War with Spain - Charles Morris

Events After the Surrender

With the raising of the stars and stripes over the governor's palace at Santiago, a remarkable change came upon that ancient city. Not many days before its inhabitants had been streaming outward in hopeless misery and destitution. Now they came hurrying back, many of them with smiling faces and hopeful hearts. The streets, silent and deserted on the day of the surrender were thronged with people; the houses, many of which had" been looted by the Spanish soldiers, were occupied by their former inmates; life in the deserted city had begun again. The roads were still filled with the home-coming refugees, plodding wearily but hopefully onward.

In the city most of the people were gathered about the wharves, where the Red Cross steamer, the State of Texas, was unloading food for the needy. There were few signs of gloom on the faces of these people. Mercurial in disposition, they gazed with lively interest on the activity in the harbor, while smiles wreathed their faces at the prospect of getting other food than rice and salt meat. Of the better class of inhabitants, however, few had returned. Their houses were closed, and they remained at E1 Caney and their other places of refuge. Everywhere filth was in evidence in the streets, the odors were the reverse of salubrious, and all could see that to fit Santiago for American residence radical" sanitary work needed to be done.

In addition to the Red Cross steamer, several other large steamers were unloading cargoes of supplies and provisions, numbers of vessels flying the stars and stripes lay in the harbor, small boats were plying briskly to and fro, and everywhere bustle and activity replaced the recent death-like quiet of the scene. The great sheds along the water-front were being packed with merchandise, and the large stores rented on Marina Street were steadily receiving goods. A revival of commercial activity seemed to have been suddenly inaugurated. The electric-light plant was working, the ice-factory was busy, and the water-supply pipes were being repaired. Miss Barton was rapidly distributing supplies to the hungry and destitute, and, as with the turn of a kaleidoscope, the aspect of the whole city had changed.

Between the American and Spanish soldiers the best of good feeling prevailed. A few days before they had been doing their best to kill one another: now they met and mingled on the most friendly terms, victors and vanquished alike glad that the period of strife was at an end, and the horrors of the siege were things of the past. The narrow, cobble-paved streets, grilling in the fierce sunshine, were filled with groups of chatting Spanish soldiers and of laughing and rollicking Americans, while about the plaza facing the palace and in the numerous airy cafes the officers of the opposing armies lounged and fraternized. The saloons remained closed by order of the military governor, to prevent the quarrels likely to arise from drunkenness, but business of other kinds showed marked symptoms of revival. Busiest of all were the pawnshops, which were doing a rushing business, goods of all kinds being offered by the people, the officers tendering for smal1loans their medals, spurs, and swords, and the civil employees their gold-headed canes of office. These in turn were bought by American officers and soldiers at fancy prices. Machetes in particular were purchased in numbers as souvenirs of tile war.

An amusing story is told of one way in which the needy Castilian cavalry provided themselves with American coin. Knowing that they would have to turn over their horses to the Americans as part of the spoils of victory, they contrived to do so in a profitable manner. It stood to reason that the invading soldiers would be glad of a meal of fresh meat after their diet of salt bacon and hardtack, and for a time meat was to be had in abundance at good prices at the local restaurants, until the hungry soldiers began to suspect that they were dining on horse-steaks, when the demand suddenly ceased. Then for a few days an active business went on in the sale of horses on the hoof, the chivalrous Spaniards deeming it better to sell cheap than to give up for nothing. As a result, when General Toral turned over the horses of his army on July 24, the sum total of Spanish steeds delivered was one hundred and forty-nine.

General McKibben had been appointed temporary military governor of the city. He was succeeded by Colonel Wood, of the Rough Riders, who at once began a sanitary work that was sadly needed. The narrow streets, the malodorous alleys and by-ways of the city, were encumbered with refuse of every kind to an indescribable extent, while drainage and sanitary conditions in general were absolutely lacking. The people had lived for centuries in disregard of the simplest laws of hygiene, considering yellow fever a mysterious dispensation of Providence, and the only cleaning the city ever got came in the flushing of its streets by the fierce summer rains. Hundreds of carts were soon at work carrying the filth from the streets, and orders were given that every house should at once be cleaned, inside and out, an order which produced very inadequate results. In people who have been born and reared in filth, belief in the virtues of sanitation cannot be instilled in a day.

Soldier's life--washing clothes in the stream.


Meanwhile, the Americans, while making the Spanish their friends, were making the Cubans their enemies. Bad blood had existed between them almost from the start, and it grew as the days went on. The Cubans, while brave enough in their own way, were not used to the open fighting of the Americans, and did not shine in the methods of regular warfare. The American soldiers soon began to look upon them with contempt which was changed to anger when their Cuban allies refused to lend their aid in road-making and hospital labors, preferring the pleasanter task of disposing of rations, an enjoyment of which they had long been deprived. The insurgents were not as black as they were painted. The number of their wounded in the hospitals indicated that they had not feared to face the bullets of the enemy. The difficulty was perhaps largely due to ignorance of the language and misunderstanding of orders. But their evident disinclination to exert themselves in any useful way excited a scorn in the Americans which they took little pains to conceal.

This difficulty between the soldiers was followed by one between their leaders, General Garcia taking deep offence because he had not been consulted in the terms of surrender and the subsequent steps for the government of the city. General Shafter personally invited him to go with him into the city, on the occasion of the surrender, but he declined, sending the message, "I cannot be your guest under the Spanish flag!' His leading cause of offence, however, was that the Spanish civil officers were left in power. It was explained that these officials were retained only until it would be convenient to change them for others, but this explanation did not suffice to heal his wounded feelings.

"The trouble with General Garcia was," said General Shafter, "that he expected to be placed in command at this place; in other words, that we would turn the city over to him. I explained to him fully that we were at war with Spain, and that the question of Cuban independence could not be considered by me. Another grievance was that, finding that several thousand men marched in without opposition from General Garcia, I extended my own lines in front of him and closed up the gap, as I saw that I had to depend upon my own men for any effective investment of the place."

Shafter explained his attitude in a conciliatory letter to Garcia, but it failed to placate the offended Cuban general, who withdrew with his forces and marched inwards towards Holguin, an interior town with a considerable Spanish garrison. He proposed to resume the war of the insurrection on his own account, and cut loose from these American invaders, whom he conceived to be conducting the war for themselves. "I have the most kindly feeling for General Garcia," said Shafter, "and sincerely regret that he has found cause for complaint, and that he should feel offended because he was not permitted to be a signatory party to the Spanish surrender. It is idle, however, to argue the point, for, no matter how warmly one may sympathize with the Cubans, the proposition to install them in power immediately after the surrender of the Spanish is untenable, and lacks support among Cubans themselves."

Shafter not alone declined to place the Cubans in immediate power, but also failed to include any of them among the military guard in charge of the city, fearing evil results from their bitter hostility to the Spanish and a possible sacking of the deserted houses. This added to Garcia's injured feeling and was another inciting cause in his removal of his troops. His action was not likely to prove to the advantage of the Cubans, as it added strength to the growing belief that they were not to be trusted in control, and that the United States would have to hold the reins of military rule over the island until its .people had proved themselves capable of self-rule and the amenities of modem government.

While this state of affairs ruled at Santiago, events of some interest were taking place elsewhere on the island. General Gomez., the Cuban commander-in-chief, had apparently remained dormant during the war, leaving all active operations to his subordinate; but on July 3 an expedition landed a large cargo of supplies for his army at Palo Alto, on the southern coast. It was the final expedition for the aid of the insurgents, and did not succeed in its purpose without risk and loss, Captain Nunez, brother of General Emilio Nunez, being killed in the attempt to land.

On July 21 the last important naval engagement on the Cuban coast took place, four American war-ships entering the harbor of Nipe, on the northeast coast of Santiago province, where, after a furious bombardment, they took possession of the port. The vessels engaged were the Topeka, Annapolis, Wasp, and Leyden. The place was defended by three forts and the Spanish gun-boat Jorge Juan, the latter being attacked by the Topeka, which sent 4-inch shells crushing into her at such a rate that she went to the bottom within twenty minutes. The forts were as easily silenced, and the riflemen who had taken part in the engagement were quickly put to flight. The bay of Nipe, thus taken, is a large land-locked harbor, almost directly north of Santiago and about fifty miles distant. It lies two days nearer than Santiago to Key West and other American ports, has harborage for a host of vessels, and is a place which may become of much commercial importance under American control.

Meanwhile, the several garrisons included in General Toral's capitulation were one by one making their submission and marching to the camp at Santiago. Guantanamo was among the last to yield, its garrison, six: thousand men in number, bringing the total of captives up to Toca1's estimate of nearly twenty-three thousand men. The sending of this large body of prisoners to Spain in accordance with the terms of the capitulation was the next thing to be considered. It was not deemed safe to trust American transports within Spanish ports, and bids were asked from the shipmasters of neutral powers. An unlooked-for result followed, the lowest bid coming from Spain itself, the successful bidder being the Compania Transatlantica Espanola, of Barcelona. The fact that this was a Spanish company proved no hindrance; it was given the contract, and at once began preparations for conveying the Spanish soldiers home in Spanish ships. They were to be sent without their arms, the United States government holding in abeyance as yet the recommendation of the commissioners to honor them by a return of the arms which they had so bravely used.

There remained another problem to be solved. On the coast of Cuba lay the wrecks of Spain's four best ships, the armored cruisers which had gone down in their daring rush for liberty. Two of these, the Vizcaya  and the Almirante Oquendo, were wrecked beyond repair, so torn by shell and ruined by flame and explosion that they were useless hulks. But the remaining two were in much better condition, and might be saved as useful additions to the navy of the United States. It was thought possible to float the Maria Teresa  without serious difficulty. The Cristobal Colon  was in a more critical state. Little hurt as she was by shot or shell, she had been filled by the opening of her sea-valves, and lay upon her beam ends sunk upon a very shelving beach, where she was sure to be totally lost if a hurricane should arise. The task of raising her was given to Lieutenant Hobson, of Merrimac  fame, who proposed to do so by the aid of external pontoons and internal air-bags, and also by pumping the water from her watertight compartments.

In Santiago a special commission was appointed to investigate the city prison, the Commissioners finding instances of gross injustice and criminal negligence which fully justified the rending of the city from the cruel hands of Spain. The prison records and the questioning of prisoners revealed shameful examples of injustice,—men and women having been thrown into cells and kept there for years without a trial for such a petty offence as speaking disrespectfully of the Spanish government. In many instances all records of the charges against untried prisoners had been lost, the witnesses had died, the existing officials were ignorant why they were held, and in some cases the prisoners themselves had forgotten. One man named Jose Silvera, for a petty theft, the maximum penalty for which was six months' imprisonment, had been detained for fourteen years. Other cases of crying injustice were found, and the prisoners thus foully dealt with were released. It seemed indeed full time that the colonial dominion of Spain was brought to an end and mediaevalism replaced by modem civilization on Cuban soil.

"While these events were taking place in and about Santiago, the army of invasion had fallen into a deplorable state. By men accustomed to the temperate climate of the north and exposed to the scorching suns and drenching rains of a Cuban summer, with little shelter from: the humid atmosphere and the water-soaked soil, sickness could not well be avoided, and was likely to prove more dangerous than the bullets of the enemy. The difficulty of making the men observe sanitary precautions added to the danger, and febrile disorders of a malarial character soon began to spread among the troops. The dreaded yellow fever, a disease indigenous to the soil; was not long in making its appearance; probably through infection from the Santiago refugees, and fear of its rapid spread among the troops hastened the negotiations for the surrender of the Spanish army.

The wounded were in less peril than the sick. Fortunately for them, the Mauser rifle, used by the Spanish soldiers, makes what surgeons call a "humane wound." During the Civil War, when a man was shot through the lungs by a bullet from a Springfield rifle, he was almost sure to die in a few days or a few months from consumption, pneumonia, or other affections brought on by the wound. This is not the case with the Mauser bullet, which does not lacerate the parts, and does not crush bones so as to render amputation necessary. If not struck ill a mortal spot, the wounded man is very apt to recover. Antiseptic treatment, which was practised in this war to an extent probably never before known in warfare, also had much to do with the remarkable percentage of recoveries of our men. A small package marked "first aid to the wounded" was carried in the hip-pocket of each of the soldiers, and proved a most fortunate provision in the deficiency of medical supplies. It enabled the doctors at once to apply an antiseptic dressing to the wounds, causing them to heal without the appearance of inflammation or the formation of pus. The results were remarkable, the large percentage of recoveries among the wounded being perhaps unequalled in any preceding war. The lack of medical supplies seems to have been more a misfortune than a fault of the surgical authorities. They had been brought in abundance ill the transports, but ill the general difficulty of landing the first attention had been given to the munitions of war, and the transports had been moved to make room for others before their medicines and surgical instruments were put on shore. The means for making wounds were given precedence; the means for healing wounds were left untouched in the holds of the ships. This was due mainly to the haste and confusion of the operations, though General Shafter did not escape blame through failure to respond satisfactorily to the appeals of the surgeons for aid in landing and transporting their stores.

It was fortunate for the wounded that an improved method of treatment was adopted, for the arrangements for their comfort were of the most wretched character. The tents provided were far too few to accommodate the suffering, and many of the wounded soldiers were obliged to lie in the open air, exposed to a scorching sun-bath during part of the day and drenched with rain during the remainder. At Siboney little better provision was made, many of the wounded being obliged to lie on the water-soaked ground. The more severely wounded, however, were soon taken north on hospital-ships, leaving only the lighter cases to be dealt with on Cuban soil.

Meanwhile, sickness was increasing with a rapidity that soon became alarming, nearly five thousand of the troops, almost a fourth part of the whole army, being down with various diseases by August 1. Three-fourths of these were cases of fever, and yellow fever had grown angerously prevalent. When this state of affairs became known in the North, a sharp criticism of the War Department arose, this branch of government being considered responsible for the condition of the army, which was believed to be due to lack of proper care and foresight. The trouble was not confined to Cuba, for at Camp Alger, in the immediate vicinity of Washington, typhoid fever had become epidemic, and had existed since the formation of the camp. Therewas excellent reason to believe that the, water-supply was contaminated and that the soldiers were being unnecessarily kept in a dangerous locality.

As the unfortunate situation at the front became better known, the adverse criticism grew more stringent, Secretary of War Alger and Surgeon-General Sternberg being sharply denounced by many newspapers, while General Shafter by no means escaped. Dr. Nicholas Senn, chief of the operating staff of the army at Santiago, and a man of the highest reputation in his profession, made the following incriminating statement, under date of July 17:

"SIBONEY, CUBA, July 17.

"In the present war with Spain every one knew that our army would be exposed to an unusual extent to disease and the debilitating effect of the tropical climate of Cuba. The invasion of the province of Santiago: meant certain exposure to yellow fever infection. The commanding general must have been aware of this. It is said the seafaring men along the coast of Cuba fear Santiago more than any other port. Yellow fever reigns there more or less throughout the entire year. At Siboney and Baiquiri it is known as 'hill fever.' It appears that the precautions outlined by Colonel Greenleaf, chief surgeon of the army in the field, were entirely, ignored by the commander of the invading force.

"I was more than astonished when I arrived at Siboney, on July 7, to find that thousands of refugees, from infected districts were permitted to enter the camps unmolested and mingle freely with our unsuspecting' soldiers. All along the road, from the base of operations to the line of intrenchments, could be seen at short intervals scenes which were sure to bring about disastrous results. Our soldiers, in a strange land and among strange people, enjoyed at first the novelty, and were free in buying the fruits of the land and exchanging coins, not knowing how dearly they would be called upon to pay for such a questionable privilege. Houses: and huts in which yellow fever had raged were visited, freely, and the dangerous germs of the disease were inhaled, as a matter of course. The results of such intimate association of our susceptible troops with the; natives could be readily foreseen.

"It required only the usual time for the disease to make its appearance, and when it did so it was not in a single place, but all along the line from our intrenchments to Siboney.

"Dr. Guiteras, the yellow fever expert, recognized a few of the cases on the day of my arrival. He is extremely cautious, and will only make a positive diagnosis in cases in which albumen is exhibited in combination with the usual symptoms which accompany the disease. On the recommendation of Dr. Guiteras, our isolation hospital was established a mile and a half from Siboney,' and in less than three days it contained more than one hundred yellow-fever patients, among them General Duffield, of Michigan, and Professor Victor C. Vaugbn, of the University of Michigan.

"During my first visit to the front I found two hundred fever patients.near the First Division Hospital, most of them under shelter tents, others lying on the moist ground with nothing but a wet blanket to protect them.

"The appearance of yellow fever cases in such a short time, in such large numbers, and originating in so many different localities simultaneously proved a source of surprise and alarm to the medical officers. They realized the danger and the necessity for the employment of most energetic measures, but this could not be done without a hearty co-operation on the part of the general in command.

"Major Lagarde applied to General Shafter for a detail of a company of infantry to aid him in fighting the disease. His request was promptly denied, under the pretence that all of the troops available were needed more at the front than in the rear. This action left the major powerless in checking the extension of the disease. Fortunately, Major-General Miles arrived in the nick of time, and with him Colonel Greenleaf, chief surgeon of the army in the field.

"Colonel Greenleaf made the same request of General Shafter for troops to aid him in gaining control of the disease, but it was ignored as peremptorily as that of Major Lagarde. He now turned to General Miles, who placed at his disposal not only a battalion, but a whole regiment of colored troops.

"The work of sanitation was then taken earnestly in hand At present there are about eight hundred cases of yellow fever here. Fortunately the disease is of a mild type, the number of deaths being small. General Miles has done everything in his power to aid the medical officers in limiting and weeding out the disease."

Correspondents with the army gave similar testimony, declaring that no precautions were taken to ward off yellow fever from the troops; that ambulances and supply-wagons were used to carry sick refugees and afterwards employed, without disinfection, for the conveyance of our wounded; and that, if those in charge had specially desired to infect the regiments, they could not have adopted more effective methods. Only the fortunate circumstance mentioned by Dr. Senn, that the type of fever proved to be an extremely mild one, deaths being few and convalescence rapid, saved the army from a disaster greater than that of war.

As the days went on and the number of the sick rapidly increased, the public excitement grew, enhanced by the persistent charges that red tape and official incompetency were largely responsible for the reprehensible state of affairs. As regards this condition, further evidence was given on August 4 by the Rev. Drs. Henry C. McCook and Joseph Krauskopf, who had just returned from a visit to Santiago on behalf of the National Relief Commission. Dr. McCook gave the following account of his experiences:

"The army was in an awful condition. The medical supplies were almost exhausted, some of the most important remedies being absolutely run out. Many of the doctors were sick. Of the sick men in camp there was not one on a cot. There were no supplies, not even a change of clothing for the men that were stricken. They lay on the ground in their blankets, which the rains kept constantly in a damp or soaked condition. Once or twice a day came the torrential rains to drench them, and make them even more miserable than they would be from the sickness alone. Hundreds of men with dysentery and typhoid lay in this wretched condition. With one-quarter of the army on the sick-list and a large part of the remainder convalescent, with pestilence among them, with the sun smiting them by day, and the rains keeping them damp in spite of the sun, with nature exhausted after the long battle, with inadequacy of supplies and hospital equipments and clothing, and with lack of variety of food, the army was facing a terrible situation.

"It was but the natural result of this awful condition of affairs that, as we went among the soldiers, we heard this appeal on all sides: 'Do you know the President or the Secretary? Won't you tell him for God's sake to take us away from here? We are worn out, broken down, and we never will get well until we get a breath of other air.' They were all anxious to get away, for they felt that to stay there would mean death.

"Yet there was remarkable resolution left in the men, for all that I believe if there had been a call to fight the troops would have been found ready. The conditions that surrounded them appalled them more than the prospect of battle could have done. They were discouraged and drooping, but if they had heard the bugle they would have gone in with a good deal of vim.

"We at once went about the work of relieving the suffering that existed. Too great credit cannot be given to Major Summers, the surgeon, who went with us on the Resolute. He simply threw red tape to the winds. No sooner had we landed than surgeons of the various commands came to the ship for medicines and other supplies. The government stores were in charge of Major Summers, but he told the surgeons to take what they wanted. He comprehended that the first thing was to relieve the distress, and he didn't stop to consider requisitions and other forms of red tape. He told the surgeons he would take their receipts the following day, and they helped themselves to what was needed."

Dr. Krauskopf gave similar testimony, stating that fearful blunders had been made, and that the medical supplies and delicacies sent by the Commission had arrived just in time to save many lives. "The troops are all weak and totally unfit for work," he said.

These converging testimonies as to the scandalous condition of affairs in the army at Santiago, and the denunciation of government officials that followed, at length aroused the War Department to action. On August 3 General Shafter called the commanding and medical officers of the army together for conference, and read them a cable message which he had just received from Secretary Alger, ordering him, on the recommendation of Surgeon-General Sternberg, to move the army to San Luis, in the interior, a higher and presumably healthier location.

This order, while apparently sufficient to meet the situation in the opinion of the officials named, proved the reverse of satisfactory to the army leaders, from whom it called forth energetic protests. Colonel Roosevelt was the first to give voice to the prevailing sentiment in the following letter to General Shafter:


In a meeting of the general and medical officers called by you at the palace this morning we were all, as you know, unanimous in our view of what should be done with the army. To keep us here, in the opinion of every officer commanding a division or brigade, will simply involve the destruction of thousands. There is no possible reason for not shipping, practically, the entire command north at once.

"Yellow fever cases are very few in the cavalry division, where I command one of the two brigades, and not one true case of yellow fever has occurred in this division, except among the men sent to the hospital at Siboney, where they have, I believe, contracted it. But in this division there have been fifteen hundred cases of malarial fever. Not a man has died from it, but the whole command is so weakened and shattered as to be ripe for dying like rotten sheep when a real yellow fever epidemic, instead of a fake epidemic like the present, strikes us, as it is bound to do if we stay here at the height of the sickness season, August and the beginning of September. Quarantine against malarial fever is much like quarantining against the toothache.

"All of us are certain, as soon as the authorities at Washington fully appreciate the conditions of the army, to be sent home. If we are kept here, it will in all human possibility mean an appalling disaster, for the surgeons here estimate that over half the army, if kept here during the sickly season, will die. This is not only terrible from the stand-point of the individual lives lost, but it means ruin from the stand-point of the military efficiency of the flower of the American army, for the great bulk of the regulars are here with you.

"The sick-list, large though it is, exceeding four thousand, affords but a faint idea of the debilitation of the army. Not ten percent are fit for active work. Six weeks on the north Maine  coast, for instance, or elsewhere, where the yellow fever germ cannot possibly propagate, would make us all as fit as fighting cocks, able as we are eager to take a leading part in the great campaign against Havana in the fall, even if we are not allowed to try Porto Rico.

"We can be moved north, if moved at once, with absolute safety to the country, although, of course, it would have been infinitely better if we had been moved north or to Porto Rico two weeks ago. If there were any object in keeping us here, we would face yellow fever with as much indifference as we face bullets, but there is no object in it. The four immune regiments ordered here are sufficient to garrison the city and surrounding towns, and there is absolutely nothing for us to do here, and there has not been since the city surrendered. It is impossible to move into the interior. Every shifting of camp doubles the sick rate in our present weakened condition, and, anyhow, the interior is rather worse than the coast, as I have found by actual reconnoissance. Our present camps are as healthy as any camps at this end of the island can be.

"I write only because I cannot see our men who fought so bravely, and who have endured the extreme hardship and danger so uncomplainingly, go to destruction without striving, so far as lies in me, to avert a doom as fearful as it is unnecessary and undeserved.

"Yours respectfully,

"THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Colonel Commanding First Brigade."

This energetic demand broke the ice of military etiquette. The remaining leading officers of the army were thoroughly in sympathy with Colonel Roosevelt in this view, and expressed their sentiments in an unusual and decisive manner. This took the form of a sort of "Round Robin" communication to the commanding general, signed by all the general officers, saying that the army must be moved at once or perish," that to move it to the interior would be as bad as to leave it where it was, and that anyone who stood in the way of its removal north would be responsible for its virtual destruction. It read as follows:

"We, the undersigned, officers commanding the various brigades, divisions, etc., of the army of occupation in Cuba, are of the unanimous opinion that this army should be at once taken out of the island of Cuba and sent to some point on the northern sea-coast of the United States; that it be done without danger to the people of the United States; that yellow fever in the army at present is not epidemic; that there are only a few sporadic cases; but that the army is disabled by malarial fever to the extent that its efficiency is destroyed, and that it is in a condition to be practically entirely destroyed by an epidemic of yellow fever, which is sure to come in the near future.

"We know from the reports of competent officers and from personal observations that the army is unable to move into the interior, and that there are no facilities for such a move if attempted, and that it could not be attempted until too late. Moreover, the best medical authorities of the island say that with our present equipment we could not live in the interior during the rainy season without losses from malarial fever, which is almost as deadly as yellow fever.

"This army must be moved at once or perish. As the army can be safely moved now, the persons responsible for preventing such a move will be responsible for the unnecessary loss of many thousands of lives.

"Our opinions are the result of careful personal observation, and they are also based on the unanimous opinion of medical officers with the army, who understand the situation absolutely.

"J. FORD KENT, Major-General Volunteers, Commanding First Division, Fifth Corps.
"J. C. BATES, Major-General Volunteers, Commanding Provisional Division
"ADNA R. CHAFEE, Major-General, Commanding Third Brigade, Second Division.  
"SAMUEL S. SUMNER, Brigadier-General Volunteers, Commanding First Brigade Cavalry.
"WILL LUDLOW, Brigadier-General Volunteers, Commanding First Brigade, Second Division. 
"ADELBERT AMES, Brigadier-General Volunteers, Commanding Third Brigade. First Division. 
"LEONARD WOOD, Brigadier-General Volunteers, Commanding the City of Santiago. 
"THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Colonel, Commanding Second Cavalry Brigade." 

Many of the critics of the War Department held that the slowness of action on the part of that branch of the government was due to a purpose of questionable character. General Miles was at that time in the island of Porto Rico at the head of a large army, which seemed more than sufficient, in view of the feeble opposition, to make a rapid conquest of the island. The War Department, nevertheless, proposed to reinforce him with General Wade's division of troops, and held back a number of transports for that purpose. The critics of the Department declared that this expedition was wholly uncalled for, and that the movement was based upon political instead of military reasons. It was spoken of as a picnic at the expense of the government for the pleasure of the soldiers, who were expected to respond with ballots instead of bullets.

The sarcastic comments of the press, in connection with a message from General Miles, saying "Do not send me any more troops," put an end to the proposed expedition, while the emphatic action of the generals at Santiago broke up the leisurely movement of departmental routine, and roused the officials to a realizing sense of the situation. The transports which had been intended for Wade's men were ordered to proceed with all haste to Santiago, and those which had been used for Miles's army were sent to the same point, the whole being held sufficient to carry from twelve thousand to fifteen thousand men. All clothing and bedding likely to be infected were ordered to be destroyed, all men who were suffering from yellow fever or other infectious diseases to be left behind, and every precaution to be taken for the safe and healthy carriage of the men to their destination.

The convalescent camp selected was at Montauk Point, Long Island, where a tract of land three miles square had been secured. It was said to possess many sanitary advantages, including excellent drinking water, a lake of considerable dimensions, and facilities for fresh-water bathing.

Adverse criticism soon found new food for comment in the way the direction to take precautions for the safe and healthy carriage of the men was carried out. The transport Concho, which reached Hampton Roads on August 1, with officers, non-commissioned officers, and Nurses, was found to be in a most horrible condition, due to the lack of water, food, and medicine on the ship. There was no ice on the steamer and no water except the stale supply taken on in early June at Santiago. The only food consisted of coarse army rations utterly unfit for sick men to eat. Of medicine, there was only a scant supply of quinine, camphor, and sulphur. For thirty-eight hours the bodies of three dead men lay uncovered under the saloon, yielding a terrible stench. The health officer at Hampton Roads refused permission to bury these on shore, and the ship had to put to sea, two others dying in the meantime. "I believe if the men had had proper food and medicines all of them would have been alive to-day," said one of the staff on board. "I never saw such blundering in my life." "The food given the sick men would have sickened well men," said the doctor in charge. "Men who had just recovered from yellow fever should have had better food than hardtack and beans."

The condition of the Concho should have served as a useful object-lesson in the conveyance of the sick soldiers to Montauk Point, but those in charge do not seem to have availed themselves of the lesson. Following the Concho came the Seneca, marked by little less scandalous conditions. Other transports open to severe criticism were the Breakwater, the Santiago, the Comal, and the San Marco. It was evident not only that some one had blundered," but also that some one kept blundering. And a new series of blunders cropped out at the Montauk Point camp, where the first soldiers who landed found no preparations for their reception, while the excellent water promised was conspicuously absent. Days passed before proper tentage was provided and the camp was supplied with palatable water, while the food supply was composed of the ordinary army rations, no delicacies suitable for the sick being provided.

The situation at Camp Alger called for as radical measures of relief as that at Santiago. Here were twenty thousand men exposed to unsanitary conditions and visited by a serious epidemic of typhoid fever. It was not until August:2 that an order for their removal to a healthier location was given, the old battle-site of Manassas being chosen for their new camp. The march was conducted in the bungling fashion which seemed to have become epidemic in the army, the officers in charge erring seriously through ignorance or carelessness. The troops were moved, but their food-supplies were not moved with them, the supply-wagons starting twelve hours after the march began, so that the men went to bed hungry and their rations failed to reach them until sunrise of the following day. The medicine-chests were similarly wanting, and in the whole movement the lack of a directing head was painfully apparent.

The soldiers at Chickamauga soon proved to be no better off. Sickness appeared and increased there until the camp was a veritable pest-hole, the water-supply, never very abundant, growing daily more and more contaminated, until it seemed, if something were not speedily done, that all the soldiers present would be prostrated with typhoid fever and other dangerous diseases. In truth, sickness had invaded and was increasing in all the camps, and immediate action for relief was imperatively necessary.

The disposition in the public press to hold the War Department responsible for all these evidences of carelessness and incompetency was perhaps unwarranted. Inexperienced and negligent subordinates have a habit of blundering in spite of the wisest and most judicious orders, and for such delinquencies as that shown in the march to Manassas only the officers in charge could justly be held responsible. The lack of suitable supplies on the transports was perhaps due to a similar cause. Yet when we consider the many and varied evidences of incompetency and neglect, we cannot but consider the general directing head in some degree culpable,—in how large a degree only a full investigation can determine.

After detailing the criticisms to which Secretary Alger was subjected, we must in justice let him speak for himself, quoting from a letter written by him on August 13, and which described the great and multifarious labors of the Department during the war:

"There is nothing young men in robust health are so prodigal of as their health until it is gone. Men go into camp feeling that they can stand anything and everything, and cannot be made to believe to the contrary, and are stricken with disease. Every effort has been made from the beginning to furnish every camp with all appliances asked for, but of course the commanding officers in the field are the ones who have the direct charge of these men.

"For instance, one army corps commander has given orders, and enforces them, respecting sanitary affairs, and he had to-day but a fraction over two percent on the sick-list. Others have been less successful, and the consequence is typhoid and other fevers have been bred and spread to a considerable extent. One regiment in the Chickamauga camp has a colonel who enforces sanitary rules in his regiment, obliging the men to boil all the water they drink, keeping the camp cleanly, and the result,—less than twenty-five sick, and his camp, too, in as unfavorable a place as any in the command. Others more favorably situated have ten times that number on the sick-list. One of the regiments of the last call, not yet removed from its State, sends bitter complaints of typhoid fever.

Concerning the Santiago campaign, when the ships left Tampa they had on board three months' provisions and an abundance of hospital supplies. They had lighters to unload with at points of debarkation. These lighters were lost in severe storms on the way. As soon as we were notified of the fact two tows of lighters were sent from Mobile and New Orleans, which were also overtaken by storm and lost. The navy supplied us with lighters, and one of these was wrecked. The army disembarked, getting off a portion of its supplies and medical stores, and immediately marched to the front to fight the Spaniards.

"The great difficulty of landing supplies subsequently was that the wind sprang up every morning at ten and made a high surf, rendering almost impossible the use of small boats, with one lighter, which was all they had left for this purpose. Of the packers who were employed, sixty percent soon fell sick, and heavy rains falling every day, the roads (if they could be called such) became impassable for vehicles, and pack-animals had to be employed to carry food to the army, which, being extended to the right around Santiago, increased the distance from the coast every day and made the task more difficult.

"Everything that human ingenuity could devise has been done to succor that army,—not the ingenuity of the Secretary of War, but the result of the combined counsel of those who have had a life-long experience in the field. That some men have been neglected on transports coming home there is no doubt, —all against positive orders, due, perhaps, to carelessness and negligence, but largely on account of not having the medical force to spare (many of whom were sick) from the camp at Santiago. Many medical officers sent with transports were taken ill on the way home."

This chapter may be suitably closed with the recital of an incident that formed part of the series of events described. On July 23 Colonel Roosevelt wrote to Secretary Alger, with the approval of General Wheeler, asking him to send the cavalry division, including the Rough Riders, who are as good as any regulars, and three times as good as any State troops, to Porto Rico." This division, with the other regiments of Rough Riders, would make nearly four thousand men, "who would be worth easily any ten thousand national guards armed with black powder Springfields or other archaic weapons."

This communication brought a tart reply from the Secretary of War, sent in the form of a cable message, after the date of the "Round Robin." It said,

"Your letter of 23rd is received. The regular army, the volunteer army, and the Rough Riders have done well, but I suggest that, unless you want to spoil the effects and glory of your victory, you make no invidious comparisons. The Rough Riders are no better than any other volunteers. They had an advantage in their arms, for which they ought to be very grateful.

"R. A. ALGER, Secretary of War."

The sharpness of this rebuke was not uncalled for in the character of Colonel Roosevelt's letter, but the making public such a reply to a private letter exposed Secretary Alger to severe animadversion in the hostile press, which seemed disposed to attribute it to spite at Roosevelt's implied criticism of the War Department in his communication to General Shafter. However that may be, we cannot but look upon the outspoken colonel as the right man in the right place when we consider the quick and important effect of his action.