The First Amputation in Cuba

as remembered by the man who lost his foot

Private Frank June Manning
Contributed by Lynn Pinch

Frank ManningPrivate Frank June Manning was involved in the diversionary attack on the Aguadores River, near the entrance to Santiago harbor, on July 1, 1898. The plan was to confuse the Spanish as to where the main attack was going to occur, and to keep the Spanish troops at this location from reinforcing those stationed on San Juan Hill. The San Juan heights were assaulted on the same day. After being injured in the assault, Manning's right foot was amputated at the ankle joint.

Private Manning was apparently a member of the 33rd Michigan Volunteer Infantry. Following the war, he married Regina (Jennie) Thurkow in 1903 and had three children - Rex, Helen and Maxine.  Jennie died in 1917 at age 36. Frank June Manning died in about 1927.

Frank June Manning's account:

     "When the shell struck, I was carrying my gun at a trail.  We heard it singing and ducked.  The shell struck my gun stock, and you should have seen that stock!  Not a bit of wood was left, and the barrel was bent double. After I was struck, I lay on a litter for two hours.  The Red Cross men were carrying me off the firing line, when a Spanish sharpshooter fired at us, and a bullet passed through the litter just back of my head.  The Red Cross men ran, but the Major made them to back and take me away.  I was put on the amputating table at 5 o'clock, and mine was the first amputation of the Cuban War.  From then on there was plenty of it done.  Men laid all around me with arms and legs off.  I remained in the tent eight days.  Capt. Wheeler came in on day with some delicacies, and later sent me $5."

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