Clara Barton Plays a Heroic Role in the War

The guns successfully subdued the Spanish fire from a practically impregnable position in a period of eight-and-one-half minutes. The fire from the three Gatlings meant six thousand rounds per gun, fired on the Spaniards, the first time the U.S. Army used close-support machine guns in an attack against an enemy position.

Bernard came out of the fight for San Juan Hill with a gunshot wound to his arm, but he felt lucky to have survived and went back into the fray with a greater, soberer outlook at the issue of war. Henry Jose recuperated at a Red Cross field hospital, organized by Clara Barton, after he and many of his fellows lay hapless, dead or naked, in some cases, in the festering heat.

Supplies came up from Siboney over the muddy, wet Camino Real. Food began to arrive to feed the sick and suffering, and Clara Barton, who had already been helping the Cuban reconcentrados, began to offer aid to the American soldiers. Barton and her well supplied forces offered help to all military personnel, whether Spanish, Cuban or American. The organization’s objective remained to provide neutral assistance. Miss Barton held true to the mission.

The wounded or dying American soldiers, having laid for days naked on the Camino Real, needed to be covered with linens. Starving, they and the Cubans were provided with milk, chocolate, rice, and other supplies. As conditions improved, the American wounded were transferred to the village of Siboney or sent home on ships. Henry Jose was among those who ended up in Siboney.

Back to Top