The Gatlings at Santiago
By John H. Parker

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“G. O. 5

“The following troops will hold themselves in readiness to move immediately on board transports upon notification from these headquarters:

“1. The 5th Army Corps.

“2. The Battalion of Engineers.

“3. The detachment of the Signal Corps.

“4. Five squadrons of cavalry, to be selected by the commanding general of the cavalry division, in accordance with instructions previously given.

“5. Four batteries of light artillery, to be commanded by a major, to be selected by the commanding officer of the light artillery brigade.

“6. Two batteries of heavy artillery, to be selected by the commanding officer of the siege artillery battalion, with eight (8) guns and eight (8) field mortars.

“7. The Battalion of Engineers, the infantry and cavalry will be supplied with 500 rounds of ammunition per man.

“8. All troops will carry, in addition to the fourteen (14) days’ field rations now on hand, ten (10) days’ travel rations.

“9. The minimum allowance of tentage and baggage as prescribed in G. O. 54, A. G. O., c. s., will be taken.

“10. In addition to the rations specified in paragraph 8 of this order, the chief commissary will provide sixty (60) days’ field rations for the entire command.

“11. All recruits and extra baggage, the latter to be stored, carefully piled and covered, will be left in camp in charge of a commissioned officer, to be selected by the regimental commander. Where there are no recruits available, the necessary guard only will be left.

“12. Travel rations will be drawn at once by the several commands, as indicated in paragraph 8.

“By command of Maj.-Gen. Shafter.

“E. J. McClernand, “A. A. G.”

This order was afterwards changed to include twelve squadrons of cavalry, all of which were dismounted because of lack of transportation for the animals, and because it was believed, from the best sources of information obtainable, that mounted cavalry could not operate efficiently in the neighborhood of Santiago. This was found subsequently to be correct.

The facilities at Tampa and Port Tampa for embarking the troops and the large amount of supplies required were inadequate, and with the utmost effort it was not possible to accomplish this work as quickly as I hoped and desired.

On the evening of June 7th I received orders to sail without delay, but not with less than 10,000 men.

The orders referred to caused one division, composed of Volunteer troops, commanded by Brig.-Gen. Snyder, and which it had been intended to include in my command, to be left behind. I was joined, however, by Brig.-Gen. Bates, who had already arrived on transports from Mobile, Ala., with the 3d and 20th Infantry and one squadron of the 2d Cavalry with their horses, the latter being the only mounted troops in my command.

After some of them had already reached the lower bay, telegraphic instructions were received from the honorable Secretary of War, directing that the sailing of the expedition be delayed, waiting further orders. This delay was occasioned by the Navy reporting that a Spanish war vessel had been sighted in the Nicholas Channel. The ships in the lower bay were immediately recalled. On the next day, in compliance with instructions from the adjutant-general of the Army, the necessary steps were taken to increase the command to the full capacity of the transports, and the expedition sailed on June 14th with 815 officers and 16,072 enlisted men.

The passage to Santiago was generally smooth and uneventful. The health of the command remained remarkably good, notwithstanding the fact that the conveniences on many of the transports, in the nature of sleeping accommodations, space for exercise, closet accommodations, etc., were not all that could have been desired. While commenting upon this subject, it is appropriate to add that the opinion was general throughout the Army that the travel ration should include tomatoes, beginning with the first day, and that a small quantity of canned fruit would prove to be a most welcome addition while traveling at sea in the tropics. If the future policy of our Government requires much transportation for the military forces by sea, definite arrangements should be determined upon to provide the necessary hammock accommodations for sleeping. Hammocks interfere immeasurably less than bunks with the proper ventilation of the ships and during the day can be easily removed, thus greatly increasing space for exercise; moreover, they greatly diminish the danger of fire.

While passing along the north coast of Cuba one of the two barges we had in tow broke away during the night, and was not recovered. This loss proved to be very serious, for it delayed and embarrassed the disembarkation of the army. On the morning of June 20th we arrived off Guantanamo Bay, and about noon reached the vicinity of Santiago, where Admiral Sampson came on board my headquarters transport. It was arranged between us to visit in the afternoon the Cuban general (Garcia) at Aserraderos, about eighteen miles to the west of the Morro. During the interview Gen. Garcia offered the services of his troops, comprising about 4,000 men in the vicinity of Aserraderos and about 500, under Gen. Castillo, at the little town of Cujababo, a few miles east of Baiquiri. I accepted his offer, impressing it upon him that I could exercise no military control over him except, such as he would concede, and as long as he served under me I would furnish him rations and ammunition.


Preface  •  Chapter I: L’Envoi  •  Chapter II: Inception  •  Chapter III: Inception  •  Chapter IV: The Voyage and Disembarkation  •  Chapter V: The March  •  Chapter VI: The Battery in Camp Wheeler  •  Chapter VII: The Battle  •  Chapter VIII: Tactical Analysis of the Battles At Santiago  •  Chapter IX: The Volunteers  •  Chapter X: The Sufferings of the Fifth Army Corps  •  Chapter XI: The Cause  •  Chapter XII: The Voyage Home and the End of the Gatling Gun Detachment  •  Appendix I  •  Appendix II  •  “G. O. 5  •  Disembarkation in Cuba  •  “G. O. 18  •  Preparing For the Advance  •  The Battle of El Caney  •  The Battle of Santiago  •  Summoning the Enemy to Surrender  •  Operations After Santiago–our Losses  •  Negotiations With General Toral  •  Difficulties Encountered in the Campaign  •  Appendix III

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By John H. Parker
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