Major General Joseph Wheeler, U.S.V., commanding the Cavalry Division and Brigadier General J.F. Kent, U.S.V. Col., of 24th Infantry, commanding the Infantry Division.
The Staff Officers and the 1st Division which captured San Juan Hill, San Juan de Marjores are as follows:
3rd U.S. Cavalry
Major H. W. Wessels, wounded.
Major Henry Jackson.
6th U.S. Cavalry
Lt. Col. Henry Carroll, Commanding Brigade.
Major T. C. Lebo.
9th U.S. Cavalry
Lt. Col. J. M. Hamilton, killed.
Capt. E. D. Dimmick.
1st U.S. Cavalry
Lt. Col. C.D. Viele, 10th U.S. Cavalry.
Lt. Col. T.A. Baldwin.
1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry "Rough Riders"
Col. Leonard Wood, Commanding Brigade.
Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt.
6th U.S. Infantry
Lt. Col. R.C. Egbert.
16th U.S. Infantry
Colonel H.A. Theaker.
71st New York Infantry
Colonel W.A. Downs.
2nd U.S. Infantry
Lt. Col. W.M. Wherry.
10th U.S. Infantry
Lt. Col. E.R. Kellogg.
21st U.S. Infantry
Lt. Colonel Chambers McKibbin.
9th U.S. Infantry
Lt. Col. E. P. Ewens [Ewers], commanding Brigade.
Major W. H. Boyle.
13th U.S. Infantry
Lt. Col. W. S. Worth, commanding Brigade.
Major P. A. Ellis, wounded.
Captain William Auman.
24th U.S. Infantry
Lt. Col. E. H. Liscum, commanding Brigade.
Major A. C. Markley.
Battery A, 2nd U.S. Artillery
Capt. G. S. Grimes.
Battery F, 2nd U.S. Artillery
Capt. C. D. Parkhurst.
Battery K, 1st U.S. Artillery
Capt. C. L. Best.
Troop A, 2nd U.S. Cavalry
Captain T. J. Lewis.
Troop C, 2nd U.S. Cavalry
Lieut. W. F. Clark.
24th [34th] Michigan
9th Massachusetts Infantry
When the Americans were seen to advance towards San Juan Hill, Gen. Linares who was in personal command of the Spanish forces, took up a position in a trench at the right of the road to El Pozo and about 750 yards from San Juan Hill, with one company of 150 men of the Talavera Regiment. He sent another company of 150 men of this same regiment to the Heights of La Vequita where the El Caney and El Pozo roads meet. A troop of Cavalry occupied a sunken road near by. This formed the advance guard which was to face 7,500 Americans about to charge on Fort San Juan. These Spanish forces were driven back and had to take to San Juan Hill where the rest of the forces was waiting to assist in defending the Spanish Blockhouse. The battle commenced about 6 a.m. and hard fighting continued until 11 a.m. when the rifle firing ceased. This made many believe that the Americans were retreating. The American Artillery became silent. The Spaniards on Fort San Juan were making use of their Artillery to such an extent that Captain Grime's Battery was dislodged from its position on El Pozo Heights. The cause of this was that the Americans were firing with black powder and the Spaniards were using smokeless powder thereby showing distinctly the places occupied by the American Gatlings, etc. At a distance could be seen the observation balloon which was sent up by the United States officers for the purpose of locating the Spanish positions around San Juan Hill. The firing was started again at 1 p.m. and the charge on San Juan Hill was made with wild fury. The Forts to the East of San Juan were pouring forth shot and shell, but the American Rapid firing guns were now at their best. Reinforcements had now been sent from Santiago to aid the Spaniards. By this time, Colonel Ordonez, Colonel Lamadrid and Major Arraez, the adjutant, were seriously wounded. Col. Taquero had been killed and over 300 men sent to Santiago Hospital for treatment of their injuries. General Linares who with his men had compelled the Americans now began to make preparations to retreat towards the city. The two Talavera Companies were shattered to pieces, having lost 220 out of 300 that comprised both outfits. General Linares was seriously wounded in the left forearm while making use of his field glasses. He was immediately transferred to the Hospital leaving behind a great number of dead Spanish officers and men.
The Spanish forces stationed in and around Santiago at the time of the Battle of San Juan are the following: First Division, 4th Army Corps, Commander-in-chief, Gen. Arsenio Linares Pombo. 1st and 2nd Battalions Cuba Regiment of Infantry No. 65. Battalion of San Fernando No. 11. Constitutions No. 2, Asia No. 55, Talavera No. 4 and Porto Rico Provisional No. 1. Detachment of Artillery with two rapid fire guns. One company of Heavy Artillery. One company of Railroad Engineers. One company of Zapadores. Detachment of Telegraph Engineers. Mounted and Dismounted Guardia Civil "Police." Two troops of the King's Regiment of Cavalry No. 1. Four regiments of discounted guerillas, the above making a total of 8,000 men. The city garrison was as follows: 1st Battalion of Volunteers, 630 men. 2nd Battalion of Volunteers, 485 men. One Battery of Volunteer Artillery, 75 men. One Battery of Fire Brigade, 324 men. One company of Guides, 200 men. One company of Veterans, 130 men. One Troop of Cavalry, 100 men. Total number of volunteers, 1,944 men. Grand total of all the Spanish forces in the city of Santiago de Cuba and its suburbs which were called in as reinforcements later amounted to 9,944.
San Juan Hill was the stronghold of the Spaniards in Santiago and was full of trenches three or four feet deep which extended over the whole area. The position has been declared by competent authorities to be one of the most dangerous to be taken. During the Battle of San Juan, the United States forces showed exceptional courage and discipline, as the odds was always against them. The capture of the Hill is still in dispute among the 6th, 9th, 13th, 16th and 24th Regiments of Infantry. The name of Old Glory was thus proudly defended and the First's position in the capture of San Juan de Miyares, "Kettle Hill," which is 550 yards from San Juan Hill and was carried by assault of the right flank of the Cavalry Division or in other words the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry Roughriders, under Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt, the 1st United States Cavalry commanded by Lt. Col. C.D. Viele and the 10th U.S. Cavalry, under Lt. Col. T.H. Baldwin. The work accomplished by Lt. Col. Roosevelt's Roughriders, the 1st U.S. Cavalry, and the faithful colored 1st [10th?] U.S. Cavalry are worthy of great praise, as the difficulties encountered in the capture of San Juan de Miyares must be seen to be appreciated. A rough jungle to go across, a river to foot, a steep hill to climb, a fort with Spanish mortars to go up against, the hottest part of the year and very hard fighting places the three outfits already mentioned above the average. San Juan de Miyares is known to Americans as "Kettle Hill," having been named thus by the U.S. officials on account of four large kettles on top of the hill that were used to boil sugar in when San Juan territory was a sugar plantation a couple of centuries ago.
San Juan Hill proper was attacked and captured by General Wheeler and Kent on July 1st, 1898, the firing having opened at 7:30 a.m. on Fort San Juan from a village called "El Pozo," 2,900 yards from San Juan Hill on the eastern side, which was the first position of Battery A, 2nd United States Artillery, commanded by Captain G. S. Grimes. The old Spanish Block house or Fort on San Juan Hill was shattered to pieces by the American Artillery whose positions will be explained later. The Spaniards defending San Juan Hill were all in trenches three or four feet deep, being of course completely under cover and beyond the reach of American rifle shot. The Mauser rifles and smokeless powder that were being used by the Spaniards was a great odds against American equipment and positions. The American outfits fighting with black powder cartridges such as the 71st New York Infantry. The Spaniards being in trenches on top of the hill using smokeless powder and the Americans down in the valley of the San Juan river with part of their forces using black powder cartridges, will convince the reader at a glance that no other soldiers in the world could have done more than the American forces. The odds were ten to one, a regular life and death struggle in which if the American commanders and soldiers had not made such a wonderful display of their superior military tactics and courage, the story I am now telling could never have been told.
In order to locate the Spaniards, a balloon was ordered sent up at a spot called Balloon Folk (editor's note: fork?) about 1,000 yards from San Juan Hill near Bloody Ford where the waters of the San Juan River were running American blood. The balloon met with the greatest success, for though the Spaniards made every effort to destroy it with their shots, it descended with the news that the Spanish trenches on San Juan Hill and the barbed wire entanglements around same had been located, which event saved the United States forces 50 per cent of the work to be accomplished. The barbed wire entanglements already referred to were placed in such a complicated form that cutters had to be furnished to cut the wire in order to facilitate the charge.
The following will give the reader an idea of how San Juan Hill was surrounded on all sides by the United States Army Commanders and outfits: North. Brigadier General Lawton, commanding 2nd Division, which fought at El Caney, July 1st, was 1,870 yards from San Juan Hill and about 3,000 yards from El Caney. First position of Captain Allyn Capron's Battery K, 1st U.S. Artillery which opened the attack on El Caney at 6:30 July 1st, it was 4,100 yards from San Juan Hill and 12 yards from El Caney. South. Brigadier General Bates commanding the Independent Brigade afterwards called the 3rd Division, was 2,400 yards from San Juan Hill. Duffield's Brigade which attacked the railroad bridge across the Agnadores river, was 7,500 yards from San Juan Hill. East. The headquarters of Brigadier General Kent, commanding the 1st Division, was 70 yards from San Juan Hill. Major General Shafters' headquarters was 4,900 yards from San Juan Hill. Major General Wheeler, commanding the Cavalry Division, had his headquarters 80 yards from San Juan Hill. In case of necessity the Cuban forces were also pretty near, as Major General Calixto Garcia had his headquarters on the northwest side of San Juan Hill at a distance of 6,800 yards from the Blockhouse thereon.
The following comprises the movements of the Artillery which rendered such good service in the capture of San Juan Hill. Battery K, 1st U.S. Artillery, Capt. C.L. Best. At El Pozo, at 1 p.m., July 1st, with Batteries A and F, 2nd Artillery. On San Juan Ridge at 4 a.m., July 2nd, with Batteries A and F, 2nd Artillery. At El Pozo, at 10 a.m., July 2nd, with Batteries A and F, 2nd, and E 1st Artillery. On American left at 4 p.m., July 2nd, with Battery A, 2nd Artillery. Battery F, 2nd U.S. Artillery, Capt. C.D. Parkhurst at El Pozo at 1 p.m., July 1st, with Batteries K, 1st, and A, 2nd Artillery. On San Juan Ridge at 4 a.m., July 2nd, with Batteries K, 1st, and A, 2nd. At El Pozo, at 10 a.m., July 2nd, with Batteries E and K, 1st and A, 2nd. On American right at 4 p.m. with Battery E, 1st Artillery. Battery A, 2nd U.S. Artillery, Capt. G.S. Grimes was in action at El Pozo at 7:30 July 1st, having opened the siege of Santiago de Cuba, reinforced by Batteries K, 1st and F, 2nd Artillery. At San Juan Ridge at 4 a.m., July 2nd, with Batteries K, 1st and F 2nd Artillery At El Pozo at 10 a.m., July 2nd, with Batteries E and K, 1st and F, 2nd Artillery. On American left at 4 p.m. with Battery K, 1st Artillery. The difficulties which the United States troops experienced in the capture of San Juan Hill were Spanish entrenchments, barbed wire entanglements, smokeless powder, steepness of San Juan Ridge, yellow fever, 1st of July tropical heat and the natural hardships of a campaign, that made the taking of the hill by the Americans, one of the greatest achievements in modern warfare.
The Spaniards fought hard to retain Cuba but their efforts were in vain, due to the superior training and fearless character of the American soldiers who have always been known to preserve the honor of the nation whenever called upon. In the vicinity of San Juan Hill may be seen the last trace of the Spanish retreat, where they were kept at bay by the United States troops until losing all hopes of recovering the treasure their General Tolal [Toral] surrendered under the shade of a large silk cotton tree at the entrance of the San Juan battlefield on the evening of the 16th of July, 1898. The Battle of San Juan Hill must be termed the crowning glory of the United States, first, because the Americans put an end to Spanish atrocities in Cuba, and second, because Spanish domination ended in America.
The losses sustained by the United States forces in the Capture of San Juan Hill and San Juan de Miyares are as follows: 1st Division, Cavalry Division, 1st Brigade, 3rd U.S. Cavalry - Killed, 5; died, 14. 6th U.S. Cavalry - Killed, 9; died, 12. 9th U.S. Cavalry - Killed, 4; died, 13. 2nd Brigade, Cavalry Division - Killed, 1. 1st U.S. Cavalry - Killed, 23; died, 21. 10th U.S. Cavalry - Killed, 9; died, 24. 1st Volunteer Cavalry, Roughriders - Killed, 26; died 12. 6th U.S. Infantry - Killed, 22; died, 11. 16th U.S. Infantry - Killed, 18; died, 37. 31st U.S. Infantry - Killed, 15; died, 81. 2nd U.S. Infantry - Killed, 12; died, 47. 10th U.S. Infantry - Killed, 10; died, 25. 12th U.S. Infantry - Killed, 10; died, 22. 3rd Brigade, 1st Division - Killed, 1. Colonel Charles A. Wakoff [Wikoff], 22nd Infantry, commanding Brigade. 9th U.S. Infantry - Killed, 7; died, 35. 13th U.S. Infantry - Killed, 25; died, 19. 24th U.S. Infantry - Killed, 13; died, 42. Independent Brigade, 1st Brigade, 3rd Division: 3rd U.S. Infantry - Killed, 4; died, 32. 20th U.S. Infantry - Killed, 3; died, 42. Headquarters Cavalry squadron: 2nd U.S. Cavalry - Died, 15. 1st U.S. Infantry - Killed, 1; died, 5. 2nd U.S. Artillery - Killed, 3; died, 10. 4th U.S. Artillery - Died, 10. 5th U.S. Infantry - Died, 2. Medical Department - Killed, 2; died, 8. Engineer Battalion - Died, 6. Signals Corps - Died, 8. Reinforcements: 3rd Division, 5th Corps, 2nd Brigade: 1st Illinois Infantry - Died, 80. 1st District Columbia Infantry - Died, 21. 8th Ohio Infantry - Died, 71. 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division: 33rd Michigan Infantry - Died, 58. 34th Michigan Infantry - Died, 82. 9th Massachusetts Infantry - Died, 108.
The Roughriders referred to were famous horsemen, the greater part of which were hunters, cowboys, ranchmen and prospectors of the West. They were accustomed to the greatest hardships and among them could be found about a hundred young wealthy sportsmen, who touched with the magic wand of patriotism, went to Cuba to shed their blood along with their humbler comrades to defend the honor of the Star Spangled Banner. The Colonel in command of the Roughriders was Colonel Leonard Wood, but owing to Brigadier General S. B. M. Young, commanding the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Division, 5th Army Corps being sick, Colonel Wood had to assume command of that brigade while Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt commanded the Roughriders. Colonel Leonard Wood's record is one of great importance, as his fame dates back to the campaign against the Apache Indians in the United States.
It was about 9:30 a.m., when the ships cleared the channel at the entrance to Santiago harbor. They were all traveling west when the United States Battleships Brooklyn and Massachusetts put in their appearance just off Morro Castle. As soon as the flagship Maria Teresa faced the American warships Admiral Cervera in a most serene manner, that could only be attributed to the 41 years' service he had seen before the Spanish-American war, ordered the first shot to be fired from two of his big guns. The report was deafening, but caused no damage, as the shells were aimed at the U.S.S. Indiana which seemed to be shell proof. Just at that very instant that Cervera's fleet was seen to completely abandon this entrance of the harbor with the fleet that caused so many arguments among the Spanish officials in the Island of Cuba, than the American fleet started one of the most scientific naval battles in the history of the civilized world. Shot and shell poured as if thrown from the clouds, Cervera's fleet, Morro Castle and Socapa Fortress replied to the American shells with energy, but apparently without any damages. Onward continued Cervera's fleet as if resolved to escape, always keeping to the west so as to suffer less damages from the American warships at Agnadores.
On account of the great amount of smoke, sight was lost of the Spanish fleet for a while, but soon it cleared up again and the Vizcayacould be seen steaming at full speed and ahead of all other ships. It was about 11 o'clock when the American ships were seen to be firing in a western direction. The situation of the two Spanish torpedo boats was getting to be critical. The Furor tried to fire on the U.S.S. Gloucester, but in vain. The Indiana, Oregon, Iowa and Texas were firing with such great rapidity that the Spanish fleet could hardly load their guns. The Furor was struck by a shell on the starboard side which put her almost in a vertical position. She sank about four miles from Morro Castle near Punta Cabera. The other Spanish torpedo boat, Pluton, met a like fate. She was struck four miles from Morro Castle. Her boilers and deck were shattered to pieces. The second commander of this destroyer Lieutenant Caballero, had to climb the promontory of Punta Cabera and the lay on the ground for some time to freshen up. He then took to his jungle where he found about twenty-five of his men continuing toward Santiago de Cuba. Some of those were dressed in rags, others almost bare of any clothing. On their march they met the second commander of the Furor, Lieut. Bustamanti, who was with a party of his shipwrecked crew and a few men from the Maria Teresa.
At 2 o'clock p.m. of the same date the Cristobol Colon was wrecked, pursued by the Oregon, Brooklyn, New York and Texas, she made a full speed rush into the rocky shore and sank sixty miles west of Santiago de Cuba. The Maria Teresea was destroyed by the Brooklyn and Iowa. The Oquendo and Vizcaya were destroyed by the Oregon, the Indiana and the Iowa, twenty miles from Santiago de Cuba. In the naval battle of Santiago, Spain lost her fleet, over 500 killed and about 160 seriously wounded not counting 3,000 prisoners of war, including Admiral Cervera and seventy naval officers. The Americans only lost one killed and two wounded. The one killed was Yeoman Ellis of the U.S. Battleship Brooklyn. On board of the U.S. hospital ships Olivette and Solace were 160 wounded Spaniards. From aboard the U.S.S. Iowa Admiral Cervera, already a prisoner of the American Naval authorities, wrote the Military Government of the Island of Cuba informing him of the good treatment and respect he owed the Commander and subalterns of the Iowa which is proof of exceptional generosity on the part of Americans even in such extreme cases of adverse fortune. The Spanish Naval prisoners of war were taken to the United States. Before closing I must relate a few incidents relative to the great Naval Battle.
During the battle the Cuban Colonel Jose Candelario Cebreco, commander of Cuba regiment No. 2, went with eighteen men over to the coast to see if he could capture some of the shipwrecked Spaniards. He got so close to American shot and shell that he and his men could have been blown to pieces. The Cuban camp was left in charge of two officers, one sergeant and three privates. No sooner had the Cuban Colonel left the camp, than several shots were heard on the coast, whereupon the Cuban detachment left in charge repaired to the scene of operations, but it happened to be nothing more than the explosion of the ammunition on board the ill-fated Spanish warship Oquendo. On their way they met fifteen unarmed and ill-clothed men that had gained the shore, escaping from the flames of the last mentioned warship. These men surrendered to the Cubans but requested that their lives be spared, which was promised them. They were taken to the Cuban camp and treated like brothers. A short while after the number of Spanish captives increased to about 400 with many officers among them. The last lot was worthy of great pity, as the majority were seriously wounded and their cases demanded immediate assistance.
While they were being treated, a Cuban sergeant named Pablo Dales came into camp and reported that he had seen a respectable looking Spaniard somewhat along in years who said to him, "I am the Admiral of the Spanish fleet and it is immaterial to he whether I surrender to the Cubans or to the Americans." This news excited the garrison and immediately Sergeant Alejandro Brito was ordered to accompany Sergeant Dales in a search for the Spanish Admiral with instructions to bring him into camp with the greatest care and respect. This search proved fruitless, for the two Cuban sergeants returned with the information that when they reached the spot where Admiral Cervera had been seen, an American launch was just leaving the shore with him and thus it is hereby proven that the Americans and not the Cubans who were the ones who captured Admiral Pascual Cervera. The Spanish prisoners already referred to, were surprised to see the imminent danger the Cubans and themselves were exposed to on account of the great amount of shot and shell exploding thereabout. The Spanish officers suggested it to the Cuban Colonel, but the latter full of enthusiasm like his subordinates who saw the near approach of Cuban Independence, replied, if there is any danger hereabout, I do not see it. The state of this great number of Spanish prisoners commenced to alarm Colonel Cebreco. There were no physicians, medicine or provisions in camp, so this alarming state of affairs compelled the Cuban Colonel to ask assistance of the American fleet. The Cuban Colonel was requested to turn over all "naval" Spanish prisoners to the American fleet authorities, but owing to the fact that the U.S. officials refused to receipt for them, only the wounded were delivered as their condition made it a case of urgent necessity to do so. On the next day the American Admiral receipted for all the Spanish prisoners and Colonel Cebreco turned them over as requested.
Returning to the torpedo boat destroyer Furor, let me state that when this ship caught fire the deck was covered with dead bodies of officers and sailors. The only ones yet alive were Commander Carlier, Captain Fernando Villamil, Ensign Francisco Arderius, the chief engineer, one of his assistants, who was so seriously wounded that he expired within a short time and two firemen. Seventy-four were the number of men on this ship when she sailed out of Santiago harbor. Out of these few unfortunates, Capt. Villamil was shattered to pieces before the destroyer went down, followed by an assistant engineer and one fireman, leaving only five who survived, they having been taken up from the water by the crew of a boat belonging to the U.S.S. Gloucester. Among the prisoners of war on board the U.S.S. St. Louis were, Admiral Pascual Cervera, the second commander, five officers and 32 men of the Spanish Battleship Infanta Maria Teresa. The paymaster and thirty-five men from the Oquendo, the three commanders, eleven officers, seven marines and 347 men of the Vizcaya, the three commanders, fourteen officers and 191 men of the Colon, the very few survivors of the Torpedo boat destroyer Furor; the commander, one officer and ten men of the destroyer Furor and Lieutenant Enrique Capriles, ex-governor of Santiago de Cuba.
This made a total of over 600 naval prisoners of war on board this ship, not counting a number of wounded sailors. The greater number of sick and wounded were on board the U.S. hospital ship Solace. Admiral Cevera wrote the governor of Cuba stating that he and his officers and men were well treated on the St. Louis, that they were furnished all the clothing and necessaries needed, also were congratulated for their bravery and conduct.