« PreviousContinue »
their arms numbered upward of twenty thousand.
There was great cheering in the American trenches when the glad news was brought in, and soon Old Glory was planted on every height, while the trumpets sounded out triumphantly. Possession of Santiago was immediate, and in a few hours the Stars and Stripes floated from the flagstaff of the civil government buildings. Our gallant army had won on the land just as our gallant navy had won on the sea. had been, for us, one of triumph from start to finish.
In foreign countries the news was received with an astonishment that can scarcely be described. After Dewey's wonderful victory in Manila Bay, many naval experts said that such a fight could not be duplicated, yet it was duplicated two months later off Santiago Bay in a manner that left no doubt of American supremacy on the sea. Then when it came to fighting on land, our army was designated as paper soldiers, that is, soldiers on paper or in name only, and it was said that their guns would be found of little use against the
Mausers of Spain. But this was likewise false ; and to-day the army and navy of the United States are respected everywhere. And more than this, foreign powers have come to our country for many of their war-ships, asking us to build and equip them, and also asking us to make cannon and rifles for them.
While the war was on in Cuba, a part of the United States army under General Miles was sent to Porto Rico, another island belonging to Spain. Here the inhabitants hailed the Americans with delight, and the resistance by the Spanish soldiers was only half-hearted.
With the downfall of the navy and Santiago, Spain knew not what to do next, and gladly received the terms of
offered by President McKinley and his advisers. The terms were accepted on August 9, and thus the short but sharp war came to a termination. By the treaty of peace Cuba was given her liberty, and Porto Rico and the Philippines passed into the possession of the United States.
LAST DAYS IN CUBA THE DEPARTURE FOR HOME
ARRIVAL AT MONTAUK — CARING FOR THE SICK AND WOUNDED PRESENTATION TO THEODORE ROOSEVELT BY HIS MEN — MUSTERING-OUT OF THE ROUGH RIDERS
FOUR days after the surrender of Santiago the Rough Riders found themselves in the hills four or five miles back from the intrenchments they had occupied during the last fight. Other commands were scattered in various directions, for to let them go into the wretched city would have been out of the question. Santiago was dirty in the extreme; the fever was there, and hundreds were on the verge of starvation.
It was a trying time for everybody, and equally so for Theodore Roosevelt, who did all in his power, as before, to make his men comfortable. When it did not rain, the sun came out fiercely, causing a rapid evaporation that was thoroughly exhausting to the soldiers. The locality was not a healthy
one, and soon scores of Rough Riders and others were down with malaria or fever. Doctors and surgeons were scarce, and hospital accommodations were scanty, and again and again did Colonel Roosevelt send down on his own account to the seacoast and to Santiago for food and medicines of which his command were in dire need. He was now colonel of the Rough Riders in reality, his promotion having been granted to him just one week after the heroic charge up San Juan Hill. His old colonel, Wood, was installed at Santiago as military governor. This, for the time being, left Colonel Roosevelt in command of the cavalry brigade, no small honor to one who had been, but a few months before, a stranger to military duties.
During this time in camp, Theodore Roosevelt visited Santiago and the forts at the entrance to the harbor, and with the pen of a skilled author he has, in one of his books, given us vivid pictures of the sights to be seen there at that time — the crooked streets with their queer shops, the wretched inhabitants, the grim and frowning forts, all hemmed in by the towering mountains and the sea. He likewise tells of his trips
to the mountains, and how his companions were usually exhausted by the climbing done. For one who in his youth had been so delicate, he stood the exposure remarkably well, for which he was thankful.
For some time the authorities at Washington did not know what to do with the troops in Cuba. It was suggested that they move up to higher ground, or to another neighborhood. But General Shafter knew, and so did all of the officers under him, that to keep the army in the island would only mean more sickness and death.
“I will go to the general with a protest," said Colonel Roosevelt. And he did so. Meanwhile the other head officers drew up a letter of protest, and this was signed by all, including the commander of the Rough Riders. In his own letter Roosevelt protested against the treatment of his men in the matter of rations, clothing, and hospital accommodations, and in the other letter, called by the officers a Round Robin, there was a protest about remaining in Cuba longer, with the fever getting worse ever day. These letters were made public through the press of the United States, with the