The Report of the 34th Michigan Volunteer Infantry

by Col. John Peterman 
For letters written by members of the 34th Michigan, click here
For  George Edgar Cripps' Diary of Life with the 34th Michiagn, Click here!
For a listing of graves of the some of themembers of the 34th Michigan, Click here!
34th Michigan, courtesy of Gordon Holt
The 34th Michigan, Co. E,  in Cuba
Note the signal flag in the foreground, and also the Springfield trapdoor rifles!
(photo courtesy of Gordon Holt)

This report covers the major activities of the 34th Michigan Volunteer Infantry from its landing in Cuba on July 1, 1898, until the end of the war on August 13, 1898. This report was filed on August 15, 1898.

The Report:


                                                         In Camp near Santiago de Cuba, August 15,1898.

The ADJUTANT-GENERAL, Washington, D. C.

SIR: In compliance with General Orders, No. 72, I have the honor to make the following report:

We arrived at Siboney on the morning of July 1. Owing to the want of proper facilities for unloading it was late in the afternoon before the entire command was disembarked, our baggage and tentage being left on board of the HARVARD.  At 9.30 o'clock in the evening I received orders to move with my regiment and the Ninth Massachusetts with all possible haste and report to General Shafter.  At 10 o'clock we left Siboney in heavy marching order, the men carrying 100 rounds of ammunition and three days' rations.  Owing to the mud and the horrible condition of the roads, and the blockade caused by supply trains going to the front and ambulance trains carrying wounded to Siboney meeting in narrow passes, it was 3 o'clock on the morning of July 2 before I reached General Shafter's headquarters.  Reporting to him, I received orders to continue with my command to the front to support General Wheeler.  The worn-out condition of my command and the blockages of the path made it impossible for me to reach General Wheeler until 8 a. m.  On reporting to General Wheeler, we were ordered to support General Bates on the extreme left of our line.  While in this position 7 of my men were wounded.  At 3 o'clock p. m. the Thirty-fourth Michigan was ordered back to support General Kent in our center.  The Ninth Massachusetts remained with General Bates's brigade.  At 10 o'clock on the night of the 2d of July the Spanish forces assaulted our lines, but were repulsed with great loss.

The road to the front
The narrow and crowded road to the front

The stubbornness and gallantry displayed by the forces in the trenches made it unnecessary for us to take any part in the firing, but the men showed their willingness and eagerness to do their share.  On the 5th Major Latimer and his battalion (Companies H, E, D. G) were ordered to report to engineer corps to repair bridges and road to Siboney, and also to do outpost duty.  On the 8th Lieutenant Colonel Bennett, with two companies (A and C), was ordered to El Caney to protect life and property of refugees from Santiago.  He returned to the regiment the following day.  Major Hodskin, with two companies (B and M), was stationed at  El Poso as an outpost.  The balance of the regiment were ordered Shafter's headquarters, where they were employed in helping commissary department, and did guard duty.  On July 10, I was ordered to take six companies (F, K, A, B, C, M) of my command and to guard the left flank of the army against any flank movement that might be made by the enemy.  From then until the surrender of General Toral these six companies were on outpost.  On July 15 Major Latimer, with Companies H, D, E, G, I, L, received orders to report with my command to General Bates's provisional division.  This order was carried out on the next day, the regiment then being together again for the first time since July 5.

Very respectfully,
Colonel, Commanding.


Clerk of Joint Comittee on Printing, The Abridgement of Message from the President of the United States to the Two Houses of Congress. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1899). Vol. 3, 360.

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