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The ship had hardly started when
the forts opened fire, and amid the thunder of artillery and a rain of
steel and bursting shells the boat with its eight brave heroes held on
its way, as steadily as if they knew not their danger. The channel was
reached, and the boat turned across the channel. The sea-doors were
opened and torpedoes exploded by the intrepid crew, sinking the vessel
almost instantly, but not in the position desired. As the ship went down
the men, with side-arms buckled on, took to a small boat, and, escape
being impossible, they surrendered to the enemy. It seems scarcely less
than a miracle that any of the eight men escaped, yet the fact remained
that not one of them was seriously injured. The Spaniards were so
impressed with this act of bravery and heroism that they treated the
prisoners with the utmost courtesy, confined them in Morro Castle, and
Admiral Cervera promptly sent a special officer, under a flag of truce,
to inform Admiral Sampson of their safety. The prisoners were kept
confined in Morro Castle for some days, when they were removed to a
place of greater safety, where they were held until exchanged on July


On the 6th of June the American fleet under Admiral Sampson bombarded
the forts of Santiago for about three hours. The gunners were all
instructed, however, to spare Morro Castle lest they should inflict
injury upon Hobson and his heroic companions, who were then confined
within its walls. Nearly all of the fortifications at the entrance of
the harbor were silenced. An examination after the fleet had withdrawn
revealed the fact that no lives were lost on the American side, and none
of the vessels were seriously injured. The Spanish ship _Reina Mercedes_
was sunk in the harbor, she being the only ship from the enemy's fleet
which ventured within the range of the American's guns.

The danger of entering the narrow harbor in the face of Cervera's fleet
rendered it necessary to take the city by land, and the government began
preparations to send General Shafter with a large force from Tampa to
aid the fleet in reducing the city. Some 15,000 men, including the now
famous Rough Riders of New York, were hurried upon transports, and under
the greatest convoy of gunboats, cruisers, and battleships which ever
escorted an army started for the western end of the island of Cuba.

But the honor of making the first landing on Cuban soil belongs to the
marines. It was on June the 10th, a few days before the army of General
Shafter sailed from Tampa, that a landing was effected by Colonel
Huntington's six hundred marines at Caimanera, Guantanamo Bay, some
distance east of Santiago. The object of this landing was twofold:
first, to secure a place where our war-ships could safely take on coal
from colliers, and, second, to unite if possible with the insurgents in
harassing the Spaniards until General Shafter's army could arrive.
Furthermore, Guantanamo Bay furnished the American ships a safe harbor
in case of storm.

In the whole history of the war few more thrilling passages are to be
found than the record of this brave band's achievements. The place of
landing was a low, round, bush-covered hill on the eastern side of the
bay. On the crest of the hill was a small clearing occupied by an
advance post of the Spanish army. When the marines landed and began to
climb the hill, the enemy, with little resistance, retreated to the
woods, and the marines were soon occupying the cleared space abandoned
by them. They had scarcely begun to compliment themselves on their easy
victory when they discovered that the retreat had only been a snare to
lure them into the open space, while unfortunately all around the
clearing the woods grew thick, and their unprotected position was also
overlooked by a range of higher hills covered with a dense undergrowth.
Thus the Spanish were able under cover of the bushes to creep close up
to our forces, and they soon began to fire upon them from the higher
ground of the wooded range. The marines replied vigorously to the fire
of their hidden foe, and thus continued their hit-and-miss engagement
for a period of four days and nights, with only occasional
intermissions. Perhaps the poor marksmanship of the Spaniards is to be
thanked for the fact that they were not utterly annihilated. On the
fourth day the Spanish gave up the contest and abandoned the field.


Major Henry C. Cochrane, second in command, states that he slept only an
hour and a half in the four days, and that many of his men became so
exhausted that they fell asleep standing on their feet with their rifles
in their hands. It is remarkable that during the four days the Americans
lost only six killed and about twenty wounded. The Spaniards suffered a
loss several times as great, fifteen of them having been found by the
Americans dead on the field. It is not known how many they carried away
or how many were wounded.


On June 13th troops began to leave Tampa and Key West for operations
against Santiago, and on June 20th the transports bearing them arrived
off that city. Two days later General Shafter landed his army of 16,000
soldiers at Daiquiri, a short distance east of the entrance to the
harbor, with the loss of only two men, and they by accident. Before the
coming of the troops the Spanish had evacuated the village of Daiquiri,
which is a little inland from the anchorage bearing the same name, and
set fire to the town, blowing up two magazines and destroying the
railroad roundhouse containing several locomotives. As the transports
neared the landing-place Sampson's ships opened fire upon Juragua,
engaging all the forts for about six miles to the west. This was done to
distract the attention of the Spanish from the landing soldiers, and was
entirely successful. After the forts were silenced the _New Orleans_ and
several gunboats shelled the woods in advance of the landing troops. The
soldiers went ashore in full fighting trim, each man carrying thirty-six
rations, two hundred rounds of ammunition for his rifle, and a

While the troops were landing at Daiquiri, the battleship _Texas_,
hitherto considered as an unfortunate ship by the attachés of the navy,
completely changed her reputation and distinguished herself by assailing
and silencing, unaided, the Spanish battery La Socapa at Santiago, which
had hitherto withstood the attacks against it, though all the ships of
Commodore Schley's command had twice fiercely bombarded it without
result. Captain Philip and his men were complimented in warm terms of
praise by Admiral Sampson. The _Texas_ was struck but once, and that by
the last shot from the Spanish fort, killing one man and wounding eight
others, seriously damaging the ship.




The most dramatic scene and the most destructive battle of the Spanish

On June 24th the force under General Shafter reached Juragua, and the
battle by land was now really to begin. It was about ten miles out from
Santiago, at a point known as La Guasima. The country was covered with
high grass and chaparral, and in this and on the wooded hills a strong
force of Spaniards was hidden. Lieutenant-Colonel Roosevelt's Rough
Riders, technically known as the First Volunteer Cavalry, under command
of Colonel Wood, were in the fight, and it is to their bravery and dash
that the glory of the day chiefly belongs. Troops under command of
General Young had been sent out in advance, with the Rough Riders on his
flank. There were about 1,200 of the cavalry in all, including the Rough
Riders and the First and Tenth Regulars. They encountered a body of two
thousand Spaniards in a thicket, whom they fought dismounted. The
volunteers were especially eager for the fight, and, perhaps due
somewhat to their own imprudence, were led into an ambuscade, as perfect
as was ever planned by an Indian. The main body of the Spaniards was
posted on a hill approached by two heavily wooded slopes and fortified
by two blockhouses, flanked by intrenchments of stones and fallen trees.
At the bottom of these hills run two roads, along one of which the Rough
Riders marched, and along the other eight troops of the Eighth and Tenth
Cavalry, under General Young. These roads are little more than gullies,
very narrow, and at places almost impassable. Nearly half a mile
separated Roosevelt's men from the Regulars, and it was in these trails
that the battle began.


For an hour they held their position in the midst of an unseen force,
which poured a perfect hail of bullets upon them from in front and on
both sides. At length, seeing that their only way of escape was by
dashing boldly at the hidden foe, Colonel Wood took command on the right
of his column of Rough Riders, placing Lieutenant-Colonel Roosevelt at
the left, and thus, with a rousing yell, they led their soldiers in a
rushing charge before which the Spaniards fled from the hills and the
victorious assailants took the blockhouses. The Americans had sixteen
killed and fifty-two wounded, forty-two of the casualties occurring to
the Rough Riders and twenty-six among the Regulars. It is estimated that
the Spanish killed were nearly or quite one hundred. Thirty-seven were
found by the Americans dead on the ground. They had carried off their
wounded, and doubtless thought they had taken most of the killed away


The victory of the Rough Riders and the Regulars at La Guasima, though
so dearly bought, stimulated the soldiers of the whole army with the
spirit of war and the desire for an opportunity to join in the conquest.
They had not long to wait. The advance upon Santiago was vigorously
prosecuted on the land side, while the ships stood guard over the
entrapped Spanish Admiral Cervera in the harbor, and, anon, shelled
every fort that manifested signs of activity.

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