The Battle for Santiago de Cuba

By July 1st Shafter's Fifth Corps had moved steadily northwest towards Santiago, and was poised for what would become the decisive land battle of the Spanish-American War.

On the morning of July 1st General Shafter sent his 2nd Division north to attack El Caney, while the remainder of his Corps attacked the heights overlooking Santiago, two small hills outside the city of San Juan.


     El Caney   

As General Lawton's troops moved towards El Caney in the pre-dawn hour of July 1st, their progress was hampered by constant and deadly sniper fire, enemy soldiers in trenched positions, and fences and barricades.  

The garrison at El Caney was heavily defended by Spanish soldiers well-entrenched is six heavy timber blockhouses and a fortified stone church.  At 10 A.M.  the 17th Infantry was ordered to attack the high ground, and rushed forward under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Haskell.  Ahead of his men and only four hundred yards from the Spanish lines, Colonel Haskell fell mortally wounded.  Two officers and five enlisted men from Company C of the 17th Infantry earned Medals of Honor for their subsequent efforts to recover the body of their leader.

In other actions that day, two men from Company D, 17th US Infantry also earned Medals of Honor  for rescuing wounded comrades far who had fallen in the front of the lines.

George Francis Berg
Private, U.S. Army

Born:   December 02, 1868 at Mount Erie, IL
Entered Service:   Fort Omaha, NE
Date/Place of Action:  July 01, 1898 - El Caney, Cuba
Unit:   Company C, 17th US Infantry
Presentation:  Presented on October 17, 1927
Date of Death:  November 27, 1945
Buried at:   Mount Pleasant Cemetery - South Portland, ME

Courtesy of

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