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familiar song, “This is the way I long have sought, and mourned
, because I found it not.'” [Laughter].
" Not representing the junior senator but representing my comrades, comrades of the Spanish-American War, I desire to say to the Governor of Florida,“ We are glad to be here in your midst. If half what you say of your State is true [laughter] we stand awed in your majestic presence.” We know that it is true, but if any of you want a race horse along about the time you reach the Alabama line in your car making it down to Florida, drop off in the fairest dimple in the American cheek—Alabama. [Applause.]
But I suppose I am here to fill in, and having done that, I just want to say a word: I regard—and I am talking about myself-I regard the Spanish-American War veteran as a real hero in
. American history. [Applause.] Why do I say that? Not to discredit the valor, the chivalry, of any man, but as a whole, almost, the Spanish-American War soldier was a volunteer . [Prolonged applause.] He left the peaceful vocation of life, from bank and farm, from office and factory, at the call of that great President, William McKinley [prolonged applause] to serve his country-I am through, old fellow—was not prepared, Senator (addressing Senator Fletcher), to receive him as a soldier, and he blazed the way so that the khaki-clad uniformed soldier of the World War had an opportunity to do the things that he did by virtue of the service he rendered. [Applause.] Now, I am through.
We appreciate this warm, eastern welcome-I am used to it. [Laughter.] I live down here. I knew the welcome you would receive, but I feel that some one ought to respond to this. [Applause.] Governor, while I can not wave over you and your people a garland laden with the flowers of poetry and rhetoric, I can come in old Bill Brandon's familiar way, on behalf of my comrades and their friend, and thank you for this wonderful welcome. [Applause.]
The CHAIRMAN. Personally, I think Bill Brandon is the best 6 pinch hitter” I have ever seen.
The next speaker this morning is the Hon. H. J. Drane, Member of Congress from the first congressional district. [Applause.]
ADDRESS OF HON. H. J. DRANE, MEMBER OF CONGRESS FROM THE
FIRST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
Congressman DRANE. Mr. Commander.
Congressman DRANE. Veterans of the Spanish war, of course you are welcome here, and I have a very great right to welcome you because this is my home district and I am one of the people of this district. I can recall that in 1898 there happened something that very few of you now remember: That all the water, the drinking water, which was furnished to the expeditionary forces going to Cuba came from this very town. The water at that time was given free to the railroad company, but the Government had to buy it from the railroad company. This morning the same water is still given to you free and, I believe, that is all you can get to drink in St. Petersburg. [Laughter and applause.] If you get anything else, I hope it will taste as good as the water.
But, speaking in more serious vein, we always have wars and rumors of wars, so that here, 27 years after the war in which you were engaged, the Government of the United States is still planning to keep out of war, and with that in view very recently a committee of Congress known as the Committee on Naval Affairs has returned from a 20,000-mile journey looking after our defenses on the Atlantic and in the West Indies, in Cuba and the islands, solely for the purpose of keeping out of war. · Among the places which this committee had to visit, I being a member of the committee, was one Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Some of you may not know that the ground occupied in 1898 by American troops is still occupied by American troops—the shore line of the bay.
I was traveling with this committee and several Admirals of the Navy and a major of the marines, a major general I should say, and one of these Admirals and the major general of the Marines were in the fight at Guantanamo, making the landing party. I remember we arrived there sometime late in the night, and the first thing I saw out of my porthole in the morning, lying against the sky in line with the rising sun, was Old Glory [applause] and it thrilled me to think that civilization had established itself there as it is established everywhere where Old Glory flies aloft, and it became my duty to go ashore there and there spend some hours on a red graveled hillside, very hot, very disagreeable, but going there to benefit the man whose duty it is to stay there, and in conversation with one of these men I said: “I see a Spanish gun mounted on that hillside. Why is it at that particular place, and the only one?” He replied: “ That marks the burial spot of the first man who fell and of his comrades. Their bodies now lie in Arlington, but that marks the spot.” When I returned, I said to the Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Secretary, in a little while I am going to talk to the Spanish War Veterans. Will you have written for me the history of the landing at Guantanamo Bay just as it was written down for the Navy Department ?” And he very kindly said he would. He gave it to me and I thought it would interest you if I would give it to you this morning. It is brief. [Applause].
A battalion of marines, consisting of 23 commissioned officers of the Marine Corps, one surgeon, United States Navy, and 623 enlisted men, commanded by Lieut. "Col. R. W. Huntington, was the first American force that landed in Cuba in 1898, when it established a base for Admiral Sampson's fleet at Guantanamo, holding their position against Spanish regulars who were estimated to number 7,000, equipped with Mauser rifles employing smokeless powder, while the marines were armed with the Lee straight-pull rifle, not employing smokeless powder, and considered to be inferior to the Mauser.
The U. S. S. Panther sailed from Key West for Cuba on June 7, 1898, and arrived at Santiago de Cuba on the morning of the 10th. On the same day, at 1 o'clock p. m., the ship arrived at Guantanamo Bay, and at 2 o'clock p. m. of that day the battalion landed, with stores, and prepared to go into camp. The place of encampment had been designated by Commander B. H. McCalla, United States Navy, commanding the U. S. S. Marblehead, under whose orders the battalion had been directed to operate. The position selected for the encampment was a flat ridge on top of a hill 90 feet above sea level and about 150 yards long by 25 yards wide, sloping thence in all directions but much steeper on the sea face than in any other direction.
It was on that hill that I saw the gun of which I spoke.
On the 11th the camp was attacked by a much superior force of Spaniards, and from that time until the 14th the battalion was constantly under fire, and repulsed the enemy on every attack. The holding of the position at Guantanamo Bay was of the utmost importance to the Navy, as it was the only harbor where the vessels could seek shelter during the hurricane season.
About 1 o'clock a. m. on the morning of the 12th of June, during a very severe attack on the camp, Asst. Surg. John Blair Gibbs, United States Navy, was killed by a Mauser bullet. The death of Gibbs cast a gloom over the whole command, as he was a most popular officer, liked by all, and his services were very much missed and the battalion could ill afford to lose them. He was buried the next morning a few feet away from where he fell, in a grave hastily dug and adjoining those of Privates Dunphy and McColgan, wooden headstones being put up for all three. Lieutenant Radford and the Texas guard formed the funeral escort. Owing to the necessity for extending the lines, these graves were taken into our inclosure and, being in rear of one of the trenches, some of the men were obliged to sleep on them under a tent fly they erected. During the services the enemy opened fire on the party which stood around the graves, but no one was hit. Here his body remained until more than a year after when it was disinterred and brought back to his native land. The same night on which Doctor Gibbs was killed, Sergt. Charles H. Smith, of Company D, was also killed. He was attached to Lieutenant Neville's outpost. Sergeant Smith had been in charge of the Cossack post, of which Privates McColgan and Dunphy were members, and had narrowly escaped being killed at that time. He too seemed to be fated, for his reprieve was short after his first escape from death. The next morning after he was killed, Neville's outpost, just as it was about to be relieved by Lieutenant Lucas with a platoon of c Company, was attacked. All the pickets were driven in by the enemy, and the detachment which had Smith's body in charge was so closely pressed by a superior force that it was obliged to abandon his body in order to secure its own safety. It was recovered, however, the next day, but it was then too late to remove it to our little cemetery on the hill, and it was buried where it lay, near the path. A wooden headstone marked the place. This attack on the outpost was made in the early morning, but it was soon brilliantly repulsed and quiet reigned for a time.
Between 10 and 11 o'clock on the night of the 12th the acting sergeant major of the battalion, Henry Good, was killed and several men were wounded. Good was standing behind the trench where the Marblehead's guard was placed and he was controlling the fire of these men. The ground was highest at this point, and his figure stood out plainly against the sky line. He was repeatedly urged to lie down but refused the advice and was soon hit in the chest by a Mauser bullet. As he fell he was caught by one or two men standing near and he said to them “Take me to my post”. These were his last words and he expired almost instantly.
And, my friends, those words of that man who gave his life that the country might live, should live down the ages and become immortal. Think of those words! " Take me to my post. ”
He was buried the next morning just outside of the trenches. The officers of the battalion have 'since erected a tablet to his memory at the marine barracks, Brooklyn, N. Y.
The outposts which had again been established were also actively engaged all the night of June 12 and their volleys were distinctly heard. Several were wounded but only one killed. Pvt. Goode Tauerman, who was mortally wounded, fell over the cliff into the sea, hastening his death by drowning.
The incessant fire on the Americans by the Spanish for more than two days and nights had caused considerable annoyance and prevented the marines from getting any sleep or rest. To overcome this and put an end to the affair one way or the other was the problem which confronted the commanding vfficer at dawn the next morning, the 14th. A few Cubans, about 80 in all, under the command of Colonel Thomas, had joined us during the preceding days, and Colonel Thomas confirmed the report of Colonel Laborde as to the location of the Spanish headquarters. He suggested to Colonel Huntington on the night of the 13th the advisability of sending out an attacking force in the morning to surprise the Spaniards and, if possible, to destroy their well, which, if successful, would force them to retreat to Guantanamo, their nearest water supply. Colonel Huntington, seeing that something decisive must be done to relieve the terrible strain under which his command was suffering, they having had no rest or sleep for more than 100 hours, readily consented to the plan and immediately made preparations for the attack on Cuzco, This attack was successful, the enemy's resistance crushed on every hand, and Manzanillo captured without loss of life on the American side.
Sumining up the casualities with dates :
Killed in action: Acting Asst. Surg. John Blair Gibbs, United States Navy, June 11, 1898; Acting Sergt. Maj. Henry Good, United States Marine Corps, June 12, 1898; Sergt. Charles H. Smith, United States Marine Corps, June 11, 1898; Pvt. William Dunphy, United States Marine Corps, June 11, 1898; Pvt. James McColgan, United States Marine Corps, June 11, 1898; Pvt. Goode Tauerman, United States. Marine Corps, June 12, 1898.
Wounded in action : Pvt. James Bourke, United States Marine Corps, June 13, 1898; Pvt. Joseph Martin, United States Marine Corps, June 13, 1898; Pvt. Bartholomew McGowan, United States Marine Corps, June 12, 1898; Pvt. James Roxberry, United States Marine Corps, June 13, 1898; Pvt. Thomas Wallace, United States Marine Corps, June 12, 1898; Pvt. Arthur Walker, United States Marine Corps, June 14, 1898.
That is the first engagement in the Spanish-American War and is marked now by a captured Spanish gun while those who fell sleep now in Arlington, within the shadow of the Capitol.
My firm friends, I felt when I approached that place that I must do so with unsandled feet and uncovered head, because there, indeed, was holy ground. As I left there in the late evening night, as the sun was going down, I could still see Old Glory floating against the sky line and I can not help but think now, and could not then, of Lexington and Concord, of Valley Forge and Saratoga, of Cuba and the Phillipines, of all the wars which have been fought in the 130 years of our existence, and then again I thought: What has it cost? and, Is it worth while? It has cost the blood of the martyrs.
: It is worth while, because wherever Old Glory floats there is lawabiding citizens, there is prosperity, there is happiness, there is everything that is sweet to human need; there is the something that makes a man love his family, his God, and his country. [Applause.]
But what of those who died? They shall not grow old as we who are left grow old. “Age shall not wither, nor the age condemn.
. At the setting of the sun and in the morning, we must remember them.”
The CHAIRMAN. I am going to ask the next speakers to be brief, as the commander in chief has notified me he wants to open the business session on time and we have only a very few minutes left. The next speaker is our beloved mayor. [Applause.]
ADDRESS OF HON. C. M. BLANC, MAYOR OF THE CITY OF ST.
Mayor BLANC. Veterans of the Spanish-American War and ladies, it is a pleasure this morning to come before you and to welcome you to our Sunshine City and, looking out on you ladies who are here this morning, I must say that you look very much to me like a Florida flower garden. [Applause.] It reminds me of a little story—I will hasten through it. A mother went to Sunday school one Sunday. morning; sister met Jack the next day and said: “Why, Jack, your mother looked sweeter and better-dressed yesterday than ever I saw her in my life.” And Jack said: “Well, she ought to; she had on everything she got for Christmas presents excepting the percolator." [Laughter.] And you ladies and gentlemen this morning look good to me. You have the right kind of smile on your faces; that is what we like in St. Petersburg, and I hope when you leave this city you will carry the smile with you to the North. [Applause.) We feel that you are one of us and we want you to feel that we are proud to have you as our guests and we want you to know this morning that it comes from the heart of every citizen of St. Petersburg: We are
built of that kind of stuff and the reason we welcome you
is because you are built of that kind of stuff. [Applause.] You showed that in ninety-eight when the call came from our Uncle Sam. What did you do? When you heard that call you said: “Here am I; send me. [Applause.] You still stand ready. I can tell by the looks of your faces this morning that you stand ready if a call came tomorrow to say: “ Here I am; send me.
I had the pleasure in getting from Kentucky down to Chattanooga and to camp there in ninety-eight, but got no farther. I will tell you why: We came down to visit the Tennessee camp, we Kentucky boys, and in that crowd was one man weighing 250 pounds, 25 years old,
He hit one of the tents in the Chattanooga camp and had a terribly restless night until 2 o'clock the next morning. He came from the country and till then had slept on a feather bed 6 feet long; 4 feet wide, and 2 feet deep. Then we put him to bed in a tent with nothing between him and mother earth but the one sheet of oilcloth. He woke up at 2 o'clock and said: “I can't sleep here."
66 What's the matter?" I asked. He said: “There is something underneath
I the oilcloth." I said, "Raise it and see what the trouble is.” He pulled it back and found one feather under the oilcloth and he said
I can't sleep on one feather when I'm out for my country.” [Laughter.]
In welcoming you to the city of St. Petersburg this morning, it gives me great pleasure, more than great pleasure, to welcome you to our city and to turn over to you the key of our city to be used as yours, to go where you please, to do what you please. It was the Governor of Georgia who said, I believe it was, “ If you can't get anything stronger than water here, come to Georgia.” but that key will unlock any place in our city (prolonged applause and laughter]-except our jail. [Laughter.] That reminds me of another little story. A gentleman stopped in a hotel in Alabama and there was a darky porter there, and to this porter the gentleman said: “ You ring me in the morning; call me at 4.30 sharp.” The porter said: “Look here, boss, you are not used to these moderated hotels in the South. We have hanging over your bed a little button. You push that button at 4 o'clock in the morning and I will come up here and I will call you at 4.30.". [Laughter.]
Now, my friends, if you get into our jail—I have told you that this key will not unlock the jail-but if you do get into the jail, you press a little button at 4.30 in the morning and our city judge will call you at 9 o'clock sharp the next morning. [Applause and laughter.]
It gives me great pleasure to present this key to your chairman for your use (presenting key to the chairman]. [Applause.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. I will now turn it over to the commander in chief, who is responsible for you boys here [handing key to Commander in Chief Herrick]. [Applause.]
The last speaker on the program this morning is Comrade J. M. MacDonald, of General Leonard Wood Camp No. 8, of the Department of Florida. [Applause.]
ADDRESS OF COMRADE J. M. MacDONALD, OF GENERAL LEONARD
WOOD CAMP, NO. 8, DEPARTMENT OF FLORIDA
Comrade MacDONALD. Comrade chairman, comrade commander in chief, comrades, our distinguished guests, you God-blessed women