A Doctor's Memories
Victor C. Vaughan, M.D.

Table of Contents

Chapter 10

The Spanish-American War

After the sinking of the Maine in the harbor at Havana, the proclamation of war against Spain, and the call for volunteers, I was anxious to enlist; but having a wife and five children dependent upon me, I could not conscientiously do so. There was quite an outbreak of enthusiasm for enlistment among the students of the University of Michigan. President Angell was then in Constantinople as United States Ambassador to Turkey, and President Hutchins, who later became permanent President, was acting in that capacity. One day he came to me and said that the students were all astir about the war, wanted to hold a mass meeting with speeches, and might be stampeded into enlistment. He advised that the mass meeting be permitted, that representatives of the students be invited to talk, and that the older and wiser members of the Faculty pour the oil of caution upon the troubled waters of youth. As dean of the Medical School I was asked to attend the meeting and to do my part in allaying and cooling the enthusiasm and patriotism of the students. Reluctantly I consented to do my small share in this work.

University Hall was crowded. Even the students who made speeches, for the most part at least, evidently had been selected from among those most likely to be moderate in speech. I sat on the platform and listened to talk after talk by my older and wiser colleagues. One admonished the students that their first duty was to their parents, that they should not enlist without consulting them, and that they had parents distributed from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Another said that the student’s first duty was to the University, that if he enlisted he interrupted his course of study, would probably not be able to regain his place in his class, and would suffer delay in graduation. A third told the students that there were enough unemployed in this country to fill the quota called for by the President, advised waiting until the unemployed had enlisted, and if it appeared that the ranks were not filled by these, enlistment by the students might be considered. I had promised President Hutchins that I would be at least moderate in my speech and I went to the meeting fully determined that I would comply with my promise. I have long known that in speaking I labor under a serious defect, but I had no realization until that night of the extent to which this defect dominates and determines my actions. Whatever I may intend to say, when I am to make a speech, when I actually begin to talk, I always give expression to my convictions. Many a time I have gone before an audience intending by my words to palliate and to compromise, but after I begin to talk I have always been led by my convictions rather than by my intentions. At the mass meeting I was called upon to follow the colleague who had spoken of filling the ranks with the unemployed. This drove me into a mental frenzy, and standing before the audience, I said: “God pity the country whose tramps must fight its battles; it is true that you are here to acquire an education with the purpose of fitting yourself for the work of life; but I would rather see these walls crumble into dust than to see you hesitate to go when your country calls. You have duties towards your parents, but your first duty is to serve your country.” Along this line I rushed on in a verbal flood until my time limit was reached.

The next afternoon Governor Pingree, in his office at Lansing, called me by telephone, informed me that he had read my speech, had signed my commission, and that I would report for duty at Camp Alger, Virginia, without delay. Some enlist because they like the soldier’s life, some for patriotic reasons, but I received my commission at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War because I talked too much.

On the third or fourth evening after my arrival at Camp Alger we had had our mess, and were sitting in front of Colonel Boynton’s tent and listening to an Irish officer from a nearby Massachusetts regiment read Mr. Dooley on the war, when an orderly from brigade headquarters rode up and handed the Colonel a piece of paper. Finishing the reading Colonel Boynton arose and said: “We strike tents to-morrow morning at seven o’clock, entrain at Dun Loring, go to Alexandria and there take boat for Old Point Comfort. To-morrow we will be on our way to Cuba.” This order applied to the brigade consisting of the 33rd and 34th Michigan and the 7th Massachusetts under command of General Duffield.

At this point I perpetrated my first blunder in military affairs. I sent my orderly to the office of the division surgeon, Colonel A. C. Girard, with a note saying that up to that time my brigade had received no medical supplies and that I protested against going to Cuba without full medical equipment. I was subsequently told by one who was with the colonel that he was indignant when he read my note and as I appreciated later, he had a right to be angry. In an incredibly short time the colonel’s orderly rode up to my tent and handed me the piece of paper I had sent and on the back was written: “First endorsement, sir: To protest to a superior officer is unmilitary; you should have requested. However, five ambulances are now on their way to your regiment with more supplies than you can possibly need in Cuba.” I may say that the excess disappeared long before those wounded at the Battle of Santiago had been dressed. I am criticising no one when I say that the hospital tents at Siboney were the property of the State of Michigan and not of the Federal Government.

At Alexandria, before embarking, we were addressed by the Secretary of War, General Alger, who spoke to us not only as our commander, but as our neighbor and friend. He told us that every possible provision had been made for our comfort and that we should be permitted to carry with us not only our regulation equipment, but whatever additional luxury we might within reason demand.

After a pleasant night’s ride down the Potomac we reached Old Point Comfort in the early morning. The officers breakfasted and lunched at the Hotel Chamberlain, wrote parting letters and sent telegrams to their families and friends. In the afternoon two regiments, the 33rd Michigan and the 7th Massachusetts, went aboard the auxiliary cruiser, the Yale, and before nightfall we stood out at sea. The voyage was accompanied by enough excitement to make the time pass interestingly. It may be of historic importance to say that, although this was long before the time of the wireless, all kinds of information and misinformation, especially the latter, reached our ship. One hour we were hearing that Santiago had capitulated; the next the news spread over the decks that the Spanish fleet had emerged from the harbor and destroyed all the American men of war there assembled. Later in the day we learned that both of the above rumors were false but that Cervera’s fleet had reached the scene of action and had sunk our flagship, the New York. Of course these rumors had their origin in the fancies of some active brain and were without any basis. Off San Salvador an unknown vessel came within the range of our vision. This gave rise to the wildest surmises which were intensified when the unknown vessel neglected to respond to our interrogation as to her name, her nationality, and her destination. The decks of the Yale were cleared for action and I was ordered to prepare the sick bay for the reception of the wounded. I might say that I had selected for hospital space and operating room what had been the second class dining room when the Yale, under the name of the Paris, was a transatlantic liner.

The Yale, failing still to get an answer to her interrogatories, sent a shell over the bows of the unknown ship, which being thus awakened into politeness, informed us that she was English and bound for British Honduras. After this little flurry the sailors and soldiers of the Yale enjoyed a siesta which continued until the eastern end of the island of Cuba showed itself above a placid sea. We passed around Cape Maysi at night with all lights out and under considerable excitement, sufficient to breed wild rumors again. I was up late and was awakened in the morning by the sun, now quite above the horizon, throwing its full glare into my face. Excitedly and hurriedly I dressed and rushed to the upper deck which I found to be deserted, but on looking landward I saw, apparently at no great distance, the flag of Spain proudly floating over Morro Castle. As I looked a peculiar sensation permeated my being. I could not analyze or define it, nor have I been able to do so subsequently. I am inclined to the opinion that it contained elements of both pleasure and pain. The flag was convincing evidence that the crisis had not arrived and that we were in time to witness and possibly participate in the struggle. This constituted the pleasurable or satisfying element in the sensation, but it was accompanied by an unpleasant apprehension. If a battle or battles were to be fought on land or sea men must suffer and die. As my years of practice had multiplied, I had become more and more sensitive to human suffering and to death. There may have been in my mixed sensations something of personal fear.

As I have said, the side of the upper deck on which I stood as I looked up at the Spanish flag was wholly deserted. I ran quickly to the other side and found that the Yale was lying alongside the flagship, the New York, and its officers were receiving orders. As I looked up and down the long line of our warships lying off the mouth of the harbor of Santiago, I thrilled with national pride. After a few minutes the Yale turned its prow to the east and soon we had dropped anchor off the tiny village of Siboney. There is really no harbor at this place. The shore presents sharp, jagged coral rocks. Immediately along the sea there is a mesa or table land varying in width from a few to some hundreds of yards. This is backed by an almost perpendicular hill of two or three hundred feet with but few points of easy ascent. On this mesa and only a short distance from the sea lies Siboney, which had become the depot of our supplies, including food, equipment, and ammunition.

Disembarkation began in lifeboats and this slow process was not completed until late in the afternoon. The soldiers, with their arms and blankets, were first transferred. There were on board a few horses and mules. These were suspended by cranes and lowered to the sea when they were set free. Most of them struck for the shore, but some turned and passed seaward where they were lost. Late afternoon had arrived when a naval officer rather rudely ordered me to assemble the hospital corps, consisting of about thirty men, and go ashore with them. I politely said that I would not go until all my medical supplies had preceded me. By this time the medicine and instrument chests had been assembled on the deck, and I insisted that I would not leave the ship until these had been carried to the shore. The naval officer repeated his command and this time accompanied it by an oath. I looked at his shoulder straps and then at mine and again refused to go, accompanying my statement by a more violent swear word. This ended the colloquy, and, after I had seen that all my supplies and men had reached the shore, Major de Nancrede, my colleague, professor of surgery in the University of Michigan, now division surgeon and my superior officer, and I took our places in a lifeboat. This was steered by a little cockswain from an undergraduate class at Annapolis. The boat had reached about one hundred yards from the shore when the helmsman was suddenly seized with mal de mer and lost control of the rudder. The next instant our boat was swamped and we were in the sea, but being fair swimmers and the distance short, we easily reached shore. Following the advice of the Secretary of War I had gone to Cuba fairly well equipped with changes of underclothing. My good wife had packed these in a trunk which carried her name and address plainly marked on one end. Among other things she had provided me with a soiled clothes bag of ample proportions closed with a draw string. My trunk was on the Yale and before leaving the boat I had transferred all my soiled clothing to the trunk and had filled the bag with clean underwear. I had taken the bag in the lifeboat with me. When I swam ashore I saw my bag dancing on the waves a short distance out. Acting on impulse I returned to the water and soon captured my bag, the contents of which, as it turned out, were to be of more service to others than to me.

For a few days our regiments were encamped on a lowland along a little stream which flows into the sea just east of Siboney. Here we were in close proximity to a part of what was known as the Army of Insurrection commanded by Garcia. So far as I could see, these troops, if they could be called troops, consisted of a rabble of half-clothed, half-starved men, women, and children. It was the first time I had seen a starving people, and I could hardly believe what I saw. My mental picture of starving people had consisted of individuals uniformly emaciated from head to foot, but the first impression made upon me by these people was that they had eaten too heavily. The limbs and the chest were greatly emaciated, while the abdomen was markedly protruding. The only food which they had in great abundance was the mango and this was consumed in unbelievable quantities. The bulk of this food accounted for the abnormal protuberance of the abdomen, while its deficiency in food principles accounted for the waste of the other parts of the body.

Our first camp was by no means a pleasant one. There was an abundant growth of palmettos, the blades of which were cut and used for bedding, but they were neither smooth nor springy. Our ponchos, which were spread over the boughs, were constantly slipping in one or another direction. It rained heavily every day and nearly every night. With the regularity of the clock there was sure to be a heavy shower at two P. M. After a few days in this camp we were permitted to go to a location about a mile west of Siboney where the mesa was narrow and where we had on one side the sea and on the other the mountains, which rose almost perpendicularly to a height of several hundred feet. This location was much dryer than the other, but its special advantage was in the fact that it took us from the immediate vicinity of the Cuban troops. This relief was made more secure by forbidding the natives to enter our camp. If I remember correctly this was suggested by the medical officers on the ground that it might afford our soldiers protection against possible infection. A critic might have pointed to the fact that our soldiers were not prohibited from mingling with the Cubans and that infection might be acquired quite as readily in their camp as in ours. However, the arrangement did add somewhat to our comfort and at the same time to the protection of our personal property. Nearly every American soldier carried a toothbrush and when not in use it was stuck in his hatband. The natives were very curious about this article which they believed to be a new weapon of warfare.

We had not been in this camp a week before the Battle of Santiago was fought. The part played in this battle by Duffield’s brigade was small, but inasmuch as it is the only time I have ever been under fire, I must be permitted to gratify my inclination to tell something about it. The plan of attack was explained to the brigade officers, both of the line and of the staff. I shall not speak of the main Battle of Santiago, but of Duffield’s attack on Aquadores which was a small part of the large battle. Running along the mesa between the sea and the perpendicular hills there is a railroad which, coming from the east of, Siboney, passes through that village, continues along the mesa, crosses a high bridge at Aquadores and continues into Santiago. Along this road there are laid on top of the ground pipes which carry the drinking water from the mountains east of Siboney into the city of Santiago. I may say here, parenthetically, that five minutes of destructive work on our part might have completely cut the water supply to the besieged city, but to the credit of our nation, this was never discussed or thought of as even a possibility. It is true that along the pipe line, where the American soldiers were encamped in part, we did not hesitate to drive a hole with a pick in order to get an abundance of water not only for drinking but for bathing. The water was known to be absolutely free from any dangerous contamination. It came through the pipes where we were encamped under great pressure and when a hole was driven into a pipe the water was discharged with sufficient force and abundance to give a shower bath to whole companies at a time. I believe that the frequent employment of the baths saved my life and I am sure that it added greatly to my comfort, but our soldiers had strict orders to plug these pick-driven holes when not in immediate service.

I wish to speak a little more fully concerning the manner in which we passed our time during the few days before the battle and while we were encamped on the mesa a short distance to the west of Siboney. The mesa consists of a barren, rocky soil supporting but little plant life, and that of sparse and scanty growth. At that time, at least, it was traversed especially at night by thousands of crabs as large as a man’s fist. Their physiognomy was both attractive and repulsive. They looked half human and half devil. I do not believe that they were capable of inflicting any injury upon man by either bite or claw, but their presence awakened great animosity and the human tendency was to fall upon and destroy them. They crawled at night over the soldiers sleeping on the ground, in or outside of their dog tents, and their presence did not favor unbroken rest. Personally, I slept in a hammock and was not disturbed by this unwelcome visitor. There were stories told that the crabs would crawl up the scrubby trees from which hammocks were suspended and drop upon the occupants, but this did not happen to me. When I repaired to my hammock for a night’s rest I hung my blankets on a bush within easy reach. I slept soundly until about two A. M. when I awoke frozen through and through. The temperature at two P. M. averaged one hundred and twenty degrees in the shade; that of two A. M. stood about sixty-four degrees. It seemed to me that the whole island suffered a malarial paroxysm once a day. Awakened, I would reach for my blankets which were wringing wet with dew or with rain, wrap them about me, and possibly secure an hour or two of broken sleep. The early morning was announced by swarms of mosquitoes and by a deadly stillness of the atmosphere. I may say that from five or six A. M. to about nine A. M. were the hardest hours I had to bear. Covered with mosquitoes, stifled with the absence of any breeze, I would free myself violently from wet blankets, leave my hammock, strip myself of every article of clothing, go to the pipe line, pull out a plug and enjoy a shower. We had only an army ration consisting of hard tack, bacon and coffee. The coffee was parched but unground. The cook pounded the grains with the blunt end of his bayonet in a tin pan, added water, boiled it, and we had a most delicious coffee.

The railroad from Siboney to Santiago had been torn up in places, the bridge had been destroyed, and the rolling stock put out of commission, but our engineers had repaired some of the engines sufficiently for limited service and had put the track in shape as far west as within rifle fire of Aquadores. At three A. M. the morning of the Battle of Santiago, General Duffield, with several hundred men, boarded coal cars and started west with the intention of making a feint attack on the small garrison at Aquadores. It has been said that General Duffield’s mission was to capture Aquadores but I know this is not true. There is a deep ravine just east of Aquadores and the railroad bridge across this had been destroyed. There was no other bridge which led over this ravine and the possibility of attacking the fort at this place with the idea of capturing it would have been absurd.

By early dawn our train had gone as far west as it was safe to go on account of the Spanish guns which we knew were located at Aquadores. We detrained and the soldiers proceeded westward through the dense chaparral which lined the seaward side of the railroad. Through this we went within rifle fire of the ravine and its broken bridge. I was lying in the chaparral with one of the companies of the 33rd Michigan. The gun boats, lying off the shore and easily within our vision, were sending shells over our heads, supposedly into Santiago. I have no reason to believe that in my physical, mental or moral makeup I differ from the average man. The company with which I was lying in the chaparral on the seaward side of the railroad kept this position for an hour or more, during which time the shells from our gunboats were screaming through the air over our heads. Lying there I thrilled in every fiber of my being with sensations which I never felt before and which I have never experienced since. These sensations were of the most pleasant kind. I believed that our shells were destroying the enemy. It proved afterwards that they had no effect. Why the belief that our enemies were being destroyed should have given me pleasure I cannot understand. I said to myself, “If I am killed the next moment the pleasurable sensations which I am now having would be worth all they might cost.” I believe that in the presence of war man returns to the savage state. He becomes a beast of prey, ready to seize and devour, full of fierce hate, and he loses all the finer sensibilities which he has inherited through generations and which he may have acquired in his own short life.

The company with which I was lying was ordered to form in columns of four and cross the railroad. About half the men had crossed when a Spanish shell came down the road, struck down and horribly mangled eight men. Six were killed instantly. Across the road from me a boy was lying on his back holding up his right arm, from which the hand had been amputated at the Grist. The blood was spurting from the severed vessels as water flows from a hose under pressure. I rushed across the road and the boy cried: “Take care of me first, Doctor Vaughan; I am an Ann Arbor boy.” I stopped the hemorrhage by the application of an Esmarch bandage and had the boy carried under a railroad water tower which stood nearby. The dead and the other wounded men were brought to the same location. Soon bullets were piercing the posts which supported the tower, and General Duffield coming along, advised me to change my dressing station and go behind some large rocks which were nearby. The Spaniards were shooting at the water tower, not because we were using it as a dressing station (they did not know this), but an American boy of the Signal Corps was on top of the tower directing the fire from the ships. Into our improvised dressing station wounded men were brought. Every few minutes a Spanish shell came down the railroad track, while on each side their Mauser bullets peppered the rocks. I may say that the Spaniards proved themselves good marksmen. Our men had only black powder and with each discharge the location of the soldier was indicated, and but few of those who exposed their position in this way escaped without a wound and several were killed. Duffield’s brigade succeeded in preventing the Spaniards located at Aquadores from going to reinforce those engaged in the greater battle. The day wore on slowly; we were exposed to the full rays of the tropical sun; before the battle I had urged the soldiers that on going into action each man should carry a canteen filled with boiled water and that he should drink from no other source. Before noon I had emptied my canteen by drinking from it myself and by refreshing the wounded. Later I found myself kneeling and drinking from a puddle which I had every reason to suppose might bear infection. I believe that I would have drunk this water if I had known it to be a culture of typhoid germs or of the Asiatic cholera bacillus. There comes a period in thirst, especially when exposed to the direct action of the sun, when one will drink if opportunity affords, the supply may be. Behind the big rocks my hospital corps men and I were safe from both shell and rifle fire.

Major Vaughan in Spanish-American War

As evening approached- I was filled with horror at the idea that some wounded man might be lying in the chaparral uncared for. I determined, therefore, to search through the rocks and bushes. I scattered my men in this search. I found a man shot in the foot. He could not walk; I alone could not carry him. I saw two of my hospital men on the other side of the railroad. I called to them to come and help me with the wounded man. At this time, as all through the day, a Spanish shell was coming down the railroad track at irregular but frequent intervals. Although I was within easy hearing of my hospital corps men neither of them heeded my call. They continued their search and did not look in the direction from which I hailed them. I begged, I implored, that they cross the railroad and assist me in carrying the wounded man to shelter. They gave no heed; they failed to hear. Then I sent in their direction a call accompanied by violent oaths. This brought them to attention. Both quickly sprang across the road and soon we had the wounded man under shelter. I am convinced that under certain circumstances even a command by an officer is not sufficient unless accompanied by an oath to bring men to obedience. That evening we returned on the train to Siboney bearing our dead and wounded. With us the day had not been a glorious one, but I had acquired an experience which was new and of value to me.

I may add that in 1924 - twenty-six years after the Battle of Santiago - I received a citation for “gallantry on the field of battle.” Uncle Sam may be slow in conferring honors but he seldom wholly forgets.

That night the wounded from the greater battle began to pour into the base hospital at Siboney. In the next few days some twelve surgeons took care of about sixteen hundred wounded men. Practically all the missiles passed through the body. I saw but one lodged bullet. For the most part the surgery was easy and could be done by one without experience- in this line of work. I selected as my assistant a barber. I had him lather about the wound with a Lysol soap and shave the area. This being done in front, the patient was turned over and the wound of exit treated in the same way. My surgical work consisted in applying to the wounds of entrance and exit dressings of iodoform gauze and strapping them in place. In this way my colleagues and I treated many cases in which the chest had been pierced and the fatality from these wounds was small. When the bullet passed through the abdomen the patient was turned over to more skilled surgeons than I. From Friday night until the following Wednesday morning we stood almost continuously at the tables dressing wounds.

The land battle was fought on Friday. On the following Sunday morning as we were still dressing the wounded someone said to me: “There is Admiral Sampson.” I looked up and saw the flagship, the New York, just dropping anchor in front of our tents. Admiral Sampson vitas starting down the ladder in order to reach a life boat which was lying below ready to bring him ashore. As I looked I heard the boom of great guns and turning to the westward I plainly saw the Spanish fleet coming out of the mouth of the harbor at Santiago, while our warships were enveloping them with a tremendous fire. As each Spanish ship emerged it turned to the westward and the naval battle soon passed beyond our vision. In the meanwhile the New York lifted anchor and was proceeding under full steam to join in the battle. At this moment a warship from the east was apparently coming towards shore. Wise men, through their glasses, pronounced it a Spanish vessel and we believed that Cervera’s fleet was just in time to participate in the battle and might possibly determine the result. Evidently some of those engaged with the Spanish at the mouth of the harbor also mistook the approaching vessel for a Spanish man-of-war. At least we soon saw the Iowa detach itself from the fighting line and proceed eastward to meet the incoming stranger. Admiral Evans, in command of the Iowa, subsequently told that he suspected the vessel to be Spanish and how he came out to meet it. The new warship proved to be Austrian and was of course neutral, and had no participation in the conflict. It was on the approach of this vessel that my hospital corps men cut my red blanket (see page twenty-two) [Tay Vaughan’s note: see paragraph two of Chapter III, “The Old Missouri Farm”] and with a sheet for background made a large Red Cross flag.

The long afternoon passed away. The battle had gone westward and was beyond both sight and hearing. We did not know what had happened. Night had fallen and we were operating by the light of lanterns hung from the ridge poles of the tents when a bugle call for doctors came from the sea. With others I rushed to the small improvised dock. The Harvard had dropped anchor a short distance out and a lifeboat was approaching us. Its occupant proved to be the English attach` and when within hailing distance he shouted, “You should have been with us; we gave them hell. There is not a splinter left.” The Harvard carried about eight hundred wounded Spanish sailors. For a while we delayed the dressing of our own wounded in order that we might attend to the most seriously injured of our enemy.

While we were disembarking from the Yale on our arrival at Siboney the German attach` came on board and I was detailed by General Duffield to take him over the ship and show him what disposition we had made of the soldiers during the voyage. In words he made no criticism, but with the characteristic movement of the shoulders, in practice by his countrymen, he expressed not only disapproval but contempt for what he saw. I do not blame him for this. Our provisions for carrying soldiers were by no means commendable. A day or two after the battle, while I was standing at the operating table, the Swedish and German attaches came and stood by me. I felt called upon to say something complimentary, or at least pleasing, to my visitors. In lieu of anything else I ventured to say that the American army was less well disciplined than European armies. The German said nothing, but the Swede said something for which I inwardly thanked him at the time and which I have subsequently greatly treasured. He said: “I not know about discipline. There are different kinds of discipline. From a safe place I watched your men go into battle last Friday. A division was ordered across the little river. It proceeded up the hill towards the Spanish lines. It did not do this in good military form. I thought how differently a German division would have moved, but after it had crossed the river and the Spaniards began firing, each American corporal took command of his squad and went up the hill. Until that time I had believed the German army to be the best disciplined in the world, but I now recognize that there are different kinds of discipline. You have captains that might lead brigades and corporals that might lead companies. I believe the American army to have the most intelligent discipline I have ever seen.

On Wednesday morning following the battle the stress of caring for the wounded had been relieved. Every wound had been dressed once and some of the most serious had been looked after a second or even a third time. I had just reached my hammock, feeling that I could sleep almost anywhere and under any conditions, when men bearing another on a stretcher came along. They told me that they had brought the man some miles from up near Aquadores, that he seemed very ill, but that just now he was asleep. Satisfying myself that at least the last part of their statement was true I advised that the stretcher be placed beneath my hammock, utilizing in this way the only shade available. The man on the stretcher and I in the hammock slept I know not how long, but at least an hour, possibly two. I was awakened by the vomiting of the man. I sprang from the hammock and although I had never seen a case of yellow fever, an incorrect diagnosis was impossible. El vomito negro was plainly in evidence on the face and over the clothing and blankets of the man left in my care. Immediately, giving the patient but scant attention, I ran to the camp calling for Doctor Guiteras, the yellow fever expert, a native of Cuba, a distinguished professor in the Medical School of the University of Pennsylvania, and, I may add, a man of not only big intelligence but of great heart. As soon as I saw him I shouted: “Come, doctor, we have a case of yellow fever.

So far as I know, this was the first case of yellow fever seen among our troops. After providing for the comfort of the patient and placing him in competent hands Doctor Guiteras and I on a handcar started up the mountain railroad to the east of Siboney with the intention of selecting a site for a yellow fever hospital. This we soon agreed upon on the mountain side some hundreds of feet above the sea level. The site selected was on the northern slope of the coast range looking out upon a valley filled with magnificent royal palms with the highest peaks of the Sierras opposite. To this location we carried a few tents, medical supplies and cooking utensils, and made ready for a yellow fever hospital. Before the close of the first day we had three cases. During the second day thirty or more were brought in. Before the end of the week our hospital had grown so as to house several hundred patients. I believe that altogether there were among our troops in and about Siboney at that time some thirteen or fourteen hundred cases of this disease. Fortunately, the death rate was not so high as it often is, running, I believe, about fifteen per cent.

We had now to consider two important problems. One was whether or not we should burn the village of Siboney in our efforts to stamp out yellow fever. Among the members of the board asked to make recommendation on this subject were Major Gorgas (who, with the rank of colonel, stamped out yellow fever in Havana and later in the Canal Zone, and became Major General Gorgas, Surgeon General of the United States Army); Major LaGarde, commander of the surgical hospital at Siboney; Captain Ireland, (now Surgeon General Ireland); my colleague, Major de Nancrede; Captain Fauntleroy, myself and possibly others. We recommended that the village should be burned. The inhabitants and their belongings were accommodated in tents and the houses reduced to ashes. The only ones to profit by this procedure were the owners of the houses, inasmuch as the United States Government for the time being, provided them with shelter and food, and subsequently rebuilt the village. Among those who participated in giving this recommendation to burn Siboney in order to suppress yellow fever the matter has been in late years a joke, which we have tossed one to the other from time to time. “So you call yourself an epidemiologist? Did not you recommend that Siboney should be burned in order to eradicate yellow fever ? How many infected mosquitoes were destroyed in that conflagration ?”

The other problem was much more serious and fortunately we answered it more wisely. What should be done with the more than sixteen hundred wounded men in the tent hospital? It was decided that they should, to a man so far as possible, be immediately sent to the United States. There were enough transports idly lying off the shore to carry these men. Their embarkation began immediately and if my memory serves me right, by the end of the second day after the recognition of the first case of yellow fever every wounded man was safely and comfortably, so far as comfort could be secured for every wounded man, on board a transport and on way to the United States. So far as the records give us information, no one of these wounded men developed yellow fever, or if such was the case the disease was not recognized.

Our surgical hospital at Siboney was now cleared out. We had a hospital for malaria, one for typhoid fever, and a third located, as I have stated, up on the mountain side and quite a distance from the others, for yellow fever. Doctor Guiteras and others showed great skill in the differential diagnosis of these diseases. As a rule the history of the case gave sufficient distinction between malaria and typhoid fever. We had no microscope for the detection of the plasmodium. We had no facilities for making the Widal test for typhoid fever. The distinction between typhoid fever and yellow fever was largely determined by the test for albumin in the urine. We did have some test tubes and a bottle of nitric acid. Besides these we had alcohol lamps. So far as the records show, patients with these three diseases were classified as definitely as would have been likely to happen if we had known more about specific tests or had had abundant laboratory facilities. This success in differentiating between the diseases was due to the long clinical experience which such men as Guiteras, Gorgas and La Garde had had.

One week from the day on which I saw the first case of yellow fever I had charge of policing the grounds at and about Siboney where our large tent hospital, now empty, still stood. I had been moving about rather briskly in the sun with the temperature as usual during the afternoon somewhere about one hundred twenty degrees in the shade. About four a. M. I began to feel a pain in the small of my back which rapidly grew more severe; in fact, I could hardly stand or walk, or at least in either of these positions I suffered rather severely. It required no diagnostic skill on my part to tell what was happening within my anatomy. I went to my tent, or at least to my field desk and wrote to my wife telling her, I believe, the biggest falsehood I ever perpetrated upon her. I told her that I had been ordered into the interior of Cuba, that as near as I could calculate I would be gone two weeks, and that during that time she must not be anxious if she had no letter from me. I then went to the chief correspondent of the Associated Press, telling him that I was coming down with yellow fever, and asking that he say nothing about it in dispatches home. This he promised, and he kept his promise. Then I went into one of the long hospital tents in which there were standing in two rows somewhere between fifty and seventy cots, all of which had been vacated by the surgical patients sent home. I had an orderly change the sheets on one of these cots into which I dropped as soon as it was ready.

After nightfall I sent for Doctor Guiteras. He came, examined me most carefully, and said: “Only a little malaria. You will be all right in a few days. Tomorrow I shall give you quinine.” Having directed the hospital corps man to provide for my immediate wants he left. I soon dismissed the attendant. I am quite sure that Doctor Guiteras came to the side of my cot during that night a half dozen or more times. Each time I pretended to be asleep. Actually I did not sleep a wink during the whole night. He would come up so gently, Put his finger on my pulse so lightly and so cautiously, scan my face, with marked anxiety in his own, as I could see through my partially closed eyelids by the flashes of lightning that came every few minutes that long night. With the first dawn Doctor Guiteras came, swinging his arms, making an effort to whistle a tune, and trying to make me believe that he had had a night of unbroken rest. Later in the morning he came, went over me again, and repeated, “Only a little malaria. Don’t you think that the air up at the yellow fever hospital on the mountain side is much better than it is down here on this low wet ground ?” I expressed my agreement with him and my readiness to proceed to the yellow fever hospital and I made a movement to sit up in the cot. Gently but firmly, he held me down and then he explained. “Your temperature is above one hundred five degrees; your pulse is below forty; a change in position, even the sudden lifting of an arm, might stop your heart. You will not move on any account. Men will come, lift your cot, place it on a flat car, and you will be carried to the yellow fever hospital. I shall go with you.

Soon I was at the yellow fever hospital on the mountain side in a tent with eight or ten others. Inasmuch as Doctor Guiteras had other duties in the yellow fever hospital, I was placed so far as treatment was concerned at first in the hands of a very able Cuban physician, Eccheverria. Pretty soon I was vomiting the characteristic black, almost tarry stuff, which gives to this disease its Spanish name of el vomito negro. My stomach would begin to contract its walls slowly, but most painfully. I could feel it constantly growing smaller and harder until it had apparently proximated the density and size of an ivory billiard ball, and then with a spring the walls would dilate, accompanied by a gush of black vomit. It seemed as though the blood in the capillaries of the stomach walls was being forced out under such pressure that even the red blood corpuscles were broken into the finest particles. Doctor Eccheverria’s treatment, for which he had at that time a great reputation in Cuba, consisted essentially in the administration of a large dose of calomel, twenty or more grains, to be followed by the frequent drinking of a half pint or more of a saturated solution of Epsom salt, flavored with sliced limes or pressed lime juice. In an interval between the contractions of my stomach walls I managed to get down about twenty-five grains of calomel, but I am sure that no trace of it remained in my stomach longer than half an hour. The solution of Epsom salt, known among patients as Doctor Eccheverria’s lemonade, served to wash out the stomach frequently. In addition to the large dose of calomel and the continuous administration of the lemonade, Doctor Eccheverria starved his patients. Nothing but the calomel and the lemonade was to pass down one’s gullet. My vomitings grew less and less frequent, and so far as I can remember, my stomach became tranquil and free from pain in the early afternoon of that first day in the hospital.

On the second or third day Major Gorgas took charge of my treatment and his nephew, Theodore Lyster, (General Lyster in the World War) then a student of mine in the University of Michigan but with us in Cuba, assisted in caring for me. To their devotion and tenderness I owe, in all human probability, my recovery. Some eighteen years after this General Gorgas, as we were enjoying our postprandial cigars, confided to me that at Siboney he had given an unfavorable prognosis in my case and had told Lyster that in his opinion I would live but a few hours. For the first few days I was too sick to be hungry. The pain in my back continued, although it gradually grew less. My temperature hovered around one hundred five. My pulse was constantly below forty.

Just across from me in the little tent was a large man, the postmaster to the corps. One day he called to me, saying that he had a bottle of ginger ale, the contents of which he kindly offered to divide with me. Ginger ale! How joyously the words struck upon my ear drums. The only thing that had passed my lips for days had been Doctor Eccheverria’s lemonade, the water component of which was taken from the iron pipes on top of the ground, with the air temperature at one hundred twenty degrees in the shade. This water in and of itself, just warm enough to be nauseating, was not made more appetizing by its saturation with Epsom salt or the addition of lime juice. I knew that the ginger ale could not be very cold, but I remembered the pleasant tingling sensation induced in one’s gustatory organs, even by carbonated water, and then I felt that the flavor of the ginger ale would go to the right place. However, being a physician, I could not do otherwise than caution my comrade. I told him he had better put the ginger ale bottle aside, that in a few days we would enjoy it all the better, but he insisted. He sent the orderly out of the tent and told me he would open the bottle himself. Along with the bottle he had a corkscrew and he began to get up out of his cot. Then I pleaded with him earnestly. I said, “Do not move. If you must drink the ginger ale, call the orderly and have him pull the stopper. Your heart is crippled and a change in position may kill you.” He laughed at my excessive caution, but had just reached the erect posture when he fell dead across my cot, breaking it down and lying on top of me, stone dead. I tinkled the little bell at my side, the orderly came, and the dead man was removed. This was not the only instance in that hospital when death was caused by change in posture. I fear that even physicians do not always appreciate the danger incurred by change in posture when the heart is so disturbed.

For several days I was in a peculiar mental condition. I had a double consciousness. I was not ill, but I had a friend who was dangerously ill and in some way, which I could not explain to myself, I was responsible for his illness. If he should die I would be morally guilty. I think the mental suffering which I experienced was largely due to this condition. I had frequent short naps and after each I would be in a cheerful frame of mind. I was sure my friend was going to get well. Then I would feel less and less certain about it, and finally I would be equally sure he was going to die. Fortunately when I had reached the point of deepest despair on account of my friend, I would fall asleep, and after a few minutes awake again in the cheerful frame of mind. Being sick myself I did not have opportunity to observe others to any great extent. However, I am sure that the state of double consciousness was not peculiar to me. I know that one man in our tent, after displacing the mosquito netting by his own movements, would lie looking at his own leg covered with flies and ask why the damned fool did not cover himself. From the testimony of others I am sure that in that epidemic at least, a state of double consciousness was frequent.

About the sixth day my fever having greatly declined so that at no time of the day did it go above one hundred two, I began to grow hungry, and as the fever went down my hunger grew more and more intense. I spent the seventh day without food, but with constant visions of the dining room table at home with the full complement of good things to eat which my wife was wont to prepare. I saw the table loaded with stewed, boiled, fried, and baked articles of diet, each one for the moment appearing in its most attractive and alluring form, but whether the dinner seen in my vision was boiled, baked or otherwise prepared, the most prominent position was occupied by the great silver pitcher filled with ice water and covered with beads of perspiration. Oh, how I did long to eat! I felt as though I would sell my soul for a mess of pottage. In at least one case a patient at this stage, an occupant of the same tent with myself, by bribing an orderly secured a can of beans and ate the entire contents. Within a few hours he was dead.

On the morning of the ninth day of my fast Major Gorgas told me that I could eat. I asked what I might have. He told me that for the first day it would be wise to confine myself to meat extracts and asked how much I wanted. I told him to roll in a hogshead. With his greater wisdom, he sent me a small medicine cup of this beverage. I found that one or two swallows sufficed; more nauseated me. I took the small quantities two or three times during the day and found that my stomach gradually resumed its natural functions. By the next morning my hunger had greatly increased and about this time two Cubans came to the tent with two wild guinea hens which they had shot and which they offered to exchange for hard tack and bacon. We filled their bags with government rations and for an hour or more sat around with hungry eyes waiting for our cook to prepare the guinea hens. A most delicious stew was finally offered us, and I am sure that the eight or ten who partook could not have been more pleased had we feasted at the table of a king. Appetite grew most amazingly and every hour or two during the day we passed up our tin cups to be refilled with the delicious broth.

I wish I could satisfactorily describe the pictures I saw as I lay in the tent with a temperature at times going as high as one hundred six degrees. From my cot I looked out to the north over the valley of royal palms into the crags of the highest peaks of the Sierras. About these, each day at two P. M. with the regularity of the clock, short, broken lines of lightning would begin to play. These quickly grew longer, more frequent, and more brilliant. At the same time clouds, some small, some large, from apparently every point of the compass began to gather about the peaks, shutting off their features until I saw nothing but an intense blackness, the depths of which were constantly being pierced by most vivid lines of lightning. These formed figures, some grotesque, some heroic, all intensely fascinating. I was entranced, enraptured, held by a spell of enchantment, such as a normal brain has never known. I fancied some god or demon residing in the peaks sending out through the limitless air summons after summons for the assembly of his cohorts which, obeying the call, rode in as invisible spirits on the clouds coming from the furthermost parts of the earth. The clouded area with its center about the peaks grew wider and darker until it cut out the light of the sun and enveloped the whole earth. Then the thunders shook the mountains, the earth trembled, the rain fell in torrents, the sheets of water descending the mountain side swept my tent clean. The storm disappeared more quickly than it came, the clouds having spent themselves passed into nothingness. I was now conscious of my immediate surroundings. The next day as the hour approached I watched with eager anticipation, and so long as my fever continued I was not disappointed. Of such are the visions of a diseased brain.

On the tenth day after I had come down with yellow fever Captain Ireland came to my assistance, placed me in a little dummy train, and took me down to the base hospital at Siboney. When I left the United States to go to Cuba I weighed two hundred and ten pounds; when I returned to the United States I weighed one hundred and fifty. On the morning when, assisted by Captain Ireland, I reached Major La Garde’s tent, he said: “You will go home on the first transport.” I assured him that I had no such intention, that I was now an immune, and that my usefulness in the camp was thereby increased. I expressed my desire to rest for a few hours and then be permitted to go back to the yellow fever camp and assist Major Gorgas in taking care of the patients. The skill with which Major La Garde handled me was not then fully appreciated, but has since stood out in my memory as one of the greatest favors ever done me. He was my superior officer, and he would have been perfectly within his right had he ordered me home, but this was not his way of doing things. He employed more pleasing and more effective measures. He had a cot prepared for me in a small tent and he told me that I should rest for a few days and if I then found myself able my request to return to the yellow fever camp would be granted. A few feet from the small tent in which I rested there was a mess tent, on the table of which there stood constantly articles of diet, the aroma of which floated out to me with an enticement I could not resist. Several times during the day I got out of my cot and attempted to walk to the mess table, but invariably I found my legs so weak I could traverse the short distance only by getting down on my hands and knees and crawling. After one or two attempts of this kind Major La Garde had an orderly bring to my cot frequently various tempting dishes. Every now and then he would come in, sit down and say: “To-morrow morning a transport leaves for the United States with convalescent soldiers and I haven’t a doctor to send with them. I do not know what to do.” He made no further reference to my going, but continued hour by hour to bemoan the fact that he had no medical officer to place on the transport. The day was a long and wearisome one. At last the sun was rapidly sinking and as it went down my confidence in my physical strength waned. I began to doubt the wisdom of my staying on the island.

Again Major La Garde confided to me his trouble about securing a medical officer for the transport. The City of Santiago, the transport in question, was lying just off the shore and was receiving sick soldiers, carried out in life boats. At last I said: “Major, do you want me to go on that transport?” He made no reply to my interrogation, but called to Captain Ireland saying, “Bring a stretcher with bearers and put Vaughan on the transport.” I raised no objection; in fact, by this time I was perfectly willing to go. Captain Ireland accompanied me to the transport and secured for me the most comfortable stateroom on the vessel. This room was to serve not only as my living and sleeping room, but also as the office of the doctor in charge. I was placed on board the City of Santiago about sundown on Sunday. At that time, unaided, I could not walk from one side of the deck to the other, but from the moment of going on hoard I began to recover my strength with almost miraculous rapidity. The City of Santiago did not leave Siboney until Monday afternoon. We passed around the eastern end of Cuba and paralleled its northern coast for many miles, when we struck out for Tampa.

For a day and more a great shark followed closely in our wake. There was a crate of live chickens on the rear deck and a wicked boy let some of these escape. I witnessed the incident and was sure that it was done with a deliberate intention of feeding the shark. Within two days after going to sea I was able to visit any and every part of the ship. I went down to the galleys and saw that food was prepared for the sick. I had a list of the sick made, saw each one several times a day and kept a case record which proved of value when I was asked to make out papers for pension claimants. We carried about three hundred convalescents from yellow fever. When we reached Tampa Bay the state health officer of Florida came aboard and asked me whether we carried yellow fever or other infection. I showed him a clean bill of health from the Spanish health officer of the port of Santiago. I may say here that for some time after the capitulation of that city Spanish civil officers were continued on duty. The clean bill of health, however, did not satisfy the observant health officer. He forbade our landing, telling us that the Marine Hospital Service had made preparation for us on Egmont Key, that the ship would lie at anchor and its passengers would be carried in life boats to this destination.

The transfer from Siboney to Egmont Key was in no way an improvement. In our new location we found the mosquitoes more numerous, larger, and more vicious than their Cuban relatives. However, my old friend, Surgeon Giddings, of the Marine Hospital Service, was in command of the camp and had done everything within his power to provide for our comfort. He told me, with some pride, that he had secured a large mosquito-proof tent especially for General Duffield and myself. A Cuban general, whose name I forget, had accompanied us on the Santiago and had informed us that he was on his way to Washington as the political representative of the new government which was to be established in Cuba, but at that time did not exist, except in the brain of the wily diplomat. When Surgeon Giddings brought General Duffield and me to the big mosquito-proof tent we found it already in the possession of the Cuban hero. With characteristic modesty, General Duffield made no claim on account of rank, but he and I took possession of a nearby tent of ordinary size and construction. We slept as best we could while fighting mosquitoes, but in the middle of the night there came a West Indian hurricane. We were thankful for the storm, because the wind scattered our uninvited visitors. When the storm became wilder and the rain was pouring in torrents we heard cries of distress. On going out we found that the storm had overturned the great mosquito-proof tent and that the Cuban hero, entangled in its meshes, bound hand and foot, was lying in the open field fully exposed to the downpour and loudly crying for aid. While others extricated the helpless man we returned to our simple cots and again wooed Morpheus.

We had two or three days on Egmont Key and I hope never to see it again. By this time four or five transports, all bearing convalescent yellow fever soldiers, had accumulated in Tampa Bay. I received a telegraphic order from the Secretary of War to select one of the transports, put all the sick soldiers on board, and proceed to New York. Furthermore, the order authorized me to purchase everything that in my opinion might add to the comfort of the soldier so far as I could find such material in Tampa. One afternoon, seated in a life boat, I started out to inspect the transports lying in the Bay. I had been received courteously by the captain of every ship which I had visited until I was approaching the Segurança. As I came near this vessel the captain, a Scandinavian, ordered the ladder raised and refused to permit me to come aboard. I rowed up under the boat and pulling out my order from the Secretary of War, I said: “I thank you, Captain, for your courtesy. I have an order from the Secretary of War to inspect your ship. I shall immediately telegraph the Secretary that you refuse to permit me to come aboard. I bid you good day.” The ladder dropped instantaneously, the redheaded captain quickly descended and with great formality and courtesy assisted me in reaching the deck. This was by far the best ship in the Bay and I selected it for the voyage to New York. By the time the captain and I had visited every part of the Segurança and I had finished my inspection the Bay was swept by a moderate hurricane. I could reach my life boat only by going down a rope ladder and I was instructed that when commanded to do so I should let loose and drop into the boat. When I did let loose of that rope I had no idea that I would stop before I reached the bottom of the Bay, but the men in the life boat caught me as deftly and as easily as if I had been a bag of feathers and stretching me in the boat they were quite on their way to another ship before I fully realized what had happened.

On one ship there were a few negro soldiers and forty negro stevedores. With two other officers and the captain of the ship I was in the captain’s room making out an order to be sent to Tampa for food. We four were the only white men on board the ship. The day was warm and we had laid aside our blouses carrying insignia of office. From the deck there came an agonizing cry of “Help! help! murder!” Fortunately, one of the officers, a regular army man and far wiser than I, fairly forced my blouse on me and saying that I was the ranking officer, pushed me out of the door. As he did so a negro soldier running for his life dashed into the room and I faced a mob of twenty or more negro stevedores each with a razor and one with a pistol. These villains had robbed the negro soldiers, one of whom had run to us for protection. The stevedores at once recognized the authority of Uncle Sam in my shoulder straps and cap. I held up my hand and ordered them to stop. Every negro stopped immediately and then I told the one with the pistol to advance and give me his gun. This he did. Then we ordered all of them down into the hold and I did not breathe a peaceful breath until the last woolly head had disappeared and the manhole cover had been lowered and double locked. We soon transferred the negro soldiers to the Segurança and two or three days later as this ship was lifting anchor to proceed on its voyage to New York, the captain of the ship carrying the stevedores came over in a life boat to ask what he was to do with his prisoners. I told him that their sentence was indefinite and so far as I was concerned they could remain in the hold until some one else ruled upon the period of their captivity.

The Segurança needed coal and water and we needed food for the voyage. It always happens that an individual or a corporation is able to secure whatever it desires and is found in the market quicker than the government can act. A certain amount of red tape retarded my attempts to secure provisions from Tampa. Long before I had finished this job the steward of the Segurança had filled his storeroom with food and drink, which he was to sell to the officers at extravagant prices on the way to New York. There was always some excuse ready on the tongue of the man who ran the little tug boat between Tampa and the Segurança as to why my orders were delayed while those given by the steward were promptly delivered. It was during this state of affairs, the steward’s storehouse filled with provisions and my orders yet unfilled, that I took from a recently arrived transport some twenty-five men who had been on inadequate ration since leaving Cuba and had had no food for twenty-four hours or longer. I went to the steward of the Segurança and proposed that he either sell me some of the provisions which he had on hand or that he permit me to use some of them with the promise that as soon as the government supplies were received his loan would be fully returned. He told me plainly that no enlisted man should have a bite of food or drink from his supplies; that they had been furnished by the ship’s agents in Tampa, and that they were to be sold to the officers on the way to New York. Fortunately, there were on board this ship some five or six able-bodied, armed soldiers, subject to orders and ready to obey. When the steward of the Segurança was given his choice of opening his storehouse or being placed in irons and thrown into the hold of his own ship, he unhesitatingly chose the former, and our hungry soldiers were fed.

It is laughable now to look back at the precautions taken by the health officer of Florida to prevent the introduction of yellow fever from the transports into Tampa. A tug from the city brought to the ship with frequent visits a few tons of coal at a time. In discharging the fuel the tug lay along side the ship and the men from the tug went on to, and some of them, through the ship. When a telegram was brought out on a tug it stood at some distance from the ship and through a megaphone the contents were transmitted, or in case of official dispatches, they were placed in a box or rod, attached to a string and tossed aboard. When food was brought down, men on the tug passed freely and uninterruptedly through the ship and men belonging to the ship visited the tug.

After some days of delay the Segurança lifted anchor from Tampa Bay and proceeded on its four-day voyage to New York. This trip was not without its tragedy and its comedy. We had gone to Cuba without ever dreaming that we might need such a thing as diphtheria antitoxin. From the time of leaving Old Point Comfort on the outward voyage to reaching New York harbor on the home coming there were cases of malignant diphtheria among the Michigan regiments, with an occasional death. One of these occurred off Cape Hatteras and at the request and advice of General O. O. Howard, who had been to Cuba as a spectator and was now our honored guest, the ship was stopped and a burial at sea with all its attendant ceremonies took place. I may say here that when the Segurança reached New York harbor, there were some fourteen cases of malignant diphtheria on board. This was the tragedy of the trip.

Among those quite recovered from yellow fever was a colonel of regulars, a man who had led his regiment heroically in the Battle of Santiago. He was, unfortunately, a dipsomaniac and in some way while we were detained in Tampa Bay he obtained an abundant supply of whiskey and before we were fairly out to sea he was drunk. His intoxication in no way hampered his organs of locomotion. Stripped of every thread of clothing he boldly walked the decks indulging in obscene and profane salutations. I tried confining him to his room and detailed a signal corps man to guard him. Soon both were drunk and parading the deck in nature’s clothing. I sought the advice of General Howard, who told me to put the colonel in irons. This I did not have the courage to do, but I did, after removing all drinks from his room, succeed in locking him in and in finding a reliable guard. I am glad to say that when we reached the battery in New York the colonel, sober and clothed in his uniform, without having attached to him any suspicion of wrong doing, was met by his charming wife and two daughters who greeted him as a hero deserves.

General O. O. Howard

Judging from this experience, which may not be a wise thing to do, I believe that a northward sea voyage is highly beneficial to those convalescing from yellow fever and tropical malaria. The Segurança left Tampa Bay with at least thirty soldiers apparently in extremes. They were not only physically exhausted, but were. so mentally clouded that they were not inclined even to accept help. I was also greatly impressed with the value of hypodermic injections of strychnia in these cases. This, I believe, was the only drug we used on the trip. The more seriously ill were placed on cots or lay on blankets on the upper deck. I visited them nearly every hour during the daytime and less frequently at night. ‘ I would walk among them asking who wanted milk or broth. Most of them were wholly indifferent and did not signify by word, movement or look that they desired anything. An attendant would kneel by the side of one and, raising his head, place at his lips and pour down his throat a portion of some well prepared nourishing food. Within a few days most of these men were leaning over the rail or sauntering up and down the deck, and it was a great pleasure to watch their rapidly increasing strength and mental vigor. I believe that when we reached New York, with the exception of the cases of diphtheria, every man was on his feet and able to take care of himself. In all my experience as a practitioner of medicine I was never more pleased with results secured; this gave me a firm faith in the efficacy of proper medication and wise feeding.

As ranking officer on the ship I wore my blue blouse tightly buttoned. One hot afternoon on deck General Howard put his hand on my shoulder and said: “Relax, unbutton and take off your blouse. There is no need of strict adherence to military form.” I unbuttoned my blouse, showing that there was nothing between it and my naked body. The good old general asked whether I had no shirt. My bag filled with underclothing, rescued from the sea at Siboney, had served others in greater need of clothing than myself. I was invited to the general’s room and on the remainder of the voyage I had the honor of wearing one of his shirts. After this I walked the deck with my blouse unbuttoned and often without it.

Another experience with the big-hearted old general may be worthy of note. He was deeply religious and I fear that he had heard me on certain occasions use expletives which did not fall kindly on his ear; at least, one day he took me aside and gave me quite a lecture on the iniquity of swearing. I told him that I agreed with everything that he said, and that indulging in oaths was not a fixed habit with me. Then I related to him my experience in calling my hospital corps men across the road to assist me in carrying a wounded man on the battle field. He put his hand on my shoulder, looked steadily into my face, and with twinkling eyes, he said: “I admit that at times swearing seems to be absolutely necessary. I confess to you that on rare occasions I have been compelled to clothe my command in strong words.

In the last hour of the fourteenth of August, 1898, the day the armistice was signed, the Segurança dropped anchor at the quarantine station in New York harbor. I had been warned by the Secretary of War while in Tampa Bay to bring the ship into New York with the soldiers in such a condition that even the yellowest of journals could make no complaint. After the ship had come to rest I ordered every one off the deck, pulled a chair to the rail, lit a cigar and waited. It was not long before it happened. A tug came along side filled with newspaper reporters. In reply to their interrogatories I gave the name of the ship, the ports from which it had sailed, and a satisfactory account of those on board. I was asked whether there had been any deaths on the voyage, and I replied that one soldier had died and the cause of death was paralysis.

The next morning my good friend Doctor Doty, health officer of the port, came aboard with a newspaper in his hand, saying, “I see that you had a death from paralysis on the way.” I answered in the affirmative and taking him by the arm, I said, “First of all, I will show you thirty other cases of the disease from which the man with paralysis died.” I took him to the forecastle where I had quarantined as best I could cases of diphtheria. Doctor Doty promised to care for these and he did it so skilfully that now for the first time, so far as I know, it appears in print that the Segurança brought into New York harbor cases of diphtheria. At Governor’s Island each soldier laid off his clothing, passed through a bath and disinfecting room, and donned a new suit. The Segurança then proceeded to the wharf at the Battery where the officers disembarked.

On the voyage to Cuba I often sat on deck admiring our young officers as they passed. I thought that I had never seen finer looking, more intelligent, cleaner young men, and I was filled with pride of my country and of those who were ready to defend it. A few weeks later one of these young men whom I had so greatly admired would present himself or be brought to the hospital. His cheeks were sunken, his eyes glazed, his skin wrinkled, the fine glow of youth and health replaced by a cadaverous coppery hue. On being asked his name and the military organization to which he was attached, he would often answer slowly and stupidly. Some times he was unable to give the answer. His brain was benumbed and paralyzed by the plasmodia of tropical malaria. On the return voyage I had under my observation some of these same young men. Some left Tampa as I have said, almost moribund. One of these, the son of an exgovernor of Michigan, then a major, a general in the World War, was my special care. I took him to the Murray Hill Hotel in New York and left him under the care of a skilled confrere. His recovery was speedy and complete.

My summer vacation in Cuba was ended. I had had an experience which I would not have missed and from which I learned much. I can not refrain from saying that when it was known among my colleagues in the University of Michigan that I was going to Camp Alger one of my dearest friends came to me and made an earnest plea that I had no right to risk my life by going to the war. About the time I left for Camp Alger he left for a summer vacation in France and went to his death on the ill-fated Burgoyne. Man proposes; God disposes.

A Doctor's Memories
Victor C. Vaughan, M.D.

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