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Description

Highly detailed field map along the coastline of Cuba, from Daiquiri to Aguadores, showing the Fifth US Army's route to Santiago de Cuba, following their landing during the Spanish American War.

On the road to Santiago de Cuba, the map notes a battle fought on June 24, 1898, the Spanish Position (Fortified with Stone Wall), the burial location of 8 soldiers killed during the battle, and General Shafter's Headquarters.

Battle of Las Guasimas

The Battle of Las Guasimas of June 24, 1898, was the first battle fought during the Spanish American War. The battle pitted Spanish rearguard action by Major General Antero RubĂ­n against advancing columns led by Major General "Fighting Joe" Wheeler. The battle unfolded from Wheeler's attempt to storm Spanish positions at Las Guasimas de Sevilla, in the jungles surrounding Santiago de Cuba, with the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry and the 10th Regular Cavalry.

Approaching on June 24, American reports suggested the Spaniards were digging in with a field gun; however, Cuban scouts contradicted these, revealing the Spaniards were preparing to abandon their position. In fact, the Spanish troops had received orders to fall back on Santiago. Wheeler requested the assistance of the attached Cuban forces in an immediate attack, but their commander, Col. Gonzales Clavel, refused. Wheeler decided to attack anyway, rushing his men forward with two guns.

During the excitement of the battle, Wheeler, a former Confederate officer, supposedly called out "Let's go, boys! We've got the damn Yankees on the run again!", with the old general confusing his wars. Wheeler's forces moved to encircle the Spaniards' first battle line, assaulting its front and right flank, but were repulsed. During a pause in the fighting, both sides reinforced their positions. The Spaniards sent forward two companies of the San Fernando Battalion, along with artillery. After midday the U.S. attack was renewed, but the Spanish Provisional de Puerto Rico Battalion once again checked the American assault.

After halting the American advance, the Spanish resumed their withdrawal towards Santiago. The battle had cost U.S. forces 17 dead and 52 wounded, while Spanish forces suffered seven dead and seven wounded. The yellow press, unaware of the facts of the ground, described the battle as a rout of the Spaniards. Later, historians severely faulted Wheeler for wasting the lives of his men in a frontal assault.