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HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
ADJUTANT GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Washington, April 9, 1900. The following order has been received from the War Department:
WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, April 9, 1900. By direction of the President, the Department of Habana and the Department of the Province of Habana and Pinar del Río will be consolidated on May 1, 1900, under the designation of the Department of Habana and Pinar del Río. Brig. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee, U. S. Volunteers, is assigned to the command of the department, with headquarters at Quemados.
In discontinuing the Department of Habana, constituted by the order of December 13, 1898, the President desires to express his high appreciation of the faithful and efficient service rendered by Brig. Gen. William Ludlow as military governor of Habana during the existence of the department. The maintenance of order attending and following the withdrawal of the Spanish forces, the organization of city government, the great reform of sanitary conditions resulting in the reduction in the death rate and exemption from epidemics reflect credit upon the responsible officer in command and his assistants and upon the peace-loving and law-abiding people of the city of Habana.
ELIHU Root, Secretary of War. By command of Major-General Miles:
H. C. CORBIN, Adjutant-General.
GENERAL. ORDERS,} Hpqrs. DEPARTMENT OF HABQuemados, Peruba, pela, R1,0;
The undersigned hereby assumes command of the Department of Habana and Pinar del Río, pursuant to General Orders, No. 47, c. s., Headquarters of the Army, Adjutant-General's Office, which consolidates, to take effect this date, the former Department of Habana and the Department of the Province of Habana, and Pinar del Río into one military department.
Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers. The Department of Habana and Pinar del Río continued until consolidated with the Department of Matanzas and Santa Clara pursuant to the following telegram and order:
WASHINGTON, D. C., July 21, 1900. Brig. Gen. FITZHUGH LEE,
Quemados. Secretary War directs in addition to your present duties you assume command of former Department of Matanzas and Santa Clara, which has this day been consolidated with Department Habana and Pinar del Río under name of Department of Western Cuba, headquarters remaining at Quemados. General Wilson has been directed by telegraph to turn over command to you.
H. C. CORBIN, Adjutant-General.
GENERAL. ORDERS, }
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN CUBA,
Quemados, Cuba, July 24, 1900. Pursuant to telegraphic instructions from the Adjutant-General's Office, dated Washington, July 21, the undersigned hereby assumes command of the Department of Western Cuba. This department consists of the former Department of Matanzas and Santa Clara and the former Department of Habana and Pinar del Río, comprising the provinces of Santa Clara, Matanzas, Habana, and Pinar del Río.
Existing orders and circulars of the former Department of Matanzas and Santa Clara will continue in force for troops stationed in that department until further orders.
FITZHUGH LEE, Brigadier General, U. S. Volunteers.
STATIONS OF TROOPS.
Columbia Barracks.-Commanded from August 1 to August 17, 1899, by Col. T. A. Baldwin, Seventh Cavalry; from August 18, 1899, to January 13, 1900, by Col. G. M. Randall, Eighth Infantry; and from January 13, 1900, to date, by Col. T. A. Baldwin, Seventh Cayalry. Garrisoned by headquarters and Troops A, B, D, F, H, K, L and M, Seventh Cavalry; all of Eighth Infantry until September 13, 1899, when the Third Battalion, Companies I, K, L and M, was sent to the United States as a depot battalion, and from that time by two battalions of Eighth Infantry until July 5, when regiment was ordered for duty in the United States; and by Light Batteries A and F, Second Artillery. (Light Battery É left for the United States August 8, 1900.)
Artillery defenses of Habana.—Commanded by Col. W. L. Haskin, Second Artillery, from consolidation of Department of Habana with the Department of the Province of Habana and Pinar del Río until date. Garrisoned by headquarters and Batteries G, H, I, K, L, M, N and 0, Second Artillery.
Pinar del Río Barracks.—Commanded by Maj. E. S. Godfrey, Seventh Cavalry, from August 1 to August 4, 1899; by Lieut. Col. C. A. Dempsey, First Infantry, from August 4 to October 28, 1899; and by Col. A. A. Harbach, First Infantry, from October 28, 1899, to date. Garrisoned by headquarters and Companies A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H, First Infantry, until September 13, 1899, when Companies A, B, C and D were ordered to the United States as depot battalion, and by Troops C, E, G and I, Seventh Cavalry.
Guanajay Barracks.—Commanded by Capt. F. de L. Carrington, First Infantry, from August 1 to October 11, 1899, and by Maj. Fred. A. Smith, First Infantry, from October 11, 1899, to date. " Garrisoned by Companies I, K, L and M, First Infantry.
Companies E and H, First Infantry, transferred from Guanajay Barracks to Pinar del Río Barracks. Left station and arrived at Pinar del Río September 26, 1899.
Companies K and M, First Infantry, transferred from Pinar del Río Barracks to Guanajay Barracks." Left station and arrived at Guanajay September 26, 1899.
At present there are only four military posts in the Department of Western Cuba, composed of the provinces of Pinar del Río, Habana, Mantanzas, and Santa Clara.
First. Twelve troops of the Seventh Cavalry and one light battery are stationed at Columbia Barracks.
Second. The Second Artillery is located in the forts adjacent to and on both sides of the harbor of Habana.
Third. Twelve troops of the Second Cavalry are at Matanzas. Fourth. Four companies of the Tenth Infantry are at Cienfuegos.
There are advantages in the concentration of troops in large central garrisons. The difficulty of supplying food and forage is lessened, and the health and discipline of the men are better cared for. These garrisons are so situated that troops can be rapidly thrown into any section of the department, should their presence be necessary, either by march, rail, or water.
Since my last annual report my duties have been confined more and more to those of a military nature, and not as before of a combination of both civil and military, though still charged with the sanitation of towns which lie adjacent to the military posts, because the health of the troops depends to a great degree upon the sanitary measures enforced in the adjoining cities. I do not interfere with, nor take any part in the civil affairs of this department.
The United States having pledged in the interest of her own and foreign citizens, as well as the Cubans themselves, the pacification of the island, our soldiers are here for the preservation of peace and the protection of life and property whenever and wherever the civil authorities are unable to afford such protection.
The health and general physical condition of the American soldier in Cuba was of the greatest concern, and at first clearly experimental. It has been demonstrated, however, that a strict observance of sanitary regulations, and the careful and proper selection of the location of camps and barracks will give satisfactory results.
To-day the American soldier is as strong and healthy in Cuba, and with no greater death rate than would happen at the military posts in the United States. The present uniform, namely, campaign hat, blue chambray shirt, khaki pants, and the khaki coat when necessary, seems well adapted for service in this climate. The allowance of clothing, however, is not sufficient. Soldiers here get the same clothing as they do in the United States, but the weather, hot more or less during the whole year, combined with atmospheric causes, generates much perspiration which necessitates the washing of the clothing more often and its more rapid destruction.
In my last annual report I had the honor to recommend:
Third. That a modern system of jurisprudence be gradually introduced.
Fourth. That a constitutional convention be called under which executive, legislative, and judicial departments of government be organized.
Fifth. That the United States supervise Cuban matters until a form of government satisfactory to them be adopted.
Sixth. That the United States soldiers be retained for the present on the island to maintain if necessary the pledge to preserve peace and guarantee the supremacy of law.
Seventh. That the future of the Cuban Republic should be vested with the people.
These recommendations, it seems, have been in line with the policy the Government of the United States has pursued, except in the matter of the judiciary.
I respectfully protest against the soldiers of my command being thrown into Cuban jails, where they contract yellow fever and other diseases, and also against their being tried by Cuban courts. It has been well said the government of Cuba at present is the President of the United States, the island being ruled by his subordinates, who execute his orders, or their own, which he adopts if he does not revoke. It is rooted in Washington, not in Habana. We have a military control over Cuba, and it is earnestly hoped that we be permitted to confine and try our own soldiers in all things, and, if necessary, legislation should be had to that effect.
Many instances could be cited which have come under my own observation of the great difficulty experienced in getting prompt and satisfactory results from Cuban courts. In a report made to the military governor of the island by Gen. Leonard Wood, then commanding the Department of Santiago and Puerto Principe, dated September 20, 1899, he says:
The greatest of our needs now is a thorough reform of the judiciary and in the procedure. I do not mean an entire uprooting of the law of the land, but a radical modification, especially in the methods of criminal procedure. The present judiciary of this province is not doing efficient work. Evidences of indifference, if not corruption, are altogether too numerous. The prosecuting officers are not energetic, as evidenced by prisons full of untried cases. The conduct of the judiciary, taken as a whole, during the past six months has been of such a character as to warrant grave doubts arising in the minds of the people as to the wisdom of giving testimony against criminals and outlaws, whom they find soon turned loose upon them again and in a position to take vengeance on those who have testified against them.
In the report of the judge-advocate of this department, accompanying this paper, in reference to this matter he writes:
As a rule, an American on trial in a Cuban court, even though his judge be the very embodiment of justice, has no chance for a full and a fair trial. He can not understand the charge made against him because it is in the technical language of the Spanish code. He can not understand the testimony presented by the prosecution because it is in Spanish, and consequently he is not able to advise his counsel what can be refuted. He can not, before his trial, communicate intelligently with his counsel in preparation therefor, nor can he, during his trial, call attention to points brought out in the testimony. His testimony in his own behalf and the testimony of such American witnesses as may be produced in his behalf must be translated by an interpreter, and he can not tell whether or not it is correctly translated. He can not understand the argument of the pros ution so as to advise his counsel how to answer it, and he can not know whether his counsel, in his argument, has made answer to what he could, and finally after trial and conviction no reviewing authority can determine whether or not the evidence against him was sufficient to justify a conviction, because no record is kept of the testimony produced on his trial.
Again, supposing that his judge is all that is upright and just; suppose that his counsel is all that is able and loyal; supposing everything to be in his favor that could be in his favor, he could not have a fair and full trial under such conditions.
All of which is in accordance with and confirmatory of my own views.
At the present time the first sergeant of troop G, Seventh Cavalry, a corporal, and two soldiers of the same troop have been charged with the murder of one of their fellow-soldiers for the purpose of securing his money. The first sergeant and one of the soldiers deserted. Both have been caught, the soldier in Habana, and the sergeant in Beira, Portuguese Africa. For nearly one month in the case of the sergeant I have been trying to obtain the necessary extradition papers from the judge of the first instance at Pinar del Río city, where the murder was committed, and before whom these soldiers are to be tried, in order to have this sergeant returned to Cuba, and though I have used every effort no result has been reached so far.
In the case of Private York, Battery I, Second Artillery, for the killing of Henry Fisher, a negro teamster, General Ludlow, then in command of the department in which this battery was stationed, directed that he should be tried by a general court-martial.
The case was referred to Washington, and the Attorney-General, in an opinion dated May 9, 1900, says:
First. In the present situation of affairs in regard to Cuba, neither a court-martial nor a military commission should try Private York.
Second. Article 59, Articles of War, does not require him to be delivered to the Cuban courts, but it is nevertheless proper to permit such courts to try him.