Page images
[ocr errors]

the troops had been under considera- Caimanera. With the destruction of tion from the beginning of the cam- the fortifications by the gunboats on paign, and the harbor of Guantanamo June 17, the position of the marines was selected, as it was the only large was assured, and was occupied by bay near Santiago, and in addition them until the surrender of Santiago. was known to be poorly defended. According to his own figures GenThe difficult and perilous task of ob- eral Shafter had under his command taining a foothold here was assigned 815 officers and 16,072 men;* thirtyto the First Marine Battalion Volun

two transports being necessary to teers of New York (636 men), convey the same. It was originally under command of Lieutenant-Colonel planned to take 10,000 additional men, Huntington. The landing-place de- but transportation could not be procided upon was the village of Caima- vided. nera, about 40 miles east of Santiago. From General Shafter's account of The transport Panther, which carried

the expedition the following excerpts the marines, was convoyed by the are taken: “ The passage to Santiago gunboats Marblehead and Yankee, was generally smooth and uneventful. whose guns drove the Spanish vessels The health of the command remained into the inner harbor before the land- remarkably good, notwithstanding the ing was made, which was then accom- fact that the conveniences on many of plished without opposition. Delighted the transports, in the nature of sleepwith their relief from the crowded ing and closet accommodations, space quarters of the transport, the marines for exercise, etc., were not all that were comfortably enjoying them- could have been desired. selves, when, just before nightfall, “ While passing along the north came the information that a body of coast of Cuba one of the two barges Spanish soldiers was advancing to we had in tow broke away during the attack their position. This was the night and was not recovered. The beginning of intermittent skirmishes loss proved to be very serious, for it that lasted from the day of the land- delayed and embarrassed the diseming (June 10) until June 14. The men were forced to strike their tents,

First division (Brigadier-General Kent): 6th

Infantry; 16th Infantry; 7th N. Y. Volunteers; which proved too good a target for

2d Infantry; 10th Infantry; 21st Infantry; 9th the sharpshooters, and to dig trenches, Infantry; 13th Infantry; 24th Infantry; Second

division (Brigadier-General Lawton): 8th Inin which they lay firing at such of the

fantry; 224 Infantry; 2d Mass. Volunteers; Ist enemy as they could discover in the

Infantry; 4th Infantry; 25th Infantry; 7th Injungle about them. During the sec

fantry; 12th Infantry; 17th Infantry. Cavalry

division (Major-General Wheeler): 3d Cavalry; ond day of fighting they were rein

6th Cavalry: 9th Cavalry; 1st Cavalry; 10th forced by some Cuban scouts, and

, ('avalry; lst Volunteer Cavalry (Rough Riders). with their assistance finally drove the

Independent brigade (Brigadier-General Bates) :

3d Infantry; 20th Infantry; 2d Cavalry (1 squad. Spanish back to their defences at


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]


66 *

[ocr errors]

barkation of the army. On the morn- great value in planning the attack on
ing of June the 20th we arrived off Santiago.
Guantanamo Bay and about noon

With the assistance of reached the vicinity of Santiago, where the small boats of the navy, the disAdmiral Sampson came on board the embarkation was to commence on the headquarters transport. It was ar- morning of the twenty-second at Dairanged between us to visit in the quiri. On the twenty-first, 500 insurafternoon the Cuban General, Garcia, gent troops were to be transferred at Aserraderos, about eighteen miles from Aserraderos to Cujababo, inwest of the Morro. During the inter- creasing the force already there 10 view General Garcia offered the ser- 1,000 men. This force under General vices of his troops, comprising about Castillo was to attack the Spanish force 4,000 men in the vicinity of Aserra

at Daiquiri in the rear at the time of deros, and about 500 under General disembarkation. (This movement was Castillo at the little town of Cuja- successfully made.) To mislead the baho, a few miles east of Daiquiri. I

enemy as to the real point of our inaccepted this offer, telling him, how

tended landing, I requested General ever, that although no military control

Garcia to send a small force, about could be exercised over him except

500 men, under General Rabi, to atsuch as he would concede, yet as long

tack the little town of Cabanas, situas he served under me I would fur

ated on the coast a few miles to the nish his command rations and ammu

west of the entrance to Santiago harnition.

bor, and where it was reported that " From the time the orders were

the enemy had several hundred men received every effort possible was

intrenched and from which a trail made to become familiar with the

leads around the west side of the bay surroundings of Santiago, both as to

to Santiago. Admiral Sampson was the terrain and climatic conditions

requested to send several of his war with which we should have to contend.

The description given in the ships, with a number of the trans* Journal of the Siege of Ilavana 'of ports, opposite this town, Aserraderos, the experience of the English army

for the purpose of making a show of during their siege of Havana in 1762

disembarking there. In addition the was re-read. Valuable information

Admiral was asked to cause a bomwas also obtained from two natives of

bardment to be made at Cabanas, upon Cuba, who were on the Seguranca

the forts around the Morro, and also with me, one of them a civil engineer

at the towns of Aguadores, Siboney who had assisted in making surveys

and Daiquiri. The troops under Gen

. in the vicinity of Santiago. From eral Garcia, remaining at Aserraderos, , General Garcia also additional infor- were to be transferred to Daiquiri or mation was received which was of Siboney on the twenty-fourth. This

[ocr errors]

was successfully accomplished at of chaparral as the Americans adSiboney.

vanced against them. Demajayabo “ The approach to Santiago and and Juragua were occupied, the the attack upon it was to be made Spanish endeavoring to burn the from the east over a narrow road, in latter as they retreated. Juragua some places not better than a trail, was used as temporary headquarrunning from Daiquiri through Si- ters by General Lawton. Falling boney and Sevilla toward Santiago. back in front of Lawton, the enemy This seemed the only feasible plan. finally made a stand at Siboney, but

“ On the morning of the twenty- this was also taken by him without second the army commenced to disem- difficulty. The capture of this point bark at Daiquiri.”

gave Shafter a landing-place as good The above plans were carried out as that at Daiquiri, and eight miles with more or less success. If the

nearer Santiago. The rest of the Spaniards had fired upon the Ameri- army was accordingly disembarked cans from above as they neared the at that place. landing in the small launches, they The first collision of importance would have had the American troops occurred at the plantation of Las at a great disadvantage, but no such Guasimas, near Sevilla, where the thing was done, the troops landing Spanish forces had a strongly enwith no molestation beyond a few trenched position. General Young's scattered shots. Four days after the brigade during the night of June 23 arrival, the troops were all safely on had advanced beyond Lawton's posishore, and nothing remained but the tion, after an arduous march through slow and tedious work of unloading a tropical tangle. Gen. Young's the supply-ships. This was much re- force consisted of one squadron of tarded by the loss of the tug and the 1st Cavalry, one of the 10th Cavlighters referred to in Shafter's ac- alry, two of the 1st U. S. Volunteer count of the voyage.

Cavalry, in all 964 officers and men." Daiquiri (Baiquiri) had been se- (Shafter, Report to Adjutant-Genlected as the landing place instead of eral.) The 1st U. S. Volunteer Guantanamo. It was not only near Cavalry a unique organizaSantiago, but also the center of tion, the conception of Theodore operations for the Cuban army, whose Roosevelt, then Assistant Secretary assistance was relied upon to keep the of the Navy, who resigned from Spanish forces in check during disem- that important position in order barkation. General Lawton's division to become lieutenant-colonel of the was the first to land, and to the sur- regiment. This had been raised in 50 prise of all no resistance was ex- days, and was composed of young men perienced at Daiquiri, the enemy from every section of the country. vanishing in the hills and thick growth Many of its troopers were ranchmen





[ocr errors]


and cowboys, whence came its nick- after the Spanish had been driven name, the Rough Riders, but with from their positions. Both regulars them, mingling on a basis of social and volunteers charged up the steep equality, were scions of ancient fam- sides of the hills, undisturbed by the ilies, sons of multi-millionaires, foot

torrent of Mauser bullets that was ball heroes; in fact, a most astonish- tearing the bushes to shreds on all ing conglomeration, who had only two sides. The Rough Riders, indeed, elements in common: patriotism and covered themselves with

with especial a thirst for adventure. Leonard glory. Both officers and men were Wood, to whom the command of this filled with the frenzy of battle and regiment was given, had been a sur- rushed on, ignoring both the obstacles geon in the regular army, and gained of nature and the bullets. At the first a medal of honor for bravery in volley, Captain Capron, who was leadApache wars, having contributed ing the advance guard, was killed, but largely to the capture of Geronimo. his men did not hesitate, only con

These were the men ordered to lead tinuing the charge with additional the advance towards Las Guasimas at grimness of purpose. “They kept daybreak. Both Wheeler and Young pushing forward as though they were knew that the point towards which going to take us with their hands,” their forces were moving would prob- said a Spanish soldier after the battle. ably be strongly defended, as it was

Those that were not fighting were in a sense the key to the valley that dead, it seemed, for men seriously extended to Santiago. Therefore,

wounded were seen to prop

themselves guided by Cuban scouts, the brigade against tree-trunks and coolly conwas formed into columns and began

tinue to load and fire. its advance along rough mountain The battle of Las Guasimas has been trails. The column under General cited as nothing more than a skirmish, Young discovered the enemy first, and, but in its results it had a very great after waiting for the Rough Riders to influence upon the development of the arrive, the attack was begun by the campaign. In the first place the moral

The reply that was re- effect of a victory, gained by less than ceived, however, was disconcerting; a thousand men against a strongly it was clear that the force defending entrenched force of nearly three thouthe block-house and entrenchments sand, was alone a distinct advantage was far stronger than was anticipated. to the invading forces. The army had So furious was the volleying that it received its first test, and had come was necessary for the men at the guns through the ordeal gloriously. From to get under cover for a while. Gen- that time on the American soldier eral Wheeler, too, thought it wise to knew that he was going to win; the send a request for reinforcements; Spanish soldier was afraid that he which, however, did not come until wouldn't, and an attitude of mind


[ocr errors]

field guns.

[ocr errors]

is important in critical situations. Sevilla been held, the siege of SanAgain, by falling back from Las tiago would have been protracted; Guasimas, the Spanish army lost an Cervera's squadron would, it may be, important strategical point, and by so have remained longer in the harbor, doing, made it easy for the American and the tropical summer would have forces to advance without serious op- claimed a toll of strong men far more position almost to the inner defenses terrible than the one

the one the records of Santiago. Had Las Guasimas and already show.




[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

At one

The situation at Santiago -The movements of the army after Las Guasimas — The attack on

Aguadores — The advance against San Juan and El Caney - The battles of El Caney and San Juan.

The moment Cervera's fleet found the Spanish fleet. The theory was sanctuary within the harbor of San- entertained that its elimination would tiago the whole plan of the war as mean the end of the war, which proposed by the administration un- proved to be correct in the end. The derwent a transformation.

establishment of American naval sustroke, the scene of activities was premacy meant the isolation of the transferred from Havana to Santiago, entire army of Spain in Cuba, renderresulting in the creation of entirely ing the situation of a force that numnew strategical problems. If Havana bered 200,000 men wholly untenable.* had remained the center of opera- The disorderly retreat of the Spantions, the result would have been a ish before the arıny at Las Guasimas long and arduous siege directed gave the American soldiers an erroagainst a place defended by strong fortifications and occupied by an

* Spanish forces in Cuba: Infantry, 127,649;

marines, 3,030; cavalry, 8,535; artillery, 5,619; army of approximately 60,000 men;

engineers, 5,460; civil guard, 5,009; irregular in. with a far-lengthened death roll from fantry, 29,131; volunteers and guerillas, 12,387;

total, 189,526. Spanish forces in the Province wounds and disease, and all the hor

of Santiago de Cuba: City of Santiago, 9,430; rors attendant upon the siege of a Guantanamo. 6,082; Baracoa, 732; Sagua de great city. With Cervera at Santiago, Tanamo, 720: Holguin, 8,364; Manzanillo, 8,668;

total, 33,996. These figures, however, are however, the problems of the war be

tremely conservative, as the United States Evacucame greatly simplified. Both land ation Commission estimates that there were 220,ind

000 Spanish regulars and volunteers under arms sea operations were directed

in Cuba; while the Anuario de Espana for 1898 towards one point: the destruction of

places the total at 278,457.


« PreviousContinue »