In Brastworks, near Santiago de Cuba
July 4, 1898

Dearest Mother:

Here I am safe and sound after one of the most terrible battles I expect the world has ever seen. We started from camp around 4:00 a.m. July 1st on the march to the front, and after three hours march began to be under fire: the next two hours were the most awful you can imagine. We were marching along a trail through thick woods with no sign of an enemy and with bullets dropping like hail all around us. About every ten steps men were dropping out, either wounded or killed. One man was killed instantly about a foot from me, and dozens were wounded around me, but, thank God, I was not hit. You can imagine what it was like when in K company of 67 men, 18 are wounded, 4 killed and 3 missing, Capt. McF[arland], also being slightly wounded in the back of the head by a bursting shell. This happened later, however.
After marching up the trail for about two miles we finally got into a sunken road running at right angles to the trail. Here we collected behind the bank of road, for there was no organization left: in fact two companies had become entirely separated from the regiment. Here we stayed for nearly ten minutes, with a hail of bullets going over our heads, but pretty well protected. (Up to this time we had lost three officers, Morrison killed, Spence and Woodbury wounded.)
In front of us, about 1,000 yards, was a block-house on a high hill from which the fire was coming and which we were to attack. ***** He gave no command to move forward from this position. Lieut. Ord of Gen. Hawkins’ staff came with orders for us to move forward but no one took command and finally Ord called for five brave men to go forward and this started us and I was one of the first five to go through the wire fence in front of us into the open field in front. This field lay between us and the hill on which the block-house was situated. Our advance carried forward the 6th Infantry and a few of the 9th Cavalry (dismounted), which were on our left flank, and on we went in one long line with men dropping at every step.
Capt. McFarland is a dandy and was ahead of everyone except Lieut. Ord (He poor fellow was killed at the top of the works by a wounded Spaniard.) Well anyway we went up the hill, and jus as he, Capt. McF., neared the top he was hit by a shell but only stunned for a time. We found their trenches filled with dead and dying Spaniards and several dead officers were in and around the block-house. We took possession of their works and commenced fire on their men who were falling back on another block-house. We held this hill until re-enforcements came, and then after the most awful day it is possible to imagine, we sat utterly exhausted.
Towards evening we were moved out to the left of the block-house about half a mile, and entrenched that night on the ridge.
At daylight the next morning the battle opened up again, two of our companies being in the entrenchments, the rest, among themmyself, as I was temporarily in command of the company, were lying behind the hill. About 8 o’clock shrapnel shell began to burst all around us. I was sitting talking to a Major of the 10th Infantry (Eskridge) when a shell burst over our heads killing a soldier about a foot from us and mortally wounding Major Eskridge. This shell killed three and wounded nine men.
Well mother dear I won’t say anything more about war, for I, like every officer and soldier in this whole army, have had enough, and war is certainly an awful, terrible, dreadful thing. At present a flag of truce is in force but fighting may commence at any time, so that long before you get this I may be killed or wounded, but you can know that I shall die bravely if it should come.
I will try and cable you if I ever get into Santiago all right, but don’t expect a cable as it may impossible to send a message. So don’t worry until you hear some bad news.
I hope indeed that I am all right when this reaches you, but if anything should happen, I want you to know that no one has ever had a better or sweeter mother than I have.
Tell Father I thought of that staff appointment at St. Paul when we were going to the Spanish works, but even then I would rather have been where I was.
With lot and lots of love to Father, Edith and to you mother dear.
Your loving son, [Edward Carey]