R. F. Shier of the USS EAGLE
Writes Home about the capture of the Santa Domingo, and the landings at Guantanamo
Contributed by Kim Smith 
Click here to read R. F. Shier's letter about the HARVARD incident

This letter was written by Rex F.. Shier, a marine serving aboard the USS EAGLE. It discussed the landing of the U.S. Marines at Guantanamo (though the date is incorrect), the destruction of the Spanish steamer (not a military vessel) SANTO DOMINGO, and landings to protect a Cuban village.

In the letter he mentions obtaining the price money, apparently for the SANTO DOMINGO. The amount he believes he will receive is probably greatly over-estimated, since the Spanish vessel was destroyed and not captured. The $4,000 amount may have been for the entire crew to divide.

The reference to the landing to protect a Cuban village is confusing. No record of the large loss he mentions appears in the records of the war. The U.S. Navy suffered no losses of this magnitude anywhere during the war.

Rex Shier survived the war, and moved out west where he managed the "Silver King" and "Black Eagle" mines in Oregon. In 1910, he married Miss Margaret Ballard.

The letter:

"Sept 10,1898
NY harbor

My Dear Parents
I last received your letter and was glad to hear you was all well  we are in the harbor about 2 miles from ny  I was nearly killed about a month ago by a bursting shell  I have heart trouble and may not live long but I think god will spare me till I get home

tell Pa not to worry I will be home in about 2 month  we will have to go to Porto Rico with mail and express for sick soldiers  we have 4 thousand dollars apiece prize money  I think we will get it when we get our discharge on the tenth day of aug  we sank the Spanish battle ship san Damingo near the isle of Pines in the carobean sea the 16 day of aug  we witnessed the blowing up of the mines (?) at Key West fla  after that we had to sail to Jabora Cuba to stop a terrable slaughter  the spanish was going to kill all the women and children in the town  they were there by the time we got there the fight just got started  250 of us landed and we was warmly recived by the spaniards with shot and shell  out of 250 there came back 73 blue jacketts  on the 20th of june I landed the first american flag on cuban soil  my name will go down in history  frank Lester of sand beach was killed at my side at the battle of Guantanamo  fine in closed a piece of the flag"

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