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This was the condition of affairs on the land, termed by Secretary Alger,* thedarkest day" of the war. Certainly the dispatch forwarded by General Shafter did not tend to relieve the gloom. In it he said:
"We have the town invested on the north and east, but with a very thin line. Upon approaching it we find it of such a character and the defenses so strong it will be impossible to carry it by storm with my present force, and I am seriously considering withdrawing about 5 miles and taking up a new position on the high ground between the San Juan River and Siboney, with our left at Sardinero, so as to get our supplies to a large extent by the means of the railroad which we can use, having engines and cars at Siboney. Our losses up to date will aggregate 1,000, but list has not yet been made. But little sickness outside of exhaustion, intense heat and exertion of the battle of day before yesterday and the almost constant fire which is kept up on the trenches. Wagon road to the rear is kept up with some difficulty on account of rains, but I will be able to use it for the present. General Wheeler is seriously ill and will probably have to go to the rear today. General Young also is very ill; confined to his bed. General Hawkins slightly wounded in foot during sortie enemy made last night, which was handsomely repulsed. The behavior of the regular troops was magnificent. I am urging Admiral Sampson to attempt to force the entrance to the harbor, and will have consultation with him this morning. He is coming to the front to see me. I have been unable to be out during the heat of the day for four days, but am retaining the command. Shafter, Major General."
*R. A. Alger, The Spanish-American War.
"I regretted very much to see that General Shafter had telegraphed as he did regarding my health. It is true that I had an attack of fever, but the same is true of every other General in the army in Cuba. After six days of this character of exposure I was taken with the fever; but by placing myself under the charge of a doctor and taking all the prescribed medicine, I was up and ready for duty on the morning of July 1st, the day of the Battle of San Juan. I was engaged during all this day; and even after dark I remained on the advanced line, to get up entrenching-tools and to encourage the construction of breastworks."- Wheeler, The Santiago Campaign.
What Schley's message from Santiago had been to the navy department, this telegram was to the department of war. Upon the great columned building where the department made its home gloom settled so thick that it enveloped everybody from the President and the Secretary down to the most insignificant messenger boy. Imperative orders were sent forth to obtain transports and start reinforcements to Santiago. General Wilson's division was ordered to be ready to move at a moment's notice, and Shafter was notified that he could have any reinforcements he wished. This was the state of affairs until 7 P. M., when the war and navy departments were both appalled by the additional message from Shafter to the effect that it was reported that Cervera's fleet had escaped. For three-quarters of an hour the whole administration was in despair. The American cause had received a blow to its prestige that would have a fatal effect upon the course of the whole war. But the truth regarding Cervera's fleet was soon to follow, for at 7:49 P. M. came the message announcing the glorious victory of the fleet, and with it passed the mood of despondency. The capture of Santiago, at one stroke ceased to be a matter worth endangering the lives of American soldiers. The army, indeed, had fulfilled its function, for it had rendered Cervera's position so desperate that it was a question of scuttling his ships in the harbor or of making a dash for liberty. He chose
THE REINA MERCEDES SUNK.
the latter, and the world knew the cruiser Reina Mercedes in the channel result on the night of July 3.
Nevertheless General Shafter and the authorities at Washington felt that Santiago should be taken if possible, hence orders were given to push affairs at that place to a conclusion.* Already, on the morning of the 3d, Shafter had forwarded a message to General Toral, who had superseded Linares, informing him that if Santiago were not surrendered immediately he would shell the city. The Spanish general curtly refused to accede to the demand, adding that there were 20,000 non-combatants who were entitled to protection, should the threat to bombard be carried out. In view of this fact, General Shafter agreed to postpone action until July 5, in order to permit these people to leave the city. When the situation was made clear to the President and Secretary of War, Shafter was advised to strengthen his position, but to avoid operations as far as possible that would endanger the safety of the army.
The foreign residents and non-combatants of Santiago, believing that a general bombardment was imminent, on July 5, began an exodus to El Caney. The immediate cause of this was a fearful attack on the harbor defenses on the night of the 4th, when the Spanish attempted to sink the
* "Being on the ground and knowing all the conditions, the Secretary of War directs you will use your own judgment as to how and when you will take the city of Santiago, but for manifest reasons, it should be accomplished as speedily as possible. By command Major-General Miles. H. C. Corbin, Adjutant-General.”
VOL. X 11
narrows. It was assumed that Sampson's fleet would follow up its victory by an endeavor to force the harbor, so the sole war-ship left to the defenders was sacrificed in an endeavor to shut out American ships. As soon as the Mercedes was discovered a continuous fire was opened on the ship and batteries. In spite of this the vessel was scuttled, but like the Merrimack, in such a way as to leave the channel still open. This attack, joined with General Shafter's ultimatum, threw the people into a frenzy of fear. At daybreak they commenced to emigrate from the city. Carrying their property on their backs 20,000 women, children, old men, and, as Lieutenant Müller asserts, able-bodied men, began their march toward the American lines, establishing themselves finally at El Caney. Here they remained for eleven days, without adequate food, water or shelter, resulting in an epidemic which hurried a good share of them to their graves. "Those eleven days at El Caney have caused more victims in Santiago than the three years of war." (Müller y Tejeiro.)
There had been more or less friction between the army and the navy ever since the former had established itself in front of Santiago. This, however, assumed an acute acute stage after the destruction of the Spanish fleet. From the first General Shafter had been pressing Admiral Sampson to make an effort to force the harbor, but the latter had all the while protested that the risk was too great. He
was, nevertheless, on the way to confer with Shafter on that point when he was suddenly recalled by the exit of Cervera. With the Spanish fleet eliminated, General Shafter felt that the way was open for the American ships to enter the harbor and coöperate with the army in forcing the capitulation of the city. The fleet, however, still delayed action, Admiral Sampson maintaining that the army should capture the shore batteries before an entrance be attempted.
In the meanwhile Shafter kept up a correspondence with Toral, a sort of truce being maintained between the two armies. He sent the wounded Spanish officers and men back to Santiago, under parole; an act that went. far to remove the false conception held by the Spaniards as to the inhumanity of the American soldiers. This act probably hastened the exchange of Lieutenant Hobson and his men, who were liberated July 6. Toral, however, persisted in his refusal to capitulate, his attitude being determined by the arrival of Colonel Escario with 3,579 men.* On July 6, General Shafter forwarded another and more imperative demand for the surrender of Santiago, in which he stressed the fact that the fall of the city was inevitable under the circumstances, and the reinforcements of the army, the establishment of his bat
*Garcia was severely blamed by General Shafter for his failure to stop these reinforcements to Santiago. Yet, in justice to him, it should be stated that Col. Escario had to fight nearly every mile of his way from Manzanillo. He lost during the journey 3 officers and 68 men, with a large percentage of wounded.
teries, and the fleet free to coöperate with the army all tended to make the Spanish position hopeless. "I make this suggestion of a surrender,” he proceeds, "purely in a humanitarian spirit. I do not wish to cause the slaughter of any more men, either of your excellency's forces or my own; the final result under circumstances so disadvantageous to your excellency being a foregone conclusion." After a third demand for surrender, the threat to bombard on July 9, General Toral communicated with the Spanish government and finally presented a counter-proposition in which he agreed to evacuate Santiago, retreating to Holguin, retaining all arms and possessions. Without consulting with his generals, Shafter forwarded this offer to Washington, recommending that it be accepted. The reply from the President and Secretary Alger was a positive refusal of the terms offered by Toral:
"You have been repeatedly advised that you would not be expected to make an assault upon the enemy at Santiago until you are prepared to do the work thoroughly. When you are ready this will be done. Your telegram this morning said your position was impregnable, and that you believed the enemy would yet surrender unconditionally. You have also assured us that you could force their surrender by cutting off their supplies. Under these circumstances your message recommending that Spanish troops be permitted to evacuate and proceed without molestation to Holguin is a great surprise and is not approved. The responsibility for the destruction and distress to the inhabitants rests entirely with the Spanish commander. The Secretary of War orders that when you are strong enough to destroy the enemy and take Santiago, you do it. If you have not force enough, it will be despatched to you at the earliest possible moment. Reinforcements are already on the way, of which you have been ap prised. In the meantime, nothing is lost by
GENERAL TORAL CAPITULATES.
holding the position you now have, and which you regard as impregnable. Acknowledge receipt. By order of the Secretary of War. H. C. Corbin, Adjutant-General."
In such unequivocal language," as Secretary Alger phrases it, was the general from Michigan rebuked by his compatriot, the Secretary of War. It was sufficient. Telegraphing to Washington: "The instructions
of the War Department will be carried out to the letter," General Shafter notified Toral that nothing but unconditional surrender would be considered. The situation, in spite of reinforcements, was becoming serious in both armies; the Spaniards were reduced to the lowest rations; and in the American camps the rainy season had set in with all of its distressing accompaniments, and, worst of all, yellow fever had made its appearance.
Haste, above all things was imperative. It was thought that General Toral knew the condition of the American army and was only seeking to gain time. It was therefore decided to bring an end to the truce, so on receipt of Toral's refusal to surrender, a general bombardment was begun at 4 P. M. July 10, which lasted until noon of the next day.
As was the case with previous bombardments, the effect of the firing was not commensurate with the ammunition used. A number of buildings in the city were damaged, but very few lives were lost, the city being practically deserted at the time. It was evident that the fleet could not be of great assistance to the army from
without the harbor, and it was equally evident that Admiral Sampson had no intention of going in until there was no possibility of endangering his ships. The gloom of the situation. was somewhat relieved by the arrival of Major-General Miles, the commander-in-chief of the army, on July 11. He was empowered with authority to act only in an advisory capacity, General Shafter being advised by the Secretary of War to that effect. General Miles was present during the preliminary negotiations respecting the surrender, and after seeing the condition of the army recommended that immediate steps be taken to complete the taking of the city, either by means of attack or compromise. The question of the surrender thus dragged on; Toral insisting that he could do nothing until Havana and Madrid gave him permission to yield up the city. This was probably true, for General Linares, from his bed of sickness addressed a pathetic letter to the Minister of War, in which he set forth the desperate condition of Santiago, making it clear that a policy of temporizing would in no wise alter the final outcome, but would only result in needless sacrifice of human life.
This and General Toral's representations had the desired effect, and on July 14 the latter informed General Shafter that he was willing to capitulate on the condition that his soldiers
*See Abridgment of Messages and Documents, 1898-9, vol. 4.
be transported to Spain. He also appointed at the time a commission consisting of General Escario, Lieutenant-Colonel Fontan, and Robert Mason, interpreter, to arrange the details of the surrender. On his part, General Shafter appointed Generals Wheeler and Lawton and Lieutenant Miley as the American commission. These commissions met at 2:30, July 14, under a great cotton-wood tree out of Santiago, which, indeed, had been the scene of previous conferences between Shafter and Toral, but nothing could be decided upon until far into the night, as the Spanish commissioners insisted upon retention of the rifles and small arms by the Spanish infantry. This, of course, the American commissioners were not authorized to do, so the question was left open, and after four or five hours of discussion, a tentative agreement of capitulation was signed by the representatives of General Toral, subject to ratification by General Blanco and the Spanish ministry. The next day it was announced that the necessary permission to yield the city had been received, and on July 16 the terms of the capitulation were formally signed by the two commissions. Following are the terms as accepted by Spain:
1. That all hostilities between American and Spanish forces in this district absolutely and unequivocally cease.
2. That this capitulation includes all the forces and war material in said territory.
3. That the United States agrees, with as little
delay as possible, to transport all the Spanish troops in said district to the Kingdom of Spain, the troops being embarked, as far as possible, at the port nearest the garrisons they now occupy. 4. That the officers of the Spanish army be permitted to retain their side arms, and both officers and private soldiers their personal property.
5. That the Spanish authorities agree to remove, or assist the American navy in removing, all mines or other obstructions to navigation now in the harbor of Santiago.
6. That the commander of the Spanish forces deliver without delay a complete inventory of all arms and munitions of war of the Spanish forces in above-described district to the commander of the American forces; also a roster of said forces now in district.
7. That the commander of the Spanish forces in leaving said district is authorized to carry with him all military archives and records pertaining to the Spanish army now in said district.
8. That all that portion of the Spanish army known as volunteers, movilizadoes, and guerillas who wish to remain in the island of Cuba are permitted to do so upon condition of giving up their arms and taking a parole not to bear arms against the United States during the continuance of the present war between Spain and the United States.
9. That the Spanish forces will march out of Santiago de Cuba with honors of war, depositing their arms thereafter at a point mutually agreed upon to await their disposition by the United States Government, it being understood that the United States commissioners will recommend that the Spanish soldier return to Spain with the arms he so bravely defended.
10. That the provisions of the foregoing instrument become operative immediately upon its being signed.
Entered into this 16th day of July, 1898, by the undersigned commissioners, acting under instructions from their respective generals, and with the approbation of their respective governments.
JOSEPH WHEELER, Major-General U. S. V.
VENTURA FONTAN. ROBERT MASON.
On the morning of July 17, the commanding officers of the 5th Army