TIRED OF HARD TACK
The Michigan Soldiers Got more Than They Wanted
CUBANS GRABBED FOR IT
Sour Beans and Red Horse Nauseated the Boys
A Description of the Voyage to Cuba by a Member of Co.A. Shirt Sleeves Weather There While We Are Freezing.
Sid M. Bangs, of Co. A, 31st Michigan, writes a friend in this city, giving a description of the trip from Savannah to Cienfuegos as follows: On board Transport Chester at Cienfuegos, Cuba.
Dear Friend George:
We skirted the Florida coast for sometime, when we came in sight of Palm Beach, a popular Florida winter resort. Here we stopped for a short time to send a boat ashore with telegrams and letters. From this place I mailed my other letter. We kept on down the coast, keeping it always in sight, until about 9 o'clock the next morning (Monday), when we passed the last of the Florida Keys, with Key West in plain view. About 4 o'clock we sighted mountains on the Cuban coast, but so far distant that we could see only the peaks of them.
It is very warm and everybody is in their shirt sleeves lying around on the decks enjoying the brisk sea breeze.
Monday afterooon the surgeons examine our left arms to see if we needed another vaccination. I was one of the unlucky ones to need it, and I can see my finish with a sore arm. There were about 36 of Co. A, who will have to be vaccinated as soon as we land. The boys are all in good spirits and not one of our company is sick. During the night we rounded Cape San Antonio and entered the Yucatan Channel. The next morning (Tuesday) we changed our course to the eastward and steamed into the Caribbean Sea, which course we kept all day, changing it, towards morning, to a northerly direction. We sighted land again at 5 o'clock Wednesday morning. It was a range of mountains near Cienfuegos. Our ship was headed towards this land in sight but had to steam back and forth until they found the entrance to the harbor, which is very narrow at the entrance and hard to see from the ship.
After finding the entrance we carefully came to anchor in the harbor and it is certainly one of the prettiest harbors I have seen, so far. Lighters put out from shore with Cuban laborers to unload our boat, which is now being done while I am writing this letter. The Cubans grab at the hard tack we throw at them, and act as if it was the best thing they ever ate, while we can't bear the sight of it having lived on it during our trip, with the exception of perhaps three meals, when we had bread. We have been fed canned sour beans and canned "red horse" corned ',beef ), until it is nauseating to think of it. Tonight makes eight nights we have been on this boat and I am glad we are going to land tomorrow. We received mail from Spanish transport loaded with Spanish soldiers left here shortly after we came to anchor and they cheered us and waved their hands as they passed, I presume they are tickled at the prospect of soon being in Spain again. We received mail from home today, which got here ahead of us. Will write again when I know for sure where we are going to from here.