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Title: The Career of Leonard Wood

Author: Joseph Hamblen Sears

Release date: September 3, 2010 [eBook #33626]
Most recently updated: January 6, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Don Kostuch


[Transcriber's note]

Page numbers in this book are indicated by numbers enclosed in curly braces, e.g. {99}. They have been located where page breaks occurred in the original book.

Obvious spelling errors have been corrected but "inventive" spelling is left unchanged. Apparently conflicting spelling is not resolved, as in "Gouraud" and "Gourand".

[End Transcriber's note]







Copyright 1919 by

Printed in the United States of America


By Corinne Roosevelt Robinson

  Your vision keen, unerring when the blind,
      Who could not see, turned, groping, from the light.
      Your sentient knowledge of the wise and right
  Have won to-day the freedom of mankind.

  Honor to whom the honor be assigned!
      Mightier in exile than the men whose might
      Is of the sword alone, and not of sight.
  You march beside the victor host aligned.

  Had not your spirit soared, our ardent youth
      Had faltered leaderless; their eager feet
  Attuned to effort for the valiant truth
      Through your command rushed swiftly to compete
  To hold on high the torch of Liberty--
  Great-visioned Soul, yours is the victory!

  November 11, 1918

  From "Service and Sacrifice: Poems"

  Copyright. 1915. 1916. 1917. 1918. 1919. by
  Charles Scribner's Sons.
  By permission of the publishers.


I. The Subject 11
II. The Indian Fighter 25
III. The Official 51
IV. The Soldier 77
V. The Organizer 101
VI. The Administrator 129
VII. The Statesman 159
VIII. The Patriot 201
IX. The Great War 225
X. The Result 257





In these days immediately following the Great War it is well upon beginning anything--even a modest biographical sketch--to consider a few elementals and distinguish them from the changing unessentials, to keep a sound basis of sense and not be led into hysteria, to look carefully again at the beams of our house and not be deceived into thinking that the plaster and the wall paper are the supports of the building.

Let us consider a few of these elementals that apply to the subject in hand as well as to the rest of the universe--elemental truths which do not change, which no Great War can alter in the least, which serve as guides at all times and will help at every doubtful point. They range themselves somewhat as follows:

The human being is entitled to the pursuit of happiness--happiness in the very broadest sense of the word. No one can approach this object {12} unless he is in some way subordinated to something and unless he is responsible for something. No man can get satisfaction out of life unless he is responsible for what he does to some authority higher than himself and unless there is some one or something that looks to him for guidance. Perhaps the existence of religion has much to do with this. Perhaps prayer and all that it means to us belongs in the category of the first of these elementals. Certainly the family is an example of the second.

The family is the unit of civilization--always has been and always will be. The father and the mother have their collective existence, and their children looking to them for guidance, support and growth, both physical and moral. The moment the family begins to exist it becomes a responsibility for its head, and around it centers a large part of the life and happiness of the human being.

In like manner the state is the unit to which we are subordinated.

These constitute two examples of responsibility and subordination which are necessary to the {13} acquirement of civilization, of happiness and of the rewards of life.

Wherever the state has presumed to enter too far into the conduct of the family it has overstepped its bounds and that particular civilization has degenerated. Wherever the family has presumed to give up its subordination to the state and gather unto itself the responsibility through special privilege, that particular state has begun to die.

In modern civilization it is as impossible to conceive of a state without the unit of the family, as it is to consider groups of families without something that we call a state. It is ludicrous to think of a strong and virile nation composed of one hundred million bachelors. We must go back to the feudal days of the middle ages to get a picture of the family without a state.

In other words, a man, to approach happiness, must have his family in support of which it is his privilege to take off his coat and work, and--if fate so decree--live; and he must have his country's flag in honor of which it is his privilege to take off his hat, and--if need be--die.


Love and patriotism--these are the names of two of the sturdy beams of the house of civilization.

These old familiar laws have been brought forward again by the outbreak of the Great War. There is a letter in existence written by a young soldier who volunteered at the start, a letter which he wrote to his unborn son as he sat in a front line trench in France. It tells the whole great truth in a line. It says: "My little son, I do not fully realize just why I am fighting here, but I know that one reason is to make sure that you will not have to do it by and by." That lad was responsible for a new family, and was the servant of his state--and he began his approach to the great happiness when he thought of writing that letter.

It will be well for us to remember these simple laws as we proceed.

Fifty-eight years ago these laws and several more like them were just as true as they are now. Fifty-eight years hence they will still be true, as they will be five thousand eight hundred years hence. Fifty-eight years ago--to be exact, {15} October 9, 1860--there was born up in New Hampshire a man child named Leonard Wood, in the town of Winchester, whence he was transferred at the age of three months to Massachusetts and finally at the age of eight years to Pocasset on Cape Cod. This man child is still alive at the time of writing, and during his fifty-eight years he has stood for these elemental truths in and out of boyhood, youth and manhood in such a fashion that his story--always interesting--becomes valuable at a time when, the Great War being over, many nations, to say nothing of many individuals, are forgetting, in their admiration of the new plaster and the wall paper, that the beams of the house of civilization are what hold it strong and sturdy as the ages proceed.

This place, Cape Cod, where the formative years of Leonard Wood's life were passed, is a sand bank left by some melting glacier sticking out into the Atlantic in the shape of a doubled-up arm with a clenched fist as if it were ready at any moment to strike out and defend New England against any attack that might come from the eastward. Those who call it their native place have acquired {16} something of its spirit. They have ever been ready to oppose any aggression from the eastward or any other direction, and they have ever been ready to stand firmly upon the conviction that the integrity of the family and of the state must be maintained. And young Wood from them and from his Mayflower Pilgrim ancestors absorbed and was born with a common sense and a directness of vision that have appeared throughout his life under whatever conditions he found himself.

There seems to have been nothing remarkable about him either in his boyhood or in his youth. He achieved nothing out of the ordinary through that whole period. But there has always been in him somewhere, the solid basis of sense and reason which kept him to whatever purpose he set himself to achieve along the lines of the great elemental truths of life and far away from visionary hallucinations of any sort. If it was Indian fighting, he worked away at the basis of the question and got ready and then carried out. If it was war, the same. If it was administration, he {17} studied the essentials, prepared for them, and then carried them out.

Like all great achievements, it is simplicity itself and can be told in words of one syllable. In all lines of his extraordinarily varied career extending over all the corners of the globe he respected and built up authority of government and protected and encouraged the development of the family unit. One might say "Why not? Of course." The answer is "Who in this country in the last thirty years has done it to anything like the same extent?"

Many minds during this time have advanced new ideas; many men have invented amazing things; many able people have opened up new avenues of thought and vision to the imagination of the world, sometimes to good and lasting purpose, sometimes otherwise. But who has taken whatever problem was presented to him and invariably, no matter what quality was required, brought that problem to a successful conclusion without upheaval, or chaos, or even much excitement for any one outside the immediately interested group?

It is not genius; it is organization. It is not {18} the flare of inventive ability; it is the high vision of one whose code rested always on elemental, sound and enduring principles and who has not swerved from these to admire the plaster and the paper on the wall. It is finally the great quality that makes a man keep his feet on the ground and his heart amongst the bright stars.

Of such stuff are the men of this world made whom people lean on, whom people naturally look to in emergency, who guide instinctively and unerringly, carrying always the faith of those about them because they deal with sound things, elemental truths and sane methods--because they give mankind what Leonard Wood's greatest friend called "a square deal."

It is difficult to treat much of his youth because he is still living and the family life of any man is his own and not the public's business. But there is a certain interest attaching to his life-work for his country in knowing that his great-great-grandfather commanded a regiment in the Revolutionary army at Bunker Hill and that his father was a doctor who served in the Union army during the Civil War. Out of such heredity has {19} come a doctor who is a Major General in the United States Army.

At the same time his own life on Cape Cod outside of school at the Middleboro Academy was marked by what might distinguish any youngster of that day and place--a strong liking for small boating, for games out of doors, for riding, shooting and fishing. These came from a fine healthy body which to this day at his present age is amazing in its capacity to carry him through physical work. He can to-day ride a hundred miles at a stretch and walk thirty miles in any twenty-four hours.

Later in life this was one of the many points of common interest that drew him and Theodore Roosevelt so closely together. It has no particular significance other than to make it possible for him in many lands at many different limes to do that one great thing which makes men leaders--to show his men the way, to do himself whatever he asked others to do, never to give an order whether to a military, sanitary, medical or administrative force that he could not and did not do himself in so far as one man could do it.


There was little or no money in the Wood family and the young man had to plan early to look out for himself. He wanted to go to sea--probably because he lived on Cape Cod and came from a long line of New Englanders. He wanted to go into the Navy. He even planned to join an Arctic expedition at the age of twenty and began to collect material for his outfit. But finally, following his father's lead, he settled upon the study of medicine.

This led to the Harvard University Medical School and to his graduation in 1884. There then followed the regular internship of a young physician and the beginning of practice in Boston.

Then came the change that separated Wood from the usual lot of well educated, well prepared doctors who come out of a fine medical school and begin their lifework of following their profession and building up a practice, a record, a family and the history which is the highest ideal man can have and the collective result of which is a sound nation.

Wood wanted action. He wanted to do {21} something. He had a strong inclination to the out-of-doors. And it is probably this, together with his inheritance and the chances of the moment, that led him to enter the army as a surgeon. As there was no immediate vacancy in the medical corps he took the job of contract surgeon at a salary of $100 a month and was first ordered to duty at Fort Warren in Boston Harbor where he stayed only a few days. His request for "action" was granted in June, 1885, and he wais ordered to Arizona to report to General Crook on the Mexican border near Fort Huachuca.

And here begins the career of Leonard Wood.








The problem was what turned out to be the last of the Indian fighting, involving a long-drawn-out campaign. For over a hundred years, as every one knows, the unequal struggle of two races for this continent had been in progress and the history of it is the ever tragic story of the survival of the fittest. No one can read it without regret at the destruction, the extermination, of a race. No one, however, can for a moment hesitate in his judgment of the inevitableness of it, since it is and always will be the truth that the man or the race or the nation which cannot keep up with the times must go under--and should go under. Education, brains, genius, organization, ability, imagination, vision--whatever it may be called or by how many names--will forever destroy and push out ignorance, incompetence, stupidity.

The Indians were not able--tragic as the truth {26} is--to move onward, and so they had to move out and give place to the more worthy tenant.

The end of this century of struggle was the campaign against the Apaches in the Southwest along the Mexican border, where they made their last stand under their able leader Geronimo.

The young doctor was detailed at once for duty on a broiling fourth of July under Captain--afterwards General--Henry W. Lawton, and the next day he rode a horse over thirty-five miles. That incident to the initiated is noteworthy, but even more so is the fact that shortly afterwards in a hard drive of five succeeding days he averaged eighteen hours a day either in the saddle or on foot, leading the horses. It was a stiff test. To make it worse he was given the one unassigned horse--that is to say, a horse that was known as an "outlaw"--whose jerky gait made each saddle-sore complain at every step. The sun beat down fiercely; but, burned and blistered fore and aft, Leonard Wood could still smile and ask for more action.

The stoicism of the tenderfoot who had come to play their game was not lost on the troopers {27} with whom he was to spend the next two years fighting Indians. He "healed in the saddle" at once and a few weeks later was out-riding and out-marching the best of Captain Lawton's command, all of whom were old and experienced Indian fighters.

This was not to be the last time that Leonard Wood was to find himself faced at the outset by tacit suspicion and lack of confidence on the part of the men he was to command. Years later in the Philippines he was put up against a similar hostility, with responsibilities a thousandfold more grave, and in the same dogged way he won confidence--unquestioning loyalty--by proving that he was better than the best. "Do it and don't talk about it," was his formula for success. It was this quality in him that made it possible for Captain Lawton to write to General Nelson A. Miles, who had then succeeded General Crook, after the successful Geronimo campaign: "... I can only repeat that I have before reported officially and what I have said to you: that his services during the trying campaign were of the highest order. I speak particularly of services {28} other than those devolving upon him as a medical officer; services as a combatant or line officer voluntarily performed. He sought the most difficult work, and by his determination and courage rendered a successful issue of the campaign possible."

General Crook, who commanded the troops along the border, characterized the Apaches as "tigers of the human race." Tigers they were, led by Geronimo, the man whose name became a by-word for savagery and cruelty. For a time these Indians had remained subdued and quiet upon a reservation, and there can be no question but what the subsequent outbreaks that led to the long campaign in which Wood took part were due largely to the lack of judgment displayed by the officials in whose charge they were placed. Both the American settlers and the Mexicans opposed the location of the Indians on the San Carlos reservation and lost no opportunity to show their hostility. When General Crook took command of that district he found he had to deal with a mean, sullen and treacherous band of savages.

The American forces were constantly embroiled with the Chiricahuas. Treaties and agreements {29} were made only to be broken whenever blood lust or "tiswin"--a strong drink made from corn--moved the tribe to the warpath and fresh depredations. Due to General Crook's tireless efforts there were several occasions when the Indians remained quietly on their reservation, but it was only a matter of months at the best before one of the tribes, usually the Chiricahuas, would break forth again. Not until the treaty of 1882 with Mexico was it possible for our troops to pursue them into the Mexican mountains where they took refuge after each uprising. In 1883 General Crook made an expedition into Mexico which resulted in the return of the Chiricahuas and the Warm Springs tribes under Geronimo and Natchez to the Apache reservation.

Two years of comparative quiet followed. The Indians followed agricultural pursuits and the settlers, who had come to establish themselves on ranches along the border, went out to their plowing and fence building unarmed. In May, 1886, the Indians indulged in an extensive and prolonged "tiswin" drunk. The savagery that lurked in their hearts broke loose and they escaped from {30} their reservation in small bands, leaving smoking trails of murder, arson and pillage behind them. Acts of ugly violence followed. General Crook threatened to kill the last one of them, if it took fifty years, and at one moment it seemed as though he had them under control. "Tiswin" once again set them loose and they stampeded.

Their daring and illusiveness kept the American and Mexican troops constantly in action. One band of eleven Indians crossed into the United States, raided an Apache reservation, killed Indians as well as thirty-eight whites, captured two hundred head of stock and returned to Mexico after having traveled four weeks and covered over 1,200 miles.

It was into such warfare that Wood was plunged. No sooner had he arrived and begun his work than he put in a request for line duty in addition to his duties as a medical officer. This was granted immediately, because the need of men who could do something was too great to admit of much punctiliousness in the matter of military custom. Before the arrival of his commission as Assistant Surgeon, January, 1886, he {31} had served as commanding officer of infantry in a desperately hard pursuit in the Sierra Madres, ending in an attack on an Indian camp. He was repeatedly assigned to the most strenuous, fatiguing duty. After having marched on foot one day twenty-five miles with Indian scouts he rode seventy-three miles with a message at night, coming back at dawn the next day, just in time to break camp and march thirty-four miles to a new camp. He was given at his own request command of infantry under Captain Lawton, and this assignment to line duty was sanctioned by General Miles, who had recently taken over the command of the troops along the border.

General Miles was one of the greatest Indian fighters the country has ever known. He was peculiarly fitted to assume this new job of suppressing the Apache. He judged and selected the men who were to be a part of this campaign by his own well-established standards. As its leader he selected Captain Lawton, then serving with the Fourth United States Cavalry at Fort Huachuca, primarily because Captain Lawton believed that these Indians could be subjugated. {32} He had met their skill and cunning and physical strength through years of such warfare under General Crook, and possessed the necessary qualifications to meet the demands of the trying campaign that faced him. After speaking of Captain Lawton, General Miles says in his published recollections:

"I also found at Fort Huachuca another splendid type of American manhood, Captain Leonard Wood, Assistant Surgeon, United States Army. He was a young officer, age twenty-four, a native of Massachusetts, a graduate of Harvard, a fair-haired, blue-eyed young man of great intelligence, sterling, manly qualities and resolute spirit. He was also perhaps as fine a specimen of physical strength and endurance as could easily be found."

"... His services and observations and example were most commendable and valuable, and added much to the physical success of the enterprise."

General Field Orders No. 7, issued April 20, 1886, by General Miles for the guidance of the troops in his command, tell clearly and concisely the character and demands of the time.


"The chief object of the troops will be to capture or destroy any band of hostile Apache Indians found in this section of the country, and to this end the most vigorous and persistent efforts will be required of all officers and soldiers until this object is accomplished.

"... The cavalry will be used in light scouting parties with a sufficient force held in readiness at all times to make the most persistent and effective pursuit.

"To avoid any advantage the Indians may have by a relay of horses, where a troop or squadron commander is near the hostile Indians, he will be justified in dismounting one half of his command and selecting the lightest and best riders to make pursuit by the most vigorous forced marches until the strength of all the animals of his command shall have been exhausted.

"In this way a command should, under a judicious leader, capture a band of Indians or drive them from 160 to 200 miles in forty-eight hours through a country favorable for cavalry movements; and the horses of the troops will be trained for this purpose."


To get a picture of young Wood at this time it is necessary to look at the situation through the eyes of that day and through the eyes of youth as well.

A young man of twenty-four had been brought up by the sea in what we will call for the sake of politeness conservative New England. He had all the sound and sane basis of character that comes from what in this country was an old and established civilization. He had been educated in his profession at the most academic and conservative institution in the United States; a profession which while not an exact science is nevertheless a science requiring sane methods and the elimination of risks. He had begun the regular work of this profession. He possessed also what every young man with a healthy body of that day possessed-- and still possesses--a passion for romance, for the road, for the great adventure which at that time in this country still centered around the pistol shooting, broncho riding, Indian fighting cowboy.

We who are old have forgotten the paper covered stories we used to read surreptitiously {35} about the "Broncho Buster's Revenge," or "The Three-Fingered Might of the West." But we did read them and long for the great life of the plains. Even Jesse James was a hero to many of us.

But for a New Englander educated at Harvard to the practice of medicine to pick up his deeply driven stakes and actually go into this realm of romance was unusual in the extreme; and to be so well trained and in such good condition, with such high courage as to make good at once amongst those men who looked down on an Eastern tender-foot was sufficiently rare to promise much for the future.

The young man had the love of romance that all young lives have, but he had the unusual stimulus to it that led him to make it for the moment his actual life. And those who study his whole life will find again and again that when the parting of the ways came he invariably took the road of adventure, provided that it was always in the service of his country. Such then was the makeup and the condition of this young man when in the spring of 1886 Captain Lawton, having {36} received orders to assume command of the expedition into Mexico against the hostile Apache, included Wood as one of his four officers. The force consisted of forty-five troopers, twenty Indian scouts, thirty infantrymen and two pack trains. And thus began the two-thousand-mile chase into the fastnesses of Sonora and Chihuahua which ended with the surrender of Geronimo.

General Miles' campaign methods differed from those of General Crook in many ways. He always assumed the aggressive. His motto was, "Follow the Indian wherever he goes and strike him whenever you can. No matter how bad the country, go on." Under these instructions the troops went over the border and down into the depths of the Sonora, jumping the Indian whenever an opportunity offered, never giving him any rest. Wherever he went the troops followed. If he struck the border, a well arranged system of heliostat stations passed the word along to a body of waiting or passing scouts. General Miles' methods differed from those of General Crook also in the matter of the use of the heliostat, a system of signaling based on flashes of the sun's rays from {37} mirrors. He had used them experimentally while stationed in the Department of the Columbia, and now determined to make them of practical use at his new station. Over the vast tracts of rough, unpopulated land of Arizona and Mexico the signals flashed, keeping different detachments in touch with their immediate commands, and the campaign headquarters in touch with its base.

Even before Captain Lawton's command could be made ready the Indians themselves precipitated the fight. Instead of remaining in the Sierra Madres, where they were reasonably safe from assault, they commenced a campaign of violence south of the boundary. This gave both the American troops and the Mexicans who were operating in conjunction with them exact knowledge of their whereabouts. On the 27th of April they came northward, invading the United States. Innumerable outrages were committed by them which are now part of the history of that heart-breaking campaign. One, for example, typical of the rest was the case of the Peck family. Their ranch was surrounded, the family captured and a number of the ranch hands killed. The husband {38} was tied and compelled to witness the tortures to which his wife was submitted. His daughter, thirteen years old, was abducted by the band and carried nearly three hundred miles. In the meantime Captain Lawton's command with Wood in charge of the Apache scouts was pursuing them hotly. A short engagement between the Mexican troops and the Indians followed. On the heels of this the American troops came up and the little Peck girl was recaptured. Nightfall, however, prevented any decisive engagement, and before daybreak the Indians had, slipped away.

The Indians found it better to divide into two bands, one under Natchez, which turned to the north, and the other under Geronimo, which went to the west. The first band was intercepted by Lieutenant Brett of the Second Cavalry after a heartbreaking pursuit. At one time the pursuing party was on the trail for twenty-six hours without a halt, and eighteen hours without water. The men suffered so intensely from thirst that many of them opened their veins to moisten their lips with their own blood. But the Indians suffered far more. In Geronimo's story of those {39} days, published many years later, he wrote: "We killed cattle to eat whenever we were in need of food, but we frequently suffered greatly for need of water. At one time we had no water for two days and nights, and our horses almost died of thirst." Finally on the evening of June 6th the cavalry came into contact with Geronimo's band and the Indians were scattered.

For four months Captain Lawton and Leonard Wood pursued the savages over mountain ranges and through the canyons. During this time the troops marched 1,396 miles. The conditions under which they worked were cruel. The intense heat, the lack of water, and the desperately rough country covered with mountains and cactus hindered the command, but the men had the consolation of knowing that the Indians were in worse plight. Furthermore, the trustworthiness of the Indian scouts, a tattered, picturesque band of renegades, was coming under suspicion. Perhaps it was because of their unreliability that an attack made upon the 18th of July was not an entire success. The Indians escaped, but their most valued {40} possessions, food and horses, fell into the hands of our troopers.

It was the beginning of the end. A month later they received word that the Indians were working towards Santa Teresa, and Captain Lawton moved forward to head them off. Leonard Wood's personal account of this engagement follows:

"On the 13th of July we effected the surprise of the camp of Geronimo and Natchez which eventually led to their surrender and resulted in the immediate capture of everything in their camps except themselves and the clothes they wore. It was our practice to keep two scouts two or three days in advance of the command, and between them and the main body four or five other scouts. The Indian scouts in advance would locate the camp of the hostiles and send back word to the next party, who in their turn would notify the main command; then a forced march would be made in order to surround and surprise the camp. On the day mentioned, following this method of procedure, we located the Indians on the Yaqui River in a section of the country almost impassable for man or beast and {41} in a position which the Indians evidently felt to be perfectly secure. The small tableland on which the camp was located bordered on the Yaqui River and was surrounded on all sides by high cliffs with practically only two points of entrance, one up the river and the other down. The officers were able to creep up and look down on the Indian camp which was about two thousand feet below their point of observation. All the fires were burning, the horses were grazing and the Indians were in the river swimming with evidently not the slightest apprehension of attack. Our plan was to send scouts to close the upper opening and then to send the infantry, of which I had the command, to attack the camp from below.

"Both the Indians and the infantry were in position and advanced on the hostile camp, which, situated as it was on this tableland covered with canebrake and boulders, formed an ideal position for Indian defense. As the infantry moved forward the firing of the scouts was heard, which led us to believe that the fight was on, and great, accordingly, was our disgust to find, on our arrival, that the firing was accounted for by the fact that {42} the scouts were killing the stock, the Apaches themselves having escaped through the northern exit just a few minutes before their arrival. It was a very narrow escape for the Indians, and was due to mere accident. One of their number, who had been out hunting, discovered the red headband of one of our scouts as he was crawling around into position. He immediately dropped his game and notified the Apaches, and they were able to get away just before the scouts closed up the exit. Some of these Indians were suffering from old wounds. Natchez himself was among this number, and their sufferings through the pursuit which followed led to their discouragement and, finally, to their surrender."

The persistent action of our troops was beginning to have its effect, and when the Indians ceased to commit depredations it was good evidence to those who knew Indians and Indian nature that they were beginning to think of surrender.

One night the troops ran into a Mexican pack-train, which brought the first reports that Indians were near Fronteras, a little village in Sonora. Two of their women had come into town to find the {43} wife of an old Mexican who was with the Americans as a guide, hoping, through her, to open up communications looking to a surrender. As soon as the report was received Captain Lawton sent Lieutenant Gatewood of the Sixth Cavalry, who had joined the command, with two friendly Apaches of the same tribe as those who were out on the warpath, to go ahead and send his men into the hostile camp and demand their surrender. This he eventually succeeded in doing, but the Indians refused to surrender, saying that they would talk only with Lawton, or, as they expressed it, "the officer who had followed them all summer." This eventually led to communication being opened and one morning at daybreak Geronimo, Natchez and twelve other Indians appeared, in camp. Their inclinations seemed at least to be peaceful enough to allow the entire body of Indians to come down and camp within two miles of the Americans. It was agreed that they should meet General Miles and formally surrender to him and that the Indians and the troops should move further north to a more convenient meeting place. To give confidence to the Indians in this new state {44} of affairs, Captain Lawton, Leonard Wood and two other officers agreed to travel with them. Due to a mistake in orders, the American troopers started off in the wrong direction, and Captain Lawton was obliged to leave in search of them. This left the three remaining officers practically as hostages in the Indian camp. Speaking of this incident. General Wood says:

"Instead of taking advantage of our position, they assured us that while we were in their camp it was our camp, and that as we had never lied to them they were going to keep faith with us. They gave us the best they had to eat and treated us as well as we could wish in every way. Just before giving us these assurances, Geronimo came to me and asked to see my rifle. It was a Hotchkiss and he had never seen its mechanism. When he asked me for the gun and some ammunition, I must confess I felt a little nervous, for I thought it might be a device to get hold of one of our weapons. I made no objection, however, but let him have it, showed him how to use it, and he fired at a mark, just missing one of his own men, which he regarded as a great joke, rolling on the {45} ground, laughing heartily and saying 'good gun.'

"Late the next afternoon we came up with our command, and we then proceeded toward the boundary line. The Indians were very watchful, and when we came near any of our troops we found the Indians were always aware of their presence before we knew of it ourselves."

For eleven days Captain Lawton's command moved north, with Geronimo's and Natchez's camps moving in a parallel course. During these last days of Geronimo's leadership his greatest concern was for the welfare of his people. The most urgent request that he had to make of Captain Lawton was to ask repeatedly for the assurance that his people would not be murdered.

Captain Lawton in his official report says of Wood's work in the campaign:

"No officer of infantry having been sent with the detachment ... Assistant Surgeon Wood was, at his own request, given command of the infantry. The work during June having been done by the cavalry, they were too much exhausted to be used again without rest, and they were left in camp at Oposura to recuperate.


"During this short campaign, the suffering was intense. The country was indescribably rough and the weather swelteringly hot, with heavy rains for day or night. The endurance of the men was tried to the utmost limit. Disabilities resulting from excessive fatigue reduced the infantry to fourteen men, and as they were worn out and without shoes when the new supplies reached me July 29th, they were returned to the supply camp for rest, and the cavalry under Lieutenant A. L. Smith, who had just joined his troop, continued the campaign. Heavy rains having set in, the trail of the hostiles, who were all on foot, was entirely obliterated.

"I desire particularly to invite the attention of the Department Commander to Assistant Surgeon Leonard Wood, the only officer who has been with me through the whole campaign. His courage, energy and loyal support during the whole time; his encouraging example to the command when work was the hardest and prospects darkest; his thorough confidence and belief in the final successes of the expedition, and his untiring efforts to make {47} it so, have placed me under obligations so great that I cannot even express them."

Through the formal language of a military report crops out the respect of a commanding officer who knew whereof he spoke, the acknowledgment that here was a young subordinate who never despaired, never gave up, who always did his part and more than his part, and who placed his commanding officer under obligations which he was unable "even to express." That was a great deal for any young man to secure. To-day, after the Great War, there are many such extracts from official reports and all are unquestionably deserved. But they are the result of a nation awakened to patriotism when all went in together. In 1886, when the nation was at peace, when commercial pursuits were calling all young men to make their fortune, young Leonard Wood answered a much less universal call to do his work in a fight that had none of the flare or glory of the front line trench in Flanders.

Out of it all came to him at a very early age practice in handling men in rough country in rough times--men who were not puppets even {48} though they were regular army privates. They had to be handled at times with an iron hand, at times with the softest of gloves; and an officer to gain their confidence and respect had to show them that he could beat them at their own game and be one of them--and still command.

The Congressional Medal of Honor awarded him years later for this Indian work is a fair return of what he accomplished, for this Medal of Honor, the then only prize for personal bravery and high fighting qualities which his country could give him, has always been the rare and much coveted award of army men.

It was in Wood's case the mark of conspicuous fighting qualities, conspicuous bravery and marked attention to duty--a sign of success of a high order for a New England doctor of twenty-five.







Chance no doubt at times plays an important part in the making of a man. Yet perhaps Cassias' remark, through the medium of Shakespeare, that "The fault is not in our stars but in ourselves that we are underlings," has the truer ring. Chance no doubt comes to all of us again and again, but it is the brain that takes the chance which deserves the credit and not the accidental event, opportunity or occasion offering.

It was not chance that sent Leonard Wood to Arizona to fight Indians. It was the result of long hours of meditation in Boston when, as a young doctor, he decided finally to leave the usual routine of a physician's career and strike out in another and less main-traveled road. There was nothing of luck or chance in this decision, the carrying out of which taught him something that he used later to the advantage of himself and his country.

Out of the Indian experiences came to him in {62} the most vigorous possible way through actual observation the necessity for bodily health. No man could ride or walk day in and day out across waterless deserts and keep his courage and determination, to say nothing of his good common sense, without being in the best of physical condition. No man could get up in the morning after a terrific night's march, and collect his men and cheer and encourage them unless he was absolutely fit and in better condition than they.

He learned, too, that all matters of outfit, care of person, of equipment, of horses required the most constant attention day by day, hour by hour. He had to deal with an enemy who belonged to this country, who knew and was accustomed to its climatic conditions as well as its topography, and he had to beat him at his own game, or fail.

He learned that preparation, while it should never delay action, can never be overdone. This must have been drilled into the young man by the hardest and most grueling experiences, because it has been one of the gospels of his creed {53} since that time and is to this day his text upon all occasions.

He learned, too, something deeper than even these basic essentials of the fighting creed. He developed what has always been a part of himself--the conviction that authority is to be respected, that allegiance to superior officers and government is the first essential of success, that organization is the basis of smoothly running machinery of any kind, and that any weakening of these principles is the sign of decay, of failure, and of disintegration.

He learned that a few men, well trained, thoroughly organized, fit and ready, can beat a host of individualists though each of the latter may excel in ability any of the former, and there is in this connection a curiously interesting significance in the man's passionate fondness throughout his whole life for the game of football. At Middleboro, in California, in service in the South and in Washington, he was at every opportunity playing football, because in addition to its physical qualities, this game above all others depends for {54} its success upon organization, preparation and what is called "team play."

Through these early days it is to be noted, therefore, as a help in understanding his great work for his country which came later that his sense of the value of organization grew constantly stronger and stronger along with a solid belief in the necessity for subordination to his superior officers and through them to his state and his flag. The respect which he acquired for the agile Indians went hand in hand with the knowledge that in the end they could not fail to be captured and defeated, because they had neither the sense of organization, nor the intelligence to accept and respect authority which not only would have given them success, but would in reality have made the whole campaign unnecessary, had the Indian mind been able to conceive them in their true light and the Indian character been willing to observe their never-changing laws.

The result, however, was that the spirit of the Indians was broken by the white man's relentless determination.

The hostile Apaches were finally disposed of by {55} sending them out of the territory. They were treated as prisoners of war and the guarantees that General Miles had given them as conditions of surrender were respected by the Government, although there was a great feeing in favor of making them pay the full penalty for their outrages. President Grover Cleveland expressed himself as hoping that "nothing will be done with Geronimo which will prevent our treating him as a prisoner of war, if we cannot hang him, which I would much prefer."

At the end of the campaign General Miles set about reorganizing his command. For several months Wood was engaged in practice maneuvers. The General wished to expand his heliographic system of signaling, and to that end commenced an extensive survey of the vast unpopulated tracts of Arizona, which his troops might have to cover in time of action. Wood was one of the General's chief assistants in this survey, and in 1889, when he was ordered away, he probably knew as much of Arizona and the southwestern life as any man ever stationed there.

The orders which took him from the border {56} country made him one of the staff surgeons at Headquarters in Los Angeles. This post promised to be inactive and uninteresting but Captain Wood managed to distinguish himself in two respects, first as a surgeon and second as an athlete. This period of his life varied from month to month in some instances, but in the main it was the usual existence of an army official in the capacity of military surgeon. It extended over a period of eleven years, from 1887 to 1898. These were the eleven years between the ages of twenty-seven and thirty-seven--very critical years in the existence of a man. It was during these years that he met Miss Louise A. Condit Smith, a niece of Chief Justice Field, who afterwards became his wife and began with him a singularly simple and homelike family life that is the second of his vital interests in this world. He has never allowed his family life to interfere with his service to his country. And, paradoxical as it may seem, he has never allowed his lifework for his state to interfere with the happy and even tenor of his home existence. Children came in due course and the family unit became complete--that quiet, straightforward {57} existence of the family which is the characteristic of American life to-day, as it is of any other well-organized civilized nation.

In the practice of his profession he was able to do a lasting service to his commanding officer. General Miles suffered a grave accident to his leg when a horse fell upon it. It was the opinion of the surgeon who attended him that amputation would be necessary. But the General was of no mind to beat a one-legged retreat in the midst of a highly interesting and successful career. Captain Wood had inspired confidence in him as an Indian fighter--a confidence so strong that he thought it might not be misplaced if it became confidence in him as a doctor--and so Wood was summoned.

"They say they will have to cut off this leg, but they are not going to do it," said the General. "I am going to leave it up to you. You'll have to save it."

A few weeks later General Miles was up and about, and under his young surgeon's care the wound healed and the leg was saved.

While stationed at Los Angeles headquarters {68} Wood found himself with enough time for much hard sport. It was a satisfying kind of life after the strenuous months of border service.

In 1888 he was ordered back to the border where he served with the 10th Cavalry in the Apache Kid outbreak. After a few months of active service, he was ordered to Fort McDowell and then, in 1889, to California again.

From California he was ordered to Fort McPherson, near Atlanta, Georgia, where he again distinguished himself at football. He trained the first team in the Georgia Institute of Technology, became its Captain and during the two years of his Captaincy lost but one game and defeated the champion team of the University of Georgia.

An incident has been told by his fellow players at Fort McPherson which shows exceedingly well a certain Spartan side to Wood's nature. One afternoon at a football game he received a deep cut over one eye. He returned to his office after the game and, after coolly sterilizing his instrument and washing the wound, stood before a mirror and calmly took four stitches in his eyelid.

Such were the characteristics, such the {59} experience, of the young man when in 1896 he was ordered to Washington--that morgue of the government official--to become Assistant Attending Surgeon. The holder of this position often shares with the Navy Surgeons the responsibility of medical attention to the President, and in addition he acts as medical adviser to army officers and their families and is the official physician to the Secretary of War.

It was not an office that appealed to Captain Wood. It could not; since he was a man essentially of out-of-doors, of action and of administration. Yet he seems to have made such a success of the work that he became the personal friend of both Cleveland and McKinley. His relations with President Cleveland were of the most intimate sort, resulting from mutual respect and liking as well as a mutual understanding on the part of both men of the other's good qualities. He saw him in the White House at all hours of the day and night; saw him with his family and his children about him; noted their fondness for their father and his devotion to them. It was a quality so marked in Lincoln, so strong in most great men {60} of the sound, calm, fearless, administrative sort. Wood himself has exhibited the same quality in his own family. And in those days the perfect understanding of the father and his children, the simple family life that went on in the splendid old house in Washington which combined the dignity of a State and the simplicity of a home unequaled by any great ruler's house upon this earth--all tended to bring out this native quality in the President's medical adviser.

It was at the conclusion of Cleveland's second term that Wood was assigned to this position. On one of the President's trips for recreation and rest--a shooting expedition on the inland waters near Cape Hatteras--he was one of the party which included also Admiral Evans and Captain Lamberton. The hours spent in shooting boxes or in the evenings in the cabin of the lighthouse tender gave opportunity for him to study Cleveland off duty when the latter liked to sit quietly and talk of his early life, of his political battles, of fishing, shooting, and of the urgent questions which beset him as President. And Wood brought away with him a profound respect for the {61} combination of simplicity and unswerving love and devotion to his country, coupled with rugged uncompromising honesty which seem to have been the characteristics of Grover Cleveland.

This particular trip was immediately after the inauguration ceremonies of President McKinley, and Cleveland was not only tired from the necessary part which he himself had taken in them, but also from the first natural let-down after four years of duty in the White House. Wood has given a little sketch of the man:

"I remember very well his words, as he sat down with a sigh of relief, glad that it was all over. He said: 'I have had a long talk with President McKinley. He is an honest, sincere and serious man. I feel that he is going to do his best to give the country a good administration. He impressed me as a man who will have the best interests of the people at heart.'

"Then he stopped, and said with a sigh: 'I envy him to-day only one thing and that was the presence of his own mother at his inauguration. I would have given anything in the world if my mother could have been at my inauguration,' {62} and then, continuing: 'I wish him well. He has a hard task,' and after a long pause: 'But he is a good man and will do his best.'"

He has spoken often, too, of Cleveland's love of sport, of the days which Jefferson, the actor, and Cleveland spent together fishing and shooting on and near Buzzard's Bay--the same spot where he himself as a boy spent his days in like occupations. The sides of Cleveland's character that appealed to him were the frankness with which he expressed his views on the important questions of the day, the sterling worth and high ideals which emphasized his sense of duty, his love of country and his desire to do the best possible for his fellow citizens, coupled with his perfectly unaffected family feelings and the amazing devotion and affection which he invariably elicited from all those who came into association with him, even to the most humble hand on the light house tender. Jeffersonian simplicity could have gone no further, nor could any man have been more definite, far-sighted and fearless than was Cleveland in his Venezuelan Message. These two extremes made a vivid and lasting impression upon {63} the young man, because both sides struck a sympathetic chord in his own nature.

There followed, then, the same association with McKinley, growing out of the necessary intimacy of physician and patient. But in this latter case two events, vital to this country as well as to the career of Leonard Wood, changed the quiet course of Washington official life to a life of intense interest and great activity.

These two events were Wood's meeting with Theodore Roosevelt and the Spanish War.

One night in 1896 at some social function at the Lowndes house Wood was introduced to Roosevelt, then assistant Secretary of the Navy. It seems strange that two men so vitally alike in many ways, who were in college at about the same time, should never have met before. But when they did meet the friendship, which lasted without a break until Roosevelt's death, began at once.

That night the two men walked home together and in a few days they were hard at it, walking, riding, playing games and discussing the affairs of the day.

This strange fact of extraordinary similarities {64} and vivid differences in the two men doubtless had much to do with bringing them together and keeping them allied for years. Both were essentially men of physical action, both born fighters, both filled with an amazing patriotism and both simple family men.

On the one hand, Roosevelt was a great individualist. He did things himself. He no sooner thought of a thing than he carried it out himself. When he was President he frequently issued orders to subordinates in the departments without consulting the heads of the departments. Wood, on the other hand, is distinctly an organizer and administrator. When he later filled high official positions, he invariably picked men to attend to certain work and left them, with constant consultation, to do the jobs whatever they were. If a road was to be built, he found the best road builder and laid out the work for him leaving to him the carrying out of the details.

Yet again both men had known life in the West, Roosevelt as a cowboy and Wood as an Indian fighter. Both had come from the best old American stock, Roosevelt from the Dutch of {65} Manhattan and Wood from New England. They were Harvard men and lovers of the outdoor, strenuous life. Their ideals and aspirations had much in common and they were both actuated by the intense feeling of nationalism that brought them to the foreground in American life.

Soon they were tramping through the country together testing each other's endurance in good-natured rivalry. When out of sight of officialdom, they ran foot races together, jumped fences and ran cross-country. Both men had children and with these they played Indians, indulging in most exciting chases and games. They explored the ravines and woods all about Washington, sometimes taking on their long hikes and rides various army officers stationed at Washington. Few of these men were able to stand the pace set by the two energetic athletes, and it was of course partially due to this fact that Roosevelt in later years when he was President ordered some of the paunchy swivel-chair Cavalry and Infantry officers out for cross-country rides and sent them back to their homes sore and blistered, and with {66} every nerve clamoring for the soothing restfulness of an easy chair.

Wood was dissatisfied in Washington, bored with the inaction. He longed for the strenuous life of the West. The desire became so strong that he began a plan to leave the army and start sheep-ranching in the West. It was the life, or as near the life as he could get, that he had been leading for years; and the present contrast of those days in the open with the life he was now leading in Washington became too much for him.

Here again seemed to arise a turning point. Had it not been for his own confident conviction that war was eventually coming with Spain, Wood would probably have gone to his open life on the prairie. What this would have meant to his future career nobody can tell, nor is speculation upon the subject very profitable. But it is interesting to note that what deterred him were his ideas on patriotism and a man's duty to his country, which struck a live, vibrating chord also in Theodore Roosevelt's nature and influenced Wood to stay in his position and wait.

It is only possible to imagine now the {67} conversations of these two kindred spirits on this subject. Roosevelt, as is well known, was for war--war at once--and he did what little was done in those days to prepare. There must have been waging a long argument between the now experienced Indian fighter and doctor, and the great-hearted American who knew so little of military affairs.

These talks and arguments became so frank and outspoken that they were well-known in Washington circles. Even President McKinley used to say to Wood:

"Have you and Theodore declared war yet?"

And Wood's answer was:

"No, we think you ought to, Mr. President."

As each day passed it seemed more likely that Spain and America would become involved over the injustices Cuba and the Philippines were being forced to suffer at the hands of their greedy and none too-loving mother country. On their long walks they discussed all the phases of such a conflict and each of them became anxious for war without further delay, for delay was costing time and money, and peaceful readjustment seemed {68} quite out of the question. So keen had they become in this war question that the two of them became known in Washington as the "War Party."

It was becoming evident to many others that war was inevitable when the destruction of the Maine in Havana Harbor brought the situation to a head. It found both these men prepared in their own minds as to what their courses should be. When Wood arrived at Fort Huachuca in 1885 he was asked by Lawton why he came into the army. Lawton had studied law at Harvard after the Civil War and was interested in the views of a man who had studied medicine there. Wood replied that he had come into the army to get into the line at the first opportunity; and from that moment he began systematically his preparation for transfer. As a part of this policy he took every opportunity to do line duty. The result was that when the Spanish War came he had strong letters from Lawton, General Miles, General Graham, Colonel Wagner, General Forsythe, and others, recommending him for line command. These recommendations varied from {69} a battalion to a regiment. Both Roosevelt and Wood had discussed the possibility of organizing regiments, Roosevelt in New York and Wood in Massachusetts, but as turmoil and confusion enveloped the War Office they realized that this plan was not feasible.

The efforts of Roosevelt's superiors to keep him in his official capacity as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and away from active service were fruitless. Finally, when it became evident that he would go into the service and see active fighting, Secretary of War Alger offered him the colonelcy of a regiment of cavalry. Roosevelt, because of his lack of experience in military affairs, refused the offer but agreed to accept the position of lieutenant colonel of such a regiment if his friend, Leonard Wood, would accept the colonelcy. Secretary Alger and Leonard Wood agreed, and work was commenced at once organizing a regiment that was later to become known as the Rough Riders. The official name of the regiment was the 1st Volunteer Cavalry. The name Rough Riders "just grew." The organization became known under that name among the friends {70} of its leaders, later among the newspaper correspondents and consequently the public, and finally when it appeared in official documents it was accepted as official.

Preparedness was all too unknown in those days, but Wood, who became its nation-wide champion in the days to come, was well schooled even in those days in its laws. He only learned more as time went on. The chaos and tangle of red tape, inefficiency, unpreparedness in all branches of the service blocked every effort that a few efficient and able men were making. Seeing the hopelessness of trying to accomplish anything under such conditions Wood introduced a novel method of organization into the War Department.

Instead of pestering the hopeless and dismayed functionaries of the various Government departments with requests for things they did not have and would not have been able to find if they did have them, Wood merely requested carte blanche to go ahead and get all necessary papers ready so that they might be signed at one sitting. He made requisitions for materials that he needed {71} and when these materials were not to be found in the Government stores he wrote out orders directed to himself for the purchase in the open market of the things required. Alger recognized immediately that in Wood he had a man accustomed to action and full of vision--a man whom nothing could frighten. The two men understood one another. If those who surrounded the Secretary of War in those days had been as capable of organization, the history of Washington during wartime would have been quite different. But for the most part they failed. The see-nothing, hear-nothing, do-nothing, keep-your-finger-on-your-number spirit among many of them was quite great enough to throw the War Office into chaos. The game of "passing the buck" did not appeal to Wood; neither did he stop to sympathize with a certain highly placed bureaucrat who complained:

"My office and department were running along smoothly and now this damned war comes along and breaks it all up."

When all of his papers and documents were ready. Wood appeared before Secretary Alger. {72} "And now what can I do for you?" said the Secretary.

"Just sign these papers, sir. That is all," replied the Rough Riders' Colonel.

Alger, beset by incompetence, hampered by inefficiency in his staff, was dumbfounded as he looked through the papers Wood had prepared for him to sign. There were telegrams to Governors of states calling upon them for volunteers; requisitions for supplies and uniforms; orders for mobilization and requisitions for transportation. Alger had little to say. He placed enough confidence in Wood to sign the papers and give him his blessing.

When the army depots said that they could not supply uniforms, Wood replied that his men could wear canvas working clothes. As a result the Rough Riders, fighting through the tropical country in Cuba, were far more comfortable than the soldiers in regulation blue. The new colonel seemed to know what he wanted. He wanted Krag rifles. There were few in existence, but General Flagler, Chief of Ordnance, appreciated what the young officer had done and saw that he got them. {73} He did not want sabers for the men to run through one another in the pandemonium of cavalry charges of half wild western horses. The Rough Riders therefore went into action carrying machetes, an ideal weapon for the country in which they were to see service. With the saber they could do nothing; but with the machete they could do everything from hacking through dense jungle growths to sharpening a pencil. During the days that followed many troopers equipped with sabers conveniently lost them, but Wood's Rough Riders found the machetes invaluable.

The authority to raise the regiment was given late in April, and on the twenty-fourth day of June, against heavy odds, it won its first action in the jungles at Las Guasimas. This was quick work, when it is remembered that two weeks of that short six or seven week period were practically used up in assembling and transporting the men by rail and sea. Here is where organization and well-thought-out plans made a remarkable showing.

It was not only a question of knowing what he wanted. It was his old slogan: "Do it and don't talk about it."








The name "Rough Riders" will forever mean to those who read American history the spontaneous joy of patriotism and the high hearts of youth in this land. It was the modern reality of the adventurous musketeers--of those who loved romance and who were ready for a call to arms in support of their country. They came from the cowboys of the west, from the stockbrokers' offices of Wall Street, from the athletic field, from youth wherever real youth was to be found. Something over 20,000 men applied for enrollment. None of them knew anything of war. None of them wanted to die, but they all wanted to try the great adventure under such leaders. And they have left an amazing record of the joyousness of the fight and the recklessness that goes with it.

Now and then there have been organizations of a similar character in our history, but only here and there. It was the first outburst of that day {78} of the spirits filled with high adventure; and the record cheers the rest of us as we plod along our way, just as it cheers us when we are ill in bed with indigestion to read again the old but ever-young Dumas.

It would have been impossible for any one to have organized and controlled such a group without the enthusiasm of men like Roosevelt and Wood, as well as the knowledge these two had of the West, the Southwest and the South.

It detracts nothing from Roosevelt's greatness of spirit to say that it was Wood who did the organizing, the equipping of the regiment. In fact Roosevelt declined to be the Rough Riders' first Colonel, but consented to be the second in command only if Wood were made its commander. The fact that Roosevelt was not only known in the East but in the Northwest, and that Wood was quite as well known in the Southwest and the South meant that men of the Rough Riders type all over the country knew something of one or the other of the regiment's organizers.

It detracts nothing from Wood's amazing activity in organization and capacity for getting {79} things done, to say that had it not been for Roosevelt's wonderful popularity amongst those of the youthful spirit of the land the regiment would never have had its unique character or its unique name.

This is not the place to tell the story of that famous band of men. But its organization is so important a part of Wood's life that it comes in for mention necessarily.

In the Indian campaign with the regulars he had known the great importance of being properly outfitted and ready for those grilling journeys over the desert. In the Spanish War he learned, as only personal experience can teach, the amazing importance of preparation for volunteers and inexperienced men. The whole story of the getting ready to go to Cuba was burned into his brain so deeply that it formed a second witness in the case against trusting to luck and the occasion which has never been eradicated from his mind. Yet this episode brought strongly before him also the fact that prepared though he might be there was no success ahead for such an organization without the sense of subordination to the {80} state and the nation which not only brought the volunteers in, but carried them over the rough places through disease and suffering and death to the end.

Eight days after the telegram calling upon the Governors of New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma and Indian Territory for men to form the regiment, the recruits gathered at San Antonio where Wood was waiting to meet them. The most important thing about them for the moment was that they knew nothing of military life. Wood believed with Old Light-Horse Harry Lee "That Government is a murderer of its citizens which sends them to the field uninformed and untaught, where they are meeting men of the same age and strength mechanized by education and disciplined for battle."

Furthermore during the years that he had been in Washington Wood had used some of his spare time in studying parts of American history that are not included in school books. He knew that the volunteer system in the Revolutionary War had worn General Washington sick with discouragement and fear lest all that he had built up be {81} broken down through lack of discipline. He knew also that in the Civil War the volunteer system proved inadequate on both sides and that it was not until the war had gone on for two years that either the North or the South had what could properly be called an army.

To aid him in the training of these troops he had the assistance of a number of officers who had seen service in the Regular Army, and together they mapped out a course of drills and maneuvers that worked the men from a valueless mob into a regiment trained for battle. The human material that they had to work with was the best; for these men had been selected from many applicants. The lack of discipline and the ignorance of military etiquette led to many amusing incidents. Colonel Roosevelt in his history of the Rough Riders tells of an orderly announcing dinner to Colonel Wood and the three majors by remarking genially:

"If you fellers don't come soon, everything'll get cold."

The foreign attachés said: "Your sentinels do not know much about the Manual of Arms, but {82} they are the only ones through whose lines we could not pass. They were polite; but, as one of them said, 'Gents, I'm sorry, but if you don't stop I shall kill you.'"

The difficulties to be surmounted were enormous; and any officers less democratic and understanding might have made a mess of it. Both Roosevelt and Wood understood the frontiersmen too well to misjudge any breaches of etiquette or to humiliate the extremely sensitive natures of men long used to life in the open.

Upon Colonel Wood fell practically all the details of organization. There were materials and supplies of many kinds to be secured from the War Department; there were men to be drilled in the bare rudiments of military life; non-commissioned officers and officers to be schooled, and a thousand and one other details. At first the men were drilled on foot, but soon horses were purchased and mounted drill commenced, much to the delight of many of the cowpunchers who by years of training had become averse to walking a hundred yards if they could throw their legs over a horse. There was no end to the {83} excitement when the horses arrived. Most of them were half-broken, but there were some that had never seen, much less felt, a saddle. The horses were broken to the delight of every one in camp, because training them meant bucking contests, and the more vicious the animal the better they liked it.

From simple drills and evolutions the men advanced to skirmish work and rapidly became real soldiers--not the polished, smartly uniformed military men of the Regular type, but hard fighters in slouch hats and brown canvas trousers with knotted handkerchiefs round their necks.

The commander of any military unit at that time had much to worry about. It depended solely on him personally whether his men were properly equipped, whether they had food; and when orders came to move whether they had anything to move on. The advice that he could get, if he was willing to listen to it, was lengthy and worthless, and the help he could get from Washington amounted to little or nothing.

In May the regiment was ordered to proceed to Tampa. After a lengthy struggle with the {84} railway authorities cars were put at the disposal of Colonel Wood, who left San Antonio on the 29th with three sections, the remaining four sections being left to proceed later in charge of Lieutenant-Colonel Roosevelt. The confusion of getting started was reduced to a minimum by Wood, who had worked out a scheme for embarkation; but due to delay on the part of the railway authorities in providing proper facilities for handling the troops and equipment they were delayed four days. Everywhere along the line of travel they were cheered enthusiastically by people who came to greet the train on its arrival in towns and cities.

Tampa was in chaos. There seemed to be no order or system for the disembarkation of troops. Every one asked for information and no one could give it. Officers, men, railroad employees and longshoremen milled about in a welter of confusion. The troops were dumped out with no prearranged schedule on the part of the officers in charge of the camp. There were no arrangements for feeding the men and no wagons in which to haul impedimenta. In such conditions it {85} required all the native vigor characteristic of their Colonel to bring some sort of order--all the knowledge he had gained from his Indian campaign. And even then there was still needed an unconquerable spirit that did not know what impossibilities were.

After a few days at Tampa, Colonel Wood was notified that his command would start for destination unknown at once, leaving four troops and all the horses behind them. On the evening of June 7th notification came that they would leave from Port Tampa, nine miles away, the following morning, and that if the troops were not aboard the transport at that time they could not sail. No arrangements were made by the port authorities for the embarkation. No information could be obtained regarding transportation by rail to the port. There was no information regarding the transport that the troops were to use. In an official report made to the Secretary of War Colonel Roosevelt had the following remarks to make about the conditions that confronted them in Tampa:

". . . No information was given in advance {86} what transports we should take, or how we should proceed to get aboard, nor did any one exercise any supervision over the embarkation. Each regimental commander, so far as I know, was left to find out as best he could, after he was down at the dock, what transport had not been taken, and then to get his regiment aboard it, if he was able, before some other regiment got it. Our regiment was told to go to a certain switch and take a train for Port Tampa at twelve o'clock, midnight. The train never came. After three hours of waiting, we were sent to another switch, and finally at six o'clock in the morning got possession of some coal cars and came down in them. When we reached the quay where the embarkation was proceeding, everything was in utter confusion. The quay was piled with stores and swarming with thousands of men of different regiments, besides onlookers, etc. The Commanding General, when we at last found him, told Colonel Wood and myself that he did not know what ship we were to embark on, and that we must find Colonel Humphrey, the Quarter-master General. Colonel Humphrey was not in his office, and nobody knew where he was. The {87} commanders of the different regiments were busy trying to find him, while their troops waited in the trains, so as to discover the ships to which they were allotted--some of these ships being at the dock and some in mid-stream. After a couple of hours' search, Colonel Wood found Colonel Humphrey and was allotted a ship. Immediately afterward I found that it had already been allotted to two other regiments. It was then coming to the dock. Colonel Wood boarded it in midstream to keep possession, while I double-quicked the men down from the cars and got there just ahead of the other two regiments. One of these regiments, I was afterward informed, spent the next thirty-six hours in cars in consequence."

The conditions at Tampa provided material for a spirited exchange of letters and telegrams between General Miles, who had taken command, and Secretary of War Alger.

On June 4th, General Miles filed by telegraph the following report to the Secretary of War:

"Several of the volunteer regiments came here without uniforms; several came without arms, and some without blankets, tents, or camp equipage. {88} The 32d Michigan, which is among the best, came without arms. General Guy V. Henry reports that five regiments under his command are not fit to go into the field. There are over three hundred cars loaded with war material along the roads about Tampa. Stores are sent to the Quartermaster at Tampa, but the invoices and bills of lading have not been received, so that the officers are obliged to break open seals and hunt from car to car to ascertain whether they contain clothing, grain, balloon material, horse equipments, ammunition, siege guns, commissary stores, etc. Every effort is being made to bring order out of confusion. I request that rigid orders be given requiring the shipping officers to forward in advance complete invoices and bills of lading, with descriptive marks of every package, and the number and description of car in which shipped. To illustrate the embarrassment caused by present conditions, fifteen cars loaded with uniforms were sidetracked twenty-five miles from Tampa, and remained there for weeks while the troops were suffering for clothing. Five thousand rifles, which were discovered yesterday, were needed by {89} several regiments. Also the different parts of the siege train and ammunition for same, which will be required immediately on landing, are scattered through hundreds of cars on the sidetracks of the railroads. Notwithstanding these difficulties, this expedition will soon be ready to sail."

In answer to this dispatch was sent the following reply from Secretary Alger:

"Twenty thousand men ought to unload any number of cars and assort contents. There is much criticism about delay of expedition. Better leave a fast ship to bring balance of material needed, than delay longer."

This slight difference of opinion which a shrewd observer can discover between the lines was characteristic of the whole preparation of the United States army that undertook to carry on the war with Spain. As one remembers those days, or reads of them in detail, it seems as if every one did something wrong regularly, as if no one of ability was anywhere about. As a matter of fact, however, the organizing and shipping of a suddenly acquired expeditionary volunteer force has never been accomplished in any other way. The truth {90} of the matter is that it can never be run properly at the start for the simple reason that there is no organization fitted to carry out the details.

The officials in Washington who had to do with the army--good men in many cases, poor men in some cases--if they had been in office long had been handling a few hundred men here and there in the forts, on the plains, or at the regular military posts. They could no more be molded into a homogeneous whole than could the cowboys, stockbrokers, college athletes, and southern planters maneuver until they had been drilled.

To Colonel Wood, busy most of the hours of the day and night trying to get order out of chaos in his small part of the great rush, the whole episode was a graphic demonstration of the need of getting ready. Many years later a much-advertised politician of our land said that an army was not necessary since immediately upon the need for defense of our country a million farmers would leave their plows and leap to arms. To an officer trying to find a transport train in the middle of the night with a thousand hungry, tired, half-trained men under him such logic aught well have {91} caused a smile, if nothing worse. Leave his plow at such a call the American Citizen will--and by the millions, if need be. He has done just that in the last two years. He will leap to arms--to continue the rhetoric--but what can he do if he finds no arms, or if they do not exist and cannot be made for nine months?

But the thing was not new to Wood even in those days. As he talks of that period now he says that it was not so bad. There was food, rough, but still food, and enough. There were transports. It only needed that they be found. If you could not get uniforms of blue, take uniforms of tan. If you could not find sabers, go somewhere, in or out of the country, and buy them or requisition them and put in the charge later.

Yet, even so, no man in such a position, going through what he went through, worrying hour by hour, could fail to see the object lesson and take the first opportunity when peace was declared to begin to preach the necessity for getting ready for the next occasion. And it was largely due to Leonard Wood, as the world well knows, that what {92} little preparation was made in 1915 and 1916 in advance of the United States declaring war was made at all. It was the lessons acquired in the Spanish War and in the study of other wars that made of him the great prophet of preparedness.

For several days the troops remained aboard the transport in Tampa harbor awaiting orders. The heat and discomfort told upon the men, but on the evening of June 13th orders came to start and the next morning found them at sea. On the morning of the 20th the transport came off the Cuban coast; but it was not until the 22d that the welcome order for landing came. The troops landed at the squalid little village of Daiquiri in small boats, while the smaller war vessels shelled the town.

In the afternoon of the next day, the Rough Riders received orders to advance; and Wood, leading his regiment, pushed on so as to be sure of an engagement with the enemy the next morning. It was due to his energy that the Rough Riders did not miss the first fight. Under General Young's orders the Rough Riders took up a {93} position at the extreme left of the front. The next day the action of "Las Guasimas" began.

"Shoot--don't swear" growled Wood as the fighting began. He strolled about encouraging his men and urging them to action. Under his quiet, cool direction they advanced slowly, forcing the enemy back, and finally driving him to his second line of defense. Soon the Rough Riders' right joined the left of the main body and in a concerted attack the Spaniards were routed, leaving much of their equipment in their hasty retreat.

At this juncture it was reported to Roosevelt, whose detachment was separate from that of Wood, that Wood had been killed. Roosevelt immediately began taking over the command of the entire regiment, since it naturally devolved upon him. As he was consolidating his troops he came upon Wood himself very much alive.

Major-General Joseph Wheeler made the following report of the Rough Riders:

"Colonel Wood's Regiment was on the extreme left of the line, and too far-distant for me to be a personal witness of the individual conduct of his officers and men; but the magnificent and brave {94} work done by the regiment, under the lead of Colonel Wood, testifies to his courage and skill. The energy and determination of this officer had been marked from the moment he reported to me at Tampa, Fla., and I have abundant evidence of his brave and good conduct on the field, and I recommend him for consideration of the Government."

On the 25th, General Young was stricken by the fever and Wood took charge of the brigade on the 30th, leaving Roosevelt in command of the Rough Riders. The afternoon of the 30th brought orders to march on Santiago, and the morning of July 1st found them in position three miles from the city, with Leonard Wood commanding the second dismounted cavalry brigade. During the next two days, the enemy fought fiercely to regain his lost positions, but the cool persistence of the American troops forced him constantly backward.

In endorsing Wood's report of this action, General Wheeler said, "He showed energy, courage, and good judgment. I heretofore recommended him for promotion to a Brigadier-General. He {95} deserves the highest commendation. He was under the observation and direction of myself and of my staff during the battle."

After a short siege the Spanish command capitulated on the afternoon of July 17th and the American forces entered Santiago.

Wood's promotion to Brigadier-General of the United States Volunteers came at once, and Roosevelt was made Colonel and placed in command of the 2d Cavalry Brigade.

The condition of our forces at this time, struggling against the unaccustomed and virulent dangers of the tropics, was pitiable. The "Round Robin" incident in which the commanding officers of the various divisions in the command reported to Major-General W. R. Shafter, that "the Army must be moved at once, or it will perish," has become a part of the record of the history of those times. Whether the sickness and disease they suffered could have been prevented became a matter of great controversy.

This "Round Robin" was a document signed by practically all general officers present, in order to bring to the attention of the War Department {96} the conditions existing in the army that had captured Santiago showing that it was suffering severely from malaria and yellow fever; that these men must be replaced; and that if they were not replaced thousands of lives would be lost. It was sent because instructions from Washington clearly indicated that the War Department did not understand the conditions, and it was feared that delay would cause enormous loss of life. The men had been in mud and water--the yellow fever country--for weeks and were thoroughly infected with malaria. Although he had signed the "Round Robin"' with the other officers General Wood later on gave the following testimony before the War Investigation Committee:

"We had never served in that climate, so peculiarly deadly from the effects of malaria, and in this respect my opinions have changed very much since the close of the war. If I had been called before you in the first week of August, I might have been disposed to have answered a little differently in some respects. I have been there ever since, and have seen regiments come to Cuba in perfect health and go into tents with floors and {97} with flies camped up on high hills, given boiled water, and have seen them have practically the identical troubles we had during the campaign. The losses may not have been as heavy, as we are organized to take them into hospitals protected from the sun which seemed to be a depressing cause. All the immune regiments serving in my department since the war have been at one time or another unfit for service. I have had all the officers of my staff repeatedly too sick for duty. I don't think that any amount of precaution or preparation, in addition to what we had, would have made any practical difference in the sickness of the troops of the army of invasion. This is a candid opinion, and an absolutely frank one. If I had answered this question in August, without the experience I have had since August, I might have been disposed to attribute more to the lack of tentage than I do now; but I think the food, while lacking necessarily in variety, was ample."

Only a few years later the explanation of yellow fever transmission became clear to all the world. This discovery and the definite methods of {98} protection against its spread and the spread of malaria were largely the result of Wood's administrative ability and his knowledge of medicine. For it was as the result of studies and experiments conducted under his direct supervision that it became known that yellow fever was the result of the bite of the mosquito and not of bad food or low, marshy country or bad air or any of the other factors which had so long been supposed to be its cause. The taking of Santiago practically ended the Spanish War. But for the military commander of the City of Santiago it began a new and epoch-making work.







To understand the work accomplished by Wood in Santiago, it is necessary to renew our picture of the situation existing in Cuba at the time and to realize as this is done that the problem was an absolutely new one for the young officer of thirty-seven to whom it was presented.

Nobody can really conceive of the unbelievable condition of affairs unless he actually saw it or has at some time in his life witnessed a corresponding situation. Those who return from the battlefields on the Western Front of the Great War describe the scenes and show us pictures and we think we realize the horrors of destruction, yet one after another of us as we go there comes back with the same statement: "I had heard all about it, but I hadn't the least conception of what it really was until I saw it with my own eyes."

In like manner we who are accustomed to reasonably clean and well-policed cities can call up no {102} real picture of what the Cuban cities were in those days, unless we saw them, or something like them.

Yet in spite of this it is necessary to try to give some idea of the fact, in order to give some idea of the work of reorganization required.

For four hundred years Cuba had been under the Spanish rule--the rule of viceroys and their agents who came of a race that has for centuries been unable to hold its own among the nations of the earth. Ideas of health, drainage, sanitation, orderly government, systematic commercial life--all were of an order belonging to but few spots in the world to-day. Here and there in the East--perhaps in what has been called the "cesspool of the world," Guayaquil, Ecuador--and in other isolated spots there are still such places, but they are fortunately beginning to disappear as permanent forms of human life.

In Santiago there were about 50,000 inhabitants. These people had been taxed and abused by officials who collected and kept for themselves the funds of the Province. Fear of showing wealth, since it was certain to be confiscated, led all classes of families to hide what little they had. {103} Money for the city and its public works there was none, since all was taken for the authorities in Spain or for their representatives in Cuba. Spanish people in any kind of position treated the natives as if they were slaves--as indeed they were. No family was sure of its own legitimate property, its own occupation and its own basic rights. The city government was so administered as to deprive all the citizens of any respect for it or any belief in its statements, decrees or laws. Not only was this condition of affairs in existence at the time of the war but it had existed during the entire lifetime of any one living and during the entire lifetime of his father, grandfather and ancestors for ten generations.

As a result no Cuban had any conception of what honest government, honest administration, honest taxation, honest dealings were. He not only had no conception of such things but he believed that what his family for generations and he during his life had known was the actual situation everywhere throughout the world. He knew of nothing else.

The city had no drainage system except the {104} open gutter of the streets--never had had. The water system consisted of an elemental sort of dam six miles up in the hills outside the city, old, out of repair, constantly breaking down, and a single 11-inch pipe which had a capacity of 200,000 gallons a day for the city--something like four gallons to a person. This was not sufficient for more than one-quarter of each day. In other words the city at the best was receiving for years only one-quarter of the water it absolutely needed for cleanliness.

Plagues and epidemics, smallpox, yellow fever, bubonic plague, typhus and tetanus followed one another in regular succession. The streets for years had contained dead animals and many times in epidemics dead human beings--sights to which the citizens had been so accustomed throughout their lives that they paid no attention to them. The authorities being accustomed to keeping the public moneys for their own use spent little or nothing upon public works, cleaning the streets or making improvements. They did not build; they did not replace; they only patched and repaired when it was absolutely necessary. It was {105} a situation difficult to conceive, impossible to realize. Yet one must constantly bear in mind that there not only appeared to be nothing out of the ordinary in this, but in reality there was nothing out of the ordinary. It was the accustomed, usual thing and had been so for centuries.

The sense of personal responsibility to the community was not dormant; it did not exist. The sense of duty of those who governed to those whom they governed was not repressed by modern corruption only; it had ceased to exist altogether. No city official was expected to do anything but get what he could out of those under him. No citizen knew anything but the necessity--to him the right--of concealing anything he had, of deceiving everybody whom he could deceive and of evading any law that might be promulgated.

The integrity of the family and its right to live as it chose within restrictions required by gregarious existence had disappeared--never had existed at all so far as those living knew. The responsibility of the individual to his government was unconceivable and inconceivable.

Had all this not been so there would have been {106} no war on our part with Spain, for the whole origin of the trouble which eventually led to war grew out of the final despair of men and women in Cuba who gradually came to realize in a dim way that something was wrong and unfair. Out of this grew internal dissension which constantly spilled over to interfere with international relations.

It was the inevitable breaking down of a civilization because of the years during which civilization's laws had been disregarded, and because all this took place in close proximity to a country where the reverse was the evident fact. There are such rotten spots still upon this earth--one just across our doorstep on the Rio Grande, and somebody some day must clean that house, too.

Added to all this, and much more, was the fact that the city of Santiago had been besieged by land and by sea. Thus naturally even the conditions in this cesspool were intensely exaggerated.

Into such a plague-stricken, starving city on the 20th of July, 1898, Wood, then Brigadier General of United States Volunteers, thirty-seven {107} years of age, fresh from the job of army surgeon to the President in the White House, some Indian fighting in the Southwest and the task of getting the Rough Riders organized into fighting shape--fresh from the fighting that had taken place on and since July 1st--into this situation on July 20th General Wood was summoned by General Shafter, commanding the American forces, with the information that he had been detailed to take command of the city, secure and maintain order, feed the starving and reorganize generally.

Why he was selected may be easily guessed. He was a military man who had made good recently, who had made good in the Southwest, whom the President knew and trusted--and he was a doctor who had just shown great organizing ability. The job itself was as new to him as would have been the task in those days of flying. But with his inherited and acquired sense of values, of the essentials of life, with his education and his characteristic passion for getting ready he started at once to pull off the wall paper, hammer away the plaster and examine the condition of the beams which supported this leaning, tottering, {108} out-of-repair wing of the world's house of civilization.

What he found was rotten beams; no integrity of family; no respect for or responsibility to the state; no sense on the part of the citizens of what they owed to themselves, or their families, or their city--not the slightest idea of what government of the people for the people by the people meant. The government was robbing the family. The family was robbing the government. That was the fundamental place to begin, if this wing of the house was not to fall.

Naturally the immediate and crying needs had to be corrected at once. But Wood began all on the same day on the beams as well as on the plaster and wall paper--this 20th day of July, 1898. Another man might well have forgotten or never have thought of the fundamentals in the terrible condition within his immediate vision. That seems to be the characteristic of Wood--that while he started to cure the illness, he at the same time started to get ready to prevent its recurrence. And there we may perhaps discover something of the reason for his success, something of the reason why people lean on him and {109} look to him for advice and support in time of trouble.

These immediate needs were inconceivable to those who lived in orderly places and orderly times. Of the 50,000 inhabitants, 16,000 were sick. There were in addition 2,000 sick Spanish soldiers and 5,000 sick American troops. Over all in the hot haze of that tropical city hung the terror of yellow fever, showing its sinister face here and there. At the same time a religious pilgrimage to a nearby shrine taken at this moment by 18,000 people led to an immense increase in disease because of the bad food and the polluted water which the pilgrims ate and drank. In the streets piles of filth and open drains were mixed with the dead bodies of animals. Houses, deserted because of deaths, held their dead--men, women and children--whom no one removed and no one buried. All along the routes approaching the city bodies lay by the roadside, the living members of the family leaving their dead unburied because they were too weak and could only drag themselves along under the tropic sun in the hope that they {110} might reach their homes before they, too, should die.

This was enhanced by the fact of the siege and the consequent lack of food. The sick could not go for food; and if they could have done so there was little or none to be had. Horrible odors filled the air. Terror walked abroad. It was a prodigious task for anybody to undertake, but it was undertaken, and in the following manner:

Simultaneously certain main lines of work were mapped out by Wood and officers put in charge of each subject, the commanding officer reserving for himself the planning, the general supervision, the watching, as well as the instituting of new laws based upon the existing system of the Code Napoleon.

It was first necessary to feed the people and to bury the dead. There were so many of the latter that they had to be collected in lots of ninety or a hundred, placed between railway irons, soaked in petroleum and burned outside the city. It was such dreadful work, this going into deserted homes and collecting dead bodies for the flames, that men had to be forced to it. All were {111} paid regularly, however, and the job was done. General Wood's own account of this task is better than any second-hand description can even hope to be.

"Horrible deadly work it was, but at last it was finished. At the same time numbers of men were working night and day in the streets removing the dead animals and other disease-producing materials. Others were engaged in distributing food to the hospitals, prisons, asylums and convents--in fact to everybody, for all were starving. What food there was, and it was considerable, had been kept under the protection of the Spanish army to be used as rations. Some of the far-seeing and prudent had stored up food and prepared for the situation in advance, but these were few.

"All of our army transportation was engaged in getting to our own men the tents, medicines and the thousand and one other things required by our camps, and as this had to be done through seas of mud it was slow work. We could expect no help from this source in our distribution of rations to the destitute population, so we seized {112} all the carts and wagons we could find in the streets, rounded up drivers and laborers with the aid of the police, and worked them under guard, willing or unwilling, but paying well for what they did. At first we had to work them far into the night.

"Everything on wheels in the city was at work. Men who refused and held back soon learned that there were things far more unpleasant than cheerful obedience, and turned to work with as much grace as they could command. All were paid a fair amount for their services, partly in money, partly in rations, but all worked; some in removing the waste refuse from the city, others in distributing food. Much of the refuse in the streets was burned outside at points designated as crematories. Everything was put through the flames.

"In the Spanish military hospital the number of sick rapidly increased. From 2,000 when we came in, the number soon ran up to 3,100 in hospital, besides many more in their camps. Many of the sick were suffering from malaria, but among them were some cases of yellow fever. Poor devils, they all looked as though hope had {113} fled, and, as they stood in groups along the waterfront, eagerly watching the entrance to the harbor, it required very little imagination to see that their thoughts were of another country across the sea, and that the days of waiting for the transports were long days for them." [Footnote: Scribner's Magazine.]

A yellow fever hospital was established on an island in the harbor. The city was divided into districts and numbers of medical men put in charge, their duty being to examine each house and report sanitary conditions, sickness and food situations. As a result of these reports Wood issued orders for action in each district so that the food, the available medical force and the supplies of all kinds should be used and distributed to produce the greatest results in the shortest possible time. In one district alone just outside the city there were thousands of cases of smallpox in November. The streets were filled with filth and dead and wrecked furniture. The wells were full of refuse. The task seemed almost hopeless. Yet, under Wood's system of detailing squads to undertake the work in certain sections {114} with the system of centralized reporting, the epidemic was checked in a month, the district cleaned and scrubbed from end to end with disinfectants and the small pox cut down to a few scattering cases. In this district of Holguin the plan was adopted of vaccinating two battalions of the Second Immune Regiment. These men were then sent into the district to establish good sanitary conditions and clean up the yellow fever. The work was done successfully without the occurrence of a single case of smallpox amongst the American troops. No better demonstration of the efficacy of vaccination was ever given.

Thus the first task of feeding the starving population and cleaning the city was simultaneously undertaken by districts under the direction of officers having authority to proceed along certain established lines. Episodes illustrating these "established lines" are many, but there is space here, for only one or two of them.

It developed at the outset that there was food and meat in the city which the people could use, but which was beyond their reach on account of the high prices. General Wood no sooner heard {115} of this than he "established a line of procedure" to correct it. He sent for the principal butchers of the city and asked:

"How much do you charge for your meat?"

"Ninety cents a pound, Señor."

"What does it cost you?"

There was hesitation and a shuffling of feet; then one of the men said in a whining voice:

"Meat is very, very dear, your Excellency."

"How much a pound?"

"It costs us very much, and ..."

"How much a pound?"

"Fifteen cents, your Excellency; but we have lost much money during the war and..."

"So have your customers. Now meat will be sold at 25 cents a pound, and not one cent more. Do you understand?"

Then, turning to the alderman, he charged him to see that his order was carried out to the letter, unless he wanted to be expelled from office.

Thenceforward meat was sold in the markets at 25 cents. The same simple plan was evolved for all other kinds of supplies. Naturally such high-handed methods caused a great hue and cry {116} amongst certain of the citizens and no such method could have been carried out by any one but a military commander with absolute authority. Some of the newspapers, all of which had been given a free hand by Wood and were allowed for the first time to say what they liked, started a campaign against the new administration and its busy head. But hand in hand with this autocratic procedure went the organization of native courts, the appointment of native officials for carrying on the government, native police to catch Cuban bandits and native judges to give decisions and impose sentences. Furthermore, in these same days of autocratic action, the people gradually discovered that although everybody was forced to work all those who did got paid--something new to the Santiago-Cuban consciousness--that the invading American army was not arresting natives in the streets and thrusting them into jail, but that their own native police were doing this work. Gradually, as the city became clean, as prices fell, as payment for work came in, as illness decreased, as law became fairly administered by the Cuban officials themselves, a certain awe {117} and veneration grew for the invaders and their big, hardworking head. It was a revelation, unbelievable yet true, unknown yet a fact, which opened up to the minds of these long-suffering, incompetent people the first vision of an existence which has since through the same agency of General Wood become a fact throughout the whole island, so that Cuba is to-day a busy, healthy, self-governing state.

Parallel with the feeding and sanitation work General Wood put into effect a certain system of road building where it was necessary in order to keep the people at work and allow them to make money and at the same time to produce necessary transportation facilities. Five miles of asphalt pavement, fifteen miles of country pike, six miles of macadam were built and 200 miles of country road made usable out of funds collected from the regular taxes which had heretofore gone into the pockets of the Spanish government officials. The costs varied somewhat from the old days, as may well be guessed. A quarter of a mile of macadam pavement built by the Spaniards the year before along the water-front had cost $180,000. Wood's {118} engineers built five miles of asphalt pavement at a cost of $175,000.

At the same time a reorganization of the Custom House service was instituted which increased receipts; jails and hospitals were reorganized under the system existing in the United States; and perhaps in the end the greatest work of all was the establishment of an entirely new school system based on an adaptation of the American form. Teachers had disappeared. There were none, since nobody paid them. School houses were empty, open to any tramp for a night's lodging. In a few months this was changed so that kindergartens and schools were opened and running.

In fact the work was the making of a new community, the building of a new life--the repairing of the tottering wing of the old, old house.

All this, as may be supposed, did not take place without friction, obstruction, and without at first a great deal of bad blood.

Wood's methods in dealing with disturbances were his own and can only be suggested here by isolated anecdotes and incidents. When an official who had the Spanish methods in his blood {119} did not appear after three invitations he was carried into the commanding officer's presence by a squad of soldiers in his pajamas. The next time he was invited he came at once.

"One night about eight o'clock, General Wood was writing in his office in the palace. At the outer door stood a solitary sentinel, armed with a rifle. Suddenly there burst across the plaza, from the San Carlos Club, a mob of Cubans--probably 600. Within a few minutes a shower of stones, bricks, bottles and other missiles struck the Spanish Club, smashing windows and doors. A man, hatless and out of breath, rushed up to the sentry at the palace entrance and shouted, 'Where's the General? Quick! The Cubans are trying to kill the officers and men in the Spanish Club!'

"General Wood was leisurely folding up his papers when the sentry reached him. 'I know it,' he said, before the man had time to speak. 'I have heard the row. We will go over and stop it.'

"He picked up his riding-whip, the only weapon he ever carries, and, accompanied by the one American soldier, strolled across to the scene of {120} the trouble. The people in the Spanish Club had got it pretty well closed up, but the excited Cubans were still before it, throwing things and shouting imprecations, and even trying to force a way in by the main entrance.

"'Just shove them back, sentry,' said General Wood, quietly.

"Around swung the rifle, and, in much less time than is taken in the telling, a way was cleared in front of the door.

"'Now shoot the first man who places his foot upon that step,' added the General, in his usual deliberate manner. Then he turned and strolled back to the palace and his writing. Within an hour the mob had dispersed, subdued by two men, one rifle and a riding-whip. And the lesson is still kept in good memory."

"One day about the middle of November the native calentura or fever, from which General Wood suffered greatly, sent him to his home, which is on the edge of the town, earlier than usual. He had no sooner reached the house than he was notified by telephone that a bloody riot had occurred at San Luis, a town 20 miles out on the {121} Santiago Railway. The fever was raging in the General, his temperature exceeding 105, and he was so sick and dizzy that he staggered as he walked. But with that indomitable will that had served him on many a night raid against hostile Apaches, he entered his carriage and was driven back to the city. He picked up his chief signal officer, Captain J. E. Brady, at the Palace and hastened to the building occupied by the telegraph department of the Signal Corps on Calle Enramadas. Captain Brady took the key at the instrument.

"'Tell the operator to summon members of the rural guard who were fired on, and the commanding officer of the Ninth Immunes,' ordered the General, tersely. Thenceforward, for three hours General Wood sat there, questioning, listening, issuing orders, all with a promptness and certainty of judgment that would have been extraordinary in a man quite at his ease; yet all the time, as he could not help showing in mien and features, the raging fever was distressing to the point of agony. Those about him could not but marvel at the man's resolution and endurance. The {122} following day, although still racked with fever, he went by special train to San Luis and investigated the affair in person.'" [Footnote: Fortnightly Review.]

The basis of the great work, however, as General Wood has himself repeatedly said in conversation and in print, was to effect all this regeneration without causing the Cubans to look upon the American Army and the American control as they had for years looked upon the Spanish Army and the Spanish control. That his success here in the most difficult phase of the whole prodigious enterprise was absolute has been testified to in innumerable ways and instances.

Only one or two of these can be given here, but they are illuminating in the extreme and they suggest the success of the methods of the man who had been put in charge of this difficult work.

Death amongst the Spanish soldiers had been very heavy from yellow fever and pernicious malaria and the course of the troop-ships which carried them back to Spain was marked by long lists of burials at sea. These ships carried with them most of the nurses and nursing sisters to {123} care for the sick and dying during the voyage. It was a great drain on the nursing force at Wood's disposal in Santiago. He, therefore, hit upon the idea of offering to pay for the return trips of these nurses if they would come back at once; with the result that most of them gladly accepted and rendered splendid service in Santiago to the sick as a token of their appreciation of the military governor's act. This did much to establish friendly relations between Americans, Spaniards and Cubans who had so short a time before been enemies.

Another vital point was the relations of the invaders with the Church. It had never been contemplated that a Catholic viceroy should be replaced by a Protestant. This viceroy had so many intimate relations with the Catholic Church in which he represented the Catholic king that it was absolutely necessary for whatever American happened to be governor to play the game regardless of what his own religious scruples might be. As an interesting example of how well this was handled by Wood the story of Bishop Bernaba is a charming instance.


This bishop was elevated from priesthood while Wood was governor and because of his affection and respect for the American officer he asked him to walk with him daring the ceremonious procession from the priest's little parish church, where he had served, to the old cathedral where he was to officiate thereafter. It was a solemn religious function and has been described, because of the terrific surroundings of the hour, as not unlike the ceremony which took place in Milan after the Great Plague.

The entire population of the city with some forty or fifty thousand from the surrounding hills packed the streets along the route of the procession. None of them had had a blessing from his own Cuban clergy in many years. It was like a mediaeval scene. The old bishop bowed by years, weakened by his recent grief at the suffering of his people and by the excitement of the moment, and General Wood, the American Protestant, walked together under the bishop's canopy. The people in the streets, seeing this, cried: "Thank God, the General is a Catholic! We didn't know it!"


From time to time the old bishop, tired with the exertion of swinging the censer with the holy water, would hand it to Wood and ask him to continue the function by his side until he could secure a slight respite. Occasionally as he leaned forward to bless the thousands who lined the way and who had come to feel his touch and kiss his hand his miter would slip to one side on his head and the unperturbed American general would lean forward and straighten it for him. Each time the old bishop turned to him and murmured, "Thank God, you are here! I am so old that I could not have made this journey, if you had not been here to help me."

Wood told him that he was not a Catholic, that indeed from Bishop Bernaba's point of view he was a heretic and bound for Hell.

"No," said the bishop, with a smile, "you are a good Catholic; only you do not know it."

Small wonder that when he left Santiago in the spring of 1899 to visit the United States Wood was presented by the people of the city with a magnificent hand-work scroll which said in Spanish:


"The people of the City of Santiago de Cuba to General Leonard Wood ... the greatest of all your successes is to have won the confidence and esteem of a people in trouble."

Small wonder that in December, 1899, less than a year after the United States took over the island, he was appointed by President McKinley Governor General of Cuba and made a Major General of United States Volunteers!







It has been said that General Wood's work in Havana as Governor-General of Cuba was the continuation of his work at Santiago on a larger scale. This would seem to be erroneous.

The Santiago problem was the cleaning and reorganizing of a city of 60,000 inhabitants. Many stringent measures could properly be put into operation in such a community which were quite impossible in a city of 350,000 inhabitants like Havana, or in a state of two and one-half million people such as the Island of Cuba. It was possible in an epidemic to close up houses temporarily, stop business and commercial intercourse for a period where only 60,000 people were concerned. But to stop the daily commerce of a large city, the capital of a state, was out of the question.

Furthermore the problem in the first instance was one of organizing a community in so {130} deplorable a condition that it was on the verge of anarchy. In the second instance much of the cleaning-up process had been at least begun by other American officers. It was here in Havana a case of administration and statecraft as against organization.

It was the taking of a crown colony of Spain--a kingdom--which had never been anything but a royal colony, and turning it in two years and a half into a republic, self-governed, self-judged, self-administered and self-supporting.

Roughly speaking, there had never been such a case. Even now the proposal of the Philippine Islands would practically be the second case should independence be granted to them by the United States. In all history a colony, once a colony, either has remained so, or has revolted from the mother country and by force of arms established its own independence.

These two problems, then, were quite different in their essential elements and they required different qualities in the man who settled them.

President McKinley's instructions to the new Governor-General were "To prepare Cuba, as {131} rapidly as possible, for the establishment of an independent government, republican in form, and a good school system." And both the President and the Secretary of War left their representative entirely to his own resources to work this out. His work was laid out for him and he was given a free hand.

General Wood, therefore, in December, 1899, after having been received with a magnificent ovation on his return to the United States, made a Major-General and given an LL.D. degree by his own University of Harvard--after having returned to Santiago suddenly upon the outbreak of yellow fever, cleaned the town, covered it with chloride of lime, soaked it with corrosive sublimate, burned out its sewers and cesspools, and checked the epidemic,--finally took up his residence in Havana and began his work.

One can readily imagine the immediate problems all of which needed settlement at once, none of which could be settled without study of the most thorough and vital sort. Wood's method was that of an administrator and statesman of great vision. He immediately proceeded to {132} secure wherever he could find them the best men on each of the problems and set them to work with such assistance, expert and otherwise, as they required to make reports to him within a limited time as to what should be done in their particular branches of the government.

Again, it was so simple that it can be told in words of one syllable. But the great administrator appeared in the selection of the men for the jobs and in the final acceptance, rejection, or modification of the plans proposed. While he was an absolute monarch of the Island he never exerted that authority unless there was no other possible course. In all cases he left decisions in so far as that could be done to native bodies and native representatives and native courts with full authority.

Chief Justice White of the Supreme Court upon being consulted told him that in the main the laws were sound but that the procedure was faulty; that he must look closely to this and make many modifications. This hint from a great authority became his guide.

The most crying needs of the moment were the {133} courts and the prisons. Prisoners were held without cause; trials were a farce; the prisons themselves were filthy places where all ages were herded together; court houses were out of repair and out of use; records hardly existed, and the whole machinery of justice was that of a decayed colony of a decayed kingdom totally without the respect of the public and without self-respect.

General Wood began with characteristic promptness to get to the root of the matter. The principal officer charged with the prosecution of cases was removed and a mixed commission, selected and appointed by himself, substituted. As a result in a short time six hundred prisoners were freed, because there was not sufficient evidence against them to warrant their arrests. Court houses were put into repair. Judges with fixed and sufficient salaries were appointed; officials were set at work upon salaries that were fair and--what is far more to the point--were regularly paid. Prison commissions appointed by Wood examined conditions and the prisons were cleaned, moved to other buildings, or renovated and remodelled according to modern American methods. {134} The result in less than six months was that native officials were conducting this work in a self-respecting, honorable manner, convicting or releasing prisoners in short order and bringing the idea of justice into respect in the public mind. The establishment of order was a natural result. Outbreaks and riots became unknown. The people began to realize as no amount of exhibition of power on the part of the invaders could ever have made them realize that peace, order, fair play, and a chance to live had come upon the land in what seemed some miraculous fashion.

The respect of the individual for the State was born again in the Cuban mind--born, perhaps it is fairer to say, for the first time in the heart of this much abused and ignorant people. Once this really pierced their inner consciousness--the inner consciousness of the whole people, of everybody poor or rich--these people felt safe and secure and knew they could take up their enterprises with safety and with hope of adequate returns which should belong to themselves.

It was so sound to do this wherever possible through the medium of the Cubans themselves and {135} not through army officials! It was so sane and clear-visioned a method to begin with this great beam of the remodeled Cuban house--this building up by the process of individual observation of confidence in those who ruled them!--and the men whom General Wood selected to draw the plans were experts in just such work. He selected them. He passed on their schemes. They did the work. And to this day he gives them credit for the whole thing.

Next came the necessity for inculcating the idea of government of the people by the people. Six months after taking office General Wood had appointed a commission on a general election law, had adopted a plan much after our own electoral laws with the Australian ballot system and a limited suffrage, had prepared in his own office in Havana all the ballots, ballot boxes, circulars describing election rules and had successfully held throughout Cuba the first real election ever known on the island--ever known to the people. Municipal officials and local representatives were chosen everywhere by the people themselves for the first time in their lives.


Whether such a thing would be successful and prove effective the Governor-General did not know. But he knew that it was the right thing to do if they were ever to govern themselves; he trusted them--and he took the risk.

Next--or rather at the same time with these two basic lines of constructive building--came the school system. When the United States took over the Island the school system was non-existent. There was not one single schoolhouse belonging to the State anywhere on the Island. There were no schools at all except private and church schools and very few of them. Children in the mass did not attend school. There was no foundation to build on. The whole school system had to be created new from the bottom to the top. That schools were another of the main beams of this new house is self-evident. Yet the action taken was much more far-seeing than would have been possible without a single autocrat to decree, and without a man who could see many years ahead.

"I knew," said the Governor-General in one of his reports, "that we were going to establish a {137} government of and by the people in Cuba and that it was going to be transferred to them at the earliest possible moment; and I believed that the success of the future government would depend as much upon the foundation and extension of its public schools as upon any other factor, that such a system must be entirely in the hands of the people of the island."

This was the situation when in the beginning of 1900 within a month after taking office Wood selected a young West Pointer who had been a teacher to draw up a school system and school laws. The result was an adaptation of the Ohio and Massachusetts School Systems; and when in 1902 the Island was turned over to the Cubans three thousand eight hundred schools were in operation in good schoolhouses, with native teachers well paid, with 256,000 pupils, and at an expenditure of $4,000,000 a year out of a total annual state revenue of $17,000,000. In other words nearly one-quarter of the Island's revenue had been spent on the education of children to make them good and self-respecting citizens where nothing whatever had been spent before.


It was a very bold step. No other country on earth had ever spent so large a portion of its revenue on education. The appropriations in the United States to-day are pitiful in comparison--and yet our country is supposed to be doing pretty well by its future citizens. Again the step taken by the Governor-General was a piece of construction of the main essentials--of the things that make no show, but build, always build.

American teachers were not employed, in order that the Cubans filled with suspicion of what the invaders were going to do might not be led to believe that there was any attempt being made to "Americanize" the Island. But on the other hand in the summer of 1900 one thousand of these new Cuban teachers were invited with all their expenses paid to spend several months at Harvard University in Cambridge and learn something of American pedagogy. The preparations for transporting this large number and handling them during their stay in the United States involved a large amount of work, but the trip was carried through without mishap or accident of any kind, and the thousand teachers returned to {139} their homes in the Island not only with the great benefit resulting from this instruction, but with the immense stimulus of a visit to an organized and comparatively smoothly running civilization. What they saw was of even greater benefit to them in the long run than what they learned in their summer courses.

At this time the city of Havana was a fever-ridden, dangerous city. Yellow fever and other tropical diseases existed always and blazed up into epidemics at certain seasons of the year. Such systems of drainage as existed emptied into the harbor or into the street gutters. A beginning had been made to cleanse the city before Wood took charge, but little had been done in the smaller cities of the Island, all of which were in somewhat the same condition as Santiago in 1898 except for the added scourge in the latter city resulting from its siege.

Nevertheless different methods had to be used in Havana. It is impossible here to go into the mass of detail in the appointing of commissions to carry out the different sanitary works that were required in Havana and all over the Island {140} in cities, towns and country districts. But, familiar as it now is, there will never be an account of this work which has made Cuba one of the healthiest places to live in either in or out of the tropics--there will never be a description so short that it cannot tell of the work of the unselfish, altruistic group of physicians who solved the yellow fever problem for all time. It gives him who writes even now something of a thrill to tell a little of it again and to pay tribute to the man who organized the work and to the men who carried it out under his unfailing support and encouragement. It is the greatest achievement of medicine since the discovery of the smallpox vaccine. It is one of the bright spots in the history of mankind.

Here it is told best by the organizer of it in his official language with all the reserve and reticence that go with all the writing he has ever issued. Between the lines one reads the story of a hundred cases of bravery as great as that required by any fighter in the world, a hundred instances of self-sacrifice and risk willingly given in those fever-stricken places and quarantined hospitals, freely {141} offered that those who came after might be saved from the black cloud which then hung over all tropical and semi-tropical countries.

In the Spring and summer of 1900 a yellow fever epidemic broke out in Havana and in many parts of the Island. All the sanitary methods known to man seemed to have no effect upon it. Nothing seemed to do much good.

At this point General Wood, knowing of the theory of Dr. Findlay that yellow fever was transmitted by the bite of a mosquito and at his wits' end to know what step to take next, received notice that a commission consisting of Drs. Reed, Carroll and Lazaer had been appointed to make a thorough study of the disease at first hand and report to him. "After several preliminary investigations Dr. Lazaer submitted himself as a subject for an experiment for the purpose of demonstrating that the yellow fever could be transmitted in this way. He was inoculated with an infected mosquito, took the fever and died. Dr. Carroll was also bitten and had a serious case of yellow fever, but fortunately recovered.

"The foregoing was the situation when Doctors {142} Reed, Carroll and Kean called at headquarters and stated that they believed the point had been reached where it was necessary to make a number of experiments on human beings and that they wanted money to pay those who were willing to submit themselves to these experiments and they needed authority to make experiments. They were informed that whatever money was required would be made available, and that the military Governor would assume the responsibility for the experiments. They were cautioned to make these experiments only on sound persons, and not until they had been made to distinctly understand the purpose of the same and especially the risk they assumed in submitting themselves as subjects for these experiments, and to always secure the written consent of the subjects who offered themselves for this purpose. It was further stipulated that all subjects should be of full legal age. With this understanding, the work was undertaken in a careful and systematic manner. A large number of experiments were made.

"The Stegomyia mosquito was found to be beyond question the means of transmitting the {143} yellow fever germ. This mosquito, in order to become infected, must bite a person sick with the yellow fever during the first five days of the disease. It then requires approximately ten days for the germs so to develop that the mosquito can transmit the disease, and all non-immunes who are bitten by a mosquito of the class mentioned, infected as described, invariably develop a pronounced case of yellow fever in from three-and-one-half to five days from the time they are bitten. It was further demonstrated that infection from cases so produced could be again transmitted by the above described type of mosquito to another person who would, in turn, become infected with the fever. It was also proved that yellow fever could be transmitted by means of introduction into the circulation of blood serum even after filtering through porcelain filters, which latter experiment indicates that the organism is exceedingly small, so small, in fact, that it is probably beyond the power of any microscope at present in use. It was positively demonstrated that yellow fever could not be transmitted by clothing, letters, etc., and that, consequently all the old {144} methods of fumigation and disinfection were only useful so far as they served to destroy mosquitoes, their young and their eggs." [Footnote: General Wood's Report on the military government of Cuba.]

That is the story of a work that has made Cuba a healthy land, that has freed the southern part of the United States forever from the dread disease, that has made the building of the Panama Canal a possibility and the Canal Zone healthier in death rate per thousand than New York City, that has finally rid the earth of yellow fever as vaccine rid it of smallpox and typhoid, and as the discoveries during the Great War have made it possible to check tetanus and typhus and bubonic plague.

It was done--the work was done--by the doctors named and their assistants and the many men who took up the burden in other places and carried on. All honor to them! But the man who approved the idea, who took the risk and the responsibility and backed up those who worked-- the man who kept in touch with it day by day and {145} saw that it was carried through--was Leonard Wood.

Simultaneously with these basic administrative activities many other lines of constructive state building were inaugurated, under the same administrative plan--the plan of the appointment of a specialist or a commission of specialists to draw up plans and report to the Governor-General who then decided and started the actual work of reorganization.

A railroad law was written, and General Wood persuaded General Grenville M. Dodge and Sir William Van Horn to help him to build much of the present railway system of Cuba. Hard modern roads took the place of the muddy routes almost impassable at certain seasons of the year which had been the only means of communication throughout the island. Hospitals and charities were grouped under a new organization consisting almost entirely of Cubans which renovated old hospitals, built new ones, put children first into temporary homes and then did away practically with asylums as soon as the destitute children could be put out among the Cuban families who {146} took them under a newly made law. Thus, in so far as was possible, no child from that time forward grew up with the stigma of an orphan asylum resting upon him or her, but had the chance offered to become in time a self-respecting inhabitant of a self-respecting community.

Immense sums were disbursed by the military government in public works, harbor improvements, lighthouses which had almost ceased to exist, post offices and postal systems, telephone and telegraph connections, offices and organizations and an entirely new system of custom houses and quarantine administrations.

The account of these in detail is the same story over and over again--the building of a state from bottom to top; and the administration of this state by those people who throughout their entire lives had known nothing of the sort--much less had any voice in its management.

Two require special notice because of the tact and judgment required in handling them and because of the vital importance their consummation meant in the final settlement of Cuban difficulties.

One was the ending of the long standing war {147} between the Spanish Government and the Roman Catholic Church upon the question of church property appropriated by Spain. No settlement had been made since the concordat of 1861. And when General Wood took command of the Island the Church came to him and said: "What is the United States going to do? Is it war, or peace? Give us our property back, or pay us for the use of it."

With infinite wisdom and tact the Governor-General appointed judicial commissions to make an exhaustive study of the situation which resulted in reports showing that the claims of the Church were in the main just and fair, and a settlement was reached by which the State purchased most of the property, and rented for five years the rest, so that time should be given for equitable adjustment. This settled for all time a century-old trouble which alone would have made the setting up of a peaceable and effective government doubtful.

The other sound reorganization of a delicate nature was the action of the Governor-General in revising a law which made marriages only legal if {148} performed by a judge and ignoring the church ceremony altogether. The changed law recognized either church or civil marriage and quieted the most serious of all family troubles in the Island.

Finally a constitutional convention was planned and held, at which a constitution of the republican form based upon that of the United States was framed and adopted; an electoral law for elections in the Cuban republic was also adopted; and the general administrative law of the land was rewritten and adapted so that the government of the Island could be turned over to its inhabitants in workable form even though that form was new to them and they new to self-government in any form.

Look for a moment at the result of this work. In December, 1899, Leonard Wood took command of the Island of Cuba. In May, 1902, he turned over that Island to its own inhabitants. In 1899 except for the military work done by the American Army the Island contained Spaniards who had for years been its autocratic rulers and who had recently been defeated in a war; and Cubans who {149} had for years been governed by a tyrant race. In 1902 these two century-old hostile groups, neither of whom had ever had any real experience in modern representative government, received their country at the hands of the Americans with new laws, with a republican form of government, with their own kind for rulers elected by their own people, and began an existence that has now been running long enough to prove that the work was so well performed for them as to make the impossible possible--the rotten kingdom, a clean republic; the decayed colony, an independent, proud democracy.

It is a piece of work unparalleled in the annals of history. And the closing episodes which occurred in Havana are a witness to the affection and pride in which the people held the man who had accomplished it, the nation which had ordered it and their Island which was the scene of its happening.

One typical episode occurred on the night of President Palma's inauguration ball given to the new President and the new Cuban Congress by General Wood. Wood took a number of the {150} principal representatives of the new Cuban Congress to the Spanish Club--the hotbed of the Spanish régime--where there was a celebration in progress in honor of King Alfonso's birthday. The two nationalities fraternized at once under the influence of the American Governor-General, and all of them, Spaniards and Cubans, drank the health of the King of Spain. The President and the principal members of the Club then joined the party and went to the ball together, where in turn all of them, Spaniards and Cubans alike, drank the health of the new republic. When Wood's family left for Spain the Spanish colony in Havana made a request that they should sail on the Spanish Royal Mail Steamer in order that they might show their appreciation of his work. And this ship when she sailed was the first Spanish boat to salute the brand new Cuban flag which had just been raised at the entrance to the harbor where for 400 years before that day the flag of Spain had waved.

Another witness to the singular skill with which the Governor-General handled the diplomatic relations of the republic, and which is probably {151} unequaled anywhere in history, follows. This witness has to do with his work in laying the foundations of peace between the government of the Island and the Catholic Church. It is only possible here to quote from a few of the documents which Wood received not only as acknowledgment of his wise and sane policy, but as voluntary signs of personal affection and respect which the writers held for him when his difficult task was done. Monsignor Donatus, Bishop of Havana, wrote among other letters three which deserve quoting here. They were all voluntary expressions on his part. The first, dated at Havana on August 10, 1900, says in part:

"To His Excellency, Major-General Leonard Wood, U.S.A., Military Governor of Cuba. Honored Sir:

"I saw published in the official Gazetta yesterday the decree whereby you give civil effects and validity to religious marriages. This act of your Excellency corresponds perfectly with the elevated ideals of justice, fairness and true liberty to which aspired the institutions and government of {152} the United States, which you so worthily represent in this Island.

"I gladly take this opportunity of declaring that in all my dealings with your Excellency I have found you ever disposed to listen to all reasonable petitions and to guard the sacred rights of justice which is the firmest foundation of every honored and noble nation.

"I am moved, therefore, to speak the thanks not only of the Catholics but likewise of all others who truly love the moral, religious and political well-being of the people, and to express to your Excellency the sincere feelings and satisfaction and gratitude for this decree, which is worthy of a wise leader and an able statesman. This too gives me confidence that all your decrees and orders will continue to be dictated by the same high-minded and liberal spirit of justice that while it respects the religious sentiment, also guarantees and defends the rights and liberties of all honest institutions. Very respectfully yours, X. Donatus, Bishop of Havana."

The second from the same place, dated December 11, 1900, says:


"All lovers of liberty of conscience, all guardians of the sanctity of the home and all who understand and admire good citizenship must recognize in this as in your other order on the same subject, the wisdom of a far-seeing statesman and the courage of a fearless executive.

"Thanking you therefore in my own name and in the name of the Church I represent, I remain with every sentiment of respect and esteem, Very sincerely yours, X. Donatus, Bishop of Havana."

And finally as the Bishop was leaving Havana in November, 1901, to become the Bishop of Ephesus and proceed to Rome, he wrote:

"Called by the confidence of the Holy Father to a larger and more difficult field of action, I feel the duty before leaving Cuba to express to your Excellency my sentiment of friendship and gratitude, not only for the kindness shown to me, but for the fair treatment of the questions with the Government of the Island, especially the Marriage and Church Property questions. The equity and justice which inspired your decisions will devolve before all fair-minded people to the honor, not {154} only of you personally, but also to the Government you so worthily represent. I am gratified to tell you that I have already expressed the same sentiment to the Holy Father in writing and I will tell him orally on my visit to Rome. Yours very respectfully, X. Donatus, Bishop of Havana."

An interesting result of this work of Wood's in regard to the settlement of the religious questions of the Island came later on when he was starting on his way to take up his work in the Philippines in the form of a delegation of Church authorities headed by Archbishop Jones. This delegation came to General Wood to say that its members proposed to approach the President of the United States and suggest that Wood be given the same authority to represent church matters in the Philippines as he had had in Cuba. They added that if this were done, they would give him full power to represent the Catholic Church as a referee and confer upon him the power not only to recommend action in all matters, but to settle all matters for the Church himself.

It is very doubtful if such authority has many times in history been given to a Protestant by the {155} Church of Rome, and it marks the extraordinary height to which Wood's ability had lifted him in the world at large.

It is hardly to be wondered at that Theodore Roosevelt wrote at the time: "Leonard Wood four years ago went down to Cuba, has served there ever since, has rendered services to that country of the kind which if performed three thousand years ago would have made him a hero mixed up with the sun god in various ways; a man who devoted his whole life through those four years, who thought of nothing else, did nothing else, save to try to bring up the standard of political and social life in that Island, to teach the people after four centuries of misrule that there were such things as governmental righteousness and honesty and fair play for all men on their merits as men." [Footnote: Harvard Graduates' Magazine.]








Meantime, while Wood was carrying on his work in Cuba, events of importance to him and to his country were taking place in the United States. The popularity of his war record had made Roosevelt Governor of New York, and when the time came for him to run for a second term the Republican organization of the state forced him to take the nomination for Vice-President of the United States in order to keep him out of the gubernatorial field. He objected strongly and tried to remain in the state fight, but at the convention in Philadelphia upon a certain momentous occasion Thomas Platt, then head, of the state and national Republican organization, is said to have remarked to him:

"Mr. Roosevelt, if you do not desire the vice-presidential nomination, there is always the alternative of retirement to private life."

In other words party machinery was too strong {160} for him and much against his will he was forced to run as second on the McKinley-Roosevelt presidential ticket.

The Republicans were successful and Roosevelt, knowing that there was little for him to do in Washington, was planning an extended trip through the Southern states to make an exhaustive study of the negro question. He had indeed begun to accumulate material on this subject when on September 6, 1901, McKinley was shot at Buffalo. A few days later he died; and Theodore Roosevelt became President of the United States.

For Wood this meant much in the future--much of good and something of trouble. Roosevelt was his devoted friend and supporter, and upon his return to the United States in early 1902 he found this devoted friend the head of the nation, himself a Brigadier-General of the regular army scheduled to go into regular army work and to live on an army officer's pay. In this country there is no other procedure possible. In England such a man would have been given a title and a large sum of money to make it possible for him to keep up the position which a man of his abilities and {161} attainments should keep up. Here the case is different.

He had the alternative of going on, or retiring and entering commercial pursuits. Offers looking towards the latter contingency were not wanting. He was, in fact, asked to take a business position, which offered him forty thousand a year. Here was a large income for a man of forty-two, regular work of an interesting sort, security and a clear future for himself and his family. Instead, he accepted the appointment to the Philippines which meant and indeed, as the outcome showed, actually involved more than a hundred military engagements amongst the natives of the islands in many of which he risked his life.

Here again he took the road of service to his country as he had each time the ways divided since the day when as a young doctor he entered the army. No one but he himself can tell in detail just the reasons which led to this decision, but in the main they were the instinctive desire for action, for execution and for the open road, which then as now swayed him in all his actions and decisions. Then, too, he felt that since {162} Roosevelt was President, criticisms of their relations in political circles might readily arise, as indeed did occur later; and lest their friendship should be misunderstood he took the Philippine appointment--applied for it, even--in order that being thus out of the country, cause for any such occurrences might perhaps be avoided.

It is always interesting to look back through the career of such a man and speculate on the chance or wise decision which caused the choice of the right road or the left road at such a time. Neither Wood nor Roosevelt could possibly know or foresee that this decision would furnish the former with the material which eventually led to his doing more than all the rest of the United States put together to start preparation for the Great War. Neither of them could have guessed that his administration in the Philippines would bring out further qualities in Wood which showed the statesman as well as the administrator in him.

What might have happened otherwise is again a futile speculation--perhaps something to bring him still more before the people of his country, perhaps less--yet it may be safely said, judging {163} from history and biography the world over, that it is probable no road he might have taken would have suppressed Leonard Wood's executive and administrative qualities. Indeed the fact that for practically thirty years he has been in the army, that he is a soldier in every inch of his big body, has never even to this day made him a militarist. He is and always has been an administrator; and that quality with all that it means would in all likelihood have cropped out in whatever profession he might have chosen or been forced into by circumstances.

Men of ability are doubtless occasionally kept down; but not as a rule. They rise to the occasion. And conversely men of small minds, dreamers and theorists looking to the settlement of all problems on the instant seldom last long at the top although they rise to prominence here and there in times of excitement and hysteria such as we are passing through to-day. It is only the sound common sense of humanity coupled with great ability that stands the test. It is only they who keep ever before them the fact that {164} elemental laws do not change, cannot be changed, who stand the test and strain of emergency.

The entire world since the Great War is filled with new theories, new plans, new outlooks for all of us. We cannot go back to the old status. Yet because we cannot go back there would seem to be no reason for our going mad. The wall paper has changed--must change. New decorations with wonderful and to American ears unpronounceable names have been displayed before the eyes of Europe and America by the advanced architects of the day. But that individual--not to mention nations--who becomes fascinated with the new colors and designs will suffer horribly in the end if, having forgotten to look to the beams of his house, he finds it shortly tumbling about his ears. Sane vision, clear thinking at critical times has saved and will save many times again those who would fall but for such guidance.

To-day in this land such men are needed. They must come forward, not in haste or with sudden panaceas, but with the same old sound common sense which has made us what we are and will keep {165} us from becoming what parts of the rest of the world have already become.

In 1902 the situation, while not as acute as to-day, had nevertheless its problems to be solved; and though we had just finished what in the light of history was a short and almost insignificant war the country was startled from end to end by the discovery of its unpreparedness. As has already been said our amazing lack of men and equipment for any such occasion had been impressed upon Wood's mind by personal experience and by his own native instinct for the reverse.

It was of great interest to him, therefore, to receive shortly the appointment to visit Germany as an American military observer of the German Army maneuvers. And out of this trip he learned more thoroughly the lack of foresight in military matters in this country and saw more clearly the position which we should be in, if such a machine as the German Army were pitted against us instead of the weak and decayed forces of Spain.

In the course of these maneuvers he met many of the greatest military men of Europe. He was received and entertained by the German Emperor {166} not only because of his position in the American army and as the representative of the United States, but as the man who in Cuba had treated with such kindness and courtesy German officers of a visiting training ship who were ill with the Island fevers. He witnessed the grand maneuvers of the greatest army the world has ever known. But, what in his own belief was of far more importance, he met and talked with European military experts of world-wide reputation.

Among these men the most congenial spirit was Lord Roberts. The little man of Kandahar, the great fighter of Britain's battles, the idol of the British public, was then striving to awaken the English people and the English government to their own unpreparedness. He sought even then to show them what an attack by a force like the German Army would mean to the British Empire. For years he kept at it, lecturing, speaking, crying aloud throughout England up to the very day when without warning in 1914 his countrymen found themselves with a scant two hundred thousand soldiers confronted by five millions of trained Germans.


The great fighter, the great preacher, his little body filled with patriotism and a great heart, unbosomed to Wood and met a responsive assent in Wood's own nature. They discussed from all sides the right thing to do. They went over all the European systems together with the desire in their hearts to find something which should at the same time give a nation a force of great size that could be quickly put into action and still not turn that nation into a huge military machine. Neither of them was a militarist. Both felt that peace was best preserved by the power to preserve it.

Together they seem to have arrived at some adaptation of the Swiss system which provides that small country with a relatively enormous military force without causing the citizens to give up their commercial pursuits. At that time it is probable that Wood began to formulate the idea of universal military training of all male citizens between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one while they were finishing school and college and before they had settled upon their life work.

At all events the material upon the subject {168} which he managed to accumulate in the way of books, pamphlets, records and so on constitutes now one of the main portions of his extensive library. And the whole trip was an example in his case of what a man can do incidentally--or apparently incidentally--while occupied ostensibly with some other work. During his stay in Europe he met many statesmen in Germany, France and England and absorbed from them all he could on the subject that was fast becoming his greatest interest.

Upon his return to the United States the difficulties which Taft, the Governor of the Philippine Islands, was having in trying to bring order amongst the Moro, or Moslem, Islands and the half savage tribes which inhabited them led President Roosevelt to consider the advisability of sending some one to undertake this difficult and dangerous task. Speaking of it to Wood one day the latter said:

"Why not send me?"

Roosevelt immediately referred him to Mr. Root, then Secretary of War, with the result that he was appointed Governor of Moro Province to do {169} the work there amongst these new wards of the United States under different conditions which he had already done in Cuba.

Wood felt very strongly that it would be far better for him to be there during the administration of Roosevelt in order that their personal relationship might not be misunderstood. This was the more forcibly brought in upon his consciousness by the occurrence at that time of what is known as the Rathbone affair.

Major Estes G. Rathbone, formerly an assistant postmaster-general and at this time detailed to duties in the newly organized Post Office in Cuba, had been charged with wastefulness of public moneys and unwarranted expenditure of public funds for personal expenses. He, with certain associates, was brought to trial and convicted. He was sentenced to a long term of imprisonment. It was one of the few cases of malfeasance in office which occurred in Cuba during Wood's administration and was dealt with by the regular courts in the regular manner.

Nothing further would have come of it in all probability had not the extraordinarily close {170} relations of Wood and Roosevelt furnished an excuse. The fact that Roosevelt was President of the United States and that as such he proposed the name of Wood for advancement to Major-General of Regulars from Brigadier-General added fuel to the flames. The fact that Wood was the senior Brigadier and that as such he would naturally become Major-General in regular seniority seems to have carried no weight at the time. Even then the Rathbone affair would have had no connection with the matter of this appointment had not Major Rathbone possessed personal friends high politically in the government of the time, and had not the regular army officers looked with disfavor upon the appointment even in regular order of a man who had been an army surgeon and who was not what is known as a line officer originally.

All these influences, however, coming together at the same time caused an uproar in Congress over his appointment which, while it cleared Wood entirely, still made a political scandal that hurt to the quick the man who had just accomplished what he had accomplished in Cuba.

Wood was charged with conduct unbecoming {171} an officer; that he made an intimate friend of an ex-convict in Santiago, and employed him as a newspaper correspondent to blacken the character of eminent American officers and advertise himself; that Rathbone was unjustly accused and convicted through Wood's direct agency; that Wood had been guilty of extravagance; that he had accepted while Governor-General presents from a gambling house in Havana, and so on.

All this evidence and much more was laid before the Committee of the Senate on Military Affairs and was most thoroughly aired. The result was the absolute vindication of Wood, his confirmation as Major-General of the Regular Army and a report which is a part of the records of the Senate in which it is written that:... "not one of them has a better claim, by reason of his past record and experience as a commander, than has General Wood; and in the opinion of the Committee no one has in view of his present rank equal claim to his on the ground of merit measured by the considerations suggested."

The whole episode thus ended in still greater credit to General Wood. It is only interesting {172} and in point here and now because it brings out the fact that the man himself never had the support of the Washington Army Department men until his service in the Philippines, except here and there amongst those officers who have served under him. Doubtless his extraordinary executive work in getting the Rough Riders ready for action and his methods which over-rode precedents and destroyed red tape throughout the whole of the War Department of that day had much to do with this. That there should follow in so few months his remarkable success in Santiago, his appointment as Governor-General of Cuba, his quick and successful organization and administration of the Island so that it could be turned over to the Cubans in such short order--all tended to fan the flames of prejudice. Hence when the opportunity of the Rathbone affair occurred the flames became a veritable conflagration, which, however, burned only those who brought the charges and touched the character of Wood himself not at all.

In the meantime early in 1903 he started upon his duties in the Philippines. Instead of proceeding by the usual route through California and {173} over the Pacific to Manila, Wood decided to make the voyage the other way round with a definite plan for acquiring data upon his new subject and relative to his new duties as he went along.

In Egypt he spent some time with Lord Cromer, then just preparing to give up his work there as Viceroy. Cromer, like all other persons in executive capacities throughout the world, knew well all that General Wood had done in Cuba. He had a very high appreciation of what had been accomplished in the time, because from his own experience he knew better than most men what the difficulties had been. He took a great liking for the quiet, stalwart American and told him that his administration in Cuba was one of the finest in Colonial history and the best in our generation. Later when Lord Cromer was asked to suggest some one to succeed himself in Egypt he said that unfortunately the best man was unavailable since he was an American citizen named Leonard Wood.

He gave him all the facilities for studying the government and administration of the British protectorate and helped him wherever and {174} whenever he could. Wood's great interest was the study of the way in which men of different and conflicting religious beliefs were handled, and he collected large quantities of books and documents to be studied later as he proceeded eastward. No man could have asked for higher appreciation than was accorded him voluntarily by the able and experienced administrator of Egyptian affairs.

From Cairo he proceeded to India and spent sufficient time to accumulate information there. He was to govern a Mohammedan population mixed up with Confucians, cannibals, headhunters and religions of twenty different varieties, and he studied as he went along all the methods employed in similar situations to preserve order without creating religious wars.

He even made a special journey to Java at the invitation of the Dutch government, where the Dutch governor gave him all the assistance in his power. Here he found the problem more closely allied to his own than elsewhere.

So that on his arrival in Manila he had gathered information upon most of the problems which would shortly confront him from sources {175} of unquestioned authenticity and from men of unquestioned ability. Some friend one night in Manila spoke of the large number of books that filled the walls of his house and wondered when he expected to get time to read them. Wood's answer was that he had read them all and only used them now as reference books to refresh his memory.

New as the problems were, therefore, he had by the time he began active work as Governor whatever preparation any one could secure for the work in hand.

The Spaniards had failed in their government in the Philippines as they had elsewhere. In Mindanao and Sulu--the country, or islands, inhabited by the Moros--they had failed signally because of their intolerance of the religious beliefs of the people and their careless impatience generally towards a colony which from its very nature could not produce much money. Furthermore they did not send sufficient military forces or sufficiently able officers to maintain their supremacy. And finally they did not deal with the people through the native clergy and priests. Consequently when the Americans came in the Moros were united only {176} in their hatred of the white race, placed no confidence in anything their rulers told them and only obeyed white-man-made laws as long as the white man was in sight.

After all a sultan or datu had his position and authority which had come down to him through generations and his religion which had been taught him from birth. He saw no reason why he should give up these without a struggle just because some other man arrived with a different religion and a different form of sultan government. The country was such that it was easy to avoid the new rulers. Transportation over large parts of the southern islands was through jungle and pathless forests where even riding a horse was impossible. Streams without bridges, settlements without approaches except a trail, tropical climates to which only the Moros themselves were accustomed spread over a land of almost impenetrable jungle. The Moros themselves understood such a situation and could easily move from one spot to another, one island to another, one settlement to another; while the army had to fight its way in and then fight its way out again.


While the problem of administration was not unlike that in Cuba in so far as the organizing of courts, law, education, native officials and so on went, there were here in Moroland the infinitely more difficult and delicate tasks of dealing with many different religious laws and customs and the hereditary rank and rights of tribal rulers, none of which existed in Cuba.

The quality of statesmanship in Wood which dealt with these problems and settled them so that from a slave-holding, polygamous, headhunting land there arose a self-governing community is of the highest order.

It was put into force in the commander's usual, commonplace, thorough way without haste or excitement, but where necessary by force of arms which required more than a hundred engagements and many hard-fought battles. Wood first spent some time in Manila going over the situation with Mr. Taft. There he learned Taft's wishes and views and prepared his military forces. He was both military commander and civil governor of the Moroland and as such was again an absolute autocrat. When he was ready he started directly {178} into the jungle from Zamboanga. The journey took him and his staff through forests, over unfordable rivers, across mountain ranges on foot, across the straits that separated one island from another in dugouts, into forts, into towns, into villages and hamlets in a nerve-racking journey of over a month without a pause except for necessary sleep.

He wanted to see with his own eyes and hear with his own ears at first hand what was the condition of affairs, what was going on, what were the different and varying situations in order that he might the more correctly and certainly draw up plans for the reorganization of the colony. In one village he was a military commander issuing orders; in another he was a criminal or civil judge sitting in session; in another he was a listener to the advancement of the plans and the religious ceremonials of the sultans or datus of the place.

Naturally all came to see him. He was the embodiment of the new conquerors and curiosity alone would have brought every one, to say nothing of policy which brought those who desired {179} to impress him in order that special favors might be expected for themselves. He was the Great White Sultan judged by the standards known to their other sultans.

And the problems were infinitely varied and in most cases entirely new ones to the "doctor from Boston."

But, as in other places, he used his own methods in each instance to settle the particular problem, always emphasizing the one great fact that if the Moros would deal fairly with the Government of the United States they would benefit as never before, secure fair and just treatment and be assured of their right to live in peace.

Yet when things became a little clogged he took immediate steps to clear the situation with force if necessary, but always with diplomacy if that could be made to do the job.

"In Jolo there was a mess. The puffed-up Sultan, with whom General Bates in 1899 had made a treaty by which the Sultan engaged to keep order, was away in Singapore having a 'time.' His brother, the Rajah Mudah, was acting as regent. The sub-chiefs and datus were in a great {180} row. The Moros were murdering and robbing, all over the island. General Wood led an expedition to find out what was the matter. It was not a punitive expedition, but rather one meant to let the natives see the stalwart soldiers of the United States and understand the futility of resisting them. The Rajah Mudah was sulky. The General sent him a polite invitation to visit him in camp near Maibun, the Rajah's town. Mudah returned word that he was ill. Another invitation failed to budge him. General Wood ordered Colonel Scott to pay a call upon the sick Rajah and to take along a company of infantry. Colonel Scott and Captain Howard found the Rajah lounging among his pillows. He greeted them in the languid accents of the sick. Solicitous inquiries about the nature of his malady were made. The Rajah had a boil. Colonel Scott was deeply sympathetic. Would the Rajah object to showing his boil. Perhaps the visitors might be able to suggest a remedy. The Rajah did not show his boil. Captain Howard put his company into line. The Rajah sat up with a jerk, and Moros came running from all directions to see what was {181} happening. Colonel Scott very quietly explained that the soldiers had been sent as a guard of honor to escort the Rajah to the General. If the Rajah was quite sure that he was feeling sufficiently strong to travel, they would go.

Peering through half shut eyes, the Rajah Mudah pondered for a moment. Then he announced that he felt greatly improved and that undoubtedly his condition would be immensely helped by a ride in the air.

"General Wood greeted him cordially and ceremoniously. He personally conducted him around the camp, pointing out what fine, big men our soldiers were, and especially directing his attention to the machine guns. Would the Rajah like to see the guns in operation?

"After the guns had mowed down a few trees the Rajah's face assumed a thoughtful expression. He became enthusiastically friendly." [Footnote: World's Work.]

Such methods in time made an impression. Even the Moro mind began to absorb the fact that it was much better to accept the invitation than to undergo what followed any failure to do so.


Wood had also to add to his difficulties in the beginning the prejudice of army officers he found in the islands. The older men over whom he had been promoted by President McKinley had no love for him. They called him a doctor. He was not of the army fraternity. They had heard that he had done well, but not by established methods. The younger officers took their cue from their seniors and so did the enlisted men. It was a difficult problem, or series of problems, through which he had to steer a careful course. But he did it and turned the tide entirely in the other direction.

He did it by always taking his share of the hard work. Object lessons of this sort multiplied as time went on. When troops were sent out to an engagement Wood went with them and kept in the front line. When they camped for the night in the jungle he had the same bed--the ground. When they had little or nothing to eat, he had the same. Once when they came out upon the beach of one of the islands after a hard trip Wood's launch was reported a hundred yards off the surf ready with cooling fans, a good mattressed bed, excellent food and a bath. He told {183} the orderly that he would stay with the men and sent him back to the launch, taking no more notice of the matter except to scrape out a new hollow in the burning sand in the hope of finding a cooler spot to sleep.

Such episodes repeated again and again soon made a vital change of views in regard to the new governor and commander. They occurred so regularly and so often that it appeared true--this taking what came along in the day's work with the others--not a case of trying to produce effect now and then. Mr. R. H. Murray, in his article written in 1912, quoted above, speaks of an officer who served under Wood at this time and as he says quotes him as literally as he can:

"When Wood first came out in 1903, the army in the Philippines didn't know him. There were plenty of officers who reviled him as a favorite of the White House, and cussed him out for it. Pretty soon the army began to realize that he was a hustler; that he knew a good deal about the soldier's game; that he did things and did them right; that, when reveille sounded before daybreak, he was usually up and dressed before {184} us; that, when a man was down and out, and he happened to be near, he'd get off his horse and see what the matter was and fix the fellow up, if he could; that when he gave an order it was a sensible one and that he didn't change it after it went out; and that he remembered a man who did a good piece of work and showed his appreciation at every chance.

"Well, the youngsters began to swear by Wood, and the old chaps followed, so that from 'cussing him out' they began to respect him and then to admire and love him. That's the word--love. It's the easiest thing in the world to pick a fight out there now by saying something against Wood. It is always the same when men come in contact with him. I don't honestly believe there is a man in the department now who wouldn't go to hell and back for Leonard Wood."

It was again much the same story as in Cuba. It was not only the personality of the man himself, his personal magnetism, but the quiet simplicity of his methods backed by knowledge and good judgment. It was the absence of doing anything for effect, anything of the personal {185} "ego;" the getting of things done quietly, without ferment or conversation. And back of it all the absolute certainty of every one who worked with or under him that Leonard Wood would do exactly what he said he would, even though he said it quite quietly only once and even though the doing of it meant a military expedition, a battle and the death of many a good man who perhaps knew nothing of the real reasons.

Here again space is too limited to permit of an account of the work done by Wood which made a group of pirates into a relatively law-abiding community. Yet some attempt to picture the situation is necessary in order to give a slight idea of what the problem was.

It should be borne in mind that the country over which he was made Governor-General consisted of two-thirds of the Island of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago--a long chain of large and small islands extending almost to Borneo. The inhabitants were principally Mohammedans, known to the Spaniards as Moros. Along the coast of Mindanao were scattered small Philippine settlements--Christian Filipinos. Widely {186} separated back in the islands were numerous tribes speaking different dialects. In appearance they were not unlike the Diacs of Borneo. Some of them were headhunters. Among some of them cannibalism still existed in the form of religious ceremonies.

The Moros were the masters of all the seas in this vicinity. They were the old Malay pirates so well known in books of travel. The Spaniards had waged intermittent war against them since early in 1600, but they never effectively conquered them. They would send down a large expedition, win a victory and withdraw. This procedure, however, made little or no impression on the pirates, who shortly returned to their trade when the Spanish victors had returned home.

The Moros were all fanatical Mohammedans, intolerant of Christians or Christian influence, and when the Spaniards arrived in Manila about 1687 they dominated all the seas about the Philippine Islands. They were armed with all kinds of firearms, ranging from the old Queen Bess muzzle-loader to the most modern rifles. Their artillery ranged from the broadside guns of battleships of {187} the 18th Century to a smaller cannon of bronze, made principally in Borneo. They were bold, adventurous sailors, slave traders and slave hunters and successfully terrorized the hill tribes. Indeed, they were greatly feared along the coast of Mindanao.

Early in the American occupation a treaty had been made with the Sultan of Sulu, who claimed the headship of Moros from the Island of Sulu northward to the great Island of Mindanao. In Mindanao there were different sultans who claimed headships in their own districts, and foremost amongst these was Datu Ali, who had waged a long and successful war with the Spaniards.

Here then was a difficult problem: to establish civil government among these wandering hill tribes, Filipino settlements, and piratical Mohammedan groups, each fearing and hating the other. General Wood's first task as he conceived it was to stop slave-trading and establish relations of tolerance, if not friendship, between the Filipinos and the Moros on the one hand and between the Moros and the hill tribes on the other; to stop the Christian Filipinos from imposing {188} on the hill tribes; and to begin some method for substituting respect for law and order, for government and authority in the place of terror and hatred. The ending of the slave trade resulted in many heavy, long-drawn-out fights with the principal Moro bands. The Sultan of Sulu had not lived up to the Bates Treaty and he had to be deposed, therefore, as a sovereign in Sulu.

The next step was to organize some form of government that would fit the situation. To start this Wood divided the entire Moro area, including the islands, into districts and appointed American officers of experience and ability as governors of the districts.

He then visited Borneo and studied carefully the laws and regulations under which that chartered colony governed the Malays within its borders. The policy laid down by him for the district governors was to stop slave-trading and the taking of life and property at once; to establish next friendly relations between the people living on the coast and the timid tribes up in the hills; to build up commerce on a fair basis; to open up trails and lines of communication between {189} villages; to assure to every one, no matter what his religion, a fair deal. He also laid great stress on the necessity of bringing the headmen of the different tribes into contact with the district governors and of doing all that could be done to build up and increase commerce.

At the same time the new and energetic Governor-General instituted a strong policy to stop forever the inhuman practices and customs highly repugnant to what Americans considered humane conduct. Every effort was made to insure better treatment of women, who up to that time had been nothing more nor less than chattels. On the seacoast trading stations were built and put in charge of men who spoke the dialect of the wild people. At these stations there was always a provincial agent who had authority to see that the hill people got fair prices for their products and just treatment from the Malays. Little by little as a result of this wise and sane policy they were all induced to come to the stations and make their head-quarters there during the trading period. In former times they had been accustomed to bring down their heavy loads of jungle products on their {190} shoulders and rather than stay in the neighborhood of the pirates over night they would sell their goods for anything they could get and hurry up into the hills again before dark. Moro, Filipino and Chinese traders had for centuries systematically robbed them. Money was of little use to them and therefore all trading was by barter. It was a long campaign of education which Wood instituted to build up confidence amongst these timid people, and he sent young American officers among them, traveling often-times hundreds of miles on foot and practically without any protection to help them and give them confidence.

Little by little confidence was built up; great peace meetings were arranged among the different tribes; old grudges were wiped out; scores were balanced and old feuds settled. It took time and brains and painstaking patience, but it was done and done well.

At the same time, taking a leaf from his own Cuban notebook, Wood started schools in the Filipino villages and took steps to do the same among the Moros. It was very difficult to {191} find teachers who would be received by these Moslems. It was at first almost impossible to get them to send their children to school at all. Nothing but time and sound, honest methods in dealing with these people made all or any of this possible.

Patrol boats were put on duty in the waters about the islands. Simultaneous with this building up went the organization of the customs service, since the province had to be entirely self-supporting. Native people from among the Moros and Filipinos were organized into what was called the constabulary. Every effort was made to turn the attention of the people from irregular and piratical activities to the activities of commerce. School laws were put in force, written in terms to meet the situation. Increased cultivation of new land, cultivation of cocoanuts, cocoa, and various local products, including hemp, was encouraged by exempting it from taxation provided certain amounts of useful crops were planted thereon.

Communications by land and water were built up as fast as possible. After a time taxation was {192} imposed very gradually in the form of a cedula, or poll tax. The money so collected was spent so far as possible in the district where it was collected. The headmen of the tribes and sub-tribes were made officials of the province and given a baldric bearing a brass shield with the seal of the province. In time they were given certain police authority for the maintenance of order. If the local headman could not handle the situation, the local constabulary was called in. If they in turn were not sufficient, then the troops were sent into the area.

A free man's life was worth fifty-two dollars and a half in gold; a male slave one-half this amount; a free woman was worth as much as a male slave; a female slave half as much as a male slave, and a modern rifle about two hundred dollars in gold.

As the simple processes of law came to be better understood natives were encouraged to appeal from the tribal to the district court, consisting of the district governor and the local priests or headmen, who advised the former upon tribal {193} customs and scales of punishment, in order that no injustice should be done to any one.

Gradually appeals were taken from the district courts to the regular insular courts, which were represented by itinerant judges of the first instance. The latter belonged to the regular Philippine judiciary and were at this time all Americans. Women were given equal status before the law and the rights of property were safeguarded.

After the first hard fighting the need for the use of troops gradually diminished and more and more of the policing work was done by the native constabulary. The wildest regions became practically safe.

After the districts were in working order municipalities and townships were established and the framework of civic organization begun. The Mohammedan religion was left undisturbed. Religious freedom was guaranteed to both Mohammedans and Christians. In addition to the Catholic missionaries who had been working there for hundreds of years, missionaries of other denominations commenced to take active interest in the situation. The revenue was sufficient to maintain {194} the province in good shape and there was a considerable amount of money in reserve.

Thus in three years, with the knowledge he had acquired in Cuba supplemented by his visits and study amongst the colonies of other nations where similar problems existed, with his extraordinary energy and capacity for working through innumerable subordinates, Leonard Wood again built up a community out of nothing but land and human beings. But in the Philippine instance he built up a community largely governing itself upon a system of laws still in force--though three governors have succeeded him--from a hopeless mass of Christian Filipinos, Chinese traders, Malay pirates, Mohammedans, cannibals and feudal tribes.

It was a remarkable instance of state building, which following upon the Cuban episodes, stands out as the greatest achievement any man has accomplished in Colonial history.

It is impossible to state the relative importance of this work without appearing to overdo it. Yet if we could but collect the tributes that have been paid to Wood upon its accomplishment they {195} would make a volume, Richard Olney wrote: "... to congratulate you personally on the most successful and deservedly successful career, whether as soldier or public man of any sort, that the Spanish War and its consequences have brought to the front." John Hay, then Secretary of State, wrote Wood a note "with sincere congratulations on the approaching fruition of all your splendid work for the regeneration of Cuba," and Senator Platt, of Connecticut, wrote of his "admiration for your administration under difficulties greater I think than have ever had to be encountered by any one man in reconstruction work." So the record of two statesmenlike and administrative works stands to this day as a witness of Wood's qualities.

In 1905 after a visit to the United States he returned to the islands and became commander-in-chief of the American forces in the Philippines, General Bliss taking his place as Governor of the Moros, who were now established under a basic form of government and procedure which Wood had inaugurated.

By 1908 this work was practically completed {196} and the procedure laid out for the future rule of that part of the Philippines. At that time General Wood was transferred to Governor's Island in New York Harbor as Commander of the Department of the East, strangely enough the first command he had held within the United States since the Geronimo days in the Southwest.

There followed in the next six years a diplomatic mission as special Ambassador to the Argentine Republic upon the occasion of the centenary of Argentina, where he met and talked with General von der Groltz, the German officer, who had so much to do with the Great War later. From this meeting Wood absorbed more of the necessity for universal military training and more of the aversion to a standing army such as existed in Germany. After this mission he became the head of the American military forces under the President of the United States and for four years held the position of Chief of Staff.

Thus beginning his army life in 1886 as an army surgeon he rose in twenty-two years to the highest position in the regular army that any one can hold. That, in a sense, closes a certain {197} period in General Wood's career. For when in 1914 he was again made Commander of the Department of the East he had already started upon his campaign of national preparation which had been growing and growing in his mind as he lived and served his own nation and observed and studied other nations. The knowledge he had acquired in the four quarters of the earth showed to him conclusively that a nation must be ready to resist attack in order to live in peace, and yet that that nation must not spend all its wealth and time and brains in building up a military machine. In a strange way the attitude of this New England "Mayflower" descendant resembled the attitude of his own native Cape Cod, which stands at the outposts of New England with its clenched fist ready and prepared, yet which lives on quietly in the lives of its inhabitants who proceed in peace with their commercial occupations and their family existence.








"There are many things man cannot buy and one of them is time. It takes time to organize and prepare. Time will only be found in periods of peace. Modern war gives no time for preparation. Its approach is that of the avalanche and not of the glacier.

"We must remember that this training is not a training for war alone. It really is a training for life, a training for citizenship in time of peace.

"We must remember that it is better to be prepared for war and not have it, then to have war and not to be prepared for it."

Such sentiments quoted from General Wood's many speeches and writings might be continued until they alone made a volume--a book of the Creed of the Patriot. For in his crusade up and down our land for the last six years he has developed an unsuspected ability for epigrammatic phraseology, for stating in concise, homely {202} language the principle that no one in any successful operation has failed to get ready. This was unsuspected in him, because up to 1913 he had had little to say outside of his official reports. His motto of doing the thing without talking about it had been followed to the letter by himself.

When he finally arrived at a position which was important and powerful enough to give him an opportunity for putting his beliefs into effect, when he furthermore arrived at a point where there was not the immediate necessity for feeding a starving people, or fighting a hostile military force, or reorganizing a tumbled-down state, or doing any of the things demanding immediate action with which he had been employed during most of his life--then with characteristic energy he did begin. Time could not be bought by him any more than it could be by others and his work of preparedness had to await a period of peace when the time was at hand. This period having arrived in 1912 and 1918 he found that in order to produce any impression, to get action upon this plan, he must not only have a high and powerful position but he must awaken the public {203} to its importance before he could expect legislative or departmental action. Hence the volume of the Creed of the Patriot.

With his accustomed energy therefore he started upon a campaign of writing, speaking and promoting in all ways open to him to bring this new plan before the people of this country and in doing so he developed the hitherto unsuspected qualities of a speaker of the highest, because the simplest and most homely order.

To him there was nothing new in the plan of preparedness for the nation. He might have said to himself in 1913: "I have found that in order to be a doctor a young man must study so many years; in order to fight Apache Indians successfully a man must train for a physical condition that permits him to walk and ride and live harder than his already trained opponents, that he must train soldiers for that particular job, must train and care for horses to cover that particular country. I have found by sad experience that to have a regiment of Rough Riders in proper condition to fight Spaniards in Cuba the men must be taught by long training to understand military principles, {204} subordination to military rule of procedure, the use of guns and animals and the laws and tactics of military action in the field; that these men must be taught to take care of themselves in the open, that ammunition and equipment must be at hand and in use. I have found that in order to produce order in a community where there is no order, health in a land where there is only sickness, happiness amongst a people where there is only misery and fear and worry--in order to do all this laws must be made and respected, people must learn that they owe something to their state and that they are responsible for honest care, administration and thoughtfulness of those who look to them as they look to their state. I have found that where nothing but force will do the trick, force must be prepared and ready in advance. I have seen innocent persons go under because they were not ready to offset depredations. I have seen nations injured and destroyed because they were not ready to resist force, whether that force were used in a just or an unjust cause. And now I have arrived at the place where I can prove this to a nation instead of to a military platoon, or a military staff, or a few Cuban or Philippine officials."



He might have said all this to himself--doubtless has done so many, many times with much more to the same effect--but the outcome is a witness of the fact that he has from a long and active life as fighter, soldier, organizer, administrator, diplomat and statesman in the West, the South, in Europe, in Asia, in Cuba, in the Philippines, in South America, in Washington--in most parts of the earth--learned again and again that nothing can be really done on the spur of the moment, that everybody must prepare from school days to death. And in 1913 he had his first real opportunity to preach this nationally to all the people of his own native land.

That within a year of that time prepared Germany should have upset the world and found the British Empire, the French Republic and the Italian Kingdom unprepared--to say nothing of the United States--may have been one of the accidents--strokes of fortune--that some people say have made General Wood. But it would seem that the only thing this Great War did in this {206} connection was to prove by a terrific example that Wood and those with him were right and that those who were against him were wrong.

If the war had not come, it would have taken longer to awaken this country to the facts and it would have delayed perhaps the growth of General Wood's name as that of a national and international character of highest importance. But it would not have changed the truth of his Creed--or rather the creed of which he has become the great protagonist. Nor does the fact that the war did come when it did give any ground for making Wood one of the greatest citizens of our country to-day because he preaches preparedness. General Wood stands at the forefront of the leaders in America at this time because of his own personal make-up and character and because of the amazing variety and extent of his services to his country which are written upon every page of its history during the last thirty years. It is the variety of things done which puts him in his present position, just as it is the variety of high qualities that has made the great men of all times great. King David was not only the greatest {207} general of his time. He was one of the greatest administrators of all time and perhaps the greatest poet that ever lived. Washington was not only a fighter of the highest order. He was one of the great generals of history; and a statesman and ruler of a higher order still.

It might very aptly be said, therefore, that General Wood's campaign for national preparedness was only the accomplishment of a task for which he had all his life been preparing himself.

Upon his return trip from the Philippines in 1908 he had come by the way of Europe studying always military systems. There was a short stop in Ceylon, in Singapore, in Egypt, in Malta and Gibraltar and a summer spent in Switzerland, ostensibly for health recuperation after the tropical life in Moroland and Manila, At the same time this gave opportunity for a closer study of the Swiss system which with an admixture of the Australian system furnished the basis for the training camps afterwards inaugurated by him here.

At the same time he had the opportunity by invitation of seeing the German and French {208} armies mobilized at the time of the Bosnia-Herzegovina episode when all Europe was on the verge of war. The German army of maneuver was at Saarbrücken--ready. Practically the whole of the French army of maneuver was on the Loire--ready. He saw one immediately after the other--less than two days apart. Mr. White, then American Ambassador to France, asked him what he thought of the French army and his answer was that despite the fame of the German military machine France in the next war would surprise the world by the fitting effectiveness of her forces. He based this conclusion on the relation of officers and men and the discipline founded on respect and confidence rather than fear of officers.

Then followed the centenary mission to the Argentine and a couple of years as Chief of Staff of the American army before he could effectively begin his campaign.

The first gun was a letter sent out by Wood under permission of the Secretary of War which proposed to many presidents of colleges and universities in the United States the establishment of several experimental military training camps {209} for students. These camps were to be placed one on the historic field of Gettysburg and the other at the Presidio of Monterey, California. The former opened on July 7th and closed on August 15th, and the latter extended from July 1st to August 8th. In all 222 students took this training, 159 at Gettysburg and 68 in Monterey.

It was the first trial, and it was a very small and insignificant response. Indeed it gives a good idea of the importance in which military preparedness was held in this country at that moment-- 100,000,000 inhabitants; 222 volunteers.

Those were the days when the people of this land and many others were hard at work upon commercial pursuits and when for amusement the world and his wife danced tango to ragtime music. So-called alarmists cried "Look out for war!" Major Du Maurier of the British army wrote a play called "An Englishman's Home," which startled and puzzled Englishmen for a while, but could not carry an audience for one week in this country. Nobody took any interest in what his neighbor was doing, to say nothing of what Germany or any other countries were planning.


Yet Wood was not discouraged. He was started on a long campaign and he knew he had to prepare to prepare. Furthermore the men in the universities who could see ahead came forward in his support and in support of the idea. Four years later President Drinker of Lehigh University wrote of the amazing success of the movement: "We owe it largely to Major-General Wood's farsightedness as a man of affairs and to his great qualities as a soldier and patriot, that our country was awakened to the need of preparedness, and this beginning of military training in our youth was due wholly to his initiative." [Footnote: National Service Magazine.]

Small as the beginning was it was a plant with the germ of strength in it, since at this first camp in Gettysburg the members formed then in 1913 the Society of the National Reserve Corps of the United States. Wood at once cooperated with this slender offshoot and gave it all the support in his power. He sent letters as Chief of Staff of the Regular Army to college presidents at the same time that the president of the new Corps did so--both suggesting an advisory committee to {211} assist the government in the encouragement and practical advancement of the training camp idea. This committee was formed and Presidents Hibben of Princeton and Drinker of Lehigh were elected president and secretary. The committee with these officers in charge gave assistance to Wood in his organizing work so that out of the small beginnings in the two camps an enormous organization arose which trained tens of thousands of young men to be officers and made the immense expansion of the little American army to 4,000,000 soldiers possible.

Pushing always quietly but unremittingly ahead Wood helped these officers to increase the camps from two to four in the summer of 1914--in Vermont, Michigan, North Carolina and California--with a total attendance of 667 students.

Then came the Great War and the beginning of the work on a large scale. From college students, who reported on the interest and pleasure which they got out of the summer camp, the life in the open and the military instruction afforded by regular army men, the movement extended to business men, lawyers, preachers and so on. Wood {212} opened the Plattsburg camp on Lake Champlain to the latter and started the first business man's camp. Each man paid his own railway fares, his own living expenses while in camp and bought his uniform and equipment, except arms, with his own money.

That year (1915) 3,406 men attended the five camps. In 1916 six camps were opened and 16,139 men attended them. At the close of the first Plattsburg camp the business men formed an organization for furthering and extending this training just as the college men had done at Gettysburg two years before. And in 1916 these two organizations consolidated and organized the present Military Training Camps Association of the United States.

All through this period, taking advantage of the European war, drawing lessons from the tragic happenings just across the Atlantic, Wood went about the country, as little "Bobs" of Kandahar had previously done in England, speaking in halls, in camps, in churches, at clubs, at festivals, on special and unspecial occasions of all kinds. He drove home the subject which he knew so well and others knew hardly at all. He met all comers of {213} every grade in arguments and debates--those who were constitutional objectors, pacifists, people who thought arbitration much more effective, people too proud to fight or too busy to get ready--all comers of all kinds. And the Great War day by day helped him. He spent his summers going from one camp to another, traveling all over the United States.

At six in the morning he would appear in one of them ready for inspection, and any day anywhere where there was a camp one might see him in the early morning sunshine, or the early morning rain striding up one company street and down another followed by new and old officers, peering into this dog tent and that kitchen, examining this man's rifle and that man's kit, praising, criticizing and jamming enthusiasm in two hours into a group of a thousand men in a manner they knew not how, nor clearly understood. It was just what he had done in Cuba, just what he had done in the Philippines where he had organized drilling, athletic and condition-of-equipment competitions in each company, each regiment, each brigade, each division--one pitted against another, all at it hot and heavy; {214} not because Wood came along and looked them over, but because when he did look them over he could spot any weakness in any part of the work with unerring certainty--not alone because he could spot any weakness, but because he knew a good point when he saw it and gave credit where credit was due.

It is perhaps not out of place here to look back in the light of events which occurred afterwards and are now a part of history and secure an estimate of what this work did for this country in awakening the people to a sense of the critical situation, to prepare an army which should do its part in the world war, to bring that army into line in France at what seems to have been a critical moment and to help bring the war itself to a successful conclusion in conjunction with the Allied armies which had held on so long against such terrific odds.

The purpose of the camps and what they will lead to in time of peace and did lead to in time of war is perhaps best shown in one of General Wood's statements: "The ultimate object sought is not in any way one of military aggrandizement, {215} but to provide in some degree a means of meeting a vital need confronting us as a peaceful and unmilitary people, in order to preserve the desired peace and prosperity through the only safe precaution, viz.: more thorough preparation and equipment to resist any effort to break the peace."

That at a time when there was no European War in sight.

Now consider General Pershing's report of Nov. 21, 1918--after the close of the war. The first American air force using American aeroplanes went into action in France, that is to say in the war, in August, 1918--16 months after the declaration of war by the United States and four years after the beginning of the war itself. During the entire time that the United States was in the war, a little over 19 months, not one single American field gun was fired at the enemy and only 109 had been received in Europe at all. No American tank was ever used against the enemy in the whole war. Yet a month or six weeks after the declaration of war troops began to go to Europe and at its close in November, 1918, the army {216} consisted of 3,700,000 men, of whom more than 203,000 were newly made officers. Half of this force at least got over to the other side of the Atlantic and at least half of them took part in the fighting at one time or another of the 19 months.

One would have said at the outset that a commercial nation like the United States, filled with factories, mechanics and mechanically inclined brains, could and would have made guns and aeroplanes and uniforms far quicker than it made soldiers and officers. Yet such was not the case.

A French officer here in America at that time studying American mobilization said:

"I knew you recruited over 3,500,000 men in 19 months. That is very good, but not so difficult. But I am told also that although you had no officers reserve to start with you somehow found 200,000 new officers, most of them competent. That is what is astonishing and what was impossible. Tell me how that was done." [Footnote: National Magazine.]

There is only the one answer, that the officers' training camps started in 1918 by Leonard Wood and fostered by him and the people of this nation {217} who then and later agreed with him made the impossible possible and made the new, raw army effective and in time. It was what came to be known as the "Plattsburg Idea;" which, getting really going first in May 16, 1917, as a regular part of the United States mobilization, did its work before arms and ammunition were ready, before uniforms could be had, before camps had been even laid out and before the first draft had been taken. At that time 40,000 selected men were in training for officers' positions in sixteen camps. That is to say, in 40 days 150,000 applications had been received, 100,000 men examined and 40,000 passed as fit and ready for training.

It was the work in 1913, 1914, 1915 and 1916. It was the Plattsburg idea adapted to war conditions. Without it the situation regarding men might easily have been the same as the situation regarding guns, aeroplanes and uniforms.

Plattsburg, being in New York State, naturally became the type of camp, since in 1914 Wood, having been relieved of his position as Chief of Staff, was detailed to command the Department of the East with his headquarters on Governor's {218} Island in New York Harbor. He no sooner took up this new work than the Department of the East, where fifty-six per cent, of the National Guard of the whole country was included, became a seething office of energy and work. In so far as the training camp idea went this energy was centered in Plattsburg.

At the same time General Wood inaugurated the Massachusetts National Guard Maneuvers--the first of their kind held in this country--and added a water attack on Boston. He also assisted Governor Whitman in putting through the New York State Legislature the bills creating the State Military Training Commission, under whose management all boys between the ages of sixteen and eighteen undergo a simple but effective training in the rudiments of military tactics and receive the athletic training of a short camp life each year--all involving the inculcation of the principles of discipline, of order and of self care.

Thus the history of the way in which the Government of the United States, when war was eventually declared, secured its officers is told. {219} One might go into detail, but the main facts are not altered by any amount of detail. They stand out clearly--the awakening of our land in time by the energy and patriotic spirit of one man, supplemented by the untold amount of work accomplished at his suggestion by thousands of patriotic American citizens.

And in the midst of this work before war was declared General Wood, as a part of his plan of preparedness, asked some ten or twelve men to come to Plattsburg at different times to speak to the student officers. Among these men he included the two living ex-presidents of the United States--Mr. Taft and Colonel Roosevelt. He first submitted the list of speakers to the War Department so that the Department might eliminate any one of them who for any reason should appear to be undesirable.

After two weeks, having had no reply, he sent out the invitations and from time to time these speakers came and addressed the members of the different camps.

Roosevelt on his arrival at Plattsburg handed to Wood the speech he proposed to deliver; and {220} in view of the known critical attitude which the former took towards the administration Wood asked two other army officers to go over the proposed speech with him and help him to eliminate anything which might be questioned upon such an occasion. The address was delivered at about five o'clock in the afternoon at the camp and when it was finished Roosevelt was heartily congratulated personally by many men of both political parties, among them two distinguished Democrats--John Mitchel, Mayor of New York, and Dudley Field Malone, Collector of the Port of New York.

After dinner Roosevelt left in the evening to go into the city of Plattsburg, a mile or two away from the camp, to take the midnight train for New York. As he stood on the platform of the railway station some time after eleven in the evening he was interviewed by the newspaper reporters. No military person was present. What he said was given out on territory not under military jurisdiction and it had nothing to do with the Plattsburg speech. Roosevelt spoke to the newspaper men in his usual forcible fashion:

"In the course of his speech he remarked that {221} for thirteen months the United States had played an ignoble part among the nations, had tamely submitted to seeing the weak, whom we had covenanted to protect, wronged; had seen our men, women and children murdered on the high seas 'without action on our part,' and had used elocution as a substitute for action. 'Reliance upon high sounding words unbacked by deeds,' said he, 'is proof of a mind that dwells only in the realm of shadow and of sham.' Under the Hague Convention it was our duty to prevent, and, if not to prevent, then to undo, the hideous wrong that was done in Belgium, but we had shirked this duty. He denounced hyphenated Americans, professional pacifists and those who would substitute arbitration treaties for an army, or the platitudes of peace congresses for military preparedness."

The next day Wood received a telegraphic reprimand from the Government in Washington. "In this telegram of disapproval. Secretary Garrison said it was difficult to conceive of anything which could have a more detrimental effect than such an incident. The camp, held under the {222} Government auspices, was conveying its own impressive lesson in its practical and successful operation and results. 'No opportunity should have been furnished to any one to present to the men any matter except that which was essential to the necessary training they were to receive. Anything else could only have the effect of distracting attention from the real nature of the experiment, diverting consideration to issues which excite controversy, antagonism and ill-feeling, and thereby impairing, if not destroying, what otherwise would have been so effective.' General Wood replied, as follows: 'Your telegram received, and the policy laid down will be rigidly adhered to.'" [Footnote: The Independent.]







On April 6, 1917, war having been that week declared by the United States against Germany, Major-General Leonard Wood, ranking officer in the United States Army--that is to say, the man occupying the senior position in our army--being then in sound health of mind and body and fifty-six years of age, wrote and personally delivered two identical letters, one to the Adjutant-General of the Army and the other to the Chief of Staff, requesting assignment for military service abroad.

No acknowledgment or reply was ever received from either source.

Early in April he received notice that the Department of the East of which he was then commander was abolished and in its place three new and smaller departments created, in spite of vigorous protests by several Governors of Atlantic States. He was offered any one of the following {226} three military positions that he might select--the Philippines, Hawaii or the "less important post" at Charleston, South Carolina.

He at once selected the post at Charleston.

On May 12th he proceeded to Charleston and began the organization of the Southeastern Department. In the months immediately following he had selected and laid out eleven large training camps and had taken charge of the supervision of three officers' training camps, one at Oglethorpe, one at Atlanta and one at Little Rock.

On August 26th he received orders to proceed to Camp Funston in Kansas to command the cantonment there and train for service a division of national troops designated as the 89th Division.

Towards the end of the year he was ordered to proceed to Europe to observe the military operations of the war. Leaving Camp Funston the day before Thanksgiving, he landed in Liverpool on Christmas Day, 1917. In London he called by invitation upon General Robertson, the British Chief of Staff, and upon his old friend, Sir John French. He then proceeded to Paris on December 31, and between January 2nd and 14th, 1918, {227} went over the British front with Generals Cator and Rawlinson. On the 16th he was at Soissons with the French.

For the next few days the examination of the French front continued at and near the Chemin des Dames sector.

On January 27th he went with some French officers and men and a number of American officers to look into the work of the 6th French army training school, where artillery practice was in progress at Fère-en-Tardenois. He was standing behind a mortar, the center man of the five officers watching the gun crew fire the mortar, when a shell burst, or detonated, inside the gun.

The entire gun crew was blown to pieces. The four officers on either side of General Wood were killed. He himself received a wound in the muscles of the left arm and lost part of the right sleeve of his tunic. Six fragments of the shell passed through his clothing and two of them killed the officers on either side of him. He was the only man within a space of twelve feet of the mortar who was not instantly killed. Many were wounded, including two others of our own officers.


After a night in the field first-aid hospital, where his arm was dressed, he motored approximately a hundred miles to Paris the next day and went into the French officers' hospital in the Hotel Ritz.

This hospital was in the old portion of the Ritz Hotel. General Wood was the first foreign officer to be admitted to it. It was full of wounded French officers and men from the different fronts; some of them from Salonika; some sent back from Germany, hopelessly crippled, and held as unfit for further service by the Germans; and many from the Western front.

Here he got very near the soul of the French Army and came in touch with that indomitable spirit which made that army fight best and hardest when things looked darkest. Thanks to an excellent physical condition he made a rapid recovery, described by French surgeons as found only among the very young. He was a guest of the French Government while at the hospital and received every possible courtesy. On the 16th of February after having talked with many of the French officers in the hospital and called, at their request, upon Clemenceau, President Poincaré, Joffre and {229} others, he left Paris entirely cured of his slight wound and proceeded to the headquarters of the French Army of the North at Vizay. There he met and talked with Generals D'Esperey and Gourand, visited Rheims and Bar-le-duc and spent the day of the 20th at Verdun.

During the next few days he visited the United States Army headquarters at Chaumont and Toul and was back in Paris on the 26th, when he received orders from the A. E. F. to return to the United States by way of Bordeaux. On the 21st of March he arrived in New York and was summoned four days later to appear before the Senate committee on military affairs to report his observations.

He was then examined by the Mayo examining board, pronounced absolutely fit physically and on April 12th resumed command of the 89th Division at Camp Funston, Kansas.

The training of this division was practically finished in late May and the 89th was thereupon ordered abroad for service.

After seeing some of the elements of the division off for the evacuation station at Camp Mills, Long {230} Island, New York, General Wood left Funston himself and proceeded to Mills to see to the reception of his division and look to its embarkation. He arrived at the Long Island camp on May 25th and there found an order from the War Department relieving him of his command of the 89th Division and instructing him to proceed to San Francisco to assume command of the Western Department. After finishing some necessary work he went to Washington on the 27th and saw the Secretary of War. Little is known of what took place at this conversation except that General Wood requested that he be reinstated in his command of the 89th Division and sent abroad, which was refused.

Wood saw the President, explained the situation and was told that the latter would take the matter under consideration.

No consideration was ever reported.

Meantime the order sending him to California created such an uproar throughout the United States that it was rescinded and General Wood was ordered to Camp Funston again to train a new division--the 10th--which was ready to go {231} abroad when the armistice was signed on November 11th.

This constitutes General Wood's services to his country during the period of the war.

Much might be said in regard to this history. Much might be surmised as to the causes which led to keeping the man who was the senior officer of the army out of the war entirely. Much--very much--has been said throughout this country in and out of print during the past two years. The theory that he was too old for active service could not be a reason, since he is younger than many general officers who did see service abroad--younger as a matter of fact than General Pershing himself. It is hardly conceivable that physical condition could have been a reason, since at least twice in the last two years he has been passed by expert physical examination boards in the regular routine of army life and found sound, mentally and physically. He does, to be sure, limp and has had to do so for years on account of an accident in Cuba fifteen or sixteen years ago. Yet this could hardly unfit him for service in France when it did not unfit him for service in the {232} Philippine jungle, or the active life which he has led for the past ten years.

There has been considerable surmise as to whether his amazing campaign for preparedness, his speeches and his many activities in the officers' training camps organization and administration prejudiced the authorities against him. This again is hardly credible since it is manifestly inconceivable that those men in charge of the prosecution of our part in the great war, with the immense responsibility resting upon their shoulders, could possibly have allowed personal prejudice and favoritism to have played any part in their decision in regard to any man--least of all the most important man in the Regular Army.

Some controversy arose as to whether Wood's friendship and relation to Theodore Roosevelt might not have created hostility in administration and army circles. This again is beyond credence when the importance of the men on both sides is considered and the terrific importance of events at the time is taken into account. Here again it is inconceivable that any man or group of men could at such times and in such circumstances {233} allow anything personal to sway his or their judgment.

The incontestable fact still remains, however, that the one man in the Army who by his whole life in the United States, in many parts of the earth, had during a period of thirty years been preparing himself for just such an occasion, who had for four years been trying to get the people of the country and the government to prepare, who had appeared before Senate military commissions and other similar bodies and registered his belief in the necessity for certain measures, all of which were adopted by the Government as recommended by him--that the one man who had done all this should not have been selected to do any active service whatever at the front, but should have been offered posts in the Philippines, Hawaii and California when he was applying for service in France. Lloyd George wanted him; France wanted him; and the American Army wanted him.

All sorts and conditions of men throughout the United States expressed their opinion upon the subject during this war period and are doing so {234} still, but the one man who has said nothing is General Wood himself. With his inherited and acquired characteristic of doing something, of never remaining idle, with the habit acquired from years of military discipline and respect for orders emanating from properly constituted authority, he put in his application again and again for service and then accepted without public comment whatever orders were issued to him.

Here again is the same simple, direct mind of the man who has at no time lost his sense of proportion, who has not become excited because his chance was not given him--the chance for which he had spent long years of preparation--who did not let this outward wallpaper--plaster--showy thing divert him from the essential point, the great beam of our war preparation house--the necessity that every man, woman and child should do all he or she could do to help the Government of the United States carry the war--or our part of it--to a successful conclusion when that Government finally made up its mind to go in.

Wood declined to become a martyr. He had no bitter feelings. He was, as any other man of {235} his prominence and character would be, disappointed at having no opportunity to serve his country at the front. But he took what came to him and did it as usual with extraordinary quickness, effectiveness and thoroughness.

Indeed speculation on the subject is not likely to produce much profit. It is only of importance in the present place as illustrating again the make-up of the subject of this biographical sketch. He took no steps other than those regularly and properly open to him to secure service. He attempted no roundabout methods. He kept his own counsel and followed his old maxim of "Do it and don't talk about it." His requests for reasons for denying him of all men the right to fight for his country on the battle line made through proper channels--never otherwise--produced no answers in any case and to this day the whole amazing episode is entirely without explanation.

Meantime the man's characteristic energy and thoroughness produced extraordinary results in other fields.

In his short sojourn in Charleston it was his duty to select and prepare at once a certain {236} number of camps, or cantonments as they came to be called, within the jurisdiction of the South Eastern Department. And this he proceeded to do with great rapidity. Not only were all the sites he selected passed without exception, but they proved to be in every instance safe, sanitary and sufficient for the purpose. This was no easy matter with almost every town and city in the South sending delegations to him to ask that it be selected as the site of one of the camps, with the prodigious amount of political influence brought to bear from all sides and with the necessity of offending nobody, of making all work towards one end--the immediate preparation for homes for the men who were to make the new army.

It was all so skillfully handled that there is not a place in the South of any size which has not sounded and does not sound the praises of General Wood. He selected the camps and made them with that experience and knowledge that were his because of the fact that he was an army officer and a doctor who had done much the same thing and had had much the same work in Cuba and the Philippines.


One would expect something of the sort from any able man with such preparation, but one would not expect such a man to leave the Department with the extraordinary popularity and the multitude of expressions of good will and affection which Wood carried away with him after these few months of work.

In the midst of the journeyings to and fro to look over possible sites and all the work entailed in preparing the camps he found time to supervise the three officers' training camps already mentioned, which were carried out upon the lines of the earlier ones with the aid of the Officers' Training Camps Association.

Upon being transferred to Camp Funston near Fort Riley in Kansas, Wood began in the first days of September, 1917, the training of a new division of raw recruits from the selective draft. He had the assistance of a nucleus of army officers and some few army men, but the bulk of the division consisted of new men and of new officers recently from the officers' training camps. And this work was well on its way and the division {238} taking form when he received orders to go to Europe.

It is difficult in this limited space to go into the details of his work abroad, and most of it in any case was technical matter more adapted to a military report. The results of some of his conversations are, however, of interest now as showing the situation as it appeared to important men, military and political, in Europe at that time.

Some one said during the summer of 1918 when asked how much the American man and woman in the street really knew of what was going on in Europe, that if the headlines of American newspapers were disregarded and the actual telegraphic reports themselves read day by day, nearly everything that anybody from commanding generals down knew was known to that reader. There were, of course, many discussions amongst the guiding intellects, political and military, which never saw the light. There were, naturally, plans discussed and never carried out which the American citizen did not hear of at any time. But the general consensus of opinion seems to be that the {239} American newspaper reader knew almost as much as any one of what was happening and that he certainly knew as much of what was going to happen as the men in the inner circle.

Much that has come out since the armistice shows a condition of affairs almost as the man in the street knew it at the time. In the winter of 1917-18 we knew that a huge drive was scheduled by the Germans on the Franco-Belgian front in the spring. In the following summer we knew the doubtful situation around Château-Thierry. In the middle of July we knew that something was happening, that the Americans were beginning to go in in large numbers, that the German "push" was slowing up; and that a turn had been made. Finally we knew that the German army was suddenly retiring, and for a month before the armistice was signed we knew that it was going to be signed. Indeed so sure was the American public of this last that they celebrated the end of the war throughout this great land a week ahead of time, because of a report which, though literally incorrect, was in essence true and known to be true.


It is not uninteresting, therefore, to review the sentiments and opinions which Wood found upon his arrival amongst the French and English statesmen and soldiers between January 1 and February 26th, 1918.

In London Lloyd George, the British Premier, knew Wood as the administrator of Cuba and the Philippines. He knew also of Wood's experience with, and knowledge of European armies. He was anxious for Wood to be in Europe. He laid great emphasis upon the shortage of American air service which made it difficult for American troops to work as a separate unit without English or French coöperation. He pled for American troops at the earliest possible moment and offered more transportation facilities--even though England had already transported not only her own men but many of ours across the Atlantic.

General Sir William Robertson stated in January that there was an impending crisis coming in the early spring; that Germany would make an immensely powerful drive toward Paris or the channel ports or both; and that in his opinion the Allied lines would hold until the Americans {241} got into the war with full strength. But he made no concealment of the fact that the next six months would be very critical ones.

Marshal Joffre held similar views. Both officers expressed the opinion that the summer of 1918 would be the crisis and deciding point of the war. They, too, felt the French and English lines would hold, but they laid heavy stress upon the importance of more troops from America.

On the French front Wood lunched and had a long talk with General Gouraud and another at Paris later with General Pétain whom he knew and who knew well the history of Wood's career in organization and administration. Pétain is said to have expressed the hope that Wood might soon be in France on active duty and to have said that when he did come he would put him in command of an army of French and American troops.

As Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor, next to the highest rank in that order--General Wood was naturally received by all French officers and statesmen. This order having been conferred upon him some years before because of his record in Cuba and the Philippines placed him in a small {242} group of men, most of them, naturally, French, who are the distinguished men of Europe. His reception by the President of France, by the premier, Georges Clemenceau, and other French statesmen came as a matter of course. But the conversations which took place between the American soldier and these men have never, naturally, been made public except in some of their bare essentials. Nor will any one ever know just what was said unless one or another of the parties to them shall some time disclose it himself.

There seems to be no doubt, however, of the very warm reception which this senior officer of the American army was given. His record in preparedness work, his record in administrative and organization work were all well known to the statesmen of these two countries who were from their experience with colonial matters so well fitted to judge of what he had accomplished along these lines.

General Wood's opinion as the result of his trip was that the American troops should serve by divisions for a time with the French and English rather than as a separate army from the start, {243} because of the fact that all matters of supply, equipment, artillery, air service and so on which were so incomplete in the American service and so complete by this time in the British and French services would apply to the Americans as well as to the others and that the training alongside the veterans of over three years of war would make the effectiveness of the American troops quicker, better and more definite--would in the end increase efficiency and save life.

After having reported to the Senate committee and returned to Camp Funston he took up with immeasurably renewed vigor the work of getting the 89th Division, which he was to take abroad, ready for its service, and all was prepared when the order came for them to move to New York for embarkation. This work of transportation being practically completed and the big division ready to go on board ship, Leonard Wood felt that at last his chance to take his part in the war at the front had come.

It is practically impossible for any one, therefore, to realize just what it meant to him, or would have meant to any man, to receive notification as {244} he was almost in the act of going on board the transport that his command of the division he had trained and organized was taken away from him, another officer put in his place and he himself ordered to the farthest possible extremity of the United States in the opposite direction. It is certainly impossible to express here what his feelings were since nobody really knows them.

Imagination, however, which plays so important a part in this world's affairs will play its part here as elsewhere, and some estimate of what effect it had upon the country was shown in the outcry which arose everywhere and which created such sudden wrath that the order itself was immediately rescinded and changed to the Funston appointment.

The character of men is exhibited in infinite ways and by infinite methods, but never more surely than during critical periods when passions run high and injustice seems to be in the saddle. It is always at such times that reserve force, mental strength, and all the sound basic qualities which make up what we call character play their important parts in the drama of life. No one has, {245} so far as our history tells us, shown greater strength of this nature than Abraham Lincoln, and it is that reserve, that amazing common sense which "with malice toward none, with charity for all" led him on all occasions no matter how extraordinary the provocation to decline to let personalities, jealousies, or any of the baser passions control his actions or influence his decisions.

It would be ridiculous for any one to assume that General Wood was not cut to the quick by this unexplained action, which took the cup from his lips as he was about to drink, but there never has appeared anywhere anything emanating from him which criticized, questioned or in any way took exception to it. One may read, however, between the lines of his short good-by to the division which he created many thoughts that may have been in his mind and that certainly were in the minds of the officers of the 89th to whom this simple address was the first intimation that he was not to lead them into action in France. It is so direct, so simple, so manly that, like all such documents, it is only with time that its great {246} hearted spirit makes the true impression on any reader. It will take its place in the history of this country amongst the few documents which live on always because they exhibit a wise and sane outlook upon life and because they make a universal appeal to the best that lives always like a divine spark in the heart of every man.

It makes the boy in school exclaim, "Some day when I grow up I will do that." It lives in the dreams that come just before sleep as the attitude the young man would like to take when his critical hour comes. It cheers the old, since they can say: "So long as this can be done there is no fear for our native land."

Here it is:

"I will not say good-by, but consider it a temporary separation--at least I hope so. I have worked hard with you and you have done excellent work. I had hoped very much to take you over to the other side. In fact, I had no intimation, direct or indirect, of any change of orders until we reached here the other night. The orders have been changed and I am to go back to Funston. I leave for that place to-morrow {247} morning. I wish you the best of luck and ask you to keep up the high standard of conduct and work you have maintained in the past. There is nothing to be said. These orders stand; and the only thing to do is to do the best we can--all of us--to win the war. That is what we are here for. That is what you have been trained for. I shall follow your career with the deepest interest--with just as much interest as if I were with you. Good luck; and God bless you!"





INASMUCH as the life of a state, its strength and virtue and moral worth are directly dependent upon the character of the citizens who compose it, and

INASMUCH as it is a solemn obligation imposed upon the Governor of the state to promote and advance the interests and well-being of the commonwealth in every way consistent with due regard for the rights and privileges of sister states, and

WHEREAS, the soldier, Leonard Wood, Major General in the United States Army and now commandant at Camp Funston, has shown by his daily life, by his devotion to duty, by his high ideals and by his love of country, that he is a high-minded man after our own hearths, four-square to all the world, one good to know,

NOW, THEREFORE, I Arthur Capper, Governor of the State of Kansas, do hereby declare the said


to be, in character and in ideals, a true Kansan. And by virtue of the esteem and affection the people of Kansas bear him, I do furthermore declare him to be to all intents and purposes a citizen of this state, and as such to be entitled to speak the Kansas language, to follow Kansas customs and to be known as


IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto subscribed my name and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Kansas. Done at Topeka, the capitol, this 19th day of December, D. 1919

Arthur Capper

[Seal of the State of Kansas] By the Governor

[Signature] Secretary of State

[Signature] Asst. Secretary of State


A few days later Wood had returned to Funston and begun preparations for the training of the 10th Division, when by executive action the Governor of Kansas acknowledged on his own behalf and on behalf of the State the General's services to his country by making him a "citizen extraordinary" of the State.

The story of the Tenth Division is short but illuminating. It was composed principally of drafted men. Its first groups began to organize at Funston on the 10th of August--raw men from office, farm and shop. They found there the skeletons of so-called regular regiments--regiments which were regular only in name; that is to {250} say, there were only a very few regular officers of experience and a limited number of men recently recruited under the old system. On the 24th General Wood reviewed the whole division. On November 1st it was ready, trained, equipped and in condition both from the physical and the military point of view to go abroad. And when the armistice was signed on November 11th an advance contingent had already gone to France to prepare for its reception. About the middle of September the British and French Senior Mission--three officers of each army--reported at Funston and remained there for six weeks. And upon their departure on November 1st after a long, rigid and critical examination of the division they stated that in their opinion it was by far the best prepared and trained division that they had seen in this country.

Here again appears the same quality that made McKinley appoint Wood Governor-General of Cuba; that made Roosevelt send him to organize the apparently unorganizable part of the Philippine Islands; that caused the French to award him a very high order of the Legion of Honor; {251} that made the State of Kansas take him into its family as a citizen; that led the generals of Europe to hope he would come and be one of them; and finally that caused many hundreds of thousands of his own countrymen to follow him and support him in his plans to prepare the people of his nation for what eventually came upon them.

With the signing of the armistice and the victorious ending of the war Wood's activities did not cease. With characteristic energy he began the work of looking out for the soldiers who would soon be demobilized from the army and thrown upon their own resources. He saw how changed the outlook of many of these men would be. He saw the troubles in which thousands--actually millions--of them would be involved, not through any fault of their own, not through any fault of the Government or of army life, but because they had undergone certain mental changes incident to training, to active service, and hence could not again return to the point they had reached when their military service began.

He, therefore, instituted in Chicago, where as Commander of the Central Department he had his {252} headquarters, as well as in St. Louis, Kansas City and Cleveland, organizations to look to the finding of employment for returning officers and men. And in addresses and all methods open to him he urged the organization of similar bodies in all cities to accomplish elsewhere the same object. His attitude was that of the father of children--the rearrangement on new lines of the American family; and he again found universal support.

"Appreciation of the work done by our Soldiers, Sailors and Marines in the Great War can best be shown by active measures to return them to suitable civil employment upon their discharge from service. The four million men inducted into the service, less the dead, are being returned to their homes. In seeing that they are returned to suitable civil employment, and by that I mean employment in which they will find contentment, we will find it at times difficult to deal with them. We must remember that many of these men, before going in for the great adventure, had never been far from home, had never seen the big things of life, had never had the opportunity of finding {253} themselves. During their service in the army they found out that all men were equal except as distinguished one from the other by such characteristics as physique, education and character. They discovered that men who are loyal, attentive to duty, always striving to do more than required, stood out among their fellows and were marked for promotion. Naturally many of them now see that their former employment will not give them the opportunities for advancement which they have come to prize, and for that reason they want a change. They want a kind of employment which offers opportunities for promotion. Many such men are fitted for forms of employment which offer this advantage, and they must be given the opportunity to try to make good in the lines of endeavor which they elect to follow. It is not charity to give these men the opportunities for which they strive. It is Justice. Others are not mentally equipped to take advantage of such opportunities if offered, and with these we will find it more difficult to deal. They must be reasoned with and directed, if possible, into the kind of employment best suited to their characteristics. Let us {254} remember that a square deal for our honorably discharged Soldiers, Sailors and Marines will strengthen the morale of the Nation and will help to create a sound national consciousness ready to act promptly in support of Truth, Justice and Right" [Footnote: Address of Leonard Wood.]

There is, with the differences patent because of time and place and surrounding circumstances, a flavor to this plea that recalls another address upon a similar subject more than fifty years ago:

"It is for the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth." [Footnote: Lincoln's Gettysburg Speech.]







In these days, therefore, immediately following the Great War it is well to keep in our own minds and try to put into the minds of others the great elemental truths of life; and to try at the same time to keep out of our and their minds in so far as possible the unessential and changing superficialities which never last long and which never move forward the civilization of the human race.

This very simple biographical sketch is not an attempt to settle the problems of the hour. Such an attempt might excite the amusement and interest of students of that mental disease known as paranoia--students who are far too busy at the moment as it is without this addition to the unusually large supply of patients--but it could not add anything either to the pleasure or entertainment of any one else. That the simple biographical sketch can even approach the latter {258} accomplishment may be held to be a matter for reasonable doubt.

Nor, furthermore, is the sketch an attempt at the soap box or other variety of philosophy which one individual attempts to thrust down the mental throats of his fellow beings. There exists a hazy suspicion that the fellow beings are quite competent to decide what they will swallow mentally and what they will, vulgarly speaking, expectorate forthwith.

The simple biographical sketch is a frank attempt to express, as at least one person sees it, the character, the accomplishments and the service rendered by one man to his country throughout a life which seems to have been singularly sturdy, honest, normal and consistent, and which, therefore, is an example to his countrymen that may in these somewhat hectic times well be considered and perhaps even emulated.

At the risk, however, of entering the paranoiac's clinic it would seem almost necessary if not even desirable to apply the record discussed to the situation which confronts us in these days, since biography has no special significance unless it {259} brings to others some more or less effective stimulus to better and greater endeavor on their own part.

If, therefore, the life and record of a man like Leonard Wood is to be of value to others it must to some extent at least be considered in relation to the events of his day and time. These events have been sufficiently startling in the light of all previous history to make it perhaps permissible to glance over them.

Roughly speaking, since Wood was born transportation has become so perfected that, in the light of our navy's recent accomplishments with the seaplane, it is now possible for a human being to go from New York to London in the same period of time that it took then to go from New York to New London. It is fair to assume then that the distance of New York from London so far as human travel goes is or will shortly be the same as the distance of New York from New London when Wood was born.

Roughly speaking since Wood was born intercourse between persons by means of conversation has become so perfected that it is now possible for {260} two people, one in New York and the other in San Francisco, to converse over the telephone--wireless or otherwise--as easily as could two persons when Wood was born talk from one room to another through an open doorway. So that for practical purposes the three or four thousand mile breadth of this continent is reduced to what then was a matter of ten feet.

One might continue indefinitely, but these two examples are sufficient. If San Francisco is no further away than the next room and if London can be reached as quickly as New London, and if myriads of other physical changes of this sort have occurred in sixty years, then it is fair to assume that there has been an equal amount of resulting psychological change. These changes in the relation of man to his surroundings and the consequent changes in his relations to himself and his fellow beings have probably done more to rearrange the world on a different basis than all the developments of the half-dozen centuries that preceded the nineteenth.

The elimination of distance, the making of human relation as easy for continents as for {261} adjoining communities lessens the size of the world and standardizes the rules that govern life. All intellectual, political, commercial and military procedures have changed therefore in the last half century to a greater extent than in hundreds of years prior thereto. One race in the fifth or sixth grade of civilization begins to discover what the other race in the first grade is doing. One commercial country of a lower order finds what it is losing because of another country of a higher order of commercialism. The laborers of Barcelona discover what the laborers of New York are receiving in compensation for the same work. The people of Russia discover the different political conditions existing amongst themselves and the people of England and France. The government of the German Empire sees what a united nation backed by the biggest army on earth might do in Europe. The men of Austria who have no vote learn what the men of the United States procure from universal suffrage.

With the belief on every human being's part that the other fellow is better off than he, with the education which goes on through the medium {262} of emigration and immigration, with the immense number of detail short cuts, with the prodigious increase in reading and the resulting acquirement of the ideas of others, with the myriad of other matters patent to any one who thinks--with all this and because of it the methods and procedure of daily life have changed entirely throughout most of the civilized world since a man who is now nearly sixty was born.

At the same time the family remains the same; the marriage law is unchanged; the right of private property is what it was in the days of ancient Rome. The Constitution of the United States is what it was a hundred and thirty years ago. Justice is the same as it was in the time of Alexander. The Golden Rule has not been altered since the time of Christ. Love, hate, fear and courage stand as they were originally some time prior to the stone age.

To revert, then, to the simile of the construction of the house, it seems true that while the plaster and the wall paper--the decorations of its interior and exterior--change from time to nevertheless on the whole, as a rule, in the main {263} the passage of the great ages has not materially changed the supports of the structure--and never will.

In the matter of interior and exterior decoration periods come and go during which those who build houses decorate according to schools of art. It is the only belief that any sane and hopeful human being can have that these schools of decoration for the old house of civilization in the main steadily improve. If it is not so, then we have nothing to live for, nothing to which we may look forward. Also, however, there are fashions and fads running along by the side of these great schools which are suggestive, amusing or ludicrous, as the case may be. The cubists and the followers of the old masters paint at the same time. One, however, dies shortly and the other lives on--often to be sure affected in some slight way by the grotesque but honest fad, but never giving way to it.

In the month of November, 1918, greater changes of this nature took place in the political world than in all the years which preceded that month since the beginning of the Christian era. {264} In that month some scores of crowned heads stepped down from their thrones and made haste to reach shelter as do the rats in a kitchen when the cook turns on the electric light. At that time something like three hundred millions of people gave up their particular forms of government and to a certain extent have been living on since without any substitute.

Some of these crowned heads have sat on their thrones from five to ten centuries. Some of the governments have lived as long.

It looks like a general tumble of the house of civilization. And yet most of these millions of people go on getting up in the morning, going to bed at night and, impossible as it may seem, conducting commercial enterprises. The kings have gone; the governments have gone; yet the people remain and their daily life goes on--not as usual --but in the main the same.

At such a time amidst such stupendous changes it is natural that an infinite number of plans for reconstruction come forward. All the century-old panaceas crop up. All the moss-grown plans for a perfect world are thrust forward in a new {265} dress and naturally gain credence. And with the increased ease of intercommunication of individuals and ideas the opportunity not only for many more but for widely divergent theories to make themselves heard is immeasurably increased. Thus it becomes possible for a Lenine and a Trotzky to leave their tenement flats in the slums of New York and proceed to the palaces of the Czar to show the hundred and twenty millions of Russians what can be done--and, what is far more to the point, get a hearing. Thus it becomes possible for the International Workers of the World in Russia, France, England and America to get together in conference in Switzerland or elsewhere and discuss how best to destroy not only governments, but private property, law, order, the family and all the beams of the great house at one time. Thus it becomes possible for a host of less radical but none the less pernicious plans for the good or evil of the world to fly about amongst unstable but well-meaning minds.

Our country, so remote in miles from the scenes of these upheavals, is by the development of {266} modern times so near that it is to a certain extent affected by them.

In a population of one hundred millions in the United States there are probably one hundred million different views entertained upon each of the questions of this disturbed period. But a fair classification of them could be safely made into radicals, moderates and conservatives--Bolsheviki and theorists, slow-moving and hard-thinking citizens and stiff-necked reactionaries--all honest and earnest in the mean. If the Bolsheviki and theorists outnumber the others we shall have a situation in the United States similar to that in Russia, Austria and Germany. If the stiff-necked reactionaries outnumber the others, we shall smother the flame for a time only to have it burst forth shortly in an infinitely more terrible explosion. If the slow-moving, hard-thinking citizens outnumber the others, we shall maintain the main structure of our house so laboriously built throughout the ages while we change to some extent the nature of the wall paper and the plaster to adapt it to modern conditions.

Some of us want to achieve the first, some the {267} second and some the third status; and it would be safe to say that up to the present in this country the people of the great middle class--the not rich, the not poor, the steady business man, the ordinary mother of a family--are in the majority and are trying to adapt themselves to the new conditions even if only in a slow and somewhat halting manner.

It will help them and therefore help the country to maintain themselves and itself on an even keel until the storm subsides if they can have some concrete standard to work by. And as standards in this sense usually become established by example, by what each of us thinks the man he looks up to is doing, thinking and planning, it seems fair to say that the example of a few leading men of the strong sanity which characterizes General Wood is having now or will have in the future a great influence for good.

When we are all complaining at the changing conditions, when we see apparently permanent organizations like the government of thousand- year-old empires crumbling in a month, when we hear the new-old theories for a new form of {268} existence, we are somewhat dazed, somewhat influenced by the outward signs and somewhat skeptical about our own small but to ourselves important outlook. At such a moment the voice of one who says in substance: "Do not let superficial changes --no matter how important they seem--make us forget the law of man and nature; do not forget that the fittest survives; do not imagine that wars are over because the most terrible one in history is just finished; do not hesitate to prepare for your own duties and those of your country; do not forget that organization and coöperation produce peace, safety, prosperity and happiness"--when a voice in our land announces this and its owner proves by his whole life the truth of his statements, then it pays to listen and inwardly digest.

In spite of all we are being told to the contrary, there need be no alarm for the future if the country contains enough of such leaders to make themselves heard above the babel of new cries and beliefs, notwithstanding the attractive pictures some of these theorists present. For that reason leaders must always exist where progress is to be {269} made and the great majority must stand behind them to back them up.

The effective spear cannot do its work without its steel point, nor yet without its long handle to force the point home.

This biographical sketch treats of one of these spear points and as such represents to a greater or less degree all great sane leaders, though it speaks of but one.

Leonard Wood's personality is one of mental sanity and physical health. It is non-reactionary and non-visionary. It is military only in the sense that the army happens to have been his business in life. His business might have been that of the law, of banking, or leather, without in the least changing in it. He once said of this:

"The officers of the Army and Navy are the professional servants of the government in matters pertaining to the military establishment. They are like engineers, doctors, lawyers, or any other class of professional men whose services people employ because they are expert in their line of work. They do not initiate wars. Nine-tenths of all wars have their origin directly or indirectly in {270} issues arising out of trade. The people make war; the government declares it; and the officers of the army and navy are charged with the responsibility of terminating it with such means and implements as the people may give them."

His voice raised in behalf of preparedness refers therefore to the military, because as a Major-General in the United States Army he is not empowered to speak of other walks in life. Yet his own wide experience in Cuba and the Philippines in administration, very little of which was military, is a witness of his belief in preparedness in an life.

He founded schools where there were none to prepare citizens for the new Cuban republic. He reorganized and built up customs laws and regulations where there were only attempts at such in order to prepare revenue to build roads and finish public works to make a busy and healthy nation. He reëstablished sane marriage laws in order to prepare a solid community resting upon the basis of the clearly defined family. In the Philippines he instituted local government to prepare the islands for self-government.


None of these acts, nor many others of like nature, had anything to do with the military. They were all based on the law that a sound and successful community, whether that community be a village, town or nation, rests in the final analysis on personal, individual responsibility which in the group makes a responsible government, that personal responsibility comes only from preparation, from execution as a result of preparation and from efficiency which is its synonym.

We study for this or that profession. We cannot practice law unless we prepare and take a degree. We cannot enter the medical profession unless we study and take a degree. Wood's great thesis is that we cannot become sound citizens and, therefore, in the group a sound nation, unless we study and prepare to be such.

It sounds so simple that one wonders why it is written. And yet for the last two years under the guise of war necessity this country has been moving in quite another direction. Instead of personal responsibility we have been substituting more and more government responsibility. Instead of individual effort we have been advancing governmental {272} effort. Instead of natural competition we have been substituting government regulation. Instead of advancing patriotism, nationalism, Americanism, we have been letting all these give way to internationalism. We have not been preparing ourselves as individuals to assume individual responsibly, but in fact we have been giving up that responsibility to government.

It is through the sense of the people quickened by such men as Wood that we shall come back to sounder methods--not to where we were before. That can never be. If it were so, the world would not be moving forward. But we shall come back to the basic principle that individual initiative, energy and the rewards that accrue therefrom are and always must be the basis for collective initiative, energy and the rewards thereof; that no collective organization such as a government can remain virile and effective unless its component parts--the individuals--remain virile and effective.

The appeal which Wood's life makes to us is toward this responsibility of the individual for his own work, his own affairs, his own family, and {273} to his own country, and that has been found throughout history to be the groundwork, the foundation upon which civilization rests. Translated into current phrase this means that we must follow such men as he, keep eternally at work to improve ourselves individually, to make a good and honest living, to hand on the torch of patriotism, of sanity and of ever-increasing knowledge by furnishing to the world the new generations that shall carry on, and to weld and stabilize the whole structure by building up Americanism within our borders. In the vocabulary of General Wood this is translated again into the words: "Prepare! Prepare! Prepare!"

Such has been the career of the New Englander from Cape Cod who has worked in his own land, in the tropics, in many spheres, at many problems until at the age of fifty-eight in sound mind and body he stands firmly still in the prime of life ready for many years yet to come of service and work for himself, his family and his fellow countrymen.