Fort San Juan, Cuba, July 5,1898.
The ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL
Third Brigade, First Division, Fifth Army Corps.
(Through adjutant Twenty-fourth Infantry.)
Sir: In compliance with instructions from your office, I have the honor to submit the following report:
On the morning of July 1 the regiment (Twenty-fourth United States Infantry) left camp at about 7.30 a. m. under command of Lieut. Col. E. H. Liscum, Twenty-fourth Infantry, for the front. I had command of the Second Battalion, composed of Companies H. D, B, and C. On reaching a point in a sunken road running westward on the river, the regiment encountered a number of troops lying alongside of the road, under a heavy fire from a blockhouse and intrenchment on the north, where it was halted, and instructed to lie down for shelter. My orders were to conform to the movements of the First Battalion, which had also halted and sought shelter.
The company immediately in my front of the leading battalion was still in the road (which was full of troops in confusion), when hearing the heavy firing in my front increasing, I concluded to move my battalion in that direction. Passing this company of the other battalion, I discovered that the rest of that battalion had gone on. I crossed the ford of the river which was struck soon after, resuming the forward under a destructive fire, and was unable to see the rest of my regiment. Ordering my battalion to follow me, I turned through a gap in a wire fence where I saw some companies of the regiment under a slight rise, sheltered from the direct fire from the blockhouse and intrenchments on the hill to their right. I reported to Lieutenant-Colonel Liscum, who was with these troops, and informed him that my battalion was behind me.
I waited for a few moments for the head of the battalion to appear. Finding that they were not yet visible, I went back to the creek, where I found that they had passed the place where I had turned off and had gone too far to join with the First Battalion, and seeing other troops forming for the charge, I formed on the west bank.
As the battalion emerged from the creek the fire was exceedingly severe, and men were dropping on all sides from its effects. As soon as a line was formed I gave the order to charge.
The advance was made across an open meadow, subjected to heavy and effective fire from the enemy. There were with the battalion at this time the greater part of Companies H, B, and C, commanded by Capt. A. A. Augur, First Lieut. J. D. Leitch, and Capt. Charles Dodge, respectively, D Company, commanded by Capt. A. C. Ducat, having left the column and charged on my right, as they recrossed the stream before the rest of the battalion. There was some delay in getting up on the bank of the creek, which was quite steep, on account of a wire fence at the top.
Captain Dodge, who commanded Company C, had provided his company with some wire cutters, which were very useful at this time, and as this work was done by him and his company under this fire, it was an extremely hazardous task.
The battalion re-formed under the shelter of the hill after crossing the meadow, and then charged the intrenchments on the hill, tearing down wire fences and springing over obstructions as they went. When crossing the meadow I was some distance ahead of my battalion, but was unable to keep up with them going up the hill; so that part of the battalion arrived at the crest before me. Those who had arrived were engaged in firing upon the retreating Spaniards, and in this firing each company of my battalion was represented. Captain Ducat was wounded while standing on the crest. Upon finding that I was the ranking officer of my regiment upon the ground, I assumed command of the same and assembled it, assigning each company to its place.
The brigade commander ordered me to dispose my regiment so as to hold this crest, ordering C and G companies to the firing line. Capt. J. J. Brereton was wounded while on this dangerous duty.
About an hour after, an officer senior to me having arrived, I relinquished command.
The gallantry and bearing shown by the officers and soldiers of the regiment under this trying ordeal was such that it has every reason to be proud of its record. The losses of the regiment, which are shown by the official records, show the fire they were subjected to. The casualties were greater among the officers than the men, which is accounted for by the fact that the enemy had posted in the trees sharpshooters, whose principal business was to pick them off.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Captain, Twenty-fourth United States Infantry, Commanding Second Battalion.