James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

July 1

The Charge at Santiago

By William Hamilton Hayne (1856–1929)

  • San Juan Hill in Santiago was taken by the American forces July 1, 1898. Colonel Theodore Roosevelt’s regiment of Rough Riders distinguished themselves in this assault, which was one of the most notable engagements of the Spanish-American War.

  • WITH shot and shell, like a loosened hell,

    Smiting them left and right,

    They rise or fall on the sloping wall

    Of beetling bush and height!

    They do not shrink at the awful brink

    Of the rifle’s hurtling breath,

    But onward press, as their ranks grow less,

    To the open arms of death!

    Through a storm of lead, o’er maimed and dead,

    Onward and up they go,

    Till hand to hand the unflinching band

    Grapple the stubborn foe.

    O’er men that reel, ’mid glint of steel,

    Bellow or boom of gun,

    They leap and shout over each redoubt

    Till the final trench is won!

    O charge sublime! Over dust and grime

    Each hero hurls his name

    In shot or shell, like a molten hell,

    To the topmost heights of fame!

    And prone or stiff, under bush and cliff,

    Wounded or dead men lie,

    While the tropic sun on a grand deed done

    Looks with his piercing eye!