An elevated suburban village 3 miles northeast of Santiago
, in the province of Santiago
It was here, on July 1, 1898, that the American
army of liberation met its first serious opposition.
After the landing of the troops at Daiquiri
(q. v.) on June 20-22, a
Spanish earthworks and intrenchments at El Caney.|
forward movement began, and by the 27th the whole army, 16,000 strong, had reached points within 3 miles of Santiago
, in consultation with the other generals, determined on an enveloping movement to prevent a junction of the forces under General Pando
and those under General Linares
In accordance with this plan the division of General Lawton
moved out on June 30, into positions previously determined.
daylight on July 1, Capt. Allyn K. Capron
's light battery reached a commanding hill, 2,400 yards from the village.
The brigade of Maj.-Gen. Adna E. Chaffee
was assigned a position east of El Caney
that he might be prepared to attack after the first bombardment, and Brig.-Gen. William Ludlow
went around to the west with his brigade for the purpose of preventing a retreat of the Spaniards into Santiago
As soon as the battery opened fire upon the stone block-house and church in the centre of the village, and also the trenches where the Spanish
infantry was situated, General Chaffee
's brigade, composed of the 7th, 12th, and 17th Infantry, moved to attack in the front, keeping up a constant but careful fire, as the men had only 100 rounds of ammunition each.
In the rear, General Ludlow
moved his troops forward, and from the south came the reserves of Brig.-Gen. Evan Miles
Thus the village was the centre of a concentrated fire and was nearly encircled with the lines steadily closing in. So stubborn, however, was the defence that reinforcements under Maj.-Gen. John C. Bates
were ordered up to strengthen the line, which had been considerably weakened in the desperate assaults.
After the enemy had left their intrenchments, the fire was concentrated upon the brick fort, from which the Spaniards poured a galling musketry fire into the American
The fort could not long withstand the attack, and rents were soon torn in its thick walls.
At this juncture the commands under Chaffee
, and Miles made a charge, and captured the work, but not until all the men defending it were killed or wounded.
After its capture the smaller block-houses ceased fighting, with the exception of one which was soon destroyed by a few shots of Capron
The brave defence of El Caney
was directed by Brig.-Gen. Vera de Rey
(who died fighting), with 520 men, of whom scarcely a fifth remained alive at the end of the action.
See San Juan Hill.