FORT DOUGLAS, UTAH, October 4, 1898.
The ADJUTANT-GENERAL, U.S.A.
(Through military channels.)
GENERAL: Hearing that my previous report of the operations of the Twenty fourth Infantry, during that part of the battle of San Juan that I had the honor to command the regiment, may have been lost owing to the unavoidable circumstances incident to the campaign, or (it having been written in pencil on any paper I could obtain ) some portions erased, I have the honor to submit the following supplementary report, which I respectfully request be filed with the first one, if in your office, or in default, taken as the original.
On the morning of July 1 I had command of the second battalion of the regiment consisting of Companies B, C, D, and H., the regiment being commanded by Lieut. Col. E. H. Liscum, Twenty-fourth Infantry, from whom I had received the order to conform to the movements of the leading battalion. Proceeding along the road which followed the course of the Aguadores River, the regiment arrived at a point where the Seventy-first New York was lying down, when orders were received for us to lie down to escape the fire of musketry then coming from our right flank. Some few moments having elapsed, and hearing heavy firing in our front, I went to the head of the rear company of the first battalion to ascertain if the remainder of this battalion had gone on. I found that it had, and through some misunderstanding this company had remained behind. I hastened back and ordered my battalion forward. We crossed the Aguadores River at what is known as the "bloody bend," under an increased and more effective fire from the intrenchments on San Juan Hill, and proceeded over the river bottom to a point where I could see out toward San Juan Hill. In this bottom I could not see the rest of the regiment; but reaching a place where the undergrowth was not so thick I saw Lieutenant-Colonel Liscum with some of the first battalion behind a slight rise on my right. Ordering my battalion to follow me, I went to him and reported. The leading company of my battalion, however, had missed me and proceeded on down the river. I rejoined it at once and conducted it out of the river and on to the plain in front of the hill.
There was a strong wire fence just on the bank of the river at this point which was completely swept by the enemy's fire and impeded the advance. The wires, however, were cut in places, and the fence pulled down in others, by men and officers working together and the battalion was formed on the plain ready for the charge.
The behavior of both officers and men at this place was noticeably brave and heroic, Capt. Charles Dodge, jr., Twenty-fourth Infantry, (who had thought fully provided himself with wire cutters) and his company doing especial service; Captain Dodge repeatedly expressing himself while aiding and encouraging his men cutting the fence. The companies up to about this time had been together. Company D, under command of Capt. A. C. Ducat, however, had debouched from the column while the fence was being cut and pulled down at the head of the battalion, and, forming on the bank, had gone ahead some distance - I should judge about 150 yards - and I believe that this company was the first of the regiment to reach the top of the hill. There were with me at this time Company H, commanded by Capt. A. A. Augur, Twenty-fourth Infantry; Company B, commanded by First Lieut. J. D. Leitch, Twenty-fourth Infantry; Company C, commanded by Capt. Charles Dodge, Twenty-fourth Infantry; part of Company A, Twenty-fourth Infantry, under command of Second Lieut. A.R. Kerwin, Twenty-fourth Infantry, and parts of other companies which had joined me while in the river bottom, noticeably some men of the Seventy-first New York< some six or seven in number. Lieutenant-Colonel Liscum having been wounded, and Maj. A.C. Markley, Twenty-fourth Infantry, the next in rank, not being present at this juncture, by virtue of my rank, I was in command of the regiment. The order to charge was given as soon as the line was formed and the command rushed across the open meadow and up the hill until another wire fence was encountered. This was at once cut and pulled down and we arrived at the crest. While crossing this meadow we were under a severe fire and many were killed and wounded.
Arriving at the crest, I saw Captain Ducat with his company engaged in firing upon the retreating enemy, Captain Ducat using a musket, rendering himself conspicuous for his bravery and exposure to the enemy's fire. He was wounded severely while standing at full height, and taken off the field. In forming the men for and during the charge, I desire to especially mention Capt. A.. A. Augur and First- Lieut. J. D. Leith who came under my immediate observation, for coolness and bravery under such destructive fire. By this time the greater parts of all the companies of the regiment were on the hill. Being informed by the acting adjutant-general of the Third Brigade, Lieut. W. L. Simpson, Ninth Infantry, that Lieutenant-Colonel Liscum had been wounded, and that Major Markley, the next in rank, could not be found, that I was in command of the regiment, and should assemble and form it, I immediately did so, and under orders from Brigadier-General Hawkins, I disposed the companies to hold the hill, or that part of it in our front to the left of the blockhouse. All this time the fire from the enemy's intrenchments near Santiago was severe. as was the artillery fire from their battery, which commanded the hill. In disposing his men in accordance with my orders, Capt. J. J. Brereton, while bravely exposing himself, even after my caution to stoop down, was wounded in the leg, and after his wound had been dressed insisted upon remaining on the hill for some time, though suffering much from it. The regiment having been placed along the crest, G, H, and C constituted the firing line, and the other companies reserve. This disposition held until Maj. A. C. Markley, Twenty-fourth Infantry, made his appearance about two hours later and assumed command.
Corpl. Richard Williams, Company B, Twenty-fourth Infantry, who was under my observation during the whole time we were exposed to fire, is worthy of especial mention for bravery and fidelity to his commanding officer.
The bravery of First Lieut. Albert Laws and Second Lieut. A. R. Kerwin, Twenty-fourth Infantry, in dressing the wound of Captain Ducat on the crest of the hill under heavy fire, was also noticeable.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Captain, Twenty-fourth Infantry.