The ships left the harbor in such perfect order as to surprise our enemy, from whom we have since received many enthusiastic compliments on this point.
Continuing The Cuban Campaign,
with a selection from Official Report by Pascual Cervera published in 1898. This selection is presented in 2.5 installments, each one 5 minutes long. For works benefiting from the latest research see the “More information” section at the bottom of these pages.
Pascual Cervera commanded the Spanish Fleet in Santiago.
First we conclude Theodore Roosevelt’s dispatch.
Previously in The Cuban Campaign.
Place: Santiago Area
To attempt to give a list of the men who showed signal valor would necessitate sending in an almost complete roster of the regiment. Many of the cases which I mention stand merely as examples: Captain Jenkins acted as major, and showed such conspicuous gallantry and efficiency that I earnestly hope he may be promoted to major as soon as a vacancy occurs. Of the rest, not as exceptions, Captains Lewellen, Muller, and Luna led their troops throughout the charges, handling them admirably. At the end of the battle Lieutenants Kane, Greenwood, and Good rich were in charge of their troops, immediately under my eye, and I wish particularly to commend their conduct throughout. Lieutenant Franz, who commanded his troop, also did well. Corporals Waller and Fortescue, and Trooper McKinley of Troop E, Corporal Rhoads of Troop D, Troopers Albertson, Winter, McGregor, and Ray Clark of Troop F, Troopers Rugbee, Jack son, and Waller of Troop A, Trumpeter McDonald of Troop L, Sergeant Hughes of Troop B, and Trooper Gerien, G Troop, all continued to fight after being wounded, some very severely; most of them fought until the end of the day. Trooper Oliver B. Nor ton of B, who with his brother was by my side throughout the charging, was killed while fighting with marked gallantry. Sergeant Ferguson, Corporal Lee, and Troopers Bell and Carroll of Troop K, Sergeant Dame of Troop E, Troopers Goodwin, Camp bell, and Dudley Dean and Trumpeter Foster of B, and Troopers Greenwald and Bardshas of A are all worthy of special mention for coolness and gallantry; they merit promotion when the opportunity comes.
But the most conspicuous gallantry was shown by Trooper Rouland. He was wounded in the side in our first fight, but kept in the firing-line; he was sent to the hospital next day, but left it and marched out to us, overtaking us, and fought all through this battle with such indifference to danger that I was forced again and again to rate and threaten him for running needless risk.
Great gallantry was also shown by four troopers whom I can not identify, and by Trooper Winston Clark of G. It was after we had taken our first hill. I had called out to rush the second, and, having by that time lost my horse, I climbed a wire fence and started toward it. After going two hundred yards under a heavy fire, I found that no one else had come; as I discovered later, it was simply because in the confusion, with men shooting and being shot, they had not noticed me start. I told the five men to wait a moment — as it might be misunderstood if we all ran back — until I ran back and started the regiment; and as soon as I did so the regiment came with a
rush. But meanwhile the five men coolly lay down in the open, returning the fire from the trenches. It is to be wondered at that only Clark was seriously wounded; and he called out as we passed again to lay his canteen where he could get it, but to continue the charge and leave him where he was. All the wounded had to be left until after the fight, for we could spare no men from the firing-line.
Lieutenant- Colonel U. S. Volunteer Cavalry
Now the dispatch from Pascual Cervera:
On the Sea,
On Board the St. Louis, July 9, 1898.
In compliance with your Excellency’s orders, aware of what had to happen, as I had so many times told you, I went out from Santiago harbor with the whole squadron under my command on the morning of the 3d day of July.
The instructions given for the sortie were as follows: The Infanta Maria Teresa, my flagship, was to go out first, followed by the Vizcaya, Colon, Oquendo, and destroyers, in the order named. The ships had all their fires spread and steam up. Upon going out the Teresa was to engage the nearest hostile ship, and the vessels following were to take a westerly course at full speed, with the Vizcaya at their head. The torpedo-boat destroyers were to keep out of the fire as much as possible, watching for a favorable opportunity, acting if it presented itself, and try to escape at their highest speed if the battle was against us. The ships left the harbor in such perfect order as to surprise our enemy, from whom we have since received many enthusiastic compliments on this point.
As soon as the Teresa went out, at 9.35 a.m., she opened fire on the nearest hostile ship, but shaping her course straight for the Brooklyn, which was to the southwest, for it was of the utmost importance to us to place this ship in a condition where she would not be able to make use of her superior speed. The rest of our ships engaged in battle with the other hostile ships, which at once came from the different points where they were stationed. The hostile squadron that day was composed of the following ships off Santiago harbor: The New York, Admiral Sampson’s flag ship; the Brooklyn, Commodore Schley’s flagship; the Iowa, Oregon, Indiana, Texas, and other smaller ships, or rather trans-atlantic steamers and converted yachts.
Immediately after leaving the harbor entrance the squadron took the course prescribed and a general battle ensued, in which we were at a great disadvantage, not only owing to our inferior number, but to the condition of our armament and 5.5-inch am munition, of which I notified your Excellency in the telegram I sent you when placing myself under your orders. There was no doubt in my mind as to the outcome, although I did not think that our destruction would be so sudden.
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