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the troops had been under consideration from the beginning of the campaign, and the harbor of Guantanamo was selected, as it was the only large bay near Santiago, and in addition was known to be poorly defended. The difficult and perilous task of obtaining a foothold here was assigned to the First Marine Battalion Volunteers of New York (636 men), under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Huntington. The landing-place decided upon was the village of Caimanera, about 40 miles east of Santiago. The transport Panther, which carried the marines, was convoyed by the gunboats Marblehead and Yankee, whose guns drove the Spanish vessels into the inner harbor before the landing was made, which was then accomplished without opposition. Delighted with their relief from the crowded quarters of the transport, the marines were comfortably enjoying themselves, when, just before nightfall, came the information that a body of Spanish soldiers was advancing to attack their position. This was the beginning of intermittent skirmishes that lasted from the day of the landing (June 10) until June 14. The men were forced to strike their tents, which proved too good a target for the sharpshooters, and to dig trenches, in which they lay firing at such of the enemy as they could discover in the jungle about them. During the second day of fighting they were reinforced by some Cuban scouts, and with their assistance finally drove the Spanish back to their defences at
With the destruction of the fortifications by the gunboats on June 17, the position of the marines was assured, and was occupied by them until the surrender of Santiago.
According to his own figures General Shafter had under his command 815 officers and 16,072 men;* thirtytwo transports being necessary to convey the same. It was originally planned to take 10,000 additional men, but transportation could not be provided.
From General Shafter's account of the expedition the following excerpts are taken: "The passage to Santiago was generally smooth and uneventful. The health of the command remained remarkably good, notwithstanding the fact that the conveniences on many of the transports, in the nature of sleeping and closet accommodations, space for exercise, etc., were not all that could have been desired.
"While passing along the north coast of Cuba one of the two barges we had in tow broke away during the night and was not recovered. The loss proved to be very serious, for it delayed and embarrassed the disem
*First division (Brigadier-General Kent): 6th Infantry; 16th Infantry; 7th N. Y. Volunteers; 2d Infantry; 10th Infantry; 21st Infantry; 9th Infantry; 13th Infantry; 24th Infantry; Second division (Brigadier-General Lawton): 8th Infantry; 224 Infantry; 2d Mass. Volunteers; 1st Infantry; 4th Infantry; 25th Infantry; 7th Infantry; 12th Infantry; 17th Infantry. Cavalry division (Major-General Wheeler): 3d Cavalry; 6th Cavalry: 9th Cavalry; 1st Cavalry; 10th Cavalry; 1st Volunteer Cavalry (Rough Riders). Independent brigade (Brigadier-General Bates): 3d Infantry; 20th Infantry; 2d Cavalry (1 squadron).
THE MAIN ARMY DISEMBARKS.
barkation of the army. On the morning of June the 20th we arrived off Guantanamo Bay and about noon reached the vicinity of Santiago, where Admiral Sampson came on board the headquarters transport. It was arranged between us to visit in the afternoon the Cuban General, Garcia, at Aserraderos, about eighteen miles west of the Morro. During the interview General Garcia offered the services of his troops, comprising about 4,000 men in the vicinity of Aserraderos, and about 500 under General Castillo at the little town of Cujababo, a few miles east of Daiquiri. I accepted this offer, telling him, however, that although no military control could be exercised over him except such as he would concede, yet as long as he served under me I would furnish his command rations and ammunition.
"From the time the orders were received every effort possible was made to become familiar with the surroundings of Santiago, both as to the terrain and climatic conditions with which we should have to contend.
The description given in the 'Journal of the Siege of Havana' of the experience of the English army during their siege of Havana in 1762 was re-read. Valuable information was also obtained from two natives of Cuba, who were on the Seguranca with me, one of them a civil engineer who had assisted in making surveys in the vicinity of Santiago.
General Garcia also additional information was received which was of
great value in planning the attack on Santiago.
With the assistance of the small boats of the navy, the disembarkation was to commence on the morning of the twenty-second at Daiquiri. On the twenty-first, 500 insurgent troops were to be transferred from Aserraderos to Cujababo, increasing the force already there to 1,000 men. This force under General Castillo was to attack the Spanish force at Daiquiri in the rear at the time of disembarkation. (This movement was successfully made.) To mislead the enemy as to the real point of our intended landing, I requested General Garcia to send a small force, about 500 men, under General Rabi, to attack the little town of Cabanas, situated on the coast a few miles to the west of the entrance to Santiago harbor, and where it was reported that the enemy had several hundred men intrenched and from which a trail leads around the west side of the bay to Santiago. Admiral Sampson was requested to send several of his war ships, with a number of the transports, opposite this town, Aserraderos, for the purpose of making a show of disembarking there. In addition the Admiral was asked to cause a bombardment to be made at Cabanas, upon the forts around the Morro, and also at the towns of Aguadores, Siboney and Daiquiri. The troops under General Garcia, remaining at Aserraderos, were to be transferred to Daiquiri or Siboney on the twenty-fourth. This
"The approach to Santiago and the attack upon it was to be made from the east over a narrow road, in some places not better than a trail, running from Daiquiri through Siboney and Sevilla toward Santiago. This seemed the only feasible plan.
"On the morning of the twentysecond the army commenced to disembark at Daiquiri.”
The above plans were carried out with more or less success. If the Spaniards had fired upon the Americans from above as they neared the landing in the small launches, they would have had the American troops at a great disadvantage, but no such thing was done, the troops landing with no molestation beyond a few scattered shots. Four days after the arrival, the troops were all safely on shore, and nothing remained but the slow and tedious work of unloading the supply-ships. This was much retarded by the loss of the tug and lighters referred to in Shafter's account of the voyage.
Daiquiri (Baiquiri) had been selected as the landing place instead of Guantanamo. It was not only near Santiago, but also the center of operations for the Cuban army, whose assistance was relied upon to keep the Spanish forces in check during disembarkation. General Lawton's division was the first to land, and to the surprise of all no resistance was experienced at Daiquiri, the enemy vanishing in the hills and thick growth
of chaparral as the Americans advanced against them. Demajayabo and Juragua were occupied, the Spanish endeavoring to burn the latter as they retreated. Juragua was used as temporary headquarters by General Lawton. Falling back in front of Lawton, the enemy finally made a stand at Siboney, but this was also taken by him without difficulty. The capture of this point gave Shafter a landing-place as good as that at Daiquiri, and eight miles nearer Santiago. The rest of the army was accordingly disembarked at that place.
The first collision of importance occurred at the plantation of Las Guasimas, near Sevilla, where the Spanish forces had a strongly entrenched position. General Young's brigade during the night of June 23 had advanced beyond Lawton's position, after an arduous march through a tropical tangle. "Gen. Young's force consisted of one squadron of the 1st Cavalry, one of the 10th Cavalry, two of the 1st U. S. Volunteer Cavalry, in all 964 officers and men." (Shafter, Report to Adjutant-General.) The 1st U. S. Volunteer Cavalry was a unique organization, the conception of Theodore Roosevelt, then Assistant Secretary of the Navy, who resigned from that important position in order to become lieutenant-colonel of the regiment. This had been raised in 50 days, and was composed of young men from every section of the country. Many of its troopers were ranchmen
THE BATTLE OF LAS GUASIMAS.
and cowboys, whence came its nickname, the Rough Riders, but with them, mingling on a basis of social equality, were scions of ancient families, sons of multi-millionaires, football heroes; in fact, a most astonishing conglomeration, who had only two elements in common: patriotism and a thirst for adventure. Leonard Wood, to whom the command of this regiment was given, had been a surgeon in the regular army, and gained a medal of honor for bravery in Apache wars, having contributed largely to the capture of Geronimo.
These were the men ordered to lead the advance towards Las Guasimas at daybreak. Both Wheeler and Young knew that the point towards which their forces were moving would probably be strongly defended, as it was in a sense the key to the valley that extended to Santiago. Therefore, guided by Cuban scouts, the brigade was formed into columns and began its advance along rough mountain trails. The column under General Young discovered the enemy first, and, after waiting for the Rough Riders to arrive, the attack was begun by the field guns. The reply that was received, however, was disconcerting; it was clear that the force defending the block-house and entrenchments was far stronger than was anticipated. So furious was the volleying that it was necessary for the men at the guns to get under cover for a while. General Wheeler, too, thought it wise to send a request for reinforcements; which, however, did not come until
after the Spanish had been driven from their positions. Both regulars and volunteers charged up the steep sides of the hills, undisturbed by the torrent of Mauser bullets that was tearing the bushes to shreds on all sides. The Rough Riders, indeed, covered themselves with especial glory. Both officers and men were filled with the frenzy of battle and rushed on, ignoring both the obstacles of nature and the bullets. At the first volley, Captain Capron, who was leading the advance guard, was killed, but his men did not hesitate, only continuing the charge with additional grimness of purpose. 'They kept pushing forward as though they were going to take us with their hands," said a Spanish soldier after the battle. Those that were not fighting were dead, it seemed, for men seriously wounded were seen to prop themselves against tree-trunks and coolly continue to load and fire.
The battle of Las Guasimas has been cited as nothing more than a skirmish, but in its results it had a very great influence upon the development of the campaign. In the first place the moral effect of a victory, gained by less than a thousand men against a strongly entrenched force of nearly three thousand, was alone a distinct advantage to the invading forces. The army had received its first test, and had come through the ordeal gloriously. From that time on the American soldier knew that he was going to win; the Spanish soldier was afraid that he wouldn't, and an attitude of mind
is important in critical situations. Again, by falling back from Las Guasimas, the Spanish army lost an important strategical point, and by so doing, made it easy for the American forces to advance without serious opposition almost to the inner defenses of Santiago. Had Las Guasimas and
Sevilla been held, the siege of Santiago would have been protracted; Cervera's squadron would, it may be, have remained longer in the harbor, and the tropical summer would have claimed a toll of strong men far more terrible than the one the records already show.
EL CANEY AND SAN JUAN.
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
The moment Cervera's fleet found sanctuary within the harbor of Santiago the whole plan of the war as proposed by the administration underwent a transformation. At one stroke, the scene of activities was transferred from Havana to Santiago, resulting in the creation of entirely new strategical problems. If Havana had remained the center of operations, the result would have been a long and arduous siege directed against a place defended by strong fortifications and occupied by an army of approximately 60,000 men; with a far-lengthened death roll from wounds and disease, and all the horrors attendant upon the siege of a great city. With Cervera at Santiago, however, the problems of the war became greatly simplified. Both land and sea operations were directed. towards one point: the destruction of
the Spanish fleet. The theory was entertained that its elimination would mean the end of the war, which proved to be correct in the end. The establishment of American naval supremacy meant the isolation of the entire army of Spain in Cuba, rendering the situation of a force that numbered 200,000 men wholly untenable.*
The disorderly retreat of the Spanish before the army at Las Guasimas gave the American soldiers an erro
*Spanish forces in Cuba: Infantry, 127,649; marines, 3,030; cavalry, 8,535; artillery, 5,619; engineers, 5,460; civil guard, 5,009; irregular infantry, 29,131; volunteers and guerillas, 12.387; total, 189.526. Spanish forces in the Province of Santiago de Cuba: City of Santiago, 9,430; Guantanamo. 6,082; Baracoa, 732; Sagua de Tanamo, 720; Holguin, 8,364; Manzanillo, 8,668; total, 33,996. These figures, however, are extremely conservative, as the United States Evacuation Commission estimates that there were 220,000 Spanish regulars and volunteers under arms in Cuba; while the Anuario de Espana for 1898 places the total at 278,457.