“I am sorry that I did not have a chance to see more of the fighting, but what I saw was of the warmest kind. On the 24th of June I was with Troop L, under Captain Capron. We formed the advance guard, and went out on a narrow trail toward Siboney. On the way we met some of the men of the Twenty-second Infantry, who told us we were close to the enemy, as they had heard them at work during the night. Captain Capron, with six men, had gone on ahead of us and had come across the body of a dead Cuban. Ten or fifteen minutes later Private Isbell saw a Spaniard in the brush ahead of him and fired. This was the first shot from our troop, and the Spaniard fell dead. Isbell himself was shot seven times that day, but managed to walk back to our field hospital, which was fully four miles in the rear.
“It has been said that we were ambushed, but this is not so. Poor Captain Capron received his death wound early in the fight, and while he was lying on the ground dying, he said: ’Let me see it out; I want to see it all.’ He lived an hour and fifteen minutes after the bullet struck him, and up to the moment he fell had acted fearlessly, and had exposed himself all the time to the enemy’s fire.
“I was then next in command of the troop, and I noticed that some of our men lay too closely together as they were deploying. I went down the line ordering them to their proper distances, and as I passed along, poor Hamilton Fish was lying, mortally wounded, a few feet from me. When he heard my voice, Fish raised himself on his elbow and said: ‘I am wounded; I am wounded.’ That was the last I saw of him in life. He was very brave and was very popular among the men of the troops.
“Sergeant Joe Kline, of Troop L, was wounded early that day, and was ordered to the rear with several other wounded men. On his way to the rear, Kline discovered a Spanish sharpshooter in a tree and shot at him. The Spaniard fell dead, and Kline picked up a silver-mounted revolver, which fell from the man’s clothes, as a souvenir, which he highly prizes. Several of the Spanish sharpshooters had picked up cast-off clothing of the American soldiers, and wore them while they were at their deadly work.
“Sergeant Bell, of our troop, was badly injured from an exploding shell while on the firing line. He was ordered to the rear, but quickly came back again. He was ordered away a second time, but a few minutes later he was at the front again, firing away. For a third time he was sent back, and once more he insisted on going to the front, and when the other men saw him they greeted him with rousing cheers, and he fought till the end of the day, although painfully wounded in the back.
[Illustration: Col. Theodore Roosevelt.]