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column on the way during several critical days. The only help the Spanish Navy was enabled to give in the defense of Santiago, was by landing men and guns from the fleet, and bettering the equipment of the garrison with arms and ammunition. If Cervera had been able to reach Cienfuegos with his squadron, there could have been direct co-operation with the great body of Spanish troops concentrated in the West end of Cuba for the defense of Havana; and the Captain General enabled to pour by rail into the town so considerable a force, that, acting behind intrenchments, they would, in all probability, if they fought with the gallantry displayed at Santiago, have made good their defense until divisions of our volunteers could take part; and this itself would have been sufficient for the introduction of the dreaded pestilence into our camps.
The rail connection of Cienfuegos with the railway system of Cuba would have enabled the Spaniards to concentrate for the defense of the fleet in that harbor, and, at least, the protraction of the siege for an indefinite time, and undoutedly a very costly campaign. Owing to our superior resources, , such a struggle would have terminated in the defeat and surrender of the Spaniards, but for us an enormous expenditure of life.
Many of our officers of distinction made the mistake of under-valuation of the import of the first blow, and a speedy victory.
When the defenders of Santiago, with the fleet, were destroyed, the Spaniards beaten back into their defenses, and the city surrendered, the capitulation carried with it the whole department, with all its garrisons; and then the end of the war was in sight. The Spanish fleets annihilated at Manila and Santiago, Spain was helpless, both in the Philippines and the Indies, and had nothing afloat to defend the Spanish peninsula from the attacks of the American fleet. We had Spain's army in Cuba in a great trap. We did not in August need to undertake the campaign in detail. It was not necessary for us to pour our masses of volunteers into the islands, or to hold the troops that we had there in the fever season, on lines and in villages where the yellow pestilence had appeared. There was no secret about the fever, burning like a monster furnace to consume our young men. Under Spanish conditions the fever was always in Cuba. The idea that it was, in a military and moral sense, necessary to keep our troops at Santiago, or to transport our men from the great camps in our own country to the West end of Cuba to make a display of activity, was wholly inconsiderate. The Spaniards were incapable of aggression, and we had only to wait that their resources of ammunition and provision might be exhausted, while if we insisted upon besieging Havana when it would have to fall with its own weight, and inherent horrors and weaknesses, we would have simply been contributing a multitude of our men to the graveyards of the island. The
policy of holding the troops in Cuba, and adding to them, was simply that of finding fuel for an awful conflagration that would have effected no military object, and was not warranted by anything in human affairs.
It was as rough and ready, hot and swift, in Roosevelt's mind, to evacuate the island, and get out of it, with the who had done the necessary work already, as it had been in the first place to get there with the utmost dispatch and force the fighting without the delay of a day, pressing it to immediate conclusion. There was the same demand to get away from the plague spot that there had been to get to the fighting line. When the line vanished, there was no reason why American soldiers should be detained in that climate, unless to guard the captive Spaniards from being massacred by the Cubans before they could be sent home, according to the terms of the protocol and capitulation, as immediately proposed and approved. If there had been a danger of the slaughter, in sheer revenge of our captives, there would have been a sufficient reason to have given them their captured guns, that they might take care of themselves.
Colonel Roosevelt promoted the policy of the evacuation of the yellow fever district. It was the policy of peace and humanity that was already triumphant in the war, to save not only our own soldiers, who were the most exposed of any to the ravages of the pestilence, but to save the Spaniards also from semi-starvation, and an unparalleled death rate; and to prevent the ill-clad, poorly armed and weary Cubans from further struggles and suffering and losses in protracting a struggle which had already been substantially closed to their enduring advantage.
There was no chance for any more war with Spain unless we crossed the ocean to find it. The fact was plain at Paris that if there could not be a treaty made by the Commissioners there assembled, and if we had to go on with the war, we would be obliged to find the fighting on the soil of Europe, or in the Spanish islands in the Mediterranean and on the coast of Africa.
In the comprehensive and exceedingly valuable testimony before the Commission, to investigate the conduct of the war with Spain, Colonel Roosevelt said that when on the way to the wholesome shores of Long Island, sailing away from the Cuban malarial climate and fever breeding soil, while there were still hardships to encounter, though the transports were crowded, and there were many discomforts because we had not been accustomed to sea-faring armies, there was joyous animation and helpful hope, as the days passed, that gave relief to the sick and preserved the health of those who had maintained it. The American boys are apt to be homesick when far away in the tropical gardens, and talk about the land of the corn stalk and the apple tree and the wheat fields, and all that they remember that they had
fondness for and treasure recollections of in the States—they sum it all up and speak with unspeakable longing for "God's country.” No wonder, when the sick boys, saved from the fevers of Cuba, found themselves on Long Island, with the ocean breezes from one quarter, and those of the Sound and New England from the other, and began to receive such attentions as they were accustomed to at home, to have such delicacies as the sick are served with in the home hospitals, where the water was pure and the ice was plenty, and they saw only pleasant faces about them, that they expressed their emotions in the words, “This is Heaven.”
THE ROUND ROBIN LETTER.
Secretary of War Alger and Colonel Theodore Roosevelt Differ Radically—The Full
Correspondence- The Rough Rider Was Tender Hearted, and Saved Thousands of Sick Men-He Unbound the Army Tied in Fever Camps by Cutting the Red Таре. .
ENERAL RUSSELL A. ALGER, War Secretary of the McKinley Ad
ministration, during the war with Spain, has published a history which
he was in good position to make of value, and the volume contributes much of interest. He contends that the “Round Robin" letter had nothing whatever to do with either the return of the Fifth corps to the United States or the selection of Montauk Point. The "R. R.” paper was published on the 4th of August. General Alger was indignant and alarmed, and many ills appeared in his excitement that were after all fanciful. General Alger says the enemy secured information our Government was anxious to conceal, and after a conference at the White House, this message was sent:
"White House, Washington, Aug. 4, 1898. "General Shafter, Santiago:
“At this time, when peace is talked of, it seems strange that you should give out your cable, signed by your general officers, concerning the condition of your army, to the Associated Press without permission from the War Department. You did not even await a reply to your communication.
“R. A. ALGER,
"Secretary of War." To which General Shafter replied:
"Santiago de Cuba, August 4, 1898. "Hon. R. A. Alger, Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:
“The report was given out, as I have since learned, before it reached me. I called the general officers together, to tell them what I proposed to do, and to express to them my views, and ask them to give me a letter, setting forth their views, and I told them to do so. Meanwhile, I wrote my telegram, and later it was handed in and forwarded, with the letter of the surgeons and the letter of these officers. It was not until some time after that I
learned their letter had been given to the press. It was a foolish improper thing to do, and I regret very much that it occurred. . . I have been very careful about giving to the press any information, and I will continue to do so.
"W. R. SHAFTER,
"Major General.” General Alger says: When the President read the “Round Robin” for the first time in the newspapers he became much excited and indignant. Every possible effort was made to ascertain the name of the person responsible for its publication, that he might be called to a proper account for the act, but in vain.
To counteract the effect of the “Round Robin," the following statement was given to the press:
“ Adjutant-General's Office, August 4, 1898. “The Secretary of War has ordered General Shafter's troops relieved from further duty in Santiago as fast as transportation can be provided, and the transfer of Spanish prisoners will admit of reduction of the garrison.
These will sail for New York as fast as they can be comfortably embarked. The rest at Montauk Point will prepare these seasoned troops for the campaign against Havana, in which they will probably take part. The first transport left Santiago yesterday. The movement is expected to be completed by the 20th of the month. Five United States volunteer regiments, immunes, have been ordered to Santiago for garrison duty. The first has already arrived; the others are being pushed forward as rapidly as transportation can be furnished.”
As soon as the announcement was made that the "immune” regiments were to be sent to Santiago, many protests were received against such action. No attention, however, could be paid to these communications. The following indicates their general character:
“Macon, Georgia, August 5, 1898. “General H. C. Corbin, Adjutant-General U. S. A., Washington, D. C.:
"It is distinctly understood throughout the whole country that the 3d Regiment United States Volunteers, although called immune, are no more immune from yellow fever than any other volunteer regiment. It is composed almost exclusively of Georgians, nearly all of whom are very young men, and many of them minors. When enlisted, the Government subjected them to a rigid physical examination, but no proof was demanded or desired as to their immunity from yellow fever. To send these young men and boys to Santiago, at this time, with no enemy to fight, is to expose them to the same deadly peril from yellow fever as is now said to confront those who, having reaped the honors, are now demanding to be sent to a Northern seaside. If