Schuylkill County And The Spanish American War
Standing alone on the east end of Garfield Square in Pottsville is a monument to the veterans of the Spanish American war. In April 1898 President McKinley called for 75,000 volunteers to enter the war which had been declared against Spain. During this time period Schuylkill County had seven companies of National Guardsmen in the 4th Pennsylvania Regiment which responded to the call with the patriotism shown by Schuylkill countians in every war this country has been involved in. This statue, called the " Hiker " is dedicated to the veterans who served and fought in the Spanish American war and called themselves the Hikers.
On May 29, 1961 the Pottsville Republican printed a photograph of eight men who served in the military during the Spanish American war, William Warner 85, John F. Krater 82, Gomer Hughes 88, William Lindemuth 82, George Reichader 76, John Cantwell 81, George Steidel 83, and William Corby 82. As listed all the men were in their 80's and these few men were among the last of the Spanish American War veterans still alive.
Schuylkill County sent many young men off to that " Splendid Little War " in April of 1898, many seeing combat in Cuba and the Philippines, and others just spending months drilling in Georgia and Virginia.
The two primary units from the area were the 4th and 8th regiments of the Pennsylvania National Guard. The 4th sent over 240 men from the county and the 8th had the most with 880 men serving in the ranks. The 4th regiment would see limited action in the campaign in Porto Rico, and the 8th regiment would spend most of its time in camp at Chickamagua Georgia and camp Alger near Falls Church, Virginia. Possibly the most exciting time that the men of the 8th regiment had was in early July about 200 men of the 6th P.N.G. started out to celebrate the 4th of July and without proper orders made a mess of themselves, men from company H of Pottsville and company B from Tamagua were ordered out to arrest the men of the 6th. They captured over 300 of them and made them walk back to camp. Both regiments had no combat related casualties, but typhoid fever consumed many of the boys and took the lives of 9 men in the 4th regiment and two in the 8th.
Schuylkill county would also have men that served in the Regular U.S. Army and Navy, these men would see the majority of combat in the very short period of the war. William Ryan from Minersville a private in company K of the 16th U.S. Infantry saw action at the battle of Santiago, Cuba. The September 21, 1898 issue of the Miners Journal reported that Ryan a very modest young man arrived home from the war in Cuba. He related an account of the fighting he was in to the Journal's reporter. " During the fighting, when the Spanish artillery was belching forth a heavy fire, part of the 16th, including company K determined to fool the Spaniards. A wagon was uncoupled and the forward part arranged in position like a cannon, the tongue was wrapped with bags and then covered with a rubber poncho, which at a distance, gave the appearance of a cannon. The latest production of Yankee ingenuity was pushed forward into a conspicuous position and immediately the unsuspecting Dons directed their fire towards this formidable looking weapon. Taking advantage of this the Yankees pushed forward with their troops and drove the enemy from their trenches into the city.
The regular army recruited heavily in Schuylkill and the surrounding counties with 54 men enlisting in the 21st and 12th U.S. Infantry regiments on one week. July 13th also saw the enlistment of another 22 men for the 12th regiment.
The U.S.S. Texas was the first battleship commissioned in the U.S. Navy. She was commissioned on August 15, 1895 a month earlier than the famous battleship U.S.S. Maine. The Texas arrived off the coast of Cuba on February 21, 1898 and was at once put on patrol and blockade duty.
On board the Texas were two Schuylkill countians, Lieut. Louis Heilner the navigating officer from Tamaqua and Lieut. Frank Haesler in command of the starboard turret gun. Haesler was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, and was noted as an expert electrician and engineer for his applications of compressed air and mechanics.
The Texas was known as the " Hoodoo " of the navy because of her slow firing and handling qualities. Lieut. Haesler was asked to give his recommendations for improving on the existing problems that were affecting the performance of the ship. He submitted his plans to the navy, the officers of the board were hesitant to accept them until Theodore Roosevelt, the Secretary of the Navy intervened and with his influence Lieut. Haesler's plans were accepted. He was then assigned to the crew of the Texas.
One of the main problems with the Texas was her slow rate of fire, caused by the need to bring the turrets to a neutral point before being reloaded. Haesler made the 12" guns rapid firers by improving on the method of loading. The charge was carried to the gun in any direction. He also made the guns safer to fire by altering the electric firing mechanism so that the gun could not be fired unless the breech was closed.
During the bombardment of the Spanish Fort Cago Del Tore in Guantanamo Bay Cuba on June 21, 1898 and again in the fierce Naval Battle of Santiago on July 3. Lieut. Haesler was in charge of the starboard turret. During the engagement on July 3, the Texas fought nine different Spanish vessels and Lieut. Haesler was highly praised for his heroic actions.
Lieut. Haesler's effective manner in which he handled the guns, made every projectile strike the lofty fort, causing sever damage. He soon became known among the blue jackets as the man who destroyed the " Hoodo " which had so long followed the Texas. The men were so pleased with his him that they presented to him an engraved gold watch. The inscription read " To Lieut. Haesler by the crew of the Battleship Texas converting the vessel from the "Old Hoodoo" to "The New Hero"
Lieut. Haesler's career was cut short while he was stationed in Washington. In November of 1900 he became sick with Typhoid fever, and two weeks after the illness began he died on November 20, 1900. He was buried in the Naval Academy Cemetery with full military honors.
Lieut. Louis Heilner would also continue on in his naval career and in 1936 while serving as a Captain in charge of the Navy Yards between Newport News and Boston, Heilner was promoted to Rear Admiral. Admiral Heilner retired from the Navy in 1938.
Spanish American War Soldiers
From Schuylkill County who served in the Regular Army, Marines and Navy.
This list is not complete.
1. David L Thomas, Trooper Gov. Pa. Cav.
2. Harry F. Kimmell Co. L 12th US Inf. Artificer.
3. Henry Fogarty Battery D 2nd US Artillery
4. William Murray Co. L 12th US Inf. Pvt.
5. Robert Masterson Co. K 18th US inf.
6. James Gordon Co. C 2nd Regiment US Inf. Pvt.
7. Leigh Jay Co. L 22d US Inf. Sgt.
8. George Beers Troop G 7th Regiment Pvt. Weatherly
9. Anthony Gergler 28th US Inf. Mah City.
10. William Mulenfskie 82 Coast Artillery Corp. Shenandoah.
11. John Brennan Co. D 21 US Inf. Minersville
12. Jacob Wilkaitis Co. F 21 US Inf. Shenandoah
13. Anthony Schuck Co. I 39th US Inf. Minersville
14. Fred Krebs 36th Coast Artillery Pvt. St. Clair..
15. Patrick Byrne Co. L 21st US Inf. Shenandoah
16. John Kirkpatrick Troop L 3rd US Cav. Sgt. Schuylkill Haven
17. Edwin F Dewald Co. L 12th US Inf. Orwigsburg
18. William Woon Co. D 21 Inf. Frackville.
19. Peter Dougherty Batt. F 6th Regiment Pvt. McAdoo
20. Daniel Schall Cook 4th US Coast Artillery, Minersville
21. William Prosser Co. G 28th Inf. Shenandoah
22. Terrence O'Boyle Battery H 6th Artillery Shenandoah
23. Tim McLain Co 21st Inf. Shenandoah
24. Mike Purcell Co F 7th Us Pvt. Minersville
25. Martin Navin Co. C 21st US Inf. Ashland
26. James Derrick Co. L 21st Inf Pvt. Shenandoah
27. William Coury Co. D 21 Inf. Shenandoah
28. Elias Reed Co. C 16th INf Pvt. Sch Haven
29. John Francis McIntyre Navy USS Minneapolis Gunner M Girardville
30. Joe Mitchel Co. K 21st Inf Pvt. Shenandoah
31. Owin McKernan Co. B 19th Pvt. St. Clair
32. Patrick Cantwell Co. K 21 Inf Pvt. Shenandoah
33. John Brecker Co A 19th Inf Pvt. Sch Haven
34. Joseph Goetz Co. L 9th Inf Pvt.Pottsville
35. Thomas Coon Battery E 7th Artillery, Ft. Springs
36. Daniel Fahnestock Co. G 22 Inf. Portor Township
37. Tom Durkin Co. L 21 Inf Pvt. Ashland
38. Charles McBride Naval USS Topeka Coal Passer Beaver Meadow
39. Fred Ginsburg Co. I 12 Inf Pottsville
40. Elmer Warnick Co. E 21 Inf Pvt. Shenandoah
41. Walter Cooney Co. E 21 Inf. Pvt. Shenandoah
42. Thomas Lee 28th Inf Div. Shenandoah
43. Thomas McAlister Coast Artillery Co.A 6th Shenandoah
44. Mike Ryan 2 Inf Co. K Pvt. Shenandoah
45. Terrance McLain Co. I 21 Pvt. Shenandoah
46. William J Simmons Co. I 21 Inf.Shenandoah
47. Mathias Schmidt Co. K 21 Inf Shenandoah
48. Nick Whalen Co. G 21 Inf Pvt. Shenandoah
49. Patrick Burns US Marines USS Michigan Shenandoah
50. John Tempest Co. L 21 Inf Pvt. Shenandoah
51. Joseph C Matthews Co B 3 Artillery
52. Ben Thomas Co. L 21 Inf Pvt. Shenandoah
53. William Young 21 Inf Shenandoah
54. Robert F. Shuman Co. L 28 Inf Shenandoah
55. Peter Becker 21 Inf Shenandoah
56. Thomas Hutton 6th Artillery Batt. F Shenandoah
57. Henry Keen 21 Inf Co. I Shen
58. John J. Beisel Co. A 1st Cavalry Pvt. Shenandoah Rough R.
59. William Durham Co. E 21 Inf Shenandoah
60. Joseph Blacker 21 Inf Pvt Shenandoah
61. Isiah Woomer Co. L21 Inf Pvt. Shenandoah
62. John Prosser Co. I 21 Inf Pvt. Shenandoah
63. Max Fedonshick Co. A 21 Pvt. Shenandoah
64. Frank Jackoviak Co. E 21 Shenandoah
65. Matthew Mizinskie Co. A 21 Inf Pvt. Shenandoah
66. William Seward 21 Inf Pvt. Shen
67. John Leahy Co. B 21 Inf Shen
68. Patrick Curran 66th Coast Artillery, McAdo
69. Samuel Unger 124th Co. Coast Artillery Mechanic Muir
70. John Stutzman Co. H 21 Inf Orwin
71. Hezekial Crawford US Navy Seaman Pottsville Black Sailor
72. Thomas Behney Battery A 104th Artillery Corp. Pottsville
73. Anthony McCormick US Marines Girardville
74. Curits Evans 21 Inf. Sgt. Butler T.
75. Ben Simpson Co. M 21 Ashland
76. John J. Lagus Co. I 11 U S Inf. Pottsville
77. Victor Marshall Co. I 47th US Vol Minersville
78. Thomas Cahill Co. D 19 Mahanoy City
79. Fred Swaaring US Hospital Corp.
80. Lewis Wilkes Co. D 12 Inf Minersville
81. Frank Dopkins Troop L 8th cavalry Sgt. Mah. City
82. Peter Becker 21 Co. M Shenandoah
83. William Yoder Co. G Us Inf 4th Schuylkill Haven
84. Harry Troutman 6th US Artilery Batt k Girardville
85. Thomas Hirst #rd Artillery Battery B Ashland
86. Robert John Barnes USS Navy USS Franklin Fireman 1st Girdv
87. Oscar Brobst Co. I 2 US Artillery Nuremberg
88. Charles Heyer Co. A 47th Reg. Barry Township
89. Cleaver Pinkerton Troop L Cavalry 2nd Pottsville
90. William Preston Co. K 6th US Artillery Frackville
91. Andrew Siemanis Co. K 21 Infantry Shenandoah
92. William Henry Toward Co. C 21 Inf Reiner Ciity
93. William Griffiths Co. L 20 th Inf Frackville
94. Henry Dewalt Servive Company Inf. 1st Sgt. Cressona
95. Edwin Dewalt Co. L 12 INf 2nd Cav. Orwigsburg
96. M.F.Duffy Co. B 21 Inf Sgt. Minersville
97. Victor Marshall 3rd US Infantry Branch Twp.
98. George Higgins USMC Tamagua
99. Horace Pullman troop Cavalry.
100. Charles Taylor Co. I 21 Inf.
101. Edmund Richardson Co. M21 Inf Mahanoy Twp
102. Samuel Detrick Co. L 15th US Inf. Pine Grove
103. John Grogan Co. I 21 Inf St Stephens
104. Curtis Evans Co. I 215 / Co. M 21 Inf.Lavelle
105. J.W.A. Donnel Co. F 47th St. Clair
106. Robert H. Ebner Co. D 7 Coast Artillery
107. John Lulsie US Navy, USS Yankee, Panther And Scorpion Branch Township.
108. James Hannon Co. L 21 Inf Pvt. Ashland
109. Harry Burger Co. L 21 Inf
110. H. E. Templin Co. L 47th Regt. Port Carbon
111. Thomas Riley US Marines
112. Charles F.W. Heyer Co. A 47 Inf.Barry Twp.
113. George Bernet US Navy Seaman Pottsville
114. Mike Donahue US Marines Minersville.
BRIGADIER WILLIAM A. AUMAN
A SCHUYLKILL COUNTY HERO
One of the most interesting stories that came from the Spanish American war is the service and record of one of Pottsvilles native sons Major William Auman. Major Auman had a lucrative military career beginning with his service as a member of the Washington Artillerists one of the First Defender companies in 1861, and also serving with the famed 48th regiment first as a private and finally commanding company G as a captain. Auman was wounded severely in the mouth during the Petersburg campaign in 1864. After the Civil War he was commissioned as a captain in the 13th U.S. Infantry and served on the frontier fighting Indians and has been with the 13th up to the Spanish American War. He retired from the military in 1903 after reaching the rank of Brig. General.
When most people think of the Spanish American War the first thing that comes to mind is the gallant charge of Teddy Roosevelt and the famous Rough Riders up kettle hill, on the 1st of July 1898. But equally as important as the charge of the Rough Riders the assault made on the left flank by the men of the 13th , 9th and 24th infantry regiments was of a heroic nature. Leading the 13th regiment was Pottsville's Major Auman.
In a newspaper article dated July 15th, 1898 to the Buffalo Times, Major Auman wrote a letter to the editor concerning who the glory of the capture of San Juan Hill should go.
The Times has generously sent daily to a number of the officers of the 13th Infantry, including myself, copies of your interesting paper, for which we are duly grateful. “The last received today are dated the 2d inst. And give some of the details of the battle here on the 1st inst. We also received papers from other parts of the country of a later date and all give credit to Wheeler’s Division for the capture of Fort “San Juan”, while Kent’s Division (1st) is scarcely mentioned. I enclose a copy of my official report, made to the brigade commander on the 5th inst. And it would appear from this that the 13th Infantry, and in fact the whole of Kent’s Division, was hotly engaged, if not more so, than Wheeler’s. The 71st New York are reported as having charged through the Spanish lines. As that regiment was in the second line and in our rear during the battle, and did not get on the heights of San Juan until sometime after it had been captured, we cannot understand how it could have made the reported charge.
The Rough Riders are credited with having captured San Juan Heights. This is not correct. The 6th and 16th attacked on the right, the 13th immediately in front and the 24th on our left. The Rough Riders are in Wheeler’s Division which was on the right of Kent’s, and while they fought splendidly, and captured the works in their front, they DID NOT TAKE SAN JUAN. The fact that the 13th were the first to surmount the top of the heights and capture the few Spaniards that remained and their were two regiments of our division to our right is sufficient proof Kent’s Division took the fort and are entitled to all the credit.
I cannot close this without testifying to the devotion and patient endurance of the officers and men of the 13th under many trials and privations. Some idea may be formed of our hardships from the fact that there are now but eleven officers on duty with the regiment. All the field officers, except myself, all the captains and many of the lieutenants have succumbed to wounds of battle and to disease, and there are now but four first and second lieutenants on duty with me. This small, but noble band have been tried by the severest tests and are loyal and true. None could have done better, Respectfully
Major 13th Infantry , Commanding Regiemnt.
From the book.. Reminiscences and thrilling stories of the war by returned heroes ...
By James Rankin Young, J. H. Moore
This is Major Auman Story about the charge up San Juan Hill.
Major William Auman, at the head of the Thirteenth United States Regulars, was the first commissioned officer to reach the top of San Juan hill, after the three senior officers of the command had been shot down. He seized the Spanish flag as the prize of the regiment. Of the 420 men who went into that action, two officers were killed and five wounded and sixteen men were killed and eighty-five wounded.
"We were the last of General Shafter's division," said Major Auman, "to land at Siboney, on June 25th. We were ordered to proceed to Santiago and encamped on the main road four miles from the city. The Rough Riders had already engaged the enemy at Quasina. We formed part of General Kent's brigade, and were immediately ordered to support the cavalry division under General Wheeler, taking the left flank. Early on the morning of July 1st we came under fire before we had time to deploy. Owing to the dense woods we had to march in column along the road, and for one hour were under continuous fire in this position.
" It was on this road we came upon the Seventy first New York. This regiment was in confusion, owing to the difficult position which it occupied, as it was being shot at and hit without being able to locate the enemy, owing to the smokeless powder used by the Spaniards. After we passed it, we marched to the left, over the San Juan creek and into action.
" While marching along the road Senior Major Ellis was wounded, and had to retire. We had no sooner formed into line than Lieutenant-Colonel Worth was severely wounded, and about the same time Brigade Commander Wykoff was killed, which left me in command of the regiment. Ours was the first regiment to come out into the open, and as we did so, the Spanish artillery and infantry opened a heavy fire from the crest of San Juan Hill. Men fell on every side. About 100 yards ahead of us was a gentle rising. I ordered'the battalion to advance to shelter. The Spanish lines were only 600
yards away. Here we remained until the other regiments of the brigade had formed on our left. As soon as the four regiments had got into line, I gave the command to my regiment to make the assault. We advanced up the hill under a galling fire.
" Time and again the enemy tried to repulse us, but, seeing that we kept straight on, they ran. I immediately sent the message along the line, ' The Spaniards are running.' This encouraged the men, and between running and climbing, we reached the summit; but not until we had cut our way through two wire fences. Then we seized the Spanish flag, entrenchments and block house, while the Spaniards were running down the other side of the hill with their artillery.
" I was the first commanding officer to reach the brow of the hill, and when the men of the different regiments asked if they should follow, seeing a second line of intrenchments beyond, I ordered them to hold what they had and fire at the fleeing enemy. We realized, however, that the Spaniards in the trenches beyond were firing at us. The smokeless powder kept us in ignorance of this for some time. Then I ordered the men to lie down and open fire.
A Target for Sharpshooters.
" A bugler was shot down within a foot of where I was standing, and for a time I was the target of the Spanish sharpshooters. Later we were ordered by General Hawkins to support the Rough Riders, who were being hard pressed, and while engaged in this we were under fire all night, where more of our men fell. The following day our brigade was replaced by a brigade of the Second Division under General Chaffee, and we returned to the trenches on San Juan Hill, where we remained until July 17, when the city surrendered. In taking San Juan Hill twenty-five per cent, of my men were shot down. It was a close call for every man in the engagement.
" All prisoners, numbering 7,000, were received by my regiment. With one battalion I entered the city, while I stationed the other battalion out in the field to receive them. After the surrender I was stricken down with fever and sent to the fever hospital. On August 8 I left Cuba for Montauk Point, where I was given sick leave, and returned home to Buffalo."
The experience of the Sixth Regulars was thus told by one of them: " We had a hot time in Cuba, any way you look at it. We landed in Cuba over 800 strong, but there are only about 425 of us here to-day. Some men lie dead in the trenches at Santiago, over 200 were wounded, about 30 killed; IO of our officers were badly wounded. The rest of us are sick, I00 in the hospitals of New York alone.
" Thev were mighty plucky fellows, those Rough Riders, but a little too reckless, and if it wasn't for us and the Twenty-fourth it would have been all up for them that day. We were on the left of them and the Twenty-fourth on the right. Those colored fellows were the lions, afraid of nothing; the hotter the fire the greater the sport for them.
"Well, the toughest day of the lot was on the third day of July. All night long we slept in the open, rains falling and drenching us to the skin. Up we got to march. It was five o'clock in the morning when we started. That march up San Juan Hill was awful, but those were our orders, and up we went. There they were, the Spaniards, intrenched behind a line of trenches, another line of blockhouses, and another line of barbed wire. Up we went; some of us fell down worn out, dead tired; but our orders were to take that hill and we took it, somehow,—God only knows how!"
Brave Colored Troops.
The two colored cavalry regiments, the Ninth and Tenth Regulars, were among the most popular soldiers in Cuba. They are quiet, well-mannered, cheerful fellows, these negro troopers, and far sooner than any of the other Cuban veterans they recovered their spirits and vitality after the campaign. In an encampment made up chiefly of the sick and half sick, it was inspiring to meet on the road a group of these soldiers jogging along in lively conversation, their white teeth gleaming in smiles. As to their abilities in battle but one opinion was expressed, and almost invariably in the same words:
" Those colored chaps fought like devils."
Many are the stories of their prowess, told by the men of the other regiments. A company of the Tenth went into action singing. Two men 01 another company enlivened their comrades during a very trying halt under fire by executing a double-flop dance, to which the whole company began presently to clap out the time; their officers, meanwhile, being wisely blind and deaf to these rather unusual tactics, The Rough Riders were enthusiastic over the Ninth regiment. When Roosevelt's men had made their rush up San Juan Hill they found themselves in a very bad position, pressed by a superior force of the enemy on both flanks and in front. It is generally admitted that they could not have held their position but for the splendid charge of the black men to their support. After the worst of the fighting was over, a Rough Rider, finding himself near one of the colored troopers, walked up and grasped his hand, saying :
" We've got you fellows to thank for getting us out of a bad hole."
" Dat's all right, boss," said the negro, with a broad grin. " Bat's all right. It's all in de fam'ly. We call ouahselves de Colored Rough Riders."
" It was a matter of considerable doubt," an officer of the regular infantry says, "whether the colored troops would acquit themselves well. We of the army knew them to be good Indian fighters, but this Cuban business was no more like Indian fighting than a game of marbles is like billiards. Probably it was because I am from the South that I didn't think much of the colored regiments, but having seen those fellows in action I've changed my mind completely. They were the best, the readiest, the most cheerful, and, I believe, the deadliest fighters in the war. In the charge up the hill a volunteer who had got separated from his company, who looked pretty badly rattled, got caught in the rush and carried along. A big fellow behind him kept spurring him on and trying to encourage him, but the man was badly rattled and tried to get away. That settled him with the troopers, who began to guy him, asking his name and address for purposes of identification, and assuring him that he would be readily distinguished among the other dead on account of his color. Presently a Mauser bullet clipped the sleeve of the man next to him. The trooper turned to the volunteer:
"' Honey, dat bullet was a-callin' youah name, shuah,' he said.
No Shrinking Under Fire.
" They tell me that the volunteer finally plucked up his spirits and fought so well that the negroes assured him that in the next battle he'd be an honor to any regiment. One thing I noticed about the negro troopers was that they evinced less inclination to duck when the bullets whistled over them than the other soldiers showed. A sergeant explained it to me this way:
" ' Wen de bullet go along it say, " Pi yi-yi! Pi-yi-yi!" Nobody ain' goin' to min' dat. But de shrapnel, dat's different. Dat say, " Oo-oo oo-oo; I want yeh, I want yeh, I want yeh, mah honey!" Dat's w'at makes a man's head kindah shrink like between his shouldahs.'
" However, I didn't see any shrinking that could be identified as such among those men. There wasn't an instant during the fighting that they didn't look as if they were in the very place of all places on earth where they most wished to be."
At Camp Montauk the colored men assiduously cultivated the gentle arts of peace. Every night they sat outdoors and sang. The Ninth men staked out a baseball diamond on the flat near the Life-saving Station and played a most tumultuous game of ball, which would have resulted more definitely if in the third inning the runs hadn't piled up so high that the scorer collapsed with exhaustion and fell asleep. As no tv/o of the players agreed on the score, the game was declared " no contest." The Tenth Cavalryman who had his guitar with him was the centre of a large audience every afternoon, and he was hustling around trying to persuade some of the banjo and mandolin players to beg or borrow instruments which could be sent to them, so that he could get up a string orchestra. Certain sportsmen of the Ninth organized cross-country hunts after the frog, which abounds in the marshes. They stalked him to his lair, and then swathed him with the unpoetic but substantial club, whereupon he croaked his last croak and rendered up his muscular legs to make a dainty feast. Two hunters who beat along the little stream flowing back of the Signal Corps bagged no less than forty-seven batrachians, not counting six toads which they killed by mistake. On the whole, the colored soldiers got more out of camp life than any one else inthe place.
During the fight for Fort San Juan, Cuba the 3rd Brigade of the 5th Corps consisting of the 9th, 13th, and 24th U.S. infantry regiments were ordered to advance against the enemy held heights. In this assault the 13th regiment was at the head of the column of regiments. At the base of the hill was a small creek which the men crossed and went into line of battle. Advancing under intense Spanish fire the men had to hack down a fence that impeded their way. After cutting through the fence with the aid of their bayonets they advanced across open terrain for over 100 yards under a galling fire. Prior to crossing the creek the three senior officers of the regiment were shot down by rifle fire, leaving only Lt. Col. Worth of the 13th and Major Auman in command, Col. Worth took command of the brigade and the command of the 13th regiment fell to Major Auman.
Taking command Major Auman heroically directed the troops up the hill under intense fire, he was constantly moving from the left of the line to the right of the line the whole time exposed to enemy fire. Running and climbing their way up the hill, men were being wounded and killed the whole time. Major Auman was yelling and encouraging his men continually, during this point of the assault the enemy rifle fire was severe. When approaching the crest of the hill Major Auman was heard yelling, " The Spaniards are Running ". When the men of the 13th and the rest of the battalion heard his cry they surged forward with impetus and fired a terrific volley from their rifles upon the enemy. As the regiment reached the top of the hill still being lead by Major Auman, he would have the distinction of being the first American officer to reach the brow of the hill. Major Auman's old company would be the unit that captured the Spanish flag, block house and entrenchments. He then halted his command and ordered the men to fire at the fleeing Spanish soldiers. Major Auman stated " A bugler was shot down within a foot of where I was standing and for a time I was the target for the Spanish sharpshooters ". After the action the brigade was ordered to support the Rough Riders, who were being hard pressed.
Major Auman would receive numerous commendations for his actions on July 1, 1898 two of the commanding Generals personally commended him. Brig. General Adelbert Ames and Major General J. Ford Kent U.S.V. commanding.
Majo Auman is Buried at Arlington National Cemetery
From the Arlington Cemetery web site.
William Auman of Pennsylvania
Appointed from Pennsylvania, Private, Company B, 25th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, 18 April to 29 July1862
Corporal and Sergeant, Company G, 48th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, 29 September 1862to 23 July 1864
Second Lieutenant, 48th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry,24 July 1864
First Lieutenant, 12 September 1864
Captain, 4 June 1865
Breveted Captain of Volunteers, 2 April 1865, for gallant and meritorious services before Petersburg, Virginia
Honorably mustered out 17 July 1865
Second Lieutenant, 13th U. S. Infantry, 11 May 1866
First Lieuenant, 5 October 1867
Regimental Quartermaster, 1 January 1870 to 1 August 1871
Captain, 26 march 1879
Major, 26April 1898
Lieutenant Colonel, 21st U. S. Infantry, 7 September 1900
Transferred to the 13th U. S. Infantry, 11 March 1901
Colonel, 29th U. S. Infantry, 16 October 1901
Brigadier General, 16 April 1902
Retired 10 May 1902
Henry Auman came to this country as a British soldier, for the British crown. He was taken prisoner by General Washington at Trenton, New Jersey, and after the Revolutionary War settled in Amity Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania. He was a great grandfather of the late Samuel and Lieutenant William Auman, of Pottsville, the latter of the United States army, retired and living in New York.
May 17, 1868: Captain Wm. Auman (then a 1st lieutenant), in addition to being in command of B Company was the post quartermaster, and when the Indians appeared his first thought was to secure the government animals which were grazing a quarter of a mile from the post.
Armed with a rifle he proceeded to the corral, mounted a horse, and accompanied by one of the teamsters rode out and secured the animals while the hostile Indians were within two hundred yards of the herd.
After the animals had been put in the corral he went where one of the field pieces had opened fire, and finding that the piece was loaded with shell the fuse of which was uncut, he cut one fuse with his pocket knife and started for the magazine for a fuse knife. At this juncture he received a bullet wound in the left foot, the ball passing through the instep and causing a most painful and serious wound.
Brigadier General, United States Army
DATE OF DEATH: 05/21/1920
BURIED AT: SECTION 2 SITE 916WS
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
AUMAN, BESSIE D/O GEN AUMAN
DATE OF DEATH: 02/19/1875
BURIED AT: SECTION OFF C SITE 916
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
DAUGHTER OF WILLIAM AUMAN
AUMAN, EMMA E
WIFE OF WILLIAM AUMAN
DATE OF DEATH: 02/21/1919
BURIED AT: SECTION 2 SITE 916ES
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
AUMAN, FRANK R S/O GEN AUMAN
DATE OF DEATH: 03/28/1888
BURIED AT: SECTION OFC C SITE 916
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
SON OF WILLIAM AUMAN
DATE OF DEATH: 03/12/1888
BURIED AT: SECTION 2 SITE 916
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
SON OF WILLIAM AUMAN