The bombardment lasted about twenty minutes. The scene then quickly shifted back again to the great semi-circle of transports before Baiquiri. At 9:40 o'clock the New Orleans opened fire with a gun that sent a shell rumbling and crashing against the hillside. The Detroit, Wasp, Machias and Suwanee followed suit.
At Baiquiri the landing of the troops and stores was made a small wooden wharf, which the Spaniards tried to burn, but unsuccessfully, and the animals were pushed into the water and guided to a sandy beach about 200 yards in extent. At Siboney the landing was made on the beach and at a small wharf erected by the engineers.
So I wrote it to you in the will I made at Baiquiri, the night before the landing. If you hadn't come now, you would have learned it in that way. You would have read there that there never was any one but you; the rest were all dream people, foolish, silly mad. There is no one else in the world but you; you have been the only thing in life that has counted.
Garcia offered the services of his troops, comprising about 4,000 men in the vicinity of Aserraderos and about 500, under Gen. Castillo, at the little town of Cujababo, a few miles east of Baiquiri.
This prevented seasickness, to a certain extent. The squadron reached Santiago de Cuba, and after tacking about for several days, either for the purpose of deceiving the enemy, or of waiting a decision as to the landing-place, finally approached Baiquiri, which had been selected for the landing.
Castillo, was to attack the Spanish force at Baiquiri in the rear at the time of disembarkation. This movement was successfully made. To mislead the enemy as to the real point of our intended landing, I requested Gen.
After deducting the detachments required at Siboney and Baiquiri to render those depots secure from attack, organizations held to protect our flanks, others acting as escorts and guards to light batteries, the members of the Hospital Corps, guards left in charge of blanket-rolls which the intense heat caused the men to cast aside before entering battle, orderlies, etc., it is doubtful if we had more than 12,000 men on the firing-line on July 1, when the battle was fiercest and when the important and strong positions of El Caney and San Juan were captured.
I also requested Admiral Sampson to send several of his warships, with a number of my transports, opposite this town, for the purpose of making a show of disembarking there. In addition, I asked the admiral to cause a bombardment to be made at Cabanas and also at the forts around the Morro and at the towns of Aguadores, Siboney, and Baiquiri. The troops under Gen.
Seizing, with the assistance of the Navy, the towns of Baiquiri and Siboney, you pushed boldly forth, gallantly driving back the enemy's outposts in the vicinity of La Guasimas, and completed the concentration of the army near Sevilla, within sight of the Spanish stronghold at Santiago de Cuba. The outlook from Sevilla was one that might have appalled the stoutest heart.
The expedition started from Juragua marked on some Cuban maps as Altares a small town on the coast nine miles east of Morro Castle, which was the first place occupied by the troops after their landing at Baiquiri. Information was brought to the American army headquarters by Cubans that forces of Spanish soldiers had assembled at the place where the battle occurred to block the march on Santiago.
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