The Gatlings at Santiago
By John H. Parker

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The Battle of Santiago

My own health was impaired by overexertion in the sun and intense heat of the day before, which prevented me from participating as actively in the battle as I desired; but from a high hill near my headquarters I had a general view of the battle-field, extending from El Caney on the right to the left of our lines on San Juan Hill. His staff officers were stationed at various points on the field, rendering frequent reports, and through them, by the means of orderlies and the telephone, I was enabled to transmit my orders. During the afternoon I visited the position of Grimes’ Battery on the heights of El Pozo, and saw Sumner and Kent in firm possession of San Juan Hill, which I directed should be intrenched during the night. My engineer officer, Lieut.-Col. Derby, collected and sent forward the necessary tools, and during the night trenches of very considerable strength were constructed.

During the afternoon, Maj. Dillenback, by my order, brought forward the two remaining batteries of his battalion and put them in position at El Pozo, to the left of Grimes. Later in the afternoon all three batteries were moved forward to positions near the firing-line, but the nature of the country and the intensity of the enemy’s small-arm fire was such that no substantial results were gained by our artillery in the new positions. The batteries were intrenched during the night. Gen. Duffield, with the 33d Michigan, attacked Aguadores, as ordered, but was unable to accomplish more than to detain the Spaniards in that vicinity.

After the brilliant and important victory gained at El Caney, Lawton started his tried troops, who had been fighting all day and marching much of the night before, to connect with the right of the cavalry division. Night came on before this movement could be accomplished. In the darkness the enemy’s pickets were encountered, and the division commander, being uncertain of the ground and as to what might be in his front, halted his command and reported the situation to me. This information was received about 12:30 a. m., and I directed Gen. Lawton to return by my headquarters and the El Pozo house as the only certain way of gaining his new position.

This was done, and the division took position on the right of the cavalry early next morning; Chaffee’s Brigade arriving first, about half-past seven, and the other brigades before noon.

On the night of July 1st, I ordered Gen. Duffield, at Siboney, to send forward the 34th Michigan and the 9th Massachusetts. Both of which had just arrived from the United States. These regiments reached the front the next morning. The 34th was placed in rear of Kent, and the 9th was assigned to Bates, who placed it on his left.

Soon after daylight on July 2d the enemy opened battle, but because of the intrenchments made during the night, the approach of Lawton’s Division, and the presence of Bates’ Brigade, which had taken position during the night on Kent’s left, little apprehension was felt as to our ability to repel the Spaniards.

It is proper here to state that Gen. Bates and his brigade had performed most arduous and efficient service, having marched much of the night of June 30th-July 1st, and a good part of the latter day, during which he also participated in the battle of El Caney, after which he proceeded, by way of El Pozo, to the left of the line at San Juan, reaching his new position about midnight.

All day on the 2d 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 10 p. m. the enemy made a vigorous assault to break through my lines, but he was repulsed at all points.


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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