TROOP A, TENTH CAVALRY,
Near Santiago, July 5, 1898.
ADJUTANT TENTH CAVALRY.
SIR: I have the honor to report, in accordance -with instructions from your office of this date, the following relative to the part taken by Troop A, Tenth Cavalry, in the actions against the Spaniards of July 1, 2, and 3, 1898:
On the morning of July 1 the troop formed part of the support to a battery of artillery on the extreme front of the line of troops. After the battery removed from the action the troop was ordered out on the road leading toward Santiago and in the direction of the intrenchments and blockhouse occupied by the Spaniards. The troop was on the right of the First Squadron of the Tenth Cavalry. After proceeding for probably a mile and a half, the latter part of which march was under heavy fire from the enemy, the troop was directed to take its place in line on the left of the First United States Cavalry. In accomplishing this the troop passed under a heavy fire of shell and of musketry. Shortly after this formation the troop, in connection with the others on its right and left, was ordered to change its front and move in line against the Spanish blockhouses. The fire from t e enemy at this time was very heavy. I had lost two men wounded in forming line upon the creek bank, and in this movement forward the troop was much impeded by heavy thickets and dense chaparral. The rush forward was continued without intermission. A portion of the right platoon, under Lieutenant Livermore, became separated in one of the thickets, and under instructions received personally from the brigadier-general commanding continued up the slope toward his right and toward the first blockhouse. The balance of the troop, with Lieutenant McCoy and myself , also moved in that direction, but, observing that a large number of troops had succeeded in reaching the slope on account of their shorter line, I continued my march at a rapid gait to a point nearer the second blockhouse, swinging the troop in a diagonal direction and advancing, firing, and receiving fire, until I reached the summit of the hills between the second and third blockhouses. Upon this crest I was directed by an aid of the brigadier-general commanding to hold the ridge. At this juncture Lieutenant Livermore arrived, having come by way of Blockhouse No. 1. During his march he had been subjected to a heavy fire, losing several men wounded.
The troop held the crest referred to for about an hour, at times being subjected to an extremely heavy fire from about 150 Spaniards, who were in line in front of their barracks, and others in the timber who had retreated from the blockhouses and were continuing the fight. The fire at one time became so heavy and the line of the Spaniards appeared so regular that I was apprehensive that my force might be too small to hold the ridge. Lieut. H. G. Lyon, Twenty-fourth Infantry, appeared at this juncture and offered to submit himself to my orders. I had just previously discovered Lieut. J. B. Hughes's Hotchkiss mountain battery approaching the position. I requested him to place one of his guns in action, which he promptly did, Lieutenant Lyons forming on the left of the gun and opening fire, A Troop being on the right of the gun. I held the position until the arrival of a light battery and other troops, among them the Seventy-first New York, when I placed my men parallel to the position on the opposite side of the road, and in contact with the squadron of the Tenth Cavalry, to which I belonged, which had in the meantime arrived at that point. During this time Lieut. F. R. McCoy was severely wounded while actively directing the fire of this platoon. I had lost, up to this time, 1 enlisted man killed and several wounded. While in the position above referred to, and in contact with the squadron, the troop lying below the ridge, Major Wint directed that the crest be occupied, as the enemy had increased his fire upon our lines. Troop A was immediately moved forward and opened fire, having 1 man wounded at this point, and 1 man killed in the line, a straggler from the infantry. The fire ceased about dark and the troop lay under arms in its place under the hill. A detail from the troop assisted in building earthworks during the night.
On the morning of July 2 the troop moved with the squadron up into the rifle pits, a short distance to the right of the previous position, where details from the troop engaged the enemy during the entire day, one man of the troop being wounded while in the rifle pit. On the evening of the 2d the troop moved to a point still farther to the right, assisted in digging rifle pits within 500 yards of the advanced works of the enemy. During the 3d the firing between the lines of rifle pits was continuous until about noon. The troop is now occupying this position.
During the series of close fights on the 1st, and in the engagements in the rifle pits up to the 3d at noon, the troop lost 1 officer wounded, 1 enlisted man killed, and 11 enlisted men wounded.
I respectfully invite the attention of the regimental commander to the fact that, in my judgment, the conduct of the officers of Troop A, First Lieut. R. L. Livermore and Second Lieut. F. R. McCoy, could not be surpassed for coolness and the skillful performance of duty under heavy fire. and I recommend that proper recognition of their gallant service be bestowed by proper authority. The behavior of the enlisted men was magnificent, paying studious attention to orders while on the firing line, and generally exhibiting an intrepidity which marks the first-class soldier.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Wm H. BECK,
Captain, Tenth Cavalry, Commanding Troop A.