The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Boys of ’98 by James Otis

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Title: The Boys of ’98

Author: James Otis

Release Date: December 15, 2009 [Ebook #30684]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8




By James Otis

1.  When We Destroyed the Gaspee
2.  Boston Boys of 1775
3.  When Dewey Came to Manila
4.  Off Santiago with Sampson
5.  When Israel Putnam Served the King
6.  The Signal Boys of ’75
      (A Tale of the Siege of Boston)
7.  Under the Liberty Tree
      (A Story of the Boston Massacre)
8.  The Boys of 1745
      (The Capture of Louisburg)
9.  An Island Refuge
      (Casco Bay in 1676)
10.  Neal the Miller
      (A Son of Liberty)
11.  Ezra Jordan’s Escape
      (The Massacre at Fort Loyall)

Estes Press, Summer St., Boston


[pg iii] THE BOYS OF ’98

Illustrated by
And with Reproductions of Photographs




[pg iv]

Copyright, 1898
By Dana Estes & Company

[pg v]


I. The Battle-ship Maine 1
II. The Preliminaries 19
III. A Declaration of War 38
IV. The Battle of Manila Bay 64
V. News of the Day 92
VI. Cardenas and San Juan 117
VII. From All Quarters 130
VIII. Hobson and the Merrimac 149
IX. By Wire 171
X. Santiago de Cuba 194
XI. El Caney and San Juan Heights 224
XII. The Spanish Fleet 254
XIII. The Surrender of Santiago 290
XIV. Minor Events 302
XV. The Porto Rican Campaign 320
XVI. The Fall of Manila 335
XVII. Peace 345
Appendix A—The Philippine Islands 355
Appendix B—War-ships and Signals 370
Appendix C—Santiago de Cuba 379
Appendix D—Porto Rico 383
Appendix E—The Bay of Guantanamo 386
[pg vi]

[pg vii]


  The Charge at El Caney Frontispiece
  U. S. S. Maine 7
  Captain C. D. Sigsbee 12
  Ex-Minister de Lome 20
  U. S. S. Montgomery 24
  Major-General Fitzhugh Lee 30
  U. S. S. Columbia 38
  Captain-General Blanco 44
  Premier Sagasta 49
  President William Mckinley 55
  U. S. S. Puritan 58
  Admiral George Dewey 64
  U. S. S. Olympia 69
  U. S. S. Baltimore 72
  Battle of Manila Bay 75
  U. S. S. Boston 77
  U. S. S. Concord 82
  U. S. S. Terror 99
  John D. Long, Secretary of Navy 107
  U. S. S. Chicago 117
  The Tragedy of the Winslow 119
  U. S. S. Amphitrite 123
  The Bombardment of San Juan, Porto Rico 127
  U. S. S. Miantonomah 130
  Admiral Schley 135
  U. S. S. Monterey 144
  U. S. S. Massachusetts 151
  Lieutenant Hobson 156
  U. S. S. New York 161
  Hobson and His Men on the Raft 166
  Admiral Cervera 169
  Queen Regent, Maria Christina of Spain 171
  General Garcia 181
  Admiral Camara 186
  General Augusti 192
  U. S. S. Marblehead 201
  U. S. S. Vesuvius 207
  U. S. S. Texas 215
  Colonel Theodore Roosevelt 218
  Major-General Shafter 224
  The Attack on San Juan Hill 229
  Vice-President Hobart 234
  U. S. S. Newark 239
  Admiral W. T. Sampson 243
  General Weyler 254
  Captain R. D. Evans 256
  U. S. S. Iowa 262
  The Destruction of Cervera’s Fleet 266
  U. S. S. Indiana 269
  U. S. S. Oregon 275
  U. S. S. Brooklyn 282
  Major-General Joseph Wheeler 292
  King Alphonso XIII. of Spain 300
  General Gomez 311
  U. S. S. New Orleans 314
  U. S. S. San Francisco 318
  Major-General Miles 320
  Major-General Brooke 327
  General Brooke Receiving the News of the
  General Russell A. Alger, Secretary of War 334
  Major-General Wesley Merritt 344
  Don Carlos 349
[pg x]

[pg 1]




At or about eleven o’clock on the morning of January 25th the United States battle-ship Maine steamed through the narrow channel which gives entrance to the inner harbour of Havana, and came to anchor at Buoy No. 4, in obedience to orders from the captain of the port, in from five and one-half to six fathoms of water. She swung at her cables within five hundred yards of the arsenal, and about two hundred yards distant from the floating dock.

Very shortly afterward the rapid-firing guns on her bow roared out a salute as the Spanish colours were run up to the mizzenmast-head, and this thunderous announcement of friendliness was first answered by Morro Castle, followed a few moments later by the Spanish cruiser Alphonso XII. and a German school-ship.

The reverberations had hardly ceased before the [pg 2]captain of the port and an officer from the Spanish war-vessel, each in his gaily decked launch, came alongside the battle-ship in accordance with the rules of naval etiquette.

Lieut. John J. Blandin, officer of the deck, received the visitors at the head of the gangway and escorted them to the captain’s cabin. A few moments later came an officer from the German ship, and the courtesies of welcoming the Americans were at an end.

The Maine was an armoured, twin-screw battle-ship of the second class, 318 feet in length, 57 feet in breadth, with a draught of 21 feet, 6 inches; of 6,648 tons displacement, with engines of 9,293 indicated horse-power, giving her a speed of 17.75 knots. She was built in the Brooklyn navy yard, according to act of Congress, August 3, 1886. Work on her was commenced October 11, 1888; she was launched November 18, 1890, and put into commission September 17, 1895. She was built after the designs of chief constructor T. D. Wilson. The delay in going into commission is said to have been due to the difficulty in getting satisfactory armour. The side armour was twelve inches thick; the two steel barbettes were each of the same thickness, and the walls of the turrets were eight inches thick.

In her main battery were four 10-inch and six 6-inch breech-loading rifles; in the secondary battery seven 6-pounder and eight 1-pounder rapid-fire guns and four Gatlings. Her crew was made up of [pg 3]370 men, and the following officers: Capt. C. D. Sigsbee, Lieut.-Commander R. Wainwright, Lieut. G. F. W. Holman, Lieut. J. Hood, Lieut. C. W. Jungen, Lieut. G. P. Blow, Lieut. F. W. Jenkins, Lieut. J. J. Blandin, Surgeon S. G. Heneberger, Paymaster C. M. Ray, Chief Engineer C. P. Howell, Chaplain J. P. Chidwick, Passed Assistant Engineer F. C. Bowers, Lieutenant of Marines A. Catlin, Assistant Engineer J. R. Morris, Assistant Engineer Darwin R. Merritt, Naval Cadet J. H. Holden, Naval Cadet W. T. Cluverius, Naval Cadet R. Bronson, Naval Cadet P. Washington, Naval Cadet A. Crenshaw, Naval Cadet J. T. Boyd, Boatswain F. E. Larkin, Gunner J. Hill, Carpenter J. Helm, Paymaster’s Clerk B. McCarthy.

Why had the Maine been sent to this port?

The official reason given by the Secretary of the Navy when he notified the Spanish minister, Señor Dupuy de Lome, was that the visit of the Maine was simply intended as a friendly call, according to the recognised custom of nations.

The United States minister at Madrid, General Woodford, also announced the same in substance to the Spanish Minister of State.

It having been repeatedly declared by the government at Madrid that a state of war did not exist in Cuba, and that the relations between the United States and Spain were of the most friendly character, nothing less could be done than accept the official construction put upon the visit.

[pg 4]

The Spanish public, however, were not disposed to view the matter in the same light, as may be seen by the following extracts from newspapers:

“If the government of the United States sends one war-ship to Cuba, a thing it is no longer likely to do, Spain would act with energy and without vacillation.”El Heraldo, January 16th.

“We see now the eagerness of the Yankees to seize Cuba.”The Imparcial, January 23d.

The same paper, on the 27th, declared:

“If Havana people, exasperated at American impudence in sending the Maine, do some rash, disagreeable thing, the civilised world will know too well who is responsible. The American government must know that the road it has taken leads to war between both nations.”

On January 25th Madrid newspapers made general comment upon the official explanation of the Maine’s visit to Havana, and agreed in expressing the opinion that her visit is “inopportune and calculated to encourage the insurgents.” It was announced that, “following Washington’s example,” the Spanish government will “instruct Spanish war-ships to visit a few American ports.”

The Imparcial expresses fear that the despatch of the Maine to Havana will provoke a conflict, and adds:

“Europe cannot doubt America’s attitude towards Spain. But the Spanish people, if necessary, will do their duty with honour.”

[pg 5]

The Epocha asks if the despatch of the Maine to Havana is “intended as a sop to the Jingoes,” and adds:

“We cannot suppose the American government so naïve or badly informed as to imagine that the presence of American war-vessels at Havana will be a cause of satisfaction to Spain or an indication of friendship.”

The people of the United States generally believed that the battle-ship had been sent to Cuba because of the disturbances existing in the city of Havana, which seemingly threatened the safety of Americans there.

On the morning of January 12th what is termed the “anti-liberal outbreak” occurred in the city of Havana.

Officers of the regular and volunteer forces headed the ultra-Spanish element in an attack upon the leading liberal newspaper offices, because, as alleged, of Captain-General Blanco’s refusal to authorise the suppression of the liberal press. It was evidently a riotous protest against Spain’s policy of granting autonomy to the Cubans.

The mob, gathered in such numbers as to be for the time being most formidable, indulged in open threats against Americans, and it was believed by the public generally that American interests, and the safety of citizens of the United States in Havana, demanded the protection of a war-vessel.

The people of Havana received the big fighting ship [pg 6]impassively. Soldiers, sailors, and civilians gathered at the water-front as spectators, but no word, either of threat or friendly greeting, was heard.

In the city the American residents experienced a certain sense of relief because now a safe refuge was provided in case of more serious rioting.

That the officers and crew of the Maine were apprehensive regarding their situation there can be little doubt. During the first week after the arrival of the battle-ship several of the sailors wrote to friends or relatives expressing fears as to what might be the result of the visit, and on the tenth of February one of the lieutenants is reported as having stated:

“If we don’t get away from here soon there will be trouble.”

The customary ceremonial visits on shore were made by the commander of the ship and his staff, and, so far as concerned the officials of the city, the Americans were seemingly welcome visitors.

The more radical of the citizens were not so apparently content with seeing the Maine in their harbour. Within a week after the arrival of the ship incendiary circulars were distributed in the streets, on the railway cars, and in many other public places, calling upon all Spaniards to avenge the “insult” of the battle-ship’s visit.

A translation of one such circular serves as a specimen of all:

“Spaniards: Long live Spain and honour.

[pg 7]

“What are ye doing that ye allow yourselves to be insulted in this way?

“Do you not see what they have done to us in withdrawing our brave and beloved Weyler, who at this very time would have finished with this unworthy rebellious rabble, who are trampling on our flag and our honour?

“Autonomy is imposed on us so as to thrust us to one side and to give posts of honour and authority to those who initiated this rebellion, these ill-born autonomists, ungrateful sons of our beloved country.

“And, finally, these Yankee hogs who meddle in our affairs humiliate us to the last degree, and for still greater taunt order to us one of the ships of war of their rotten squadron, after insulting us in their newspapers and driving us from our homes.

“Spaniards, the moment of action has arrived. Sleep not. Let us show these vile traitors that we have not yet lost shame and that we know how to protect ourselves with energy befitting a nation worthy and strong as our Spain is and always will be.

“Death to Americans. Death to autonomy.

“Long live Spain!

“Long live Weyler!”


At eight o’clock on the evening of February 15th all the magazines aboard the battle-ship were closed, and the keys delivered to her commander according to the rules of the service.

[pg 8]

An hour and a half later Lieut. John J. Blandin was on watch as officer of the deck; Captain Sigsbee sat in his cabin writing letters; on the starboard side of the ship, made fast to the boom, was the steam cutter, with her crew on board waiting to make the regular ten o’clock trip to the shore to bring off such of the officers or crew as were on leave of absence.

The night was unusually dark; great banks of thick clouds hung over the city and harbour; the ripple of the waves against the hulls of the vessels at anchor, and the subdued hum of voices, alone broke the silence. The lights here and there, together with the dark tracery of spar and cordage against the sky, was all that betokened the presence of war-ship or peaceful merchantman.

Suddenly, and when the silence was most profound, the watch on board the steamer City of Washington, and some sailors ashore, saw what appeared to be a sheet of fire flash up in the water directly beneath the Maine, and even as the blinding glare was in their eyes came a mighty, confused rumble as of grinding and rending, followed an instant later by a roar as if a volcano had sprung into activity beneath the waves of the harbour.

Then was flung high in the air what might be likened to a shaft of fire filled with fragments of iron, wood, and human flesh, rising higher and higher until its force was spent, when it fell outwardly as falls a column of water broken by the wind.

The earth literally trembled; the air suddenly became [pg 9]heavy with stifling smoke. Electric lights on shore were extinguished; the tinkling of breaking glass could be heard everywhere in that portion of the city nearest the harbour.

When the shower of fragments and of fire ceased to fall a dense blackness enshrouded the harbour, from the midst of which could be heard cries of agony, appeals for help, and the shouts of those who, even while struggling to save their own lives, would cheer their comrades.

After this, and no man could have said how many seconds passed while the confusing, bewildering blackness lay heavy over that scene of death and destruction, long tongues of flame burst up from the torn and splintered decks of the doomed battle-ship, a signal of distress, as well as a beacon for those who would succour the dying.

Captain Sigsbee, recovering in the briefest space of time from the bewilderment of the shock, ran out of the cabin toward the deck, groping his way as best he might in the darkness through the long passage until he came upon the marine orderly, William Anthony, who was at his post of duty near the captain’s quarters.

It was a moment full of horror all the more intense because unknown, but the soldier, mindful even then of his duty, saluting, said in the tone of one who makes an ordinary report:

“Sir, I have to inform you that the ship has been blown up, and is sinking.”

[pg 10]

“Follow me,” the captain replied, acknowledging his subordinate’s salute, and the two pressed forward through the blackness and suffocating vapour.

Lieutenant Blandin, officer of the deck, was sitting on the starboard side of the quarter-deck when the terrible upheaval began, and was knocked down by a piece of cement hurled from the lowermost portion of the ship’s frame, perhaps; but, leaping quickly to his feet, he ran to the poop that he might be at his proper station when the supreme moment came.

Lieut. Friend W. Jenkins was in the junior officers’ mess-room when the first of a battle-ship’s death-throes was felt, and as soon as possible made his way toward the deck, encouraging some of the bewildered marines to make a brave fight for life; but he never joined his comrades.

Assistant Engineer Darwin R. Merritt and Naval Cadet Boyd together ran toward the hatch, but only to find the ladder gone. Boyd climbed through, and then did his best to aid Merritt; but his efforts were vain, and the engineer went down with his ship.

It seemed as if only the merest fraction of time elapsed before the uninjured survivors were gathered on the poop-deck. Forward of them, where a moment previous had been the main-deck, was a huge mass looming up in the darkness like some threatening promontory.

On the starboard quarter hung the gig, and opposite her, on the port side, was the barge.

[pg 11]

During the first two or three seconds only muffled, gurgling, choking exclamations were heard indistinctly; and then, when the terrible vibrations of the air ceased, cries for help went up from every quarter.

Lieutenant Blandin says, in describing those few but terrible moments:

“Captain Sigsbee ordered that the gig and the launch be lowered, and the officers and men, who by this time had assembled, got the boats out and rescued a number in the water.

“Captain Sigsbee ordered Lieut.-Commander Wainwright forward to see the extent of the damage, and if anything could be done to rescue those forward, or to extinguish the flames which followed close upon the explosion and burned fiercely as long as there were any combustibles above water to feed them.

“Lieut.-Commander Wainwright on his return reported the total and awful character of the calamity, and Captain Sigsbee gave the last sad order, ‘Abandon ship,’ to men overwhelmed with grief indeed, but calm and apparently unexcited.”

The quiet, yet at the same time sharp, words of command from the captain aroused his officers from the stupefaction of horror which had begun to creep over them, and this handful of men, who even then were standing face to face with death, set about aiding their less fortunate companions.

As soon as they could be manned, boats put off from the vessels in the harbour, and the work of rescue was [pg 12]continued until all the torn and mangled bodies in which life yet remained had been taken from the water.

Capt. H. H. Woods, of the British steamer Thurston, was among the first in this labour of mercy, and concerning it he says:

“My vessel was within half a mile of the Maine, and my small boat was the first to gain the wreck. It is beyond my power to describe the explosion. It was awful. It paralysed the intellect for a few moments. The cries that came over the water awakened us to a realisation that some great tragedy had occurred.

“I made all haste to the wreck. There were very few men in the water. All told, I do not believe there were thirty. We picked up some of them and passed them on to other vessels, and then continued our work of rescue.

“The sight was appalling. Dismembered legs and trunks of bodies were floating about, together with pieces of clothing, boxes of meats, and all sorts of wreckage. Now and then the agonised cry of some poor suffering fellow could be heard above the tumult.

“One grand figure stood out in all the terrible scene. That was Captain Sigsbee. Every American has reason to be proud of that officer. He seemed to have realised in an instant all that happened. Not for a moment did he show evidence of excitement. He alone was cool. Discipline? Why, man, the discipline was there as strong as ever, despite the fact that all around was death and disaster.”

[pg 13]

The commander of the Maine was the last to leave the wreck, and then all that was left of the mighty ship was beginning to settle in the slime and putrefaction which covers the bottom of Havana harbour.

Calmly, with the same observance of etiquette as if they had been assisting at some social function, the officers took their respective places in the boats, and, amid a silence born of deepest grief, rowed a short distance from the rent and riven mass so lately their post of duty.

A gentleman from Chicago, a guest at the Grand Hotel, was seated in front of the building when the explosion occurred.

“It was followed by another and a much louder one,” he said. “We thought the whole city had been blown to pieces. Some said the insurgents were entering Havana. Others cried out that Morro Castle was blown up.

“On the Prado is a large cab-stand. One minute after the explosion was heard the cabmen cracked their whips and went rattling over the cobblestones like crazy men. The fire department turned out, and bodies of cavalry and infantry rushed through the streets. There was no sleep in Havana that night.”


Soon after the disaster Admiral Manterola and General Solano put off to the wreck, and offered their services to Captain Sigsbee.

There were many wonderful escapes from death. [pg 14]One of the ward-room cooks was thrown outboard into the water.

A Japanese sailor was blown into the air, and, falling in the sea, was picked up alive.

One seaman was sleeping in a yawl hanging at the davits. The boat was crushed like an egg-shell; but the sailor fell overboard and was picked up unhurt.

Three men were doing punishment watch on the port quarter-deck, and thus probably escaped death.

One sailor swam about until help came, although both his legs were broken. Another had the bones of his ankle crushed, and yet managed to keep afloat.

Two hours or more passed before the unsubmerged, wooden portion of the wreck had been consumed by the flames, and at 11.30 P. M. the smoke-stacks of the ill-fated ship fell.

On board the steamer City of Washington, two boats were literally riddled by fragments of the Maine which fell after the explosion, and among them was an iron truss which, crashing through the pantry, demolished the tableware.

When morning came the wreck was the central figure of an otherwise bright picture, sad as it was terrible. The huge mass of flame-charred débris forward looked as if it had been thrown up from a subterranean storehouse of fused cement, steel, wood, and iron.

Further aft, one military mast protruded at a slight angle from the perpendicular, while the poop afforded a resting-place for the workmen or divers.

[pg 15]

Of the predominant white which distinguishes our war-vessels in time of peace, not a vestige remained. In its place was the blackness of desolating death, marking the spot where two hundred and sixty-six brave men had gone over into the Beyond.

The total loss to the government as a result of the disaster was officially pronounced to be $4,689,261.31. This embraced the cost of hull, machinery, equipment, armour, gun protection and armament, both in main and secondary batteries. It included the cost of ammunition, shells, current supplies, coal, and, in short, the entire outfit.

The pet of the Maine’s crew, a big cat, was found next morning, perched on a fragment of a truss which yet remained above the water, and near her, as if seeking companionship, was the captain’s dog, Peggy.

Consul-General Lee cabled from Havana on the afternoon of the sixteenth:

“Profound sorrow is expressed by the government and municipal authorities, consuls of foreign nations, organised bodies of all sorts, and citizens generally.

“Flags are at half-mast on the governor-general’s palace, on shipping in the harbour, and in the city.

“Business is suspended, and the theatres are closed.”

On the afternoon of the seventeenth the bodies which had been found up to that time were buried in [pg 16]Havana with military honours, two companies of Spanish sailors from the cruiser Alphonso XII. acting as escort.

A board of inquiry, composed of Capt. W. T. Sampson of the U. S. S. Iowa as presiding officer, Commander Adolph Marix as judge advocate, Capt. F. E. Chadwick, and Commander W. P. Potter, all of the New York, was convened, and on March 28th President McKinley sent a message to Congress, the conclusion of which was as follows:

“The appalling calamity fell upon the people of our country with crushing force, and for a brief time an intense excitement prevailed, which in a community less just and self-controlled than ours might have led to hasty acts of blind resentment.

“This spirit, however, soon gave way to calmer processes of reason, and to the resolve to investigate the facts and await material proof before forming a judgment as to the cause, the responsibility, and, if the facts warranted, the remedy due. This course necessarily recommended itself from the outset to the executive, for only in the light of a dispassionately ascertained certainty will it determine the nature and measure of its full duty in the matter.

“The usual procedure was followed, as in all cases of casualty or disaster to national vessels of any maritime state.

“A naval court of inquiry was at once organised, composed of officers well qualified by rank and prac[pg 17]tical experience to discharge the onerous duty imposed upon them.

“Aided by a strong force of wreckers and divers, the court proceeded to make a thorough investigation on the spot, employing every available means for impartial and exact determination of the causes of the explosion. Its operations have been conducted with the utmost deliberation and judgment, and, while independently pursued, no source of information was neglected, and the fullest opportunity was allowed for a simultaneous investigation by the Spanish authorities.

“The finding of the court of inquiry was reached, after twenty-three days of continuous labour, on the twenty-first of March instant, and, having been approved on the twenty-second by the commander-in-chief of the United States naval force in the North Atlantic station, was transmitted to the executive.

“It is herewith laid before the Congress, together with the voluminous testimony taken before the court.

“The conclusions of the court are: That the loss of the Maine was not in any respect due to fault or negligence on the part of any of the officers or members of her crew.

“That the ship was destroyed by the explosion of a submarine mine, which caused the partial explosion of two or more of her forward magazines; and that no evidence has been obtainable fixing the responsibility for the destruction of the Maine upon any person or persons.

[pg 18]

“I have directed that the finding of the court of inquiry and the views of this government thereon be communicated to the government of her majesty, the queen regent, and I do not permit myself to doubt that the sense of justice of the Spanish nation will dictate a course of action suggested by honour and the friendly relations of the two governments.

“It will be the duty of the executive to advise the Congress of the result, and in the meantime deliberate consideration is invoked.”


It was the preface to a mustering of the boys of ’61 who had worn the blue or the gray, this tragedy in the harbour of Havana, and, when the government gave permission, the boys of ’98 came forward many and many a thousand strong to emulate the deeds of their fathers—the boys of ’61—who, although the hand of Time had been laid heavily upon them, panted to participate in the punishment of those who were responsible for the slaughter of American sailors within the shadow of Morro Castle.

[pg 19]



War between two nations does not begin suddenly. The respective governments are exceedingly ceremonious before opening the “game of death,” and it is not to be supposed that the United States commenced hostilities immediately after the disaster to the Maine in the harbour of Havana.

To tell the story of the war which ensued, without first giving in regular order the series of events which marked the preparations for hostilities, would be much like relating an adventure without explaining why the hero was brought into the situation.

It is admitted that, as a rule, details, and especially those of a political nature, are dry reading; but once take into consideration the fact that they all aid in giving a clearer idea of how one nation begins hostilities with another, and much of the tediousness may be forgiven.

Just previous to the disaster to the Maine, during the last days of January or the first of February, Señor Enrique Dupuy de Lome, the Spanish minister at Washington, wrote a private letter to the editor of the [pg 20]Madrid Herald, Señor Canalejas, who was his intimate friend, in which he made some uncomplimentary remarks regarding the President of the United States, and intimated that Spain was not sincere in certain commercial negotiations which were then being carried on between the two countries.

By some means, not yet fully explained, certain Cubans got possession of this letter, and caused it to be published in the newspapers. Señor de Lome did not deny having written the objectionable matter; but claimed that, since it was a private communication, it should not affect him officially. The Secretary of State instructed General Woodford, our minister at Madrid, to demand that the Spanish government immediately recall Minister de Lome, and to state that, if he was not relieved from duty within twenty-four hours, the President would issue to him his passports, which is but another way of ordering a foreign minister out of the country.

February 9. Señor de Lome made all haste to resign, and the resignation was accepted by his government before—so it was claimed by the Spanish authorities—President McKinley’s demand for the recall was received.

February 15. The de Lome incident was a political matter which caused considerable diplomatic correspondence; but it was overshadowed when the battle-ship Maine was blown up in the harbour of Havana.

[pg 21]

As has already been said, the United States government at once ordered a court of inquiry to ascertain the cause of the disaster, and this, together with the search for the bodies of the drowned crew, was prosecuted with utmost vigour.

Very many of the people in the United States believed that Spanish officials were chargeable with the terrible crime, while those who were not disposed to make such exceedingly serious accusation insisted that the Spanish government was responsible for the safety of the vessel,—that she had been destroyed by outside agencies in a friendly harbour. In the newspapers, on the streets, in all public places, the American people spoke of the possibility of war, and the officials of the government set to work as if, so it would seem, they also were confident there would be an open rupture between the two nations.

February 28. In Congress, Representative Gibson of Tennessee introduced a bill appropriating twenty million dollars “for the maintenance of national honour and defence.” Representative Bromwell, of Ohio, introduced a similar resolution, appropriating a like amount of money “to place the naval strength of the country upon a proper footing for immediate hostilities with any foreign power.” On the same day orders were issued to the commandant at Fort Barrancas, Florida, directing him to send men to man the guns at Santa Rosa Island, opposite Pensacola.

February 28. Señor Louis Polo y Bernabe, appointed [pg 22]minister in the place of Señor de Lome, who resigned, sailed from Gibraltar.

By the end of February the work of preparing the vessels at the different navy yards for sea was being pushed forward with the utmost rapidity, and munitions of war were distributed hurriedly among the forts and fortifications, as if the officials of the War Department believed that hostilities might be begun at any moment.

Nor was it only within the borders of this country that such preparations were making. A despatch from Shanghai to London reported that the United States squadron, which included the cruisers Olympia, Boston, Raleigh, Concord, and Petrel, were concentrating at Hongkong, with a view of active operations against Manila, in the Philippine Islands, in event of war.

At about the same time came news from Spain telling that the Spanish were making ready for hostilities. An exceptionally large number of artisans were at work preparing for sea battle-ships, cruisers, and torpedo-boat destroyers. The cruisers Oquendo and Vizcaya, with the torpedo-boat destroyers Furor and Terror, were already on their way to Cuba, where were stationed the Alphonso XII., the Infanta Isabel, and the Nueva Espana, together with twelve gunboats of about three hundred tons each, and eighteen vessels of two hundred and fifty tons each.

The United States naval authorities decided that heavy batteries should be placed on all the revenue cutters built within the previous twelve months, and [pg 23]large quantities of high explosives were shipped in every direction.

During the early days of March, Señor Gullon, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, intimated to Minister Woodford that the Spanish government desired the recall from Havana of Consul-General Lee.

Spain also intimated that the American war-ships, which had been designated to convey supplies to Cuba for the relief of the sufferers there, should be replaced by merchant vessels, in order to deprive the assistance sent to the reconcentrados of an official character.

Minister Woodford cabled such requests to the government at Washington, to which it replied by refusing to recall General Lee under the present circumstances, or to countermand the orders for the despatch of war-vessels, making the representation that relief vessels are not fighting ships.

March 5. Secretary Long closed a contract for the delivery at Key West, within forty days, of four hundred thousand tons of coal. Work was begun upon the old monitors, which for years had been lying at League Island navy yard, Philadelphia. Orders were sent to the Norfolk navy yard to concentrate all the energies and fidelities of the yard on the cruiser Newark, to the end that she might be ready for service within sixty days.

March 6. The President made a public statement [pg 24]that under no circumstances would Consul-General Fitzhugh Lee be recalled at the request of Spain. He had borne himself, so it was stated from the White House, throughout the crisis with judgment, fidelity, and courage, to the President’s entire satisfaction. As to supplies for the relief of the Cuban people, all arrangements had been made to carry consignments at once from Key West by one of the naval vessels, whichever might be best adapted and most available for the purpose, to Matanzas and Sagua.

March 6. Chairman Cannon of the House appropriations committee introduced a resolution that fifty millions of dollars be appropriated for the national defence. It was passed almost immediately, without a single negative vote.

Significant was the news of the day. The cruiser Montgomery had been ordered to Havana. Brigadier-General Wilson, chief of the engineers of the army, arrived at Key West from Tampa with his corps of men, who were in charge of locating and firing submarine mines.

March 10. The newly appointed Spanish minister arrived at Washington.

March 11. The House committee on naval affairs authorised the immediate construction of three battle-ships, one to be named the Maine, and provided for an increase of 473 men in the marine force.

The despatch-boat Fern sailed for Matanzas with supplies for the relief of starving Cubans.

[pg 25]

News by cable was received from the Philippine Islands to the effect that the rebellion there had broken out once more; the whole of the northern province had revolted; the inhabitants refused to pay taxes, and the insurgents appeared to be well supplied with arms and ammunition.

March 12. Señor Bernabe was presented to President McKinley, and laid great stress upon the love which Spain bore for the United States.

March 14. The Spanish flying squadron, composed of three torpedo-boats, set sail from Cadiz, bound for Porto Rico. Although this would seem to be good proof that the Spanish government anticipated war with the United States, Señor Bernabe made two demands upon this government on the day following the receipt of such news. The first was that the United States fleet at Key West and Tortugas be withdrawn, and the second, that an explanation be given as to why two war-ships had been purchased abroad.

March 17. A bill was submitted to both houses of Congress reorganising the army, and placing it on a war footing of one hundred and four thousand men. Senator Proctor made a significant speech in the Senate, on the condition of affairs in Cuba. He announced himself as being opposed to annexation, and declared that the Cubans were “suffering under the worst misgovernment in the world.” The public generally accepted his remarks as having been sanc[pg 26]tioned by the President, and understood them as indicating that this country should recognise the independence of Cuba on the ground that the people are capable of self-government, and that under no other conditions could peace or prosperity be restored in the island.

March 17. The more important telegraphic news from Spain was to the effect that the Minister of Marine had cabled the commander of the torpedo flotilla at the Canaries not to proceed to Havana; that the government arsenal was being run night and day in the manufacture of small arms, and that infantry and cavalry rifles were being purchased in Germany.

The United States revenue cutter cruiser McCulloch was ordered to proceed from Aden, in the Red Sea, to Hongkong, in order that she might be attached to the Asiatic squadron, if necessary.

March 18. The cruiser Amazonas, purchased from the Brazilian government, was formally transferred to the United States at Gravesend, England, to be known in the future as the New Orleans.

March 19. The Maine court of inquiry concluded its work. The general sentiments of the people, as voiced by the newspapers, were that war with Spain was near at hand, and this belief was strengthened March 24th, when authority was given by the Navy Department for unlimited enlistment in all grades of the service, when the revenue service was transferred [pg 27]from the Treasury to the Naval Department, and arrangements made for the quick employment of the National Guards of the States and Territories.

March 24. The report of the Maine court of inquiry arrived at Washington.

March 27. Madrid correspondents of Berlin newspapers declared that war with the United States was next to certain. The United States cruisers San Francisco and New Orleans sailed from England for New York, and the active work of mining the harbours of the United States coast was begun.

March 28. The President sent to Congress, with a message, the report of the Maine court of inquiry, as has been stated in a previous chapter.

March 29. Resolutions declaring war on Spain, and recognising the independence of Cuba, were introduced in both houses of Congress.

With the beginning of April it was to the public generally as if the war had already begun.

In every city, town, or hamlet throughout the country the newspapers were scanned eagerly for notes of warlike preparation, and from Washington, sent by those who were in position to know what steps were being taken by the government, came information which dashed the hopes of those who had been praying that peace might not be broken.

There had been a conference between the President, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the chairman of the committee on ways and means, regarding the best [pg 28]methods of raising funds for the carrying on of a war. A joint board of the army and navy had met to formulate plans of defence, and a speedy report was made to Secretary Long.

Instructions were sent by the State Department to all United States consuls in Cuba to be prepared to leave the island at any moment, and to hold themselves in readiness to proceed to Havana in order to embark for the United States.

April 2. A gentleman in touch with public affairs wrote from Washington as follows:

“To-day’s developments show that there is only the very faintest hope of peace. Unless Spain yields war must come. The administration realises that as fully as do members of Congress.

“The orders sent by the State Department to all our consuls in Cuba, especially those in the interior, to hold themselves in readiness to leave their positions and proceed to Havana, show that the department looks upon war as a certainty, and has taken all proper precautions for the safety of its agents.

“Such an order, it is unnecessary to say, would not have been issued unless a crisis was imminent, and the State Department, as well as other branches of the government, has now become convinced that peace cannot much longer be maintained, and that the safety of the consular agents is a first consideration.

“General Lee has also been advised that he should be ready to leave as soon as notified, and that the [pg 29]American newspaper correspondents now in Havana must prepare themselves to receive the notification of instant departure.

“The Secretary of the Navy has instructed the Boston Towboat Company, which corporation had charge of the wrecking operations on the U. S. S. Maine, to suspend work at once. The Secretary of War has authorised an allotment of one million dollars from the emergency fund for the office of the chief of engineers, and this amount will be expended in purchasing material for the torpedo defences connected with the seacoast fortifications. The United States naval attaché at London has purchased a cruiser of eighteen hundred tons displacement, capable of a speed of sixteen knots, and the vessel will put to sea immediately. The Spanish torpedo flotilla is reported as having arrived at the Cape Verde Islands.”

April 4. Senators Perkins, Mantle, and Rawlins spoke in the Senate, charging Spain with the murder of the sailors of the Maine, claiming that it was properly an act of war, and insisting that the United States should declare for the independence of Cuba and armed intervention.

April 5. Senator Chandler announced as his belief that the United States was justified in beginning hostilities, and Senators Kenny, Turpie, and Turner made powerful speeches in the same line, fiercely denouncing Spain. General Woodford was instructed by cable to [pg 30]be prepared to ask of the Madrid government his passports at any moment.

Marine underwriters, believing that war was inevitable, doubled their rates. The merchants and manufacturers’ board of trade of New York notified Congress and the President that it believed Spain was responsible for the blowing up of the Maine; that the independence of Cuba should be recognised, and that it should be brought about by force of arms, if necessary.

April 7. The representatives of six great powers met at the White House in the hope of being able to influence the President for peace. In closing his address to the diplomats, Mr. McKinley said:

“The government of the United States appreciates the humanitarian and disinterested character of the communication now made in behalf of the powers named, and for its part is confident that equal appreciation will be shown for its own earnest and unselfish endeavours to fulfil a duty to humanity by ending a situation, the indefinite prolongation of which has become insufferable.”


Americans made haste to leave Cuba, after learning that Consul-General Lee had received orders to set sail from Havana on or before the ninth. The American consul at Santiago de Cuba closed the consulate in that city.

Solomon Berlin, appointed consul at the Canary Islands, was, by the State Department, ordered not [pg 31]to proceed to his post, and he remained at New York.


The Spanish consul at Tampa, Florida, left that town for Washington, by order of his government.

The following cablegram gives a good idea of the temper of the Spanish people:

“London, April 7.—A special dispatch from Madrid says that the ambassadors of France, Germany, Russia, and Italy waited together this evening upon Señor Gullon, the Foreign Minister, and presented a joint note in the interests of peace.

“Señor Gullon, replying, declared that the members of the Spanish Cabinet were unanimous in considering that Spain had reached the limit of international policy in the direction of conceding the demands and allowing the pretensions of the United States.”

April 9. Guards about the United States legation in Madrid were trebled. General Blanco, captain-general of Cuba, issued a draft order calling on every able-bodied man, between the ages of nineteen and forty, to register for immediate military duty. At ten o’clock in the morning, Consul-General Lee, accompanied by British Consul Gollan, called on General Blanco to bid him good-bye. The captain-general was too busy to receive visitors. General Lee left the island at six o’clock in the evening.

April 11. The President sent a message, together [pg 32]with Consul Lee’s report, to the Congress, and Senator Chandler thus analysed it:

First: A graphic and powerful description of the horrible condition of affairs in Cuba.

Second: An assertion that the independence of the revolutionists should not be recognised until Cuba has achieved its own independence beyond the possibility of overthrow.

Third: An argument against the recognition of the Cuban republic.

Fourth: As to intervention in the interest of humanity, that is well enough, and also on account of the injury to commerce and peril to our citizens, and the generally uncomfortable conditions all around.

Fifth: Illustrative of these uncomfortable conditions is the destruction of the Maine. It helps make the existing situation intolerable. But Spain proposes an arbitration, to which proposition the President has no reply.

Sixth: On the whole, as the war goes on and Spain cannot end it, mediation or intervention must take place. President Cleveland said “intervention would finally be necessary.” The enforced pacification of Cuba must come. The war must stop. Therefore, the President should be authorised to terminate hostilities, secure peace, and establish a stable government, and to use the military and naval forces of the United States to accomplish these results, and food supplies should also be furnished by the United States.

[pg 33]

April 12. Consul-General Lee was summoned before the Senate committee on foreign relations. It was announced that the Republican members of the ways and means committee had agreed upon a plan for raising revenue in case of need to carry on war with Spain. The plan was intended to raise more than $100,000,000 additional revenue annually, and was thus distributed:

An additional tax on beer of one dollar per barrel, estimated to yield $35,000,000; a bank stamp tax on the lines of the law of 1866, estimated to yield $30,000,000; a duty of three cents per pound on coffee, and ten cents per pound on tea on hand in the United States, estimated to yield $28,000,000; additional tax on tobacco, expected to yield $15,000,000.

The committee also agreed to authorise the issuing of $500,000,000 bonds. These bonds to be offered for sale at all post-offices in the United States in amounts of fifty dollars each, making a great popular loan to be absorbed by the people.

To tide over emergencies, the Secretary of the Treasury to be authorised to issue treasury certificates.

These certificates or debentures to be used to pay running expenses when the revenues do not meet the expenditures.


These preparations were distinctly war measures, and would be put in operation only should war occur.

[pg 34]

April 13. The House of Representatives passed the following resolutions:

Whereas, the government of Spain for three years past has been waging war on the island of Cuba against a revolution by the inhabitants thereof, without making any substantial progress toward the suppression of said revolution, and has conducted the warfare in a manner contrary to the laws of nations by methods inhuman and uncivilised, causing the death by starvation of more than two hundred thousand innocent non-combatants, the victims being for the most part helpless women and children, inflicting intolerable injury to the commercial interests of the United States, involving the destruction of the lives and property of many of our citizens, entailing the expenditure of millions of money in patrolling our coasts and policing the high seas in order to maintain our neutrality; and,

Whereas, this long series of losses, injuries, and burdens for which Spain is responsible has culminated in the destruction of the United States battle-ship Maine in the harbour of Havana, and the death of two hundred and sixty-six of our seamen,—

Resolved, That the President is hereby authorised and directed to intervene at once to stop the war in Cuba, to the end and with the purpose of securing permanent peace and order there, and establishing by the free action of the people there of a stable and independent government of their own in the island [pg 35]of Cuba; and the President is hereby authorised and empowered to use the land and naval forces of the United States to execute the purpose of this resolution.

In the Senate the majority resolution reported:

Whereas, the abhorrent conditions which have existed for more than three years in the island of Cuba, so near our own borders, have been a disgrace to Christian civilisation, culminating as they have in the destruction of a United States battle-ship with two hundred and sixty-six of its officers and crew, while on a friendly visit in the harbour of Havana, and cannot longer be endured, as has been set forth by the President of the United States in his message to Congress on April 11, 1898, upon which the action of Congress was invited; therefore,

Resolved, First, that the people of the island of Cuba are, and of right ought to be, free and independent.

Second, That it is the duty of the United States to demand, and the government of the United States does hereby demand, that the government of Spain at once relinquish its authority and government in the island of Cuba, and withdraw its land and naval forces from Cuba and Cuban waters.

Third, That the President of the United States be, and he hereby is, directed and empowered to use the entire land and naval forces of the United States, and to call into the actual service of the United States the [pg 36]militia of the several States to such extent as may be necessary, to carry these resolutions into effect.


April 14. The Spanish minister at Washington sealed his archives and placed them in the charge of the French ambassador, M. Cambon. The queen regent of Spain, at a Cabinet meeting, signed a call for the Cortes to meet on the twentieth of the month, and a decree opening a national subscription for increasing the navy and other war services.

April 15. The United States consulate at Malaga, Spain, was attacked by a mob, and the shield torn down and trampled upon.

April 17. The Spanish committee of inquiry into the destruction of the Maine reported that the explosion could not have been caused by a torpedo or a mine of any kind, because no trace of anything was found to justify such a conclusion. It gave the testimony of two eye-witnesses to the catastrophe, who swore that there was absolutely no disturbance on the surface of the harbour around the Maine. The committee gave great stress to the fact that the explosion did no damage to the quays, and none to the vessels moored close to the Maine, whose officers and crews noticed nothing that could lead them to suppose that the disaster was caused otherwise than by an accident inside the American vessel.

April 18. Congress passed the Senate resolution, as given above, with an additional clause as follows:

[pg 37]

Fourth, That the United States hereby disclaim any disposition or intention to exercise sovereignty, jurisdiction or control over said island, except for the pacification thereof; and asserts its determination, when that is accomplished, to leave the government and control of the island to its people.

[pg 38]



All that had been done by the governments of the United States and of Spain was indicative of war,—it was virtually a declaration that an appeal would be made to arms.

April 20. Preparations were making in each country for actual hostilities, and the American people were prepared to receive the statement made by a gentleman in close touch with high officials, when he wrote:

“The United States has thrown down the gage of battle and Spain has picked it up.

“The signing by the President of the joint resolutions instructing him to intervene in Cuba was no sooner communicated to the Spanish minister than he immediately asked the State Department to furnish him with his passports.

“It was defiance, prompt and direct.

“It was the shortest and quickest manner for Spain to answer our ultimatum.

“Nominally Spain has three days in which to make her reply. Actually that reply has already been delivered.

[pg 39]

“When a nation withdraws her minister from the territory of another it is an open announcement to the world that all friendly relations have terminated.

“Answers to ultimatums have before this been returned at the cannon’s mouth. First the minister is withdrawn, then comes the firing. Spain is ready to speak through shotted guns.

“And the United States is ready to answer, gun for gun.

“The queen regent opened the Cortes in Madrid yesterday, saying, in her speech from the throne: ‘I have summoned the Cortes to defend our rights, whatever sacrifice they may entail, trusting to the Spanish people to gather behind my son’s throne. With our glorious army, navy, and nation united before foreign aggression, we trust in God that we shall overcome, without stain on our honour, the baseless and unjust attacks made on us.’

“Orders were sent last night to Captain Sampson at Key West to have all the vessels of his fleet under full steam, ready to move immediately upon orders.”

The Spanish minister, accompanied by six members of his staff, departed from Washington during the evening, after having made a hurried call at the French embassy and the Austrian legation, where Spanish interests were left in charge, having announced that he would spend several days in Toronto, Canada.

April 21. The ultimatum of the United States was received at Madrid early in the morning, and the gov[pg 40]ernment immediately broke off diplomatic relations by sending the following communication to Minister Woodford, before he could present any note from Washington:

Dear Sir:—In compliance with a painful duty, I have the honour to inform you that there has been sanctioned by the President of the republic a resolution of both chambers of the United States, which denies the legitimate sovereignty of Spain and threatens armed intervention in Cuba, which is equivalent to a declaration of war.

“The government of her majesty have ordered her minister to return without loss of time from North American territory, together with all the personnel of the legation.

“By this act the diplomatic relations hitherto existing between the two countries, and all official communication between their respective representatives, cease.

“I am obliged thus to inform you, so that you may make such arrangements as you think fit. I beg your excellency to acknowledge receipt of this note at such time as you deem proper, taking this opportunity to reiterate to you the assurances of my distinguished consideration.

(Signed) H. Gullon.

Relative to the ultimatum and its reception, the government of this country gave out the following information:

[pg 41]

“On yesterday, April 20, 1898, about one o’clock P. M., the Department of State served notice of the purposes of this government by delivering to Minister Polo a copy of an instruction to Minister Woodford, and also a copy of the resolutions passed by the Congress of the United States on the nineteenth instant. After the receipt of this notice the Spanish minister forwarded to the State Department a request for his passports, which were furnished him on yesterday afternoon.

“Copies of the instructions to Woodford are herewith appended. The United States minister at Madrid was at the same time instructed to make a like communication to the Spanish government.

“This morning the Department received from General Woodford a telegram, a copy of which is hereunto attached, showing that the Spanish government had broken off diplomatic relations with this government.

“This course renders unnecessary any further diplomatic action on the part of the United States.

“ Woodford, Minister, Madrid:—You have been furnished with the text of a joint resolution, voted by the Congress of the United States on the nineteenth instant, approved to-day, in relation to the pacification of the island of Cuba. In obedience to that act, the President directs you to immediately communicate to the government of Spain said resolution, with the [pg 42]formal demand of the government of the United States, that the government of Spain at once relinquish her authority and government in the island of Cuba, and withdraw her land and naval forces from Cuba and Cuban waters.

“ ‘In taking this step, the United States disclaims any disposition or intention to exercise sovereignty, jurisdiction, or control over said island, except for the pacification thereof, and asserts its determination when that is accomplished to leave the government and control of the island to its people under such free and independent government as they may establish.

“ ‘If, by the hour of noon on Saturday next, the twenty-third day of April, there be not communicated to this government by that of Spain a full and satisfactory response to this demand and resolutions, whereby the ends of peace in Cuba shall be assured, the President will proceed without further notice to use the power and authority enjoined and conferred upon him by the said joint resolution to such an extent as may be necessary to carry the same into effect.

“ ‘Sherman.

“This is Woodford’s telegram of this morning:

“ To Sherman, Washington:—Early this morning (Tuesday), immediately after the receipt of your telegram, and before I communicated the same to the [pg 43]Spanish government, the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs notified me that diplomatic relations are broken between the two countries, and that all official communication between the respective representatives has ceased. I accordingly asked for my passports. Have turned the legation over to the British embassy, and leave for Paris this afternoon. Have notified consuls.

“‘Woodford.’ ”

The Spanish newspapers applauded the “energy” of their government, and printed the paragraph inserted below as a semi-official statement from the throne:

“The Spanish government having received the ultimatum of the President of the United States, considers that the document constitutes a declaration of war against Spain, and that the proper form to be adopted is not to make any further reply, but to await the expiration of the time mentioned in the ultimatum before opening hostilities. In the meantime the Spanish authorities have placed their possessions in a state of defence, and their fleet is already on its way to meet that of the United States.”

April 21. General Woodford left Madrid late in the afternoon, and although an enormous throng of citizens were gathered at the railway station to witness his departure, no indignities were attempted. The people of Madrid professed the greatest enthusiasm for war, and the general opinion among the masses was that Spain would speedily vanquish the United States.

[pg 44]

In Havana, in response to the manifesto from the palace, the citizens began early to decorate the public buildings and many private residences, balconies, and windows with the national colours. A general illumination followed, as on the occasion of a great national festivity. Early in the evening no less than eight thousand demonstrators filled the square opposite the palace, a committee entering and tendering to the captain-general, in the name of all, their estates, property, and lives in aid of the government, and pledging their readiness to fight the invader.

General Blanco thanked them in the name of the king, the queen regent and the imperial and colonial governments, assuring them that he would do everything in his power to prevent the invaders from setting foot in Cuba. “Otherwise I shall not live,” he said, in conclusion. “Do you swear to follow me to the fight?”

“Yes, yes, we do!” the crowd answered.

“Do you swear to give the last drop of blood in your veins before letting a foreigner step his foot on the land we discovered, and place his yoke upon the people we civilised?”

“Yes, yes, we do!”

“The enemy’s fleet is almost at Morro Castle, almost at the doors of Havana,” General Blanco added. “They have money; but we have blood to shed, and we are ready to shed it. We will throw them into the sea!”


The people interrupted him with cries of applause, and he finished his speech by shouting Viva Espana! [pg 45]Viva el Rey! “Long live the army, the navy, and the volunteers!”


The Congress of the United States passed a joint resolution authorising the President, in his discretion, to prohibit the exportation of coal and other war material. The measure was of great importance, because through it was prevented the shipment of coal to ports in the West Indies where it might be used by Spain.

April 22. At half past five o’clock in the morning the vessels composing the North Atlantic Squadron put to sea from Key West. The flag-ship New York led the way. Close behind her steamed the Iowa and the Indiana. Following the war-ships came the gunboat Machias, and then the Newport. The Amphitrite, the first of the fleet, lying close to shore, steamed out after the Machias, and then followed in order the Nashville, the Wilmington, the Castine, the Cincinnati, and the other boats of the fleet, save the monitors Terror and Puritan, which were coaling, the cruiser Marblehead, the despatch-boat Dolphin, and the gunboat Helena.

After getting out of sight of land the flag of a rear-admiral was hoisted over the New York, indicating to the fleet that Captain Sampson was acting as a rear-admiral. When in the open sea the fleet was divided into three divisions. The New York, Iowa, and Indiana had the position of honour. Stretching out to the right were the Montgomery, Wilmington, Newport, and smaller craft; to the left was the Nashville in the lead, [pg 46]followed by the Cincinnati, Castine, Machias, Mayflower, and some of the torpedo-boats.

At seven o’clock in the morning the first gun of the war was fired. The Nashville, which had been sailing at about six knots an hour, in obedience to orders, suddenly swung out of line. Clouds of black smoke poured from her long, slim stacks, her speed was gradually increased until the water ascended in fine spray on each side of the bow, and behind her trailed out a long, creamy streak on the quiet waters.

She was headed for a Spanish merchantman, which was then about half a mile away, apparently paying no heed to the monsters of war.

A shot from one of the 4-pounders was sent across the stranger’s bow, and then, no attention having been paid to it, a 6-inch gun was discharged. This last shot struck the water and bounded along the surface a mile or more, sending up great clouds of spray.

The Spaniard wisely concluded to heave to, and within five minutes a boat was lowered from the Nashville to put on board the first prize a crew of six men, under command of Ensign Magruder.

The captured vessel was the Buena Ventura, of 1,741 tons burthen; laden with lumber, valued at eleven thousand dollars, and carrying a deck-load of cattle.

The record of this first day of hostilities was not to end with one capture.

Late in the afternoon, almost within gunshot of the Cuban shore, while the United States fleet was stand[pg 47]ing toward Havana, with the Mayflower a mile or more in advance of the flag-ship New York, the merchant steamship Pedro hove in sight. The Mayflower suddenly swung sharply to the westward, and a moment later a string of butterfly flags went fluttering to her masthead.

The New York flung her answering pennant to the breeze, and, making another signal to the fleet, which probably meant “Stay where you are until I get back,” swung her bow to the westward and went racing for the game that the Mayflower had sighted. The big cruiser dashed forward, smoke trailing in dense masses from each of her three big funnels, a hill of foam around her bow, and in her wake a swell like a tidal wave. It was a winning pace, and a magnificent sight she presented as she dashed through the choppy seas with never an undulation of her long, graceful hull.

When she was well inshore a puff of smoke came from the bow of the cruiser, followed by a dull report, then another and another, until four shots had been sent from one of the small, rapid-fire guns. The Spanish steamer, probably believing the pursuing craft carried no heavier guns, was trying to keep at a safe distance until the friendly darkness of night should hide her from view. During sixty seconds or more the big cruiser held her course in silence, and then her entire bow was hidden from the spectators in a swirl of white smoke as a main battery gun roared out its demand.

[pg 48]

The whizzing shell spoke plainly to the Spanish craft, and had hardly more than flung up a column of water a hundred yards or less in front of the merchantman before she was hastily rounded to with her engines reversed.

A prize crew under Ensign Marble was thrown on board, and the steamer Pedro, twenty-eight hundred tons burthen, suddenly had a change of commanders.

April 22. The President issued a proclamation announcing a blockade of Cuban ports, and also signed the bill providing for the utilising of volunteer forces in times of war.

The foreign news of immediate interest to the people of the United States was, first, from Havana, that Captain-General Blanco had published a decree confirming his previous decree, and declaring the island to be in a state of war.

He also annulled his former similar decrees granting pardon to insurgents, and placed under martial law all those who were guilty of treason, espionage, crimes against peace or against the independence of the nation, seditious revolts, attacks against the form of government or against the authorities, and against those who disturb public order, though only by means of printed matter.

From Madrid came the information that during the evening a throng of no less than six thousand people, carrying flags and shouting Viva Espana! “We want war!” and “Down with the Yankees!” burned the stars [pg 49]and stripes in front of the residence of Señor Sagasta, the premier, who was accorded an ovation. The mob then went to the residence of M. Patenotre, the French ambassador, and insisted that he should make his appearance, but the French ambassador was not at home.


Correspondents at Hongkong announced that Admiral Dewey had ordered the commanders of the vessels composing his squadron to be in readiness for an immediate movement against the Philippine Islands.

April 23. The President issued a proclamation calling for one hundred and twenty-five thousand volunteer soldiers.

In the new war tariff bill a loan of $500,000,000 was provided for in the form of three per cent. 10-20 bonds.

The third capture of a Spanish vessel was made early in the morning by the torpedo-boat Ericsson. The fishing-boat Perdito was sighted making for Havana harbour, and overhauled only when she was directly under the guns of Morro Castle, where a single shot from the fortification might have sunk either craft. After a prize-crew had been put on board Rear-Admiral Sampson decided to turn her loose, and so she was permitted to return to Havana to spread the news of the blockade.

During the afternoon the rum-laden schooner Mathilde was taken, after a lively chase, by the torpedo-boat Porter. Between five and six o’clock in the evening the torpedo-boat Foote, Lieut. W. L. Rodgers commanding, received the first Spanish fire.

She was taking soundings in the harbour of Matanzas, [pg 50]and had approached within two or three hundred yards of the shore, when suddenly a masked battery on the east side of the harbour, and not far distant from the Foote, fired three shots at the torpedo-boat. The missiles went wide of the mark, and the Foote leisurely returned to the Cincinnati to report the result of her work.

At Hongkong the United States consul notified Governor Blake of the British colony that the American fleet would leave the harbour in forty-eight hours, and that no warlike stores, or more coal than would be necessary to carry the vessels to the nearest home port, would be shipped.

The United States demanded of Portugal, the owner of the Cape Verde Islands, that, in accordance with international law, she send the Spanish war-ships away from St. Vincent, or require them to remain in that port during the war.

April 24. The following decree was gazetted in Madrid:

“Diplomatic relations are broken off between Spain and the United States, and a state of war being begun between the two countries, numerous questions of international law arise, which must be precisely defined chiefly because the injustice and provocation came from our adversaries, and it is they who by their detestable conduct have caused this great conflict.”

The royal decree then states that Spain maintains her right to have recourse to privateering, and an[pg 51]nounces that for the present only auxiliary cruisers will be fitted out. All treaties with the United States are annulled; thirty days are given to American ships to leave Spanish ports, and the rules Spain will observe during the war are outlined in five clauses, covering neutral flags and goods contraband of war; what will be considered a blockade; the right of search, and what constitutes contraband of war, ending with saying that foreign privateers will be regarded as pirates.

Continuing, the decree declared: “We have observed with the strictest fidelity the principles of international law, and have shown the most scrupulous respect for morality and the right of government.

“There is an opinion that the fact that we have not adhered to the declaration of Paris does not exempt us from the duty of respecting the principles therein enunciated. The principle Spain unquestionably refused to admit then was the abolition of privateering.

“The government now considers it most indispensable to make absolute reserve on this point, in order to maintain our liberty of action and uncontested right to have recourse to privateering when we consider it expedient, first, by organising immediately a force of cruisers, auxiliary to the navy, which will be composed of vessels of our mercantile marine, and with equal distinction in the work of our navy.

Clause 1: The state of war existing between Spain and the United States annuls the treaty of peace and amity of October 27, 1795, and the protocol of January [pg 52]12, 1877, and all other agreements, treaties, or conventions in force between the two countries.

Clause 2: From the publication of these presents, thirty days are granted to all ships of the United States anchored in our harbours to take their departure free of hindrance.

Clause 3: Notwithstanding that Spain has not adhered to the declaration of Paris, the government, respecting the principles of the law of nations, proposes to observe, and hereby orders to be observed, the following regulations of maritime laws:

One: Neutral flags cover the enemy’s merchandise, except contraband of war.

Two: Neutral merchandise, except contraband of war, is not seizable under the enemy’s flag.

Three: A blockade, to be obligatory, must be effective; viz., it must be maintained with sufficient force to prevent access to the enemy’s littoral.

Four: The Spanish government, upholding its rights to grant letters of marque, will at present confine itself to organising, with the vessels of the mercantile marine, a force of auxiliary cruisers which will coöperate with the navy, according to the needs of the campaign, and will be under naval control.

Five: In order to capture the enemy’s ships, and confiscate the enemy’s merchandise and contraband of war under whatever form, the auxiliary cruisers will exercise the right of search on the high seas, and in the waters under the enemy’s jurisdiction, in accordance [pg 53]with international law and the regulations which will be published.

Six: Defines what is included in contraband of war, naming weapons, ammunition, equipments, engines, and, in general, all the appliances used in war.

Seven: To be regarded and judged as pirates, with all the rigour of the law, are captains, masters, officers, and two-thirds of the crew of vessels, which, not being American, shall commit acts of war against Spain, even if provided with letters of marque by the United States.”

April 24. The U. S. S. Helena captured the steamer Miguel Jover. The U. S. S. Detroit captured the steamer Catalania; the Wilmington took the schooner Candidor; the Winona made a prize of the steamer Saturnia, and the Terror brought in the schooners Saco and Tres Hermanes.

April 25. Early in the day the President sent the following message to Congress:

“I transmit to the Congress, for its consideration and appropriate action, copies of correspondence recently had with the representatives of Spain and the United States, with the United States minister at Madrid, through the latter with government of Spain, showing the action taken under the joint resolution approved April 20, 1898, ‘For the recognition of the independence of the people of Cuba, demanding that the government of Spain relinquish its authority and government in the island of Cuba, and withdraw its land and naval forces [pg 54]from Cuba and Cuban waters, and directing the President of the United States to carry these resolutions into effect.’

“Upon communicating with the Spanish minister in Washington the demand, which it became the duty of the executive to address to the government of Spain in obedience with said resolution, the minister asked for his passports and withdrew. The United States minister at Madrid was in turn notified by the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, that the withdrawal of the Spanish representative from the United States had terminated diplomatic relations between the two countries, and that all official communications between their respective representatives ceased therewith.

“I commend to your especial attention the note addressed to the United States minister at Madrid by the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs on the twenty-first instant, whereby the foregoing notification was conveyed. It will be perceived therefrom, that the government of Spain, having cognisance of the joint resolution of the United States Congress, and, in view of the things which the President is thereby required and authorised to do, responds by treating the reasonable demands of this government as measures of hostility, following with that instant and complete severance of relations by its action, which by the usage of nations accompanied an existing state of war between sovereign powers.

“The position of Spain being thus made known, and [pg 55]the demands of the United States being denied, with a complete rupture of intercourse by the act of Spain, I have been constrained, in exercise of the power and authority conferred upon me by the joint resolution aforesaid, to proclaim under date of April 22, 1898, a blockade of certain ports of the north coast of Cuba, lying between Cardenas and Bahia Honda, and of the port of Cienfuegos on the south coast of Cuba, and further in exercise of my constitutional powers, and using the authority conferred upon me by act of Congress, approved April 22, 1898, to issue my proclamation, dated April 23, 1898, calling for volunteers in order to carry into effect the said resolution of April 20, 1898. Copies of these proclamations are hereto appended.


“In view of the measures so taken, and other measures as may be necessary to enable me to carry out the express will of the Congress of the United States in the premises, I now recommend to your honourable body the adoption of a joint resolution declaring that a state of war exists between the United States of America and the kingdom of Spain, and I urge speedy action thereon to the end that the definition of the international status of the United States as a belligerent power may be made known, and the assertion of all its rights and the maintenance of all its duties in the conduct of a public war may be assured.

(Signed) “William McKinley.
[pg 56]

The war bill was passed without delay, and immediately after it had been signed the following notice was sent to the representatives of the foreign nations:

“A joint resolution of Congress, approved April 20th, directed intervention for the pacification and independence of the island of Cuba. The Spanish government on April 21st informed our minister at Madrid that it considered this resolution equivalent to a declaration of war, and that it had accordingly withdrawn its minister from Washington and terminated all diplomatic relations.

“Congress has therefore, by an act approved to-day, declared that a state of war exists between the two countries since and including April 21st.

“You will inform the government to which you are accredited, so that its neutrality may be assured in the existing war.”


Before the close of the day John Sherman, Secretary of State, had resigned; Assistant Secretary William R. Day was appointed the head of the department, with John B. Moore as his successor.

The United States squadron sailed from Hongkong, under orders to rendezvous at Mirs Bay, and public attention was turned towards Manila, it being believed that there the first action would take place.

During the evening the tiny steamer Mangrove, a lighthouse tender, captured the richest prize of the war thus far, when she hove to the Panama, a big trans[pg 57]atlantic liner, and an auxiliary cruiser of the Spanish navy, which had been plying between New York and Havana.

The Mangrove, Lieut.-Commander William H. Everett commanding, was cruising along the Cuban coast about twenty miles from Havana when she sighted the big steamer, which was armed with two 12-pounders. As the latter came within range the Mangrove sent a shot across her bow; but the Spaniard gave no heed; another missile followed without result, and the third whistled in the air when the two vessels were hardly more than a hundred yards apart, Commander Everett shouting, as the report of the gun died away, that unless the steamer surrendered she would be sunk forthwith.

The only other ship of the fleet in sight was the battle-ship Indiana, three miles to the rear. The Mangrove’s officers admit that they expected the enemy’s 12-pounders to open on them in response to the threat, but the Spaniard promptly came to. Ensign Dayton boarded the prize.

The Indiana had seen the capture, and meanwhile drew up to the Mangrove, giving her a lusty cheer. Lieutenant-Commander Everett reported to Captain Taylor of the battle-ship, and the latter put a prize-crew on board the captive, consisting of Cadet Falconer and fifteen marines.

April 26. The President issued a proclamation respecting the rights of Spanish vessels then in, or [pg 58]bound to, ports in the United States, and also with regard to the right of search.

The United States gunboat Newport carried into Key West the Spanish schooner Piereno and the sloop Paquette, which she captured off Havana, while the monitor Terror took to the same port the coasting steamer Ambrosia Bolivar. This last prize had on board silver specie to the amount of seventy thousand dollars, three hundred casks of wine, and a cargo of bananas.

April 27. The steamers New York, Puritan, and Cincinnati bombarded the forts at the mouth of Matanzas Harbour. The engagement commenced at 12.57, and ceased at 1.15 P. M. The object of the attack was to prevent the completion of the earthworks at Punta Gorda.

A battery on the eastward arm of the bay opened fire on the flag-ship, and this was also shelled. Twelve 8-inch shells were fired from the eastern forts, but all fell short. About five or six light shells were fired from the half completed batteries. Two of these whizzed over the New York, and one fell short.

The ships left the bay for the open sea, the object of discovering the whereabouts of the batteries having been accomplished. In the neighbourhood of three hundred shots were put on land from the three ships at a range of from four thousand to seven thousand yards. No casualties on the American side.

The little monitor Terror captured her third prize, [pg 59]and the story of the chase is thus told by an eye-witness:


“The Spanish steamer Guido, Captain Armarechia, was bound for Havana. There was Spanish urgency that she should reach that port. Aboard was a large cargo, provisions for the beleaguered city, money for the Spanish troops—or officers. The steamer had left Liverpool on April 2d, and Corunna on April 9th.

“Ten miles off Cardenas, in the early morning, the Guido, setting her fastest pace, made for Havana and the guardian guns of Morro. Ten miles off Cardenas plodded the heavy monitor. The half light betrayed the fugitive, and the pursuit was begun.

“Slowly, very slowly, the monitor gained. It would be a long chase. Men in the engine-room toiled like galley-slaves under the whip. There was prize-money to be gained. The Guido fled fast. Every light aboard her was hid.

“Reluctantly the pursuer aimed a 6-pounder. It was prize aim, and the shot found more than a billet in the Guido’s pilot-house. It tore a part away; the splinters flew.

“Another 6-pounder, and another. It was profitable shooting. The pilot-house, a fair mark, was piece by piece nearly destroyed. Jagged bits of wood floated in the steamer’s wake.

“The gunboat Machias, which was some distance away, heard the sound of the firing, came up, and brought her 4-inch rifle into play, firing one shot, [pg 60]which failed to hit the Spaniard. This, however, brought her to, and Lieutenant Qualto and a prize-crew were put on board.”

A cablegram from Hongkong announced the capture of the American bark Saranac off Manila, by the Spanish gunboat El Correo.

By a conference of both branches of Congress a naval bill of $49,277,558 was agreed upon. It stands as the heaviest naval outlay since the civil war, providing for the construction of three battle-ships, four monitors, sixteen torpedo-boat destroyers, and twelve torpedo-boats.

The U. S. S. Newport captured the Spanish sloop Engracia, and the U. S. S. Dolphin made a prize of the Spanish schooner Lola.

April 29. The flag-ship New York was lying about two miles off the harbour of Cabanas, having just completed a cruise of inspection. With her were the torpedo-boats Porter and Ericsson. On the shore could be seen the white ruins of what may have been the dwelling of a plantation. No signs of life were visible. It was as if war’s alarms had never been heard on this portion of the island.

Suddenly a volley of musketry rang out, repeated again and again, at regular intervals, and the tiny jets of water which were sent up by the bullets told that, concealed near about the ruins of the hacienda, a troop of Spanish soldiers were making what possibly they may have believed to be an attack upon the big war-[pg 61]ship. It was much as if a swarm of gnats had set about endeavouring to worry an elephant, and likely to have as little effect; yet Rear-Admiral Sampson believed it was necessary to teach the enemy that any playing at war, however harmless, was dangerous to themselves, and he ordered that the port battery be manned.

Half a dozen shots from the 4-inch guns were considered sufficient, although there was no evidence any execution had been done, and the big vessel’s bow was turned eastward just as a troop of Spanish cavalry rode rapidly away from the ruin. The horsemen served as a target for a 4-inch gun in the starboard battery, and the troop dispersed in hot haste.

While this mimic warfare was being carried on off Cabanas, a most important capture was made. The Nashville, Marblehead, and the Eagle left the station on the north coast, April 25th, to blockade Cienfuegos, arriving at the latter place on the twenty-eighth.

They spent the day reconnoitring, and, next morning, in order to get better information, steamed close to the mouth of the harbour of Cienfuegos. The Eagle was to the eastward, and in the van. The Marblehead was slightly in the rear, and the Nashville to the westward.

All were cleared for action. Suddenly smoke was seen rising on the western horizon, and the Nashville, because of her position, put on all steam in that direction. Twenty minutes later she fired two shots across [pg 62]the bow of the coming steamer, which promptly hove to. She was the Argonauta. Ensign Keunzli was sent with a prize-crew of nine to take possession of her.

Learning that Spanish soldiers were on board, word was given to send them to the Nashville immediately as prisoners of war, and when this had been done arrangements were made to transfer the passengers and non-combatants to the shore. The women and children were placed in the first boat, and under cover of a flag of truce were soon bound toward the entrance to Cienfuegos. A second crew took the other passengers and landed them about noon.

The Argonauta had on board Colonel Corijo of the Third Spanish Cavalry, his first lieutenant, sergeant-major, seven other lieutenants, and ten privates and non-commissioned officers. The steamer also carried a large cargo of arms and Mauser ammunition. She was bound from Satabanao, Spain, for Cienfuegos, stopping at Port Louis, Trinidad, and Manzanillo.

Half an hour later the Eagle hoisted a signal conveying the intelligence that she had been fired upon by Spanish boats coming out of the river. She immediately returned the fire with the 6-pounders, and held her ground until the Marblehead came up. Both vessels then fired broadside after broadside up the entrance to the river.

The boats coming down were two torpedo-boats and one torpedo-boat destroyer. After twenty minutes of firing by the Eagle, during the last five of which the [pg 63]Marblehead participated, the Spanish vessels ceased firing.

April 29. A cablegram from St. Vincent, Cape Verde, reported the departure from that port of the Spanish squadron, consisting of the first-class cruisers Vizcaya, Almirante Oquendo, Infanta Maria Teresa, and Cristobal Colon, and the three torpedo-boat destroyers Furor, Terror, and Pluton, bound westward, probably for Porto Rico.

April 30. The American schooner Ann Louisa Lockwood was taken by the Spaniards off Mole St. Nicolas.

The capture of a small Spanish schooner, the Mascota, near Havana, by the torpedo-boat Foote, closed the record of the month of April.

Anxiously awaiting some word from Manila were the people of the United States, and it was as if everything else was relegated to the background until information could be had regarding that American fleet which sailed from Mirs Bay, in the China Sea, on the afternoon of April 27th.

[pg 64]



May 1. “Manila, May 1.—The squadron arrived at Manila at daybreak this morning. Immediately engaged the enemy, and destroyed the following Spanish vessels: Isla de Cuba, Isla de Luzon, Reina Christina, Castilla, Don Antonio d’Ulloa, Don Juan d’Austria, Velasco, General Lezo, El Correo, Marques del Duero, Isla de Mindanao, and the water-battery at Cavite. The squadron is uninjured. Few men were slightly injured. The only means of telegraphing is to American consulate, Hongkong. I shall communicate with him.


All the world loves a hero, but idolises him when he performs his deeds of valour without too many preliminaries, and, therefore, when on the seventh of May the telegram quoted above was flashed over the wires to an anxiously expectant people, it was as if all the country remembered but one name,—that of Dewey.

April 25. It was known to the public that the Asiatic Squadron had sailed from Hongkong on the [pg 65]25th of April to avoid possible complications such as might arise in a neutral port, and had rendezvoused in Mirs Bay, there to await orders from the government at Washington.


April 26. So also was it known that on the next day Commodore Dewey received the following cablegram.

Dewey, Asiatic Squadron:—Commence operations at once, particularly against Spanish fleet. You must capture or destroy them.


April 27. On the twenty-seventh came information from Hongkong that the squadron had put to sea, and from that day until the seventh of May no word regarding the commodore’s movements had been received, save through Spanish sources.

Then came a cablegram containing the bare facts concerning the most complete naval victory the world had ever known. It was the first engagement of the war, and a crushing defeat for the enemy. It is not strange that the people, literally overwhelmed with joy, gave little heed to the movements of our forces elsewhere until the details of this marvellous fight could be sent under the oceans and across the countries, thousands of leagues in distance, describing the deeds of the heroes who had made their names famous so long as history shall exist.

[pg 66]

During such time of waiting all were eager to familiarise themselves with the theatre of this scene of action, and every source of information was applied to until the bay of Manila had become as well known as the nearest home waters.

For a better understanding of the battle a rough diagram of the bay, from the entrance as far as the city of Manila, may not come amiss.1

Twenty-six miles from the entrance to the bay is situated the city of Manila, through which the river Pasig runs, dividing what is known as the old city from the new, and forming several small islands.

Sixteen miles from the sea is the town and arsenal of Cavite, which, projecting as it does from the mainland, forms a most commodious and safe harbour. Cavite was well fortified, and directly opposite its fort, on the mainland, was a heavy mortar battery. Between the arsenal and the city was a Krupp battery, at what was known as the Luneta Fort, while further toward the sea, extending from Cavite to the outermost portion of Limbones Point, were shore-batteries,—formidable forts, so it had been given out by the Spanish government, such as would render the city of Manila impregnable.

Between Limbones and Talago Point are two islands, Corregidor and Caballo, which divide the entrance of the bay into three channels. On each of these islands [pg 67]is a lighthouse, and it was said that both were strongly fortified with modern guns. North of Corregidor, nearly opposite, but on the inner shore, is the point of San José, where was another water-battery mounting formidable guns. That channel between Corregidor and San José Point is known as the Boca Grande, and is nearly two miles wide. The middle channel, or the one situated between the two islands, is shallow, and but little used. The third, which separates Caballo Island from Limbones Point, is nearly three miles in width, at least twenty fathoms deep, and known as the Boca Chica.

All of these channels, as well as the waters of the bay, were said to have been thickly mined, and the enemy had caused it to be reported that no ship could safely enter without the aid of a government pilot.

In addition to the vessels of the American fleet, as set down at the conclusion of this chapter, were two transports, the steamers Nanshan and Zafiro, which had come into the port of Hongkong laden with coal shortly before Commodore Dewey’s departure, and had been purchased by him, together with their cargoes, in anticipation of the declaration of war.

And now, the details having been set down in order that what follows may be the better understood, we will come to that sultry Sunday morning, shortly after midnight, when the American fleet steamed along the coast toward the entrance to Manila Bay, the flag-ship [pg 68]Olympia leading, with the Baltimore, the Raleigh, the Petrel, the Concord, and the Boston following in the order named. In the rear of these came the two transports, the Nanshan and Zafiro, convoyed by the despatch steamer McCulloch.

The commodore had decided to enter by the Boca Grande channel, and the fleet kept well out from Talago Point until the great light of Corregidor came into view.

Then the crews of the war-vessels were summoned on deck, the men ordered to wash, and afterwards served with a cup of coffee. All lights were extinguished except one on the stern of each ship, and that was hooded. All hands were at quarters; all guns loaded, with extra charges ready at hand; every eye was strained, and every ear on the alert to catch the slightest sound.

Perhaps there was not a man from commodore to seaman, who believed it would be possible for the war-vessels to enter the bay without giving an alarm, and yet the big ships continued on and were nearly past Corregidor Island before a gun was fired.

The flag-ship was well into the bay, steaming at a four-knot speed, when from the smoke-stack of the little McCulloch a column of sparks shot up high into the air. In the run her fires had fallen low, and it became necessary to replenish them. The firemen, perhaps fearing lest they should not be in at the death, were more energetic than prudent, and [pg 69]thus a signal was given to the sleepy garrison of Corregidor.


“Perhaps they will see us now,” the commodore remarked, quietly, as his attention was called to this indiscretion.

A flash of light burst from the fort; there was a dull report, and in the air could be heard that peculiar singing and sighing of a flying projectile as a heavy missile passed over the Olympia and the Raleigh.

The garrison on Corregidor was awakened, but not until after the last vessel in that ominous procession had steamed past.

It was the first gun in the battle of Manila Bay, and it neither worked harm nor caused alarm.

Again and again in rapid succession came these flashes of light, dull reports, and sinister hummings in the air, before the American fleet gave heed that this signal to heave to had been heard.

Then a 4-inch shell was sent from the Concord directly inside of the fortification, where it exploded.

The Raleigh and the Boston each threw a shell by way of salute, and then all was silent.

The channel, which had been thickly mined, according to the Spanish reports, was passed in safety, and the fleet, looking so unsubstantial in the darkness, had yet to meet the mines in the bay, as well as the Spanish fleet, which all knew was lying somewhere near about the city.

On the forward bridge of the Olympia stood Commo[pg 70]dore Dewey, his chief of staff, Commander Lamberton, Lieutenant Rees, Lieutenant Calkins, and an insurgent Filippino, who had volunteered as pilot.

In the conning-tower was Captain Gridley, who, much against his will, was forced to take up his position in that partially sheltered place because the commander of the fleet was not willing to take the chances that all the chief officers of the ship should be exposed to death on the bridge.

The word was given to “slow down,” and the speed of the big ships decreased until they had barely steerageway.

The men were allowed to sleep beside their guns.

The moon had set, the darkness and the silence was almost profound, until suddenly day broke, as it does in the tropics, like unto a flash of light, and all that bay, with its fighting-machines in readiness for the first signal, was disclosed to view.

From the masthead of the American vessels rose tiny balls of bunting, and then were broken out, disclosing the broad folds of the stars and stripes.

Cavite was hardly more than five miles ahead, and beyond, the city of Manila.

The Reina Christina, flying the Spanish rear-admiral’s flag, lay off the arsenal. Astern of her was moored the Castilla, her port battery ready for action. Slightly to seaward were the Don Juan de Austria, the Don Antonio de Ulloa, the Isla de Cuba and Isla de [pg 71]Luzon, the El Correo, the Marques del Duero, and the General Lezo.

They were under steam and slowly moving about, apparently ready to receive the fire of the advancing squadron. The flag-ship Reina Christina also was under way.

“Prepare for general action! Steam at eight-knot speed!” were the signals which floated from the Olympia as she led the fleet in, keeping well toward the shore opposite the city.

The American fleet was yet five miles distant, when from the arsenal came a flame and report; but the missile was not to be seen. Another shot from Cavite, and then was strung aloft on the Olympia a line of tiny flags, telling by the code what was to be the American battle-cry: “Remember the Maine,” and from the throat of every man on the incoming ships went up a shout of defiance and exultation that the moment was near at hand when the dastardly deed done in the harbour of Havana might be avenged.

Steaming steadily onward were the huge vessels, dropping astern and beyond range the transports as they passed opposite Cavite Point, until, having gained such a distance above the city as permitted of an evolution, the fleet swung swiftly around until it held a course parallel with the westernmost shore, and distant from it mayhap six thousand yards.

Every nerve was strained to its utmost tension; each man took a mental grip upon himself, believing that he [pg 72]stood face to face with death; but no cheek paled; no hand trembled save it might have been from excitement.

The ships were coming down on their fighting course when a shell from one of the shore-batteries burst over the Olympia; the guns from the fort and from the water-batteries vomited jets of flame and screaming missiles with thunderous reports; every man on the American fleet save one believed the moment had come when they should act their part in the battle which had been begun by the enemy; but up went the signal:

“Hold your fire until close in.”

Had the American fleet opened fire then, the city of Manila would have been laid in ashes and thousands of non-combatants slain.

The Olympia was yet two miles from Cavite when, directly in front of the Baltimore, a huge shaft of water shot high into the air, and with a heavy booming that drowned the reports of the Spanish guns.

“The torpedoes!” some one on the Olympia said, in a low tone, with an indrawing of the breath; but it was as if Dewey did not hear. With Farragut in Mobile Bay he had seen the effects of such engines of destruction, and, like Farragut, he gave little heed to that which might in a single instant send his vessel to the bottom, even as the Maine had been sent.

Then, so near the Raleigh as to send a flood across her decks, another spouting of water, another dull roar, and the much vaunted mines of the Spaniards in Manila Bay had been exploded.

[pg 73]

The roar and crackle of the enemy’s guns still continued, yet Dewey withheld the order which every man was now most eager to hear.

The Spanish gunners were getting the range; the shells which had passed over our fleet now fell close about them; the tension among officers and men was terrible. They wondered how much longer the commodore would restrain them from firing. The heat was rapidly becoming intense. The guns’ crews began to throw off their clothes. Soon they wore nothing but their trousers, and perspiration fairly ran from their bodies.

Still the word was not given to fire, though the ships steadily steamed on and drew nearer the fort. Orders were given by the officers in low voices, but they were perfectly audible, so great was the silence which was broken only by the throbbing of the engines. The men hugged their posts ready to open fire at the word.

A huge shell from Cavite hissed through the air and came directly for the Olympia. High over the smoke-stack it burst with a mighty snap. Commodore Dewey did not raise his eyes. He simply turned, made a motion to a boatswain’s mate who stood near the after 5-inch gun. With a voice of thunder the man bellowed an order along the decks.

“Remember the Maine!” yelled a chorus of five hundred gallant sailors. Below decks in the engine-rooms the cry was taken up, a cry of defiance and revenge. Up in the turrets resounded the words, and [pg 74]the threatening notes were swept across the bay to the other ships.

“Remember the Maine!”

In that strange cry was loosed the pent-up wrath of hundreds of American sailors who resented the cowardly death of their comrades. It bespoke the terrible vengeance that was about to be dealt out to the defenders of a detestable flag.

“You may fire when you are ready, Gridley,” was Commodore Dewey’s quiet remark to the captain of the Olympia, who was still in the conning-tower.

The Olympia’s 8-inch gun in the forward turret belched forth, and an instant later was run up the signal to the ships astern:

“Fire as convenient.”

The other vessels in the squadron followed the example set by the Olympia. The big 8-inch guns of the Baltimore and the Boston hurled their two hundred and fifty pound shells at the Spanish flag-ship and at the Castilla.

The Spanish fleet fired fast and furiously. The guns on Cavite hurled their shells at the swiftly moving vessels; the water-batteries added their din to the horrible confusion of noises; the air was sulphurous with the odour of burning powder, and great clouds of smoke hung here and there, obscuring this vessel or that from view. It was the game of death with all its horrible accompaniments.

One big shell came toward the Olympia straight for [pg 75]the bridge. When a hundred feet away it suddenly burst, its fragments continuing onward. One piece struck the rigging directly over the head of Commander Lamberton. He did not wince.


The Olympia continued on. It was evident Commodore Dewey was making straight for the centre of the enemy’s line, which was the big cruiser Reina Christina.

Being the nearest ship, the Olympia received more attention from the Spaniards than any of the other vessels.

The water was now getting shallow. Commodore Dewey did not wish to run aground. He altered his course when about four thousand yards from the Spanish vessels, and swung around to give them his broadside.

A small torpedo-boat was seen to emerge from the shore near the arsenal, making for the coal-laden steamers at a high rate of speed. The secondary batteries on the ships nearest were brought to bear upon her; it was a veritable shower of shot and shell which fell ahead, astern, and either side of her. To continue on would have been certain destruction, and, turning in the midst of that deadly hail which had half disabled her, the craft was run high and dry on the beach, where she was at once abandoned, her crew doubtless fearing lest the magazines would explode.

“Open with all guns,” came the signal as the course [pg 76]of the American vessels was changed, and soon all the port guns were at work.

The American fleet was steaming back and forth off Cavite Bay as if bent on leaving such a wake as would form a figure eight, delivering broadside after broadside with splendid results.

All this time the enemy’s vessels were keeping up a steady fire, the smaller ships retreating inside the mole several times during the action. The forts were not idle, but kept thundering forth their tribute with no noticeable effect. The enemy’s fire seemed to be concentrated on the Baltimore, and she was hit several times.

A 4.7-inch armour-piercing shell punctured her side on the main-deck line, tore up the wooden deck, and, striking the steel deck under this, glanced upward, went through the after engine-room hatch, and, emerging, struck the cylinder of the port 6-inch gun on the quarter-deck, temporarily rendering the gun unfit for use.

In its flight it also struck a box of 3-pounder ammunition, exploding one shell, which in turn slightly wounded one of No. 4 gun’s crew.

One shell pierced her starboard side forward of No. 2 sponson, and lodged in a clothes-locker on the berth-deck; another struck her port beam a little above the water-line, and a few feet forward of, and above this, another shell came crashing across the berth-deck, striking a steam-pipe and exploding behind the starboard [pg 77]blower-engine, but with no serious results. A fragment of a shell went through one of the ventilators, and the colours of the mainmast were shot through.


The concussion from the 8-inch guns on the poop shattered the whaleboats, and they had to be cut adrift. A fragment of a shell that burst over the quarter-deck cut the signal halliards which Lieutenant Brumby held in his hand.

On the Boston a shell came through a port-hole in Ensign Doddridge’s stateroom, and wrecked it badly. The explosion set a fire which was quickly put out. Another shell struck the port hammock netting, where it burst, setting fire to the hammocks. This was also soon extinguished. Still another shell struck the Boston’s foremast, cutting a great gash in it. It came within twenty feet of Captain Wildes on the bridge.

The Raleigh was forced inshore by the strong current, and carried directly upon the bows of two Spanish cruisers. By all the rules of warfare she should have been sunk; but instead, her commander delivered two raking broadsides as she steamed back into place.

Three times the American ships passed back and forth, opening first with one broadside and then with another as the ship swung around, and then the Reina Christina, black smoke pouring from her stacks, and a vapour as of wool coming from the steam-pipes, gallantly sallied out to meet the Olympia.

Between the two flag-ships ensued a duel, in which [pg 78]the Spaniard was speedily worsted to such a degree that she was literally forced to turn and make for the shore. As she swung around, with her stern directly toward the Olympia, an 8-inch shell struck her squarely, and the explosive must have travelled directly through the ill-fated craft until it reached the after boiler, where it exploded, ripping up the decks, and vomiting forth showers of iron fragments and portions of dismembered human bodies.

A gunboat came out from behind the Cavite pier, and made directly for the Olympia. In less than five minutes she was in a sinking condition; as she turned, a shell struck her just inside the stern railing, and she disappeared beneath the waves as if crushed by some titanic force.

Navigator Calkins of the Olympia had soundings taken, and told Commodore Dewey that he could take the ship farther in toward the Spanish fleet.

“Take her in, then,” the commodore replied.

The ship moved up to within two thousand yards of the Spanish fleet. This brought the smaller guns into effective play.

The rain of shell upon the doomed Spaniards was terrific.

The Castilla was in flames from stem to stern. Black smoke poured up from the decks of the Isla de Cuba, and on the flag-ship fire was completing the work of destruction begun by the American shells.

It was 7.35 A. M. when the battle, which began at [pg 79]5.41, came to a temporary close. The first round was concluded.

There was yet ample time in which to finish the work so well begun, and from the flag-ship Olympia went up the signal:

“Cease firing and follow.”

The fleet was headed for the opposite shore, and, once partially beyond range, “mess-gear” was sounded.

The only casualty worthy of mention which had occurred was the death of Chief Engineer Frank B. Randall, of the steamer McCulloch, who died from heart disease, probably superinduced by excitement, while the fleet was passing Corregidor.

There were handshakings and congratulations on every hand as smoke-begrimed friends, parted during the battle, met again, and loud were the cheers that went up from the various ships in passing.

After breakfast had been served and the ships made ready for the second round, or, in other words, at 10.15 in the forenoon, the Spanish flag-ship Reina Christina hauled down her colours, and the admiral’s flag was transferred to the Isla de Cuba.

At 10.45 a signal was made from the Olympia:

“Get under way with men at quarters.”

Again the fleet stood in toward Cavite, the Baltimore in the lead, but the latter vessel’s course was quickly changed as a strange steamer was observed entering the bay.

Not many moments were spent in reconnoitring; [pg 80]the signal flags soon told that the stranger was flying the English ensign.

Then came the order for the Baltimore to stand in and destroy the enemy’s fortifications, and ten minutes later the battle was on once more.

Now the fire was slow and deliberate, the gunners taking careful aim, bent on expending the least amount of ammunition with the greatest possible execution.

The Baltimore suffered most at the beginning of this second round, because all the enemy’s fire was concentrated upon her.

Soon after this second half of the engagement had begun a Spanish shell exploded on the Baltimore’s deck, wounding five of the crew, and another partially disabled three. It was as if every square yard of surface in that portion of the bay was covered by a missile from the enemy’s guns, and yet no further damage to the American fleet was done.

When the Baltimore was within twenty-five hundred-yard range she poured a broadside into the Reina Christina which literally blew that craft into fragments, and the smoke from the guns yet hung like a cloud above the deck when the ill-fated flag-ship sank beneath the waters of the bay.

The Don Juan de Austria was the next of the enemy’s fleet to be sunk, and then a like fate overtook the El Correo.

The General Lezo was run on shore and abandoned to the flames.

[pg 81]

The cruiser Castilla was scuttled by her crew lest the fire which was raging fiercely should explode her magazine.

The Velasco went down before all her men could escape to the boats. The guns of the Don Antonio de Ulloa were fought with most desperate bravery, and even as she sank beneath the surface were the pieces discharged by the brave Spaniards who stood at their posts of duty until death overtook them.

The Concord started after the Mindanao lying close inshore, and was soon joined by the Olympia, who poured 8-inch shells into the transport until she was set on fire in a dozen places.

The entire Spanish fleet had been destroyed; not a vessel remained afloat, and Commodore Dewey turned his attention to the Cavite battery.

It was 12.45 P. M. when the magazine in the arsenal was exploded by a shell from the Olympia, or the Petrel, it is impossible to say which, and the battle of Manila had been fought and won.


Not until the thirteenth of May was Commodore Dewey’s official report received at the Navy Department, and then it was given to the public without loss of time. It is copied below:

“The squadron left Mirs Bay on April 27th. Arrived off Bolinao on the morning of April 30th, and [pg 82]finding no vessels there proceeded down the coast and arrived off the entrance to Manila Bay on the same afternoon. The Boston and Concord were sent to reconnoitre Point Subic.... A thorough search of the port was made by the Boston and the Concord, but the Spanish fleet was not found....

“Entered the south channel at 11.30 P. M., steaming in column at eight knots. After half the squadron had passed, a battery on the south side of the channel opened fire, none of the shots taking effect. The Boston and McCulloch returned the fire.

“The squadron proceeded across the bay at slow speed, and arrived off Manila at daybreak, and was fired upon at 5.15 A. M. by three batteries at Manila and two near Cavite, and by the Spanish fleet anchored in an approximately east and west line across the mouth of Baker Bay, with their left in shoal water in Canacoa Bay.

“The squadron then proceeded to the attack, the flag-ship Olympia, under my personal direction, leading, followed at distance by the Baltimore, Raleigh, Petrel, Concord, and Boston, in the order named, which formation was maintained throughout the action. The squadron opened fire at 5.41 A. M.

“While advancing to the attack two mines were exploded ahead of the flag-ship, too far to be effective. The squadron maintained a continuous and precise fire at ranges varying from five thousand to two thousand yards, countermarching in a line approximately parallel [pg 83]to that of the Spanish fleet. The enemy’s fire was vigorous, but generally ineffective.


“Early in the engagement two launches put out toward the Olympia, with the apparent intention of using torpedoes. One was sunk and the other disabled by our fire, and beached before an opportunity occurred to fire torpedoes.

“At seven A. M. the Spanish flag-ship, Reina Christina, made a desperate attempt to leave the line and come out to engage at short range, but was received with such a volley of fire, the entire battery of the Olympia being concentrated upon her, that she was barely able to return to the shelter of the point. The fires started in her by our shell at this time were not extinguished until she sank.

“The three batteries at Manila had kept up a continuous report from the beginning of the engagement, which fire was not returned by this squadron.

“The first of these batteries was situated on the South Mole head, at the entrance to the Pasig River, the second on the south bastion of the walled city of Manila, and the third at Malate, about one-half mile farther south. At this point I sent a message to the governor-general, in effect that if the batteries did not cease firing the city would be shelled. This had the effect of silencing them.

“At 7.35 A. M. I ceased firing and withdrew the squadron for breakfast.

“At 11.16 A. M. returned to the attack. By this [pg 84]time the Spanish flag-ship and almost the entire Spanish fleet were in flames. At 12.30 P. M. the squadron ceased firing, the batteries being silenced, and the ships sunk, burned, and destroyed.

“At 12.40 P. M. the squadron returned and anchored off Manila, the Petrel being left behind to complete the destruction of the smaller gunboats, which were behind the point of Cavite. This duty was performed by Commander E. P. Wood in the most expeditious and complete manner possible.

“The Spanish lost the following vessels:

“Sunk: Reina Christina, Castilla, Don Antonio de Ulloa.

“Burned: Don Juan de Austria, Isla de Luzon, Isla de Cuba, General Lezo, Marques del Duero, El Correo, Velasco, and Isla de Mindanao, transport.

“Captured: Rapido and Hercules, tugs, and several small launches.

“I am unable to obtain complete accounts of the enemy’s killed and wounded, but believe their losses to be very heavy.

“The Reina Christina alone had 150 killed, including the captain, and ninety wounded.

“I am happy to report that the damage done to the squadron under my command was inconsiderable. There were none killed, and only seven men in the squadron were slightly wounded.

“Several of the vessels were struck, and two penetrated, but the damage was of the slightest, and the [pg 85]squadron is in as good condition now as before the battle.

“I beg to state to the department that I doubt if any commander-in-chief was ever served by more loyal, efficient, and gallant captains than those of the squadron now under my command.

Capt. Frank Wildes, commanding the Boston, volunteered to remain in command of his vessel, although his relief arrived before leaving Hongkong. Assistant Surgeon Kindleberger of the Olympia and Gunner J. C. Evans of the Boston also volunteered to remain after orders detaching them had arrived.

“The conduct of my personal staff was excellent. Commander B. P. Lamberton, chief of staff, was a volunteer for that position, and gave me most efficient aid. Lieutenant Brumby, flag lieutenant, and Ensign W. P. Scott, aid, performed their duties as signal officers in a highly creditable manner.

“The Olympia being short of officers for the battery, Ensign H. H. Caldwell, flag secretary, volunteered for and was assigned to a subdivision of 5-inch battery. Mr. J. L. Stickney, formerly an officer in the United States navy, and now correspondent of the New York Herald, volunteered for duty as my aid, and did valuable service.

“I desire specially to mention the coolness of Lieut. C. G. Calkins, the navigator of the Olympia, who came under my personal observation, being on the bridge with me throughout the entire action, and giving the [pg 86]ranges to the guns with an accuracy that was proved by the excellence of the firing.

“On May 2d, the day following the engagement, the squadron again went to Cavite, where it remained.

“On the 3d, the military forces evacuated the Cavite arsenal, which was taken possession of by a landing party. On the same day the Raleigh and Baltimore secured the surrender of the batteries on Corregidor Island, paroling the garrison and destroying the guns.

“On the morning of May 4th the transport Manila, which had been aground in Baker Bay, was towed off and made a prize.”

List of the two fleets engaged at the battle of Manila Bay, together with the officers of the American fleet:2


The U. S. S. Olympia, protected cruiser, 5,870 tons, speed, 21.6 knots. Battery: four 8-inch rifles, ten 5-inch rapid-fire guns, fourteen 6-pounder rapid-fire guns, six 1-pounder rapid-fire cannon, four Gatlings, with six torpedo tubes, and eight automobile torpedoes.

The U. S. S. Baltimore, protected cruiser, 4,600 tons, speed, 20.09 knots. Battery: four 8-inch, six 6-inch rifles, four 6-pounder, two 3-pounder rapid-fire [pg 87]guns, two 1-pounder rapid-fire cannon, four 37-millimetre Hotchkiss cannon, and two Gatlings.

The U. S. S. Boston, protected cruiser, 3,189 tons, speed, 15.6 knots. Battery: two 8-inch, six 6-inch rifles, two 6-pounder, two 3-pounder rapid-fire guns, two 1-pounder rapid-fire cannon, two 47-millimetre Hotchkiss cannon, and two Gatlings.

The U. S. S. Raleigh, protected cruiser, 3,213 tons, speed, nineteen knots. Battery: one 6-inch, ten 5-inch rapid-fire guns, eight 6-pounder rapid-fire guns, four 1-pounder rapid-fire cannon, and two Gatlings.

The U. S. S. Concord, gunboat, 1,710 tons, speed, 16.8 knots. Battery: six 6-inch rifles, two 6-pounder, two 3-pounder rapid-fire guns, two 37-millimetre Hotchkiss cannon, and two Gatlings.

The U. S. S. Petrel, gunboat, 892 tons, speed, 11.7 knots. Battery: four 6-inch rifles, one 1-pounder rapid-fire gun, two 37-millimetre Hotchkiss cannon, and two Gatlings.

The U. S. S. McCulloch, revenue cutter, 1,500 tons, speed, fourteen knots. Battery: four 4-inch guns.

The Nanshan and Zafiro, supply ships.


The Reina Maria Christina, 3,520 tons, speed, seventeen knots. Battery: six 6.2-inch hontoria guns, two 2.7-inch and three 2.2-inch rapid-fire rifles, six 1.4-inch, and two machine guns.

[pg 88]

The Castilla, 3,342 tons. Battery: four 5.9-inch Krupp rifles, two 4.7-inch, two 3.3-inch, four 2.5-inch rapid-fire, and two machine guns.

The Velasco, 1,152 tons. Battery: three 5.9-inch Armstrong rifles, two 2.7-inch hontorias, and two machine guns.

The Don Antonio de Ulloa and Don Juan de Austria, each 1,130 tons, speed, fourteen knots. Battery: four 4.7-inch hontorias, three 3.2-inch rapid-fire, two 1.5-inch, and two machine guns.

The General Lezo, and El Correo, gun vessels, 524 tons, speed, 11.5 knots. The General Lezo had two hontoria rifles of 4.7-inch calibre, one 3.5-inch, two small rapid-fire, and one machine gun; the El Correo had three 4.7-inch guns, two small rapid-fire, and two machine guns.

The Marques del Duero, despatch-boat, 500 tons. Battery: one smooth bore, six 6.2-inch calibre, two 4.7-inch and one machine gun.

The Isla de Cuba and the Isla de Luzon were both small gunboats, 1,030 tons. Battery: four 4.7-inch hontorias, two small guns, and two machine guns.

The Isla de Mindanao, auxiliary cruiser, 4,195 tons, speed, 13.5 knots.

Two torpedo-boats and two transports.

Officers of the U. S. Asiatic Squadron: Acting Rear Admiral George Dewey, commander-in-chief; Commander B. P. Lamberton, chief of staff; Lieut. T. M. [pg 89]Brumby, flag lieutenant; Ensign H. H. Caldwell, secretary.

U. S. S. Olympia, flag-ship: Captain, Charles V. Gridley; Lieutenant-Commander, S. C. Paine; Lieutenants, C. G. Calkins, V. S. Nelson, G. S. Morgan, W. C. Miller, S. M. S. Strite; Ensigns, M. M. Taylor, F. B. Upham, W. P. Scott, A. G. Kavagnah; Medical Inspector, A. S. Price; Passed Assistant Surgeon, J. E. Page; Assistant Surgeon, C. P. Kindleberger; Pay Inspector, D. A. Smith; Chief Engineer, J. Entwistle; Assistant Engineers, E. H. Delaney, J. F. Marshall, Jr.; Chaplain, J. B. Frasier; Captain of Marines, W. P. Biddle; Gunner, L. J. G. Kuhlwein; Carpenter, W. McDonald; Acting Boatswain, E. J. Norcott.

U. S. S. Raleigh: Captain, J. B. Coghlan; Lieutenant-Commander, F. Singer; Lieutenants, W. Winder, B. Tappan, H. Rodman, C. B. Morgan; Ensigns, F. L. Chidwick, P. Babbit; Surgeon, E. H. Marsteller; Assistant Surgeon, D. N. Carpenter; Passed Assistant Paymaster, S. R. Heap; Chief Engineer, F. H. Bailey; Passed Assistant Engineer, A. S. Halstead; Assistant Engineer, J. R. Brady; First Lieutenant of Marines, T. C. Treadwell; Acting Gunner, G. D. Johnstone; Acting Carpenter, T. E. Kiley.

U. S. S. Boston: Captain, F. Wildes; Lieutenant-Commander, J. A. Norris; Lieutenants, J. Gibson, W. L. Howard; Ensigns, S. S. Robinson, L. H. Everhart, J. S. Doddridge; Surgeon, M. H. Crawford; Assistant Surgeon, R. S. Balkeman; Paymaster, J. R. Martin; [pg 90]Chief Engineer, G. B. Ransom; Assistant Engineer, L. K. James; First Lieutenant of Marines, R. McM. Dutton; Gunner, J. C. Evans; Carpenter, I. H. Hilton.

U. S. S. Baltimore: Captain, N. M. Dyer; Lieutenant-Commander, G. Blocklinger; Lieutenants, W. Braunersreuther, A. G. Winterhalter, F. W. Kellogg, J. M. Ellicott, C. S. Stanworth; Ensigns, J. H. Hayward, M. D. McCormick; Naval Cadets, D. W. Wurtsburgh, I. Z. Wettenzoll, C. M. Tozer, T. A. Karney; Passed Assistant Surgeon, F. A. Heiseler; Assistant Surgeon, R. K. Smith; Pay Inspector, R. E. Bellows; Chief Engineer, A. Kirby; Assistant Engineers, H. B. Price, H. I. Cone; Naval Cadet, C. P. Burt; Chaplain, T. S. K. Freeman; First Lieutenant of Marines, D. Williams; Acting Boatswain, H. R. Brayton; Acting Gunner, L. J. Waller; Carpenter, O. Bath.

U. S. S. Concord: Commander, A. S. Walker; Lieutenant-Commander, G. P. Colvocoresses; Lieutenants, T. B. Howard, P. W. Horrigan; Ensigns, L. A. Kiser, W. C. Davidson, O. S. Knepper; Passed Assistant Surgeon, R. G. Broderick; Passed Assistant Paymaster, E. D. Ryan; Chief Engineer, Richard Inch; Passed Assistant Engineer, H. W. Jones; Assistant Engineer, E. H. Dunn.

U. S. S. Petrel: Commander, E. P. Wood; Lieutenants, E. M. Hughes, B. A. Fiske, A. N. Wood, C. P. Plunkett; Ensigns, G. L. Fermier, W. S. Montgomery; Passed Assistant Surgeon, C. D. Brownell; Assistant [pg 91]Paymaster, G. G. Seibles; Passed Assistant Engineer, R. T. Hall.

Revenue Cutter McCulloch: Captain, D. B. Hodgdon.

American loss: Two officers and six men wounded.

Spanish loss: About three hundred killed, and six hundred wounded.

[pg 92]



May 2. In Manila Bay, on Monday, the second of May, there was much to be done in order to complete the work so thoroughly begun the day previous.

Early in the morning an officer came from Corregidor, under flag of truce, to Commodore Dewey, with a proposal of surrender from the commandant of the fortifications. The Baltimore was sent to attend to the business; but when she arrived at the island no one save the commanding officer was found. All his men had deserted him after overthrowing the guns.

The Baltimore had but just steamed away, when Commander Lamberton was ordered to go on board the Petrel and run over to Cavite arsenal in order that he might take possession, for on the previous day a white flag had been hoisted there as a signal of surrender.

To the surprise of Lamberton he found, on landing, that the troops were under arms, and Captain Sostoa, of the Spanish navy, was in anything rather than a surrendering mood. On being asked as to the meaning of affairs, Sostoa replied that the flag had been hoisted for a truce, not as a token of capitulation. He was [pg 93]given until noon to decide as to his course of action, and the Americans withdrew. At 10.45 the white flag was again hoisted, and when Lamberton went on shore once more he found that the Spaniard had marched his men away, taking with them all their arms.

This was the moment when the insurgents, who had gathered near the town, believed their opportunity had come, and, rushing into Cavite, they began an indiscriminate plunder which was not brought to an end until the American marines were landed.

The navy yard was seized; six batteries near about the entrance of Manila Bay were destroyed; the cable from Manila to Hongkong was cut, and Commodore Dewey began a blockade of the port.

Congress appropriated $35,720,945 for the emergency war appropriation bill.

Eleven regiments of infantry, one of cavalry, and ten light batteries of artillery were concentrated at Tampa and Port Tampa. General Shafter assumed command on this date.

The Newport captured the Spanish schooner Pace.

By cablegram from London, under date of May 2d, news regarding the condition of affairs in Madrid was received. The Spanish public was greatly excited by information from the Philippines, and the authorities found it necessary to proclaim martial law, the document being couched in warlike language beginning:

Whereas, as Spain finds herself at war with the [pg 94]United States, the power of civil authorities in Spain is suspended.

Whereas, it is necessary to prevent an impairment of the patriotic efforts which are being made by the nation with manly energy and veritable enthusiasm;

Article 1. A state of siege in Madrid is hereby proclaimed.

Article 2. As a consequence of article one, all offences against public order, those of the press included, will be tried by the military tribunals.

Article 3. In article two are included offences committed by those who, without special authorisation, shall publish news relative to any operations of war whatsoever.”

Then follow the articles which prohibit meetings and public demonstrations.

Commenting upon the defeat, the El Nacional, of Madrid, published the following article:

“Yesterday, when the first intelligence arrived, nothing better occurred to Admiral Bermejo (Minister of Marine) than to send to all newspapers comparative statistics of the contending squadrons. By this comparison he sought to direct public attention to the immense superiority over a squadron of wooden vessels dried up by the heat in those latitudes.

“But in this document Spain can see nothing kind. Spain undoubtedly sees therein the heroism of our marines; but she sees also and above all the nefarious crime of the government.

[pg 95]

“It is unfair to blame the enemy for possessing forces superior to ours; but what is worthy of being blamed with all possible vehemence is this infamous government, which allowed our inferiority without neutralising it by means of preparations. This is the truth. Our sailors have been basely delivered over to the grape-shot of the Yankees, a fate nobler and more worthy of respect than those baneful ministers, who brought about the first victory and its victims.”

El Heraldo de Madrid said: “It was no caprice of the fortunes of war. From the very first cannon-shot our fragile ships were at the mercy of the formidable hostile squadron. They were condemned to fall one after another under the fire of the American batteries, powerless to strike, and were defended only by the valour in the breasts of their sailors.

“What has been gained by the illusion that Manila was fortified? What has been gained by the intimation that the broad and beautiful bay on whose bosom the Spanish fleet perished yesterday had been rendered inaccessible? What use was made of the famous island of Corregidor? What was done with its guns? Where were the torpedoes? Where were those defensive preparations concerning which we were requested to keep silence?”

May 2. Late in the afternoon the Wilmington destroyed a Spanish fort on the island of Cuba, near Cojimar.

The government tug Leyden left Key West, towing [pg 96]a Cuban expedition under government auspices to establish communication with the Cuban forces in Havana province. The expedition was accompanied by Lieutenant-Colonel Acosta. Under him were five other Cubans. Colonel Acosta formerly commanded a cavalry troop in Havana province.

May 4. A telegram from Key West gave the following information:

“Acting Rear-Admiral Sampson sailed this morning with all the big vessels of his blockading squadron on some mysterious mission.

“In the fleet were the flag-ship New York, the battle-ships Iowa and Indiana, the cruisers Detroit, Marblehead, and Cincinnati, the monitor Puritan, and the torpedo-gunboat Mayflower.

“The war-ships are coaled to the full capacity of their bunkers, and all available places on the decks are piled high with coal.”

On the same day the Norwegian steamer Condor arrived with twelve American refugees and their immediate relatives from Cienfuegos, Cuba.

Dr. Herman Mazarredo, a dentist, who had been practising his profession in Cienfuegos for eight months, after six years’ study in the United States, was one of the passengers. He gave the following account of himself:

“Because the Spaniards hated me as intensely as if I had been born in America, I was obliged to flee for my life. I left my mother, six sisters, and five brothers [pg 97]in Cienfuegos. I consider that their lives are in danger. May heaven protect them! What was I to do?

“There are now about two hundred Americans at Cienfuegos clamouring to get away. They are sending to Boston and New York for steamers, but without avail. Owen McGarr, the American consul, told me on his departure that the Spanish law would protect me. Other Americans would have come on the Condor, but Captain Miller would not take them. There was not room for them. The Spanish soldiers have not yet become personally insulting on the streets, but a mob of Spanish residents marched through the city four days before the Condor left, shouting, ‘We want to kill all Americans.’

“There are between four thousand and six thousand Spanish troops concentrating at Cienfuegos under command of Major-General Aguirre. They have thrown up some very poor breastworks. Three ground-batteries look toward the open sea.”

Bread riots broke out in Spain. In Gijon, on the Bay of Biscay, the rioters made a stand and were fired upon by the troops. Fourteen were killed or wounded, yet the infuriated populace held their ground, nor were they driven back until the artillery was ordered out. Then a portion of the soldiers joined the mob; a cannon with ammunition was seized, and directed against the fortification. A state of siege was declared, and an order issued that all the bread be baked in the government bakeries, because the mob had looted the shops.

[pg 98]

At Talavera de la Reina, thirty-six miles from Toledo, a mob attacked the railroad station, entirely destroying it, setting fire to the cars, and starting the engines wild upon the track. They burned several houses owned by officials, and sacked a monastery, forcing the priests to flee for their lives. Procuring wine from the inns, they grew more bold, and made an attack upon the prison, hoping to release those confined there; but at this point they were held in check by the guard.

The miners of Oviedo inaugurated a strike, commencing by inciting riots. At Caceres several people were killed. At Malaga a mob rode down the guards and looted the shops. The British steam yacht Lady of Clonmel, owned by Mr. James Wilkinson, of London, was attacked as she lay at the pier. Stones smashed her skylights, and a bomb was thrown aboard, but did not explode. The yacht put hurriedly to sea, and from Gibraltar reported the outrage to London.

May 5. The government tug Leyden, which on the second day of May left Key West with a Cuban expedition, returned to port, giving the following account of her voyage:

She proceeded to a certain point near Mariel, and landed five men, with four boxes of ammunition and two horses.

General Acosta penetrated to the interior, where he communicated with the forces of the insurgents.

The Leyden lay to outside the harbour until five o’clock in the morning, when, observing a troop of [pg 99]Spanish infantry approaching, she put to sea and got safely away.


She proceeded to Matanzas, and on the afternoon of the third landed another small party near there.

Fearing attack by the Spaniards, she looked for the monitors Terror and Amphitrite, which were on the blockade in that vicinity, but being unable to locate them the Leyden returned to the original landing-place, reaching there early on the morning of the fourth.

There she was met by Acosta and about two hundred Cubans, half of whom were armed with rifles. They united with the men on the tug, and an attempt was made to land the remaining arms and men, when two hundred of the Villa Viscosa cavalry swooped down on them, and an engagement of a half hour’s duration followed.

The Cubans finally repulsed the enemy, driving them into the woods. The Spanish carried with them many wounded and left sixteen dead on the field.

During the engagement the bullets went through the Leyden’s smoke-stack, but no one was injured.

The little tug then went in search of the flag-ship, found her lying near Havana, and reported the facts.

Rear-Admiral Sampson sent the gunboat Wilmington back with the Leyden.

The two vessels reached the scene of the landing [pg 100]on the afternoon of the fourth, and found the Spanish cavalry in waiting to welcome another attempted invasion.

The Wilmington promptly opened fire on a number of small houses marking the entrance to the place.

The gunboat fired four shots, which drove back the Spaniards, and Captain Dorst, with the ammunition, landed safely, the Leyden returning to Key West.

May 6. Orders were given from Washington to release the French mail steamer, Lafayette, and to send her to Havana under escort. The capture of the Frenchman by the gunboat Annapolis was an unfortunate incident, resulting from a mistake, but no protest was made by the representatives of the French government in the United States. It appeared that, before the Lafayette sailed for Havana, the French legation in Washington was instructed to communicate with the State Department. This was done and permission was granted to the steamer to enter and discharge her passengers and cargo, with the understanding that she would take on nothing there. Instructions for the fulfilment of such agreement were sent from Washington to Admiral Sampson’s squadron, and it was only learned after the capture was made that they were never delivered.

The War Department issued an order organising the regular and volunteer forces into seven army corps.

The following letter needs no explanation:

[pg 101]

Treasurer of the United States,
  Washington, D. C.

Dear Sir:—Some days ago I wrote President McKinley offering the government the sum of $100,000 for use in the present difficulty with Spain. He writes me that he has no official authority to receive moneys in behalf of the United States, and he suggests that my purpose can best be served by making a deposit with the assistant treasurer at New York to the credit of the treasurer of the United States, or by remitting my check direct to you at Washington. I, therefore, enclose my check for the above amount, drawn payable to your order on the Lincoln National Bank. Will you kindly acknowledge the receipt of the same?

“Very truly,
Helen Miller Gould.

It was replied to twenty-four hours later:

Miss Helen Miller Gould,
  597 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.

Madam:—It gives me especial pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of your letter under date of May [pg 102]6, 1898, enclosing your check for $100,000, according to your previous offer to President McKinley, for the government. This sum has been placed in the general fund of the treasury of the United States as a donation from you, for use in the present difficulty with Spain. Permit me to recognise the superb patriotism which prompts you to make this magnificent gift to the government. Certificates of deposit will follow in due course.     Respectfully yours,

Ellis H. Roberts,
Treasurer of the United States.

May 6. The torpedo-boats Dupont and Hornet shelled the blockhouse near the lighthouse at Point Maya, at the mouth of the harbour of Matanzas, and Fort Garcia, which is an old hacienda used as a blockhouse, lying three and one-half miles to the east.

As the Dupont was leaving her position off the lighthouse point, a big shell was fired from the middle embrasure of a battery on the other side of the harbour, called Gorda. The line was perfect, but the elevation was bad, and the range too long. The shell fell a thousand yards short. The Hornet was ordered to use her 6-pounders on the blockhouse. The first shell failed of its purpose; but the second hit the target fairly, and the Spanish soldiers hurriedly left it for shelter among the neighbouring trees.

The Hornet fired twelve shells, six of which struck [pg 103]the mark. The Dupont, after ascertaining that Point Maya was being made too warm for Spanish occupation, steamed down to a blockhouse opposite, called Garcia Red, and a prominent landmark to the eastward, and turned loose her 1-pounders.

Here, as in the other place, the infantry had urgent business behind the forest woods and hills. After making certain they had gone to stay, the Dupont resumed patrol duty. Cavalry afterward appeared at Fortina, but remained there only long enough to see the torpedo-boat’s menacing attitude.

May 6. The cruiser Montgomery, Captain Converse, was the first ship of the American squadron to acquire the distinction of capturing two prizes in one day, which she did on the sixth. The captives were the Frasquito and the Lorenzo, both small vessels of no great value as compared with the big steamers taken during the first days of the war.

The Montgomery was cruising about fifty miles off Havana when the Frasquito, a two-master, came bowling along toward the Cuban capital. When the yellow flag of the enemy was sighted the helm was swung in her direction, and a blank shot was put across her bow. The Spaniard hove to and the customary prize-crew was put on board. It was found that the Frasquito was bound from Montevideo to Havana with a cargo of jerked beef. She was of about 140 tons register and hailed from Barcelona. The prize-crew took her to Havana waters, and the Annapolis [pg 104]assigned the cutter Hamilton to carry her into Key West.

A few minutes afterwards the Montgomery encountered the Lorenzo, a Spanish bark, bound from Barcelona to Havana with a cargo of dried beef. She was taken just as easily, and Ensign Osborn, with several “Jackies,” sailed her into port.

May 7. Quite a sharp little affair occurred off Havana, in which the Vicksburg and the cutter Morrill were very nearly enticed to destruction.

A small schooner was sent out from Havana harbour shortly before daylight to draw some of the Americans into an ambuscade.

She ran off to the eastward, hugging the shore with the wind on her starboard quarter. About three miles east of the entrance of the harbour she came over on the port tack.

A light haze fringed the horizon, and she was not discovered until three miles off shore, when the Mayflower made her out and signalled the Vicksburg and Morrill. Captain Smith of the Vicksburg immediately clapped on all steam and started in pursuit.

The schooner instantly put about and ran for Morro Castle before the wind. On doing so, she would, according to the plot, lead the two American war-ships directly under the guns of the Santa Clara batteries.

These works are a short mile west of Morro, and are a part of the defences of the harbour. There were two [pg 105]batteries, one at the shore, which had been recently thrown up, of sand and mortar, with wide embrasures for 8-inch guns, and the other on the crest of the rocky eminence which juts out into the waters of the gulf at the point. The upper battery mounted modern 10 and 12-inch Krupp guns, behind a six-foot stone parapet, in front of which were twenty feet of earthwork and belting of railroad iron.

The American vessels were about six miles from the schooner when the chase began. They steamed after her at full speed, the Morrill leading, until within a mile and a half of the Santa Clara batteries.

Commander Smith of the Vicksburg was the first to realise the danger into which the reckless pursuit had led them. He concluded it was time to haul off, and sent a shot across the bow of the schooner.

The Spanish skipper instantly brought his vessel about, but while she was still rolling in the trough of the sea with her sails flapping, an 8-inch shrapnel shell came hurtling through the air from the water-battery, a mile and a half away.

It passed over the Morrill, between the pilot-house and the smoke-stack, and exploded less than fifty feet away on the port quarter.

Two more shots followed in quick succession, both shrapnel. One burst close under the starboard quarter, filling the engine-room with the smoke of the exploding shell, and the other, like the first, passed over and exploded just beyond.

[pg 106]

The Spanish gunners had the range, and their time fuses were accurately set.

The crews of both ships were at their guns. Lieutenant Craig, who was in charge of the bow 4-inch rapid-fire gun of the Morrill, asked for and obtained permission to return the fire.

At the first shot the Vicksburg, which was in the wake of the Morrill, slightly inshore, sheered off and passed to windward under the Morrill’s stern. In the meantime Captain Smith also put his helm to port, and was none too soon, for as the Morrill stood off a solid 8-inch shot grazed her starboard quarter and kicked up tons of water as it struck a wave one hundred yards beyond.

All the guns of the water-battery were now at work. One of them cut the Jacob’s-ladder of the Vicksburg adrift, and another carried away a portion of the rigging.

As the vessels steamed away their aft guns were used, but only a few shots were fired.

The Morrill’s 6-inch gun was elevated for four thousand yards, and struck the earthwork repeatedly. The Vicksburg discharged only three shots from her 6-pounder.

The Spaniards continued to fire shot and shell for twenty minutes, but none of the latter shots came within one hundred yards.

Later in the day the Morrill captured the Spanish schooner Espana, bound for Havana, and towed the prize to Key West.

[pg 107]

The Newport added to the list of captures by bringing in the Spanish schooner Padre de Dios.

May 7. The United States despatch-boat McCulloch arrived at Hongkong from Manila, with details of Commodore Dewey’s victory.

Secretary Long, after the cablegram forwarded from Hongkong had been received, sent the following despatch:

“The President, in the name of the American people, thanks you and your officers and men for your splendid achievement and overwhelming victory. In recognition he has appointed you acting admiral, and will recommend a vote of thanks to you by Congress as a foundation for further promotion.”

May 8. A brilliant, although unimportant, affair was that in which the torpedo-boat Winslow engaged off Cardenas Bay.

The Winslow and gunboat Machias were on the blockade off Cardenas.

In the harbour, defended by thickly strewn mines and torpedoes, three small gunboats had been bottled up since the beginning of the war. Occasionally they stole out toward the sea, but never venturing beyond the inner harbour, running like rabbits at sight of the American torpedo boats.

Finally a buoy was moored by Spaniards inside the entrance of the bay to mark the position for the entrance of the gunboats. The signal-station on the shore opposite was instructed to notify the gun[pg 108]boats inside when the torpedo-boats were within the limit distance marked by the buoy.

The scheme was that the gunboats could run out, open fire at a one-mile range thus marked off for them, and retreat without the chance of being cut off. The men of the Winslow eyed this buoy and guessed its purpose, but did not attempt to remove it.

On the afternoon of the eighth the Machias stood away to the eastward for a jaunt, and the Winslow was left alone to maintain the blockade.

In a short time she steamed toward Cardenas Harbour. There was great excitement at the signal-station, and flags fluttered hysterically. The three gunboats slipped their cables and went bravely out to their safety limit.

Three bow 6-pounders were trained at two thousand yards. In a few minutes the shore signals told them that the torpedo-boat was just in range. Every Spaniard aboard prepared to see the Americans blown out of the water.

Three 6-pounders crackled, and three shells threw waterspouts around the Winslow, but she was not struck. Instead of running away, she upset calculations by driving straight ahead, attacking the boats, and Lieutenant Bernado no sooner saw the first white smoke puffs from the Spanish guns than he gave the word to the men already stationed at the two forward 1-pounders, which barked viciously and dropped shot in the middle of the flotilla.

[pg 109]

On plunged the Winslow to within fifteen hundred yards of the gunboats, while the row raised by the rapid-fire 1-pounders was like a rattling tattoo.

The Spaniards were apparently staggered at this fierce onslaught, single-handed, and fired wildly. The Winslow swung around broadside to, to bring her two after guns to bear as the Spanish boats scattered and lost formation.

The Winslow soon manœuvred so that she was peppering at all three gunboats at once. The sea was very heavy, and the knife-like torpedo-boat rolled so wildly that it was impossible to do good gun practice, but despite this big handicap, the rapidity of her fire and the remarkable effectiveness of her guns demoralised all three opponents, which, after the Winslow had fired about fifty shells, began to gradually work back toward the shelter of the harbour.

They were still hammering away with their 6-pounders, but were wild. Several shells passed over the Winslow. One exploded a hundred feet astern, but the others fell short.

At last a 1-pounder from the Winslow went fair and true, and struck the hull of the Lopez a little aft of amidships, apparently exploding on the inside.

The Winslow men yelled. The Lopez stopped, evidently disabled, while one of her comrades went to her assistance. By this time the Spanish boats had retreated nearly inside, where they could not be followed because of the mines. The Lopez got under way [pg 110]slowly and limped homeward with the help of a towline from her consort.

During this episode the Machias had returned, and when within a two-mile range let fly two 4-inch shells from her starboard battery, which accelerated the Spanish flight. But the flotilla managed to creep back into Cardenas Harbour in safety, and under the guns of the shore-battery.

The Spanish gunboats that lured the Winslow into the death-trap were the Antonio Lopez, Lealtad, and Ligera. During the fight the two former retreated behind the wharves, and the Ligera behind the key. It was the Antonio Lopez that opened fire on the Winslow and decoyed her into the channel. The Spanish troops formed on the public square, not daring to go to the wharves. All the Spanish flags were lowered, as they furnished targets, and the women and children fled to Jovellanos.

Off Havana during the afternoon the fishing-smack Santiago Apostal was captured by the U. S. S. Newport.

The U. S. S. Yale captured the Spanish steamer Rita on the eighth, but did not succeed in getting the prize into port until the thirteenth. The Rita was loaded with coal, from Liverpool to Porto Rico.

The bread riots in Spain continued throughout the day. At Linates a crowd of women stormed the town hall and the civil guard fired upon them, killing twelve. El Pais, the popular republican newspaper in Madrid, [pg 111]was suppressed; martial law was declared at Badajos and Alicante.

May 9. Congress passed a joint resolution of thanks to Commodore Dewey; the House passed a bill increasing the number of rear-admirals from six to seven, and the Senate passed a bill to give Dewey a sword, and a bronze memorative medal to each officer and man of his command.

The record of the navy for the day was summed up in the capture of the fishing-smack Fernandito by the U. S. S. Vicksburg, and the capture of the Spanish schooner Severito by the U. S. S. Dolphin.

The rioting in Spain was not abated; martial law was proclaimed in Catalonia.

May 10. The steamer Gussie sailed from Tampa, Florida, with two companies of the First Infantry, and munitions and supplies for Cuban insurgents.

Rioting in Spain was the report by cable; in Alicante the mob sacked and burned a bonded warehouse.

May 11. Running from Cienfuegos, Cuba, at daybreak on the morning of May 11th, were three telegraph cables. The fleet in the neighbourhood consisted of the cruiser Marblehead, which had been on the station three weeks, the gunboat Nashville, which had been there two weeks, and the converted revenue cutter Windom, which had arrived two days before. The station had been a quiet one, except for a few brushes with some Spanish gunboats, which occasionally ventured a very little way out of Cienfuegos Harbour. [pg 112]They had last appeared on the tenth, but had retreated, as usual, when fired on.

Commander McCalla of the Marblehead, ranking officer, instructed Lieutenant Anderson to call for volunteers to cut the cable early on the morning of the eleventh. Anderson issued the call on both the cruiser and the gunboat, and three times the desired number of men offered to serve. No one relented, even after repeated warnings that the service was especially dangerous.

“I want you men to understand,” Anderson said, “that you are not ordered to do this work, and are not obliged to.”

The men nearly tumbled over one another in their eagerness to be selected. In the end, the officer had simply the choice of the entire crew of the two ships.

A cutter containing twelve men, and a steam launch containing six, were manned from each ship, and a guard of marines and men to man the 1-pounder guns of the launches, were put on board. In the meantime the Marblehead had taken a position one thousand yards offshore opposite the Colorado Point lighthouse, which is on the east side of the narrow entrance to Cienfuegos Harbour, just east of the cable landing, and, with the Nashville a little farther to the west, had begun shelling the beach.

The shore there is low, and covered with a dense growth of high grass and reeds. The lighthouse stood on an elevation, behind which, as well as hidden in the [pg 113]long grass, were known to be a large number of rifle-pits, some masked machine guns, and 1-pounders. These the Spaniards deserted as fast as the ships’ fire reached them. As the enemy’s fire slackened and died out, the boats were ordered inshore.

They advanced in double column. The launches, under Lieutenant Anderson and Ensign McGruder of the Nashville, went ahead with their sharpshooters and gunners, looking eagerly for targets, while the cutters were behind with the grappling-irons out, and the men peering into the green water for a sight of the cables. At a distance of two hundred feet from shore the launches stopped, and the cutters were sent ahead.

The first cable was picked up about ninety feet offshore. No sooner had the work of cutting it been begun than the Spanish fire recommenced, the soldiers skulking back to their deserted rifle-pits and rapid-fire guns through the high grass. The launches replied and the fire from the ships quickened, but although the Spanish volleys slackened momentarily, every now and then they grew stronger.

The men in the boats cut a long piece out of the first cable, stowed it away for safety, and then grappled for the next. Meantime the Spaniards were firing low in an evident endeavour to sink the cutters, but many of their shots fell short. The second cable was finally found, and the men with the pipe-cutters went to work on it.

[pg 114]

Several sailors were kept at the oars to hold the cutters in position, and the first man wounded was one of these. No one else in the boat knew it, however, till he fainted in his seat from loss of blood. Others took the cue from this, and there was not a groan or a complaint from the two boats, as the bullets, that were coming thicker and faster every minute, began to bite flesh.

The men simply possessed themselves with heroic patience, and went on with the work. They did not even have the satisfaction of returning the Spanish fire, but the marines in the stern of the boat shot hard enough for all.

The second cable was finally cut, and the third, a smaller one, was grappled and hoisted to the surface. The fire of the Spanish had reached its maximum. It was estimated that one thousand rifles and guns were speaking, and the men who handled them grew incautious, and exposed themselves in groups here and there.

“Use shrapnel,” came the signal, and can after can exploded over the Spaniards, causing them to break and run to cover.

This cover was a sort of fortification behind the lighthouse, and to this place they dragged a number of their machine guns, and again opened fire on the cutter. The shots from behind the lighthouse could not be answered so well from the launches, and the encouraged Spaniards fired all the oftener.

[pg 115]

Man after man in the boats was hit, but none let a sound escape him. Like silent machines they worked, grimly hacking and tearing at the third cable. During half an hour they laboured, but the fire from behind the lighthouse was too deadly, and, reluctantly, at Lieutenant Anderson’s signal, the cable was dropped and the boats retreated.

The work had lasted two hours and a half.

The Windom, which had laid out of range with a collier, was now ordered in, and the surgeon called to attend the wounded. The Windom was signalled to shell the lighthouse, which had not been fired on before, according to the usages of international law. It had been used as a shelter by the Spaniards. The revenue cutter’s rapid-fire guns riddled the structure in short order, and soon a shell from the 4-inch gun, which was in charge of Lieut. R. O. Crisp, struck it fair, exploded, and toppled it over.

With the collapse of their protection the Spaniards broke and ran again, the screaming shrapnel bursting all around them.

At the fall of the lighthouse the Marblehead signalled, “Well done,” and then a moment later, “Cease firing.”

The only man killed instantly was a marine named Eagan. A sailor from one of the boats died of his wounds on the same day. Commander Maynard of the Nashville was grazed across the chest, and Lieutenant Winslow was wounded in the hand.

[pg 116]

The list of casualties resulting from this display of heroism was two killed, two fatally and four badly wounded. The Spanish loss could not be ascertained, but it must necessarily have been heavy.


[pg 117]



May 11. The Spanish batteries in Cardenas Harbour were silenced on May 11th, and at the same time there was a display of heroism, on the part of American sailors, such as has never been surpassed.

A plan of action having been decided upon, the Wilmington arrived at the blockading station from Key West on the morning of the eleventh. She found there, off Piedras Bay, the cruiser Machias, the torpedo-boat Winslow, and the revenue cutter Hudson, which last carried two 6-pounders. Shortly after noon the Wilmington, Winslow, and Hudson moved into the inner harbour of Cardenas, and prepared to draw the fire of the Spanish batteries on the water-front. The Wilmington took a range of about twenty-five hundred yards.

The Cardenas land defences consisted of a battery in a stone fortification on the mole or quay, a battery of field-pieces, and of infantry armed with long-range rifles. The gunboats were equipped with rapid-fire guns.

Firing commenced at one o’clock, and when the Cardenas batteries were silenced at two in the afternoon, [pg 118]the Wilmington had sent 376 shells into them and the town. Her 4-inch guns had been fired 144 times. She had aimed 122 shots from her 6-pounders, and 110 from her 1-pounders, over six shots a minute.

When the Wilmington ceased firing she had moved up to within one thousand yards range of the Spanish guns, and there were only six inches of water under her keel. The Wilmington draws nine feet of water forward and ten and a half feet aft. When the soundings showed that she was almost touching, her guns were in full play, and the Spaniards had missed a beautiful opportunity. The Spanish gunners must have miscalculated her distance and misjudged her draught, else they would have done more effective work at a range of two thousand yards.

During the engagement, when the commander of the Winslow found that he could not approach close enough to the Spanish gunboats to use his torpedo-tubes to any advantage, he remained under fire. At that time he could have got out of harm’s way by taking shelter to the leeward of the Wilmington.

Captain Todd, from his post of duty in the conning-tower of the Wilmington, saw a Spanish shell, aimed for the torpedo-boat, do its deadly work. The shell struck the water, took an up-shoot, and exploded on the deck of the Winslow. There is little room for men anywhere on a torpedo boat, and if a shot strikes at all it is almost sure to hit a group. Such was the case in the Winslow. The exploding shell cost the lives of [pg 119]Ensign Bagley and four seamen; it also crippled the craft by wrecking her steam-steering gear. Later her captain and one of his crew were wounded by separate shots.


Ensign Bagley was killed outright, two of the group of five died on the deck of the disabled torpedo-boat, and the other two died while being removed to the Wilmington.

The signal, “Many wounded,” went up from the staff of the Winslow, and Passed Assistant Surgeon Cook of the Wilmington boarded the torpedo-boat.

The Hudson tied up to the Winslow and towed her out of danger, escaping unscathed. The wounded men were tenderly cared for on the cruiser, and that night the revenue cutter steamed out of Cardenas Bay, bearing the dead and wounded to Key West.

William O’Hearn, of Brooklyn, N. Y., one of the Winslow’s crew, thus tells his story of the battle to a newspaper correspondent:

“From the very beginning,” he said, “I think every man on the boat believed that we could not escape being sunk, and that is what would have happened had it not been for the bravery of the boys on the Hudson, who worked for over an hour under the most terrific fire to get us out of range.”

“Were you ordered to go in there?” he was asked.

“Yes; just before we were fired upon the order was given from the Wilmington.”

“Was it a signal order?”

[pg 120]

“No; we were near enough to the Wilmington so that they shouted it to us from the deck, through the megaphone.”

“Do you remember the words of the commander who gave them?”

“I don’t know who shouted the order; but the words as I remember them were, ‘Mr. Bagley, go in and see what gunboats there are.’ We started at once towards the Cardenas dock, and the firing began soon after.

“The first thing I saw,” continued O’Hearn, “was a shot fired from a window or door in the second story of the storehouse just back of the dock where the Spanish gunboats were lying. A shell then went hissing over our heads. Then the firing began from the gunboat at the wharf, and from the shore. The effect of shell and heavy shot the first time a man is under fire is something terrible.

“First you hear that awful buzzing or whizzing, and then something seems to strike you in the face and head. I noticed that at first the boys threw their hands to their heads every time a shell went over; but they soon came so fast and so close that it was a roaring, shrieking, crashing hell.

“I am the water-tender, and my place is below, but everybody went on deck when the battle began. John Varvares, the oiler, John Denif and John Meek, the firemen, were on watch with me, and had they remained below they would not have been killed.

[pg 121]

“After the firing began I went below again to attend to the boiler, and a few minutes later a solid shot came crashing through the side of the boat and into the boiler, where it exploded and destroyed seventy of the tubes.

“At first it stunned me. When the shell burst in the boiler it threw both the furnace doors open, and the fuse from the shell struck my feet. It was a terrible crash, and the boiler-room was filled with dust and steam. For several seconds I was partially stunned, and my ears rang so I could hear nothing. I went up on the deck to report to Captain Bernadou.

“I saw him near the forecastle gun, limping about with a towel wound around his left leg. He was shouting, and the noise of all the guns was like continuous thunder. ‘Captain,’ I cried, ‘the forward boiler is disabled. A shell has gone through it.’

“ ‘Get out the hose,’ he said, and turned to the gun again. I made my way to the boiler-room, in a few minutes went up on the deck again, and the fighting had grown hotter than ever. Several of the men were missing, and I looked around.

“Lying all in a heap on the after-deck in the starboard quarter, near the after conning-tower, I saw five of our men where they had wilted down after the shell struck them. In other places were men lying groaning, or dragging themselves about, wounded and covered with blood. There were big red spots on the deck, which was strewn with fragments and splinters.

[pg 122]

“I went to where the five men were lying, and saw that all were not dead. John Meek could speak and move one hand slightly. I put my face down close to his.

“ ‘Can I do anything for you, John?’ I asked, and he replied, ‘No, Jack, I am dying; good-bye,’ and he asked me to grasp his hand. ‘Go help the rest,’ he whispered, gazing with fixed eyes toward where Captain Bernadou was still firing the forward gun. The next minute he was dead.

“Ensign Bagley was lying on the deck nearly torn to pieces, and the bodies of the other three were on top of him. The coloured cook was a little apart from the others, mangled, and in a cramped position. We supposed he was dead, and covered him up the same as the others. Nearly half an hour after that we heard him calling, and saw that he was making a slight movement under the clothes. I went up to him, and he said:

“ ‘Oh, boys, for God’s sake move me. I am lying over the boiler and burning up.’

“The deck was very hot, and his flesh had been almost roasted. He complained that his neck was cramped, but did not seem to feel his terrible wound. We moved him into an easier position, and gave him some water.

“ ‘Thank you, sir,’ he said, and in five seconds he was dead.”

Ensign Bagley had been fearfully wounded by a [pg 123]shot, which practically tore through his body. He sank over the rail, and was grasped by one of the enlisted men, named Reagan, who lifted him up and placed him on the deck.


The young officer, realising that the wound was fatal, and that he had only a short time to live, allowed no murmur of complaint or cry of pain to escape him, but opened his eyes, stared at the sailor, and simply said:

“Thank you, Reagan.”

These were the last words he spoke.

May 12. The forts of San Juan, the capital of Porto Rico, were bombarded by a portion of Rear-Admiral Sampson’s fleet on Thursday morning, May 12th. The vessels taking part in the action were the battle-ships New York, Iowa, Indiana, the cruisers Detroit and Montgomery, and the monitors Terror and Amphitrite.

The engagement began at 5.15 and ended at 8.15 A. M., resulting in a loss to the Americans of one killed and seven wounded, and the death of one from prostration by heat. The Spanish loss, as reported by cable to Madrid, was five killed and forty-three wounded.

Admiral Sampson’s orders were to refrain from making any land attack so long as the batteries on shore did not attempt to molest his ships; but in case the Spaniards fired on his vessels, to destroy the offending fortifications.

[pg 124]

These orders were not issued until the Spanish fire at different Cuban ports became so irritating to the American bluejackets that discipline was, in a measure, threatened; but as soon as the men learned that they were no longer to remain passive targets for the Spaniards, but were to return any shots against them, all grumbling against inaction ceased.

It was not Admiral Sampson’s original intention to attack San Juan. He was looking for bigger game than the poorly defended Porto Rican capital. His orders from the Navy Department were to find and capture or destroy the Spanish squadron that was en route from the Cape Verde Islands, and it was this business that took him into the neighbourhood of San Juan, he being desirous of learning if the Spanish squadron were there.

The fleet arrived off San Juan before daybreak on Thursday. The tug Wampatuck was ordered to take soundings in the channel, and at once proceeded to do so. She was fully half a mile ahead of the fleet when she entered the channel, and those aboard of her kept the lead going at a lively rate.

It is supposed that Admiral Sampson had no intention at that time of entering the harbour itself, his object, when he found that the Spanish squadron was not at San Juan, being to learn for future use exactly how much water there was in the channel, and if any attempt had been made to block the way.

At all events, while the Wampatuck was engaged in [pg 125]this work she was seen by the sentries at the Morro, and a few minutes later was fired on.

Then, and not until then, did Admiral Sampson determine to teach the Spaniards a lesson regarding the danger of firing on the American flag.

“Quarters!” rang out aboard the war-ships almost before the report of the Morro gun had died away, the flag-ship having signalled for action.

The Iowa opened the bombardment with her big 12-inch gun, the missile striking Morro Castle squarely, and knocking a great hole in the masonry.

Then the Indiana sent a 13-inch projectile from the forward turret, and one after the other, with but little loss of time, the remaining vessels of the fleet aided in the work of destruction.

The French war-ship Admiral Rigault de Genoailly was at anchor in the harbour, and a shell exploded within a few hundred feet of where she lay, but worked no injury.

The French officers thus reported the action:

“The American gunners were generally accurate in their firing, while the marksmanship of the Spaniards was inferior. Some of the American shells, however, passed over the fortifications into the city, where they did terrible damage, crashing straight through rows of buildings before exploding, and there killing many citizens.

“The fortifications were irreparably injured. Repeatedly masses of masonry were blown skyward by [pg 126]the shells from the American guns. Fragments from one shell struck the commandante’s residence, which was situated near the fortifications, damaging it terrifically.”

Morro Castle was speedily silenced, and then the guns of the fleet were turned on the land-batteries and the fortifications near the government buildings.

The inhabitants fled in terror from the city; the volunteers, panic-stricken, ran frantically in every direction, discharging their weapons at random, until they were a menace to all within possible range. The crashing of the falling buildings, the roar of the heavy guns, the shrieks of the terrified and groans of the wounded, formed a horrible accompaniment to the work of destruction.

Three times the line of American ships passed from the entrance of the harbour to the extreme eastward battery, sending shot and shell into the crumbling forts. Clouds of dust showed where the missiles struck, but the smoke hung over everything. The shells screeching overhead and dropping around were the only signs that the Spaniards still stuck to their guns.

At 7.45 A. M. Admiral Sampson signalled, “Cease firing.”

“Retire” was sounded on the Iowa, and she headed from the shore.

The Terror was the last ship in the line, and, failing to see the signal, banged away alone for about half an [pg 127]hour, the concert of shore guns roaring at her and the water flying high around her from the exploding shells. But she possessed a charmed life, and reluctantly retired at 8.15.


May 13. In the Spanish Cortes, Señor Molinas, deputy for Porto Rico, protested against the bombardment of San Juan without notice, as an infringement of international usage.

To this General Correa, Minister of War, replied that the conduct of the Americans was “vandalism,” and that the government “will bring their outrageous action under the notice of the powers.” He echoed Señor Molinas’s eulogy of the bravery of the Spanish troops and marines, and promised that the government would send its thanks.

An authority on international law thus comments upon the bombardment, in the columns of the New York Sun:

“There is nothing in the laws of war which requires notice of bombardment to be given to a fortified place, during the progress of war. When the Germans threatened to bombard Port au Prince, a few months ago, they gave a notice of a few hours, but in that case no state of war existed. Again, when Spain bombarded Valparaiso, in 1865, an hour’s interval was allowed between the blank charge that gave the notice, and the actual bombardment. But that interval was intended to allow Chili an opportunity to do the specific thing demanded, namely, to salute the Spanish [pg 128]flag, in atonement for a grievance. Besides, Valparaiso was wholly unfortified, and the guns were directed, not at military works, but at public buildings.

“The case of San Juan was far different. Hostilities had been going on in Gulf waters for weeks, while, as Doctor Snow, the well-known authority on international law, says, ‘In case of war, the very fact of a place being fortified is evidence that at any time it is liable to attack, and the non-combatants residing within its limits must be prepared for a contingency of this kind.’ This is true, also, of the investment of fortified places by armies, where ‘if the assault is made, no notice is given, as surprise is essential to success.’ In the same spirit Halleck says that ‘every besieged place is for a time a military garrison; its inhabitants are converted into soldiers by the necessities of self-defence.’

“Turning to the official report of Admiral Sampson, we find him saying that, as soon as it was light enough, he began ‘an attack upon the batteries defending the city. This attack lasted about three hours, and resulted in much damage to the batteries, and incidentally to a portion of the city adjacent to the batteries.’ It is, therefore, clear that this latter damage was simply the result of the proximity of the defensive works to some of the dwellings. The same thing would occur in bombarding Havana. Can any one imagine that the Spaniards, if they suddenly appeared in New York Bay, would be obliged to give notice before opening fire on Fort Hamilton and Fort Wadsworth, for the reason that [pg 129]adjacent settlements would suffer from the fire? The advantage of suddenness in the attack upon a place, not only fortified, but forewarned by current events, cannot be renounced. Civilians dwelling near defensive works know what they risk in war.

“In the Franco-German war of 1870 there were repeated instances, according to the authority already quoted, of deliberately firing on inhabited towns instead of on their fortifications, and ‘there were cases, like that of Peronne, where the town was partially destroyed while the ramparts were nearly intact.’ The ground taken was that which a military writer, General Le Blois, had advocated five years before, namely, that the pressure for surrender exercised by the people becomes greater on subjecting them to the loss of life and property. ‘The governor is made responsible for all the disasters that occur; the people rise against him, and his own troops seek to compel him to an immediate capitulation.’ At San Juan there was no attempt of this sort, the fire being concentrated upon the batteries, with the single view of destroying them. The likelihood that adjacent buildings and streets would suffer did not require previous notice of the bombardment, and, in fact, when the Germans opened fire on Paris without notification, and a protest was made on behalf of neutrals, Bismarck simply replied that no such notification was required by the laws of war.”

[pg 130]



May 11. A state of siege proclaimed throughout Spain. In a dozen cities or more continued rioting and sacking of warehouses. The seacoast between Cadiz and Malaga no longer lighted. The second division of the Spanish navy, consisting of the battle-ship Pelayo, the armoured cruiser Carlos V., the protected cruiser Alphonso XIII., the converted cruisers Rapido and Patria, and several torpedo-boats, remain in Cadiz Harbour.

May 12. The story of an attempt to land American troops in Cuba is thus told by one of the officers of the steamer Gussie, which vessel left Tampa on the tenth.

“In an effort to land Companies E and G of the first U. S. Infantry on the shore of Pinar del Rio this afternoon, with five hundred rifles, sixty thousand rounds of ammunition, and some food supplies for the insurgents, the first land fight of the war took place. Each side may claim a victory, for if the Spaniards frustrated the effort to connect with the insurgents, the Americans got decidedly the better of the battle, killing [pg 131]twelve or more of the enemy, and on their own part suffering not a wound.


“After dark last evening the old-fashioned sidewheel steamer Gussie of the Morgan line, with troops and cargo mentioned, was near the Cuban coast. At sunrise she fell in with the gunboat Vicksburg on the blockade off Havana. Other blockading vessels came up also. The converted revenue cutter Manning, Captain Munger, was detailed to convoy the Gussie, and, three abreast, the steamers moved along the coast.

“The Cuban guides on the Gussie took their machetes to a grindstone on the hurricane-deck. Our soldiers gathered around to see them sharpen their long knives, but only one could be induced to test the edge of these barbarous instruments with his thumb.

“By the ruined walls of an old stone house Spanish troops were gathered. Several shots were fired by the gunboat Manning, and presently no troops were visible. It had been decided to land near here, but the depth of water was not favourable.

“Just west of Port Cabanas Harbour the Gussie anchored, the Manning covering the landing-place with her guns, and the torpedo-boat Wasp came up eager to assist. The first American soldier to step on the Cuban shore from this expedition was Lieutenant Crofton, Captain O’Connor with the first boatload having gone a longer route. A reef near the beach threw the men out, and they stumbled through the water up to their breasts. When they reached dry land they [pg 132]immediately went into the bush to form a picket-line. Two horses had been forced to swim ashore, when suddenly a rifle-shot, followed by continuous sharp firing, warned the men that the enemy had been in waiting.

“The captain of the transport signalled the war-ships, and the Manning fired into the woods beyond our picket-line. Shrapnel hissed through the air like hot iron plunged in water. The Wasp opened with her small guns. The cannonade began at 3.15 and lasted a quarter of an hour; then our pickets appeared, the ships circled around, and, being told by Captain O’Connor, who had come from shore with the clothing torn from one leg, where the Spaniards were, a hundred shots more were fired in that direction.

“ ‘Anybody hurt, captain?’ some one asked.

“ ‘None of our men, but we shot twelve Spaniards,’ he shouted back.

“The soldiers on board the Gussie heard the news without a word, but learning where the enemy were situated, gathered aft on the upper deck, and sent volleys toward the spot.

“The pickets returned to the bush. Several crept along the beach, but the Spaniards had drawn back. It was decided that the soldiers should reëmbark on the Gussie, and that the guides take the horses, seek the insurgents, and make a new appointment. They rode off to the westward, and disappeared around a point.

[pg 133]

“ ‘Say,’ shouted a man from Company G after them, ‘you forgot your grindstone.’ ”

May 12. On Thursday morning, May 12th, the gunboat Wilmington stood in close to the coast, off the town of Cardenas, with her crew at quarters.

She had come for a specific purpose, which was to avenge the Winslow, and not until she was within range of the gunboats that had decoyed the Winslow did she slacken speed. Then the masked battery, which had opened on the American boat with such deadly effect, was covered by the Wilmington’s guns.

There were no preliminaries. The war-vessel was there to teach the Spaniards of Cardenas a lesson, and set about the task without delay.

The town is three miles distant from the gulf entrance to the harbour, therefore no time need be wasted in warning non-combatants, for they were in little or no danger.

During two weeks troops had been gathering near about Cardenas to protect it against American invasion; masked batteries were being planted, earthworks thrown up, and blockhouses erected. There was no lack of targets.

Carefully, precisely, as if at practice, the Wilmington opened fire from her 4-inch guns, throwing shells here, there, everywhere; but more particularly in the direction of that masked battery which had trained its guns on the Winslow, and as the Spaniards, panic-stricken, hearing a death-knell in the sighing, whistling [pg 134]missiles, fled in mad terror, the gunboats’ machine guns were called into play.

It is safe to assert that the one especial object of the American sailors’ vengeance was completely destroyed. Not a gun remained mounted, not a man was alive, save those whose wounds were mortal. The punishment was terrible, but complete.

Until this moment the Spaniards at Cardenas had believed they might with impunity open fire on any craft flying the American flag; but now they began to understand that such sport was in the highest degree dangerous.

During a full hour—and in that time nearly three hundred shells had been sent on errands of destruction—the Wilmington continued her bombardment of the defences.

When the work was completed two gunboats had been sunk so quickly that their crews had no more than sufficient time to escape. Two schooners were converted into wrecks at their moorings. One blockhouse was consumed by flames, and signal-stations, masked batteries, and forts were in ruins.

While this lesson was in progress the Spaniards did their best to bring it to a close; but despite all efforts the Wilmington was unharmed. There was absolutely no evidence of conflict about her when she finally steamed away, save such as might have been read on the smoke-begrimed faces of the hard-worked but triumphant and satisfied crew.

[pg 135]

May 13. An English correspondent, cabling from Hongkong regarding the Spaniards in the Philippine Islands, made the following statement:

“They are in a position to give the Americans a deal of trouble. There are twenty-five thousand Spanish soldiers in the garrison at Manila, and one hundred thousand volunteers enrolled. Scores of coasting steamers are imprisoned on the river Pasig, which is blocked at the mouth by some sunken schooners.

“Mr. Wildman, the American consul here, tells me that, according to his despatches, a flag of truce is flying over Manila, and the people are allowed to proceed freely to and from the ships in the harbour.

“The Americans are on duty night and day on the lookout for boats which endeavour to run the blockade with food supplies. The hospital is supported by the Americans. The Spaniards are boasting that their big battle-ship Pelayo is coming, and will demolish the Americans in ten minutes.”

On the afternoon of May 13th the flying squadron, Commodore W. S. Schley commanding, set sail from Old Point Comfort, heading southeast. The following vessels comprised the fleet. The cruiser Brooklyn, the flag-ship, the battle-ships Massachusetts and Texas, and the torpedo-boat destroyer Scorpion. The Sterling, with 4,000 tons of coal, was the collier of the squadron. At eight o’clock in the evening the Minneapolis followed, and Captain Sigsbee of the St. Paul received orders to get under way at midnight.

[pg 136]

May 14. Eleven steamers, chartered by the government as troop-ships, sailed from New York for Key West. At San Francisco, the cruiser Charleston, with supplies and reinforcements for Admiral Dewey’s fleet at Manila, had been made ready for sea.

At Havana General Blanco had shown great energy in preparing for the expected siege by American forces. The city and forts were reported as being provisioned sufficiently for three or four months, and Havana was surrounded by entrenchments for a distance of thirty miles. The troops in the garrison numbered seventy thousand, and a like number were in the interior fighting the insurgents.

The condition of the reconcentrados in Havana had grown steadily worse. The mortality increased among this wretched class, who had taken to begging morsels of food.

Nobody in Havana except a few higher officers knew that the Spanish fleet was annihilated at Manila, and the story was believed that the Americans were beaten there.

At Madrid in the Chamber of Deputies Señor Bores asked the government to inform the house of the condition of the Philippines. After the pacification of the islands, he said, outbreaks had occurred at Pansy and Cebu and even in Manila. Was this a new rebellion, he asked, or a continuation of the old one? If it was a continuation of the old rebellion, then General Prima de Rivera’s pacification of the islands had been a perfect fraud. [pg 137]General Correa, Minister of War, replied that the old insurrection was absolutely over. The present one, he said, arose from the incitements of the Americans.

Señor Bores retorted that he had received a private letter from the Philippines, dated April 10th, prior to the arising of any fear of war with the United States, giving pessimistic accounts of the risings there, and passengers arriving by the steamer Leon III. had told similar stories. Now, he declared, the Spanish troops in the Philippines were in a terrible condition, being between two fires, the natives and the Americans. Señor Bores’s remarks created a profound sensation.

The cruiser Charleston was reported as being ready to sail from San Francisco for Manila. Three hundred sailors and marines to reinforce Admiral Dewey’s fleet were to be sent on the cruiser.

The U. S. S. Oregon, Marietta, and Nictheroy arrived at Bahia, Brazil.

The Spanish torpedo-boat Terror, of the Cape Verde fleet, reported as yet remaining at Port de France, Martinique.

A press correspondent gives the following spirited account, under the date of May 14th, of a second attempt to entice the American blockading squadron within range of the Santa Clara battery guns:

“Captain-General Blanco, two hours before sunset to-night, attempted to execute a ruse, which, if successful, would have cleared the front of Havana of six ships on that blockading station.

[pg 138]

“Unable to come out to do battle, he adopted the tactics of the spider, and cunningly planned to draw the prey into his net, but, though a clever and pretty scheme as an original proposition, it was practically a repetition of the trick by which the gunboat Vicksburg and the little converted revenue cutter Morrill were last week decoyed by a fishing-smack under the big Krupp guns of Santa Clara batteries.

“Thanks to bad gunnery, both ships on that occasion managed to get out of range without being sunk, though some of the shells burst close aboard, and the Vicksburg’s Jacob’s-ladder was cut adrift.

“Late this afternoon the ships on the Havana station were dumfounded to see two vessels steam out of Havana Harbour and head east. Dense smoke was streaming like black ribbons from their stacks, and a glance showed that they were under full head of steam.

“By aid of glasses Commander Lilly of the Mayflower, which was flying the pennant, made out the larger vessel of the two, which was two hundred feet long and about forty-five hundred tons displacement, to be the cruiser Alphonso XII., and the small one to be the gunboat Legaspi, both of which were known to be bottled up in Havana Harbour.

“At first he supposed that they were taking advantage of the absence of the heavy fighting-ships, and were making a bona-fide run for the open sea.

“As superior officer, he immediately signalled the other war-ships on the station, the Vicksburg, Annapolis, [pg 139]Wasp, Tecumseh, and Osceola. The little squadron gave chase to the flying Spaniards, keeping up a running fire as they advanced. The Alphonso and her consort circled inshore about five miles below Havana, and headed back for Morro Castle.

“Our gunboats and the vessels of the mosquito fleet did not follow them in. Commander Lilly saw that the wily Spanish ruse was to draw them in under the guns of the heavy batteries, where Spanish artillery officers could plot out the exact range with their telemeters. So the return was made in line ahead, parallel with the shore.

“Commander Lilly had not been mistaken. As his ships came abreast of Santa Clara battery the big guns opened, and fired thirteen shells at a distance of about five miles. The range was badly judged, as more than half the missiles overshot the mark, and others fell short, some as much as a mile.

“The big Alphonso and her convoy steamed swiftly from the dark shadow of the harbour’s mouth, and, turning sharply east, ran along the coast as though to slip through the cordon of blockade.

“It was a bold trick and not at first transparent, although the folly of it created a suspicion.

“The Spanish boats crowded on steam and stood along the coast as long as they dared, to give zest to the chase. The Mayflower signalled her consorts, ‘Close in and charge.’

“Seeing that the bait had apparently taken, the [pg 140]Spaniards veered about, and, bringing their stern-chasers to bear on the Americans, doubled back for Morro.

“Two of the shells from the Vicksburg burst in the rigging of the Alphonso, and some of it came down, but it was, of course, impossible to know whether any fatalities occurred. The American fire was much more accurate than the Spanish, as every shell of the latter fell short of their pursuers.

“The Spaniards were a mile off Morro, and our ships fully four miles out, when flame leaped from the batteries of the Santa Clara forts, and clouds of white smoke drifted up the coast. Half a minute later a dull, heavy roar of a great gun came like a deep diapason of an organ on high treble of smaller guns. It was from one of the 12-inch Krupp guns mounted there, and an 85-pound projectile plunged into the water half a mile inside of the American line, throwing up a tower of white spray. It ricochetted and struck again half a mile outside.

“The mask was now off. Maddened by the failure of their plot, the Spaniards continued to fire at intervals of about ten minutes. In all, thirteen shots were fired, but not one struck within two hundred yards of our ships.

“As soon as the battery opened, Commander Lilly signalled, and his fleet stood offshore. Captain McKensie, on the bridge of the Vicksburg, watched the fall of the shells, but he considered it useless to waste [pg 141]ammunition at that distance. He appeased the desire of the men at the guns, however, by letting go a final broadside at the Spanish ships, in the chance hope of making them pay for their daring before they gained the harbour, but they steamed under Morro’s guns untouched, and, as they disappeared, discharged several guns.

“Half a dozen shots were sent after them at that moment by the Annapolis, which dropped inside the harbour, probably creating consternation among scores of boats on the water-front.”

May 15. The Spanish cruisers Maria Teresa, Vizcaya, Almirante Oquendo, and Cristobal Colon, and torpedo-boat destroyers, which arrived off the port of Curacoa, sailed at sunset on the 15th, after having purchased coal and provisions.

The flying squadron under command of Commodore Schley arrived off Charleston, S. C.

Admiral Sampson’s squadron passed Cape Haytien.

All the members of the Spanish Cabinet have resigned.

A report from Ponce, Porto Rico, under date of May 15th, describes the inhabitants of the island as living in constant fear of a renewal of the bombardment of San Juan by Admiral’s Sampson’s fleet. There are no submarine mines in the harbour of Ponce, and the generally unprotected condition of the place is a cause of much anxiety.

May 16. Freeman Halstead, an American news[pg 142]paper correspondent, arrested at San Juan de Porto Rico, while in the act of making photographs of the fortifications. He was sentenced by a military tribunal to nine years’ imprisonment.

In a general order issued at the War Department, the assignments to the different corps and other important commands were announced. The order is as follows:

“The following assignments of general officers to command is hereby made by the President:

“Maj.-Gen. Wesley Merritt, U. S. A., the Department of the Pacific.

“Maj.-Gen. John R. Brooke, U. S. A., the first corps and the Department of the Gulf.

“Maj.-Gen. W. M. Graham, U. S. Volunteers, the second corps, with headquarters at Falls Church, Va.

“Maj.-Gen. James M. Wade, U. S. Volunteers, the third corps, reporting to Major-General Brooke, Chickamauga.

“Maj.-Gen. John J. Coppinger, U. S. Volunteers, the fourth corps, Mobile, Ala.

“Maj.-Gen. William R. Shafter, U. S. Volunteers, the fifth corps, Tampa, Fla.

“Maj.-Gen. Elwell S. Otis, U. S. Volunteers, to report to Major-General Merritt, U. S. A., for duty with troops in the Department of the Pacific.

“Maj.-Gen. James H. Wilson, U. S. Volunteers, the sixth corps, Chickamauga, reporting to Major-General Brooke.

[pg 143]

“Maj.-Gen. Fitzhugh Lee, U. S. Volunteers, the seventh corps, Tampa, Fla.

“Maj.-Gen. Joseph H. Wheeler, U. S. Volunteers, the cavalry division, Tampa, Fla.”

Orders were given by Admiral Sampson to Captain Goodrich of the St. Louis, on May 15th, to take the fleet tender in tow and proceed to Santiago de Cuba to cut the cables at that point. The grappling implements were secured from the tug Wampatuck on May 16th, and at eleven P. M. the expedition, in the small boats, left the cruiser for the entrance of Santiago. It was then perfectly dark and hazy, but the Santiago light was burning brightly. Moonrise was not until 3.45 A. M. At three A. M. on May 17th the expedition returned with part of one cable, but it had failed to find a second cable, which is close under the fort, and was protected by two patrol-boats. Then a start was made to cut the cable on the other side of the island. At seven A. M. the St. Louis fired her first gun at the forts protecting the entrance to Santiago Harbour, and after a little time the fire was returned by what must have been a 2-pounder.

At eight A. M. the St. Louis was about two miles distant from the fort, which seemed to be unprovided with modern guns. After three hours grappling in over five hundred fathoms, the cable had not been found. At 12.15 P. M. the guns of Morro Castle opened fire, followed by the shore battery on the southerly point, and also the west battery. The St. [pg 144]Louis kept up a constant fire from her bow guns, and soon succeeded in silencing the guns of Morro Castle, the Spaniards running in all directions.

Most of the shots from the fort fell short of the ship. Shells from the mortar battery went over the cruiser and exploded in the water quite close to the St. Louis. The mortar battery ceased at 12.56 P. M., after a fusilade of forty-one minutes. After firing the cable was grappled, hauled on board, and cut.

May 17. The Spanish squadron reported as yet remaining at Cadiz.

The U. S. S. Wilmington had a slight action with a Spanish gunboat off the Cuban coast, during which the latter was disabled.

May 18. The U. S. cruiser Charleston left San Francisco for the Philippines with supplies for Commodore Dewey’s fleet.

May 19. By cable from Madrid it was learned that the Spanish fleet had arrived at Santiago de Cuba.

The cruiser Charleston, which sailed for Manila, returned to Mare Island navy yard with her condensers out of order.

May 21. An order was despatched to San Francisco to prepare the Monterey for a voyage to Manila, where she would join Commodore Dewey’s fleet. The Monterey is probably the most formidable monitor in the world; technically described she is a barbed turret, low freeboard monitor of four thousand tons displacement, 256 feet long, fifty-nine feet beam, and [pg 145]fourteen feet six inches draught. She carries in two turrets, surrounded by barbettes, two 12-inch and two 10-inch guns, while on her superstructure, between the turrets, are mounted six 6-pounders, four 1-pounders, and two Gatlings. The turrets are seven and one-half and eight inches thick, and the surrounding barbettes are fourteen inches and eleven and one-half inches of steel.


One of the most important prizes captured during the war was taken by the U. S. S. Minneapolis off the eastern coast of Cuba. The craft was the Spanish brig Santa Maria de Lourdes, loaded with coal, ammunition, arms, and supplies for Admiral Cervera.

Nearly four hundred men, with a pack-train and a large quantity of arms and ammunition, sailed for a point about twenty-five miles east of Havana, on the steamer Florida. These men and their equipment constituted an expedition able to operate independently, and to defend itself against any body of Spanish troops which might oppose it.

The Florida returned to Key West on the thirty-first, after having successfully landed the ammunition and men.

May 22. The U. S. S. Charleston again left San Francisco, bound for Manila.

May 25. The U. S. S. St. Paul captured the British steamer Restormel, loaded with coal, off Santiago de Cuba. The prize is a long, low tramp collier belonging to the Troy company of Cardiff, Wales. She [pg 146]left there on April 22d, the day before war was declared, with twenty-eight hundred tons of the finest grade of Cardiff coal consigned to a Spanish firm in San Juan de Porto Rico, where the Spanish fleet was supposed to make its first stop.

“When we reached San Juan,” said the captain of the Restormel, “the consignees told me very curtly that the persons for whom the coal was destined were in Curacoa. At Porto Rico I learned that war had been declared. I began to suspect that the coal was going to Cervera’s fleet, but my Spanish consignees said it would be all right. They told me not to ask any questions, but to go to Curacoa as soon as possible. I did so, placing my cargo under orders.

“The consignee at Curacoa was a Spanish officer. He said there had been another change of base, and that the coal was wanted at Santiago de Cuba. I tried to cable my owners for instructions, but found that the cables had been cut. Under the circumstances there was nothing for me to do but to go to Santiago. By this time I was pretty well convinced that the cargo was for Cervera. I suspected that coal had been made a contraband of war, so I wasn’t a bit surprised when the St. Paul brought us to, with a shot, three and a half miles from shore.”

In the prize court it was decided to confiscate the coal, and release the steamer.

The President issued a proclamation calling for seventy-five thousand men.

[pg 147]

Three troop-ships, laden with soldiers, sailed from San Francisco for Manila.

May 26. The battle-ship Oregon, which left San Francisco March 19th, arrived at Key West.

May 27. The Spanish torpedo-boat destroyer arrived at San Juan de Porto Rico.

May 28. From Commodore Dewey the following cablegram was received:

Secretary Navy, Washington:—No change in the situation of the blockade. Is effective. It is impossible for the people of Manila to buy provisions, except rice.

“The captain of the Olympia, Gridley, condemned by medical survey. Is ordered home. Leaves by Occidental and Oriental steamship from Hongkong the twenty-eighth. Commander Lamberton appointed commander of the Olympia.”

May 29. Maj.-Gen. Wesley Merritt issued an order formally announcing that he had taken command of the Philippine forces and expeditions.

May 31. United States troops board transports for Cuba.

The beginning of June saw the opening of the first regular campaign of the war, and it is eminently proper the operations around and about Santiago de Cuba be told in a continuous narrative, rather than with any [pg 148]further attempt at giving the news from the various parts of the world in chronological order.

Therefore such events, aside from the Santiago campaign, as are worthy a place in history, will be set down in regular sequence after certain deeds of the boys of ’98 have been related in such detail as is warranted by the heroism displayed.

[pg 149]



May 29. The blockading fleet, under command of Commodore Schley, off Santiago de Cuba, was composed of the Brooklyn, Iowa, Massachusetts, Texas, New Orleans, Marblehead, and Vixen.

At about midnight on May 29th the officer of the deck on board the Texas saw, by aid of his night-glass, two low-lying, swiftly-running steamers stealing out of Santiago Harbour, and keeping well within the shadows of the land.

As soon as might be thereafter the war-vessel’s search-lights were turned full on, and at the same moment the sleeping crew were awakened.

It was known beyond a question that the Spanish fleet under Admiral Cervera was hidden within the harbour, not daring to come boldly out while the blockading squadron was so strong, and the first thought of men as well as officers, when these stealthily moving vessels were sighted, was that the Spaniards were making a desperate effort to escape from the trap they had voluntarily entered.

The search-lights of the Texas revealed the fact that [pg 150]the two strangers were torpedo-boats, and a heavy fire was opened upon them instantly.

With the report of the first gun the call to quarters was sounded on all the other ships, and a dozen rays of blinding light flashed here and there across the entrance to the harbour, until the waters were so brilliantly illumined that the smallest craft in which mariner ever set sail could not have come out unobserved.

The same report which aroused the squadron told the Spaniards that their purpose was no longer a secret, and the two torpedo-boats were headed for the Brooklyn and the Texas, running at full speed in the hope of discharging their tubes before the fire should become too heavy.

The enemy had not calculated, however, upon such a warm and immediate reception. It was as if every gun on board both the Brooklyn and Texas was in action within sixty seconds after the Spaniards were sighted, and there remained nothing for the venturesome craft save to seek the shelter of the harbour again, fortunate indeed if such opportunity was allowed them.

May 31. The U. S. S. Marblehead, cruising inshore to relieve the monotony of blockading duties, discovered that lying behind the batteries at the mouth of Santiago Harbour were four Spanish cruisers and two torpedo-boat destroyers.

When this fact was reported to the commodore he decided to tempt the Spanish fleet into a fight, and at [pg 151]the same time discover the location of the masked batteries. In pursuance of this plan he transferred his flag from the Brooklyn to the more heavily armed Massachusetts.


Two hours after noon the Massachusetts, New Orleans, and Iowa, in the order named, and not more than a cable length apart, steamed up to the harbour mouth to within four thousand yards of Morro Castle.

Two miles out to sea lay the Brooklyn, Texas, and other ships of the blockading fleet awaiting the summons which should bring them into the fight; but none came.

The Massachusetts opened fire first, taking the Spanish flag-ship for its target. An 8-inch shell was the missile, and it fell far short of its mark. Then the big machine tried her 13-inch guns.

The Cristobal Colon and four batteries—two on the east side, one on the west, and one on an island in the middle of the channel, replied. Their 10 and 12-inch Krupps spoke shot for shot with our sixes, eights and thirteens. It was noisy and spectacular, but not effective on either side.

The American fleet steamed across before the batteries at full speed; circled, and passed again. Both sides had found the range by the time of the second passing, and began to shoot close. Several shots burst directly over the Iowa, three fell dangerously near the New Orleans, and one sprayed the bow of the Massachusetts.

[pg 152]

After half an hour both forts on the east and the one on the island were silenced. Five minutes later our ships ceased firing. The western battery and the Spanish flag-ship kept up the din fifteen minutes longer, but their work was ineffective.

June 1. Rear-Admiral Sampson, with the New York as his flag-ship, and accompanied by the Oregon, the Mayflower, and the torpedo-boat Porter, joined Commodore Schley’s squadron off Santiago on the first of June.

A naval officer with the squadron summed up the situation in a communication to his friend at home:

“Pending the execution of Admiral Sampson’s plan of campaign, our ships form a cordon about the entrance of Santiago Harbour to prevent the possible egress of the Spaniards, should Admiral Cervera be foolhardy enough to attempt to cut his way out.”

The officers of the blockading squadron were well informed as to the situation ashore. Communication with the Cubans had been established, and it was known that a line of insurgents had been drawn around Santiago, in order that they might be of assistance when the big war-vessels had struck the first blow.

The defences of the harbour were fairly well-known despite the vigilance of the enemy, and it was no secret that within the narrow neck of the channel, which at the entrance is hardly more than three hundred feet wide, eighteen or twenty mines had been planted.

[pg 153]

A report from one of the newspaper correspondents, under date of June 1st, was as follows:

“So far as has been ascertained, there are three new batteries on the west side of the entrance. These appear to be formed entirely of earthworks.

“The embrasures for the guns can easily be discerned with the glasses. Cayo Smith, a small island which lies directly beyond the entrance, is fortified, and back of Morro, which sits on the rocky eminences at the right of the entrance, are Estrella battery and St. Carolina fort. Further up the bay, guarding the last approach to the city of Santiago, is Blanco battery.

“The first are of stone, and were constructed in the early sixties. St. Carolina fort is partially in ruins. The guns in Morro Castle and Estrella are of old pattern, 18 and 24-pounders, and would not even be considered were it not for the great height of the fortifications, which would enable these weapons to deliver a plunging fire.

“Modern guns are mounted on the batteries to the left of the entrance. On Cayo Smith and at Blanco battery there are also four modern guns. The mines in the narrow, tortuous channel, and the elevation of the forts and batteries, which must increase the effectiveness of the enemy’s fire, and at the same time decrease that of our own, reinforced by the guns of the Spanish fleet inside, make the harbour, as it now appears, almost impregnable. Unless the entrance is countermined it [pg 154]would be folly to attempt to force its passage with our ships.

“But the Spanish fleet is bottled up, and a plan is being considered to drive in the cork. If that is done, the next news may be a thrilling story of closing the harbour. It would release a part of our fleet, and leave the Spaniards to starve and rot until they were ready to hoist the white flag.”

“To drive in the cork,” was the subject nearest Rear-Admiral Sampson’s heart, and he at once went into consultation with his officers as to how it could best be done. One plan after another was discussed and rejected, and then Assistant Naval Constructor Richmond Pearson Hobson proposed that the big collier Merrimac, which then had on board about six hundred tons of coal, be sunk across the channel in such a manner as to completely block it.

The plan was a good one; but yet it seemed certain death for those who should attempt to carry it out as proposed. Lieutenant Hobson, however, claimed that, if the scheme was accepted, he should by right be allowed to take command of the enterprise.

The end to be attained was so great that Admiral Sampson decided that the lives of six or seven men could not be allowed to outweigh the advantage to be gained, and Lieutenant Hobson was notified that his services were accepted; the big steamer was at his disposal to do with as he saw fit.

June 11. The preliminary work of this desperate [pg 155]undertaking was a strain upon the officers and men. On Wednesday morning the preparations to scuttle the Merrimac in the channel were commenced. All day long crews from the New York and Brooklyn were on board the collier, never resting in their efforts to prepare her. She lay alongside the Massachusetts, discharging coal, when the work was first begun.

The news of the intended expedition travelled quickly through the fleet, and it soon became known that volunteers were needed for a desperate undertaking. From the Iowa’s signal-yard quickly fluttered the announcement that she had 140 volunteers, and the other ships were not far behind. On the New York the enthusiasm was intense. Over two hundred members of the crew volunteered to go into that narrow harbour and face death. The junior officers literally tumbled over each other in their eagerness to get their names on the volunteer list.

When it was learned that only six men and Lieutenant Hobson were to go, there was much disappointment on all sides. All Wednesday night the crews worked on board the Merrimac; and the other ships, as they passed the collier, before sundown, cheered her. Lieutenant Hobson paid a brief visit to the flag-ship shortly before midnight, and then returned to the Merrimac.

While on board the flag-ship Lieutenant Hobson thus detailed his plan of action:

“I shall go right into the harbour until about four hundred yards past the Estrella battery, which is [pg 156]behind Morro Castle. I do not think they can sink me before I reach somewhere near that point. The Merrimac has seven thousand tons buoyancy, and I shall keep her full speed ahead. She can make about ten knots. When the narrowest part of the channel is reached I shall put her helm hard aport, stop the engines, drop the anchors, open the sea connections, touch off the torpedoes, and leave the Merrimac a wreck, lying athwart the channel, which is not as broad as the Merrimac is long. There are ten 8-inch improvised torpedoes below the water-line, on the Merrimac’s port-side. They are placed on her side against the bulk-heads and vital spots, connected with each other by a wire under the ship’s keel. Each torpedo contains eighty-two pounds of gunpowder. Each torpedo is also connected with the bridge; they should do their work in a minute, and it will be quick work even if done in a minute and a quarter.

“On deck there will be four men and myself. In the engine-room there will be two other men. This is the total crew, and all of us will be in our underclothing, with revolvers and ammunition in water-tight packing strapped around our waists. Forward there will be a man on deck, and around his waist will be a line, the other end of the line being made fast to the bridge, where I will stand. By that man’s side will be an axe. When I stop the engines I shall jerk this cord, and he will thus get the signal to cut the lashing which will be holding the forward anchor. He will [pg 157]then jump overboard and swim to the four-oared dingy, which we shall tow astern. The dingy is full of life-buoys, and is unsinkable. In it are rifles. It is to be held by two ropes, one made fast at her bow and one at her stern. The first man to reach her will haul in the tow-line and pull the dingy to starboard. The next to leave the ship are the rest of the crew. The quartermaster at the wheel will not leave until after having put it hard aport, and lashed it so; he will then jump overboard.


“Down below, the man at the reversing gear will stop the engines, scramble up on deck, and get over the side as quickly as he is able. The man in the engine-room will break open the sea connections with a sledge-hammer, and will follow his leader into the water. This last step ensures the sinking of the Merrimac whether the torpedoes work or not. By this time I calculate the six men will be in the dingy and the Merrimac will have swung athwart the channel, to the full length of her three hundred yards of cable, which will have been paid out before the anchors are cut loose. Then, all that is left for me is to touch the button. I shall stand on the starboard side of the bridge. The explosion will throw the Merrimac on her starboard side. Nothing on this side of New York City will be able to raise her after that.”

In reply to frequent questions, Hobson said:

“I suppose the Estrella battery will fire down on us a bit, but the ships will throw their search-lights in the [pg 158]gunners’ faces, and they won’t see much of us. If we are torpedoed we should even then be able to make the desired position in the channel. It won’t be easy to hit us, and I think the men should be able to swim to the dingy. I may jump before I am blown up. But I don’t see that it makes much difference what I do. I have a fair chance of life either way. If our dingy gets shot to pieces we shall then try to swim for the beach right under Morro Castle. We shall keep together at all hazards. Then we may be able to make our way alongside, and perhaps get back to the ship. We shall fight the sentries or a squad until the last, and shall only surrender to overwhelming numbers, and our surrender will only take place as a last and almost uncontemplated emergency.”

The volunteers accepted for this most hazardous enterprise were, after Lieutenant Hobson: George F. Phillips, machinist on the Merrimac; Francis Kelly, water tender on the Merrimac; Randolph Clausen, coxswain on the New York; George Charette, first-class gunner’s mate on the New York; Daniel Montague, first-class machinist on the New York; Osburn Deignan, coxswain on the Merrimac; J. C. Murphy, coxswain on the Iowa.

June 21. At three o’clock in the morning the admiral and Flag Lieutenant Staunton got into the launch to make an inspection of the Merrimac. The working gangs were still on board of her, and the officers of the flag-ship stood with their glasses focused on [pg 159]the big black hull that was to form an impassable obstacle for Spain’s best ships.

The minutes slipped by, the crews had not completed their work on the Merrimac, but at last a boatload of men, black and tired out, came over to the flag-ship. Last of all, at 4.30, came the admiral. He had been delayed by a breakdown of the steam launch.

Dawn was breaking over Santiago de Cuba, and nearly everybody thought it was too late for the attempt to be made that morning. Then somebody cried:

“She is going in.”

Surely enough, the seemingly deserted collier was seen heading straight for Morro Castle. A few moments later, however, she was recalled by Admiral Sampson, who thought it sure death for Hobson to venture in at that hour. The Merrimac did not return at once. Word came back:

“Lieutenant Hobson asks permission to continue on his course. He thinks he can make it.”

The admiral sent Hobson a message to the effect that the Merrimac must return at once, and in due course of time the doomed collier slowly steamed back, her commander evidently disappointed with the order. All day Thursday the collier lay near the flag-ship, and more elaborate preparations were made to carry out the mission of the Merrimac successfully. During these preparations Hobson was cool and confident, supervising personally every little detail.

[pg 160]

When, finally, he went on board the Merrimac Thursday night, he had been without sleep since Wednesday morning. His uniform was begrimed, his hands were black, and he looked like a man who had been hard at work in and about an engine-room for a long time. As he said good-bye, the lieutenant remarked that his only regret was that all of the New York’s volunteers could not go with him.

June 3. The hazardous voyage was begun at three o’clock Friday morning. The Merrimac was lying to the westward. Under cover of the clouds over the moon, she stole in toward the coast and made her way to the eastward, followed by a steam launch from the New York, with the following crew on board: Naval Cadet J. W. Powell, of Oswego, N. Y.; P. K. Peterson, coxswain; H. Handford, apprentice of the first class; J. Mullings, coal passer; G. L. Russell, machinist of the second class. In the launch were bandages and appliances for the wounded.

From the crowded decks of the New York nothing could be seen of the Merrimac after she got under the shadow of the hills. For half an hour officers and men strained their eyes peering into the gloom, when, suddenly, the flash of a gun streamed out from Morro Castle, and then all on board the New York knew the Merrimac was nearing her end.

The guns from the Spanish battery opposite Morro Castle answered quickly with more flashes, and for about twenty minutes tongues of fire seemed to leap [pg 161]across the harbour entrance. The flag-ship was too far away to hear the reports, and when the firing ceased it was judged that Hobson had blown up the Merrimac.


During an hour the anxious watchers waited for daylight. Rear-Admiral Sampson and Captain Chadwick were on the bridge of the New York during the entire time. At five o’clock thin streams of smoke were seen against the western shore, quite close to the Spanish batteries, and strong glasses made out the launch of the New York returning to the flag-ship.

Scarcely had the small craft been sighted before a puff of smoke issued from a battery on the western arm of the harbour, and a shot plunged far over the launch. Then for fifteen minutes the big guns ashore kept up an irregular fire on the little craft. As the shells fell without hitting the object for which they were intended, the men on board the New York jeered at the Spanish marksmanship, and cheered their shipmates.

At 6.15 the launch came alongside the flag-ship, but she did not have on board any of the Merrimac’s crew. Cadet Powell reported that he had been unable to see any of the men. It was learned that the cadet had gone directly under the batteries, and only returned when he found his efforts were useless.

He also reported that he had clearly seen the Merrimac’s masts sticking up just where Hobson hoped to [pg 162]sink her, north of the Estrella battery, and well past the guns of Morro Castle.

Cadet Powell thus related the last interview he had with the officer whom it seemed certain had voluntarily gone to his death:

“Lieutenant Hobson took a short sleep for a few hours, which was often interrupted. At a quarter before two he came on deck and made a final inspection, giving his last instructions. Then we had a little lunch. Hobson was as cool as a cucumber. At about half past two I took the men who were not going on the trip into the launch, and started for the Texas, the nearest ship, but had to go back for one of the assistant engineers, whom Hobson finally compelled to leave. I shook hands with Hobson last of all. He said:

“ ‘Powell, watch the boat’s crew when we pull out of the harbour. We will be cracks, pulling thirty strokes to the minute.’

“After leaving the Texas I saw the Merrimac steaming slowly in.

“It was only fairly dark then, and the shore was quite visible. We followed about three-quarters of a mile astern. The Merrimac stood about a mile to the westward of the harbour, and seemed a bit mixed, turning completely around, and finally heading to the east, she ran down and then turned in. We were then chasing him because I thought Hobson had lost his bearings.

“When Hobson was about two hundred yards from [pg 163]the harbour the first gun was fired, from the eastern bluff. We were then about half a mile offshore, and nearing the batteries. The firing increased rapidly. We steamed in slowly, and lost sight of the Merrimac in the smoke which the wind carried offshore. It hung heavily. Before Hobson could have blown up the Merrimac the western battery picked us up and commenced firing. They shot wild, however, and we ran in still farther to the shore until the gunners lost sight of us. Then we heard the explosion of the torpedoes on the Merrimac.

“Until daylight we waited just outside the breakers, half a mile to the westward of Morro, keeping a sharp lookout for the boat or for swimmers, but saw nothing. Hobson had arranged to meet us at that point, but thinking that some one might have drifted out, we crossed in front of Morro and the mouth of the harbour, to the eastward.

“At about five o’clock we crossed the harbour again, and stood to the westward. In passing we saw one spar of the Merrimac sticking out of the water. We hugged the shore just outside of the breakers for a mile, and then turned toward the Texas, when the batteries saw us and opened fire. It was then broad daylight. The first shot dropped thirty yards astern, but the others went wild. I drove the launch for all she was worth, finally making the New York. The men behaved splendidly.”

June 3. Later in the day a boat with a white flag put [pg 164]out from the harbour, and Captain Oviedo, chief of staff of Admiral Cervera, boarded the New York, and informed Admiral Sampson that the whole party had been captured; that only two were injured. Lieutenant Hobson was not hurt. The Spanish admiral was so impressed with the courage of the Merrimac’s crew that he decided to inform Admiral Sampson of the fact that they had not lost their lives, but were prisoners of war and could be exchanged.

To a newspaper correspondent Commodore Schley said, as he stood on his flag-ship pointing towards Morro Castle:

“History does not record an act of finer heroism than that of the gallant men who are prisoners over there. I watched the Merrimac as she made her way to the entrance of the harbour, and my heart sank as I saw the perfect hell of fire that fell upon those devoted men. I did not think it possible one of them could have gone through it alive.

“They went into the jaws of death. It was Balaklava over again without the means of defence which the Light Brigade had. Hobson led a forlorn hope without the power to cut his way out; but fortune once more favoured the brave, and I hope he will have the recognition and promotion he deserves. His name will live as long as the heroes of the world are remembered.”

Admiral Sampson made the following report to the Navy Department:

[pg 165]

“Permit me to call your especial attention to Assistant Naval Constructor Hobson.

“As stated in a special telegram, before coming here I decided to make the harbour entrance secure against the possibility of egress by Spanish ships, by obstructing the narrow part of the entrance by sinking a collier at that point.

“Upon calling upon Mr. Hobson for his professional opinion as to a sure method of sinking the ship, he manifested the most lively interest in the problem. After several days’ consideration, he presented a solution which he considered would ensure the immediate sinking of the ship when she reached the desired point in the channel. This plan we prepared for execution when we reached Santiago.

“The plan contemplated a crew of only seven men and Mr. Hobson, who begged that it might be entrusted to him. The anchor chains were arranged on deck for both the anchors, forward and aft, the plan including the anchoring of the ship automatically. As soon as I reached Santiago, and I had the collier to work upon, the details were completed and diligently prosecuted, hoping to complete them in one day, as the moon and tide served best the first night after our arrival.

“Notwithstanding every effort the hour of four o’clock arrived, and the preparation was scarcely completed. After a careful inspection of the final preparations, I was forced to relinquish the plan for that [pg 166]morning, as dawn was breaking. Mr. Hobson begged to try it at all hazards.

“This morning proved more propitious, as a prompt start could be made. Nothing could have been more gallantly executed.

“We waited impatiently after the firing by the Spaniards had ceased. When they did not reappear from the harbour at six o’clock, I feared that they had all perished. A steam launch, which had been sent in charge of Naval Cadet Powell to rescue the men, appeared at this time, coming out under a persistent fire of the batteries, but brought none of the crew.

“A careful inspection of the harbour from this ship showed that the vessel Merrimac had been sunk in the channel.

“This afternoon the chief of staff of Admiral Cervera came out under a flag of truce, with a letter from the admiral, extolling the bravery of the crew in an unusual manner.

“I cannot myself too earnestly express my appreciation of the conduct of Mr. Hobson and his gallant crew. I venture to say that a more brave or daring thing has not been done since Cushing blew up the Albemarle.

“Referring to the inspiring letter which you addressed to the officers at the beginning of the war, I am sure you will offer a suitable professional reward to Mr. Hobson and his companions. I must add that Commander J. M. Miller relinquished his command with [pg 167]the very greatest reluctance, believing he should retain his command under all circumstances.


“He was, however, finally convinced that the attempt of another person to carry out the multitude of details which had been in preparation by Mr. Hobson might endanger its proper execution. I therefore took the liberty to relieve him, for this reason only.

“There were hundreds of volunteers who were anxious to participate. There were a hundred and fifty men from the Iowa, nearly as many from this ship, and large numbers from all the other ships, officers and men alike.


Not until the sixth of July were Hobson and his brave comrades exchanged, and then to his messmates the gallant lieutenant told the story of his perilous voyage on that morning of June 4th:

“I did not miss the entrance to the harbour,” he said, “as Cadet Powell in the launch supposed. I headed east until I got my bearings, and then made for it straight in. Then came the firing. It was grand, flashing out first from one side of the harbour and then from the other, from those big guns on the hill, the Vizcaya, lying inside the harbour, joining in.

“Troops from Santiago had rushed down when the news of the Merrimac’s coming was telegraphed, and soldiers lined the foot of the cliffs, firing wildly across, and killing each other with the cross-fire.

“The Merrimac’s steering-gear broke as she got to [pg 168]Estrella Point. Only three of the torpedoes on her side exploded when I touched the button. A huge submarine mine caught her full amidships, hurling the water high in the air, and tearing a great rent in her side.

“Her stern ran upon Estrella Point. Chiefly owing to the work done by the mine, she began to sink slowly. At that time she was across the channel, but before she settled the tide drifted her around. We were all aft, lying on the deck. Shells and bullets whistled around. Six-inch shells from the Vizcaya came tearing into the Merrimac, crashing into wood and iron, and passing clear through, while the plunging shots from the forts broke through her deck.

“ ‘Not a man must move,’ I said, and it was only owing to the splendid discipline of the men that we all were not killed, as the shells rained over us, and the minutes became hours of suspense. The men’s mouths became parched, but we must lie there till daylight, I told them. Now and again, one or the other of the men, lying with his face glued to the deck and wondering whether the next shell might not come our way, would say, ‘Hadn’t we better drop off now, sir?’ But I said, ‘Wait till daylight.’

“It would have been impossible to get the catamaran anywhere but on to the shore, where the soldiers stood shooting, and I hoped that by daylight we might be recognised and saved.

“The grand old Merrimac kept sinking. I wanted to [pg 169]go forward and see the damage done there, where nearly all the fire was directed. One man said that if I rose it would draw all the fire on the rest. So I lay motionless. It was splendid the way these men behaved.


“The fire of the soldiers, the batteries and the Vizcaya was awful. When the water came up on the Merrimac’s deck the catamaran floated amid the wreckage, but she was still made fast to the boom, and we caught hold of the edges and clung on, our heads only being above water.

“One man thought we were safer right there; it was quite light, the firing had ceased, except that on the New York’s launch, and I feared Cadet Powell and his men had been killed.

“A Spanish launch came toward the Merrimac. We agreed to capture her and run. Just as she came close the Spaniards saw us, and half a dozen marines jumped up and pointed their rifles at our heads sticking out of the water.

“ ‘Is there any officer in that boat to receive a surrender of prisoners of war?’ I shouted.

“An old man leaned out under the awning and waved his hand. It was Admiral Cervera. The marines lowered their rifles and we were helped into the launch.

“Then we were put in cells in Morro Castle. It was a grand sight a few days later to see the bombardment, the shells striking and bursting around El Morro. Then we were taken into Santiago. I had the court [pg 170]martial room in the barracks. My men were kept prisoners in the hospital.

“From my window I could see the army moving, and it was terrible to watch those poor lads coming across the opening and being shot down by the Spaniards in the rifle-pits in front of me.

“Yesterday the Spaniards became as polite as could be. I knew something was coming, and then I was exchanged.”


[pg 171]



May 30. The auxiliary cruisers Leyden and Uncas made an attack on one of the outlying blockhouses at Cardenas, plying their 3-pounders until the Spaniards deserted their batteries.

June 1. The government of Paraguay represented to the American consul at Asuncion that the Spanish torpedo-boat Temerario was disabled, and had been granted permission to remain at that port until the war between the United States and Spain had come to an end.

In Spain there are many differences of opinion regarding the conduct of the war, as evinced by a newspaper article to which was signed the name of Emilio Castelar, the distinguished republican statesman.

Señor Castelar attacked the queen regent, reproaching her with being a foreigner and unpopular, and with interfering unjustifiably in political affairs. He compared her position with that of Queen Marie Antoinette on the eve of the French revolution.

The matter came before the Senate; Duke de Roca demanded the prosecution of Castelar, and other Sena[pg 172]tors expressed in violent terms their indignation at Señor Castelar’s conduct.

June 2. The British steamer Restormel, captured by the auxiliary cruiser St. Paul off Santiago de Cuba, was released by the government. It was shown that the Restormel sailed previous to the declaration of war, there being no evidence that the steamer’s owners were wilfully and knowingly guilty of aiding the enemy’s fleet, and she was ordered released. The cargo was condemned.

The names of the captains and commanders of the ships in Admiral Dewey’s squadron were sent to the Senate, by the President, for advancement because of their conspicuous conduct.

The House of Representatives passed an urgency appropriation of nearly eighteen million dollars for war purposes.

From Captain Clark’s report, the Navy Department made public the following extract relative to the extraordinary voyage of the Oregon:

“It is gratifying to call the department’s attention to the spirit aboard this ship in both officers and men. This best can be described by referring to instances such as that of the engineer officers in voluntarily doubling their watches when high speed was to be made, to the attempt of men to return to the fire-room after being carried out of it insensible, and to the fact that most of the whole crew, who were working by watches by day and night at Sandy Point, preferred to [pg 173]leave their hammocks in the nettings until they could get the ship coaled and ready to sail from Sandy Point.”

June 3. The collier Merrimac was sunk in the channel of Santiago Harbour, as has already been told.

June 4. Captain Charles Vernon Gridley, commander of the cruiser Olympia, and commanding her during the battle of Manila Bay, died at Kobe, Japan.

June 5. An account of personal heroism which should be set down in every history, that future generations may know of what metal the boys of ’98 were made, was telegraphed from Tampa, Florida.

Lieutenant Parker, who was in charge of the old clubhouse on Lafayette Street, near the brigade headquarters, and which was being used by the government as a storehouse, and Thomas McGee, a veteran of the civil war, prevented what might have been a calamity.

While a force of soldiers was engaged in carrying boxes of ammunition from the warehouse and loading them to waiting army wagons, smoke was seen issuing from a box of ammunition. In an instant the cry of fire went up, and soldiers and negro roustabouts piled over each other in their scramble for safety. McGee, however, rushed toward the box, picked it up, and was staggering in the direction of the river, some distance away, when Lieutenant Parker, who had heard the warning cry, came to his assistance. Together they carried the smoking box until it was possible to throw it into the water.

[pg 174]

How the fire originated is a mystery. In the storehouse were piled hundreds of boxes of ammunition, each containing one thousand cartridges. Had the cartridges in the burning box exploded, a great loss of life might have resulted, as there were at least a score of soldiers working in and around the building.

At Madrid the Spanish Minister of Marine issued orders that every one connected with the admiralty must abstain from giving information of any kind regarding naval affairs.

General Blanco in Havana published an order prohibiting foreign newspaper correspondents from remaining in Cuba, under the penalty of being treated as spies.

June 6. As is told in that chapter relating to Santiago de Cuba, American troops were landed a few miles east of the city, at a place known as Aguadores; the forts at the entrance of Santiago Harbour were bombarded.

The Navy Department made public a cablegram from Admiral Dewey:

“The insurgents are acting energetically in the province of Cavite. During the past week they have won several victories, and have taken prisoners about eighteen hundred men and fifty officers of the Spanish troops, not natives. The arsenal of Cavite is being prepared for occupation by United States troops on the arrival of the transports.”

Cablegrams from Hongkong announced that the [pg 175]insurgents had cut the railway lines and were closing in on Manila. Frequent actions between Aguinaldo’s forces and the Spaniards had taken place, and the foreign residents were making all haste to leave the city. A proclamation issued by the insurgent chief points to a desire to set up a native administration in the Philippines under an American protectorate. Aguinaldo, with an advisory council, would hold the dictatorship until the conquest of the islands, and would then establish a republican assembly.

June 7. The monitor Monterey and the collier Brutus sailed from San Francisco for Manila. The double-turreted monitor Monadnock has been ordered to set out for the same port within ten days.

June 9. The Spanish bark Maria Dolores, laden with coal and patent fuel, was captured by the cruiser Minneapolis twelve miles off San Juan de Porto Rico.

June 10. A battalion of marines was landed in the harbour of Guantanamo, forty miles east of Santiago.3

A blockhouse at Daiquiri shelled by the transport steamer Panther.4

June 11–12. Attack upon American marines in Guantanamo Bay by Spanish regulars and guerillas.5

June 11. The British steamer Twickenham, laden with coal for Admiral Cervera’s fleet, was captured off San Juan de Porto Rico by the U. S. S. St. Louis.

June 12. Major-General Merritt issued orders to the [pg 176]officers assigned to the second Philippine expedition, to the effect that they must be ready to embark their troops not later than the fifteenth instant.

The following cablegram was made public by the Navy Department:

“Cavite, June 12.—The insurgents continue hostilities, and have practically surrounded Manila. They have taken twenty-five hundred Spanish prisoners, whom they treat most humanely. They do not intend to attack the city at the present time.

“Twelve merchant vessels are anchored in the bay, with refugees on board, under guard of neutral men-of-war; this with my permission. Health of the squadron continues excellent. German commander-in-chief arrived to-day. Three Germans, two British, one French, one Japanese man-of-war in port. Another German man-of-war expected.

“The following is a corrected list of vessels captured or destroyed: Two protected cruisers, five unprotected cruisers, one transport, one surveying vessel, both armed. The following are captured: Transport Manila, gunboat Callao.


Advices from Honolulu report that on June 1st H. Renjes, vice-consul for Spain, at Honolulu, sent the following letter to H. E. Cooper, Hawaiian Minister of Foreign Affairs, relative to the entertainment of the American troops at Honolulu:

[pg 177]

Sir:—In my capacity as vice-consul for Spain, I have the honour to-day to enter formal protest with the Hawaiian government against the constant violation of neutrality in this harbour, while actual war exists between Spain and the United States of America.”

June 6. On June 6th Minister Cooper replied as follows:

Sir:—In reply to your note of the first instant, I have the honour to say that, owing to the intimate relations now existing between this country and the United States, this government has not proclaimed a proclamation of neutrality having reference to the present conflict between the United States and Spain, but, on the contrary, has tendered to the United States privileges and assistance, for which reason your protest can receive no further consideration than to acknowledge its receipt.”

June 13. American troops sailed from Tampa and Key West for Santiago.

The Spaniards again attacked the American marines at Guantanamo Bay, and were repulsed after seven hours’ hard fighting.6

President McKinley signed the war revenue bill.

Secretary Gage issued a circular inviting subscriptions to the popular loan.

[pg 178]

The dynamite cruiser Vesuvius joined Admiral Sampson’s fleet.7

While the U. S. S. Yankee was off Cienfuegos on this day, a Spanish gunboat steamed out of the harbour, evidently mistaking the character of the newcomer; but on learning that the Yankee was ready for business, put back in hot haste. Both vessels opened fire, and after the gunboat had gained the security of the harbour the Yankee engaged the eastern and western batteries. During the brief action a shell burst over the American ship, its fragments wounding one man.

June 14. The American marines at Guantanamo Bay again attacked by the Spaniards.8

The heroes of Santiago Bay, who sank the Merrimac, rewarded by the Navy Department.9

First trial of the dynamite cruiser Vesuvius.10

The war tax on beer, ale, tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes went into effect on this date.

June 14. From Manila on June 14th much of interest was received. A severe engagement occurred, when one thousand insurgents attacked twice that number of Spaniards, inflicting heavy losses. The insurgents had drawn their lines closely around the landward side of the city, and Captain-General Augusti published a decree ordering all the male population under arms. Mr. E. W. Harden, correspondent of the New York World, thus summed up the situation:

[pg 179]

“Terrific fighting has been going on for six days between the Philippine insurgents and the Spaniards. The rebels, under Aguinaldo, more than held their ground, while the Spaniards lost heavily. The insurgents now hold three thousand prisoners, mostly Spanish soldiers.

“I have been in the field with the rebels, and I was present at the taking of the garrisoned church at Old Cavite, June 7th, where three hundred insurgents captured a superior force of Spaniards after an eight days’ bombardment. The rebels are competent, courageous fighters. They have captured the entire provinces of Cavite and Bataan, and parts of the provinces of Pampagna, Bulucan, and Manila.

“Aguinaldo’s troops, in three divisions, have now surrounded Manila. They have the Spaniards hemmed in, and could capture the city if they wanted to, but will await the arrival of the American troops before doing so.

“The rebels have captured Gov. Leopoldo Garcia Penas, of Cavite province, and Gov. Antonio Cardola, of Bataan province. Cardola tried to commit suicide before surrendering. He shot himself three times in the head, but will recover. The insurgents behaved gallantly in the fight for the possession of the stone convent in Old Cavite, June 1st. General Augusti sent two thousand Spanish regulars of the Manila force to attack Aguinaldo’s forces at Cavite. The fight lasted all day. The Spaniards were repulsed, and the officers [pg 180]led in retreat. They took refuge in the old convent, a substantial building, with walls five feet thick, built for all time.

“Aguinaldo surrounded the convent, and his first plan was to starve out the beleaguered ones, but he found, June 6th, that provisions were being smuggled in to them, and so he attacked the building, beginning by opening fire with his mountain guns. Meantime, General Augusti, hearing of his soldiers’ plight, sent four thousand regulars to relieve them.

“Aguinaldo led the attack on these four thousand. But after the first brush he adopted another method. He sent detachments of three hundred or four hundred men, armed with machetes, on the flanks of the Spaniards, who constantly harassed them. In the first attack of these detachments one hundred and fifty Spanish soldiers and a lieutenant-colonel were killed. In the second onslaught four officers and sixty men were killed.

“Again and again these attacks were repeated until nine hundred Spaniards had been killed, the insurgents report. The convent, too, became untenable. The Spaniards retreated along the road to Manila, but made a stand at Bacoor.

“Aguinaldo and his men fought them fiercely there, and the Spanish fled again. The rebels pursued the enemy to within sight of Manila. Returning, Aguinaldo stormed the old convent, and of the Spaniards who remained there he killed ninety and captured 250.”

[pg 181]

June 15. The second fleet of transports, comprised of the steamers China, Colon, Senator, and Zealandia, carrying 3,465 men, left San Francisco for Manila.

The war loan of two hundred million dollars subscribed for twice over.

Bombardment of the fortifications in Guantanamo Bay.11

The House of Representatives passed the Hawaiian annexation resolution.

June 16. Third bombardment of the batteries near Santiago.12

The Spanish forces in and near Cardenas had repaired the damages inflicted by the American vessels when they bombarded the works, and on June 16th another lesson was given those who killed Ensign Bagley and his brave comrades. Five blockhouses were completely demolished, the enemy beating a hasty retreat without having fired a shot.

June 17. Fortifications in Guantanamo Bay shelled by American naval force.13

Capture of the Spanish sloop Chato in Guantanamo Bay.14

June 18. Bombardment of blockhouse in Guantanamo Bay.15

Battery at Cabanas shelled by the U. S. S. Texas.16

June 19. First American troops landed on Cuban soil.17

June 20. General Shafter and Admiral Sampson visit General Garcia in his camp.18

[pg 182]

June 21. Landing of General Shafter’s army begun.19

Bombardment of all the fortifications near about Santiago.20

Captain-General Augusti cabled the Madrid government that he, having been forced to take refuge in the walled city,21 would be unable to continue communication.

June 22. By a decision of the Attorney-General, the United States government will surrender to the ambassadors of France and Germany, as the diplomatic representatives of Spain, the non-combatants and crews of the prize merchant vessels captured by ships of the American navy since the declaration of war.

Boats’ crews from the U. S. S. Marblehead and Dolphin remove the mines from Guantanamo Bay.22

Bombardment of the Socapa battery near Santiago.23

Spaniards set fire to the town of Aguadores.24

The U. S. S. Texas engages the west battery of Cabanas.25

Captain Sigsbee of the U. S. S. St. Paul, in reporting his cruise of twenty-three days, gave the following account of a meeting with the enemy off San Juan de Porto Rico on the 22d of June:

June 22. “We came off the port on the twenty-second. The weather was fair, the trade wind blowing fresh from the eastward and raising somewhat of a sea. At about 12.40 the third-class cruiser Isabel III. came out, and, steaming under the Morro until she was abreast [pg 183]of the batteries, commenced edging out toward us, firing at such a long range that her shots were ineffective.

“As her purpose evidently was to put us within fire of the batteries, we took but little notice of her, lying still and occasionally sending in our largest shell at her to try the range.

“Soon afterward she dropped to the westward, and the torpedo-boat destroyer Terror, or it may have been her sister ship, the Furor, was sighted steaming along shore under the batteries.

“We watched her for awhile, and worked along with her, in order to separate her from the cruiser and keep her in trough if she came for us. She then circled to get up speed, and headed for us, firing straight as far as direction went, but her shots fell short.

“When within range of our guns, the signal ‘commence firing’ was made, and for several minutes we let fly our starboard battery at her at from fifty-five hundred to six thousand yards, the shells striking all around her.

“This stopped her. She turned her broadside to us and her fire soon ceased. She then headed inshore, to the southward and westward, going slow, and it was evident to all on board that she was crippled. Off the Morro she flashed some signals to the shore, and afterward a tug came out and towed her into the harbour.

“All this time the cruiser was firing at us, and some [pg 184]of her shots and those of the Terror fell pretty close. The cruiser followed the Terror back toward the port and soon afterward was joined by a gunboat, and the two steamed under the batteries to the eastward; but when the St. Paul, making an inshore turn, seemed to be going for them, they returned to the harbour, and we saw no more of them.”

June 23. The U. S. monitor Monadnock left San Francisco for Manila.

The U. S. dynamite cruiser Vesuvius again shells the Santiago fortifications.26

June 24. The Spanish Cortes suspended by royal decree. The Chamber of Deputies adjourned without the customary cheers for the throne.

Major-General Lawton advancing on Santiago.27

Action near Juragua.28

June 25. Skirmish near Sevilla.

The American government protested a draft drawn by its consul at St. Thomas, D. W. I., under circumstances calculated to make an extremely dangerous precedent. The draft was made by Consul Van Horne for the purchase of twenty-seven hundred tons of coal, which arrived in St. Thomas in the Ardenrose about the twenty-eighth of May. The consul bought it for ten dollars a ton when the Spanish consul had offered twenty dollars a ton for it. Van Horne apparently did the proper thing and did not exceed instructions.

June 26. General Garcia with three thousand [pg 185]Cuban insurgents landed at Juragua by American transports.29

The troops comprising the third expedition to Manila embarked at San Francisco.

The sloop Isabel arrived at Key West flying the Cuban flag. On her were Capt. Rafael Mora, Lieut. Felix de los Rios and four others of the Cuban army, carrying sealed dispatches from the Cuban government to Señor T. Estrada Palma, of the New York junta.

The U. S. dynamite cruiser Vesuvius shelled the fortifications at the entrance to Santiago harbour.30

The water-supply of Santiago cut off by the American forces.31

A Spanish fleet entered the harbour of Port Said, Egypt, at the head of the Suez Canal, on the twenty-sixth. It was composed of:

Battle-ship Pelayo, Admiral Camara’s flag-ship.

Armoured cruiser Emperador Carlos V.

Auxiliary cruiser Patriota, equipped with twelve guns, and carrying troops and marines.

Auxiliary cruiser Buenos Ayres, equipped with ten guns, and carrying stores and a few troops.

Torpedo destroyer Audaz.

Armed merchantman Isla de Pany, equipped with two guns, and carrying stores and a few troops.

Auxiliary cruiser Rapido, equipped with twelve guns.

Steamship Colon, unarmed and with no troops.

Torpedo destroyer Proserpina.

[pg 186]

Torpedo-boat destroyer Osada.

Transport Covadonga, carrying no guns.

Collier San Francisco.

June 27. The United States government, determined to delay, if possible, the progress of the fleet toward the Philippines, instructed its consul to protest to the English government against the coaling of the fleet at Port Said. In response to such protest the Egyptian government refused Admiral Camara’s request to buy coal, and also refused to allow him to hire a hundred and fifty native stokers.

The U. S. transport Yale, laden with troops, arrived at Daiquiri.32

The President sent to Congress the following messages:

To the Congress of the United States:—On the morning of the third of June, 1898, Assistant Naval Constructor Richmond P. Hobson, U. S. N., with a volunteer crew of seven men, in charge of the partially dismantled collier Merrimac, entered the fortified harbour of Santiago, Cuba, for the purpose of sinking the collier in the narrowest portion of the channel and thus interposing a serious obstacle to the egress of the Spanish fleet, which had recently entered that harbour.

“This enterprise, demanding coolness, judgment and bravery amounting to heroism, was carried into success[pg 187]ful execution in the face of a persistent fire from the hostile fleet as well as from the fortifications on shore. Rear-Admiral Sampson, commander-in-chief of our naval force in Cuban waters, in an official report addressed to the Secretary of the Navy, referring to Mr. Hobson’s gallant exploit, says:


“ ‘I decided to make the harbour entrance secure against the possibility of egress of the Spanish ships by obstructing the narrow part of the entrance, by sinking a collier at that point.

“ ‘Mr. Hobson, after several days consideration, presented a solution which he considered would ensure the immediate sinking of the ship when she had reached the desired point in the channel. The plan contemplated a crew of only seven men, and Mr. Hobson begged that it might be entrusted to him.

“ ‘I cannot myself too earnestly express my appreciation of the conduct of Mr. Hobson and his gallant crew. I venture to say that a more brave and daring thing has not been done since Cushing blew up the Albemarle.’

“The members of the crew who were with Mr. Hobson on the memorable occasion have already been rewarded for their services by advancement, which, under the provisions of law and regulation, the Secretary of the Navy was authorised to make; and the nomination to the Senate of Naval Cadet Powell, who, in a steam launch, followed the Merrimac on her perilous trip, for the purpose of rescuing her force [pg 188]after the sinking of that vessel, to be advanced in rank to the grade of ensign, has been prepared and will be submitted.

“Cushing, with whose gallant act in blowing up the Albemarle, during the civil war, Admiral Sampson compares Mr. Hobson’s sinking of the Merrimac, received the thanks of Congress upon recommendation of the President, by name, and was in consequence, under the provisions of Section 1,508 of the Revised Statutes, advanced one grade, such advancement embracing fifty-six numbers. The section cited applies, however, to line officers only, and Mr. Hobson, being a member of the staff of the navy, could not, under the provisions, be so advanced.

“In considering the question of suitably rewarding Assistant Naval Constructor Hobson for his valiant conduct on the occasion referred to, I have deemed it proper to address this message to you with the recommendation that he receive the thanks of Congress, and further that he be transferred to the line of the navy and promoted to such position therein as the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, may determine.

“Mr. Hobson’s transfer from the construction corps to the line is fully warranted, he having received the necessary technical training as a graduate of the naval academy, where he stood number one in his class, and such action is recommended partly in deference to what is understood to be his own desire, although, he [pg 189]being a prisoner now in the hands of the enemy, no direct communication on the subject has been received from him, and partly for the reason that the abilities displayed by him at Santiago are of such a character as to indicate especial fitness for the duties of the line.

William McKinley.

The second message was as follows:

To the Congress of the United States:—On the eleventh day of May, 1898, there occurred a conflict in the bay of Cardenas, Cuba, in which the naval torpedo-boat Winslow was disabled, her commander wounded, and one of her officers and a part of her crew killed by the enemy’s fire.

“In the face of a most galling fire from the enemy’s guns the revenue cutter Hudson, commanded by First Lieut. Frank H. Newcomb, U. S. Revenue Cutter Service, rescued the disabled Winslow and her wounded crew. The commander of the Hudson kept his vessel in the very hottest fire of the action, although in constant danger of going ashore on account of the shallow water, until he finally got a line made fast to the Winslow, and towed that vessel out of range of the enemy’s guns, a deed of special gallantry.

“I recommend that, in recognition of the signal act of heroism of First Lieut. Frank H. Newcomb, U. S. Revenue Cutter Service, above set forth, the thanks of [pg 190]Congress be extended to him and to his officers and men of the Hudson, and that a gold medal of honour be presented to Lieutenant Newcomb, a silver medal of honour to each of his officers, and a bronze medal of honour to each member of his crew who served with him at Cardenas.

(Signed) “William McKinley.”

The President also sent the following special nomination to Congress:

To the Senate of the United States:—I nominate Naval Cadet Joseph W. Powell to be advanced two numbers under the provisions of section 1,506 of the Revised Statutes, and to be an ensign in the navy, for extraordinary heroism while in charge of the steam launch which accompanied the collier Merrimac, for the purpose of rescuing her gallant force when that vessel was, under the command of Naval Constructor Hobson, run into the mouth of the harbour of Santiago, Cuba, on the third instant, and dexterously sunk in the channel.

(Signed) “William McKinley.”

June 27. The third fleet of vessels, laden with soldiers, sailed from San Francisco for the Philippines.

From London the following news was received from the Canary Islands:

Most of the new forts have guns mounted, but are [pg 191]still quite exposed to view. The earthworks are not nearly completed. It is reported that ten thousand more soldiers are on the way from Spain. Of these five thousand are for the Grand Canary, and the others are for Teneriffe. The Spanish government is determined to hold the islands at any cost.

Nearly all business is absolutely at a standstill, and many of the sugar mills are closed. If this state of uncertainty continues much longer it will mean starvation to the working classes. All lights that can be seen from the sea are ordered extinguished at night, though the lighthouse on Isletta is still lighted.

The U. S. S. Yankee, off the Isle of Pines, captured and destroyed the Spanish sloops Nemesia, of Batabano, Amistad and Manuelita, of Coloma, and the pilot-boats Luz and Jacinto.

June 28. The President issued a proclamation extending the blockade of Cuba to the southern coast, from Cape Frances to Cape Cruz, inclusive, and also blockading San Juan, Porto Rico.

The proclamation was as follows:

Whereas, for the reasons set forth in my proclamation of April 22, 1898, a blockade of ports on the northern coast of Cuba, from Cardenas to Bahia Honda, inclusive, and of the port of Cienfuegos, on the south coast of Cuba, was declared to have been instituted, and

Whereas, it has become desirable to extend the blockade to other southern ports,

“Now, therefore, I, William McKinley, President of [pg 192]the United States, do hereby declare and proclaim that, in addition to the blockade of the ports specified in my proclamation of April 22, 1898, the United States of America has instituted and will maintain an effective blockade of all of the ports on the south coast of Cuba, from Cape Frances to Cape Cruz, inclusive, and also of the port of San Juan in the island of Porto Rico.

“Neutral vessels lying in any of the ports to which the blockade is by the present proclamation extended, will be allowed thirty days to issue therefrom with cargo.”

The Spanish cruiser Antonio Lopez, while trying to enter the river San Juan, near San Juan de Porto Rico, secretly, with a cargo of provisions and war material, was detected by two American war-ships, but escaped by swiftly changing her course. Her captain, determined to land his cargo, headed for the shore at Salinas. The shock of grounding exploded the boiler. The Spanish gunboats Concha and Isabella issued to the assistance of the Antonio Lopez, whereupon the Americans withdrew, and the Antonio Lopez landed her cargo.

Captain-General Augusti sent the following by cable from Manila to the government at Madrid:

“The situation is still as grave. I continue to maintain my position inside the line of blockhouses, but the enemy is increasing in numbers, as the rebels occupy the provinces, which are surrendering. Torrential rains are inundating the entrenchments, rendering the work [pg 193]of defence difficult. The number of sick among the troops is increasing, making the situation very distressing, and causing increased desertions of the native soldiers.


“It is estimated that the insurgents number thirty thousand armed with rifles, and one hundred thousand armed with swords, etc.

“Aguinaldo has summoned me to surrender, but I have treated his proposals with disdain, for I am resolved to maintain the sovereignty of Spain and the honour of the flag to the last extremity.

“I have more than one thousand sick and two hundred wounded. The citadel has been invaded by the suburban inhabitants, who have abandoned their homes, owing to the barbarity of the rebels. These inhabitants constitute an embarrassment, aggravating the situation, in view of a bombardment, which, however, is not seriously apprehended for the moment.”

The captain-general’s family was made prisoners by the insurgents several days prior to the sending of this despatch, and all efforts to effect their release had thus far been in vain.

From all parts of the world the Spanish people, during the last days of June, looked toward Santiago de Cuba, in whose harbour was imprisoned Cervera’s fleet, for there only could they hope to resist the American arms.

[pg 194]



The campaign of Santiago, during which the Spanish fleet under Admiral Cervera was entirely destroyed, and which ended with the capture of the city, can best be told as a continuous story. The record of other events will be found elsewhere in regular order.

Even though a repetition, it should be set down that the North Atlantic fleet, Rear-Admiral W. T. Sampson commanding, with Commodores J. C. Watson and W. S. Schley of the first and second squadrons respectively, which blockaded the port of Santiago, consisted of the battle-ships Massachusetts, Iowa, Texas, Indiana, Oregon; armoured cruisers New York, Admiral Sampson’s flag-ship, Brooklyn, Commodore Schley’s flag-ship; protected cruisers New Orleans, Newark, Commodore Watson’s flag-ship; converted yachts Vixen, Gloucester.33

Inside the harbour, caught like rats in a trap of their own making, lay the Spanish fleet under command of Admiral Pasquale Cervera, consisting of the armoured cruisers Cristobal Colon, Vizcaya, Almirante Oquendo, [pg 195]Maria Teresa, Admiral Cervera’s flag-ship; torpedo-boat destroyers Furor and Pluton.

The Americans were on the alert, lest by some inadvertence their prey should escape, and it may well be supposed that the Spaniards, knowing full well they were not in sufficient strength to give battle, awaited a favourable opportunity to slip through the blockading squadron.

June 2. The first detachment of troops, including heavy and light artillery and the engineer corps, embarked for Santiago on the second of June. Four days later this force was landed at Aguadores, a few miles east of Santiago, under the cover of Admiral Sampson’s guns.

June 6. The American fleet began the bombardment of the batteries guarding the entrance to the harbour at six o’clock in the morning, having steamed in to within three thousand yards of the shore, the Brooklyn in advance of the first column, with the Marblehead, the Texas, and the Massachusetts in line. The second column was led by the New York, with the New Orleans, Yankee, Iowa, and Oregon in the order named. On the left flank were the Vixen and the Suwanee, and on the right the Dolphin and the Porter kept watchful eyes upon the riflemen ashore. The first column took station opposite the Estrella and Catalina batteries,34 while the second was stationed off the new earthworks near Morro Castle. Orders had been given that no [pg 196]shots should be thrown into El Morro, because of the fact that Lieutenant Hobson and his crew were imprisoned there.

The fleet continued the bombardment without moving from the stations originally taken. It was the Iowa which opened the action with a 12-inch shell, and the skill of the gunners was shown by the shower of stone which spouted up from the base of the Estrella battery. As if this shot was the signal agreed upon, the other vessels of the fleet opened fire, the enemy answering promptly but ineffectively.

Very quickly were the shore-batteries silenced by the Brooklyn and the Texas. Estrella Fort was soon on fire; the Catalina battery gave up the struggle in less than an hour, and the Vixen and Suwanee engaged with some light inshore works, speedily reducing them to ruins. Until nine o’clock the bombardment continued without interruption, and then the American fire ceased until the ships could be turned, in order that their port batteries might be brought into play.

One hour more, that is to say, until ten o’clock, this terrible rain of iron was sent from the fleet to the shore, and then on the flag-ship was hoisted the signal: “Cease firing.”

The American fleet withdrew absolutely uninjured,—not a ship had been hit by the Spaniards nor a man wounded.

On board the Spanish ship Reina Mercedes, a lieutenant and five seamen had been killed, and seventeen [pg 197]wounded; the vessel was set on fire no less than three times, and otherwise seriously damaged by the missiles. Near about Morro Castle, although none of the American guns were aimed at that structure, two were killed and four wounded, while on Smith Cay great havoc was wrought.

Admiral Cervera made the following report to his government:

“Six American vessels have bombarded the fortifications at Santiago and along the adjacent coast.

“Six were killed and seventeen were wounded on board the Reina Mercedes; three officers were killed and an officer and seventeen men were wounded among the troops.

“The Americans fired fifteen hundred shells of different calibres. The damage inflicted upon the batteries of La Socapa and Morro Castle were unimportant. The barracks at Morro Castle suffered damage.

“The enemy had noticeable losses.”

June 8. Nearly, if not quite, twenty-seven thousand men were embarked at Tampa for Santiago on the eighth of June, under the command of Maj.-Gen. William R. Shafter.

Fire was opened by the Marblehead and the Yankee of the blockading squadron upon the fortifications of Camianera, a port on Cumberland Harbour fifteen miles distant from Guantanamo. The enemy was forced to retire to the town, but no great injury was inflicted.

The Vixen entered Santiago Harbour under a flag of [pg 198]truce from Admiral Sampson, to arrange for an exchange of Lieutenant Hobson and his men. Admiral Cervera said in reply that the matter had been referred to General Blanco.

The Suwanee landed weapons, ammunition, and provisions for the insurgents at a point fifteen miles west of Santiago.

In Santiago were about twenty thousand Spanish soldiers, mostly infantry; but with cavalry and artillery that may be drawn from the surrounding country. On the mountains five thousand insurgents, many unarmed, watched for a favourable opportunity to make a descent upon the city.

Orders were sent by the Navy Department to Admiral Sampson to notify Admiral Cervera that, if the latter destroyed his four armoured cruisers and two torpedo-boat destroyers to prevent their capture, Spain, at the end of the war, would be made to pay an additional indemnity at least equivalent to the value of these vessels.

June 10. The American troops made a landing on the eastern side of Guantanamo Harbour, forty miles east of Santiago, at two P. M. on the tenth of June. The debarkation was effected under the cover of the guns of the Oregon, Marblehead, Dolphin, and Vixen.

The war-vessels prepared the way by opening fire on the earthworks which lined the shore, a blockhouse, and a cable station which was occupied by Spanish soldiers. The defence was feeble; the enemy retreated [pg 199]in hot haste after firing a few shots. A small gunboat came down from Guantanamo, four miles away, at the beginning of the bombardment, but she put back with all speed after having approached within range.

Soon after the enemy had been driven away, the steamer Panther arrived with a battalion of marines under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Huntington. She reported having shelled a blockhouse at Daiquiri, ten miles east of Santiago, but without provoking any reply.

Colonel Huntington’s force took possession of the heights overlooking the bay, where was a fortified camp which had been abandoned by the Spaniards. There was nothing to betoken the presence of the enemy in strong numbers, and the men soon settled down to ordinary camp duties, believing their first serious work would be begun by an attack on Guantanamo.

June 11. It was three o’clock on Saturday afternoon; Colonel Huntington’s marines were disposed about the camp according to duty or fancy; some were bathing, and a detail was engaged in the work of carrying water. Suddenly the sharp report of a musket was heard, followed by another and another until the rattle of firearms told that a skirmish of considerable importance was in progress on the picket-line.

The principal portion of the enemy’s fire appeared to come from a small island about a thousand yards away, and a squad of men was detailed with a 3-inch [pg 200]field-gun to look out for the enemy in this direction, while the main force defended the camp.

After perhaps an hour had passed, during which time the boys of ’98 were virtually firing at random, the men on the picket-line fell back on the camp. Two of their number were missing. The battalion was formed on three sides of a hollow square, and stood ready to resist an attack which was not to be made until considerably later.

The firing ceased as abruptly as it had begun. Skirmishers were sent out and failed to find anything save a broad trail, marked here and there by blood, which came to an end at the water’s edge.

There were no longer detonations to be heard from the island. The 3-inch gun had been well served.

The skirmishers which had been sent out returned, bearing the bodies of two boys in blue who had been killed by the first shots, and, after death, mutilated by blows from Spanish machetes.

Night came; heavy clouds hung low in the sky; the force of the wind had increased almost to a gale; below in the bay the war-ships were anchored, their search-lights streaming out here and there like ribbons of gold on a pall of black velvet.

No signs of the enemy on land or sea, and, save for those two cold, lifeless forms on the heights, one might have believed the previous rattle of musketry had been heard only by the imagination.

Until nine o’clock in the evening the occupants of [pg 201]the camp kept careful watch, and then without warning, as before, the crack of repeating rifles broke the almost painful stillness.


The enemy was making his presence known once more, and this time it became evident he was in larger force.

Another 3-inch gun was brought into play; a launch from the Marblehead, with a Colt machine gun in her bow, steamed swiftly shoreward and opened fire; skirmish lines were thrown out through the tangle of foliage, and only when a dark form was seen, which might have been that of a Spaniard, or only the swaying branches of the trees, did the boys in blue have a target.

It was guerrilla warfare, and well-calculated to test the nerves of the young soldiers who were receiving their “baptism of blood.”

Until midnight this random firing continued, and then a large body of Spanish troops charged up the hill until they were face to face with the defenders of the camp, when they retreated, being lost to view almost immediately in the blackness of the night.

June 12. Again and again the firing was renewed from this quarter or that, but the enemy did not show himself until the morning came like a flash of light, as it does in the tropics, disclosing scurrying bands of Spanish soldiers as they sought shelter in the thicket.

Now more guns were brought into play at the camp; the war-ships began shelling the shore, and the action [pg 202]was speedily brought to an end. Four Americans had been killed, and among them one of the surgeons.

At intervals during the day the crack of a rifle would tell that Spanish sharpshooters were hovering around the camp; but not until eight o’clock in the evening did the enemy approach in any great numbers.

Then the battle was on once more; again did the little band of bluejackets stand to their posts, fighting against an unseen foe. Again the war-ships flashed their search-lights and sent shell after shell into the thicket, and all the while the Spanish fire was continued with deadly effect.

Lieutenants Neville and Shaw, each with a squad of ten men, were sent out to dislodge the advance line of the enemy, and as the boys in blue swung around into the thicket with a steady, swinging stride, the Spaniards gave way, firing rapidly while so doing.

The Americans, heeding not the danger, pursued, following the foe nearly to a small stone house near the coast, which had been used as a fort. They were well up to this structure when the bullets rained upon them in every direction from out the darkness. Sergeant Goode fell fatally wounded, and the Spaniards charged, forcing the Americans to the very edge of a cliff, over which one man fell and was killed; another fell, but with no further injury than a broken leg. A third was shot through the arm, after which he and the man with the broken limb joined forces, fighting on their own account. One more was wounded, and then [pg 203]the Americans made a desperate charge, forcing the enemy back into the stone house, and then out again, after fifteen had been killed.

Meanwhile severe fighting was going on in the vicinity of the camp; but six field-pieces were brought up, and the second battle was ended after two Americans had been killed and seven wounded.

June 13. The camp was moved to a less exposed position, while the war-ships poured shell and shrapnel into the woods, and then the marines filed solemnly out to a portion of the hill overlooking the bay where were six newly made graves.

All the marines could not attend the funeral, many having to continue the work of moving camp, or to rest on their guns, keeping a constant watch for the lurking Spaniards; but all who could do so followed the stumbling bearers of the dead over the loose gravel, and grouped themselves about the graves.

The stretcher bearing the bodies had just been lifted to its place, and Chaplain Jones of the Texas was about to begin the reading of the burial service, when the Spaniards began shooting at the party from the western chaparral.

“Fall in, Company A, Company B, Company C, fall in!”

“Fall in!” was the word from one end of the camp to the other. The graves were deserted by all save the chaplain and escort, who still stood unmoved.

The men sprang to arms, and then placed themselves [pg 204]behind the rolled tents, their knapsacks, the bushes in the hollows, boxes and piles of stones, their rifles ready, their eyes strained into the brush.

Howitzers roared, blue smoke arose where the shells struck and burst in the chaparral, and rifles sounded angrily.

The Texas fired seven shots at the place from which the shooting came, and the Spaniards, as usual, fled out of sight.

The funeral services had hardly been resumed when there was another attack; but this time the pits near the old blockhouse got the range of the malignant marksmen and shattered them with a few shots. The Texas and Panther shelled the brush to the eastward, but the chaplain kept right on with the service, and from that time until night there was little shooting from the cover.

On this day the dynamite cruiser Vesuvius joined Admiral Sampson’s fleet, and the weary marines, holding their posts on shore against overwhelming odds, hoped that her arrival betokened the speedy coming of the soldiers who were so sadly needed.

June 14. Substantial recognition was given by the Navy Department to the members of the gallant crew who took the Merrimac into the entrance of Santiago Harbour and sunk her across the channel under the very muzzles of the Spanish guns.

The orders sent to Admiral Sampson directed the promotion of the men as follows:

[pg 205]

Daniel Montague, master-at-arms, to be a boatswain, from fifty dollars a month to thirteen hundred dollars a year.

George Charette, gunner’s mate, to be a gunner, from fifty dollars a month to thirteen hundred dollars a year.

Rudolph Clausen, Osborne Deignan, and —— Murphy, coxswains, to be chief boatswain’s mates, an increase of twenty dollars a month.

George F. Phillips, machinist, from forty dollars a month to seventy dollars a month.

Francis Kelly, water tender, to be chief machinist, from thirty-seven dollars a month to seventy dollars a month.

Lieutenant Hobson’s reward would come through Congress.

While a grateful people were discussing the manner in which their heroes should be crowned, that little band of marines on the shore of Guantanamo Bay, worn almost to exhaustion by the harassing fire of the enemy during seventy-two hours, was once more battling against a vastly superior force in point of numbers.

From the afternoon of the eleventh of June until this morning of the fourteenth, the Americans had remained on the defensive,—seven hundred against two thousand or more. Now, however, different tactics were to be used. Colonel Huntington had decided that it was time to turn the tables, and before the night [pg 206]was come the occupants of the graves on the crest of the hill had been avenged.

A scouting party, made up of nine officers, two hundred and eighty marines, and forty-one Cubans, was divided into four divisions, the first of which had orders to destroy a water-tank from which the enemy drew supplies. The second was to attack the Spanish camp beyond the first range of hills. The third had for its objective point a signal-station from which information as to the movements of the American fleet had been flashed into Santiago. The fourth division was to act as the reserve.

In half an hour from the time of leaving camp the signal-station was in the hands of the Americans, and the heliograph outfit lost to the enemy. The boys of ’98 had suffered no loss, while eight Spaniards lay with faces upturned to the rays of the burning sun.

At noon the Spanish camp had been taken, with a loss of two Cubans killed, one American and four Cubans wounded. Twenty-three Spaniards were dead.

The water-tank was destroyed, and the enemy, panic-stricken, was fleeing here and there, yet further harassed by a heavy fire from the Dolphin, who sent her shells among the fugitives whenever they came in view.

When the day drew near its close, and the weary but triumphant marines returned to camp, a hundred of the enemy lay out on the hills dead; more than twice that number must have been wounded, and eighteen were being brought in as prisoners.

[pg 207]

On this night of June 14th, at the entrance to Santiago Harbour, the dynamite cruiser Vesuvius—that experimental engine of destruction—was given a test in actual warfare, and the result is thus graphically pictured by a correspondent of the New York Herald:

“Three shells, each containing two hundred pounds of guncotton, were fired last night from the dynamite guns of the Vesuvius at the hill at the western entrance to Santiago Harbour, on which there is a fort.

“The frightful execution done by those three shots will be historic.

“Guns in that fort had not been silenced when the fleet drew off after the attack that followed the discovery of the presence of the Spanish fleet in the harbour.

“In the intense darkness of last night the Vesuvius steamed into close range and let go one of her mysterious missiles.

“There was no flash, no smoke. There was no noise at first. The pneumatic guns on the little cruiser did their work silently. It was only when they felt the shock that the men on the other war-ships knew the Vesuvius was in action.

“A few seconds after the gun was fired there was a frightful convulsion on the land. On the hill, where the Spanish guns had withstood the missiles of the ordinary ships of war, tons of rock and soil leaped in air. The land was smitten as by an earthquake.

[pg 208]

“Terrible echoes rolled around through the shaken hills and mountains. Sampson’s ships, far out at sea, trembled with the awful shock. Dust rose to the clouds and hid the scene of destruction.

“Then came a long silence; next another frightful upheaval, and following it a third, so quickly that the results of the work of the two mingled in mid-air.

“Another still, and then two shots from a Spanish battery, that, after the noise of the dynamite, sounded like the crackle of firecrackers.

“The Vesuvius had tested herself. She was found perfect as a destroyer. She proved that no fortification can withstand her terrible missiles.

“Just what damage she did I could not tell from the sea. Whatever was within hundreds of feet of the point of impact must have gone to destruction.”

June 16. On the fifteenth of June the marines at Guantanamo Bay were given an opportunity to rest, for the lesson the Spaniards received on the fourteenth had been a severe one, and the fleet off Santiago remained inactive. It was but the lull before the storm of iron which was rained upon the Spanish on the sixteenth.

The prelude to this third bombardment of Santiago was a second trial of the Vesuvius at midnight on the fifteenth, when she sent three more 250-pound charges of guncotton into the fortifications. This done, the fleet remained like spectres, each vessel at its respective station, until half-past three o’clock on the morning [pg 209]of the sixteenth, when the bluejackets were aroused and served with coffee.

Immediately the first gray light of dawn appeared, the ships steamed in toward the fortifications of Santiago until within three thousand yards, and there, lying broadside on, three cables’-lengths apart, they waited for the day to break.

It was 5.25 when the New York opened with a broadside from her main battery, and the bombardment was begun.

All along the crescent-shaped line the big guns roared and the smaller ones crackled and snapped, each piece throughout the entire squadron being worked with such energy that it was like one mighty, continuous wave of crashing thunder, and from out this convulsion came projectiles of enormous weight, until it seemed as if all that line of shore must be rent and riven.

Not a gun was directed at El Morro, for there it was believed the brave Hobson and his gallant comrades were held prisoners.

When the signal was given for the fleet to retire, not a man had been wounded, nor a vessel struck by the fire from the shore.

The governor of Santiago sent the following message to Madrid relative to the bombardment:

“The Americans fired one thousand shots. Several Spanish shells hit the enemy’s vessels. Our losses are three killed and twenty wounded, including two officers. The Spanish squadron was not damaged.”

[pg 210]

While the Americans were making their presence felt at Santiago, those who held Guantanamo Bay were not idle. The Texas, Marblehead, and the Suwanee bombarded the brick fort and earthworks at Caimanera, at the terminus of the railroad leading to the city of Guantanamo, demolishing them entirely after an hour and a half of firing. When the Spaniards fled from the fortifications, the St. Paul shelled them until they were hidden in the surrounding forest.

An hour or more after the bombardment ceased the Marblehead’s steam launch began dragging the harbour near the fort for mines. One was found and taken up, and while it was being towed to the war-ship a party of Spaniards on shore opened fire. The launch headed toward shore and began banging away, but the bow gun finally kicked overboard, carrying the gunner with it. At this moment the enemy beat a prompt retreat; the gunner was pulled inboard, and the bluejackets continued their interrupted work.

June 17. Next day the batteries on Hicacal Point and Hospital Cay were shelled, the Marblehead and the St. Paul attending to the first, and the Suwanee caring for the latter, while the Dolphin and even the collier Scindia fired a few shots for diversion. The task was concluded in less than half an hour, and had no more than come to an end when a small sloop was sighted off the entrance to the bay.

The Marblehead’s steam launch was sent in pursuit, and an hour later returned with the prize, which proved [pg 211]to be the Chato. Her crew of five were taken on board the Marblehead as prisoners.

June 18. The active little steam launch made another capture next day while cruising outside the bay; a nameless sloop, on which were four men who claimed to have been sent from the lighthouse at Cape Maysi to Guantanamo City for oil. There were strong reasons for believing this party had come to spy out the position of the American ships, and all were transferred to the Marblehead.

The crew of the Oregon had gun practice again on this day when they shelled and destroyed a blockhouse three miles up the bay, killing, so it was reported, no less than twenty of the enemy.

The first vessel of a long-expected fleet of transports, carrying the second detachment of General Shafter’s army, hove in sight of Admiral Sampson’s squadron on the evening of June 18th, and next morning at daylight the launches of the New York and Massachusetts reconnoitred the shore between Cabanas, two miles off the entrance to Santiago Harbour, and Guayaganaco, two miles farther west, in search of a landing-place.

Lieutenant Harlow, in command of the expedition, made the following report:

“The expedition consisted of a steam launch from the Massachusetts, in charge of Cadet Hart, and a launch from the New York, in charge of Cadet Powell. I took passage on the Massachusetts’ launch, leading the way. Soundings were taken on entering the bay [pg 212]close under the old fort, and we were preparing to circumnavigate the bay at full speed when fire was opened from the fort and rocks on the shore. The Massachusetts’ launch was some distance ahead and about forty yards off the fort. There was no room to turn, and our 1-pounder could not be brought to bear. We backed and turned under a heavy fire.

“Cadet Hart operated the gun as soon as it could be brought to bear, sitting exposed in the bow, and working the gun as coolly and carefully as at target practice.

“Cadet Powell had been firing since the Spaniards opened. He was also perfectly cool. Both launches ran out under a heavy fire of from six to eight minutes. I estimate that there were twenty-five Spaniards on the parapet of the old fort. The number along shore was larger, but indefinite. The launches, as soon as it was practicable, sheered to give the Vixen the range of the fort. The Vixen and the Texas silenced the shore fire promptly.

“I strongly commend Cadet Hart and Cadet Powell for the cool management of the launches. One launch was struck seven times. Nobody in either was hurt. A bullet struck a shell at Cadet Hart’s feet between the projectile and the powder, but failed to explode the latter.

“Coxswain O’Donnell and Seaman Bloom are commended, as is also the coolness with which the marines and sailors worked under the Spanish fire.

[pg 213]

“Nothing was learned at Cabanas Bay, but at Guayaganaco it is evident a landing is practicable for ships’ boats. The same is true of Rancho Cruz, a small bay to the eastward. Both would be valuable with Cabanas, but useless without it.

“I am informed that to the north and westward of Cabanas Bay there is a large clearing, with plenty of grass and water.

“I think a simultaneous landing at the three places named would be practicable if the ships shelled the adjacent wood. A junction would naturally follow at the clearing.”

Cuban scouts reported to Colonel Huntington on Guantanamo Bay that the streets of Caimanera have been covered with straw saturated in oil, in order that the city may be destroyed when the Americans evince any disposition to take possession. The Spanish gunboat Sandoval, lying at one of the piers, has been loaded with inflammables, and will be burned with the city, her commander declaring that she shall never become an American prize.

During this Sunday night the Vesuvius again discharged her dynamite guns, with the western battery as a target, and because of the frightful report which followed the second shot, it was believed a magazine had been exploded.

June 20. The fleet of transports arrived off Santiago at noon on the twentieth, and hove to outside the cordon of war-vessels. General Shafter immediately went on [pg 214]board the flag-ship, and returned to his own ship an hour later in company with Admiral Sampson, when the two officers sailed for Asserradero, seventeen miles from Santiago, where General Calixto Garcia was encamped with his army of four thousand Cubans. Here a long conference was held with the insurgent general, after which the two commanders returned to the fleet.

June 21. The despatch quoted below was sent by Admiral Sampson to the Navy Department, and gives in full the work of the day:

“Landing of the army is progressing favorably at Daiquiri. There is very little, if any, resistance. The New Orleans, Detroit, Castine, Wasp, and Suwanee shelled the vicinity before the landing. We made a demonstration at Cabanas to engage the attention of the enemy. The Texas engaged the west battery for some hours. She had one man killed. Ten submarine mines have been recovered from the channel of Guantanamo. Communication by telegraph has been established at Guantanamo.”

Daiquiri was chosen as the point of debarkation by General Shafter, and its only fortifications were a blockhouse on a high cliff to the right of an iron pier, together with a small fort and earthworks in the rear. From this town extends a good road to Santiago, and in the immediate vicinity of the port the water-supply is plentiful.

June 22. Bombarding the coast as a cover for the [pg 215]troops which were being disembarked, was the principal work of the war-ships on the twenty-second of June, except in Guantanamo Harbour, where volunteers were called for from the Marblehead and the Dolphin to grapple for and remove the contact mines in the harbour. It was an undertaking as perilous as anything that had yet been accomplished, but the bluejackets showed no fear. Four times the designated number came forward in response to the call, and before nightfall seven mines had been removed.


The battle-ship Texas was assigned to duty off Matamoras, the works of which were to be bombarded as a portion of the general programme for this day while the troops were being landed. The men of the Texas performed their part well; the Socapa battery was quickly silenced; but not quite soon enough to save the life of one brave bluejacket. The last shell fired by the retreating Spaniards struck the battle-ship twenty feet abaft the stem on the port side. It passed through the hull about three feet below the main-deck line, and failed to explode until striking an iron stanchion at the centre line of the berth-deck. Here were two guns’ crews, and among them the fragments of the shell flew in a deadly shower, killing one and wounding eight. Later in the day the Texas steamed out to sea to bury the dead, and, this sad duty performed, returned before nightfall to her station on the blockade.

June 23. General Shafter thus reported to the War Department:

[pg 216]

“Daiquiri, June 23.—Had very fine voyage; lost less than fifty animals, six or eight to-day; lost more putting them through the surf to land, than on transports.

“Command as healthy as when we left; eighty men sick; only deaths, two men drowned in landing; landings difficult; coast quite similar to that in vicinity of San Francisco, and covered with dense growth of bushes. Landing at Daiquiri unopposed; all points occupied by Spanish troops heavily bombarded by navy to clear them out.

“Sent troops toward Santiago, and occupied Juragua, a naturally strong place, this morning. Spanish troops retreating as soon as our advance was known. Had no mounted troops, or could have captured them, about six hundred all told.

“Railroad from there in. Have cars and engine in possession.

“With assistance of navy disembarked six thousand men yesterday, and as many more to-day.

“Will get all troops off to-morrow, including light artillery and greater portion of pack-train, probably all of it, with some of the wagons; animals have to be jumped to the water and towed ashore.

“Had consultation with Generals Garcia, Rader and Castillo, on afternoon of twentieth, twenty miles west of Santiago. These officers were unanimously of the opinion that the landing should be made east of Santiago. I had come to the same conclusion.

[pg 217]

“General Garcia promises to join me at Juragua to-morrow with between three thousand and four thousand men, who will be brought from west of Santiago by ships of the navy to Juragua, and there disembarked.

“This will give me between four thousand and five thousand Cubans, and leave one thousand under General Rabi to threaten Santiago from the west.

“General Kent’s division is being disembarked this afternoon at Juragua, and this will be continued during the night. The assistance of the navy has been of the greatest benefit and enthusiastically given; without them I could not have landed in ten days, and perhaps not at all, as I believe I should have lost so many boats in the surf.

“At present want nothing; weather has been good, no rain on land, and prospects of fair weather.

Major-General U. S. Commanding.

The boys of ’98 occupied the town of Aguadores before nightfall on the twenty-third of June, the Spaniards having applied the torch to many buildings before they fled. The enemy was driven back on to Santiago, General Linares commanding in person, and close to his heels hung General Lawton and the advance of the American forces.

June 24. It was evident that the Spanish intended to make a stand at Sevilla, six miles from Juragua, and [pg 218]five miles from Santiago. The Americans were pressing them hotly to prevent General Linares from gaining time to make preparations for an encounter, when the Rough Riders, as Colonel Wood’s regiment was termed, and the First and Tenth Cavalry fell into an ambuscade. Then what will probably be known as the battle of La Quasina was fought.

It is thus described by a correspondent of the Associated Press:

That the Spaniards were thoroughly posted as to the route to be taken by the Americans in their movement toward Sevilla was evident, as shown by the careful preparations they had made.

The main body of the Spaniards was posted on a hill, on the heavily wooded slopes of which had been erected two blockhouses flanked by irregular intrenchments of stone and fallen trees. At the bottom of these hills run two roads, along which Lieutenant-Colonel Roosevelt’s men, and eight troops of the First and Tenth Cavalry, with a battery of four howitzers, advanced. These roads are but little more than gullies, rough and narrow, and at places almost impassable.

In these trails the fight occurred. Nearly half a mile separated Roosevelt’s men from the regulars, and between, and on both sides of the road in the thick underbrush, was concealed a force of Spaniards that must have been large, judging from the terrific and constant fire they poured in on the Americans.

The fight was opened by the First and Tenth Cavalry, [pg 219]under General Young. A force of Spaniards was known to be in the vicinity of La Quasina, and early in the morning Lieutenant-Colonel Roosevelt’s men started off up the precipitous bluff, back of Siboney, to attack the enemy on his right flank. General Young at the same time took the road at the foot of the hill.


About two and one-half miles out from Siboney some Cubans, breathless and excited, rushed into camp with the announcement that the Spaniards were but a little way in front, and were strongly entrenched. Quickly the Hotchkiss guns in the front were brought to the rear, while a strong scouting line was thrown out.

Then cautiously and in silence the troops moved forward until a bend in the road disclosed a hill where the Spaniards were located. The guns were again brought to the front and placed in position, while the men crouched down in the road, waiting impatiently to give Roosevelt’s men, who were toiling over the little trail along the crest of the hill, time to get up.

At 7.30 A. M. General Young gave the command to the men at the Hotchkiss guns to open fire. That command was the signal for a fight that for stubbornness has seldom been equalled. The instant the Hotchkiss guns were fired, from the hillside commanding the road came volley after volley from the Mausers of the Spaniards.

“Don’t shoot until you see something to shoot at,” yelled General Young, and the men, with set jaws and [pg 220]gleaming eyes, obeyed the order. Crawling along the edge of the road, they protected themselves as much as possible from the fearful fire of the Spaniards, the troopers, some of them stripped to the waist, watching the base of the hill, and when any part of a Spaniard became visible, they fired. Never for an instant did they falter.

One dusky warrior of the Tenth Cavalry, with a ragged wound in his thigh, coolly knelt behind a rock, loading and firing, and when told by one of his comrades that he was wounded, laughed and said:

“Oh, that’s all right. That’s been there for some time.”

In the meantime, away off to the left could be heard the crack of the rifles of Colonel Wood’s men, and the regular, deeper-toned volley-firing of the Spaniards.

Over there the American losses were the greatest. Colonel Wood’s men, with an advance-guard well out in front, and two Cuban guides before them, but apparently with no flankers, went squarely into the trap set for them by the Spaniards, and only the unfaltering courage of the men in the face of a fire that would even make a veteran quail, prevented what might easily have been a disaster. As it was, Troop L, the advance-guard under the unfortunate Captain Capron, was almost surrounded, and but for the reinforcement hurriedly sent forward every man would probably have been killed or wounded.

[pg 221]

When the reserves came up there was no hesitation. Colonel Wood, with the right wing, charged straight at a blockhouse eight hundred yards away, and Colonel Roosevelt, on the left, charged at the same time. Up the men went, yelling like fiends, and never stopping to return the fire of the Spaniards, but keeping on with a grim determination to capture that blockhouse.

That charge was the end. When within five hundred yards of the coveted point, the Spaniards broke and ran, and for the first time the boys of ’98 had the pleasure which the Spaniards had been experiencing all through the engagement, of shooting with the enemy in sight.

The losses among the Rough Riders were reported as thirteen killed and forty wounded; while the First Cavalry lost sixteen wounded. Edward Marshall, a newspaper correspondent, was seriously wounded.


While the land-forces were fighting four miles northwest of Juragua, Rear-Admiral Sampson learned that the Spaniards were endeavouring to destroy the railroad leading from Juragua to Santiago de Cuba.

This road runs west along the seashore, under cover of the guns of the American fleet, until within three miles of El Morro, and then cuts through the mountains along the river into Santiago.

When the attempt of the Spaniards was discovered, the New York, Scorpion, and Wasp closed in and cleared the hill and brush of Spaniards.

[pg 222]

June 26. The American lines were advanced to within four miles of Santiago, and the boys could look into the doomed city. It was possible to make accurate note of the defences, and most likely officers as well as men were astonished by the preparations which had been made.

There were blockhouses on every hill; from the harbour batteries, sweeping in a semicircle to the eastward of the city, were rifle-pits and intrenchments skilfully arranged. Earthworks, in a regular line, completely shut off approach to the city, and in front of the entrenchments and rifle-pits were barbed-wire fences, or trochas.

Three more charges of guncotton did the dynamite cruiser Vesuvius throw into the batteries at the mouth of Santiago Harbour on the night of June 26th, and next morning the evidences of her work could be seen on the western battery, a portion of which was in ruins. The water-mains which supplied the city of Santiago were cut on the same night, and the doomed city thus brought so much nearer to capitulation.

July 1. Knowing that with the close of June the American army was in readiness for a decisive action, the people waited anxiously, tearfully, for the first terrible word which should be received telling of slaughter and woeful suffering, and it came on the evening of July 1st, when the cablegram given below was flashed over the wires to the War Department:

[pg 223]

A. G. O., U. S. Army, Washington:

“Siboney, July 1. Had a very heavy engagement to-day, which lasted from eight A. M. till sundown.

“We have carried their outer works and are now in possession of them.

“There is now about three-quarters of a mile of open country between my lines and city; by morning troops will be entrenched and considerable augmentation of forces will be there.

“General Lawton’s division and General Bates’s brigade, which had been engaged all day in carrying El Caney, which was accomplished at four P. M., will be in line and in front of Santiago during the night.

“I regret to say that our casualties will be above four hundred; of these not many are killed.

(Signed) “W. R. Shafter, Major-General.”

[pg 224]



General W. R. Shafter, in his official report of the operations around Santiago, says:

“On June 30th I reconnoitred the country about Santiago and made my plan of attack. From a high hill, from which the city was in plain view, I could see the San Juan Hill and the country about El Caney. The roads were very poor and, indeed, little better than bridle-paths until the San Juan River and El Caney were reached. The position of El Caney, to the northeast of Santiago, was of great importance to the enemy, as holding the Guantanamo road, as well as furnishing shelter for a strong outpost that might be used to assail the right flank of any force operating against San Juan Hill. In view of this, I decided to begin the attack next day at El Caney with one division, while sending two divisions on the direct road to Santiago, passing by the El Pozo house, and as a diversion to direct a small force against Aguadores, from Siboney along the railroad by the sea, with a view of attracting the attention of the Spaniards in the latter direction, and of preventing them from [pg 225]attacking our left flank.... But we were in a sickly climate; our supplies had to be brought forward by a narrow wagon-road which the rain might at any time render impassable; fear was entertained that a storm might drive the vessels containing our stores to sea, thus separating us from our base of supplies, and, lastly, it was reported that General Pando, with eight thousand reinforcements for the enemy, was en route for Manzanillo, and might be expected in a few days. Under these conditions I determined to give battle without delay.


“Early on the morning of July 1st Lawton was in position around El Caney, Chaffee’s brigade on the right across the Guantanamo road, Miles’s brigade in the centre and Ludlow’s on the left. The duty of cutting off the enemy’s retreat along the Santiago road was assigned to the latter brigade. The artillery opened on the town at 6.15 A. M. The battle here soon became general, and was hotly contested. The enemy’s position was naturally strong, and was rendered more so by blockhouses, a stone fort and entrenchments cut in solid rock, and the loopholing of a solidly built stone church. The opposition offered by the enemy was greater than had been anticipated, and prevented Lawton from joining the right of the main line during the day, as had been intended. After the battle had continued for some time, Bates’s brigade of two regiments reached my headquarters from Siboney. I directed him to move near El Caney, to give assistance if [pg 226]necessary. He did so, and was put in position between Miles and Chaffee. The battle continued with varying intensity during most of the day and until the place was carried by assault about 4.30 P. M. As the Spaniards endeavoured to retreat along the Santiago road, Ludlow’s position enabled him to do very effective work, and practically to cut off all retreat in that direction.

“After the battle at El Caney was well opened, and the sound of the small-arms fire caused us to believe that Lawton was driving the enemy before him, I directed Grimes’s battery to open fire from the heights of El Pozo on the San Juan blockhouse, situated in the enemy’s entrenchments, extending along the crest of San Juan Hill. This fire was effective, and the enemy could be seen running away from the vicinity of the blockhouse. 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.

“At this time the cavalry division, under General Sumner, which was lying concealed in the general vicinity of the El Pozo house, was ordered forward with directions to cross the San Juan River and deploy to the right on the Santiago side, while Kent’s division [pg 227]was to follow closely in its rear and deploy to the left. These troops moved forward in compliance with orders, but the road was so narrow as to render it impracticable to retain the column of fours formation at all points, while the undergrowth on both sides was so dense as to preclude the possibility of deploying skirmishers. It naturally resulted that the progress made was slow, and the long-range rifles of the enemy’s infantry killed and wounded a number of our men while marching along this road, and before there was any opportunity to return this fire. At this time Generals Kent and Sumner were ordered to push forward with all possible haste, and place their troops in position to engage the enemy. General Kent, with this end in view, forced the head of his column alongside 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 utilise the road to the left. General Wheeler, the permanent commander of the cavalry division, who had been ill, came forward during the morning, and later returned to duty and rendered most gallant and efficient service during the remainder of the day. After crossing the stream the cavalry moved to [pg 228]the right, with a view to connecting with Lawton’s left when he would come up, with their left resting near the Santiago road.

“In the meantime, Kent’s division, with the exception of two regiments of Hawkins’s brigade, being thus uncovered, moved rapidly to the front from the forks previously mentioned in the road, utilising both trails, but more especially the one to the left, and, crossing the creek, formed for attack in the front of San Juan Hill. During this formation the Third Brigade suffered severely. While personally superintending this movement its gallant commander, Colonel Wikoff, was killed. The command of the brigade then devolved upon Lieutenant-Colonel Worth, Thirteenth Infantry, who was soon severely wounded, and next upon Lieutenant-Colonel Liscum, Twenty-fourth Infantry, who, five minutes later, also fell under the terrible fire of the enemy, and the command of the brigade then devolved upon Lieutenant-Colonel Ewers of the Ninth Infantry.

“While the formation just described was taking place, General Kent took measures to hurry forward his rear brigade. The Tenth and Second Infantry were ordered to follow Wikoff’s brigade, while the Twenty-first was sent on the right-hand road to support the First Brigade under General Hawkins, who had crossed the stream and formed on the right of the division. The Second and Tenth Infantry, Colonel E. P. Pearson commanding, moved forward in good order on the left of the division, [pg 229]passing over a green knoll, and drove the enemy back toward his trenches.


“After completing their formation under a destructive fire, advancing a short distance, both divisions found in their front a wide bottom, in which had been placed a barbed-wire entanglement, and beyond which there was a high hill, along the crest of which the enemy was strongly posted. Nothing daunted, these gallant men pushed on to drive the enemy from his chosen position, both divisions losing heavily. In this assault Colonel Hamilton, Lieutenants Smith and Shipp were killed, and Colonel Carroll, Lieutenants Thayer and Myer, all in the cavalry, were wounded. Great credit is due to Brigadier-General H. S. Hawkins, who, placing himself between his regiments, urged them on by voice and bugle-call 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 formation and the points of attack, it was, after all, the intrepid bravery of the subordinate officers and men that planted our colours 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 the action on this part of the field, most efficient service was rendered by Lieutenant J. H. Parker, Thirteenth Infantry, and the Gatling gun detachment under his command.

“The fighting continued at intervals until nightfall, but [pg 230]our men held resolutely to the position gained at the cost of so much blood and toil.

“On the night of July 1st I ordered General Duffield, at Siboney, to send forward the Thirty-fourth Michigan and the Ninth Massachusetts, both of which had just arrived from the United States.

“All day on the second 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 ten 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 third 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 line was desultory.”


Such is the official report of the battle before Santiago, where were killed of the American forces twenty-three officers, and 208 men; wounded eighty officers, and 1,203 men; missing, eighty-one; total, 1,595.

An account of any engagement is made more vivid by a recital of those who participated in the bloody work, since the commanding officer views the action as a whole, and purely from a military standpoint, while the private, who may know little or nothing regarding the general outcome, understands full well what took place immediately around him. Mr. W. K. Hearst, the pro[pg 231]prietor of the New York Journal, told the following graphic story in the columns of his paper:

“I set out before daybreak this morning on horseback with Honore Laine, who is a colonel in the Cuban army. We rode over eight miles of difficult country which intervenes between the army base, on the coast, and the fighting line, which is being driven forward toward Santiago.

“Pozo, as a position for our battery, was ill chosen. The Spaniards had formerly occupied it as a fort, and they knew precisely the distance to it from their guns, and so began their fight with the advantage of a perfect knowledge of the range.

“Their first shell spattered shrapnel in a very unpleasant way all over the tiled roof of the white house at the back of the ridge. It was the doors of this house which we were approaching for shelter, and later, when we came to take our luncheon, we found that a shrapnel ball had passed clean through one of our cans of pressed beef which our pack-mule was carrying.

“We turned here to the right toward our battery on the ridge. When we were half-way between the white house and the battery, the second shell which the Spaniards fired burst above the American battery, not ten feet over the heads of our men. Six of our fellows were killed, and sixteen wounded.

“The men in the battery wavered for a minute; then rallied and returned to their guns, and the firing went on. We passed from there to the right again, where [pg 232]General Shafter’s war balloon was ascending. Six shells fell in this vicinity, and then our batteries ceased firing.

“The smoke clouds from our guns were forming altogether too plain a target for the Spaniards. There was no trace to be seen of the enemy’s batteries, by reason of their use of smokeless powder.

“Off to the far right of our line of formation, Captain Capron’s artillery, which had come through from Daiquiri without rest, could be heard banging away at Caney. We had started with a view of getting where we could observe artillery operations, so we directed our force thither.

“We found Captain Capron blazing away with four guns, where he should have had a dozen. He had begun shelling Caney at four o’clock in the morning. It was now noon, and he was still firing. He was aiming to reduce the large stone fort which stood on the hill above the town and commanded it. Captain O’Connell had laid a wager that the first shot of some one of the four guns would hit the fort, and he had won his bet. Since that time dozens of shells had struck the fort, but it was not yet reduced. It had been much weakened, however.

“Through glasses our infantry could be seen advancing toward this fort. As the cannon at our side would bang, and the shell would swish through the air with its querulous, vicious, whining note, we would watch its explosion, and then turn our attention to the little black [pg 233]specks of infantry dodging in and out among the groups of trees. Now they would disappear wholly from sight in the brush, and again would be seen hurrying along the open spaces, over the grass-covered slopes, or across ploughed fields. The infantry firing was ceaseless, our men popping away continuously, as a string of firecrackers pops.

“The Spaniards fired in volleys against our men. Many times we heard the volley fire, and saw the brave fellows pitch forward and lie still on the turf, while the others hurried on to the next protecting clump of bushes.

“For hours the Spaniards had poured their fire from slits in the stone fort, from their deep trenches, and from the windows of the town. For hours our men answered back from trees and brush and gullies. For hours cannon at our side banged and shells screamed through air and fell upon fort and town. Always our infantry advanced, drawing nearer and closing up on the village, till at last they formed under a group of mangrove-trees at the foot of the very hill on which the stone fort stood.

“With a rush they swept up the slope and the stone fort was ours. Then you should have heard the yells that went up from the knoll on which our battery stood. Gunners, drivers, Cubans, correspondents, swung their hats and gave a mighty cheer. Immediately our battery stopped firing for fear we should hurt our own men, and, dashing down into the valley, hurried across [pg 234]to take up a position near the infantry, who were now firing on Caney from the blockhouse. The town artillery had not sent half a dozen shots from its new position before the musketry firing ceased, and the Spaniards, broken into small bunches, fled from Caney in the direction of Santiago.

“Laine and I hurried up to the stone fort and found that James Creelman, a Journal correspondent with the infantry column, had been seriously wounded and was lying in the Twelfth Infantry hospital. Our men were still firing an occasional shot, and from blockhouses and isolated trenches, from which the Spaniards could not safely retreat, flags of truce were waving.

“Guns and side-arms were being taken away from such Spaniards as had outlived the pitiless fire, and their dead were being dumped without ceremony into the trenches, after the Spanish fashion.

“When I left the fort to hunt for Creelman, I found him, bloody and bandaged, lying on his back on a blanket on the ground, but shown all care and attention that kindly and skilful surgeons could give him. His first words to me were that he was afraid he could not write much of a story, as he was pretty well dazed, but if I would write for him he would dictate the best he could. I sat down among the wounded, and Creelman told me his story of the fight. Here it is:

“ ‘The extraordinary thing in this fight of all the fights I have seen, is the enormous amount of ammunition fired. There was a continuous roar of musketry [pg 235]from four o’clock in the morning until four in the afternoon.


“ ‘Chaffee’s brigade began the fight by moving along the extreme right, with Ludlow down in the low country to the left of Caney. General Chaffee’s brigade consisted of the Seventeenth, Seventh, and Twelfth Infantry, and was without artillery. It occupied the extreme right.

“ ‘The formation was like two sides of an equilateral triangle, Ludlow to the south, and Chaffee to the east.

“ ‘Ludlow began firing through the brush, and we could see through the palm-trees and tangle of bushes the brown and blue figures of our soldiers in a line a mile long, stealing from tree to tree, bush to bush, firing as they went.

“ ‘Up here on the heights General Chaffee, facing Caney, moved his troops very early in the morning, and the battle opened by Ludlow’s artillery firing on the fort and knocking several holes in it.

“ ‘The artillery kept up a steady fire on the fort and town, and finally demolished the fort. Several times the Spaniards were driven from it, but each time they returned before our infantry could approach it.

“ ‘Our artillery had but four small guns, and, though they fired with great accuracy, it was ten hours before they finally reduced the stone fort on the hill and enabled our infantry to take possession.

“ ‘The Twelfth Infantry constituted the left of our attack, the Seventeenth held the right, while the [pg 236]Seventh, made up largely of recruits, occupied the centre.

“ ‘The Spanish fired from loopholes in the stone houses of the town, and, furthermore, were massed in trenches on the east side of the fort. They fought like devils.

“ ‘From all the ridges round about the stream of fire was kept up on Chaffee’s men, who were kept wondering how they were being wounded. For a time they thought General Ludlow’s men were on the opposite side of the fort and were firing over it.

“ ‘The fact was the fire came from heavy breastworks on the northwest corner of Caney, where the principal Spanish force lay, with their hats on sticks to deceive our riflemen. From this position the enemy poured in a fearful fire. The Seventeenth had to lie down flat under the pounding, but even then men were killed.

“ ‘General Chaffee dashed about with his hat on the back of his head like a magnificent cowboy, urging his men on, crying to them to get in and help their country win a victory. Smokeless powder makes it impossible to locate the enemy, and you wonder where the fire comes from. When you stand up to see you get a bullet.

“ ‘We finally located the trenches, and could see the officers moving about urging their men. The enemy was making a turning movement to the right. To turn the left of the Spanish position it was necessary to get a blockhouse, which held the right of our line. [pg 237]General Chaffee detailed Captain Clark to approach and occupy this blockhouse as soon as the artillery had sufficiently harried its Spanish defenders.

“ ‘Clark and Captain Haskell started up the slope. I told them I had been on the ridge and knew the condition of affairs, so I would show them the way.

“ ‘We pushed right up to the trench around the fort, and, getting out our wire-cutters, severed the barbed wire in front of it. I jumped over the severed strand and got into the trench.

“ ‘It was a horrible, blood-splashed thing, and an inferno of agony. Many men lay dead, with gleaming teeth, and hands clutching their throats. Others were crawling there alive.

“ ‘I shouted to the survivors to surrender, and they held up their hands.

“ ‘Then I ran into the fort and found there a Spanish officer and four men alive, while seven lay dead in one room. The whole floor ran with blood. Blood splashed all the walls. It was a perfect hog-pen of butchery.

“ ‘Three poor wretches put their hands together in supplication. One had a white handkerchief tied on a stick. This he lifted and moved toward me. The other held up his hands, while the third began to pray and plead.

“ ‘I took the guns from all three and threw them outside the fort. Then I called some of our men and put them in charge of the prisoners.

“ ‘I then got out of the fort, ran around to the other [pg 238]side, and secured the Spanish flag. I displayed it to our troops, and they cheered lustily.

“ ‘Just as I turned to speak to Captain Haskell I was struck by a bullet from the trenches on the Spanish side.’ ”


Before five o’clock, on the morning of July 2d, the crew of the flag-ship New York was astir, eating a hurried breakfast.

At 5.50 general quarters was sounded, and the flag-ship headed in toward Aguadores, about three miles east of Morro Castle. The other ships retained their blockading stations. Along the surf-beaten shore the smoke of an approaching train from Altares was seen. It was composed of open cars full of General Duffield’s troops.

At a cutting a mile east of Aguadores the train stopped, and the Cuban scouts proceeded along the railroad track. The troops got out of the cars, and soon formed in a long, thin line, standing out vividly against the yellow rocks that rose perpendicularly above, shutting them off from the main body of the army, which was on the other side of the hill, several miles north.

From the quarter of the flag-ship there was a signal, by a vigorously wigwagged letter, and a few minutes later, from a clump of green at the water’s edge, came an answer from the army. This was the first coöperation for offensive purposes between the army and navy. [pg 239]The landing of the army at Daiquiri and Altares was purely a naval affair.


With the flag in his hand, the soldier ashore looked like a butterfly.

“Are you waiting for us to begin?” was the signal made by Rear-Admiral Sampson to the army.

“General Duffield is ahead with the scouts,” came the answer from the shore to the flag-ship.

By this time it was seven A. M. The admiral ran the flag-ship’s bow within three-quarters of a mile of the beach. She remained almost as near during the forenoon, and the daring way she was handled by Captain Chadwick, within sound of the breakers, made the Cuban pilot on board stare with astonishment.

The Suwanee was in company with the flag-ship, still closer inshore, and the Gloucester was to the westward, near Morro Castle. From the southward the Newark came up and took a position to the westward. Her decks were black with fifteen hundred or more troops.

She went alongside of the flag-ship, and was told to disembark the troops at Altares.

Then Admiral Sampson signalled to General Duffield:

“When do you want us to commence firing?”

In a little while a white flag on shore sent back the answer:

“When the rest of the command arrives; then I will signal you.”

It was a long and tedious wait for the ships before [pg 240]the second fifty car-loads of troops came puffing along from Altares.

By 9.30 the last of the soldiers had left the open railroad tracks, disappearing in the thick brush that covered the eastern side of Aguadores inlet.

The water in the sponge tubes under the breeches of the big guns was growing hot in the burning sun.

Ashore there was no sign of the Spaniards. They were believed to be on the western bluff.

Between the bluffs ran a rocky gully, leading into Santiago City. On the extremity of the western arm was an old castellated fort, from which the Spanish flag was flying, and on the parapet on the eastern hill, commanding the gully, two stretches of red earth could easily be seen against the brush. These were the rifle-pits.

At 10.15 a signal-flag ashore wigwagged to Admiral Sampson to commence firing, and a minute later the New York’s guns blazed away at the rifle-pits and at the old fort.

The Suwanee and Gloucester joined in the firing.

Of our troops ashore in the brush nothing could be seen, but the ping, ping, of the small arms of the army floated out to sea during the occasional lull in the firing of the big guns, which peppered the rifle-pits until clouds of red earth rose above them.

An 8-inch shell from the Newark dropped in the massive old fort, and clouds of white dust and huge stones filled the air. When the small shells hit its [pg 241]battlements, almost hidden by green creepers, fragments of masonry came tumbling down. A shot from the Suwanee hit the eastern parapet, and it crumbled away. Amid the smoke and débris, the flagstaff was seen to fall forward.

“The flag has been shot down!” shouted the ship’s crew, but, when the smoke cleared away, the emblem of Spain was seen to be still flying and blazing brilliantly in the sun, though the flagstaff was bending toward the earth.

A few more shots from the Suwanee levelled the battlements until the old castle was a pitiful sight.

When the firing ceased, Lieutenant Delehanty of the Suwanee was anxious to finish his work, so he signalled to the New York, asking permission to knock down the Spanish flag.

“Yes,” replied Admiral Sampson, “if you can do it in three shots.”

The Suwanee then lay about sixteen hundred yards from the old fort. She took her time. Lieutenant Blue carefully aimed the 4-inch gun, and the crews of all the ships watched the incident amid intense excitement.

When the smoke of the Suwanee’s first shot cleared away, only two red streamers of the flag were left. The shell had gone through the centre of the bunting.

A delighted yell broke from the crew of the Suwanee.

Two or three minutes later the Suwanee fired again, and a huge cloud of débris rose from the base of the flagstaff.

[pg 242]

For a few seconds it was impossible to tell what had been the effect of the shot. Then it was seen that the shell had only added to the ruin of the fort.

The flagstaff seemed to have a charmed existence, and the Suwanee only had one charge left. It seemed hardly possible for her to achieve her object with the big gun, such a distance, and such a tiny target.

There was breathless silence among the watching crews. They crowded on the ships’ decks, and all eyes were on that tattered flag, bending toward the top of what had once been a grand old castle. But it was only bending, not yet down. Lieutenant-Commander Delehanty and Lieutenant Blue took their time. The Suwanee changed her position slightly.

Then a puff of smoke shot out from her side, up went a shooting cloud of débris from the parapet, and down fell the banner of Spain.

Such yells from the flag-ship will probably never be heard again. There was more excitement than witnessed at the finish of a college boat-race, or a popular race between first-class thoroughbreds on some big track.

The Suwanee’s last shot had struck right at the base of the flagstaff, and had blown it clear of the wreckage, which had held it from finishing its fall.

“Well done!” signalled Admiral Sampson to Lieutenant-Commander Delehanty.

At 11.30 General Duffield signalled that his scouts reported that no damage had been done to the Spanish [pg 243]rifle-pits by the shells from the ships, and Admiral Sampson told him they had been hit several times, but that there was no one in the pits. However, the Suwanee was ordered to fire a few more shots in their direction.


At 12.18 P. M. the New York having discontinued fire at Aguadores, commenced firing 8-inch shells clear over the gully into the city of Santiago de Cuba. Every five minutes the shells went roaring over the hillside. What destruction they wrought it was impossible to tell, as the smoke hid everything. In reply to General Duffield’s question:

“What is the news?”

Admiral Sampson replied:

“There is not a Spaniard left in the rifle-pits.”

Later General Duffield signalled that his scouts thought reinforcements were marching to the battered old fort, and Admiral Sampson wigwagged him:

“There is no Spaniard left there. If any come the Gloucester will take care of them.”

A little later the Oregon joined the New York intending 8-inch shells into the city of Santiago. This was kept up until 1.40 P. M. By that time General Duffield had sent a message saying that his troops could not cross the stream, but would return to Altares.

On the report that some Spanish troops were still in the gully, the New York and Gloucester shelled it once more, and Newark, which had not fired, signalled:

[pg 244]

“Can I fire for target practice? Have had no previous opportunity.”

Permission for her to do so was signalled, and she blazed away, shooting well, her 6-inch shells exploding with remarkable force among the rocks.

At 2.40 P. M. Admiral Sampson hoisted the signal to cease firing, and the flag-ship returned to the blockading station.

On the railroad a train-load of troops had already left for Altares.


Mr. A. Maurice Low, of the Boston Globe, thus relates his personal experience:

“When the fighting ceased on Friday evening, July 1st, every man was physically spent, and needed food and rest more than anything else. For a majority of the troops there was a chance to cook bacon and make coffee; for the men of the hospital corps, the work of the day was commencing. At convenient points hospitals were established, and men from every company were sent out to search the battle-ground for the dead and wounded.

“It is the men of the hospital corps who have the ghastly side of war. There is never any popular glory for them; there is no passion of excitement to sustain them. The emotion of battle keeps a man up under fire. Something in the air makes even a coward brave. But all that is wanting when the surgeons go into action.

[pg 245]

“Men come staggering into the hospital with blood dripping from their wounds; squads of four follow one another rapidly, bearing stretchers and blankets, on which are limp, motionless, groaning forms.

“To those of us at home who are in the habit of seeing our sick and injured treated with the utmost consideration and delicacy, who see the poor and outcast and criminal put into clean beds and surrounded with luxuries, the way in which the wounded on a battle-field are disposed of seems barbarous in the extreme. Of course it is unavoidable, but it is nevertheless horrible.

“As soon as men were brought in they were at once taken off the litters and placed on the bare ground. Time was too precious, and there were too many men needing attention for a soldier to monopolise a stretcher until the surgeon could reach him.

“There was no shelter. The men lay on the bare ground with the sun streaming down on them, many of them suffering the greatest agony, and yet very few giving utterance to a groan. Where I watched operations for a time there was only one surgeon, who took every man in his turn, and necessarily had to make many of them wait a long time.

“And yet these men were much more fortunate than many others, some of whom lay on the battle-field for twenty-four hours before they were found. There was no chloroform; very little of anything to numb pain. Painful gunshot wounds were dressed hastily, almost [pg 246]roughly, until ambulances could be sent out to take the men to the divisional hospitals in the rear.

“It is claimed that the hospital arrangements were inadequate, and that many regiments went into action without a surgeon. From what I saw I think the criticism to be justified. Naturally the wounded were taken care of first,—the last duties to the dead could be performed later.

“It was ghastly as one moved over the battle-field to come across an upturned face lying in a pool of blood, to see what was once a man, bent, and twisted, and doubled. And still more horrible was it as the moonlight fell over the field, and at unexpected places one ran against this fruit of war and saw faces in the pallor of death made even more ghostlike by the light, while the inevitable sea of crimson stood out in more startling vividness by the contrast.

“We had won the battle, but our position was a somewhat precarious one.

“Our line was long and thin, and there was a danger of the Spaniards breaking through and attacking us in the rear or left flank. To guard against this possibility, Lawton’s division at El Caney was ordered to move on to El Pozo, and Kent’s division was under orders to draw in its left. The men who had fought at El Caney were hoping to be allowed to sleep on the battle-field and obtain the rest which they so badly needed, but after supper they were placed under arms and the march commenced.

[pg 247]

“The Seventh U. S. Infantry led. It was a weird march. Immediately after leaving El Caney we crossed an open field, a skirmish line was thrown out, and the men were commanded to maintain absolute silence. We were in the heart of the enemy’s country, and caution was necessary.

“After crossing this field we came to a deep gully through which ran a swift stream almost knee-deep. Our way led across this stream, and there was only one means of getting over. That was to plunge in and splash through. Tired as we all were, after getting thoroughly wet our feet felt like lead, and marching was perfect torture. Still there was no let-up.

“We pressed steadily forward until we came to where the road forked off. Our directions had not been very explicit, we had no maps, and our commander took the road which he thought was the right one. It soon led between high banks of dense growth of chaparral on either side. The moon had disappeared behind the clouds, and had the Spaniards wanted to ambuscade us we were at their mercy.

“I will not say that we were nervous, exactly, but I think we would all rather have been out of that lane. The fear that your enemy may be crouching behind bushes, that you know nothing of his presence until he pours a rifle fire into you, is rather trying on the nerves.

“The command was frequently halted for the officers to consult, and after we had gone about a mile they [pg 248]concluded they were on the wrong road, and went to the right about. When we came out where we had started we found Brigadier-General Chaffee sitting silent on a big horse and watching a seemingly never-ending line of men marching past him. We fell into position and pushed on the road to Santiago.

“How long we marched that night I cannot tell. It seemed interminable. My watch had run down and no one around me had the time. Finally we were ordered to halt, and the men were told to stack arms, take off their packs, and rest.

“I dropped my blanket roll, which seemed to me weighed not less than two hundred pounds, on the muddy road, and sat down to rest. The next thing I knew some one tapped me on the shoulder. It was three o’clock, and I had been asleep for some hours. The regiment was again under arms, and was receiving ammunition from a pack-train which had come up from the rear. We pressed on until early dawn, when we were well in front of Santiago. Entrenchments were hastily thrown up, and we were ready for the enemy. The enemy did not give us much time for rest. They made an assault upon our position early in the morning, which we repulsed....

“While the Spaniards were unable to dislodge us, they succeeded in forcing our artillery back, which had taken a position that subjected it to a withering infantry fire. Later in the day this position was recovered and entrenchments thrown up, which, it was claimed, made [pg 249]the position impregnable. The guns were so placed they could do tremendous destruction.

“There was a lull that afternoon, but in the evening the Spaniards opened up an attack along our entire line, with the intention, evidently, of taking us by surprise and rushing us out of our entrenchments. But their purpose was a failure.”


General Lawton, in his report after the assault upon and the capture of El Caney by his division during the first day’s fighting, says:

“It may not be out of place to call attention to this peculiar phase of the battle.

“It was fought against an enemy fortified and entrenched within a compact town of stone and concrete houses, some with walls several feet thick, and supported by a number of covered solid stone forts, and the enemy continued to resist until nearly every man was killed or wounded, with a seemingly desperate resolution.”


It was Sergeant McKinnery, of Company B, Ninth Infantry, who shot and disabled General Linares, the commander of the Spanish forces in Santiago. The Spanish general was hit about an hour after San Juan Hill was taken, during the first day’s fighting. The American saw a Spaniard, evidently a general officer, followed by his staff, riding frantically about the Spanish position, rallying his men.

[pg 250]

Sergeant McKinnery asked Lieutenant Wiser’s permission to try a shot at the officer, and greatly regretted to find the request refused. Major Bole was consulted. He acquiesced, with the injunction that no one else should fire. Sergeant McKinnery slipped a shell into his rifle, adjusted the sights for one thousand yards, and fired. The shell fell short. Then he put in another, raised the sights for another one thousand yards, took careful aim, and let her go. The officer on the white horse threw up his arms and fell forward.

“That is for Corporal Joyce,” said McKinnery as he saw that his ball had reached the mark. The officer on the white horse was General Linares himself. It was afterward learned that he was shot in the left shoulder. He immediately relinquished the command to General Toral.


On the evening of July 3d, General Shafter sent the following cablegram to the War Department:

“To-night my lines completely surrounded the town from beyond the north of the city to point of San Juan River on the south. The enemy holds from west bend San Juan River at its mouth up the railroad to the city. General Pando, I find to-night, is some distance away, and will not get into Santiago.

(Signed) “Shafter.”
[pg 251]

July 4th Secretary Alger received the communication given below:

“The following is my demand for the surrender of the city of Santiago:

“ ‘To the Commanding General of the Spanish Forces, Santiago de Cuba.

“ Sir:—I shall be obliged, unless you surrender, to shell Santiago de Cuba. Please inform the citizens of foreign countries and all women and children that they should leave the city before ten o’clock to-morrow morning. Very respectfully,

“ ‘Your obedient servant,
“ ‘W. R. Shafter,
“ ‘Major-General, U. S. A.

“Following is the Spanish reply which Colonel Dorst has returned at 6.30 P. M.:

“ ‘His Excellency, the General Commanding Forces of United States, San Juan River.

“ Sir:—I have the honour to reply to your communication of to-day, written at 8.30 A. M. and received at 1 P. M., demanding the surrender of this city; on the [pg 252]contrary case announcing to me that you will bombard this city, and that I advise the foreigners, women, and children that they must leave the city before ten o’clock to-morrow morning. It is my duty to say to you that this city will not surrender, and that I will inform the foreign consuls and inhabitants of the contents of your message.

“ ‘Very respectfully,
“ ‘Jose Toral,
“ ‘Commander-in-chief, Fourth Corps.

“The British, Portuguese, Chinese, and Norwegian consuls have come to my line with Colonel Dorst. They ask if non-combatants can occupy the town of Caney and railroad points, and ask until ten o’clock of fifth instant before city is fired on. They claim that there are between fifteen thousand and twenty thousand people, many of them old, who will leave. They ask if I can supply them with food, which I cannot do for want of transportation to Caney, which is fifteen miles from my landing. The following is my reply:

“ ‘The Commanding General Spanish Forces,
“ ‘Santiago de Cuba.

“ Sir:—In consideration of the request of the consuls and officers in your city for delay in carrying out my intention to fire on the city, and in the interest of the poor women and children, who will suffer very greatly by their hasty and enforced departure from the [pg 253]city, I have the honour to announce that I will delay such action solely in their interest until noon of the fifth, providing, during the interval, your forces make no demonstration whatever upon those of my own. I am, with great respect,

“ ‘Your obedient servant,
“ ‘W. R. Shafter,
“ ‘Major-General U. S. A.
(Signed) “Shafter,
Major-General Commanding.”

[pg 254]



Don’t cheer; the poor devils are dying.

It was Sunday morning (July 3d), and the American squadron lay off Santiago Harbour intent only on blockade duty. No signs of life were visible about old Morro. Beyond and toward the city all was still. After two days of fighting the armies of both nations were resting in their trenches.

The fleet had drifted three miles or more from the land. The battle-ship Massachusetts, the protected cruiser New Orleans, and Commodore Watson’s flag-ship, the cruiser Newark, were absent, coaling fifty miles or more away.

Shortly before nine o’clock Admiral Sampson, desiring to ascertain the exact condition of the Spanish coast defences about Aguadores, ordered the flag-ship to go that way, and after flying the signal, “Disregard the motions of the commander-in-chief,” the New York steamed leisurely off to the eastward.

The little Gloucester lay nearest the shore; the Vixen was opposite in a straight line, and to the eastward of her about five miles. A mile or less from the Gloucester, [pg 255]to the seaward, was the Indiana. Nearly as far from the latter ship, and southeast of her, lay the Oregon. The Iowa was the outermost ship of the fleet, lying four miles from the harbour entrance; next her, to the eastward, each vessel slightly nearer inshore, were the Texas and the Brooklyn in the order named.


Shoreward, inside the harbour, could be seen a long line of black smoke. On board the fleet religious services were being held, but the lookouts of every ship were at their stations.

Suddenly, at about half past nine, a dark hull was seen coming out past the point of the harbour, and instantly all was seemingly confusion on the big fighting machines.

“The enemy is escaping,” was the signal run up on Commodore Schley’s flag-ship, and within a few seconds the roar of a 6-pounder on the Iowa broke the stillness of the Sabbath morning.

It was as if every American vessel was put in motion at the same instant, and even as the flag-ship’s signal appeared, the clouds of dense smoke from their stacks told that the men in the furnace-rooms had already begun their portion of the task so unexpectedly set for all the fleet.

John R. Spear, author of “The History of our Navy,” who was with Sampson’s fleet, wrote this complete story of the marvellous naval battle off Santiago and along the southern shore of Cuba, for the World:

“The enemy was first seen at 9.30, and at 9.32 the [pg 256]men of the American batteries were standing erect and silent beside their loaded guns, waiting for the order to commence firing, and watching out of the corners of their eyes the boys who were still sprinkling the decks with sand that no one’s foot might slip when blood began to flow across the planks.

“But though silence prevailed among the guns, down in the sealed stoke-hole the click and ring of the shovels that sprayed the coal over the glowing grate-bars, the song of the fans that raised the air pressure, and the throb of pump and engine made music for the whole crew, for the steam-gauges were climbing, and the engineers were standing by the wide-open throttles as the ships were driven straight at the enemy.

“For, as it happened, the Texas had been lying directly off the harbour, and a little more than two miles away the Iowa was but a few lengths farther out and to the westward, while Capt. Jack Philip of the one, and ‘Fighting Bob’ Evans of the other, were both on deck when the cry was raised announcing the enemy. Hastening to their bridges, they headed away at once for the Spaniards, while the Oregon and the Brooklyn went flying to westward to intercept the leader.

“The mightiest race known to the history of the world, and the most thrilling, was begun.

“They were all away in less time than it has taken the reader to get thus far in the story, and in much less time still,—indeed, before the gongs in the engine-rooms of the Yankee ships had ceased to vibrate [pg 257]under the imperative order of ‘Ahead, full speed!’—the Almirante Oquendo, fugitive as she was, had opened the battle. With impetuous haste, and while yet more than two miles away, the Spaniard pointed one of his long 11-inch hontoria rifles in the direction of the Texas and pulled the lanyard. The shell came shrieking out to sea, but to sea only.


“Instantly the great guns of the Morro, 180 feet above the water, and those of the Socapa battery, lying higher still, with all the batteries beneath those two, began to belch and roar as their crews strove with frantic energy to aid the flying squadron.

“Now, it was about three minutes from the appearance of the first Spaniard to the firing of the first American gun.

“In these three minutes the distance between the squadrons was lessened by at least a mile,—the range was not more than two thousand yards.

“But while two thousand yards is the range (about one and one-sixth miles) selected for great gun target practice, it will never do for an eager fight, and as the trend of the land still headed the Spanish off to southward, the battle-ships were able to reduce the range to fifteen hundred yards before they were obliged to head a course parallel with the Spaniards.

“Meantime the Oregon and the Brooklyn, as they were stretching away toward the coast, had opened fire also, and then the last of the big Spaniards, the Infanta Maria Teresa, having rounded the point, the magnifi[pg 258]cent spectacle of a squadron battle on the open sea—of a battle between four of the best modern armed cruisers on the Spanish side, against three battle-ships and an armoured cruiser on our side—was spread out to view.

“And their best was the worst struggle the world ever saw, for it was a struggle to get out of range while firing with hysterical vehemence their unaimed guns.

“The first shot from the American ships fell short, and a second, in like fashion, dropped into the sea. At that the gunner said things to himself under his breath (it was in the forward turret of the Iowa), and tried it once more.

“For a moment after it the cloud of gun smoke shrouded the turret, but as that thinned away the eager crew saw the 12-inch shell strike into the hull of the Infanta Maria Teresa. Instantly it exploded with tremendous effect. Flame and smoke belched from the hole the shell had made, and puffed from port and hatch. And then in the wake of the driven blast rolled up a volume of flame-streaked smoke that showed the woodwork had taken fire and was burning fiercely all over the after part of the stricken ship.

“The yell that rose from the Yankee throats at that sight swelled to a roar of triumph a moment later, for as he saw that smoke, the captain of the Teresa threw her helm over to port, and headed her for the rocky beach. The one shell had given a mortal wound.

[pg 259]

“And then came Wainwright of the Maine,—Lieut.-Commander Richard Wainwright, who for weeks conducted the weary search for the dead bodies of shipmates on the wreck in the harbour of Havana. He was captain of the Gloucester, that was once known as the yacht Corsair. A swift and beautiful craft she, but only armed with lean 6-pounders.

“ ‘Ahead, full speed,’ said Wainwright.

“And fortune once more favoured the brave, for in the wake of the mighty Maria Teresa came Spain’s two big torpedo-boats, called destroyers, because of their size,—the Pluton and the Furor. Either was more than a match for the Gloucester, for one carried two 12-pounders, and the other two 14-pounders, besides the 6-pounders that both carried.

“Moreover, both overmatched the speed of the Gloucester by at least ten knots per hour. But both had thin-plated sides. The shells of the Gloucester could pierce them, and at them went Wainwright, with the memory of that night in Havana uppermost in his mind.

“The two boats—even the whole Spanish fleet—were still within easy range of the Spanish forts, and to reach his choice of enemies the Gloucester was obliged to risk not only the land fire, but that of the Vizcaya and the Teresa. Nevertheless, as the torpedo-boats steered toward the Brooklyn, evidently bound to torpedo her, Wainwright headed them off, and they never got beyond range of the forts.

[pg 260]

“The shots they threw at him outweighed his three to one, but theirs flew wild, and his struck home.

“The day of the destroyers was done. As the big Maria Teresa turned toward the shore, these two destroyers, like stricken wild fowl, fled fluttering and splashing in the same direction, and they floundered as they fled.

“While the Infanta Maria Teresa was on fire, and running for the beach, her crew was still working their guns, and the big Vizcaya was handily by to double the storm of projectiles she was hurling at the Iowa and Texas.

“It was not that the Vizcaya’s crew were manfully striving to protect the Teresa; they were making the snarling, clawing fight of a lifetime to escape the relentless Yankees that were closing upon them. For both the Texas and the Iowa had the range, and it was only when the smoke of their own guns blinded them that their fire was withheld, or a shot went astray.

“The Iowa and the Texas had headed off both the Vizcaya and the Infanta Maria Teresa, while the Indiana was coming with tremendous speed to join them.

“And then came the finishing stroke. A 12-inch shell from the Texas went crashing into the stoke-hole, and the Vizcaya,—the ship whose beauty and power once thrilled the hearts of New Yorkers with mingled pleasure and fear—was mortally wounded. Hope was gone, and with helm aport she headed away for the beach, as her consort had done.

[pg 261]

“The battle had opened on our side at 9.33 o’clock, and at 9.58 two of the magnificent armoured cruisers of the Spanish navy were quivering, flaming wrecks on the Cuban beach, with the Texas rounding to less than a thousand yards away off the stern of the Vizcaya.

“For a moment the Texas tarried there to let the smoke clear, and to see accurately the condition of the enemy, but while her gunners were taking aim for a final broadside a half-naked quartermaster on the Vizcaya, with clawing hands on the halliards, hauled down the fever-hued ensign from her peak and hoisted the white flag instead.

“ ‘Cease firing!’ commanded Captain Jack Philip of the Texas.

“So far as the Vizcaya and the Infanta Maria Teresa were concerned, the battle—and for that matter the war—was ended.

“Huge volumes of black smoke, edged with red flame, rolled from every port and shot hole of the Vizcaya, as from the Teresa. They were both furnaces of glowing fire. Though they had come from the harbour to certain battle, not a wooden bulkhead, nor a partition in the quarters either of officers or men had been taken out, nor had trunks and chests been sent ashore. Neither had the wooden decks nor any other wooden fixtures been prepared to resist fire. Apparently the crew had not even wet down the decks.

“But the Texas tarried at this gruesome scene only for a moment. They wished only to make sure that [pg 262]the two Spaniards were really out of the fight, and when they saw the Iowa was going to stand by both, away they went to join the race between the Brooklyn and the Oregon on our side, and the Cristobal Colon and Almirante Oquendo on the other.

“In spite of the original superior speed on the part of the Spaniards, and in spite of the delay on the part of the Texas, the Spaniards were not yet wholly out of range, though the Cristobal Colon was reaching away at a speed that gave the Spanish shore forces hope.

“Under battened hatches the Yankee firemen, stripped to their trousers, plied their shovels and raised the steam-gauges higher. The Yankee ships were grass-grown and barnacled, but now they were driven as never before since their trial trips. The Spaniards had called us pigs, but Nemesis had turned us into spear-armed huntsmen in chase of game that neither tusks nor legs could save.

“For while the Colon was showing a speed that was the equal at least of our own Brooklyn, long-headed Commodore Schley saw that she was hugging the coast, although a point of land loomed in the distance to cut her off or drive her out to sea.

“Instead of striving to close in on the Spaniards, Schley headed straight for that point,—took the shortest cut for it, so to speak,—and in that way drew steadily ahead of the Colon, leaving to the Oregon and Texas the task of holding the Spaniards from turning out across the Brooklyn’s stern.

U. S. S. IOWA.
U. S. S. IOWA.
[pg 263]

“It was a splendid piece of strategy, well worthy of the gallant officer, and it won.

“The task of the battle-ships was well within their powers. It is not without reason that both the Oregon and the Texas are the pride of the nation as well as of their crews.

“The Oregon and the Brooklyn had hurled a relentless fire at the flying Spaniards, and it had told on the Almirante Oquendo with increasing effect.

“For the Oregon was fair on the Oquendo’s beam, and there was not enough armour on any Spanish ship to stop the massive 13-inch projectiles the ship from the Pacific was driving into her with unerring aim.

“At ten o’clock sharp the Oquendo was apparently still fore and aft, but within five minutes she wavered and lagged, and a little later, flag-ship though she was, she put her helm to port, as her consorts had done, and fled for life to the beach.

“The Texas was coming with unflagging speed astern, and off to the east could be seen the flag-ship of Admiral Sampson racing as never before to get a shot in at the finish. An auxiliary had been sent by Commodore Schley to call her, and it had met her coming at the call of the guns of the Spanish fleet. She had overhauled and passed the Indiana long since, and was well-nigh abreast of the Texas. So the Oregon, in order to vie with the New York in the last of the mighty race, abandoned the Oquendo to her fate and stretched away after the Cristobal Colon.

[pg 264]

“Some of the crew who looked back saw the Texas bring to near the Oquendo, and then the sea trembled under the impulse of a tremendous explosion on board the doomed Spaniard, while a vast volume of smoke filled with splintered wreck rose in the air. Had they been near enough they would have heard the crew of the Texas start in to cheer, and have heard as well the voice of Captain Philip say, as he raised his hand to check it:

“ ‘Don’t cheer; the poor devils are dying.

“Only a man fit to command could have had that thought.

“The battle was well-nigh over. But one ship of the Spanish squadron remained, and she was now in the last desperate struggle, the flurry of a monster of the deep. Her officers peered with frowning brows through gilded glasses at the Brooklyn forging ahead far off their port bow; at the Oregon within range off the port quarter; at the New York just getting the range with her beautiful 8-inch rifles astern. They shivered in unison with the quivering hulk as shot after shot struck home. They screamed at their crews and stamped and fumed. At the guns their crews worked with drunken desperation, but down in the stoke-hole the firemen plied their shovels with a will and a skill that formed the most surprising feature of the Spanish side of the battle. Because of them this was a race worthy of the American mettle, for it put to the full test the powers of the men of the three ships in chase.

[pg 265]

“In the open sea they might have led the Yankees for an hour or more beyond, but the strategy of Schley had cut them off, and yet it was not until 1.15 o’clock—three hours and three-quarters after the first gun of the Oquendo—that the Colon’s gallant captain lost all hope, and, from a race to save the ship, turned to the work of destroying her, so that we should not be able to float the stars and stripes above her.

“The Oregon had drawn up abeam of her, and was about a mile away. The shots from the New York astern were beginning to tell, and those from the Brooklyn had all along been smiting her in the face.

“Baffled and beaten she turned to the shore, ran hard aground near Tarquino Point, fifty miles from Santiago, and then hauled down her flag.

“The most powerful sea force that ever fought under the American flag had triumphed; the most remarkable race in the history of the world was ended.”

On board the flag-ship New York is published a tiny daily newspaper, 4 × 7 inches in size, with the name “Squadron Bulletin” on the title-page. Following is the account of the destruction of the Spanish fleet as given in that publication:

“This is a red-letter day for the American navy, as dating the entire destruction of Admiral Cervera’s formidable fleet; the Infanta Maria Teresa, Vizcaya, Oquendo, Cristobal Colon, and the deep-sea torpedo-boats Furor and Pluton.

“The flag-ship had started from her station about nine [pg 266]to go to Siboney, whence the admiral had proposed going for a consultation with General Shafter; the other ships, with the exception of the Massachusetts and Suwanee, which had, unfortunately, gone this morning to Guantanamo for coal, were in their usual positions, viz., beginning at the east, the Gloucester, Indiana, Oregon, Iowa, Texas, Brooklyn, and Vixen.

“When about two miles off from Altares Bay, and about four miles east of her usual position, the Spanish fleet was observed coming out and making westward in the following order: Infanta Maria Teresa (flag), Vizcaya, Cristobal Colon, Almirante Oquendo, Furor, and Pluton.

“They were at once engaged by the ships nearest, and the result was practically established in a very short time. The heavy and rapid shell fire was very destructive to both ships and men. The cruisers Infanta Maria Teresa, Almirante Oquendo, and Vizcaya were run ashore in the order named, afire and burning fiercely. The first ship was beached at Nima, nine and one-half miles west of the port; the second at Juan Gonzalez, six miles west; the third at Acerraderos, fifteen miles. The torpedo-boat destroyers were both sunk, one near the beach, the other in deep water about three miles west of the harbour entrance.

“The remaining ship, the Cristobal Colon, stood on and gave a long chase of forty-eight miles, in which the Brooklyn, Oregon, Texas, Vixen, and New York took part. The Colon is reputed by her captain to [pg 267]have been going at times as much as seventeen and a half knots, but they could not keep this up, chiefly on account of the fatigue of her men, who, many of them, had been ashore at Santiago the day before, and had been, while there, long without food; her average speed was actually thirteen and seven-tenths knots, the ship leaving the harbour at 9.43 A. M., and reaching Rio Tarquino (forty-eight miles from Santiago entrance) at 1.15.


“She was gradually forced in toward the shore, and, seeing no chance of an escape from so overwhelming a force, the heavy shells of the Oregon already dropping around and beyond her, she ran ashore at Rio Tarquino and hauled down her flag.

“She was practically uninjured, but her sea-valves were treacherously opened, and in spite of all efforts she gradually sank, and now lies near the beach in water of moderate depth. It is to be hoped that she may be floated, as she was far the finest ship of the squadron. All her breech plugs were thrown overboard after the surrender, and the breech-blocks of her Mauser rifles thrown away.

“The flag-ship remained at Rio Tarquino until eleven P. M., and then returned to Santiago. The Texas, Oregon, and Vixen remained by the prize. Commodore second in command of fleet, Captain de Navio of the first class, Don Jose de Paredes y Chacon, Captain de Navio Don Emilio Moreu, commanding the Colon, and Teniente de Navio Don Pablo Marina y Briengas, aid and secretary [pg 268]to the commodore, were taken on board the New York. The 525 men of the crew of the Colon were placed aboard the Resolute, which came from Santiago to report sighting a Spanish armoured cruiser, which turned out to be the Austrian Maria Teresa. The other officers were placed aboard the Resolute and Vixen.

“Admiral Cervera and many of his officers were taken off the shore by the Gloucester, and transferred to the Iowa, which ship had already taken off many from the Vizcaya; thirty-eight officers and 238 men were on board the Iowa, and seven officers and 203 men were aboard the Indiana.

“All these were in a perfectly destitute condition, having been saved by swimming, or having been taken from the water by our boats. Admiral Cervera was in a like plight. He was received with the usual honours when he came aboard, and was heartily cheered by the Iowa’s crew.”


The Independence Day number is very brief. It announces that the prisoners are to be sent north on the Harvard and St. Louis; that they number 1,750; that the dead among the Spanish ships were over six hundred; that General Pando had reached Santiago with five thousand men; that the Brooklyn and Marblehead had gone to Guantanamo to overhaul and coal, and then tells of the Reina Mercedes’s skirmish on that day, saying:

[pg 269]

“Just before midnight of this date the Massachusetts, which was in front of the port with her search-light up to the entrance, reported an enemy’s vessel coming out, and she and the Texas fired a number of shots in the direction of the harbour mouth. The batteries also opened, and a number of shell fell at various points, the attention paid by the batteries to the ships being general. The Indiana was struck on the starboard side of the quarter-deck by a mortar shell, which exploded on reaching the second deck near the ward-room ladder; it caused a fire which was quickly extinguished. This was the first accident of the kind to the fleet. The vessel inside turned out to be the Reina Mercedes, which was sunk on the east edge of the channel just by the Estrella battery. She heads north, and is canted over to port with her port rail under water. She does not appear to obstruct the channel.”

The issue of July 5th is of greater interest:

“Mention of the presence of the torpedo-boat Ericsson, on the third instant, was unfortunately omitted. She was in company with a flag-ship, and turned at once upon sighting the enemy. As she was drawing away from the New York she signalled, asking permission to continue in chase, but she was directed to pick up two men in the water, which she did, and on reaching the Vizcaya she was directed by the Iowa, the flag-ship having gone ahead, to assist in the rescue of the Vizcaya’s crew. She took off eleven officers and ninety men. The guns of the Vizcaya during the oper[pg 270]ation were going off from the heat, and explosions were frequent, so that the work was trying and perilous for the boats of the two vessels (Iowa and Ericsson) engaged.

“The former report from the army, which was official, regarding General Pando’s entry into Santiago, was an error. General Shafter thought that he had been enabled to form a junction, but some few of his men only had been able to do so; the general himself and his remaining force, it is thought, will not be able.

“The day was an uneventful one from a naval standpoint. The flag-ship went to the wrecks of the Infanta Maria Teresa and the Almirante. The former lies in an easy position on sand, and with almost her normal draught of water. She is, of course, completely burned out inside above her protective deck, but the shell of her hull seems very good, and her machinery is probably not seriously injured.

“It looks very much as if she were salvable. The Almirante was much worse off. She had been subjected to a much heavier gun fire, being racked and torn in every part; she is much more out of water, and the forward part is much distorted and torn by the explosion of her magazine and torpedoes. The loss of life was very great. Charred bodies are strewn everywhere, the vicinity of the port forward torpedo-room, particularly, was almost covered. The torpedo exploded in the tube; it may be by a shot. This is a question [pg 271]which it is hoped may be conclusively decided. The fact of so many bodies being about would seem to bear this out, but two of her crew, taken off the beach this afternoon, were questioned, and both stated that it was the result of fire, and that the number of bodies is to be accounted for by the fact that the operating-room is just below, and that many wounded came up that far and were suffocated. The two men were intelligent young fellows, and talked freely. They said that the gun fire was such that it was impossible to keep the men at the guns. One was a powder passer, the other at a 57-mm gun. In the forward turret were two officers and five men, evidently killed by the entry of a 6-pounder shell between the top of the turret and the gun shield. Altogether the ship was a most striking instance of what rapid and well-directed gun fire may accomplish. She was terribly battered about.

“While the flag-ship was lying near the Almirante, and her steam cutter was alongside, and a small boat from the press tug Hercules lying on the starboard quarter, a shell exploded in a 15-centimetre gun, and a piece went through the tug’s boat, cutting it in two; the man in the boat was not hurt. It is somewhat extraordinary that this shell should have waited so long to act, as the after part of the ship was generally well cooled off. There was still much heat and some flames about the bow. One extraordinary fact is the survival, in proper shape, of many powder grains, baked hard; several of these were picked up about the deck.

[pg 272]

“A board has been ordered by the commander-in-chief to report in detail upon the stranded ships.”


On the fifteenth of July Admiral Sampson made his official report, which is given in full:

Sir:—I have the honour to make the following report upon the battle with and the destruction of the Spanish squadron, commanded by Admiral Cervera, off Santiago de Cuba, on Sunday, July 3, 1898:

“2. The enemy’s vessels came out of the harbour between 9.35 and 10 A. M., the head of the column appearing around Cay Smith at 9.31, and emerging from the channel five or six minutes later.

“3. The positions of the vessels of my command off Santiago at that moment were as follows: The flag-ship New York was four miles east of her blockading station and about seven miles from the harbour entrance. She had started for Siboney, where I had intended to land, accompanied by several of my staff, and go to the front to consult with General Shafter. A discussion of the situation, and a more definite understanding between us of the operations proposed, had been rendered necessary by the unexpectedly strong resistance of the Spanish garrison at Santiago.

“I had sent my chief of staff on shore the day before to arrange an interview with General Shafter, [pg 273]who had been suffering from heat prostration. I made arrangements to go to his headquarters, and my flag-ship was in the position mentioned above when the Spanish squadron appeared in the channel.

“The remaining vessels were in or near their usual blockading positions, distributed in a semicircle about the harbour entrance, counting from the eastward to the westward in the following order: The Indiana, about a mile and a half from shore, the Oregon,—the New York’s place between these two,—the Iowa, Texas, and Brooklyn, the latter two miles from the shore west of Santiago.

“The distance of the vessels from the harbour entrance was two and a half to four miles,—the latter being the limit of day blockading distance. The length of the arc formed by the ships was about eight miles.

“The Massachusetts had left at four A. M. for Guantanamo for coal. Her station was between the Iowa and Texas. The auxiliaries, Gloucester and Vixen, lay close to the land and nearer the harbour entrance than the large vessels, the Gloucester to the eastward and the Vixen to the westward.

“The torpedo-boat Ericsson was in company with the flag-ship, and remained with her during the chase until ordered to discontinue, when she rendered very efficient service in rescuing prisoners from the burning Vizcaya. I enclose a diagram showing approximately the positions of the vessels as described above.

“4. The Spanish vessels came rapidly out of the [pg 274]harbour, at a speed estimated at from eight to ten knots, and in the following order: Infanta Maria Teresa (flag-ship), Vizcaya, Cristobal Colon, and the Almirante Oquendo.

“The distance between these ships was about eight hundred yards, which means that, from the time the first one became visible in the upper reach of the channel until the last one was out of the harbour, an interval of only about twelve minutes elapsed.

“Following the Oquendo, at a distance of about twelve hundred yards, came the torpedo-boat destroyer Pluton, and after her came the Furor. The armoured cruisers, as rapidly as they could bring their guns to bear, opened a vigorous fire upon the blockading vessels, and emerged from the channel shrouded in the smoke from their guns.

“5. The men of our ships in front of the port were at Sunday ‘quarters for inspection.’ The signal was given simultaneously from several vessels, ‘Enemy’s ships escaping,’ and general quarters were sounded. The men cheered as they sprang to their guns, and fire was opened, probably within eight minutes, by the vessels whose guns commanded the entrance.

“The New York turned about and steamed for the escaping fleet, flying the signal, ‘Close in toward harbour entrance and attack vessels,’ and gradually increasing speed until toward the end of the chase she was making sixteen and one-half knots, and was rapidly closing on the Cristobal Colon.

[pg 275]

“She was not, at any time, within the range of the heavy Spanish ships, and her only part in the firing was to receive the undivided fire from the forts in passing the harbour entrance, and to fire a few shots at one of the destroyers, thought at the moment to be attempting to escape from the Gloucester.

“6. The Spanish vessels, upon clearing the harbour, turned to the westward in column, increasing their speed to the full power of their engines. The heavy blockading vessels, which had closed in toward the Morro, at the instant of the enemy’s appearance, and at their best speed, delivered a rapid fire, well sustained and destructive, which speedily overwhelmed and silenced the Spanish fire.

“The initial speed of the Spaniards carried them rapidly past the blockading vessels, and the battle developed into a chase in which the Brooklyn and Texas had at the start the advantage of position. The Brooklyn maintained this lead.

“The Oregon, steaming with amazing speed from the commencement of the action, took first place. The Iowa and the Indiana having done good work, and not having the speed of the other ships, were directed by me, in succession, at about the time the Vizcaya was beached, to drop out of the chase and resume blockading stations. These vessels rescued many prisoners. The Vixen, finding that the rush of the Spanish ships would put her between two fires, ran outside of our own column and remained there during the battle and chase.

[pg 276]

“7. The skilful handling and gallant firing of the Gloucester excited the admiration of every one who witnessed it, and merits the commendation of the Navy Department. She is a fast and entirely unprotected auxiliary vessel,—the yacht Corsair,—and has a good battery of light rapid-fire guns.

“She was lying about two miles from the harbour entrance to the southward and eastward, and immediately steamed in, opening fire upon the large ships.

“Anticipating the appearance of the Pluton and Furor, the Gloucester was slowed, thereby gaining more rapidly a high pressure of steam, and when the destroyers came out she steamed for them at full speed and was able to close at short range, where her fire was accurate, deadly, and of great volume.

“During this fight the Gloucester was under the fire of the Socapa battery. Within twenty minutes from the time they emerged from Santiago Harbour the careers of the Furor and the Pluton were ended, and two-thirds of their people killed. The Furor was beached and sunk in the surf; the Pluton sank in deep water a few minutes later. The destroyer probably suffered much injury from the fire of the secondary batteries of the battle-ships Iowa, Indiana, and the Texas, yet I think a very considerable factor in their speedy destruction was the fire, at close range, of the Gloucester’s battery.

“After rescuing the survivors of the destroyers, the [pg 277]Gloucester did excellent service in landing and securing the crew of the Infanta Maria Teresa.

“8. The method of escape attempted by the Spaniards—all steering in the same direction, and in formation—removed all practical doubts or difficulties, and made plain the duty of every United States vessel to close in, immediately engage and pursue. This was promptly and effectively done.

“As already stated, the first rush of the Spanish squadron carried it past a number of the blockading ships, which could not immediately work up to their best speed, but they suffered heavily in passing, and the Infanta Maria Teresa and the Oquendo were probably set on fire by the shells fired during the first fifteen minutes of the engagement. It was afterward learned that the Infanta Maria Teresa’s fire main had been cut by one of our first shots, and that she was unable to extinguish the fire.

“With large volumes of smoke rising from their lower deck aft these vessels gave up both fight and flight, and ran in on the beach, the Infanta Maria Teresa at about 10.15 A. M., at Nima, nine and one-half miles from Santiago Harbour entrance, and the Almirante Oquendo at about 10.30 A. M., at Juan Gonzales, seven miles from the port.

“9. The Vizcaya was still under the fire of the leading vessels. The Cristobal Colon had drawn ahead, leading the chase, and soon passed beyond the range of the guns of the leading American ships. The Viz[pg 278]caya was soon set on fire, and at 11.15 she turned inshore and was beached at Acerraderos, fifteen miles from Santiago, burning fiercely, and with her reserves of ammunition on deck already beginning to explode.

“When about ten miles west of Santiago the Indiana had been signalled to go back to the harbour entrance, and at Acerraderos the Iowa was signalled to ‘resume blockading station.’ The Iowa, assisted by the Ericsson and the Hist, took off the crew of the Vizcaya, while the Harvard and the Gloucester rescued those of the Infanta Maria Teresa and the Almirante Oquendo.

“This rescue of prisoners, including the wounded from the burning Spanish vessels, was the occasion of some of the most daring and gallant conduct of the day. The ships were burning fore and aft, their guns and reserve ammunition were exploding, and it was not known at what moment the fire would reach the main magazine.

“In addition to this a heavy surf was running just inside of the Spanish ships. But no risk deterred our officers and men until their work of humanity was complete.

“10. There remained now of the Spanish ships only the Cristobal Colon, but she was their best and fastest vessel. Forced by the situation to hug the Cuban coast, her only chance of escape was by superior and sustained speed.

“When the Vizcaya went ashore the Colon was about six miles ahead of the Brooklyn and the Oregon, but [pg 279]her spurt was finished, and the American ships were now gaining upon her. Behind the Brooklyn and the Oregon came the Texas, Vixen, and New York.

“It was evident from the bridge of the New York that all the American ships were gradually overhauling the chase, and that she had no chance of escape. At 12.50 the Brooklyn and the Oregon opened fire and got her range,—the Oregon’s heavy shells striking beyond her,—and at 1.20 she gave up without firing another shot, hauled down her colours and ran ashore at Rio Tarquino, forty-eight miles from Santiago.

“Captain Cook of the Brooklyn went on board to receive the surrender. While his boat was alongside I came up in the New York, receiving his report, and placed the Oregon in charge of the wreck to save her, if possible, and directed the prisoners to be transferred to the Resolute, which had followed the chase. Commodore Schley, whose chief of staff had gone on board to receive the surrender, had directed that all their personal effects should be retained by the officers. This order I did not modify.

“The Cristobal Colon was not injured by our firing, and probably is not injured by beaching, though she ran ashore at high speed. The beach was so steep that she came off by the working of the sea. But her sea valves were opened or broken, treacherously, I am sure, after her surrender, and despite all efforts she sank. When it became evident that she could not be kept afloat she was pushed by the New York bodily upon [pg 280]the beach, the New York’s stem being placed against her for this purpose, the ship being handled by Captain Chadwick with admirable judgment, and sank in shoal water, and may be saved. Had this not been done she would have gone down in deep water, and would have been to a certainty a complete loss.

“11. I regard this complete and important victory over the Spanish forces as the successful finish of several weeks of arduous and close blockade, so stringent and effective during the night that the enemy was deterred from making the attempt to escape at night, and deliberately elected to make the attempt in daylight. That this was the case I was informed by the commanding officer of the Cristobal Colon.

“12. It seems proper to briefly describe here the manner in which this was accomplished. The harbour of Santiago is naturally easy to blockade, there being but one entrance and that a narrow one, and the deep water extending close up to the shore line, presenting no difficulties of navigation outside of the entrance. At the time of my arrival before the port, June 1st, the moon was at its full, and there was sufficient light during the night to enable any movement outside of the entrance to be detected; but with the waning of the moon and the coming of dark nights there was opportunity for the enemy to escape, or for his torpedo-boats to make an attack upon the blockading vessels.

“It was ascertained with fair conclusiveness that the Merrimac, so gallantly taken into the channel on June [pg 281]3d, did not obstruct it. I therefore maintained the blockade as follows: To the battle-ships was assigned the duty, in turn, of lighting the channel. Moving up to the port, at a distance of from one to two miles from the Morro,—dependent upon the condition of the atmosphere,—they threw a search-light beam directly up the channel and held it steadily there.

“This lighted up the entire breadth of the channel for half a mile inside of the entrance so brilliantly that the movement of small boats could be detected.

“Why the batteries never opened fire upon the search-light-ship was always a matter of surprise to me; but they never did. Stationed close to the entrance of the port were three picket-launches, and, at a little distance further out, three small picket-vessels—usually converted yachts—and, when they were available, one or two of our torpedo-boats.

“With this arrangement there was at least a certainty that nothing could get out of the harbour undetected.

“After the arrival of the army, when the situation forced upon the Spanish admiral a decision, our vigilance increased. The night blockading distance was reduced to two miles for all vessels, and a battle-ship was placed alongside the search-light-ship, with her broadside trained upon the channel in readiness to fire the instant a Spanish ship should appear. The commanding officers merit great praise for the perfect manner in which they entered into this plan, and put it into execution. The Massachusetts, which, according [pg 282]to routine, was sent that morning to coal at Guantanamo, like the others, had spent weary nights upon this work, and deserved a better fate than to be absent that morning.

“I enclose, for the information of the department, copies of orders and memorandums issued from time to time, relating to the manner of maintaining the blockade. When all the work was done so well, it is difficult to discriminate in praise.

“The object of the blockade of Cervera’s squadron was fully accomplished, and each individual bore well his part in it, the commodore in command of the second division, the captains of ships, their officers, and men.

“13. The fire of the battle-ships was powerful and destructive, and the resistance of the Spanish squadron was, in great part, broken almost before they had got beyond the range of their own force.

“The fine speed of the Oregon enabled her to take a front position in the chase, and the Cristobal Colon did not give up until the Oregon had thrown a 13-inch shell beyond her. This performance adds to the already brilliant record of this fine battle-ship, and speaks highly of the skill and care with which her admirable efficiency has been maintained during a service unprecedented in the history of vessels of her class.

“The Brooklyn’s westerly blockading position gave her an advantage in the chase which she maintained to the end, and she employed her fine battery with telling effect.

[pg 283]

“The Texas and the New York were gaining on the chase during the last hour, and, had any accident befallen the Brooklyn or the Oregon, would have speedily overhauled the Cristobal Colon.

“From the moment the Spanish vessel exhausted her first burst of speed, the result was never in doubt. She fell, in fact, far below what might reasonably have been expected of her.

“Careful measurements of time and distance give her an average speed, from the time she cleared the harbour mouth until the time she was run on shore at Rio Tarquino, of 13.7 knots.

“Neither the New York nor the Brooklyn stopped to couple up their forward engines, but ran out of the chase with one pair, getting steam, of course, as rapidly as possible on all boilers. To stop to couple up the forward engines would have meant a delay of fifteen minutes, or four miles in the chase.

“14. Several of the ships were struck, the Brooklyn more often than the others, but very light material injury was done, the greatest being aboard the Iowa.

“Our loss was one man killed and one wounded, both on the Brooklyn. It is difficult to explain the immunity from loss of life or injury to ships in a combat with modern vessels of the best type, but Spanish gunnery is poor at the best, and the superior weight and accuracy of our fire speedily drove the men from their guns and silenced their fire.

“This is borne out by the statements of prisoners and [pg 284]by observation. The Spanish vessels, as they dashed out of the harbour, were covered with the smoke from their own guns, but this speedily diminished in volume, and soon almost disappeared.

“The fire from the rapid-fire batteries of the battle-ships appears to have been remarkably destructive. An examination of the stranded vessels shows that the Almirante Oquendo especially had suffered terribly from this fire. Her sides are everywhere pierced, and her decks were strewn with the charred remains of those who had fallen.

“15. The reports of Commodore W. S. Schley and the commanding officers are enclosed.

“16. A board, appointed by me several days ago, has made a critical examination of the stranded vessels, both with a view of reporting upon the result of our fire and the military features involved, and of reporting upon the chance of saving any of them, and of wrecking the remainder. The report of the board will be speedily forwarded. Very respectfully,

Rear-Admiral U. S. Navy, Commander-in-Chief
U. S. Naval Force, North Atlantic Station.

The Secretary of the Navy, Navy Department, Washington, D. C.

A letter from Captain Chadwick of the flag-ship New York, to his wife, is an entertaining addition to the story of this most marvellous sea fight:

[pg 285]

“Yesterday was a wonderful day, as you will know in a few hours after my writing this.

“We were in a rather disgruntled frame of mind on account of a little note from Shafter. He wanted to know why the navy could not go under a destructive fire as well as the army. It was decided to go and have a consultation with him, explain the situation, and lay our plans before him, which were to countermine the harbour, going in at the same time, and also trying to carry the Morro by assault with one thousand marines landed in Estrella cove.

“It was arranged we were to go to Siboney about 9.30, so Sampson, Staunton, and I put on our leggings, got some sandwiches, filled a flask, and the ship started to go the seven miles to Siboney, where we were to find horses and a cavalry escort.

“We were within a mile or so of the place when a message came to me that a ship was coming out, and by the time I was on deck I found the New York turned around, and headed back, and there they were, coming out one after the other, and putting west as hard as they could go.

“The situation was one which rather left us out of it. We were too far off to shoot, but could see the rest banging away. The last to come were the two torpedo-boat destroyers, so we headed in to cut off any attempt on their part to return to port, and we saw Wainwright in the Gloucester firing at them for all he was worth, [pg 286]and soon one evidently had a hole through her boiler, as there was a great white cloud of steam which shot into the air. We fired two or three 4-inch shots at the other, which was moving back toward the entrance, and then left him to Wainwright’s mercy, as it was a clear case, and stood on; in a few moments we came, first to one and then the other, but a little way apart, the Infanta Maria Teresa and the Oquendo afire and ashore.

“As we were going past the torpedo-boats, I ought to have mentioned two men in the water, stripped, to whom we threw life-buoys, with which they expressed themselves satisfied. It is impossible in such a case, with two of the enemy’s ships going ahead of us, to stop.

“We had not passed the two ships I mentioned far, until we saw the Vizcaya head in, and soon she was on the beach and aflame, at Ascerraderos, right under the old Cuban camp.

“There was still the Cristobal Colon, a good way ahead, the newest and fastest and much more powerful. We had passed the Iowa (which we left with the burning Vizcaya) and the Indiana, which we ordered to return off the harbour, and tailed on to the procession after the Cristobal Colon, which consisted of the Oregon, the Brooklyn, and Texas, and the Vixen. We got each of our extra boilers into operation until we were going a good fifteen knots, and we were overhauling the advance somewhat.

[pg 287]

“The Oregon and Brooklyn kept well up, and soon the Oregon began to fire, and we could see the Cristobal Colon gradually edge inshore, so that we knew the game was up and the victory complete; soon she headed in, and went under one of the points which come down from the mountains, which here (some sixty miles west of Santiago) are close at the water’s edge, and are the highest (seventy-eight hundred feet) in Cuba. We hurried forward and soon saw she had hauled her flag down, and was ashore.

“The Brooklyn had sent a boat, and Cook, who had gone in it, came alongside on his return, and stated he had received their surrender, stating he was not empowered to make any condition as to personal effects, etc., as to which they seemed anxious.

“I then went on board and arranged things, the admiral allowing them, of course, to take with them all their personal belongings, so while we were dividing them up among the ships (525 men) along came the Resolute, reporting having been chased by a Spanish armoured ship, so we put all the prisoners in her. This was a long job.

“The thing was to save the Cristobal Colon, as she is one of the finest modern ships of her class. We hurried a prize-crew aboard from the Oregon, closed all water-tight doors, as she was evidently leaking somewhere, but for all we could do she settled down on the beach after floating with the rising tide. It was a great pity, but the rascally engineers’ force had opened all [pg 288]the valves connecting with the sea, and we could not get at them.

“We finally, after eight hours of hard work, left her in charge of the Texas and Oregon, and are now steaming back to our post off Santiago. The failure to save the Colon was too bad. It is possible to do so, of course, with the assistance of a wrecking company, but she was practically in an undamaged condition. She had one man killed and twenty-five wounded.

“I am only too thankful we did not get ashore this morning. Poor Higginson, who was down at Guantanamo coaling, will be full of grief, as also Watson, in the Newark.

“I had forgotten to mention that day before yesterday we bombarded the forts very heavily, knocking off a good deal of the poor old Morro, and bringing down the flagstaff and the flag which was so proudly flaunted in our eyes for more than a month.

“We did this at the request of the army, as a demonstration while they attacked. They did not, however, make the attack, as it turned out.

“These bombardments are very unsatisfactory; one reads lurid accounts of them in the papers, but nothing really is gained unless we strike the guns themselves, and this we have not done.

“As we steamed by to-day in close range, our friends of the western battery, who paid a great deal of attention to us yesterday, banged away at us in fine style, and a number of shells burst around us. Finally, when [pg 289]I had them entirely off my mind and was paying attention only to the torpedo-boat destroyers, came a tremendous screech, and everybody on the forecastle dodged. It was their last; it fell about two hundred yards to our right. We did not reply as we came along. I thought it a waste of material, and thought they might have their amusement so long as they did no damage.

“There—the engines have stopped and we are back at Santiago; it is 4.30, and I shall turn in again for a final nap. The captain of the Colon is occupying my room; very nice fellow, about fifty-six, indeed, as are most Spanish naval officers, who, as a Cuban officer said to me, are the flower of the Spanish blood.

“We also have a general and his aid-de-camp, whom we took in the Colon, a nice old boy and very chirpy. The captain, of course, takes the loss of his ship to heart very much, but the general and his aid seem as cheerful as possible. I suppose they think ‘it’s none of their funeral.’

“I stored the general in Staunton’s room, Staunton going to Santiago in a torpedo-boat to send the news.

“We have got off our Spanish friends, and are now loafing. It is a great relief to feel that there is nothing to look after to-night.

“This goes in the St. Louis, so I hope you will have it before many days, and I hope, too, it won’t be long before I get to see you. I think this terrific defeat must go far toward ending things.”

[pg 290]



With the victory at El Caney and San Juan Hill fresh in their minds, the American people believed that the war was well-nigh at an end. Information that Spain had sued for peace was hourly expected.

There was much to be done, however, before the enemy was willing to admit himself beaten. The city of Santiago yet remained in the hands of the Spaniards, Manila was still defiant; and until those two strongholds had been reduced, the boys of ’98 must continue to struggle in the trenches and on the field.

The end was not far away, however.

July 5. General Shafter telegraphed to the War Department on the fifth of July to the effect that the people of Santiago were not only panic-stricken through fear of bombardment, but were suffering from lack of actual necessaries of life. There was no food save rice, and the supply of that was exceedingly limited. The belief of the war officials, however, was that the Spaniards would fight to the last, and capitulate only when it should become absolutely necessary.

Meanwhile the soldiers were waiting eagerly for the [pg 291]close of the truce, and, as the hour set by General Shafter drew near, every nerve was strained to its utmost tension once more. Then a white flag was carried down the line, and all knew the truce had been prolonged.

General Kent, whose division was facing the hospital and barracks of Santiago, was notified by the enemy that Assistant Naval Constructor Hobson and his companions were confined in the extreme northern building, over which two white flags were flying.

The citizens of Santiago, learning that General Toral refused to consider the question of surrender, began to leave the city,—a mournful procession.

General Shafter cabled to the government at Washington under date of July 5th:

“I am just in receipt of a letter from General Toral, agreeing to exchange Hobson and men here; to make exchange in the morning. Yesterday he refused my proposition of exchange.”

July 7. General Miles and staff left Washington en route for Santiago.

Lieutenant Hobson and the other Merrimac heroes were brought into the American lines on the morning of the seventh. The exchange of prisoners had been arranged to take place under a tree midway between the entrenchments occupied by the Rough Riders and the first lines of the Spanish position. Col. John Jacob Astor represented the American commander, and took with him to the rendezvous three Spanish [pg 292]lieutenants and fourteen other prisoners. Major Irles, a Spanish staff officer, acted for the enemy. The transfer was quickly effected, and once more the brave fellows who had set their lives as a sacrifice on the altar of their country were free.

July 10. The truce continued, with the exception of a brief time on the tenth, when the bombardment was resumed by the fleet, until the thirteenth, when Generals Miles, Shafter, Wheeler, and Gilmour had an interview with General Toral and his staff at a point about halfway between the lines.

July 13. During this interview the situation was placed frankly before General Toral, and he was offered the alternative of being sent home with his garrison, or leaving Santiago province, the only condition imposed being that he should not destroy the existing fortifications, and should leave his arms behind.

July 15. Not until two days later were the details arranged, and then the Spanish commander sent the following letter:

Excellency Commander-in-Chief
of the American Forces

Excellent Sir:—I am now authorised by my government to capitulate. I have the honour to so advise you, requesting you to designate hour and place where my representatives should appear to compare with those of your excellency, to effect that article of capitulation [pg 293]on the basis of what has been agreed upon to this date.


“In due time I wish to manifest to your excellency that I desire to know the resolution of the United States government respecting the return of arms, so as to note on the capitulation, also the great courtesy and gentlemanly deportment of your great grace’s representatives, and return for their generous and noble impulse for the Spanish soldiers, will allow them to return to the peninsula with the arms that the American army do them the honour to acknowledge as dutifully descended.

(Signed) “Jose Toral,
Commander-in-Chief Fourth Army Corps.

July 16. Commissioners on behalf of the United States and of Spain were appointed, and after but little discussion an agreement between them was arrived at.

The agreement consists of nine articles.

The first declared that all hostilities cease pending the agreement of final capitulation.

Second: That the capitulation includes all the Spanish forces and the surrender of all war material within the prescribed limits.

Third: The transportation of the troops to Spain at the earliest possible moment, each force to be embarked at the nearest port.

Fourth: That the Spanish officers shall retain their side-arms and the enlisted men their personal property.

[pg 294]

Fifth: That after the final capitulation, the Spanish forces shall assist in the removal of all obstructions to navigation in Santiago Harbour.

Sixth: That after the final capitulation the commanding officers shall furnish a complete inventory of all arms and munitions of war, and a roster of all the soldiers in the district.

Seventh: That the Spanish general shall be permitted to take the military archives and records with him.

Eighth: That all guerrillas and Spanish regulars shall be permitted to remain in Cuba if they so elect, giving a parole that they will not again take up arms against the United States unless properly paroled.

Ninth: That the Spanish forces shall be permitted to march out with all the honours of war, depositing their arms to be disposed of by the United States in the future. The American commissioners to recommend to their government that the arms of the soldiers be returned to those “who so bravely defended them.”

General Shafter cabled at once to Washington the cheering news:

“The surrender has been definitely settled and the arms will be turned over to-morrow morning, and the troops will be marched out as prisoners of war.

“The Spanish colours will be hauled down at nine o’clock, and the American flag hoisted.

Shafter, Major-General.”
[pg 295]

July 17. The ceremony of surrendering the city was impressive, and, as can well be imagined, thrilling for those boys of ’98 who had been standing face to face with death in the trenches.

At six o’clock in the morning Lieutenant Cook, of General Shafter’s staff, entered the city, and all the arms in the arsenal were turned over to him. The work of removing the mines which obstructed navigation at the entrance of the harbour had been progressing all night. At about seven o’clock General Toral, the Spanish commander, sent his sword to General Shafter, as evidence of his submission, and at 8.45 A. M. all the general officers and their staffs assembled at General Shafter’s headquarters. Each regiment was drawn up along the crest of the heights.

Shortly after nine o’clock the Ninth Infantry entered the city. This position of honour was given them as a reward for their heroic assault on San Juan Hill.

The details of the surrender are thus described by a correspondent of the Associated Press, who accompanied General Shafter’s staff:

“General Shafter and his generals, with mounted escort of one hundred picked men of the Second Cavalry, then rode over our trenches to the open ground at the foot of the hill on the main road to Santiago, midway to the then deserted Spanish works. There they were met by General Toral and his staff, all in full uniform and mounted, and a select detachment of Spanish troops.

[pg 296]

“What followed took place in full view of our troops.

“The scene was picturesque and dramatic. General Shafter, with his generals and their staffs grouped immediately in their rear, and with the troops of dashing cavalrymen with drawn sabres on the left, advanced to meet the vanquished foe.

“After a few words of courteous greeting, General Shafter’s first act was to return General Toral’s sword. The Spanish general appeared to be touched by the complimentary words with which General Shafter accompanied this action, and he thanked the American commander feelingly.

“Then followed a short conversation as to the place selected for the Spanish forces to deposit their arms, and a Spanish infantry detachment marched forward to a position facing our cavalry, where the Spaniards were halted. The latter were without their colours.

“Eight Spanish trumpeters then saluted, and were saluted, in turn, by our trumpeters, both giving flourishes for lieutenant and major-generals.

“General Toral then personally ordered the Spanish company, which in miniature represented the forces under his command, to ground arms. Next, by his direction, the company wheeled and marched across our lines to the rear, and thence to the place selected for camping them. The Spaniards moved rapidly, to the quick notes of the Spanish march, played by the companies; but it impressed one like the ‘Dead March’ from Saul.

[pg 297]

“Although no attempt was made to humiliate them, the Spanish soldiers seemed to feel their disgrace keenly, and scarcely glanced at their conquerors as they passed by. But this apparent depth of feeling was not displayed by the other regiments. Without being sullen, the Spaniards appeared to be utterly indifferent to the reverses suffered by the Spanish arms, and some of them, when not under the eyes of their officers, seemed to secretly rejoice at the prospect of food and an immediate return to Spain.

“General Toral, throughout the ceremony, was sorely dejected. When General Shafter introduced him by name to each member of his staff, the Spanish general appeared to be a very broken man. He seems to be about sixty years of age, and of frail constitution, although stern resolution shone in every feature. The lines are strongly marked, and his face is deep drawn, as if with physical pain.

“General Toral replied with an air of abstraction to the words addressed to him, and when he accompanied General Shafter at the head of the escort into the city, to take formal possession of Santiago, he spoke but few words. The appealing faces of the starving refugees streaming back into the city did not move him, nor did the groups of Spanish soldiers lining the road and gazing curiously at the fair-skinned, stalwart-framed conquerors. Only once did a faint shadow of a smile lurk about the corners of his mouth.

“This was when the cavalcade passed through a [pg 298]barbed-wire entanglement. No body of infantry could ever have got through this defence alive, and General Shafter’s remark about its resisting power found the first gratifying echo in the defeated general’s heart.

“Farther along the desperate character of the Spanish resistance, as planned, amazed our officers. Although primitive, it was well done. Each approach to the city was thrice barricaded and wired, and the barricades were high enough and sufficiently strong to withstand shrapnel. The slaughter among our troops would have been frightful had it ever become necessary to storm the city.

“Around the hospitals and public buildings and along the west side of the line there were additional works and emplacements for guns, though no guns were mounted in them.

“The streets of Santiago are crooked, with narrow lines of one-storied houses, most of which are very dilapidated, but every veranda of every house was thronged by its curious inhabitants,—disarmed soldiers. These were mostly of the lower classes.

“Few expressions of any kind were heard along the route. Here and there was a shout for free Cuba from some Cuban sympathiser, but as a rule there were only low mutterings. The better class of Spaniards remained indoors, or satisfied their curiosity from behind drawn blinds.

“Several Spanish ladies in tumble-down carriages averted their faces as we passed. The squalor in the [pg 299]streets was frightful. The bones of dead horses and other animals were bleaching in the streets, and buzzards, as tame as sparrows, hopped aside to let us pass.

“The windows of the hospitals, in which there are over fifteen hundred sick men, were crowded with invalids, who dragged themselves there to witness our incoming.

“The palace was reached soon after ten o’clock. There General Toral introduced General Shafter and the other American generals to the alcalde, Señor Feror, and to the chief of police, Señor Guiltillerrez, as well as to the other municipal authorities.

“Luncheon was then served at the palace. The meal consisted mainly of rum, wine, coffee, rice, and toasted cake. This scant fare occasioned many apologies on the part of the Spaniards, but it spoke eloquently of their heroic resistance. The fruit supply of the city was absolutely exhausted, and the Spaniards had nothing to live on except rice, on which the soldiers in the trenches of Santiago have subsisted for the last twelve days.”


Ten thousand people witnessed the ceremony of hoisting the stars and stripes over the governor’s palace in Santiago.

A finer stage setting for a dramatic episode it would be difficult to imagine. The palace, a picturesque old dwelling in the Moorish style of architecture, faces the Plaza de la Reina, the principal public square. [pg 300]Opposite rises the imposing Catholic cathedral. On one side is a quaint, brilliantly painted building with broad verandas, the club of San Carlos; on the other a building of much the same description, the Café de la Venus.

Across the plaza was drawn up the Ninth Infantry, headed by the Sixth Cavalry band. In the street facing the palace stood a picked troop of the Second Cavalry, with drawn sabres, under command of Captain Brett. Massed on the stone flagging between the band and the line of horsemen were the brigade commanders of General Shafter’s division, with their staffs. On the red-tiled roof of the palace stood Captain McKittrick, Lieutenant Miles, and Lieutenant Wheeler. Immediately above them, above the flagstaff, was the illuminated Spanish arms, and the legend, Vive Alphonso XIII.

All about, pressing against the veranda rails, crowding to windows and doors, and lining the roofs, were the people of the town, principally women and non-combatants.

As the chimes of the old cathedral rang out the hour of twelve, the infantry and cavalry presented arms. Every American uncovered, and Captain McKittrick hoisted the stars and stripes. As the brilliant folds unfurled in the gentle breeze against the fleckless sky, the cavalry band broke into the strains of “The Star Spangled Banner,” making the American pulse leap and the American heart thrill with joy.

[pg 301]

At the same instant the sound of the distant booming of Captain Capron’s battery, firing a salute of twenty-one guns, drifted in.

When the music ceased, from all directions around our lines came flying across the plaza the strains of the regimental bands and the muffled, hoarse cheers of our troops.

The infantry came to “order arms” a moment later, after the flag was up, and the band played “Rally Round the Flag, Boys.”

Instantly General McKibben called for three cheers for General Shafter, which were given with great enthusiasm, the band playing “The Stars and Stripes For Ever.”

The ceremony over, General Shafter and his staff returned to the American lines, leaving the city in the possession of the municipal authorities subject to the control of General McKibben, who had been appointed temporary military governor.

[pg 302]



June 24. The details of the bloodless capture of the principal of the Ladrone Islands are thus told by a private letter from the naval officer who figured in the leading rôle of the exploit, Lieutenant William Braunerzruther, executive officer of the cruiser Charleston:

“We have just carried out our orders to capture the Spanish authorities at the capital of the Ladrone Islands, Agana. I was selected by the captain to undertake this job, and given 160 men to land as a starter.

“I went ashore to have a talk with the governor about affairs, and the results were that I did not lose even a single man. The matter was all settled in one day, and we are carrying with us fifty-four soldiers (Spanish) and six officers, besides a lot of Mauser rifles and nearly ten thousand pounds of ammunition.

“I had the whole to handle, and did it quickly. The [pg 303]captain’s instructions were to wait a half hour for his answer to our ultimatum, then use my troops. I waited, and in just twenty-nine minutes the governor handed me his sealed reply addressed to the captain of our ship out in the harbour about four or five miles off.

“I knew this was sealed with the sole object of gaining time, and hence I broke the seal, read the contents, the governor protesting and saying that was a letter for my captain. I replied: ‘I represent him here. You are now my prisoners, and will have to come on board ship with me.’

“They protested and pleaded, and finally the governor said:

“ ‘You came on shore to talk over matters, and you make us prisoners instead.’ I replied: ‘I came on shore to hand you a letter and to get your reply; in this reply, now in my hand, you agree to surrender all under your jurisdiction. If this means anything at all, it means that you will accede to any demands I may deem proper to make. You will at once write an order to your military man at Agana (the capital; this place was five miles distant), directing him to deliver at this place at four P. M. (it was 10.30 A. M., June 21st) all ammunition and flags in the island, each soldier to bring his own rifle and ammunition, and all soldiers, native and Spanish, with their officers, must witness this.’

“They protested and demurred, saying there was not time enough to do it, but I said: ‘Señors, it must be done.’

[pg 304]

“The letter was written, read by me, and sent. I took all the officers with me in a boat, and at four P. M. went ashore again and rounded in the whole outfit. I was three miles away from my troops, and I had only four men with me. At four P. M., when I disarmed 108 men and two officers, I had forty-six men and three officers with me.

“The key-note to the whole business was my breaking the seal of that letter and acting at once. They had no time to delay or prepare any treacherous tricks, and I got the ‘drop’ on the whole outfit, as they say out West.

“The native troops I released and allowed to return to their homes unrestricted; they had manifested great joy in being relieved from Spanish rule. While it is harsh, it is war, and in connection with the Spanish treachery it was all that could be done.

“Twenty-four hours would have—yes, I believe even four hours with a leader such as the governor was, a lieutenant-colonel in the Spanish army—given them a chance to hide along the road to Agana, and at intervals in the dense tropical foliage they could have almost annihilated any force that could land.

“The approaches to the landing over shallow coral reefs would have made a landing without a terrible loss of life almost an impossibility.

“We have increased by conquest the population of the United States by nearly twelve thousand people. The capital has a population of six thousand people. [pg 305]This harbour in which we were is beautiful, easy of access, plenty of deep water, admitting of the presence of a large number of vessels at the same time, and is an ideal place for a coaling station.

“If our government decided to hold the Philippines it would then come in so well; San Francisco to Honolulu twenty-one hundred miles, Honolulu to island of Guam thirty-three hundred, and thence to Manila sixteen hundred miles. With a chain of supply stations like this, we could send troops the whole year round if necessary, and any vessel with a steaming capacity of thirty-five hundred miles could reach a base of supplies.

“The details I have scarcely touched upon, but had the officers and soldiers dreamed for one moment that they were to be torn from their homes, there would, I feel sure, have been another story to tell, and I am firmly convinced this letter would never have been written.

“The captain, in extending to me his congratulations, remarked: ‘Braunerzruther, you’ll never, as long as you live, have another experience such as this. I congratulate you on your work.’

“All this whole affair was transacted in Spanish. I had an interpreter with me, but forgot all about using him. I did not want them to get a chance to think, even, before it was too late.”

June 25. The Florida and the Fanita left Key West Saturday, June 25th, under convoy of the Peoria, commanded by Lieut. C. W. Rice. On board the steamers [pg 306]were 650 Cubans under Gen. Emilio Nunez, fifty troopers of the Tenth U. S. Cavalry under Lieutenants Johnson and Ahearn, and twenty-five Rough Riders under Winthrop Chanler, brother of Col. William Astor Chanler.

The cargoes were enormous. There were the horses of the cavalry and 167 sacks of oats and 216 bales of hay to feed them. Topping the list of arms were two dynamite guns, with 50-pound projectiles to fit them, and two full batteries of light field-pieces, ten 3-inch rifles of regular ordnance pattern, with harnesses that go with them, and 1,500 cartridges. In the matter of infantry rifles there were 4,000 Springfields, with 954,000 cartridges, and 200 Mausers, with 2,000 shells.

Fifty of the Cubans aboard were armed with Mausers, and the others had Springfields. For the insurgent officers were provided 200 army Colts and 2,700 cartridges. Two hundred books of United States cavalry and infantry tactics, translated into Spanish, were taken along. In the expedition were also 1,475 saddles, 950 saddle-cloths, and 450 bridles. For the Cuban soldiers there were taken 7,663 uniforms, 5,080 pairs of shoes, 1,275 blankets, 400 shirts, 450 hats and 250 hammocks.

There were these commissary stores carried, calculated by pounds: Bacon, 67,275; corn-meal, 31,250; roasted coffee, 10,200; raw coffee, 3,250; sugar, 2,425; mess pork and beef, 9,600; corned beef, 24,000; beans 18,900; hardtack, 1,250; cans of corn, 1250.

June 29. The expectation was that the landing [pg 307]would be effected at San Juan Point, on the south coast of Cuba, midway between Cienfuegos and Trinidad. This place was reached Wednesday evening, June 29th. A scouting party put off in a small boat and sculled toward shore, but had made only half the distance when there came a lively fire from what had been taken to be an abandoned blockhouse near the point. The men were called back and the three ships moved to the eastward. About four o’clock the next afternoon they arrived at Las Tunas, forty miles away.

Four miles west of the town, at the mouth of the Tallabacoa River, stood a large fort built of railroad iron and surrounded by earthworks. The Peoria ran boldly in and fired several shots from her 3-pounders, but brought no response and no signs of life. Here was thought to be the desired opportunity, and another scouting party was organised. This was made up of fifteen volunteers under Winthrop Chanler, and as many Cubans under Captain Nunez.

The Peoria took a position within short range of the fort to protect a landing or cover a retreat, and the small boats headed for the shore. They reached it five hundred yards east of the fort; the boats were beached, and their occupants cautiously scrambled toward the brush. But at almost the very moment they set foot on the sand, the fort and the entrenchments around it burst into flame, and shot and shell screamed about the little band of invaders. Captain Nunez was stepping from his boat when a shot struck him between the eyes [pg 308]and he went down dead. Chanler fell with a broken arm. The others safely gained a thicket and replied with a sharp fire directed at the entrenchments.

Meanwhile the Peoria set all her guns at work, and rained shells upon the fort until the enemy’s fire ceased. The moment the gunboat slackened fire, however, the Spanish fire was renewed with fury, and it became evident that their forces were too large to allow a landing there. A retreat was ordered, and the party on shore rushed to the boats, but volley after volley came from the shore, and they were compelled to throw themselves into the water, and paddle alongside the boats with only their heads exposed, until the ships were reached. The Spaniards had the range, however, and five Cubans were wounded, though none seriously. Returning to the Peoria, the men reported that a vicious fire had come from a grove of cocoanut palms to the eastward of the fort. The Peoria opened her guns on the place indicated, and must have killed many Spaniards, for her shells dropped into the smoke and flash of the adversary’s fire, silenced it at once, and forced them to send up rockets for help.

A number of volleys were sent at the Peoria with a view to disabling her gunners, but they were badly directed, and fell against her side and into the water. When the small boats reached the ship it was dark. Then the discovery was made that, besides Captain Nunez, whose body was left on the beach, there were missing, Chanler, Doctors Lund and Abbott, Lieutenant [pg 309]Agramonte, and two Cubans. It was reported that Chanler had been mortally wounded, and was kept hidden in the bushes along the shore by the two doctors. Rescue parties were immediately organised, composed of volunteers, and no less than four were sent ashore during the night. Toward morning Lieutenant Ahearn, in charge of one of these, found Chanler and his companion.

Chanler’s wound proved to be in the right elbow. After sunrise Agramonte and his Cubans were discovered and brought off.

July 1. The next day the gunboat Helena, under Captain Swynburn, arrived, and she and the Peoria steamed in toward Las Tunas, which the Spaniards had been vigorously fortifying.

Tunas is connected by rail with Sancti Spiritus, a town of considerable size, and reinforcements and artillery had been rapidly coming in. Range buoys had been placed in the bay, but avoiding these, the ships drew in to close range, and opened fire, the Peoria at twelve hundred and the Helena at fourteen hundred yards. The Spaniards had several Krupp field-pieces of three or four inches, mounted on earthworks along the water-front, and they began a vigorous, but ill-directed reply with shell and shrapnel. The fire of the American ships was most accurate and terribly destructive. The Spanish gunners had not fired more than fifteen or twenty shots before their guns were flying in the air, their earthworks a mass of blood-stained [pg 310]dust, and their gunners running for their lives. Both the Peoria and the Helena were struck several times, chiefly by shrapnel, but no one on either ship was injured. As they withdrew, several buildings on shore were in flames.

That afternoon both ships again turned their attention to the fort and the entrenchments at the mouth of the Tallabacoa River, and for half an hour poured a wicked fire upon them. The Spaniards had been largely reinforced during the day, and some field-pieces had been mounted near the fort. These replied to the American fire, but without effect, and the shells of the two ships speedily silenced them. The iron blockhouse was struck repeatedly, and the earthworks were partially destroyed. No damage was done to the ships, and they again withdrew.

That night the Spaniards burned a large wharf and the adjacent buildings, evidently expecting a landing in force the next day.

It was learned from various sources that reinforcements were pouring into Las Tunas from all directions; a newspaper from Sancti Spiritus stated that two thousand men had been despatched from the nearest trocha. It was determined to proceed during the night to Palo Alto, fifty miles to the eastward, the Helena remaining at Las Tunas to confirm the Spaniards in the belief that an attempt was to be made to land there.

July 2. At ten o’clock Saturday night, while the Helena lay offshore, making lively play with her search-[pg 311]lights toward shore, the Peoria, the Florida, and the Fanita, with all lights out, slipped silently away. Palo Alto was reached at daybreak. There was not a Spaniard to be seen, and the men and cargo were put ashore without a single obstacle.


July 4. Gomez, with two thousand men, was known to be in the vicinity, and scouts hurried into his lines. On Monday the old warrior appeared in person at Palo Alto.

July 5. A steamer was sighted about midnight by the U. S. S. Hawk, formerly the yacht Hermione, off the north coast of Pinar del Rio, steaming eastward, close inshore. She paid no attention to three shots across her bow, or a signal to heave to. The Hawk then opened fire and gave chase.

Twenty-five shots were fired, of which only three were without effect. The vessel was soon on fire, and flew signals of distress while making full speed head on to the beach. The Hawk ceased firing, and manned a relief-boat just as the Spaniard ran high and dry on a reef, under cover of Fort Mariel.

Though the Spaniard as yet had not fired a shot in response to the Hawk’s attack, and was burning signals calling for help, the American relief-boat was received with a joint volley from both the sinking steamer and the neighbouring fort, turning her back, luckily unscathed, By this time daylight was breaking, and another Yankee ship, the gunboat Castine, hove in sight, reinforcing the Hawk.

[pg 312]

The two opened fire upon the Spanish vessel and fort. A well-directed 4-inch shell from the Castine blew the steamer up.

Most of the latter’s crew and passengers by this time had, however, escaped by rowing or swimming ashore. Just at sunrise, while the Castine and Hawk were reconnoitring in the vicinity of the wreck, a big Spanish gunboat hove in sight, training all her batteries on the two American boats. It was an exciting moment.

The Castine’s 4-inchers opened promptly, and the Spaniard returned at full speed to cover, under Morro Castle.

The Spanish fleet, commanded by Admiral Camara, arrived at Suez, and was notified by the officials of the Egyptian government that it must leave the port within twenty-four hours.

The government also notified Admiral Camara that he would not be allowed to coal.

While the U. S. gunboat Eagle was on the blockading route in the vicinity of the Isle of Pines, on the south Cuban coast, about five miles from the shore, she sighted the schooner Gallito, provision laden. She immediately gave chase, and the schooner ran in until about a quarter of a mile from the shore, when she dropped her anchor, and those aboard slipped over her side and swam ashore.

Ensign J. H. Roys and a crew of eight men from the Eagle were sent in a small boat to board the [pg 313]schooner. They found her deserted, and while examining her were fired upon by her crew from the beach. Several rifle-shots went through the schooner’s sails, but no one was injured. The Eagle drew closer in, and sent half a dozen shots toward the beach from her 6-pounders, whereupon the Spaniards disappeared. The Gallito was taken into Key West.

July 7. Congress having passed resolutions to the effect that Hawaii be annexed to the United States, the President added his signature, and a new territory was thus added to the American nation.

Secretary Long gave orders for the departure of the Philadelphia from Mare Island for Hawaii. She was to carry the flag of the United States to those islands and include them within the Union. Admiral Miller, commanding the Pacific station, was charged with the function of hoisting the flag.

July 8. Admiral Camara, commander of the Spanish fleet, which was bound for the Philippines, informed the Egyptian government that he had been ordered to return home, and would, therefore, reënter the Suez Canal.

July 12. The auxiliary gunboat Eagle sighted the Spanish steamer Santo Domingo, fifty-five hundred tons, aground near the Cuban coast, off Cape Francis, and opened fire with her 6-pounders, sending seventy shots at her, nearly all of which took effect.

While this was going on, another steamer came out of the bay and took off the officers and crew of the [pg 314]Santo Domingo. When the men from the Eagle boarded the latter they found that she carried two 5-inch and two 12-inch guns, the latter being loaded and her magazines open. The steamer had been drawing twenty-four feet of water and had gone aground in twenty feet.

The men from the Eagle decided that the steamer could not be floated, and she was set on fire after fifty head of cattle, which were on board, had been shot.

The Santo Domingo carried a large cargo of grain, corn, etc. While the steamer was burning, the vessel which had previously taken off the crew emerged from the bay, and tried to get off some of the cargo, but failed. The Spanish steamer burned for three days, and was totally destroyed.

July 17. The cruiser New Orleans captured the French steamer Olinde Rodriguez off San Juan de Porto Rico, as she was trying to enter the port with passengers and a cargo of coffee and tobacco.

The U. S. S. Mayflower captured the British steamer Newfoundland off Cienfuegos while the latter was trying to run the Cuban blockade.

The Spanish sloop Domingo Aurello was captured by the U. S. S. Maple as the former was leaving the port of Sagua de Tanamo, province of Santiago, with a cargo of tobacco.

July 22. The following cablegram was received at the Navy Department:

[pg 315]

“Expedition to Nipe has been entirely successful, although the mines have not been removed for want of time.

“The Spanish cruiser Jorge Juan, defending the place, was destroyed, without loss on our part.

“The Annapolis and Wasp afterward proceeded from Nipe to assist in the landing of the commanding general of the army on arrival at Porto Rico.

(Signed) “Sampson.

July 30. Another “jackie” achieved the reputation of a hero. He is boatswain’s mate Nevis of the gunboat Bancroft, and the tale of his valour is not unmixed with humour.

The Bancroft, accompanied by the converted yacht Eagle, which had been covering the blockading station around the Isle of Pines, sighted a small Spanish schooner in Sigunea Bay.

The Bancroft’s steam launch, in charge of Nevis and one seaman, each armed with a rifle, were sent in to take the schooner. This was only a task of minutes, and the launch returned with the prize, which proved to be the schooner Nito, little more than a smack, and with no cargo.

Commander Clover sent Nevis in with her to anchor near the wreck of the Spanish transatlantic liner Santo Domingo, sunk by the Eagle a few weeks ago. Then the Bancroft and Eagle cruised off to Mangle Point, [pg 316]where they happened to be put in communication with the insurgent camp.

Two hours later they returned. For a time nothing could be seen of the launch or the prize. Suddenly Commander Clover, who was scanning the waters with his glass, shouted to Captain Sutherland of the Eagle: “By heavens, they have recaptured my prize.” The little schooner lay near the wrecked steamer, but the Spanish flag was flying from her mast, and, instead of only Nevis and his companion, she was apparently filled with men.

Meanwhile the gunboat Maple had drawn up, and Commander Clover ordered her into the work of rescue. With guns ready she steamed toward the schooner, but the sight that greeted her was not what was expected.

Nevis and his companion sat at one end of the boat attempting to navigate her out of the harbour. Each had his rifle across his knee and was keeping a wary eye on a party of half a dozen cowering Spaniards huddled in the other end of the boat.

The Maple asked for information, and offered Nevis a tow, but he replied with a joke and declined the proffered assistance. Then it developed that, in going in to anchor, he had observed two other small Spanish boats near the wreck of the Santo Domingo, and had resolved to capture them, too. He knew it was hazardous work, but “bluff” carried him through.

He took the Spanish colours of the schooner, ran them up, and boldly sailed in. There were six men on [pg 317]the two other boats, and they watched the approach of their supposed compatriots with calmness that speedily changed to consternation when Nevis and the other “jackie” suddenly whipped their rifles to their shoulders, and demanded an immediate surrender.

The scared Spanish seamen lost no time in complying, and had the unique experience of surrendering to their own flag. Then, scorning all aid, Nevis took them out to his ship, and in the most matter-of-fact manner reported the adventure to his astonished commander.

The capture was no mean one, for these six men gave important information to the American ships.

August 1. The Norwegian steamer Franklin, of about five hundred tons, bound from Vera Cruz with a cargo of food supplies, was captured by the converted yacht Siren off Francis Key, near Caibarien.

August 6. The Norwegian steamer Aladdin, sugar-laden, was captured by the auxiliary gunboat Hawk off Cadiz Light, Isle of Pines.

August 7. The auxiliary gunboat Viking captured the Norwegian steamer Bergen off Francis Key.

August 8. General Shafter and the Spanish General Toral held a consultation at the palace in Santiago, with regard to the embarkation of the Spanish prisoners of war. As a result of the conference, one thousand of the Spanish sick and wounded were taken on board the Alicante next morning, to be sent to Spain as soon as the vessel was properly loaded.

[pg 318]

August 10. The President to-day promoted Sampson and Schley to be rear-admirals, ranking in the order named.

A department of the army, to be known as the Department of Santiago, was created, and Maj.-Gen. Henry W. Lawton assigned to its command.

The Norwegian steamers Aladdin and Bergen were released, by orders from Washington.

August 12. The flag-ship San Francisco, the monitor Miantonomah, and the auxiliary yacht Sylvia were fired upon by the Havana batteries. One 10 or 12-inch shell struck the San Francisco’s stern as she turned to get out of range, and tore a hole about a foot in diameter, completely wrecking Commodore Howell’s quarters, and smashing his book-case to fragments. Nobody was injured, and, being under orders not to attack the batteries, the ships retreated as fast as their engines could carry them.

August 13. General Shafter, at Santiago, learned that Manzanillo had been bombarded for twenty hours.

General Shafter at once cabled to the Spanish commander at Manzanillo that peace had been declared,35 and requesting him to advise the American commander of the fact under a flag of truce, which he did, and the shelling of the town ceased.

August 16. The following message was the first received in this country from the territory so lately annexed:

[pg 319]

Day, State Department:—Flag raised Friday, the twelfth, at noon. Ceremonies of transfer produced excellent impression.

(Signed) “Sewall.

[pg 320]



July 20. With bands playing and thirty thousand people cheering, the first expedition to Porto Rico left Charleston, S. C., at seven o’clock in the evening, under command of Maj.-Gen. J. H. Wilson. The Second and Third Wisconsin and Sixteenth Pennsylvania regiments, and two companies of the Sixth Illinois, made up the list of troops.

July 21. General Miles accompanied the expedition bound for Porto Rico, which left Guantanamo Bay, made up of eight transports convoyed by the New Orleans, Annapolis, Cincinnati, Leyden, and Wasp.

July 22. An expedition under command of Brig.-Gen. Theo. Schwan left Tampa on five transports, bound for Porto Rico.

July 25. The expedition under the command of Major-General Miles landed at Guanica de Porto Rico, the Gloucester, in charge of Lieutenant-Commander Wainwright, steaming into the harbour in order to reconnoitre the place. With the fleet waiting outside, the gallant little fighting yacht Gloucester braved the mines which were supposed to be in this [pg 321]harbour, and, upon sounding, found that there were five fathoms of water close inshore.


The Spaniards were completely taken by surprise. Almost the first they knew of the approach of the army of invasion was the firing of a gun from the Gloucester, saucily demanding that the Spaniards haul down the flag of Spain, which was floating from the flagstaff in front of a blockhouse standing to the east of the village.

The first 3-pounders were aimed at the hills right and left of the bay and in order to scare the enemy, the fighting yacht purposely avoiding firing into the town.

The Gloucester then hove to within about six hundred yards of the shore, and lowered a launch, having on board a colt rapid-fire gun and thirty men, under the command of Lieutenant Huse. She was sent ashore without encountering any opposition.

Quartermaster Beck thereupon told Yeoman Lacey to haul down the Spanish flag, which was done, and then they raised the first United States flag to float over Porto Rican soil.

Suddenly about thirty Spaniards opened fire with Mauser rifles upon the American party. Lieutenant Huse and his men responded with great gallantry, the Colt gun doing effective work.

Norman, who received Admiral Cervera’s surrender, and Wood, a volunteer lieutenant, shared the honours with Lieutenant Huse.

[pg 322]

Almost immediately after the Spaniards fired on the Americans, the Gloucester opened fire on the enemy with all her 3 and 6-pounders which could be brought to bear, shelling the town and also dropping shells into the hills to the west of Guanica, where a number of Spanish cavalry were to be seen hastening toward the spot where the Americans had landed.

Lieutenant Huse then threw up a little fort, which he named Fort Wainwright, and laid barbed wire in the street in front of it in order to repel the expected cavalry attack. The lieutenant also mounted the Colt gun and signalled for reinforcements, which were sent from the Gloucester.

Presently a few of the Spanish cavalry joined those who were fighting in the streets of Guanica, but the Colt barked to a purpose, killing four of them.

Soon afterward white-coated galloping cavalrymen were seen climbing the hills to the westward, and the foot-soldiers were scurrying along the fences from the town.

By 9.45, with the exception of a few guerrilla shots, the town was won, and the enemy driven out of the neighbourhood.

The troops from the transports were landed before nightfall.

July 26. Near Yauco, while the Americans were pushing toward the mountains, the Spaniards ambushed eight companies of the Sixth Massachusetts and Sixth Illinois regiments, but the enemy was repulsed and [pg 323]driven back a mile to a ridge, where the Spanish cavalry charged and were routed by our infantry.

General Garretson led the fight with the men from Illinois and Massachusetts, and the enemy retreated to Yauco, leaving three dead on the field and thirteen wounded. None of our men were killed, and only three were slightly wounded.

June 27. The port of Ponce, Porto Rico, surrendered to Commander C. H. Davis of the auxiliary gunboat Dixie. There was no resistance, and the Americans were welcomed with enthusiasm. General Miles issued the following proclamation:

“In the prosecution of the war against the kingdom of Spain by the people of the United States, in the cause of liberty, justice, and humanity, its military forces have come to occupy the island of Porto Rico. They come bearing the banners of freedom, inspired by a noble purpose, to seek the enemies of our government and of yours, and to destroy or capture all in armed resistance.

“They bring you the fostering arms of a free people, whose greatest power is justice and humanity to all living within their fold. Hence they release you from your former political relations, and it is hoped your cheerful acceptance of the government of the United States will follow.

“The chief object of the military forces will be to overthrow the armed authority of Spain, and give the people of your beautiful island the largest measure of liberty consistent with this military occupation.

[pg 324]

“They have not come to make war on the people of the country, who for centuries have been oppressed, but, on the contrary, they bring protection not only to yourselves, but to your property, will promote your prosperity and bestow upon you the immunities and blessings of our enlightened and liberal institutions and government.

“It is not their purpose to interfere with the existing laws and customs which are wholesome and beneficial to the people, so long as they conform to the rules of the military administration, order, and justice. This is not a war of devastation and desolation, but one to give all within the control of the military and naval forces the advantages and blessings of enlightened civilisation.”

July 28. The expedition destined for Porto Rico, under command of Major-General Brooke, left Newport News. Four transports and the auxiliary cruisers St. Louis and St. Paul comprises the fleet.

The Navy Department made public the following telegram:

“Commander Davis with Dixie, Annapolis, Wasp, and Gloucester left Guanica July 27th to blockade Ponce and capture lighters for United States army. City of Ponce and Playa surrendered to Commander Davis upon demand at 12.30 A. M., July 28th. American flag hoisted 6 A. M., 28th.

“Spanish garrison evacuated.

[pg 325]

“Provisional articles of surrender until occupation by army: first, garrison to be allowed to retire; second, civil government to remain in force; third, police and fire brigade to be maintained without arms; fourth, captain of port not to be made prisoner.

“Arrived at Ponce from Guanica with Massachusetts and Cincinnati, General Miles and General Wilson and transport, at 6.40 A. M., 28th; commenced landing army in captured sugar lighters.

“No resistance. Troops welcomed by inhabitants; great enthusiasm.

“Captured sixty lighters, twenty sailing vessels, and 120 tons of coal.


July 29. The advance guard of General Henry’s division, which landed at Guanica on Tuesday, arrived at Ponce, taking en route the cities of Yauco, Tallaboa, Sabana, Grande, and Penuelas.

Attempts by the Spaniards to blow up bridges and otherwise destroy the railroad between Yauco and Ponce failed, only a few flat cars being burned. At Yauco the Americans were welcomed in an address made by the alcalde, and a public proclamation was issued, dated “Yauco, Porto Rico, United States of America, July 27th.”

July 31. In General Miles’s despatches to the War Department, the following statements are made regarding the condition of affairs on the island:

[pg 326]

“Volunteers are surrendering themselves with arms and ammunition. Four-fifths of the people are overjoyed at the arrival of the army. Two thousand from one place have volunteered to serve with it. They are bringing in transportation, beef, and other needed supplies.

“The custom-house has already yielded fourteen thousand dollars. As soon as all the troops are disembarked they will be in readiness to move.”

Colonel Hulings, with ten companies of the Sixteenth Pennsylvania, occupied Juan Diaz, about eight miles northeast of Ponce, on the road to San Juan. The American flag was raised, and greeted with great enthusiasm by the populace.

August 1. The American scouts were within six miles of Coamo, and the Spanish rear guard was retiring fast. The Spanish had fled toward Aibonito, thirty miles from Ponce, and the place was being fortified. There the road winds around among the mountains, and the artillery commanding it rendered the position impregnable. Détours were to be made by the Americans from Coamo through Arroyo and Guayamo, thus avoiding the main road, which had been mined for three miles. Captain Confields of the engineers went ahead to kill these mines. The Fifth Signal Corps men in advance of the Sixteenth Pennsylvania sent word to General Stone that it had reconnoitred the road to Adjuntas. A signal-station was established, and the stars and stripes run up at Santa Isabel amid great enthusiasm. Yabri[pg 327]coa, Patillas, Arroyo, Guayanillo, Penuelas, Adjuntas, Guayamo, and Salinas had all surrendered.


The Spaniards hurried from these towns towards San Juan before an attack was made. The second fleet of transports arrived safely at Fort Ponce, the Roumanian bringing the cavalry detachment, and the Indiana and Missouri the batteries. Generals Brooke, Schwan, and Haines, with their staffs, were on board. The troops carried included the Thirteenth Illinois, Seventh Ohio, Fourth Pennsylvania, Nineteenth Regulars, and Troops A and C of the New York volunteer cavalry.

There were also one thousand animals, thirty days’ rations for thirty thousand men, a signal corps detachment, and an ambulance corps. The whole force, as well as the ammunition and quartermaster’s stores, was landed, and the men were camping on the outskirts of the town.

August 2. San Juan blockaded by the New Orleans, Puritan, Prairie, Dixie, and Gloucester, which kept out of range of the masked batteries ashore.

The railroad from Ponce to Yauco in possession of U. S. troops. Spanish volunteers continued to come into the American lines and give themselves up.

August 4. A portion of General Grant’s brigade, on the transport Hudson, sailed from Newport News.

A correspondent for the Associated Press, with the invading army, thus wrote under date of August 4th:

“The Americans have taken peaceful possession of the eastern portion of the island.

[pg 328]

“Small parties of marines have been landed, who have lighted the lamps in the lighthouse at Cape San Juan, and in other lighthouses along the coast. They met with no resistance.

“Indeed, at Cape San Juan, deputations of citizens came out to meet them.

“The war-ships now in this vicinity are the Montgomery, the Annapolis, the Puritan, and the Amphitrite. The two former are looking for the transports with troops which left the United States and have scattered all about the island.

“The Annapolis rounded up the Whitney, the Florida, and the Raleigh, yesterday, and they are now at Cape San Juan. There seems to have been a serious mistake as to the rendezvous, for no two ships go to the same place, and it will take several days to overtake them and get them to Ponce, where General Miles is waiting.

“Off San Juan the cruiser New Orleans alone maintains the blockade. The city is grim and silent, but back of her yellow walls there will be plenty of determination to fight when the Americans fire.

“Captain-General Macias has issued a proclamation, in the course of which he says:

“ ‘Spain has not sued for peace, and I can drive off the American boats now as I did Sampson’s attempt before.’

“The daughter of the captain-general is helping to drill the gunners in the fort. Altogether there are [pg 329]ninety-five hundred Spanish regulars in the city. The troops of the enemy, who are retreating from Ponce and the other towns on the south coast occupied by the Americans, have not yet arrived.”

August 5. General Haines, with the Fourth Ohio and the Third Illinois, left Arroyo for the Spanish stronghold of Guayama. The Fourth Ohio was placed in the lead, and when only three miles from Arroyo its skirmish-lines were attacked by the Spaniards from ambush. There was a hot running fight from this time on until the American troops reached and captured Guayama, which is about six miles from Arroyo. The Americans lost three wounded, and the enemy, one killed and two wounded.

August 6. The foreign consuls at San Juan de Porto Rico advised the Spanish authorities to surrender the island to the American troops. The Spaniards, however, in reply, announced that they had resolved to fight; thereupon the consuls notified the Spanish commander, Captain-General Macias, that they would establish a neutral zone between Bayamon and Rio Piedrass, in which to gather the foreign residents and their portable properties in order to ensure their safety in the event of a bombardment of the place by the American forces. The consul sent a similar notification to General Miles.

August 7. A general advance of the American forces. The custom-house in the village of Farjardo was seized.

[pg 330]

August 8. The town of Coamo was taken by the Sixteenth Pennsylvania and the Second and Third Wisconsin. Artillery was used on an outlying blockhouse, and under cover of this fire the advance was made.

Two hundred Spaniards were captured and twenty killed, including the commander, Rafael Igleseas, and three other officers.

Five Americans were wounded.

August 9. Gen. Fred Grant, his staff, and six companies of the First Kentucky regiment sailed for Porto Rico from Newport News on the transport Alamo.

Secretary of War, Washington:—The following received from General Wilson:

“ ‘General Ernst’s brigade captured Coamo 8.30 this morning. Sixteenth Pennsylvania, Colonel Hulings commanding, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Biddle, of my staff, having made a turning movement through the mountains, striking the Aibonito road half a mile beyond town, captured the entire garrison of Coamo, about 150 men.

“ ‘Spanish commander, Igleseas, and Captain Lopez killed. Our loss reported six wounded, only one severely. Men and officers behaving excellently.’

“Colonel Hulings and Colonel Biddle are especially to be commended. This is a very important [pg 331]capture, and well executed. Names of wounded as soon as received here.

(Signed) “Miles.

Troop C, of New York, pursued a party of fleeing Spanish engineers, after the capture of Coamo, a distance of four miles along the road to Aibonito.

The Americans were checked at the Cuyon River, where the Spaniards had blown up the bridge, and were shelled from a Spanish battery on the crest of Asoniante Mountain. The dismounted cavalry returned the fire, receiving no damage, and holding the position. A battalion of the Third Wisconsin Volunteers went to their support.

August 11.

Secretary of War, Washington:—The following message received from Schwan:

“ ‘Advance guard, including cavalry of this command, while reconnoitring northwest of Rosario River, near Hormigueros, developed strong Spanish force, which lay concealed in hills north of Mayaguez.

“ ‘In general engagement that followed, Lieutenant Byron, Eighth Cavalry, my aid-de-camp, was wounded in foot, and Private Fermberger, Company D, Eleventh Infantry, and one other private were killed, and fourteen enlisted men were wounded.

“ ‘It is reported that the most, if not the entire [pg 332]Spanish garrison of Mayaguez and surrounding country, consisting of one thousand regulars and two hundred volunteers, took part in the engagement. We drove enemy from his position, and it is believed inflicted heavy loss.

“ ‘A wounded Spanish lieutenant was found in the field and brought into our line. Conduct of officers and men was beyond all praise. I propose to continue my march on Mayaguez at early hour to-morrow.

“ ‘Schwan.
(Signed) “Miles.

August 12. General Wilson moved one Lancaster battery out to the front for the purpose of shelling the Spanish position on the crest of the mountain at the head of the pass through which the road winds.

The enemy occupied a position of great natural strength, protected by seven lines of entrenchments, and a battery of two howitzers.

The Spaniards were eager for the fray, and early in the day had fired upon Colonel Biddle of the engineer corps, who, with a platoon of Troop C, of New York, was reconnoitring on their right flank.

As the American battery rounded a curve in the road, two thousand yards away, the enemy opened an artillery and infantry fire. Four companies of the Third Wisconsin, which were posted on the bluff to the right of the road, were not permitted to respond.

The guns advanced at a gallop in the face of a [pg 333]terrific fire, were unlimbered, and were soon hurling common shell and shrapnel at the enemy at a lively rate, striking the emplacements, batteries, and entrenchments with the rhythmic regularity of a triphammer.


The enemy soon abandoned one gun, but continued to serve the other at intervals for over an hour. They had the range, and their shrapnel burst repeatedly over the Americans.

In about two hours the enemy abandoned the other gun, and the men began to flee from the entrenchments toward a banana growth near the gorge. Then the guns shelled them as they ran. One gun was ordered to advance a position a quarter of a mile farther on. It had just reached the new position when Spanish infantry reinforcements filed into the trenches and began a deadly fire upon the Americans, compelling the battery to retire at a gallop. Then both the enemy’s howitzers reopened, the shrapnel screamed, and Mausers sang. Another gun galloped from the rear, but the American ammunition was exhausted.

Colonel Bliss of General Wilson’s staff went forward to the enemy’s lines with a flag of truce, and explained that peace negotiations were almost concluded, that their position was untenable, and demanded their surrender. The Spanish had had no communication with the outside world, and the commander asked until the next morning in order that he might communicate with General Macias at San Juan.

[pg 334]

August 13. Twelve hours later the Spanish commander gave the following command to one of his staff:

“Tell the American general, if he desires to avoid further shedding of blood, to remain where he is.”

General Miles telegraphed the War Department that he was in receipt of Secretary Alger’s order to suspend hostilities in Porto Rico. The soldiers of the American army generally received the news of peace with delight, although some were disappointed that there was to be no further fighting, and many officers expressed regrets at the suspension of hostilities in the midst of the campaign.

August 14. General Schwan’s column was attacked between Mayaguez and Lares. As the Eleventh Infantry under Colonel Burke was descending the valley of the Rio Grande they were fired upon from a hillside by a force of fifteen hundred Spaniards, who were retreating toward the north. The fire was returned, and the Spaniards were repulsed with, it was believed, considerable loss.

Colonel Soto, the commander of the Mayaguez district, was wounded and afterward captured in a wayside cottage. He was attended by two sergeants, who surrendered. The Americans suffered no loss. The artillery and cavalry were not engaged.

General Schwan had not received news of the signing of the protocol when the action occurred, but obtained it later in the day.


[pg 335]



With the opening of the month of July, affairs at Manila, so far as concerned the American forces, were at a standstill.

June 30. Admiral Dewey awaited the coming of the army, the first transports of the fleet having arrived at Cavite, June 30th, before beginning offensive operations.

The situation on and around the island of Luzon was much the same as it had been nearly all the month of June, except that the gunboat Leite, which ran up a river on May 1st, the day of the battle, came out and surrendered, having on board fifty-two army and navy officers and ninety-four men. The Leite has a battery of one 3 1-2-inch hontoria guns, and several 2.7-inch rapid-fire guns.

July 1. Aguinaldo proclaimed himself President of the Revolutionary Republic on the first of July. The progress of the insurgents can be readily understood by the following extract from a letter written by Mr. E. W. Harden:

“There are persistent rumours that it is the desire of Governor-General Augusti to surrender Manila to the [pg 336]Americans, but the command of the Spanish troops is practically held by the senior colonel of artillery, who opposes surrender.

“The rebels have captured the water-works beyond Santa Mesa, which supplied Manila, and the Spanish fear that their water will be cut off.

“The rebels have also captured the strongly fortified positions of San Juan and Delmonte, where the Spaniards were to make their last stand if Manila capitulated. The city is still surrounded by insurgents.

July 2. “There was fierce fighting Saturday before Malate. The Spaniards had modern guns to command the rebel trenches, and maintained a steady fire throughout the afternoon, but found it impossible to drive the natives out. Forty rebels were killed. The Spaniards finally were driven back.”

July 4. Brigadier-General Green, in command of the second army detachment, on the way from San Francisco to Manila, rediscovered and took formal possession of the long lost Wake Island, in north latitude 19° 15′ and east longitude 166° 33′.

July 5. To the Spanish consul at Singapore, Captain-General Augusti telegraphed:

“The situation is unchanged. My family has succeeded in miraculously escaping from Macabora in a boat, and, having passed through the American vessels, all arrived safely at Manila. General Monet’s column is besieged and attacked at Macabora.”

July 15. The steamers City of Puebla and Peru [pg 337]sailed from San Francisco with the fourth Manila expedition, under command of Major-General Otis.

July 16. The steamer China, of the second Manila expedition, arrived at Cavite, and was followed on the next day by the steamers Zealandia, Colon, and Senator.

July 19. The work of surrounding Manila by American forces was begun by advancing the First California regiment to Jaubo, only two miles from the Spanish lines. The Colorado and Utah batteries were landed at Paranaque, directly from the transports. Over fifteen hundred men encamped between Manila and Cavite. The Tenth Pennsylvania, with the rest of the artillery, landed at Malabon, north of the besieged city.

July 23. The transport steamer Rio Janeiro, bearing two battalions of South Dakota volunteers, recruits for the Utah Light Artillery, and a detachment of the signal corps, sailed from San Francisco for Manila.

July 25. Major-General Merritt arrived at Cavite. Secretary Long forwarded to Admiral Dewey the joint resolution of Congress, extending the thanks of Congress for the victory achieved at Cavite. The resolution was beautifully engrossed, and prefaced by a formal attestation of its authenticity by Secretary of State Day, the whole being enclosed in richly ornamented Russia covers.

Secretary Long, in his letter of transmittal, makes reference to a letter from the Secretary of State complimenting Admiral Dewey upon his direction of affairs since the great naval victory, a formal evidence that [pg 338]the State Department is thoroughly well satisfied with the diplomatic qualities the admiral has exhibited. The letter of Secretary Long is as follows:

Sir:—The Department has received from the Secretary of State an engrossed and certified copy of a joint resolution of Congress, tendering the thanks of Congress to you, and the officers and men of the squadron under your command, for transmission to you, and herewith encloses the same.

“Accompanying the copy of the joint resolutions, the Department received a letter from the Secretary of State requesting that there be conveyed to you his high appreciation of your character as a naval officer, and of the good judgment and prudence you have shown in directing affairs since the date of your great achievement in destroying the Spanish fleet.

“This I take great pleasure in doing, and join most heartily on behalf of the Navy Department, as well as personally, in the commendation of the Secretary of State. Very respectfully,

John D. Long, Secretary.

Rear-Admiral George Dewey, U. S. N., Commander-in-Chief U. S. Naval Force, Asiatic Station.

July 29. The transport steamer St. Paul, bearing the first battalion of North Dakota volunteers, the [pg 339]Minnesota and Colorado recruits, sailed from San Francisco for Manila.

July 31. The transports Indiana, Ohio, Valencia, Para, and Morgan City arrived at Cavite with American troops.

At 11.30, on the last night of July, the Spanish forces in Manila attacked the American lines. A typhoon had set in, rain was falling in torrents, and the blackness of the night was almost palpable. Three thousand Spaniards made a descent upon an entrenched line of not more than nine hundred Americans.

The Tenth Pennsylvania bore the brunt of the attack, and checked the Spanish advance until the Utah battery, the First California Volunteers, and two companies of the Third Artillery, fighting as infantry, could get up to strengthen the right of the line.

The Spaniards had, by a rush, gone 150 yards through and beyond the American right flank, when the regulars of the Third Artillery, armed as infantrymen, pushed them back in confusion, the Pennsylvanians and Utah battery aiding gallantly in the work.

August 1. After the attack on the right wing had been repulsed, the second Spanish attack at two in the morning was directed against the American left wing.

After thirty minutes of fighting the enemy was again beaten off, and the rain seemed to be so heavy as to make further attack impossible.

But at 3.50 A. M. the battle was resumed at longer [pg 340]range, Spanish sharpshooters firing from the trees, and the batteries working constantly, using brass-coated bullets. The Americans, smoked and powder-stained, stuck to their guns for fourteen hours without relief, and shortly after sunrise the Spanish retreated. The American loss was eight killed, ten seriously and thirty-eight slightly wounded.

August 4. The monitor Monterey and the convoyed collier Brutus arrived at Cavite.

August 7. Admiral Dewey demanded the surrender of Manila within forty-eight hours. The Spanish commander replied that, the insurgents being outside the walls, he had no safe place for the women and children who were in the city, and asked for twenty-four hours additional delay. This Admiral Dewey granted.

At the expiration of the specified time Admiral Dewey and General Merritt consulted and decided to postpone the attack.

August 13. The American commanders decided to begin hostilities on the thirteenth of August, and the navy began the action at 9.30 A. M., the Olympia opening fire, followed by the Raleigh, Petrel, and Callao. The latter showed great daring, approaching within eight hundred yards of the Malate forts and trenches, doing grand work and driving back the Spanish forces.

The firing from the fleet continued for one hour, the Spanish then retreating from Malate, where the fire was centred, and the American land forces stormed the trenches, sweeping all before them. The First Colo[pg 341]rado Volunteers drove the Spaniards into the second line of defence. Then the troops swept on, driving all the Spaniards into the inner fortification.

The fighting in the trenches was most fierce. Fifteen minutes after the Spaniards were driven to the second line of defences, they were forced to retreat to the walled city, where, seeing the uselessness of resistance, they surrendered, and soon afterward a white flag was hoisted over Manila.

The total number of killed on the American side was forty-five, and wounded about one hundred. The Spanish losses were two hundred killed and four hundred wounded.

Captain-General Augusti took refuge on board the German ship Kaiserin Augusta, and was conveyed to Hongkong.

The following official reports were made by cable:

Secretary of Navy, Washington:—Manila surrendered to-day to the American land and naval forces, after a combined attack.

“A division of the squadron shelled the forts and entrenchments at Malate, on the south side of the city, driving back the enemy, our army advancing from that side at the same time.

“The city surrendered about five o’clock, the American flag being hoisted by Lieutenant Brumby.

“About seven thousand prisoners were taken.

[pg 342]

“The squadron had no casualties, and none of the vessels were injured.

“August 7th, General Merritt and I formally demanded the surrender of the city, which the Spanish governor-general refused.

(Signed) “Dewey.

Adjutant-General, Washington:—The following are the terms of the capitulation:

“The undersigned, having been appointed a commission to determine the details of the capitulation of the city and defences of Manila and its suburbs and the Spanish forces stationed therein, in accordance with agreement entered into the previous day by Maj.-Gen. Wesley Merritt, U. S. A., American commander-in-chief in the Philippines, and His Excellency Don Fermin Jaudenes, acting general-in-chief of the Spanish army in the Philippines, have agreed upon the following:

“The Spanish troops, European and native, capitulate with the city and defences, with all honours of war, depositing their arms in the places designated by the authorities of the United States, remaining in the quarters designated and under the orders of their officers and subject to control of the aforesaid United States authorities, until the conclusion of a treaty of peace between the two belligerent nations. All persons included in the capitulation remain at liberty; the officers remaining in their respective homes, which [pg 343]shall be respected as long as they observe the regulations prescribed for their government and the laws enforced.

“2. Officers shall retain their side-arms, horses, and private property. All public horses and public property of all kinds shall be turned over to staff officers designated by the United States.

“3. Complete returns in duplicate of men by organisation, and full lists of public property and stores shall be rendered to the United States within ten days from this date.

“4. All questions relating to the repatriation of the officers and men of the Spanish forces and of their families, and of the expense which said repatriation may occasion, shall be referred to the government of the United States at Washington. Spanish families may leave Manila at any time convenient to them. The return of the arms surrendered by the Spanish forces shall take place when they evacuate the city, or when the Americans evacuate.

“5. Officers and men included in the capitulation shall be supplied by the United States according to rank, with rations and necessary aid, as though they were prisoners of war, until the conclusion of a treaty of peace between the United States and Spain. All the funds in the Spanish treasury and all other public funds shall be turned over to the authorities of the United States.

“6. This city, its inhabitants, its churches and reli[pg 344]gious worship, its educational establishments, and its private property of all description, are placed under the special safeguard of the faith and honour of the American army.

F. V. Greene,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers, U. S. A.
B. P. Lamberton,
Captain U. S. Navy.
Charles A. Whittier,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Inspector-General.
E. H. Crowder,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Judge-Advocate.
Nicholas de la Pena,
Auditor-General’s excts.
Carlos Reyeo,
Colonel de Ingenieros.
Jose Maria Olquen,
Felia de Estado Majors.
(Signed) “Merritt.

Adjutant-General, Washington:—Cablegram of the twelfth directing operations to be suspended received afternoon of sixteenth. Spanish commander notified. Acknowledged receipt of cablegram same date, containing proclamation of President.



[pg 345]



On the twenty-sixth day of July, shortly after three o’clock in the afternoon, the French ambassador, M. Cambon, accompanied by his first secretary, called at the White House, the interview having been previously arranged and an intimation of its purpose having been given. With the President at the time was Secretary of State Day.

M. Cambon stated to the President that, representing the diplomatic interests of the kingdom of Spain, “with whom at the present time the United States is unhappily engaged in hostilities,” he had been directed by the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs to ask on what terms the United States would agree to a suspension of hostilities.

The French ambassador, continuing, said that Spain, realising the hopelessness of a conflict, knowing that she was unable to cope with the great power of her adversary, and appreciating fully that a prolongation of the struggle would only entail a further sacrifice of life and result in great misery to her people, on the ground of humanity appealed to the President to consider a proposition for peace.

Spain, said the ambassador, had been compelled to [pg 346]fight to vindicate her honour, and having vindicated it, having fought bravely and been conquered by a more powerful nation, trusted to the magnanimity of the victor to bring the war to an end.

The President’s reply showed that he was responsive to the appeal. He was evidently moved by the almost pathetic position which the once proud nation of Spain had been forced to take, but he had his feelings well under control and behaved with great dignity.

The President frankly admitted that he was desirous of peace, that he would welcome a cessation of hostilities, but he delicately intimated that if Spain were really desirous of peace she must be prepared to offer such terms as could be accepted by the United States. The President asked the French ambassador if he had been instructed to formally propose terms, or make any offer.

M. Cambon replied that he had not been so instructed, that his instructions were to ask on what terms it would be possible to make peace.

Mr. McKinley said the matter would be considered by the Cabinet, and a formal answer returned at the earliest possible moment. The French ambassador thanked the President for his courtesy, and, with expressions of good-will on both sides, the historical interview was brought to a close.

On the thirtieth day of July the ultimatum of the United States was delivered to the ambassador of France, and, in plain words, it was substantially as follows:

[pg 347]

The President does not now put forward any claim for pecuniary indemnity, but requires the relinquishment of all claim of sovereignty over or title to the island of Cuba, as well as the immediate evacuation by Spain of the island, the cession to the United States and immediate evacuation of Porto Rico and other islands under Spanish sovereignty in the West Indies, and the like cession of an island in the Ladrones.

The United States will occupy and hold the city, bay, and harbour of Manila, pending the conclusion of a treaty of peace, which shall determine the control, disposition, and government of the Philippines.

If these terms are accepted by Spain in their entirety, it is stated that the commissioners will be named by the United States to meet commissioners on the part of Spain for the purpose of concluding a treaty of peace on the basis above indicated.


August 12, 1898, peace negotiations were formally begun between the United States and Spain.

A few minutes before four o’clock, in the midst of a drenching rain, M. Cambon, the French ambassador, attended by his secretary, entered the White House. They were immediately ushered to the library, where the President, Secretary of State Day, and Assistant Secretaries of State Moore, Adee, and Cridler were awaiting them.

The President cordially greeted the ambassador, who returned the salutation with equal warmth, and then [pg 348]shook hands with Secretary Day and the Assistant Secretaries. While the President, Judge Day, and the French ambassador were discussing the weather,—and Washington has seldom known such a rain-storm as that which engulfed the city while peace was being signed,—M. Thiebaut and Assistant Secretary Moore were comparing the two copies of the protocol to see that they corresponded, and were identical in form.

The protocol is on parchment, in parallel columns in French and English. In the copy retained by the American government the English text is in the first column; in the other copy, which was transmitted to Madrid, the French text leads the paper.

The two Secretaries having pronounced the protocol correct, Judge Day and the French ambassador moved over to the table to affix their signatures. Mr. Cridler lit a candle to melt the sealing wax to make the impression on the protocols.

The striking of the match caused the French ambassador to stop, feel in his pocket, and then remember that he had come away from his embassy without his seal. Here was a contretemps. It would never do to seal such an important document with anything else but the ambassador’s personal seal.

A note was hastily written, and one of the White House messengers dashed out into the rain, and went to the French embassy. Until his return the distinguished party in the White House library continued to discuss the weather, and wonder when the typical Cuban [pg 349]rain would cease falling. In a few minutes the messenger returned. The ambassador drew from a small box his seal, and the two plenipotentiaries turned to the table. The American copy of the protocol was placed before Judge Day, who signed it, and then handed the pen to the ambassador, who quickly affixed his signature and seal.


The second copy was then laid before the ambassador, who signed, and in turn handed back the pen to Judge Day.

Thus Judge Day signed the two documents, first and last, and with the last stroke of his pen hostilities ceased.

[pg 350]



Whereas, by a protocol concluded and signed August 12, 1898, by Wm. R. Day, Secretary of State of the United States, and His Excellency Jules Cambon, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of France, at Washington, respectively representing for this purpose the government of the United States and the government of Spain, the governments of the United States and Spain have formally agreed upon the terms on which negotiations for the establishment of peace between the two countries shall be undertaken; and,

Whereas, it is in said protocol agreed that upon its conclusion and signature hostilities between the two countries shall be suspended, and that notice to that effect shall be given as soon as possible by each government to the commanders of its military and naval forces;

Now, therefore, I, William McKinley, President of the United States, do, in accordance with the stipulations of the protocol, declare and proclaim on the part [pg 351]of the United States a suspension of hostilities, and do hereby command that orders be immediately given through the proper channels to the commanders of the military and naval forces of the United States to abstain from all acts inconsistent with this proclamation.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington this twelfth day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight, and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and twenty-third.

William McKinley.
By the President,
William R. Day,
Secretary of State


[pg 352]

[pg 353]


[pg 355]




The number of islands in the Philippine group are believed to be upwards of fourteen hundred, with an aggregate land area (estimated on Domann’s map) of not less than 114,356 miles, situate in the southeast of Asia, extending from 40° 40′ to 20° north latitude, and from 116° 40′ to 126° 30′ east longitude.

The archipelago was discovered by Magellan on March 12, 1521, and named by him the St. Lazarus Islands. The discoverer was a Portuguese, who had sought service under Charles V. of Spain because he was ignored by the court of his own country.

By the bull of Pope Alexander VI., of May 4, 1493, which was then universally recognised as law, the earth was divided into two hemispheres. All lands thereafter discovered in the Eastern Hemisphere were decreed to belong to Portugal; all the Western to Spain.

The St. Lazarus Islands were well within Portugal’s rights, but as the use of the log and the variation of the compass were unknown, an error of fifty-two degrees in longitude was made, and to Spain the islands were given on the basis of that error.

[pg 356]

By whom the name of Philippines was given to the archipelago it is impossible to say. In 1567 it appears to have been used for the first time.

The manufactures of the islands consist of silk, cotton, and piña fibres cloth, hats, mats, baskets, ropes, coarse pottery, and musical instruments.

The northern islands of the archipelago lie in the region of the typhoon, and have three seasons,—the cold, the hot, and the wet. The first extends from November to February or March, when the atmosphere is bracing rather than cold. The hot season lasts from March to June, and the heat becomes very oppressive before the beginning of the southerly monsoon. Thunder-storms of terrific violence occur during May and June. The wet season begins with heavy rains, known by the natives as “collas,” and until the end of October the downpour is excessive.

“Earthquakes are sufficiently frequent and violent in the Philippines to affect the style adopted in the erection of buildings; in 1874, for instance, they were very numerous throughout the archipelago, and in Manila and the adjacent provinces shocks were felt daily for several weeks. The most violent earthquakes on record in the Philippines occurred in July, 1880, when the destruction of property was immense, both in the capital and in other important towns of central Luzon.”

Though situated in the equatorial region, the elevations of the mountains give a range of climate that allows the production of a great variety of valuable crops. Tobacco, sugar, hemp, and rice are the chief staples produced. The swamps and rivers are infested with crocodiles, and the dense woods with monkeys and serpents of many species. Rich deposits of gold are known to exist, but have been little developed.

To quote from the Revue des Deux Mondes of Paris:

[pg 357]

In the same district are found Indians, Negritos, Manthras, Malays, Bicols, half-breed Indians and Spaniards, Tagalas, Visayas, Sulus, and other tribes. The Negritos (little negroes) are real negroes, blacker than a great many of their African conquerors, with woolly hair growing in isolated tufts. They are very diminutive, rarely attaining four feet nine inches in height, and with small, retreating skulls. This race forms a branch equal in importance to the Papuan. It is believed to be the first race inhabiting the Philippines, but, as well as everywhere else, except in the Andaman Islands, it has been more or less absorbed by the stronger races, and the result in the archipelago has been the formation of several tribes of half-breeds numbering considerably more than half a million. Side by side with them, and equally poor and wretched, are the Manthras, a cross between the Negritos and Malays and the degenerate descendants of the Saletes, a warlike tribe conquered by the Malayan Rajah Permicuri in 1411. Then come the Malay Sulus, all Mohammedans and still governed by their Sultan and their datos, feudal lords who, under the suzerainty of the Spaniards, have possessed considerable power.

The soil is fully sufficient—indeed, more than sufficient—to support this population, whose wants are of the most limited character. The land is exceedingly fertile and bears in abundance all tropical products, particularly rice, sugar, and the abaca, a variety of the banana-tree. The fibres of the abaca are employed in making the finest and most delicate fabrics, of which from three to four million dollars’ worth are exported annually. The exports of sugar amount to about four millions and a half, of gold to two millions and a half, and of coffee and tobacco close on to a million and a quarter each. The rice is consumed at home. It forms the staple food of the people, and nearly three million dollars’ worth is imported yearly. The husbandman cannot [pg 358]complain that his toil is inadequately rewarded. A rice plantation will yield a return of at least fifteen per cent.; if he plant his farm with sugar-cane he will realise thirty per cent., if not more. On the other hand, the price of labour is very low. An adult who gains a real fuerte (about thirteen cents) a day, thinks he is doing well.

In this archipelago of the Philippines, where races, manners, and traditions are so often in collision, the religious fanaticism of the Spaniards has, more than once, come into conflict with a fanaticism fully as fierce as that of the Mussulman. At a distance of six thousand leagues from Toledo and Granada, the same ancient hatreds have brought European Spaniards and Asiatic Saracens into the same relentless antagonism that swayed them in the days of the Cid and Ferdinand the Catholic. The island of Sulu, on account of its position between Mindanao and Borneo, was the commercial, political, and religious centre of the followers of the Prophet, the Mecca of the extreme Orient. From this centre they spread over the neighbouring archipelago. Dreaded as merciless pirates and unflinching fanatics, they scattered everywhere terror, ruin, and death, sailing in their light proas up the narrow channels and animated with implacable hatred for those conquering invaders, to whom they never gave quarter and from whom they never expected it; constantly beaten in pitched battle, they as constantly took again to the sea, eluding pursuit of the heavy Spanish vessels, taking refuge in bays and creeks where no one could follow them, pillaging isolated ships, surprising the villages, massacring the old men, leading away the women and the adults into slavery, pushing the audacious prows of their skiffs even up to within three hundred miles of Manila, and seizing every year nearly four thousand captives.

Between the Malay creese and the Castilian carronade [pg 359]the struggle was unequal, but it did not last the less long on that account, nor, obscure though it was, was it the less bloody. On both sides there was the same bravery, the same cruelty. It required all the tenacity of Spain to purge these seas of the pirates who infested them, and it was not until after a conflict of several years, in 1876, that the Spanish squadron was able to bring its broadside to bear on Tianggi, that nest of the Suluan pirates, land a division of troops, invest all the outlets, and burn up the town and its inhabitants as well as its harbour and all the craft within it. The soldiers planted their flag and the engineers built a new city on the smoking ruins. This city is protected by a strong garrison. For a time, at least, it was all over with piracy, but not with Moslem fanaticism, which was exasperated rather than crushed by its defeat. To the rovers of the seas succeeded the organisation known as juramentados.

One of the characteristic qualities of the Malays is their contempt of death. They have transmitted it with their blood to the Polynesians, who see in it only one of the multiple phenomena and not the supreme act of existence, and witness it or submit to it with profound indifference. Travellers have often seen a Canaque stretch his body on a mat, while in perfect health, and without any symptom of disease whatever, and there wait patiently for the end, convinced that it is near, and refuse all nourishment and die without any apparent suffering. His relatives say of him, “He feels he is going to die,” and the imaginary patient dies, his mind possessed by some illusion, some superstitious idea, some invisible wound through which life escapes. When to this absolute indifference to death is united Mussulman fanaticism, which gives to the believer a glimpse of the gates of a paradise where the abnormally excited senses revel in endless and numberless enjoyments, a long[pg 360]ing for extinction takes hold of him and throws him like a wild beast on his enemies; he stabs them and gladly invites their daggers in return. The juramentado kills for the sake of killing, and being killed, and so winning, in exchange for a life of privation and suffering, the voluptuous existence promised by Mahomet to his followers.

The laws of Sulu make the bankrupt debtor the slave of his creditor, and not only the man himself, but his family also are enslaved. To free them there is only one means left to the husband, the sacrifice of his life. Reduced to this extremity he does not hesitate, he takes the formidable oath. From that time forward he is enrolled in the ranks of the juramentados, and has nothing to do but await the hour when the will of his superior shall let him loose upon the Christians. Meanwhile the panditas, or priests, subject him to a system of enthusiastic excitement that will turn him into a wild beast of the most formidable kind. They madden his already disordered brain, they make still more supple his oily limbs, until they have the strength of steel and the nervous force of the tiger or panther. They sing to him their rhythmic impassioned chants, which show to his entranced vision the radiant smiles of intoxicating houris. In the shadow of the lofty forests, broken by the gleam of the moonlight, they evoke the burning and sensual energies of the eternally young and beautiful companions who are calling him, opening their arms to receive him. Thus prepared, the juramentado is ready for everything. Nothing can stop him, nothing can make him recoil. He will accomplish prodigies of valour. Though stricken ten times he will remain on his feet, will strike back, borne along by a buoyancy that is irresistible, until the moment when death seizes him. He will creep with his companions into the city that has been assigned to him; he knows that he will never leave it, but he knows also that he will not die [pg 361]alone, and he has but one aim,—to butcher as many Christians as he can.

An eminent scientist, Doctor Montano, sent on a mission to the Philippines by the French government, describes the entry of eleven juramentados into Tianggi. Divided into three or four bands, they managed to get through the gates of the town bending under loads of fodder for cattle which they pretended to have for sale, and in which they had hidden their creeses. Quick as lightning they stabbed the guards, then, in their frenzied course, they struck all whom they met.

Hearing the cry of Los juramentados! the soldiers seized their arms. The juramentados rushed on them fearlessly, their creeses clutched in their hands. The bullets fell like hail among them. They bent, crept, glided, and struck. One of them, whose breast was pierced through and through by a bullet, rose and flung himself on the troops. He was again transfixed by a bayonet; he remained erect, vainly trying to reach his enemy, who held him impaled on the weapon. Another soldier had to run up and blow the man’s brains out before he let go his prey. When the last of the juramentados had fallen, and the corpses were picked up from the street which consternation had rendered empty, it was found that these eleven men had, with their creeses, hacked fifteen soldiers to pieces, not to reckon the wounded.

“And what wounds!” exclaims Doctor Montano; “the head of one corpse is cut off as clean as if it had been done with the sharpest razor; another soldier is almost cut in two! The first of the wounded to come under my hands was a soldier of the Third Regiment, who was mounting guard at the gate through which some of the assassins entered. His left arm was fractured in three places; his shoulder and breast were literally cut up like mince-meat; [pg 362]amputation appeared to be the only chance for him; but in that lacerated flesh there was no longer a spot from which could be cut a shred.”

It is easily seen how precarious and nominal has been Spanish rule on most of the islands of this vast archipelago. In the interior of the great island of Mindanao there is no system of control, no pretence even of maintaining order. It is a land of terror, the realm of anarchy and cruelty. There murder is a regular institution. A bagani, or man of might, is a gallant warrior who has cut off sixty heads. The number is carefully verified by the tribal authorities, and the bagani alone possesses the right to wear a scarlet turban. All the batos, or chiefs, are baganis. It is carnage organised, honoured, and consecrated; and so the depopulation is frightful, the wretchedness unspeakable.

The Mandayas are forced to seek a refuge from would-be baganis by perching on the tops of trees like birds, but their aerial abodes do not always shelter them from their enemies. They build a hut on a trunk from forty to fifty feet in height, and huddle together in it to pass the night, and to be in sufficient numbers to repulse their assailants. The baganis generally try to take their victims by surprise, and begin their attack with burning arrows, with which they endeavour to set on fire the bamboo roof. Sometimes the besiegers form a testudo, like the ancient Romans, with their locked shields, and advance under cover up to the posts, which they attack with their axes, while the besieged hurl down showers of stones upon their heads. But, once their ammunition is exhausted, the hapless Mandayas have nothing to do but witness, as impotent spectators, the work of destruction, until the moment comes when their habitation topples over and falls. Then the captives are divided among the assailants. The heads of the old men and of the wounded are cut off, and the women and children are led away as slaves.

[pg 363]

The genius of destructiveness seems incarnate in this Malay race. The missionaries alone venture to travel among these ferocious tribes. They, too, have made the sacrifice of their lives, and, holding life worth nothing, they have succeeded in winning the respect of these savages in evangelising and converting them. They work for God and for their country, and the poorest and most wretched among the natives are not unwilling to accept the faith and to submit to Spain; but the missionaries insist on their leaving their homes and going to another district, to which, for many reasons, the neophytes gladly consent. After several days’ journey a pueblo is founded. These villages have multiplied for many years past, forming oases of comparative peace and civilisation amid the barbarism by which they are surrounded, and are open to all who choose to seek a shelter in them. The more neophytes the pueblo holds, the less exposed it is to hostile incursions. Doctor Montano gives a very striking account of one of these daring missionaries, Father Saturnino Urios, of the Society of Jesus, who, in a single year, converted and baptised fifty-two hundred people.

There are thirty-one islands of considerable size in the Philippine group. Their area exceeds that of Great Britain. Pine and fir-trees are abundant. Large areas are suitable for wheat. There are eight ports open to commerce. The principal exports are hemp, sugar, rice, tobacco, cigars, coffee, and cocoa. Previous to the rebellion the annual value of the sugar output was $30,000,000. Now it is almost nothing.

The population of the islands is about eight million, of which more than three million are in Luzon, the insurgent stronghold.

“Under the administration of Spain the Philippines were subject to a governor-general with supreme powers, assisted [pg 364]by a ‘junta of authorities’ instituted in 1850, and consisting of the archbishop, the commander of the forces, the admiral, the president of the supreme court, etc.; a central junta of agriculture, industry, and commerce (dating from 1866), and a council of administration. In the provinces and districts the chief power is in the hands of alcades mayores and civico-military governors. The chief magistrate of a commune is known as the gobernadorcillo, or captain; the native who is responsible for the collection of the tribute of a certain group of families is the cabeca de barangay. Every Indian between the ages of sixteen and sixty, subject to Spain, was forced to pay tribute to the amount of $1.17, descendants of the first Christians of Cebu, new converts, gobernadorcillos, etc., being exempted. Chinese were subject to special taxes, and by a law of 1883 Europeans and Spanish half-castes were required to pay a poll-tax of $2.50.”

The largest island in the archipelago is Luzon, with an area of 40,885 square miles, and on which is situated the city of Manila.

The population of Manila, as given in the consular reports for 1880, is in the walled town 12,000, and in the suburbs from 250,000 to 300,000.

The city was founded in 1571, and is situated on the eastern shore of a circular bay 120 nautical miles in circumference. It looks like a fragment of Spain transplanted to the archipelago of Asia. On its churches and convents, even on its ruined walls, overturned in the earthquake of 1863, time has laid the brown, sombre, dull gold colouring of the mother country. The ancient city, silent and melancholy, stretches interminably along its gloomy streets, bordered with convents whose flat façades are only broken here and there by a few narrow windows. But there is also a new city within the ramparts of Manila; it is sometimes called the Escolta, from the name of its central quarter, and this [pg 365]city is alive with its dashing teams, its noisy crowd of Tagala women, shod in high-heeled shoes, and every nerve in their bodies quivering with excitement. They are almost all employed in the innumerable cigar factories whose output inundates all Asia.

Here all sorts of nationalities elbow one another,—Europeans, Chinese, Malays, Tagalas, Negritos, in all some 260,000 people of every known race and of every known colour. In the afternoon, in the plain of Lunetto, carriages and equipages of every kind drive past, and pedestrians swarm in crowds around the military band stand in the marvellously picturesque square, lit up by the slanting rays of the setting sun, which purples the lofty peaks of the Sierra de Marivels in the distance, unfolds its long, luminous train on the ocean, and tinges with a dark reddish shade the sombre verdure of the city’s sloping banks. This is the hour when all the inhabitants hold high festival, able at length to breathe freely after the heat of the noontide.

The primary cause of the Philippine rebellion was excessive taxation by Spain to raise money to carry on the war in Cuba. The islands were already overburdened with assessments to enrich Spanish coffers and to support the native poor. The additional money required for Cuba was the last straw.

Extreme cruelties began when General Aguirre arrived from Spain with reinforcements. He did not undertake to penetrate the mountains, but massacred the native population in the towns. When he took Santa Clara del Laguna he spared neither man, woman, nor child. The people in the mountains heard of this. They were almost wild with fury, but they were helpless.

It is stated, on what seems to be good authority, that ten thousand dead prisoners had been taken from prison in a year.

[pg 366]

Three years ago it cost the government a little more than half a cent to collect every dollar of taxation. In Luzon, it now costs ninety-five cents. The only taxes that can be profitably collected are those in Manila. The rich islands of Leyte and Mindanao contribute practically nothing.

The first islands to revolt were Luzon, Mindanao, and Leyte. About one year and a half ago, agents of the insurrectionists appealed to the government at Washington to interfere in their behalf. The petition was received and filed.

In the hot season, during the greater part of the day, the heat is so intense that Europeans frequently fall with heat apoplexy. Even the Spaniards do their business in the early hours, whiling away the heat of the day in sleep. Late in the afternoon Manila begins to awaken.

The Escolta, or principal street, is crowded with loungers of all ranks and colours, each with a segarito stuck pen-like behind his ear. Caromattas, a species of two-wheeled hooded cabriolets peculiar to the natives, crowd the roadway, together with the buggies and open carriages of the foreign element.

At sunset the various tobacco stores close, and their thousand of employees turn out into the streets. They form a motley yet effective feature among the wayfarers. The Malay girls are usually very pretty, with languishing eyes, shaded by long lashes, and supple figures, whose graceful lines are revealed by their thin clothing. In fine weather their bare feet are thrust into light, gold-embroidered slippers. In wet weather they raise themselves on high clogs, which necessitates a very becoming swinging of the hips.

There is not a bonnet to be seen. Women of the better classes affect lace and flowers, those of the lower wear their own hair flowing down their backs, in a long, blue-black wave. Jewelry is profusely worn. Every woman sparkles [pg 367]with bracelets, earrings, and chains. Many of the males are similarly attired. Everybody smokes. Cigarettes at fifteen for a cent are in chief favour with the natives. Cigars at $1.50 a hundred are in favour with the foreigners. The handful of Englishmen resident in Manila are mostly bachelors, eager to make their pile and return to pleasanter surroundings. These take up their quarters in a large house at Sampalog, which is club and boarding-house combined, or in “chummeries,” established in adjacent buildings.

The Spaniards classify all the Philippine islanders under three religious groups,—the infidels, who have held to their ancient heathen rights, the Moors, who retain the Mahometan religion of their first conquerors, and the infinitely larger class of Catholics.

An important, though numerically small, element in the population of the larger cities are the mestizos, or half-breeds, the result of admixture either between the Chinese or the Spanish and the natives. These mestizos occupy about the same social position as the mulattos of the United States. But they are the richest and most enterprising among the native population.

The most important personage is the cura, or parish priest. He is in most instances a Spaniard by birth, and enrolled in one or other of the three great religious orders, Augustinian, Franciscan, or Dominican, established by the conquerors. At heart, however, he is usually as much, if not more, of a native than the natives themselves. He is bound for life to the land of his adoption. He has no social or domestic tie, no anticipated home return, to bind him to any other place.

Next to the church, the greatest Sunday and holiday resort in a Philippine village is the cock-pit, usually a large building wattled like a coarse basket and surrounded [pg 368]by a high paling of the same description, which forms a sort of courtyard, where cocks are kept waiting their turn to come upon the stage, when their owners have succeeded in arranging a satisfactory match. It is claimed that many a respectable Malay father has been seen escaping from amid the ruins of his burning home bearing away in his arms his favourite bird, while wife and children were left to shift for themselves.

The diet of the Philippines has something to do, undoubtedly, with their gentle and non-aggressive qualities. They eschew opium and spirituous liquors. Their chief sustenance, morning, noon, and eve, is rice. The rice crop seldom fails, not merely to support the population, but to leave a large margin for export. Famine, that hideous shadow which broods over so many a rice-subsisting population, is unknown here. Even scarcity is of rare occurrence. In the worst of years hardly a sack of grain has to be imported. It is this very abundance which stands in the way of what the world calls progress. The Malay, like other children of the tropics, limits his labour by the measure of his requirements, and that measure is narrow indeed. Hence it is often difficult to obtain his services in the development of the tobacco, coffee, hemp, and sugar industries, which might make the archipelago one of the wealthiest and most prosperous portions of the earth’s face.

Manila has been once before captured from Spain. The English were its captors, although they held it only a few months. It was in 1762, a few weeks after the English capture of Havana. Spain had been rash enough to side with France in the war usually known in this country as the French and Indian war. She was speedily punished for it.

The expedition against Manila was the plan of Colonel William Draper; he was made a brigadier-general for the expedition and put in command, with Admiral Cornish as [pg 369]his naval ally. There were nine ships of the line and frigates, several troop-ships, and a land force of twenty-three hundred including one English regiment, with Sepoys and marines.

On September 24, 1762, these forces were disembarked just south of Manila. The Archbishop of Manila, who was also governor-general of the island, collected and armed some ten thousand natives, as a reinforcement to the Spanish garrison of eight hundred. During the progress of the siege some daring attempts were made by the British to prevent the further construction of defences, but the assailants were repulsed with great slaughter.

A desperate sally was made by a strong body of natives, who “ran furiously on the ranks of the besiegers and fought with almost incredible ferocity, and many of them died, like wild beasts, gnawing with their teeth the bayonets by which they were transfixed.”

On October 6th a breach was effected in the Spanish works, the English carried the city by storm, and gave it up for several hours to the ravages of a merciless soldiery. The Archbishop and his officers had retired to the citadel, but this could not be defended, and a capitulation was agreed upon, by which the city and port of Manila, with several ships and the military stores, were surrendered, while for their private property the Spanish agreed to pay as a ransom $2,000,000 in coin, and the same in bills on the treasury at Madrid. This last obligation was never paid.

[pg 370]



There are ten principal classes of vessels in the United States navy, distinguished one from another by the differences in their uses and by their strength and speed. The general principle underlying their construction is that a vessel which is not strong enough to fight one of her own size must be fast enough to run away. Any vessel which is inferior in armament, and has no compensating superiority in speed, is outclassed. The same is true of any vessel which is equal in armament, but inferior in speed to an adversary.

The size of a vessel is measured by its displacement. This displacement is the number of tons of water she will push aside to make room for herself. A vessel of ten thousand tons will take engines of a certain weight and power to drive her at a given speed, and the larger the engine the larger the boilers and the greater the supply of coal required. Now, if it is necessary to give this vessel heavy protective armour and big guns, the additional weight of this equipment must be saved somewhere else, and usually in the engine-room, reducing the speed of the vessel. Following out this principle, it will be found that the fastest ships carry the lightest armament, and that those which carry the biggest guns in their batteries and the thickest armour on their sides are comparatively slow, the extreme variation among vessels of the same displacement being about eight or nine miles an hour.

[pg 371]

In the matter of attack and defence, vessels are distinguished by the number and weight of the guns they carry, and by the distribution and thickness of their armour. Protective armour is of two kinds, that which surrounds the guns, so as to protect them from the enemy’s fire, and that which protects the motive-power of the ship, so as to prevent the engines from being rendered useless.

The maximum of guns and armour and the minimum of speed are to be found in the first-class battle-ship, which is simply a floating fortress, so constructed that she need never run away, but can stand up and fight as long as her gun turrets revolve. The general plan of construction in a battle-ship is to surround the engines, boilers, and magazines with a wall of Harveyized steel armour eighteen inches or so thick, and seven or eight feet high, which extends about four feet below the water-line and three feet above it. This armour belt is not only on the sides of the ship, but is carried across it fore and aft, immediately in front of and behind the space occupied by the engines and magazines, and the whole affair is covered with a solid steel roof three or four inches thick. Outside this central fortress, and extending from it clear to the bow and stern at each end, is a protective deck of steel, three inches thick, which is placed several feet below the water-line. Everything above this deck and outside this fortress might be shot away, and the vessel would still float and fight.

On the roof of the fortress are placed the turrets containing the big guns. The largest of these guns, 13-inch calibre, weigh about sixty tons each, and will carry a shell weighing eleven hundred pounds about twelve miles. The turrets are circular, as a rule, large enough to hold two guns, and are made of face-hardened steel from fifteen to eighteen inches thick. They revolve within a barbette or ring of steel eighteen inches thick, which protects the machinery by [pg 372]which the guns are trained. Farther back on the roof of the fortress are other and lighter turrets made of 8-inch steel and carrying 8-inch guns, and at other places are stationed rapid-fire guns of lighter calibre, protected by thinner armour than that of the main belt.

If all this secondary battery is stripped off, leaving nothing but the turrets with the big guns, and these are brought down close to the water, and the armour belt is reduced to seven or eight inches in thickness, the type of vessel known as the monitor is reached. It is simply a battle-ship on a reduced scale. Such vessels are very slow and cannot stand rough weather, on account of their low freeboard. The speed of the monitors is seldom more than twelve or fourteen miles an hour, and they are intended to act in coast defence, usually in connection with shore-batteries. The best types in the navy are the Terror and the Puritan.

The speed of a battle-ship is about eighteen miles an hour. The best specimen in the navy is the Indiana, declared by its admirers to be the most powerful battle-ship afloat. Second-class battle-ships, like the Texas, are smaller vessels, usually about seven thousand tons, and they have a much lighter armour belt, about twelve inches, and do not carry so heavy an armament as ships of the first class. The Maine was a second-class battle-ship. Her largest guns were of 10-inch calibre; her armour was twelve inches thick, and her turrets were eight inches thick only.

The first step in reducing the armament from that of the battle-ship proper, at the same time increasing the speed, produces the armoured cruiser. This type of vessel may carry no guns of more than 8-inch calibre, and the armour belt is reduced to three or four inches in thickness. Instead of the roof over the armour belt, the protective deck is carried all over the ship, but it is not flat, nor is it of equal [pg 373]thickness, as in a battle-ship. On the top and in the middle it is three inches thick, but the sides are six inches and they slope abruptly to below the water-line. Between these sloping sides and the thin armour belt coal is stored, so that a shell would have to penetrate the outer belt, six or eight feet of coal, and a sloping belt of steel six inches thick, the total resistance of which is calculated to be equal to a solid horizontal armour plate fifteen inches thick.

A cruiser is not supposed to fight with a battle-ship, because it could not accomplish anything with its 8-inch guns against the 18-inch armour of its heavier rival, while one well-directed shot from the 12-inch guns of a battle-ship or monitor would probably sink any armoured cruiser afloat. For this reason the cruiser must be faster than the battle-ship, so that she can run away, and the weight that is saved in the armour belt and big guns is therefore put into the engine-room. The average speed of an armoured cruiser is about twenty-four miles an hour, and the best types of this class in the navy are probably the Brooklyn and New York.

Some vessels, like the Spaniard Vizcaya, are about half way between a battle-ship and a cruiser, having the heavy guns of the former and the speed of the latter. The Vizcaya, although a cruiser, carried 11-inch guns with a 12-inch armour belt, and had a speed of twenty-three miles an hour.

The next step in reducing armament and increasing speed, produced the protected cruiser, which carries no armour belt, but retains the protective deck, upon the sloping sides of which is stored the coal. The turrets disappear altogether, and there is usually only one 8-inch gun, the battery being principally made up of 4-inch rapid-fire guns and 6, 4, and 1-pounders. As this class of vessel is not able to cope with the armoured cruiser, it must be faster, for the general principle holds good that the weaker the vessel becomes in point of offensive weapons or defensive [pg 374]armour, the greater the necessity that she should be able to run away. The best types of the protected cruiser in the navy may be found in the Columbia and Minneapolis, which have a speed of about twenty-seven miles an hour.

The weakest class of all is composed of the unprotected cruisers, which have neither armour-belt nor protective deck, and carry only light batteries of rapid-fire guns. When these vessels are slow, like the Detroit, they are intended for long voyages and for duty in foreign countries, and are of little use in a sea fight. The very fast unprotected cruiser, like the American line steamers, St. Paul and St. Louis, attach little importance to their armament, and rely for protection upon stowing the coal behind the place occupied by the armour belt in other vessels. All the beautiful wood-work, which was so much admired in these vessels, was ripped out to make room for these coal-bunkers, which are sufficient to protect them from anything but the heaviest guns. On account of their extreme weakness as fighters, these cruisers are necessarily the fastest of all the large vessels, and can run away from anything. For this reason no concern was felt for the Paris by those who knew the principles which govern the safety of modern vessels.

The various types of cruisers are not expected to fight with any but vessels of their own class, which they may encounter in the discharge of similar duties, such as scouring the seas as the advance guard of the slower line of battle-ships, preying upon or escorting merchant vessels, blockading ports, and acting as convoys for troop-ships. Gunboats are simply light-draught cruisers, and are intended for use in shallow waters and rivers.

Torpedo-boats, as their name implies, depend entirely upon the torpedo as the weapon of attack, and they carry no guns except a very few light-calibre rapid-fires to keep off small boats. Their success depends on their ability [pg 375]to approach a vessel very rapidly, launch their torpedo, and retreat before they are detected and sunk. Speed is their great requisite, and a torpedo-boat like the Porter can speed thirty-two miles an hour. Naval experts consider their bark worse than their bite, because, with the modern system of lookouts and search-lights, and the accuracy and rapidity of the secondary batteries, it is impossible for a torpedo-boat to get within range without exposing itself to instant destruction, and after a torpedo-fleet has once met with a serious repulse, it is believed that it would be almost impossible to get the crews to go into action again.

The torpedo-boat destroyer, contrary to general belief, does not carry any heavy guns, but depends on its great speed and its ability to cripple a torpedo-boat with its 6-pounders while keeping out of range of the enemy’s tubes. All torpedo-boat destroyers carry torpedo tubes themselves, so that they can be used against the enemy’s battle-ships or cruisers if the occasion offers. The fastest boat in the United States navy is the destroyer Bailey, which can steam thirty-four miles an hour.


In a naval battle the success or failure of a fleet may depend on keeping open communication between the different vessels of the squadron engaged. Owing to the fact that the surface of the sea would often be obscured by the smoke of battle, the difficulty of this is apparent, and naval experts have been kept busy devising some method by which the flag-ship can communicate with the other vessels of the squadron at all times and under all conditions. So far nothing has been put in general service which meets this demand, but lately there have been experiments with the telephone, which, it is said, can be used without wires, by which signals can be projected by a vibrator on one vessel against a receiver on another. The Navy Department is [pg 376]keeping the details of this new system carefully to itself, as it desires to have the invention for the exclusive use of our own ships of battle.

The present method of communication is by the use of flags representing numerals which are displayed in the rigging; by the use of the Ardois system of lights for night work; by the Myer code of wigwag signals, and by the use of the heliograph. As it is of the utmost importance that the enemy should not read the message, the signal books on board a vessel are protected with the greatest care, and are destroyed along with the cipher code whenever it is seen that capture is inevitable. The semaphore system in use in the British navy was tried for a time aboard some of our vessels, but it never became popular, and has been abandoned.

In signalling by the navy code, the sentence to be sent is looked up in the code-book and its corresponding number is obtained. This number is never more than four figures, on account of the necessity of setting the signal with the least delay. The number having been obtained, the quartermaster in charge of the signal-chest proceeds to bend the flags representing the numerals to the signal halliards, so as to read from the top down. These flags represent the numerals from one to nine and cipher, and there is a triangular pennant termed a repeater, which is used in a combination where one or more numerals recur. The numbers refer to those found in the general signal-book, in which are printed all the words, phrases, and sentences necessary to frame an order, make an inquiry, indicate a geographical position, or signal a compass course. Answering, interrogatory, preparatory, and geographical pennants form part of this code; also telegraph, danger, despatch, and quarantine flags.

The signal, having been prepared, is hoisted and left flying until the vessel to which the message has been sent signifies that it is understood by hoisting what is called the [pg 377]answering pennant. If the number hoisted by the flag-ship is a preparatory order for a fleet movement, it is left flying until all the vessels of the fleet have answered, and then is pulled down, the act of pulling the signal down being understood as the command for the execution of the movement just communicated.

It is often necessary for a man-of-war to communicate with a merchant vessel, or with some other war-ship belonging to a foreign country. For this purpose the international code is also carried in the signal-chest. These signals are those in general use by all the merchant navies of the world for communication by day at sea. There are eighteen flags and a code pennant, corresponding to the consonants of the alphabet, omitting x and z. The code pennant is also used with these signals.

If a message is to be sent at night, the Ardois system of night signals, with which all our vessels carrying an electric plant are fitted, is employed. These signals consist essentially of five groups of double lamps, the two lamps in each group containing incandescent electric lamps, and showing white and red respectively. By the combination of these lights letters can be formed, and so, letter by letter, a word, and hence an order, can be spelled out for the guidance of the ships of the squadron. These lamps are suspended on a stay in the rigging, and are worked by a keyboard from the upper bridge.

On the smaller ships of the service, those which are not fitted with electric lighting, Very’s night signals are used. This set includes the implements for firing and recharging the signals.

The latter show green and red stars on being projected from pistols made for them. The combination in various ways is used to express the numbers from one to nine and cipher, so that the numbers, to four digits, contained in the [pg 378]signal-book, may be displayed. The Myer wigwag system is employed either by day or by night. Flags and torches are employed. The official flag is a red field with a small white square in the centre; the unofficial flag is the same with the colours reversed. The operator, having attracted the attention of the ship which is to be signalled by waving the flag or torch from right to left, transmits his message by motions right, left, and front, each motion the element of a letter of the alphabet, the letter being made up of from one to four motions.

When circumstances permit, the heliograph is sometimes used. The rays of the sun are thrown by a system of mirrors to the point with which it is desired to communicate, and then interrupted by means of a shutter, making dots and dashes as used in the Morse telegraph code. This system is used only when operations ashore are going on, as the rolling of the ship would prevent the concentration of the sun’s rays.

The present systems of flag signalling are products of experience in the past, and are the natural growth of the cruder flag system in use during the War of 1812, and in the Civil War. There have been some changes in the construction of flags, and the scope of communication has been enlarged, but otherwise our forefathers talked at sea in much the same way as we do now. Of course the Ardois light signal is something very modern. In old times they communicated at night either with coloured lights or by torches, and, as there was no alphabetical code in those days, the process was by means of flashes (representing numbers in the signal book), and it was long and tedious.

[pg 379]



Santiago is the most easterly city on the southern coast of Cuba, second only to Havana in its strategic and political importance, and is the capital of the eastern department, as well as its most flourishing seaport.

The harbour, now become famous as a theatre of action where American heroism was displayed, is thus described by Mr. Samuel Hazard, in his entertaining work on Cuba:

“Some one now remarks that we are near to Cuba; but, looking landward, nothing is seen but the same continuous mountains which we have had for the last twelve hours, except where, low down on the shore, there seems to be a slight opening in the rocky coast, above which stands, apparently, some dwelling-house. However, time tells, and in a half hour more we discover the small opening to be the entrance to a valley, and the dwelling-house to be the fort of the Cabanas. Still, no town and no harbour; and yet ahead we see, high upon a rocky cliff, a queer-looking old castle, with guns frowning from its embrasures, and its variegated walls looking as if they were ready to fall into the waves dashing at their base. That is the Morro Castle, which, with the battery of Aguadores, the battery of the Estrella, and the above named Cabanas, commands the approaches to the harbour and town of Cuba.

“The rocky shore above and below the castle has scattered along it the remains of several vessels, whose captains, [pg 380]in trying to escape from the dangers of the storm, have vainly sought to enter the difficult harbour, and the bleaching timbers are sad warnings to the mariner not to enter there except in the proper kind of weather. And now we are up to the castle, and a sharp turn to the left takes us into a narrow channel and past the Morro and the battery adjoining, whose sentry, with a trumpet as big as himself, hails our vessel as she goes by; and soon we find ourselves in a gradually enlarging bay, around which the mountains are seen in every direction. As yet we have seen no town, and no place where there will likely be one; but now a turn to the right, and there, rising from the water’s side almost to the top of the mountains, is seen Santiago de Cuba, with its red roofs, tall cathedral towers, and the green trees of its pretty Paseo, lighted up by the evening sun, forming a brilliant foreground to the hazy blue mountains that lie behind the city....

“Rising gradually from the bay, upon the mountainside, to the high plain called the Campo del Marte, the city of Santiago reaches in its highest point 160 feet above the level of the sea, and commands from almost any portion superb views of the bay at its feet and of the majestic ranges of mountains that surround it. With a population of about fifty thousand inhabitants, it has regularly laid out streets and well-built houses of stone in most portions of the city; though being built as it is on the side of a hill, many of the streets are very steep in their ascent, and from the constant washing of the rains, and the absence of side-walks, are anything but an agreeable promenade.

“The town was founded in 1515, by Diego Velasquez, considered the conqueror of the island, who landed here in that year on his first voyage; and it was from here that Juan de Grijalva, in 1518, started on his expedition for the conquest of Yucatan, being followed by Hernando Cortes, who, how[pg 381]ever, was compelled to stop at Havana (as it was called then), now Batabano. In 1522 the distinctions of ‘City’ and ‘Bishopric’ were bestowed upon the town, having been taken from the older town of Baracoa, where they had been bestowed in honour of that place being the first European settlement; and in 1527 Fr. Miguel Ramirez de Salamanca, first bishop of the island, arrived and established here his headquarters.

“In 1528 Panfilo de Narvaez set sail from here on his expedition for the conquest of Florida, where he met his fate and found a tomb.

“In 1528 Hernando de Soto arrived here with nearly one thousand men, having been authorised, in addition to the command of his Florida expedition, to assume that of the whole island of Cuba.

“In 1553 the city was captured by four hundred French arquebusiers, who took possession of it until a ransom of $80,000 was paid, the invaders remaining nearly a month in the city, and as late as 1592, so frequent were the attacks of pirates on this town, that it is related the place was almost depopulated by the inhabitants taking refuge at Bayamo, some distance in the interior.

“In 1608, the cathedral having been ruined by an earthquake, the Bishop Lalcedo removed his residence to Havana, and almost all the diocesans, as well as the ecclesiastical chapter, did the same, which action created great excitement, the superior governor and chief of the island opposing it.

“The Parroquial Church of Havana was about to be made into a cathedral, through the efforts of the prelate, Armen Dariz, but these were opposed by the captain-general, Pereda. The bishop then excommunicated said chief and all in his vicinity, all the clergy even going in procession to curse and stone his house.

“In 1662 there was a serious attack made upon the place [pg 382]by a squadron of fifteen vessels under Lord Winsor, whose people landed at the place now known as the ‘Aguadores,’ and to the number of eight hundred men marched without opposition on the city, of which they took possession, after repulsing a small force sent out to meet them. The invaders, it appears, partook freely of the church-bells, carried off the guns from the forts, took charge of the slaves, and not finding the valuables they anticipated, which had been carried off by the retreating inhabitants, they, in their disappointment, blew up the Morro Castle, and destroyed the cathedral, remaining nearly a month in possession of the city.

“It was not until 1663, therefore, that the castle now known as the Morro was rebuilt, by order of Philip I., and at the same time the fortresses of Santa Catalina, La Punta, and La Estrella.

“In July and August, 1766, a large portion of the city was ruined by earthquakes, more than one hundred persons being killed.

“The town has the honour of having for its first mayor, or ‘alcalde,’ Hernando Cortes; and it is said that the remains of Diego Velasquez, the first explorer and conqueror, were buried there in the old cathedral. It is related in corroboration of this fact, that on the 26th of November, 1810, on digging in the cemetery of the new cathedral, the broken slab of his tomb was found, seven and a half feet under ground, the inscription upon which is illegible, with the exception of a few Latin words giving name and date.”

[pg 383]



Porto Rico was discovered by Columbus in November, 1493. In 1510 Ponce de Leon founded the town of Caparra, soon after abandoned, and now known as Pureto Viejo, and in 1511, with more success, the city of San Juan Bautista, or better known simply as San Juan. The native inhabitants were soon subdued and swept away. In 1595 the capital was sacked by Drake, and in 1598 by the Earl of Cumberland. In 1615 Baldwin Heinrich, a Dutchman, lost his life in an attack on the Castello del Morro. The attempt of the English, in 1678, was equally unsuccessful, and Abercrombie, in 1797, had to retire after a three days’ strife. In 1820 a movement was made toward the declaration of independence on the part of the Porto Ricans, but Spanish supremacy was completely reëstablished by 1823. The last traces of slavery were abolished in 1873.

San Juan is the ideal city and spot of the whole island, saving that it is well fortified, for it is the coolest, the healthiest port, with thirty-eight feet of water in the harbour, and twenty-eight feet of water alongside the coal wharves. It is the only port on the island with fortifications. There are barracks in a few of the larger towns, but outside of the eight thousand or ten thousand troops there are very few fighting men on the island.

The volunteers are not looked upon as a great factor [pg 384]in fighting by those who know them, and are almost all Spaniards. The Guardia Civil is made up of the best of the Spanish army, and commands great respect. The Porto Rican civilians do not have to enter the army service unless they please, and very few of them please.

The defences of San Juan are good. San Felippe del Morro fortress is at the entrance of the harbour. It is the principal defence from the sea, and has three rows of batteries. It is separated by a strong wall from the city, which lies at the back of it, but communication between the city and fort is had by a tunnel.

The roads of Porto Rico are, for the most part, bad. There are some notable exceptions. There is a splendid road built by the Spanish government from Ponce to San Juan. It is about eighty-five miles long, and a young Porto Rican told the writer that he frequently went over it on his bicycle, and it was splendid all the way. Another road from Guayama, meeting the Ponce road at Cayey, has been recently finished. The scenery is the most beautiful in the West Indies, for tropical wild flowers are all over the island, and large tree ferns and magnificent plants everywhere abound. There are no venomous snakes nor wild animals of any kind in Porto Rico. Oranges and other tropical fruits thrive in Porto Rico, but they are not specially cultivated.

Some years ago a railway around the island was projected, but only three sections have been built. There is one to the north from San Juan to Camuy, one on the west from Aguadilla to Mayaguez, and one on the south from Yauco to Ponce. Any one wishing to travel around the coast from San Juan to Ponce would be obliged to continue their journey by stage-coaches, one from Camuy to Aguadilla, and one from Mayaguez to Yauco.

San Juan has about forty thousand inhabitants, and Ponce [pg 385]has almost thirty thousand. There are many towns of between twelve thousand and thirty thousand people. The buildings are low and are of wood. There are a few three-story buildings in Ponce, and these are the latest examples of modern construction.

[pg 386]



On the extreme southeastern coast of Cuba, some distance east of Santiago, is Guantanamo, or Cumberland Bay. It is an exceedingly beautiful sheet of water, with a narrow entrance, guarded by high hills. It extends twelve miles inland, with a level coast-line to the westward, and high hills on the north and east.

Five miles from the entrance is the little town of Caimanera, from which runs a railroad to the town of Guantanamo, twelve miles distant, with its terminus at the town of Jamaica. There are two and one-half square miles of anchorage, with a depth of forty feet, so far inside as to be fully protected from the wind. For vessels drawing twenty-four feet or less there are about two more square miles of harbourage.


See Appendix, Part A, for general description of the Philippine Islands and their inhabitants.
See Appendix B for types of war-ships and methods of signalling while in action.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Appendix A for description of Manila.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
See Chapter X.
For types of war-ships see Appendix B.
See Appendix C for description of Santiago Harbour.
See Chapter XVII.

Transcriber’s Note

The illustrations, which were printed on separate pages in the original edition, have been placed between paragraphs near the original positions, which can be seen in the list of illustrations.

The following changes have been made to the text:

page 19, “last of March” changed to “last days of January”
page 22, “Viscaya” changed to “Vizcaya”
page 51, “procotol” changed to “protocol”
page 80, italics added to “Baltimore’s”
page 80, “San Juan de Austria” changed to “Don Juan de Austria”
page 81, “Valasco” changed to “Velasco”
page 85, quote added before “Capt. Frank Wildes”
page 89, “flagship” changed to “flag-ship”
page 133, double “the” removed before “gunboat”
page 158, “first class” changed to “first-class”
page 166, “Albermarle” changed to “Albemarle”
page 194, “armored” changed to “armoured”
page 264, double quote removed after “dying.’”
page 270, “of” changed to “off”
page 309, “organized” changed to “organised”
page 321, “flag-staff” changed to “flagstaff”
page 370, “WARSHIPS” changed to “WAR-SHIPS”
page 383, “Mono” changed to “Morro”

Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling of names in citations has not been changed.



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