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REPORT OF MAJ. GEN. LEONARD WOOD, U. S. VOLUNTEERS,
HEADQUARTERS DIVISION OF CUBA,
The ADJUTANT-GENERAL UNITED STATES ARMY,
Washington, D. C.
SIR: In compliance with the instructions of the Lieutenant-General Commanding the Army, I have the honor to submit my annual report for the period ending June 30, 1900.
I assumed command of this division on December 20, 1899, in compliance with General Orders, No. 206, Headquarters of the Army, December 13, 1899.
During the period for which this report is rendered there have been but few changes in the stations of troops, which are noted in the accompanying report of the adjutant-general of this division, to which special attention is invited. The present stations of troops throughout the island are also accounted for in the "roster" which accompanies the report of Col. W. V. Richards.
There has been a steady diminution in the strength of the garrisons of the island since December, 1899. In January the Fifteenth Infantry was relieved from duty in the island and home battalions of the Tenth and Eighth Cavalry were sent to the United States; also home battalions of the First, Second, Eighth, and Tenth Infantry and Second Artillery, and in the month of July, 1900, First, Second, Fifth, and Eighth Infantry were relieved from duty in the island. The general reduction in the garrisons resulted in the abandonment of the posts of Baracoa, Mayarí, Gibara, Nuevitas, Caibarién, Cárdenas, Sagua la Grande, Placetas, Sancti Spíritus, Trinidad, Pinar del Rio, and Guanajay, and the abandonment of many temporary stations, such as Banes, Cobre, Jiguaní, in the province of Santiago de Cuba, and the concentration of the troops of the remaining regiments into comparatively large garrisons, the Seventh Cavalry being assembled at Camp Columbia, near Habana, the Second Artillery garrisoning the defenses of Habana, and one light battery at Columbia Barracks. The entire Second Cavalry has been assembled at Matanzas, headquarters and one battalion of the Tenth Irfantry at Cienfuegos, the remaining battalion being stationed at Morro Castle, Santiago de Cuba. The Eighth Cavalry was at first stationed in temporary camp, near Puerto Príncipe. On the removal of the Fifteenth Infantry in January 2 troops were sent to Ciego de Avila and 1 to Nuevitas, which place was later abandoned as a station. In the month of July 1 troop was sent from Puerto Príncipe to Guantanamo and 1 to San Luis, Santiago de Cuba, leaving only 6 troops in the province of Puerto Príncipe, 4 in camp about 4 miles from the city of Puerto Príncipe, and 2 at Ciego de Avila, on the Júcaro-Morón Railroad. The Tenth Cavalry is at present stationed headquarters and 3 troops at Manzanillo, 4 troops at Holguín, and 1 troop at Bayamo. A detachment of 10 men of this regiment and an officer are at present stationed at Baracoa, looking after Government property and interests there. With the single exception of the province of Santiago, troops and companies of the various regiments have been assembled as much as practicable in large garrisons for the purpose of greater convenience
and greater facilities in supplying them. In Santiago de Cuba the wild and mountainous character of a great portion of the province, together with the lack of communication, have rendered it necessary to maintain a number of comparatively small garrisons. There should be no further reduction in the number of troops at present.
The general conduct of the troops has been most admirable, and it may be said that complaints against the troops from the civil authorities and individuals have been of extremely rare occurrence. The general conduct of the officers and men has been excellent and highly creditable to the Army. The variety and number of duties, most of them entirely new, which our officers have been called upon to perform has included supervision and control of almost every class of work, whether administrative or constructive, and the performance of duty has been such that whenever I have had occasion to assign any particular work to an officer, I have always felt sure of the work being properly and efficiently done. The conduct of both officers and men has been such that the military occupation has been free from scandal and evil reports reflecting in any way upon the service. When the variety and scope of the work which our officers have done is appreciated, I believe the general conclusion will be that habits of thoroughness, obedience, and straightforwardness, which are the results of military training, form a splendid basis for administrative and reconstructive work. In general I can say that throughout the island the work performed by officers of the Army has been of incalculable assistance in the establishment of civil government and the reconstruction of the country.
The posts in this division are in good condition to shelter troops. Whenever it has been found necessary to occupy old barracks, formerly used by the Spanish troops, the buildings have without exception been thoroughly renovated and disinfected. Such new barrack buildings as have been constructed have been of light, airy construction, with, as a rule, double roof and suitable verandas, and they have been so placed as to obtain plenty of air and sunshine. All barrack buildings have been provided as well as possible with bathing facilities, and whenever water has been of doubtful quality, all precautions have been taken to make it suitable for drinking and other purposes.
After two years' service in the island I think it can be safely said that our troops can serve here without difficulty.
Owing to the exigencies of the service, the number of officers has been so reduced that it is difficult to get enough to perform the necessary garrison duties. The detail of officers with volunteer regiments, at West Point, and as collectors of customs and on other quasi-civil work has thrown upon the officers who have remained with their regiments many additional duties and hardships, obliging me to deny to them in many cases well-earned leaves of absence.
A personal inspection of the troops throughout the islands has shown. a high rate of efficiency. The barracks inspected by me are without exception clean, neat, and in excellent sanitary condition. The rations furnished to the men are ample and the food good and well cooked. The clothing supplied is satisfactory and the arms and accouterments are in excellent condition. Troop horses, mules, and pack animals are well taken care of and in condition to render hard service.
The health of this command is excellent, and in this connection special attention is invited to the report of the chief surgeon of the division.
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