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VOIiUME LXXXIII.— NO. 165.
AMERICANS WIN THE FIRST FIGHT ON CUBAN SOIL Superior Force of Spaniards Routed in a Spirited Engagement Near Cabanas. Loss of the Enemy About Twenty in Killed and Wounded, While but One of the Invaders Receives a Scratch. OH BUAKiJ THE HERALD-CALL DISPATCH BOAT ALBEKT F. DEWEY, OFF CABANAS, CUBA, May 12. — (Via Key West, Fla., May 13.) — This evening a force of Ameri can regular troops landed on Cuban soil near Cabanas and fought a brisk skirmish with a greatly superior body of Spanish troops. The Span iards lost about twenty killed and wounded. On the American side one civilian got a slight scratch. The object of the expedition was to land arms, ammunition, clothing and equipments for the insurgents, but owing to the Cubans failing to co- operate, as was arranged, the muni tions of war were not landed. Scouts, however, were sent to the insurgent camp after darkness had set in, and a further attempt will be made to land arms to-morrow at daylight. The expedition, which left Key West on Wednesday night, consisted of companies E and G of the First United States Infantry, numbering 150 men, under command of Captain J. A. Dorst, of Miles' staff, and Cap tain O'Connell. It sailed on the steamer Gussie, and brought 600 rifles, 10,000 rounds of ammunition and a large supply of food and cloth ing. The Gussie, which was accompa nied by two newspaper boats, arrived off Havana just after dawn this morning, and was promptly stopped by the blockading squadron. We ex plained our object, and the commo dore detached the gunboat Manning as an escort. Leaving Havana, we steamed west ward for nearly forty miles, passing Mariel. About a mile and a half west of Cabanas the vessels stood within less than a half-mile of the shore and anchored. Immediately several hundred Spanish cavalry ap peared among the palms and under growth, evidently quite aware of our intentions. There was no use trying to go ashore in small boats while these fel lows were there, so the Manning opened fire with shrapnel at 600 yards. The sound of the guns brought up the gunboat Wasp, which was cruising a few miles westward, and she also opened fire. This proved too much for the Spaniards, and in a few minutes we coula see them rid ing at full gallop for the shelter of the hills. Later we found they had left plen ty of infantry behind them under cover of the woods. A boat was lowered from the star board side of the Gussie. A spirited scramble as to who should get into it took place. Every soldier was eager to go. Finally Captain O'Con nell, of Company E, and twelve sol diers put off fqr the breakers. Be fore the ooat was ten feet away from the ship another followed. In it were eleven soldiers and Lieutenant Colborn of Company G. With mis directed energy the soldiers tugged on the oars, and, not being experts, their progress was slow. Unable to get over the reef, Cap tain O'Connell hesitated, but Private Messier, who was in the bow, solved the problem by springing into the water and wading ashore. His ex ample was quickly followed by all the men, they dragging the boat. Many stumbled and went under qji tirely, but all got ashore safely, though soaking wet. Lieutenant Colborn claims the honor of having been the first United States soldier in Cuba. It was a close race between him and Private Messier. The men immediately deployed in a skirmish line, plunged into the bushes and were lost to view. While another boat was being low ered an attempt was made to land horses. They were made to leap overboard and then led with halters by soldiers in a boat. The first horse became unmanageable and swam around the ship several times b?fore he could be headed for the shore. While the landing of horses was occupying the attention of all of the ships there came the crack of mus ketry in the brush 100 yards from shore. Volley quickly followed vol ley. The firing was Immediately an swered by our pickets. For ten minutes the firing was al most continuous. None of the com batants could be seen from the ships, j but pretty soon rising smoke over the j The San Francisco Call trees indicated the whereabouts of the conflict. The soldiers left their boats on shore, abandoned them and dashed into the woods to the assist ance of their comrades, who were evi dently, judging from the firing, at- Birdseye View of the Leeward ar>d Windward Islands, West Indies, Showiog the Prob able Movement of the Spanish and Americao fleets Toward Eacf) Other. tacked by a largely superior force. On board the Gussie the excite ment was intense, but perfect disci pline was maintained. The one re maining boat was loaded with fif teen men and started for the shore. The Manning and the Wasp took positions 300 yards from shore and began sending shrapnel over the beach into the woods beyond. The shells could be heard crashing through the trees and brush, which were set on fire in several places. On the Gussie the men were or dered to lie flat on the upper deck ready to fire on any visible foe. A few volleys were sent into the brush over the heads of our boys on shore to help out the shrapnel. In the brush the rifles continued to crack and on the water the guns of the Manning and the Wasp boomed steadily. Foiled in their attempt to surprise the landing party, the Spanish re treated. Gradually the firing on shore ceased, but the gunboats kept shrapnel screeching through the woods at intervals for half an hour. Attracted by heavy firing, the An napolis came to the assistance of her consorts, but too late to get into the game. Evidently discouraged by their re pulse, the Spaniards seemed have re tired to a safe distance. Captain Dorst, when the firing began, started for shore in a small boat. A huge breaker on the reef turned it over and sent the captain and his com SAN FRANCISCO, SATURDAY, MAY 14, 1898. panions into the water, whence they waded ashore. The presence of so large a force of the enemy, however, made the land ing of arms and supplies unwise, not to say impracticable, so Captain Dorst, after making sure that the expected insurgents were not in the vicinity, decided to re-embark. Darkness was falling and it was unsafe to leave such a small number of men on shore, for at night the gunboats could do nothing. Three Cuban scouts were mounted and sent inland to meet the insurgents and to make an appointment for another at tempt to-day. They rode along the beach under cover of the underbrush for a mile, and then took the path for the interior. When they had gone our soldiers returned on board the Gussie. Our only casualties were sundry duckings from which the men suf fered little inconvenience, and a slight scratch to a civilian with the party. While the engagement was going on the Spaniards fired repeat edly at the vessels lying near shore. One buhet struck the pilothouse of the Dewey and others whizzed mer rily close by. The Gussie was struck several times, but no one was in jured. INTENSELY BITTER TOWARD AMERICA NEW YORK, May 13.— The Herald's European edition publishes an inter view with Pierre Loti; a distinguished member of the French Academy and navy. Loti is intensely bitter toward America, He accuses the United States and England of brigandage in the matter of the Philippines. He says the Latin race must resist an Anglo- American alliance, which is surely contemplated. ONLY SEVEN THOUSAND TO BE SENT. Small Army Ex pected to Hold Philippines. NEW YORK, May 13.— The Herald's Washington corre spondent telegraphs: Many offi cers In both the army and navy have expressed themselves as very much opposed to the pro posed plan of s ding an army of only 12,000 men to the Philip pines. Ad i ral Dewey, in his dispatch to the Navy Depart ment, has intimated that it would take a large and efficient army of men to establish and preserve order among both Spaniards &.nd insurgents in and around Manila. The troops that the administrate . have desig nated for the Philippi: s are on the whole unorganised and v.'holly unfit to hold the respon sible position to which they have been ordered. The expedition, as It now stands, will consist of a force of 700f> men. It is planned not to send ihe remainder of the 12,000 troops concentrated at San Francisco to i ie Philippines for r.t least two months. The bulk of actual work will thus fall to the lot of this first detachment. The entire population of the Philippine Islands Is In th» neighborhood of 18. 000,000 peo ple. When It is considered that the United States army will be obliged to govern tins large number an army of 7000 men seems a bagatelle. With this small army and with the as sistance of Admiral Dewey's fleet the United States might possibly be able to capture Ma nila, but not the rest of Philip pine territory. Army experts who have made themselves familiar with the conditions now existing in the Philippines are bringing all the pressure possible to bear on the administration to have the relief expedition consist of 25,000 men. This army, they claim, would be sufficient if properly officered, armed and equipped to do and maintain order in the Philip pines until the close of tb.3 war. They agree with the Herald that there is no good reason why an army of this size could not be sent. The troops that are to be mobilized in Washington will have no actual service and will be simply an expense to the Gov ernment. Many advisers of the President are now urging him to send the men ordered to Washington to Manila. Much dissatisfaction is being expressed over the delay in getting the expedition under way. It will be nine days before any troops will leave the United States for Ma nila, and in the meanwhile Ad miral Dewey is left to hold hia position as b< -t he can. SAMPSON SENT AFTER SPAIN'S WESTERN FLEET Strategic Plans of the Navy Changed by the News of the Enemy's Vessels From Martinique. Schley's Flying Squadron Will Also Take a Hand in the Chase and There Is No Chance of Escape for the Dons' Ships. Call Office, Riggs House, Washington, May 13. This morning's session of the Cabinet was the shortest and the most important of the present administration. Being hastily convened at 1 1 o'clock it was adjourned at 11:30. Within that brief space of time new war plans were formed for both the army and navy, SPAIN'S FLOTILLA NOW WATCHING THE HARVARD. ST. PIERRE, Martinique, May 13.— There is a flotilla of eight Spanisn war ships and seven torpedo vessels in the vicinity of this island. It issupposed that part of this flotilla is heading northwest. It is positively known that part of the Spanish flotilla is cruising about Martinique, keeping watch on the United States auxiliary cruiser Harvard. Spanish torpedo vessels have been running in and out of Port de France all day. The commander of the Harvard, which is in the harbor of St. Pierre, has asked permission to remain there seven days to make repairs to some disabled machinery. The time asked for by the Harvard has been granted by the French authorities here, but her commander has been noti fied that when the repairs have been completed he must give twenty-four hours' notice before leaving. Many flashes of light, presumably signals between war ships, were seen off St. Pierre last night. necessitated by the surprising intelligence that the Spanish Cape Verde fleet, instead of being at Cadiz, was off the French island of Martinique, only 425 miles distant from Sampson's fleet at San Juan, Porto Rico. Although the new strategic plans were to outward ap pearances hastily formed they Copyrighted, 1898, by James Gordon Bennett. PRICE FIVE CE^TS. had not been hastily consid ered, for late last night the President was informed through the agency of the Herald and The Call that one of their dispatch boats off the Windward Islands and their regular correspond ent on the island of Martin ique had finally located the Spaniards. This information was laid before the strategic board immediately and they spent most of last night in? devising plans to meet this new situation. Consequently, when Secretary Long this morning received a cablegram, from the commander of the scouting cruiser Yale, from St. Pierre, island of Martinique, confirming the Herald and Call's intelligence, the plans were already well matured. Maps were placed before the President showing thevarious islands to the east, west and south of Porto Rico, and the exact location of the fleet off Fort de France, Martinique, and a table showing the rela •tive distances between San Juan and Martinique, the lat ter point and Havana, and be tween Hampton Roads and Windward Passage. It was quickly decided that instead of ordering Captain Sampson to wait until the- Spanish fleet approached San Juan he should be directed to sail and meet it. The rea son for this was obvious. It was known that Admiral Cer vera's torpedo boats Terror and Furor, which touched at St. Pierre, Martinique, lat© Wednesday night, had been, advised that the batteries of San Juan had been reduced and the entrance to the har bor was guarded by Samp son's vessels, thereby cutting them off from their expected base of supplies. It was feared that the Spanish ad