CAMP BEFORE, SANTIAGO , CUBA,
July 13, 1898
ADJUTANT TWENTY-FOURTH UNITED STATES INFANTRY.
Sir: I have the honor to submit the following report, as directed, relating to the part taken by Company C, Twenty-fourth Infantry, in the assault on Fort San Juan, before Santiago, Cuba, on July 1, 1898:
The company left camp about 7.30 a. m. July 1, 1898, and marched with the regiment to the front, being the fourth company in the Second Battalion, which commanded by Capt. Henry Wygant, Twenty-fourth Infantry. There were 2 officers and 59 enlisted men who marched with the company.
Just before reaching the San Juan River the battalion was ordered to lie down in the road under cover of the brush and under to escape the terrific fire that was being poured in from the right flank. This road was occupied by a great number of the Seventy-first New York Volunteers, who, I presumed, like ourselves, were waiting orders to move to the front. One man of my company (Private Augustus Snoten) was wounded here and I sent him to the rear under the care of Sergeant Staff. This sergeant subsequently joined the company and participated in the fight. The shooting from our right, while in the road, was said to be from sharpshooters, who were firing on the Thirteenth Infantry, immediately on our right and front; consequently my company was not allowed to fire, and at this time it was well in hand. The rapidity of the firing increasing in our immediate front, and believing that the services of my company—the last in column in the regiment—were needed, and not knowing the whereabouts of the regiment or battalion commander, I assumed the responsibility of ordering my company (C) to the front in double time, and passed on the road a portion of Company H, Twenty-fourth Infantry, under command of Second Lieut. C. H. Miller, who asked me what be should do, and I told him to follow along. My company soon reached the crossing in the San Juan River, and finding it much crowded by the intermixing of troops, I pushed it to the left down the stream for about 100 yards, and here we found a barbed-wire fence which cut us off from the field over which we had to advance. The fence was cut, however, by the cutters the company had been provided with, and the men passed in, taking position on the right of a line of infantrymen--I think the Ninth Infantry—under a bench of ground found at this point. Company B, Twenty-fourth Infantry, commanded by First Lieut. J. D. Leitch, Twenty-fourth Infantry, followed the company out of the river. All this time the company was under a very severe fire, and the men behaved splendidly.
On emerging from the San Juan River and after taking position in the open field, I met Captain Wygant, who ordered me to withdraw my company and follow him. This I did by passing again to the stream with my company and marching down it to a point that, brought the battalion led by Captain Wygant to a point in the open field about 200 yards farther on the left flank of the firing line. Here Captain Wygant led the advance and commanded the movement in person. In this march to the extreme left a second wire fence was encountered, but this also we were able to cut. I mention the cutting of the wire fences, because I believe that each company should be provided by the Government with a suitable number of cutters, as in this instance, at least, they were found invaluable.
In the charge across the open field parts of Companies C, B, and H participated, but the intermixing of all troops rendered it impossible for me to keep all of my company as an organization together. I have, however, the names of 20 men who actually reached the trenches at Fort San Juan, and who took part in the firing.
The company was assembled by order of Captain Wygant, the battalion commander, just in rear of the crest of the hill (San Juan), and Brigadier-General Hawkins ordered me to occupy the crest of the hill with my company, C, and this I did at a point just south of the blockhouse, which was still under fire. I was subsequently relieved from this duty by order of Captain Wygant, the battalion commander, and replaced by Company B, Twenty-fourth, under command of Lieutenant Leitch.
In this engagement the company lost among the enlisted men, 1 killed; 6 wounded, and 1 missing in action.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Captain, Twenty-fourth Infantry, Commanding Company C.