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The fight was now at its fiercest, and men were being mowed down in all directions. But the fever of battle was in the veins of all the American soldiers, and nothing could stop them. Up the hill they went, loading and firing at random, and making as many shots as possible tell. The Spaniards were in retreat, and soon Old Glory was planted in several places. Some of the leading officers had been shot, and Theodore Roosevelt found himself at one time in command of five regiments, and doing his best to keep them in military order. Strange as it may seem, with bullets flying all around him, he remained unharmed, saving for some slight scratches which, he tells us, “were of no consequence.”
With the top of the hill gained, the American soldiers could get a distant glimpse of Santiago, several miles away, and some wanted to move still farther forward. But the Spaniards had strong intrenchments to fall back upon, and it was deemed best to “let well enough alone.” Accordingly the American line was made as strong as possible, and by nightfall the battle was at an end, and the Rough Riders
were told to hold the hill and intrench, and they did so. In the blockhouse they found some food belonging to some Spanish officers, and upon this they feasted after their wellearned victory.
RESULTS OF THE FIGHT- LIFE IN THE TRENCHES
THE SPANISH FLEET IN SANTIAGO HARBOR ANOTHER GREAT NAVAL VICTORY THE ROUGH RIDERS AND THE SPANISH GUERILLAS
The fight had been a hard and heavy one. The Rough Riders had gone into the engagement just 490 strong, and of that number 89 were killed or wounded. The total loss to the Americans was 1071 killed and wounded. The loss to the Spanish was also heavy, but the exact figures will probably never be known.
Utterly tired out with their marching and fighting, the Rough Riders intrenched as best they could, cared for their wounded and dead, and then dropped down to get a well-earned rest. The night was misty and cold, and many who had been bathed in perspiration suffered accordingly. Theodore Roosevelt had a blanket taken from the Spanish, and in this he rolled himself, and slept with others of his command.
At three o'clock in the morning came an unexpected alarm. The Spanish skirmishers were out in force, trying to drive the Americans back. But there was no heavy attack, and presently all became as quiet as before.
“They'll not give up yet,” said one of the officers of the Rough Riders. “They mean to retake this bill if they can.”
Just at daybreak the Spaniards opened the attack on San Juan Hill once more. Theodore Roosevelt was resting under a little tree when a shrapnel shell burst close by, killing or wounding five men of the command. He at once ordered the eight troops under him to a safer position, where the Spanish battery and the sharpshooters could not locate them so readily.
If the fight had been hard, guarding the trenches was almost equally so. beat down fiercely, and the newly turned up earth made many of the Rough Riders sick. Added to this, provisions were, as usual, slow in arriving. Those in the trenches were kept there six hours, and then relieved by the others who were farther to the rear.
“ Running from the cover of brush to the
trenches was no easy matter," says one Rough Rider who was there. 66 We had dug the trenches in a hurry, and had no passages from the rear leading to them. All we could do was to wait for a signal, and then rush, and when we did that, the Spaniards would open a hot fire and keep it up for perhaps fifteen minutes. The sun was enough to turn a man's brain, and more than one poor fellow caught a fever there that proved fatal to him.”
Through the entire day the firing continued, but no advances were made upon either side. The Americans were waiting for reënforcements, and the Spaniards were doing likewise. On our side a dynamite gun and two Colt's guns were used, but with little success. But the Gatling guns proved very effective, and caused a great loss to the enemy.
The city of Santiago lies on the northeast coast of a large bay of the same name. This bay is shaped somewhat like a bottle, with a long neck joining it to the Caribbean Sea.
In the harbor, at the time of the battles just described, the Spaniards had a fleet of war-ships under the command of Admiral