Gilman Cook and other letters

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Gilman Cook and other letters - UXDEK THE WALLS OF ATAEES. How Tifty-One...
UXDEK THE WALLS OF ATAEES. How Tifty-One Tifty-One Tifty-One Americans Heroically : Died for Cuba. . THJJ3ABTROC8 LOPXZ EXPEDITION7 OS 1051 HOW COLOXEX. W.- W.- Ia CRITTENDEN CRITTENDEN MET HI8 VATS IN A GALLANT EFFORT EFFORT TO FREE THE ISLAND FROM THE ' HACKLES OF SPAIN "AN AMERICAN " ALWAYS FACES HIS ENEMT AND KNEELS TO NONE BUT HIS GOD" THE HEROIC LETTER HE WROTE HALF AN HOUR BEFORE HIS DEATH. A silken sash, a portrait, an old book and a tattered letter are the only memorials memorials time has spared silently to give witness of the lifeof a young American soldier., who. with fifty of his comrades, died fruitlessly that an alien land might be made free. . The 300 at Thermopylae Thermopylae died not more bravely. History History does not furnish forth au instance of greater valor, and yet it will dismiss it from its pages as a mere incident in in the growth of It people. Fotty years ago the city of New Orleans Orleans was the center of an agitation having for its' purpose the freeing of Cuba from the shackles of Spain. The Mexican war had excited the military instinct of a high-spirited high-spirited high-spirited people, ana numbers of chivalrous young men era-ulously era-ulously era-ulously longed for an opportunity to take up arms for any noble cause. General General is arc i ho Lopez, who had already commanded an expedition to Cuba, which had been unsuccessful, longed for an opportunity to vindicate at once himself and the cause for which he had unsuccessfully fought. From Cuba came continuously to New Orleans the most cheering reports tonchmg the progress of the revolutionary sentiment. sentiment. No one doubted but that the people of the country would -flock -flock around the standard of the leader, if he would set it up in liberty's name on Cnban soiL There was reason for the general belief, belief, for in the eastern department of Cuba the revolutionary feeling had always always been intensely strongand was repressed repressed with difficulty. There dwelt the great Cnban patriot families, and there, it was generally conceded, the flag of revolt might most prosperously be unfurled. Lopez determined noon a second expedition and speed ly found the means to carry it forward among the generous enthusiasts who were willing willing to strip themselves that Cuba miaht be enfranchised from the rule of Spain. The- The- brilliant I. J. Sigur. one of the proprietors of the New Orleans Delta, sola his interest in that paper for $75,000 and with the money bought the steamer Pampero for the revolutionists. Lopez himself recruited a few companies with ease. Otters of service pressed fast and thick upon him. and early in August he sailed for Cuba with a force of about 500 men. the nucleus of the army which he believed would speedily gather to his standard as soon as he set foot upon Cuban soil. Just before his departure Lopes received received a packet of three letters from friends in the eastern department of Cuba, urging him to come in haste, for everything was ripe for revolt. Several local insurrections, it was said, had already broken out. The Spanish authorities feared nothing so much as a ' snocessf ul landing in the east, for they were well aware that a danxerous revolutionary revolutionary uprising would be its sequence and they resorted to a treacherous arti-tice.to arti-tice.to arti-tice.to ensnare the leader and his followers. followers. A Spanish officer was supplied with letters purporting to come from Cubans known to be friendly to Lopes and his purposes, but resident in the Vuelta de Abajo district at the western end of the island. The officer gained the confidence of Lopes, persuaded him that his friends had concerted an uprising uprising there, that they counted on his coming and that it wonld be base and cowardly in him to desert . them, and thus prevailed upon him to change his plana aa orisinally and wisely formed. As a matter of fact, while the eastern department was ripe for insurrection, the western was apathetio and cowed. There not only had been an uprising planned in the Vuelta de Abajo district, but withiu easy distance was concentrated concentrated the captain general's force. Lopes knew nothing of this. Oat, tilled with an ardent zeal to strike an immediate immediate blow went to his destruction, carrying his volunteers with him. Most of the volunteers were men of good birth and breeding, and enrolled on the list were some who bore names made illustrious in the history of the country. Foremost among them was Colonel W. L. Crittenden, a brother of Ex-Governor Ex-Governor Ex-Governor T. T. Crittenden, of Missouri, Missouri, and a nephew of the attorney general of the .United States. He had graduated with honor at West Point, served with distinction through the Mexican war ' and at the time when he joined the expedition was an officer in the customs service of the United States He felt that the expedition was premature, but. as he remarked to General Felix Huston as the vessel was about to sail, he Had gone so far in the matter that he could not witlidraw with honor. The expedition landed sear Bahia Hands oa Aug. 9. and the steamer at once returned. The men were poorly equipped and supplied with an insufficient insufficient quantity of provisions. Nevertheless Nevertheless Lopez marched toward the interior interior with hia little force, hoping at every step that the revolutionists would join him and leaving Crittenden with about 100 men to guard snch stores as had been landed. Lopez reached Las Posaa, a little village, and there began to iutrench himself. The steamer had been sighted at Mord castle and the captain general at once began to make preparations to capture the invaders whom his treachery had snared. Troops were sent by laud and sea and on the 14th a battle was fought, in which Lopez three times repulsed the Spaniards. Reinforcements were sent for and their arrival swelled the total of the Spanish troops in the held to several thousand men. A force was interposed interposed between Crittenden's party and the main command and Crittenden was overwhelmed' Uis men were dispersed, dispersed, but fifty-one fifty-one fifty-one of them were subsequently subsequently reunited and sought to make their escape to the United States by mean! of a few small boats. A. fisherman fisherman saw them makiug down the coast, informed tne authorities, the steamer Habanero was sent in pursuit and they were ail captured and taken back to Havana, only forty miles away. Others of Crittenden's command who sought safety in flight into the wooded country, after Buttering incalculable distresses in a district so impenetrable that even the runaway slaves were not pursued therein, finally managed- managed- to reach the coast, and were taken off in an American schoonea. Crittenden and his fifty men were at once condemned to be shot, the captain general not even according them the formality of a trial, bat treating them as pirates taken in piracy. They were executed on August 16, 1851, and if ever Cuba attains independence, that day might well be annually set apart in honor of the brave men who surrendered surrendered their lives with such remarkable fortitude and heroism. All of the condemned condemned who desired to do so were permitted permitted to write farewell letters to their friends and relatives. Ex-Governor Ex-Governor Ex-Governor Crittenden retains in his possession the letter written by hia brothex naif . an hour before bis execution. The letter is crowing yellow and worn with age and is disfigured by wide daubs of inky fluid from the brush of the captain general, who thereby testified testified his assent to its transmission. The fluid used was of a character which does not make illegible the writing,bat every page is marked abundantly with it. The handwriting -of -of the young officer who was about to die appears as firm and even as if he were addressing a friend on a matter of slight importance importance in a .moment of idle leisure. He had not. he said, the heart to write to his family, and therefore he addressed the farewell letter to his friend. Dr. Henaley. of New Orleans. The letter reads: Ship of War Esperanza. Aug. 18. 1S5L. Dear Lucien: In half an hour I, with fifty others, am to be shut. We were taken prisoners yesterday.. We were in sui&il boats. General Lopez separated the balance of the commaud from tne. I liad with nie about 1CJ was attached ty two tztt licis cf in- in- Cor 11 3 I was not furnished with a single musket musket cartridge. Lopez did net get any artillery. I have not the heart to write to any of my family. If the truth ever comes out you will find that I did my dnty and have the perfect confidence confidence of every man with me. We had retired from the .field and were soing to sea and were overtaken by the Spanish steamer Habanero Habanero and captured. Tell General Huston that his nephew got separated. from me on the 18th, day of tne tight and I have not seen him since. He may have straggled off . and joined Lopez, who advanced rapidly into the interior. My' people, however, were surrounded on every side. We saw that we bad been deceived grossly and were making for the United States when taken. During my short sojourn in this island I have not met a single patriot. We landed some forty or fifty miles to the westward of this, and I am sure that in that part of the island Lopez has no friends. When I was attacked. attacked. Lopez was only three miles otL If he had not been deceiving as as to the state of things, he would have f alleu back with his force and made tight, instead instead of which he marched on immediately immediately to the interior. 1 am requested to get you to tell Mr.Green, of the customhouse, customhouse, that his brother shares my fate. Victor Kerr is also with me; also Stand-ford. Stand-ford. Stand-ford. I recollect no others of your acquaintance acquaintance at present. I will die like a man. My heart has not failed me yet. nor do I believe it wilL Communicate with my family. . . This is au incoherent letter, but the circumstances must excuse it. My hands are swollen to double their thickness, thickness, resulting from having them too tightly corded for the last eighteen hours. Write to Johnand let him write to my mother. I am afraid the news will break her heart. My heart beats, warmly toward her now. Faro well. My love to all my friends. I am sorry that I die owing a cent, but it is inevitable. Yours strong in heart, m W. L. Crittenden. Letters from his companions to their relatives and friends nave also been preserved and some of them wonderfully wonderfully illustrate the heroism of these men who were about to die. Gilman Cook wrote: Stanton & Co. Havana, on Board a Man-of-War, Man-of-War, Man-of-War, Man-of-War, Man-of-War, 8 o'clock a. m.. Aug. 16, 1851. My Dear Friends: About fifty of . us. Colonel Crittenden's . command, were taken prisoners yesterday. Have not received our sentence yet. but no doubt will all be shot before sunset. Lopez, the scoundrel, has deceived us. There is no doubt that all those reports about the Cubans rising were all trumped np in New Orleans. Lopez took nearly all his command and deserted us. We were attacked by some 500 or 700 of the queen's troops the second day after we landed. Our owu gallant Colouel Crittenden Crittenden did all that any man could do, but we saw we had been deceived and retreated to the, seashore with the intention intention of getting off to our country if possible. Got three boats and cut off with the intention of waiting until we fell in with an American vessel, and were taken prisoners br the steamboat Habanero. Explain to my family that I have done nothing but what was instigated by the highest motives, that I die with a clear conscience and like a man with a stout heart. I send my watch to you. It is for little Benny.my nephew. Good-by. Good-by. Good-by. God bless yon alL Truly yours. Gilman A. Cook. Another of the letters reads r Ox Hoard the Man-of-War Man-of-War Man-of-War Man-of-War Man-of-War Esperanza. Esperanza. Aug. 16, 1851. My Dear and Affectionate Affectionate Sisters and Brothers : Before I die I am permitted to address my last words in this world. Deceived by false visions, I embarked in the expedition for Cuba. We arrived, about 400 in number, last week, and in about an hour from now we. I mean fifty of ns. will be lost. I was taken prisoner after an engagement, and, with fifty others, am to oe shot in an hour. I die. my dear brothers and sisters, a repentant sinner, having been blessed with the last rites of our holy religion. Forgive me for all the follies of my life, and you, my dear and affectionate sisters, sisters, pray for my poor souL A , go my dear mother and console her. O. my dear child, kiss her a thousand times for me. Love her for my sake. Kiss my brothers and all your dear children. To Father Blackney, my last profound respect; to Father Lacroix and Father DHaoA mass for the repose repose of my souL My dear mother-in-law, mother-in-law, mother-in-law, mother-in-law, mother-in-law, farewell. Poor Taci tela shot and dead by this time. I give and bequeath my aear child to you and you alone. Good-by Good-by Good-by H ; good-by good-by good-by G and T . I did my dnty. Good-by Good-by Good-by alh Your dear son and brother. - Honors T a cite Vienne. P. S. Mr. Antonia Costa has promised promised to do all he can to obtain my body. If so, please have me buried with my wife. Here is a manly letter from a soldier about to die to a mother whom he loved with surpassing tenderness: Havana. Aug. 16. 1851. My Dear Mother: I have bat a few moments to live. Fifty of as are condemned. to be shot within half an hour. I do not value life, but deeply regret the grief it will cause you to near of my death. Farewell then, my dear mother, sisters and all; we may meet again in another world. Think of me often forget the canses I have given you for grief remember remember only my virtues. Farewell again, dearest mother, and believe me to be your affectionate son. - J. Brandt. Mrs. Man a E- E- Brandt, care of HilL McLean it Cox. New Orleans, La. All of the letters written by the condemned condemned men indicate he same constancy constancy of heart. Any one of them might have been penned by a hero. Here is a touching letter of farewell: Spanish Frigate Esperanza. Harbor Harbor of Havana, Aug. 18, 1851. My Dear-Brothers Dear-Brothers Dear-Brothers and Sisters: This is the last letter yon will ever receive from your brother Thomas. In one hour more I will be launched into eternity,, being a prisoner with fifty others aboard of this ship and under the sen-of sen-of sen-of death. All to be shot! This is a hard fate, but I trust in the mercy of God and will meet my fate manfully. Think of me hereafter not with regret, regret, but as one whom you loved in fife and who loved you. Adieu forever, my brothers, sisters and friends. Thomas C. Jaxes. P. 8- 8- Robert, our poor friends G. A. Cook and John O. Bryce are with me and send their last regards to you: also Clement Standford,formerly of Natchez. Three more of these notable letters from brave men are herewith given. They are all written by the same soldier, one who had fought in the Hungarian army, and who looked death in the face without flinching. To first was to his wife and reads: My Dear Alicia: Adieu, my dear wife? this is the last letter that you will receive from your Victor. In one hoar I shall be no more. Embrace all of my fnends for me. Never marry again ; it is my desire. Mv adieus to mr sisters and brothers. Again, a last adieu. I die like a soldier. soldier. . Your husband. VICTOR Kxb. Aug. 16, 6 o'clock, 185L . The second was to his brother, whom he loved verv tenderlv. My Dear Brother Albert: Adieu! I am to be shot ia an hour. There is no remedy for it. This will be handed to yon by my friend Mr. Costa, who has been kind enough to take charge of it. Adieu. Eobert. 1 die as a man and an American should die. Kiss your dear wife, my good mother, sisters and brothers and believe me ever your brother, Victor Keb. . Aug. 16. 1S51. 6:15 o'clock. The third and last was addressed to a number of hia friends, whom he remembered remembered even at that supreme moment: My Dear Friends: I leave you forever and I go to the other world. I am prisoner prisoner in Havana and in an hour I shall have ceased to exist. My dearest friends, think of me. . I die worthy of a Creole, worthy of a Louisianiao and of a Ker. My dearest friends, adieu for the last time. Your devoted friend. Victor Ker. T. N. Larose. H. Boungoy, lou Fa-zende, Fa-zende, Fa-zende, William G. Viuceur-. Viuceur-. Viuceur-. Felix Arroyo. Arroyo. Auir. 15, tiU o'clock, liCl. The wiiolovile executioa ber'i at-si at-si at-si out 11 o'clock on tii rrc-r-i" rrc-r-i" rrc-r-i" rrc-r-i" rrc-r-i" -r -r . i A - -. -. ::. 1 '1. L.- L.- - r ! : . r t 3 : r : passing the time with cries of viva for the captain general and the queen. Fully 20.000 spectators had crowded about the place of execution at the castle of Atares and all the surrounding surrounding heights were 'packed with eager sightseers. The troops of soldiers held the bloodthirsty mob in check pending the execution of the Americans, who were brought forth a dozen at a time. Six were made to kneel with tbeir backs toward the executioners, who shot them down mercilessly, and the six who had necessarily witnessed the death of their comrades were compelled to kneel down in the blood by the dead bodies to die in turn. Then another dozen of the prisoners were brought forth and the butchery was repeated until all were murdered. Crittenden and Ker were killed together. together. Thev were commanded to kneel ' with their backs to the firing squad, i but they refused, and it was then that j Crittenden gave utterance to that : noble sentiment with which his name j has been imperishably linked. "No." ce saia, "an American always races nis enemy and kneels only to his God." So he and Ker stood motionless awaiting awaiting the discharge. A hail of bullets came, and as thev fell the soldiers ran up and dashed their skulls to pieces with their clubbed muskets. When Crittenden, wearing the red sash he had worn in the Mexican war. was being brought to the place of execution, execution, one of the rabble, taking advantage advantage of his defenseless condition for he was tightly bound came up to him and plucked him by the beard. Crittenden coolly spit in the offender's face. . . .. When he was brought to the place where the dead bodies of his soldiers lay be said that he had but one favor to ask, and that was that he might be shot as corresponded with his dignity aa an officer, as one who had borne arms with distinction and who conld show honorable scars. He said that he did not fear death, but that he did not wish to be shot as a pirate, but to die facing his executors. The request was refused, and turning his back aa if in contempt Crittenden with Ker proudly awaited the end. The last American to be shot was a fine-looking fine-looking fine-looking fellow, who. while kneeling and awaiting the fatal bullet, glanced carelessly from side to side as if he were a disinterested spectator, spectator, and then, just before the volley came, he turned hia head about and looked at the soldiers smilingly. Six bullets entered his body before it fell prone to the earth. Then the soldiers withdrew and for a time the rabble vented its brutality upon the corpses of the Americans. They trod upou and stamped them into the earth- earth- They cut oil' the heads, gouged out the unseeing eyes, amputated amputated fingers and bauds, arms and legs. The clothing of the dead was divided among the most brutal of the mob. who went about with fragments of dead bodies held aloof on poles, shouting "Vivas" to the captain general. When all this bad been done. when, the mob was fairly satiated with its atrocious work, came the hearses which had been nsed for cholera patients. Into these hearses all that remained of the bodies of the dead was closely packed and in some unknown spot the mortal remains of the gallant fifty-one fifty-one fifty-one were given meanest burial. Ex-Governor Ex-Governor Ex-Governor Crittenden baa in. his possession the rea sash his brother wore when executed, the letter he wrote balf an hour before he was shot, the portrait portrait from wbich the accompanying picture of the dead hero was sketched and a scrap book containing all the press of the day. carefully collected and arranged by the hands of his mother. - The book devoted to this pious use sets forth the receipts and expenditures expenditures of the United States for the year 1822, and is in itself so. object of much interest, having been presented to General Felix Huston by C Thompson, Thompson, a member of the eighteenth congress congress from Kentucky. The book is partly filled, with clippings relating to tbe disastrous Cuban expedition and others relating to the Mexican war. through which Colonel, Crittenden served most creditably. General Lopez did not long survive his unfortunate companions in . arms. He was successively defeated ' two or three times, his force was broken np, himself betrayed into the hands of the enemy, and on Sept. 1 he was garroted in front of the Punta opposite the Morro castle. A. L. M. in Kansas City Times. G0IIIAJ1. GOSSIP. honoring a. hero of the hotel rot-al rot-al rot-al fire the fire underwriters' medal presented to sergeant . ;. john r. vaughan for savtxg five lives mrs. paean stevens under an injunction societt will forgive forgive mme. de 8ttjers and elliott zborowskt about ' zborowski foxhall keejtb all right executors executors of a london chemist sue fred ge shard an austrian prince would like a 5,000,000 american heiress. SVeeiAl Correspondence ot tn Pleajrana.1 New York, March 10, 1892. In the rooms of. the Board of Fire Underwriters in Nassau street, the president, Samuel P. Blasden. has presented presented Sergeant John 12. .Vaughan. of Fire Patrol No. 8. with the underwriters' underwriters' medal for his gallantry at the Hotel Hoy al fire. In making the presentation he said : A fearful and an awful scene was presented at the hotel in the early hours of that beautiful Sabbath day. At a window in one of the upper stories was gathered a group with anxious faces a father, mother and child, and another man waiting perhaps, to die together. At the next window, in 'an adjoining building, appeared a sergeant of our patrol. The distance was too great to reach. Without hesitating he threw nimself down, restiug one arm upon the sill and entwining his leg around a telephone wire which was. fortunately, conveniently near. With his other arm, one by one, he conducted this group of four over his prostrate body as a bridge to the window of safety. His work was not yet done. Ascending to the roof he discovered discovered a-mau a-mau a-mau standing upon the sill of a window iu another portion of the house, hesitating whether to meet death by jatnpiug or wait to be overtaken overtaken by the fire. Shouting to him to wait and be would save him be rushed to the street and. calling upon his comrades comrades to follow, ascended to the roof of another adjoining building. Hastily throwing on his coat, and with his companions companions holding him by the legs, he threw himself head downward over, the cornice and. with their assistance, raised this man of over 200 pounds in weight to' the roof. The rescue was completed, the lives were saved, and we gathered here to-day to-day to-day to do honor to the rescuer. The lives saved by Sergeant Vaughan were those of ilr. and Mrs. Charles 11. Phelps and son, J. W. Gibson andC W. Cline. The medal presented to him was of pure gold. On its lace was his monogram, surmounted by a laurel wreath, and the inscription. "New York Board of Underwriters, liVJ." The reverse side was inscribed as follows: follows: 'Presented to Sergeant John IL Vaughan. of Fire Patrol No. S. by the New York Board of Fire Underwriters as a testimonial for having rescued five persons from the third and fifth floors of the Hotel Eoyal. corner of Sixth avenue and Fortieth street, at the time of its destruction by fixe, Feb. 7 lS'Ji" "The bare details of this act of heroism may seem a trilie tame, but the underwriters underwriters medal is only tiven for the saving of life under circuiubtancea of great hazard aud dilliculty, aud o ily nve other men have received it in tiia last twelve years. George T. ilichardson and Charles G. Stevens, trustees of the estate of i'araa fctvens. have encceeded inrii'.iu'aa i injunction from Jude Patterson of the I . . . ' i- i- i v.itrru Supreme court icancuuii: j i v the widow, from rentier, k-Aiir:? k-Aiir:? k-Aiir:? or letting letting any of the realty oi the t-t-Ue t-t-Ue t-t-Ue t-t-Ue t-t-Ue in. thia cits-. cits-. cits-. They cJur?s that she Ls not fAiiLillv per!oru:ed Ler duties as eie-cn'r: eie-cn'r: eie-cn'r: - ro;:i-i ro;:i-i ro;:i-i tr.! o. : r

Clipped from
  1. The Times-Picayune,
  2. 14 Mar 1892, Mon,
  3. Page 7

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  • Gilman Cook and other letters

    htimm – 05 Feb 2013

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