The Gatlings at Santiago
By John H. Parker

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Summoning the Enemy to Surrender

On the morning of the 3d 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 lines was desultory until stopped by my sending the following letter within the Spanish lines:

“Headquarters U. S. Forces, near San Juan River, “July 3, 1898–8:30 a. m.

“Sir,–I shall be obliged, unless you surrender, to shell Santiago de Cuba. Please inform the citizens of foreign countries, and all the women and children, that they should leave the city before 10 o’clock to-morrow morning.

“Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

“William R. Shafter, “Maj.-Gen. U. S. Vols. “The Commanding General of the Spanish Forces, Santiago de Cuba.”

To this letter I received the following reply:

“Santiago de Cuba, July 3, 1898.

“His Excellency the General Commanding Forces of the United States, near San Juan River:

“Sir,–I have the honor 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, or, in the 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 10 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 4th Corps.”

Several of the foreign consuls came into my lines and asked that the time given for them–the women and children–to depart from the city be extended until 10 o’clock on July 5th. This induced me to write a second letter, as follows:

“Santiago de Cuba, July 3d, 1898.

“Sir,–In consideration of a request of the consular officers in your city for further delay in carrying out my intentions to fire on the city, and in the interests of the poor women and children who will suffer very greatly by their hasty and enforced departure from the city, I have the honor to announce that I will delay such action, solely in their interests, until noon of the 5th, provided that during the interim your forces make no demonstration whatever upon those of my own.

“I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

“William R Shafter, “Maj.-Gen. U. S. A. “The Commanding General, Spanish Forces.”

My first message went under a flag of truce at 12:42 p.m. I was of the opinion that the Spaniards would surrender if given a little time, and I thought this result would be hastened if the men of their army could be made to understand they would be well treated as prisoners of war. Acting upon this presumption, I determined to offer to return all the wounded Spanish officers at El Caney who were able to bear transportation, and who were willing to give their paroles not to serve against the forces of the United States until regularly exchanged. This offer was made and accepted. These officers, as well as several of the wounded Spanish privates, twenty-seven in all, were sent to their lines under the escort of some of our mounted cavalry. Our troops were received with honors, and I have every reason to believe the return of the Spanish prisoners produced a good impression on their comrades.


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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