The Path of Empire,
Carl Russell Fish

Part 2 out of 4

By the middle nineties thoughtful students of contemporary
movements were aware that a new epoch in national history was
approaching. What form this national development would take was,
however, still uncertain, and some great event was obviously
required to fix its character. Blaine's Pan-Americanism had
proved insufficient and, though the baiting of Great Britain was
welcome to a vociferous minority, the forces making for peace
were stronger than those in favor of war. Whatever differences
there were did not reach to fundamentals but were rather in the
nature of legal disputes between neighbors whom a real emergency
would quickly bring to the assistance of each other. A crisis
involving interest, propinquity, and sentiment, was needed to
shake the nation into an activity which would clear its views.

At the very time of the Venezuela difficulty, such a crisis was
taking shape in the Caribbean. Cuba had always been an object of
immediate concern to the United States. The statesmen of the
Jeffersonian period all looked to its eventually becoming part of
American territory. Three quarters of a century before, when the
revolt of the Spanish colonies had halted on the shores of the
mainland, leaving the rich island of Cuba untouched, John Quincy
Adams, on April 28, 1823, in a lengthy and long-considered
dispatch to Mr. Nelson, the American Minister to Spain, asserted
that the United States could not consent to the passing of Cuba
from the flag of Spain to that of any other European power, that
under existing conditions Cuba was considered safer in the hands
of Spain than in those of the revolutionaries, and that the
United States stood for the maintenance of the status quo, with
the expectation that Cuba would ultimately become American

By the late forties and the fifties, however, the times had
changed, and American policy had changed with them. It was
becoming more and more evident that, although no real revolution
had as yet broken out, the "Pearl of the Antilles" was bound to
Spain by compulsion rather than by love. In the United States
there was a general feeling that the time had at last come to
realize the vision of Jefferson and Adams and to annex Cuba. But
the complications of the slavery question prevented immediate
annexation. As a slave colony which might become a slave state,
the South wanted Cuba, but the majority in the North did not.

After the Civil War in the United States was over, revolution at
length flared forth in 1868, from end to end of the island.
Sympathy with the Cubans was widespread in the United States. The
hand of the Government, however, was stayed by recent history.
Americans felt keenly the right of governments to exert their
full strength to put down rebellion, for they themselves were
prosecuting against Great Britain a case based on what they
contended was her too lax enforcement of her obligations to the
American Government and on the assistance which she had given to
the South. The great issue determined the lesser, and for ten
years the United States watched the Cuban revolution without
taking part in it, but not, however, without protest and
remonstrance. Claiming special rights as a close and necessarily
interested neighbor, the United States constantly made
suggestions as to the manner of the contest and its settlement.
Some of these Spain grudgingly allowed, and it was in part by
American insistence that slavery was finally abolished in the
island. Further internal reform, however, was not the wish and
was perhaps beyond the power of Spain. Although the revolution
was seemingly brought to a close in 1878, its embers continued to
smolder for nearly a score of years until in 1895 they again
burst into flame.

War in Cuba could not help affecting in a very intimate way the
people of the United States. They bought much the greater part of
the chief Cuban crops, sugar and tobacco. American capital had
been invested in the island, particularly in plantations. For
years Cubans of liberal tendencies had sent their sons to be
educated in the United States, very many of whom had been
naturalized before returning home. Cuba was but ninety miles from
Florida, and much of our coastwise shipping passed in sight of
the island. The people of the United States were aroused to
sympathy and to a desire to be of assistance when they saw that
the Cubans, so near geographically and so bound to them by many
commercial ties, were engaged against a foreign monarchy in a
struggle for freedom and a republican form of government. Ethan
Allen headed a Cuban committee in New York and by his historic
name associated the new revolution with the memory of the
American struggle for freedom. The Cuban flag was displayed in
the United States, Cuban bonds were sold, and volunteers and arms
were sent to the aid of the insurgents.

Owing to the nature of the country and the character of the
people, a Cuban revolution had its peculiarities. The island is a
very long and rugged mountain chain surrounded by fertile,
cultivated plains. The insurgents from their mountain refuges
spied out the land, pounced upon unprotected spots, burned crops
and sugar mills, and were off before troops could arrive. The
portion of the population in revolt at any particular time was
rarely large. Many were insurgents one week and peaceful citizens
the next. The fact that the majority of the population
sympathized with the insurgents enabled the latter to melt into
the landscape without leaving a sign. A provisional government
hurried on mule-back from place to place. The Spanish Government,
contrary to custom, acted at this time with some energy: it put
two hundred thousand soldiers into the island; it raised large
levies of loyal Cubans; it was almost always victorious; yet the
revolution would not down. Martinez Campos, the "Pacificator" of
the first revolution, was this time unable to protect the plains.
In 1896 he was replaced by General Weyler, who undertook a new
system. He started to corral the insurgents by a chain of
blockhouses and barbed wire fences from ocean to sea--the first
completely guarded cross-country line since the frontier walls of
the Roman Empire in Europe and the Great Wall of China in Asia.
He then proceeded to starve out the insurgents by destroying all
the food in the areas to which they were confined. As the
revolutionists lived largely on the pillage of plantations in
their neighborhood, this policy involved the destruction of the
crops of the loyal as well as of the disloyal, of Americans as
well as of Cubans. The population of the devastated plantations
was gathered into reconcentrado camps where, penned promiscuously
into small reservations, they were entirely dependent upon a
Government which was poor in supplies and as careless of
sanitation as it was of humanity. The camps became pest-holes,
spreading contagion to all regions having intercourse with Cuba,
and in vain the interned victims were crying aloud for succor.

This new policy of disregard for property and life deeply
involved American interests and sensibilities. The State
Department maintained that Spain was responsible for the
destruction of American property by insurgents. This Spain
denied, for, while she never officially recognized the insurgents
as belligerents, the insurrection had passed beyond her control.
This was, indeed, the position which the Spanish Treaty Claims
Commission subsequently took in ruling that to establish a claim
it would be necessary to show that the destruction of property
was the consequence of negligence upon the part of Spanish
authorities or of military orders. Of other serious grievances
there was no doubt. American citizens were imprisoned, interned
in reconcentrado camps, and otherwise maltreated. The nationality
of American sufferers was in some cases disputed, and the
necessity of dealing with each of these doubtful cases by the
slow and roundabout method of complaint to Madrid, which referred
matters back to Havana, which reported to Madrid, served but to
add irritation to delay. American resentment, too, was fired by
the sufferings of the Cubans themselves as much as by the losses
and difficulties of American citizens.

One change of extreme importance had taken place since the Cuban
revolt of 1868-78. This was the development of the modern
American newspaper. It was no longer possible for the people at
large to remain ignorant of what was taking place at their very
doors. Correspondents braved the yellow fever and imprisonment in
order to furnish the last details of each new horror. Foremost in
this work were William Randolph Hearst, who made new records of
sensationalism in his papers, particularly in the New York
Journal, and Joseph Pulitzer, proprietor of the New York World.
Hearst is reported to have said that it cost him three millions
to bring on the Spanish American War. The net result of all this
newspaper activity was that it became impossible for the American
people to remain in happy ignorance of what was going on in the
world. Their reaction to the facts was their own.

President Cleveland modeled his policy upon that of Grant and
Grant's Secretary, Hamilton Fish. He did not recognize the
independence of the Cuban republic, for that would have meant
immediate war with Spain; nor did he recognize even its
belligerency. Public men in the United States were still
convinced that Great Britain had erred in recognizing the
belligerency of the Southern Confederacy, and consistency of
foreign policy demanded that the Government should not accord
recognition to a Government without a navy, a capital, or fixed
territory. This decision made it particularly difficult for the
President to perform his acknowledged duty to Spain, of
preventing aid being sent from the United States to the
insurgents. He issued the proper proclamations, and American
officials were reasonably diligent, it is true, but without any
of the special powers which would have resulted from a recognized
state of war they were unable to prevent a leakage of supplies.
As a result General Weyler had some ground for saying, though
with characteristic Spanish extravagance, that it was American
aid which gave life to the revolt.

President Cleveland energetically pressed all cases involving
American rights; he offered mediation; he remonstrated against
the cruelty of Weyler's methods; he pointed out that the United
States could not forever allow an island so near and so closely
related to be in flames without intervention. Spain, however,
assumed a rather lofty tone, and Cleveland was able to accomplish
nothing. Senator Lodge and other Republicans violently attacked
his policy as procrastinating, and the nation as a whole looked
forward with interest to the approaching change in administration.

William McKinley, who became President on March 4, 1897, was not
actively interested in foreign affairs. This he illustrated in a
striking way by appointing as Secretary of State John Sherman of
Ohio, a man of undoubtedly high ability but one whose whole
reputation rested upon his financial leadership, and who now, at
the age of seventy-four, was known to be incapacitated for
vigorous action. To the very moment of crisis, McKinley was
opposed to a war with Spain; he was opposed to the form of the
declaration of war and he was opposed to the terms of peace which
ended the war. Emphatically not a leader, he was, however,
unsurpassed in his day as a reader of public opinion, and he
believed his function to be that of interpreting the national
mind. Nor did he yield his opinion in a grudging manner. He
grasped broadly the consequences of each new position which the
public assumed, and he was a master at securing harmonious
cooperation for a desired end.

The platform of the Republican party had declared: "The
Government of Spain having lost control of Cuba, and being unable
to protect the property or lives of resident American citizens,
or to comply with its treaty obligations, we believe that the
Government of the United States should actively use its influence
and good offices to restore peace and give independence to the
island." With this mandate, McKinley sought to free Cuba,
absolutely or practically, while at the same time maintaining
peace with Spain. On June 26, 1897, Secretary Sherman sent a note
to the Spanish Minister, protesting against the Spanish methods
of war and asserting that "the inclusion of a thousand or more of
our own citizens among the victims of this policy" gives "the
President the right of specific remonstrance, but in the just
fulfillment of his duty he cannot limit himself to these formal
grounds of complaint. He is bound by the higher obligation of his
representative office to protest against the uncivilized and
inhuman conduct of the campaign in the island of Cuba. He
conceives that he has a right to demand that a war, conducted
almost within sight of our shores and grievously affecting
American citizens and their interests throughout the length and
breadth of the land, shall at least be conducted according to the
military codes of civilization."

Negotiations between the United States and Spain have always been
peculiarly irritating, owing to temperamental differences between
the two peoples. McKinley, however, had in mind a program for
which there was some hope of success. He was willing to agree to
some form of words which would leave Spain in titular possession
of the island, thereby making a concession to Spanish pride, for
he knew that Spain was always more loath to surrender the form
than the substance. This hope of the President was strengthened,
towards the end of 1897, by a dramatic incident in the political
life of Spain. On the 8th of August, the Spanish Prime Minister,
the Conservative Antonio Canovas del Castillo, was assassinated,
and was succeeded on the 4th of October by the Liberal, Praxedes
Mateo Sagasta.

The new Spanish Government listened to American demands and made
large promises of amelioration of conditions in Cuba. General
Blanco was substituted for General Weyler, whose cruelty had made
him known in the American press as "the Butcher"; it was
announced that the reconcentrado camps would be broken up; and
the Queen Regent decreed the legislative autonomy of Cuba.
Arrangements had been made for the handling of minor disputes
directly with the Governor-General of Cuba through the American
Consul General at Havana, General Fitzhugh Lee. On December 6,
1897, McKinley, in his annual message to Congress, counseled
patience. Convinced of the good intentions of the new Spanish
Government, he sought to induce American public sentiment to
allow it time to act. He continued nevertheless to urge upon
Spain the fact that in order to be effective action must be

Public sentiment against Spain grew every day stronger in the
United States and was given startling impulse in February, 1898,
by two of those critical incidents which are almost sure to occur
when general causes are potent enough to produce a white heat of
popular feeling. The Spanish Minister in the United States, Senor
Dupuy de Lome, had aroused the suspicion, during his summer
residence on the north shore of Massachusetts Bay, that he was
collecting information which would be useful to a Spanish fleet
operating on that coast. Whether this charge was true or not, at
any rate he wrote a letter to a friend, a Madrid editor visiting
Havana, in which he characterized McKinley as a vacillating and
timeserving politician. Alert American newspaper men, who
practically constituted a secret service of some efficiency,
managed to obtain the letter. On February 9, 1898, De Lome saw a
facsimile of this letter printed in a newspaper and at once
cabled his resignation. In immediately accepting De Lome's
resignation Spain anticipated an American demand for his recall
and thus saved Spanish pride, though undoubtedly at the expense
of additional irritation in the United States, where it was
thought that he should have been punished instead of being
allowed to slip away.

Infinitely more serious than this diplomatic faux pas was the
disaster which befell the United States battleship Maine: On
January 24, 1898, the Government had announced its intention of
sending a warship on a friendly visit to Havana; with the desire
of impressing the local Cuban authorities with the imminence of
American power. Not less important was the purpose of affording
protection to American citizens endangered by the rioting of
Spaniards, who were angry because they believed that Sagasta by
his conciliatory policy was betraying the interests of Spain.
Accordingly the Maine, commanded by Captain Sigsbee, was
dispatched to Cuba and arrived on the 25th of January in the
harbor of Havana. On the night of the 15th of February, an
explosion utterly wrecked the vessel and killed 260 of the crew,
besides wounding ninety.

The responsibility for this calamity has never been positively
determined. It may have resulted from an accidental internal
explosion, from the official action of the Spanish authorities,
from the unofficial zeal of subordinate Spanish officers, or
even--as suggested by Speaker Reed who was an opponent of war--by
action of the insurgents themselves with the purpose of
embroiling the United States and Spain. The careful
investigations which were afterwards made brought to light
evidence of both internal and external explosions; it therefore
seems probable that an external mine was the prime cause of the
disaster and that the internal explosion followed as a
consequence. No direct evidence has been discovered which would
fix the responsibility for the placing of the mine, but it is
reasonable to attribute it to the Spanish hotheads of Havana. It
is not impossible that the insurgents were responsible; but it is
incredible that the Spanish Government planned the explosion.

The hasty, though perhaps natural, conclusion to which American
public sentiment at once leaped, however, was that the disaster
was the work of Spain, without making any discrimination between
the Government itself and the disaffected factions. A general
sorrow and anger throughout the United States reinforced the
popular anxiety for national interests and the humane regard for
the Cubans. Press and public oratory demanded official action.
"Remember the Maine!" was an admonition which everywhere met the
eye and ear. The venerable and trusted Senator Proctor, who
visited Cuba, came back with the report that conditions on the
island were intolerable. On the 9th of March, "Uncle Joe" Cannon,
the watchdog of the Treasury, introduced a bill appropriating
fifty million dollars to be used for national defense at the
discretion of the President. No doubt remained in the public mind
that war would result unless the withdrawal of Spanish authority
from Cuba could be arranged peaceably and immediately.

Even in this final stage of the negotiations it is sufficiently
obvious that the United States Government was particularly
desirous of preserving peace. There is also little doubt that the
Spanish Government in good faith had the same desire. The
intelligent classes in Spain realized that the days of Spanish
rule in Cuba were practically over. The Liberals believed that,
under the circumstances, war with the United States would be a
misfortune. Many of the Conservatives, however, believed that a
war, even if unsuccessful, was the only way of saving the
dynasty, and that the dynasty was worth saving. Public opinion in
Spain was therefore no less inflamed than in America, but it was
less well-informed. Cartoons represented the American hog, which
would readily fall before the Spanish rapier accustomed to its
nobler adversary the bull. Spanish pride, impervious to facts and
statistics, would brook no supine submission on the part of its
people to foreign demands. It was a question how far the Spanish
Government could bring itself to yield points in season which it
fully realized must be yielded in the end.

The negotiation waxed too hot for the aged John Sherman, and was
conducted by the Assistant Secretary, William Rufus Day, a close
friend of the President, but a man comparatively unknown to the
public. When Day officially succeeded Sherman (April 26, 1898) he
had to face as fierce a light of publicity as ever beat upon a
public man in the United States. Successively in charge of the
Cuban negotiations, Secretary of State from April to September,
1898, President of the Paris Peace Commission in October, in
December, after a career of prime national importance for nine
months in which he had demonstrated his high competence, Day
retired to the relative obscurity of the United States circuit
bench. Although later raised to the Supreme Court, he has never
since been a national figure. As an example of a meteoric career
of a man of solid rather than meteoric qualities, his case is
unparalleled in American history.

The acting Secretary of State telegraphed the ultimatum of the
Government on March 27, 1898, to General Stewart L. Woodford,
then Minister to Spain. By the terms of this document, in the
first place there was to be an immediate amnesty which would last
until the 1st of October and during which Spain would communicate
with the insurgents through the President of the United States;
in the second place, the reconcentrado policy was to cease
immediately, and relief for the suffering Cubans was to be
admitted from the United States. Then, if satisfactory terms were
not reached by the 1st of October, the President was to be
recognized as arbiter between the Spaniards and the insurgents.

On the 30th of March, Spain abrogated the reconcentrado policy in
the "western provinces of Cuba," and on the following day offered
to arbitrate the questions arising out of the sinking of the
Maine. On Sunday, the 3d of April, a cablegram from General
Woodford was received by the State Department indicating that
Spain was seeking a formula for an armistice that should not too
obviously appear to be submission and suggesting that the
President ask the Pope to intervene and that the United States
abstain from all show of force. "If you can still give me time
and reasonable liberty of action," ran Woodford's message, "I
will get you the peace you desire so much and for which you have
labored so hard." To this the Secretary of State immediately
replied that the President would not ask the intervention of the
Pope, and that the Government would use the fleet as it saw fit.
"Would the peace you are so confident of securing," asked the
Secretary, "mean the independence of Cuba? The President cannot
hold his message longer than Tuesday." On Tuesday, the 5th of
April, General Woodford cabled:

"Should the Queen proclaim the following before twelve o'clock
noon of Wednesday, April 6th, will you sustain the Queen, and can
you prevent hostile action by Congress? "At the request of the
Holy Father, in this Passion Week and in the name of Christ, I
proclaim immediate and unconditional suspension of hostilities in
the island of Cuba. This suspension is to become immediately
effective as soon as accepted by the insurgents of that island,
and is to continue for the space of six months to the 5th day of
October, 1898. I do this to give time for passions to cease, and
in the sincere hope and belief that during this suspension
permanent and honorable peace may be obtained between the insular
government of Cuba and those of my subjects in that island who
are now in rebellion against the authority of Spain...."
Please read this in the light of all my previous telegrams and
letters. I believe this means peace, which the sober judgment of
our people will approve long before next November, and which must
be approved at the bar of final history."

To this message the Secretary of State replied:

"The President highly appreciates the Queen's desire for peace.
He cannot assume to influence the action of the American Congress
beyond a discharge of his constitutional duty in transmitting the
whole matter to them with such recommendations as he deems
necessary and expedient."

On the 9th of April the Queen granted the amnesty, on the formula
of a request by the European powers. On the next day, General
Woodford cabled that the United States could obtain for Cuba a
satisfactory autonomy, or independence, or the cession of the

It was evident that there was no difference of opinion among
those in authority in the United States as to the fact that Cuba
must be severed from Spain. There were, however, differences of
judgment as to which of the three methods suggested by Woodford
was preferable, and there was a substantial disagreement as to
the means necessary to realize the aims of the American
Government. General Woodford believed that Spain would grant the
demands of the United States, if she were given time and were not
pressed to the point of endangering her dignity. The overwhelming
majority in Congress, and particularly the leaders of the
dominant Republican party with the exception of Speaker Reed,
refused to believe in the sincerity of the Spanish Government.
The Administration could not overlook the fact that the Spanish
Government, however sincere it might be, might not be able to
execute its promises. Great Britain had just recognized the
United States as intermediary in a dispute between herself and
one of the American nations. Spain, in a dispute much more
serious to the United States, refused publicly to admit American
intervention, while she did recognize that of the Pope and the
European powers. Was it then possible that a Government which was
either unwilling or afraid openly to acknowledge American
interest in April would, by October, yield to the wishes of the
Administration? Was it certain or likely that if the Spanish
Government did so yield, it would remain in power?

Reluctantly President McKinley decided that he could not announce
to Congress that he had secured the acceptance of the American
policy. In his message to Congress on the 11th of April, he
reviewed the negotiation and concluded by recommending forcible
intervention. On the 19th of April, Congress, by joint
resolution, called upon Spain to withdraw from Cuba and
authorized the President to use force to compel her to do so.
Congress, however, was not content to leave the future of the
island merely indefinite, but added that the United States did
not desire Cuba and that the "people of the island of Cuba are,
and of right ought to be, free and independent." This decision
ruled out both autonomy and cession as solutions of the problem.
It put an end to the American century-long dream of annexing
Cuba, unless the people of the island themselves desired such a
relation; and it practically determined the recognition of the
unstable Cuban Government then in existence. This decision on the
part of Congress, however, reflected the deep-seated conviction
of the American people regarding freedom and plainly put the
issue where the popular majority wished it to be--upon a basis of
unselfish sympathy with struggling neighbors.

The resolution was signed by the President on the 20th of April.
On the following day, Admiral Sampson's fleet left Key West with
orders to blockade the coast of Cuba, and, in the absence of a
formal declaration of war, this strategic move may be considered
as its actual beginning. On the 25th of April, Congress declared
"that, war be, and the same is hereby, declared to exist, and
that war has existed since the twenty-first of April, Anno
Domini, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight, including the said
day, between the United States of America and the Kingdom of

CHAPTER VIII. Dewey And Manila Day

War had begun, but the majority of the American people had hardly
considered seriously how they were to fight. Fortunately their
navy already existed, and it was upon it that they had to rely in
the opening moments of hostility. Ton for ton, gun for gun, it
stood on fairly even terms with that of Spain. Captain, later
Admiral, Mahan, considered that the loss of the Maine shifted a
slight paper advantage from the United States to Spain. In
personnel, however, the American Navy soon proved its
overwhelming superiority, which was due not solely to innate
ability but also to sound professional training.

The Secretary of the Navy, John D. Long, had a thorough
appreciation of values. Although Congress had not provided for a
general staff, he himself appointed a Naval War Board, which
served many of the same purposes. Upon this Board he appointed
Rear Admiral Sicard, who but for ill health would have commanded
the main fleet; Captain A. S. Crowninshield; and, most important,
Captain A. T. Mahan, whose equal as master of the theory and
history of naval warfare no navy of the world could show. The
spirit of the fighting force was speedily exhibited by such
exploits as that of Lieutenant Victor Blue in boldly plunging
into the Cuban wilderness to obtain information regarding the
position of Admiral Cervera's fleet, though in this dangerous
sort of work the individual palm must be given to Lieutenant A.
S. Rowan of the army, whose energy and initiative in overcoming
obstacles are immortalized in Elbert Hubbard's "Message to
Garcia," the best American parable of efficient service since the
days of Franklin.

Efficient, however, as was the navy, it was far from being a
complete fighting force. Its fighting vessels were totally
unsupplied with that cloud of servers--colliers, mother ships,
hospital ships, and scouts--which we now know must accompany a
fleet. The merchant marine, then at almost its lowest point, was
not in a position entirely to fill the need. The United States
had no extensive store of munitions. Over all operations there
hung a cloud of uncertainty. Except for the short campaign of the
Chino-Japanese War of 1894, modern implements of sea war remained
untested. Scientific experiment, valuable and necessary as it
was, did not carry absolute conviction regarding efficient
service. Would the weapons of offense or defense prove most
effective? Accidents on shipboard and even the total destruction
of vessels had been common to all navies during times of peace.
That the Maine had not been a victim of the failure of her own
mechanism was not then certain. Such misgivings were in the minds
of many officers. Indeed, a report of the total disappearance of
two battling fleets would not have found the watchful naval
experts of the world absolutely incredulous. So much the higher,
therefore, was the heroism of those who led straight to battle
that complex and as yet unproved product of the brain--the modern

While negotiations with Spain were in their last stages, at the
orders of Secretary Long a swift vessel left San Francisco for
Honolulu. There its precious cargo was transferred to the warship
Baltimore, which then made hurriedly for Hongkong. It contained
the ammunition which was absolutely necessary if Commodore George
Dewey, in command of the Asiatic squadron, was to play a part in
the war. The position of his squadron, even after it received its
ammunition, was indeed singular. After the war began, it was
unable to obtain coal or other supplies from any neutral port and
at the same time it was equally unable to remain in any such port
without being interned for the duration of the war. There
remained but one course of action. It must not be forgotten that
the Spanish empire stretched eastward as well as westward.
Already William Pitt, when he had foreseen in 1760 the entrance
of Spain into the war which England was then waging with France,
had planned expeditions against both Cuba and the Philippines.
Now in 1898 the Navy Department of the United States,
anticipating war, saw in the proximity of the American squadron
to the Spanish islands of the Philippines an opportunity rather
than a problem. Commodore George Dewey, the commander of the
Asiatic squadron, was fully prepared to enter into the plan. As
early as the seventies, when the Virginius affair* threatened war
between Spain and the United States, Dewey, then a commander on
the west coast of Mexico, had proposed, in case war were
declared, that he sail for the Philippines and capture Manila.
Now he was prepared to seek in the hostile ports of those islands
the liberty that international law forbade him in the neutral
ports of Asia. How narrow a margin of time he had in which to
make this bold stroke may be realized from the fact that the
Baltimore, his second vessel in size, reached Hongkong on the 22d
of April and went into dry dock on the 23d, and that on the
following day the squadron was ordered either to leave the port
or to intern.

* A dispute between the United States and Spain, arising out of
the capture of the Virginius, an American vessel engaged in
filibustering off the coast of Cuba, and the execution at
Santiago of the captain and a number of the crew and passengers.
The vessel and the surviving passengers were finally restored by
the Spanish authorities, who agreed to punish the officials
responsible for the illegal acts.

The little armada of six vessels with which Dewey started for the
Philippines was puny enough from the standpoint of today; yet it
was strong enough to cope with the larger but more old-fashioned
Spanish fleet, or with the harbor defenses unless these included
mines--of whose absence Dewey was at the moment unaware. If,
however, the Spanish commander could unite the strength of his
vessels and that of the coast defenses, Dewey might find it
impossible to destroy the Spanish fleet. In that case, the plight
of the American squadron would be precarious, if its ultimate
self-destruction or internment did not become necessary.

Commodore Dewey belonged to that school of American naval
officers who combine the spirit of Farragut's "Damn the
torpedoes" with a thorough knowledge of the latest scientific
devices. Though he would take all precautions, he would not allow
the unknown to hold him back. After a brief rendezvous for tuning
up at Mirs Bay near Hongkong on the Chinese coast, Dewey steered
straight for Subig Bay in the Philippines, where he expected to
meet his opponent. Finding the Bay empty, he steamed on without
pause and entered the Boca Grande, the southern channel leading
to Manila Bay, at midnight of the 30th of April. Slowly, awaiting
daylight, but steadily he approached Manila. Coming within three
miles of the city, he discovered the Spanish fleet, half a dozen
miles to the southeast, at the naval station of Cavite. Still
without a pause, the American squadron moved to the attack.

The Spanish Admiral Montojo tried, though ineffectually, to come
to close quarters, for his guns were of smaller caliber than
those of the American ships, but he was forced to keep his
vessels for the most part in line between the Americans and the
shore. Commodore Dewey sailed back and forth five times, raking
the Spanish ships and the shore batteries with his fire. Having
guns of longer range than those of the Spaniards, he could have
kept out of their fire and slowly hammered them to pieces; but he
preferred a closer position where he could use more guns and
therefore do quicker work. How well he was justified in taking
this risk is shown by the fact that no man was killed on the
American fleet that day and only a few were wounded. After a few
hours' fighting, with a curious interval when the Americans
withdrew and breakfasted, Dewey completed the destruction or
capture of the Spanish fleet, and found himself the victor with
his own ships uninjured and in full fighting trim. By the 3d of
May, the naval station at Cavite and the batteries at the
entrance of Manila Bay were in the hands of Commodore Dewey, and
the Asiatic squadron had wrested a safe and commodious harbor
from the enemy.

Secure for the moment and free, Dewey found himself in as
precarious a strategic position as has ever confronted a naval
officer. With his six war vessels and 1707 men, he was
unsupported and at least a month's voyage from America. It was
two months, indeed, before any American troops or additional
ships reached him. Meanwhile the Spaniards held Manila, and a
Spanish fleet, formidable under the circumstances, began to sail
for the Philippines. Nevertheless Dewey proceeded to blockade
Manila, which was besieged on the land side by the Filipino
insurgents under Aguinaldo. This siege was indeed an advantage to
the Americans as it distressed the enemy and gave an opportunity
to obtain supplies from the mainland. Dewey, however, placed no
confidence in Aguinaldo, and further was instructed by Secretary
Long on the 26th of May as follows: "It is desirable, as far as
possible, and consistent for your success and safety, not to have
political alliances with the insurgents or any faction in the
islands that would incur liability to maintain their cause in the
future." Meanwhile foreign nations were rushing vessels to this
critical spot in the Pacific. On the 17th of June, Dewey sent a
cable, which had to be relayed to Hongkong by boat, reporting
that there were collected, in Manila Bay, a French and a Japanese
warship, two British, and three German. Another German man-of-war
was expected, which would make the German squadron as strong as
the American.

The presence of so large a German force, it was felt, could
hardly fail to have definite significance, and therefore caused
an anxiety at home which would, indeed, have been all the keener
had Admiral Dewey not kept many of his troubles to himself.
European sympathy was almost wholly with Spain. The French, for
instance, had invested heavily in Spanish bonds, many of which
were secured on the Cuban revenues. There was also perhaps some
sense of solidarity among the Latin races in Europe and a feeling
that the United States was a colossus willfully exerting itself
against a weak antagonist. It was not likely that this feeling
was strong enough to lead to action, but at least during that
summer of 1898 it was somewhat unpleasant for American tourists
in Paris, and an untoward episode might easily have brought
unfriendly sentiment to a dangerous head. Austria had never been
very friendly to the United States, particularly since the
execution of the Emperor Maximilian in Mexico, which his brother
Francis Joseph believed the United States could have prevented,
and was tied to Spain by the fact that the Queen Regent was an
Austrian Hapsburg.

It was evident, moreover, that in Europe there was a vague but
nevertheless real dread of the economic potentialities of the
United States--a fear which led, in the next few years, to the
suggestion that the American invasion of trade should be resisted
by a general European economic organization which would even
overrule the natural tendency of powers to group themselves into
hostile camps. In 1898 it seemed possible that the United States
was consciously planning to become a world military power also,
and a feeling, not exactly like Blaine's "America for the
Americans" but rather of "the world for Europeans," gathered
force to meet any attempt at American expansion.

Even before war had broken out between Spain and the United
States, this sentiment had sufficiently crystallized to result in
a not quite usual diplomatic action. On April 6, 1898, the
representatives of Great Britain, Germany, France,
Austro-Hungary, Russia, and Italy, presented a note to the
Government of the United States making "a pressing appeal to the
feelings of humanity and moderation of the President and of the
American people in their differences with Spain. They earnestly
hope that further negotiations will lead to an agreement which,
while securing the maintenance of peace, will afford all
necessary guarantees for the reestablishment of order in Cuba."

Of all the European powers none was more interested than Germany
in the situation in the Western Hemisphere. There seems to be no
doubt that the Kaiser made the remark to an Englishman with
reference to the Spanish American War: "If I had had a larger
fleet I would have taken Uncle Sam by the scruff of his neck."
Though the reason for Germany's attitude has never been proven by
documents, circumstantial evidence points convincingly to the
explanation. The quest for a colonial empire, upon which Bismarck
had embarked rather reluctantly and late, had been taken up with
feverish zeal by William II, his successor in the direction of
German policy. Not content with the commercial conquests which
German trade was making in all countries of the earth, the Kaiser
wanted a place in the sun exclusively his own. The world seemed,
however, as firmly closed to the late-comer in search of colonies
as it was open to him as the bearer of cheap and useful goods.
Such remnants of territory as lay on the counter he quickly
seized, but they hardly made an empire.

It is not, therefore, a daring conjecture that the Kaiser was as
carefully watching the decrepit empire of Spain as he was the
traditional sick man of Europe, the empire of Turkey. In 1898
revolutions were sapping both the extremities of the Spanish
dominions. The Kaiser, while he doubtless realized that Cuba
would not fall to him, in all probability expected that he would
be able to get the Philippines. Certain it is that at the close
of the Spanish American War he bought all the remaining Spanish
possessions in the Pacific. If such had been his expectations
with regard to the Philippines, the news of Dewey's victory must
have brought him a bitter disappointment, while at the same time
the careless and indiscreet remark of an American official to
certain Germans--"We don't want the Philippines; why don't you
take them?"--may well have given him a feeling that perhaps the
question was still open.

Under such circumstances, with Europe none too well-disposed and
the Kaiser watching events with a jealous eye, it was very
important to the United States not to be without a friend. In
England sympathy for America ran strong and deep. The British
Government was somewhat in alarm over the political solitude in
which Great Britain found herself, even though its head, Lord
Salisbury, described the position as one of "splendid isolation."
The unexpected reaction of friendliness on the part of Great
Britain which had followed the Venezuela affair continued to
augment, and relations between the two countries were kept smooth
by the new American Ambassador, John Hay, whom Queen Victoria
described as "the most interesting of all the ambassadors I have
known." More important still, in Great Britain alone was there a
public who appreciated the real sentiment of humanity underlying
the entrance of the United States into the war with Spain; and
this public actually had some weight in politics. The people of
both Great Britain and the United States were easily moved to
respond with money and personal service to the cry of suffering
anywhere in the world. Just before the Spanish American War,
Gladstone had made his last great campaign protesting against the
new massacres in Armenia; and in the United States the Republican
platform of 1896 had declared that "the massacres in Armenia have
aroused the deep sympathy and just indignation of the American
people, and we believe that the United States should exercise all
the influence it can properly exert to bring these atrocities to
an end."

John Hay wrote to Henry Cabot Lodge, of the Senate Committee on
Foreign Affairs, April 5, 1898, as follows: "For the first time
in my life I find the drawing-room sentiment altogether with us.
If we wanted it--which, of course, we do not--we could have the
practical assistance of the British Navy--on the do ut des
principle, naturally." On the 25th of May he added: "It is a
moment of immense importance, not only for the present, but for
all the future. It is hardly too much to say the interests of
civilization are bound up in the direction the relations of
England and America are to take in the next few months." Already
on the 15th of May, Joseph Chamberlain, the Colonial Secretary,
had said to the Birmingham Liberal Unionists: "What is our next
duty? It is to establish and to maintain bonds of permanent amity
with our kinsmen across the Atlantic. There is a powerful and a
generous nation.... Their laws, their literature, their
standpoint upon every question are the same as ours."

In Manila Harbor, where Dewey lay with his squadron, these
distant forces of European colonial policy were at work. The
presence of representative foreign warships to observe the
maintenance of the blockade was a natural and usual naval
circumstance. The arrival of two German vessels therefore caused
no remark, although they failed to pay the usual respects to the
blockading squadron. On the 12th of May a third arrived and
created some technical inconvenience by being commanded by an
officer who outranked Commodore Dewey. A German transport which
was in the harbor made the total number of German personnel
superior to that of the Americans, and the arrival of the Kaiser
on the 12th of June gave the Germans distinct naval preponderance.

The presence of so powerful a squadron in itself closely
approached an international discourtesy. Disregarding the laws of
blockade, as Dewey, trained in the Civil War blockade of the
South, interpreted them, the German officers were actively
familiar both with the Spanish officials of Manila and with the
insurgents. Finally they ensconced themselves in the quarantine
station at the entrance of the Bay, and Admiral Diedrichs took up
land quarters. Further, they interfered between the insurgents
and the Spaniards outside of Manila Bay. In the controversy
between Diedrichs and Dewey which grew out of these difficulties,
Captain Chichester, commanding the British squadron, supported
Dewey's course unqualifiedly and, moreover, let it be clearly
known that, in the event of hostilities, the British vessels
would take their stand with the Americans.

CHAPTER IX. The Blockade Of Cuba

While the first victory of the war was in the Far East and the
possibility of events of world-wide significance hung upon the
level-headedness of Commodore Dewey at Manila, it was realized
that the war must really be fought in the West. Both President
McKinley and the Queen Regent of Spain had issued proclamations
stating that they would adhere to the rules of the Declaration of
Paris and not resort to the use of privateers. The naval contest,
therefore, was confined to the regular navies. Actually the
American fleet was superior in battleships, monitors, and
protected cruisers; the Spanish was the better equipped in
armored cruisers, gunboats, and destroyers.

Both Spain and the United States hastily purchased, in the last
days of peace, a few vessels, but not enough seriously to affect
their relative strength. Both also drew upon their own merchant
marines. Spain added 18 medium-sized vessels to her navy; the
United States added in all 123, most of which were small and used
for scouting purposes. The largest and most efficient of these
additional American ships were the subsidized St. Paul, St.
Louis, New York, and Paris of the American line, of which the
last two, renamed the Harvard and Yale, proved to be of great
service. It was characteristic of American conditions that 28
were private yachts, of which the Mayflower was the most notable.
To man these new ships, the personnel of the American Navy was
increased from 13,750 to 24,123, of whom a large number were men
who had received some training in the naval reserves of the
various States.

The first duty of the navy was to protect the American coast. In
1885 the War Department had planned and Congress had sanctioned a
system of coast defense. Up to 1898, however, only one quarter of
the sum considered necessary had been appropriated. Mines and
torpedoes were laid at the entrances to American harbors as soon
as war broke out, but there was a lack of highpower guns. Rumors
of a projected raid by the fast Spanish armored cruisers kept the
coast cities in a state of high excitement, and many sought, by
petition and political pressure, to compel the Navy Department to
detach vessels for their defense. The Naval War Board, however,
had to remember that it must protect not only the coast but
commerce also, and that the United States was at war not to
defend herself but to attack. Cuba was the objective; and Cuba
must be cut off from Spain by blockade, and the seas must be made
safe for the passage of the American Army. If the navy were to
accomplish all these purposes, it must destroy the Spanish Navy.
To achieve this end, it would have to work upon the principle of
concentration and not dispersion.

For several months before the actual declaration of war with
Spain, the Navy Department had been effecting this concentration.
On the 21st of April, Captain William T. Sampson was appointed to
command the forces on the North Atlantic station. This included
practically the whole fleet, except the Pacific squadron under
Dewey, and the Oregon, a new battleship of unusual design, which
was on the Pacific coast. On the 1st of March she was ordered
from the Bremerton Yard, in the State of Washington, to San
Francisco, and thence to report in the Atlantic. Her voyage was
the longest emergency run undertaken up to that time by a modern
battleship. The outbreak of the war with Spain meant the sealing
of all ports in which she might have been repaired in case of
emergency. Rumors were rife of Spanish vessels ready to intercept
her, and the eyes not only of the United States but of the world
were upon the Oregon. A feeling of relief and rejoicing therefore
passed through the country when this American warship arrived at
Key West on the 26th of May, fit for immediate and efficient

The fleet, though concentrated in the Atlantic within the region
of immediate hostility, was divided for purposes of operation
into a major division under the immediate command of Admiral
Sampson and a flying squadron under Commodore Schley.* The first
undertook the enforcement of the blockade which was declared on
the 21st of April against Cuba, and patrolled the northern coast
from Gardenas to Bahia. Key West was soon filled with Spanish
prizes. On the 27th of April a brush took place between batteries
at Matanzas and some of the American vessels, without loss of
life on either side, except for a mule which bids fair to become
immortal in history through being reported by the Spanish as
their only casualty and the first of the war. Admiral Sampson,
following the tradition of the American Navy of aiming at a vital
spot, wished to attack Havana; and a careful study of its
fortifications seems to show that he would have had a good chance
of success. Chance, however, might have caused the loss of some
of his vessels, and, with the small margin of naval superiority
at its disposal the Naval War Board was probably wise in not
allowing him to take the risk.

* A patrol squadron of cruisers under Commodore Howell was also
established to protect the coast from the Delaware capes to
eastern Maine. "It can scarcely be supposed," writes Admiral
Chadwick, "that such action was taken but in deference to the
unreasoning fear of dwellers on the coast."

It was, in fact, Spain which took the initiative and decided the
matter. Her West India Squadron was weak, even on paper, and was
in a condition which would have made it madness to attempt to
meet the Americans without reenforcement. She therefore decided
to dispatch a fighting fleet from her home forces. Accordingly on
the 29th of April, Admiral Cervera left the Cape Verde Islands
and sailed westward with one fast second-class battleship, the
Cristobal Colon, three armored cruisers, and two torpedo boat
destroyers. It was a reasonably powerful fleet as fleets went in
the Spanish War, yet it is difficult to see just what good it
could accomplish when it arrived on the scene of action. The
naval superiority in the West Indies would still be in the hands
of the concentrated American Navy, for the Spanish forces would
still be divided, only more equally, between Spanish and
Caribbean waters. The American vessels, moreover, would be within
easy distance of their home stations, which could supply them
with- every necessity. The islands belonging to Spain, on the
other hand, were ill equipped to become the base of naval
operations. Admiral Cervera realized to the full the difficulty
of the situation and protested against an expedition which he
feared would mean the fall of Spanish power, but public opinion
forced the ministry, and he was obliged to put to sea.

For nearly a month the Spanish fleet was lost to sight, and
dwellers on the American coast were in a panic of apprehension.
Cervera's objective was guessed to be everything from a raid on
Bar Harbor to an attack on the Oregon, then on its shrouded
voyage from the Pacific coast. Cities on the Atlantic seaboard
clamored for protection, and the Spanish fleet was magnified by
the mist of uncertainty until it became a national terror.
Sampson, rightly divining that Cervera would make for San Juan,
the capital and chief seaport of Porto Rico, detached from his
blockading force a fighting squadron with which he sailed east,
but not finding the Spanish fleet he turned back to Key West.
Schley, with the Flying Squadron, was then ordered to Cienfuegos.
In the meantime Cervera was escaping detection by the American
scouts by taking an extremely southerly course; and with the
information that Sampson was off San Juan, the Spanish Admiral
sailed for Santiago de Cuba, where he arrived on May 19, 1898.

Though Cervera was safe in harbor, the maneuver of the American
fleet cannot be called unsuccessful. Cervera would have preferred
to be at San Juan, where there was a navy yard and where his
position would have obliged the American fleet either to split
into two divisions separated by eight hundred miles or to leave
him free range of action. Next to San Juan he would have
preferred Havana or, Cienfuegos, which were connected by railroad
and near which lay the bulk of the Spanish Army. He found himself
instead at the extreme eastern end of Cuba in a port with no
railroad connection with Havana, partly blocked by the
insurgents, and totally unable to supply him with necessities.

Unless Cervera could leave Santiago, his expedition would
obviously have been useless. Though it was the natural function
of the American fleet to blockade him, for a week after his
arrival there was an interesting game of hide and seek between
the two fleets. The harbors of Cienfuegos and of Santiago are
both landlocked by high hills, and Cervera had entered Santiago
without being noticed by the Americans, as that part of the coast
was not under blockade. Schley thought Cervera was at Cienfuegos;
Sampson was of the opinion that he was at Santiago. When it
became known that the enemy had taken refuge in Santiago, Schley
began the blockade on the 28th of May, but stated that he could
not continue long in position owing to lack of coal. On the 1st
of June Sampson arrived and assumed command of the blockading

With the bottling up of Cervera, the first stage of the war
passed. The navy had performed its primary function: it had
established its superiority and had obtained the control of the
seas. The American coast was safe; American commerce was safe
except in the vicinity of Spain; and the sea was open for the
passage of an American expeditionary force. Nearly the whole
island of Cuba was now under blockade, and the insurgents were
receiving supplies from the United States. It had been proved
that the fairly even balance of the two fleets, so anxiously
scanned when it was reported in the newspapers in April, was
entirely deceptive when it came to real efficiency in action.
Moreover, the skillful handling of the fleets by the Naval War
Board as well as by the immediate commanders had redoubled the
actual superiority of the American naval forces.

A fleet in being, even though inferior and immobilized, still
counts as a factor in naval warfare, and Cervera, though
immobilized by Sampson, himself immobilized the greater number of
American vessels necessary to blockade him. The importance of
this fact was evident to every one when, in the middle of June,
the remainder of the Spanish home fleet, whipped hastily into a
semblance of fighting condition, set out eastward under Admiral
Camara to contest the Philippines with Dewey. It was impossible
for the United States to detach a force sufficient to cross the
Atlantic and, without a base, meet this fleet in its home waters.
Even if a smaller squadron were dispatched from the Atlantic
round Cape Horn, it would arrive in the Philippines too late to
be of assistance to Dewey. The two monitors on the Pacific coast,
the Monterey and the Monadnock, had already been ordered across
the Pacific, a voyage perilous for vessels of their structure and
agonizing to their crews; but it was doubtful whether they or
Camara would arrive first in the Philippines.

The logic of the situation demanded that the main American fleet
be released. Cervera must be destroyed or held in some other way
than at the expense of inactivity on the part of the American
warships. Santiago could not be forced by the navy. Two methods
remained. The first and simpler expedient was to make the harbor
mouth impassable and in this way to bottle up the Spanish fleet.
It was decided to sink the collier Merrimac at a narrow point in
the channel, where, lying full length, she would completely
prevent egress. It was a delicate task and one of extraordinary
danger. It was characteristic of the spirit of the fleet that, as
Admiral Chadwick says, practically all the men were volunteers.
The honor of the command was given to Lieutenant Richmond Pearson
Hobson, Assistant Naval Constructor, who had been in charge of
the preparations. With a crew of six men he entered the harbor
mouth on the night of the 3d of June. A shell disabled the
steering gear of the Merrimac, and the ship sank too far within
the harbor to block the entrance entirely. Admiral Cervera
himself rescued the crew, assured Sampson of their safety in an
appreciative note; and one of the best designed and most heroic
episodes in our history just missed success.

The failure of the Merrimac experiment left the situation as it
had been and forced the American command to consider the second
method which would release the American fleet. This new plan
contemplated the reduction of Santiago by a combined military and
naval attack. Cervera's choice of Santiago therefore practically
determined the direction of the first American overseas military
expedition, which had been in preparation since the war began.

CHAPTER X. The Preparation Of The Army

When one compares the conditions under which the Spanish American
War was fought with those of the Great War, he feels himself
living in a different age. Twenty years ago hysteria and sudden
panics swept the nation. Cheers and waving handkerchiefs and
laughing girls sped the troops on their way. It cannot be denied
that the most popular song of the war time was "There'll be a hot
time in the old town to-night," though it may be believed that
the energy and swing of the music rather than the words made it
so. The atmosphere of the country was one of a great national
picnic where each one was expected to carry his own lunch. There
was apparent none of the concentration of effort and of the calm
foresight so necessary for efficiency in modern warfare. For
youth the Spanish American War was a great adventure; for the
nation it was a diversion sanctioned by a high purpose.

This abandon was doubtless in part due to a comfortable
consciousness of the vast disparity in resources between Spain
and the United States, which, it was supposed, meant
automatically a corresponding difference in fighting strength.
The United States did, indeed, have vast superiorities which
rendered unnecessary any worry over many of the essentials which
gripped the popular mind during the Great War. People believed
that the country could supply the munitions needed, and that of
facilities for transport it had enough. If the United States did
not have at hand exactly the munitions needed, if the
transportation system had not been built to launch an army into
Cuba, it was popularly supposed that the wealth of the country
rendered such trifles negligible, and that, if insufficient
attention had been given to the study of such matters in the
past, American ingenuity would quickly offset the lack of skilled
military experience. The fact that American soldiers traveled in
sleeping cars while European armies were transported in freight
cars blinded Americans for a while to the significant fact that
there was but a single track leading to Tampa, the principal
point of embarkation for Cuba; and no one thought of building

Nothing so strongly marks the amateur character of the conduct of
the Spanish War as the activity of the American press. The navy
was dogged by press dispatch boats which revealed its every move.
When Admiral Sampson started upon his cruise to San Juan, he
requested the press boats to observe secrecy, and Admiral
Chadwick comments with satisfaction upon the fact that this
request was observed "fully and every person
except one." When Lieutenant Whitney risked his life as a spy in
order to investigate conditions in Porto Rico; his plans and
purpose were blazoned in the press. Incredible as it may now
seem, the newspaper men appear to have felt themselves part of
the army. They offered their services as equals, and William
Randolph Hearst even ordered one of his staff to sink a vessel in
the Suez Canal to delay Camara on his expedition against Dewey.
This order, fortunately for the international reputation of the
United States, was not executed. With all their blare and
childish enthusiasm, the reporters do not seem to have been so
successful in revealing to Americans the plans of Spain as they
were in furnishing her with itemized accounts of all the doings
of the American forces.

While the press not only revealed but formulated courses of
action in the case of the army, the navy, at least, was able to
follow its own plans. For this difference there were several
causes, chief of which was the fact that the navy was a fully
professional arm, ready for action both in equipment and in
plans, and able to take a prompt initiative in carrying out an
aggressive campaign. The War Department had a more difficult task
in adjusting itself to the new conditions brought about by the
Spanish American War. The army was made up on the principle
traditionally held in the United States that the available army
force in time of peace should be just sufficient for the purposes
of peace, and that it should be enlarged in time of war. To allow
a fair amount of expansion without too much disturbance to the
organization in increasing to war strength, the regular army was
over-officered in peace times. The chief reliance in war was
placed upon the militia. The organization and training of this
force was left, however, under a few very general directions, to
the various States. As a result, its quality varied and it was
nowhere highly efficient in the military sense. Some regiments,
it is true, were impressive on parade, but almost none of the
officers knew anything of actual modern warfare. There had been
no preliminary sifting of ability in the army, and it was only as
experience gave the test that the capable and informed were
called into positions of importance. In fact, the training of the
regular officers was inferior to that of the naval officers. West
Point and Annapolis were both excellent in the quality of their
instruction, but what they offered amounted only to a college
course, and in the army there was no provision for systematic
graduate study corresponding to the Naval War College at Newport.

These difficulties and deficiencies, however, cannot fully
explain the woeful inferiority of the army to the navy in
preparedness. Fundamentally the defect was at the top. Russell A.
Alger, the Secretary of War, was a veteran of the Civil War and a
silver-voiced orator, but his book on the "Spanish-American War,"
which was intended as a vindication of his record, proves that
even eighteen months of as grueling denunciation as any American
official has ever received could not enlighten him as to what
were the functions of his office. Nor did he correct or
supplement his own incompetence by seeking professional advice.
There existed no general staff, and it did not occur to him, as
it did to Secretary Long, to create one to advise him
unofficially. He was on bad terms with Major General Nelson A.
Miles, who was the general in command. He discussed even the
details of questions of army strategy, not only with Miles but
with the President and members of the Cabinet. One of the most
extraordinary decisions made during his tenure of office was that
the act of the 9th of March, appropriating $50,000,000 "for
national defense," forbade money to be spent or even contracts to
be made by the quartermaster, the commissary, or the surgeon
general. In his book Secretary Alger records with pride the fact
that all this money was spent for coast defense. In view of the
fact that the navy did its task, this expenditure was absolutely
unnecessary and served merely to solace coast cities and munition

The regular army on April 1, 1898, consisted of 28,183 officers
and men. An act of the 26th of April authorized its increase to
about double that size. As enlistment was fairly prompt, by
August the army consisted of 56,365 officers and men, the number
of officers being but slightly increased. It was decided not to
use the militia as it was then organized, but to rely for numbers
as usual chiefly upon a volunteer army, authorized by the Act of
the 22d of April, and by subsequent acts raised to a total of
200,000, with an additional 3000 cavalry, 3500 engineers, and
10,000 "immunes," or men supposed not to be liable to tropical
diseases. The war seemed equally popular all over the country,
and the million who offered themselves for service were
sufficient to allow due consideration for equitable state quotas
and for physical fitness. There were also sufficient
Krag-Jorgensen rifles to arm the increased regular army and
Springfields for the volunteers.

To provide an adequate number of officers for the volunteer army
was more difficult. Even though a considerable number were
transferred from the regular to the volunteer army, they
constituted only a small proportion of the whole number
necessary. Some few of those appointed were graduates of West
Point, and more had been in the militia. The great majority,
however, had purely amateur experience, and many not even so
much. Those who did know something, moreover, did not have the
same knowledge or experience. This raw material was given no
officer training whatsoever but was turned directly to the task
of training the rank and file. Nor were the appointments of new
officers confined to the lower ranks. The country, still mindful
of its earlier wars, was charmed with the sentimental elevation
of confederate generals to the rank of major general in the new
army, though a public better informed would hardly have welcomed
for service in the tropics the selection of men old enough to be
generals in 1865 and then for thirty-three years without military
experience in an age of great development in the methods of
warfare. The other commanding officers were as old and were
mostly chosen by seniority in a service retiring at sixty-four.
The unwonted strain of active service naturally proved too great.
At the most critical moment of the campaign in Cuba, the
commanding general, William R. Shafter, had eaten nothing for
four days, and his plucky second in command, the wiry Georgian
cavalry leader of 1864 and 1865, General "Joe" Wheeler, was not
physically fit to succeed him. There is not the least doubt that
the fighting spirit of the men was strong and did not fail, but
the defect in those branches of knowledge which are required to
keep an army fit to fight is equally certain. The primary cause
for the melting of the American army by disease must be
acknowledged to be the insufficient training of the officers.

This hit or miss method, however, had its compensations, for it
brought about some appointments of unusual merit. Conspicuous
were those of Colonel Leonard Wood and Lieutenant Colonel
Theodore Roosevelt. The latter had resigned as Assistant
Secretary of the Navy, a position in which he had contributed a
great deal to the efficiency of that Department, in order to take
a more tangible part in the war. After raising among his friends
and the cowboys of the West a regiment of "Rough Riders," he
declined its command on plea of military inexperience. Roosevelt
made one of those happy choices which are a mark of his
administrative ability in selecting as colonel Leonard Wood, an
army surgeon whose quality he knew through common experiences in
the West.

To send into a midsummer tropical jungle an American army,
untrained to take care of its health, for the most part clothed
in the regulation army woolens, and tumbled together in two
months, was an undertaking which-could be justified only on the
ground that the national safety demanded immediate action. In
1898, however, it seemed to be universally taken for granted by
people and administration, by professional soldier as well as by
public sentiment, that the army must invade Cuba without regard
to its fitness for such active service. The responsibility for
this decision must rest upon the nation. The experience of
centuries had proved conspicuously that climate was the strongest
defense of the Caribbean islands against invasion, and it was in
large measure the very sacrifice of so many American soldiers
that induced the study of tropical diseases. In 1898 it could
hardly be expected that the American command, inexperienced and
eager for action, should have recognized the mosquito as the
carrier of yellow fever and the real enemy, or should have
realized the necessity of protecting the soldiers by inoculation
against typhoid fever.

Fixed as was the determination to send an army into Cuba at the
earliest possible moment, there had been a wide diversity of
opinion as to what should be the particular objective. General
Miles wavered between the choice of the island of Porto Rico and
Puerto Principe, a city in the interior and somewhat east of the
middle of Cuba; the Department hesitated between Tunas on the
south coast of Cuba, within touch of the insurgents, and Mariel
on the north, the seizure of which would be the first step in a
siege of Havana. The situation at Santiago, however, made that
city the logical objective of the troops, and on the 31st of May,
General Shafter was ordered to be prepared to move. On the 7th of
June he was ordered to sail with "not less than 10,000 men," but
an alarming, though unfounded, rumor of a Spanish squadron off
the north coast of Cuba delayed the expedition until the 14th.
With an army of seventeen thousand on thirty-two transports, and
accompanied by eighty-nine newspaper correspondents, Shafter
arrived on the 20th of June off Santiago.

The Spanish troops in Cuba--the American control of the sea made
it unnecessary to consider those available in Spain--amounted,
according to returns in April, 1898, to 196,820. This formidable
number, however, was not available at any one strategic spot
owing to the difficulty of transporting either troops or
supplies, particularly at the eastern end of the island, in the
neighborhood of Santiago. It was estimated that the number of men
of use about Santiago was about 12,000, with 5000 approaching to
assist. Perhaps 3000 insurgents were at hand under General
Garcia. The number sent, then, was not inadequate to the task.
Equal numbers are not, indeed, ordinarily considered sufficient
for an offensive campaign against fortifications, but the
American commanders counted upon a difference in morale between
the two armies, which was justified by results. Besides the
American Army could be reinforced as necessity arose.

CHAPTER XI. The Campaign Of Santiago De Cuba

In planning the campaign against Santiago, Admiral Sampson wished
the army immediately to assault the defenses at the harbor mouth
in order to open the way for the navy. General Shafter, however,
after conferring with General Garcia, the commander of the
insurgents, decided to march overland against the city. The army
did not have sufficient small vessels to effect a landing; but
the navy came to its assistance, and on the 22d of June the first
American troops began to disembark at Daiquiri, though it was not
until the 26th that the entire expedition was on shore. On the
second day Siboney, which had a better anchorage and was some six
miles closer to Santiago, was made the base. From Siboney there
stretched for eight or ten miles a rolling country covered with
heavy jungle brush and crossed by mere threads of roads. There
was indeed a railroad, but this followed a roundabout route by
the coast. Through this novel and extremely uncomfortable
country, infected with mosquitoes, the troops pressed, eager to
meet the enemy.

The first engagement took place at Las Guasimas, on the 24th of
June. Here a force of about a thousand dismounted cavalry, partly
regulars and partly Rough Riders, defeated nearly twice their
number of Spaniards. This was the only serious resistance which
the Americans encountered until they reached the advanced
defenses of Santiago. The next week they spent in getting
supplies ashore, improving the roads, and reconnoitering. The
newspapers considered this interval entirely too long! The 30th
of June found the Americans confronting the main body of
Spaniards in position, and on the 1st of July, the two armies
joined battle.

Between the opposing forces was the little river San Juan and its
tributaries. The Spanish left wing was at El Caney, supported by
a stone blockhouse, rifle pits, and barbed wire, but with no
artillery. About four miles away was San Juan Hill, with more
formidable works straddling the main road which led to Santiago.
Opposite El Caney, General Lawton was in command of about seven
thousand Americans. The fight here began at half-past six in the
morning, but the American artillery was placed at too great a
distance to be very effective. The result was a long and galling
exchange of rifle firing, which is apt to prove trying to raw
troops. The infantry, however, advanced with persistency and
showed marked personal initiative as they pushed forward under
such protection as the brush and grass afforded until they
finally rushed a position which gave opportunity to the
artillery. After this they speedily captured the blockhouse.

The fight lasted over eight hours instead of two, as had been
expected, and thus delayed General Lawton, who was looked for at
San Juan by the American left. The losses, too, were heavy, the
total casualties amounting to seven per cent of the force
engaged. The Americans, however, had gained the position, and
after a battle which had been long and serious enough to test
thoroughly the quality of the personnel of the army. Whatever
deficiencies the Americans may have had in organization,
training, and military education, they undoubtedly possessed
fighting spirit, courage, and personal ingenuity, and these are,
after all, the qualities for which builders of armies look.

The battle of El Caney was perhaps unnecessary, for the position
lay outside the main Spanish line anal would probably have been
abandoned when San Juan fell. For that more critical movement
General Shafter kept about eight thousand troops and the personal
command. Both he and General Wheeler, however, were suffering
from the climate and were unable to be with the troops. The
problem of making a concerted advance through the thick
underbrush was a difficult one, and the disposition of the
American troops was at once revealed by a battery of artillery
which used black powder, and by a captive balloon which was
injudiciously towed about.

The right wing here, after assuming an exposed position, was
unable to act, as Lawton, by whom it was expecting to be
reinforced, was delayed at El Caney. The advance regiments were
under the fire of the artillery, the infantry, and the skillful
sharpshooters of an invisible enemy and were also exposed to the
fierce heat of the sun, to which they were unaccustomed. The
wounded were carried back on litters, turned over to the
surgeons, who worked manfully with the scantiest of equipment,
and were then laid, often naked except for their bandages, upon
the damp ground. Regiment blocked regiment in the narrow road,
and officers carrying orders were again and again struck, as they
emerged from cover, by the sharpshooters' fire. The want of means
of communication paralyzed the command, for all the equipment of
a modern army was lacking: there were no aeroplanes, no wireless
stations, no telephones.

Throughout the morning the situation grew worse, but the nerve of
the men did not give way, and American individual initiative rose
to the boiling point. Realizing that safety lay only in advance,
the officers on the spot began to take control. General Hawkins,
with the Sixth and Sixteenth Regulars, advanced against the main
blockhouse, which crested a slope of two hundred feet, and the
men of the Seventy-first New York Volunteers joined promiscuously
in the charge.

To the right rose Kettle Hill, jutting out and Banking the
approach to the main position. Facing it and dismounted were the
First and Ninth Regular Cavalry, the latter a negro regiment, and
the Rough Riders under Colonel Roosevelt. The Tenth Infantry was
between the two wings, and divided in the support of both. A
battery of Gatling guns was placed in position. The Americans
steadily advanced in an irregular line, though kept in some sort
of formation by their officers. Breaking down brush and barbed
wire and sheltering themselves in the high grass, the men on the
right wing worked their way up Kettle Hill, but before they
reached the rifle pits of the enemy, they saw the Spaniards
retreating on the run. The audacity of the Americans at the
critical moment had insured the ultimate success of their attack
and they found the final capture of the hill easy.

The longer charge against the center of the enemy was in the
meantime being pressed home, under the gallant leadership of
General Hawkins, who at times was far in advance of his line. The
men of the right wing who looked down from their new position on
Kettle Hill, a quarter of a mile distant, saw the Spaniards give
way and the American center dash forward. In order to support
this advance movement, the Gatlings were brought to Kettle Hill,
and General S.S. Sumner and Colonel Roosevelt led their men down
Kettle and up San Juan Hill, where they swept over the northern
jut only a moment after Hawkins had carried the main blockhouse.

The San Juan position now in the hands of the Americans was the
key of Santiago, but that entrenched city lay a mile and a
quarter distant and had still to be unlocked--a task which
presented no little difficulty. The Americans, it is true, had an
advantageous position on a hilltop, but the enemy had retired
only a quarter of a mile and were supported by the complete
system of fortifications which protected Santiago. The American
losses totaled fifteen hundred, a number just about made good at
this moment by the arrival of General Duffield's brigade, which
had followed the main expedition. The number of the Spanish
force, which was unknown to the Americans, was increased on the
3d of July by the arrival of a relief expedition under Colonel
Escario, with about four thousand men whom the insurgent forces
had failed to meet and block, as had been planned.

On the 2d of July there was desultory fighting, and on the 3d,
General Shafter telegraphed to the Secretary of War that he was
considering the withdrawal of his troops to a strong position,
about five miles in the rear. The Secretary immediately replied:
"Of course you can judge the situation better than we can at this
end of the line. If, however, you could hold your present
position, especially San Juan Heights, the effect upon the
country would be much better than falling back."

The Spanish commanders, however, did not share General Shafter's
view as to the danger involving the Americans. Both Admiral
Cervera and General Blanco considered that the joint operations
of the American Army and Navy had rendered the reduction of
Santiago only a question of time, but they differed as to the
course to be pursued. In the end, General Blanco, who was in
supreme command, decided, after an exchange of views with the
Spanish Government and a consultation with the Captain of the
German cruiser Geier, then at Havana, to order the Spanish
squadron to attempt an escape from Santiago harbor. Cervera's
sailors had hitherto been employed in the defense of the city,
but with the arrival of the reinforcements under Escario he found
it possible to reman his fleet. An attempt to escape in the dark
seemed impossible because of the unremitting glare of the
searchlights of the American vessels. Cervera determined upon the
desperate expedient of steaming out in broad daylight and making
for Cienfuegos.

The blockade systematically planned by Admiral Sampson was
conducted with a high degree of efficiency. Each American ship
had its definite place and its particular duty. When vessels were
obliged to coal at Guantanamo, forty miles distant, the next in
line covered the cruising interval. The American combined
squadron was about double Cervera's in strength; his ships,
however, were supposed to have the advantage in speed, and it was
conceivable that, by turning sharply to the one side or the
other, they might elude the blockading force. On the very day
that Cervera made his desperate dash out of the harbor, as it
happened, the New York, Admiral Sampson's flagship, was out of
line, taking the Admiral to a conference with General Shafter at
Siboney, a few miles to the eastward. The absence of the
flagship, however, in no way weakened the blockade, for, if
Cervera turned westward he would find the squadron of Schley and
the other vessels designated to prevent his escape in that
direction, while if he turned eastward he would almost at once be
engaged with the New York, which would then be in an advantageous
position ahead of the chase.

At half-past nine on the morning of the 3d of July, the first
vessel of the Spanish fleet emerged from Santiago Harbor. By
10:10 A.M. all the Spanish ships were outside of the harbor
mouth. Commodore Schley, on the Brooklyn, hoisted the signal to
"close up," apparently on the understanding that Sampson's signal
on leaving for Siboney to "Disregard motions of the
commander-in-chief" had delegated the command to him. Though this
question of command later involved a bitter dispute, it was at
the time of little moment, for clouds of smoke obscured the
signals so frequently that no complicated maneuver could have
been guided by them, and, as far as concerted action was
concerned, the whole squadron was under exactly similar
contingent orders from Admiral Sampson. As a matter of fact, the
thing to do was so obvious that the subsequent dispute really
raged on the point of who actually gave an order, the sense of
which every one of the commanders would have executed without
order. If, therefore, the layman feels some annoyance at such a
controversy over naval red tape, he may have the consolation of
knowing that all concerned, admirals and captains, did the right
and sensible thing at the time. If there be an exception, it was
the curious maneuver of Schley, the commander of the Brooklyn,
who turned a complete circle away from the enemy after the battle
had begun. This action of his was certainly not due to a desire
to escape, for the Brooklyn quickly turned again into the fight.
A controversy, too, has raged over this maneuver. Was it
undertaken because the Brooklyn was about to be rammed by the
Vizcaya, or because Schley thought that his position blocked the
fire of the other American vessels? It is not unlikely that the
commander of the Spanish ship hoped to ram the Brooklyn, which
was, because of her speed, a most redoubtable foe. But unless
this maneuver saved the Brooklyn, it had little result except to
scare the Texas, upon whom she suddenly bore down out of a dense
cloud of smoke.

Steering westward, the Spanish ships attempted to pass the battle
line, but the American vessels kept pace with them. For a short
time the engagement was very severe, for practically all vessels
of both fleets took part, and the Spanish harbor batteries added
their fire. At 10:15 A.M. the Maria Teresa, Admiral Cervera's
flagship, on fire and badly shattered by heavy shells, turned
toward the beach. Five minutes later the Oquendo, after something
of a duel with the Texas, also turned inshore. The Brooklyn was
in the lead of the Americans, closely followed by the Oregon,
which developed a wonderful burst of speed in excess of that
called for in her contract. These two ships kept up the chase of
the Vizcaya and the Cristobal Colon, while the slower vessels of
the fleet attended to the two Spanish destroyers, Furor and
Pluton. At 11:15 A.M. the Vizcaya, riddled by fire from the
Brooklyn and Oregon, gave up the fight.

By this time, Sampson in the New York was rapidly approaching the
fight, and now ordered the majority of the vessels back to their
stations. The Colon, fleeing westward and far ahead of the
American ships, was pursued by the Brooklyn, the Oregon, the
Texas, the New York, and the armed yacht Vixen. It was a stern
chase, although the American vessels had some advantage by
cutting across a slight concave indentation of the coast, while
the Colon steamed close inshore. At 1:15 P.M. a shot from the
Oregon struck ahead of the Colon, and it was evident that she was
covered by the American guns. At 1:30 P.M. she gave over her
flight and made for shore some forty-five miles west of Santiago.
The victory was won. It has often been the good fortune of
Americans to secure their greatest victories on patriotic
anniversaries and thereby to enhance the psychological effect.
Admiral Sampson was able to announce to the American people, as a
Fourth of July present, the destruction of the Spanish fleet with
the loss of but one of his men and but slight damage to his

On the hills above Santiago the American Army had now only the
land forces of the Spaniards to contend with. Shafter's demand
for unconditional surrender met with a refusal, and there ensued
a week of military quiet. During this time General Shafter
conducted a correspondence with the War Department, in judging
which it is charitable to remember that the American commander
weighed three hundred pounds, that he was sweltering under a hot
sun, and that he was sixty-three years old, and sick. Too humane
to bombard Santiago while Hobson and his men were still in
Spanish hands, he could not forgive Sampson for not having forced
the narrow and well-mined channel at the risk of his fleet. The
War Department, sharing Shafter's indignation, prepared to
attempt the entrance with one of its own transports protected by
baled hay, as had been done on the Mississippi during the Civil
War. Shafter continued to be alarmed at the situation. Without
reenforcements he could not attack, and he proposed to allow the
Spaniards to evacuate. The War Department forbade this
alternative and, on the 10th of July, he began the bombardment of

The Secretary of War then hit upon the really happy though quite
unmilitary device of offering, in return for unconditional
surrender, to transport the Spanish troops, at once and without
parole, back to their own country. Secretary Alger was no
unskillful politician, and he was right in believing that this
device, though unconventional, would make a strong appeal to an
army three years away from home and with dwindling hopes of ever
seeing Spain again. On the 15th of July a capitulation was agreed
upon, and the terms of surrender included not only the troops in
Santiago but all those in that military district--about
twenty-four thousand men, with cannon, rifles, ammunition,
rations, and other military supplies. Shafter's recommendation
that the troops be allowed to carry their arms back to Spain with
them was properly refused by the War Department. Arrangements
were made for Spanish ships paid by the United States to take the
men immediately to Spain. This extraordinary operation was begun
on the 8th of August, while the war was still in progress, and
was accomplished before peace was established.

The Santiago campaign, like the Mexican War, was fought chiefly
by regulars. The Rough Riders and the Seventy-first New York
Regiment were the only volunteer units to take a heavy share. Yet
the absence of effective staff management was so marked that, as
compared with the professional accuracy shown by the navy, the
whole campaign on land appears as an amateur undertaking. But the
individual character of both volunteers and regulars was high.
The American victory was fundamentally due to the fighting spirit
of the men and to the individual initiative of the line and field

In the meantime the health of the American Army was causing grave
concern to its more observant leaders. Six weeks of Cuban climate
had taken out of the army all that exuberant energy which it had
brought with it from the north. The army had accomplished its
purpose only at the complete sacrifice of its fighting strength.
Had the Spanish commander possessed more nerve and held out a
little longer, he might well have seen his victorious enemies
wither before his eyes, as the British had before Cartagena in
1741. On the 3d of August a large number of the officers of the
Santiago army, including Generals Wheeler, Sumner, and Lawton,
and Colonel Roosevelt, addressed a round robin to General Shafter
on the alarming condition of the army. Its substance is indicated
in the following sentences: "This army must be moved at once or
it will perish. As an army it can be safely moved now. Persons
responsible for preventing such a move will be responsible for
the unnecessary loss of many thousands of lives." Already on the
1st of August, General Shafter had reported 4255 sick, of whom
3164 were cases of yellow fever, that deadly curse of Cuba, which
the lack of proper quarantine had so often allowed to invade the
shores of the United States. On the 3d of August, even before
General Shafter had received the round robin, the Secretary of
War authorized the withdrawal of at least a portion of the army,
which was to be replaced by supposedly immune regiments. By the
middle of August, the soldiers began to arrive at Camp Wikoff at
Montauk Point, on the eastern end of Long Island. Through this
camp, which had been hastily put into condition to receive them,
there passed about thirty-five thousand soldiers, of whom twenty
thousand were sick. When the public saw those who a few weeks
before had been healthy and rollicking American boys, now mere
skeletons, borne helpless in stretchers and looking old and
shriveled, a wave of righteous indignation against Secretary
Alger swept over the country, and eventually accomplished enough
to prevent such catastrophes in the future.

The distressing experience of the army was too real not to have
its constructive effect. Men like William Crawford Gorgas were
inspired to study the sanitation and the diseases of the tropics
and have now made it possible for white men to live there safely.
Men of affairs like Elihu Root were stimulated to give their
talents to army administration. Fortunately the boys were brought
north just in time to save their lives, and the majority, after a
recuperation of two or three years, regained their normal health.

The primary responsibility for this gamble with death rested with
those who sent an expedition from the United States to the
tropics in midsummer when the measures necessary to safeguard its
health were not yet known. This responsibility rested immediately
upon the American people themselves, all too eager for a war for
which they were not prepared and for a speedy victory at all
costs. For this national impatience they had to pay dearly. The
striking contrast, however, between the efficiency of the navy
and the lack of preparation on the part of the army shows that
the people as a whole would have supported a more thorough
preparation of the army, had the responsible officials possessed
sufficient courage and intelligence to have demanded it; nor
would the people have been unwilling to defer victory until
autumn, had they been honestly informed of the danger of tropical
disease into which they were sending the flower of their youth.
Such a postponement would not only have meant better weather but
it would have given time to teach the new officers their duty in
safeguarding the health of their men as far as possible, and this
precaution alone would have saved many lives. Owing to the
greater practical experience of the officers in the regular
regiments, the death rate among the men in their ranks fell far
below that among the volunteers, even though many of the men with
the regulars had enlisted after the declaration of war. On the
other hand, speed as well as sanitation was an element in the
war, and the soldier who was sacrificed to lack of preparation
may be said to have served his country no less than he who died
in battle. Strategy and diplomacy in this instance were
enormously facilitated by the immediate invasion of Cuba, and
perhaps the outcome justified the cost. The question of relative
values is a difficult one.

No such equation of values, however, can hold the judgment in
suspense in the case of the host of secondary errors that grew
out of the indolence of Secretary Alger and his worship of
politics. Probably General Miles was mistaken in his charges
concerning embalmed beef, and possibly the canned beef was not so
bad as it tasted; but there can be no excuse for a Secretary of
War who did not consider it his business to investigate the
question of proper rations for an army in the tropics simply
because Congress had, years before, fixed a ration for use within
the United States. There was no excuse for sending many of the
men clad in heavy army woolens. There was no excuse for not
providing a sufficient number of surgeons and abundant hospital
service. There was little excuse for the appointment of General
Shafter, which was made in part for political reasons. There was
no excuse for keeping at the head of the army administration
General Nelson A. Miles, with whom, whatever his abilities, the
Secretary of War was unable to work.

The navy did not escape controversy. In fact, a war fought under
the eyes of hundreds of uncensored newspaper correspondents
unskilled in military affairs could not fail to supply a daily
grist of scandal to an appreciative public. The controversy
between Sampson and Schley, however, grew out of incompatible
personalities stirred to rivalry by indiscreet friends and a
quarrelsome public. Captain Sampson was chosen to command, and
properly so, because of his recognized abilities. Commodore
Schley, a genial and open-hearted man, too much given to impulse,
though he outranked Sampson, was put under his command. Sampson
was not gracious in his treatment of the Commodore, and ill
feeling resulted. When the time came to promote both officers for
their good conduct, Secretary Long by recommending that Sampson
be raised eight numbers and Schley six, reversed their relative
positions as they had been before the war. This recommendation,
in itself proper, was sustained by the Senate, and all the
vitality the controversy ever had then disappeared, though it
remains a bone of contention to be gnawed by biographers and

CHAPTER XII. The Close Of The War

While the American people were concentrating their attention upon
the blockade of Santiago near their own shores, the situation in
the distant islands of the Pacific was rapidly becoming acute.
All through June, Dewey had been maintaining himself, with superb
nerve, in Manila Harbor, in the midst of uncertain neutrals. A
couple of unwieldy United States monitors were moving slowly to
his assistance from the one side, while a superior Spanish fleet
was approaching from the other. On the 26th of June, the Spanish
Admiral Camara had reached Port Said, but he was not entirely
happy. Several of his vessels proved to be in that ineffective
condition which was characteristic of the Spanish Navy. The
Egyptian authorities refused him permission to refit his ships or
to coal, and the American consul had with foresight bought up
much of the coal which the Spanish Admiral had hoped to secure
and take aboard later from colliers. Nevertheless the fleet
passed through the Suez Canal and entered the Red Sea.

Fully alive to the danger of the situation, the Naval War Board
gave orders on the 29th of June for a squadron under Commodore
Watson to start for the Spanish coast in hope of drawing Camara

The alarm which had previously been created on the American coast
by the shrouded approach of Cervera naturally suggested that the
Americans themselves might win one of those psychological
victories now recognized as such an important factor in modern
warfare. The chief purpose of future operations was to convince
the Spanish people that they were defeated, and nothing would
more conduce to this result than to bring war to their doors.
This was, moreover, an operation particularly suited to the
conditions under which the United States was waging war, for
publicity was here a helping factor. Admiral Sampson, more intent
on immediate business than on psychological pressure, was not
enthusiastically in favor of the plan. Nevertheless preparation
proceeded with that deliberation which in this case was part of
the game, and presently the shadow of an impending American
attack hung heavy over the coasts of Spain. The Spanish
Government at first perhaps considered the order a bluff which
the United States would not dare to carry out while Cervera's
fleet was so near its own shores; but with the destruction of
Cervera's ships the plan became plainly possible, and on the 8th
of July the Spanish Government ordered Camara back to parade his
vessels before the Spanish cities to assure them of protection.

But, before Camara was called home, the public were watching his
advance against the little American fleet at Manila, with an
anxiety perhaps greater than Dewey's own. Nothing in modern war
equals in dramatic tension the deadly, slow, inevitable approach
of a fleet from one side of the world against its enemy on the
other. Both beyond the reach of friendly help, each all powerful
until it meets its foe, their home countries have to watch the
seemingly never coming, but nevertheless certain, clash, which
under modern conditions means victory or destruction. It is the
highest development of that situation which has been so exploited
in a myriad forms by the producers of dramas for the moving
pictures and which nightly holds audiences silent; but it plays
itself out in war, not in minutes but in months. No one who lived
through that period can ever forget the progress of Camara
against Dewey, or that of Rozhestvensky with the Russian fleet,
six years later, against Togo.

Meanwhile another move was made in the Caribbean. General Miles
had from the first considered Porto Rico the best immediate
objective: it was much nearer Spain than Cuba, was more nearly
self-sufficing if left alone, and less defensible if attacked.
The War Department, on the 7th of June, had authorized Miles to
assemble thirty thousand troops for the invasion of Porto Rico,
and preparations for this expedition were in progress throughout
the course of the Santiago campaign. Miles at the time of the
surrender of Santiago was actually off that city with
reinforcements, which thereupon at once became available as a
nucleus to be used against Porto Rico. On the 21st of July he
left Guantanamo Bay and, taking the Spaniards as well as the War
Department completely by surprise as to his point of attack, he
effected a landing on the 26th at Guanica, near the southwestern
corner of Porto Rico.

The expeditionary force to Porto Rico, however, consisted not of
30,000 men but of only about 15,000; and it was not fully
assembled on the island until the 8th of August. The total
Spanish forces amounted to only about 10,000, collected on the
defensible ground to the north and in the interior, so that they
did not disturb the disembarkation. The American Army which had
been dispatched from large Atlantic ports, such as Charleston and
Newport News, seems to have been better and more systematically
equipped than the troops sent to Santiago. The Americans occupied
Guanica, Ponce, and Arroyo with little or no opposition, and were
soon in possession of the southern shores of the island.

Between the American forces and the main body of the enemy
stretched a range of mountains running east and west through the
length of the island. San Juan, the only fortress, which was the
main objective of the American Army, lay on the opposite side of
this mountain range, on the northern coast of the island. The
approach to the fortress lay along a road which crossed the hills
and which possessed natural advantages for defense. On the 7th of
August a forward movement was begun. While General Wilson's army
advanced from Ponce along the main road toward San Juan and
General Brooke moved north from Arroyo, General Schwan was to
clear the western end of the island and work his way around to
Arecibo, toward which General Henry was to advance through the
interior. The American armies systematically worked forward, with
an occasional skirmish in which they were always victorious, and
were received with a warm welcome by the teeming native
population. On the 13th of August, General Wilson was on the
point of clearing his first mountain range, General Schwan had
occupied Mayaguez, and General Henry had passed through the
mountains and was marching down the valley of the Arecibo, when
orders arrived from Washington to suspend operations.

The center of interest, however, remained in the far-away
Philippines. Dewey, who had suddenly burst upon the American
people as their first hero, remained a fixed star in their
admiration, a position in which his own good judgment and the
fortunate scarcity of newspaper correspondents served to maintain
him. From him action was expected, and it had been prepared for.
Even before news arrived on the 7th of May of Dewey's victory on
the 1st of May, the Government had anticipated such a result and
had decided to send an army to support him. San Francisco was
made a rendezvous for volunteers, and on the l2th of May, General
Wesley Merritt was assigned to command the expedition. Dewey
reported that he could at any time command the surrender of
Manila, but that it would be useless unless he had troops to
occupy the city.

On the 19th of May, General Merritt received the following
orders: "The destruction of the Spanish fleet at Manila, followed
by the taking of the naval station at Cavite, the paroling of the
garrisons, and the acquisition of the control of the bay, have
rendered it necessary, in the further prosecution of the measures
adopted by this Government for the purpose of bringing about an
honorable and durable peace with Spain, to send an army of
occupation to the Philippines for the twofold purpose of
completing the reduction of the Spanish power in that quarter and
giving order and security to the islands while in the possession
of the United States."

On the 30th of June the first military expedition, after a
bloodless capture of the island of Guam, arrived in Manila Bay. A
second contingent arrived on the 17th of July, and on the 25th,
General Merritt himself with a third force, which brought the
number of Americans up to somewhat more than 10,000. The
Spaniards had about 13,000 men guarding the rather antiquated
fortifications of old Manila and a semicircle of blockhouses and
trenches thrown about the city, which contained about 350,000

It would have been easy to compel surrender or evacuation by the
guns of the fleet, had it not been for an additional element in
the situation. Manila was already besieged, or rather blockaded,
on the land side, by an army of nearly ten thousand Philippine
insurgents under their shrewd leader, Emilio Aguinaldo. It does
not necessarily follow that those who are fighting the same enemy
are fighting together, and in this case the relations between
the Americans and the insurgents were far from intimate, though
Dewey had kept the situation admirably in hand until the arrival
of the American troops.

General Merritt decided to hold no direct communication with
Aguinaldo until the Americans were in possession of the city, but
landed his army to the south of Manila beyond the trenches of the
Filipinos. On the 30th of July, General F. V. Greene made an
informal arrangement with the Filipino general for the removal of
the insurgents from the trenches directly in front of the
American forces, and immediately advanced beyond their original
position. The situation of Manila was indeed desperate and
clearly demanded a surrender to the American forces, who might be
relied upon to preserve order and protect property. The Belgian
Consul, M. Eduard Andre, urged this course upon the Spanish
commander. The Governor-General, Fermin Jaudenes, exhibited the
same spirit which the Spanish commanders revealed throughout the
war: though constitutionally indisposed to take any bold action,
he nevertheless considered it a point of honor not to recognize
the inevitable. He allowed it to be understood that he could not
surrender except to an assault, although well knowing that such a
melee might cause the city to be ravaged by the Filipinos. M.
Andre, however, succeeded by the 11th of August in arranging a
verbal understanding that the fleet should fire upon the city and
that the troops should attack, but that the Spaniards should make
no real resistance and should surrender as soon as they
considered that their honor was saved.

The chief contestants being thus amicably agreed to a spectacular
but bloodless battle, the main interest lay in the future action
of the interested and powerful spectators in the harbor. Admiral
Dewey, though relieved by the arrival of the monitor Monterey on
the 4th of August, was by no means certain that the German
squadron would stand by without interference and see the city
bombarded. On the 9th of August he gave notice of the impending
action and ordered foreign vessels out of the range of fire. On
the 13th of August Dewey steamed into position before the city.
As the American vessels steamed past the British Immortalite, her
guard paraded and her band played Admiral Dewey's favorite march.
Immediately afterwards the British commander, Captain Chichester,
moved his vessels toward the city and took a position between our
fleet and the German squadron. The foreign vessels made no
interference, but the Filipinos were more restless. Eagerly
watching the American assault, they rushed forward when they saw
it successful, and began firing on the Spaniards just as the
latter hoisted the white flag. They were quieted, though with
difficulty, and by nightfall the city was under the Stars and
Stripes, with American troops occupying the outworks facing the
forces of Aguinaldo, who were neither friends nor foes.

While the dispatch of Commodore Watson's fleet to Spain was still
being threatened and delayed, while General Miles was rapidly
approaching the capital of Porto Rico, and on the same day that
Admiral Dewey and General Merritt captured Manila, Spain yielded.
On the 18th of July Spain had taken the first step toward peace
by asking for the good offices of the French Government. On the
26th of July, M. Cambon, the French Ambassador at Washington,
opened negotiations with the United States. On the 12th of
August, a protocol was signed, but, owing to the difference in
time on the opposite side of the globe, to say nothing of the
absence of cable communication, not in time to prevent Dewey's
capture of Manila. This protocol provided for the meeting of
peace commissioners at Paris not later than the 1st of October.
Spain agreed immediately to evacuate and relinquish all claim to
Cuba; to cede to the United States ultimately all other islands
in the West Indies, and one in the Ladrones; and to permit the
United States to "occupy and hold the city, bay, and harbor of
Manila pending the conclusion of a treaty of peace which shall
determine the control, disposition, and government of the

President McKinley appointed the Secretary of State, William R.
Day, as president of the peace commission, and summoned John Hay
home from England to take his place. The other commissioners were
Senators Cushman K. Davis and William P. Frye, Republicans,
Senator George Gray, Democrat, and Whitelaw Reid, the editor of
the New York "Tribune". The secretary of the commission was the
distinguished student of international law, John Bassett Moore.
On most points there was general agreement as to what they were
to do. Cuba, of course, must be free. It was, moreover, too
obvious to need much argument that Spanish rule on the American
continent must come altogether to an end. As there was no
organized local movement in Porto Rico to take over the
government, its cession to the United States was universally
recognized as inevitable. Nevertheless when the two commissions
met in Paris, there proved to be two exciting subjects of
controversy, and at moments it seemed possible that the attempt
to arrange a peace would prove unsuccessful. However reassured
the people were by the successful termination of the war, for
those in authority the period of anxiety had not yet entirely

The first of these points was raised by the Spanish
commissioners. They maintained that the separation of Cuba from
Spain involved the rending of the Empire, and that Cuba should
therefore take responsibilities as well as freedom. The specific
question was that of debts contracted by Spain, for the security
of which Cuban revenues had been pledged. There was a manifest
lack of equity in this claim, for Cuba had not been party to the
contracting of the obligations, and the money had been spent in
stifling her own desire to be free rather than on the development
of her resources. Nevertheless the Spanish commissioners could
feel the support of a sustaining public opinion about them, for
the bulk of these obligations were held in France and investors
were doubtful of the ability of Spain, if bereft of her colonies,
to carry her enormous financial burdens. The point, then, was
stoutly urged, but the American commissioners as stoutly defended
the interests of their clients, the Cubans, and held their
ground. Thanks to their efforts, the Cuban republic was born free
of debt.

The other point was raised by the American commissioners, and was
both more important and more complicated, for when the
negotiation began the United States had not fully decided what it
wanted. It was necessary first to decide and then to obtain the
consent of Spain with regard to the great unsettled question of
the disposition of the Philippines. Dewey's victory came as an
overwhelming surprise to the great majority of Americans snugly
encased, as they supposed themselves to be, in a separate
hemisphere. Nearly all looked upon it as a military operation
only, not likely to lead to later complications. Many discerning
individuals, however, both in this country and abroad, at once
saw or feared that occupation would lead to annexation. Carl
Schurz, as early as the 9th of May, wrote McKinley expressing the
hope that "we remain true to our promise that this is a war of
deliverance and not one of greedy ambition, conquest,
self-aggrandizement." In August, Andrew Carnegie wrote in "The
North American Review" an article on "Distant Possessions--The
Parting of the Ways."

Sentiment in favor of retaining the islands, however, grew
rapidly in volume and in strength. John Hay wrote to Andrew
Carnegie on the 22d of August: "I am not allowed to say in my
present fix (ministerial responsibility) how much I agree with
you. The only question in my mind is how far it is now POSSIBLE
for us to withdraw from the Philippines. I am rather thankful it
is not given to me to solve that momentous question." On the 5th
of September, he wrote to John Bigelow: "I fear you are right
about the Philippines, and I hope the Lord will be good to us
poor devils who have to take care of them. I marvel at your
suggesting that we pay for them. I should have expected no less
of your probity; but how many except those educated by you in the
school of morals and diplomacy would agree with you? Where did I
pass you on the road of life? You used to be a little my senior
[twenty-one years]; now you are ages younger and stronger than I
am. And yet I am going to be Secretary of State for a little

Not all those who advocated the retention of the Philippines did
so reluctantly or under the pressure of a feeling of necessity.
In the very first settlers of our country, the missionary impulse
beat strong. John Winthrop was not less intent than Cromwell on
the conquest of all humanity by his own ideals; only he believed
the most efficacious means to be the power of example instead of
force. Just now there was a renewed sense throughout the
Anglo-Saxon public that it was the duty of the civilized to
promote the civilization of the backward, and the Cromwellian
method waxed in popularity. Kipling, at the summit of his
influence, appealed to a wide and powerful public in his "White
Man's Burden," which appeared in 1899.


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