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Full Official History




By the Highest Authorities of the Government, Heads of Departments and Bureaus

of State, War and Navy, Cabinet Secretaries, the Adjutant General, the

Commanders of Fleets and Armies in Active Service, and the


The Earliest Example of Historical Work Wrought from the Records Automatically Authentic,
OF THE Inner Truths of War, with the Latest Facilities of Scientific Inventions

The Figitns Touched with Life and the SceHery with Colors



^uthorof "The Story of the Philippines," "Our New Possessions," "History of American Expansion," "The

Story of Cuba," "Our Country in War." "The White Dollar," "The Life of

William McKinleyJ" "The Conventions of 1860," etc.

Superbly Illustrated with Half-tone Engravings, Made from Many Photographs Taken by Signal Service

Photographers Expressly for This Work; and by Reprodiictions of Ol^icial Maps and

Plans of Battles, Campaigns. Fortitlcations and Ships, Prepared by the

War and Navy Departments of the United States.









I 1M4 t^

Copyrighted, 1800, by


Chicago, 111.. U.S. A.

The engravings in this volume were
made from original photographs, and are
specially protected hy copyright; and no-
tice is hereby given, that, any person or
persons guilty of reproducing or infring-
ing upon the copyright in any way will
be dealt with acconiing to law.

to tl]C

^tstori) ilutkcrs of tl]c Xliiitcb States,

tEI?e prestbcnt, CI?e (Labinet, Cbc Congress

anb tl)e

(Dfficers anb (£nIistob ^Hen

of tl]e

Ctnterican Ctrniy anb llavii,

lt>i?osc Deebs Officially XPvitten

3n Ctction

dre i^ecorbeb in Ct?esc Pag,es,

Cbiteb bi) tl]e CtutI]or;

d IPar for f)umanity in tbc

ITame of €ib«erty

Became CDne of Beneficent Conquest,

3nivosiny Duties of (Emancipation anb Pominion,

Ctbbina to tl)e Broab Canbs of tbe ^v^c,

5p«nninc5 tF?e Continent,

Cl]e 3slanbs of tl^e Soutt^ern Seas,

IDI^ile tl]e €neray of tbe Conquerors

IDas iHerciful to tl)e Tanquisl^eb

^or tbe Startling Strokes of Conclusire Pictory

BrougI?t tl]e So'ift Return

Of tl^e Security of


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The Full Official History of the War with Spain is, in essentials, com-
posed exclusively of material for which the highest authorities of the govern-
ment of the United States are responsible. The true way to impart to
biography its greater charm is to use the words of the person portrayed, and
the better way to write history is in the authoritative language of its makers.

Modern inventions have afforded such facilities for communication
between capitals and camps, the departments of war and navy, and the com-
manders of armies and fleets in action, that there is centralization of supreme
command, and the work of war, as well as of diplomacy, is absolutely in the
hands of the Great Officer, charged by the Constitution of the United States
with the command-in-chief of our armed forces, naval and military. This
wise provision of the republican form of government significantly subordinates
all generals and admirals to the Chief Magistrate of the nation, conclusively
as the colonel of the regiment is the superior of the captains of the companies
that compose it.

When the flag of this country flies over the White House, the President
is there in the discharge of public duty, and near the executive mansion,
westward, in an immense building, are grouped the departments of State,
War, and Navy, through which our government comes in contact, whether in
peace or war, with the nations of the earth. Thus within a small space are
gathered the executive offices and appliances of the American people.

The wires in the White House place the President in touch with all the
departments represented in his Cabinet and joined to the wonderful w'eb spun
round the world, over which is wrought the mighty magic of telegraphy; and
in the recent war the defense of our coast, and the offense of our ships and
battalions in the Indies, East and West, the President was constantly in swift
and sure communication with the front — and no word of his is found that did
not command and cheer the advance and testify his courage and vigilance.



The intelligence of the world's business day by day — the order and reports
of affairs, large and small, flash continually on the wires, and from the begin-
ning of history there has been no material of and for it, comparable with the
dispatches reduced to writing at both ends of the lightning lines. Never in
all the countless experiences of mankind was the story of a war recorded and
made definite and certain by the leading actors in it as in our combat with
Spain that began and was fought to a finish in the year 1898. It was the
first case of the kind, and this book is in a striking degree the fruit of it. All
enlightened peoples participated in our current information, but the gen-
eral dependence was on formal reports — statements in greater part always,
and, as a rule, prepared entirely for the public by officers for their superior
officers, or writers of features for the press, according to the colors or the
theories that the proprietorship of the papers preferred.

The inner truths, passing clouds, transient impressions, local atmosphere,
the very tints of the scenery, were in the private and confidential telegrams,
official and pertinent as possible — words of command and of explanation,
admonition and suggestion, that passed between the President, the Cabinet
Secretaries, the Heaxls of Bureaus, tlie Adjutant-General, and the Generals
and Admirals Commanding. These were incessantly interchanged, and will
be forever the highest authority as to the points contested. It is what a man
wrote on the spot, the immediate, unrevised impression, that will be called
forth to settle disputes. Each dispatch is a flash-light of the scene as it was
— with every attribute and incident of verity. There are thousands of them in
the reports of the War and Nav)' Secretaries, and in the bureaus and in the
Adjutant-General's office especial!}', filling bulky volumes, and given to the
public with unprecedented candor. vSuch a thing as this library of revelations
of bottom facts, no matter whom they helped or hurt, never before was pre-
sented to the people. The volumes printed from bales of telegrams, inestima-
ble as evidence and incontestable, are supported by marvels of photography.
The kodaks had the effect upon .ships and armies in activity of the kinetoscope.
It is aptly stated in the title-page of this book that there is in The Official His-
tory of the War with Spain, automatic accuracy. There is the truth, the
whole truth, and nothing but the truth, told infallibly by the greatest energies
and illuminants of the universe, electricity and sunshine.

The author's embarrassment was the excessive riches of the matter with
which the astonishing official publications are filled, surpassing all example


alike in. quality and quantity. He has brought to his unprecedented task of
the presentation in popular form of this Full Ofifiicial History, the expert train-
ing of long and laborious journalism.

The Official History of the War with Spain is the first of its kind among
historical volumes — because the appliances of modern invention affording the
facilities have not existed and been employed through other wars; and as
surely as it is the earliest of the official character it bears, it is the forerunner
of the war books that tell the truth in the future — in which the instrumentali-
ties of our advanced civilization will make conspicuous the sacred veracit}' of
history; when the fiction that betrays and the formalities that obscure will be
eliminated from the established record of deeds great and good; and the
measure in which men accomplish them, so that there will be gain and glory
through the solid simplicity of faultless justice.

The imperfections of the historical work are admitted, but the surpassing
excellence of the material embodied is manifest in these pages.



PRESIDENT Mckinley and his cabinet.



In modern wars the relations between the staff correspondents of the
newspapers, and the staff officers of the armies engaged, have been under-
stood, by those who have knowledge of the administration of the Press and
that of the military establishments, as full of difficulty; and there has been no
approximation to a satisfactory solution of the embarrassments found in the
course of our recent experiments. One of the vital matters when nations lift
the sword against each other is to restrict the circulation of intelligence, and
the incessant increase of wires whose business is to convey news over conti-
nents and under seas, magnifies the problem of the adjustments of military
necessities and the rights of the people represented by the Press. Inferior as
Spain was in resources to the United States, the fact that for some weeks she
knew the movements of our ships, and we were largely mystified as to the
location of her squadrons, placed us at a disadvantage. If there had been
equality in the naval strength of the belligerents, the one where the current
intelligence was irrepressible would have been exposed to dangers in the dark,
from which the one capable of suppressing the swift diffusion of truth would
have been exempt. As it was, we credited the Spaniards with greater activities
than they undertook, and felt unwarranted apprehensions of aggressive adven-
tures on their part. The maneuvers of Cervera's fleet of swift cruisers for a
time caused great perplexities. It was not absolutely ascertained for some
time that Cervera was in Santiago harbor. We were slow in making out that
his supplies were so scanty he was constrained to go there as a refuge, instead
of making the port of Cienfuegos, and having railroad connection with
Havana. A rumor of Spanish cruisers detained our troops when embarked at
Tampa for Santiago. There were Spanish gunboats on the Pacific Ocean
thought capable of attacking some of our transports, and Admiral Dewey was
watchful more than three months to prevent attempts of the Spaniards
at Manila to attack his ships with torpedoes. Once he had news that a



superior Spanish fleet was in the Red Sea on the way to the Philippines. It
was known in Spain better than in the United States that General Merritt was
on the Newport with three tons of gold coin, and that our transports, with
more than a thousand men on each, were steaming westward on the twentieth
parallel of latitude. Cerv-era's fleet was expected to sail from the Cape Verde
Islands to intercept the Oregon, which ran out of her way eastward of the
West Indies and appeared off the coast of Florida. If we should have war
with a power whose sea force is strong as our own, on either or both our
ocean fronts, there would be, for the sake of fair-play for public safety, an
imperative requirement that the Press should not publish — that the wires
should not carry — information of the movements of our ships of war. Gen-
eral Sherman said the attack upon his left wing by Johnston in North Caro-
lina, when on his way from Savannah to Washington, was caused by an item
in the shipping news of the New York Tribune, that a ship loaded with forage
had cleared for Newberne. It is not wise, however, for military or naval
commanders to regard the items the papers contain from day to day. The fact
that four ships of war, believed to be American, were seen from the coast of
Luzon was stated in a Manila paper on the day before Dewey surprised those
who were presumably defenders of the harbor.

The Press of the United States largely took very extraordinary attitudes
with respect to the war of our country with Spain. It was the belief of sev-
eral great journals and journalists that they must be held accountable for the
state of hostilities. They assumed airs of authority as to its management,
its objects; and, as General Halleck wrote on the back of a letter of good
advice from an able editor, "Halstead M. writes — how. this war should be
carried on." The Press, in its most ostentatious illustrations of public policy,
gave as much prominence to views as to news, and pursued the cultivation
and vindication of theories with even greater warmth and energy than they
gathered and displayed from day to day the incidents of intelligence that
were of the nature of information about the conduct of hostilities. In no war
that ever took place did the Press go so expensively into the enterprise of
reporting the current history, through special representatives, employ so many
young men of courage and talent as historians on the spot, as in this Spanish-
American combat of three and one-half months. The sums of money spent in
newspaper enterprise were enormous. The expense account of the Asso-
ciated Press was unexampled. Several newspaper proprietors employed


steamers for their personal convenience and to supply newspaper service such
as never before was imagined. It is said the foundation of the fortune of the
Rothschilds was much augmented by the success of a representative of the
house, who witnessed the- ruin of Napoleon's army at Waterloo, and had luck
in catching a boat, landing in England, hastening to London and using his
knowledge in the market. If the fashion of last summer is to prevail, the
time will come when the war correspondents will be a factor in the physical
force of armies in the midst of operations; and when there are contentions as
to supremacy in "sea power," the private yachts of the newspapers, and the
spectators, may outnumber the battleships and their crews. After all the
prodigious effort and extravagance of the Press to assist in various ways and .
with a variety of means to carry on the late war, and shape it according to
their policy, the general result is not symmetrical. There are many imposing
fragments, but they are at once colossal and sinister, not an edifice — not a
structure with cornerstones and walls that reveal an architect, but a Stone-
henge, massive yet fragmentary, — features stalwart without sequence but
significant, — a stoneyard clogged with roughly-cut pillars and chips of rock
that need the hammer and chisel and mortar. It is not a case of building
wiser than the builders knew, but of not working on the straight pursuit of
truth, — not building according to knowledge. There ha.s been an indulgence
in personalities and conceits, in phantoms, the very vanities of morbid fancies.
There has been in the work of the Press mechanical obstacles not over-
come — wasteful haste in slamming at the world daily chapters constructed not
to enlighten but to startle — not to lay each da}' a brick of fact — but to erect a
tower of Babel, no matter if it leaned like that of Pisa, or tottered to ruin
before the design was achieved — the whole subordinated to the principle that
accuracy is not so important as precedence — that no matter about the yester-
days, the great day is always this afternoon or to-morrow. The magazines
have been picture galleries, many of the paintings brilliant — some splendid
strokes with pen and pencil ; but one would not go to the galleries of Ver-
sailles, — rather to the libraries and official records and the files of newspapers
that tell their respective stories in a representative way, for the history of
France. The certainty that the history of the war of the United States and
Spain in 1898 has not been written as a whole and in due proportion, has been
for some time obvious to observers of experience, and students faithful to


The task of historical writing has been remarkably simplified by the open
door policy of the President and his Cabinet, in officially telling the people
"the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," the secrets of a war
in its evolution in the drift of events at first glacial, then torrential, "shooting-
Niagara" into the whirlpool, in the course of preparations and plans, the con-
duct of campaigns, the talk over wires from battle-fields to the White House
and the War Department — all this never until now has been so unreservedly
placed before the- world. It does not seem to be in the way of the newspapers
to go back and enrich their columns with the sweeping confidences that the
government of the people has made to the people — but it seems that the task
of writing a Full Official History of the War with Spain is distinctly in the line
of the work of one who has had the training of many years in the valuation
and presentation in condensed and consecutive form, of the news of the
times. It is this precisely that the author of this volume proposed in the
beginning of his task, gaining confidence in the accomplishment of it, which
is as attractive, he feels, as he hopes it may be useful — as the treasures stored
in the ample and open official records are revealed rich in the golden ore of
history — imperishable in truthfulness and excellent in testimony — that our
country in the expansion of victory is supported by the might of its manliness
and the grace of its womanliness, going to the front accepting a call of
duty, gaining land for the people — providing the resources of all climes for
the hereafter of the Republic that is stronger for order than monarchy — with
a freedom that is fairer than the anarchies that the broods of oppression con-
ceive — lifting up for the children of the people the flag of the free, all the
brighter because it floats over the Indies, Asiatic and American, and the
Hawaiian and Aleutian archipelagoes — and above all this the radiant atmos-
phere of the righteousness that exalts men and nations.


/ Ml



Since Spain lost her colonies on the American continents it has been in
evidence that she must lose her islands, unless the character of her govern-
ment and people should be so changed as to radically reform her colonial
system. The wars of independence by Mexico, Peru, Chili, Argentina, and
the central and northern South American States, were caused by like griev-
ances and marked by the same characteristics. The tedious tragedies of the
redemption from Spanish misrule southwest of us have common distinctions,
kindred features, familiar paths trampled with bloody footsteps, marking the
march of destiny — the trail of the serpent over all! Spain, not unaware of her
fatality, but without ability to change her course, has long consciously con-
fronted the doom that has overtaken her. It was the foreshadowed misfortune
in Cuba that embittered the Spaniards, who could read on the map that dis-
plays the West Indies and the Atlantic and Gulf coast of the United States,
the inevitable, irresistible attraction of gravitation of the bulk of the conti-
nent for the islands of the seas southeast. As certainly as we shall dominate
the Gulf, and have won and maintained with the sword, all from the keys of
Florida to the mouth of the Rio Grande, the great island of Cuba will be
Americanized and our possession, the other Indies will be leagued with her,
and accept our protection, glad to be our dependencies — this by the processes
of the principles of our dominion and the growth of our homes. In due time
it will be as evidently the order of nature and the course of empire, that we
shall supersede European influences, and wield the sovereignty of peace over
the islands, that were the prizes of the living Western nations of the older
civilization beyond the Atlantic for three centuries, as that we have acquired,
assimilated and Americanized the Mississippi valley and the Pacific slope; and
the great Republic as an armed nation will be an empire of peace. We shall
not permanently have the enmity of Spain because we have gained the islands
she has lost. If she had wisely administered the government of her depend-



encies she would have sustained the position they once gave her of the fore-
most of the kingdoms, but the fact that neither the people of Spain nor the
colonies had rights the crown was bound to respect, caused the combination
of greed and cruelty, corruption and tyranny, that has wrought the downfall
of Spain abroad and her decline at home. The peninsula is still rich in
resources, and the people, in ceasing to waste their energies in the oppression
of others, may teach themselves the lessons of orderly liberty, that will restore
their country to the prosperity that has perished and the dignity that disap-
peared when pride became pretension. The Spanish people, carried into a
war that was hopeless, have not been found lacking in devotion to their
country, and the honor of the Spanish arms has been upheld by the valor of
their soldiers, when their ranks were so steadfast that it conferred glory upon
the American army that overcame them ; and the chivalry of Cervera will be
held in honorable remembrance by the generous manhood that overmatched
him and rescued his slaughtered sailors from their burning and sinking ships.
More than once Cuban influences have profoundly impressed the politics of
the great organizations through which the American people govern them-
selves. The commanding votes in the government of the Union of our States
were once, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, "half free and half slave"; and
the vStates involved in the peculiar domestic institution were dominated by its
influences. The issue was made that the slave system must hold the balance of
power in the Senate, if nowhere else, and by consolidated force prevent the
predominance of the free States by holding in one of the essential factors of
the government, a veto power. Cuba was wanted, as Texas and California
were, in this interest. In the case of the great State on the Gulf and the great
State on the Pacific, the increase of territory, the extension of our boundaries,
profited the cause of the larger liberty. The foundations of the Republic were
broadened, even the urgency of the slave propaganda magnifying the area of
freedom. It was in the interest of possessing Cuba to preserve the balance
that the power identified with slavery might not be successfully assailed in the
States, that the -claim the constitution carried slaves into the territories, until
forbidden by State sovereignty thereon founded, was made, that the Ostend
conference was called and the manifesto bearing that name promulgated by
the assembled American ministers, to Spain, France and England, — and the
influence of ' the very able 'Sir. Soule, of. Louisiana, turned the tide in the Cin-
cinnati National Convention of the Democracy in 1856, from Douglas to


Buchanan, making incalculable chano;es in the history of the country so far as
incidents and individuals are concerned. The direction of ihc <;cneral
movements of mankind, it is safe to say, must have been about the same,
though possibly varying widely in time, place and circumstance. Humanity
does not stagnate, though there are centuries that are as years. The Ostend
Conference, though composed of men of high place in diplomatic functions,
did not partake of the nature of the proceedings of diplomacy. If the motive
of the meeting was to open negotiations with Spain for the purchase of Cuba,
the words employed were too pungent. If the purpose was to provoke war
the expression was awkward. Spain was not seriously influenced beyond an
agitation that was effusive in lofty language. It was the United States that
was deeply disturbed. Filibustering in the name of Cuban liberties became
a romantic occupation of American adventures, some of which were con-
ducted and advertised as festivals. The sailing of the ill-fated Critten-
den expedition from New Orleans was without shadow of concealment, and
the Spaniards were especially well-informed. Spanish spies are believed to
have largely personally conducted the enterprise. The Virginius affair was

Online LibraryMurat HalsteadFull official history of the war with Spain .. → online text (page 1 of 61)