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What part did Black Americans do in the Spanish-American War?

Should the question be asked “how did the American Negroes act in the Spanish-American war?” the foregoing brief account of their conduct would furnish a satisfactory answer to any fair mind. In testimony of their valiant conduct we have the evidence first, of competent eye witnesses; second, of men of the white race; and third, not only white race, but men of the Southern white race, in America, whose antipathy to the Negro “with a gun” is well known, it being related of the great George Washington, who, withal, was a slave owner, but mild in his views as to the harshness of that system–that on his dying bed he called out to his good wife: “Martha, Martha, let me charge you, dear, never to trust a ‘nigger’ with a gun.” Again we have the testimony of men high in authority, competent to judge, and whose evidence ought to be received. Such men as General Joseph Wheeler, Colonel Roosevelt, General Miles, President McKinley. If on the testimony of such witnesses as these we have not “established our case,” there must be something wrong with the jury. A good case has been established, however, for the colored soldier, out of the mouth of many witnesses. The colored troopers just did so well that praise could not be withheld from them even by those whose education and training had bred in them prejudice against Negroes. It can no longer be doubted that the Negro soldier will fight. In fact such has been their record in past wars that no scruples should have been entertained on this point, but the (late) war...

Colonel Theodore B. Roosevelt

Colonel Theodore B. Roosevelt, now Governor of New York, who led The Rough Riders, tells of the Bravery of Negro Soldiers. When Colonel Theodore Roosevelt returned from the command of the famous Rough Riders, he delivered a farewell address to his men, in which he made the following kind reference to the gallant Negro soldiers: “Now, I want to say just a word more to some of the men I see standing around not of your number. I refer to the colored regiments, who occupied the right and left flanks of us at Guásimas, the Ninth and Tenth cavalry regiments. The Spaniards called them ‘Smoked Yankees,’ but we found them to be an excellent breed of Yankees. I am sure that I speak the sentiments of officers and men in the assemblage when I say that between you and the other cavalry regiments there exists a tie which we trust will never be broken.”–Colored American. The foregoing compliments to the Negro soldiers by Colonel Roosevelt started up an avalanche of additional praise for them, out of which the fact came, that but for the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry (colored) coming up at Las Guásimas, destroying the Spanish block house and driving the Spaniards off, when Roosevelt and his men had been caught in a trap, with a barbed-wire fence on one side and a precipice on the other, not only the brave Capron and Fish, but the whole of his command would have been annihilated by the Spanish sharp-shooters, who were firing with smokeless powder under cover, and picking off the Rough Riders one by one, who could not...

No Color Line Drawn in Cuba

A Graphic Description-Condition in the Pearl of the Antilles-American Prejudice Cannot Exist There-A Catholic Priest Vouches for the Accuracy of Statement. The article we reprint from the New York Sun touching the status of the Colored man in Cuba was shown to Rev. Father Walter R. Yates, Assistant pastor of St. Joseph’s Colored Church. A Planet reporter was informed that Father Yates had resided in that climate for several years and wished his views. “The Sun correspondent is substantially correct,” said the Reverend gentleman. “Of course, the article is very incomplete, there are many omissions, but that is to be expected in a newspaper article.” It would take volumes to describe the achievements of men of the Negro, or as I prefer to call it, the Aethiopic Race, not only in Cuba, but in all the West Indies, Central and South America, and in Europe especially in Sicily, Spain and France. “By achievements I mean success in military, political, social, religious and literary walks of life. The only thing I see to correct in the Sun’s article, continued the Father, is in regard to population. ‘A Spanish official told me that the census figures were notoriously misleading. The census shows less than one-third colored. That is said not to be true. As soon as a man with African blood, whether light or dark, acquires property and education, he returns himself in the census as white. The officials humor them in this petty vanity. In fact it’s the most difficult thing in the world to distinguish between races in Cuba. Many Spaniards from Murcia, for instance, of undoubted noble lineage...

Some Facts about the Philippinos

Who Aguinaldo Is. Emilio Aguinaldo was born March 22, 1869, at Cavite, Viejo. When twenty-five years old he was elected Mayor of Cavite. On August 21, 1896, Aguinaldo became leader of the insurgents. The revolution started on that day. He fought four battles with the Spaniards and was victorious in all. He lost but ten men, to the Spaniards 125. On December 24, 1897, a peace was established between Aguinaldo and the Spanish. Aguinaldo received $400,000, but the rest of the conditions of peace were never carried out. In June last Aguinaldo issued a proclamation, expressing a desire for the establishment of a native administration in the Philippines under an American protectorate. In an interview with a World correspondent at that time he expressed himself as grateful to Americans. In July he issued a proclamation fixing the 12th day of that month for the declaration of the independence of the Philippines. In November Aguinaldo defied General Otis, refusing to release his Spanish prisoners. The Cabinet on December 2 cabled General Otis to demand the release of the prisoners. Emilio Aguinaldo, Military Dictator of the Filipinos Aguinaldo The Man. In his features, face and skull Aguinaldo looks more like a European than a Malay. He is what would be called a handsome man, and might be compared with many young men in the province of Andalusia, Spain. If there be truth in phrenology he is a man above the common. Friends and enemies agree that he is intelligent, ambitious, far-sighted, brave, self-controlled, honest, moral, vindictive, and at times cruel. He possesses the quality which friends call wisdom and enemies call...

The Black Soldier

A Southerner’s Statement, That The Negro Cavalry Saved The “Rough Riders.” Some of the officers who accompanied the wounded soldiers on the trip north give interesting accounts of the fighting around Santiago. “I was standing near Captain Capron and Hamilton Fish, Jr.,” said a corporal to the Associated Press correspondent to-night, “and saw them shot down. They were with the Rough Riders and ran into an ambuscade, though they had been warned of the danger. If it had not been for the Negro Calvary the Rough Riders would have been exterminated. I am not a Negro lover. My father fought with Mosby’s Rangers, and I was born in the South, but the Negroes saved that fight, and the day will come when General Shafter will give them credit for their bravery.”–Asso. Press. Reconciliation “Members of our regiment kicked somewhat when the colored troops were sent forward with them, but when they saw how the Negroes fought they became reconciled to the situation and some of them now say the colored brother can have half of their blankets whenever they want them.” The above is an extract from a communication to the Daily Afternoon Journal, of Beaumont, Tex., written by a Southern white soldier: “Straws tell the way the wind blows,” is a hackneyed expression, but an apt illustration of the subject in hand. It has been hinted by a portion of the Negro press that when the war ended, that if there is to be the millennium of North and South, the Negroes will suffer in the contraction. There is no reason to encourage this pessimistic view, since it...

Scenes of the Final Surrender

When reveille sounded Sunday morning half the great semi-lunar camp was awake and eager for the triumphal entrance into the city. Speculation ran rife as to which detachment would accompany the General and his staff into Santiago. The choice fell upon the Ninth Infantry. Shortly before 9 o’clock General Shafter left his headquarters, accompanied by Generals Lawton and Wheeler, Colonels Ludlow, Ames and Kent, and eighty other officers. The party walked slowly down the hill to the road leading to Santiago, along which they advanced until they reached the now famous tree outside the walls, under which all negotiations for the surrender of the city had taken place. As they reached this spot the cannon on every hillside and in the city itself boomed forth a salute of twenty-one guns, which was echoed at Siboney and Aserradero. The soldiers knew what the salute meant, and cheer upon cheer arose and ran from end to end of the eight miles of the American lines. A troop of colored cavalry and the Twenty-fifth colored infantry then started to join General Shafter and his party. The Americans waited under the tree as usual, when General Shafter sent word to General Toral that he was ready to take possession of the town. General Toral, in full uniform, accompanied by his whole staff, fully caparisoned, shortly afterward left the city and walked to where the American officers were waiting their coming. When they reached the tree General Shafter and General Toral saluted each other gravely and courteously. Salutes were also exchanged by other American and Spanish officers. The officers were then introduced to each...

General Items of Interest to the Black Race

John C. Dancy, re-appointed Collector of Port Wilmington, N.C. Salary $3,000. The appointment of Prof. Richard T. Greener, of New York, as Consul to Vladivistock. Hon. H.P. Cheatham, appointed as Register of Deeds of the District of Columbia. Salary $4,000. Hon. George H. White elected to Congress from the Second Congressional District of North Carolina, the only colored Representative in that body. The Cotton Factory at Concord, N.C., built and operated by colored people, capitalized at $50,000, and established a new line of industry for colored labor, is one of the interesting items showing the progress of the colored race in America. B.K. Bruce re-appointed Register of the Treasury, and on his death Mr. Judson W. Lyons, of Augusta, Georgia, became his successor, and now has the honor of making genuine Uncle Sam’s greenback by affixing thereto his signature. Salary $4,500. Bishop H.M. Turner visits Africa and ordains an African Bishop, J.H. Dwane, Vicar of South Africa, with a conference composed of a membership of 10,000 persons. This act of the Bishop is criticised by some of the Bishops and members of the A.M.E. Church in America on the grounds that Bishop Turner was acting without authority in making this appointment. Mr. James Deveaux, Collector of Port, Brunswick, Ga.; H.A. Rucker, Collector of Internal Revenue for Georgia, $4,500 (the best office in the State); Morton, Postmaster at Athens, Ga., $2,400; Demas, naval officer at New Orleans, $5,000; Lee, Collector of port at Jacksonville, $4,000 (the best office in that State); Hill, Register of the Land Office in Mississippi, $3,000; Leftwich, Register of the Land Office in Alabama, $3,000; Casline,...

A Colored Hero in the Navy

History records the Negro as the first man to fall in three wars of America–Crispus Attacks in the Boston massacre, March 5, 1770; an unknown Negro in Baltimore when the Federal troops were mobbed in that city en route to the front, and Elijah B. Tunnell, of Accomac county, Virginia, who fell simultaneously with or a second before Ensign Bagley, of the torpedo boat Winslow, in the harbor of Cardenas May 11, 1898, in the Spanish-American war. Elijah B. Tunnell was employed as cabin cook on the Winslow. The boat, under a severe fire from masked batteries of the Spanish on shore, was disabled. The Wilmington came to her rescue, the enemy meanwhile still pouring on a heavy fire. It was difficult to get the “line” fastened so that the Winslow could be towed off out of range of the Spanish guns. Realizing the danger the boat and crew were in, and anxious to be of service, Tunnell left his regular work and went on deck to assist in “making fast” the two boats, and while thus engaged a shell came, which, bursting over the group of workers, killed him and three others. It has been stated in newspaper reports of this incident that it was an ill-aimed shell of one of the American boats that killed Tunnell and Bagley. Tunnell was taken on board the Wilmington with both legs blown off, and fearfully mutilated. Turning to those about him he asked, “Did we win in the fight boys?” The reply was, “Yes.” He said, “Then I die happy.” While others fell at the post of duty it may...

List of Colored Regiments

List of Colored Regiments that did active Service in the Spanish-American War, and Volunteer Regiments Regulars.–Section 1104 of the Revised Statutes of the United States Congress provides that “the enlisted men of two regiments of Cavalry shall be colored men,” and in compliance with this section the War Department maintains the organization of the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry, both composed of colored men with white officers. Section 1108 of the Revised Statutes of Congress provides that “the enlisted men of two regiments of Infantry shall be colored men;” and in compliance with this section the War Department maintains the organization of the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Infantry, both composed of colored men with white officers. The above regiments were the only colored troops that were engaged in active service in Cuba. There is no statute requiring colored artillery regiments to be organized, and there are therefore none in the regular army. A List of the Volunteer Regiments Third North Carolina, All colored officers. Sixth Virginia, White officers, finally, the colored officers resigned “under pressure,” after which there was much trouble with the men, as they claimed to have enlisted with the understanding that they were to have colored officers. Ninth Ohio. All colored officers; Col. Chas. Young, graduate of West Point. Twenty-third Kansas, Colored officers. Eighth Illinois, Under colored officers, and did police duty at San Luis, Cuba. Seventh U.S. Volunteers. Tenth U.S. Volunteers. Eighth U.S. Volunteers. Ninth U.S. Volunteers. The conduct of the colored volunteers has been harshly criticized, and it is thought by some that the conduct of the volunteers has had some influence in derogation of the...

The Conduct of the Black Soldier around El Caney

When our magnificent battleship Maine was sunk in Havana harbor, February 15, 1898, the 25th U.S. Infantry was scattered in western Montana, doing garrison duty, with headquarters at Fort Missoula. This regiment had been stationed in the West since 1880, when it came up from Texas where it had been from its consolidation in 1869, fighting Indians, building roads, etc., for the pioneers of that state and New Mexico. In consequence of the regiment’s constant frontier service, very little was known of it outside of army circles. As a matter of course it was known that it was a colored regiment, but its praises had never been sung. Strange to say, although the record of this regiment was equal to any in the service, it had always occupied remote stations, except a short period, from about May, 1880, to about August, 1885, when headquarters, band and a few companies were stationed at Fort Snelling, near St. Paul, Minnesota. Sergeant Frank W. Pullen, Who was in the Charge on El Caney, as a member of the Twenty-fifth U.S. Infantry. Since the days of reconstruction, when a great part of the country (the South especially) saw the regular soldier in a low state of discipline, and when the possession of a sound physique was the only requirement necessary for the recruit to enter the service of the United States, people in general had formed an opinion that the regular soldier, generally, and the Negro soldier in particular, was a most undesirable element to have in a community. Therefore, the Secretary of War, in ordering changes in stations of troops from time...
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