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- The Gatlings at Santiago - 1/31 -
HISTORY OF THE GATLING GUN DETACHMENT FIFTH ARMY CORPS, AT SANTIAGO,
With a Few Unvarnished Truths Concerning that Expedition.
(Short Title: The Gatlings at Santiago)
BY JOHN H. PARKER, 1st Lieut. 13th Inf.
(Late) Commanding Gatling Gun Detachment, Fifth Army Corps, at Santiago.
To the Enlisted Members of the Detachment, Who, by Their Devotion, Courage and Endurance, Made Its Success Possible, this Volume is Dedicated as a Token of Esteem by the Author.
I. L'envoi. II. Inception Of The Scheme. III. The Ordnance Depot. IV. The Voyage And Disembarkation. V. The March. VI. The Battery In Camp Wheeler. VII. The Battle. VIII. Tactical Analysis Of The Battles At Santiago. IX. The Volunteers. X. The Sufferings Of The Fifth Army Corps. XI. Home Again. Appendix I Appendix II Appendix III Index
The photographic illustrations in this work are due to the courage and kindness of Mr. John N. Weigle, of Gettysburg, Pa. This young man was first sergeant of the Gatling Gun Detachment, and took with him a large supply of material. It was his delight to photograph everything that occurred, and his pleasure to furnish a set of photographs for the use of the author. Mr. Weigle was recommended for a commission in the Regular Army of the United States, for his extreme gallantry in action, and is a magnificent type of the American youth. The thanks of the author are tendered to him for the photographic illustrations so generously supplied.
Lieut. John H. Parker, 13th US Infantry, Late Commanding Gatling Guns at Santiago. (_Frontispiece_) Map--Santiago and Surrounding Area. Skirmish Drill at Tampa. Skirmish Drill at Tampa. Field Bakery. Awaiting Turn to Embark. Baiquiri. The "Hornet." Waiting. Wrecked Locomotives and Machine Shops at Baiquiri. The Landing. Pack Train. Calvary Picket Line. San Juan Hill. Cuban Soldiers as They Were. Wagon Train. Gatling Battery under Artillery Fire at El Poso. Gatling Gun on Firing-Line July 1st. (Taken under fire by Sergeant Weigle). Fort Roosevelt. Sergeant Greene's Gun at Fort Roosevelt. Skirmish Line in Battle. Fort Roosevelt. A Fighting Cuban, and Where He Fought. Map--Siege Lines at Santiago. Gatling Camp and Bomb-Proofs at Fort Roosevelt. Tree Between Lines Showing Bullet Holes. This Tree Grew on Low Ground. Spanish Block-House. Spanish Fort of Three-Inch Guns. Tentage in Cuba. After the Rain. Native Industry. Charge on San Juan Hill. Gatlings at Baiquiri Just Before Starting For the Front. Cuban Cart used by Gatling Gun Detachment, Priv. J. Shiffer Driving. Tiffany at his Gun in the Trench. Relics of the Battle. 1. Range Table of 16-cm. Gun in Spanish Fort, Silenced by Gatlings July 1, '98. 2. Rear Sight of same Gun. 3. Fuse picked up by J. Shiffer July 1. 4. Remington Cartridge used by the Spanish Volunteers, the so-called "Explosive" Brass-covered Bullet. 5. Piece of Coral dug up in the Trenches. 6. Spanish Spurs. Cieba Tree, under Which General Toral Surrendered. Undergrowth in Cuba. Cuban Residence. "Reina Mercedes" Sunk by the "Iowa" near Mouth of Harbor of Santiago.
On the morning of July 1st, the dismounted cavalry, including my regiment, stormed Kettle Hill, driving the Spaniards from their trenches. After taking the crest, I made the men under me turn and begin volley-firing at the San Juan Blockhouse and intrenchments against which Hawkins' and Kent's Infantry were advancing. While thus firing, there suddenly smote on our ears a peculiar drumming sound. One or two of the men cried out, "The Spanish machine guns!" but, after listening a moment, I leaped to my feet and called, "It's the Gatlings, men! It's our Gatlings!" Immediately the troopers began to cheer lustily, for the sound was most inspiring. Whenever the drumming stopped, it was only to open again a little nearer the front. Our artillery, using black powder, had not been able to stand within range of the Spanish rifles, but it was perfectly evident that the Gatlings were troubled by no such consideration, for they were advancing all the while.
Soon the infantry took San Juan Hill, and, after one false start, we in turn rushed the next line of block-houses and intrenchments, and then swung to the left and took the chain of hills immediately fronting Santiago. Here I found myself on the extreme front, in command of the fragments of all six regiments of the cavalry division. I received orders to halt where I was, but to hold the hill at all hazards. The Spaniards were heavily reinforced and they opened a tremendous fire upon us from their batteries and trenches. We laid down just behind the gentle crest of the hill, firing as we got the chance, but, for the most part, taking the fire without responding. As the afternoon wore on, however, the Spaniards became bolder, and made an attack upon the position. They did not push it home, but they did advance, their firing being redoubled. We at once ran forward to the crest and opened on them, and, as we did so, the unmistakable drumming of the Gatlings opened abreast of us, to our right, and the men cheered again. As soon as the attack was definitely repulsed, I strolled over to find out about the Gatlings, and there I found Lieut. Parker with two of his guns right on our left, abreast of our men, who at that time were closer to the Spaniards than any others.
From thence on, Parker's Gatlings were our inseparable companions throughout the siege. They were right up at the front. When we dug our trenches, he took off the wheels of his guns and put them in the trenches. His men and ours slept in the same bomb-proofs and shared with one another whenever either side got a supply of beans or coffee and sugar. At no hour of the day or night was Parker anywhere but where we wished him to be, in the event of an attack. If a troop of my regiment was sent off to guard some road or some break in the lines, we were almost certain to get Parker to send a Gatling along, and, whether the change was made by day or by night, the Gatling went. Sometimes we took the initiative and started to quell the fire of the Spanish trenches; sometimes they opened upon us; but, at whatever hour of the twenty-four the fighting began, the drumming of the Gatlings was soon heard through the cracking of our own carbines.
[Illustration: Map--Santiago and Surrounding Area.]
I have had too little experience to make my judgment final; but certainly, if I were to command either a regiment or a brigade, whether of cavalry or infantry, I would try to get a Gatling battery--under a good man--with me. I feel sure that the greatest possible assistance would be rendered, under almost all circumstances, by such a Gatling battery, if well handled; for I believe that it could be pushed fairly to the front of the firing-line. At any rate, this is the way that Lieut. Parker used his battery when he went into action at San Juan, and when he kept it in the trenches beside the Rough Riders before Santiago.
The history of the Gatling Gun Detachment, Fifth Army Corps, is to a certain extent the history of the Santiago campaign. The detachment was organized on the spur of the moment, to utilize material which would otherwise have been useless, and was with the Fifth Corps in all
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