Report of D company, Twenty-fourth United States Infantry, engagement July 1, 1898.
The regiment marched down road toward Santiago and entered part of road surrounded by brush (very
thick). Company D was in second battalion of regiment. The regiment had not marched very far along this narrow road (11 a.m.) when
it was subjected to fire, which apparently came from all sides. Men lay down in road, none being wounded here. Shortly afterwards an
order came to move across a small stream (San Juan River). Captain Ducat led his company across, Second Lieutenant Gurney keeping
them closed up. The fire here was terrific from Fort San Juan on right, and from sharpshooters (Spanish), whom we found afterwards
The company, after advancing about 10 yards beyond stream, went through barbed wire fence to right and advanced to a small embankment in open field 20 yards to right of stream, all company well in hand at this point. Captain Ducat here gave command to advance, and the whole company, in good order in line of skirmishers, followed the brave example of its captain and second lieutenant. The company advanced rapidly over open ground toward Fort San Juan, a high hill in front of them, and arrived at bottom, the fire killing or wounding men on all sides.
Second Lieut. John A. Gurney, shot in breast, advancing across open, died shortly afterwards. He fought with extreme bravery, and fell due to exposure in keeping men in order and encouraging them on.
First Sergt. Merriman H. Ellis, shot in foot, in open.
Corpl. Pat Keyes, shot both legs, in open.
Privates Mason Robinson, shot in open, back; and William Johnson, shot in open, arm.
The company was almost exhausted when it arrived at the bottom of the hill, but it continued to
follow the courageous and determined example of its brave commander, and advanced rapidly up the hill. The Spaniards broke and fled
from trenches. Firing continued from sharpshooters (Spanish) in trees. The top of hill was reached at 12 o'clock, noon, and fired on
fleeing Spaniards, the captain himself taking a gun, and after firing two shots was hit by, supposedly, a Spanish sharpshooter in
trees. The brave company commander was carried from field with wound in hip. Company assembled by battalion commander. Company D was
first company of regiment to arrive on hill (Fort San Juan), and was led by its company commander.
After fleeing Spaniards had gotten clear of hill firing commenced from Spanish trenches in front and about 800 yards away. This was kept up all rest of day, but company lay down under cover of hill and suffered no loss. After dark trenches were dug.
The whole company fought bravely.
Casualties, July 1. - Capt. Arthur C. Ducat, jr., hip; Second Lieut. John A. Gurney, breast, died in twenty minutes; First Sergt. Merriman H. Ellis, foot; Corpl. Pat Keyes, legs; Private Mason Robinson, back; Private William Johnson, arm.
This report is made in the absence of D company's officers — Capt. A. C. Ducat, wounded, and Second Lieut. John A. Gurney, dead — from close inquiries and from my personal observation.
ARTHUR R. KERWIN,
Second Lieutenant, Twenty-fourth United States Infantry, Commanding Company D.