Page images
PDF
EPUB

and personnel. Its badge has become familiar wherever there is great trouble. Miss Clara Barton, as is well known, has been at the head of the American Society ever since its organization.

The American Red Cross had been active in Cuba, previous to the breaking out of the war, and immediately upon that event, and coincident with the raising of volunteer troops, Red Cross Societies, with or without formal connection with the National Society, sprang into existence everywhere. The headquarters of the National Society are at Washington, but its greatest center of work is in New York, where, at the beginning of the war, a powerful Relief Committee was organized, under the Presidency of Bishop H. C. Potter, which had received, up to March 17, 1899, over $320,000 to be applied to the work. To “Auxiliary No. 3," at New York, of which Mrs. James Speyer is President, was assigned the duty of caring for the soldiers in the Philippines, and nurses and supplies went forward by the first transport sailing from New York.

. Immediately upon the call for volunteers a meeting of patriotic ladies and gentlemen was called in San Francisco and met at the California Hotel, on April 23d, Mrs. W. B. Harrington presiding. Other meetings were held in rapid succession in other cities of the State, and the result was the organization of a California State Red Cross Society of which Mrs. W'. B. Harrington has been President, and which has been remarkable for its effectiveness and for the personal devotion of its officers and members. At first the main thought was for provision for the California soldiers, and the natural official affiliation of the society was with the California National Guard. There was no time to seek instructions from the National Society, and apparently no necessity, the proposed duty being mainly the proper equipment and care of the California Volunteers; but with Dewey's victory, and the American occupation of the Philippines, all this was changed. San Francisco would evidently be the post of departure for the troops for the Orient. Soldiers from many States would be for weeks in camp here, and later would be returning, in both cases needing such care as no government ever did or ever can supply. How nobly the women of California rose to the unexpected opportunity has been told in emphatic language from the lips of every soldier who has passed through San Francisco. Originally organized to aid the soldiers of California, the charity and loving care of the society has known no bounds. Soldiers have been cared for regardless of State hounds. Although a local society it has been doing a national work. It has not only cared for soldiers in San Francisco, but has sent nurses, agents and supplies to the Philippines for the succor, not only of Californians, but of all in distress. It has had the aid of more than one hundred local auxiliaries, of which that of San Francisco, under the presidency of Mrs. John F. Merrill, has naturally been the largest. Large sums of money have been expended by the State, San Francisco and Oakland societies. It is not yet possible to give the aggregate of the disbursements of the California Red Cross Societies, but the State Society alone expended $22,494 during the year ending October 17, 1899. The money was expended for the support of nurses and supplies sent to the Philippines, and employed in San Francisco, where a convalescent hospital was maintained. Indentification medals were supplied to all soldiers, and nearly all organizations, passing through San Francisco, were met and fed on arrival. The Society acted as bankers for soldiers paid off, and distributed literature and stationery in great quantities.

THE SIGNAL CORPS. The Signal Corps is the staff department which is charged with the duty of maintaining communications between commanding generals and their subordinates in the field, by means of telegraphs, telephones, flag signals, balloons, carrier pigeons or whatever other means of communication may be found practicable. The head of the department is a Brigadier General, at Washington, and there are signal officers attached to all armies in the field according to their requirements for the time being. The enlisted force consists of Sergeants, Corporals and Privates, as in the line. In the reorganized regular army there are six companies, fully officered, the aggregate enlisted force being about 750 men. There is a school of instruction maintained on the Atlantic Coast where men are trained for their duties. In time of war the service is rapidly recruited, mainly from telegraph operators and others accustoined to electrical work, and whereever an army moves the Signal Corps men go with it, the telegraph lines being kept as close as necessary to the firing line, so that the commanding general is kept in constant touch with

Division and Brigade Headquarters. It is a laborious and hazardous service, as no point is more eagerly sought for attack than the communications of an enemy. The lines are often put up and maintained under fire, and during the Philippine campaign many acts of heroism have been performed by the men of this corps who freely exposed themselves to sharpshooters in climbing poles and trees while stringing the telegraph lines. Lieutenant-Colonel R. E. Thompson has been Chief Signal Officer upon the staff of the Corps Commander, during the operations of our armies in the Philippines.

THE CHAPLAINS IN THE ARMY. | According to army regulations, there is attached to each regiment a Chaplain whose duty is to conduct religious services when possible, and otherwise to minister to the regimients in the field as he would to a congregation at home. Being non-combatants, they are not necessarily exposed to the fire of the enemy, but to the credit of our Chaplains be it said, that where there was a soldier needing their attentions, there they were to be found, whether on the firing line or elsewhere. It has not been found possible to procure any complete record of the services of the Chaplains in the Philippines, and it has seemed hest to give in full the following personal narrative, which includes merely a record of a few incidents coming under the personal observation of the writer, but illustrates better than any more formal statement, the life and work of the Chaplains in the army. It is proper to say that the writer of the following was a Press Correspondent who is also a congregational clergyman, who was himself several times wounded, anıl who was as active and helpful in ministering to the soldiers, as those whose services he chronicles).

“The Chaplain is the true knight of the battlefield. His high duty it is to march with the soldiers, assist the weak, succor the wounded, administer to the dying, and bring the consolation of God to the dripping edges of the battlefield.

“. There were not wanting in our army in the Philippines splendid and heroic Ministers of various denominations and creeds of Christianity, who abandoned their homes and their work in order to be of use and blessing to the soldiers fighting in the distant land. I have seen these Chaplains on the firing line, with the Hospital Corps, the Military Reserve Hospitals, and heside the soldier's grave. No class of men behave with more gentleness and chivalry than these devoted Soldiers of the Cross. It would be invidious to select from so able and perfect a body of men any particular members for special praise or consideration, but I was fortunate enough to meet and campaign with several of them, while I was not able to see them all on the battlefield. Among the very best and most heroic of these men was Rev. Father W. D. McKinnon, Chaplain of the 1st California. He it was, who entered Manila under the fire of the Spaniards, walking along the shore near old Malate, in order to interview the Archbishop and to ask him if Manila could not be surrendered without loss of life. He told me himself that in this expedition he received a wound in the fleshy part of the leg, which he tried to treat himself, and which after a couple of days gangrened, giving him considerable trouble. He was not a spectacular man, Father McKinnon, but did his work in a kind, gentle and modest way which attracted to him the hearts of all who met him. Among all the regiments I think no Chaplain was more sincerely loved by men of all denominations and creeds than Father McKinnon. Together we trudged along dusty roads, through the rice-fields and through the cane-brakes oli the torrid, dusty battlefields between Caloocan and Malolos.

“ I remember one morning, as we came along the railroad beyond Bocaue, how we found a poor Filipino lying with his leg broken at the thigh. He must have been running and fell into one of the deep ravines, for his clothes were saturated with water, and his hands and feet were all pale and white. Two soldiers had brought him from the swamp and laid him on the dry ground beside the railway. I was very much touched at the way in whichi Father McKinnon, with the aid of Mr. Waage, of the California Red Cross, worked over the restoration of this poor man. The Padre went across the scorching rice-fields to get some branches of bamboo to shade the man withal, while Mr. Waage, from his medical kit, gave restoratives and hypodermic injections to the sufferer.

“ Again on the Santa Cruz expedition, I met Father McKinnon and Mr. Waage. There was no duty too menial, no work too hard, and no task too perilous for the Chaplain to undertake. He would walk by the side of a soldier and encourage him in a kindly way and help him

with his knapsack, or try and get food or medicine for the poor fellows who fell out from the heat of the sun. Between Santa Cruz and Pagsanjan, while we were on the roadside waiting for the artillery to come up, a great fellow over six feet tall broke in from the cocoanut groves, saying he was prostrated by the heat. It was evident that he was thoroughly demoralized, and perhaps his brain touched by the sun. It was a telling sight to see Father McKinnon encourage the poor fellow, and by a few restoratives bringing him around so that by afternoon I saw this same man fighting away on the firing lines as if he had never been injured. I shall never forget a night that the reporters, chaplains and military attachés encamped at Longos church on Laguna de Bay. That day a part of the North Dakota Regiment had been anibushed and five of its men killed and several wounded. The killed and wounded were brought back as the evening shades grew to gray around the old church walls. One poor fellow was shot through the lungs, another was shot through the neck. They were both alive when brought to the church. Still a third had been shot through the spine. He also was alive. Froin five in the afternoon until midnight, Father McKinnon was engaged with these men. From some he took their confessions, to some he brought tea and such other restoratives as we could get ready.

“There was also with us that night a very noble man, the Key. Mr. Stephenson of Idaho. These two Chaplains exercised a wonderful influence in the tragic scene. Here in the dim church aisle were stretched in pathetic windrows, the living and the dead, and up under the altar, where the dim light of the candles throws a shadow, lay the man who was wounded in the lungs, and in the little sacristy lay two of the mortally wounded. When the Chaplain told these men they had but an hour to live, one of them, a young bugler, sipped a cup of tea and turning to his friend, who was also mortally wounded, said: 'Well, Jack, let us die bravely.' Chaplain McKinnon sat up most of the night with the man who was shot through the lungs. I remember looking along the floor of the church that night, and the shadow of the sentinel pacing to and fro, mingled strangely with the shadow of the preacher as he bent above the agonized and dying. It was a scene to live in a man's memory forever. As I went outside the stifling church-for in that tropic country decomposition sets iu as soon as death, and the odor of choloroform and decomposition was stilling- I looked up at the sky and saw the Southern Cross.' It seemed to me almost a sign from Heaven. Out in the dew where the stars are always peaceful, the Cross' seemed like an emblem of Hope. It seemed as if God knew that our hearts were hurt and weary. In the early gray of dawn, I walked down to the church again and found the Chaplain there. Still those pathetic windrows of the dead, and those pathetic faces of the living. The stars were shining still. The “Sign’ was hung out in the branding sky, and in the dim aisles where the altar candles burned the face of Our Lady' was suffused as with tears.

“In Lawton's expedition north, there campaigned with us Father Hart of the 3d Art., and Father Fitzgarald. In the expedition to San Isidro, we traversed a country that was almost impassable. Few armies would have been able to cross it except under such a brilliant and determined a man as Major-General Lawton. To watch the battle was interesting, and to march with and talk to the men was an education for a lifetime, but as a change I sometimes fell back to talk and interchange views with the Chaplains. In places, these men were under severe fire because the insurgents fire high and the spent bullets usually take effect with the Hospital Corps, and the Signal Service men, who are in the rear. At San Rafael we had various skirmishes, but you could see these Chaplains moving to and fro along the road, which was a very exposed and dangerous place, helping the men and cheerfully doing any task or duty that came their way. One day we were led off into ambush by a spy, who was our guide. After the army had wandered two or three miles across the country, we discovered a native priest who offered to show us the way to San Jose, our next town. It was impossible, however, to get very much out of him, as he did not understand Spanish very well, but Father Fitzgarald, was in the expedition, and I suggested to Gen. Lawton, that perhaps Father Fitzgarald could understand the priest's way of expressing himself. I went back about two miles and found Father Fitzgerald at dinner, which consisted of one slice of bacon and one and a half hardtack. He immediately left his luxurious meal, and accompanied me across the hot stifling landscape in the middle of the day. Reaching the tent where Gen. Lawton and the Filipinio priest were, Father Fitzgerald engaged the priest in conversation in Latin, and in a few moments was

[graphic][merged small]

able to find out from him the various trails and roads leading to the town we were looking for. Gen. Lawton spoke to me in terms of highest commendation of Father Fitzgerald.

“It was upon a dark night in front of San Rafael. I reached the camp at midnight, worn out with the journey of thirty-five miles, and lay down upon the road beside a carabao wagon. A bull was tied to one side of the wagon and in between the shafts was a heap of hay. As I lay down with a groan I was surprised to see this heap of hay move, and Father Fitzgerald extricate himself from the shafts of the wagon, saying to me in a kindly voice, I know you have come all the way from Manila. You get in this hay. I can sleep on a board which the Chinaman, our cook, offered me this evening.' It rained that night and, as I was a sick man, I felt how good a turn the priest had done me. I should have been very comfortable under my coverlet of hay, only the old bull, in the middle of the night, became hungry and ate up this unusual counterpane.

“After the fall of Malabon, Father Hart was stationed in that town for some time. The natives were a little shy of him when he came in an American uniform, but when he brought his Catholic vestment and conducted their services for them, they opened their hearts and homes to him, and he told me that never in his life had he been received with such courtesy and loving kindness as by the inhabitants of Malabon. I think it would be of immense value to these Philippine Islands to import into the Catholic Church there a large number of our American priests. Here in America the Catholic priests have become so thoroughly imbued with the ideas of universal liberty that they could not but impart to the Filipinos a great deal of the results of American training. A man like Archbishop Ireland, in my opinion, could do more for the Islands, with an able staff of Catholic priests, than all the armies that we can send against these benighted folk.

“Chaplain Stephenson of the Idaho Regiment was a man for whom the whole army had the highest respect; a man who lived with the troops, who partook of their scanty fare, journeved in their hard marches, shared their dangers, and did all these things with a inodesty of forgetfulness for self, which creates the true gentleman hero.

“Chaplain Pierce of the First Reserve Hospital, has been of great help to the sick soldiers, and of great use to the country by reason of his carefulness in burying the dead and marking their graves against the time that their friends at home may wish to remove their heroic ashes. Since Chaplain Pierce came to this work no single American soldier has been buried without military honors. We have lost by disease and battles a good many men in the Philippines. The cemetery at Battery Knoll is filled, and a new cemetery was opened on the level ground, near old Malate Fort. As we passed one day, we saw a long trench like a deep gash in the face of nature. A few graves were already there. A week later I visited the same place and found the significant line of gravęs had lengthened, and the gash in nature was being filled. After a few weeks this long trench was nearly filled in, and one quiet afternoon, as we neared the place, we saw four hearses there. There were no mourners, only Chaplain Pierce standing bareheaded, while four coffins were lowered into the graves. The wild waves beat on the shore of Manila Bay, as if to sing a requiem for the brave dead who would never see their native land again. A strong wind was blowing across the level lands, and in the woods the cooing of the ring-dove sounded strange and weird. The Chaplain read, as he stood alone, the glorious words of the burial service of the Episcopal Church. The weed-grown grave, already, nearby, was the scene of the burial of a child, and the service of the Chaplain, as it rose free to the sky in that desolate and lonely place seemed a fitting prayer for the child who had died on its mother's knee, and the man who had hobbled across the hospital of life to the grave on the other side. There was a prayer for the 'Martyr,' a prayer for the 'Suffering,' a prayer for all in “Trouble' and a Benediction.

“As I went away from that sad place the grand words seemed to mingle still upon the air and make it sweet, tho' lonely. Some of the words kept coming back like the words of an unforgotten song.

"'Lord, have mercy upon all who are wounded or suffering. Let thy grace be their comfort, tho' kindred and friends be far away. . . Almighty God, with whom do live the spirits of just men, made perfect after their delivery from their earthly presence, we humbly command the souls of these thy servants, our brothers, into thy hands. ...."

« PreviousContinue »