Page images

prompt movements and successive victories won instant and universal applause.

To those who gained this complete triumph, which established the ascendancy of the United States upon land as the fight off Santiago had fixed our supremacy on the seas, the earnest and lasting gratitude of the nation is unsparingly due.

Nor should we alone remember the gallantry of the living; the dead claim our tears, and our losses by battle and disease must cloud any exultation at the result and teach us to weigh the awful cost of war, however rightful the cause or signal the victory.

OCCUPATION OF PORTO RICO. With the fall of Santiago, the occupation of Porto Rico became the next strategic necessity. General Miles had previously been assigned to organize an expedition for that purpose. Fortunately he was already at Santiago, where he had arrived on the lith of July, with re-enforcements for General Shafter's army.

With these troops, consisting of 3,415 infantry and artillery, two companies of engineers, and one company of the signal corps, General Miles left Guantanamo on July 21st, having nine transports convoyed by the fleet under Captain Higginson, with the Massachusetts (flagship), Dixie, Gloucester, Columbia and Yale, the two latter carrying troops.' The expedition landed at Guanica July 25th, which port was entered with little opposition. Here the fleet was joined by the Annapolis and the Wasp, while the Puritan and Amphitrite went to San Juan and joined the New Orleans, which was engaged in blockading that port.

The major-general commanding was subsequently re-enforced by General Schwann's brigade of the Third Army Corps, by General Wilson, with a part of his division, and also by General Brooke, with a part of his corps, numbering in all 16,973 officers and men. On July 27 he entered Ponce, one of the most important ports in the island, from which he thereafter directed operations for the capture of the island.

With the exception of encounters with the enemy at Guayama, Hormigueres, Coamo and Yauco, and an attack on a force landing at Cape San Juan, there was no serious resistance. The campaign was prosecuted with great vigor, and by the 12th of August much of the island was in our possession, and the acquisition of the remainder was only a matter of a short time.

At most of the points in the island our troops were enthusiastically welcomed. Protestations of loyalty to the flag and gratitude for delivery from Spanish rule met our commanders at every stage.

As a potent influence toward peace, the outcome of the Porto Rican expedition was of great consequence, and generous commendation is due to those who participated in it.


The last scene of the war was enacted at Manila, its starting place. On August 15th, after a brief assault upon the works by the land forces, in which the squadron assisted, the capital surrendered unconditionally. The casualties were comparatively few.

By this the conquest of the Philippine Islands, virtually accomplished when the Spanish capacity for resistance was destroyed by Admiral Dewey's victory of the ist of May, was formally sealed.

To General Merritt, his officers and men, for their uncomplaining and devoted services, for their gallantry in action, the nation is sincerely grateful. Their long voyage was made with singular success, and the soldierly conduct of the men, most of whom were without previous experience in the military service, deserves unmeasured praise.

LOSSES OF ARMY AND NAVY. The total casualties in killed and wounded during the war were as follows:

Officers killed...

Fnlisted men killed .:


[blocks in formation]

It will be observed that while our navy was engaged in two great battles and in numerous perilous undertakings in the blockades and bombardment, and more than fifty thousand of our troops were transported to distant lands and engaged in assault and siege and battle and many skirmishes in unfamiliar territory, we lost in both arms of the service a total of 1,948 killed and wounded; and in the entire campaign by land and sea we did not lose a gun or a flag or a transport or a ship, and with the exception of the crew of the Merrimac not a soldier or sailor was taken prisoner.

On August 7, forty-six days from the date of the landing of General Shafter's army in Cuba and twenty-one days from the surrender of Santiago, the United States troops commenced embarkation for home, and our entire force was returned to the United States as early as August 25th. They were absent from the United States only two months.

It is fitting that I should bear testimony to the patriotism and devotion of that large portion of our army which, although eager to be ordered to the post of greatest exposure, fortunately was not required outside of the United States. They did their whole duty, and, like their comrades at the front, have earned the gratitude of the nation.

In like manner, the officers and men of the army and of the navy who remained in their departments and stations of the navy, performing most important duties connected with the war, and whose requests for assignments in the field and at sea I was compelled to refuse because their services were indispensable here, are entitled to the highest commendation. It is my regret that there seems to be no provision for their suitable recognition.

In this connection it is a pleasure for me to mention in terms of cordial appreciation the timely and useful work of the American National Red Cross, both in relief measures preparatory to the campaign, in sanitary assistance at several of the camps and assemblages, and later, under the able and experienced leadership of the president of the society, Miss Clara Barton, on the fields of battle and in the hospitals at the front in Cuba. Working in conjunction with the governmental authorities and under their sanction and approval and with the enthusiastic co-operation of many patriotic women and societies in the various states, the Red Cross has fully maintained its already high reputation for intense earnestness and ability to exercise the noble purposes of its international organization, thus justifying the confidence and support which it has received at the hands of the American people.

To the members and officers of this society and all who aided them in their philanthropic work, the sincere and lasting gratitude of the soldiers and the public is due and is freely accorded.

In tracing these events we are constantly reminded of our obligations to the Divine Master for His watchful care over us and His safe guidance, for which the nation makes reverent acknowledgment and offers humble prayer for the continuance of His favor.

SIGNING OF THE PROTOCOL. The annihilation of Admiral Cervera's fleet, followed by the capitulation of Santiago, having brought to the Spanish government a realizing sense of the hopelessness of continuing a struggle now becoming wholly unequal, it made overtures of peace through the French ambassador, who, with the assent of his government, had acted as the friendly representative of Spanish interests during the war.

On the 26th of July M. Cambon presented a cor munication signed by the Duke of Almodovar, the Spanish minister of state, inviting the United States to state the terms upon which it would be willing to make peace.

On July 30th, by a communication addressed to the Duke of Almodovar and handed to M. Cambon, the terms of this government were announced, substantially as in the protocol afterward signed.

On August 1oth the Spanish reply, dated August 7th, was handed by M. Cambon to the secretary of state. It accepted unconditionally the terms imposed as to Cuba, Porto Rico and an island of the Ladrones group, but appeared to seek to introduce inadmissible reservations in regard to our demand as to the Philippines.

Conceiving that discussion on this point could neither be practicable nor profitable, it was directed that in order to avoid misunderstanding the matter should be forthwith closed by proposing the embodiment in a formal protocol of the terms on which the negotiations for peace were to be undertaken.

The vague and inexplicit suggestions of the Spanish note could not be accepted, the only reply being to present as a virtual ultimatum a draft of a protocol embodying the precise terms tendered to Spain in our note of July 30th, with added stipulations of detail as to the appointment of commissioners to arrange for the evacuation of the Spanish Antilles.

On August 12th M. Cambon announced his receipt of full power to sign the protocol as submitted. Accordingly, on the afternoon of August 12th, M. Cambon, as the plenipotentiary of Spain, and the secretary of state, as the plenipotentary of the United States, signed the protocol, providing:

"Article 1. Spain will relinquish all claim of sovereignty over and title to Cuba.

“Article 2. Spain will cede to the United States the Island of Porto Rico and other islands now under Spanish sovereignty in the West Indies, and also an island in the Ladrones to be selected by the United States.

“Article 3. The United States will 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 Philippines.”

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »