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After Action Report - July 1898
10th Cavalry

Before Santiago de Cuba, July — , 1898.


SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Tenth Cavalry in the battle of July 1, 2, and 3, 1898, before Santiago de Cuba:

On the morning of July 1 the regiment, consisting of Troops A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and I field and staff, occupied a position on the left of the Second Brigade, Cavalry Division, the line extending nearly north and south on a ridge some 3 or 4 miles from Santiago. At about 6.30 a. m. a battery of artillery, posted a short distance from our right, opened fire upon the works of Santiago, the regiment being exposed to much of the return fire of the enemy's batteries. After the artillery firing had ceased the regiment moved to the right, passed the sugar mill, and proceeded in rear of the brigade down the road leading toward Santiago. The movement was delayed as we approached the San Juan River, and the regiment came within the range of fire about one-half a mile from the crossing. Upon reaching the river I found that the Seventy-first New York Volunteers were at the crossing, and that the regiment preceding mine had gone to the right. The Tenth Cavalry was here subjected to a converging artillery and infantry fire from the three blockhouses and intrenchment in front and the works farther to the left and nearer Santiago. This fire was probably drawn by a balloon which preceded the regiment to a point near the ford where it was held. I was directed to take a position to the right, behind the river bank, for protection. While moving to this position and and while there the regiment suffered considerable loss. After an interval of twenty or thirty minutes I was directed to form line of battle in a partially open field, facing toward the blockhouses and strong intrenchments to the north occupied by the enemy. Much difficulty was found on account of the dense undergrowth, crossed in several directions by wire fences. As a part of the cavalry division under General Sumner, the regiment was formed in two lines, the first squadron, under Maj. S. T. Norvell, consisting of Troops A, B, E, and I, leading; the second line, under Major T. J. Wint, consisting of Troops C, F, and G. Troop D, having crossed farther down the river, attached itself to a command of infantry and moved with that command on the second blockhouse. The regiment advanced in this formation in a heavy converging fire from the enemy's position, proceeding but a short distance, when the two lines were united into one. The advance was rapidly continued in an irregular line toward the block houses and intrenchments to the right front. During this advance the line passed some troops of the First Cavalry, which I think had previously been formed on our right. Several losses occurred before reaching the top of the hill, First Lieut.William H. Smith being killed as he arrived on its crest. The enemy having retreated toward the northwest to the second and third blockhouses, new lines were formed and a rapid advance was made upon these new positions. The regiment assisted in capturing these works from the enemy, and with the exception of Troops C and I who in the meantime had joined the First Volunteer Cavalry, then took up a position to the north of the second blockhouse, remaining there during the night.

With some changes in the position of troops, they held this line on the 2d and 3d under a very heavy and continuous fire from the enemy's intrenchments in front, and the regiment now occupies a part of the most advanced intrenched position. Some troops lost their relative positions in line during the first day of the battle, but attached themselves to others and continued to move forward.

During the entire engagement the regiment acted with extraordinary coolness and bravery. It held its position at the ford and moved forward unflinchingly after deployment through the dense brush under the heavy fire from the enemy's works. The officers and men in general throughout exhibited great bravery, obeying orders with unflinching alacrity while attacking with small arms an enemy strongly posted in intrenchments and blockhouses and supported by artillery.

Per cent of officers killed and wounded, 50; of enlisted men, 16½; for whole regiment, 18.

Very respectfully.

Lieutenant-Colonel Tenth United States Cavalry, Commanding.