The Gatlings at Santiago
By John H. Parker

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Negotiations With General Toral

On July 8th Gen. Toral offered to march out of the city with arms and baggage, provided he would not be molested before reaching Holquin, and to surrender to the American forces the territory then occupied by him. I replied that while I would submit his proposition to my home government. I did not think it would be accepted.

In the meanwhile arrangements were made with Admiral Sampson that when the Army again engaged the enemy the Navy would assist by shelling the city from ships stationed off Aguadores, dropping a shell every few minutes.

On July 10th the 1st Illinois and the 1st District of Columbia arrived and were placed on the line to the right of the Cavalry division. This enabled me to push Lawton farther to the right and to practically command the Cobre road.

On the afternoon of the date last mentioned the truce was broken off at 4 p.m., and I determined to open with four batteries of artillery and went forward in person to the trenches to give the necessary orders, but the enemy anticipated us by opening fire with his artillery a few minutes after the hour stated. His batteries were apparently silenced before night, while ours continued playing upon his trenches until dark. During this firing the Navy fired from Aguadores, most of the shells falling in the city. There was also some small arms firing. On this afternoon and the next morning, we lost Capt. Charles W. Rowell, 2d Infantry, and one man killed, and Lieut. Lutz, 2d Infantry, and ten men wounded.

On the morning of July 11th the bombardment by the Navy and my field guns was renewed, and continued until nearly noon, and on the same day I reported to the Adjutant General of the Army that the right of Ludlow’s brigade of Lawton’s division rested on the bay. Thus our hold upon the enemy was complete.

At 2 p. m. on this date, the 11th, the surrender of the city was again demanded. The firing ceased, and was not again renewed. By this date the sickness in the Army was increasing very rapidly, as a result of exposure in the trenches to the intense heat of the sun and the heavy rains. Moreover, the dews in Cuba are almost equal to rains. The weakness of the troops was becoming so apparent I was anxious to bring the siege to an end, but in common with most of the officers of the Army, I did not think an assault would be justifiable, especially as the enemy seemed to be acting in good faith in their preliminary propositions to surrender.

On July 11th I wrote to General Toral as follows:

“With the largely increased forces which have come to me and the fact that I have your line of retreat securely in my hands, the time seems fitting that I should again demand of your excellency the surrender of Santiago and of your excellency’s army. I am authorized to state that should your excellency so desire, the Government of the United States will transport the entire command of your excellency to Spain.”

General Toral replied that he had communicated my proposition to his General-in-Chief, General Blanco.

July 12th I informed the Spanish commander that Major General Miles, Commander-in-Chief of the American Army, had just arrived in my camp, and requested him to grant us a personal interview on the following day. He replied he would be pleased to meet us. The interview took place on the 13th, and I informed him his surrender only could be considered, and that as he was without hope of escape he had no right to continue the fight.

On the 14th another interview took place, during which General Toral agreed to surrender, upon the basis of his army, the 4th Army Corps, being returned to Spain, the capitulation embracing all of Eastern Cuba, east of a line passing from Aserraderos, on the south, to Sagua de Tanamo, on the north, via Palma, Soriano. It was agreed Commissioners should meet during the afternoon to definitely arrange the terms of surrender, and I appointed Major Generals Wheeler and Lawton and Lieutenant Miley to represent the United States.

The Spanish Commissioners raised many points, and were especially desirous of retaining their arms. The discussion lasted until late at night and was renewed at 9:30 o’clock next morning. The terms of surrender finally agreed upon included about 12,000 Spanish troops in the city and as many more in the surrendered district.

It was arranged that the formal surrender should take place between the lines on the morning of July 17th, each army being represented by 100 armed men. At the time appointed, I appeared at the place agreed upon, with my general officers, staff, and 100 troopers of the 2d Cavalry, under Captain Brett. General Toral also arrived with a number of his officers and 100 infantry. We met midway between the representatives of our two Armies, and the Spanish commander formally consummated the surrender of the city and the 24,000 troops in Santiago and the surrendered district.

After this ceremony I entered the city with my staff and escort, and at 12 o’clock, noon, the American flag was raised over the Governor’s palace with appropriate ceremonies.

The 9th Infantry immediately took possession of the city and perfect order was maintained. The surrender included a small gunboat and about 200 seamen, together with five merchant ships in the harbor. One of these vessels, the Mexico, had been used as a war vessel, and had four guns mounted on it.

In taking charge of the civil government, all officials who were willing to serve were retained in office, and the established order of government was preserved as far as consistent with the necessities of military rule.

I soon found the number of officials was excessive, and I greatly reduced the list, and some departments were entirely abolished.

A collector of customs, Mr. Donaldson, arrived soon after the surrender, and, due to his energy and efficiency, this department was soon working satisfactorily. The total receipts had, up to my departure, been $102,000.

On August 4th I received orders to begin the embarkation of my command and ship them to Montauk Point Long Island, New York. The movement continued without interruption until August 25th, when I sailed for Montauk with the last troops in my command, turning over the command of the district to Major General Lawton.


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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