The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 276
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
capital city showered the Americans with oranges, bananas, cigarettes,
candy, and silk handkerchiefs. "The mere pleasure of having participated
in that march," wrote one of the Texans, "has amply repaid me for all the
past nine long months of toil and privation and hardship which has been
my lot as a soldier to endure."45
Because the anticipated violence of the Cuban populace toward the de-
parting Spaniards failed to occur as feared, occupation duty for the Tex-
ans seems to have consisted for the most part of sightseeing, occasional
drill or guard duty, letter writing, and lounging in hammocks in the
shade. The army even hired local laborers to do much of the hard physi-
cal work associated with setting up and maintaining a camp. With so
much free time it is not surprising that some of the troops indulged in a
variety of pastimes that their officers frowned upon. Many sampled the
available alcoholic beverages. One observer believed that there must have
been something magical in the local distilling processes "to judge from
the effects [their products] have had on some of the boys who possessed
the temerity to tackle them. A small jag from them generally means three
or four days riotous inebriety on the part of the victim, followed by about
a week of hopeless stupidity and two or three days in the guard house.
The experience with an aquadiente [sic] jag shall last one a lifetime."
Texas officers quickly issued rules forbidding the men from drinking in-
toxicating beverages or patronizing the local prostitutes. Some men un-
doubtedly found their ways around these restrictions, and others spent a
considerable amount of their free time-as well as their paychecks-play-
ing poker and shooting craps.'"
Some Texans, perhaps those with no more disposable cash, spent part
of their idle hours sightseeing, and one of the more memorable attrac-
tions was the nearby Cristobal Colon Cemetery. They were shocked to
learn of the local burial procedure. Only the wealthy could afford to buy
coffins, others merely rented them to transport the remains of their loved
ones to the grave site. If the rent on the cemetery plot went unpaid, work-
ers exhumed the remains and unceremoniously tossed them onto a pile
of bones in the corner of the compound. Likewise, paupers' bodies were
not buried at all. They were placed in the dead house and covered with
quicklime to hasten decomposition. Their bones then joined the others
in the refuse heap."
With the departure on February 6, 1899, of the last of the Spanish
troops it became unnecessary to retain a large American occupation force
in Cuba, so after three months of relatively light duty the Texans received
" Preston Morrow, Havana, to his mother, Mrs.J. C. S. Morrow, Dec 31, 1898, pubhshed in a
newspaper (probably the Quanah Tribune-Chzej), Spanish American War Survey.
" Preston Morrow, Havana, to his brother, Temple Houston Morrow, Jan. 12, 1899, as pub-
hshed in the Quanah Tribune-Chief Spanish American War Survey.
"7 Galveston Daily News, Jan. 22, 24, 1899.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/328/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.