against it will be some time and at great loss of life. I am at
a loss to see why the navy cannot work under a destructive fire as well
as the army. My loss yesterday was over 500 men. By all means keep up
fire on everything in sight of you until demolished. I expect, however,
in time and with sufficient men to capture the forts along the bay."
On the 2nd of July, Sampson wrote to Shafter.
"An officer of my staff has already reported to you the firing which we
did this morning, but I must say in addition to what he told you that
the forts which we silenced were not the forts which would give you
any inconvenience in capturing the city, as they cannot fire except
to seaward. They cannot even prevent our entrance into the harbor
of Santiago. Our trouble from the first has been the channel to the
harbor is well strewn with observation mines, which would certainly
result in the sinking of one or more of our ships if we attempted
to enter the harbor, and by the sinking of a ship the object of
attempting to enter the harbor would be defeated by the preventing
of further progress on our part.
"It was my hope that an attack on your part of these shore batteries
from the rear would leave us at liberty to drag the channel for
"If it is your earnest desire that we should force our entrance I
will at once prepare to undertake it. I think, however, that our
position and yours would be made more difficult if, as is possible,
we fail in our attempt.
"We have in our outfit at Guantanamo forty countermining mines, which I
will bring here with as little delay as possible, and if we can succeed
in freeing the entrance of mines by their use I will enter the harbor.
"This work, which is unfamiliar to us, will require considerable time.
"It is not so much the loss of men as it is the loss of ships which
has until now deterred me from making a direct attack upon the ships
within the port."
The Admiral says he began making preparations to countermine, and,
with the object of arranging an attack upon the batteries at the
entrance a visit was arranged to General Shafter, so that the matter
might be thoroughly discussed, and combined action take place.
He adds: "I had in view the employment of the marines for an assault an
either the Morro or Socapa battery, while at the same time assaulting
the defenses at the entrance with the fleet."
The Admiral says of the sortie and destruction of Cervera's fleet:
"This event closes the purely naval campaign, crowning with complete
success the anxious work of almost exactly two months."
The error of Commodore Schley as to the location of Cervera's fleet,
his hesitation in accepting the report of the Spaniards' presence at
Santiago, appears to have caused the advancement of Admiral Sampson
and subordinated Schley. Out of this came differences of opinion about
facts among the close friends of the two distinguished officers. Schley
was close at hand when Cervera's run from Santiago took place,
while Sampson was out of the way on other duty, and Schley has been
charged with an evasive movement of the New York just then that lost
valuable time. It is related by the Washington staff correspondent
of the Chicago Times-Herald that just after the battle of Santiago,
Commodore Schley went aboard the Iowa and hailed Captain Evans with
the remark that it had been a great day for the American navy.
"But why didn't you obey orders and close in on the mouth of the
harbor instead of heading out to sea?" inquired Evans.
Commodore Schley's reply was that he was afraid the Vizcaya would
ram the Brooklyn. This colloquy referred to a striking maneuver of
the flagship Brooklyn early in the engagement at Santiago, which has
been commented on before. In justice to Commodore Schley the navy
department officers admit the Spanish officers after the battle
said that it had been their purpose, on emerging from the harbor,
to have the Vizcaya ram the Brooklyn, believing that the Spanish
cruisers could outrun the remaining vessels in the American fleet,
most of which were battleships, supposed to be of a lower rate of
speed than the Spanish cruisers.
The action of the Vizcaya as she headed toward the Brooklyn indicated
her determination to carry out this programme. But the remark of
Captain Evans to the nominal commander of the squadron would under
ordinary circumstances have been an act of insubordination and only
illustrates the feeling of some of the captains of the fleet toward
It has been said that Schley, being ordered to Key West when Cervera
appeared in Cuban waters, "proceeded to Cienfuegos, which was thought
to be the destination of the Spanish warships. That port commanded the
only direct railroad connection with Havana, and had the Spanish fleet
gone there Admiral Cervera could have relieved General Blanco with
money and munitions of war and received in return supplies necessary
for his squadron. It is believed even now that had the Spanish ships
been properly supplied and equipped they would have gone to Cienfuegos
instead of to Santiago. But subsequent developments have shown that
Admiral Cervera was permitted to take only enough coal to carry him
to the nearest port, Santiago."
Schley credited Cervera with knowing enough to know that Cienfuegos
was the better port for his purposes, and therefore adhered to his
opinion, and Sampson was made his superior officer. So important
have the differences seemed that the Wainwright Board was convened to
investigate the parts taken in the Santiago naval battle respectively
by Admiral Sampson and Admiral Schley. But in official phrase this
board was convened for the purpose of determining the position and
courses of the ships engaged in the action at Santiago July 3, and
reporting to the Secretary of the Navy.
The report is:
"U.S.F.S. New York, First Rate, Navy Yard, New York, Oct. 8,
1898.--Sir: In obedience to your order of Sept. 2, 1898, appointing
us a board to plot the positions of the ships of Admiral Cervera's
squadron and those of the United States fleet in the battle of July 3,
off Santiago de Cuba, we have the honor to submit the following report,
accompanied by a chart, showing the positions of the ships at seven
"These times, as taken by the United States ships engaged, with the
incidents noted, are as follows:
"No. 1, 9:35 a.m.--Maria Teresa came out of the harbor.
"No. 2, 9:50 a.m.--Pluton came out.
"No. 3, 10:15 a.m.--Maria Teresa turned to run ashore.
"No. 4, 10:20 a.m.--Oquendo turned to run ashore.
"No. 5, 10:30 a.m.--Furor blew up and Pluton turned to run ashore.
"No. 6, 11:05 a.m.--Vizcaya turned to run ashore.
"No. 7, 1:15 p.m.--Colon surrendered.
"The chart selected by the board for plotting is H.O. chart No. 716,
1885, West Indies, eastern part of Bahama Islands, with part of
Cuba and north coast of San Domingo. This selection was made after
a careful comparison with all other charts at hand, as the positions
of the principal headlands and inlets and the distances between them
on it agree more nearly with the observation of members of the board
than those given by any other.
"The positions of the United States ships were established by known
bearings and distances from the Morro at No. 1, with the exception
of the New York, whose position is plotted by the revolutions of its
engines during a run of forty-five minutes cast from its position,
southeast half south of the Morro, 6,000 yards. Position at No. 2 is
plotted by all ships according to their relative bearings from each
other, the operations of their engines from 9:35 to 9:50, the evidence
of the officers on board them, and the ranges used in firing at the
Spanish ships. Position No. 3 is plotted from observations of the
officers of the United States ships, with regard to their nearness
to each other, and relative bearings of themselves from Teresa,
with ranges in use at the time, the performance of the engines,
and general heading of the ships. Position No. 4 same as No. 3,
substituting Oquendo for Teresa. Position Nos. 5, 6, and 7 are plotted
on the same general plan.
"Before plotting these positions the board took each ship separately
and discussed the data for the position under consideration--this data
being obtained from the report of the commanding officers, notes taken
during the action, and the evidence of the members of the board. In
reconciling differences of opinion in regard to distances, bearings,
ranges, etc., full liberty was given to the representative of the
ships under discussion to bring in any argument or data he considered
necessary, and the board submits this report with a feeling that,
under the circumstances, it is as nearly correct as is possible so
long after the engagement. Very respectfully,
"Lieutenant Commander, U.S.N., Senior Member.
"_Edward E. Capehart_,
"To the Commander-in-Chief."
Measurements upon the chart showing the positions of the vessels at
the specified times named in the report will give as fair an idea of
the work of the board as can be made without the chart itself.
"Position No. 1, 9:35 a.m. When the Maria Teresa came out of the
harbor the New York was nine miles east of Morro, accompanied by the
Hist and Ericsson. The Brooklyn was three miles southwest of Morro,
being two and two-tenths miles from the shore west of the mouth of the
harbor. The Texas was eight-tenths of a mile east of the Brooklyn;
the Iowa one and eight-tenths miles east and south of the Brooklyn,
and the Oregon a half mile east of the Iowa, the Iowa being three
miles directly south of Morro. The Indiana was two and two-tenths
miles southwest of Morro and the Gloucester one mile almost directly
north of the Indiana, a mile and four-tenths from Morro.
"Position No. 2, 9:50 a.m. When the Pluton came out all the Spanish
vessels had come out of the harbor and their positions were: Maria
Teresa two and a half miles southwest of Morro, the Vizcaya, Colon and
Oquendo, in the order named, behind the Teresa and from four-tenths
to half a mile apart. The position of the American vessels were: The
New York had moved up two and one-tenth miles westward. The Brooklyn
had started north, swerved to the northeast and toward the mouth of
the harbor, and was turning east on the swing it made to the right
and around to the westward course; it was eight-tenths of a mile from
the Vizcaya. At position No. 2 the Texas first went east a half mile,
swinging toward the harbor, then turning to the left it is at No. 2
a half mile directly north of the first position. The Iowa moved by
a varying course northwest and was a mile and four-tenths from the
Vizcaya, the Oregon being two-tenths of a mile behind the Iowa, the
Indiana three-tenths behind the Iowa. The Gloucester's first start was
half a mile directly away from the harbor, but swinging to the right,
had advanced toward the Spanish ships, being one and seven-tenths
miles from the nearest, the Oquendo.
"Position No. 3, 10:15 a.m. Maria Teresa turned to run ashore. It
was five and one-half miles from Morro. The Vizcaya was two and
three-tenths miles westward from the Teresa, the Oquendo one and
two-tenths miles, and the Colon one and four-tenths miles in advance
of the Teresa. The American vessels were as follows: The New York had
come within three miles of Morro, being southeast of that point. The
Brooklyn had made its swing to the westward, crossing its track, and
was two and one-half miles south and west of the Teresa, and one and
three-tenths miles directly south of the Colon, and one and one-tenth
miles and a little behind the Vizcaya, one and three-tenths miles and
a little in advance of the Oquendo. The Texas was one and two-tenths
miles from the Teresa, a little behind it, and one and four-tenths
miles from and behind the next Spanish ship, the Oquendo. The Iowa
was one and one-tenth miles from the Teresa and a little closer in,
but not quite as far west as the Texas. The Oregon had pulled up
and passed the Texas and Iowa, being a little further in shore than
the Texas and a little further out than the Iowa. It was in advance
of the Teresa, being one and seven-tenths miles from that vessel,
six-tenths of a mile from and directly in the line of the Oquendo,
seven-tenths of a mile from the Colon, and one and two-tenths miles
behind the Vizcaya. The Indiana was two miles from the Texas and two
and six-tenths miles from the Oquendo, the nearest Spanish vessel. The
Gloucester had moved up six-tenths of a mile and was just a mile
directly south of Morro.
"Position No. 4, 10:20 a. m. Oquendo turned to run ashore. Only five
minutes elapsed from position No. 3. All vessels had been running
westward without material changes in their positions. The Colon had
run one and three-tenths miles, the Vizcaya about one-tenth of a mile
less, and swerved to the left, bringing it to within one and one-tenth
miles of the Brooklyn. The Iowa was the same distance, but almost
directly astern, and the Oregon was one and three-tenths miles from
the Vizcaya, but farther out to sea. The Iowa was eight-tenths of a
mile from the Oquendo, the Oregon nine-tenths of a mile from the same
vessel, and both somewhat in advance of the doomed Spanish ship. The
Indiana had advanced eight-tenths of a mile and was two and six-tenths
miles away from the Oquendo, the nearest Spanish ship. The New York
had advanced nearly a mile, but was not yet abreast of Morro. The
Gloucester had run over two miles and was now well west of Morro,
but five miles east of the Oquendo.
"Position No. 5, 10:30 a. m. Furor blew up and Pluton turned to run
ashore. This is ten minutes later than position No. 4. The Gloucester
had run a little more than two miles, and was four-tenths of a mile
from the Furor and but little further from the Pluton. The New York
had run two and two-tenths miles, and was three and three-tenths miles
from the Furor, the nearest Spanish ship, and two and two-tenths miles
south and a little west of Morro. The Colon had run two and nine-tenths
miles, and the Vizcaya two and seven-tenths miles. The Brooklyn had
run two and three-tenths miles, and was one and two-tenths miles from
the Vizcaya and one and six-tenths miles from the Colon, which was
running nearer the shore. The Oregon had sailed two and a half miles,
and was one and one-half miles from the Vizcaya, and about the same
distance from the Colon. The Texas was one and two-tenths miles astern
of the Oregon, two and four-tenths miles from the Oregon. The Indiana
was one and one-half miles astern of the Texas.
"Position No. 6, 11:05 a.m. Vizcaya turned to run ashore. In
thirty-five minutes the Vizcaya had sailed about seven miles, and
was off the mouth of the Aserradero River. The Colon had run five and
one-half miles further, and was more than that distance in advance of