Garcia's Letter to General William R. Shatter (July 17, 1898)
On May 12 the government of the Republic of Cuba ordered me, as
commander of the Cuban army in the east to cooperate with the
American army following the plans and obeying the orders of its
commander. I have done my best, sir, to fulfill the wishes of my
government, and I have been until now one of your most faithful
subordinates, honoring myself in carrying out your orders as far as
my powers have allowed me to do it.
city of Santiago surrendered to the American army, and news of that
important event was given to me by persons entirely foreign to your
staff. I have not been honored with a single word from yourself
informing me about the negotiations for peace or the terms of the
capitulation by the Spaniards. The important ceremony of the
surrender of the Spanish army and the taking possession of the city
by yourself took place later on, and I only knew of both events by
was neither honored, sir, with a kind word from you inviting me or
any officer of my staff to represent the Cuban army on that memorable
1 know that you have left in power in Santiago the same Spanish
authorities that for three years I have fought as enemies of the
independence of Cuba. I beg to say that these authorities have never
been elected at Santiago by the residents of the city; but were
appointed by royal decrees of the Queen of Spain.
would agree, sir, that the army under your command should have taken
possession of the city, the garrison and the forts.
would give my warm cooperation to any measure you may have deemed
best under American military law to hold the city for your army and
to preserve public order until the time comes to fulfill the solemn
pledge of the people of the United States to establish in Cuba a free
and independent government. But when the question arises of
appointing authorities in Santiago de Cuba under the special
circumstances of our thirty years strife against Spanish rule, I
cannot see but with the deepest regret that such authorities are not
elected by the Cuban people, but are the same ones selected by the
Queen of Spain, and hence are ministers appointed to defend Spanish
sovereignty against the Cubans.
rumor, too absurd to be believed, General, describes the reason of
your measure and of the orders forbidding my army to enter Santiago
for fear of massacres and revenge against the Spaniards. Allow me,
sir, to protest against even the shadow of such an idea. We are not
savages ignoring the rules of civilized warfare. We are a poor,
ragged army as ragged and poor as was the army of your forefathers in
their noble war for independence, .but like the heroes of Saratoga
and Yorktown, we respect our cause too deeply to disgrace it with
barbarism and cowardice.
view of all these reasons, I sincerely regret being unable to fulfill
any longer the orders of my government, and, therefore, I have
tendered today to the commander-in-chief of the Cuban army, Maj. Gen.
Maximo Gomez, my resignation as commander of this section of our
his resolution, I have retired with all my forces to Jiguanf.