The Gatlings at Santiago
By John H. Parker

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Operations After Santiago–our Losses

The cessation of firing about noon on the 3d practically terminated the battle of Santiago; all that occurred after this time may properly be treated under the head of the siege which followed. After deducting the detachments required at Siboney and Baiquiri to render those depots secure from attack, organizations held to protect our flanks, others acting as escorts and guards to light batteries, the members of the Hospital Corps, guards left in charge of blanket-rolls which the intense heat caused the men to cast aside before entering battle, orderlies, etc., it is doubtful if we had more than 12,000 men on the firing-line on July 1, when the battle was fiercest and when the important and strong positions of El Caney and San Juan were captured.

A few Cubans assisted in the attack at El Caney, and fought valiantly, but their numbers were too small to materially change the strength, as indicated above. The enemy confronted us with numbers about equal to our own; they fought obstinately in strong and intrenched positions, and the results obtained clearly indicate the intrepid gallantry of the company officers and men, and the benefits derived from the careful training and instruction given in the company in the recent years in rifle practice and other battle exercises. Our losses in these battles were 22 officers and 208 men killed, and 81 officers and 1,203 men wounded; missing, 79. The missing, with few exceptions, reported later.

The arrival of Gen. Escario on the night of July 2d, and his entrance into the city was not anticipated, for although it was known, as previously stated, that Gen. Pando had left Manzanillo with reinforcements for the garrison of Santiago, it was not believed his troops could arrive so soon. Gen. Garcia, with between 4,000 and 5,000 Cubans, was intrusted with the duty of watching for and intercepting the reinforcement expected. This, however, he failed to do, and Escario passed into the city along on my extreme right and near the bay. Up to this time I had been unable to complete investment of the town with my own men; but to prevent any more reinforcements coming in or the enemy escaping. I extended my lines as rapidly as possible to the extreme right, and completed the investment of the place, leaving Gen. Garcia’s forces in the rear of my right flank to scout the country for any approaching Spanish reinforcements, a duty which his forces were very competent to perform.

It had been reported that 8,000 Spanish troops had left Holquin for Santiago. It was also known that there was a considerable force at San Luis, twenty miles to the north.

In the battle of Santiago the Spanish navy endeavored to shell our troops on the extreme right, but the latter were concealed by the inequalities of the ground, and the shells did little, if any, harm. Their naval forces also assisted in the trenches, having 1,000 on shore, and I am informed they sustained considerable loss; among others, Admiral Cervera’s chief-of-staff was killed. Being convinced that the city would fall, Admiral Cervera determined to put to sea, informing the French consul it was better to die fighting than to sink his ships. The news of the great naval victory which followed was enthusiastically received by the Army.

The information of our naval victory was transmitted under flag of truce to the Spanish commander in Santiago on July 4th, and the suggestion again made that he surrender to save needless effusion of blood.

On the same date I informed Admiral Sampson that if he would force his way into the harbor the city would surrender without any further sacrifice of life. Commodore Watson replied that Admiral Sampson was temporarily absent, but that in his (Watson’s) opinion the Navy should not enter the harbor.

In the meanwhile letters passing between Gen. Toral and myself caused the cessation of hostilities to continue. Each army, however, continued to strengthen its intrenchments. I was still of the opinion the Spaniards would surrender without much more fighting, and on July 6th called Gen. Toral’s attention to the changed conditions, and at his request gave him time to consult his home government. This he did, asking that the British consul, with the employees of the cable company, be permitted to return from El Caney to the city. This I granted.

The strength of the enemy’s position was such I did not wish to assault if it could be avoided.

An examination of the enemy’s works, made after the surrender, fully justifies the wisdom of the course adopted. The intrenchments could only have been carried with very great loss of life, probably with not less than 6,000 killed and wounded.


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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