The following a chronology of the service of the 4th U.S. Infantry in Cuba as recorded by one of its members, Robert Turley, 4th U.S. Infantry, Co. E. The diary is written in a beat-up old 4 x 6 ledger. The information below is taken verbatim out of the diary.
April 22nd arrived at Tampa
June 7th Troops left Tampa for Port Tampa and went aboard the Transports
June 14th Transports left for Cuba
June 22nd After the Navy had bombarded the coast for some time the troops began disembarking at Daiquiri. After landing we found about 50 Cubans who said when the bombardment took place there was about two or three hundred Spanish soldiers behind the hills but as soon as the bombardment commenced they ran some of them lieving their rifles and ammunition behind them. The Cubans had been lying hiding behind the hills and as soon as the Spaniards ran they ran in and picked up the Spanish rifles and ammunition. They had a stack of coconuts and they were kept busy cuting them open for the men to drink the milk. Part of the troops climbed up the mountain and raised Old Glory on the top of a block house while the men cheered and the Transports blew their whistles and the gun boats fired a salute.
June 23rd Found a family of Cubans consisting of Father, mother and three children the oldest about 5 years old starving to death. We carried the mother out on a strecher and the children in our arms and led the father out and the hospital took care of them. The land here is very mountainous. We marched about two or three miles through a coconut forest and went into camp.
June 24th About nine oclock after hearing firing in the mountains for some time an orderly rode into camp with the news that the first Regular Cav. And the rough riders were being cut to pieces and asking for re-inforcements. We broke camp immediately and set out to reinforce the 1st Cav. and rough riders. We got lost in the mountains and did not reach the place untill about six oclock P.M. when we found the rough riders and the 1st and 10th Cav. burying their dead. It only took us about an hour and a half to get back to camp.
June 25th We marched eight nearer Santiago
June 26th Laid in Camp all day
June 27th We marched to within six miles of Santiago and took our place on the line
June 28 & 29 Laid in Camp all day
June 30th About four oclock P.M. we started toward El Caney to get on the fighting line while the Milatary balloon was sent up over our heads with the engineers
July 1st The ball opened at six oclock with the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Division of which I was a member held as the reserve. About nine oclock the Division commander ordered our brigade on the fighting line. The first battalion of the 4th Inf of which I was a member was ordered as the fighting line and the 2nd the reserve. We advanced and the men with wire cutters cut down a wire fence. We then advanced towards the stone block house at El Caney. Whenever we would be crossing over high ground the men would begin falling all round. The first man of the 4th Inf. to fall shot through th head was the man on my right not more than two yards from me. We would advance ten or fifteen yards at double time and lay down and fire. About 5.31 P.M. the 25th Inf. (Colored) and part of the 4th made a final charge and captured the stone block house and the earth works around it. Half an hour later all the Spanish soldiers in the town came out and surrendered. We then turned over the town to the Cubans who came marching in after the truble was all over – from God knows where and started towards San Juan hill to aid the division fighting there. We marched about two or three miles and laid down on the road going to Santiago and sleep untill about two oclock when we were awoke by the cuban pickets who reported that we were sleeping within two hundred yards of the Spanish pickets. We were ordered to fall in and as we were ready to march the pack mules came up with rations. The men were given all the rations they wanted to carry and started back over the road they had come the night before and went to San Juan hill by another road.
July 2nd Arrived at San Juan hill about three o clock P.M. A detachment of ten men of which I was one was sent back for our equipments and blankets. By some mistake we started out between the lines and we had not gone far before we were greeted by a volley and the bullets came over our heads the same as if a gatlin gun was turned on us. A bluff was close to us and we laid down behind it and the bullets were whistling over our heads. After laying there for about five minutes we jumped up and ran. One man (Nichols of F Co.) was shot through the thigh. After runing some distance we stoped and found that the men had ran different roads and that there was only three of us together. When we reached the place where the equipments had been left we found all the rest of the men there. We shouldered all the equipments and blankets and started back this time going along our lines and having no truble in getting back. We arrived at our camp (which was along a little crick among a lot of underbrush and after cooking and eating supper laid to rest. About nine oclock we were awoke by a heavy fire through the underbrush. We jumped up and one man of H Co was shot through the heart while he was getting up. We ran up a small ravine road and were stationed along the head of the ravine untill the firing ceased. Then we found that the spaniards had tried to supprise us and retake San Juan hill. Our brigade although not on San Juan hill was still in a line with it. and that was the reason there was such a fire going through the underbrush. July 3rd Broke camp in the morning and started toward Santiago. About ten oclock was fired upon by the enemy. We deployed and marched about half a mile through under brush but did not see any thing. Went into camp and started to dig entrenchments.
July 4th We were told there was a truce untill July 10th. Digging entrenchments all day.
July 5th Turned over our entrenchments to the 7th Inf. and went farther to the right.
July 6th Started diging entrenchments again
July 7th, 8th and 9th Diging entrenchment and bomb proofs.
July 10th Truce up at four P.M. We take our places in the entrenchment a little before four. The Spaniards at four oclock take down the flag of truce put up the spanish flag fire a volley into the air as a salute to the flag and then a volley at us. We opened fire and there was a hot fire on both sides till dark. During the battle Capt. Capron had been droping shells into the Spanish pits and drove the bigger part of them out. They started toward Santiago on a run but our gatlin guns mowed them down. We had one officer and one man killed.
July 11th We opened fire on the Spanish works at daylight but after firing about two hours and received no answer from the Spaniards. The officers saw we were wasting ammunition and the order was given to cease firing. About noon the 1st D.C. marched up behind the 25th and the 71st N.Y. behind us and we were ordered farther to the right. We chased out a lot of Cubans and took their camp. The stink the Cubans left behind was enough to give us all the yellow fevor. We policed the place as good as possible and started diging entrenchments again.
July 12th We had orders for the first battalion of each regament to open fire while the second advanced and dug new intrenchments. About dusk we were in our entrenchment ready to open fire when an orderly came up with an order that Gen. Shafter had given the Spaniards untill the 14th at twelve oclock to serrender. So few rations were now coming that at night when they came in the men did not have enough for supper out of what was given them for twenty four hours.
July 13th Laid in camp all day
July 14th At 11.45 A.M. we were ordered into our pits to be ready to open fire at 12.00. We stayed in the pits untill 12.20 P.M. wondering why they did not open fire when our Comd’g officer told the Captains to let all the men but a small guard go back down to the camp and for them to be ready to come up again at the first shot. About half an hour later an aid de Camp rode onto camp and raised both hands siad men no hollowing. The Spanish general has surrendered twenty thousand troops to Gen. Shafter turning over the whole province of Santiago.
July 17th All the troops were ordered infront of their entrenchmints to witness the formal surrender of Santiago about 9 a.m. After standing in front of our pits for about fifteen minutes we were marched back down the hill to camp. At 11.50 we were again marched up the hill to witness the raising of Old Glory on the Consul General’s house. As soon as the flag was raised Capt. Capron fired a salute of Twenty one guns. At the first gun all the Captains hollowed three cheers for the American flag and the American people. We yelled ourselves hoarse after which a message of thanks was read from the President of the U.S. to the 5th Army Corps
July 21st Government Transports came into Santiago harbor
July 23rd My time having expired I received my discharge and went to Santiago to take a transport for the U.S.
July 24th Left Santiago on TransportSantiago for U.S.
Cuba June 22nd to July 23 – 98
Arrived in Porto Rico Nov 20