Capt. Henry Marcotte, retired, the correspondent of the Army and Navy Journal, requested permission to accompany the detachment, which was granted, and soon all were en route for the front, entrusted with the task of opening the way for wheeled transportation and of demonstrating the practicability of the road for army wagons and field artillery.
Among these few might be mentioned Marshall, and Davis, and Remington, and Marcotte, and King, and some half-dozen others; but there was another type of newspaper correspondent in Cuba, who hung around from two miles and a half to three miles in rear of the firing-line, and never by any possibility got closer to the enemy than that.
Another element which contributed much to the success of the detachment was the presence with it of Captain Marcotte
This excellent officer had served with great distinction in the Civil War, having been promoted from a private in the ranks through all of the grades up to a captaincy, for meritorious conduct in battle, and having failed of higher grades only because he was too badly shot to pieces to continue with the Army.
He joined the detachment on the 25th of June, and his valuable advice was always at the disposal not merely of the commander, but of any member of the detachment who wished to consult him.
had spent seventeen years in the Cuban climate and was thoroughly familiar with all the conditions under which we were laboring.
contributed not a little, by his
example, and his
precept, to the final success of the organization.
When the battery went under fire, Marcotte
was with it.
It was the first time most of the members had passed through this ordeal, but who could run, or even feel nervous, with this gray-haired man skipping about from point to point and taking notes of the engagement as coolly as though he
were sitting in the shade of a tree sipping lime-juice cocktails, a mile from danger.
On the 27th of June, Captain Marcotte
and the detachment commander made a reconnaissance of a high hill to the left of Camp Wheeler, and, having gained the top, reconnoitered the city of Santiago and its surrounding defenses with a powerful glass, and as a result reported to Gen
states that, after the surrender, some Spanish officers, whom he met, and who were members of this group, described this to him, stating that the enemy seen at this point was a body of about 600 escaping from El Caney; that they were struck at this point by machine gun fire so effectively that only forty of them ever got back to Santiago; the rest were killed.
After the firing at the ford had ceased, Capt. Marcotte
had returned to El Poso
to investigate the movements of our artillery.
These were then, and have remained, one of those inscrutable and mysterious phenomena of a battle; incomprehensible to the ordinary layman, and capable of being understood only by "scientific" soldiers.
The charge upon the San Juan ridge was practically unsupported by artillery.
No American shells had struck the San Juan block-house; none had struck or burst in its vicinity; not even a moral effect by our artillery had assisted in the assault.
had gone to investigate the artillery arm.
returned at sundown, and brought the information that our baggage was safe at El Poso; that Private Pyne
, still alive and unhurt, had been doing good work against the enemy's sharpshooters; and, better than all this, had brought back with him a canteen of water from the San Juan River and a pocket full of hardtack.
poured out his
hardtack, and it was equally distributed among the members of the detachment, each man's share amounting to two pieces.