Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small]

similar in style to those at Montecarlo are carried on. At Hongkong we bid good-bye to the good ship Gaelic, genial Captain Finch and his courteous officers and each one prepares to go his own way, and in winding up this short description of a most charming sea voyage, the writer feels it incumbent upon him to say that all the promises made by the steamship officials were more than fulfilled, and this was the concensus of opinion throughout the ship.

From Hongkong to Manila, the distance as heretofore stated, is about 850 miles and the trip is made in about three and one-half days. The China Sea is well known to be a body of rough water and you do not look forward with much pleasurable anticipation of the trip. However, it has to be made, and your first inquiry is, which of the steamship lines have the safest and best boats. There are several small boats running to Manila, and if you happen to be a passenger on one of these in some of the storms which are quite frequent in this latitude, you may not only have occasion to regret your experience, but there is also actual danger to life. It is generally the wisest and best in such cases to patronize an old established company as they all usually know by experience the existing conditions and are prepared for emergencies. The events of the past year in the Philippine Islands have caused a good deal of travel to Manila and this has made the steamship business unusually brisk and as a result a number of boats have been taken off other routes that are less profitable and put upon this one.

The oldest firm operating a line of steamers between Hongkong and Manila is Warren, Barnes & Company. We took passage on their steamer Esmeralda and have never had occasion to regret the choice. Of course the change in our surroundings was quite notice

JAPANESE PAGODA. able as compared with those we had been accustomed to on the good old Gaelic, but as compared with some of the boats of the other steamship companies we think we were very fortunate in making the choice. The sea was very choppy and rough and although we had experienced only slight symptoms of seasickness in crossing the Pacific Ocean we are willing to admit that there were only two occasions when we answered the call of the dinner bell, once before the steamer left the harbor of Hongkong and the other after we were inside Manila Bay.

As we enter the historical waters of Manila Bay, past the guns which frown upon us from Fraile Rock and the forts on Corregidor Island, we remember with a thrill of admiration that a little less than a year ago a very unassuming Commodore in the American Navy, with his slim fleet entered these same waters, silenced these guns, and passing on up the bay engaged and entirely destroyed the proud Spanish fleet which were there awaiting him and by this act changed the theater of war and focused the eyes of the world upon these islands in this remote corner of the globe—when we remember all this we are proud to pay homage to America's greatest hero in the late war with Spain-Admiral George Dewey

[graphic]
[graphic][merged small]

SUPPLEMENT.

THE STAFF DEPARTMENTS OF THE ARMY.

THE attention of the public is so much occupied with the fighting portion of the army

known as “the line"—that it usually gives little thought to those less prominent, but

equally essential services which feed and clo:he the army, transport it from place to place, care for the wounded and sick, minister to its moral and spiritual needs, arrange its fortifications and build its bridges and roads. The following is intended to give some idea of the nature of these services, which are performed by a number of departments, collectively known as “the staff.” Officers of the very highest ability are selected for staff service. Any brave man can fight, but the number is comparatively limited who have the organizing and executive ability required for carrying on business upon the enormous scale requisite for the support of a large army. In time of war it is sometimes very difficult to keep these able officers in the comparatively obscure positions of the staff. They wish to be on the fighting line. In time of peace they are best satisfied where they are.

THE ENGINEER CORPS. The planning and construction of the national defenses and the operations of an army in the field require a great amount of skilled work, which must be directed by the highest intelligence. Scholarship, especially in mathematics, is an essential prerequisite for the engineer service, and a certain number of the graduates of West Point who stand highest in scholarship are assigned to the Engineer Corps. In times of peace this is the most desirable assignment in the army, as the construction of harbor defenses and of river and harbor improvements, which are also usually directed by engineer officers, commonly goes on in the neighborhood of large cities, where conditions of life are most agreeable. In time of war, however, it is different, as the engineers, while quite as much exposed as those of other branches of the service, and engaged in the most arduous labor, are not in the line of promotion to high command, and have little hope of attaining the great military reputation which is the dream of all soldiers.

The chief of engineers is a Brigadier-General, and is stationed at Washington. All plans and estimates for the construction of national works pass through his office for approval before being submitted to Congress for authorization, and he makes the details of engineer officers for service in all parts of the country. When an army takes the field there is a chief of engineers attached to the staff of the commanding general, and also, usually, to Division Headquarters. Other engineer officers are assigned as occasion demands, it being necessary that every body of troops moving independently in an enemy's country should be accompanied by a skilled engineer. As all West Point graduates, however, have had instruction in engineering, it is not always necessary that engineer officers should be detailed for the purpose.

THE BATTALION OF ENGINEERS. In time of peace the construction force for government works can usually be employed on the spot, when necessary, although for the most part such works are executed by civilian contractors, but such operations as the mining of harbors, torpedo work, quick bridge building, trench and fort construction in the field, reconnaissance and quick map making, require not only skilled direction, but a force of trained men for execution. For this purpose, there is constantly maintained a battalion of engineers whose headquarters are at Willets Point, on Long Island, a few miles from New York City. Here the men are trained in all kinds of engineering work, and kept in constant readiness for military operations. In peace, the strength of each complement of officers, and the battalion is armed and drilled as infantry, doing its work in the field under arms, and serving as infantry as occasion requires.

THE ENGINEER CORPS IN THE PHILIPPINES. During the Philippine campaign, Lieutenant-Colonel Charles L. Potter has been Chief of Engineers, on the staff of Major-General Otis, commanding the Corps, and Maj. J. F. Bell, upon the staff of Gen. MacArthur, commanding the 2d Division. Lieut. Edward L. King of the 8th Cav., has acted as Chief of Engineers, on the staff of Gen. Lawton, commanding the 2d Division. Lieut. W. G. Haan of the 3d Art., was in command of the company of the Engineer Corps until March 8, 1899, in which capacity he repeatedly distinguished himself. He was succeeded by Capt. Francis R. Shunk. Other engineer officers were detailed for various services as occasion required.

THE QUARTERMASTER'S DEPARTMENT. * The duties of the Quartermaster's Department are to provide means of transportation of every character which may be needed in the movement of troops and the materials of war. It furnishes clothing, camp and garrison equipage, barracks, store-houses and other buildings for the accommodation of soldiers. Under the direction of the engineers it constructs and repairs roads, telegraph lines, railways and bridges; it charters ships and boats, docks and waarves needed for military purposes. Moreover, all the disbursing of civil funds to pay for the foregoing is done through this department. The work of the Quartermaster's Department in the field is well illustrated by the efficiency with which, assisted by details of skilled mechanics from the volunteer regiments, it rose to an emergency in the Philippine campaign. LieutenantColonel James W. Pope, has until quite recently, served as Chief Quartermaster in the Philippines, and has received great commendation for his efficiency.

OPERATING A RAILROAD. After the fight of Saturday night and Sunday, February 5th and 6th, it was found that the last engine on the Manila and Dagupan Railroad had gone north and through the lines, conveying M. Haggin (the Superintendent of the road) into the insurgent lines. The road was thus rendered valueless to the American forces, while the insurgents were able to use it to their own very great advantage. Matters remained in this unsatisfactory shape until the night of Friday, February 10th, when Gen. MacArthur advanced and took Caloocan. Maj. C. A. Devol, Transportation Quartermaster, obtained Corp. J. J. Haish, 20th Kansas, an old Rock Island railroad man, to follow and see what could be found at the Caloocan round house. The Corporal appeared the next morning with a small yard engine, crew and all, fired and ready for work. The round house was found to contain three large engines, more or less disabled, and two small ones. The insurgents could readily have permanently disabled these engines and thus seriously crippled the American advance, but probably not realizing the ready ingenuity of the American soldier, they thought that an engine taken apart and resting on jacks was not of service. As the insurgent lines were just beyond Caloocan and firing almost continuous, Gen. Otis directed the five engines brought down at once to Manila that night, if possible. Maj. Devol at once proceeded with all available railroad men to the shops at Caloocan, and during the afternoon repaired and fired the least disabled engine, intending to pull the others down. Steam was not gotten up until after dark, and then all hands stood around while the engineer opened the throttle to see if she would work. Slowly and majestically she ran out of the house and up the track amid a general sigh of relief, when a crash and dismal rattle told experienced men that she had gone off the track. It was a bad derailment, and time was precious. Jacks, lanterns, pins, etc. were finally found, and after about seven hours' hard work she was on, and ran into Manila at three o'clock in the morning. The engines were repaired one after another. The 20th Kansas and 1st Montana furnished invaluable aid in the services of

*The work of the Quartermaster's Department in San Francisco has been very fully described in Chapter IV, in connection with the movement of the troops to the Philippines.

« PreviousContinue »