Our War with Spain for Cuba
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Our War with Spain for Cuba's Freedom


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244 Pages


Project Gutenberg's Our War With Spain For Cuba's Freedom, by Trumbull WhiteCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before distributingthis or any other Project Gutenberg file.We encourage you to keep this file, exactly as it is, on your own disk, thereby keeping an electronic path open for futurereaders. Please do not remove this.This header should be the first thing seen when anyone starts to view the etext. Do not change or edit it without writtenpermission. The words are carefully chosen to provide users with the information they need to understand what they mayand may not do with the etext.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts****Etexts Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971*******These Etexts Are Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers!*****Information on contacting Project Gutenberg to get etexts, and further information, is included below. We need yourdonations.The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization with EIN [Employee Identification Number]64-6221541Title: Our War With Spain For Cuba's FreedomAuthor: Trumbull WhiteRelease Date: July, 2003 [Etext# 4210][Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule][This file was first posted on December 11, 2001]Edition: 10Language: EnglishProject Gutenberg's Our War With Spain For Cuba's Freedom, by Trumbull White************This file should be named wrspc10.txt or ...



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Title: Our War With Spain For Cuba's Freedom
Author: Trumbull White
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Dedicated To Our American Volunteers
Information concerning the island of Cuba has been of an exceedingly unsatisfactory character until the search-light of American inquiry was thrown upon it from the beginning of the war for Cuban liberty early in 1895. Although our next-door neighbor to the south, with a perfect winter climate and a host of interesting and picturesque attractions for travelers, tourists had been comparatively few, measured by the numbers that might have been expected. All of the reasons for this were those which naturally followed the characteristic Spanish rule of the island. Publicity was not welcomed, inquiry was not welcomed, travelers were not welcomed. The cities and the accommodations they offered were in many ways far behind those of like age and size in the other countries of the globe. Railway construction and the making of highways had lagged disgracefully, because the exorbitant taxes collected were looted by the officers of the government as their own spoils. No other country so near to the highways of ocean commerce and so accessible from the United States was so little known.
A few travelers had journeyed to Cuba and had written books descriptive of their experiences, which were read with interest by those who had access to them. But these books were usually simply descriptive of the people, the manner of life, the scenery, and the things of surface interest. It is proverbial that Spanish rule conceals the resources of a country instead of exploiting them. The person of inquiring mind had no way in Cuba to obtain prompt information concerning the material facts of the island's wealth of resource, because the Spanish authorities themselves knew nothing about it. Spanish statistics are notoriously unreliable and incomplete. No census of Cuba worthy the name ever has been taken, and there are few schools and few sources of accurate information. With all this handicap it was a foregone conclusion that the casual traveler should confine himself to the things that were visible and that were near to the usual paths of travelers. So until the beginning of the Cuban war for liberty no books could be obtained which told the things which one really cares to know. Picturesque descriptions there were, more than one, of considerable interest, but the information was scattered.
Demand always creates supply, even if material is scant. When the war began, the people of the United States wanted to know something of the people who were striving for their freedom, of their characteristics, their conditions and their personality. Moreover, it was an immediate necessity to know the geography of Cuba, its history, its natural conditions, its material resources, and a host of things that unite to make a comprehensive knowledge of any country. There were men who knew Cuba from years of residence there in industrial and commercial enterprises. They were drawn upon for their knowledge. Then the newspapers of the United States gave another demonstration of their unvarying enterprise and covered the points of interest in the insurrection most exhaustively. Their correspondents shared the camps of insurgent chiefs, witnessed the daring machete charges of the Cubans, saw every detail of armed life in the field. Others kept close watch of the movements of the Spanish forces in Havana and the fortified towns, as well as in the field. One was shot in action. Another was macheted to death after his capture, by a Spanish officer who waited only to be sure that the prisoner was an American before ordering him to death. Others were incarcerated in Morro and Cabanas fortresses and in the other Spanish prisons in Cuba because they insisted on telling the truth to America and the world. They were the ones who told of the horrors of reconcentration under that infamous order of Captain General Weyler. They have been the real historians of Cuba.
It is to all of these sources and others that the information contained in the present volume is owed. The writer takes pleasure in acknowledging the courteous permission to use salient facts contained in some volumes of merit published prior to this time. But more than all the obligation is to the newspaper correspondents who worked with him in Cuba in the
days when the war was but an insurrection and afterward when the insurrection became our own war against Spain for the liberty of Cuba. They are the ones who have gathered the most exhaustive information on the whole subject of Cuban affairs. They have been able by virtue of their intimate knowledge of Cuba and the Cubans to be of invaluable assistance to the commanders of army and navy alike, not only in advice as to the forming of plans, but in executing them. One who has seen the things knows that to exaggerate the horrors of Spanish cruelty and the oppression of Spanish rule in Cuba is an impossibility. No newspaper could have printed the plain truth of a score of shocking affairs, simply because the public prints are no place for the exploiting of such tales of vicious crime against humanity as have been perpetrated. The most sensational tales have never reached the limits of the truth.
It is hoped that the reader will find in this volume not only a comprehensive current history of our war with Spain for Cuba's freedom, but also much of the other matter that will be of interest and value in considering the future of the liberated island. Its history, its people, its resources and other salient subjects are included, with certain matter on Spain and her own affairs, with Puerto Rico and the Philippine islands, which chapters serve to make the volume a work for general reference and reading on the whole subject of the war.
 I. A War for Liberty and Humanity  II. How Columbus Found the "Pearl of the Antilles"  III. Spain's Black Historical Record  IV. Buccaneering in the Spanish Main  V. Commercial Development of Cuba  VI. Beauties of a Tropical Island  VII. Wealth from Nature's Store in the Forest and Fields of Cuba  VIII. The Cubans and How They Live  IX. Havana, the Island Metropolis  X. The Cities of Cuba  XI. Mutterings of Insurrection  XII. Outbreak of the Ten Years' War  XIII. Massacre of the Virginius Officers and Crew  XIV. Operations of the Ten Years' War  XV. The Peace of Zanjon and Its Violated Pledges  XVI. Preparations for Another Rebellion  XVII. The Cuban Junta and Its Work  XVIII. Key West and the Cubans  XIX. Another Stroke for Freedom  XX. Jose Marti and Other Cuban Heroes  XXI. Desperate Battles with Machete and Rifle  XXII. Filibusters from Florida  XXIII. Weyler the Butcher  XXIV. Cuba Under the Scourge  XXV. Fitzhugh Lee to the Front  XXVI. Americans in Spanish Dungeons  XXVII. Maceo Dead by Treachery XXVIII. Weyler's Reconcentration Policy and Its Horrors  XXIX. American Indignation Growing  XXX. Outrages on Americans in Cuba  XXXI. McKinley Succeeds Cleveland  XXXII. The Case of Evangelina Cisneros XXXIII. Work of Clara Barton and the Red Cross  XXXIV. The Catastrophe to the Maine  XXXV. Patience at the Vanishing Point  XXXVI. Events in the American Congress XXXVII. President McKinley Acts XXXVIII. Strength of the Opposing Squadron and Armies  XXXIX. Battleships and Troops Begin to Move  XL. Diplomatic Relations Terminate  XLI. First Guns and First Prizes of the War  XLII. Declaration of War  XLIII. Call for the National Guard, Our Citizen Soldiery  XLIV. Blockade of Cuban Ports
 XLV. Spanish Dissensions at Home  XLVI. The Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Other Colonies of Spain  XLVII. Progress of Hostilities XLVIII. Sea Fight off Manila, Americans Victorious  XLIX. Hawaii, and Our Annexation Policy  L. Continued Success for American Soldiers and Sailors  LI. The Invasion of Puerto Rico  LII. The Surrender of Manila  LIII. Victorious Close of the War  LIV. Personal Reminiscences
When, on the 22d day of April, 1898, Michael Mallia, gun-captain of the United States cruiser Nashville, sent a shell across the bows of the Spanish ship Buena Ventura, he gave the signal shot that ushered in a war for liberty for the slaves of Spain.
The world has never seen a contest like it. Nations have fought for territory and for gold, but they have not fought for the happiness of others. Nations have resisted the encroachments of barbarism, but until the nineteenth century they have not fought to uproot barbarism and cast it out of its established place. Nations have fought to preserve the integrity of their own empire, but they have not fought a foreign foe to set others free. Men have gone on crusades to fight for holy tombs and symbols, but armies have not been put in motion to overthrow vicious political systems and regenerate iniquitous governments for other peoples.
For more than four centuries Spain has held the island of Cuba as her chattel, and there she has revelled in corruption, and wantoned in luxury wrung from slaves with the cruel hand of unchecked power. She has been the unjust and merciless court of last resort. From her malignant verdict there has been no possible appeal, no power to which her victims could turn for help.
But the end has come at last. The woe, the grief, the humiliation, the agony, the despair that Spain has heaped upon the helpless, and multiplied in the world until the world is sickened with it, will be piled in one avalanche on her own head.
Liberty has grown slowly. Civilization has been on the defensive. Now liberty fights for liberty, and civilization takes the aggressive in the holiest war the world has even known.
Never was there a war before in which so many stimulating deeds of bravery were done in such a short time, and this in spite of the fact that the public has been restless for more action. It is almost worth a war to have inscribed such a deed of cool, intelligent heroism as that of Hobson and his men with the Merrimac, in the entrance to the harbor of Santiago de Cuba. That is an event in world history, one never to be forgotten, and in the countries of Europe quite as generously recognized as by our own people. There is a word to say for the Spanish admiral. In his chivalry after that act of heroism, Cervera proved himself a worthy adversary, who could realize and admire bravery in a foe, even when it had been directed against himself with such signal success. Not every commander would be great enough in that circumstance to send a flag of truce to the opposing admiral, in order to inform him that his brave men were safe and that they were honored as brave men by their captors.
Of another sort was the bravery of Dewey at Manila, more notable in its results but in no other way surpassing that of Hobson and his men. Dewey went forward in spite of unknown dangers of torpedoes, to engage an enemy in the place it had selected as most favorable for Spanish arms, an enemy with more ships, more men, more guns than had the American. A day later the nation was at the feet of Dewey and the United States had taken a position among the powers of the world never before admitted by them. In larger degree than ever before, from that moment the United States became a factor in the international history of the world. At this writing one cannot tell what will be the end of the relations of the United States to the Philippines and the Orient, but the solution cannot fail to be of profit to this nation. This was a holy war for the liberty of Cuba, but like many another good deed it is bringing its additional rewards. Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines and the Caroline islands are to be liberated, four colonies of Spain instead of one, and the direct and indirect profit, looked at from a purely commercial basis, will be far more than enough to compensate the United States for the cost of the war. The annexation of the Hawaiian islands as a war measure must be credited to the same cause, for the success of that effort under any other circumstances was problematical.
Yet another sort of bravery was that in the harbor of Cardenas when the little torpedo boat Winslow lay a helpless hulk under the rain of fire from the shore batteries, without rudder or engine to serve, and the Hudson, a mere tugboat with a few little guns on deck, stood by for forty minutes to pass a hawser and tow the disabled vessel out of range. Both were
riddled, the Winslow had half her total complement of men killed and wounded by a single shell, but there was no faltering, and they all worked away as coolly as if nothing were happening.
If one started to catalogue the instances of personal bravery that the war brought out in its first few months, the list would be a cumbersome one. It is enough here to say that there have been a hundred times when personal courage was needed to be shown, and never a moment's hesitancy on the part of any man to whom the call came. Furthermore, in every case in which a particularly hazardous undertaking was contemplated, and volunteers were called for, the number offering has been in every instance far more than was needed. This was eminently notable on the occasion of Hobson's sinking of the Merrimac, when more than a thousand in the fleet volunteered for a service requiring but six, and from which it seemed impossible that any could come out alive.
The public must know all about the war, and the only avenue of information is the press. Never before has any war been covered as to its news features with the accuracy and energy which have characterized this. American journalism has outstripped the world. The expense of a news service for this war is something enormous, with little return compensation. Yet the work is done, metropolitan papers have from ten to twenty correspondents in the field, and the public has the benefit. Dispatch boats follow the fleets and are present at every battle. They must be near enough to see, which means that they are in as much danger at times as are the ships of the fighting squadron, far more if one remembers that the former are in no way protected. Some of them are heavy sea-going tugs and others are yachts. The expense of charter, insurance and running cost amounts to from $200 to $400 a day each, and yet some metropolitan newspapers have fleets of these boats to the number of six.
All the foregoing facts are related in detail in the volume which these paragraphs introduce. The only object in reiterating them here is that they are entitled to emphasis for their prominence, and it is desired to call special attention to them and their accompanying matter when the book itself shall be read. The number of those who believe we are engaged in a righteous war is overwhelming. The records of the brave deeds of our men afloat and ashore will inspire Americans to be better citizens as long as time shall last. The country has proven its faith in the cause by giving to the needs of war hundreds of thousands of young men to fight for the liberty of others. From every corner of the land regiments of volunteer soldiers have sprung in an instant at the call of the President, while as many more are waiting for another call to include those for whom there was not room the first time. The country which can show such an inspiring movement has little to fear in the race of progress among the nations of the world.
Again at War with a Foreign Power—Spain's Significant Flag— Three Years Without an American Flag in Cuban Waters—Visit of the Maine to Havana Harbor—The Maine Blown Up by Submerged Mine— Action of President and Congress—Spain Defies America—Martial Spirit Spreading—First Guns Are Fired—Cuban Ports Blockaded— Many Spanish Ships Captured—Excitement in Havana—Spain and the United States Both Declare War—Internal Dissension Threatens Spain—President McKinley Calls a Volunteer Army.
Civilization against barbarism, freedom against oppression, education against ignorance, progress against retrogression, the West against the East, the United States against Spain. In this cause the flag of freedom was again unfurled in the face of a foreign foe, and our nation entered war against the people of another land, carrying the star spangled banner through successive victories in the name of liberty and humanity.
It is a proud banner, which stands the whole world over for freedom and right, with few stains of defeat or injustice upon its folds. The great heart of the nation swelled with pride at the righteousness of the cause, with an assurance that eternal history would praise America for the unselfish work. On land and sea the boys in blue gave new fame to the flag, and their proud record in the past was more than justified by the honors that they won.
Two wars with Great Britain and one with Mexico were the more notable predecessors of this conflict with Spain. If to these should be added the hostilities between the United States and the Barbary pirates of Algiers, Morocco and Tripoli, and the scattered brushes with two or three Oriental and South American countries, the list might be extended. But those affairs are not remembered as wars in the true sense of the word.
Except for protection against Indian outbreaks, the United States had been at peace for thirty years, when the war cloud began to loom in the horizon. It was with a full realization of the blessings of peace that the American people yielded to the demands, of humanity and righteous justice, to take up arms again in the cause of liberty. There was no haste, no lack of caution, no excited plunge into hostilities without proper grounds. The nation made sure that it was right. An intolerable condition of affairs resulting from years of agony in a neighbor island, with half a dozen immediate reasons, any one sufficient, was the absolute justification for this holy war.
Spain is the Turk of the West. Spain is an obsolete nation. Living in the past, and lacking cause for pride to-day, she gloats over her glorious explorations and her intellectual prowess of the middle ages when much of Europe was in darkness. Then Spain's flag led pioneers throughout the world. But her pride was based on achievements, many of which, to the people of any other nation, would have been the disgrace of its history. No indictment of Spain can ever be more severe, more scathing, if its true significance be considered, than the famous phrase which one of her proudest poets created to characterize her flag of red and yellow.
"Sangre y oro," he said, "blood and gold—a stream of gold between two rivers of blood."
It is almost a sufficient characterization to indicate the whole national spirit of Spain, to recall that this phrase is the proud expression used by the Spanish people to glorify their own flag. That sentiment is in no stronger contrast to the American phrase, "the star-spangled banner," than are the people of Spain to the people of the United States.
From the day of the outbreak of the Cuban revolution, early in 1895, until nearly the end of January, 1898, there had been no flag of the United States seen in any harbor of Cuba except upon merchant vessels. Always before, it had been the policy of our government to have ships of war make friendly calls in the harbors of all countries of the world at frequent intervals, and Cuban waters had shared these courtesies.
So careful were the officers of the Cleveland administration to avoid the appearance of offense or threat against the authority of Spain, with which we were living in amity, that immediately upon the outbreak of hostilities in Cuba this practice was suspended, so far as it applied to that island. Our ships cruised through the oceans of the world and called at all ports where they were not needed, but the waters of Havana harbor for three years were never disturbed by an American keel.
Out of deference to the expressed wishes of the local Spanish authorities in Havana, Dr. Burgess, the splendid surgeon of the United States Marine Hospital service in Havana, who for thirty years has guarded our southern ports from the epidemics of yellow fever and smallpox, which would invade us annually as a result of Spanish misgovernment in Cuba, except for his watchfulness, ceased flying the American flag on his steam launch, by means of which he carried out his official duties in those foul waters. The American flag was a disturbing influence upon the minds of the Cubans who might see it flashing in the clear sunlight of the tropic sky, suggested the Captain General.
It must have been the language of diplomacy that was in mind, when the satirist explained that "language was intended as a medium for concealing thought." President McKinley, in his message to Congress transmitting the report of the naval board concerning the catastrophe to the Maine, explained that for some time prior to the visit of the battle-ship to Havana harbor, it had been considered a proper change in the policy, in order to accustom the people to the presence of our flag as a symbol of good will. The decision to send the vessel to that harbor was reached, it was explained, after conference with the Spanish minister, and, through our diplomats, with the Spanish authorities at Madrid and Havana. It was declared that this intention was received by the Spanish government with high appreciation of the courtesy intended, which it was offered to return by sending Spanish ships to the principal ports of the United States.
We are bound to accept this expression from the officials on both sides as frankly indicative of their feelings. But it is just as necessary to recognize that to the mass of the people in both countries, the significance of the Maine's courtesy call was very different. Americans believed that it indicated a changed policy on the part of the national government at Washington which would be more strenuous and more prompt in resenting outrages against the life and property of American citizens in Cuba. The people of the Cuban republic believed that the change meant an expression of sympathy and friendship for their cause, with probable interference in their behalf, and took courage from that sign. Finally, the people of Spain resented the appearance of the Maine in the harbor of Havana as an affront, and a direct threat against them and in favor of the insurgents. If the policy of making frequent calls in warships had never been interrupted, they would not have had this sentiment in the matter, but the resumption of the practice after three years' cessation, carried a threat with it in their minds.
The Maine entered the harbor of Havana at sunrise on the 25th of January and was anchored at a place indicated by the harbor- master. Her arrival was marked with no special incident, except the exchange of customary salutes and ceremonial visits. Three weeks from that night, at forty minutes past nine o'clock in the evening of the 15th of February, the Maine was destroyed by an explosion, by which the entire forward part of the ship was wrecked. In this frightful catastrophe 264 of her crew and two officers perished, those who were not killed outright by the explosion being penned between decks by the tangle of wreckage and drowned by the immediate sinking of her hull.
In spite of the fact that the American public was urged to suspend judgment as to the causes of this disaster, and that the Spanish authorities in Havana and in Madrid expressedgrief and sympathy, it, was impossible to subdue ageneral
belief that in some way Spanish treachery was responsible for the calamity. With the history of Spanish cruelty in Cuba before them, and the memory of Spanish barbarities through all their existence as a nation, the people could mot disabuse their minds of this suspicion.
One month later this popular judgment was verified by the finding of the naval court of inquiry which had made an exhaustive examination of the wreck, and had taken testimony from every available source. With this confirmation and the aroused sentiment of the country concerning conditions in Cuba, the logic of events was irresistibly drawing the country toward war with Spain, and all efforts of diplomacy and expressions of polite regard exchanged between the governments of the two nations were unable to avert it.
For a few weeks, history was made rapidly. Conservative and eminent American senators visited Cuba in order to obtain personal information of conditions there, and upon their return, gave to Congress and to the country, in eloquent speeches, the story of the sufferings they had found in that unhappy island. The loss of the Maine had focused American attention upon the Cuban situation as it had never been before, and though there were no more reasons for sympathetic interference than there had been for many months, people began to realize as they had not before, the horrors that were being enacted at their thresholds.
The sailors who died with the Maine, even though they were not able to fight their country's foes, have not died in vain, for it is their death that will be remembered as the culminating influence for American intervention and the salvation of scores of thousands of lives of starving Cuban women and children. Vessels were loaded with supplies of provisions and clothing for the suffering and were sent to the harbors of Cuba, where distribution was made by Miss Clara Barton and her trusted associates in the American National Red Cross. Some of these vessels were merchant steamers, but others were American cruisers, and Cubans were not permitted to forget that there was a flag which typified liberty, not far away. The strain upon the national patience increased every day, and was nearing the breaking point.
After a period of restlessness in Congress which was shared by the whole country, the President finally transmitted an important message. It included a resume of the progress of the Cuban revolution from its beginning and considered in some detail the workings of that devastating policy of General Weyler, known as reconcentration. The message related the progress of diplomatic negotiations with Spain, and disclosed a surprising succession of events in which the Spanish government had submitted to various requests and recommendations of the American government. The message ended with a request that Congress authorize and empower the President to take measures to secure a full and final termination of the intolerable conditions on the island of Cuba. Having exhausted the powers of the executive in these efforts, it was left to the legislative authority of the American people to establish such policies as would be finally efficient.
Congress rose to the occasion. The facts were at command of both houses, their sympathies were enlisted at the side of their reason and there was little time lost in acting. The House and the Senate, after mutual concessions on minor details, passed as a law of the land for the President's signature, an act directing him and empowering him to require Spain to withdraw her troops and relinquish all authority over the island of Cuba. The President was authorized to employ the army and navy of the United States for the purpose of carrying into effect this instruction and the interference was directed to be made at once. Best of all, from the point of view of the Cuban patriots, the act declared that the people of Cuba are and ought to be free and independent. But a few days more of diplomacy, and war was to begin.
It was hardly to be expected that the Spanish government and the Spanish people would yield to the demands of the United States without a protest. So feeble is the hold of the present dynasty upon the throne of Spain, that it was readily understood that any concession upon the part of the Queen Regent would arouse Spanish indignation beyond the limits of endurance. The Queen-mother had to think of her baby son's crown. If she were to yield to the superior power of the United States without a struggle, Spanish revolutionists would overthrow the dynasty before he could come to the throne. However well she might know that the logical outcome of a war would be overwhelming defeat to Spanish arms, political necessities compelled her to take the position dictated by Spanish pride.
The Spanish Cortes met in special session at Madrid, and on the 20th of April the Queen Regent delivered her speech before that legislative body and declared that her parliament was summoned in the hour of peril to defend her country's rights and her child's throne, whatever sacrifice might be entailed. It was on that same day that President McKinley presented the ultimatum of the United States to Spain, in language diplomatic in form, but carrying with it a definite notice to yield Cuba's freedom and relinquish her pretense of authority in that island without delay. A copy of the ultimatum was forwarded to the Spanish ambassador at Washington, Senor Polo y Bernabe, who responded by asking for his passports and safe conduct out of the country.
Having reached the point where diplomacy no longer availed, the Spanish government for the first time made an aggressive move against the United States. Instead of waiting for the transmission of the ultimatum by American Minister Stewart L. Woodford, the ministry forestalled him and dismissed him from Madrid without affording him an opportunity to present that important document. It had been transmitted to Madrid by cable from the Spanish Minister in Washington, and the government felt no need to wait for formal messages from the enemy's representative in Spain. Minister Woodford left Madrid without delay, and finally reached the French frontier, after being subjected to many insults and attacks upon his train during the journey from the Spanish capital.