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On June 25th, Sevilla,
within sight of Santiago, was taken by General Chaffee, and an advance
upon the city was planned to be made in three columns by way of Altares,
Firmeza, and Juragua. General Garcia with 5,000 Cuban insurgents had
placed himself some time before at the command of the American leader.
On the 28th of June another large expedition of troops was landed, so
that the entire force under General Shafter, including the Cuban allies,
numbered over 22,000 fighting men.

The enemy fell back at all points until the right of the American column
was within three miles of Santiago, and by the end of June the two
armies had well-defined positions. The Spanish intrenchments extended
around the city, being kept at a distance of about three and one-half
miles from the corporation limits. The trenches were occupied by about
12,000 Spanish soldiers, and there were some good fortifications along
the line.

It was the policy of General Shafter to distribute his forces so as to
face this entire line as nearly as possible. A week was consumed, after
the landing was completed, in making these arrangements and in sending
forward the artillery, during which time the battle of La Guasima,
referred to, with some minor affairs, had occurred. Meantime the ships
of Admiral Sampson had dragged up the cables and connected them by
tap-wires with Shafter's headquarters, thus establishing communication
directly with Washington from the scene of battle.


THE BATTLES OF SAN JUAN AND EL CANEY.

The attack began July 1st, involving the whole line, but the main
struggle occurred opposite the left centre of the column on the heights
of San Juan, and the next greatest engagement was on the right of the
American line at the little town of El Caney. These two points are
several miles apart, the city of Santiago occupying very nearly the apex
of a triangle of which a line connecting these two positions would form
the base. John R. Church thus described the battles of July 1st and 2d:

"El Caney was taken by General Lawton's men after a sharp contest and
severe loss on both sides. Here as everywhere there were blockhouses
and trenches to be carried in the face of a hot fire from Mauser
rifles, and the rifles were well served. The jungle must disturb the
aim seriously, for our men did not suffer severely while under its
cover, but in crossing clearings the rapid fire of the repeating
rifles told with deadly effect. The object of the attack on El Caney
was to crush the Spanish lines at a point near the city and allow us
to gain a high hill from which the place could be bombarded if
necessary. In all of this we were entirely successful. The engagement
began at 6.40 A.M., and by 4 o'clock the Spaniards were forced to
abandon the place and retreat toward their lines nearer the city. The
fight was opened by Capron's battery, at a range of 2,400 yards, and
the troops engaged were Chaffee's brigade, the Seventh, Twelfth, and
Seventeenth Infantry, who moved on Caney from the east; Colonel
Miles' brigade of the First, Fourth, and Twenty-fifth Infantry,
operating from the south; while Ludlow's brigade, containing the
Eighth and Twenty-second Infantry and Second Massachusetts, made a
detour to attack from the southwest. The Spanish force is thought to
have been 1,500 to 2,000 strong. It certainly fought our men for nine
hours, but of course had the advantage of a fort and strong
intrenchments.

"The operations of our centre were calculated to cut the
communications of Santiago with El Morro and permit our forces to
advance to the bay, and the principal effort of General Linares, the
Spanish commander in the field, seems to have been to defeat this
movement. He had fortified San Juan strongly, throwing up on it
intrenchments that in the hands of a more determined force would have
been impregnable.

"The battle of San Juan was opened by Grimes' battery, to which the
enemy replied with shrapnell. The cavalry, dismounted, supported by
Hawkins' brigade, advanced up the valley from the hill of El Pozo,
forded several streams, where they lost heavily, and deployed at the
foot of the series of hills known as San Juan under a sharp fire from
all sides, which was exceedingly annoying because the enemy could not
be discerned, owing to the long range and smokeless powder. They were
under fire for two hours before the charge could be made and a
position reached under the brow of the hill. It was not until nearly
4 o'clock that the neighboring hills were occupied by our troops and
the final successful effort to crown the ridge could be made. The
obstacles interposed by the Spaniards made these charges anything but
the 'rushes' which war histories mention so often. They were slow and
painful advances through difficult obstacles and a withering fire.
The last 'charge' continued an hour, but at 4.45 the firing ceased,
with San Juan in our possession.

"The Spaniards made liberal use of barbed-wire fencing, which proved
to be so effective as a stop to our advance that it is likely to
take its place among approved defensive materials in future wars. It
was used in two ways: Wires were stretched near the ground to trip up
our men when on the run. Beyond them were fences in parallel lines,
some being too high to be vaulted over.

"The object of our attack was a blockhouse on the top of the hill of
San Juan, guarded by trenches and the defenses spoken of, a mile and
a half long. Our troops advanced steadily against a hot fire
maintained by the enemy, who used their rifles with accuracy, but did
not cling to their works stubbornly when we reached them. San Juan
was carried in the afternoon. The attack on Aguadores was also
successful, though it was not intended to be more than a feint to
draw off men who might otherwise have increased our difficulties at
San Juan. By nightfall General Shafter was able to telegraph that he
had carried all the outworks and was within three-quarters of a mile
of the city.

"Though the enemy's lines were broken in the principal places, they
yielded no more than was forced from them, and the battle was resumed
on the 2d. The last day saw our left flank resting on the bay and our
lines drawn around the city within easy gun-fire. Fears were
entertained that the enemy would evacuate the place, and the right
flank was pushed around to the north and eventually to the northwest
of the city."

In the fight at San Juan General Linares, commanding the Spanish forces
in Santiago, was severely wounded, and transferred the command to
General Josť Toral, second in authority.


THE DESTRUCTION OF CERVERA'S FLEET.

During the previous two days' fight by land the fleet of Admiral Cervera
in Santiago harbor had taken an active part in shelling our positions,
with no inconsiderable effect; and General Shafter, largely on this
account, had about despaired of taking the city, with the force at his
command. In fact, he went so far on the morning of July 3d as to
telegraph Washington that his losses had been greatly underestimated,
that he met with stronger resistance than he had anticipated, and was
seriously considering falling back to a position five miles to the rear
to await reinforcements. He was also anxious for an interview with
Admiral Sampson. The fleet had been shelling the enemy during the two
days' fight, but it was necessary that the navy and army should have an
understanding; and at 8.30 o'clock on Sunday morning Admiral Sampson
with his flagship _New York_ steamed eastward for the purpose of
conferring with the general.

[Illustration: THE OREGON.

One of the most renowned ships of the American Navy is the mighty
Battleship Oregon. Her famous run from San Francisco around Cape Horn to
take part in the Battle of Santiago has never been equalled by any
battleship in the world's history. After she won fame in the destruction
of Cervera's fleet she was ordered to Manila by Admiral Dewey "for
political reasons" and remained there throughout the Philippine War
hurling her 13-inch shells into the Insurgent ranks when occasion
required.]

General Miles telegraphed General Shafter, in response to his request to
hold his position, that he would be with him in a week with strong
reinforcements; and he promptly started two expeditions, aggregating
over 6,000 men, which reached Santiago on the 8th and 10th
respectively, in time to witness the closing engagements and surrender
of the city. But fortune again favored our cause and completely changed
the situation, unexpectedly to the American commanders of the land and
naval forces.

It was on Sunday morning, July 3d, just before Sampson landed to meet
Shafter, that Admiral Cervera, in obedience to commands from his home
government, endeavored to run his fleet past the blockading squadron of
the Americans, with the result that all of his ships were destroyed,
nearly 500 of his men killed and wounded, and himself and about 1,300
others were made prisoners. This naval engagement was one of the most
dramatic and terrible in all the history of conflict upon the seas, and,
as it was really the beginning of the end of what promised to be a long
and terrible struggle, it was undoubtedly the most important battle of
the war.

[Illustration: REAR-ADMIRAL WINFIELD SCOTT SCHLEY.]

It had been just one month, to a day, since Hobson sunk the _Merrimac_
at the harbor's mouth to keep Cervera in, and for nearly one month and a
half the fleets of Schley and Sampson had lain, like watch-dogs before
the gate, without for one moment relaxing their vigilance. The quiet of
Sunday morning brooded over the scene. Even the winds seemed resting
from their labors and the sea lay smooth as glass. For two days before,
July 1st and 2d, the fleets had bombarded the forts of Santiago for the
fourth time, and all the ships, except the _Oregon_, had steam down so
low as to allow them a speed of only five knots an hour.



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