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for those who follow on and gather up and care for the wreckage, the mutilated and broken bodies, it is all horrible.'
At the end of the battle there were many wounded, and the surgeon asked Groves to stay with about 30 of them while he went forward to establish another dressing station. He stayed, but being very tired and “knowing not the business,” he was quite apprehensive, particularly about one man who was shot through a lung and appeared to be near death. He therefore sent an urgent message for assistance, and a doctor came and gave the wounded soldier some relief with a shot of morphine. Equally important, the presence of the doctor gave Groves a few minutes relief. Groves spent the whole night "going to all the sleeping and groaning men doing the little one could do to make them comfortable, which mostly was giving a man a drink and a few comforting and encouraging words.” Finally, morning came, and with it the transportation to carry the wounded to a hospital in the rear area. As Groves made his way forward to join his regiment, he resolved to attend first aid classes and learn something about the treatment of wounds.34 He finally located his unit just before it marched on 4 July to the hills overlooking Santiago. There the regiment spent a week digging trenches and preparing to attack the city below. It was there that Groves learned he had yellow fever; on 12 July he was evacuated to a yellow fever hospital at Siboney, where he stayed until his evacuation to the states on 22 July. *7
In a modest and matter-of-fact manner, Groves' reports indicated the nature of his chaplaincy in Cuba. He held services as conditions permitted, which consisted of familiar hymns, prayer, and "a talk that could hardly be called a sermon.” He also served as a mailman, was entrusted with messages of the sick who feared they would not recover, wrote letters for those unable to do it themselves, administered first aid to the sick and wounded, and conducted burial services. It was his commander, however, who reported the quality of his Cuban ministry. He said that Groves was:
one of the true heroes of the Santiago campaign. . . . By exposure
He has not yet recovered from malaria.39
While Groves was traveling on the Transport Concho from Cuba to Camp Wikoff, Long Island-a convalescent camp named after Colonel
Charles A. Wikoff, who was killed in Cuba and buried by Chaplain Groves—he continued his ministry, even though he was “terribly afflicted” by yellow fever. A reporter who happened to be on the ship said he was one of the "most afflicted men on the entire ship of fever-stricken souls," and that with "disease withering him in the face," he would "stagger out on the deck and go down into the hold to perform the last rites and do the military honors above dead heroes” before they were committed to the sea.*' Upon his arrival at Camp Wikoff, he was issued orders for a well-deserved convalescent leave of absence; unfortunately, due to an administrative error in his orders, the Army later required him to repay his travel allowance from Camp Wikoff to his home.*
Looking back upon his Cuban campaign ministry, Chaplain Groves described his view of serving as a chaplain in combat:
It is the one who lives with the men enduring the same hardships and
seed will take root. 42 Other chaplains, such as Henry Swift of the 13th Infantry Regiment, saw their ministry in much the same way."
Swift was recommended for the Medal of Honor for his bravery during the battle of San Juan. During the fighting, and for some days afterward, he "worked unceasingly” at a field dressing station, caring for the wounded, reading the burial service over the dead, and assisting with the digging of graves. The station was constantly under fire; the assistant surgeon was killed, and several men, including Chaplain Swift, were wounded. The chaplain's wound, however, which was in the leg, was slight, and he continued his ministrations until all the wounded had been evacuated. His regimental commander wrote that he gave "away everything he possessed or could get, giving himself wholly up to others.” 14
Shortly thereafter, when yellow fever afflicted the regiment, Swift volunteered his services for the Siboney yellow fever hospital. There, while caring for the patients, he “fell victim to the scourge himself,” but he "continued on duty and refused to be transferred north, though his health scarcely afforded him strength enough to go about.” In addition, he, like Chaplain Groves, dragged a corpse to a grave and buried it when the Volunteer soldiers refused to go near the body. The surgeon in charge of
the hospitals wrote that the chaplain's “heroism was a subject of general comment.” As it turned out, however, he was not awarded the Medal of Honor; he was merely mentioned in orders for his “distinguished service." But five years later, when he was one of the first four chaplains promoted to major, his Spanish-American War record was the primary reason for his selection."
Other chaplains, Volunteers and Regulars, offered similar ministrations in the same spirit as Swift and Groves; one reporter wrote that they showed “tenderness to all within their reach,” regardless of the unit and religion of the soldiers. They assisted each other to make certain that wounded, fever-stricken, and dead men received the appropriate ministrations, religious and otherwise. George P. Robinson, whose duty station was the Hospital Ship Relief, where boatloads of wounded men were brought from Siboney for further treatment, helped the patients from the small boats and onto the ship, gave them cool water to assuage their thirst and fever, and wrote letters for them. He also accompanied the bodies of deceased patients to the Siboney shore, where he buried them on “a green knoll overlooking the ships.” 14 Robinson's service was typical of that of other chaplains. As a graduate of the Homeopathic Medical College of Cleveland, Ohio, who had maintained a minor medical practice until he entered the Army, William T. Anderson was particularly useful in the 10th Cavalry Regiment's dressing station. Though he joined his regiment a week after the Spanish surrendered and the wounded had already been evacuated, “Doc” Anderson assisted in the relief of many fever patients, even in his suffering after he became ill.47
Three other chaplains—Patrick J. Hart, Edward H. Fitz-Gerald, and Henry A. Brown—won the respect and admiration of the men in their units by risking their lives searching the battle fields for wounded men and carrying them to a dressing station. In addition, they gave or arranged for appropriate ministrations to the dead and dying. For his bravery during the Santiago campaign, Fitz-Gerald became known as “Fighting FitzGerald.” After the battle of Las Guasimas, the Rough Riders sang about Brown in their “Ballad of Las Guasimas": "Our losses were the worst, the chaplain even curst.” They obviously used “curst” only because it rhymed with "worst." Rough Rider “Teddy” Roosevelt, who had no use for “poor" chaplains, publicly commended Brown twice and endorsed his application for a Regular Army chaplaincy, saying that he showed “great courage and humanity in succouring my wounded men under heavy fire.” 48
When the fighting in Cuba ended, Major General William R. Shafter's V Corps was ordered to a camp on Montauk Point, Long Island, New York, a site selected because of its isolation and climate. Even though a camp had never been there before, it was deemed an ideal location for a large field hospital and convalescent center for yellow fever and malaria patients. The Army also used it as a redeployment and discharge center. The camp was quickly constructed and named Camp Wikoff.49
Theophilus G. Steward, ordered there from recruiting duty, was present when the first “pale, emaciated, weak and halting” troops of V Corps arrived; 3,252 were sick. Eighty-seven had died on the voyage; more would die at Wikoff. Reporters who visited the camp were shocked at what they found. Viewing the emaciated appearance of the patients, they surmised that the Commissary Department had relinquished its responsibility for providing a decent diet. Observing the crowded ships from which the troops embarked, they speculated that the Quartermaster Department had demonstrated deliberate callousness. Moreover, in a magazine aricle titled “How We Bury Our Soldier Dead," one reporter severely criticized the Army in general and the chaplains in particular, for “that miserable burying business.” 50
Conditions were not perfect at Camp Wikoff; the hasty erection of the camp and the sudden, huge influx of V Corps troops guaranteed that. But, as often happens, the press magnified the defects. Actually, the rations were ample, and they were supplemented with fruit and vegetables from various organizations and individuals. Believing that fresh fruit would be beneficial to the health of the troops, Chaplain Steward himself persuaded citizens of Bridgeton, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to contribute more than 900 watermelons for the men of his regiment. Nevertheless, the Army's logistical planning and operations certainly were somewhat at fault.
The recall of the Army from Cuba was a response to popular demand: “Bring the army home!... Bring it at once!” Moreover, the troops wanted to return home. The ships were therefore crowded, as were the Camp Wikoff hospital accommodations after the troops debarked. Furthermore, being unprepared for the unexpected arrival of so many dead, the Army apparently failed to provide the traditional burial service with military honors but not to the extent alleged. Steward was accused of being so absorbed in gathering watermelons that he ignored his burial duties, and Cephas C. Bateman was alleged to have left camp to conduct an officer's funeral in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, before he held a scheduled
burial service for an enlisted man. Steward wrote that the reporter's statements were “without reality.” 51
Y.M.C.A. secretaries supplemented the religious work of the chaplains at Camp Wikoff. They did “real service for God” by visiting hospital patients and soldiers throughout the camp, distributing testaments from the American Bible Society and "giving the word of exhortation.” They also held Sunday and weekday services in their tents, and the chaplains assisted them. On one occasion, Chaplains Steward, Anderson, and Prioleau conducted a union service for their regiments. Anderson, Prioleau, and the 10th Cavalry Regiment's band provided the music; Steward preached the sermon. Prioleau later described the service in a letter to the Cleveland Gazette, saying that white and black soldiers shook hands with the chaplains at the close of the service and said, “Chaplains, pray for
· Chaplain, bless the Lord, I have found the Christ.” 52
While the yellow fever patients of V Corps were recuperating at Camp Wikoff, occupation troops were in Cuba and Puerto Rico, and combat troops were building up to attack the Spanish in the Philippine Islands. Following Dewey's victory in Manila Bay, President McKinley had authorized 15,000 troops to complete the “reduction of Spanish power” in the islands and to maintain order and security there while they were in the possession of the United States. The first troops left San Francisco on 25 May and arrived at Cavite on 30 June; William D. McKinnon accompanied them. For the most part, his ministry on the crowded troop ship, City of Peking, resembled that of other chaplains who rode the ships to Cuba or later went to the Philippines. He regularly visited the troops in their recreation areas, near their bunks, or on deck. He celebrated Mass daily and twice on Sundays. On Sundays he also gave sermons for nonCatholics. The sermons were “brief, practical, and sensible, advocating right thinking and action, and usually proposing some specific application of a moral principle to daily life.” In addition, he heard confessions and conducted convert classes. 63
When the convoy approached Guam, McKinnon learned that its escort, the U.S.S. Charleston, was to bombard and attack the Spanish fortifications on the western coast of that island. Since the rest of the convoy was to take no part in the operation, McKinnon volunteered to be transferred to the Charleston in case his ministrations were required. His offer was accepted, and as soon as he was transferred on the evening of 19 June, he began to hear confessions. Finally, six and one-half hour later, being exhausted from the heat and the labors of a long day, he asked those