MASON, Louis K. Autographed letter signed ("Louis K. Mason") to his wife. Santiago De Cuba, 7 July 1898. 6pp, 5.75 x 9 in. (some toning, folds as mailed).
The 13th US Infantry was among the first units to scale San Juan Hill on July 1, 1898. Mason was a member of the band for the 13th, but in his letter describes that at the time of the engagement he was on the battlefield as a combat medic to dress the wounds of the injured. He also mentions the prisoner exchange for future Medal of Honor recipient Richmond P. Hobson who attempted to sink the collier Merrimac to block Santiago Harbor but was captured in the attempt. Mason writes in small part: "This is a day of rest and we have at last after several days of hard fighting surrounded the City and at present under a flag of truce to give the Spaniards a chance to surrender. Saturday night the truce will be over over. / This is a hard place to take, and a [sic] natural fortifications all around. The battles were terrible, but the Americans too much for them, and we had to fight against great difficulty, as the place is all hills. We captured a large number of prisoners and exchanged some for Hobson and his men. Sampson destroyed the Spanish fleet in 40 minutes.... I have escaped uninjured, it seems a dream to me, excepting when I stop to realize the horrible sight of the killed and wounded. It was awful, and no one knows what war is unless they have been in it."
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