Spanish Soldiers Praise the Americans

By

Pedro Lopez de Castillo

General:

The following is a very unusual document. It is the farewell address of the Spanish troops, after the loss of Cuba to the Americans. It is notable that the soldiers state that they have been defeated, because they have been told so by their officers (not because they felt they were). Also, the animosity toward the Cuban Insurgents can plainly be read in this address.

U.S. Flag-raising in Santiago

The raising of the American Flag at Santiago, Cuba


The address:

"Soldiers of The American army:

We 'would not be fulfilling our duty as well-born men in whose breasts there live gratitude and courtesy should we embark for our beloved Spain without sending to you our most cordial and sincere good wishes and farewell.  We fought you with ardor, with all our strength, endeavoring to gain the victory, but without the slightest rancor or hate toward the American nation.  We have been vanquished by you (so our generals and chiefs judged  in signing the capitulation), but our surrender and the bloody battle preceding it have left in our souls no place for resentment against the men who fought us nobly and valiantly.

You fought and acted in compliance with the same call of duty as we, for we all represent the power of our respective States.  You fought us as men face to face and with great courage, as before stated, a quality which we had not met with during the three years we have carried on this war against a people without religion, without morals, without conscience and of doubtful origin, who could not confront the enemy, but, bidden, shot their noble victims from ambush and then immediately fled.  This was the kind of warfare we had to sustain in this unfortunate land.

You have complied exactly with all the laws and usages of war as recognized by the armies of the most civilized nations of the world; have given honorable burial to the dead of the vanquished; have cured their wounded with great humanity; have respected and cared for your prisoners and their comfort; and, lastly, to us, whose condition was terrible, you have, given freely of food, of your stock of medicines, and you have honored us with distinction and courtesy, for after the fighting the two armies mingled with the utmost harmony.

With the high sentiment of appreciation from us all, there remains but to express our farewell, and with the greatest sincerity we wish you all happiness and health in this land, which will no longer belong to our, dear Spain but will be yours, who have conquered it by force and watered it with your blood as your conscience called for, under the demand of civilization and humanity.

From 11,000 Spanish soldiers
Pedro Lopez de Castillo, Soldier of Infantry
Santiago de Cuba, August 21, 1898."


Bibliography:

Freidel, Frank, The Splendid Little War. (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1958) 257 (image).

Holloway, A, Hero Tales of the American Soldier and Sailor. (Philadelphia: Elliott Publishing Co., 1899) 127-128.


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